All work published below is written by myself only, Gemma Leigh Smith and at the end of this page you will find links to other blogs and works that I have created and written.
Platforms of my work and social media(s):
http://issuu.com/lifestylelondon/docs/holding_doc_1?e=22491807/31914290 (all articles with GS at the end were written by myself)
Smoke magazine online issues edited by me:
Personal client freelance work:
It’s never too late to make a difference
Geoff Stacey aged 66 has decided to experience a trip of a lifetime, as he will soon embark on a 5,000-mile trip across America on a Trans-America trail in bid to thank the doctors who saved his grandson from the disastrous disease that killed his wife.
On 5 July, Geoff Stacey will be setting off on a trip across the US which is 5, 000 miles in length. This is set to be a fantastic achievement, especially at the age of 66 he is proving to not only himself but to the world that nothing is impossible. This attitude and mentality has sparked from doctors saving his oldest grandson in 2010 when he was ill and referred to the Great Ormond Street children’s Hospital where he received treatment.
Sadly, in 2007 Geoff and his wife set out on a travelling trip together through South America for six months but after a short while his wife wanted to go home to see the family children and grandchildren. After returning to the UK, just three weeks later she died suddenly of “Long QT”, but more commonly known as Sudden Adult Death syndrome. To sum up this fatal disease, it is a chemical deficiency that results in electric signals to the heart, a serious and lethal issue that shuts down the heart. Therefore, it certainly hasn’t been easy for Geoff to cope with the loss of his wife and more recently, his son falling ill too.
After his grandson endured a series of tragic health issues, he underwent three intense operations and is now “well and fine”. He had the hereditary disease that Geoff’s wife had, but luckily, the hospital caught it in time to cure him. The family all felt the impact of the scare and has made them all appreciate their health now more than ever before as well as the love and care they each have for one another.
Geoff feels an unconditional amount of gratitude is owed to the doctors and the hospital itself, as they gave top-quality treatment throughout his recovery. He said that they were ”fantastic and couldn’t do enough for my grandson, keeping us well informed”. Thankfully, all the other grandchildren are healthy and well after being checked for the same disease.
The fantastic care that the hospital gave his grandson made Geoff want to do something in return, to really say thank you. As he is a sincere motorbike enthusiast, he has decided to ride across off road tracks all the way along America’s coast, with zero intentions of riding close to safe, tarmac roads.
“I decided I wanted to give something back, riding from Tennessee to Oregon across 5, 000 miles of road.”
This ambitious goal allows Geoff to raise funds for the great hospital/charity that saved his grandson, Great Ormond Street.
“The ride goes through Tennessee, Mississippi Arkansas Oklahoma Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico California, Utah, Idaho and Oregon”, he continued.
Geoff is funding the trip himself without any support at all from others. He is simply hoping that he can raise money for the Great Ormond Street Charity, to show his heart-felt appreciation after consecutive moments of loss, hardship and fear of losing the people he loves.
Please do something amazing today and contribute to this heart-warming and inspiring story. Giving just a small amount will make a tremendous difference, and it is going towards a great cause that can really make such a difference. Go to: www.JustGiving.com/geoffstacey to donate some money and check out his website for more information: http://geoffstacey.eu
Sponsoring his trip will contribute to his £10, 000 target or you can also sponsor and advertise your business on his bike and clothing to help in another way. Remember, he is covering his own costs and all money raised is being donated to the hospital that saved his grandson’s life from the killer disease that sorrowfully took the love of his life away, his wife.
Written by Gemma Smith
Refugee children and their psychology
The refugee crisis is only worsening, which makes me wonder how a lot of us can sleep at night. As a human race, surely we need to stick together to help one another – empathise as though it is us that have to endure the long, sleepless nights and abundances of pain with heaps of uncertainty.
Refugee help and support are urgently needed, probably more than it has ever been needed before and that is why there is now a gap to share their voices more than ever. What do they want to say? What is their story, their side? How do they see it? And that’s exactly what we plan to do: we will talk to refugees and share their stories. We want the world to know exactly how it is, the truth and nothing but the truth! Not a sensationalised account that can be found on the TV or in a newspaper.
Their cravings for a new life immerses them with hope, a hope that can be crushed in an instant. When they’re not welcomed into a country or pushed aside, abused, verbally or physically, their mental health and inner-strength are crushed too. We are all as one; we are all human beings, yet so many of us forget that simple but factual truth. This inhumane way-of-thinking is causing such disasters in the world, consequently ruining people’s lives – not just adults but children’s too – so we must ask ourselves: how can we live with this reality? It has to change.
One refugee commented once reaching a refugee camp: “when we arrive here we are out of our mind. We have taken so much suffering.” This is just one glimpse of the psychology of these poor, innocent people who have been beaten and neglected just for wanting to start a new life. Many of them are just looking for a new beginning, a journey to opportunity, and a place that they can call a ‘safe place’, yet they are being deprived of these simple and humane requests. These necessities of life are things that you and I take for granted.
And for a lot of these refugees, it is way too late to help. For example, another rescued patient has recently been showing signs of epilepsy. Her eyes have been rolling and her arms were stiff, but it wasn’t epilepsy, it was a psychological crisis. She was captured with 400 other people in the desert in Sudan and her fear has accelerated greatly, not just about life but of people and society itself.
The social elements and psychological distress that these poor refugees endure mean that they are experiencing extreme disorders, mostly mental ones such as psychosis, depression and anxiety. Many of these individuals will never be able to live a normal life again because cold-hearted, torturing animals – animals that are so-called human beings – have significantly affected them. And that is the harsh reality that we are not happy or willing to accept.
We must not confuse this situation for these people as to say that are psychologically weak on the inside, because many of them are probably stronger than you and I. As they have experienced difficult circumstances, many of these refugees are so emotionally equipped with life, they have seen so much and had to deal with so much, nothing else can possibly be worse for them. They learn the true value of life and understand the meaning of having to work for something, that sheer determination and sense of belief makes them some of the strongest people on our planet.
Much of their trauma arrives when they reach the refugee camps, which is why our work as helpers and carers is so poignantly important. Their present state of mind becomes difficult as they become aware of normal ways of life, so suddenly their dark past comes back to haunt them. Many refugees feel that their future is pointless and uncertain, purely because their whole life has been based on uncertainty. But that’s where the privileged work of ourselves comes in, where we work together to give these people hope, help to find them counselling services, to reshape, improve and inspire their lives for the better.
To give them a life, a new beginning, that is our purpose.
London is an attractive investment place for Nigerians and people all over the world
Written by Gemma Smith
The impact that Nigerians are having on London’s economy is staggering and highly significant for any Property Investor, Developer, seller or Property Sourcer to take into consideration. Nigerian people have recognised London’s unique potential and realise just how much the booming city has to offer. Not only that, but as London is continuously developing this is injecting more money and opportunities for London’s people and communities; enriching the area even more.
In 2011, 142,000 Nigerians travelled to the UK, which is a 50% increase from the 90’s and they spend an average of £107 per day, according to the Office of National Statistics. London is such a multicultural city that it attracts people from all over the world, making it an attractive location for investment withstanding sustainable and reliable growths of income and spending. It is consumer-driven too: take a look around on London’s streets, people are so eager to shop and spend this is only a good sign for the economy and for the investors looking to buy. Wealthy opportunities are being created along with an entrepreneurial mindset – internships and start-up chances are being given to the younger generation, prepping and settling them into the real working environment enticing them to settle into a property much sooner than before.
So what does this mean for London’s property market and future? As people continue to work and chase a career, and as London continues to attract people from all over the globe including hungry Investors from Nigeria, the renting market continues to become higher in demand as more people look for a nice property to rent. Mortgages are very difficult to get for the average person, so buying and renting property and developing property is a fantastic industry to be involved with in current times.
Onyx Real Estate say that the Nigerian investment market is one of the biggest in the city, with them buying in locations such as Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Belgravia. Their research shows that they have bought over £600 million worth of property over the past three years alone, so this figure can only continue to increase.
The London property market is clearly sought after by Nigerians and no doubt, by several other overseas buyers, as many feel familiar and safe buying in the UK. Investing in property is a big step and should be thought about carefully, but by doing the homework right, buying a property in the London area may be one of the best opportunities to ever come into your life generating a bandwidth of wealth that isn’t so far away. There is so much choice available too, with different London areas offering something different and special to the next. So take your pick and embrace the wonderful London city.
Property people – it’s time to network!
Written by Gemma Smith
Making some phone calls on a normal working day in the property world you can come across some interesting theories and opinions about one of the most current and valuable activities any business ought to be doing: networking.
When asking window cleaning companies and construction companies for example, whether or not they would like to come along to our social networking event next Tuesday 10 November at the Harrow Leisure Centre, they replied a firm and fixed no. And the MIDAS Property Club just cannot understand why…
While explaining their reasons they made it clear that they don’t attend events like this and prefer to just ‘advertise in the newspapers’. To keep up with the times we have to transcend in our communications and in the ways we choose to operate our business, showcase and build our clientele.
This is the only way we can keep up and collaborate with potential business partners and clients as well as creating new business ventures and opportunities along the way. There really is no other way a business can grow otherwise.
Quite simply, networking is the place to generate business. Why advertise in the newspaper to attract customers when they can come along to a networking event: the place where MIDAS is providing customers for them right there; in front of them all in one place? It doesn’t seem to make much sense. Customers are waiting at these events, waiting to team up and work together.
One will always need the other and that’s the beauty of networking.
Several individuals and companies just do not understand and wish not to understand the mechanics behind networking. Even in some of the advertisements in the Edgware and Mill Hill Times, myself and my colleague read “please find us on Google Earth”, I mean Google Earth, really?
Why is there SUCH a lack of these companies not sharing their social media links (if they even have one) as it IS the place that most people go to now to connect and do business? If we can share any word of advice, please do give our networking events a go. It may just be the best thing you ever did.
More examples of my work:
STOMP – Pure stage magic
STOMP is an international smash hit that will keep you gripped to your seat. It is unique and different and, quite literally, a one of a kind experience. Gemma Smith watched it live at the Ambassador’s Theatre in London, and here is what she thought of the show.
I had a fantastic time at the Ambassadors Theatre around the corner from Leister Square. Tickets were reasonably cheap – two for £60 and we were sat right near the front, not bad at all I thought! The room itself was a lot more intimate than I had imagined, compact full of excited individuals from students to the average elder. The idea behind stop is a sincere crowd pleaser full of rock and roll – literally!
STOMP literally has no words but the whole room can understand it. It has no melody behind the act so music preferences are irrelevant. The whole premise is based on rhythm by working together in a group using simple building blocks to create something rather spectacular. It is complex and relatable, as they desperately try to engage the audience with their powerful body language and actions.
The choreography is tight but it allows space for their personalities to shine through. Everyday commodities are used to create rhythm – from a kitchen sink to a broomstick. Although no words are spoken, the whole production is entertaining and perfect for anybody no matter their cultural values, age or music taste.
To be perfectly honest, anyone going to watch this performance should expect to be amazed. It is a phenomenal show full of bashing, crashing, smashing, wishing, banging and kicking – the whole delivery is a pleasurable and impressive invention. I got a prestige vibe from the theatre, and I felt a rush of energy throughout the whole show.
If you love music you’ll love STOMP. Magic will be felt and I would not be surprised if your jaws didn’t drop a few times throughout. You will find yourself beating, humming or tapping along to some of their creative innovations. Their personalities will echo throughout the room and in a peculiar sort of way you will almost feel a connection with them.
Afterwards, the show I was determined to meet the actors and managed to do so by waiting patiently outside the changing rooms. I took many photos with them and felt absolutely honoured to have experienced such an exceptional theatre that touched me in more areas than one.
2.Investigative Journalism piece
SHOULD WE STAY OR SHOULD WE GO?
The EU Referendum and the implications for our Farmers
Introduction/Background to the European Union
The fate of Britain’s financial, political, agricultural and societal future as an economy are now all at stake as there is a possibility of Britain leaving the European Union. Whether or not the UK’s position will benefit most from staying in the EU has very much mixed opinions, but there is a lot of speculation on what our political leaders are considering as their top priorities, which ultimately affects a mass of the British population.
As David Cameron announced the EU referendum for the 23 June, many people have felt left in the dark wondering what the future holds and what changes staying in or making a Brexit will incur. One group, in particular, are feeling the anxiety – the ‘forgotten men – the farmers of our country, are one of them. Soon enough the consistency will vote, but the question is: should we stay or is time to go? Many people, including our farmers, have had just about enough of the EU.
According to YouGov, 37% of British voters want to remain, 38% want to leave and 25% don’t know or wouldn’t vote in the referendum. However, YouGov does make clear that historically voting intentions fluctuate nearer the time to the run up of the vote, so these statistics may change in due course. Only a few months ago the statistics were: 38% of people wished to remain, 42% wished to leave and 18% didn’t know, showing that there is now more balanced in opinion, but the number of people who are left uncertain with no firm view is on the rise.
However, a new online poll by the Daily Express suggests that 129,000 Brits still want to leave the EU, a devastating rejection for Mr. David Cameron who is striving for the UK to stay after bringing back a deal from Brussels. Whatever it is he is doing isn’t as convincing as he may have planned.
So what is the European Union and why does it hold so much power and influence over us? The European Union it is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. The founding father of the EU, Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet, is known as the ‘Father of Europe’ and introduced the Action Committee for the United States of Europe to bring political parties together, to trade and to build the foundations of the European Union. It was originally set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbouring countries, which culminated in World War Two. It was to adopt economic co-operation, unifying Europe as one that could trade together as well as fostering the premise of avoiding war, making it altogether impossible and unthinkable. As of 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community began to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure a lasting peace. The six founders are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
As well as that, the EU’s initial ideas focused on democracy as a geopolitical entity. The Maastricht Treaty in 1992 created the European Union, including the foreign and home affairs and the European Community, but it didn’t come into force until November 1993. It has since grown to become a single market, which is one of the EU’s greatest achievements according to Europa. From economic to political union, what once started as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation of spanning policy areas, from development aid to environment. A name change from the EEC (European Economic Community) to the EU in 1993 reflects this.
Interestingly, it was ex-Prime Minister Winston Churchill who was passionate about introducing the ‘United States of Europe’, which at the time, Britain would have taken a leading role in helping to create. To this day, he is historically considered as one of the novel founders of the EU. Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom joined the European Union on 1 January 1973. Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath conducted the negotiations, taking us to where we are today.
Ideas that have stemmed from the Brussels bureaucracy demonstrates the idea of a one national Europe, as the only way to move forward, but there seems to be a real disconnect of what Brussels dream of and what 26 nations want. The reality is starkly different, and many sectors in Britain like agriculture feel that the EU has mistreated them, as single farm payments have plummeted over the years.
It can be viewed that it starts from within and what the people of Britain now want: there are great benefits of remaining in a ‘larger club’ but there is now a degree of uncertainty in the EU that exists that wasn’t there before. The wars of our past are by no means forgotten, which may be the main reason why people are feeling anxiety if Britain decides to leave the EU.
But our membership in the EU runs much deeper than we read and see in UK media. Yes, immigration is concerning most people but what about the Common Fisheries Policy, the UK Steel and Iron industries and of course, the Common Agriculture Policy that is affecting the forgotten lost men in our country? It’s not very often, if ever, do we see stories in the news about those that work in agriculture on the British farms and how leaving or staying in the EU will affect the farmers of this country. These issues are not debated at any length.
David Cameron has agreed on a package of changes to the UK’s membership with the EU but will it be enough? These changes are focused on several important issues, from child benefits payments to migrant welfare payments, yet little if anything at all is their consideration for the forgotten men of our country. This means that the need for the British farmers to share their side of the story has reached paramount.
The Forgotten Men
Where is the mention in the mainstream news for those who get up early every day to look after the British farms, all over the country? Knowing that the referendum is approaching, it is time to put aside the burning issues that are being frequently discussed in the limelight; like immigration. This brings to light other underlying matters that many people have overlooked since Britain joined the European Union and the Common Market in 1973.
As the EU operates the current Common Agriculture Policy, the outcome, and decisions made thereafter the referendum on 23 June will have huge consequences for our farmers, probably more so than many other working sectors in the UK. The farmers rely on the support given by the EU, that offer them a range of price guarantees, quotas, and tariffs on a vast amount of imported produce as well as direct payments that they receive annually in December. Without this sustainable support, many farmers may be forced out of business causing a great suffering overall on the rural economy.
Gov.uk say that the CAP represents “almost 40% of the EU budget and the largest element of the UK’s EU costs”, so the implications are not only serious but they could be significantly detrimental to a hopeful fate for our British farms and the farmers themselves, that sadly, so many people turn a blind eye to. However, our government does say that the UK farming and agriculture industry may reap some benefits should we opt for a Brexit as the UK would then have more democracy to negotiate “bilateral trade deals with countries outside the EU and at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and would have more flexibility on pricing”.
The National Farmers Union is the “voice of British farmers” and represents them unconditionally. According to their research, some top supermarket chains are backing our British farmers such as The Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Morrisons and Waitrose, but will this backing be substantial enough?
NFU President, Meurig Raymond, said on their website: “The NFU don’t know what changes the Prime Minister will make with respect to our current relationship and nor do we know the type of relationship our farmers would face if the country votes to leave the EU. Given these uncertainties, it is impossible for the NFU to evaluate the true impact on our sector at this stage of the debate.” This inclining growth of uncertainty is causing apprehension among officials and the public.
An NFU report on the UK Farming Relationship with the EU says that despite the outcome, “the EU should continue to seek balanced outcomes to trade negotiations and ensure that EU standards are not compromised, nor our farmers undercut by imports produced to lower standards.” The full report by the NFU can be found at www.nfuonline.com
The Farmers Guardian, a weekly newspaper aimed at the British farming industry, says that “there is “no doubt that the European Union needs to undergo ‘drastic reform’ whether the UK chooses to stay in or get out”. Defra minister, George Eustice, says that there are “benefits to operating in a single market”, but their preference is “to reform the EU and then have a referendum to stay in the reformed EU”, but they “rule nothing out”. And rightly so, anything can happen.
So what do the men themselves have to say?
These are the views of some farmers from across the UK who have been in the agriculture industry for as long as they can remember:
Chris Dafydd Jones-Morris works on Bwlchgwyn Farm in Gwynedd, North Wales, and has been his entire life. His family used to own the farm, but he decided to sell up and now works for other people on the farm. He says, “The trouble is, bigger farmers are getting into trouble now. It’s hard to earn good money. Many big farms have gone bankrupt, into receivership.”
He is a dairy farmer and believes that there is a “serious milk crisis”. Chris continues, “it costs the farmer 28p-29p to produce one litre of milk, but now most farmers only get 21p in return, so we’re running at a loss”. He explained that factories are dropping the prices by 3.7p per litre, so some farmers only get 17p.
“It’s not only that, but supermarkets hold so much power, running rings around us farmers.” The fact that supermarkets can dictate their own prices has consequences over the livelihoods of British farmers, and they are the ones suffering.
“I don’t think we would get our single farm payment if we left the EU, which is our grant we get around the 1 December every year, but it’s less and less every year, so in the long run if we were to just sell our own meats and produce, farmers would be better off.” Mr. Jones-Morris feels very strongly about leaving the EU and believes it really is the time to leave.
“We follow the European Commission’s policies, and the other European farmers don’t stick to the rules.
“The French Farmers, for example, were caught burning tyres on the motorway. British farmers wouldn’t be able to do that. It’d be seen as an act of terrorism in this country.”
Chris has witnessed 15-20 dairy farms closing in his nearby area over the years, and the situation continues to worsen.
“Every week three farms are going out of business in Britain!”
Finishing on the touchy subject he says: “This year will be the decider for the future of farmers. We can’t carry on running at a loss. It’s a lose-lose situation for us and the reality is, we are the ones suffering.”
Similarly, Brian Shaw wants to leave the EU. He runs T.C. Shaw & Sons farm in Bedfordshire with his granddaughter. Together they farm over 2000 acres, which is a combination of owned, tenanted and contracted land. They farm grain and one of their biggest contractors is Weetabix. They say that they rely heavily on exports to keep their prices up.
“I do think, though, if we were to leave, David Cameron would put up import tariffs, which would definitely go against us. On the other side, we could market grain all over the world.
“There would be a year or two of corrections and the price of our grain will have to go up or we will lose money. The electorate gets cross if the prices go up, so the government will feel pressure to continue subsidising farmers as he’ll be afraid of upsetting us.”
However, Brian doesn’t shy away from the fact that the EU does help farmers a great deal.
“I get £70 per acre. But then again, 3-4 years ago I was selling wheat for £200 per tonne. Now, I’m making £103 more or less on the same product, so it’s nearly halved for me. It has been sliding for years, so we do need a subsidy to keep us going.”
The annual grant is crucially important for these farmers and for the future of our agriculture sector. He agrees with Dafydd that it is so tough and the situation is only worsening, so he feels like there is no other option other than to leave.
“We’re working on a combination of confusions. I’m so sick and tired of the bureaucracy from Brussels and being dictated by overseas regulations.”
He finishes by saying that British farmers have much higher standards than the rest of Europe. “I always look at French farms and they have nothing on us for hygiene. Abroad, you see all sorts of things. The British people in this country should be buying British meat only and supporting us.”
George Tobbitt has the same patriotic view as Brian, who farms pigs, cattle, and sheep at StanHills Farm in Bletchingley. His farm is 1,000 acres and he thinks the farmers would be “better off out of the EU”. He says he wants to leave because his pro-British and so many people in the supermarkets are “blind to what they’re buying and where it comes from”.
“I think this country is going downhill and we need serious change. The countryside is only good because the farmers are the ones who look after it and people forget that. Most of us work every day, from 6 am in the morning until it’s dark.”
It’s safe to say that morale among farmers is at an all-time low, now to see what those on the other side of the spectrum think about a possible Brexit.
Peter McTurk is a horticultural farmer at Calcott Hall Farm in Brentwood and farms fruit and vegetables mainly across 140 acres of land. He says that because of the types of crops they grow, they receive minimal payments but “every little helps”. Peter is a firm believer in the UK staying in the EU and says farmers “would be silly to want to leave”.
“For us, we don’t do much trade directly with Europe, but in the shop, we import a large amount of fruit and veg from Europe which may damage the reputation if we were to leave.
“We import a lot from Spain, France and Portugal. Lots of our crops come from further afield, so we rely on the EU a lot.”
He believes that the farmers would still be able to trade with the EU but they would no longer be “favourable partners” like they are now. As well as that but prices may increase drastically. “I think it would become a lot harder. As with most businesses, the big fish survive and the small ones struggle. Those are the ones most at risk.”
Keeping up with the times is very important for farmers. Peter says, “There is a gap to continue diversifying if we are all going to survive, though.”
Likewise, Phil Burrows wants to stay in the EU. He is the Director of Barleylands farm based in Billericay, Essex. His farm is mixed, being a combination of arable land with wheat, oilseeds, grapes, peas, beans, barley and borage being farmed and has a 200-acre showground, farm park too. Phil personally believes that the UK needs to stay in the EU. “It’s fantastic. It provides us with highly skilled workers.
“The company struggles with seasonal farm staff, they generally have a poor work ethic and low drive. Europeans come here wanting to work long hours, will do anything and have a smile on their face.”
As well as that, the Director explained the scale in which they sell their crops to the European markets. For Barleylands, they rely on selling and marketing their produce to the rest of the world, so the EU offers them that bridge.
“We receive European funding which is an essential part of our income. If we were to leave I think we would have less say in world affairs and lose respect on the global table.
“There may even be restrictions on migrant workers entering the UK, which will cause a skills shortage from farming right the way through to the NHS.”
Adding to their view, Barleylands imagines that the next 2-5 years will be tough will volatile prices.
“More and more farmers who haven’t diversified will be forced out or contract their farms out.”
So, many farmers believe that continued expansion is essential to their future and for the entire agriculture sector’s future too.
“The landscape that we all know and love is not natural. It is the result of generations of farmers tending and nurturing it so that it produces food now and for generations to come.”
Maybe it’s time we no longer forget about our wonderful British farmers who wake up early every day to maintain our country’s beautiful lands, providing us with so much goodness and masses of produce for our society.
So spare a thought or two for those who wish to stay in the EU and those who want the Brexit, for these forgotten men that often get very lost amongst the heated EU referendum debate.
MEPs have their say
Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP for South East England and Secretary-General of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists who is pro-Brexit said at the National Farmers’ Union conference: “Every year since we joined there has been an in-balance. Britain is very unusual in the European Union, being a net food importer with relatively large and efficient farms.”
Daniel believes that the UK has always been positively and negatively penalised more than any other member state, getting less out of the EU than any other.
“Under the current CAP, we are giving a great deal more to wealthy French and African farmers, and the real question for us is can we manage better with a British agricultural policy tailored to suit the needs of our own countryside.”
On the opposing side, speaker George Lyon, Former MEP for Scotland and member of the Britain Stronger In Europe group believes that farming trading prices may increase drastically, should we make a Brexit. He said: “Following your heart, I think could leave you with quite a big financial headache. When you promise people that every problem they have will disappear if we were to say, break up the United Kingdom and Europe then people can take that in any way they want.”
George advises people to follow their head when voting, and nothing more. He says that it’s vital to recognise that farmers are better off unified with the EU and not separated from them, to maintain a healthy relationship.
“I would say that down to all of the elements we distrust, Brussels isn’t forcing us to do anything, but your accountants by large, are. Once you vote to leave there is no way back.
“We are stronger, safer and better off in the EU.”
Just how well the government and MEPs respond to the farming crisis will depend on the consequences the forgotten men of our country face. It is crucial for all to stay mindful when voting in the referendum; knowing that this imperative decision being made on 23 June will affect our agriculture’s future.
Many people are guilty of even acknowledging our farmers and what it may be like for them, so now is the time this changed – to give our farmers the credit and recognition they deserve.
3.Press Release for Music Artist
Release of the single ‘Mr.’ by Chris Fosh
Written by Gemma Smith
Over an extensive period of time, recording artist Chris Fosh has built up his an impressive reputation and creates strikingly original music with euphoric live performances in and around London. He can be recognised as a leading and creative individual who has a unique, masculine voice that can be heard, felt and touched across the masses.
His record label, OMG Collective, has officially announced the release of his new single Mr. that is set to come out on 25 May 2015. Orin ‘oriYo’ Norbert produced the single with additional production from Eric Brou. Mr. was directed and post-produced by Diogo Pinheiro, who is a Porto-Portugal native Video Director, Animator and Motion Designer.
Mr. has a defined and strong meaning that highlights the inner monologue that most people can feel and relate to when they have truly had enough. Chris Fosh pays a high degree of homage to those people that experience this while empowering them to stand up for their deep belief-systems that often get forgotten about or put to one side. Mr. is accompanied with a deep, catchy beat and typography taking it to a whole new height and it really makes it clear that the majority of people goes through hardship and adversity at some point, but the level of respect and two-way communications remains the premise that is transferred from one being to the next in any given situation.
The single is being released for free and is a devotion to any ‘Mr.’ out there. The video’s visuals and construction will probably remain in the mind of any viewer as it has a powerful importance on eye contact and colourful connotations setting the mood.
Another key awareness from the video is that things have become very much ‘the same’, and at the end of the day, it’s now “time for a change”. This leads to a needed paradigm shift in society, so Chris Fosh’s messages certainly have the ability to inspire and create energy for change.
The vintage works of Grace Jones, a Jamaican singer, songwriter, model, record producer and actress, inspired Chris Fosh’s video, Mr. Chris Fosh’s new album titled ‘Delusion Of Grandeur’ is set to come out this winter featuring this single, which will be a mixture of jazz, electro, hip-hop, funk, soul, and house. This is an exciting release as Chris Fosh has such a versatile edge and the video highlights his “dark, mysterious and unbreakable” appearance for sure.
4.News Story for TCE Global News
Save our country, save your children and save their future…before it’s too late
What is happening to our children? Why is sexual education being so immorally taught in our schools, sending our children messages that are nothing but intoxicating? It is literally horrifying.After much research, it has been found that many leaflets that are being distributed around Britain’s schools are sending out scary and worrying sexual persuasions; tarnishing the younger generation’s minds. Saying, “I like you is equal to anal sex” and “it’s your own choice to choose your sexuality”. God teaches that a man and a woman come together in love, to experience life’s wonderful gift and to reproduce leaving behind an admirable legacy.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), said that children aged 0-4 should be given information about masturbation and be given a right to explore their gender identity, whether that be based on a same-sex sexuality or otherwise. Childhood is about fun, enjoyment, laughter, and most importantly, it’s about being a child. Some found objections from Unesco that include teaching children at the age of 9 about sexual stimulation, as well as the definition and function of orgasms, is completely out of childhood context. As well as that, they preach to children at the age of 15 that they can receive pleasure from the same or opposite sex. These manipulated tactics are turning our children into adults, making them grow up too fast which is dangerous and worrying.
Of course, Christianity will not dismiss one’s freedom of choice to be homosexual, but to teach this as a ‘teaching’ in our schools, as a lesson to learn from in life, as a foundation for these children to grow from, abide by and think of as a holy truth – is beyond acceptable. Yet so many of us are blind to these truths, blind of reality and blind to what is really happening…yesterday, tomorrow and today. It’s time that this changed.
It makes us ashamed of our educational system that the decisions made are strategically planned and wrongfully acknowledged by our government. It’s very backwards and our human rights are at the back of their list, despite preaching it as a priority of theirs. It’s a sign of serious corruption that is occurring in front of our eyes.
TCE Global News believes that the government is lying to us and lying to themselves, and even worse, they’re lying to their country, to their nation, to their patriotic heritage that we’re all so proud of being a part of. We need to represent our country by standing up and not letting the deflation of what they call the truth get the better of us. We can make the real truth the forefront because we live by the truth.
A key principle is to stick together to help change the situation, even if we can encourage and influence just one child to think and act against what is being taught…we are making a difference. Even by sharing the message with our friends and family, it all helps. Every positive signal we send out there together is making a big difference to all the wrongdoing happening in our educational system and to our society.
Undoubtedly, we can’t change the world but one thing we know as Christians is that we do possess the power within us, combined with the support of the Almighty Himself, to truly change and improve ourselves for the better. Considering this, the possibility of us honestly making an impact on others by inspiring our brothers and sisters with our true thoughts, we can encourage positive changes within one another. Even if it’s one or two people’s lives every day that we reach out to, just by practicing what we preach as Christians, together we can make a difference for the greater good.
We have to remember the teachings that we were surrounded by while being taught by our parents, as well as what the Bible says is right from wrong. We cannot sit back and accept what is happening. The truth is, what is occurring can be seen as immoral and scarily fragmenting the younger generation that is voiceless and helpless to make a change.
The fact of the matter is children need to be children, which, unfortunately, due to the evolution of current technology it is slowly being undermined. They should not be exposed to obscene material, which has recently become accustomed to our current educational curriculum, being taught such things as how to put a condom on a male and female genitalia at such a young age. It could be considered to be ludicrous and something that TCE News believes that should be addressed, urgently. We believe that children should not be given hand-outs about sexual encounters with other students, informing them of messages to look out for, like, “can I take your shirt off it makes me hot when you touch me” and “is it okay if I take my pants off”. I’m sure you’ll agree with us when we say this but why are they saying this to OUR children? There has been a shift in what really matters for children’s basic needs; it’s far from healthy.
The United Nations has set up a campaign of Healthy, Happy and Hot. It teaches that children that have sexual pleasure through masturbation and children that are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with aids have a right to not disclose their status of being HIV positive. Not only that but they also suggest that if young adults decide to not wear a condom, it is their decision. How is this right? It seems to be that we are not protecting one another anymore and the attitude being projected is doing just that.
We have to remember that countries all over the world are poverty stricken and our fellow Christian communities are suffering, with no fresh water and no access to suffice food to eat and keep them healthy. Unfortunately, the current society that is encompassed around moaning and complaining, they are equally being ignorant to the important messages that should be handed down to our children, in order to provide a positive impact on their future which will result in a brighter future for our country.
From our eyes, people are being treated and manipulated, wrongly, immorally and against God’s wishes and all of the Christian beliefs and teachings that we say we follow and live by on a daily basis. People are being brainwashed into thinking that if they decide to object towards the government’s decisions, they will inevitably be forced to accept what one believes as wholeheartedly wrong. In turn, people are being denied foreign aid and are suffering because of what they truly believe in as it’s frowned upon and non-compliant to the government’s undisclosed objectives.
Their messages are being disguised as human rights objectives, as gender, sexual health, and reproductive solutions, but really it is promoting abortion and obsessive focus on sexual pleasure, instructing our children to explore their readiness to sexual activities when they’re not adequate enough to understand such intimacy of life’s experiences in the first place. Why is this? Why are they encouraging it?
We believe that children are the government’s prospect of future opportunities for themselves. When they are sexualised, they become planned-parented customers (as commonly known as another statistic), dependent on their services. They carefully conceal their strategies as Family Life Education, Team Pregnancy Prevention, HIV Prevention and Abortion Prevention, for example. All within the small print there are destructive details that are being exposed while allowing so many leaflets to be distributed to our children, flooding our schools and all without parental consent. TCE Global News doesn’t agree with these decisions, what are your thoughts?
Informing our children that they can be who they want to be is confusing and can be seen as mental molestation. We believe that it’s confusing children of who they are. How can they possibly grow and become themselves when they’re being encouraged to sexually be involved with others, whether that be a male or female? Sexual freedom is their priority (their being the government and all of the officials that we hold to account), but really the sexual health of our children will suffer.
We need to stand up for our family and for our children. As parents we should accept the power that has been gracefully granted to us by the Lord, to be able to say no. Together, TCE and you have to now (more than ever), stand up and believe in the following, “My family is mine, my children are mine and I will protect what’s mine. I will not let others that know NOTHING about me and my family influence what is mine in the wrong way.”
TCE believes that we need to stop this from entering our country and entering our children’s lives. It is happening on our watch and if we don’t do something about it, it will be all of us that carry that guilt. Men have to rise up and defend their family, as fathers, they have to stand by their word and be strong. Equally speaking, women too, together we have to say in unity as one, “you have no place talking about sexuality to my children, we resist it.” As parents, we will teach it. Who are you to teach my children these messages against God’s wishes?
Please, today, go to stopcse.org and sign the petition to help prevent this from continuing. TCE believes that we have to, TOGETHER as ONE, save our children for their today and for their tomorrow.
5.Press Release for Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster
Dr. Shirley J Thompson Sacred Mountain Press Release, by Gemma Smith
Dr. Shirley J Thompson is an award-winning English composer of Jamaican descent and a large proportion of her versatile works include symphonies, ballets, operas, concertos, and ensembles, as well as music for TV, film and theatre.
Thompson’s upcoming opera, Sacred Mountain, will be based on the life of Jamaica’s Boudicca in the Life of Queen Nanny of the Maroons. It is being showcased in this year’s largest contemporary opera festival in Europe – Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.
Sacred Mountain is a hypnotic psychological narrative and will be opening the Tête à Tête Contemporary Opera Festival. A poignant niche to this performance is that the usual role for female protagonists in this kind of production is usually portrayed as tragic, whereas this will be the first opera to showcase a female character as a heroic figure. The drama and narrative will need to be sustained by the solo singer, which is a very challenging yet unique aspect to Shirley’s opera.
The festival will be running from 21 July to 09 August, and Shirley’s opera is being performed on 21 and 22 July in the heart of Kings Cross at 19.50pm on the 21 and at 19.50pm on the 22. Tête à Tête can be found at 42 Southwick Street, London W2 1JQ.
Dr. Shirley J Thompson frequently delivers free talks and tours as well, one of which is being given on the 25 June 14:30-16:00. The talk is being delivered at The Clore Study Room, British Galleries, Level 2, and she will discuss her journey as a historical icon that has performed worldwide. Thompson has an inspirational voice with a beautiful and powerful aura that undoubtedly touches people and stands as a musical activist that encapsulates onlookers in her operatic performances.
Thompson is working on many projects, one that includes the Institute of Culture at Kings College, London, focusing on science and music entwined. Her premiered ballet performance, PUSH, has been presented in over 38 countries over the last 10 years and has previously composed a large work for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. Alongside this, Thompson became the first woman in Europe to compose a symphony in 2004, and her legacy enables her work to be performed worldwide to this day.
Her works are truly remarkable, and is renowned as “an exciting composer that’s leading a wave of contemporary composers.” – Everywoman. Her upcoming event on 21 and 22 of July will be special and stimulating, so certainly one ought not to be missed.
Tickets to the Tête à Tête festival can be bought here: http://www.westminster.ac.uk/cream/news/dr-shirley-j-thompsons-to-perform-at-this-years-tete-a-tete-opera-festival and any other information about Dr. Shirley J Thompson can be found on her website: http://www.shirleythompsonmusic.com/
6. Description/Promotion for Music event
Project 101 is finally HERE! But what is it?
It is an exciting and fresh House music event that brings our listeners only the top and current tunes in the charts, including special headliners just for our exclusive guests. The prime ethos of Project 101 focuses on bringing an ‘Ibiza feel’ to House music in the Beds, Bucks, and Herts area – a unique gap that is currently not being fulfilled by the music events industry. The Project 101 team wish to bring some prime Ibiza acts to the UK, with the assistance from our professional promoters who will be working hard to accommodate your every House-music need. Not only that, but Project 101 ensures only quality sound and lighting equipment for all of our events, and a high-end degree of House entertainment can be expected.
On top of all of this, Project 101 has made it essential to cater for an outstanding capacity, making the event bigger and better than any local House music event. We will be attracting people from all over the UK, which means the culture of our people will be diverse and fun; just what is needed for the perfect, all-rounded music occasion in what we hope to be a close proximity to you!
Having a once-in-a-lifetime encounter for the very first time means everything to us, which is why we guarantee to bring you a sensational House-music experience every two months, complimented by a cinematic show of lights, visuals and so much more making it a night you’ll truly never forget. Project 101 will have you coming back for more, so be part of the House magic and let the music take control. We have the love and support from our fans to make Project 101 one of the most profound innovations of our times, so make sure you’re a part of this legacy!
7.Biography for DJ/Event Innovator
Wayne Harvey, known to most as DJ O.D.Cee, has been affiliated with music and surrounded by creative people within the music scene for a considerably long period of time. On his first pair of decks in 2000, O.D.Cee was introduced to mixing and playing Garage, which was then, currently, the pioneering musical movement.
On discovering his unique mixing skills alongside his relentless passion and love for Drum N Bass, he knew from then, that this was his desired career path. After building a weekly collection of vinyl over a dated period of time, Helter Skelter being a notable favourite, O.D.Cee made a name for himself showcasing his skills successfully at local house parties and youth clubs.
His hand in Drum N Bass production began whilst attending the DJ Academy, Luton, three times a week. With the aid of Cubase SX, O.D.Cee learned the basics in order to self-teach and create the music he loved, whilst helping out with the local record store Street Sounds. Leaving the DJ Academy, he progressed to featuring in a few sets on the pirate station for the area, furthering him to gain more exposure.
In growth, personally and professionally, DJ O.D.Cee began to take his aspirations seriously as a breakthrough Drum N Bass producer, and even invested in a personal studio. While playing on local radio shows, he soon connected with Shabba D’s then, signed artist MC Fire and collaborated in the birth of the notorious club night ‘Carnage’ in 2007. From this, O.D.Cee was able to create his own record label and build a profound team called BlackLeaf Recordings.
Following his continuous success in the industry, DJ O.D.Cee’s bookings began to quickly increase on a national and international level, including regular bookings in Germany. He played at Shabba D’s ‘Innovation In The Sun’ boat party 2011, organising and performing at selected events from Luton to Milton Keynes and ran weekly internet radio shows on http://www.shedbass.net. Local DJ’s supports his music production too, in addition to the DnB radio show on Diverse FM. This makes BLR only a percentage of his many accomplishments over the years!
Following a recent hiatus to solidify business ventures; DJ O.D.Cee now returns with a fresh perspective on his contribution to the music scene and a drive to creating ground-breaking music, just as DnB and Electro House has been growing in popularity.
Towards the end of 2014, O.D.Cee made a new 4-deck house mix that soared in success, inspiring him to embrace his music career once again. After returning from Ibiza in 2015, he felt ready to return to his original music ambition with full acceleration. Soon after this, he noticed that his own standards had heightened compared to his past after returning to the studio once again, so his long-haul vision had only grown in strength after his short halt.
Due to experimenting and being so versatile with his music production choices over the years, DJ O.D.Cee decided to approach his friends with a house event idea and that’s when he established Project 101 with a collective of other people.
Big things are set for P101 this year. The team is looking to sign big major labels and produce promising house music that will set the House Music scene on a serious paramount journey for all music lovers throughout 2016/17, and that is certified!
8.In-depth narrative featured in Smoke Magazine
Embarking on an adventure to the ‘Roof of Africa’
“Everyone has a mountain to climb, Gemma smith has climbed hers.”
When I set out on the mission to ‘climb a mountain’ I never knew that I would actually reach it to the top of the summit…
I booked my trip at the start of the year and it was quite a spontaneous decision. I had no idea what I was in for, all I knew was that I was embarking on something bigger than I have ever done before in my entire life and I had many mixed emotions about it!
When I first booked it I was extremely excited. It brought back many memories of how I felt when I went travelling before back in 2012 to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, all of which I did on my own! The way I can describe jetting off solo is a sense of freedom just washes over you. Not knowing where you are going, what you will be seeing or whom you may meet is such an addictive feeling, and it’s okay to say that I definitely have the travel bug!
I first got inspired to travel because I have always been interested in the ‘bigger picture’ – the world. I mean we live in such a huge place that is free (not literally) to roam around in by car, boat, train or even jet, so why not explore what’s out there and discover new things? Your vision becomes instantly wider and the connections you make along the way become such a huge part of your life, and opportunities come flooding towards you as you realise you have endless more doors open for you that otherwise would never have been there if it wasn’t for travelling. Sure going alone is pretty scary, but what isn’t nowadays? I say take the risk because every day in this living life is a risk, and what you don’t do you will probably regret for the rest of your life, but you’ll unlikely regret the stories you have to tell.
Why Mount Kilimanjaro?
I have always been extremely fascinated with Africa – it is the motherland! I thought to myself that it must be a truly touching experience to go there, as you hear all over the media how different it is and how little everybody has. I was in awe to open up my eyes, even more and learn about the local people and communities as well as immersing myself in a whole new culture that I have never seen before.
I questioned different ways of travelling around Africa and I sat back and said to myself, ‘I would really love to climb a mountain in my lifetime, like a really big one’. Then I remembered all the stories a few of my friends have told me about Kili and how incredible it was. They said it literally changed their lives, so I wondered how, why, and by what? Then I thought, why don’t I go and experience it all for myself? And that was when I took the leap of faith. We all have fears and we all go through times where we doubt our capabilities, and ourselves, and it is during these hardships we become afraid of what we can achieve rather than what we cannot. So that is why I think we all need to face our fears headstrong and use our inner-strength, our drive, and stubborn determination to spontaneously book our dreams because there really is no better day than today!
We all have all probably heard people talk about travelling and many people say that it’s a great quest in life but wait until you have financial stability and a backbone to fall back on. I totally disagree with that attitude because I think we should all do it while we are young, and chase our dreams and never give up until we get there. When you travel you grow, you inspire and you feel inspired. Plus, you never know, it could change your life!
So setting off for Africa on the 6th June this year I felt the nerves run through me, as I felt very anxious. My friends and family showed their support and simply couldn’t have done more for me, so I felt the love to keep me moving forward. It was a big step up from anything I had ever done before, and I thought bungee jumping and skydiving was a huge achievement: I was just about to tackle the tallest freestanding mountain in the world with asthma and barely any training! To say that I am crazy is an understatement, but deep down who isn’t? The truth is, only some of us are willing to show and express our crazy side!
I had spent a lot of time, money and research on my mountain equipment and clothing list and finding out what brands were better than others. To say the least, the stress I went through in purchasing all what I needed was astronomical, and that’s without putting aside all of the medication, EXPENSIVE medication, that I had to buy just to keep me protected, alive and healthy during my travels. (This wasn’t something I had researched well before booking my adventure trip, as I usually book my travels spare of the moment, but I like it that way!) The unknown is so much more exciting, so that’s probably why I decided to not train hard for the climb. I am quite an active girl anyway in my everyday life, so I didn’t think it was that necessary.
It was quite a reckless move of mine to be perfectly honest, because if I had trained I would have been a lot more confident, but I wanted to be humble about the experience and see exactly what my body, mind and spirit was able to accomplish. Plus, I had many people telling me – or should I say nagging me – about training that it began to put me off! I booked it so sparingly on the spot that the nerves were heightening as it was! If I had climbed a mini-mountain in Wales and had an awful time it may have dampened my attitude about Kili and I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted a clear mind, a strong mental stamina and a positive attitude and all of that combined with a fantastic group and team spirit would – I was certain of it – be enough to make me reach the top.
So when I reached Africa the whole country electrified me instantly. I felt incredible and the natural beauty of the land stunned me straight away. All of the African people were so friendly too, and having everything organised and set in place really put my heart and mind at ease, and my parents too of course!
I met the group and the agency I would be travelling with for the week up the mountain, and despite the nerves that were naturally present, I was preparing myself mentally for what was to come.
The whole climb took six days in total: four days and one night up to the top, and one and a half days down. Every day we experienced a different climate zone, which was very bizarre for the body, and it took me some time to adapt to it. On the first day, I wore shorts and light clothing because at the bottom of the mountain it was very humid, and we was trekking through the rainforest to our first campsite. We walked uphill for five hours solid on our first day, and I was completely shocked by the physical demand this was already having on my body! At this point, I regretted not training, but it would have been a bit useless of me to give up after day one, wouldn’t it? So that just wasn’t going to happen.
Day two, on the other hand, was a moorland climate zone which meant that because we were going higher, the rain had stopped and I coped a bit on my second day as I had a deeper understanding of what I was in for. I found my own way and my own tactic and it worked really well for me: I stuck at the front next to the guide while the others walked behind me. They thought I was super-fit and I was the team leader in a way, but little did they know! I needed time to concentrate on my steps, digest what was happening to my body, and me, as well as following the footsteps of the main guide and not getting caught up in conversation with my friends in my group.
I found that talking whilst trekking upwards really made my breathing a lot heavier, so I had to focus on every breath and control my asthma sensibly. It also gave me more time to get to know the guide and ask him questions about the African culture, and he told me some funny stories about previous groups who clashed, had fights, took drugs at the summit and other crazy stuff! I remember something someone told me before I left for the climb and that was to really appreciate the scenery because every day would be completely different, and I started to understand this now. It is quite easy to get caught up with looking down at the floor all the time because you are concentrating so much, but then when you sit back and realise what you are doing, you feel completely blessed.
On the second day, I started to feel the deprivation from a real toilet and from having a shower. I am the cleanest person and I come from a very clean and tidy household, so this mountain climb was challenging for me in more ways than one! My parents were shocked at the thought of me not showering for a week, as well as having no electric and no technology! It was a week of raw living, getting to know myself and pushing my limits further than I have ever pushed them before. I was breaking boundaries and proving to myself just how much a human being can achieve just by putting their mind to it when all feels impossible.
The third day was a desert climate, so it was a lot warmer but colder at the same time as we were getting closer to the equator but going higher so the air was colder. I was really starting to feel the transition on this day, and I was beginning to feel the exhaustion. I was relying on my mental strength more than ever at this point but I pulled through it step by step. Our guides constantly told us to not look ahead and to ‘respect each day’, and I think this helped me more than I realised at the time. I took every day as it came, and felt that I had achieved something, without looking into the night of the summit.
The team guides and porters were absolutely amazing, and every time we reached our camp the porters would already be there with the tents set up with food being prepared. I was eating more than I have ever done before but that was important to give me the energy I needed. I was also drinking at least four litres of water a day that I purified and cleansed myself with tablets. Although the mountain water was reasonably clean, I still wasn’t used to their way of life and I didn’t want to risk feeling ill.
“You can all do it”, our main tour CEO told us as he took our heart rate and oxygen levels every night after dinner. I felt so safe and reassured, and their team spirit really gave me the boost when times felt hard and my body was weak. Everyone got on so well and I loved the diversity in my group! Everything was absolutely perfect. I also loved the fact that I could write about my travels in my journal, and when I got back from my trip I blogged about it at http://www.gemmaleighsmithblog.wordpress.com. Being a writer it is important for me to travel and share stories with the world from a first-hand perspective.
Day four and the night was the summit night so this was perhaps the biggest part of my climb for me: it was my time to shine, it was my time to make it happen and only I could do it. We had to conquer the Barranco Wall on day four which horrified me as I have a huge phobia of falling. Through blood, sweat and tears I reached it to the top of Barranco Wall, and it was important for us to acclimatise and get used to the high altitudes, so this was a very big moment for everyone.
So the summit night came and we had to all be up at 11:30pm to set off at midnight and trek through the night to the top. The whole idea of doing it through darkness seemed quite daunting at first, but it was because they wouldn’t want us to trek up to the top during the day when the sun would be shining on us, as we were getting even closer to the equator. It also meant when we had to come down it would be bright, so we would see where we were going easily, and during the night, we relied on our head torches and our guides to lead the way.
It took me eight and a half hours to reach it to the top, and oh my, I have never felt so close to giving up in all my life. I think it got to 5:30am in the morning and I was quite behind from the others in the group, and the main CEO who patiently pushed me along stayed with me giving me the motivation I needed. I reached a point where I sat on a rock and broke down in tears, telling him how tired I was and how I didn’t know if I could do it. I kept falling over, my lips were bleeding from the sharp winds and oxygen was becoming thinner so my asthma was worsening.
I was an absolute mess to say the minimum, but the Sam – the main guide – told me that because I was lucky enough to not have any headaches or sickness I would be okay, and I would make it to the summit because feeling tired was ‘normal’. This gave me the shining light that I needed at this very moment in time. I looked up and saw the sunrise approaching in the distance, and looked at him in desperation as I felt his belief in me. It gave me the courage and willpower to carry on, and I remembered how far I had come, feeling all of the love and support from my family back at home.
I was alive, I was happy and I was free. I made it to the top and I was the happiest and proudest girl in the world. I cried with happiness as I reached 5895m above sea level – which is just over 19,000 ft. high. My dream had come true as I reached Uhuru peak (which means Freedom in English, and you can understand why because that is just how you feel when you make it): the ‘Roof of Africa’.
At the top, glaciers surrounded us all around us as well as the huge fluffy clouds. We couldn’t stay at the summit for too long because it was absolutely freezing and oxygen was scarce, so after ten minutes we began walking down back to base camp. Trekking downhill is actually a lot more dangerous than going up because your knees are majorly confused and they feel like they just want to crack into two. You have got so used to climbing upwards it is hard for your body to adjust to a new pressure. You have a higher chance of slipping and falling on the rubble, and I fell over many times! It got to the point where I fell over that much it didn’t bother me anymore. I had made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the adrenaline rush was indescribable and enough to ‘move mountains’.
It took a day and a half to make it down to the gates, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a completely different experience to going up, and I listened to my music and spoke to everyone in the group a lot more as I began to breathe normally again and not struggle for air; which was an amazing feeling. It made me appreciate just being able to wake up every morning and breath easily. It’s all of these little things we fail to appreciate, but I see it all so differently now.
So my boots became my best friend, and they really were made for walking. I think it is an essential piece of equipment you need to spend the most money on, because, without a comfortable pair, blisters may get the better of you which could ruin your whole potential.
I made the most incredible memories of the people in my group who were from all over the world. Three guys were from America, one from Brazil, two from Switzerland, a couple of British and then we had the Africans who made this whole journey possible for us. They were absolutely fantastic and I would recommend G Adventures to anyone looking to do this trip. They couldn’t have done enough, and the food was wonderful on the mountain! We ate fresh, homemade soup every night followed with a freshly prepared meal. Breakfast was great too: I ate a bowl of porridge, toast, fruit and a fry up. It sounds a lot but you can feel your body needing as much fuel as it can get to prepare for the long eight-hour treks a day.
All of the porters carried our main rucksack whilst we had our day pack with us, as well as all of the food, portable cooking equipment and rubbish that they carry with them leaving no litter at all on the mountain. It’s inspiring to hear the porters and guides talk about the mountain like it’s their baby. It is practically their home and so many of them have trekked to the top over 100 times. It is also eye-opening to see the way that the 40 porters and seven guides gathered when we reached the campsite for the evening, and it really touched my heart hearing them sing and dance around us! It gave us an abundance of encouragement and made the whole process enjoyable and completely worth it. You would reach camp feeling like you truly knew the definition of ‘exhaustion’, something I will never say and use recklessly from now on, and then they would give you a positive energy that you needed. I would pinch myself with happiness, and especially when were all above the clouds after day three; it really seemed quite surreal.
Did my horizon broaden? It did beyond expectations. Not only did I learn a lot about myself and how great the body is great at adapting and fighting through muscle aches and pains, but I learned a lot about other people and how they deal with things differently to you. I have made new friends from all over the world, and I have a huge attachment to Africa too. It is such a beautiful country and the people there are so ‘real’. They don’t have a lot, and the porters climb the mountain for their job carrying 25kg plus in worn out shoes, but they all still have a huge smile on their face and refuse to complain. They are so grateful for us, and they adore the British!
The people and families in town in Tanzania and in Zanzibar – where I went after to relax for a few days after my climb – don’t have what we do in the Western world, yet I would say they are a lot more content and happy to just ‘be’. It puts life into context and it made me see it from a different angle. I realised that I didn’t really miss my phone on the mountain or electricity. No one judged me, everyone was there to do the same thing as me, and despite not showering being difficult it was far from a concern at the front of my mind. There was so much more to life, and I feel so appreciative for everyone at home who loves me and had given me the inner courage to pursue my dream. They never stopped believing in me, and although people said I wouldn’t make it and I wouldn’t cope I proved them all wrong. The negative comments and doubts I used to my advantage and knew that it didn’t matter what anyone thought or said, it was all down to me. You can do anything when you put your mind to it. The world is ours!
So I would say face your fears and live your dreams. ‘Live right, look left’, and you will never regret one day of your life. If you live it the way you want to and you don’t let your fears override your determination, you will live the best possible life there is and you will, most importantly, be happy.
Travelling is a priceless experience, and I think the things you learn along the way cannot be taught in a classroom or in your hometown. What you know now is as far as it goes, so how can you possibly grow? Yet imagine how much more you can learn by throwing yourself in the deep end, and doing things you have always wanted to do but were stopped by limitations.
It really is about the small things in life like good company, unexpected achievements, being happy and living in the present moment and not alienating yourself with your mobile phone zoning out from the real world, because all of that is fake. On the mountain, I was living in the moment and that was the best feeling in the world. The phrase Hakuna Matata is Swahili for No Worries that was used often on the mountain, and you can probably relate to that from The Lion King!
My strengths that I have obtained through travelling can now be adapted to my university degree, as I have perspective on a ‘not giving up’ attitude and taking that with me wherever I go and need to go in life. No matter what life throws at you and how hard times can get, don’t stop believing because, through hard work, perseverance, and sincere passion, success is the only possible outcome. Everyone has their mountain to climb, and I am extremely overwhelmed that at the age of 21 I have climbed mine.
If you have any travelling stories or dreams that you would like to share I would absolutely love to hear about them! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And remember, love yourself, believe in yourself, follow your intuitions and you will never go wrong! Enjoy the freedom with every part of you, feel energised and see the world that we live in because really is such a beautiful place. Climb a mountain if you have to; it will undoubtedly change your life.
Written by Gemma Smith
9.Published NUJ article
Written by Gemma Smith
‘You have been accepted at the University of Westminster on the BA Journalism course’ read a UCAS email in 2013. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had finally done it. My preferred institution had accepted me! I knew at that moment that it was my time to embrace an offer that I had always dreamed of.
Growing up I always loved to watch the news and listening in on people’s stories (a nosey character definitely enriches this)! Visiting people’s houses I would ask for a pen and paper, and there I would be, writing down anything that comes to mind, telling stories and narrating situations.
Going to university has allowed me to meet real-life, working journalists and there has been nothing more exciting. Seeing how the industry works at hand is very useful for an aspiring writer, and my network of people in the media has broadened massively since joining.
I always felt stuck in what I was doing before university. Waitressing in the evening and being a marketing assistant during the day was hard going, and even though the money was good, I was miserable. I knew that deep down my purpose was neither one of those jobs. Intuitively I knew that there was so much more I had to offer, I just had to make that big step and now that I have, I can never look back.
Gaining work experience with Spanish newspapers and magazines was very fun. I had my own page called the InScene in a newspaper called The Coastrider for just short of a year. I realised that the more versatile I was as a journalist the bigger readership I could potentially attract, so that’s what I set out to do. So I would write a little bit of everything; from culture to the latest fashion trends, anything journalistic would catch my attention for publication.
I think one of the biggest tips in journalism for me if I could speak to myself is to let the enthusiastic show and let the passion shine through in whatever you do. It doesn’t matter if people reject you, your writing may not appeal to everyone, but there will be someone that will love it.
When I got settled into my degree in the second year I became the Editor-in-Chief for the university magazine, Smoke Magazine. Suddenly I had a wake-up call and realised that I wasn’t just striving to be a journalist, I was attracting the opportunities I had always pictured and that’s when I realised the power of visualisation. I now have writers from the entire institution sending in their work for me to edit and it feels great. I’m reading such a wide spectrum of styles of writing and by editing the work I’m becoming a better journalist myself. During this time, I decided to apply for work experience at BBC Suffolk and I got it. I went there for just shy of a week and absolutely loved it. Not only did I write to the Online department and get published, but I also spent some time in the radio studios looking at the broadcast side of journalism.
Following my time at BBC Suffolk, I went to the Press Association at the Royal Courts of Justice where I shadowed a journalist for four days. There was nothing like working alongside a traditional reporter who encouraged me to see situations differently. I now find myself searching for stories pretty much everywhere I go! I really value the skill of shorthand so much more now that I’ve witnessed it being used by a live journalist in various court cases.
As well as studying, in my free time I like to blog. I use WordPress, which I believe to be a great platform for a writer to start out on. There is no pressure to get things 100% factually correct. I also love how I can blog on the move, even using my mobile phone. While travelling, blogging became one of my favourite things to do at the end of each day. I reflect on the culture and the things that I have learned when I go to new places, making the journey even more interesting. I found that people love to read what I have written, so this makes it much more worthwhile too.
I joined the NUJ as soon as I began university and I enjoyed the events that I got invited to. I have networked a great deal at them and I think it helps to surround yourself with like-minded people as it helps for you to become what you need to be even quicker! By doing this I met a contact that asked me if I wanted to write for a starting-out newspaper, TCE Global, and now I contribute to them every other week being one of the most valuable investigative journalists on the team.
Journalism is undoubtedly a tough industry to breakthrough as there are so many amazing writers, but I think what separates one from the next is the drive and passion. It’s way too easy to give up, but all that I know now is that this is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.
My published article that I’m very proud of and can be found at: https://www.nuj.org.uk/documents/the-journalist-december-january-2016/ (Page 20)
10.Live Music Performance Review
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Soho, London – A ‘well kept treasure’
A feeling of popularity for the performers at the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club was apparent during a night in Soho, London. The people queuing were undeniably excited, as everyone waited for an exclusive night ahead. The club is renowned as one of the greatest and most historic jazz clubs in the world – it is known to offer the best live jazz music in the city. There are two parts: the main club and the smaller venue upstairs for smaller events and the whole feel offers a prestige package for an evening out, which is both classy and enriching in an upmarket surrounding.
Inside it was full of people waiting anxiously for the main group to begin; buying drinks at the bar to casually occupy themselves. There were many bands lined up, each performing a different style of Jazz but if like most people, it can be quite an experience when you have no idea what’s in store from a Soul-Hop music collective. The aura inside the club felt magical and intimate that felt somewhat unusual. On a normal occasion hitting the bars of London the atmosphere can feel so crowded that it’s suffocating, but in Ronnie Scott’s the vibe was pure and patient, despite the bundle of people waiting for the show to start. The collaboration of passionate beats in a song and the written craft work together so beautifully, and this element was something that stood out on this evening. The band that headlined was OMG Collective.
11.Health and Fitness Feature
Is Procrastination More Powerful Than The People?
Both a busy city schedule and the rising prices in London can be demotivating for Londoners. So there is no surprise why so many people cannot commit to keeping fit and healthy.
Words: Gemma Smith, Subeditor: Shannon Cowley
Most Londoners face a non-stop lifestyle topped with depressing weather and high-end city pressures to earn money. This can make keeping fit and healthy almost impossible for Londoners who are desperate to find a way out and make healthier choices.
“I’ll do that tomorrow instead,” are words that young Londoners are guilty of saying. It’s easy to opt for the grab-and-go food option when you only have a sharp 30-minute lunch break. Not only that but exercising in the evening can seem painful and tiring: a huge unwanted effort when caught up in a nine-to-five lifestyle.
Looking outside and seeing the pouring rain is not exactly the most encouraging situation either. Being a Londoner it can be frustrating knowing that traffic awaits at just about every corner of London, so it may not be appealing to even leave the front door!
But just how powerful is procrastination? And why does it have such a strong hold over people? One of the biggest points to think about is how far gyms go to combat this issue to make it possible for Londoners, especially the younger generation. London isn’t cheap and living in the City may not be considered as the most convenient place to enjoy an afternoon jog. So what about a gym membership?
Source: Praba Tuty, http://www.braintrainingtools.org/skills/571/
Britain’s biggest gym chain:
A spokesperson at PureGym commented on these issues saying:
“We think fitness is for everyone, but we also appreciate everyone is different and some aren’t easily motivated. But that is our mission!”
PureGym offers a ‘New Member’ membership costing £12.99 a month with a £5.00 joining fee, and after 12 months the price will increase to £17.99.
They said: “It is tough, but with our no-contract, low-priced memberships and 24 hour opening times, I think we have a good shot!”
“Plus, we want to make working out fun! You don’t have to be a ‘fitness freak’ to use PureGym.” They went on.
But, are young Londoners focusing more on their career than getting fit?
Tim Saunders, a Senior Youth Worker at Alford House youth club in Kennington, says that most young people just need the opportunity to get involved in sport and fitness. Londoners know that protecting their health is important but often feel too restricted to do anything about it.
Source: Casa Velas Hotel Gym, Flickr Creative Commons
Many people with a gym membership find themselves in the spa area more often than the gym itself, which is very ironic…
21-year-old Louisa Smart from Holborn had a 6-month membership at a local DW Gym but rarely used the gym facilities.
“I would finish work and feel motivated to work out but then when it came to it, I just couldn’t be bothered.
“I would pack my swimming gear instead and go straight to the Spa. I’d used the pool and steam and sit in the Jacuzzi to unwind.”
Procrastination is getting the better of people, so how can we beat this outcome?
A word of advice:
The NHS has some tips and tricks to encourage a healthier approach:
- Keep a photo diary of yourself and track the progress. Also, jot down your measurements, targets and feelings. It will feel great to look back and see a ‘different you’, giving you the boost to carry on and not give up so easily.
- Find alternative ways to travel. Walk or cycle to work instead of getting the bus; these small changes amount to a big life change.
- Visualisation is one of the most powerful ways to attract something into your life, which is a proven fact, so start visualising the new you!Try meditating and see yourself living a healthier life.
- Make achievable, step-by-step goals so you don’t put yourself off.
- Get sponsored to do something out of your reach. So push yourself to do that 5K run.
What the Government are doing:
The new government Cyclescheme is so refreshing for Londoners, it really gives people the glimpse of motivation that they may be searching for.
So how does it work? You pick your bike and hire it for an agreed amount of time and buy it for almost half the price.
“It’s like a year-round sale, with interest-free credit available in over 2,000 retailers nationwide. We’ve worked hard to provide a transparent and easy to understand process.
“There are just four steps to go through to get a bike through Cyclescheme,” and these steps are explained online.
Why don’t you try it as a way of travelling to work and get a discounted bike too?
Herbalife have some valuable words of inspiration, reminding us to not let procrastination get the better of us: “Always remember the feeling you get after exercise – endorphins flying around your body, you feel healthy and pleased with yourself. Next time you’re thinking of skipping a session, remember this feeling and get exercising!”
12.Short online article for Health and Fitness
The Time It Takes To Lose Shape
Regular exercise and staying healthy can be tiresome and giving yourself a break is important. But too much time away can have unwanted effects, so how long does it actually take for your body to lose its shape?
Words: Gemma Smith, Subeditor: Shannon Cowley
Source: Pejman Parvandi
Living in London can be hectic, which means making time to keep up efficient health and fitness levels often becomes difficult. When we finally get into a healthy routine it feels uplifting but we need to be careful that the ‘taking a break’ part of the cycle doesn’t snowball from three days to 15. Because before know it, being fit and healthy becomes a thing of the past.
Most health and exercise plans make regular breaks a necessity. They allow time for reflection, as well as avoiding burnout and high stress levels. But exactly how much progress is lost when you take a break? It actually just depends on your fitness levels to begin with. Find out now!
Here are some useful facts about what happens when your exercise plan relaxes:
- For the majority of people, loss of muscle strength happens after three weeks of inactivity, says Molly Galbraith, co-founder of Girls Gone Strongand certified strength and conditioning specialist. However, this will depend on just how healthy you are at the time, as the immune system will speed up muscle strength loss if you’re not feeling so great.
- Heart and lung strength will be lost a lot faster than muscle strength during a long resting period. VO2 max (the maximum or optimum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise) decreases by approximately 20% after four weeks of no cardio, according to Greatist, leading health and fitness specialists.
Source: Quinn Dombrowski
If you don’t usually keep fit, staying consistent with your workouts is key. This is important both physically and mentally as it will give you a sense of routine. Luckily for newbies it is a lot easier to sustain muscle increase during a break but not necessarily muscle strength. Similarly, improvements in VO2 made during new exercise patterns are lost after four weeks of no exercise. So be careful just how long you take.
Two elements that can affect the time you have before losing your fitness levels are age and mentality. The older you are the more likely strength will be lost during times of inactivity, so as a young Londoner you instantly benefit. It’s also important to stay positive and focused, don’t feel guilty about taking time off and remember that it’s a necessity.
So what can be done during a fitness break to limit changes to the body?
One of the most vital things to remember is eating right. Usually, when your body is exercising it craves less junk food. Monitoring these cravings will play a huge role in how much your body changes during rest periods. Try and do as much light exercise during a break to keep your body and mind moving. For example, walking to the shop rather than driving or using public transport will make a difference.
And never forget to reward yourself for your efforts, stay happy and accept your time off. Make new goals and bounce back into a healthy routine as soon possible.
13.Online copies of Smoke Magazine, University of Westminster
Please click on these links to view the two magazines that I, as Editor-in-Chief, produced, helped design, edited and distributed across the entire institution.
14.SSA Harrow Society Blog
I updated and wrote every post on this blog, which was for the Site School Association at the University of Westminster.
This is the blog I wrote while travelling the world:
16.Investigative/Editorial work online
I have also worked at TCE Global News since 2013 when I joined the University of Westminster.
The website is tceglobalnews.com and all of my work can be found on the website.
17.Achievement – being part of the 175th Anniversary ceremony of the University of Westminster, celebrated at Westminster Abbey