A strike of luck for a cursed competition entrant

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m a fan of the #freebiefriday hashtag and always retweet competitions to win goodies.

You’ll also know that I’m extremely unlucky and never win anything.

Anything except for tickets to a concert in London that very night. Tickets that were impossible for me to use while living in Manchester and not having the money for a on-the-day return ticket.

As of this, I always thought the so-called competitions were ways of promoting their own social media accounts with no intention of giving out prizes to anyone but their own fake account holders.

However, last week the game changed and I realised I was wrong.

I entered a competition on the myunidays Instagram account for the chance to win a £50 Asos voucher for myself and a friend.

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She really must be a good luck charm because we won, despite hundreds of other entrants. Even with the email in my inbox I still can’t quite believe it.

Moral of the story is to be persistent even when you feel it’s in vain (and to enter competitions on Instagram where there’s less people competing).

Hope this restores your faith!

Rae Coppola

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Could YOU go without social media?

Yesterday, I forgot to take my phone out in the morning when I rushed to my lecture. In hindsight, it was probably the best decision I’ve made all week. Despite spending the first 10 minutes retracing steps in my mind in an attempt to work out if I put it in my bag or not, for the remainder I was reasonably focussed, especially in contrast to my usual concentration levels.

Managing 3 hours made me wonder if I could perhaps manage 24? A week? A year? And better yet, if I would even want to?

Australian teenager, Essena O’Neill, was recently in the news for quitting Instagram and claiming social media ‘is not real life’. In her first post, dated 31 October, she challenged her followers to go without social media, and recommended Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now.

But would anyone actually take up the challenge?

Out of curiousity, I asked my Twitter followers whether they’d willingly go without it for one day.

Two thirds of people said yes, I’ll admit I’m part of this fraction, but would the voters actually manage the entire day? Would they have a sneak peak? Would they use someone else’s social media account? Is it even possible to go a full day without seeing some sort of platform?

Those that said no: Is there a justified reason? Do they have it to stay in touch with people they otherwise couldn’t? Otherwise: has social media taken over their life? Are they not willing to even try?

I sure will at some point in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for when the time comes and I write about it.

Let me know if you’ve already tried going back to basics, I’d love to know how it went.

Rae Coppola

Salix Homes complete Tweetathon for #HousingDay

Salix Homes held a Twitter marathon to give the public a rare glimpse into a typical night for the 1st response team.

The overnight Tweetathon began at 5pm on Tuesday, live from their Salford control room, and lasted for 12-hours.

Tweets were posted from the account using the hashtags ‘#HousingDay’ and ‘#salixoncall’.

Salix Homes are a social housing provider based in Salford that provide 24 hour access to housing services, partake in mobile patrols, respond to reports of anti-social behaviour day and night, and monitor more than 600 CCTV cameras covering 28 tower blocks across Central Salford.

For the second year running the Twitter marathon successfully showcased the hard work the first response team put in to keep Salford safe.

Amidst the tweets, calls were reported including: a noise complaint, an electric gate repair, an emergency toilet repair and an elderly lady who needed help with her water.

Gina Dalton, 36, a Marketing Consultant at Salix Homes, took part in the live Tweeting.

Dalton said: “I feel like people don’t appreciate all the things we do.

“I didn’t even realise until I was on the ground tweeting about it, so it’s good to raise awareness.”

Lee Sugden, chief executive at Salix Homes who joined officers in the control room, said: “The reaction from the public to our Tweetathon has once again been hugely positive, with many surprised by the scale of calls and incidents we are tasked with every night – this just goes to prove that we are so much more than just bricks and mortar.”

The multi-award winning social housing provider received praise from the public, with a total of 250 positive interactions on Twitter, which is 50 more than last year, according to Dalton.

Thanks to the amazing result, Dalton said: “There’s scope for a 3rd year.”

(*The feature image is a selfie taken by the first response team on the night)

Rae Coppola

REVIEW: George Zach – Greek Tragedy at the Kings Arms, Salford

Comedian George Zach performed in the Salford pub on the last day of Greater Manchester’s Fringe Festival, and I was there to watch.

“The only tragedy in this Geordie Greek sit-down is George’s taste in music”

Read my review in full at: http://greater-manchester-fringe.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-only-tragedy-in-this-geordie-greek.html

Rae Coppola

REVIEW: Spectre – Shaken and stirred in all the right ways

Released a few days short of October 31st, and coincidentally the dates of Mexico’s ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, it was only fitting that the jam packed 150 minute action adventure pre-opened with a scene set in the midst of exactly that.

Daniel Craig as James Bond for the final time, jumped into action for his last instalment and gripped the audience instantly to the sound of the festival’s euphoric drum beat.

True to tradition, the scene jumped to the credits and Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s on the wall’, the original theme song created solely for this purpose, before continuing. The record did not fit the film and if it were to be played out of context, the listeners would not have made the connection. Although a chart topper, it is definitely one of the lesser tunes in the Bond sequence, especially in comparison to Adele’s ‘Skyfall’.

Sam Mendes’ second outing at directing had a benchmark to withhold after the success of the latest film. However, his repute continues as box office records were unsurprisingly broken in the films first week of release, with takings of more than £41m.

Mendes went back to basics with the film, ensuring an action packed plot throughout the running time rather than drifting off and confusing viewers like under Marc Forster directing. However, modern twists, including the new Aston Martin DB10 and Monica Bellucci (the oldest Bond girl to date), were incorporated to keep the film up to date despite its traditional elements.

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Despite the marketing hype of the [then] 50 year old revolutionising 007, she only existed within the film for a short 5-10 minute scene and Bond later replaced her with younger, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann. Therefore, Bond romanced an older woman rather than a ‘girl’, purely to appeal to more contemporary viewers, for a short period anyway.

Pleasing the younger generation was Ben Whishaw as cutting edge developer and introvert Q, who took up a larger role than usual in Spectre, by reluctantly joining Bond in the field in an attempt to save the day from villain Christoph Waltz.

Waltz played the most perfect, yet dreaded, Oberhauser, ensuing that Bond’s past came back to haunt him. Joining together the dots from Bonds previous missions, he revealed his role and ensuring gasps from the shockingly enlightened audience.

This is an important lesson to us all, although the audience may not go about creating a solution in the same way.

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Strong action hero Craig has grown into the character of 007 in his humour, flirtatious charm and mannerisms, and will therefore be a tough act to follow. His role came full circle at the end of the film, with him returning to the front seat of DB5.

Like Bond’s iconic vodka martini, the audience were shaken and stirred in all the right ways, making Spectre spectacular, but with a name so close to the description, it was set up to be a success from the beginning.

Rae Coppola

* I do not take credit for any of the images.

Next: Late Night Online Shopping Wish-List

Following on from the recent announcement that Next now has an order by Midnight for next day delivery service, I thought of all the things on my wish list I wouldn’t mind waking up to tomorrow morning.

As you can imagine a lot of time and effort went into searching the website to find the products, and then eventually narrowing them down.

This list is just a snapshot.


Homeware:

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1. Crosley Cruiser Orange

Firstly, and definitely top on my wish list is this new-in record player. It speaks for itself, but even more so in this lovely shade of orange. It’s an item I’ve always wanted, but despite collecting vinyl records, have never actually managed to afford. One day, hopefully soon, this will be mine.

2. Chalkboard and Letter Rack

I’m always forgetting things, but I doubt I’d ever take my eyes off this beauty if it was stuck to my wall. Therefore, it would be ideal for writing little reminders on, give or take the odd silly picture.

3. Double: Cotton Rich Luxe Geo Stripe Plum Bed Set

My slight obsession with geometric patterns drew my eyes to this bedding instantly. That, paired with the fact that the reversible design would match my bedroom’s feature wall, secured it a place on my list. I’d even be willing to part with my current, and beloved, fluffy neutral coloured cushions and throw for new ones.

4. Ballet Dancer Ring Holder and Dish

Earrings, rings and my watch usually all get thrown into the same small box on my desk, as I don’t have the time, nor energy, to continuously put them back into their original packaging after a day of wear. A jewellery holder like this would solve my problem, and even mean that my items could be on display constantly and therefore look decorative all the while being easy to get to.


Shoes and Accessories:

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5. Chocolate Leather Stitch Detail Boots

With the cold on its way, the time to upgrade from ankle boots to higher ones follows. These are elegant, stylish, the same colour as my hair, and something I don’t want to endure autumn/winter without. The plait detail across the top of the boot and tassel at the back makes them stand out from all the others I’ve seen, just like how I like to think my style does with me. The leather means they’ll last the season, and if I were their proud owner I’d take special care to make sure they lasted many more seasons to come.

6. Berry Leather Gloves

Woollen gloves tend to make my hands feel dry, so my only option is to go with leather, not that I’m complaining after seeing these ones in such an autumnal colour.

7. Khaki Casual Fringe Across-The-Body Bag

This is on my list to complete my whole outerwear ensemble (peacoat, boots, gloves etc.). The smart-casual style and small size means it can be worn throughout the day, without looking over the top or drawing too much attention.


Clothing:

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8. Anita & Green Denim A-Line Skirt

I have similar skirts in navy and white, so my logic is that it’s only fair to get it in all the other possible colours I can find. They are extremely practical thanks to the thick denim washing so well and are ideal for days where miserable weather calls for thick woolly tights and jumpers.

9. Red Embellished Neck Top

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit, than to wear red. Or in my case, red with my brand new khaki peacoat (http://www.next.co.uk/g832s3). This halter neck top would be perfect for an occasion on the run up to Christmas and even the big day itself. I’d be most likely to wear it tucked into a pair of faux leather jeans, but the possibilities are endless.


Christmas: 

With Christmas on the way, I had to include a few of my favourite seasonal items for the final three spaces.

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10. Mink Fun Rudolph Sweater

Sticking to the Christmas theme, this sweater is next (pun intended) on my radar. The garments fun, but also nice enough for me to wear with confidence. Fabric wise, the retailer have even combined the Acrylic with wool, thankfully meaning that the jumper will not irritate my sensitive skin, and will actually survive more than a couple of washes.

11. Mono Antler Bear Pyjamas

These pyjamas are quirky and perfect for lounging around in. Plus, they match my dressing gown and will make all my housemates jealous.

12. Multi Christmas Novelty Heel Socks Four Pack

Now then, who could have a Christmas jumper and set of pyjamas without cosy socks to match? Or better yet, who would want to? Not me. Straight on my wish list!


Leave a comment below if you’ve seen anything that’s taken your fancy on the Next website, but beware that I may add it to the list.

Rae Coppola

* The images have been lifted from the Next official website, I do not in any way take credit for them.

AUTUMN BUYS: My ‘Next’ Shopping Haul

After months of looking wishfully through the catalogue and using my mother’s Next directory card, I finally realised I could have her recommend me for my own, thus earning us both £20 off a £50 spend.

Naturally, I took full advantage of this on both full price and clearance items.

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  1. Khaki Peacoat – £55

As an autumn must have I’d had this beauty saved to my favourites bar ever since it hit the website, and then after seeing it in-store and trying it on, I knew it had to be mine. The colour is on trend, and the ensemble can be completed with neutral accessories such as a hat and scarf. The hat, again, bought from Next last year.

  1. White dungarees – £13

I actually thought ahead with this purchase, as although it’s definitely not the season to wear white dungarees, they would be perfect to take on my inevitable summer holiday next year, or to wear when the weather gets a tad warmer. Being white they will go with anything, and be timeless, meaning that they are something I can keep and wear year after wear. Plus, buying them now meant that I got them for a lovely price, and didn’t break the bank like I know I would have done if I bought them in the summer – if they were even still in stock in my size.

  1. Leather look pleated skirt – £6

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this item while searching through the further reductions section of the clearance pages. At £6 (reduced from £32), this faux leather skirt was an absolute bargain, and my only regret was not buying another for my friends birthday. I’d work my look around the current ‘gothic romance’ trend, making sure to vamp up my eye make-up with heavy liner, and wear a dark berry colour on my lips. However, since it flares out quite a lot, linking in with the 70’s revival, I’d definitely have to style it with a tight fitting top as to not lose my figure, but that’s a price, pun intended, I’m willing to pay.

You got short changed girl, I win.

  1. Mink 70’s Platform Heels – £17

I thought I’d get some shoes to match the 2015 70’s fashion trend, and these seemed ideal. After seeing them in black I was tempted, but this mink colour had my heart set. It makes them stand out of the crowd and really showcases the snake print pattern on the chunky heel. That, contrasting with the suede like appearance, means the heels are something completely different to anything in circulation, and hopefully, will ensure no one else wears anything similar on the same night.

  1. Waterfall jacket – £19

With the colder weather settling in, but student club nights ever prominent, it was essential that I buy a jacket to wear over my evening attire for warmth. At least that’s what I kept telling myself to justify buying yet another blazer like item. The jacket is tailored to fit curves nicely and finish off any outfit with a smart twist. I know I’ll definitely get my wear out of a product like this, as a black jacket is timeless and a wardrobe must-have. Or in my case, a wardrobe that must have lots.


Total amount spent = £110 (minus the £20 for being recommended by my mother = £90). I regret nothing.

Let me know if you’ve found any great buys in the autumn collection or mid-season sale that I may have missed!

Rae Coppola