28 February 2017

Written by Lauren Francis

for Daily Focal

Peanut butter it is a wonderful thing and I am not ashamed to say I am addicted. Crunchy or smooth I am not fussed, the only thing I am particular about is it has to be natural, none of this synthetic stuff, however Reese’s is an exception to the rule, obviously. Anyway Pancake Day is almost here and I have 10 delicious and mouthwatering pancakes to tempt any peanut butter lover.

Photo Source
If your pancake stack is not this high you need to have a rethink.

Photo from Sugar Spun Rum
It’s the classic American combination PB & J.

Photo from Bread Booze Bacon
Built for two to share over breakfast, frankly I'm not convinced I could share this layered stack, and it has banana so surely it’s one of your five a day.

Photo from SheKnows
This one involves making chocolate peanut butter candies, but if you cannot be bothered or don't have the time, top with whatever takes your fancy.

Photo from Tastes of Lizzy T's
If you are Vegan and / or Gluten Free rejoice because these beauties look incredible.

Photo from Minimalist Baker Recipe
If crepes are your thing then these are a winner.

Photo from Julia's Album
Pumpkin and peanut butter is new to me but I am intrigued, and looks alone makes me want to tuck in.

Photo from Kiss My Broccoli Blog
Who says eating protein has to be boring. 

Photo from Peanut Butter and Fitness
2 words. Give Me!
Photo from Kevin & Amanda
The addition of bacon slightly scares me but if you want to mix up the sweet and savoury, and you love bacon, this could be your new go to.

Photo from Bakerita
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25 February 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts
for Daily Focal

It’s almost March and there are some exciting new album releases in the music world. Daily Focal had a brief look at the new albums coming out in the first half of March.
Here they are!

3 March 2017
Sleaford Mods – English Tapas
Temples – Volcano
Grandaddy – Last Place
Why? – Moh Lhean
Ibibio Sound Machine – Uyai
Holly Macve – Gold Eagle
Formation – Look At The Powerful People
Jenn Grant – Paradise
Nelly Furtado – The Ride
Ed Sheeran – Divide
Nadia Reird – Preservation
The Magnetic Fields – 50 Song Memoir
Methyl Ethel – Everything Is Forgotten

10 March 2017
Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator
The Shins – Heartworms
Circa Waves – Different Creatures
Laura Marling – Semper Feminia
Sir Was – Digging A Tunnel
Tennis – Your Conditionally
Cameron Avery – Ripe Dream, Pipe Dreams
Valerie June – The Order of Time

*According to NME’s new album releases

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24 February 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts
for Daily Focal

Motivation and inspiration are two beautiful, yet very vague words. They thrown all over the place like Cadbury Crème Eggs, but what do they mean to us. Recently I’ve written quite some posts and people wondered where do I get my inspiration from. And to be honest, I didn’t have a clue. But I had proper thought and I think I’ve some ideas about it.

1. Read, read, read
Reading is the foundation of all knowledge. That’s so true. I get a lot of my ideas from reading. Books, newspapers, magazines and news sites. By reading I get insight in a more broad perspective and I can scan for interesting things to write about

2. Social media
I use different social media to stay up to date with social life, entertainment and things trending. I use twitter a lot, probably too much. Other than twitter, I use Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat. Especially Pinterest is amazing for inspiration, I 100% recommend using or browsing that.

3. Pay attention
The world is beautiful and full of inspiring things! My blogpost about language came about when listening to people speaking French with each other on the train. Paying attention to the little things helps. It can be from a baby playing with a little ball to seeing an amazing build. There’s so much to see, we just need to look at it.

4. Travel
Travel is a great inspiration. You see a lot of new things, appreciate new cultures and smash all the food. It’s lovely to discover new places and countries, it gives you a new perspective and new energy. Well at least it gives me that. But it also makes you appreciate the place you live more. You start to be a tourist in your own town or city and explore all those little things you never thought were possible. That kind of energy motivates me to be active and it inspires me to write stuff.

5. Nature
Being out in nature is awesome. It’s mostly quiet, but in a good way. I’m back to the raw version of the world and somehow this gives me the most brilliant ideas. I just walk and walk, sit down on the grass and write down whatever enters my brain. Sometimes it’s fantastic and sometimes it’s, well, mediocre.

6. Coffee shops
Okay, okay calm down. I don’t mean the Dutch coffee shops with joints and stuff. I mean like cosy little cute coffee shops where you can have a good time with a book and just look at all the little things in that shop. For me inspiration often has to do with environment. If the people around me are being motivated or inspired, I tend to get in the same frame of mind. So, surround yourself with people like. Me.

7. Music
Music is like water to my soul when it gets thirsty. Not only is life awesome because of all the great music, it’s also a great inspiration. It puts you in a certain mood to think and wander in inspiration. Just try to put on music and just look around you, I’m quite certain something will come to mind

8. Poetry
Reading poetry is like magic. It creates something magical. For me to envision the words in front of me, see a certain situation is very inspiring. It’s like smelling with your eyes, seeing with your ears. It’s indescribable, but it really works for me. 

9. Other blogs
Other blogs give me a lot of inspiration. In fact, every writer for Daily Focal has inspired me to write stuff. You see different insights, different opinions, different styles and different genres. All of that makes me more aware of my own writing and style, so I start to think of what it means to me and what’s important to me. I learn a lot from other blogs and try to make changes to my blog and life.

10. I’m my biggest inspiration

I guess this does sound weird, but in the end all my inspiration comes from within. Every day I live. Every day I look at myself and see how strong I am, despite my mental illnesses. I start to realise that I’m not a burden to myself, but a blessing and this is something that inspires my writing. I want to taste the world, experience life and I can do that by thinking about it. Thinking about it and writing about it.

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23 February 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts
for Daily Focal

Speaking another language is a fantastic thing if you ask me. I literally love learning new languages and I’m very fortunate to speak multiple languages, to be honest. English isn’t my first language and here I am, writing blogposts in a language that’s is not my natural language. It’s so fascinating!

As an inhabitant of the Netherland I’m used to have knowledge of more than one language, it’s in our system. Because Dutch is such a little language and not many people speak it globally, we are forced to learn other languages. English, German and French are the languages we all learn from the age of 12, English even from age 10. But I found out this isn’t the same everywhere.

In Germany for example some languages are taught more than in other places. Near the Dutch border, you can choose Dutch in schools. But closer to Denmark, it’s Danish. Or France, it’s French. You get the idea, right? But what makes it’s so interesting for me, is that in countries where they speak English, they can choose from a variety of languages. That’s really amazing.

Personally, I think speaking multiple languages doesn’t bring advantages with communication alone. It brings you a whole new perspective on culture, life and communication. By learning new languages, I’ve become more interested and educated in traditions and values. That’s something I will cherish forever.

By learning to speak, read and write English I’ve become more understanding of British and American culture, although I would classify my English as British. I’ve become more and more UK minded, I’m more interested in their history, nostalgia, music, food (OMG all the food) and so on. I think that’s the beauty of learning languages, it’s not just about words and grammar. It’s about learning about the world in a whole new and different perspective! 

I’m feeling very grateful at the moment for the ability to speak more than one language, because it means I can communicate with a lot of people around the world. I’ve made friends because of it and I wouldn’t change for the world.

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22 February 2017

Written by Nafisha Atcha
for Daily Focal

Handbags are an item I find difficult to invest in. I love looking at the designer bags (Currently oogling the Chloe Faye Bag) but the daily wear and tear of them prevents me from making that purchase. I know I cannot be the only one which is why I went on a little hunt and found five bags, all beautiful and all under £20.

I actually picked this one up and I cannot beleive my luck when I found this. It was originally £12:00 but when I got to the till, I found out it was further reduced to £7:00. I love the size of this bag. It is small enough to make it perfect for the weekend or when you are on the go but also big enough you can fit a notebook in there too if you wanted too.

If you love a backpack this will be the one for you. I have to admit, I do not think backpacks are something which suit me personally, however I am very tempted to pick this one up. It looks big and durable enough to carry during my commute to work in the morning.

To add a little bit of colour I came across this lovely bag from New Look. I immediately wished it came in black. This is the perfect small bag for work. It is the kind of bag which pulls an outfit together. I love the contrast in colours in the design too as it adds something extra to the bag without look overboard.

If you have been lusting after the Chloe Faye Bag but wanted something a little more affordable look no further. This gem from Matalan looks almost identical and comes in a range of colours. I am tempted to purchase this. 

I love a good compartment bag, especially for day to day work use. It just makes it easier to find things in your bag when you are in a rush. my sister took my last one but this one from ASOS is quite similar. It has two compartments so you can use one side for your make up bits and pieces and the other side for keys and change ect.

Those are some of my top picks for bags under £20. It just goes to show you do not need to break the bank to find something special for your wardrobe.

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21 February 2017

Written by Mike Douglas
for Daily Focal

Daniel Craig is now the second longest serving, or rather acting James Bond. 

But who's your Top 2 JB's?

My number one is Pierce Brosnan.
He was the James Bond I grew up with. I always thought he could pass for a Russian spy too. Which for some reason mattered to me. 
He was also the lead in the amazing Goldeneye. The amount of time I spent playing the movie based video game...it was a lot. So he will likely always be my James Bond. 

My number two is Sean Connery.
The first Bond. The guy that put a hair across a door as a check to see if someone entered. I loved watching the old Bond films as a teen and in my early twenties. His accent and facial expressions were so on point. He created the role and a franchise with his acting in the lead role. 

However, Daniel Craig is creeping up on him. Daniel would be my number three right now. His longevity is making him synonymous with the role of James Bond. Ironically something Daniel Craig doesn't seem to want. I've seen so many reports of him wanting to leave the role and continued reports of who will be next. Although in this era of 'fake news' who knows if that's really the case. Maybe that's a natural reaction to Daniel Craig becoming the second longest serving James Bond?

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20 February 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts
for Daily Focal

Mental health. The world health says it all, it’s of vital importance to take care of. For some reason your mental health is considered less important than your physical health, which in my opinion is very strange. But the stigma is ever present and we really need to speak about it more, because only then can we tear down this stigma and taboo on mental health.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder not too long ago and while I have had support, a lot of people have left me. Friendship are terminated as it were and it made me think about the labels. I’ve been giving a label in the psychological sense of it all, but also a social label. And, the social label is what makes it so hard to speak about your mental illnesses.

Personally, I think there are three different groups on the receiving end, when you start to talk about mental health issues or problems:

1. People who suffer themselves and are understanding to a certain degree
2. People who want to understand, but can’t and therefore react in a manner which can be concluded as negative
3. People who don’t want to understand

I think the second group is the largest group out there and education is of vital importance to the process of understanding. They want to understand so they turn to the media. They see films and TV series, see social media and read a lot of stuff on the internet about mental illnesses. They form an idea of what mental illnesses are and create a wrong image of what it truly means to be mentally ill. Of course understanding 100% is almost impossible, but by sending out the wrong messages in the foresaid media, stigma is only growing and reactions are mainly negative.

In order to reduce stigma, we should educate everyone about mental health. In schools, colleges, universities, workplaces, communities, sports, hospitals and you name it. It’s of vital importance that society as a whole learns more and more about mental health. Only when everyone learns about we can reduce stigma and the wrong images will disappear in books, films, series, newspapers, social media and websites. Mental health is not something to take lightly. It disrupts lives, it makes life so much harder for a lot of people. When we are more educates as society, we can work as a collective to create more understanding. We can create a better support system, more structured and more accessible. 

It’s not easy to change things, this is hard. But nothing worth doing is easy. It’s just a big task to do and the one thing I know, is that we have to keep discussing, speaking and get it out there. Only if we stick together we can battle this.

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19 February 2017

Written by Lauren Francis
for Daily Focal

What with an Odeon, Cineworld and IMAX seemingly everywhere you wouldn't be naive to think these are the places you have to go to get your film fix. In actual fact there are plenty of independent cinemas dotted about offering a more unique experience. Here are my cinema finds to get you tempted to try somewhere new.

After many years standing derelict this fabulous Art Deco theatre is been back in the swing of things. Ranging from modern blockbusters to vintage classics that draw in the crowds, it will feel like you have slipped back in time when sit down and watch a movie here.

Aside from their 4 other standard screens, Studio 5 is a more exclusive area with a mere 40 comfy sofas and arm chairs. Not only this but each comes with a blanket, a foot stall and table service, what more could you want.

Grab your swimwear because a hot tub cinema exists. It may not be a permanent fixture but it will sure as hell make you wonder if there is any better way to sit outdoors and watch a film!

Simply plonking yourself on a chair is not enough of an experience anymore because the Edible Cinema has been born. This one is certainly for the foodies out there and periodically during the film you will be prompted to open a specific numbered container which holds a mini snack or cocktail for you to indulge. This is a sure sell-out so be sure to keep your eyes open for upcoming screenings.

The train and tracks are long gone but The Station still has its uses. When just a cinema isn't enough, enjoy this little community hub that boasts a cafe, restaurant, 3D art store, exhibitions, community activities and food from award winning artisan food producers.

Lacking in big open spaces? No longer a problem. The rooftop film club returns this spring and is the perfect getaway if you want a couple of hours forgetting you are in a big city.

The UK’s largest drive through cinema is here in Kent and is playing all the latest movies. It is a tad on the expensive side but for a chance to experience the American way it is certainly worth a go. For those wondering how you hear the movie the sound plays through your car radio, genius!

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