4 Must Have Spring Wedding Cocktails

Just saving this for later… for the cocktails… not the wedding shenanigans – they are not on the cards…. yet.


Who doesn’t love a spring wedding? Everyone will be looking forward to the great weather and beautiful blooms on your special day, but there’s no reason to stop there!  There are so many ways to tie a spring theme to your wedding beyond just your bouquet.  I compiled a few of my favorite floral inspired drink recipes for you to try. Looks like this spring will be a gin-lovers dream!

Lemon and Lavender Collins
2oz gin
1oz lavender simple syrup
1oz lemon juice
Seltzer Water
Sprig of lavender or lemon wheel for garnish

Lavender Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp Lavender Extract

Part 1 – Making the Lavender Simple Syrup
– In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the water and sugar
– Stir to combine, then bring to a boil
– When all of the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat and…

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And so a new project begins…

Like the crazy crafty person I have come to be, I am taking on a new challenge – turning this into a house/wedding dress boutique (perhaps). I’ll hopefully be making most of the contents by hand; if I stick with the wedding dress shop idea then I’ll be making dresses on the sewing machine that sits alone in the corner of the kitchen at the moment. But I’m undecided as to whether I’d like a cake shop – something I’ve always fancied in real life but will never get around to.

I have taken inspiration from Bromley Craft Products and want to use their powder and stencil to create a realistic ‘Northern’ stone finish on the outside, and am constantly pinning for ideas on Pinterest.

I’m hoping to do this, not just as a hobby, but as an opportunity to try and review new, and old, products.

Wish me luck!

Could we become a world without a need for selfie sticks?

We’ve all heard of GoPros, and they are without doubt, still the biggest selling camera in the world for extreme sports. But what if there was new competition? Meet LILY, the world’s first autonomous camera, which simply needs to be thrown into the air in order for it to start filming. Possibly making it the handiest and simplest to use camera drone. No camera mounts, no wires, no selfie sticks.

UC Berkeley robotics lab created LILY, a lightweight (at only 2.8lb), waterproof, wireless camera drone, deep down in a basement. Built with outdoor action sport enthusiasts in mind, or just the kind of people that like to record their everyday goings-on, Lily Camera is controlled by a wireless tracking device or a purpose-made mobile app.

What do you need to keep LILY happy? Turn her on, throw her in the air, and she will follow you up to 100 feet in distance and 50 feet in altitude. Ah, but how long can you keep her flying, I can hear you say? Only a mere 20 minutes before she runs out of juice, and you’ll have to wait an excruciating 2 hours before you can have her up and running again. A huge drawback, considering the competition, a GoPro Hero4 Black on its lowest settings, lasts approximately 2 hours and comes in at a retail price of around £350.

LILY will set your bank balance back at a tidy $599 plus postage at $20, and in today’s exchange that’s about £386. Is it worth spending an extra £36 for a free-flying, all singing, all dancing drone following you around while you go about your extreme sportiness? Yes. LILY has the capabilities to follow or lead her owner, capturing stunning footage with a 1080p video, whilst taking high definition stills with a 12 megapixel camera.

Lily Camera can be pre-ordered from http://www.lily.camera

Caught in the Crossfire, Herbert Gallery, Coventry

‘Caught in the Crossfire’ is the new thought-provoking exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry on show from January 25 to July 7, 2013.

The exhibition challenges both artists in their need to grasp the brutality of war and audiences who deliberate war and peace by taking them on a story-tour  of war from war-torn Iraq, the partition of India, World Wars to a final and lasting reminder of how to gain peace; providing you walk around the exhibit the right way that is.

With the clichéd political sound of Linkin Park’s 2010 ‘A Thousand Suns’ drumming loud and deep into my eardrums, I took in the wide variety of art work produced by Banksy, Iftikhar Dadi, kennardphillipps, Rosie Kay Dance Company and Matthew Picton, just to name a few. But it seems hard to be impressed and in awe and wonder of ‘War Art’ when it seemingly doesn’t affect anything.

Yes ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ is bound to get audiences deliberating the effects of war and pondering how they can put an end to it by printing their ideas on a place card at the end of the display, but it’s hard to comprehend how the glittery canvas of Iftikhar Dadi’s ‘Bloodlines’ (1997) can evoke any emotional response other than disdain when the topic at hand is brutal war, death and horrific politics. The piece was created by Pakistani artist Iftikhar Dadi incollaboration with Indian artist Nalini Malani, to mark the 50th anniversary of the partition of India. Granted the simplicity of colours in Dadi’s work; gold, crimson and blue are striking, mapping the Radcliffe lines which defined the 1947 borders of Pakistan, and the separation of gathered canvas’ portray the story of the collection; but it would seem the hand stitched sequins on the canvas’ only glorify war and division.

Project Officer for the Herbert’s Peace and Reconciliation Gallery, Natalie Heidaripour, was positive about the Dadi piece, saying that India’s partition is an important part of British History; “Although specifically referring to the partition of India the work also has a much wider resonance, exploring the human impact of colonialism, civil conflict and division.”

As Linkin Park turned to the even more predictable 30 Seconds to Mars, the exhibit moved along to Banksy, who of course makes an appearance with his remarkable graffiti images, and then onto kennardphillipps, which is a collaboration that’s been at work since 2002, initially in response to the Iraq invasion in 2003, between Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillipps. What kennardphillipps has on offer is an array of political photo op’s; one being Tony Blair stood in front of smoke and fire with a camera phone, smiling and taking a picture of his handiwork. Thought-provoking enough but it’s just another photo merger of what everyone already thought; nothing new to see here.

But I guess art gives people the opportunity for free speech without having to directly converse with politicians and says what everyone is thinking when they are too frightened to speak up.

Through the maze of display walls is a small dark room with a video on loop. Rosie Kay’s Dance Company produced ‘5 Soldiers’ in 2010; “a timely, controversial, thought-provoking and moving exploration of war in modern times” said the company’s website. The video depicts 5 soldiers, 4 male and 1 female, and attempts to show how war affects the body; “it looks at how the human body is essential to, and used in, warfare.” What impressed me about this piece was the dedication to produce it; Rosie Kay joined the 4th Battalion ‘The Rifles’ on battle training and spent time working with injured soldiers at Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre.

What really caught my eye wasn’t Banksy, it wasn’t Simon Norfolk’s “Israeli Sniper Wall, Part of Israeli / Palestine: Mnemosyne Series; 2007, it was Matthew Picton’s ‘Coventry 1940’. Commissioned by the Henry Moore Foundation, it is made of semi-burnt strips of Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’, composed for the consecration of the new cathedral in 1962, which becomes a circular map of Coventry and symbolises the devastation left by the war. The burnt paper portrays the burning buildings, whilst the dark burn holes denote the bombings in the centre of the city.

‘Coventry 1940’ was commissioned to appear next Picton’s ‘Dresden 1945’, a German city which shared the same fate as Coventry, and as such became twinned with the City in 1959. ‘Dresden 1945’ is sculpted like that of ‘Coventry 1940’ but uses burnt scores of Richard Wagner’s ‘The Ring’. The sculptures can’t be defined by the usual artist gabble that ‘the intricate detail of the burnt score adds to the effect that life is so fragile and war ruins that fragile life.’ The simple fact is that the sculpture is so intricate with the unpretentious use of a score that relates to war history, that you can’t help but gawp at the detail that went into the sculptures. They completely and utterly deserved to be a part of the exhibit.

The audience travels around from the destruction and devastation war causes, and towards the end finds themselves among art that portrays hope; “Iraq is Flying” 2006-9, a piece by Jamal Penjweny that shows soldiers and civilians jumping (for joy) in front of war-torn places. A woman jumps in front of tanks, for instance. But now that you’ve had a lesson in war history and artistic politics, you are then asked to get interactive and ‘add your instructions for Peace’ on a place card and attach it to the wall for all to see. Someone wrote “War keeps people employed” whilst another said, and quite true, “without war this art wouldn’t exist.”

But we need to stop fancifying war as fluffy, cuddly toy guns (as one part of the exhibition had on display; cushioned gun models and harsh heavy metal models), and depicting it with flowers and dancing soldiers. We need to face facts that war is war; gruesome, deadly and horrific, deal with it and change it, just not with art. Art doesn’t change anything, it just ‘Disneyfies’ and glorifies it for a means to an end. Journalists would be writing fluff stories if it wasn’t for war, politics, hatred, conflict and injustice. War provides jobs. War provides historical lessons that need to be learnt but not forgotten.

Turner Contemporary Strike II

October 16 2011. Exhibition numero dos. Since it opened 16 April 2011 (coincidence that I managed to attend the second exhibit a mere 6 months after its first amazing (:/) exhibit…no) the Turner has attracted thousands, if not millions, of tourists and Margate inhabitants through its wide, clean french doors.

I have no doubt that the second exhibit will attract the same attention. In fact one gentleman was astounded that his friend lived ‘only a minute away from it all.’ Yes. It’s so exciting, isn’t it? To have a gallery by the seaside full of band posters and a photo of a girl with a skinned chicken for a vagina, (‘cleverly entitled ‘Chicken Knickers’ as if you didn’t work that out for yourself as you’re walking away trying not to laugh at such atrocity). How lucky we are to have a bit of class next to the beach.

I’ll be positive for a teeny bit….

You walk through the well-kept shiny doors (these were a highlight for me, stepping over the thresh-hold, open-minded, being prepared to have anything thrown at me…even chicken vaginas…but so clean!) and your eyes glance upon Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) marble sculpture of ‘The Kiss’ (1889). It’s told that said sculpture depicts Francesca da Rimini and Paulo Malatesta in Poet Dante’s Inferno. Placed strategically in the Sunley Gallery opposite the ‘mood changing’ window, The Kiss is to grace Turner with it’s presence until September 2 2012. So the story goes…

” The couple are the adulterous lovers Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, who were slain by Francesca’s outraged husband.”

Tate Collection (tate.org.uk)

The “image of sexual love” is five small steps away from an 1869 painting of pooing seagulls by James Webb. Credit where it is due, this is a spectacular painting. A historical account of what Margate would look like, with the old Holy Trinity spire to the left, which got bombed in the second world war and no longer exists. The painting is from the perspective taken from the pier, which no longer stands after being destroyed in a storm in 1978. We’re doing well!

To some people this painting depicts real art, a Turner inspired (close to the heart of many Margatarians) painting holds the history of a place all in a brushstroke. However, take a walk across the Sunley Gallery and you come across new-age art. Abstract. Unusual. And seemingly something people like… otherwise why would it be at the ‘famous’ Turner Contemporary?

Lillian Suwanrumpha, an American born in 1987 produced the piece ‘Objects of Labour’ 2010. With the use of various textiles, 3 mannequins and lights, Suwanrumpha’s work “brings together ideas of gender and class with textile production and the global economy of football.” To create a wondrous piece of 3 manequins, with lights for heads, wearing football shirts and tutu’s. It was an expression that said the football genre was very stereotypically male-dominated and so adding some frills and sequined decorations to a display doll changes this perception. Not for me to judge.

What happened to real art, paintings that looked like photographs, so detailed in their brush stroke of one single silk dress, that you felt like you could touch it, scrunch it up in your hand and feel the texture? Things change, and unfortunately art changes with it. Or at least the definition changes.

Then comes the new exhibition is to stay from 17 September 2011 – 8 January 2012, a few months for people to mill around the various artistic talent; “Nothing in the World But Youth.” An exhibition that’s inspired by Margate, a seaside town associated throughout history with youth experience. Nothing in the World But Youth encompasses the excitement, energy and pulsating creativity of the young, bringing together over 200 works by 94 artists in an examination of youth culture.  I won’t get all ‘nose in the air snobbish’ about it. I’ll let you decide.

I’m Emily Wonford, reporting on the sexual health of students at Coventry University.

Does what it says on the tin.

Next up, the television part of this module. We had this, this term and a year late. So thrown in at the deep end, before we all went off to be merry for Christmas we got taught for a few hours how to use the cameras and upload the footage.. Mmm lots of help, bearing in mind I forgot a lot of it by the time it came around to it. Picked it up quite easily though, I guess. I had loads of fun with this module, until it came to editing, trying to place music with it, trying to save it, saving it in the wrong format and being told I let the group down because I wasn’t ‘serious’ enough…. Nag a load of Uni students that they must wrap their willies and play it safe in the most serious way and they will just switch off. Trust me, I know. Make it a little light-hearted makes it more serious. Well, I missed that brief.

I had a huge amount of fun with this practice,  a pain in the ass like everything else (nothing about this course ever goes smoothly for me) but I was excited about it at first if that counts for anything?

Say hello to Camera person (to be politically correct). I like playing camera, I didn’t appreciate being in front of it though. If I were to go into this as a profession, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy the production part, running around and filming. I am annoyed at myself that I wasn’t there for every member of the group, but at times we all drifted apart to do our packages and some people teamed up together, and a lot of filming was done at times when others weren’t available.  I think we got together as a well gelled group when it mattered most.

A group of 6 got together to produce the magazine show based on the health of students at Cov Uni, pre-drinking, drinking, sex, stress, exercise and diet. 6 became 5 when an executive decision was made to ask someone to leave the group as we were concerned that they weren’t pulling their weight. This was hard on the group at the beginning, not that we had lost any work, but realising that this is what does happen in the professional world when people don’t contribute. We came together for this, quite a strong group but with opposing ideas on how to deal with it. 

I chose sexual health because I thought I could portray the seriousness of it whilst being myself. Clearly this didn’t work brilliantly, and I regret that. But what I produced I was pleased with. It was of a quality I didn’t think I could achieve. My topic was relevant, and I chose subjects that opposed each other brilliantly. A Christian Virgin and someone not that in the slightest. It gave the piece a colourful light on sex and sexual health. 

I knew both of the subjects well, so interviewing wasn’t hard, instead it was a jolly laid back affair that I got out of the way relatively early in the project so that I had more time to research figures and statistics. One week attempting to contact local gp’s and such lead to a failure on this. Online statistics were only as recent as 2009 and I thought this a bit out-dated, since I found out that in 2011 abortion rates were up and teenage pregnancies were down. That’d been handy. Hindsight.

Esprit d’escalier! I wish I had remembered how to save the files properly and set up the editing piece in the correct format, because some poor person in my group at the end had to sit there for another hour re-rendering after we re-formatted the package so that it didn’t look funny – still didn’t work. Boo.

Another week, close to the deadline I had to be part of the re-filming process for a member of the group due to audio and video footage not syncing together. A set-back that we could have done without, as that was the week I wanted to get all my intro’s sorted. Instead we ‘2 birds, 1 stone’ and all that and did everything in one. There was a member of the group that I have a really strong relationship with and we worked brilliantly together. Not just out on the field doing work, but we support each other in the editing room and when everything gets too stressful. This week was a prime example of that.  

The final week was the absolute worst. This was when I wanted to complete everything but nooo that wasn’t going to happen now was it. I wanted one day to just go the way I wanted. First it wasn’t saving, then it wasn’t having enough disk space and then it was that ol’ chestnut of copyright. I wanted Martin Solveig’s “Hello” and Hypercrush’s ” Sex and drugs, to play underneath the interviews to add a bit of charm and spice to the atmosphere of the video. Nope. I e-mailed both artists and without a response (and making the decision on these songs at such short notice) I had to sulk, whine and moan to everyone and take them out. So I was left with a music-less, informative, package. Blah. But I have saved the original because I am that damn proud of it. Tummy fuzzy proud. 

So many hours were spent on this module and there were times where I wanted to give up, but we all picked each other up from the dull times and helped each other along. I guess that’s what real teamwork is. And I am glad I was a part of it.

The only reading that was used for this piece was for my reflection was Television Journalism: Journalism Studies, by Stephen Cushion. This was really handy and I wished that I had come across it earlier because I think it would have been really helpful when we got stuck with editing and filming!  

Heigh Ho Heigh Ho it’s back to my desk I go.

Tuesday. number 3. of the month of that ‘ol May.

So. The Royal wedding is over. It is still annoyingly on the TV all the time and our issue is full of small sticky children with smiley faces and sticky fingers.

I genuinly enjoyed today (no sarcasm intended) pretty much good news all day – unusual for a Journalist in a news room. Last week I had to do a write up on a local childrens author David Grimstone or David Lee Stone. I remember when I worked in Waterstones over Christmas and having to try convince people to buy this guys amazing books..I had completely put it to the back of mind, until I turn up at this guys house to get a photograph and it all comes flooding back. It was very nice to see old faces.

I also found out what it was like to be a personal runner.. and for that split moment when I had to drop of a jacket and wine into the Customs House on Ramsgate Seafront, I was ashamed of liking doing a bit ir PA work! But never will I want that in my life forever. Let’s be honest I am finding out a lot of what I do not want to do than what I do want to do. Which is a shame.

I had a lot of fingertip tapping today, hopefully I get something half decent in Friday’s paper.

On the third day of placement my editor gave to me…

Well today was yet another exciting day. Can you tell in the tone of my voice that I’m getting tired?

Today was actually an insightful day, I have made helpful contacts and it was my first ever time reporting on the job.

Notebook in hand, pen that run out thrown away and press pass strapped to my chest. With the photographer at my side we went to the opening of the Thanet College’s new Training Centre. I would go into the detail but I exhausted that in the article I wrote.. which annoyingly needs to be tweaked because my creativity and imagination got the better of me. I forgot the general basic rules… who what where when and why but instead I tried to create some atmospheric brilliance. Ah well. I could always go in to travel journalism I suppose. Send me to Canada, I’d be a happy bean.

I thought this was a really good experience though. Everyone knew that I was the noobie… Must have had the deer in headlights about me.. but one gentleman in particular took me under his wing and showed me around (and I’ll be honest gave me a few hints on how to write the thing). I am grateful to this man, without him my article could have been a lot worse.

Again, for the rest of the day we spent it dressed up in our Royal Wedding attire and stressing about the Friday edition.

Day numero dos.

April 27 2011.

Today was an adventurous day. My second day and I was sent on on my nelly to get the ‘ voice of the people.’ I was petrified. So far, so many adventures. I tried every trick to get out of it, bit the bullet and just walked out the door. I attempted to call my friend and get a quote from him.. he had no clue about the government system, AV and the elections… pointless. Finally I got up the courage to walk up to some gentle kind lady and bug her. Phew! Relief. Then, this is where it gets horrendous. I manage to find the drunkest, most delusional person in Margate. A 49 year old gentleman, swiggin vodka from a bottle, who genuinly thought he battled in the war. Riiiiight. “Keep calm Wonford. Just get a quote and do a runner.” Half an hour he had me for. We went from the government (yes, I did actually manage to get a quote decent enough to use) to the way the country is run and how it should be changed to universities, education and… sorry I don’t remember the rest of irrelevant natter I encountered.

I managed to leave. Cold. Shivering. I walk into the office. Sit down. “Did you get some quotes.” *Looking dishevelled* “Ya huh” “Did you get a picture?” Whaaaatttt… How on earth could I have forgotten? I managed quotes, names, ages, occupations. I then had to grab a camera, run back into town to find this man. Oh I found him. Swigging more vodka on his little bench in Marghetto. I took his picture and attempted to disappear. 20 more minutes. I could have died. I needed a pint.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day hiding in the office, in front of my computer writing nibs. Although.. on day numero dos I can honestly say I’m not afraid of the telephone anymore.

Is this really what I want my future career to be? Someone show me the way to an airport and make me fly a plan.