The London Coffee Festival 2019

The London Coffee Festival 2019

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‘Coffee, cocktails, music and good times’

A little way down Brick lane, underneath the decorative arches and through the maze of East London’s groovy graffitied walls, you can find The Old Truman Brewery. The building is a spectacle in itself, with its industrial brick exterior and towering chimney, and was once London’s largest beer manufacturer. However for one weekend only, it plays host to more than 30,000 people from across the UK and Europe, all coming together for one shared passion; coffee. 

These days there seems to be a festival for everything, with hundreds of food and drink festivals taking place right here in London. Giddy for gin? bonkers for brunch? Vegan food more your thing? whatever your craze is, you are bound to find something that takes your fancy.

Mine happens to be coffee, it’s a big part of my life! not only have I worked in a cafe for four years, But I also LOVE the stuff. My body runs on the bittersweet fuel that comes from a burning hot cup of coffee. So as you can imagine, when I heard that there was even such a thing as a coffee festival, better yet that it was going to be taking place right on my doorstep, I was pretty excited.

This unique festival has been running for nine years, and offers, what the team call, ‘an unparalleled playground for coffee aficionados.’ We bought our tickets online for £15 each, for those more spontaneous, you could choose to pay upfront on the day, but the tickets were a bit pricier.

On entry we were handed a limited edition tote bag filled with various bits of information about what the day would entail. At first glance the venue appeared to be just one large room with various stalls, with a seating area in the centre, bustling with people as they gathered round to enjoy the love music performances happening on the stage. However we soon identified that the TARDIS-like venue stretched on for miles and there were in fact four huge floors of coffee shenanigans for us to enjoy.

Exhibitors and sponsors lined the walls, in front of them tables spilling with freebies and samples. Coffee was obviously the star of the show, however there were plenty of non- coffee treats too, including cakes, biscuits, energy drinks, and lots and lots of tea. Some of the stalls were being pretty stingy with their samples, whereas other were practically throwing things at you.

We knocked back shots of coffee, as artisanal roasters explained their origins and what made them unique. For those proper connoisseurs, there was also a blind tasting room  with a lesson on how to detect the different notes and flavours of coffee. And on the Upper ground things got a bit more interactive at latte art live, where the audience’s barista skills were put to the test.

I was really impressed with how they made the expereince really inclusive to everybody, being a dairy dodger myself, and having a decaf drinking mum and a gluten intolerant older brother. There was still loads for us to try, and we fell in love with the gluten free coconut passion cake from Cakesmiths.

Needless to say, after all those samples we left on a crazy caffeine and sugar high!

I loved that there was no cookie cutter mould for what the Coffee Festival’s visitors looked like; everyone from professional baristas and coffee companies to families and young couples were there.

The London Coffee Festival will be back again next year, and regardless of you’re a coffee maestro or a complete novice I’d highly recommend it!

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DIY – Making a photo scrapbook

DIY – Making a photo scrapbook

 

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As a student, many of my nights have been spent in loud sweaty clubs, fuelled by vodka, grooving to Cardi B with my pals and making amazing memories (from what I can remember least!)

Don’t get me wrong, that’s all well and good, however now I’m in my second year I’m also cherishing those undervalued nights in. Without sounding ancient, sometimes all you need to recharge your batteries is a chilled evening in with some scented candles, a cup of tea and a scrapbook for company.

I’m quite a sentimental person, I’m that annoying friend that insists on taking photos of even the most uneventful day to day outings. Since the beginning of my first year I’ve kept every ticket, wristband and token. So, I started this scrapbook for all my photos and memories from nights out, gigs, birthdays, holidays…you name it. And with the help of Pinterest my scrapbook has slowly turned into a cute little time capsule for me to look back on in years to come.

Starting your own scrapbook:

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Obviously the first thing a photo journal is going to need are some photos (duh). One of my favourite apps to use is freeprints, it’s super handy as printing, especially in colour and on nice shiny paper, can get really expensive. Once you’ve signed up, you can print up 45 free photos each month, and all you have to pay for is postage. There is an extra charge if you want the photos any bigger or smaller, so what I usually do is get them printed custom size for free, and then trim them down myself.

As well as photos, your scrapbook can include any other souvenirs you can get your hands on! Cinema or concert stubs, festival wristbands, plane tickets or even a ticket from the cloakroom like the one I’ve used on the page above.

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Colourful washi tape is great for adding a bit of colour and decoration to your scrapbook. I like to write my titles and headers in different fonts and add doodles, handwritten notes and dates to each page.

If I ever need some inspiration I just hit up Pinterest, there are literally thousands of ideas floating around that you can take and make your own. Making a scrapbook is a lot of fun, and is perfect if you’re a bit nostalgic like I am and love reminiscing on great times. 

Enjoy doodling away!

 

Kacey Musgraves – Still the girl from Golden

Kacey Musgraves – Still the girl from Golden

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It appeared that not many people had heard of Kacey Musgraves when she won the award for Best Album at the Grammy’s last week. I was first introduced to her songs a few years ago, and before that had never been the biggest lover of country music. The tunes tend to be quite repetitive and the lyrics are always a bit lame and whiny. But I became hooked on her sound, she manages to make country seem effortlessly cool and bohemian.

The rhinestone studded, Texas born and raised superstar released the Grammy award winning Golden Hour back in March 2018. On this album she has strayed slightly from the sound of her earlier works, with it featuring a lot more stripped back and relaxed acoustic love songs.

The first track featured on Golden Hour is the appropriately named Slow Burn, as the album gets off to a rather slow start and builds gradually. The song Mother appears halfway through the album, it’s a beautiful and raw one minute melody about the singer’s relationship with her Mother. One of my personal favourites from the new album is Happy and Sad which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being on edge and worrying when life seems to be going too well. Her lyrics are particularly thought provoking, one example being ‘I’m the kinda person who starts getting kinda nervous when I’m having the time of my life’ really make it relatable.

Kacey Musgraves’ first two albums, Same Trailer Different Park and Pageant Material, had a very ‘country’ feel to them. Consisting of upbeat, foot-tapping kind of songs about everything from nosey neighbours and beauty pageants to the complications of family relationships, complete with banjos and fiddles. Arguably, one of her most popular songs and the one that begun my love for her, Biscuits, features the lyrics, ‘Pouring salt in my sugar won’t make yours any sweeter, pissing in my yard won’t make yours any greener.’ Which perfectly captures her quirkiness and charm.

One element that has stayed consistent throughout all four of Kacey Musgraves’ albums is her impressively observant lyrics; within the space of one song her words can be witty yet woeful. She has an outstanding ability to capture and put into words, fleeting and complicated emotions that we have all experienced at one point or another. 

Kacey Musgraves has revolutionised the sound of country music one do-si-do at a time. So before you claim to hate it, listen to Golden Hour and prepare to change your mind.

Busted is back! album review

Busted is back! album review

There are some songs that have the ability to transport me to different times in my childhood. Play me any Busted song and all of a sudden I’m 8 years old again, grooving on down to ‘Year 3000’ at the school disco. And when I heard they were releasing new music, the Nineties kid in me was delighted.

The British boyband, with their 2003 chart toppers ‘Crashed the Wedding’ and ‘Air Hostess’ may all now be married and in their thirties, but that hasn’t stopped them from creating the nostalgic masterpiece that is ‘Half way there.’

Much to the fans sheer joy, the majority of the new album falls in line with Busted’s distinct sound; Disco funk meets punk pop, which was very much influenced by the likes of Blink 182. After Busted attempted to headline a new image for themselves back in 2016 with their album ‘Night driver’, which wasn’t received as well as they had hoped, ‘Half way there’ was greatly anticipated by their ever- loyal fan base before it’s release on Friday.

The album kicks off with the aptly named song ‘Nineties,’ a very upbeat tune with a contrasting, slightly melancholy message, with lines like ‘Every day it slips away so far behind me God, I miss the Nineties’. There are a lot of parallels with the band’s new music and their old hits. ‘Shipwrecked in Atlantis’ and ‘Race to Mars’ are so much like their old hits; Heavy on the drums with an electronic beat and high tempo, that they could have easily been released in the early Noughties. The album draws to a close with ‘It happens’, arguably the most emotional song with the strongest narrative as it manages to tell Busted’s entire journey, together and apart, in four minutes.

The band, who used to sing about hot air hostesses and having crushes on their teachers, now sing about school reunions and getting stood up by girls. Their lyrics remain lighthearted and cheeky despite having over a decade of life experience under their belts.

Dedicated Busted fans were starting to worry we might have to wait for the Year 3000 before we next heard from the band. But ‘Half way there’, which is a time machine for any nostalgic Nineties kid, was worth the wait.

Brighten your wardrobe and be your own rainbow

Brighten your wardrobe and be your own rainbow

I’m the kind of girl who falls in love with cute and colourful clothes and buys them with the intention of wearing them, only to throw on a pair of old jeans and a grey hoodie when Monday morning rolls around. I wish I was more adventurous with my outfits but honestly, I’ve always been a bit lazy when it comes to fashion.

Let’s face it, January can be a bit of a dreary month. It’s dark almost all the time, and its so cold outside that just getting out of bed is an accomplishment some days. One day last week, I stepped out of my comfort zone and wore a very colourful outfit. To my surprise it actually really lifted my spirit, even though it was a bit bleak and grey outside, at least my clothes were cheerful!

Since that day, I’ve been trying to make more of an effort with my outfit choices. Obviously there are some days where the thought of matching clothes together seems harder than algebra and jeans are the only logical answer. But I’m trying my hardest to incorporate more colour and prints into my clothes.

Below are some of my most recent purchases and favourite outfits at the moment.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that leopard print is absolutely EVERYWHERE at the moment. What started out as a rather bold print you might find on the occasional belt or handbag is now being seen on anything and everything from jumpsuits to hats. Rather than sticking with the crowd on this one I thought I would embrace another bold print – zebra. Really not sure if I’m brave enough to pull this off though – I sort of feel like someone who wasn’t cool enough to be in The Spice Girls.

UPDATE: It actually looks quite cute and kind of kooky, especially under this black zip dress (to balance out the bold).

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Zebra print mesh top – ASOS, black zip dress and star earrings – Nasty Gal

Another, slightly more lowkey, print I’m growing to love has been polka dots. Clearly this wasn’t a bold or colourful enough look for me though, as I’ve paired the black with bright orange and yellow (colours I would normally avoid with a ten foot pole). The culottes are high waisted and the jumper looks pretty cute tucked in.

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Floral oversized jumper – New Look, Polka dot trousers – Topshop, yellow scrunchie – Primark

As I mentioned earlier, my wardrobe is normally very much a 50 shades of grey type situation, it just goes with everything. So I thought I’d change this up a bit. At risk of looking like a packet of Crayola pencils I thought I’d pair this teal dungaree dress with a blue chunky knit jumper and a pink scrunchie (because why not add some MORE colour!)

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Blue oversized knit jumper – H&M, teal dungaree dress – ASOS, pink scrunchie – Primark

As you can see, I’ve been loving the pinafore dresses at the moment. I really like this orange button up dress but whenever I wear it I always play it safe and just wear it over a grey or black turtleneck. But this time I decided to try to over another bold colour, teal.

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Teal striped t shirt – Pull and Bear, orange button up dress – Shein, pink scunchie – Primark

I hope I’ve inspired you to make bold and colourful fashion choices (I’m still trying) even though its dark and miserable outside – Be your own rainbow!

A positive mindset for the new year

A positive mindset for the new year

Happy New Year Everybody!

Hope you’re feeling energised and ready to have an amazing 2019!

This year I’ve set myself some quite specific goals and I’m going to try my hardest to stick to them. The last few months of 2018 I was feeling a bit lost, I’m still not sure why exactly but I’m positive that the new year will bring the fresh start that I need.

I keep having to remind myself that it’s totally normal to feel a bit lost and have no idea what the year holds for you, if you feel the same way try and see it as something exciting rather than daunting. You have the ability to make the year how you want it.

Below are some of the things I hope to achieve in the new year:

Physical goals 

Train and run a 5k for charity – running for fun?!

Put aside time for yoga and meditation at least once a week.

Work through the Tae kwando gradings and belts.

Write more – ANYTHING! blogs, articles, short stories, poetry, non fiction… as long as I’m writing.

Stop dating idiots. oops.

Mental goals 

Stop putting time and effort into people who don’t do the same.

Don’t rely on other people to be happy – own your own happiness.

Stop caring so much about what other people are doing or what they think.

Don’t feel inferior to other people on social media.

It’s one thing writing down a list of New Years resolutions but actually sticking to them and achieving them is a whole other thing. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t stick to them all or it takes longer than you thought it would, small steps can lead to big changes. And don’t forget to reward yourself!

With that all said, It’s great to want to better yourself, but don’t forget the first of January is just another day.

Don’t try and change too much, and don’t change for anyone but yourself, rather embrace yourself for who you are. 

Go and smash 2019 x

 

24 hours in Edinburgh

24 hours in Edinburgh

Last week my friend and I headed on a slightly spontaneous adventure to Edinburgh. On Wednesday morning we headed to the airport and flew out from London. Our flight back was the next day, giving us just under 24 hours to soak up everything the glorious Scottish city had to offer.

We had a few places in mind that we wanted to check out but, as neither of us had been before, we were really looking forward to just following our noses and seeing where we ended up.

The hotel we were staying in was right in the centre of the city on Princes Street opposite the Scott Monument. Being so central meant we could go everywhere on foot and didn’t need to worry about public transport, which was so convenient as our time was limited and we could come and go from the hotel at our leisure.

After checking in and dropping our bags in our room we packed a picnic and headed up to Calton Hill, which was a short but relatively steep walk. The panoramic views at the top made the walk well worth it though, as we reached the top just as the sun was setting behind the Scott monument and Edinburgh castle. A beautiful view for our picnic.

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We went for a wander across North Bridge and down the High Street, in search of The Devil’s Advocate, a quirky bar that had been recommended to us. We finally found it tucked down a quiet cobbled alleyway, that you’d miss if you weren’t looking for it, a huge contrast to inside the bar where there was a loud and vibrant atmosphere. Despite how busy it was, we were welcomed warmly by the members of staff, the service was excellent, as were the Scottish themed cocktails! edin

As the evening grew darker and colder we went in search of a more cosy pub. After strolling down Victoria Street, admiring the charming architecture that inspired JK Rowling when writing Harry Potter, we found ourselves at Grassmarket Square. An array of bars and pubs lined the streets but we found The Fiddler’s Arms to be particularly inviting, and we spent the rest of the evening chatting and drinking whiskey. The next morning we were up early to squeeze in as much as we could before we had to leave. We decided to head to Edinburgh Castle but decided to take the scenic route through West Princes Street Gardens, stopping to admire Ross Fountain on our way. The Castle was a tourist magnet, as we expected, so was very busy, but it was as beautiful as we had imagined and we were glad we had visited.

We spent the rest of the morning exploring the streets a bit further out from the centre. We headed down Candlemaker Row and Lauriston Place, passing some of the historic university buildings and stopping at some of the cute boutiques and shops.

After lunch at a small cafe back at the Grassmarket, we hopped back on the tram and headed back to the airport, drawing our 24 hour adventure to a close.

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I absolutely loved visiting Scotland’s beautiful capital, it’s small and compact yet there’s so much going on. We were able to just about squeeze it all in to 24 hours, although that being said I’m already planning another trip there!