I recently saw this video through the #ThisGirlCan campaign on the television and it inspired me no end... have a watch and see just how many different women, of all shapes and sizes are getting on with it... [youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN7lt0CYwHg[/youtube] People tell me that I'm doing well on my fitness plan - I am, don't get me wrong - but, I have down days too, as we all do. But my best advice? Stop moaning or making excuses, there is always a way to start exercising and just get on with it, no matter what your size/fitness level or ability - say yes, get moving, you just never know where it might lead! Please do enjoy my latest video blog, a little peek into my countryside runs in Norfolk recently... I'm at my worst, but I don't care... you shouldn't either! [youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHScTDQqvLE[/youtube] www.thisgirlcan.co.uk What's your favourite form of exercise? Are you struggling for motivation? Do you want t say yes more?! Do leave a comment below and share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! #YesGirlProject is coming soon to www.MissSueFlay.com!
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Monday, 23 March 2015
Within my recent travels, I've been lucky enough to sample some amazing hotels and restaurants through my "Around The World In #80Stays" challenge and I've been asking myself what defines a "great hotel"... Not only does a hotel bedroom need to be clean, comfortable and memorable, the service needs to be fantastic and the location needs to offer something special. But, seeing as I am a film geek, I do often find myself thinking of the more memorable and famous movie hotels and the scenes within films that get me chuckling, smiling or even shivering and how much I would LOVE to stay within some of these hotels as part of my travel plans! Can you imagine me renting out Leonardo DiCaprio's Bachelor pad with my friends, partying with Quentin Tarantino "Four Rooms"-stylee or waking up in a penthouse suite in Las Vegas with an epic headache like the guys in "The Hangover"?... There are some hotels I'd love to visit simply to geek out in and these recent thoughts saw me compiling my own top ten of hotels in films, enjoy! 1) The Shining This is the most iconic hotel portrayed in film in my mind... "The Overlook" hotel was inspired by a hotel known in "real life" as the Stanley Hotel in Colorado (USA), where it is said Stephen King stayed in 1973 and found the inspiration to write about this haunted hotel. This hotel is said to be haunted and hosts regular ghost tours and walks to entertain and spook their guests, as well as being known to play the uncut version of this film on channel 42 on repeat, should you need something to watch whilst snuggling up in bed every night. Not to be confused with this 80's horror being filmed here, as it was in fact partly filmed using the exterior of the Timber Line Lodge in Oregon. 2) True Romance One of my favourite films of all times, there are some fantastic film locations set within this film, not forgetting the Vista Theatre in Hollywood where Clarence meets Alabama for the first time after she dumps her popcorn on his lap "accidentally" on purpose. Remember the iconic scene for this film when James Gandolfini finds Alabama and doesn't treat her like a lady shall we say?.. This hotel is the Safari Inn, located close to Universal Studios and is also host to scenes in other films and shows over the last few years too. Book me a bedroom here when I head to the States to explore more soon please! 3) Elizabethtown If you haven't seen this film, what are you waiting for? It's a great indie film, a little depressing in parts due to the nature of the story (Orlando Bloom designs a shoe with a flaw that costs his company $972 million to correct, he loses his job, decides to commit suicide, gets interrupted with news that he his dad has died, he travels to Elizabethtown to pick up the body, falls in love with Kerstin Dunst, stuff goes down at the funeral)... in a nutshell. The final scene is within the ballroom of the Brown Hotel in Louisville and you will never listen to "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd again - I love that this was filmed in a replica of the hotels' ballroom - I wonder why!? Watch the infamous scene here! [youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F2ZoqbMAO0[/youtube] 4) The Grand Budapest You can't feature a top 10 hotels in films post without mentioning this superb film, if you haven't clapped your eyes on this masterpiece, then stop WHATEVER you are doing right now and watch it gosh darn you! This film is set in 1920's Germany, and entertains you with the story of Mr Gustav, an ever-pleasing concierge within a decadent hotel back in its day. You'll be getting clever with your laptop passwords ("BoyWithApple1") and wanting to head to Germany at a moments notice. This Wes Anderson story was filmed largely around the historic town of Görlitz in Germany - the pastel-pink hotel used as the main focus for this film is in fact a model. The lobby of the hotel was, however, filmed in an empty, run down department store called the Gorlitzer Warenhaus. Now get me to "Mendl's" for some beautifully crafted patisseries, quick sharp! 5) In Bruges This is a City I plan to visit for my #80Stays challenge, I hear it's like a fairytale with all the swans and canals... Unlike some films, where they aren't actually filmed where you think they should have been, In Bruges WAS filmed in Bruges. This dark, but slightly comical tale of two hit men in hiding gives you a great insight into this picturesque location and the hotel used for their stay was the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel. What is interesting about this venue, is that it's actually a boutique hotel and isn't given the credit it deserves in the film, where it is actually played down as a slightly less classy establishment for these two unlikely holidaymakers. 6) Best In Show This is a film I have recently been introduced to, an improvisational comedy by the creators of "This Is Spinal Tap" and follows a group of dog owners and their pups as they compete in a big dog show. It's hilarious and the memorable scene for me here is when Gerry (the dad from "American Pie") & Cookie (the mum from "Home Alone") check into their hotel only to find they can't afford the room rate for the night. The receptionist takes pity on them and checks them into the most affordable room for their budget - the cleaners cupboard. 7) The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel I recently saw this fantastic film at the cinema and it really is worth watching the first, as well as this sequel. It's a colourful, amusing emotional and feel-good film series all rolled into one - I wasn't so sure to start with, but I love them both, the second just a little more admittedly (Dame Maggie Smith is worth watching it for alone, she's just brilliant). I may not be the "right" age to be a resident at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I still wouldn't mind an overnight stay on my way through! Check out Castle Kanota, better known as the Viceroy Club within this film. 8) Identity Again, not based or filmed on/in a real hotel, but it has to feature... the plot focusses on ten strangers who arrive at an isolated motel which becomes temporarily cut off from the rest of the world, and they are mysteriously killed off one by one... Noticing a theme when it comes to motels in films?... 9) Lost In Translation This film was shot at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, a high-rising hotel boasting a swimming pool with a view to die for... I'd love to be able to swim in this luxury pool and look out over Japan as I relax & unwind. It's a movie that makes me lust over the Japanese culture every time I watch it - with friends like Mai Kuraki in my filofax, I should really look into it ; ) 10) Psycho The Bates Motel is, of course, one of the most memorable hotels when it comes to the flicks, although taking a shower in a motel doesn't sound like the most appealing thing to do when thinking about the iconic shower/stabbing scene I must say! This was actually filmed in a studio and there is no "real" hotel to visit in order to creep yourself out in the bathroom - a shame. But it is, however, said that Edward Hopper's "The House by the Railroad" was used as inspiration for the look of the iconic Bates house. What's your favourite hotel-themed film? Have you stayed in a famous hotel or motel room? Do leave a comment below and share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general!
Friday, 20 March 2015
Last summer saw me visiting lots of different blogging events, but, they were all mainly in London - such as Blogcademy and the #BloggersFestival both of which were amazing events for blog geekery and networking. I came back from these events feeling more than inspired, however, life got in the way - work got super busy and my personal life became a little messy, so I took some time out and plotted some plans. And kept plotting and plotting... It's now nearly Easter and I've still not launched my "Blog Cambridge" event - tut tut... However, Cambridge is getting very exciting and bloggers are starting to pop up everywhere, it's fantastic to see. Long gone are the days where all the bloggers in Cambridge knew each other and could sit around a table together to talk about this "mystical" blogging that nobody else seemed to understand - there's a whole world of new bloggers out there within every aspect of life you could imagine. Blogging is exciting and so is the community around it. I've been blogging for over 6 years now and I am not even close to tiring of it, it's a real passion, one that has made me truly amazing friends and partnerships and helped me through some awesome times, as well as the lower moments in life. I adore the blogging world. Recently I visited the Cambridge Meet Up hosted by Phillipa at Clashing Time, where a room full of 50 bloggers got together to geek out, drink amazing non-alcoholic cocktails at Vodka Revolution in town and enjoy an afternoon of being pampered with goodies galore. Our stylish hostess did an amazing job of getting everybody together and of entertaining her guests for the afternoon, including guest speakers to help bloggers with SEO and social media advice, even the offer of local writing opportunities on offer to anyone wanting to review for a little cash. The goodie bag included brands such as Sniffy Wiffy, Hairy Jane, Lush, L'Occitane, Neals Yard Remedies, Belvoir, Lisa Angel, Jilly Jilly, Claireabellemakes, Chocolat Chocolat (my favourite chocolate brand in town, yum!), Kettle Chips and Coppa Feel. Not only this inspiring event, I recently had an invitation to take a "plus one" to The Snug at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge last week for a cocktail making evening. This fantastic venue for affordable food & drink with a side of live sports on the TV is also the perfect place to go for a lesson in mixology. So off I headed on a chilly Thursday night with my lovely friend Kassia to join a table of local bloggers to sample cocktails, including a Lychee & Strawberry Mojito (my twist on this classic that won the "cocktail of the night" wahoo) and an Espresso Martini- my fave cocktail! If you book a cocktail making party at The Snug, you are also provided with fantastic platters, of which we got to sample - well, I say sample... there was almost a whole platter per person at this bloggers' night... not that we were complaining! With a mix of meat or vegetarian platters, the mexican-inspired nibbles were delicious and I couldn't get enough of the little sweet pieces of chorizo or the mini quesadillas oozing with cheesy goodness. Oh my god they were actually worth going for alone... can you tell I hadn't had cheese for a while?! Here's a little video I made of the night, I think it'll do the event more justice than my words can do today... Just to be clear, it was The Snug at the Grafton Centre and not Lensfield Road (as I said in my video, oops!) - although that venue is also very cite (snug!) and has done me proud for previous events, so check them out too! Cambridge Spotlight: The Snug (Video Postcard) [youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx1g0Z-SwXo[/youtube]
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
A few months back I was invited to take part in a series of talks for the Women of the World (#WOWCAM) project in Cambridge, which really was such an honour to be invited to do.
WOW, founded by Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London), is a festival of comedy, debates, film, music, talks and conversations celebrating the talents of girls and women from all walks of life, from all parts of the world. It also addresses the obstacles that exist and prevent women from realising their potential and features inspiring stories from women who are "breaking the mould" in the arts, education, sport, fashion and even within family life.
The events are being hosted throughout London and now in Cambridge (#FemaleVoicesNow) throughout March 2015 to bring young girls and women together in a safe space to enjoy conversation and ideas.
Hosted by Ruthie Collins at the Cambridge Art Salon & Romsey Mill, WOW Cambridge had lined up local female guest speakers to talk about their lives throughout March and the build up to this festival.
I'm not personally one for publicly voicing my views on feminism as a topic, however I was asked to speak about my experiences as a new business owner and pass on my wisdom to the young girls interviewing me. This, I was sure I could do and I really enjoyed the entire process. It started with a questionnaire about myself and I'm going to share this with you here on the blog, should you be interested to read more:
My Personal Information
- First and last name, Jo Christy AKA Miss Sue Flay
- Date of birth, 9th April ; )
- City of residence, Cambridge
- Education background A Levels, left Sixth Form to work full time after AS
- Employment History: First job in a dolls house shop for £2.50 an hour & a horse riding school for free lessons! Current job, self employed under "Miss Sue Flay" & "Stir Up Media"
- Things that I am really good at, listening, networking, teaching
- Things I really enjoy, getting people together, socialising, travel, good food
- Hobbies, I adore films (cinema), traveling, visiting spas & relaxing with a book
- Food, I adore afternoon tea, but love most food. I'm with a personal trainer atm and have lost 3 stone in weight this year… with a bit more to go! My work revolves around food a lot of the time, so I try amazing dishes, I'm very lucky!
- Music, I'm a rock & Indie girl (Garbage, No Doubt, Placebo, ACDC) – I love all music and go to many festivals and live gigs when I can.
- Ideal house and income, I am dreaming of travel recently, I currently rent and I don't want to buy just yet. I want to live out of a suitcase and see some of the world before I settle down. When I do settle, a country cottage & early retirement would be perfect!
- Three things I really don't like about: 1) Life – It's too short (& expensive!) & there's so much to see and do. 2) Work – when it's mundane it's never pleasing. Now I'm self employed I love my work… the accounting, not so much! 3) Myself – I'm too hard on myself. I am never happy with my achievements and always want to better myself. This can be good and bad, sometimes I need to reflect and be kinder to myself!
Feminist and inspirational posters have gone up all over Cambridge, as part of Cambridge WOW, featuring quotes from women in the city interviewed for Female Voices. The posters are designed by local creatives; Sensibly Insane and Rebecca Scambler. The quotes were selected, with help, from the group of girls who interviewed the panel at Romsey Mill. The posters are all over the city – from cafes such as Clowns and Urban Shed, to shops such as Jemporium, Cambridge Resale, Romsey Mill charity shop, or in public space near the Guildhall, to Cambridge Regional College, to youth and community centres such as Brownsfield and Romsey Mill.
If you spot one of these posters around town, then please share it through social media using the hashtag #FemaleVoicesNow to share this inspiring project.
I'm thrilled with my portrait as "Miss Sue Flay" and even spotted it at a local bloggers event I went to recently, it's a well-supported project and one I've enjoyed being a part of.
The Women of Influence programme is running throughout March and there will be a book launch for this project at Waterstones in Cambridge on Thursday 19th March from 6pm - 7:30pm (email Ruthie@cambridgeartsalon.org.uk for more info or to book a place at the event). Here the fantastic images, quotes and stories will be unveiled from everybody who has taken part, it's going to be a fantastic celebration and I urge you to join.
To find out more about this festival, visit www.wowcambridge.cam.ac.uk
And a huge thank you to Ruthie for asking me to talk as part of this festival!
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Sometimes you just want something sweet, easy and naughty… You don't want to be slaving over a hot stove for hours on a Sunday afternoon, in fact, you don't want to be baking or spending much time away from the sofa of a lazy weekend at all. With a Game of Thrones-A-Thon in the pipeline and the only reasons to get up being for food, a loo stop or to walk the dog (ahem) then you want something quick and simple to satisfy that sweet craving. This is where these "no bake" Oreo cheesecake truffles are a blessing, not only are they super quick to whip up, they taste gorgeous too – win/win! These cute little bites were often found at my "Secluded Tea Party" events back in the day and they also make a great little gift piled high in a teacup or jam jar for a host/hostess gift when going to a friends house for dinner – the host can pop them in the fridge and enjoy them selfishly later on with a cuppa, perfect. I have been teaching my new bearded friend how to make these little beauties and he is going to make them for his mum one day soon (you know you want to P, now you can!) hehe. Oreo Truffle Recipe Ingredients: 2 packs of Oreo Cookies 1 packet of cold, full fat cream cheese (approx. 250g) 100g dark or milk chocolate (depending on your preference) You Will Need: Mixing bowl Spatula Baking tray (lined with foil or baking parchment) Piping bag (no nozzle required) A willingness to get messy hands (and access to a warm tap without making a mess!) Rolling pin (or something to bash with) Small heatproof bowl What To Do: In a mixing bowl, roughly crumble the Oreo cookies with your hands (popping a few bits in your mouth as you go, I challenge anyone not to as they do this, it's too tempting!) until both packets are used. Get to work with the end of your rolling pin, bashing the biscuits into fine crumbs – the odd bite of cookie might not be so bad at the end, so if there are a few bigger bits, no problem. Add the cream cheese to the mix and work the crumbs into it to make a greyish dough – try to use full fat, as the low fat stuff doesn't hold as well. When you have mixed the crumbs into the cream cheese evenly, grab a small piece the size of a 50p piece approx. and roll into a smooth ball. Place onto a lined baking tray and do this with the rest of the mixture. Once you have balled, pop the tray into the fridge or freezer to chill the balls whilst you melt your chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, pop into a piping bag, snip a small hole into the tip of the bag and zigzag your chocolate over the top of your cold Oreo balls. When all of the tops are coated in a zigzag of chocolate, place back in the fridge or freezer and allow to set hard – doesn't take too long if you 're in a rush. You then need to flip the balls over, so they are resting on their first chocolate zigzag shelling and do the same on the other side, trying to join the zigzags up to make a crispy chocolate shell for your truffles. Put them back in the fridge to firm and serve. These are best served straight from the fridge and cold, as the chocolate shell gives a nice texture to the softer cheesecake mixture of the truffle, however, there are no hard and fast rules – play with your chocolate and enjoy these with a nice strong cuppa or a few craft beers on a Sunday afternoon for best results. Enjoy. What's your favourite afternoon tea recipe? Have you tried making my Oreo Truffle recipe? How did they go down? Do leave a comment below and share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.
Monday, 2 March 2015
A cuppa is the one thing that brightens up my day... A brew first thing in the morning before I get up and out for the day is a new tradition I'm enjoying, tea and buttery toast with a good film, a dainty teacup with a loose leaf infusion and of course my favourite way to enjoy this very "British" tradition... with a good afternoon tea. But, do you ever think about the other countries around the world and what their tea-based traditions are? I recently saw this feature on tea in 22 different countries and it made me smile, I think you'll love it too! This Is What A Cup Of Tea Looks Like In 22 Different Countries - via PulpTastic. What's your favourite tea tradition? Have you visited another country and enjoyed a cup of local tea? Do leave a comment below and share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general!