2016. The review. Pt 3

September

This was a very manic time as my job change, to being the chief reporter for a newspaper, began to hit in and my etc writing – in theory at least – reduced to one day a week to make way for all the breaking news and council meetings.

As such it is not really a surprise that a visit to The Salterns made for both a nice article and nice escape from the office.

The newly created holiday apartments at Chichester Marina occupy an enviable spot next to the water, making it bizarre to think the building was previously used for offices – which is somewhat ironic going on my previous comment.

But that is neither here nor there, look at them!

apartment_5_night_shot_45134.jpg

apartment_5_dining_room2_45093.jpg

Swoon!

October

etc Magazine always likes to touch on the big topics, as well as the aspirational and fluffy ones. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I took the opportunity to learn more about a pioneering treatment by a Sussex-project.

November

For this month’s editions it all got a bit arty. For West Sussex I wrote about a design school with a difference starting up, while I headed over to the East for a cultural tour taking in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings.

The latter might win, just because I got to sit in this ridiculous deckchair..

Laura at The View, Eastbourne.jpg

In all seriousness however, the exhibitions were fascinating, the hotels beautiful and Hastings old town might just have stolen a bit of my heart.

Exploring the Old Town (1).jpg

December 

While Brighton-based Joosr, which reduces books such as A (not so) Brief History of Time into 20 minute reads, might have changed my view on e-readers – which is no easy task – spending the day with some of the counties’ best young chefs takes some beating.

Yup, I’m back on the food again and this time it was the Young Chef and the Year Cook Off at the Amex Stadium. I basically follow around the judges, which this year included Matt Gillan, and taste a lot of sublime dishes – then write about it before the food coma hits in. I’m sure you can tell it is hard work..

Rachel Burroughs' pollock starter.JPG

Another bizarre claim to fame ^^ that’s my hand in the official pics. Note how my nail varnish matches the jus!

2016. The Review. Pt2

May!

I do love a food special, and this month proved to be a feast.

As well as learning about the wonders of sheep’s milk with Top Paddock Dairy and tucking into proper pub grub in Oving , I had the wonderful opportunity of time-travelling thanks to the Repast supperclub.

The latter, as bewildering as it might sound, was the simple but brilliant idea of Haywards Heath chef Sam Bilton.

Our culinary adventure was back to Venice’s rich past, and from start…

ipp

(polenta squares topped with salted cod and mushrooms)

To the end…

fritters

(fritelli – almond filled donut fritters)

It was amazing.

June

I’m sticking with food and I’m not even sorry, I mean how often to you get to talk to a chef whose signature dishes are all made using hotel room appliances?

From steaks steamed in the shower to a full English he insists is ‘better than the what you’d get in the buffet downstairs’, the aptly named George Egg has come up with in-genius ways to create it all.

July 

Mermaids, flamingos and badgers in bowties – time for something a bit different.

HS Sugarhill Boutique 'Hartley Beach Scene Fit & Flare Dress' £49.jpg

My two favourites for July were Brighton fashion band Sugarhill Boutique (above) and the equally bright and brilliant Eastbourne alphabet by artist Clare Dales.

EASTBOURNE AN ALPHABET RGB.jpg

August

Lewes-based VRAC teas  would have claimed the top spot this month, if it wasn’t for my behind the scenes visit to Chichester’s Timothy Roe jewellers.

I mean this Goodwood bangle by them is reason enough that it was special..

Day at the races 1.jpg

…but for me it had a personal connection as this jewellers is where my engagement ring (finally) came from and I got to find out how it was made.

*Finally because I was the one choosing it, not because I am a bunny boiler. But I’m sure, one day, I’ll get around to sharing that story on here.

2016. The review. Pt1

Nothing like thinking in November ‘I should check that long-neglected blog’ and seeing the last headline is about New Year’s Resolutions…

I assure you I’ve been writing everything but this thing.

Partly to prove it, and partly because I’ve just put the December magazine to bed, I thought it’d be a good time for a bit of a stock check.

So * insert top of the pops countdown music here* in at January we had…

Learning about fly fishing

laura-has-a-go

I love how random this is already.

The highlight was managing to catch another hook out of a tree, which I’m still convincing myself take skill. The lowlight was catching my own hair…

February

Has to go to Edible Arrangements

hedgeinvest-delivery-tray

A brilliant and inspiring company which works to match your table decorations with your menu. Honestly, check it out!

March 

This is a toughie but as much as I loved writing about Truth and Tails – books for children with a social twist – and experiencing the Light Technique in Brighton, there was on topic I featured that has blossomed into a hobby…

Calligraphy, with Kirsten Burke

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Just look at that concentration! And excuse to own quills… (Picture by Stewart Grant)

April 

Being a bit of a random fact fan, it has to be the story which lead me to learn the cut flower industry is worth more than the music industry (average of £36 per person).

Crosslands Nursery

 

 

Wrapping up 2015 with a big bow

There is something almost ironic about not having the time to take stock.

Even when I do try, it always seems to turn into a ‘to do’ list making exercise.
What I’ve done being met by, then clouded over by, what I haven’t – yet.

credit Peppercorn Photography

credit Peppercorn Photography

Being busy is something we can all relate to. It is just the reasons vary person to person.
Lately I’ve been learning a lot, including that I didn’t really know what ‘busy’ was.
Aren’t the lessons which come with owning your own house are numerous and broad?

Anyway, rather than talking about rewiring, textured wallpaper and weeds (you can find more than enough of that in my weekly columns) I thought I would take the chance to look at the shiner side of life – quite literally – and do a must overdue update for my magazine section.

June (I know, I know) is a tough month to pick a favourite article from, namely because it is the month of our food special.
I really enjoyed getting to know the Hastings-based Baked by the Sea girls who offer cream teas by post, and meeting the mastermind behind the wasabi vodka and watercress gin of Winchester’s Twisted Nose.

It’s a tough job isn’t it?

credit Peppercorn Photography

credit Peppercorn Photography

Then there was the beautiful fashion of Shoreham’s Sula, beer making in Brighton, spending time at Caroline’s Dairy’s ice-cream empire and being inspired by the hyper-real artistry of Janine Shute.

In the end, I went with the one I find myself talking about the most – partly for its quirkiness and partly because spirits are having a great time of it at the moment.

So for more of my chat with Paul Bowler, founder of Twisted Nose, and his work to offer a tipple with ‘a real home, real roots, local flavour and a local story’ see HERE.

July was a slightly easier task as I fell head over heels for Christmas Cottage in Hampshire. I mean just look at it ..

Picture: Fox & Sons

Picture: Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons

And the amazing interior remodel was inspired by a pub.

AND the owner was really lovely and offered me a game of boules next time I was local.

It was just the full package, as you can find out HERE.

Pic: Mi Elfverson

Pic: Mi Elfverson

Pole dancing, arts festivals and illustrator Lauren Child made sure August was far from dull.

But as someone who spends far too long at their desk, a chance to get out into the countryside made for an extra special piece.

The story was about Walk&Talk4Success, which does what it says on the tin really offering business mentoring and support but on the move.

I met the group at Wakehurst Place and spent a lovely walk sharing ideas and solutions.. it was simply brilliant.

If I am being honest September was a two horse race for the title of ‘favourite’, in the running is Amanda Saurin and her amazing company As. Apothcary  who opened my eyes to natural beauty – in the best sense.

Then there’s The Future Kept which isn’t given justice by the description ‘online lifestyle stop’.
I pretty much want to own everything it sells and live in the photos on the website.

The Future Kept JPEE JPE6 Hastings Sept15

The Future Kept

The Future Kept

The Future Kept

See what I mean?

But, seeing as my list has some home but no skincare, As.Apothecary has to be the victor. And, in a job where I get to meet some amazing people, because I openly admit if I had to work anywhere else it would be for Amanda.

AS.Apothecary

AS.Apothecary

Something arty would have to sneak in my list somewhere, and for October and November I was lucky enough to have my two passions come together – seeing me write about amazing creative people.
Kate Sherman captures time passing through the laborious medium of painting – a contrast I just really, really, like…

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

John Napier might be a name you don’t know, but chances are you’ll know his work.
He’s created sets for the likes of Les Misérables, Cats and Starlight Express. The helicopter in Miss Saigon? Also his.
Not bad for someone who admitted to me for November’s magazine, that he once believed theatre design ‘was about drawing rooms, choosing the colour of the sofa – I thought that was pretty much it’.

John Napier. Picture: Julian Napier

John Napier. Picture: Julian Napier

For someone who edited an annual food special this year.. (me).. I feel like we could do with something edible on the list. For December this is a choice between Kyoto Kitchen, a Winchester restaurant giving its own twist to Japanese cuisine, or the Sussex Food and Drink Awards Young Chef cook off – which was a mouthful in more ways than one.

It seems right to choose the one which made me think more about my cooking, and only one made me want to mousse a pumpkin. .

Stephanie's Pumpkin Starter

Sussex Young Chef Grand Finalists, Stephanie Haywood, Michael Sutherland & Ryan Tomkinson

Seems a good a place as any to end this post, and year.

Roll on the next one : )

2014 ~ The first third

Losing an hour is one thing.

The fact it is April tomorrow is quite another.

But leaving the “how the?” until later here’s a quick catchup.. also known as #lifelately I believe? Since the last time I was here.

February

At work, among other things, I was writing about the tasty toppers from Miss Cake that look a bit like this..

'Love, Love Me Do' Cake Topper £16.99

And the glorious illustrations, doodled shoes and paper worlds crafted by Sam Pierpoint.

JPET Feb14 Sam Pierpoint

Outside of work I went on a Turkish adventure with “the gang” – my parents, my sister and both of our boyfriends – and a lot of more mature people, in a bus, in the rain. Mostly taking pictures of cats on various monuments.. but I’ll blog about that later.

March

Choosing a stand out article this month took me all of NO seconds. I got to interview this bearded beauty well respected tailoring expert.

Debenhams Patrick Grant JPET Feb14

 

Meanwhile, on planet earth, my manfriend moved home! Cutting a long story short – we used to work in the same office but he’s has spent the last two years in Kent as a sports editor, which was a bit weird. And rubbish. And we spent too much time on motorways and too little time together. So WOO!

April

Is still a month of mysteries. But etc-magazine-wise it looks rather swish. And looks a bit like this..

Sarah Moore JPET Apr14

The Exbury Egg

photos 015

 

 

 

Why the education system should go back to school

It’s not cake, it’s not craft.. blogs on those are to come I promise.

Michael-Gove-dunces-capNo this is about the fact tomorrow is A-Level day, which means brown envelopes will go up the rankings of the “most feared” list.

With this in mind I want to share a column I wrote about the education reform for the Chichester Observer. It was based on the GCSE shake up but I think the points about education in general could be interesting today.
It’s received a fair bit of attention, but not the sort I could have predicted, you can see the comments here.

My favourite is the one which starts “Laura, this is NOT the Guardian.. please just give us a break from your eye watering liberalism” – I’m still deciding if I should get that put on a t-shirt.

Anyway, you’ve been (vaguely) warned, I would be interested to know what you think…

And to those facing the envelopes today – good luck, don’t worry and I promise whatever happens it will be fine.

 

“Bring back the dunce’s hat for those behind the education reform”

We can learn a lot from the education “shake up.”
But it is mostly about how little politicians know.
The details released this week are head-scratching stuff.
My favourite announcement proposes a new grading system which will see A* – G replaced with a numbered system running from eight to one.
With eight being the best. Obviously.
I guess the new curriculum won’t be focusing on counting then?
Sadly the focus will not be on teaching either, but on passing exams.
Out of the eight – it is a magic number after all – subjects which are first to get a makeover only one will keep coursework.
While the rest will depend on an exam in the final year.
After all why spend time getting to grips with a subject when you can just cram as much as you can into one sitting?
It seems lessons in jumping through hoops won’t just be found in P.E.
Personally I would love to see the “working out” that has gone in to these decisions.
What is worse is that while the Department of Education are publishing their papers GCSE students are sitting theirs.
But it seems that, under the pile of headlines dismissing the qualifications as “too easy” and “outdated,” this seems to have been overlooked.
I am sure the rising figures of young people reporting stress have been carefully buried too.
What niggles me most is that I can’t help but think all this is a distraction.
Like the magician who diverts your eye with a wave of the hands from what is going on behind the (smoke) screen.
Yes the changes are “radical” on the surface but look closer. Announcing Shakespeare will be studied in English literature wasn’t quite the ‘shake up’ I was expecting.
Instead how about introducing practical lessons on economics? Or budgeting? Oh, sorry, probably not your area of expertise.

~ Originally published on June 13, 2013 ~

For more reading on the topic I recommend this from The Telegraph – “School leavers ‘lacking basic skills’, say business leaders” –  the point about schools being “exam factories” particularly hit a chord with me.

Image credit 

Photographer Kos Evans on capturing James Bond.

The interview with Kos Evans is my pick of my features March’s etc Magazine…

Kos Evans went from taking pictures of sewage pipes to capturing James Bond. Laura Cartledge discovers her story.

Kos EvansEven reading Kos Evans’ biography is enough to wear you out.
An average day for the Midhurst-based photographer could include hanging out of a helicopter going 100mph in a harness or chasing powerboat world champions, all with a camera in hand.
“I know fear if I have the camera away from my face,” smiles Kos. “It can make you become immortal in some ways – you just focus on getting the picture.”
Going beyond the boundaries seems to be her signature style and arguably has helped Kos become an award-winning action sports photographer, regarded among the best in the world.
“It’s not by design – it is about going where the eye hasn’t been before,” she says. “Finding a new way of looking at it.”
Always on a quest for a fresh perspective has seen Kos search high and low – quite literally.
One memorable occasion was at the America’s Cup; a yacht sailing competition believed to be the oldest trophy in sport.
“They suggested, as a joke, that I should go up the mast of one of the yachts,” explains Kos. “I thought it was a great idea but got stuck halfway up.”
The Armada/ Elenora in the harbour of St.TropezJPET March13 Kos EvansHowever, this didn’t put her off, having got to the top and captured her shot the birds-eye angle has become one of her most distinctive. Now Kos has scaled some of the tallest yachts in the world, including the mind-boggling 208ft high mast of the super yacht Maltese Falcon.
To the other extreme Kos is no stranger to underwater photography, with one particular experience serving up more than a dramatic shot.
“I was working for Rolex and was six metres below the surface holding on to the anchor of one of the buoys used as a racing mark,” she explains. “But, as the first racing yacht came past it sucked the buoy towards its keel with me still attached.”
Thankfully Kos managed to pull herself away from the yacht just in time and also got the picture which went on to be used in a worldwide advertising campaign.
It sounds like something out of a movie, and as it happens Kos has worked on those too.
“Bond was very exciting,” she grins. “We worked on The World Is Not Enough.”
Kos was contacted by Eon Productions to see if she could provide a high speed chase boat down the River Thames.
“It meant having a £500,000 camera mounted on the boat,” she adds. “We had an explosive expert with us and foam floating on the water with two pounds of Semtex underneath. They were meant to go Kos Evansoff after the baddy has gone past and before us – but the timing was wrong. We were unbelievably lucky it could have blown the front of the boat off.”
The iconic opening sequence lasts only six minutes on screen but took a staggering six months to film, something which wasn’t helped by a request from parliament.
“We all had radio headsets and were told to stand down as parliament needed to have lunch and the noise from us was disturbing them,” laughs Kos. “There were loads of us just standing around for two hours.”
Despite her amazing experiences Kos regards it as “just another day in the office”. But with that office ranging from the war zones of Bosnia to clinging to a speedboat being driven by James Kos EvansCracknell at 80mph, it is clearly far from ordinary.
Kos has certainly come a long way since she was given her first camera by her father and grandmother, but her unconventional style was apparent from early on.
“On holidays I wasn’t taking pictures of the family but silhouetted sewage pipes and weird things like that,” she says. “I loved the sculptural shapes.”
Later she went on to study at the London College of Printing and honed her art in the black and white darkrooms at the Observer.
“I’ve been shooting for 30 years now,” she smiles. “I used to have bikes outside my house waiting for images but now I can send things across the world via the internet. I’m working on a new book and a new art project and hope to have an exhibition towards the end of the year.”
Walking on Water is Kos’ latest book and is packed with spectacular marine images.
The book is available from Bloomsbury (www.bloomsbury.com) for £30.
Funny fact: Kos’ previous book, 20×20, weighed ten kilos, has a carbon fibre cover and measured a metre wide.

~Originally published in etc Magazine, March 2013~