Monday, 11 November 2013

Simmons Bar, Camden: Review

There's a certain feeling of blasphemy involved in drinking alcohol from a teacup - at the very least it requires delicate sips. Yet a feeling to Simmons, Camden's newest bar, doesn't feel blasphemous at all. In fact, it feels quite revitalising.

Finding it is not the easiest of tasks. Firstly, don't be deceived by the location- head to Mornington Crescent tube station rather than Camden, and it's right outside. If however, like The Boy and I, you spend a good few minutes scratching your heads and puzzling over Google Maps before looking up at the sign and realising you're actually standing outside, don't feel foolish - it happens to the best of us!

Despite the hipster-esque attire of the gentleman serving behind the bar, the atmosphere was very welcoming. Although we visited on a Saturday night, it was peacefully empty - something which I hope doesn't change as word gets out about this place.

For our first round we somehow managed to take advantage of their happy hour offer - despite the fact that it is advertised as a Sunday-Friday offer and we were there on a Saturday - and got two Cosmopolitans for £10. Pretty good prices for central London, and although they would have cost £7.50 each otherwise, the strong dose of alcohol makes this a good price.

Sipping our drinks from the aforementioned teacups gave us a chance to take in our surroundings. The walls and ceiling are adorned with a mismatch collection of lampshades, whilst the centre piece is a revolving skull-shaped disco ball. The overall effect leaves one  thinking that it's the sort of place Tim Burton may open once he retires from the film industry - and that's no bad thing!

Going back for round two, we decided to branch out. The Boy had a Jamble, fascinated by the concept of jam in a cocktail, and I went for the Strawberry Cake - both were very well received.

Prices come in at around £8 for a "teacup" or £20 for a "teapot" - Simmons' equivalent of a cocktail pitcher. Although the prices may prevent it from becoming a regular haunt, it's a kitsch little place for an eclectic yet peaceful drink.

To see Simmons full menu and for further information, visit their website. The site itself makes my inner pedant want to sub-edit the heck out of it *twitch* so many spelling mistakes and typos *twitch*, but the menu is worth a read for a laugh - the Jamble description in particular sticks in my mind.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

5 weeks at Psychologies magazine!

I can't believe I've been at Psychologies magazine for 5 weeks now! I meant to do an update post after 2 weeks...then 3 weeks...then 4 weeks, but time just spiralled out of control.

I am really enjoying my placement, largely because the team are all so friendly, but also because of how much responsibility they are trusting me with. I have been managing the magazine's social media output on Facebook and Twitter, which has been really exciting recently, as the new-look, restyled version of the mag launched last week, so we have had a big PR campaign to publicise the new format. The feedback so far has been really good, and it was great to be involved with the mag at such an exciting time. Next month promises to be another exciting one, as it sees the 100th issue of Psychologies published!

I have also enjoyed attending events on behalf of the mag. In my second week, I attended the media preview of the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition (try getting that mouthful out after a couple of drinks), the results of which are here. Last week I went to a media screening of The Butler in a swanky Soho hotel, and this week next week I'm off to a preview of Nicole Kidman's new film.

I do spend some time in the office too, believe it or not, largely creating and uploading content for the web- either writing pieces myself, commissioning field experts to write pieces, or re-writing articles from the print magazine to fit the web format and conventions.

I've been given several other adhoc tasks to complete as well - the most bizarre moment was when I was deeply absorbed in a review copy of Jo-Ann Power's WW1 novel "Heroic Measures" (interview here), in a particularly graphic paragraph, when Ali came running over and asked me to urgently call in some fashion pieces from Selfridges - talk about one extreme to the other!

By far the biggest lesson I've learned so far is in relation to social media. Before this placement, I often wondered how large publications such as Company and Cosmopolitan could justify hiring a person purely to work on their social media -after all, it's only a case of writing a few tweets and Facebook posts a day. I take it all back - social media has been the most draining part of my job so far, and certainly takes up more time than anyone would imagine. From writing Facebook posts and tweets, finding Twitter handles to tag, scheduling posts, uploading links and images and responding to reader posts, it could be a full-time job and then some!

I've never worked at a magazine with such a close-knit team before, so it's really interesting to hear the features, sub-editing and art departments all working together to discuss issues as they arise.

Here's to the next few weeks!