Friday, 31 May 2013

Café de Vie - Newcastle


I never go into a coffee shop and purchase a black coffee yet all I drink at home is black coffee; either I'm too lazy to make anything else at home or I feel that I miss out on speciality coffee when I go out. I also never go for a sit down drink in a chain shop (Costa, Starbucks etc.) because the business stresses me out and chances are I'm there to chill out. A great place for both of these is Café de vie on Saville Row in Newcastle; the quaint French café serves a range of speciality drinks, hot meals and snacks at reasonable prices. I first called in for a hot chocolate and it has since been awarded (by my standards) the best hot chocolate in Newcastle. I have a bit of an obsession with foam on my drinks and cannot begin to comprehend why anyone would ever ask for theirs without foam and their hot chocolate has foam! Instant 10/10! Since this discovery I have brought everyone and their granny to Café de Vie for a hot chocolate; that is until today when I got an amaretto latte-a brilliant discovery on my part. What I'm trying to say is: get yourself to Café de Vie, order an amaretto latte and hot chocolate with a muffin interlude.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bus Blogging - Happy Sunday


Hello lovely people! I'm thinking I should move to a sunnier country, I've been in the best of moods today and yesterday because the sun is out. It was probably helped along by ice cream, that's definitely a mood improver. Then this morning I went to church for what seems like the first time in ages and it was just a really nice cheery service; now I'm feeling particularly Christian today (I'm not sure if that's an actual thing). Not even this really grumpy bus driver can put me in a bad mood when I'm en route to appreciate sunny Sundays on the Quayside. Yayyy for happy days!!
Hannah x

Friday, 24 May 2013

Hello Edinburgh...


I went to Edinburgh at the weekend and it rained but it was a lovely day out so I feel I should probably blog it.

I've been to Edinburgh TONS of times and never been to Edinburgh Books ( it's a little shop with a HUGGGGGGEEEEEEE selection of second-hand and antique books, you will find everything you could ever want in this shop. Every inch of the shop is lined with books of all variety; looking almost like it belonged in a fictional novel. It's about a 10 minute walk off Princes' Street but well worth the little walk (even in the pouring rain), I had to use my GPS to get there so I advise having a quick flick at a map if you aren't clued up on the area like me. 
Edinburgh is generally full of cute little artsy things, a little secret one is on Rose Street:

I appreciate a little bit of on-the-street poetry.

We ate lunch in Jenner's Cafe Zest, which was nice and reasonably priced, probably why the majority of the 
clientèle were OAPs but either way it was out of the rain for a little while which is always good!

All in all I appreciated eating, drinking and looking at artsy things!

Hannah x

Dementia Awareness Week - Talking Changes Everything


19th May 2013 marked the beginning of Dementia Awareness Week, this year focussing on the campaign: Worrying Changes Nothing. Talking Changes Everything. With around 800,000 people in the UK living with dementia the majority of us will be affected by dementia in one way or another, be it personally or a family member.

60% of people that have dementia symptoms have not been formally diagnosed with dementia; making this years' campaign regarding talking about dementia more important than ever. Alerting as many people as possible of the signs and symptoms of dementia will prove paramount in early recognition and access to appropriate services. There are numerous branches of dementia which a person could have but the most common is Alzheimer's Dementia which usually initially presents with memory loss symptoms which is caused by structural and chemical changes in the brain. Dementia is a progressive condition-symptoms get worse as time goes on; some of the early symptoms can include:

- Inability to remember things that have happened recently.

- Becoming agitated more easily.

- Difficulty with concentration, this can be in the form of holding a conversation-train of thought may be easily lost.

- Increased confusion.

- A sense of feeling withdrawn.

- A general difficulty in communicating.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or in someone you know it is important to TALK ABOUT IT. If personally, raising any concerns you have about your memory with a GP is an essential first step as they can look into the cause of these problems. If you are having concerns about someone you know tread carefully, developing memory problems can be somewhat embarrassing but by all means don't avoid the conversation.  Any information and support can be obtained from the National Dementia Helpline (0300 222 1122) available Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm.

As dementia progresses a person will require more help with their daily living such as washing, eating etc. the Alzheimer's Society provides many useful pages on advice for carers on these topics ( Furthermore they provide information on legal and financial matters involved with being a full time carer, covering entitlements.  Another big change can be with regards to communication, conversations may take longer and test patience but it is important not to patronise, after all they are still the same person and think about how you would feel in that position. Using picture cards can help in situations such as with meal choices; it is easier to pick something by looking at them than having the difficulty of finding the words.

Change in perception can cause increased confusion to a person by dementia which can be improved with environmental alterations. For example what is actually a rug can be seen as a hole in the floor (causing the person to constantly walk around it) or a blue rug/carpet may be seen simply as a pool of water, again causing aversion. Changing these may enable them to feel more comfortable in their own home. Similarly loud patterns can appear as threats such as bugs and barbed wire. Stress minimisation can hugely influence mood control.

That's me all talked out about dementia today, join the campaign and #TalkDementia today.

Statistics from The Alzheimer's Society. Visit for information and contacts.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Why Aren't I More Articulate


Let us pretend I'm not procrastinating.

I should be writing up a review, problem is I thought I'd written it already and that it was good. I had written it. It wasn't good. It sounds like it was written by an uneducated five year old, thing is I can't even fix what I've written so I've had to start again and now I'm blogging about how awful it is. Quite clearly helping the situation. I wish I'd been born more articulate, or could sign up to lessons in becoming articulate. Lesson One: How Not To Trip Over Your Own Words. I'd leave the classes after the first lesson, that's my issue, I think I use the right words they are just written clumsily. My sentences seem to fall over one-another and become one big tangle of words. I am not a fan of writing today.

Complaining over.

Hannah x

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Outward Bound Classic Course


10 months ago (my face just dropped counting that out) I went on an Outward Bound Classic Course in the Scottish Highlands and I’ve eventually got around to writing a little bit about it today because I’m on my way to Edinburgh to meet up with Emily, a friend I made there.

When I applied for the funding to go I was in one of my “I CAN DO THIS” moods when half of the time hiking with my life on my back is not what my hypermobile joints need not to mention the new addition to the list: almost constant back pains but as usual I was determined for it not to make a difference. I did little bits of training here and there but I was by no means what I considered fit enough for this which threw me into a wild “I CAN’T DO THIS” panic-all of which was a little too late as I was half-way through the 5 hour car journey to Fort William at this point and mildly terrified of being faced with judgemental fitness fanatics at the other end. I could not have been more wrong about the people I’d meet, the girls were so lovely! I’ve since met up with them; been housed by one and had endless hours worth of complaining conversations about this, that and the other. They are little stars!
As for the three weeks themselves, they were painfully amazing; painful because no-one’s body should be made for scrambling up Ben Nevis (for the record: many-a bottom bruise was sustained from the experience), amazing because not many people can say they’ve done the things I did in those three weeks. That they’ve jumped into gorges at Glen Nevis; spent their 18th birthday seas-sick in a kayak (yes believe it or not it is possible); reached the top of Ben Nevis or set fire to their socks on canoeing expedition - okay maybe not that  one. What I’m trying to say is that I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend three weeks off. Who wouldn’t want to be informed they speak slang German (explains the GCSE grade) and that everyone’s pre-conception of girls from Newcastle stems from Geordie Shore….
Admire a little bit of Highland scenery….

Loch Treig - Scottish Highlands

It Rained in Edinburgh. Surprise!


I resent paying to pee,

copious amounts of coffee cost me

another 20 pence.

The rain could drown goldfish today

but you continue to hand out

cans of Rubicon juice.

My journey home appreciated this.

Stag-do spirits were not dampened by your Scottish weather,

they belt out I Want to Break Free

delightfully off-key whilst handcuffed together.

How apt.

Thank you for the suitable writing spot,

a place where candles hang

with basket fixtures.

Your vase of sunflowers stare at me,

the felt centres creep me out.

It was a canny cuppa

for a Geordie writer.

A gaggle of grannies are stuck

in John Lewis’ not-so-revolving doors.

We grumble in chorus

about frizzy hair.

I disappoint drunken Dundee fans

drowning their sorrows.

I have not been on Geordie shore.

‘Let down’ they say.

Mother and son blow airmail kisses to father,

tears in their eyes.

An army of drunken middle-aged women descend

and clear coach E.

Ta for the rainy day Edinburgh.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Olive and Bean Coffee Shop


Olive and Bean - Newcastle
Thursday 16th May 2013

So, me and my mam spend most of our time in coffee shops and today we tried a different one: Olive and Bean (NE1 5PN).  Having been to most of the coffee shops in Newcastle I tend to know which shops do what best; now I've found where to go for a good sandwich. Olive and Bean has possibly the biggest selection I have ever seen, the menu features 53 sandwich varieties; 20 salads and 19 paninis not to mention a range of cakes.

I could have quite happily have ordered the entire menu twice over but settled for a Roast Chicken with Tomato and Onion Chutney on Granary Baguette (See picture, I didn't think to take one until I was already half-way through eating it) and my mam ordered West Country Creamy Brie, Grapes and Cranberry on

Granary Baguette. The only way I can think of describing it is lush (how horrendously Geordie) and judging by all of the 30 seconds it took my mam to eat hers she would have said the same, had she stopped for breath. We followed this by having a caramel slice, this took awhile to pick also as there were nearly as many cakes as sandwiches. On the whole the food at Olive and Bean tasted particularly non-processed (is that an actual term?), the shop source food locally where possible and all of the ingredients used are fair trade (yay!).

The cafe  has quite a cute layout without the downfall common to many places of having to sit on the knee of the person next to you in order for it to appear cosy. They have numerous sofas dotted about perfect for a coffee catch-up but don't expect to be able to peel yourself up from them; you're stuck there with coffee flowing for the whole afternoon.

My aim is to eat every non-seafood sandwich on the menu, because why put fish in a sandwich? 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Angelina Jolie Appreication!


Warning: Annoyed Blog Post

It's just been announced that after finding out she is at a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, actress Angelina Jolie has undergone a double mastectomy as preventative treatment. On the whole this should be received in a positive light; Jolie should be seen as brave and somewhat an influence to other women in the same situation yet some people seem to be criticising the brave woman. What on earth has happened to the world we live in; since when is it acceptable for one person to criticise another for making changes to their body to protect themselves from developing cancer. I am almost sure that if it was a member of their family in the same situation as Jolie they would be all for the idea but because she is an attractive celebrity her body is open to objectification that appears to make people think they have some sort of right over her. Needless to say I am sufficiently infuriated by the disapproval of the ignorant members of our society; Jolie's mastectomy should be an act that empowers other women in the same situation NOT something to complain about.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Medical Mutes


As Brits we seem to be programmed to not talk about health problems; arguably out of all health problems we avoid mental health the most. Health awareness seems to be a popular topic currently, but where do you begin when tackling a nation of medical-mutes?

Television programs seem to be the start, after all what makes better entertainment than watching other people suffer and be thankful that we aren’t suffering ourselves? Dr Christian Jessen seems to be at the forefront of this whether it be: people getting undiagnosed cysts, sores and bunions out for the camera; throwing the skinniest and the fattest of society into an all exposing meal swap or a horrendously frank display of the shocking physical consequences of obesity. I doubt I’m alone in thinking that if your life is that awful why broadcast it to the millions that tune into these programs. If Dr Jessen is right in what he seems to say when he is asked this same question time upon time and the sufferers do go into these programs because they’ve been let down before, nobody being able to find the answers to their persistent problems I suppose it is doing good in displaying sometimes bizarre and rare conditions to the nation, providing hope for suffers at home.

Jessen’s programs provide a stark insight into the world of some horrific conditions, providing insight for the naive viewer. Take Supersize Vs Superskinny for instance, the program shows that disordered eating patterns are not confided to the dinner table they influence every aspect of life thus morphing and becoming a way of life. It’s a shame that educating the nation has to be done in such a shock-factor manner but if this is making people take their health seriously it is surely worth it.

Series 6 of Supersize Vs Superskinny sees recovering anorexic Emma Woolf delve into the world of eating disorders, speaking to experts and suffers alike to look at the roots of the torturing disorders. Frank discussions with suffers provide viewers with more of an understanding of conditions, hopefully minimising the stigma associated with conditions such as anorexia, after all the empty “just eat” comment has to stop.

Advertising campaigns such as Time to Change are also addressing this stigma, if we talk about cancer or heart disease or broken bones so openly why can’t mental health be discussed in the same way? Why is there some sort of personal blame stigma attached to it in a way that there isn’t physical conditions? If these campaigns are working as we hope, suffers should cease to suffer in silence and feel empowered to seek help.

All Walks Beyond The Catwalk


All Walks Beyond The Catwalk is a campaign which I seemed to have missed out on, regrettably only discovering it at Newcastle Fashion Weekend 2013. The initiative began in 2009 when Caryn Franklin, Erin O'Connor and Debra Bourne collated their common views of diversity in the fashion industry in response to Chief Executive of B-eat (beat eating disorders charity) asking if it was "possible to show fashion on a range of inspiring bodies". The campaign showcases the work of 8 designers modelled by 8 eighteen to sixty-five year olds  of a variety of body types.

Right now the average catwalk model is 6ft tall and a size 8 and it's safe to say that the majority of us don't look at them thinking 'I could look like that'-given the average dress size of a woman in the UK is a 16. There's no denying that British catwalk models are stunning but to say they're representative of the society we live in is a bit of a long shot. That's where All Walks Beyond The Catwalk and B-eat come into play, they're potentially revolutionising fashion one campaign at a time.

The All Walks initiative began with the 'Size Me Up' campaign in which designers worked with a model from the beginning of the process in order to create an outfit fitting to them rather than what usually happens-the model is just added in at the end. The looks in the campaign were created for use at London Fashion Week to showcase spring/summer 2010 collections.

Following the success of Size Me Up, All Walks teamed up with photographer Rankin to create the campaign 'Snapped' which also launched at a London Fashion Week. The campaign invited top design garments specifically campaign and get engaged in the battle to bring diversity to the fashion industry. Photographs were shot of the beautifully diverse models at the beggining of fashion week by Rankin to be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.

Getting big names involved in the campaings works to inspire the fashion industry of the future; bringing us onto All Walks Beyond the Catwalk's latest initiative: Diversity NOW. The campaign is aimed at fashion enthusiasts who WANT to create fashion for the diverse society we live in, not just the average catwalk model.

All Walks Beyond The Catwalk gives me faith in the fashion industry; they know the fashion industry can have an impact on lives and are using this in a positive light by encouraging diversity. Clothes are not just clothes.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

New Blog!


Hi, I've decided to set up a blog to keep me writing when I don't have time to work on "big projects". I intend on using it to write at least one comment type piece per week on something that's playing on my mind and actually means something to me. Watch this space!

Hannah x