After almost three years of being an integral part of the SoPublishing team, staff writer Alice Lloyd is jetting off to explore the world, backpacking and fruit-picking her way around Australia and New Zealand, in 2017.
Writing and experiencing the very best of Gloucestershire during her time as a journalist with the company – from reviewing acclaimed theatre performances, taking part in plenty of physical challenges and interviewing a host of celebrities – Alice shares some of her very best SoPublishing highlights…
One of the first pieces I wrote for SoGlos and one of the most exciting, 20 of the most haunted places in Gloucestershire offered me the chance to research the county’s diverse history, with the harrowing hot list bursting with creepy stories and fun myths.
With tales spanning everything from headless horsemen and truly gruesome murders, discovering Gloucestershire’s grizzly history was as fun to write as I hope it is to read.
Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984, is my favourite novel of all time, so when the stage adaptation came to the Everyman Theatre, I leapt at the chance to review it.
After 101 minutes of powerful dialogue, brilliant use of staging and incredible acting the show earned a five-star review from me. Headlong Theatre Company then embarked on a smash hit tour, being seen by over a quarter of a million people and receiving a host more five-star reviews along the way.
Fresh out of university, I loved writing the Gloucestershire students’ guide, offering advice on the best places to eat, drink, dance, work and more in the county, allowing me to reminisce about my student days, while putting all of that local knowledge about where the best 2-4-1 cocktails are to good use!
When I first started at SoPublishing, I absolutely hated running. I could just about jog a lap around Pittville Park before dawdling home, convinced I’d earned a pizza for dinner.
But after a year at SoGlos I was ready to run the Cheltenham Half Marathon and, what’s more, I loved it! Not only did I enjoy the running itself, but the route showed off the very best of Cheltenham. I also recently ran the Cardiff Half as well, and have well and truly caught the running bug – I’m now aiming to run 10 half marathons in 10 different countries!
Arguably the most fun I’ve ever had running, I experienced a zombie apocalypse in Cheltenham and lived to tell the tale at the National Star College’s 5K Thriller Run back in 2015.
Being chased by hordes of zombies through freezing lakes, down a Slide of Death and under dark tunnels, I was left with bruises, soggy trainers, muddy hair and some great memories, inspiring me to also write SoGlos’s hotlist of 16 of the most extreme Gloucestershire runs.
Having studied English Literature at the University of Gloucestershire, the Cheltenham Literature Festival has always been a highlight on my annual calendar, so I took full advantage of it during my time at SoGlos.
A highlight of the festival is, of course, getting to meet some big names, such as the lovely Terry Wogan, Steve Backshall, Jeremy Paxman and Derren Brown to name a few; but I also loved soaking up the atmosphere, simply sitting in the park attempting The Times Cryptic Crossword with my mum, and enjoying a glass of Prosecco while checking out the Book Swap shelf.
Not being a Gloucestershire native, I had no idea how many amazing events and destinations there were to visit in the county before starting at SoGlos. In January, I tackled the seemingly impossible task of whittling down 52 entries, one for every week of the year, to create Gloucestershire’s ultimate bucket list – perfect if you’re looking to make the most of 2017!
Spanning foodie destinations, annual events and more, Gloucestershire has so much to offer, with watching Gloucester Rugby, enjoying a play at Everyman Theatre, walking up Leckhampton Hill and swimming at Sandford Parks Lido making it onto my personal list.
Discussing his role as artistic curator of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, it was fascinating to speak to the piano maestro Jamie Cullum about his headline slot in the Big Top, as well as his summer plans – which included playing in the White House for President Obama!
While I got to interview many exciting local bands and artists in Gloucestershire during my time at SoGlos, this is one that stands out the most.
Launching the Polls and Quizzes section in 2015, I had the honour of creating SoGlos’s first ever quiz, How well do you really know Gloucestershire?
I put my own growing local knowledge to the test and created a tricky quiz that even the SoGlos team struggled with, spanning everything from cheese rolling and shin-kicking, to local history and heritage sites.
The last review I wrote for SoGlos, and one of the most fun, was heading to Eastnor Castle for its Land Rover Experience day, which allowed me to get behind the wheel of the company’s newest cars.
Driving through the scenic forest, as well as taking on some hair-raising obstacles courses and having a go at some team building exercises, we all had a fantastic day out in what was loosely described as a day at work!
Alice has experienced an action-packed time as part of the SoPublishing team, and while we we will all miss her, we know she will approach her globetrotting adventures with the same energy, passion and diligence that she demonstrated daily during her time here – making memories for life. Good luck Alice!