Top stories in November and December
December 27, 2012, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

I am battling flu which has kept me in bed for the past two days and this has given me time to think about my aspirations for the next year.

One of them will be to make my blog better but for now I thought I would update you on a few of the stories I have written since I last posted just over a month ago.

Underpass murder trial begins

Passer-by saw couple and heard screams from underpass

When I went to Windsor for a couple of inquests I noticed Darcey Bussell was signing books in Waterstones – so got her to comment on Bracknell’s Dani Harmer’s Strictly Come Dancing chances here.

Noticed this woman had died in the obits and remembered going to her house when she was about to be a Paralympic Torchbearer so wrote a tribute.

Brave security guards fight off bank robbers

Family want more awareness of IIH after death

Wellington College teacher’s posthumous hit

Nellie the missing chicken

Tree surgeon’s Christmas ruined

South Hill Park brings panto fun to children in need

This is a result of my Census 2011 number crunching!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year x

Two more music interviews
November 18, 2012, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

I interviewed Simone Felice and Duologue for Kettle Magazine. 

Here is Simone and here is Duologue.

My fave question was to Duologue – I asked them what their menu would be on Come Dine.

First week on the Bracknell Forest Standard

I am finally  a full-time reporter and I absolutely love it.  I started on Monday, after relocating to Reading last Saturday.  I live in a great house, with friendly housemates, walking distance to work.

Everyone I work with is great and my patch, Bracknell and Sandhurst, seems to have friendly contacts in it.

This week I have written quite a few stories and used the phone calls as opportunities to make contacts.  After deadline day, I was also handed a list of contacts to ring around so I am learning lots about the area which is interesting.

Here are a couple of stories that are now online.



I can’t wait to get to know the area better and generate lots of my own stories.

But for now, Happy Easter.  I’ll be writing some better blogs soon!

Fly tipping story in Saturday’s paper

This is the story I am most proud of so far as I found it myself and it resulted in the council being booted into action.

It was in Saturday’s Argus with a byline and I went with the photographer to see the evidence and get the photos.


Two page leads in The Argus today

As my first week at The Argus comes to a close I have had quite a few panels in the paper.  I am pleased today to have two bylined page leads which are stories I found myself.

The first one was a response to this week’s Cancer Research figures that 160,000 children aged 11-15 start smoking every year.  I investigated this for Brighton and Hove and found the shocking figures in a big NHS health report that children as young as 9 were lighting up.

Here’s my story: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9552995.Nine_year_olds_regularly_smoking_in_Brighton_and_Hove/

The second one I found online by conducting various searches of Brighton online and on Twitter.  This led me to the Brighton Society website where I found that the organisation had appealed for a street name change.  I looked into this and spoke to the council and the ward Councillor to find out how much this would cost and what they thought.

Enjoy:  http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9552949.Laine_or_lane__Brighton_street_name_controversy/

Also the best news of the day is that a double page spread I have worked on is eligible for my PA feature for my portfolio.

So let’s hear it for the weekend, woop woo!

Promising athlete needs sponsorship

I am having a fantastic time on Western Morning News and have two stories going in the paper tomorrow.  Friends from my journalism course who call me Baked Bean will be amused to know that I wrote about an article about broad beans today.  I won’t reveal anymore of the details until the paper’s out.  It is so much fun working on a daily paper.

Here’s an article I wrote while I was at the Kentish Gazette.  It was in last Thursday’s series of papers.  It followed my meeting with a very proud mum.  Enjoy.

A PROMISING young athlete with cerebral palsy and epilepsy has a chance of competing in the 2012 Paralympics.

Joshua Taylor, 15, a pupil at St Anselm’s Roman Catholic School, Canterbury needs sponsorship to travel to UK competitions.

The teenager, who lives with his mum in Faversham Road, Seasalter, starting running a year ago and is already ranked UK number two.

Athletics assessors have said his future as a competitive sprinter is extremely promising.

He was spotted by talent scouts at the England Athletics and scored a gold medal in the Cerebral Palsy Grand Prix.

Coach Marianne Underwood, of Invicta East Kent Athletics believes his fast progress is a tribute to his maturity and dedication.

His mother Sian Taylor, 38, a care worker, said: “I am so proud.

“He needs sponsorship to get him round the country.

“The more competitions he does the better.”

To follow Joshua’s ranking visit: http://www.thepowerof10.info. If you would like to sponsor him please contact: anntaylor908@btinternet.com.

When I’m 24….

I’ve come to the realisation lately that I am rapidly moving away from the term ‘young person’.

The factors that have contributed to this epiphany are as follows.

1) I can go into any pub in my home town and spot someone who was in year 7 when I was finishing school, and is OLD ENOUGH TO DRINK.

2) I am slightly disappointed if I don’t get ID-ed.  In fact, it’s an insult when I’m the only person in a group not to be.

3) I complain about loud noise in pubs and clubs.  ‘I just want to have a conversation.’

4) I tut at young people necking on street corners and have to restrain myself on public transport from telling loud schoolchildren to be quiet.

5) I pick up litter.

6) I answer the home phone.

7) My mum doesn’t pay for the dentist anymore.

8) I am shocked at how short schoolgirls skirts are.

9) I can’t tell charity street teams I am ‘not 18 sorry’ anymore.

10) I am less conspicuous about trying makeup testers in Boots.

Work experience on a local weekly newspaper after a fast-track NCTJ journalism course

I’m about to finish my first work experience placement after my NCTJ course in Brighton.  I finished the course on the Thursday then on the Monday I was sitting at the news desk with my pad full of story ideas.

It was good to get stuck in so quickly and I have been very lucky to have worked with a small and friendly team, where the editor and all the staff make tea for the whole news desk.  (I expected that to be my job!)

I’ve done work experience before but it was completely different now that I understand media law and the structure of local government (well just about.)

I spent my first day in court and here’s the stories I scraped from the barrel that day….enjoy! (It was nice to sit at the press desk as opposed to the public gallery.)

P.S. In other news, I have got access to This Festival Feeling to fulfill my recent role as news editor so daily news stories have been going up for a few days and will continue to do so.

19/12/11 – Story 1:

A Parkinson’s sufferer who smashed into the back of a police officer’s car was fined £48 and given six penalty points for careless driving.

Anthony Patrick Lea, 49, of New Ruttington Lane, Canterbury pleaded guilty to the July 22 incident at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Julie Farbace, prosecuting, said Mr Lea hit the vehicle when it was behind a bus stopping at a bus stop.

The emergency services were called but there were no serious injuries.

In a letter to the courts Mr Lea said: “I didn’t mean to have an accident.

“I apologise for my actions and to the officer who got injured.”

Mr Lea has since stopped driving on the advice of his doctor but has retained his licence.

19/12/11 – Story 2:

A man on licence for possessing thousands of pounds worth of drugs was ordered to pay £85 costs for two charges at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday, December 19.

Ahab Halim, 35, of Downderry Road, Bromley pleaded guilty to having 13.6g cannabis resin and 10.27g cannabis with intent to supply.

Julie Farbace, prosecuting, said Mr Halim was seen on a bicycle with no lights by two police officers in Herne Bay High Street at 11.30pm on March 17.

He beckoned to them and when they smelt cannabis, he admitted possession of the Class B drug worth £150 and said he had sold £40 of the drug that night.

Anton Walden, defending, said Mr Halim had “left his old life behind” and was reconciled with his partner and nine-year-old daughter.

The charges were made before he received his current sentence and since then he had taken on the role of house-husband.

Mr Halim received a 12 month conditional discharge with £85 costs as the magistrates recognised “a change in home circumstances and attempts to turn your life around.”

More to follow!

Taste of Christmas Review

My only criticism of the Taste of Christmas event would be that they should have separated sweet, savoury and alcohol a bit better.  A mouthful of curry, followed by Christmas pudding ice cream, then a piece of smoked duck isn’t the best combo.

Oh and we were too late to meet Jamie Oliver.

But do you know what?  After a few free samples of cocktails, mulled wine, special edition cider, pink gin, vodka, tequila – you name it – it didn’t seem to matter as much anymore! We didn’t know what to expect from the Taste of Christmas event but when we finally managed to get in we were pleased to receive a wealth of pre-mixed cocktails from the lovely folk at Liquid Ignition.https://liquidignition.com/b2c/

We dropped the box off at the cloakroom then sauntered around, not being shy at all about sampling. We tried literally hundreds of bits and bobs but I’ve narrowed it down to a few categories for you.  I hope it will inspire you to try something new or maybe help with a Christmas gift idea.

THREE: Stylish snacks for students

These snacks were too scrummy not to share – could be used as a stocking filler!

1)    Boxerchips – these tasty crisps come in a 100% recyclable box instead of a bag which means you get more potato, less air – loved the veggie ones. www.boxerchips.com

2)    Bear nibbles – a healthy snack doesn’t have to lose the taste-factor, the apple crumble granola nibbles were yummy.www.bearnibbles.co.uk

3)    Nut Shot – loved all three tongue sizzling varieties of these nuts, you can pick from Cajun Spice peanuts, Wasabi macadamias or Pepper pistachios. Not for the faint hearted. www.nutshot.co.uk

THREE: Luxury items

These are on the Xmas wish list and would be great gifts for a sophisticated someone.

1)    Smoked duck from the Black Mountains Smokery. www.smoked-foods.co.uk This was the best stall as we love the Welsh and when you tell them that they give you more and more treats – cheeky.

2)    Snowdonia Cheese www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk Sumptuous premium cheese that would fit nicely in a stocking toe (if you’re bored of satsumas.) Little Black Bomber and Pickle Power are not to be missed.

3)    Edgerton pink gin www.edgertondistillers.co.uk Makes a girlie drink extra girlie.

THREE: of something a little bit different

Sometimes the proof is in the pudding when a concept sounds a little out there.

1)    Rubis chocolate wine: I love chocolate and wine so I don’t know why I was surprised to be so taken with this delightful combo.

2)    Kejzar blueberry liqueur www.kejzar.co.uk Apparently a popular Slovenian dessert – what could be better than something light after a heavy Christmas meal?

3)    Bloodshot vodka spirit www.bloodshotvodka.com If your hands a bit too shaky to make a Bloody Mary in the morning then this is the answer to your troubles.  The first ever recipe for spot on Bloody Mary’s infused with flavour.  Just add tomato juice.

THREE: highlights

1)    First and foremost the ready mixed cocktails provided by Liquid Ignition are a Christmas party essential as strong but perfectly cocktails are ready-made in all your classic flavours.

2)    Il gelato di Ariela: www.ilgelatodiariela.com The best ice cream I’ve ever had.  They create flavours according to what is seasonal using a secret family recipe.  Rum and raisin was to die for.

3)    Dee’s Luxury Jamaican Rum Cakes www.deesluxuryjamaicanrumcakes.co.uk Rum soaked cakes which taste like Christmas pudding.  I bought a cupcake to take home.

THREE things I learnt

1)    I never want to work in sales.

2)    Meat and cheese are my life.

3)    a) Just because I have been to India does not mean I can endure the hottest curry in a massive dollop.

b) Ice does not take away the pain, nor blueberry liqueur, nor bread.

As well as lovely stalls with lots of freebies and special offers, Taste of Christmas offered loads of workshops and demonstrations with TV chefs.  Gary Rhodes seemed to appear on the bill a lot.  Unfortunately by the time we got to the workshop area, we were a bit too Merry Taste of Christmas to be trusted with a sharp knife.

We want to go again next year!


The original article, along with witty words by the wonderful Emma Walker, can be found here: http://kettlemag.com/article/taste-christmas-event-2011-review