Travel • Wimbledon 2017 – How To Beat The Queue

After having such an amazing time at Wimbledon last year, I decided I wanted to do it again this year. Having failed to get tickets in the ballot, I decided I’d take my chances in “the queue”. If you’re not British you might not understand how much as a nation we love to queue, and being Wimbledon, there is nothing more civilized or well organised as this queue. They even give you a “Guide to Queuing” when joining.

Just in case you weren’t sure how to do it

I’ve had friends that have had very successful experience of the queue at Wimbledon so I didn’t think it would be as difficult as it was to get myself into the grounds on the day. So, I thought I’d share a few little tips and tricks that I’ve learnt from having done it, so that you don’t go home disappointed.

“We made it!” First sight when getting into Wimbledon. So happy
  1. When the stewards say get there early, they mean it.

Make sure you get to the grounds before the first tube. Wimbledon is on the district line, with the first train getting into Wimbledon at 6am. This seems pretty extreme and crazy early but it really ups your chances of getting in. People camp overnight, so before you even think about setting your alarm the night before there are already people in the queue. I am lucky enough to have family in London, living in Notting Hill. I woke up at 5am, got ready and left the house at 5:20am, booked an Uber – which took me 20 minutes at that time in the morning and cost me £14.61. I really think this is the only reason I got in early enough (12pm) to make the trip worthwhile.

View from “The Hill”
  1. Pack everything in your fridge.

I made the rookie error of not taking enough food or water for the amount of time I was waiting. This year has been ridiculously hot in London. If your one of the unlucky people that suffers with getting “Hangry”, DO NOT SKIP PACKING BREAKFAST AND LUNCH, what’s the point in waiting that long to get in if you’re going to be in a bad mood for most of the day? Plus, the food inside Wimbledon is pretty expensive, £11 for chicken and chips! You’d be silly not to take advantage considering most events will force you to depose of your food and drinks before entering.

Prosecco at 9am? Why not!
  1. Make friends.

I really struggle to talk to strangers, think this is from being taught “stranger danger” at school and it’s just stuck. The people in the queue around you are going to be there with you for hours so, ‘make nice’. I met a lovely bunch of guys that I actually stayed with all day when we got in. It’s all part of the experience so just embrace it, you might never see these people again anyway so why not? You might also meet some nice people that share their food and alcohol with you! Everyone is there for the same reason, so that’s a good conversation starter.

  1. DON’T LOOSE YOUR QUEUE CARD!

Although it seems pretty obvious, losing your queue card will completely ruin your day and lose you that place in the queue you’ve put yourself out for. You’ll need the card to get through 2 check points so keep hold of it even when you think you don’t need it anymore.

Finally through the gate!
  1. Prepare for all weather eventualities.

The weather in England is sometimes ridiculous. When I arrived I was shivering and wishing I’d brought a jacket with me, 3 hours later I was using my hat as a fan and asking fellow queuers for sun cream. I was very lucky with the weather, despite my now red shoulders. Rain is always a possibility, so make sure you check the weather and pack appropriately, an umbrella is almost always a must. The rain will also affect how much tennis is played on the day. Games have been known to be rained off and if you are queuing, the likelihood of your day being worthwhile is pretty slim, but if you aren’t really that fussed about watching the tennis, and just want to go for the atmosphere and novelty that is Wimbledon, then go for it!

Purple and green
  1. Pick your day.

Certain days are harder to get in than others. Obviously the second week is harder because there are fewer games to be played, thus the capacity declines. We were told by one of the stewards that Thursday, Week 1 is the best day to come for the queue, not sure why, she just said it was a far quieter day consistently (she’d been working Wimbledon since 2009). Mid tournament Saturday (Super Saturday) is known for being pretty busy due to it being a weekend day, but games are also still played out on the outside courts so it’s really popular. This is the day I took my chances, so it isn’t impossible, but you need to really want it. Monday, Week 2 is again a difficult day to get into, when I was queuing to get in for Saturday, there were people already setting up camp to queue for MONDAY TICKETS! As you would expect, as you get closer to the end of the tournament it gets harder to get in. If you’ve also picked a day with lots of well-loved players on Center Court, you’ll struggle due to people not wanting to leave.

Pimms O’clock!

Despite being completely exhausted right now, I feel like I’ve been backpacking around Asia for 6 months, I would without a doubt do it all again. Being in the queue made my Wimbledon experience that much more interesting and fun, and it is something that I can now tick off my bucket list. The grounds and tournament are defiantly worth the wait and Pimms just tastes so much better when you’re sat on Henman Hill (Murray Mound).

This little spot is my favourite Wimbledon photo opp. Took a photo here last year and will take one in every year to come

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Travel • Wimbledon 2016

Since a young age I’ve always loved sport. It’s something that has been a massive bonding point for me and my dad since i don’t have a brother. I will sit and watch anything if i can get tickets, i love the atmosphere of being at a game/ match as well as the thrill and inspiration i feel by watching someone that is so good at their craft. Me and dad will always find an excuse to watch something whether it’s our home basketball team, Plymouth Raiders, or going to watch the Dodgers play baseball out in LA. He’s even been a good enough sport to take me to watch Chelsea play (and win), despite being a devoted Manchester United fan.

Plymouth Raiders Basketball February 2017 

Last summer, i was finally lucky enough to get myself tickets to Wimbledon. Something I’ve wanted to do since i was a little girl having always played tennis. I generally don’t watch a lot of sport on TV, i get easily distracted and hate wearing my glasses to stare at a screen, but Wimbledon is something i can sit and watch for hours – plus I love champagne and strawberries.

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Strawberries and champagne in-between games

Being British, i feel Wimbledon is a great tribute to our culture and heritage. The grounds are immaculate and every detail, down to the length of each blade of grass (cut to a height of 8mm) is taken into consideration, showing how much time, care and attention is put into making the whole experience something special.

 

Court 1, Day 1

I managed to get myself tickets to Day 1 – Center Court, despite this not seeming anything special, it was amazing, everything was freshly painted, the courts were all pristine and lush due to not having been played on and everyone was exciting for the beginning of another grand slam.

 

Order of play – Day 1

Our tickets got us into watch Federer and then Nedal later in the day. I’ve always wanted to see Federer play, someone that is so great at what he does and it was magical to be there and watch him play, his skill truly is untouchable and he moves so effortlessly around the court. We wanted to make sure we did everything your suppose to do at Wimbledon, having strawberries and champagne were obviously a must and being such a warm and sunny day we sat outside people watching in-between match. They do actually let you take your own alcohol (one bottle per person)… and food in to Wimbledon, so it doesn’t actually have to be an expensive day out if you don’t want it to be.

 

Stood outside where the Queen goes to watch Wimbledon

I do not have nearly enough words or photographs to sum up my day at Wimbledon, despite having been to a lot of sporting events i honestly don’t feel any of the others came as close to how much of an experience it was. However, despite being a ballot to gain tickets, they are incredibly hard to get and you need to apply in September for them! But, you can turn up on the day and purchase a grounds pass, people generally sell their court tickets on when they go to leave for the day so there is always the chance that you might get to go into a court, but that isn’t really vital as their are outside courts you can sit/ stand and watch if you go within the first week of play or there is always Henman Hill!

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Fashion • Backstage at PCA Fashion Show 2017 #BreakingThrough17

Last week, i was lucky enough to take part in the Plymouth College of Art Graduate Fashion Show. Having done the show before i was excited to be asked again to take part and model for the students at the college, helping them to show off their hard work from throughout the academic year over the 2 day event.

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Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate

So much time and work goes into making these shows happen, the students plan, design and organise everything from the lighting on the runway to the hair styles and make-up, all whilst finishing designs and coursework. So it’s no wonder you spend most of your time backstage being pinned and stitched as they make sure their designs looks perfect.

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Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate

The clothes were the same on both days, giving friends, families and VIP guests to see their work, this made my job as a model 10 times easier as you just had to remember to walk. We had a lot of other brilliant first and second year students to help us get ready backstage and style the garments how the designers had visualized so that they were able to watch their clothes on the catwalk.

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Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate

Having been involved before, it was great to see students again that i’d modeled for the previous year and getting to wear their designs. There were so many amazing designs and i spent a lot of time backstage snapping away and begging students to let me and my friend Jon borrow their outfits for shoots.

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Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate

From what I’ve seen of this course, the students get to full experiences the perks and pitfalls of being in the fashion industry, with some of the students designs being featured in Vogue and approached by professional designers for job opportunities. Plymouth College of Art really encourages the students from across all the courses to get involved and help each other, from photographers shooting collections to film students creating editorial films for the designers, creating the opportunity for collaboration and invaluable experience for their future careers within their chosen industry. Find out more about the show and our award winners here: http://bit.ly/2t27h9o

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Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate

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Travel • Tintagel, Cornwall

Last Sunday, me and my friend Jon decided to be adventurous and head out of Plymouth (where we live) and hunt for a beautiful seaside location to do a photo shoot. However, the weather on Sunday happened to be shocking (not that this was a shock, despite it being June, we do live in England). Jon ensured me that if we headed for the Atlantic coast it would brighten up by the time we got there.


When we arrived it was blue skies and starting to feel like the summer day it should have been, we wanted to shoot somewhere that wasn’t “run of the mill” and couldn’t easily be replicated, so we put on our hiking shoes and set off along the headland in search of somewhere beautiful to set up for the afternoon.


After starting to lose hope and a 45 minute walk we came along the first path down to a beach that we’d seen, a little beach called Bossiney. With it being high tide we did not get to see much of the beach, but the rocky area around the outside of the cove made it perfect for what we wanted and also provided me and Jon with plenty of entertainment as we both tried to not get ourselves completely drenched as the waves came up behind us.


Something we didn’t realize until we got home that evening, was that Tintagel was the home of King Arthur and the knights of the round table, the ruins of the castle are still on the hilltop and would have been amazing to have looked around. The headlands are beautiful, full of dramatic shapes and edges as well as coves and caves that are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean (something of great fascination and novelty to me as Plymouth is on the English Channel).

We were so proud of ourselves for finding such a idyllic and unique location we both couldn’t help but take photos and quickly started to crack on with our shoot. The colours of the water defiantly made us reconsider the fact we were suppose to be doing a black and white shoot. I couldn’t believe how vibrant everything was, especially considering we had left Plymouth in pouring rain.

Little gems like this are present all the way around the UK, especially Cornwall, you just need to take the time to get yourself out there and find them. I wouldn’t have believed we were even in the UK with the colour of the water, just goes to show that you really don’t need  to spend a fortune travelling abroad to sit on a beautiful beach with crystal clear water and blue skies.

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Birthdays Are Better In The Sunshine • Palma, Mallorca

This year I decided I was fed up of spending my birthday in the same city doing the same shit as everyone else and not having it actually feel like my birthday. I’ve always been “lucky” enough to have my birthday fall on a bank holiday/ half term, which growing up I was so thankful for, but as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more and more of a burden and because less important due to living in a city that celebrates a bank holiday more than New Years Eve.

Champagne Sundays

I am a huge sun worshiper, so I took the opportunity this year to spend my birthday on the beautiful island of Mallorca, Spain. Being sat in 30C heat all day, everyday is my idea of paradise and despite being away from my family, my only other concern was making sure I didn’t end up with horrific tan lines.

I managed to get myself booked on a flight 2 weeks before I left, and had an amazing friend that was willing to put me up for the duration of my stay. Before I had the chance to think, my bags were packed and I was sat waiting for my £95 (return) EasyJet flight to be called at Bristol airport.

Impatiently waiting for my flight, come on EasyJet
My friend lives in a beautiful 10th story apartment in Magaluf… somewhere I had a terrible misconception of from trashing TV shows and friends that have been there on booze-fueled holidays. Despite its reputation, Magaluf is beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever been so shocked and disappointed in myself for prejudging a place so much.

10th story view #goals

Whilst my friend worked, I spent my days on the beach and making trips into Palma to shop and meet family friends (my best friend’s mum and siblings are lucky enough to live on this beautiful island!). Having spent a few days relaxing I was ready to do what everyone comes to Magaluf to do…. PARTY. We spent Saturday (my birthday eve) hopping from beach club to bar, slowing feeling the effects of forgetting to put suncream on due to multiple cocktail consumption, ultimately finding ourselves with a bottle of champagne inside a tattoo and piercing shop…. my mother will be relieved to know I did not take part in any tattooing, I did however get my ear pierced, champagne is a wonderful pain relief. 

Nikki Beach Mallorca…. that floor was so bloody hot

After passing out embarrassingly early, I woke up on my birthday (Sunday) not feeling so fresh, but having been woken up at the crack of dawn by my family facetiming me to wish me happy birthday, we headed over to our destination for the day, BH Mallorca and the Kiss FM Opening Pool Party.

VIP view on my birthday. Thank you BH Mallorca

We’d bought ourselves €35 day passed to the event, giving us free bar and free food for the duration, but as soon as we arrived and saw the VIP set-up we knew we could do better. Despite cringing at the thought of our bank accounts in the morning, we paid the cost of the cabana bed we had our eye on and spent our day feeling like a king and queen. I’d never actually been to a beach club/ pool party before this trip, and god did I not know what I was missing.

“Quick J, before I get too pissed to have my photo taken”

I’ve been very fortune throughout my life to have been taken to some truely beautiful and breathtaking places, and although Palma wasn’t the most beautiful and breathtaking, I really cannot fault that day and the love I felt from the people around me, even with the 2 McDonald’s burgers I scoffed on my way home that night.

Alex Whittingham, my best friend’s little brother and me at BH Mallorca

Had I not had work to come back to, or if i had a job I could have easily bailed on, I would have happily stayed for another week… month…. year! The life style and people are genuinely some of the strangest, probably because of the copious amounts of booze and potentially drugs, but I honestly cannot wait to get myself back to this little guilty pleasure of mine. 

H&M always do the best swimsuits

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Fitness • Anxiety

Since I’m finally happy to speak about my anxiety, I thought I’d also share my coping mechanisms.

 

When I first started suffering with panic attacks, insomnia, a constant feeling of self-doubt and low self-esteem i didn’t quite know what to do with myself, obviously all these things don’t come together, and for a long time i didn’t even realise it was anxiety i was struggling with. I’ll be the first person to admit that i always though anxiety was a bit of a joke, and refused to believe that was the issue because I’d never encountered any massive struggles in my life that could have resulted in that being the case. I come from a lovely home where my parents taught me values and encouraged me to be my own person, i was constantly reminded i could achieve anything i put my mind to. So why when you’ve been nothing but encouraged and loved would you end up with anxiety?

 

In my final year at uni I started to have uncontrollable and unpredictable panic attacks in normal everyday situations. I would find myself at work, talking to a customer and feel like i was being strangled by my shirt, i would feel like crying if someone rejected an idea of mine during a coursework meeting, i started to feel like i could be in social situations and refused to leave my room if i didn’t need to.

 

I’d seen a few posts on social media about anxiety and through curiosity decided to read a few articles, I was moved to tears by the fact that each article managed to describe exactly how i was feeling. I decided to talk to my cousin, who has always been like a sister to me and happens to be a psychologist, to see what she would suggest to someone who suffers with anxiety. She told me to go for a walk, get fresh air and do something to make myself feel more positive about myself and the rest will follow, but most importantly remember to breathe.

 

I started by taking the long route to work, living and working by the sea meant that if i went and sat down on the beach i was able to focus on something other than my own thoughts. This then turned into me going for runs, something that helped me no end, i always claimed it was getting rid of my nervous energy, but how true that is i don’t know. I started to go for runs 3-4 times a week and noticed a dramatic increase in my panic attacks to nearly 0. I noticed an amazing change in my body that because I’d always hated exercise i’d never seen before, i felt so much more alive, awake and more confident than i ever had before and that really helped me put my anxiety to the back of my mind. I then decided to take myself to the next level and joined a gym. Nothing too fancy or expensive, but gave me access to equipment that meant I could run in the cold and rain without making myself sick.

 

Today, my fitness is such a core part of my routine and it makes me feel so empowered and in control. Without having discovered my coping mechanism I would probably have not graduated from uni, i would have isolated myself from all of my friends and family and never felt like what i consider today to be normal. I refuse to let my anxiety get the better of me and affect my life and my relationships, something that when I’m having a bad day seems so difficult not to allow happen especially since I’m so private a quiet about my struggle. It brings me great comfort to know I’m not the only person that struggles like i do, and i hope that one day i will be able to help even just one person when they get themselves into that dark and lonely place.

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Travel • Santorini

At the end of the summer, i’ve always thought it was a good idea to get away just to top up that sun kissed glow before winter truly sets in. In 2016, i decided to go to Santorini for the first time. Having seen so many beautiful photos of the place since a young age i was very excited, and the island defiantly didn’t disappoint.


Santorini is a tiny island not far off the greek mainland, known for its idilic architecture in the capital, Thira. We stayed in a hotel in a town called Perissa, located on the southern end of the island. Known for it’s black sand beaches, considering i take sand from beautiful and interesting beaches, this was the ideal place for me to stay. The island is relatively small island and easy to drive around, we hired a car to make it far more convenient for us to explore. This was relatively cheap and would defiantly recommend doing it, Perissa was considerable cheaper than Thira to stay in.


The island has plenty of activities to offer, including boat trips and tours of the sites of previous volcanic eruptions. The costal roads make travelling from town to town enjoyable, making the time pass quickly in-between stops. A must-do is watching the sunset up in Thira, this is a very popular thing to do as it is so beautiful, and you need to make sure you get a good position in advance, but there are plenty of restaurants along the hilltop to choose from with amazing vantage points.

Santorini is defiantly somewhere i was glad to check off my bucket list and would defiantly not hesitate to head back. This island is beautiful and perfect for a quick, romanic break, I also have friends that have done euro-trips and Santorini has been the highlight of their trip. Despite the price tag attached, i would defiantly stay in Thira next time, even if it was just for a night and to experience the luxury and imagery that you associate only with Santorini.

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