Friday, 29 March 2013

Photo of the day: 29/03/2013

Today's mouthwatering picture of the day is the selection of chocolate goodies I made at an Easter chocolate workshop at Temper Temper in Southborough. A combination of truffles, florentines, lollies, moulds and chocolate bowls made for a yummy morning.

Happy Easter!! 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sensorites- Slipstream

Having hit the "Repeat" button on Sensorites' single Fool enough times for even the inanimate objects in my life to know all the lyrics - I defy you to listen to it a couple of times and NOT have it playing in your head for the rest of eternity- I had a dig around their YouTube channel to see what other mischief they've got up to.

Slipstream is not a song for the mild-mannered, as suggested by the single cover. The lyrics aren't quite as catchy as Fool, but the melody is one of those that you'll catch yourself humming half-heartedly as you go about your business, until you get to the two words you do know. You'll sing these words with such oomph and gusto that you'll scare all elderly women and cats within a 2 mile radius.

The more I listen to Sensorites, the more they sound like an awesome Oasis-Scouting for Girls-Arctic Monkeys mash up. And that's OK with me.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

It's nearly here! The Great Gatsby theatrical trailer

Never have I anticipated a film release as much as I am looking forward to The Great Gatsby. The trailer shows Leo Di Caprio playing the brooding Jay Gatsby, although whether he is in with a shot at becoming more synonymous with the role than Robert Redford remains to be seen. I'm still not sure about the casting of Carey Mulligan as Daisy - this is not to discredit her in any way as an actress, but it's a role I could very much imagine Emma Stone adopting quite well. I was also interested to learn that Tobey Maguire had been cast in the narrative role of Nick. Being from the Spiderman era myself, I struggle to imagine him carrying off enough authority as is required to play Nick, but with Baz Luhrmann firmly at the helm, I also struggle to see how any tiny detail of the film could be allowed to go awry.

Looking at the trailer, it seems set to be everything it should -as a subscriber to the idea that films never do justice to the books they're based on, I don't want to speak too soon- but the glitz, the glamour, the extravagance all seem to add up to another Luhrmann classic.

The UK cinema release date is set for 16th May. Meanwhile, I'll be curled up on a beanbag re-reading Fitzgerald's finest work,and anticipating the inevitable tsunami of '20s flapper-style dresses hitting the high street.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Photo of the day: 26/03/2013

Today, the postman arrived with a rather large box for me. I opened it, and found a delivery of Propercorn "popcorn done properly". It was sent by the lovely Alex from Propercorn, who I liaised with as part of my work experience at Cosmopolitan

I've already tried the "Lightly Sea Salted" flavour, and with less than 100 calories per bag, I can't wait to try the rest!

Friday, 22 March 2013

My work experience at Cosmopolitan magazine: part two

Sadly my placement at Cosmopolitan magazine came to an end today. This is the bit where I take an X-Factor-esue look back at my time in the competition Cosmo HQ.

For all the goss on my first two weeks, clickety-click. All caught up? Good. I'll begin.

I'm pleased to say that my second two weeks were even more exciting than my first.  I had even more chances to get involved with "real" work, such as tracking down and interviewing psychologists, to get their take on certain subjects.

Of course, there was the usual transcribing and tea-making to be done. One transcription I did was an interview with an author, for which I was asked to prepare some questions the previous day. It was really exciting to hear that some of the questions I had suggested and research I had prepared had been used in the interview!

Particularly exciting was last Thursday. Around 11am, the office was stormed by a gaggle of half naked young men wearing pink jeans and throwing chocolates around. Their aim: promoting an event on behalf of Wink Bingo. Their actual action; all attempting to climb into the same dustbin.

 This was followed up shortly afterwards by a delivery of ice cream. A couple of hours later, a pizza delivery from Bella Italia arrived. All in all, a good day.

The following day was Comic Relief, which saw the majority of the office dressed in onesies for the day!

The Cosmo team storm the editor's office in their onesies!

Later in the day we were joined by boyband Times Red, who made it to judges' houses on 2012 X-Factor, and were treated to an intimate performance of their single in the office. One of them even took a photo of me in my sexy giraffe onesie!

As always, the worst part of the work placement was saying goodbye to the lovely people I've worked with for the past month, but I left the Hearst building armed with goodies, free books (thanks to Lorna, the books editor!) and a heapful of inspiration to succeed in the magazine industry and one day work for a great magazine such as Cosmo.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

My work experience at Cosmopolitan magazine: part one

Ever since my first-year student self abandoned the idea of becoming a forensic linguist (true story dat) and set my peep toes firmly on the path to a career in writing for glossy magazines (a dream inspired largely by a particularly decadent issue of CN Traveller- but that's another story for another day), Cosmo has been the holy grail for me. For many journalists, The Guardian, or The New York Times is where it's at, but for me, it's always been Cosmo. Three applications for work experience later (I'm nothing if not persistent when I know what I want), I finally received an email back in October saying that I had secured work experience at Cosmo. Cue four months of panicking over what to wear, scrutinising old issues from cover to cover (more of a pleasure than a chore, really) and generally being very excited.

My first day, I was so excited, which makes a change, as I'm usually a bundle of nerves when I come to work experience placements - but this time I just wanted to get stuck in. Having narrowly avoided rocking up to the wrong building (Hearst Magazines have two buildings within the same street!) I arrived.

My first hour, I was a little bit star struck! Having followed many of these people on Twitter for ages, digging around for titbits and insights into what it's actually like to work at Cosmo, it was exciting and intimidating to finally be meeting them. Cue verbal diarrhea as I gushed at Rosie Mullender (Deputy Features Ed and enviably talented writer) how much I love her Burrito Blog before accosting Gem of Gem Fatale fame in the kitchen (Cosmo and Company magazine share an office), clearly knowing waaaay too much about her (an occupational hazard of blogging), then having to back track and explain that I had met her at the Company magazine blogger forum, and was not in fact a crazy stalker (all this as I was brandishing a kettle and a somewhat bent teaspoon)!

Naturally, I have undertaken the stereotypical work experience task of tea-making. Although many see this as the lowest of the low, a task assigned to those at the bottom of the office food-chain, any seasoned "workie" knows that it presents a fabulous opportunity to network. Turns out people are more receptive to chatting when waiting for a kettle to boil than they are when trying to respond to emails, answer 8 phones ringing simultaneously and meet a deadline. Who knew? The office kitchen is a great place to strike up conversation (although I did become cripplingly tongue-tied when I shared kitchen time with Company magazine editor Victoria White!)

Another task I have been asked to do is transcribe several interviews which the team have conducted, both with celebrities and non-celebs. A task which any journalism workie is oh-so-familiar with, I actually really enjoy transcribing interviews - not only do you get to hear the bits which don't make it into the magazine, it's a great way to learn new interviewing skills by observing techniques that journalists use to get information they want, lead conversations in the direction they want, and elicit print-worthy quotes from their subject.

My lowest point so far was my attempt at vox-popping. Having done a small amount of vox-popping at The Yorker, I was keen to improve my skills by going out onto the mean streets of London and ensnaring young men to feature on the "Twenty men who..." page (a feature which sees twenty random men answering the same question). No problem, I thought, there must be a plethora of men who would love to be featured in a national magazine, photo and all, read by thousands of women nationwide. Off I trotted, armed with a notebook, camera and oodles of naive optimism.

And so the problems began. Whilst past questions for the feature have included the relatively tame "What is the last thing you argued about with your girlfriend?", this month's question was "How do you feel if a girl is braver/ more adventurous in bed than you are?". Go out onto the streets right now, collar a dashing young man and see if you can get him to answer that question. I dare you. After a couple of hours of wandering the streets of the West End, accosting countless game-looking guys, I had to return to the office with my tail between my legs and just one respondent. At this point I was angry and disappointed with myself - I had been offered a chance to show what I was capable of, yet was left feeling like I had failed.

On the upside, my highlight so far was being invited to join in a planning meeting for the summer issue of Cosmo on Campus. Not only was I invited to join the meeting, but as a recent graduate, the team genuinely wanted to hear my opinion on some of the ideas thrown around, as well as allowing me to share my own ideas, a very gratifying opportunity, and one that intensified my desire to one day become a permanent member of the Cosmo team.

Between all this, and other tasks including web-based research, phoning film company PRs, organising interviews and generally getting stuck in, my time at Cosmo is going heart-breakingly fast. On the plus side, I am actually excited to be going to work on Monday morning- and I bet there aren't many people who can say that!