It’s Never Dull in Hull | AD

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

1 comment
This post is in collaboration with The University of Hull but all thoughts, opinions and awkwardness are my own. Oh and phone cameras were still a bit pants back then, so enjoy the photos too! 

Lets kick this off with a whole heap of honesty, I had never heard of or had any idea where Hull was when I decided to go the University of Hull. But the choice to change University via clearing all those years ago is one of the best decisions I ever made. 

I loved my course, met some life long friends, developed a bit of a Northern twang and learned what chip spice is! 

Typewriter Teeth University of Hull Clearing Graduation Image

When I originally applied for University through UCAS I was set to study Marketing & Economics at a different University. I had picked the course because I thought it was the right thing to do rather than a subject I loved and looking back I don’t think I’d have stuck it out.

I studied Business Studies, English Language & Literature and History at A-Level and also took an AS level in Economics. When results day rolled around and I didn’t get the grades need
ed in Business Studies to get into my first University choice it was like a blessing in disguise. 

I just remember floods of tears and feeling like i'd let my parents down when really it wasn’t the end of the world but a chance for me to follow my gut instinct. My best friend and I then began to work our way through UCAS clearing for something I loved, English & Creative Writing. Clearing is the opportunity to change you mind, the way in and a new direction if you do better or worse in your exams than expected.

At this point I had no idea where Hull even was but after reading through what felt like millions of courses the way the University of Hull split their English courses and their syllabus just felt like instantly right, with core subjects I couldn't wait to study and unique subjects and seminars.

Once I’d made the decision of the course I wanted the next step was Clearing and as terrified as I was it felt like such a quick process compared to the first University application. 

It was so simple! I felt instantly welcomed to the University of Hull. I remember crying and snuffling down the phone to a woman called Bethan, desperate to prove myself and for them to take me and she just made everything so simple and set me at ease. It felt like she took my application as me and my passions rather than just grades on a screen. 

From then on I loved every moment living and studying at University of Hull (even the deadlines) and I think way too often that I should do a MA now. I constantly run into people who also studied in Hull and I've yet to meet a person who does not sing its praises. 

Before I moved there I heard a lot of negative comments and I am so glad I took them on the chin! Hull played a huge part in my life and I think it definitely made an impact on me moving back to Yorkshire a few years after University. I just love it up North! 

I could carry on writing about Hull for pages but I am going to attempt to sum it up into three reasons why I felt it was such an amazing place to study and hope you love it as much as I did... 

1. Brynmor Jones Library 

Typewriter Teeth University of Hull Clearing Brynmore Jones Library with snacks

The place I can whole heartily spent most of my time at the University of Hull was its beautiful Brynmor Jones Library. Now this may sound sad to you but we loved that place! 

If you picked the right floor and the right table you had stunning views over Hull to get you through that exam revision or the last 1000 words of that essay. Hull is a beautiful green city and it's possibly the best place to see it from! Yes it was filled with my favourite things ever but it also gave us a place to focus, quiet and meant that we went home to relax and only sometimes stress some more over deadlines.  

Some of my fondest Uni memories are from that library, in the hysterics inbetween essays and presentations we kept each other going with whispers, giggles and British passive aggressiveness at other tables making too much noise. 

2. [W]elly 

I was and still am a Welly and Spiders girl. Not only are they some of the best venues in the UK but they hold a dear place in my heart because by the end of the month I will be going to my second Welly Wedding! Welly vodka is the devil but clearly it knows love when it sees it. 

That club has something for everyone. Thank you for giving people a place for ridiculous dance moves and warming up with indie bangers before running upstairs and requesting 'Wasting Time' by Four Year Strong over and over again. Oh and an ace night out a tenner, Hull definitely has that cheap but sweet vibe and I love it!  

3.  People

There will never be words to describe the love for the people I met in Hull, we learned so much together and I wouldn't have done it any other way. 

I've always been the kind of person to speak to anyone but Northern hospitality is just taking it to the next level. I will always be proud to say that I am an adopted Northerner, say 'Good Morning' to strangers I pass on the street, do anything I can for those in need and say 'Cheers Drive' to confused bus drivers. 

The city is thriving and the University of Hull has introduced me to some of the most intelligent, caring, creative and unique people I have the pleasure of calling friends and I cannot thank clearing enough! 

I love seeing people go from strength to strength and the internet helps us see the beautiful lives that people are carving out. 

It's hard to keep in touch with everyone but walking down the street and catching eyes with someone saying 'Didn't you go the University of Hull?' is one of my favourite conversation starters! 

Did you go through clearing or to the University of Hull? Or are you thinking of going there? Talk to me! I bloody love a Hull chat! 

Read More

Kettle Black Cocktail Class | Gifted

Monday, 24 June 2019

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

Living so close to such a swanky cocktail bar can be a little dangerous, but when Kettle Black invited me and some of my lovelies down for a cocktail class I couldn’t resist. But not just because of how addictive their espresso martinis are! 

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

We were greeted upon arrival at Kettle Black to our own section of the bar and freshly poured prosecco ready and waiting whilst we were introduced to our host for the night, Danny! Unlike most cocktail classes available these days with the Kettle Black class you are left to peruse the menu at your leisure and decide which two individual cocktails you'd like to make.

A typical  cocktail class would be a selection of cocktails decided before you arrive and ones that you would all make too. By having your own sectioned off part of the bar it means that at Kettle Black you can create any of the wonders from their cocktail menu whilst also meeting the tastes of everyone in the group. 

Spoiler, not everyone likes espresso martinis. 

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

There was no pressure or rush to crack on with the class, Danny took us step by step through each cocktail, the history of the spirits we were using and also the stories behind the cocktails on the menu. Our first round consisted of a Ginger Spice Espresso Martini, Corpse Reviver 2, Pain Killer, Bikini Atoll and a Lozzaberry! A wide range of cocktails requiring different skills and also vastly different taste palette so you can imagine we had fun. 

I went for the Corpse Reviver 2 for a gin, Cointreau and lillet shaken into an absinthe wash glass and it was an absolute treat. 

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

Because we individually made our way behind the bar to hone in our skills it also meant there was no pressure to neck our lovely drinks and had plenty of time to catch up, try each others creations and capture plenty of boomerangs in-between. 

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

In our next round of makes we can safely say our favourite was the Largerita, modelled here by the fabulous Nikki who was extremely happy with her creation. And you've guessed it, a margarita with a corona chucked in for good measure. Not that we didn't enjoy the rest of our cocktails too... 

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

We finished the evening off with a round of shots which all went down a little to easy before treating ourselves to a few more rounds. Made by the professionals this time mind, although we did test Danny a little bit by asking he create the cocktail we'd each like the most judging by our previous choices that evening, and he certainly rose to the challenge. 

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

The cocktail class works out at £25 each for a prosecco arrival, two unique cocktails and a shot to finish. Perfect for a hen do, a birthday or ya know just a reason to get dressed up and go for drinks! Fancy having a go? Drop them an email here. 

Our head mixologist Danny was more than a teacher for the evening, providing education and entertainment so I cannot recommend these classes enough. Especially with how chilled out it was, especially for us home birds who are happy to be home by 12 with a pizza!

Kettle Black Sheffield Cocktail Class Review

Thank you for having us Kettle Black. 

*gifted press event from Kettle Black but all words, opinions and hangover are my own

Read More

Slug in Bloom | Gifted

Saturday, 25 May 2019

No comments
Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

The latest addition to Sheffield City Centre, Slug & Lettuce have launched an exclusive floral cocktail menu inspired by Interflora infusing botanicals with fresh blooms and even fresher flavours. To celebrate the Slug in Bloom menu we were invited down for a cocktail masterclass alongside flower crown making. 

Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

We started the event by making the Floral Strawberries & Cream cocktail, a sweet mix of Absolute Strawberry, vanilla syrup and lemonade.  A treat of a cocktail that went down very well whilst the lovelies from Interflora taught us how to make flower crowns. 

Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

I’m going to let Interflora keep their flower crown secrets, but it was so relaxing I could have stayed all evening wrapping our flowers and sipping on cocktails. 
Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

We then went on to have a little cocktail masterclass and competition as the group split into two teams to make the Flor de Catano cocktail. A mix of Bacardi, sugar syrup, grenadine and lime juice garnished with the edible flower Viola. Our team won but it was all just a bit of fun, and the winning jagerbombs added to it! 

Slug and Lettuce Interflora Slug In Bloom Cocktail Menu

Floral flavours are right up my street so of course I wanted the entire Slug in Bloom menu. The Hugo Floral Fizz with gin, elderflower liquor and prosecco or Grapefruit and Rose Smash wouldn't go a miss right now. 

The limited edition cocktails are available until Monday 29th May so enjoy your bank holiday weekend by finding your nearest Slug and Lettuce here.

*gifted press event from Slug & Lettuce & Interflora but all words and opinions are my own
Read More

Pages: Annihilation, Authority & Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

No comments
Last summer before the Netflix film came out I consumed The Southern Reach Triology after seeing Thread Famous post about it. There is so much to this trilogy I want to talk about but it would be impossible to keep it spoiler free so please drop me a message if you read the series, i'd love to know what you think. 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review

Annihilation, the first book in the series follows a government agency known as Southern Reach sending countless failed expeditions into an unpredictable ecosystem caused by an unknown event.  This area, known as Area X and has already taken the lives of eleven failed expeditions when we enter the novel, with the latest group of four women about to embark. The group are formed of a surveyor, anthropologist, psychologist and our narrator the biologist. All stripped of their name and focusing purely on their purpose exploring in Area X.

From the first page it is clear that expedition is set up for failure. With poor, outdated equipment, nonsensical data, improper training and vague instructions. Everything comes with a sense of unease. Aside from their team leader they all have no memory of entering Area X and even more worryingly how they could ever leave. This unease sets the tone and as ‘Annihilation’ moves quickly the team desperately search for familiarity but rely more and more on their scientific training when they do not find it. The closer they come to not understanding Area X the more their team dwindle, with no connection to the nameless characters they feel manipulated, just tools for Southern Reach. 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review
Between Area X and her thoughts we find out that the biologist husband had been a part of a previous expedition and returned home, but blank eyed and empty of his person. Although this appears to fuel her participation in the expedition to Area X we also find out she was more concerned with the biology of nature and ecosystems than that of her marriage so it becomes harder and harder to see where her drive comes from. 

Where the rest of the expedition focused on the previous base camp the biologist is drawn to the tunnel and then the lighthouse, aware that something is being hidden. The biologist focuses on the changes to environment, the plants and wildlife in this beautiful turn on science fiction. As we learn more about her and her motives everything is becomes almost dreamlike or cloudy, like we cannot 100% trust her. It feels like the landscape of Area X is turning on her, the biologists obsession with the tunnel she finds early on is swept in its biblical words that narrate its walls and this obsession continues to the point where she forces herself to meet its inhabitant.
I feel like I blitzed through ‘Annihilation’ VanderMeer creating this pace with fear and intrigue that meant I was unable to put the book down despite this low-fi feeling to the environment. You keep reading because you want answers but the answers are in the environment itself. 

The biologist pushes on to the lighthouse where she finds the journals from previous exhibitions strewn together, pointless almost. When she finds her husbands journal she decides to follow his journey, hoping to find some remnants of him rather than the shell that came back to her. 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review

Authority, the second book in the Southern Reach series sees a focus on the government agency itself. Set immediately after the first book and the twelfth expedition ‘Authority’ sees a new director of the Southern Reach, John Rodriguez who refers to himself as Control. 

The previous director left with the twelfth expedition and Control mundanely takes her place rather than the assistant director Grace. The novel falls into a completely different pace from ‘Annihilation’ but also shows a much more run down, dated and underfunded government complex, completely different to the image we are painted of Southern Reach initially.

Control methodically works through all the data the previous director had collected with a dull narrative, after reading the first book you want to shake him into seeing the matter at hand but that is impossible. VanderMeer slowly works in oddities and incidents that build up tension especially within the voice Control has to report to everyday and to remind of us of the unknown of Area X. 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review

As Control works through the previous directors office we are met with a series of unusual things and scenes that almost parallel the biologist from the first book. Each strange and unnerving incident pushing towards Area X’s instability. 

Whereas ‘Annihilation’ took place in a fast paced, vast, evolving state ‘Authority’ feels stifled and claustrophobic in a completely different perspective from the first book and not at all what I was expecting. The more Control reveals about himself it seems the more we learn about Southern Reach, Area X and the Biologist. The Southern Reach series defying genre and a completely new take on science fiction. 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review

Acceptance, the third and final book in the trilogy mixes characters from the first two books with new perspectives, time and space. I am going to refrain from mentioning which characters however as it will take some of the beauty from the conclusion to the trilogy. 

VanderMeer is remarkable for creating this alien ecological masterpiece, each unsettling moment building into emotive crashing waves.  ‘Acceptance’ has answers but not all of them, reading the three books one after the other makes it clear why they were all released so close together but individually they are all so different. 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review

Pushing to see the other side to this hostile change, the ‘Southern Reach’ trilogy is showing the intelligence of nature through science fiction. The genre does not have to be shiny, robotic and futuristic in the way we imagine it but the unease in alien forms in a natural world with unusual time frames and unique lives.  

Acceptance’ brought a satisfying ending to a remarkable triology, connecting all the threads of the first two books and seamlessly bringing in new characters. It left me thinking and desperately looking for answers in our own world and an almost recognisable present when even those in Area X struggled to. Is there a centralised consciousness? As Area X takes over, human, plant and animal life what is driving this natural intelligence? 

Image of the southern reach trilogy from typewriter teeth review

This series is incredible, tense and a quick read. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get lost in something so close but otherworldly for a while. 

Grab the series here or this beautiful copy here

Read More

American Idiot The Musical | Gifted

Thursday, 28 March 2019

No comments

American Idiot Review Sheffield

Earlier this week I was given the opportunity by the lovely folks at Sheffield Theatres to watch Green Day's 'American Idiot' the musical at the beautiful Lyceum Theatre.

Following the story of three friends 'American Idiot' turns the 'punk rock opera' album of Green Day's 'American Idiot' into a literal one following the Jesus of Suburbia and American youth coming of age in disillusionment during the Iraq War.

White noise on a TV hung above the stage and with one of the cast loitering whilst a loop of George W Bush began before they launched into the title track.

[American Idiot The Musical]

The three friends find themselves going down different paths, leaving for the city, joining the army, and unintentionally getting pregnant. With each of the stories unfolding on stage, it is that of Johnny played by Tom Milner that creates some of the darkest scenes.

'American Idiot' has pushed the boundaries of the musical, bringing the band onto the stage and making them characters within the set to the point that you do not need to be a Green Day fan to appreciate it.

Every song packs punch and I could feel myself trying not to sing! Although there was much less dialogue than most musicals it was easy to follow with the base messages of their music coming through onto the stage.

[American Idiot The Musical]

I felt it was all over so fast! As the friends came back together after very different disheartened and painful experiences the entire cast joined in with guitars to perform 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)' with the audience joining in. Just like every Green Day encore.

Green Day touring 'American Idiot' was the first gig I ever went to without a parent so it brings me a lot fond memories! What I just couldn't believe was how long ago that was, my studded belt and pencil eyeliner definitely didn't last that long.

American Idiot Review Sheffield

The musical started in 2009 and now sees itself touring in its 10th anniversary. Just incredible!

'American Idiot' is on in Sheffield until Saturday! There are still tickets available so don't miss out! After that it moves on to Manchester, Birmingham and the rest of the tour!

Have you seen it? What other albums could you see as musicals?

*tickets for American Idiot were gifted but all words and opinions are my own
Read More