A marriage made in Leicester: DMU journalism graduates tie the knot

By Thomas Carter

A twisted ankle on a fateful trip to Prague sparked a romance which blossomed during journalism studies at De Montfort University for two sweethearts who have now got married in a stunning autumn ceremony.

Love was truly written in the stars for Sam Ellison and Alice Gibbs, who were first of all classmates in joint honours journalism classes before going on together to study on DMU’s Channel 4 Investigative Journalism MA postgraduate course.

The happy pair first discovered their connection during a trip to Prague organised by DMU.

WEDDING BELLS: DMU alumni Sam and Alice at their ceremony

“We went on a DMU trip to Prague where Alice introduced herself to me, even though we’d been sat across from each other in the same class for a year!” explained Sam, now 29.

“On a night out I actually hurt my ankle, damaging a ligament, and Alice stayed back at the room to look after me.

“She spent the night running back and forth from the freezer getting tea towels to ice my ankle, and we hit it off from there.”

From that night, the two became best friends, spending all their time together for the remainder of their years at university, with Sam proposing while the couple were on a holiday in Ireland in 2019.

Thankfully, there were no Covid-19 restrictions affecting how many people could attend their wedding last month (OCT29), meaning the couple were able to celebrate their special day together with 100 of their family and friends.

Alice, 26, said: “It was really brilliant, even with us being so worried in the build up that someone might test positive for Covid-19 or if there was another lockdown.

“The timing couldn’t have been better as we always said we wanted to get married at the end of October 2021.

“We both like the autumn, and we had all the pumpkins out, which were great!”

Many former classmates joined them for the celebrations, with Lewis Bagshaw being the best man and Melinda Stead the maid of honour. Both are DMU graduates in journalism and psychology respectively.

DMU REUNION: Lewis, Sam, Alice and Melinda (left to right) met during their time at university

Alice, who since graduating has gone on to be a freelance journalist and now works in the marketing department at Next, added: “All of the tutors [at DMU] were so fantastic and supportive, they helped me get to where I wanted to go. 

“I did some amazing things, such as work experience, because they encouraged me to do it. 

“I genuinely think studying journalism was one of my favourite things about my time at university.”

The couple wanted to emphasise the important role that their lecturer, Andy Plaice, who sadly died in February last year, had on their lives.

Sam, who is a content writer for UK Linkology, said: “Andy was such a big part of our time at university, right from the first year onwards, and his classes brought us together.”

On behalf of everyone at DMU, we would like to wish Sam and Alice the very best for their future together.

Restaurant review: ORSO Leicester… does it live up to the hype?

During Leicester Restaurant Week, Ana Goncalves pays a visit to ORSO Leicester to see if the place lives up to the hype after tirelessly hearing numerous recommendations.

ORSO is a quaint coffee shop on Market Place, right next to Leicester Market, and has been open for just over a year now.

In that time, it has been busy carving out a nice reputation as an affordable and cosy place for students, pensioners and busy shoppers to spend the cold winter days.

I’ve heard so many good recommendations, and whenever I pass by, catching a whiff of the freshly-made coffee and a hint of cinnamon, I can see full tables and happy faces through the windows. It looked – and smelled – great. 

My experience? Not quite as positive, unfortunately.

When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by staff and went to the till to grab a menu. Orso offer different types of toast and drinks. Their prices range between £3.50 to £7 for sourdough toast, and between £1.80 to £4.50 for drinks. 

I got ‘The Avo One’, a sourdough toast with fresh smashed avocado and lime, topped with poached eggs and seeds, a Chai, and an OJ. 

‘The Avo One’, Chai & OJ – taken by Ana Goncalves

First, they brought the Chai. I have to say, it was as white as milk, which is quite weird because chai is supposed to have a light brownish colour. And as I took my first sip, my fears were confirmed. It was just sugary milk with a dash of cinnamon on top.

Definitely disappointed, as Chai is meant to be a very flavourful mix of herbs and spices. 

The avocado toast, on the other hand, was good. I had to ask for salt & pepper, as it needed the seasoning for the flavours to be more accentuated, but other than that, it was okay.

And the OJ was my favourite – freshly-made like OJ is supposed to be.

I believe ORSO is perhaps one of those places you only go to once. The price-quality ratio is not worthy in my opinion, and I was very disappointed with the Chai, mainly. 

Overall, it doesn’t live up to the hype. I would give it a 3/5.

Seen it, heard it, read it: Hannah Smith

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them.

My favourite film

It has to be a classic Hugh Grant film, Micky Blue Eyes. I don’t think I’ve forced so many people to watch a movie more than this one. Without giving too much away if you haven’t watched it (which you should), it’s a feel-good film about love and a criminal family. This is the film I watch over and over again just to make me laugh, and if you disagree, in the words of Micky Blue Eyes, ‘get out of here.’

The last film that made me cry 

I pride myself on not crying over films, weird thing to be proud of, I know, but I tend not to get upset over fictional characters I will never meet. Call me heartless, but it’s just a film at the end of the day.

The worst film I saw

Man on a Ledge is 100% the worst film I have ever wasted my time watching. The film is quite literally what the title says a man on a ledge, and that is it. I don’t think we even find out why he’s on the ledge. An hour into it, and nothing has happened, and you get the feeling that you want to just push this guy off just to create some thrill or excitement. 

The first time I went to the theatre

I can’t remember the first show I went to watch. Still, I remember watching the pantomimes every Christmas as a kid and the excitement to watch them is something I’ll never forget. From Cinderella to Puss in Boots, I went every year till I was about 10 and loved every second of it. 

My favourite play

The Women in Black. This is the most simplistic play I have ever seen and the one that had me jumping out of my seat. It’s a play that played tricks on your mind and made me scared of my own shadow. What also makes it my favourite was that I watched it with my drama class and it was the last major thing we did as a group. However, I still feel the pain in my hand after the guy sitting next to me clung to me for dear life.

The film series I’m hooked on

Hands down, it must be Harry Potter. I’ve lost count on how many times I have watched them all and can recite scenes from memory. I say that I have watched them all but the first one. I watched it once when I was little, and it scared me so much that I refused to watch it again. It wasn’t the fact the film was scary, no; it was the fact a guy had a face in the back of his head. Maybe I’ll brave it one day soon.

My favourite TV show

A show that was made before I was born (typical), Channel 4’s Teachers. Don’t think there is anything better than watching a bunch of teachers running a dysfunctional school and getting drunk every night. It’s my go-to essay-writing show as you can just stick it on in the background and pick it up at any point.

My favourite piece of music

The Farm Song by David Hunter. This song came out just before the pandemic started and was definitely the upbeat, sing-your-heart-out song I needed through it all. I am always humming the song when I’m trying to think or start singing a line or two. In fact, I love the music (and David) that much my boyfriend got David to sing it, along with a personal message for my birthday.

The lyric I love

This is actually from the musical Be More Chill, in the song Loser, Geek or Whatever. “I’ve earned the right to selfishly be all for one and one for me,” I heard it at just the right point when people just wanted to walk over me, so this lyric gave me something to go by, and I still do. 

The first gig I saw

Classic girl by going to the Wanted as my first concert. I remember listening to the CDs on the drive down and the ringing in my ears for the rest of the night. Not really a fan of theirs anymore, but as first concerts go it was a good one.

The best gig I saw

Really not acting my age when I say this, but it has to be Rick Astley for the best one I saw live. Just me, my mum and a bunch of middle-aged women, and anyone would think my mum had dragged me. Nope, I was more excited than her to go and it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. 

In 2020 I watched David Hunter’s online stream concert, well of course, it was good. It’s David Hunter!

The instrument I can play

I never really stick at learning instruments, as singing has always come easier to me. Still, I can half play the piano, and recently I’ve picked up the ukulele. Not a real instrument, but I can play songs people recognise, so that’s all that matters. 

The instrument I wish I’d learnt

Not an instrument as such, but to use the very poor skills I have in playing instruments to write something myself. I always go to but then can never be bothered.

My favourite author

I stumbled across this author when I ordered a ton of books during the lockdown, Holly Jackson. I have just finished reading the final book, and I couldn’t put it down. It had me gripped to the last second. Books are meant to be relaxing and to read at night, but I was up till three in the morning just to finish it. 

The book I’m reading

What am I not reading? I have about 10 books on the go as I read a few pages and get distracted. When I have time, I will pick up the War of the Worlds again and finally finish it since I’ve been putting it off for ages.  

The artists/musicians/actors/comedians/authors I’d have at my fantasy dinner party

I’m pretty sure I had to answer this question in primary school, and I said, Shakespeare. I don’t even like Shakespeare that much, so who knows where that answer comes from. Honestly, though I have no idea who I would invite

Overrated

The Tiger King, most people’s favourite, but it was so overhyped, and I got bored so fast. It was the weirdest show I have watched, and it’s hard to believe it all, but each to their own, I guess. 

Underrated

BBCs Robin Hood, this was a staple show when I was growing up, along with Merlin. It amazes me though, at how little people have actually watched it. It’s the perfect show with a bit of action, history and romance, a feel-good show. Well, till someone gets killed, that dampens the mood.

My guilty pleasure

Old music and I don’t mean Oasis or the Beatles. I have a side playlist that is full of songs from people like Bernard Cribbins and George Formby. Those little songs you hear your nan singing every now and again, yes, those songs are songs I love to listen to. Think I was born before my time. 

Seen it, heard it, read it: Lauren Sadler

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them

My favourite film

I would say Spirited Away. It’s such a beautifully drawn movie, with such cute details it’s impossible not to love it. The plot is good, and it has a happy ending so it’s never going to be a bad watch. The scene where Chihiro holds her breath crossing the bridge stresses me out. I always try to see if I would be able to hold my breath the entire way. So far, I don’t think I’d make it.

The first time I went to the theatre

I was in primary school and we were a little group of ukulele players. We must have been around 6 or 7 I think. They told us if we brought our own ukuleles we could perform with them on stage. So I did, but they wouldn’t let me as they hadn’t tuned it. I couldn’t understand and I was scared I was going to lose mine (which I was attached to emotionally). As we’re all sat on stage waiting for the curtain to come up to perform for our parents, I’m just sobbing. I think they realised I wasn’t going to calm down, so they quickly tuned it in the wing, and ran over and gave it to me before the curtain came up.

The TV show I’m hooked on

Without a doubt, Squid Game. I’m a sucker for any anti-capitalist media. Plus, the lead character, Gi-Hun, is attractive, so is Ali and Sae-Byeok. It’s so gripping that I couldn’t stop watching the minute I put it on. As evil as Sang-Woo is, he’s hot too. Apart from the attractive few characters I like, (and got attached too, damn you Sang-Woo), the visuals are amazing. You can easily tell how much effort went into this show. Especially with any behind the scenes content, they show you what they did for it.

My favourite TV show

Apart from Squid Game, I would say, Pretty Little Liars, I watched it when I was about 15 and I wanted my mundane life to be like theirs (minus the murder and kidnapping). Mostly because the main characters are all pretty, plus their bedrooms are all cool and mine was a tiny box room.

My favourite piece of music

Puberty 2 by Mitski. I could go on about her for hours. This album, to me, is the best one she has made so far. Every single song is so good. Be The Cowboy, her next album, was obviously good too, but no song hits like Once More to See You.

The lyric I love

The lyrics I love would be from Mitski’s First Love/Late Spring, the line is “Mune ga hachikire-sōde”. It is in Japanese so I didn’t know what she was saying, but when I found out, it hurt. As far as I’m aware, (though I did find out from the internet) it’s supposed to mean that her heart feels like it’s exploding. With my first love, I felt exactly like that. She put into words just how emotional I felt.

The first gig I saw

The first gig I saw was the 1975. I was 17, and as soon as they came out I started crying. It’s embarrassing to think about but I was just so excited and overwhelmed. Plus they played my favourite song of theirs, undo and somebody else, so it was pretty good.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt

I guess the violin. I learnt a little bit when I was younger but then I gave up after a year and never bothered with it again. I struggled to read sheet music, I still do to be fair. 

The book I’m reading

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I watched the movie and liked it but the book portrays Bateman far worse than the movie does. So far it’s good, and easy to get into.

The book I wish I’d read 

Great Expectations. I think I got a couple of chapters in, then just forgot about it. I remember enjoying it but I just didn’t have enough time and its existence completely slipped my mind.

Overrated

Drake. I get people who have different music tastes, but he is a very questionable individual. 

Underrated

Rico Nasty. Her style and her songs bring something new to music. She’s an amazing artist and doesn’t get enough praise that she deserves. Also the same goes for Rina Sawayama. They’re both incredible

My guilty pleasure

The Smiths. I hate to admit it, but some of their songs are enjoyable. I really like Back to the Old House and There is a Light That Never Goes Out. 

Safety tips for navigating Leicester at night

By Kira Gibson

Last week I went out for a walk to Tesco at about 11pm at night and was approached by several people, unfortunately all of them men, asking me to do drugs with them, or harassing me about my appearance and demanding I get my kit off for them.

It made me feel so unsafe in the city I have grown to love and feeling like I shouldn’t leave my flat after the moment it turns dark because I live alone, and don’t have people to go meet up with to be safe after dark.

I didn’t know who to turn to, messaging my best friend who lives 60 miles away from me to make myself feel better about everything. But even if something had happened and I wasn’t able to get away from those harassing me, my friends wouldn’t have been able to help much as they were all far away from me.

I’ve decided to write a list of tips to help people with navigating Leicester at night, should they get approached by anyone and begin to feel unsafe, where to go and who to reach out to.

Stay in well-lit areas and on main roads.

It might sound like I’m just stating the obvious here, but if you stay in a well-lit area or on a main road, it’s easier for people to see you and easier to be found if you get into trouble.

Carry hairspray or deodorant in an easy to reach place.

Self-defence spray is expensive and I have yet to come across any in a supermarket or other mainstream shop. But a can of hairspray or deodorant can work as a cheap way to spray someone in the face and give you enough time to run away should you get attacked.

DMU campus at night [Photography by Kira Gibson]

Carry your keys in your pocket or an easy to reach place.

This little tip most girls already know, but if you don’t, carry your keys in an easy to reach place so you can grab them if needs be if you get approached or attacked and use them as a defence weapon. Only use this if it’s 100 per cent necessary though as you don’t want to go over the top and seriously injure someone, or be accused of assault when you’re only using self-defence.

Be on the phone to someone if you begin to feel unsafe.

This won’t always help but being on the phone to someone if you feel unsafe can be an easy way to tell someone exactly where you are and feel a bit better talking to someone if you’re alone.

Don’t be afraid to just ignore them.

Just ignore the people who approach you. Just walk away. Say no.

Go home if you’re close by and feel scared or worried.

It’s okay to just ditch your plans and go home if you’re scared.

If you’re in real trouble being followed or harassed, call the police.

Don’t be afraid to use that power to call the police if you feel unsafe in the city you live in.

Buy a rape whistle or alarm for your keys.

I bought mine years ago, but you can have a rape whistle or alarm on your keys or as a keyring attached to your bag. They come in all shapes and sizes, some as teddy bear keyrings or dolphins, and others can be big and bulky. They’re very loud and very useful to have with you when you go out after dark if you’re scared.

Take a self-defence class.

There are plenty of self-defence classes out there willing to teach you ways to deal with others harassing you and how to handle if you get attacked by anyone.

If you aren’t being left alone and feel you need someone instantly, call 999 and ask for the police. If you feel you can cope for a little while and it’s not urgent, please call 101 and ask for help. But don’t be afraid to use any of the tips I’ve suggested if you are alone and can’t meet up with anyone.

Stay safe out there.