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Sophia Hancox

Feature Writing Portfolio This portfolio includes examples of the articles I have written and submitted for formal assessment as part of my degree.

Each feature is written in the style of a specific publication and targeted at different readerships. The intended publications are written below each article’s headline.

The portfolio also includes examples of the magazine design work I have completed using Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.


Sophia Hancox

Moving on from dementia: Starting a new relationship when your partner doesn’t recognize your face. The Daily Mail

By the year 2025 there will more than a million people with dementia, many of those will have partners; husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends who will watch as the personality they once knew so well disappears. Sophie Hancox looks at what happens when there is just a shell of that person remaining; when your loved one no longer knows who you are. Picture sitting in the doctor’s office, wondering why your husband keeps forgetting where he left his keys, or why, when he puts down the phone, he immediately forgets the name of the person he was just that second speaking to. Imagine being told that they have dementia. Being told there is no cure, only drugs to prolong the devastating effects and that he is one of 750,000 people effected in the UK. Any loving wife would support their husband, this goes without question. However in these situations there is only a matter of time before the harsh reality of such a tragic illness set in. Along with this comes the realisation for many women that they will not grow old and die peacefully with their husbands like they thought they would on their wedding day yet they will still try and help them as much as they can before they enter their ‘own little world’. Perhaps the only slight comfort is knowing these husbands are unlikely to be in much pain during the end stages. Many wives put in this predicament may talk to their husbands; find out what they want them to do when he doesn’t know who they are anymore. Perhaps moving on is the answer; regaining happiness through a new relationship. This issue may even be silenced and left to be figured out through time but whatever is decided, chances are, it won’t be easy. A common preconception of Dementia is that it solely affects older people and whilst it’s true that the majority of people affected are over the age of 80, the illness can affect people of any age.


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Dementia is an umbrella term, describing the effects on the brain by certain diseases or conditions the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms include confusion, depression, lack of understanding, speech problems and loss of memory with sufferers typically reverting back to a childlike state. Such memory loss can be the turning point for many people in which they decide it is far too painful to watch their loved one’s spirit disintegrate before their eyes. Eventually, many people decide that cannot give their loved one the specialist care that they need to ensure they are comfortable and seemingly happy. It is hard to cope when someone becomes affected and 64% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia. So what happens if when a person decides that the best thing for a partner is to put them in a care home? Visits to them may become less and less frequent, especially if when trying to balance work and social lives too. For a lot of people the subsequent loneliness they ultimately experience can be heartbreaking. After all, sharing your life with someone for years only to have them slowly disappear in front of you is a deeply harrowing experience. This is when the prospect of starting a new relationship may not seem that bad. Jo Allen, 32, of Weston Super Mare knows only too the impact that dementia can have on loved ones as her mother, Jackie, 60, has ‘Pick’s Disease’; a form of dementia that initially impacts the parts of the brain associated with emotions and short term memory and then spreads to other areas of the brain: “When I found out my mother had dementia I was shocked, but actually not too concerned as the only dementia I had anything to do with up to that point was in very elderly people and reasonably mild, so I just thought that once she got to that age she would be the same way, I did not realise that it would progress more quickly in a younger person.” Unfortunately, Jackie’s dementia did progress, so much so, that for the last three years she has been living permanently in a care home where the nurses there can provide the specialist care and attention that she needs. For Jo, having a mother that was effected with the disease was heartbreaking and she recalls how quickly it seemed to take hold of her: “My mother was diagnosed in October and I can remember putting up the Christmas tree with her that December and having to give very simple ‘one step at a time’ instructions to her for her to understand what we were doing.”


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Jo continues to regularly visit her mother, despite her having little, often no, grasp on reality and her surroundings and her illness has meant that she has almost reverted back into a childlike state. “I went through a year or so of depression as I was grieving for the mother I knew, but still having to face her every week,” Jo says. “If someone dies you grieve, remember the good times and move on, but how can you move on from grief if you still have to see that person all the time?” Since her admittance into the care home, Jackie’s husband, and Jo’s father, Roger Clarke, 62, of Weston Super Mare started a new relationship as the solitude he was forced into after his wife was diagnosed became almost unbearable to handle: “I didn’t want to look specifically for a new wife or girlfriend because I was still in shock from losing my wife to dementia but I was lonely and depressed and I needed someone to talk to. I was looking for some company and support more than anything because the rest of my family live a quite a while from me. I met my new partner Jane and things just happened naturally. We’ve been together for a little while now, I suppose you could say she’s made me happy again.” For the majority of Roger’s family this new relationship wasn’t a problem but for Jo the idea of him finding someone new was a hard one to come to terms with: “My Dad is a weak person, I can’t understand why he has done it after how long they were married for. He’s found someone new and I don’t like it at all but to be honest it was a relief that he stopped expecting me to take my Mum’s place and found someone else to fill the void.” Although Roger wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, his new found love with Jane has meant his relationship with his daughter has been damaged, so much so that they can barely stand to be in the same room as each other anymore. “I realise that my mum was the glue that held my family together, without her I almost feel like I don’t have one,” Jo says. Although Roger says he “never meant to hurt anyone by starting a new relationship” he believes that Jane has given him a reason to live again, she, quite literally, has picked him up from the lowest point in his life and given him a reason to smile again.


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“I had been married to my wife, Jackie for nearly thirty years when we found out she was ill. It seemed as if the second we got the news she started to go downhill to the point now where she doesn’t even recognise my face. I remember one time I had popped out to the shop and when I let myself back in she thought I was robbing the house. I think it was then that I realised the situation had escalated into something out of my control.” He still sees Jackie, but she has no clue of who he is, often not even realising he is in the room with her. To deprive him from new found happiness would be close to insane wouldn’t it? It may be easy, whilst you are reading this, to make a judgement on Jo, or her father, but it’s much easier to underestimate the emotional turmoil they, and thousands of other people in their situation, go through. Obviously, it is entirely down to personal choice whether or not to start a new relationship and sometimes not everyone may agree with it, but it can bring much joy and happiness to a person who has undergone the mental loss of a partner. Specialist nurse practitioner John Tyson of Andover War Memorial Hospital works with people affected with mental illness and sees, everyday, how mental illness can effect a marriage: “Dementia can have a major effect on the basis that the person diagnosed wont be the same person anymore and their partner then becomes a carer and has a carer’s burden,” he says. “The fact that the person isn’t able to do things like driving housework and just contributing to the relationship can have a major effect on a marriage.” John believes that there are many factors that can cause a marriage, or a long term relationship, to break down. Subsequent violence from the effected person and depression can bring unwanted stress into a formally peaceful environment but he says that it is common for younger people who are affected to start the search for love again: “Someone in their 50s or 60’s still has a good few decades left in their life yet and the prospect of them being alone for that time can be scary even if it’s not for sexual purposes but just companionship.” However, many people don’t feel comfortable starting a new relationship when their husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend is still present physically as John Explains:


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“I suppose it’s just a moral thing when a person that you have been with all your life suddenly gets an illness and there’s no pre warning, the shock can take a long time to get over. I think a lot of people may feel guilty about starting to see another person.” Having a partner with full dementia or being told that they have it is a harrowing experience for any person. For some, a new relationship can replace agony and emotional suffering with pleasure and contentment but others can view it as disrespectful. It’s unfair to let someone decide your happiness for you and if it means seeing someone a new person then let that be; nobody has the right to stop you. Unfortunately, in Jo’s case she found the new relationship her father started to be the final straw in their own bond, and now they barley see eye to eye. “My dad and I have never been close,” she says, ‘and now we have nothing at all in common.”


Sophia Hancox

The Minimum Wage Shouldn’t Be a Privilege The Independent

Earlier this year, Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, caused outrage when he suggested that disabled people should “work for less” in a Commons debate. But is he right? Sophie Hancox reveals the seemingly endless struggle in finding work for her disabled brother.

Over the past year I’ve watched my parents desperately try and get some sort of work placement for my younger brother Oliver, 19, who has Down’s syndrome. I’ve listened to countless phone calls to supervisors and managers who at first promise something but then, much to everybody’s dismay, fail to follow it up.

I know that Oliver is not alone in his struggle to get a job as it is estimated by the Disabled Living Foundation that there are around 60,000 people with Down’s syndrome living in the UK. Think about it, how many of those have you seen in a workplace?

At the moment, Oliver attends a specialist college course that aims to provide him with the life skills he needs to live an independent social and working life. It’s meant that, with only a little extra time and patience, he is able to do things just as efficiently in a work place as any other person his age.

The frustrating thing is though that it seems as if employers, whether from retail giants or independent shops, have preconceived ideas meaning that nobody is willing to give him the chance. The focus is typically on what he can’t do, which is actually very little, rather than what he is more than capable of doing.

According to figures released by the Disability Rights Commission and the Office for National Statistics, there are over 6.9 million disabled people of working age in the UK, completing 19% of the working population, but only half of these are in employment.

We live in such a diverse society and work places ought to reflect this by employing a mix of people with different abilities and backgrounds. If a workplace only employed white people


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then this wouldn’t portray the range of ethnicities it our society at all and we would assume they were racist. The same goes for people of varying abilities; if only similar able-bodied people were employed then how would this ever portray Britain as the equal society it claims to be?

Under the Equality Act (2010) it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person in respect of their disability. Yet with so few disabled people in work, I am left questioning if employers are ignoring their obligations for equal rights.

Providing that two people are qualified enough for a job, even if one has slightly lesser grades but still fits the bracket, then I believe that the employer should pick the person who will best represent a sense of equality in the company. This is not discriminating against the other, it’s just showing that they are giving the opportunity of work to the people who walk through their door, regardless of age, race, gender and ability.

It’s a sad thing when politicians suggest that the disabled should work for less as it only increases the amount of prejudice that those trying to find employment face. Again, the focus remains on what they are unable to do, rather than discussing the slight adjustments, if any, that need to be taken to ensure they can work effectively and safely.

As an MP, Davies is a representative of his constituency; a campaigner for his people’s rights and his role lies in supporting them. On his website he claims that he will “always put his constituents' interest above his political career.” How thinking that less able members of the community should be exempt from standard pay rights is sticking to this claim really is beyond me.

The point that he was trying, and failing, to justify was that if two people are competing for the same position, and one is disabled, then that person should offer to work for less than the national minimum wage. His idea was slammed, quite rightly so, by mental health charity Mind, who called the suggestion “preposterous.”

Minimum wage is a law, and even if people offered to work for less then it wouldn’t be ethically right. Different rates of pay would immediately segregate those who earned less so a


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straightforward, set hourly wage for all means that nobody is being categorised unfairly on a scale of workplace hierarchy.

At least it’s comforting to know that not all members of his bench agreed with him as Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough said, “why actually should a disabled person work for less than £5.93 an hour?”

My brother, a stakeholder of this shameful proposition, is having great trouble finding at least a weeklong experience placement, and so are the majority of his college peers. Even when, at first glance their disability is unapparent, as soon as an employer becomes aware of it they are put off. Equality in the workplace has got a long way to go yet.

I know that it’s not all employers that are discriminating against the disabled and it would be unfair for me to label them all this way. I do vaguely remember once seeing a Down’s syndrome person glass collecting in a chain restaurant, but it was just that once and I certainly haven’t seen another working anywhere else since. To me, this was the tiny flash of hope I needed to stay convinced that Oliver will, eventually, find a job.

I’d love to tell you that finding voluntary work for Oliver was easier but big name charities make their excuses just like any other employer. Finding work for him isn’t just primarily about him earning a wage, it’s also about including him in society as much as possible and making sure that he has a fulfilled and ‘normal’ life.

It’s offensive that in today’s society, one that apparently prides itself on promoting equality, that a member of our government believes that this is a logical, fair way of allowing the disabled a chance to work. That this is the only realistic way in getting them onto the employment ladder; exploiting them for cheap labour and out casting them much further.

It shouldn’t be a chance though, just like everybody else in the country, if a disabled person wants to work, which the majority of them do, then let them. Many like my brother want nothing more than to live as much of a self-sufficient life as possible. Oliver’s determination to find work puts those who can’t be bothered to turn up to their jobs to shame.


Sophia Hancox

The national minimum wage became a law in 1999 with two of its main aims being to “achieve greater equality” alongside “less worker exploitation”. Surely by proposing that people of lesser abilities should work for less than what they are lawfully entitled to is a massive, contradicting step back in achieving such equality. It is nothing more than an unjustifiable segregation of people who already have a tougher time fitting in than the most of us.

When Davies made his comments in June, the rate of minimum wage for workers aged 21 and over was £5.93 an hour. Even with this month’s slight increase of 15p to £6.08 an hour, this is not an astronomical amount that is going to put a dent on this country’s debt. To people like Oliver though, it’s more than a few pounds an hour, it’s the chance to integrate into society, to meet new people and to gain a sense of belonging. He has the right to that.

Imagine if you had spent months agonising over application forms and handing out CVs and then, when you eventually find a job, you’re told that you are going to earn less than what’s lawfully correct. Imagine the disappointment and anger that you would feel; the sense of disregard by society. Now why should that be the case for a disabled person?

Of course, I understand that not every disabled person is going to be able to work and I know that my brother has his limitations; it’s highly unlikely he’s going to become a rocket scientist in his lifetime after all. However the effort that Oliver and the rest of my family have gone to in a bid to secure him some sort of work has been unquestionable. He deserves a job just as much as anyone else who has strived to find work, regardless of ability.

In times where finding a job is hard enough, I ask for employers not to discriminate against those with any type of disability. Take a moment to consider how rewarding it would be for both you and that person to work together, and recognise their capabilities and strengths not just their ‘faults’. Employing disabled people isn’t going to mean the end of all prejudice against them but it will mean a step forward for society, my family and for others like us.

It’s a tremendously repetitive fight to get Oliver into work, but I remain optimistic and positive that one day he will find something. So, if you happen to be an employer reading this, take the opportunity to employ somebody like my brother, give them a job and, with it, a sense of real achievement.


Sophia Hancox

More Debt for Mature Students Should mature students be entitled to more financial help? Red Magazine

In a time where unemployment is at a record high, we’re encouraged to make the most of ourselves, typically by going to university, where grants and loans will see us through until we graduate. But what happens when you decide to go to university at a later age, as a mature student with more responsibilities and more bills to pay? Sophie Hancox investigates whether mature students should get better funding and whether the system, as it stands, is fair. If you’re currently at university you’ll probably have noticed that it’s not just 18 year old college leavers in your class, but mix of people of all ages, including mature students. In fact, according to figures released by UCAS, last year saw a 108% increase in the number of would-be mature students applying to a higher education course. Many mature students, who are aged 21 and over, return to education to improve their job prospects or to make a fresh start, but it’s not always that easy when government funding puts a huge strain on finances. As long as you’re under the age of 60 on your first day of learning, then there should be nothing stopping you from getting a loan to cover your tuition fees and a maintenance grant to help you pay for living costs, and, of course, the odd bottle of wine. Currently, government policies provide extra help for mature students; single parents and student couples with dependent children may be entitled to claim extra benefits and working family tax credit and there are supplementary grants to help cover childcare costs such as the Parents Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant. Although this may seem like a lot of additional help, the truth is that the money provided is simply not enough for the majority of students with children, leading them deeper into debt and further into financial worry. Any student, unless they’re lucky enough to have rich parents, will tell you that living off money provided from Student Finance UK is not an easy task. Once the food shop is done and the rent, gas, electric, water and all other bills have been paid off it doesn’t leave you with much money for anything else. Imagine then, that you were responsible for providing for your family as well, and how tight the purse strings would actually be.


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The Conservatives claim that they are “implementing reforms to higher education”. Whilst this can be seen evident in the recent rise in tuition fees, it is questionable what steps are being taken to help mature students complete their higher education. Mother of three Natalie Hayhurst, 31, decided to return to university after a string of jobs left her uninspired and wanting to better herself. She now studies Magazine Journalism at Southampton Solent University but says that lack of government funding has meant she is seriously struggling with money: “At the moment we are financially screwed, there's no two ways about it. We have been able to get help from the uni, bursaries, they help a little but we still have huge bills.” In the first year of her degree, Natalie was able to study and support her family in a relatively comfortable way. However, through no fault of her own, it turned out that her initial government grants were severely miscalculated by over £10,000 which meant that studying and providing for her children almost became an impossible task: “A few days before Christmas 2010, we were told that we were no longer entitled to help with childcare costs and would only receive the course fees and the statutory loan. This meant I had no-one to look after my little boy, who was three at the time and I very nearly had to leave uni. Luckily, my neighbour offered to look after him for free, but it left us unable to pay all our bills, incurring charges on just about everything we owe and having the bailiffs knocking on our door.” Sadly, cases like Natalie’s are not alien for mature students and many people with no parental responsibilities are also finding the return to education financially exhausting. Students such as Ben Cole, 28, from High Wycombe, who initially returned to college to gain qualifications to enable him to apply for a degree was met with financial dilemmas before he had even stepped foot into a university. Currently, the government provides no funding for mature students who return to college which meant that Ben had to make huge sacrifices in order to progress through his further education: “I had to go to college to get the grades I needed for my university course but because I was older it meant that I had to pay over £2000 for the national diploma I was studying for even though people a couple of years younger than me were getting it all for free. The only way around it was for me to voluntarily put myself on benefits so I was exempt from the fees. It


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was a huge challenge for me financially because the benefits didn’t leave me with any spare money and I couldn’t support myself properly.” Ben was fortunate to receive help from his parents which allowed him to complete his college course and gain the qualifications he needed to continue on to university. This time his tuition fees were paid for out of his student loan but he was not entitled to certain financial support leaving him, once again, with no money to support himself each day. “I don’t get grants and bursaries so I’ve had to look online for quick fix loans to tide me over,” he says. It is estimated that over 1.2 billion pounds is borrowed from online lending sites, such as Wonga and Quick Quid, each year which enables users to take out loans of up to £1500 on their first visit. The short-term loans are designed to keep your purse ticking over but the typical Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is excruciatingly high, usually around 2000%, meaning that the interest paid back can often override the loan itself. “I borrowed the money because it was my last option,” Ben says. “The money allowed me to pay my rent but I wasn’t able to pay back the high interest on it and so the money rolled over and I was left with even more debt than I started with.” If people are being forced to take out risky online loans in order to support their education then surely this is a sign that the finance available for mature students is in dire need of a review. Granted, it is a person’s choice to go back to education but surely it shouldn’t be the case that they’re instantly propelled into a system of grim financial hardship just because they are a few years older. After all, if people are stressed and anxious because of money troubles then they are unlikely to be able to fully concentrate on their studies and not achieve to their full potential. Despite this, leader of Southampton City Council, Royston Smith, says that debt is somewhat of a good thing, helping people to realise the financial situation they don’t want to be in: “When people understand debt, then they are motivated and want to work towards getting out of it. Of course there needs to be alternatives to online lending sites, the internet terrifies me, credit union loans for example are a much better way of borrowing money with much lower interest rates.” Although mature students are technically entitled to the same loans and grants as the typical 18/19 year old at university, for many people, the funds just don’t stretch far enough when


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there are other responsibilities involved. Those with children struggle to pay for childcare and thousands of others find general living costs too expensive meaning finding money becomes a priority and education takes second place. Of course, getting a part-time job would be the obvious answer but when unemployment rates are at a record high, it’s not always that easy. For students like Natalie, limited funding has meant that her time at university is going to be demanding in more ways than one. She believes that funding should be made fairer to help people like her: “Student Finance is a government organisation set up to support students, but I know of a few mature students that have been screwed over. A review of Student Finance is seriously needed.�


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No More Boring Breakfasts Sick of cereal? Then treat your family to a much more exciting start to the day with these easy breakfast ideas. Asda Magazine

When we wake up we’re faced with a decision that will shape the rest of the day – what to eat for breakfast? We’re well aware that it’s considered the most important of all three meals but we’ve all been guilty of skipping it too, especially when it’s yet another bowl of soggy cornflakes and burnt toast. If it has to be eaten each morning, then there’s no reason why brekkie can’t be interesting. So, if you’re one of the 39% of parents that eat the same thing everyday* we’ve thought up some delicious healthy alternatives for you. Plus all the ingredients used in these recipes can be found in your local Asda store and with our price guarantee there’s no excuse not to give them a go. Breakfast is a key component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as it can improve your concentration, mental awareness and physical performance. “It’s imperative,” says Miles Grant, 28, a personal fitness coach and nutritionist. “It can give you the energy needed for the day and stop you snacking on junk food.” An ideal morning meal contains around 400 calories. Skipping it won’t actually do your waistline any wonders as those who eat it are typically slimmer, with a faster metabolic rate. “It’s a common myth that missing breakfast cuts calories,” says sports and leisure manager, Hannah Fletcher, 22, “but it’ll only mean you’ll eat more at lunch time to make up for it.” With so many high sugar cereals available it can be tempting to opt for the box that contains the most chocolate. Eating these will only cause a temporary energy rush though which will be quickly replaced by the noise of a rumbling stomach as you soon begin to crash. A good breakfast has no more than 12.5g of sugar per 100g of cereal, enabling you to release a steady flow of energy and banish hunger until lunchtime. Why not start as you mean to go on by ticking one of your five-a-day off your list with our yummy Fruit and Yoghurt Mix? Natural yoghurts are packed with the good bacteria your


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body needs to build up a strong immune system. Throw in some juicy berries and some muesli on top, and you’ve got a really appetising bowl that’s virtually fat free.

“Think of breakfast as your family’s fuel; just like putting petrol in the car, if it’s lacking it’s going to slow everybody down,” says Hannah. “It doesn’t matter how hard you try and carry on, eventually you’re going to grind to a halt. It’s vital that your brain is replenished and rehydrated when you wake in order for you to run smoothly!” The first meal of the day is a brilliant time to get everybody together before you rush off to work and the kids go to school. It’s also a great way of getting children more involved with their food, educating them about the importance of eating well. “Teaching kids to eat properly is beneficial for everyone,” says Miles. “It’s all about getting in the habit of healthy eating and balanced meals which they can carry on throughout their lives.” Mornings can be pretty chaotic when you have children but having breakfast can actually calm you down and help to reduce stress levels. Of course the rush to get everybody out the door in one piece can mean that time, or the lack of it, may stop you from putting something together there and then. Let everybody help out the night before by preparing one of our Scrummy Smoothies. The kids will have loads of fun chucking all the ingredients into the blender and you’ll have one less to-do in the morning. Once they’ve seen how enjoyable making breakfast can be, they’ll be much more eager to help you out in the kitchen. By experimenting with different fruity combinations, your family will become aware of the variety of healthy foods available and which ones they think taste best. That way, not only will breakfast be a meal that’ll make their mouth water, but they’ll be more likely to add fruit to the rest of their diet. “All fruits have different benefits,” says Miles, “but variation is the key with the more colours the better.” A vibrant bowl of Purple Mash is sure to make food fun. Not only is it a tasty twist on traditional porridge, kids will love it when you explain that eating all that goodness will help them to become the next best footballer or ballerina. Just make sure you replace the urge to sprinkle a heap of sugar on top by using coconut shavings or strawberry pieces instead.


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If you fancy something savoury then there are just as many ideas you can try. Our favourite is smoked salmon and cottage cheese smothered on rye crispbreads. High in protein and carbohydrates but low in fat, it has all the elements of a really beneficial breakfast. “Salmon is a great option for mums as it contains loads of vitamins and can give you the boost you need for a busy morning,” says Hannah. If you’re not too certain about an entire meal revamp, why not try adding little twists of new flavour to your breakfast? You’d be surprised how much more inventive a bowl of cereal can be when you simply mix in some nuts, or how toast can be transformed when you swap jam for a mashed banana and almonds. These are just a few examples of the tasty alternatives you can try to make your breakfast exciting again. As long as it includes plenty of fibre and protein, isn’t covered in grease, and leaves you feeling full, then you can’t really go wrong. Why chew on some cardboardflavoured cereal when you can start your day being fun and fruity?!

Recipes: Fruit and Yoghurt Mix Pour 125g of Asda Fat Free Natural Yoghurt onto a pile of blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and bananas. Top with Asda Muesli and enjoy! Scrummy Smoothies Good Morning Mango Combine one chopped, peeled and pitted mango with half a cup of Asda Orange Juice, a handful of strawberries, a banana, three ice cubes and two teaspoons of Asda Clear Honey. Blend until smooth.

Chirpy Cherry Combine half a cup of Asda Cranberry and Raspberry Juice, a handful of black pitted cherries, some raspberries, half a cup of Asda Fat Free Natural Yoghurt and four ice cubes. Blend until smooth.


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Purple Mash Take a large handful of blueberries and a dash of water and simmer on a medium heat until they look soft and dark. Add two handfuls of Asda Porridge Oats and 200ml of semiskimmed milk, stirring gently until thickened. Top with a chopped banana, strawberry pieces or some coconut shavings.

Salmon and Cottage Cheese Layer some warm Asda Smoked Salmon and Asda Cottage Cheese onto an Asda Rye Crispbread, add ground pepper, chives and dill on top if wanted.


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Become a Vintage Vision The ultimate guide to vintage dressing that every enthusiast should read. Vintage Life Magazine

With so many fabrics, patterns and eras to chose from, stepping into the vintage world can seem a daunting task. Don’t panic though because we’re here to help. We’ve put together this handy little guide so you can create a wardrobe that oozes glamour and elegance, with tips and tricks that everyone should know. Vintage has had a huge influence on recent fashion, and now no town centre is complete without its very own specialist shop. Not that we’re complaining of course, the more floral prom dresses and cosy chunky knits we see around the better! “There is so much choice and there are some really interesting pieces available,” says Celia Radcliffe, owner of Celia’s Vintage Clothing. After studying the pages of Vintage Life and reading countless blogs for inspiration, you’ve probably learnt that there are loads of amazing items to pick from in so many quirky shops. It can be intimidating knowing where to begin, so start off by adding something small to your outfit, like a gorgeous satchel, a faux fur scarf or some brightly-coloured 60’s earrings. “Accessories are a great way to dip your toe into the world of vintage clothing,” says Jo Greenwood, owner of The Real McCoy. “Dressing up an outfit with jewellery, badges or a retro belt is a fun, quirky way to show off your individuality.”

Trying to wear everything on the rail is a big mistake for even the most experienced of fashionistas. Small hints of an era are much more effective and avoid you looking as if you’re in costume. You want people to look at your clothes with admiration, not because they’re wondering if you’ve just stepped out of a Guys and Dolls theatre production, as stunning a Miss Adelaide is.

“Rather than going for a head-to-toe period look, choose a key statement item and work the rest around newer, more modern items,” says Emma Marsh, manager of The Electric Gypsy. “You don’t have to completely copy a style in order to look good.”


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There are a few certain items that are staple for anybody wanting to create looks inspired by former decades. Shop around for the dress, such as a pretty polka dot number, that can be worn at a picnic in the park or on a night out at a lavish burlesque show. Find a bag, such as a beaded clutch, that will compliment any outfit and you can’t go wrong. That way, you’ll always have something to wear, whatever the occasion.

No vintage lover should be without a 60’s women’s skirt-suit either as, with a little alteration, it can provide you with two items you’ll hang pride of place in your closet. Wear the pleated knee length skirt with a simple top and dolly shoes for a perfect summer outfit and crop the jacket for a sophisticated evening do. Avoid wearing the two together though, unless you want to look like a frumpy old receptionist.

Even though the fashions are being ‘recycled’ it is crucial for any distinct dresser to recognise which decades are on trend. “Vintage changes just like high street fashion,” says Emma, “by going with what is popular, you can dress more without that ‘costume’ feel.” Today’s focus is predominantly on the 1930’s-60’s with other era fashions staying securely boxed up where they belong in the attic.

Do combine the past with the present as incorporating earlier styles with modern trends never fails to create a lasting impact. “Try a 1940's nipped-in-at-the-waist jacket with jeans, or a silk scarf worn as a belt, twisted in your hair, or tied on a handbag,” suggests Celia. Don’t use elements of different eras in the same outfit though. A luxurious 50’s fur coat paired with some garish 80’s leggings is only going to make you look like a walking jumble sale. Never be afraid to ‘spruce up’ an item either. It’s amazing just how much a top can be transformed when you replace its buttons, or how a simple brooch can revive an old leather bag. Charity shops are often hubs crammed full of inspirational items. In fact, once you get past the musky smell, you’d be surprised at the amount of bargains you can find rummaging through them. Learn to look for potential as dated items no longer necessarily mean unfashionable. Don’t shy away from those granny frocks, team them with a belt and some peep-toes and people will soon be asking you for style tips.


Sophia Hancox

Experiment with different looks until you find one that’s unique to you and makes you feel incredible. “A vintage enthusiast will not follow, but lead, which shows they have put a lot of thought into their appearance,” says Celia. As long as you’ve got the right attitude to pull it off, you’ll soon find that the compliments come rolling in and your confidence soars. Follow the tips and tricks in this guide and you’re sure to become an elegant head-turning vision in no time. So come on dolls, put on a pair of kitten heels, pop into your nearest boutique and start searching for the items you need to create a stunning new wardrobe. “Vintage clothing is all about finding your identity and showing who you want to be to the rest of the world,” says Jo. “If your style is bold then go ahead and embrace it.”


Sophia Hancox

Examples of Design Work


Sophia Hancox


Sophia Hancox


Sophia Hancox


Sophia Hancox


Sophia Hancox


Sophia Hancox


Sophia Hancox

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