5 Reasons I want to go to Egypt

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Gone are the days of my mediocre holidays where I do nothing but laze by the pool and read gossip magazines for seven days straight. Now I’m all bout adventure, culture, and dare I say it – Magic! And one place I believe you will find all three of these is the enchanted country of Egypt home to Lost Temples, Giant Sphinx’s, the River Nile and of course the Pyramids. Here are five reasons I want to go to Egypt…

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Reason no.5) So I can have the Ultimate ‘Souk’ Experience
I love a good market! There is something magical about strolling through a labyrinth of hustle and bustle and friendly strangers all wanting to sell you their exotic goods. I’d love to spend a day wandering an Egyptian souk, taking in the aroma of the spices, nibbling on Egyptian tit-bits along the way, and splurging on lots of foreign perfumes and handmade bags. And now that I’m fully accustomed to bartering, I’d love to see what bargains I could come away with.

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Reason no.4) So I can Gorge on Egyptian Cuisine
“Shall we order Egyptian tonight?” is a sentence that has never fallen out of my mouth. It’s normally Chinese or American. But during my year of backpacking I indulged in so many different types of food that my mouth is now open to trying as many exotic foods as I can, wide open, and recently a few Egyptian dishes have caught my eye. I read about the Egyptian dish Fatta; rice with fried bread, covered in a garlic and vinegar meat soup, served with deep-fried poached eggs and chunks of beef (Oops, just drooled on my keyboard). How yummy does that sound? It is quite a fatty dish, normally eaten before or after a fast, however most other Egyptian dishes consist of lots of vegetables and legumes, such as Baba Ghanoush and Tahini Salad, both of which look delicious.

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Reason no.3) So I can ride a Camel through the Desert
I’ve swam with Sharks, hugged Tigers, rode Elephants, played with wild monkeys and petted Koala’s. I think riding a Camel through an Egyptian Desert would make a lovely addition to my ‘Animal Encounters’ list. Although Camels might not be the cutest of animals, they are incredible creatures, designed for treks through the Desert and can apparently go weeks without food and water. But I do think it’s important to research the companies who offer these types of activities. I’m an animal lover, so I hate the thought of working with a company who mistreat their animals. It would be massively important for me to know that if the Camel I’m riding is their main source of income, then they treat it that way and house it in the best conditions possible (especially if the poor thing has to carry my big fat bum around).

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Reason no.2) So I can Snorkel in the Red Sea
I’m not the strongest swimmer, so I was always more of a ‘laze by the pool’ type of girl. But after an incredible experience snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, I am converted. As Sebastian the Crab once said “Down where it’s wetter, you know it is better” and I think he may be right. The colours, the fishes, the coral – it’s all so beautiful! I regret not doing more snorkelling trips in the past, so if I can get to Egypt, I fully intend to get my Snorkel-on in the Red Sea and take in those stunning rainbow-coloured reefs (and I’m determined to swim with Wild turtles, determined I tell you!)

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Reason no1) So I can gaze at the Ancient Pyramids
Obviously this is my no.1 reason to go to Egypt. It would be foolish of anyone to go to Egypt and not visit these ancient landmarks. There is so much history there and something almost magical about them. The Pyramid of Khufu is the only one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World still standing. Seeing it in real life would truly blow my mind. A friend of mine visited the Pyramids last month and her reaction alone has had me dreaming of a holiday to Egypt, “Photographs don’t do them justice” she said “You have to see it to believe it” and I intend to.

History, culture, and not forgetting the hot weather, Egypt looks promising for a luxury vacation mixed with plenty of backpacking adventure. And with tour operators such as First Choice offering accommodation fit for a King and Queen, it’s looks like it could be the perfect type of getaway. Egypt – your officially on my bucket list.

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This post was written by Tink Jayne, contributed by First Choice

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A Zombie Apocalypse hits East London

Ever fancied being chased around by terrifying Zombies in the deepest and darkest streets of East London?

No?

Okay, how about being chased around by terrifying Zombies in the deepest and darkest streets of East London where there is also a bar and a cinema? Right, I think I’ve got your attention now.

I am so excited – albeit slightly scared – to be going along to the Backdoor Cinema event Zombie Apocalypse*. I’m not really a Horror movie fan, but at Halloween I always make exceptions. Not to mention, this isn’t just a Horror movie, this is an interactive zombie cinema experience (see, I was serious about the Zombies).

From the 31st of October all the way till the 9th of November, Backdoor Cinema will be hosting the Zombie Apocalypse in a secret East London Location. The secret location will only be told to you once you have purchased your ticket to this eery and questionable ‘Safe House’. Once you arrive at the safe house you will need to pass quarantine in order to be allowed in, but that may be a tad difficult with the all infected Zombies running around, hoping to pull you down and take a bite out of you!

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty terrified of having the Bejesus scared out of me by a one-armed Zombie chasing me down a one-way corridor, but that’s half of the fun. The other half of the fun is chomping down on some good food and drinking a cold beer whilst watching a well-known Horror movie (and toasting your survival through the Safe House from Hell). The movies being shown include Evil Dead, 28 Days Later and Zombieland. I’m going to the Evil Dead Matinee on Sunday the 9th of November. Are you up for it?

For more infomation or to book tickets click here, quick, before they all sell out  you get infected too. Hurry!

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So Fresh and So Clean • Pact Coffee Review

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I spent Saturday morning playing with my Pact Coffee starter Kit, which was an absolute delight, mainly because of the warm, soothing yet perky aroma it left swirling around my flat. My kitchen smelt like a coffee shop.

Despite being an avid tea drinker I do love my coffee, especially in the mornings. Occasionally at work I have a Latte but at home I just drink the instant stuff. Then last month Pact Coffee contacted me and insisted I try out their coffee, claiming it was ‘Fresh’ and ‘World class’. How could I say No to that?

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Whether your using a drip system, a Cafetiere, an Aeropress, or an espresso machine, Pact can supply fresh coffee for all. But of course typical tea-drinker me had none of these fancy appliances, so Pact kindly sent me a little starter kit with a V60 dripper and some filters. They also sent me a huge pouch – 250g to be exact – of fresh Toffee Apple ground coffee (if you prefer to grind your own coffee, you can simply just order the beans). I did my scooping, pouring and dripping until I had a full cup of Toffee Apple coffee sat in front of me. I added my milk and a little something sweet and sat down to enjoy my first Pact Coffee.

I can honestly say it was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in a while. Whilst I didn’t really taste any Apple, there was a little burst of Toffee with every sip. Mmmmmmm, Toffee Coffee, it was delicious, and so much nicer than drinking an instant coffee. And that’s what it’s all about; Pact’s ultimate mission is to get the UK drinking better fresher coffee. Their coffee beans come from farms all over the world (mine was from Guatemala) and is shipped to the UK where it is roasted in small batches.

At first, I wasn’t sure about a Coffee subscription service, it seemed unnecessary. But after doing some playing around on the Pact Coffee website, I’m totally sold, in fact I’ve just signed up and ordered another batch, this time going for San Antonio (also known as Chocolate Digestive) which the Pact system recommended for me by quizzing me about my coffee preferences and habits. The website itself is easy to navigate, helpful, useful and just like Pacts pretty packaging, is very easy on the eye.

When it comes to Pact, I think you should give it a SHOT, by any BEANS necessary! Go On, ESPRESSO yourself. Okay that’s enough Coffee Puns for today. But seriously, if you fancy trying out Pact Coffee, then use the discount code TINK-S6HAZG to get your 250g bag of coffee for just £1, yes One Pound! That includes P&P. Click here to visit the Pact site and get ordering. And don’t worry Pact don’t tie you into any subscriptions or contracts. Let me know which flavor you get and how you like it? It would be great to swap tips and recommendations.

Thanks a Latte (…..sorry)

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A little Winter Wish List

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Mint Julips Lip Scrub by Lush £5.50 // I love this lip scrub, it’s like like nibbling on mint chocolate, it’s even edible! I’ve just ran out so I really must purchase a new one.

Latte Lip Tint by Lush £5.95 // Good lip products are a necessity in the winter months, so I’d love to try this luscious Latte tint.

Pink Knitted Sweater Dress from Missguided // This is adorable, and I love how it’s been styled with a shirt underneath (although with the Winter weather, I think I’d have to style with a thick pair of leggings or tights, like these)

Christmas Spice Scented Candle from Debenhams £8.50 // Nothing beats coming home to a warm flat smelling like Christmas Spice. I was in Australia last year, so I missed out on all things British & Christmas, so this year I want all the trimmings. I’m so excited!

Cream Faux Fur Jacket by Next £75 // If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that I fell inlove with this jacket when I popped into Next last week. I really want want want, but not sure I can afford the price tag.

Breaking Bad Travel Mug from Urban Outfitters £15 // With the cold Winter weather picking up, I think I need to start making myself a delicious hot coffee for my morning commute, and as a Breaking Bad fan, I’d be happy to share it with Heisenberg.

Faux Leather Burgundy Chelsea Boots from Missguided £34.99 // I’m in desperate need of some new flat winter boots and these Babies are right up my street, maybe I’ll treat myself next month.

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Six Tips to kick start your Career in Media

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Over the past eight years I’ve worked with various brands and networks across multiple platforms of media, from News Media to to Broadcast Media. Currently I work at Channel Five, which is where I’ve spent more than three years of the previous eight working. Outside of my job I write this blog which is my absolute no.1 hobby, my baby, my pride and joy, and it also opened up opportunities for me to work with some fantastic companies. I am also working on separate writing projects, which I hope to see develop over the next year. So I’m hoping that’s enough to qualify me to write a little career advice post, I think it’s my first ever…

The tips below are the stepping stones I used to kick start my career. Although my background mainly focuses on PR and Marketing and Broadcast, I think these tips apply across a few other platforms of Media. So whether it’s Journalism, TV Production, Social Media, whatever your bag, hopefully these tips will help:

Get the RIGHT kind of work experience It’s all good and well adding that two-week work experience you did at your Dad’s office to your CV, the one where you spent the entire time making tea and fixing the printer, but what has that got to do with working at Google, or Vogue, or wherever your dream job may be? If you want to impress potential employers, you need to get the RIGHT kind of experience. For example, if you want a career in journalism, why not approach your local paper or a website offering to work one night or one day a week for free, in order to get some relative experience. Trust me, your better going to a job interview with experience that relates as appose to ‘well, I can make a smashing cuppa’ (although it never hurts to add that to your ‘Special Skills’ section).

Don’t just tell your potential employer how good you are, SHOW THEM When I was 21 years old (all those years ago) I was up for a 12 month internship at Discovery Channel. I was absolutely determined to get the job, nothing was going to stop me, not even when I saw that the role required experience in Photoshop, a program I had never used in my life. Rather than try and BS my way through the interview, instead I offered to work unpaid at an advertising agency in exchange for some basic Photoshop lessons. A week later I presented my Photoshop skills to Discovery via some freshly printed story boards I had made at the agency. The two women interviewing me seemed impressed; I was later told that I bagged the job because of my initiative and dedication to the role.

Keep up to date with CURRENT AFFAIRS If you’re going to be working in media, you need to know media. Be prepared to tell whoever it is that’s interviewing you a) your favourite publication b) why you read it C) who writes it. They might want contributors names, favourite articles, so be prepared. Even if you’re not much of a paper reader, or a magazine reader, I would pick one NOW and get reading, particularly on current events. Or maybe a news website? The main thing is, it’s important to know whats going on in the media. Whether that’s knowing about the latest app that’s launched (if you’re a marketer it could be a potential competitor for your client?) or being completely up to speed on all headline news (if you work in advertising, a current news story may be damaging to a potential ad).

Be CREATIVE with your CV and application Try thinking outside the box. The more creative you are, the better. I recently stumbled upon this online CV – Okay, so that’s near enough impossible for most of us to put together, but I love how it stands out and has so much personality. Obviously we can’t all create such a techy mega maze of a CV, but we can stand out and we can show our personality. A guy I studied with at Uni desperately wanted an internship at a particular major shoe label, so he sent the company his CV. But to attract their attention he sent the CV in the bottom of a shoe box, underneath a shoe, and to the shoelace he tied a label saying ‘Let me get my foot in the door’. They offered him a position immediately. I was blown away by his creativity.

Blog, Blog, BLOG! So if your reading this it’s more than likely you are a blogger. Good! These days it’s more common for an employer to applaud a blog than look down on it (within the media industries anyway). I know people who have been hired based on their blogs! Blogging shows off your writing skills, maybe even photography skills, possibly design, html, coding. But most importantly a good blog showcases your time management skills, organisation skills, your ability to be creative and your dedication towards something your passionate about. And no doubt it means you’re a whizz at social media and self-promotion, always a bonus.

Don’t be afraid to say NO So let’s set the scene: you finally get that oh-so important job, it’s like all your dreams are coming true, in fact you’re so desperate to impress your new employer that you give a big fat YES to every task asked of you by every person on your team. If you honestly think you can handle it then by all means go for it. BUT! If you already have a lot on your plate then it’s okay to say No or to ask for help. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I lost my first job out of Uni. I was the girl so desperate to please that I took on every single task asked of me. I worked around the clock trying to tick everything off my To Do list, yet constantly adding more things to it because I was too afraid to say No. And what happened? I crumbled. In fact I drowned, in silence. I quickly began struggling to get everything done. I stupidly let my simple day-to-day tasks slip by me, such as booking taxi’s (for a 6am press call – Oops!) and picking up the new light bulbs (so the meeting room was pitch black) and the final blow came when there was no Paper towels in the toilet. It may not sound like a big deal, and people might not even notice right? But unfortunately the client that was visiting that day noticed straight away and made a complaint. Ultimately it was my responsibility, but I was so busy doing 101 other things that I didn’t a remember a task that would have taken me 60 seconds!

Although I was pretty gutted to lose my job at the time, it was a valuable lesson that molded me into the person I am today, and I am glad it happened. In fact all of the above have resulted in me getting me where I am today.

I hope this post was useful, even if just one person takes something away from it, I’ll be very happy to have helped. Any questions, just comment below.
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The Cons, Pros and Need-to-Knows of doing a Gap Year in Australia

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So technically mine wasn’t a ‘Gap Year’ because I was 27 when I lived in Australia, but for the sake of this post it’s easier to just call it that (it also makes me feel slightly younger). I did a total of nine months in Australia, all spent living on the East Coast. I can’t even put into words the truly amazing experiences I had and the wonderful things I saw; things I couldn’t even fully appreciate until I was back in England without them (like those little annoying kookaburras). However, there were also some things about Australia that I hadn’t expected, so I thought I’d do a post for anyone out there thinking of doing 12 months in the land of Oz.

First of all a little disclaimer (boring, I know) I just want to state that these points are all related to my own experience of living in Australia from 2013 – 2014. Whilst the need-to-knows are facts, the Pros and Cons are related to my personal experience in Australia. Also, I would never try to discourage anyone from travelling to Australia, the opposite in fact, I encourage it. This post is simply just some points I wanted to share for anyone thinking of doing it. So, let’s kick start with the facts…

The Need-to-Knows:

  • An obvious one I’m sure, but I will say it anyway. You need a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), unfortunately you can’t just turn up and live there for a year. You can get this visa by applying online. Of all the visa’s I had to get this one was by far the easiest to apply for and obtain. However it was the most expensive, costing around £350.
  • From the day your visa is granted you have 12 months to get yourself to Australia. The visa will then begin from the day you land in Australia i.e. if it was granted on 14th October 2014, you have until 13 October 2015 to arrive in Australia, and if you arrived on 13th October 2015, you would have until 12th October 2016 to live there. Make sense?
  • It is an electronic visa meaning no paperwork necessary (wooohooo) it will begin once your passport is scanned as you enter the country.
  • Unfortunately if you are over 30 you cannot apply for this visa (I know, ageist, right?)
  • The WHV enables you to work wherever you like, but each job can only last a maximum of six months, meaning you can’t work in one place for the full year. But trust me, Australia is such a huge and amazing place, you won’t want to be tied down to one city.
  • Should you find yourself loving Australia, you can apply for a second year WHV. To do so you will need to spend three months of your first year working on a farm.

For more information on the Australian WHV click here

Okay, now that I’ve gotten the boring stuff out the way, let’s move on to the Pros and Cons….

PRO: Glorious sunshine! Nothing beats waking up every day and opening your curtains to see Sunshine.
PRO: Even the storms are better than ours. I’ve never seen anything like it. We loved to sit on the Porch with a glass of wine and watch the sky light up.
PRO: Bored of one beach? Nay bother, there are 6,999 more you can visit. And they really look after them.
CON: It can get TOO hot. 47 degree heat waves may sound appealing, but trust me they are unbearable, not to mention dangerous for us pasty British folk. I advise living somewhere with aircon.
PRO: There is free water EVERYWHERE, they’ll never let you dehydrate in Australia.
CON: Compared to the UK, Australia’s public transport system is not great, particularly in smaller towns (one bus per hour? Pfft)
CON: Australia is incredibly expensive. People warned me, but I was still shocked at just how high the cost of living is in Australia. So whatever scary prices your thinking in your head, double them!
PRO: Because the country is so expensive, the jobs are very well paid. You can expect to earn around $20 an hour for pouring pints (that’s over £12 an hour, plus tips)
CON: Decent jobs for backpackers can be hard to come by. Unfortunately backpackers have gained a reputation for just upping and leaving whenever they like (although this is a bit of a pro in itself – freedom!) so employers in Australia are often reluctant to hire backpackers. The most popular jobs being offered to us were charity jobs or sales jobs, most of which were commission only, meaning you don’t get paid anything unless you make a sale. Harsh! I only lasted three weeks in a sales job, I was pulling in an average of $100 a week over six days of work (that’s just £55!!) erm, I don’t think so!
CON: In every state you need an RSA to work anywhere that sells alcohol, that includes shops and bars. You cannot work in these jobs without one. In some states, like Queensland, it’s a simple online course, in others you need to go and do a day course. It’s not exactly a huge pain in the arse, but considering you have to pay for it and then wait for your certificate, it is slightly annoying.
CON: In major cities, rent is high, even if you’re in a hostel. We rented a private long-stay room in a hostel for about 12 weeks in Melbourne, it was a basic room with just a bed, we shared bathrooms and a kitchen with 50 others. It cost us $380 a week, £207, that’s double the rent of the flat I left in London.

CON: With drinks and food being so expensive it can often to lead far too many ‘nights in’.
PRO: The thing that is cheap however, is boxed wine, nicknamed in Australia as Goon. For $12 you can buy the equivalent of 5 litres of wine. It taste disgusting and the hangover is a killer, but it’s perfect for you and your buddies on those cheap cheap nights and drinking it has become somewhat of a backpacker ritual.
PRO: If your hiring a camper van for a road trip, campsites are very cheap, and there are plenty of other places to stop, park up, get some free water and have a BBQ.
PRO: Oh, there are public barbecues EVERYWHERE! Now, this is a massive pro. All the parks have giant barbecues set up for the public to use. So at any given time if you and your friends fancy a get together but don’t have the space, just grab some beers and some burgers and head for a bbq in the park.
CON: SPIDERS! GIANT SPIDERS! Oh, and giant flying cockroaches.
CON: Oh and snakes.
PRO: Kookaburras – Fascinating birds that sound like monkeys and live in your garden, amazing to listen to whilst you relax and sip on a glass of Goon.
CON: Kookaburras – Annoying birds that sound like monkeys and wake you up at 6am, horrible to listen to after a heavy night on the Goon.
PRO: Kangaroos. And not just in the Zoo, you can spot plenty of wild Roo’s once you get out of the city.
PRO: You can cuddle Koala’s. Naaaawwww
CON: Crocodiles. If you’re going to remote hot places be very careful near rivers and lakes.
CON: You can’t buy alcohol from local shops, petrol stations and not even all supermarkets sell it, it’s mainly just liquor stores or ‘Bottle Shops’ as the Aussies call them.
PRO: They do have drive-thru bottle shops though.
CON: There are a lot of homeless Aborigines, which is so sad to see, as it’s as if their history has been erased, despite the fact that Australia is THEIR land and home. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s quite distressing to see how they are treated.
PRO: Head to Nimbin to see an incredible ‘Home Made’ museum dedicated to the Aborigine history, culture and life.

To round up, Australia is a flippin’ amazing place to go and live for a year, there is no denying that. Although their history might be a little messed up, and there are some definite equality issues, if you like beaches, barbecues and gorgeous weather (and your under 30) then what are you waiting for? Whether it’s nature your after or the city life, I recommend it. Just be prepared for the high rent, expensive drinks and if you are planning to work just prepare yourself as much as possible. My advice is to save a nice little chunk of money prior to your trip just in case you have trouble landing a job straight away.

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