Saturday, 30 August 2014

Billingham Folklore Festival - The Review

Summer 2014

Normally I resume my globe-trekker identity during this time of the year. You'll all know by now, if you've been following my blog, that I'm MAD about travelling. Travelling allows me to experience different ways of life first-handedly, and simultaneously embrace the freedom that youth allows you before you become tied down by the heavy pressures possible in adulthood. 

But alas, being someone that's on the cusp of becoming an adult, I felt that it was time for me to start preparing for this new chapter in life. So it was goodbye travelling and hello work experience.

I know, this all sounds awfully boring doesn't it?

After months of interning, I eventually landed in the position of marketing executive for a new local radio station. Yay! Was my immediate thought. I felt I'd been promoted to level well above that of simply being a typical university student. I enjoy all aspects of marketing, especially the part where you get to meet new people, even though it's difficult, but I guess what sort of dampened my mood was that thought it would be an in-office job. Clearly, I'd much rather be, as the locals around here say, "out and about". Is work experience boring and does it stop me from experiencing all the different cultures of life that travelling permits? I was convinced that it did.

But then, two weeks into the job, I was told to help photograph and interview the ticket-holders, staff-members and performers of Billingham Folklore Festival. I'd never been to this festival before and having been told that I'd been attending the finale of its 50th year in running on 16th August, I knew I was definitely in for a treat.

And believe me, it surely was.

A feast of color and cultures 

If you’ve been to the festival before, you’ll know that renowned for gathering performers from all four corners of the world. This year was no exception, with entertainers coming as far as South Korea to as close as Stockport. 

It began with a grand parade throughout the town center, followed by a series of performances involving music, dance, and this year’s special theme, poetry. The international fiesta lasted the whole day and was finished, quite appropriately, with a large bang and oodles of colorful sparkles (aka. Fireworks).

But hang on a minute, I hear you all say, didn’t you say you went there as part of the press? Of course it wasn’t all play and no work. Most of the interviews I did will soon appear on our special radio show that’s basically going to review the event and how it’s grown up since its birth. But, just to prove that actually I was in action (and because I feel like treating you, my dear followers), here’s some of the comments I received from various people I interviewed. Their identities will remain anonymous though, btw (participant confidentiality reasons, fyi).

“I think the best part of Billingham Festival is seeing all the groups perform together. Their enthusiasm and creativity are incredible and can brighten up everyone’s spirits, even on the grayest and rainiest of days.” (Quote from a volunteer at Billingham Festival)

“I’m happy that I had the privilege of performing at Billingham Festival. I’ve loved every second of it, especially since I was able to mingle and mix with so many different people. If we get chosen to perform here again next year, I’d definitely be up for it!” (Quote from a performer)

And, obviously, I took LOADS of photos - it was definitely very difficult trying to narrow them down so I hope the ones I have posted are visually aesthetic to you all, my dear followers.

I have to admit, there was more than just once that I actually felt like joining in and dancing to the music.

I guess the only area of potential debate among those present was probably which country’s act was the best. I had a lot of people say Chile, Spain and Russia, but I personally had my eye on Mexico. Their ability to coordinate a mixture of traditional dance moves and music was phenomenal and their outfits were more than just stunning. But, I think it’s fair to say that overall, everyone’s performances were as brilliant and as unique as the other.

So, my fellow readers, I now return to the original question I posed: Is work experience boring and does it stop me from experiencing all the different cultures of life that travelling permits?

Absolutely not


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Aloha from Hawaii, Tips from a Local

Hello Lovelies!

Just based on that, you might be thinking, "who is this?  This isn't the normal post..." and well, you're right!  I'm Krysti from KrystiEncounters and I've had the most awesome opportunity to work with Tiffany, here at TheAmatureAnthropologist.  We decided to do guest posts for each other and if you would like to see what she posted on my blog, take a look here ( Our post is going to talk about where we come from and some places you should come check out if you're ever in the area / places to add to your bucket list.

As you can guess by the title, I live in Hawaii, but more specifically, on the island of Oahu.  I must say that it is a really beautiful place to live and I am very lucky to be able to bask in the sun and share the Aloha Spirit with those I come across. 

​If you're visiting during an Eat The Street event, I would totally go--it usually falls on a Friday.  It's usually crowded and it's cash only for most, if not all, the food truck vendors, but it's totally worth it.  You can expect to pay close to $50 per person on all the food you're most likely going to be eating (bring an appetite!).  If I were you, I would share the food with whomever you attend this event with, that way you can try out more of the ono (delicious) grindz (food).  Some of the food is a specialty the vendors are making only for that night, and you may never see them again, so get your fill, and don't forget to ask the vendors which one you have to try while you can.  You can check out my post here on the latest Eat The Street event I went to.  You can also check out their Facebook and Instagram.

If you're coming to Hawaii, or thinking about it, it's probably for the beautiful scenery, right?  I would recommend hitting up the North Shore side of the island to watch a sunset, at least once.  No matter how long I've lived here, I can't get past how breathtaking the sunsets are.  Just be careful as North Shore becomes a hot spot for sunsets and it could be hard to find parking; but don't fret too much, there's plenty beach to go around.  I recommend going about two or three hours before sunset and wade in the water or sunbathe as there will be less hectic tourists trying to frantically find parking / a good spot.

If you're into shopping, I would check out the outlet stores of Waikele before hitting the department stores in the tourist hotspots like Waikiki; don't get me wrong, Waikele is jam packed with tourists as well, but it's still an outlet store with great deals.  It's currently under construction so I apologize for the lack of pictures to show you a little more.  I think my favorite is Charlotte Russe and of course the occasional Coach.

Close by to where I live, is a newly opened place I love to eat breakfast; Rise and Shine Cafe.  Yum! I haven't gotten to try all their food yet, but rest assure, I will try.  My favorite so far was their french toast.  My friend's favorite wasn't the eggs benedict, but the potatoes it came with.

Hope can find the time to come out here one day!  Oh, and don't forget, if you're not used to being out in the sun, or a harsher sun than that of where you live, don't forget to bring a higher SPF!  If you manage to get sunburnt, go to a local drugstore and pick up Aloe Gel, as it will work wonders and feels great!

Aloha, and <3 Always,


Profile of the (truly) amazing Krysti

Krysti is a 21 year old blogger who runs KrystiEncounters, mainly a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blog.  The blog started as a hobby and a small space to express herself and has since expanded to be a little more organized and include other topics.  She lives on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii and loves to spread the 'Aloha Spirit' to those she meets.  Krysti is currently in University hoping to get her Bachelors in Business Administration, focusing more on marketing and is hoping to get a Social Media Marketing position in the future.

Side note from The Amateur Anthropologist

Well folks I hope you enjoyed this very special blog post from one of the best and nicest bloggers I've ever met. Make sure that you go and say hi to her if you're ever in Hawaii.


Live, Love, & Learn


Friday, 22 August 2014

Profiteroles with white and dark chocolate dipping sauce

Pudding for two

Hey ho it's a "baking" recipe - at last! Honestly, does anyone ACTUALLY remember the last time I blogged about one of my famous baking adventures? I certainly don't. Normally I'd make one of my old favorites (e.g. my fudgy (pure) chocolate brownies) because I am a total sucker for comfort food. But since I was making it as a dessert to share with my male half, I decided that it had to be something special. And who better to consult than the UK's "Queen of Cakes" herself? That's right, you guessed it - I'm talking about Mary Berry.

Her book entitled Mary Berry's Desserts to be more precise!

The blog title says it all - I obviously went for the profiteroles/ cream puff recipe (Berry, 2008: 195). Choux pastry has seriously never been easier to make. With simple instructions that are easy to understand, who'd thought that combining butter, flour and eggs together can come to create such sweet and delectable delicacies? And don't forget patience; these little French pastries require time, effort and the correct technique in order to make. The most enjoyable part in my opinion comes after all the hard-work (i.e. mixing, stirring and, of course, baking -- 30 minutes at 200°C to be exact), and no it's not eating them that I'm talking about (although that's nevertheless enjoyable). I personally like the part where I pipe oodles of homemade vanilla whipped cream into them.

Forget retail therapy, THIS is the sort of relaxer you need (i.e. baking).

The melting pot

Homemade White and Dark Chocolate sauce
If you've read my other foodie posts, you'll know by heart that I like to add a touch of creativity to every recipe I follow. It's simply a way of me being slightly rebellious but all for a good cause of course. So what exactly is your little twist this time? Simple: chocolate dipping sauce (aka. large-bars-of-pure-chocolate-melted-in-a bowl-on-top-of-a-boiling-hot-pot). And not just any old shop bought chocolate dipping sauce. This one, or rather, "ours" had white and dark chocolate in it. Colorful and delicious - why bother covering profiteroles with chocolate and then placing them in the fridge before consumption when it's SO much better (and more fun!) to dip them in yourself? Plus you avoid the (perhaps) occasional complaints from guests who argue that their cream puffs have less chocolate than the others - definitely a double bonus. 

A professional-looking dessert that takes minutes to make and will definitely impress and satisfy (the stomachs of) your guests (particularly if they're romantically attached to you). 

P.S. Don't forget to lick the spoon - that's (kinda of) the most important part ;)



Berry, M. (2008) Mary Berry's Desserts. London: Dorling Kindersley. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Connected the Musical - Edinburgh Fringe

First impressions are EVERYTHING (literally)

Waiting for the show in Pleasance Courtyard

I've never been to Edinburgh Fringe before, and with the amount of shows and acts on filling up a yellow pages sized booklet, it wasn't surprising that I was a bit overwhelmed and lost for what to choose to see first. I have a thing for musicals (I might have mentioned that a bit earlier when I reviewed Avenue Q) so, without too much of a second thought, I quickly flipped to the correct page. There were loads of musicals that caught my eye, but what really interested me was this one: Connected the Musical. From glancing over the blurb, I gathered it was a modern musical performed by an Australian group that focused on cyber bullying in a high school setting.

Well, despite being a immature adult now, I still feel emotionally attached to my teenage years. So, Connected it was.

And I have to say, I was deeply impressed. There were only four actors, all looking quite a few years younger than me (which simultaneously made me feel very untalented). The singing was incredible, and the acting was equally as brilliant, but what really topped it off for me was, quite honestly, the story itself. Without being overly complicated, the play presented the reality of the dangers that anyone, even the most innocent of all users, can face while surfing the internet. Once you upload something it can travel through cyberspace faster than the speed of light. Heard of the phrase "gone viral"? That's what happened here. And lies can quickly become the truth. Needless to say, it really does affect your image and what other people will think of you. The culprits may eventually get caught, but the damage they caused is irremovable, and the scars they leave are everlasting.

Moral of the story

Although the plot was based on online gossip within high school, I think its message can definitely apply outside of this context. There's no other way of phrasing it than using the old fashioned way:

Think twice before you speak - be cautious on the web when you're "Connected".

Saturday, 16 August 2014


“Cause you had a bad day”

A day at the beach

I always emphasize the fact that I use travel as an excuse to get away from reality, to enjoy myself and to discover something new. There’s no doubt that with all that to look forward to comes immense excitement. You might therefore think that my life’s always rosy and sweet.

Well, in truth, it’s not.

Being optimistic constantly is what I strive for, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain. Sadness is equally a part of my life as is happiness. It might have been because of a pointless argument, the inclement weather or simply the cliché of walking into a pole (which I have to admit, does happen to me frequently and is, obviously, painful). Whatever the reason, I have a bad day every so often. So rather than crying to myself over the spilt milk or munching down bars of chocolate in the hope of suddenly feeling better due to a sugar rush, I head to Saltburn.

Arriving in Saltburn


Sometimes it’s hard to hold the tears back, even in such a colorful and cheerful place like Saltburn. I guess it’s fair to say that I usually start off feeling absolutely gray and stay like that up until I reach the entrance welcoming me to this seaside haven.

The entrance to Saltburn
After entering, it’s difficult not to start feeling slightly peachy even just by looking at all the quirky shops, the architectural splendor of the funicular railway (aka. The Saltburn Cliff Lift), and spectrum of colors created by the natural, seaside scenery itself. Don't believe me? Just have a look yourself.

And yes there have been times when I’ve carried my tears with me all the way down to the beach itself. But they don’t last long, oh no. They’re easily swept away by the ocean waves and seaside breeze.

The cyclists
Pastels and sun

The routine

One step at a time
There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous. Spontaneity is like a flame that essentially ignites any sort of adventure. But when I’m not in the mood for that sort of spark, I like to stick to my same old routine. This basically consists of a long and quiet stroll along the beach, followed by a vanilla ice-cream whilst gazing out to where the sky kisses the sea. And if there’s time, I’ll be taking pictures of the latest creations crafted by the mysterious Saltburn Pier yarnbombers plus something with a hint of quirk and color.

What I wore to Saltburn
Suntanning yarn plushies

It’s as comforting as a mug of creamy hot cocoa on a cold, winter’s night.

But remember, problems should be solved and not avoided. So after I feel rejuvenated and ready to go home to face reality, I end my journey by taking a relaxing trip back up to the train station via the Victorian cliff lift.

One last look before I say goodbye
Saltburn-by-the-Sea: a charming British seaside resort town for most, and a place of solace for me.