The power of an accent

Faux leather jacket with fur collar: New Look (similar)
Polka dot midi dress: Zara (similar)
Black leather ankle boots: ASOS (similar)
Teal mini rucksack: Mulberry (similar)

I read something - don't ask me where as I never remember - that in the UK you can tell a lot about someone by the way they speak. You can tell their education, upbringing, region and class. You can pinpoint what region they're from just by the way they pronounce their words. How you're judged by peers can depend on your accent. This particular article by Faiza Shaheen after TV presenter Adam Boulton mocked her east London twang struck a cord with me. How dare he mock her for the way she speaks?

I was born and bred in Essex  - and I sound like it. When I'm around family and friends, I get lazy and drop my Ts, use shortened words and slang that sometimes doesn't sound like it comes from the English Language. When I meet someone new, I start talking like someone I don't even recognise. I pronounce my words more clearly and speak 'proper' because god forbid someone tells me that I sound like I'm from Essex. I have a completely different accent at work then I do at home. My dad once phoned me up at work and asked me 'why was I speaking like that? It didn't even sound like me...'

But why is this? I'm not ashamed of where I come from, I'm fiercely proud my working class roots and being an Essex girl. My parents have grafted over the years and taught me to never be afraid of a bit of hard work in order to achieve what you want. But yet I change my accent depending on who I am with. I hate the thought that someone will automatically judge the type of person I am. I've heard the sneers and jokes when I mention where I'm from more times than I can count. It's got to the point of almost reversed snobbery as when I'm introduced to someone with a cut glass accent, I sound almost like a parody of myself, almost daring them to judge me. We can have all the intelligence in the world and the best education yet we will always be judged on our accents.

It's odd isn't it? The power of an accent? We are all quite attached to how we speak, believing it to help keep a tie to where we're from. When I'm abroad my accent is even stronger as if I'm self-consciously trying to hang onto my Essex roots despite the fact I'm thousands of miles away from home. Shouldn't we be proud of the multiple regional accents we have all over the U.K? An accent should be a celebration of our roots, not used as a weapon to make us feel small and unworthy.


How to spend 24 hours in Malacca, Malaysia

One of the first cities we visited during our Malaysia trip was Malacca. We only decided to stay overnight the day before and I'm so glad that we did. As soon as we drove into Malacca, I realised it was exactly how I had imagined Malaysia to look in my head. All around the city you'll see influences from the Dutch, British and Portuguese left behind after it was colonised.  I loved the hustle and the bustle of the city, it had a real backpacker feel. It turned out to be one of my favourite places we visited and I wish we had stayed for longer.

9am - Breakfast
Navy Cafe

First things first, you need to get some breakfast in you! Tucked just behind the famous Jonker Street, Navy Cafe is a little cafe that wouldn't look out of place on Instagram. It's not your average breakfast food but it does have a lot of western specialities. When I'm away I like to have western-inspired breakfasts and local lunches and dinners. I opted for a fried chicken cutlet sandwich filled with egg, lettuce, cabbage and a spicy sambal. Just the ticket to set me up for a day of sightseeing.

10.30am - Christ Church and the Studthuys

You definitely won't miss these Dutch buildings thanks to the vibrant red hue. The Christ Church was built by the Dutch when they took control of the city from the Portuguese - sadly it was shut so we couldn't go inside. You'll see endless tacky, loud decorated rickshaws surrounding the church offering tours of the city. We didn't take one but they seemed to be very popular! Next door you'll find the red building of Studthuys, built between 1641 and 1660 on the ruins of a Portuguese fort.

11am - St Paul's Church

Now the church really isn't too much to look at but it's worth climbing up all those stairs to it for the views. You can see for miles over both the new and the old city. Be sure to take a bottle of water as the stairs seem to go on forever!

11.30am - Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Dating back to 1646, Cheng Soon Teng Temple is the oldest traditional Chinese temple in Malaysia. It is so beautifully ornate and we were kindly given a peek into the history thanks to a kind random man who took pity on our inquisitive eyes! Try and go on a day where offerings are being offered to Guanyin, the goddess of Mercy as it create such a wonderful atmosphere. Always remember to be respectful though.

12pm- Go for a wander along Jonker Street

Jonker Street is the most famous in Malacca. It's absolute mayhem and so busy but worth a wander down, pop in and out of the shops to find some souvenirs to take home. During the weekends they have a night food market which we sadly didn't get to catch. I've heard it's fantastic!

12.30pm - Go for a drink along the river

Head to the river and you'll find an abundance of bars to enjoy a drink. Escape the lunch time heat and stop for a drink. They're pretty much of the same so just randomly pick one like we did!

1.30pm - Go for lunch
Geographer Cafe

Located in the heart of Chinatown. be sure to get a table outside or near the open windows to people watch. It wasn't the best meal we had but it was tasty and hit the spot. The restaurant offers a mixture of both western and Malaysian inspired food so it's a great place to go if you're craving something a little more familiar. We all get like that travelling! I opted for a vegetarian curry with tofu. It had a good kick to it and the portion was pretty filling. What more could you want for around £4?!

3.30pm - Check into your guest house
Layang Layang Guesthouse

This isn't anything special - we didn't have a window in our room and we had to share a bathroom. BUT it is right in the centre of town, clean and only cost us £10 for a private double room. For one night we really couldn't complain. Keep in mind due to the location is can be very noisy so bring earplugs.

4.30pm - Simply wander around!

One of the best ways to soak up a city in my opinion is to soak up the city - without the help of Google maps! Malacca is full of little winding streets that are prefect to get lost in. Dip in and out of shops or cafes, you never know what you might stumble across.

8pm - Go for dinner
Wild Coriander

One thing we noticed in Malaysia was that people ate early, you really had to be sat down by 8/8.30 as places closed at 10pm.  Located in a colonial shop house, we ended up in Wild Coriander because they had a later opening time and was really pleased by the quality of the food. I ordered beef Rendang which was absolutely delicious. So tender and flavoursome, the best one I had my whole trip. Service was attentive and the prices were pretty reasonable. Sadly the lighting was terrible so I don't have any pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it!

10pm - Find the secret bar
The Old Merchant

We stumbled across this completely by accident as it was located two doors away from where we had dinner. The door looked suspicious and when we pushed it, it revealed a secret cocktail bar with a killer menu. It's not cheap but the cocktails are tasty. It's still cheaper than what you would pay in London. Bars are a weird thing in Malaysia as they're very reserved. Everyone is dressed up to the nines yet no one is dancing, despite there being a DJ. We started - well my friend - our own dance floor and was joined by an Aussie who said she was dying to get up and dance!

Mother's Day with Moonpig

Moonpig is famous for it's thousands of personalised cards but that's not all they have to offer. The brand invited* my mum and I to their head office for an afternoon of crafting activities and a yummy afternoon tea. We tried our hands at flower arranging, making cocktails and posed up a storm in a Photo Booth to create our own cards. We both had such a lovely Sunday afternoon, we don't very often get to spend much time together anymore so we made the most of it.

One thing we found out during the soirée was the large array of products that Moonpig sells as Mother's Day gifts. Not only personalised cards, but beautiful flowers, yummy chocolates, thoughtful hampers and all sorts of personalised gifts. Call me lazy but there's nothing I like more than one website where you can buy absolutely everything from. You don't have to shop around, simply buy a card and present all from one place. After taking part in flower arranging, I was really impressed by the quality of the blooms for such reasonable prices. We were kindly gifted a bunch last Sunday and they're still going strong in my living room. Did you realise you're suppose to change the water every few days? I had no idea and have really noticed the difference.

Thank you so much for such a lovely afternoon Moonpig!

Pictures are a selection of my own and Elouisa Georgiou.


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