ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Student Workshop

On Tuesday 4th June 2019, I attended an ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 student workshop, organised by The Cricket Writers’ Club. The workshop was held at The Kia Oval in London. The day consisted of attending press conferences, writing press reports, match reports and a colour piece based on the day’s experience. I am immensely proud to say that you can read my feature on the official Cricket Writers’ Club website by following this link: http://www.cricketwriters.com/

I thought I’d share the feature I wrote here, on my blog! Safe to say, I am absolutely chuffed to have been given this amazing opportunity. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it:

Cricket. With its fast-paced bowling, big-hitting batsmen, numerous overs and fans yelling “Howzat” in the stadium guarantees a passionate atmosphere and experience. I’d go as far to say cricket offers more fluctuation than an action film.

You may ask why I decided to go for this opportunity. Well, what’s life if you don’t take every opportunity you can? Aside this, cricket holds a special sentiment in my family down the generations from my Great, Great Grandfather, my Grandad, to my Dad, to me. It’s a feel-good, fun sport which I’m reminded of every time I am home. Mainly because my Dad proudly displays a framed photograph of him batting in a local match on the mantlepiece.

From the perspective of an aspiring, young, female journalist it’s important to get involved with as much as possible – whether it be sport-related or not. My passion for writing and quest to get as much out of my time at the University of Lincoln encouraged me to take this opportunity.

The morning of the workshop arrived. Numerous train changes later, I found myself walking up Harleyford Road, made famous by Henry Blofeld in many Test match commentaries. With the MI6 building behind me, I could see it. The Oval, a ground encompassing so much history. Typically, my Dad and I were accompanied by good old British weather. Rain.

Soon after arriving, our group was shown around the Oval. We were then taken to a press conference with none other than New Zealand Vice Capitan Tom Latham. I don’t think the term ‘star struck’ covers it.

The time came for us to embark on some work. Firstly, a quotes-based press report. A completely unknown territory. The challenge of writing up Latham’s conference as a piece of journalism filled me with apprehension. But looking out onto the iconic Oval ground ignited my determination to complete this task to the best of my ability. Before I knew it, I’d done it. My first ever press report.

Soon, it was time for lunch. Always a talking point in the commentary box at a cricket match, especially the cake. This time we had a fruit cake to enjoy before the next task.

A match report on England v Pakistan. The calm tranquillity of the Oval added to the awe-inspiring atmosphere, which encouraged me to believe in my ability. 502 words later, I’d finished.

We then had a Q&A with two industry professionals. Will Macpherson and Lizzy Ammon. Listening to the work they do was captivating, even the reality of a 17-and-a-half-hour day. Being the only girl at the workshop, it was refreshing to find that there are equal opportunities in journalism for both men and women after University.

Before I knew it, the final part of the day had arrived. A press conference with Bangladesh’s coach, Steve Rhodes. With my media accreditation proudly hanging from my neck, my phone and laptop to hand, I felt a sense of belonging. The nerves I felt when I arrived had been discarded like a pile of unwanted baggage.

The experience taught me a lot. Firstly, to go for it, no matter how daunting it may seem. The nerves which flooded my body like a tidal wave were far outweighed by the sensations of inspiration and enjoyment I gained throughout the whole experience. Secondly, to believe in myself – I am filled with pride when I reflect on the work I produced that day.

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What first year has taught me

As I sit here in my beloved student accommodation bedroom surrounded by a maze of boxes containing various miscellaneous items packed to go home for summer, I decided to reflect on my first year at University and what it’s taught me.

For those who may not know me personally, I have just finished my first year studying Journalism at University. And oh boy, what an experience it has been. I won’t lie, there have been many ups and downs, but that’s all part of the learning experience.  

It’s fair to state that the first year of University isn’t guaranteed to be plain sailing. There have been moments of doubt and upset. But they are far outweighed by the moments of self-assurance and enjoyment that University provides. I guess that’s what makes it all the more rewarding.

Now, I’m not going to lie, University is a huge step up from sixth form/college education. For me, thoughts of “Am I going to fit in?”, “Am I good enough?”, “What if I can’t do this?” flooded my brain like a tidal wave in the weeks approaching my start date.

But if there’s anything I want to emphasise the most, it’s that these feelings are completely normal! I guess feeling nervous about it is a good thing, because (in a way) it shows you care. It signifies that you want to achieve the most you can from your years in education. I suppose I made this transition fractionally harder for myself by choosing a University 194 miles away from home… whoops! But, if I’m honest, you hardly notice the distance.

Why?

Because University forces you to be independent.

You’re put with a group of random people whom you’re expected to live with, you have to cook for yourself, do your own laundry etc. But is that as daunting as it sounds? Heck no! It’s part of transitioning into adult life, and I can safely say I have met friends for life here: both in my accommodation and on my course.

Alongside this, University also teaches you two kinds of confidence.

The first of which is having confidence in your ability.

Think about it like this, everyone is in the same position at University. Everybody starts off University as either a hungover, or non-hungover fresher, just getting to grips with this change in lifestyle. Sure, there’s bound to be people who are better at a certain module than you, but that’s nothing to worry about. I have, and will, continue to stand by the motto that so long as you know you’ve worked as hard as you can, nobody can ask for anything more.

The second of which is being confident in yourself.

In a way, I’m disappointed in myself for going through the majority of my life (thus far) with a “can’t do” attitude which once gnawed away at my self-confidence like some demonic hamster. But believe me, this is thrown as far out of the window as possible once you reach University. There’s no time for that, it forces you into a “can do” mindset which I find I am adopting more frequently – good riddance!

Alongside confidence, University has also taught me patience. I guess one of the flaws of being a millennial and living in such technological advanced times, is that you expect everything to happen at the click of a finger. I suppose my lack of patience in some aspects of life form some of my biggest regrets. And no, I don’t mean regret in a sense of eating the rather ‘hunt the toast’ cheese toastie I decided to make for lunch today… somebody send me some digestion tablets!

Patience is one of life’s greatest lessons. I guess being impatient when it comes to the final 5 minutes before an exam isn’t all bad but being generally impatient never helps a situation. Afterall, what’s the point in getting unnecessarily stressed and impatient about something which will be ok in the end?

The third, and final, thing that my first year at University has taught me is independence. Now, I’m not talking about having to cook for yourself as I briefly mentioned above, I’m talking about the freedoms University provides. Growing up in a relatively small, countryside village has meant I’m not exactly acclimatised to a city environment. However, this hasn’t phased me.

The freedom to be your own individual person is a feeling I can’t put into words. The sense of finding yourself and where you want to be in life is worth more than words can express. University is home to a hub of aspirations. Everybody comes here with a passion to study a certain subject and start their career. In other words, the freedom to choose who you become later on in life is a feeling not even a good motivational speech or song could express.

You see, at University, everybody is original. Everybody has a certain subject they love and want a career in, otherwise they wouldn’t be here! To me, that’s all the inspiration required to bring out the best in myself, free from the prison of self-doubt that held me captive throughout my time at school and sixth form.  

I suppose what I’m getting at is that University allows you to be whatever you want to be; to uncover your potential, passion and enthusiasms in life. I can truly say that University has lived up to every expectation I held and I cannot wait to start second year come September 2019.

What life is like owning an asthmatic horse

It suddenly dawned on me that I haven’t blogged for a while following the blog series I posted for my University assessment.

So, for this blog, I decided to write about something more within my comfort zone.

The equestrian world.

Specifically, owning and caring for your own horse. I can honestly say I adore being a horse-mum to my gorgeous cob Annabelle.

She is a 14-year-old, 15hh cob, and I’ve had her for 6 years now.


For this blog, I want to focus on a condition she’s had for about a year.

Asthma.

Or, in equestrian language, Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO).

And don’t worry if this seems rather surprising, I had no idea horses could even develop it prior to Annabelle’s diagnosis.

In this blog, I’m going to explore the symptoms and the many ways of coping with this condition.

Let’s start with the symptoms.

The first of which is heaving.

In essence, this is when your horse has to work a little bit harder to breath. It was my Mum who first noticed this when Annabelle was stood on the yard. A heave line was visible towards the bottom edge of her ribcage as she breathed. This is a visible sign that your horse might have RAO.

Another symptom is coughing.

Annabelle began coughing as the winter months approached. At first, we’d assumed that it was probably because she’d either been spending a lot of time in her field shelter (which is prone to dust) or because we’d put hay out in the field. She also began to cough more during rides and occasionally coughed whilst being stood on the yard.

At that point we called the vet, who informed us that Annabelle had RAO.

We were given Ventipulmin to help with her condition. This is a drug used to open the respiratory passages of horses and to help clear them of mucus. (yuck!)

After a week or two of the prescribed dosage it sorted out Annabelle’s heaving and subsequent cough.

Along with Ventipulmin, there are a number of ways that you can help your horse out if he/she suffers with this condition.

Giving your horse haylage instead of hay is a great way of keeping RAO under control. Haylage has more moisture than regular hay, so contains less dust and won’t irritate your horses airways.

However, I do appreciate that haylage is expensive. A cheaper alternative is to simply soak hay before giving it to your horse. Soaking the hay for a good 10-15 minutes really helps reduce the dust content.

For Annabelle, we soaked a haynet for around 15 minutes before putting it in her stable for the night.

Speaking of stabling horses, if your horse has a similar condition, try to do as much as you can prior to bringing them in. If you use straw bedding, lay the bed down before fetching your horse from the field so that any dust you may kick up has a chance to settle. Alternatively, you could try shavings.  

As for Annabelle, the summer months mean she doesn’t suffer as much and doesn’t require Ventipulmin.

Annabelle & I still enjoy our regular hacks, schooling and jumping sessions. Competing is still very much on the cards!

RAO? Not a problem for my super cob thanks to treatment!

I hope that this blog has been somewhat helpful if you are in a similar position. Remember, as long as you manage the condition properly, you can do what you like with your horse!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!

21st Century Modelling – The Unhealthy Reality

As I’ve previously expressed, modelling is a harsh industry – but it’s advocacy of eating disorders is more damaging than we may realise.

Now, I’ll openly admit that as a teenager of the 21st Century, body image expectations are sometimes unbearable. There are days where I’ll look in the mirror and thoughts of being “ugly” or “not good enough” swarm my mind like wasps. There are days where I find I can’t eat what I want because I feel I’m on some strange, society-set quest to be skinny.

And this, unfortunately, is something that expands far beyond the catwalk: especially in relation to Television programmes.

Love Island, for example.

As fabulous as it sounds swanning about in a private villa, falling in love and getting a cracking tan in the process, I cannot stand it for one specific reason.

It sends out a very narrow-minded message that to get a man you have to look a certain way. And when I say, ‘look a certain way’, I mean being a size 6.

But one contestant, Alexandra Cane, defied this. She appeared on the show in 2018 and stood up for herself as a curvatious size 8. Shockingly, some media trolls branded her ‘plus size’.

You’ve got to be joking!

What sort of message is that sending out to the young women of today? It’s bad enough that shows like this even exist, but to brand a healthy woman as ‘plus size’ just because she’s curvier than the other contestants is disgusting.

It’s no wonder girls like myself find ourselves unhappy with the way we look!

We get absolutely nothing aside a sense of unworthiness from wasting time comparing ourselves to unhealthy ‘size 0’ women. We should focus on our careers, our friends and our family who love us for who we are.

All a woman needs is confidence in herself to be able to walk a catwalk, not be able to count all of her ribs like some freakish, dystopian version of painting-by-numbers.

Celebrity make-up artists like NikkieTutorials, James Charles, Patrick Starrr and many more are able to showcase their talent and models should be able to comfortably showcase fashion in their own skin.

So, here’s to the curvatious queens of the catwalk. Here’s to women embracing themselves and here’s to a healthier modelling industry: accepting of the fact that beauty has no size.  

[published 11/04/19]

Sources

https://www.ok.co.uk/tv/love-island/1417028/alexandra-cane-love-island-new-girl-instagram-body-curvy-casting-contestants-pictures

21st Century Modelling – Plus Size Power

Following on from last week’s blog, I want to talk about plus-size modelling. Now, as a woman, I think it’s fair to say that we are all different in shape and size; but to brand someone as ‘plus size’ when (in reality) they’re not really grinds my gears – here’s why.

There is a ridiculous emphasis on a woman’s weight nowadays. I know modelling is all about showcasing the latest fashion trends, but there’s such a stereotype that to be a model you have to be ‘skinny’.

It’s just ridiculous!

When I think of plus size models, I think of women embracing their uniqueness and not giving haters leeway to criticise the way an outfit conforms to their curves, whether it be a dress, or bikini set.

One of my all-time inspirations is Ashley Graham.

(Photo Credit: @ashleygraham on Instagram)

She’s taken the catwalk by storm throughout her modelling career and continues to do so as an advocate for plus size modelling.

However, I still can’t get over why she was branded ‘plus size’ just because she’s curvier?

To me, curves are a sign of femininity and shouldn’t be something to feel ashamed of.  

Ashley’s remark: “I believe that what I’m doing… is continuing to open that door for the next plus-size model to come in and to not be labelled as a plus-size girl, for her not to be judged by the number that’s inside of her pants, for her to be able to be on the cover of American Vogue” is so empowering.

No woman should be branded as ‘overweight’ just because she doesn’t conform to the beauty mould society has constructed.

In a society where gender pay gaps still exist we should focus on improving the opportunities available to women, instead of criticising others because the tag inside of their clothes doesn’t read ‘size 6’.

That’s not even the worst of it!

In 2017, The Daily Telegraph released an article hinting that plus-sized models were “glorifying obesity.”

I’d hardly call a size 10, 12 or 14 ‘plus size’, let alone “glorifying obesity”.

In my opinion, ‘size 0’ models could easily be interpreted as “glorifying anorexia”.

Surely we should be focusing on other issues like inequality, racism and terrorism (to name a few) instead of categorising models as ‘overweight’ or ‘underweight’.

Afterall, a catwalk is meant to showcase fashion designs: not criticism and judgement.

[published 04/04/19]

Sources:

https://plus-size-modeling.com/plus-size-ashley-graham-speaks-to-teenagers-about-loving-their-bodies/

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/health-officials-worried-extremely-overweight-models-taking-to-the-runway-glorifies-obesity/news-story/1bbe3edb159d32431606169ac93082f1

21st Century Modelling – an advocate for eating disorders?

Ah, the world of modelling. It all seems very glamorous right? The extravagant make-up, over-the-top outfits, paparazzi cameras – I could go on. But there’s a darker side to this façade. The promotion of eating disorders. I feel that modelling, in some respects, is an advocate for this. Especially in a world where British teenagers spend more than 9 hours online, and an hour and 40 minutes a day on social media. Therefore, there’s a high chance people will view these types of images.

I don’t want to sound like I am ‘body-shaming’ or ‘hating’ on models, I’m not. In many respects, I admire their self-confidence because I wish I looked like them. But that’s the issue. Wanting or wishing to look like these women we see online. This dissatisfaction is perhaps more common than we realise. We should embrace our unique bodies, whether they be a size 8 or 12 without being branded as “overweight” to fit the ever-evolving standards of feminine beauty.

Reports say that models and actresses (in the 1990s) often had body fat levels as low as 10%. The average for a healthy woman is between 22% and 26%. This promotion of an unrealistic body weight in the modelling industry simply isn’t down to the ruthless environment, it’s a flaw that affects many. Nicky Bryant from the Eating Disorders Association previously remarked that “we have noticed an alarming increase in the numbers of young people aged 13 years or under contacting our youth helpline with issues around eating.”

13 years of age!

My gosh, surely at 13 you should be focusing on life aspirations, not depriving yourself of the nutrients and calories you need to grow just so you can achieve a perfect, ‘size 0’ body. It saddens me to know that this is something that affects our younger generation. In my opinion, this should be tackled as early as possible, whether it be taught in schools or by parents.

I mean, what is perfection? Is it even achievable in today’s society?

Linda Blair, clinical psychologist and author of ‘Straight Talking’ told the Daily Mail back in 2010 that we subconsciously judge a person within 7 seconds of first meeting them. Society is so quick to judge people based on aesthetics, such as hair colour, without properly getting to know them. Something which I find very disappointing.

We should accept ourselves, regardless of size!

[published 28/03/19]

Sources:

  1. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3514671/Teenagers-spend-nine-hours-day-addicted-Facebook-Twitter-laptops-smartphones.html
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/769290.stm
  3. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1338064/Youve-got-7-seconds-impress-How-size-men-time.html

Lambo Boys – 17/3/19

After a brief break from the weekly Lambo Boys posts (due to recent weather conditions and the ever irritating ‘coming out of winter’ illnesses) the boys are back!

Adopting the St Patrick’s Day spirit, the boys sprang back into action this weekend!

This week, the ‘real’ Phil Collins (and no, not the ex-Genesis drummer, turned solo artist, whom you might have in mind) joined the boys.

Having been given his new handicap, it didn’t take Dan long to uphold the ‘Sowten’ family tradition of winning the money. Looks like somebody got their ‘pot of gold’ on St Paddy’s day!

On a more serious note, however, Dan won the front nine and overall, whilst Ricky (affectionately nicknamed ‘Uncle Ricky’ by the boys) won the back nine.

However, it looks likely that Dan might struggle in the upcoming weeks as he will have a handicap cut following on from Sunday’s efforts.

There was some noticeable golf this week, I am pleased to report! After a whopping 10 years at the club, Serg managed to par the 435 yard 15th hole for the 5th time.

Impressive stuff! No wonder it is a stroke index 2 on the card.

KP hit his 3rd shot on the 13th over the river from 200yrds. But, we won’t take away from Dan’s overall victory this week, so we’ll put that one down to a ‘wind assisted’ shot!

Now, as I sit here fulfilling the student stereotype of “what shall I have with my pasta tonight?” (debating between green pesto or cheese) I have been informed of the food consumed at the Halfway House.

Including coffee, bacon and egg sarnies and hot sausage rolls! Definitely going to use the long summer break before second-year starts taste testing absolutely everything this somewhat infamous menu has to offer!

Next week is the Captain/Pro challenge weekend, wishing everyone who is taking part the very best of luck.

And that does it for this week’s ‘Lambo Boys’ blog! Thank you for tuning in for another post, I hope you’ve enjoyed it!