Sainsbury’s Eco-Move This October: Consider Your Fireworks Banned

With Halloween 2019 fast approaching I was surprised to hear that the local supermarket Sainsbury’s UK have pledged to end the sales of fireworks in over 2,300 stores across the United Kingdom. Amongst a few sombre feelings of a Halloween without the crack and sparkle, the more mature idea of a quieter October 31st crept in, much like the monsters under your bed also do this time of year. #hiCasper

As a a now converted firework oo-er and aah-er here’s why I’m proud of local supermarket Sainsbury’s and their choice to dodge the public menace that fireworks have become.

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Sainsbury’s Bans The Sales Of Fireworks Across 2,300 UK Stores

The Noise

As a child the noise used to send my cousins and I running back into the house from the “Witches Wail” of the SCREEMER kind of firework. Once we became brave enough to venture back outside my Dad would hold his hands over my ears as we would wait for some “quieter” version of a firework. (Here’s a tip no one ever told us, save yourself the time as there’s actually no such thing as a quiet firework… I mean, it’s literally ignited gunpowder.)

As the time and years tripped on and my Mum became a Dog-Rescue Enthusiast, seeing how our dogs and cats reacted to the noise of fireworks at that time had me crying for a different reason. Animals don’t understand the spooky-season that some of us know and love, where is the fairness on our pets at home? And what about the neighbours’ pooch that gets kept outside 24/7? – She isn’t going to understand what the noise of a firework is all about and without the comfort of indoors she might hurt herself in the panic. It’s safe to say our house has stopped using fireworks for many years now. Our retired pups can enjoy their safe and quiet Halloween without bursting their eardrums or sending them into histeria.

Not that I’d be one to put dogs before people, but while we’re on the subject, what about the children and vulnerable members of society either living alone or with certain abilities that loud noises may frighten or trigger something upsetting for them? I’m glad Sainsbury’s are standing up for this portion of society.

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Crash, Bang, Duh-Damage?

According to the BBC, “fireworks injure thousands of people every year” and “cause damage to buildings, vehicles, [and] emergency vehicles”. A petition was signed by over 300,000 people who wished for a firework ban to come about in the mainland UK and Sainsbury’s picked up on this cry for help. All praise to them as they have stuck to their new policy and made a commitment to the public, that they will no longer contribute sales to the UK firework industry. 

I used to do some promotional work in Belfast City Centre and I vividly remember (as you can imagine, it would be hard to forget) one night walking passed Urban Outfitters and two lit fireworks were threw in opposite directions from a group of younger members of society on their bikes and as they peddled away, one of the fireworks landed and ricocheted off of a bin no further than a metre away from a co-worker and myself, we were lucky to have not been struck by its exploding embers or worse. What if it had landed in our handbag, hood of our coats or in front of us?

Somehow every year we hear of a tragic event where someone has lost an arm, a leg or are left with extreme burns and in need of skin grafts from negligent firework sales to underage people. Or indeed illegal fireworks sold here in Northern Ireland that have been made in somebody’s back garden with their Grandad’s old tools and with little to no safety standards and that are highly unpredictable once lit. And once a firework is lit – there’s no putting it out. We all remember the DOE Advertisements we used to be shown every half-term in school days when Halloween/Guy Fawkes Night arrived on the calendar, need I say more?

Sainsbury’s say that they check ID (18+) for firework sales and that they would have been kept in a locked cabinet in their stores, this isn’t to say that the fireworks could have – and evidently have, fallen into the wrong hands in history, leading to life threatening turn of events. Personally, unless in a controlled environment (with fire engines nearby and a few tonnes of water) I don’t believe that fireworks are safe for personal use in this current day. They’re simply too risky and unpredictable. Sparklers are scary enough for now. (And the occasional randomly carved pumpkin.)

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Out of public opinion these are the results which led Sainsburys UK to end the sales of fireworks.

Pollution Isn’t Pretty

A ‘regular’ firework is made of a few things; gunpowder “consisting of est. 75% potassium nitrate mixed with est. 15% charcoal and roughly 10% sulphur plus other chemicals.”  (explainthatstuff.com) Sounds scarily easy, right? Fireworks cause not only noise pollution but also major air pollution problems and all for a display that lasts 10-20 minutes – it just doesn’t do it for me anymore. That firework smell we romanticise are actually particles of metal mixed with warmed up lethal toxins.

From doing my research while writing this blog there are ‘less chemically harmful’ firework choices out there, such as Sydney Australia’s annual firework display of now 100% carbon-free gunpowder. This may work for them, but here in the UK there are still too many reasons for generic harmful fireworks and Sainsbury’s commercial movement towards a safer and healthier society is something that Greta Thunberg herself would be proud of.

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Are they still all that pretty now?

So this year and the years to come, keep in mind about your firework antics.

Don’t be afraid to ask your local council “are the fireworks used in this years’ display environmentally friendly and carbon-free? Could the money spent on stand-by emergency services go towards a greater cause such as homelessness or animal shelters?” Speak up and ask! Remember that the fella down the road who is selling ‘cheap’ fireworks that his supposed Next Door Neighbour’s Uncle’s Wee Cousins’ Dad sold to him might just not be as safe as they would have you believe and were most likely made in a garden shed somewhere unknown and have travelled far before getting to your home. ILLEGAL FIREWORKS ARE NOT PREDICTABLE. Remember that you have to have a firework license at home in Northern Ireland to sell and purchase any fireworks legally. Maybe think about boycotting Tesco and Morrisons if you’re in mainland UK and instead carve a pineapple or a pumpkin and stick to sparklers and tea lights rather than these nasty beasts. Be like Sainsbury’s and say no to the sales of fireworks!

Honestly if this video doesn’t make you think twice about dodgy fireworks I don’t know what to tell you. I just hope this was an empty field that it landed in and not a child’s garden or a dog’s kennel. Stay safe this Halloween/Guy Fawkes and remember to follow the firework code if you are participating! Keep buckets of water close by and never ever stand beside a lit firework. For further safety information click here.

I hope you have a Spooky, Safe and Happy Halloween! #GoSainsburys

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Sarah Morrow is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found at:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahannemorrow
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahannemorrow/
LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-morrow-904284125/

Did the Joker make cents

Why is the joker one of the most controversial films of 2019?

Because it’s a disturbing masterpiece.

Unless you have been living under a rock then you will have probably heard of one of the most notorious films of 2019, The Joker. RD10

Looking back on previous Joker films, you see how the Joker is always portrayed as the Villain and batman the hero. After taking to the most critical form of social media (Twitter), I researched the Joker and read something that really struck a chord.

“Childhood is when you idolize Batman, Adulthood is when you realize the Joker made more sense”.

Throughout the movie we see how facing trauma in childhood can lead to mental illness, psychosis through to psychopathy in adulthood, and the question that runs through my mind is “Could this have been prevented?”. We see how the system and society fail Arthur several times. You always hear people preaching the phrase “you don’t know what someone is going through behind closed doors” but yet, Arthur was continuously judged and misinterpreted many times throughout the film. It was sad that he had to carry around a card explaining to the people he had a mental illness because at the end of the day he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation.

From start to finish we see multiple times the Joker continuously forcing a smile, he was just a regular guy with mental illness looking to feel better. There is a clear image RD12painted from the beginning that society has always been against people like the Joker, so are we surprised when the city turns in to chaos and joins him in his rebellion?

The first shooting was a taste for the joker in what it felt like to get revenge on the rich. He was continuously shot down and mocked by the rich men on the train and in everyday life, so was it any wonder that he enjoyed it and done a victory dance. Once his actions were recognized by the city, he realized that people stood with him and wanted to make a stand for social justice.

“For my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do, and people are starting to notice”. – Joker

The rich are represented as Thomas Wayne in the movie, ironically painted as a hero, and the ‘perfect man’ to represent Gotham city. We soon learn that it’s all a fake facade and that the Rich only looks out for the Rich. Arthur always looked up to Thomas Wayne and Murray, until he learned that he was a sympathizer for them.

The film was so raw and real, it shows how things just go from bad to worse for Arthur. RD11
Once he realizes he was adopted and abused, and that his entire life has been a lie, you can see these things slowly shaping him into the insane genius that is the Joker. A powerful scene in the movie is when, Arthur starts dancing down the steps giving in, accepting and transforming into the Joker. He dances into a pool of madness and his insanity blossoms from here.

A large talk surrounding the movie is, ‘does it correlate to the world we live in today’? People think that the Joker was not just a movie but that it was art and real life. The movie does link closely to today’s society, and it addresses the real-life struggles we face today.  The rich are still powerful and being treated superior, and mental health is still on the rise and there’s not much being done to stop it. Something I find interesting is the subtle quotes within the movie that do relate to real life. A favorite one of mines is when the Joker tells an RD3offensive joke, Murray scolds him for it saying you can’t tell jokes like that and then the Joker talks about how easily offended people are these days. I feel like this is real, in today’s society you always have to watch what you say or tiptoe around everyone as someone is always offended about something.

We see subtle references from the ‘Dark knight rising (2008)’ and ‘The Joker (2019)’, both Jokers are responsible for killing people, but we feel bad for one and yet not the other. We watch what Arthur goes through and understand his transition into the Joker, whereas we view the other one like a mad man.

A question to ask is “are we responsible for creating monsters?”. We see the iconic scene towards the end, where Joker paints on a smile with his own blood. This scene will always be remembered as the scene in which the Joker tried to smile through the pain until the pain made him smile.

So, I think the answer to the question above is, yes… To some extent, I think we as a society need to take some responsibility for creating ‘monsters’. If everyone was nice to each other in real life and not just online would mental health so largely consume so many of us?

Moral of the story in real life and behind The Joker movie is:

Be careful how you treat people.

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Rachael Diamond is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @rachaeldiamond and LinkedIn @rachaeldiamond. 

PUT ON A HAPPY FACE

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‘The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”- The Joker

WARNING- SPOILERS AHEAD!BH31

Todd Phillips ‘The Joker’ has been one of the most talked about films this year and any conversation around Joker is arguably more exciting than the film itself. The subject mirrored in the joker film is mental health which has had some back lash from its audience due to the way the films depicts it.

I went to see the film after hearing the mixed reviews. One would say I was a sheep following the crowd, I am not a Marvel fan and had never really watched Marvel films. When watching the film I didn’t see mental health as being wrongly depicted. Instead I found the movie underlying the importance of mental health. I thought the film itself was just phenomenal.

If you have not seen it yet I highly recommend you stop reading this and DO!

The topic was very sensitive. I can understand why people felt they needed to walk out and I highly respect that. It certainly was a hard watch and some people may have found the content distasteful. If I’m honest when I read the tweets and reports that circulated the internet after viewing the film my opinion did slightly change.  I took on board others opinions and I was able sympathise with the backlash due to the insensitivity of the character.

I found that it did portray numerous negative associations-

  •  The idea that child abuse leads to mental illness and this is murderous in character.
  • That mental illness somehow equates to something of a superpower.

It has been argued that The joker is seen as a lonely character until he commits the brutal murders. The Joker character turns his own self pity into violence. This is then rewarded with love and support off which he’d been missing through the whole film.BH32

However, the main debate about the film is that the violence and the conversation around gun control has overshadowed an important message of mental illness. This has left those effected by mental health upset. In regards to USA gun crime there has been brutal concerns about the messages it has been transmitting. In regards to the shootings and the actions it might inspire. People may come away from the film with the wrong impression. This impression being to shoot those people who have wrongly treated them.

 

The Rich people in the film are seen as the villains they are seen to have exploited and abandoned the rest of society. Those have argued that this is not the case and is a false interpretation.

What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like garbage?”

“You get what you fucking deserve,”

The Joker shoots the wealthy television presenter. He claims the only reason he took him on the show was to brutally embarrass him.

Again, painting the rich negatively!

The opposite argument-

This side of the argument is how I myself view the film. I don’t usually go to the cinema or watch movies but The Joker film really does deserve some credibility on how it portrays mental health. Powerful is an understatement and in my opinion it depicts the raw reality.

I feel the film draws attention to the mentally Ill and their mistreatment and perceptions by the public. The Joker highlights a daily struggle by many suffering in which they feel they need to hide their mental illnesses so they are ‘accepted’ or in order to ‘fit in’. Only now in the last 2 or 3 years I feel there has been a push to remove the stigma around mental health. When I was growing up especially in secondary school mental health was not an issue discussed when it should have been!

The Joker film places strong emphasis on the cutting of social services and the impact of the most vulnerable suffering with mental health. In a climate of NHS cuts this is the harsh reality. We see in the film the results of prolonged and a failed attempt to help those suffering from mental health. The mental health services within the film failed not just The Joker but his mother too. The mental illnesses mentioned in the film are pseudobulbar affect and schizophrenia. These are two less common and talked about mental health illnesses. It opened my eyes to the wide range of mental health conditions we are not familiar with.

The joker sits opposite his social worker he is frustrated as she doesn’t listen to him. “They don’t give a shit about people like us”

This has started a debate on the need for better mental health services and a focus on those working within it. The Joker film encourages those to be more understanding of those suffering from mental health.

Adrian Rain Leading Neurocriminologist Considers The Joker film “a Great EducatioBH34nal Tool”

“We don’t want to stigmatise mentally ill people as being dangerous people. But we do know that mental illness is a significant predisposition to violence, which we have to recognise so that people can be treated.”

So I ask the question-
Are we easily offended by things that aren’t considered the norm?

I am respectful of others opinions but the advice I would give to someone that found the film distasteful is to see the film again!  Without the violence and minus the clown ask yourself the real question what message is the film really portraying?

 

Bridget Hughes is a final year Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bridgethughes1/, LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/bridget-hughes-382474195, and Twitter – @bridgethughes14

It’s Spooky Season

Autumn is easily my favorite time of the year, with the darker evenings, the crisp weather and cosy knitwear it’s the ideal environment for my introverted self to thrive.  But for me, the best part of it all is that ‘Spooky Season’ officially begins.

If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘spooky season’ a quick search on urban dictionary describes it as the fall time of year when everyone gets ‘spooky vibes’. Ground-breaking. This may be meaningless and mundane to most, but not for me.  As a fan of horror and all things twisted, I completely take advantage of the festivities that indulge my fascination of the darker things in life. I know I’m not alone in this, and after making a trip to the cinema to see Joaquinn Phoenix’s performance as ‘Joker’ it got me into the Halloween spirit, with it’s jump scare tactics and graphic scenes.

I think it can be agreed that every day experiences in real life can be grim enough without voluntarily sitting through hours’ worth of uncomfortable and intense remakes, whether it be a horror movie or a true crime show, yet there are many likeminded individuals who love to do it.

So in order to kick off the spooky season and celebrate the festivities, I have contrived a list of my favorite spooks for those cosy Halloween nights in; to spare you the hours of painful Netflix scrolling. Whether it be a gory slasher film or a psychological thriller,  these are some of my top picks:

 Psychological Thrillers

  1.           Get out / A quiet place

Both movies are directed by Jordan Peele, both movies equally as entertaining and clever in their own rights. Not the typical horror with demons and ghosts, but with the twisted warp on reality it makes for uncomfortable viewing. (I mean this in the best way).

  • Midsommar

Described as a ‘folk horror film’, this movie is not for the squeamish. The movie focuses on a young couple who travel to their friend’s hometown in Sweden; which just so happens to be celebrating their mid-summer festival during the time of their visit. At first the stay seems like a tranquil retreat but progresses into a series of disturbing events at the hands of a cult. A seriously bizarre watch, and some things I just won’t un-see. (I actually want to apologise to whoever watches this in advance.)

TV Series

  • The Haunting of Hill House

If you like a truly good ghost story this is the show for you. A gripping story line follows the adult lives of the Crain siblings, who are trying to deal with the ghosts from their past from their paranormal experiences in their childhood home. An ideal watch for the month of October to ease you into the Spooky Season.

  • Hannibal

Although it was cancelled after 3 seasons, it is still one of the best watches. Perfect for a rainy afternoon as it’s not overly intense but still fascinating and eery. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

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Slasher Movies

Slasher movies may not be my go-to, but I think it is only appropriate to include these two titles. Ideal movies to watch with a group of pals, I don’t know anyone who enjoys watching slashers on their own? And if you do you shouldn’t admit to it.  Maybe throw in a bottle of Pinot and some pizza, an ideal setup to help with the scares.

  • Scream250px-Ghostface

This movie is a classic for Halloween time, it’s entertaining and witty but still will have you guessing ‘who did it’ and wincing at the blood and violence. However it can make for a frustrating viewing; apparently common sense completely goes out the window when being chased by a masked serial killer.

  • Halloween

The ‘Halloween’ film series with the infamous crazed killer Michael Myers is full of suspense, the newest addition to the franchise is my favorite so far. Halloween 2018, the ultimate showdown between Mike and Laurie Strode, a survivor of the crazed killer.       A satisfying watch.halloween-david-gordon-green

True Crime

  • Abducted in Plain Sight

Last but not least, ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’. This is a crime documentary on Netflix, probably one of the most bizarre true crime shows I’ve watched, its hard to believe that it is completely factual when watching some of the events unfold. You genuinely have to see it to believe it.

 

Bronagh Carey is a final year student  Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations  at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram bronaghcarey_ and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bronagh-carey-702626173/

Hidden Gems…Great for the Gram

I’ll get straight to the point here, let’s face it. There are so many places in Ireland that maybe you don’t care for or maybe you haven’t even heard of. Yes, I agree it’s fabulous to visit other countries, but why not try exploring our own for a change? Even if it’s just for a day trip. 

I promise, if you stick with me, until the end of this post, you WILL want to visit at least one of these places, and you will not be disappointed. 

The Belfast Beauty

Ok, going to start off with one close to home, and one which you have all definitely heard of. The Botanical Gardens. Now yea, it may sound ‘main stream,’ or not really a ‘hidden gem’ as such, but tell me how many of you have actually taken a walk through it and took the time to really take it in? 

My guess is not very many of you…

The Botanical Gardens is full of blossoming flowers and plants in every season, my favourite obviously being summer, when it is full of bright colours.

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So, next time you’re there, take your time, explore it, and I promise you, you will not be disappointed. 

On an extra note, girls…and boys, it makes for a perfect Instagram spot! 

 

Newtownstewart’s Nature (Co.Tyrone) 

Moving closer to my hometown of Newtownstewart *eyeroll* is what I’m sure you are all thinking. What could it possibly have to offer? To be fair, I would be thinking the same thing… ‘like, seriously?’

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I’m sure you have all seen the sunflower fields EVERYWHERE on social media at some point, yet many of you will never have been, or maybe just didn’t know where to go. Well, if good oul’ Newtown is good for something, it’s good for its’ Sunflower Fields in the summer months!

And who couldn’t love a sunflower, am I right? 

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Granny for one agrees!

 

So, take a trip down to the country and get those profile pics, and pick your own sunflowers to brighten up your home! 

Remember: Bring some pennies, because it’s always for a good charitable cause!!

 

Beautiful Butterfly Farm (Co.Down)

Anyone who knows me knows I have had an obsession with butterflies from a very young age, and have in-fact only recently re-decorated my girlie purple butterfly themed bedroom, to a more suitable décor, for a 20 year old…boring I know. 

So, when I took my first trip to the butterfly farm, I was so excited… and yes, I’ll admit it…. I cried.  

One of the cutest experiences I’ve had in Northern Ireland, I couldn’t believe that there were so many butterflies flying around and you could get so close to them. 

I did at one point consider taking one home, but don’t worry, I settled for a butterfly fridge magnet instead. 

I recommend wearing bright clothes, as it attracts the butterflies so you can get those pics, and it’s bloody warm in that green house, so if you don’t want to pass out, wear light clothes!

Admission: £4.50 Adult/ £3.50 students and stay for as long as you wish. (You’ll want to stay forever, trust me.)

Let’s move this on and take it down south…

Downings’ Dazzlers (Co.Donegal) 

So, I’ve been going to Downings with the fam since birth, quite literally, so this may be a slightly biased opinion, but I’m just going to say it, Downings has to have thee best beaches in the world. To name a few, Murder Hole (horrible name, lovely beach) Monks bay (Personal Fav) Rosapenna (longest beach in the world NEVER agree to a family walk, it’s never the short walk, it’s all lies.) and finally, Tranarossan (aka the pebble beach).

There is so much to do here, on the beaches, and in the water, so take a day, a week, however long you have, but go go go! It’s a must!

The beaches will speak for themselves, and your camera won’t know what’s hit it!

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Alright Pumpkin (Co.Meath)

Don’t ask what possessed me to take this 2-hour long road trip (we took a few wrong turns) with my bestie, but, I did. And am I glad I did? 

…Absolutely. 

Not only did we get (personal opinion) thee best Instagram pics, it was an all-round enjoyable experience, especially in the run up to the spooky season!

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The sun was out, and we parked up the mini, opposite a sea of orange! We got our pics, and picked our favourite pumpkins to take home and carve! This is only open on the weekends and I’d go sooner rather than later incase all the good pumpkins are gone!

If this isn’t enough to entice you, it’s free admission and you only have to pay if you’d like a pumpkin (note: remember Euros and bring your wellies!)

But seriously…make the trip, and your Instagram will thank me later!

 

Chloe Hood is a final year Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at – Twitter: @chloekathryn4 and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-kathryn-hood-224033153

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

I am the last person you will find saying anything negative about Christmas, but this there is something that annoys me every year.

Does Christmas seem to come earlier each year? Like seriously, we haven’t even celebrated Halloween and the majority of supermarkets have their Christmas isles stocked with this year’s festive food and decorations. I am by no means a scrooge; I’m quite the opposite, but please, not in September.

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I am someone who cannot get enough of the festive season, but each year I wonder what the need is for stores to start bombarding us with Christmas so early.

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, after buying gifts, food, alcohol and having maybe one too many Christmas nights out, the pennies do add up. The Bank of England suggest that the typical UK household spends over £500 more in December compared to other months. So I get why people that have to buy a lot of gifts like to be well prepared and spread the costs over a couple of months, but does seeing Christmas and Halloween displays at the same time not really irritate you?

It wasn’t until I googled ‘why do shops start displaying Christmas so early’ that I came across the term Christmas Creep. Christmas creep is more commonly used in the US to describe the way retailers introduce Christmas ads, promotions and merchandise way ahead of the traditional start of the festive shopping season. For some shoppers it works, they like to be organised and have all their gifts bought before the clocks even go back but others (like me) get irritated when we see things being displayed before Halloween. Why? Because I honestly do not see the need, it’s not like we are going to forget and I doubt stores will run out of anything two months in advance.

Getting stock on the shelves early plays a large part in companies’ strategic marketing plans. Competition is high and a lot of stores make the majority of their money for the year during the festive period so I suppose it only makes sense to try and extend that success earlier into the year when it comes to present buying but does it make sense to display festive food months in advance that expire in October? Yes Asda, I am talking about you.

I came across this tweet in September

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Asda advertising their Mince pies with the packaging reading ‘juicy raisins, festive spices and crumbly pasty…because it’s not Christmas without them’ and apparently not September without Mince Pies either, right Asda?

Maybe I am just one of the shoppers that like to leave everything to the festive season. I love seeing the Christmas lights, love buying presents and the general buzz around Christmas time. As stressful as it is, there is something oh so satisfying about rushing about supermarkets on Christmas Eve to make sure that you have everything you need for a great Christmas. So personally, getting sorted as early as October seems like it would take away from the Christmas experience. My biggest fear would be that all the things we love about Christmas will lose their novelty. Before we know it, all the festive food we love, like pigs in blankets, mince pies, selection boxes and all the rest of it will just become a normal thing for families to have year round, but it’s the small things like this that really make Christmas what it is.

I guess my point is can we just let Halloween have its moment and enjoy the festive season any time from the 1st of November.

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Rant over.

Jenna Sloan is a final year Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – jennaaaaa_ and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenna-sloan-17152417b

The Best Five Days!

                           ‘New York; Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of…’                                Shop to you drop, eat until you explode and sight see until your eyes ache.

                                                             28/10/17 – 02/11/17                                                                                                                7 girls, 5 days, 4 nights

When thinking of what to write about for my next blog it appeared obvious- my latest adventure…

As I boarded our direct flight from Dublin to Newark Airport- a number of things circulated in my head. I wonder what New York is like? I wonder if it really is a concrete jungle? Do they actually have yellow taxis like you see in movies? Is it as busy as people make it out to be?

YES. YES. YES. They do!

Even though it is known as ‘The City that Never Sleeps’, it is almost impossible to see New York in 5 days. Even if you lived here for 4 months I still don’t think it would be enough time to actually see it all! I seen quite a lot when I was there and I think I got about 16 hours sleep the whole time!

5 Must Do’s When In New York and 1 Don’t

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  1. Shop to you Drop- Jersey Gardens

AMAZING DISCOUNTS AND AMAZING SHOPS. From Tommy Hilfiger to Ralph Lauren to Victoria Secret. This place is amazing! Just remember your passport and you get a book full of discounts and freebie coupons to shop with until your hearts content.

 

  1. Hop on, Hop off Open Top Bus Tour is best for Sightseeing

A MUST HAVE. ThAR25is bus saved our legs for 5 days! Sounds silly but so true! Buses run basically 24/7 and stop at all of the key tourist attractions, streets and landmarks. Within our package we got four tours; an Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn and Night time tour as well as entry into two main tourist attractions for $100! It also included the boat over to Statue of Liberty 🙂

Although heights are not my forte, if you would like to observe the whole city from above, the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State building are a must do! If I was to pick one of the two, I would go to the Rockefeller Center as you can see the Empire State building from it and the queues aren’t just as mad! Personally I think it is best to go at night to see                                                        the beautiful view and the millions of lights!

  1. Carlos Bakery & Stardust Diner are AMAZING!

After a fun filled day shopping at Jersey Gardens we stopped off and had a bun and coffee at Carlos Bakery. Carlos Bakery is an attraction in itself with lots of treats and tasty desserts 🙂

Stardust Diner is a must-do also! Ever wanted to feel like you were part of a Broadway show while eating breakfast, lunch or dinner? Have characters from all different Broadway shows dance on the tables and have a singsong while others serve your food on rollerblades?

  1. Tiffanys- Treat Yo Self!AR22

If you are into jewellery and think that you deserve a treat then Tiffanys is definitely a good shout! Although if you are indecisive like me, make sure the company you are with don’t mind waiting as there is an awful lot of amazing jewellery to pick from! 🙂

 

  1. The Statue of Liberty

AR26

The Statue of Liberty is a must-do! (Although hopefully you won’t have the same experience as I had) The Statue of Liberty is bigger than you could ever imagine and a prime spot to get the ultimate insta pic! We stayed on the boat and did not get off as the boat does a loop around the statue and given the short time frame that we were there for we didn’t want to waste any time! It was at the Statue of Liberty on the second last day when we knew that something was wrong…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6. 31/10/17 – Halloween Day – 3:30pm – 8 killed, 12 injured                          

We were walking alongside the harbour (shown below) looking for the boat over to the statue when the commotion started. Police, ambulances, helicopters and pedestrians frantically running on the other side of the street. As we spotted the boat we seen the Captain frantically waving and shouting ‘Everyone onboard… last boat, last boat!!!’ It was only 3:30pm… why was it the last boat of the day? Alarm bells started to ring and we started to run onto the boat… as the boat started to leave I looked at my phone- 8 messages from family and friends asking if I was ok and if I was anywhere near the trouble in New York. The attack was breaking news on Sky and was all over different news channels worldwide.AR30

Eight people were killed and more than a dozen injured after a man drove a truck nearly a mile down a bike path in lower Manhattan striking pedestrians, cyclists and a school bus.

After smashing into the school bus, injuring two adults and two children, the 29-year-old suspect exited the truck displaying “imitation firearms”. The suspect was shouting “Allahu Akbar”, Arabic for “God is great”, before he was then shot by police in the stomach. The suspect was arrested, and a paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered at the scene.

Donald Trump tweeted about the incident: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

Despite all this, I have already planned another trip back to New York at Christmas, this time to visit a cousin who is going there on placement! Next time I will definitely squeeze in a Broadway Show, a basketball game and a horse and carriage ride around Central Park 🙂

Love,

Aimee xo

Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aimee-rourke-593013109/