Monday, 29 February 2016

Has blogging been ruined?

Well, I haven't posted on here for just over two weeks - the longest it’s been for probably about…a year. I mean, fracturing my finger a week ago didn't particularly help and I’m in second semester of third year so that’s, you know, keeping me pretty busy but if I’m completely honest, I’ve had spare time where usually I’d leap onto here and start typing, but for some reason I’ve been putting it off. (Putting it off in the form of watching the entire 10 series of Friends for the 1356 time and playing the Kendall and Kylie game to be specific, because I’m a mature, independent female but yep, still putting it off.)

You see, I’m having a bit of a ‘thing’ with blogging. I have a few niggles about what it is and what it’s becoming and as much as I love blogging (which is basically on the scale of how much I love wine so you all know I’m being serious here), I feel like if we aren't careful, this incredible, amazing thing that millions of people partaking in all around the world, is going to be ruined.

Having a blog is amazing. Anyone and everyone can have one, that’s the beauty of it isn't it, that any person with access to the internet can have their own little piece of it and whether it be 3 people or 3 million people who read it, it doesn't matter, because it’s still yours. As people got increasingly fed up with magazine print content, and the wondrous opportunities of the world wide web got ever bigger, blogging was born. People started with their clunky little blogs, accompanied of course with a ‘’ address and they just started writing, about whatever they wanted too, and the amount of views or readers or followers wasn’t a big deal because it was just such a great feeling to create this content, content that was personal and probably had a few too many typos but it was yours so it didn't matter.

That’s why blogging was created, surely? For people to create their own content from their own ideas out of their own thoughts. There was no pressure of what would get the most views or how much your DA had increased in the past quarter, you just started writing things, anything, for yourself. And the reason why more and more people began to read them was because it was so amazingly relatable that you no longer felt alone anymore. Not only that, but you could finally trust whether that mascara really was great quality or if those shoes really were the comfiest thing that could ever grace your feet. Because people were so sick of magazines recommending things purely down to brands paying them too that it was empowering to finally have people’s genuinely honest opinion.

I am by no means saying bloggers shouldn't get paid. They completely, definitely, 100% should because it is a job now and that is insanely amazing. That the blogging community has gotten to be so influential and so successful that people can make a career out of something they started as a hobby, and continued because of enjoyment, it's incredible. I’m also not saying that all bloggers are no longer honest and that everyone is living a lie and we should close down all blogs and the internet for ever and ever, goodbye, it’s over. But with brands recognising the increasingly influential role bloggers and vloggers have in product consumption, is blogging turning into a new form of PR? 

I have no doubt that the world of blogging is only in it’s early stages and that it will become increasingly more dominant in the technologically obsessed world that we live in, with increasing amounts of ‘digital nomads’ occurring which is SO EXCITED AND AMAZING because wow you can work from ANYWHERE in the WORLD! The freedom that gives you! But with that brings with it problems because who are bloggers writing for? Themselves? Readers? Brands?

It’s such a fine line between working with brands and making money because duh, it’s your career but ensuring too, that you are maintaining your dignity, your honesty and your own actual creativity at the same time. The whole reason why blogs were so successful in the first place was because of how incredibly personal and relatable they were, of how honest and full of passion they were. With brands having an increasingly dominant presence in the world of blogging, the person behind the blogs I’m reading appears to be increasingly disappearing and if anything, ‘relatable’ blogs are actually becoming a niche.

It's so fundamentally important to remain true to yourself with blogging nowadays; to not accept every offer that comes your way, to not let money or other influences affect your recommendations and opinions. Because as soon as that begins to infiltrate onto your little piece of the internet, when does it stop? How can people trust your opinion anymore? Once the trust is gone, boom, it's over.

For me, a blog is a piece of a person, it’s their own content and their own creativity. For me, a blog is written for your own eyes first, and then for other people’s. Because if you aren't enjoying what you’re writing, if you aren't doing it for yourself, what are you doing it for?

It’s an amazing feeling to have people not only read your work, but to actually enjoy it and be inspired by it too but it’s an even better feeling to hit that publish button knowing you’re completely, utterly and genuinely happy and proud of what you’ve created. To know it's true to you. You just can't beat it.

What are your thoughts on where blogging is going? I'd love to hear them.

 Want to chat? Let's get social...

Sunday, 14 February 2016

5 coffee shops to visit in Newcastle

Since watching six of our Friends, hanging out at Central Perk with their cappuccinos and lattes, their flat whites and their macchiatos, the world has become obsessed with the wonderful liquid drink that is coffee.

We walk down the street with it, we meet with loved ones to drink it and we definitely rely on it to make ourselves resemble something like a human being before 9am on a Monday morning. Because yes it tastes ohhhh so good, but let's face it, it's also fashionable and it's trendy and the thrill of a coffee barista putting down that Instagram worthy latte art in front of you is a feeling like no other. I mean, getting married and having kids might come, like a close second or something but whatever, latte art is everything.

Coffee shops though, are on every street corner and whilst a Starbucks venti non-fat whipped caramel soy macchiato mocha latte is all well and good, I'll take a local coffee shop any day of the week.

Because a locally based cafe with bundles of character just feels more personal, right? Well, here's a few of those little gems located around Newcastle which you really do need to visit if caffeine and/or cake is your thing...

Cafe 1901
Starring in my first ever 'Eating in the North East' series back in April 2015, this cafe has a special little place in my heart. Tucked away on the ground floor of the old Jesmond Methodist church, you could be forgiven for passing it by unnoticed however with gorgeous interiors (which have just been renovated to look even snazzier), fabulous coffee and great food,  Cafe 1901 is the place to be. Whether you're wanting to catch up with friends or treat yourself to a spot of coffee and cake whilst getting on with a little bit of work, Cafe 1901 isn't a spot you want to miss out on visiting.

Location: St George's Terrace, NE2 2DL

Pink Lane Coffee
Pink Lane Coffee has acquired quite the reputation since it opened a few years ago, establishing itself as one of the best coffee shops in the North East. Situated in a prime spot opposite the city's trains station and brewing from the UK's top speciality coffee roasters, this place is the place to be if you're in need of some good quality caffeine to give you a lil boost.

Location: 1 Pink Lane, NE1 5DW
Website: Pink Lane Coffee

Cake Stories
If you're a fan of cute cupcakes and appreciate dainty crockery, Cake Stories is a place you definitely should visit. The place I find myself in when sugar is the only thing that's going to get me through my assignments, I always find the atmosphere of this cafe calming and friendly and just exactly what I need. A family run company, who bake all their own pieces of heaven cakes, Cake Stories is as authentic and personal as you're going to get.

Location: 12 Brentwood Avenue, NE2 3DH
Website: Cake Stories

Garden Kitchen
Located within Newcastle's city centre shopping centre Eldon Square, you may be thinking that this could possibly be a contender for the least relaxing bistro in England, however tucked away in Eldon Garden, away from the hustle and bustle, Garden Kitchen is a perfect place to replenish energy levels after shopping til you're almost dropping. With relaxing music and the place surrounded by quirky decoration and greenery, coffee and cake at this open plan cafe is something a little different.

Location: Eldon Garden, NE1 7RA
Website: Garden Kitchen

There aren't many words I can use to describe how good this place is however what I can tell you is that whatever time of the week I've found myself there, there's always been a queue for a table. With some of the best cake I've ever tried (not kidding) and coffee which always hits the spot, you'd be a fool to not visit this bistro if you get the chance. ARLO is basically the place that dreams are made of, seriously.

Location: 36-38 Brentwood Avenue, NE2 3DH
Website: ARLO

Fancy a coffee? Me too...

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The importance of female friendship

From a young age we're taught that having loads of friends makes you cool, that being part of the 'popular gang' is what's important, because being liked and being surrounded by people, whether you like them or not, is the measurement of your success.

Yet as we grow older, we realise that what has defined us as children, isn't actually true at all. As the end of life at university is fast approaching, I can count my true friends, the people who will without a doubt remain a significant part of my life on one hand. And I'm completely okay with that. Not only am I okay with it actually, I'm really truly happy and appreciative and thankful for having met such genuinely great people.

I mean, I've met and been surrounded by some real stinkers too, but that's life isn't it. Meeting people, getting to know people and then cherry picking the special ones, the ones who lift you up high, who support you, who laugh and cry and drink with you. Female friendship is one of the most important things you can have, and to find fellow ladies who you love, and who love you, is no mean feat but when you do find them, you know.

We all struggle with feelings of jealously and the temptation to compare ourselves to the success of fellow females is so incredibly hard to overcome sometimes but another person’s success does not mark our own failures. As females, we’re pitted against each other from an early age but we’re simply competitors running the same race and what’s the point in crossing the finish line with no one to celebrate with?

Friendship isn’t snidey remarks disguised in the form of a joke, it isn’t radio silence when you succeed or whispers behind your back. Because you can ignore that for a while, and focus on the great qualities that person has, but after a period of time the negativity they emit seeps into your mind and affects how you lead your life.

It can come in all shapes and sizes, but for me, friendship is lifting you up so high when you’re doing well and succeeding and achieving what you’ve been working so hard at, but at the same time calling you out if you’re being a bit of a dick. It’s encouraging you to keep going when you’re ready to give up and quit but be there ready and waiting with a bottle of wine if things eventually don’t work out. It’s being honest without being cruel, being friendly without being fake and when it all comes down to it, it’s liking you for being you and only you.

We all go on a journey to find out who we want to be and what we want to do in order to live our best, fullest and happiest life and having strong, likeminded ladies around us is important in discovering exactly what that is.

Genuine friends really are one of life’s greatest treasures so here's to friendship, because let's be honest, it really is pretty damn great, isn't it.

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Friday, 5 February 2016

Eating in the North East - St Sushi

With the countdown ticking to my departure from the city of Newcastle, my friend and I thought it would be a good idea to write a list of all the places we still wanted to visit and I know this is some truly shocking news but...most of them were restaurants. 

You know, you have sights such as Hadrian's Wall, Beamish Museum, Durham Cathedral but no, we basically wrote a list of food we want to eat. So cultured. 

One of the places on our list, which seems to be growing longer with each passing day, was St Sushi which I'd been told about on numerous occasions, because apparently if you like Osaka, you'll love St Sushi. 

Having decided to make the most of Newcastle Restaurant Week, we finally booked a table on a Friday night to get real happy with a whole lot of sushi. (No but seriously, who needs to go clubbing when you can drink and eat your body weight in sushi and get home at a reasonable hour? Not me, that's who...)

On arrival, the restaurant was buzzing with excitement (or maybe that was just me) but really, it's a great sign when a place is already filling up at just after 6pm and we were shown to the table by a lovely waitress straight away, who was very friendly, attentive and efficient throughout the evening.

Now onto the most important part... Food.

Let me set the scene.

It's a Friday night, you've got that good feeling inside because it's the start of your weekend and you want to order a whole lot of food real quick. You're perusing the menu, oohing and aahing at all of the things you can't possibly choose between when actually you looked at the menu 4 days ago and have already decided a 7 course meal for yourself but you continue looking because you don't want to admit it, or if you do, you'll at least confess after you've ordered.

We decided to start with a few dishes of sushi from the 'restaurant week' menu, including snapper nigiri, salmon nigiri,  tamago nigiri  and California ISO as well as the 6pc vegetarian sushi platter including cucumber maki, asparagus nigiri, avocado maki and vegetarian handroll and because all that just wasn't enough, we added a couple of extras off the main menu in the form of king prawn tempura and special 'St Sushi' maki.

I mean first of all, yes perhaps we do have a slight problem but second of all, wow. I'm giving an absolute 10 out of 10 to the king prawn tempura because wow, wow, wow - it was so good. If you're a fan of sushi with a slight crunch and bite, you'll really love that dish in particular but if I'm honest, they were all pretty great, including the egg one which I was immensely unsure about.

Neither of us strayed very far from our comfort zone for the main course, but I'm on a mission at the moment to find the best salmon teriyaki around (if you have any recommendations, hit me up!). Whilst this salmon dish was very good, with fresh tasting fish, tasty seasoning and a very generous portion of steamed rice which I could just eat all day, every day and be very happy (and very fat) I did find the accompaniment of new potatoes and vegetables a tad strange.

Both the sushi and main courses were served very well and little touches such as soy sauce and wasabi already on the table, really added that something extra to our dining experience. As for the comparison to Osaka? I'd say the quality of the food really was just as good and having looked at the normal menu prices, they are actually cheaper too! Osaka still has a special place in my heart but I am very sure that this won't be my only visit to St Sushi - a really top quality restaurant.

Location: 89-93 Westgate Road, NE1 4AE

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Blog design by aleelily designs | Powered by Blogger.