Sunday, 11 December 2016

Do it like you give a f***

I haven’t written in what feels like a long time. Between dreaming of more travel, throwing myself into work, and building a brand-new kitchen I just haven’t found time. Enough time.
I found myself laughing about how I used to have so much time (the time to dust shelves, the time to photograph my entire perfume collection, the time to plan meals down to every ingredient), yet now seem to have none. It’s the age-old dilemma of having the want for something, but not the right amount of energy and minutes to participate. It’s basically fantasy life.  

But, you know just now I thought to myself. Whatever I do, all that matters – really matters is that whatever I choose to do with the time I do have is that I do it justice. Real justice.
I need to allow myself time to do all things I want to do, not feel obliged to do. Whether it be weeks of trailing through travel guides to find the perfect destination, a day full of making props for photography or an hour spent writing each day before bed.
This year has taught me that, some things we take on, agree to do aren’t what we want or need. This year has been a series of events which have passed me by before I’ve even had time to appreciate or enjoy them. That’s not to say I am ungrateful, I just think it’s time to put a stop to the sporadic timings (running a marathon, moving house and travelling to South East Asia all in a month was life at full speed).
I want to go in to 2017 with one ambition:
Mark my own destiny.
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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Shy & Fierce

I hated the word shy. It defined me for so long, every time I was introduced to somebody it was always the same. ‘She’s just shy’ was always more relevant than my name. I felt immediately disadvantaged before I’d even introduced myself. And, obliged to follow the statement handed out to me.
How could someone so shy, be so equally fierce?

I guess, you could say one outbalances the other. I know my shyness can reoccur in any situation, even into my adult life – I can grow increasingly quiet. Which often confuses those around me.
But, my fierceness stems from my quest to find fulfilment in my life. This type of fierceness bridges the gap of silence. I strongly believe that confidence cannot be solely judged on how many words you can speak out loud.
My fierceness lies in the pit of my stomach, it shows in my work, my writing and my ambitions.
I’m not afraid anymore, or embarrassed to be shy. I’ve learnt in my twenty-seven years that being brave is the key to opening up the whole world.  
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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Be Your Own Role Model

When I was growing up my life was dominated by having an idol. Harriet the Spy was my first inspiration, a writer after my own heart.
Then of course, Gwen Stefani stole my heart. I never wanted to be a popstar, a singer or an artist – I just wanted to be cool.
When I was a teenager, there was Carrie Bradshaw. And Amy Winehouse.
I always had someone who I fiercely admired and looked up to.
L-R Perfume River, Vietnam. Sunset in Fiji. The Blue Lagoon Iceland. Koh Lanta, Thailand.
A couple of nights ago I realised that maybe it was time to start believing in my own role in life. Is it possible to feel aspiration, passion and drive through you own achievements?
I think so.
I’ve travelled to some of the most beautiful countries in the world, ate some of the most wonderful food, met some truly incredible people, fell madly in love, ran some fierce miles, why the hell should this go un-noted?
If I close my eyes and think of the best moments of my life, they are all times I have jumped out of my comfort zone. Been brave, given my absolute all to something and followed a dream.
If I feel something, it is passion, through and through.
I love travel, I love food, I love writing, I love eating and above all I love dreaming.
I think it’s time to show my younger self, that being a grown up is just putting everything you learned, dreamed and aspired for as a child into practice.
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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Why Travel Means So Much.

One day out of nowhere it hit me. And, like a love story my desire to travel grew almost overnight. I ached and dared to dream about the world around me. I’ll proclaim to anybody who will listen, how important it is to have a dream, and plenty of them...  


Because, I figured out a little while ago that believing in a feeling, a wish, a desire is so important. If you believe, truly believe in something, then you have already beaten the doubt in your own mind that it’s not going to happen.

Now, I know dreams often have a spontaneous way about them, and don’t always unfold the way you imagine them to. But, what if a dream is so much more than just a dream?

A dream is not just a once occurrence, it’s an entire life-time long.

When I travelled to Thailand for the first time, I never dared imagined what feeling it would give me. I still carry Asia in my heart, every day. The love, warmth, and appetite I found in Thailand changed my entire perspective on life. I dared myself to dig deeper, because I knew how much of an influence those sixteen days had had.


Travel always gives me reflection on my life. Even when I’m not looking for a truth or reality, I find it staring at me in the face. When I was in San Francisco I remember feeling deeply sad eating clam chowder one day on Fisherman's Wharf, because I suddenly felt I had not established myself in life.

In New Zealand, on a wine tour I suddenly felt a pining for my Dad, tears filled my eyes as I thought about how much I loved him and how little I see him.

The first night I arrived in Phuket, I couldn’t sleep a wink. Instead I sat writing the entire night long – crying as I wrote about my turbulent adolescence.

It’s almost as if travel gives me a true sense of myself, and fuels my ambition to write and my abilities and always drives my lifelong dreams.

Travel is therapy. Travel is a self-reflection. Travel is a tool. Travel is wild.

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Hesper Farm Skyr – A Spark of Magic

Last December I travelled to Iceland and it was all kinds of magical! In true form, Iceland lived up to its name – freezing cold to the point of numbness.  But of course the amazing glaciers, landscapes, houses, culture, lights and an unbeatable vibe meant it was worth every degree of minus Celsius.

Reykjavik is pretty cool y'know...



But, as far as food goals go for me – I tasted Skyr! And it was amazing. I felt a huge sense of joy eating SKYR in Iceland, I soon realised it was everywhere – from billboards, to menus to every dairy fridge in the land...


The truth is Hesper Farm sparked my love for Skyr, because just before I travelled to Iceland, I met Sam Moorhouse of Hesper Farm. A young entrepreneur who was very much at the start of his journey.

Ever since that day, I’ve had a soft spot for Hesper Farm Skyr – because not only is it low in fat, but so tasty and authentic to the real thing.  Every time I eat Skyr I am instantly transported back to Iceland – I can feel a shiver down my spine and I can feel the buzz and magic of Reykjavik.


I love how food and travel can come together and ultimately bring around amazing memories and something completely new.

If you love Skyr as much as me, Hesper Farm can be found here.



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Sunday, 16 October 2016

PAX Burger – An Intimate Affair!

I first visited Eric’s this summer, soon after moving to Huddersfield. It was late on a Friday night, and I was in need of some hearty food. I ate my way through glorious spinach and ricotta tortellini, with a rather beautiful lovage pesto as well as devouring the bread and oil we were served to start. I left with a belly full of food and feeling rather quite excited about my next visit.


As I exited I placed a flyer in my handbag for the neighbouring PAX Burger – just down the road. 
Both Eric's, and PAX were owned by the same chef – Eric Paxman.
When the Yorkshire Life awards were announced this September, PAX won Newcomer of the Year, which instantly reignited the intrigue and desire to visit.
I was, you could say rather excited about this, and when I arrived at PAX I was cold, wet and rather depressed about the dreary wet autumn weather. But, instantly I felt transported into another world, I could have so easily been in Soho, New York, even Reykjavik. The vibe was electric, two girls chatting over milkshakes, I remember thinking gosh, what a cool place to be!  

I quickly glanced over to the bar, full of amazing quirks before being led upstairs to dine. The layout has a very similar feel to that of Eric’s, almost as if you are dining in someone’s house. It’s very intimate, yes, a burger bar intimate.
I plunged straight into the menu, and beamed as I saw food that was full of real flavour and thought, the specials board equally delighted. My god, I was spoilt for choice. When ordering, I felt particularly looked after – as the young waitress was as accommodating as that of a fine-dining restaurant. The fact our food was ‘messy food’ and came served on a tray didn’t matter. Service, no matter what you are ordering is essential to gaining good reputation.  

Once I’d ordered, I started to admire the interior. Now, there was no denying that this restaurant was clean and modern. But, on closer inspection it was not just fitted for purpose, there was real thought and passion spread around each corner. From the vibrant pops of yellow, even in the light fittings, to the striking blue back drop to the denim uniforms.
My ‘Licky Lips’ chicken burger was supreme – the kimchi slaw got me all excited and the brioche was particularly good. I left feeling full to bursting.

A few nights later I was reflecting on PAX, and it suddenly hit me why I had loved it so much. Because, guess what - it was different. It was doing things SO differently.
I guess what makes it special for me is, working in the food industry I see so many examples of how we should enjoy food, what we should be eating, where we should be eating etc., that when you see someone doing it their own way, and doing it spectacularly well – it’s a breath of a fresh air.


To find a gourmet burger restaurant on my doorstep, serving up quality food, in a friendly and accommodating style, well it just sums it up perfectly really.
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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Hey, you.

I can put my hand on my heart and say I’m a dreamer. What is it that makes me so enthused, so wrapped up in my desires, and so set on conquering my wildest dreams?


I leap. I jump. I fall. But, something deep woven inside of me tells me: to never give up.
Last week, I embraced what it is I love most. I quit being quiet and braved the unknown. It felt good.

So I didn’t climb any mountains, but I did prove to myself that when I set my mind to something – it is all the more possible. Determination is my strongest attribute, the warrior inside of me seems to battle.


Never, stop. 
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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Drive vs Ambition

Sometimes I wonder why I still feel defeated most days?
Never stop searching.
Is it because I haven’t achieved what I set out to do in my 27 years? But, then I question what exactly was that?
A little while ago a colleague of my husband’s said how she felt I’d achieved so much...
"Alice, all you need to do is think about what you have achieved... Lost weight, got fit, ran a marathon & got the job of your dreams - if I were you I would be the most confident person ever"
I felt a klaxon go off in my mind, as I realised that all of these things… were achievements, and massive goals for me… I’d not only done them, I’d smashed them. I’d turned my life around, and somehow found my true self in the process.
But, deep down in my heart I know there’s more. So much more left to do.
Last year I drew up a 30 before 30 list to keep myself in check – I was a woman with a mission. (Like many before me). I was determined to complete not just one, but the entire 30 on my list.
Well I’m 12 down, with 18 left to go. It’s a work in progress.
What did I really expect to have achieved by now?
The truth is. I just don’t know. I’m a dreamer and I have wild ambitions to forge a life which is full of creativity, love, passion and undying happiness. Is that really possible?
Like every dream, if you believe it possible – then I truly think it is.
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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The next BIG trip.

Well, it’s no lie that I feel worried when there is nothing planned ahead. I sometimes beat myself up about feeling this way. Some people may argue that ‘having something booked’ is not a necessary life requirement, but in my experience it helps.


I think it’s normal to feel that longing… because we all want to enjoy the best out of life and we know how much travel enriches our lives. If I had never dared to travel and see the world, then I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
When we left Malaysia in May we promised not to book something straight away on our return. As this habit always reoccurs, and we usually have next year’s full itinerary planned before we even know it.

Having two months to reflect on Vietnam and just how much we took from the trip, has undoubtedly fuelled and restored our dreams and ambitions. On honeymoon two years ago, we drew up a bucket list of all the places we would love to visit one day. We promised one and other that we would try our best to make it happen.
Well, this one was definitely wholesomely my favourite. I have been planning this one in my heart for a very long time.
I’m SO in love with this destination. I always go back to this one on Pinterest. Always. And can only imagine how incredible this place will make me feel inside.
Next stop: BALI.
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Asia with Love

There is no denying that my heart and soul belongs to Asia. When I travelled to Thailand for the first time– my life changed in an instant. I was overcome with passion for a country so vivid and endearing. I was in love with a culture that not only taught me to overcome my fears, but made me realise what life really is all about.

I always think of Thailand as my love affair. A longing for a country that fills me with so much everlasting joy. 

When I travelled to Vietnam – a country that had fascinated me for so long. The history and traditions were not only enriched in my mind, but my imagination had painted such a beautiful picture. Ha Long bay, was my first encounter with natural beauty.



 I dared to dig deeper, and stopped looking for perfection. When it was starting at me right in the face – a Hoi An street stripped back all my filters and perceptions.



Malaysia was a true paradise. I was blown away by the beautiful beaches in Langkawi, I felt my jaw dropping at every glimpse of the serene and raw beauty.  Penang was a wild and surreal glimpse into the future. I felt almost like a flamboyant tourist in a wacky state. It was pretty cool, wandering around the graffiti covered streets of George Town.


My final stop in Malaysia was Kuala Lumpur. I had dreamt of the moment I would stand in front of the Petronas Towers for years. Like a mile stone. Is it possible to romance over a building, a statue, a tower? I think so.

Like, the Eiffel Tower five years earlier – I couldn’t take my eyes off the height, and sheer beauty of the towers. A view I had somewhat waited my whole life to capture. But, in those split seconds – absorbed forever.
When people describe the time of their lives...


Asia, is wholeheartedly mine.
♥ 





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Sunday, 7 August 2016

27

You know when you’re growing up certain numbers spring to mind as milestone ages – 27 was always the one for me.

I don’t know why, but 27 always seemed so ideal – and aspirational. In truth, it’s a little bit different than imagined (as are most ideals). I’m feeling older than my younger self – but still young enough to enjoy life a little carefree.


I’m definitely a grown-up – there is no mistaking that. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect of adult life, I mean I know the general gist – but when I was engaged to be married I felt my life was back to front. I was only working part-time in a local café; I had little going for me at the time (other than my pending marriage). Which was of course important and most integral to my happiness.

Something inside of me knew there was more. And, what I experienced in the first year of marriage was somewhat of a identity crisis. My desire to pave a path and destiny blossomed overnight. And, my husband stuck by me, even in the darkest hour.

I think if you believe something possible, then ultimately it will become 'that tiny bit more' possible. I know the one thing I lacked throughout my early-twenties was confidence in my ability to succeed. I think it’s important to not only look, but want for more. At the end of the day, we are only here once. I will only ever experience 27 once.

Here’s a little secret. When we booked our honeymoon in 2013, ahead of our May wedding the following year – I pinched myself. Because, I had never ever travelled so far before. It was a dream. As the wedding grew closer I suddenly had a thought in my mind.

I wanted to FIND out what it was I wanted to be/do. I genuinely believed that ‘that’ moment would happen. That I would be on a beach at sunset, and something magical would suddenly happen. I would have a vision of what career I wanted.

It didn’t happen.

I returned home with a new status and name, but my longing for a fulfilling career was near as much non-existent. I loathed my job at the time, (I took a full time role in embroidery that following Winter).

Last year was a game changer, I travelled more and starting building up a portfolio. I was published in Travel3Sixty magazine and then applied for a job in food marketing. 9 months later, a house move and more travel later – I’m here. At 27.

The point is, I think I did find exactly what I was looking for on honeymoon two years ago. I just never realised it... 


My fondest memories of Fiji are discovering the tropical fruits, meeting Simon – the coconut man who gifted me a coconut from up a tree and trying and discovering guava and papaya for the first time.
Now, these might seem silly little memories. But, these were the seeds of what started my undying love and excitement for fruit and my passion for food.

Reflection, sometimes is hard. But, this time I think I’ve finally realised what it is I want to do/be. Life is hard, but never give up believing in your wildest dreams. 


And, always be thankful to your husband.
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Why Worry?

This year has been rocky. Rocky, in the sense that no two days have been the same, and no amount of time has ever been enough.
There is no denying that I am my own worst enemy at times. Which is why I worry. Worry over my health, my fitness, my weight, my house, my family and my job.  All of these worries, however insignificant or minor have caused a lot of stress.
  
A flower on incense in Vietnam. 
But, worrying is a natural state of mind. We all worry. It’s just putting in enough positivity to banish them away and put them to bed.  
What I’ve really learnt is that fighting fear, being open to change, and vowing to never give up is the real path to happiness.

I know this better than anyone, I’ve fought so many times for happiness. I should know that what you put into something, ultimately is what you get back out.

I’m certain that life is full of surprises and challenges. I know life is a cycle and we have to work at it – and I think it’s time I started putting that passion and belief – I know is so strong and vibrant back at the forefront of my life.

Because, that girl who fell in love with every exotic fruit imaginable, travelled the world and back and dreamt of writing for a living … is still very much there. She’s a BIG dreamer at heart. 

Let's stop worrying over the small things.
And, let life just surprise me. 
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

What is Normal anyway?

When I was thirteen there was one girl who I admired more than any other, she wore a black dress, and owned four black cats. Her name was Emily Strange. She was very much fictional, but every part real to me.

I adorned my walls with her posters, I dressed in her t-shirts and spoke of nothing else but how cool it would be to be her, one day.

Now we all know, I didn’t actually grow up to be her. I did break out of my black uniform, and I did get a cat. But he was grey and much fluffier.


Admiring kitty graffiti in George Town, Penang.
The point is I’m wondering whether that little part of Emily Strange is still in me. Because, as I grow older I find myself living a stranger lifestyle...

Yes, I am married, own a house, work a job and drive a car. These are pretty normal things. But, I wonder if my personality, hobbies, interests and dreams really fall into any sort of normality at all.

I laugh ridiculously loud, I get far too excited when I am happy and I find myself proclaiming my love for fruit at every opportunity.

I dream big and I never stop soul searching. I daydream over daydream – and still have a maddening desire to see the WHOLE world. My dreams play a massive part in my life.

I find it hard to relax and switch off, I refuse to let anyone dampen my spirit – but often only see the good in people.

I’m wondering whether it really is possible to live a normal life with an extraordinary personality?


Sometimes it almost feels, as if I am battling the two. 

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Evoking Happiness

An Bang Beach - Hoi An, Vietnam 
Is it okay to be have moments of uncertainty and dare I say: unhappiness?

I always seem to hit a brick wall in summer time – I am definitely more productive and natural in winter months. Summer seems to somewhat drain me of motivation and I always seem to hit a bump along the road.

For the past couple of months, I have felt stretched in so many ways. I seem to completely exhaust myself of energy and emotion – leading to a spiral of self-pity.

My heart pines for adventure, and my dreams have a way of making a re-appearance time and time again. Is there anything wrong with still having a dream? Having a death defying love for something so magical and wild it hurts – I hope not.

I am twenty-seven. I have not just one, but SO many dreams. And, I totally get that not all dreams come true, and the age old saying that we can’t have it all, at once. Maybe that's true. 

But, what can I say, other than the fact I’m still a dreamer.
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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Vietnam - A True Sense of Happiness.

Vietnam was in every part fulfilling as I could have possibly dreamed it to be. I fell in love with a continent so warm and healing before, I knew Vietnam would be just up my street. Arriving in Hanoi to bustling streets, full of not only colour – but a swarm of overwhelming authenticity was a true sense of happiness.
Overlooking Perfume River 
You know when you imagine a world so different to your own, shut your eyes and wish you were there – this was my exact feeling upon arriving in Hanoi. But, I didn’t once look back. Because, my time in Vietnam was precious, I knew that every minute was valuable. I wanted to see every corner possible.
The streets of Hanoi
No amount of colour or pattern could paint a better picture than the quaint little streets, sea of scooters, and stunning quirks of the city.  Every corner of Hanoi told a different story, from Ho Chi Minh’s presidential palace, to the abundance of fruit sellers – mangosteen to Dorian fruit. It was tropical paradise. I was in every way my element.

Everlasting beauty: Ha Long Bay
A trip to Hay Long Bay a few days later, gave me the Lonely Planet feeling I crave most. The one I stalked on Instagram for months, and played out in my mind so many times. I felt and lived it. It was entirely beautiful and awe inspiring, but I couldn’t help but feel I had already seen it. Like when you accidently find a Christmas present that’s meant to be a surprise. I wish Ha Long Bay had been a complete surprise for me.

Dragon Fruit heaven
A 10 hour overnight train to Hue taught me that not every journey is cushioned – sometimes the bumps along the way make all the difference. I slept for just a few hours, but felt a sense of overwhelming happiness to have arrived by train at the next part of my journey.

Ga Ha Noi, Hanoi Railway Station 
Hue was a quick 24-hour stopover, but a motorbike ride out into the countryside, made my heart beam. The rice fields were poignant, as were the buffalos. It was the truest reflection of working life in Vietnam. 

Beautiful Hoi An by day.
Arriving in Hoi An was a complete surprise. I had unwrapped a present so invaluable and precious, that my imagination was blown. I think anyone would find it impossible to not fall in love with such a beautiful old town. No amount of heat, or sweat could stop me professing my love for Hoi An.

Hoi An was very much two different worlds, day time and night time were so different. Every street was lit by row after row of beautifully coloured lanterns. The food was a necessity as always in Asia – spoilt by incredible choice. 

The streets were alive and everybody was sharing genuine joy, love and happiness. I closed my eyes and it was a like stepping into my very own fairy-tale. The shopping at the night markets was obscene, in the sense that I absolutely wanted to buy almost everything, yet window shopping never felt so good. Not to mention the dress making.  Hoi An was quite simply my happy ever after.

Lantern love.
If Vietnam taught me one thing, it is to just live – and enjoy the surroundings around you. Don’t spend forever looking for the picture perfect, don’t let anything override the moment and quit glossing over what’s right in front of you because it’s more than likely you have already found it.  




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Saturday, 21 May 2016

Running the London Marathon & Vietnam

It's been a chaotic few months for me, I feel almost as if I have quickly grown up and learned that sometimes reality doesn’t quite unfold the way you always imagine.


Ha Long Bay was everything & more ♥

That's me in the left hand corner about to pass the finish line - 4hrs 53mins
Running the London marathon in April being a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. My mind-set is probably my biggest tool when it comes to running. I vow to never give in or give up - even if my body doesn't always agree. It was without a doubt the toughest physical test, I was pained and in complete agony for almost 15 of the 26 miles. I cried, I ached, I thought I wasn't going to get there. But, I did!  

It took me just under 5 hours to complete the race, but time wasn't my goal, I knew this wasn't going to be it. I had suffered exhaustion and setbacks throughout training - it was a case of giving it the best I could on the day. What did it feel like running the London marathon and crossing the finish line all by myself?

I will always remember the last 800 metres, pulling my hunched over self-past Buckingham Palace, it was a pain so deep I could have screamed with agony. My body was pushed to the biggest challenge of its life, but I did it. I ran a marathon. And, for that I am proud.

The couple of days and weeks after were a whirlwind of recovery, eating almost everything and still unpacking those gazillion of boxes from moving house. We are still living out of boxes and deciding upon decorating. I know it's going to be a slow process.

And now, I am in Vietnam. It’s come around so quickly.

I know in my deepest heart that coming to Vietnam has given me the truest reflection of myself and the desire I absolutely need to remind me of how far I have come, where I am at and how much more I have to give. Life is full of so many incredible moments and opportunities.

You just can't wait for them, you have to absolutely go and get
them.

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Run.

I don’t really know where to begin. The last time I wrote I wasn’t in a great place. I felt an awful pang of uncertainty. I was sinking.
But moving house did happen. Leaving behind the horrible Monday morning goodbyes and separation. We are together, and that is all that matters. The house is very new to us, and there has definitely been a sense of value brought into our lives. 
In-between commuting and moving, I got offered a place for the London Marathon. Anyone else would have declined, surely it would be crazy to even think of something so big. But, I don’t always make the most radical decisions. 
It’s been all kinds of strange, preparing for a marathon – living out of plastic bags and cardboard boxes, working flat out and wondering how the hell do you balance all of these things?
The answer is you don’t, this year has taught me that life is not only tough, but busy. Exceptionally.
But, I’m okay with that. Because if I run the best race of my life on Sunday then nothing else matters.
I am running for Children with Cancer, if you can sponsor or donate, I would never be able to thank you enough.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/alicetaylor
Alice
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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Magic at the Wychwood Brewery

I’m going to confess; I am not a beer drinker. I remember naughtily sipping my Dad’s beer on a family holiday when I was around ten years old. My older brother dared me to, whilst my Dad wasn’t looking – it was a bad move, because it really wasn’t very ‘nice’ and my Mum wasn’t too impressed!


Since that moment, I have never felt compelled to taste it again. So this may be a surprise, especially for me, to find myself absolutely fascinated and excited about a brewery tour. Well, this little trip came about a while ago when I went to the BBC Good Food Winter show in November, I spotted the Hobgoblin stand and made a bee-line! My husband loves beers and real ale, especially bottled beers, and I couldn’t resist treating him to a little gesture of good will.  

Three bottles of beer chosen, I brought my husband a booklet back which detailed the brewery tour in Witney, Oxfordshire. It immediately interested us both, I work in food marketing so am always intrigued by great food and drink stories. It was booked for Valentines weekend – the perfect little getaway.


When we arrived, after a horrible pursuit down the motorway on a damp cold February morning, we were instantly greeted by a warm and snug setting. Walking straight into the shop and being surrounded by goblins was quite a joy. Next, we were transported right into the bar – a real bar, to meet our fellow drinkers!


Yes, unfortunately for me – it was time to have a sip and a sit down! I did taste Hobgoblin (it would be rude not to), and it was pleasantly surprising! I may just have found a tipple I like.
So after a drink, a meet and a greet the tour began, we stepped straight into the barrel store, and were told the great story of the origins of the Wychwood Brewery and the story behind it all.


Of course, I believe every great product has an even greater story and Hobgoblin is no exception, the first batch was created for a friend’s wedding – something to give the guests, and to celebrate a day of incredible love. I think, in 1988 Chris Moss not only created a token of love, but he bottled a taste so rare and loved by all far and wide. Magical.

Although the Wychwood brewery is actually very small, it still produces some 50,000 barrels a year! Although there is not bottling done at the brewery anymore, it can still be tasted authentically at the bar.
We then made our way through to the brewing area, and I was simply mesmerised by the machinery and barrels. Tasting malt was certainly a new one for me, and left a burnt toast taste in my mouth.

Malt - a key ingredient.
I think what is most special about this brewery is the fact it still is very much alive and pays homage to its roots (the ancient Wychwood Forest being a stone’s throw away). The brand has expanded rapidly over the years and is wild in its ideas, art and marketing. But, the fact there is still early artwork framed at every corner you turn (even in the toilet) goes to show just how tradition stays close to home.


After seeing where the craft happens, we were invited to a tasting of each variety back at the bar! Bliss and very humbling to sit on a bar stool within Wychwood!
I definitely enjoyed the tour and glimpse of the pure magic and witchcraft of Hobgoblin and it’s many wicked beers.

Great brewery, great beer, even greater taste! 
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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Changes.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck intermittently in the middle of change?  Because despite what fairy tales might teach us, change does not happen overnight.  We don’t become princesses when we meet our knight in shining armour or lose 10lbs in a day...

Erawan Waterfalls, Thailand 2015
Real change takes time.  It took me twelve months to pass my driving test, two years to plan a wedding, two hours to run a half marathon and ten years to break my shyness. Yes, time is sometimes the only thing that can propel us to the next level.

It’s so easy to forget, that time is not the enemy. I know far too well how chasing time can sometimes become a past-time.

If I could go back and change a single thing in my life?

Would I eliminate all those struggles, all the fall outs and all the pain?

No, because all of those things made me stronger, and taught me that life … is not perfect or to put it quite bluntly: 
easy.

And, if you hadn’t already guessed - I’m not in it for the easy ride.
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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Asia with Love

Last year we travelled to Asia twice. I fell in love with a continent that was so real it hurt – everything I had ever dreamt of and more. It was a game changer. I came home with an intent to change my life – I quit my job, dug deep, and chased a dream. It lit a spark inside of me like never before.


I owe so much to Thailand, not only for that drive, but the love. My heart aches to go back almost every day. I can still feel the spirit of Chiang Mai and the warmth of Koh Lanta on my skin. I can still taste that Dragon Fruit on my tongue...


Some-days, I consider my life to be incredibly tiring and unsettled, in the fact there is no safety net anymore. But, then I remember the great adventures we take and the reason that we do. Travel is almost certainly my priority, and I know there has to be a reason for that. Maybe I’m running away, maybe I’m searching for the unknown or maybe I’m on the pursuit of happiness. True happiness.


In exactly three months-time we are travelling back to Asia, this time to capture Vietnam and Malaysia. It doesn’t seem real (with so much other life stuff happening), but I know that when it arrives, I’m going to burst with an overwhelming passion, hunger and undying excitement.  

Quite simply, Asia you changed me.   


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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Fresh Pasta from Sally

I love pasta. It’s one food I have never fallen out of love with, because it is so incredibly versatile and fulfilling in the way it can be cooked and what it can be paired with. I have always felt pasta gives me a huge boost, especially the night before a big run.

It’s hard to find a pasta, that is not horrifically full of additives or colourings, fresh pasta can often be dry or discoloured. But this pasta, is so fresh and doesn't use any artificial colours or flavourings. It is exceptionally innovative and absolutely delicious in equal measure.  
When Sally got in touch and asked if I’d like to try her pasta, I was excited to sample something completely different to what I had tried before. This brand was fresh, and the flavours were inviting! Completely vegetarian, and made in Lancashire this pasta is fresh off the production.
When I received my pasta I was so excited to try it, I was spoilt for choice, I had never tried Pea and Mint ravioli before so was eager to try this one first! The flavour combination was so spot on, and the vivid green of the peas was such a welcome burst on my plate! 
Next, I opted for Buttnernut Squash and Sage – which again combined two amazing flavour combinations, with a gorgeous velvety feel. The Wild Mushroom was shared over dinner with my husband! So delicious and bursting full of mushrooms - this one was a winner!
What I love most, is the fact Sally – not only visited Italy and came home with so much love and passion from her travels, she went on to create her very own pasta. She also drew up the illustrations on the cover! Pretty cool yes?
Sally’s pasta has been awarded a Gold Taste Award, and is already stocked in local stores, including Booths.
I know, this is only the start of an incredible food story.
* I was sent a selection of Sally's Pasta to sample.
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