Monday, 29 December 2014


The age old question; “have you got a new year's resolution this year?” is about to propel back into our lives. Just as you can rely on an over enthusiastic countdown, a drunk family party and a rendition of Auld Lang Syne during the festive period you can depend on people asking you this faithful question.

With so many past experiences of failed promises to yourself the thought of making another resolution may seem a little daunting, and maybe even pointless. However, if done in the right way they can positively enrich your life, everyone has room for a little improvement... even Beyoncé. The key is to make them realistic, very few people are going to be able to uphold “I will never drink alcohol” if every weekend of 2014 involved a bottle of wine and a drunken critique of Saturday night TV or “I will work out 5 times a week” is unlikely to succeed if you haven't visited a gym since Will Young won Pop Idol. However, by making them achievable such as; reducing the gym to twice a week, or by including exceptions to the drinking rule such as special occasions then there is no reason they can't work. 

If I've convinced you that new year's resolutions can be a good thing (pat on the back for me) but you're still struggling for ideas then here is a little inspiration:

  1. Do something exciting/different every day. You may be thinking “what? Doesn't that go against everything she has just said”. No because I'm not saying go and organise yourself an extreme sport or momentous voyage into the unknown every day. Just simple things like baking a cake, taking your kids (or family members') on a day trip to the park or organising a PJ party with friends. It's just something every day that makes you smile and appreciate the world and the people in it. This is my resolution every year and it really does work, if only I could remember to keep it past March... 2015 is my year though I'm sure. 
  2. Spend less time on social network sites and watching television.We are all guilty of sitting on our laptops Googling the most random of things and Facebook stalking someone you went to school with for hours. But why not limit your time online and sitting in front of a box and spend more time maybe actually talking to real life people? Just an idea!
  3. Improve my diet and exercise regime. The benefits to a healthy lifestyle are endless you don't need me to tell you that. By trying to indulge in a more balanced lifestyle and occasionally sporting your work out clothes you are likely to see an improved physique, the release of endorphins (Elle Woods in Legally Blonde taught these make you happy and prevent you from killing your husband), and generally feel healthier.
  4. Take more photos. I personally love sitting down and looking through old photos and laughing at the lovely memories I have. But I often forget to take them, taking more photos could mean preserving those special moments for longer, and with smart phones taking just as good photos as digital cameras it has never been easier.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do and of course Happy New year!

*This was originally published on Cardiff Times.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


"Our aim is to offer food, warmth, shelter and companionship to homeless and lonely people in the Birmingham area, over the Christmas period.  Our doors are open to all, irrespective of gender, colour, race, religion or sexual orientation."

In today's blog post I want to tell you about one of the most amazing organisations I have ever had the pleasure to be part of. I am totally aware of how lucky I am to have a loving family, a roof over my head and many luxuries, and last year I felt like it was long overdue that I gave something back. So off I went to my old faithful laptop and I took to Google to try and find out if there was anyone who needed my help. It wasn't long before I stumbled upon the Birmingham Christmas Shelter.

I signed myself up on the website and soon I received an email asking me to attend an induction. I went along to this building situated in the Jewellery Quarter, here I walked in alone a little timid and nervous about what I had put my name down for. I was not to worry though as I was instantly put at ease after listening to a group of amazing people talking about their experiences, who every year give up their time, money and resources to ensure the homeless have a Christmas to remember. 

In the induction we were informed that the shelter opens up in this particular week as most other homeless charities close down, which I found shocking. The week which is arguably the time that people need love, company and warmth the most is when they will have the most difficulty finding it. Another astonishing fact was that not everyone that visits is homeless, some people just live alone and crave some company over the festive season. This was the saddest news to me, I hate even sitting in a restaurant and seeing someone sitting alone. Not long ago I saw an old man alone in Harvester tucking into an ice-cream Sunday he looked perfectly content but still my heart was breaking. I would hate to think of anyone ever having to be or feel alone at any time of the year, especially Christmas.

My time at the Shelter

They warned me in the induction that nothing would quite prepare me for that first moment when I walked into the serine building I saw on the induction, and it had become completely unrecognisable. It was no longer an empty room filled with a few volunteers, a slide show and some complimentary biscuits lay on a side table. It had been transformed into organised chaos. My first shift was on the tea hatch so I made my way over and got acquainted with the hot water machine, I was warned not to mention that the coffee was decaffeinated, apparently the real stuff meant bedtime became impossible. And so my shift began, and before I knew it (and before I wanted it to be) my time with the Birmingham Christmas Shelter was over. My shifts had all passed by in a fleet of long conversations, tea making, sweet finding and board game hopping. 

One person that stays with me is a young boy I met on my final shift. He was dressed in a duffel coat and fingerless gloves. He had long floppy brown hair, rosy cheeks that looked like they had experienced severe cold, and his most prominent feature of all was a broad smile that could have belonged to the richest person in the world. He had fled from London to Birmingham and had been in and out of foster homes his whole life. He was only a couple years older than me, and whilst we were happily chatting he told me how much he appreciated me being there at my age, and how hopeful he was that next year he wouldn't need the service and maybe he could be a volunteer himself. How could a man who had so little take the time out to be grateful for my presence? It really is hard to comprehend. Since those visits to the homeless shelter my Christmas wasn't the same, I sat there with my extravagant presents and the delicious Christmas dinner my Mum had cooked us, and my brain couldn't help but wonder back to the friends I had made and how their days were going. I don't think Christmas will ever be the same again for me but I'm happy with that. I just hope these charities can keep going and bring just a small amount of joy to these people who are just having a bad time.

No matter how many programmes we watch, or articles we read about this hidden and often forgotten part of society until you actually see the hardship first hand it is hard to understand. After my truly rewarding experience, and such a fun time I signed up again this year and my sister is joining me. I can't wait for her to see the incredible work that goes on and what it means to everyone there. I feel quite selfish saying that I actually really enjoy it too, it made my Christmas so much better getting to speak to people I never usually would. I think part of the reason I have always wanted to be a journalist is because of how nosy I am, I love finding out about people and listening to their stories because truly everyone has one to tell. The guests of the shelter are more than happy to chew your ear off which I throughly enjoyed.

If you would like to support The Birmingham Christmas Shelter then please click here to donate. If you would like to volunteer then sadly this year the application has closed, but keep checking the site for next year... it's a decision you won't regret!

Monday, 15 December 2014


With only 10 days to go till Christmas day graces us with it's presence again, the TV schedule is filled with lots of ways to make us feel all warm and gooey inside, the feeling that can only be described as the Christmas spirit. I am not talking about the Christmas special programmes and classic movies, but the masterpieces that come in between... the adverts! Here are my top 5:

1) John Lewis' Monty the Penguin

John Lewis has high expectations every year. Their adverts have undeniably become a part of Christmas tradition and I always look forward to seeing what they have conjured up. And I don't think they have let us down with this adorable short about a little boy who buys his penguin a girlfriend, it may sound a little like penguin prostitution but it is seriously adorable. 

2) Sainsbury's Spoof

The Sainsbury's WW1 inspired advert is gorgeous and I would probably even go as far to say that they beat John Lewis this year in the battle of the adverts. But then I saw this hilarious spoof by Hot Gulp and now the original can never be watched the same again. Sainsbury's worker Sebastian and Tesco worker Barry are able to put aside their supermarket rivalry for a game of football with a ball of lettuce. Photos of loved ones are swapped for pornographic images, selfies and even a cheeky snog between the opposing supermarket giants' staff on the sidelines.

3) Oral B's Merry Bleeping Christmas

Taking a more honest approach to the season that makes us all a little crazy is Oral B. They have taken the most scenic magical Christmas moments and shown us the family struggles behind them with the help of a bleeper machine.

4) Mulberry's Win Christmas

This advert rings so true for me; me and my sister are always competing to buy the best present for our parents or even write the best message in the cards. Mulberry captures the competitiveness of Christmas perfectly, and this advert is my favourite this year as the bag featured in the advert is my 21st birthday bag which I am totally in love with. I agree it does beat a unicorn, pug and painting all put together. I also love the Nan's smug grin all the way through, she totally knows she has this in the bag (pardon the pun).

5) Coca Cola's Holidays Are Coming

Coca Cola are the king of advertising, I did a module at university which hammered home this point, and I believe this Christmas classic is the best of the best.This festive truck advert signals the start of the Christmas holidays when it flashes up on my screen. It has become even more special now that me and my friend Tash went to visit it when it came to Cardiff. FYI: This truck is the best place to people watch ever, and people watching just so happens to be one of my favourite activities any time of the year.

Merry Christmas to you all! 
What are your favourite Christmas adverts?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


It is easy to get sucked into the student routine of clubbing, napping and occasionally attending that mythical 9am lecture, but I challenge you to step out of that prison cell sized room and complete the Buzz bucket list.

If you have parents dying to come see their little baby at university at the weekend, you may be able to blag a free ticket out of them. For those of you less loved get a shift there selling radios or stewarding and get paid for the honour. Although be warned if you get put on hot dog making duty the most action you’ll see is ketchup mishaps.

Head over to the coast for a day of sun, sea and sand or if you’re lucky pebbles, rain, and fish ‘n’ chips. To indulge in an extra special seaside visit go to Barry Island, the birthplace of Gavin and Stacey, pick a character and take on their persona for the day. I always go for Nessa, “what’s occurin’?”, and for the price of a fridge magnet you can sit in her arcade booth.

Spend a night partying with all your friends, and the one thing you must avoid is sleep, and then still make your day of lectures and seminars. Better yet go to another subject’s lectures, what better way to heal a hangover than with An Introduction to Japanese.

Wales is not England, and if you’ve crossed that border to get here, you really need to get into the green, white and red Welsh spirit. I suggest you sit down to a traditional Welsh lamb stew, there also has to be leeks involved obviously. This should then be followed with a fresh welsh cake and a big cwtch with all your housemates. Follow dinner with a walk looking at the sheep, a quick rugby game and the smelling of daffodils, okay too far?

South Wales has a lot to offer in terms of museums and history, be a good student and head to one of them, most have free admission and you never know you may learn something new.

You’ve had plenty of meals in the traditional home, pub, restaurant settings, now is the time to do something a little unconventional. Head to The Clink for a meal cooked and served for you by the local inmates or scoot over to Whiff Whaff and devour your meal over a game of ping pong.

Put on your finest crown and go to your local castle (Swansea, Cardiff and Newport all have their own). For a true Royal experience climb to the top, take in the gorgeous views and wave to your civilians.

Wales’s home-grown circus No Fit State recently opened their doors to the public and are now offering classes to all. Learn the trapeze, high ropes or how to juggle. Just think of the new skills you can whip out at the family Christmas parties.

Put on your glad rags, catch the water taxi from Bute Park and head for a fancy meal down the Bay. There is something to please every taste bud, and you get a lovely view of the Harbour. For the adrenaline seekers amongst us why not try their white water wafting.

Wales is known for its beautiful landscapes, grab some friends, a picnic and some cider and head to your local park, follow this with a walk to burn off those jam sandwiches.

*Article previously published in Buzz Magazine Student Guide.

Saturday, 29 November 2014


December is nearly with us, it's the time for hymns, mistletoe, the searching for the perfect christmas tree, present shopping and of course Christmas jumpers. A good Christmas jumper is priceless, I have immensely enjoyed searching the internet for my favourites. I aim to one day own 25 so I can wear one every day of December until Christmas, can you tell I'm a massive fan of the season? 

Here is my festive selection;

Wear everyone's favourite Home Alone quote with pride, you filthy animal.

Walk in Santa's shoes (or jumper) for the day. WARNING: People may expect gifts if you prance around in this number.

Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? Pick your jumper accordingly. To find out which list I'm on click the link below.

This is my ultimate favourite and I will be purchasing. It makes the impossible possible and makes the christmas jumper chic.

And here is a christmas song to help you all get into the spirit...

Saturday, 22 November 2014


I knew I needed something special for my 21st Birthday, it was the big one. The dress needed to define my life up until now. Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic but it sure needed to be good so about 2 months before my birthday I began searching the shops, the internet, the bins (just kidding, you hope!) until finally I stumbled on this gorgeous Virgo's Lounge number.

I have always loved Virgo's Lounges dresses and I hope one day my wardrobe is stuffed with their unique designs. I love the Bollywood glamour the dresses bring and you can never feel anything but classy in this beauts, even when your downing jager bombs. I paired the dress with my beautiful Christian Louboutins and I was ready to party.


This month I turned the big 21, it fell on a Friday and with all my friends joining me in Cardiff on the Saturday I needed an activity that wasn't going to leave me in a hungover state when a bunch of my excited girlfriends come spinning into our small student house. There is no way I would be able to escape the enthusiastic gossiping, loud chit chat, outfit screenings and girly giggling. None of these go well with a hangover. After having a huge brain storm, I remembered that while I was working at Cardiff Times they had started advertising for NoFit State, Cardiff's very own circus. 

I found out they were doing a trapezing class on my birthday so I collected my bravest friends and went over to their studio to run away with the circus. After a quick warm up, it was time for me to climb the rickety stairs up to the platform and get ready to make the jump into mid air with nothing to hold me up but the strength of my arms (and an instructor pulling a few ropes). All my friends forced me to go first as this was my brainchild so I was very nervous and cautious. Everyone knows you always let a friend go first to check the harness is working, and it hasn't malfunctioned over night. The first time I got up there and reached towards the bar, it felt as if I was back up the Burj Khalifa after a little reassuring from the coaches I took the plunge.

Me and the girls then had an hour of such fun, each time you flew off it got a little easier and landing ungracefully on our bums just became part of the fun. Before long we were spinning, kicking, flipping, going upside down, it was all such care free fun.

If you would like to book a class with NoFit State you can do so here. They offer a wider variety of activities, from the flying trapeze class that we completed, to aerial hoop, aerial yoga, hula hooping and just general fun circus skills. I know that I will be going back for more!

Sunday, 2 November 2014


Soon the beams of effortless sparkle will turn the bleakness of a November night into a rainbow of colour. As you look adoringly up into the sky with a sparkler in one hand, Josie Copson runs through some winter warming foods that you can place in the other.

Instead of the traditional hot dog, place a sausage on a stick and cut a pepper into the shape of a triangle, then simply attach it to the top to make your very own rocket. However, yours will shoot straight into your stomach instead of the sky. Recipe.

The comforting swirl of the pink, fluffy candy is enough to bring back the sweet memories of childhood bonfire nights. If you’re hosting a fireworks party you can impress guests by buying your very own cotton candy machine for a relatively cheap price.

The tomato soup may seem a little bland and unexciting, but when you mix in the spicy Bloody Mary cocktail it makes for a unique combination of flavours that will set your taste buds alight. Recipe.

A fun appetiser for all, create your own version of the infamous Catherine wheel firework by making mini pizzas and forging the melted cheese into a swirl to mimic the real deal. Add any toppings you desire to make a variation that will spin you into a state of satisfaction. Recipe.


A favourite autumn treat has to be the classic warm doughnuts in a bag, but sugar doesn't have to be the only thing to coat the dough. Get out of your doughnut rut and try adding orange zest, mixed spices, melted chocolate and berries for a fiery doughnut worthy of a Bonfire royalty title. Recipe.

*This article was previously published in Buzz Magazine.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


The River Wye flows 215 kilometres from source to sea meandering its way through plenty of Welsh beauty along the way. The winding river serves as a border between England and Wales for much of its journey and takes in some great locations such as Tintern Abbey, Wye Valley and Chepstow Castle. Pick your riverside village or town and enjoy a day exploring a new place.

The beautiful and mysterious Glamorgan Heritage Coastal walk separates Swansea and Cardiff and stretches from Merthyr Mawr to Southerndown. Grab your walking boots and head down to the trail. The rugged cliffs, untouched sand dunes, and white beaches are waiting for you, all ready to create an adventure.

Located just a short train ride away from Cardiff and Newport lives the rural Welsh town; Abergavenny. It serves as the ideal Sunday escape, the perfect way to let the country air dissolve those city blues. Take a walk up the Sugar Loaf Mountain where you will succumb to some beautiful views of South Wales, and then finish the day with a meal at Michelin-starred restaurant The Walnut Tree Inn.

While a lot of clubs can be found in the form of a leaflet on your doormat, The Vaults in Cardiff Bay seems to be South Wales’ best kept night time secret. Tucked away down an alleyway next to the infamous The Valleys house lays a little door which leads you down a set of dingy stairs and into one of the coolest venues in Wales. The underground club is an old bank that has been transformed into a club reminiscent of 90s clubbing. It has three rooms; two for hardcore partying to the finest local DJs and the third is a large cinema room where you can indulge in some retro cartoons. If this sounds like your sort of night be sure to get tickets in advance as every event is a sell out.


The Three Cliffs Bay is a beautiful Welsh costal getaway throughout the year. The crystal clear waters, golden beaches, and rugged mountains invite you to explore them in any season. After a long walk across the cliffs, tourists and locals flock alike to discover exactly why Rhosilli Bay was voted third best beach in Europe beating off competition from Greece, Italy and Spain; anyone who visits can see exactly why.

*This article was previously published in Buzz Magazine Student Guide.

Friday, 24 October 2014


On our third day we headed away from the sky scrapers and into the serene desert. Dubai has crazy large buildings and tonnes of construction work in progress, so it was nice to escape it all to go to a completely different part of the Emirates which is almost untouched by humans. The day started with a jeep safari; honestly... it was sickening. I think it is something you have to do once in your life, but then you will be haunted by the vivid memories of stomach turning and sand hopping. The views and the complete empty space for miles around you and the view of the sunsetting on the dunes I have to say do make it worth it though. 

Our tour then provided an evening in the desert. We were treated to a belly dancing show where enthusiastic tourists were invited to join her for some belly rolling, some local dancing in which a man used his illuminated skirt to make all sorts of spectacular shapes while fastly spinning to the beat of the music. There was also traditional BBQed food, sheeshas, camel rides and henna tattoos and we took full advantage of all the Arabian night time treats on offer. The whole day and night cost just a mere £20, if you are ever in Dubai and would like to do something similar book here.

As previously mentioned flying is my number one joy, in second place is water parks. Take me to a theme park and I'll refuse to get on anything apart from the teacups but add a bit of water and you will find me at the front of the queue. Atlantis, The Palm is one of Dubai's biggest resorts; I don't even know if you could call it a hotel. Not only does it have rooms to stay, it has a water park that guests have free access to every day, a private beach, many shops and more restaurants that you could ever dream of visiting on a one week holiday. With all the activities and facilities on offer I think this would be the ideal hotel for families, but we just had day passes which suited us perfectly. It was a dream day spent sliding and slithering down the many slides, getting stuck circling the (massive) lazy river twice due to missing our turning and my personal favourite going down a slide that led us into a shark tank, the only thing shielding us from the water villains was glass walls.

After a lovely day, we were ready for our final night at Dubai's markets, but everything didn't quite go to plan...

It started off with a taxi ride that was meant to take around 10 minutes lasting over an hour due to extreme Friday traffic. This would have been fine but our taxi driver was insisting on taking us out for dinner and he pointed out the rape laws meant that if he did anything then he would no longer be allowed to live in Dubai. He probably should just not be raping people anyway. Alarm bells began to rand and we were on edge for the entire taxi drive, but when we arrived at the markets we were willing to shake it off and spend the night happily shopping away.

We walked into the first shop and were immediately led out on a ten minute walk to a warehouse. The shop was amazing the walls lined with bags and shoes that were almost identical to their designer counterparts. The smiles began to creep back on to our faces. After around an hour choosing our favourites we sat down to talk prices. He wanted £200 for a fake Prada bag, that to me is ridiculous when you could get a real Michael Kors bag for around the same price. The once friendly shopping assistant began to get angry when Abbi told him the flaws in his products and the pricing. The bags and shoes that lined the shop walls now looked sad and their differences to the real version were alarming and I wondered how I hadn't noticed on my walk in. We were then practically chased out of the shop with aggressive arm gestures and cursing in Arabic. It was right then and there we vowed never to even consider buying anything fake again. I would rather wait until I'm 30 and have the real thing than go somewhere so phoney, cheap and seedy ever again in my life.

We were stressed and felt so lost, but being the optimists we are we decided we would proceed to the Dubai Mall to rescue the night by seeing the mesmerising water fountains one more time and having some proper retail therapy. We arrived and discovered the mall was closing in ten minutes we ran around like loons in our high wedges trying to find the fountains again. Realising how desperate and ridiculous we were being I shouted to Abbi "STOP!". Immediately when we looked at each other the uncontrollable giggles started and the whole night just turned into our very own SATC "Let's get the f*** out of Dubai" night.

The night was rescued however when we got a table at the Cheesecake Factory and my sister got an email informing her that she had got through to an Assessment Day for a Solicitor Training Contract, I couldn't be a prouder little sister if I tried. As a whole the holiday was amazing, and I would love to go back to Dubai in around 10 years to see how all the completed building work affects the city and how much the fast paced city has changed.
Friends come and go and you realise as you get older that some of them just weren't meant to remain in your life, but there's one person I know I can always rely on, the person who has been my best friend since the moment I took in my first breath, the one who carries me home when I'm too drunk, who covers for me to our parents when I lose my keys/phone for the 1000th time, the one who will listen to me moan about the same boy over and over, the one who always offers me her ear, her shoulder and her pearls of wisdom when life goes wrong even though she told me so: my perfect big sister. Thank you Abbi for a beautiful trip.

Have any of you been to Dubai? What do you think of the destination?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


When me and my sister Abbi spontaneously booked a last minute holiday to go to Dubai we spent the nights leading up to it repeatedly watching the SATC 2 film. Even though I am a firm believer in the fact that the series are a trillion times better than the movies, we just couldn't help indulging in some United Emirates excitement in the form of this blockbuster. The very title of this blog post is a slightly altered version of a line in the movie (see 1.02 in the video above) said by my favourite of the four gals Samantha Jones. On our final night of the holiday me and Abbi had a similar experience that made us scream out this line and then fall into fits of laughter (but I will get to that later).

One of my most loved activities in life is flying, I love the feeling of being detached from the world for hours and then arriving in a completely new destination, there is something so special about it. My experience was even more incredible as we were flying with Emirates. We were provided with pillows, earphones, constant food and free alcohol, it was the dream flight. I made the most of what was on offer and tried my utmost to skip sleep (despite it being a night flight). During my two flights I watched The Other Woman (so funny!), Enchanted, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie- WOW), Blended (one of the worst films ever made), The Little Mermaid, episodes of The Modern Family and New Girl and finally enjoyed the music on offer, personal highlights being Queen Beyonce and Ed Sheeran.

As a result of my refusal to sleep during our flight I was one very tired individual so a day relaxing in the sun was needed. The sun powerfully shone down and was literally baking us in the 40 degree heat. I have always tanned easily and loved just lying in the sun but it was so hot I had to spend the majority of the day in the sea. Local taxi drivers informed us that it was a particularly hot for September.

To conclude our first day we went for a picturesque meal overlooking the Burj Al Arab, a hotel that was designed to look like a boat, before piling into our gorgeous double beds at The Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence Hotel, which by the way is an amazing hotel in the perfect location.

After a gorgeous night's sleep we were ready to be fully fledged tourists, after a day basking in the heat first of course. The day flew past in a haze of light paddling, bathing, people watching, gossiping and reading from our beloved kindles and before we knew it it was time to climb to the top of the tallest building in the world; the Burj Khalifa.  
After a surprisingly short elevator ride we were at the top looking down on the now tiny skyscrapers. We walked around the ledge and took the obligatory tourist photos. A tower worker screamed at every tourist that walked onto the ledge to "savour the moment" before pointing her camera in their face and momentarily blinding them with her flash. With the woman keeping us entertained with her dedication to getting a photo of everyone whether they were wanted it or not, it wasn't long before the half hourly fountain show began, we were instantly enchanted. The water fires up into the air and reaches heights equivalent of a 50 storey building. Dubai is the most extravagant place I have ever visited, everything in Dubai is at least ten times the size of what you may expect, it is unapologetic in it's wealth and largeness. After climbing down again we decided to watch the fountain show which whirls, swishes and shoots along to the traditional Arabic music another two times from the ground.

After going up the world's tallest building there was only one thing to do and that was look around the world's biggest shopping mall: Dubai Mall. Me and Abbi like to consider ourselves professional shoppers, we can rummage through clothing rails with the best of them but the size of this shopping centre was overwhelming for us. We ended up just standing next to the aquarium for the best part of an hour excitedly screaming every time the shark went past.

I will soon be posting what I got up to in part 2 of the trip.