Local Hero

by Karolina Przeklas

In the UK thousands of people give up their time as volunteers. Financially, their work is never paid.  Emotionally, their commitment  has a dramatic impact on many local communities. Steve O’Neill is one of those amazing people. He has given 30 years to Islington Admiral Football Team and is still counting.

Steve O'Neill with trophies

Steve O’Neill with Admiral United trophies

The first time I met Steve O’Neill, head of football for Admiral United, he was standing on the sidelines at the Market Road football pitch. For the last 30 years you could find him there at least twice a week.

It all started by simply wanting to play some football. In 1983, together with colleagues from The Sunday Times on Grays Inn Road, Steve started a football team.

sunday times lads

Steve O’Neill with The Sunday Times lads

Admiral fc 86' with trophy

Admiral’s FC 86′ with the winning trophy

Today, Admiral United consists of two adult and four youth teams.

“Volunteering is very important in the sport,” says Steve. “Behind every champion or a team there is always someone willing to give out their time to help that person or team to achieve something. They could be anything, from team manager, coach, secretary, treasurer, fundraiser or even someone who cleans the kits, but they are vital to a club.

“Admiral’s managers, coaches, secretaries are all volunteers. They give their time freely and willingly to help. When one of our teams wins a trophy, the whole club wins it with them. It’s a shared experience.”

Admiral players come from many different nationalities. This reflects London’s multiculturalism, and Steve believes that the city is welcoming to everybody. “Londoners have a deserved reputation for letting everyone have a go at achieving something, we don’t see different cultures as being obstacles to being a Londoner,” he says.

Steve is all about football. His passion is contagious. When you talk to him about Admiral you get a warm feeling that this really is his extended family. Undoubtedly his involvement in the club is also a great personal achievement.

What does the future hold for Admiral? Steve’s dream is to “have a team full of players who have made their way through from our youth teams to play in the senior teams and to enjoy winning trophies in that team”.

But to achieve this dream and ensure the future of the club, Admiral needs help. “Playing football in Islington is very expensive and lots of our players come from lower-income families in the borough. The club is always on the lookout for anybody willing to trust us with their generous donations to enable us to continue the good work of the past 30 years,” says Steve.

Admiral Youth

Admiral’s Youth

It is thanks to people like Steve that many of the community centres around us have a chance of surviving in today’s recession. In the times of austerity measures, medieval cuts, failing education system and what can be called ‘a broken society’, we should be treating people like Steve as heroes, for these are the real role models for our children to look up to. Their commitment and passion is a corner-stone of any community.

“Football is not just a game” – Steve O’Neill


Do we believe in hangover cures?

by Karolina Przeklas

Why are the mornings after a good night out so hard to deal with?  In an attempt to answer this question, Roam conducted a survey looking in to the best ways of dealing with ‘delirium tremens’.

Sacha Gatica

NHS Direct says that hangover cures are “generally myths”. But 70% of the people in our sample believe differently…

Drinking causes damage you can’t see

“Alcohol is a powerful nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream,” says nutritionist Susana Montenegro. “The liver can only get rid of a small amount of it at the time, leaving any excess to cause havoc in the body.”

An old truth tells us that the best way not to have a hangover is simply not to drink alcohol at all.  As much as 50% of our sample agreed, so for the remaining half that don’t believe the old adage, could food be an answer?

Bring on the bacon

“Full-fat coke and a bacon sandwich always work for me,” says post office worker, Andy Armitage. Only 17% agreed with this opinion and answered ‘always’ when asked if greasy food always works as a hangover cure. On the other hand,  54% said “only sometimes” and 17% think that “it depends on what you have drunk the night before”.

“People mistakenly think can of sweet fizzy drink will help, the carbon dioxide actually gets the alcohol to the brain faster and the rush causes you to crash later on,” Montenegro says.

What about water? Chemist Raj Patel chemist says keeping your liquid levels high is important. “I recommend a high dose of vitamins B and C, lots of water and Milk Thistle, preferably before and after sessions.” Only 19% agreed, saying that a glass of water before bed always works as a hangover cure. What’s more, half of our interviewees said “no'” when asked if vitamin tablets relieve hangovers, and 15% don’t take vitamins at all.

Who let the dogs out?

How about the good old hair of the dog? Does like cure like? Charity fundraiser Kelly Kay often drinks after a night of drinking. “Hangover cures? Mine are Bloody Marys,” she said. Only 10% of our participants agreed, with 47% believing that the hair of the dog is not the way to cure a hangover.

Other things that could help are exercise and painkillers. We asked our participants and as many as 80% disagreed, what’s more almost 10%  admitted to not exercising at all.

In fact, sweating out the booze probably does nothing for hangovers at all. Too much exercise could do untold damage, especially if you are already dehydrated from too much drink.

Sex is best

So how about sex? Seventy percent of those surveyed said “no” when asked if sex is the best cure for a hangover, with 11% saying “yes” and 26% saying “sex is best for everything”.

Around the world in 40 remedies…

Our cultural search for hangover cures took us through some interesting and unusual remedies. Here are just a few we found:

  • In Poland, stomachs are lined with a thick chicken broth before drinking, and have a glass of pickle juice or eat sauerkraut the morning after.
  • In Germany, eating pickled herring called “rollmops” is used as a next day remedy.
  • The Scottish swear by Irn Bru,  while Bavarians have “Weisswurst Fruhstuck”, which is a sausage in pretzel followed by a beer.
  • In Chile, a glass of “pisco sour”, an alcoholic drink with line, is consumed, followed by a doughy empanada.

If the non-drinking option is not for you, we hope that Roam’s recommendations will ease your pain.

Please remember drinking can have a detrimental effect on people’s lives. There are organisations and other support groups that can help,  for example don’t let the drinks sneak up on you, part of Change for Life campaign, set up by the NHS.


Check out other pictures and drawings created by Sacha Gatica, an artist who kindly donated the above drawing. One of our lucky readers, who completed the printed version of a crossword, had the chance to win this drawing for keeps.

Top 10 things to do in London with toddlers

by Karolina Przeklas

Parents are always on the lookout for a cheap day out, not only because keeping babies entertained  has a huge impact on their development, but also because boredom makes children naughty. Here are Roam’s top 10 cheap things to do with toddlers in London.

1. Go swimming

Babies spend the first nine months of their lives in water, so it’s a no-brainer that most toddlers love swimming. Many local pools run family sessions, which cost very little compared to special swimming classes. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, pack your costumes and head to your family fun sessions. With the “summer” upon us why not check out open-air swimming pools like London Fields Lido? It will be money well spent.


2. Visit animal farms

Local animal farms are a great chance to introduce your little one to some “moos” and “baas”. Check out Freightliners Farm in central Islington – a wonderful place for the whole family.

3. Grab a bite to eat

Watching how kids experiment with flavours and textures can be mesmerizing. As one of the most multicultural capitals of the world, London offers different cuisines practically on every street corner.  Ignore the generic fast food joints that offer nothing apart from bad fats and high sugar content. There are plenty of other options like That place on the corner or Giraffe. Kids are very unforgiving when they don’t like something, so let your baby discover which places serve good food and which don’t.

4. Check out museums and galleries

Museums and galleries are a great source of entertainment and knowledge for everyone. For example, the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green provides a backpack designed by Montessori full of books and toys. It allows children to  lead their play, encouraging them to learn independently.

Virtual  tour of Childhood Museum 

Check out MUMSNET for honest and up-to-date reviews of events in your local museums.

5. Pop in to London Zoo

Zoos are so much fun for everyone. At London Zoo in Regent’s Park, check out what the penguins have been up to or simply hang out with the gorillas.

kumbuka, gorilla

6. Visit adventure playgrounds

From sandpits to hanging bridges, curled slides and pirate ships, playgrounds offer hours of joy – and most of them are free. We recommend the Princess Diana Memorial Playground,  with a Peter Pan-inspired design.


If you want to get more involved, why not join Londonplay and be part of a scheme design to make London streets safer for children?

7. Take part in special classes

Local libraries run special toddler classes. Islington’s Baby Bounce helps babies learn rhythm and rhyme through songs and stories. A great way to encourage children to socialise with others.

“I love coming here for an hour of singing with all the local mums” – say Kelly Davids, mum of David who offten takes part in the Baby Bounce Classes

8. Go to the park

London gets a lot of rain, but rain can be lots of fun. So if you don’t mind getting a bit grubby and wet, grab your wellies and head off to the your local park, or choose one of many dotted around London.

“Go to Westow Park in SE19, Crystal Palace. A Bug Hunt started again in March. Expect wonderful nature lovers teaching about seeds, planting trees, and story telling. All ages welcome, it’s free and quite wonderful. We had mulled apple juice to warm us up last time we went. The Park has excellent children play areas, and Crystal Palace is full of gorgeous cafes and restaurants which are all child friendly. There are Antique shops with kids toys, and independent trading shops of all varieties, and Crystal Palace Park is a five minute walk away. You have the leisure centre and pool, the petting zoo, a maze, and of course the giant stone life size dinosaurs” – says Roxana Aman, mum of Zayan and Dalia 

9. Visit an aquarium

Just like the zoo, this trip is worth every penny. The best time to visit this underwater world is during feeding times. London Aquarium has the world’s biggest collection of Caw Nosed Rays.


10. Join street parties and festivals

London’s best festivals are happening in the summer so have a look around. On the 25th of August Londoners will be dancing to the rhytms of calypso, Nothing Hill Carnival one of the world’s biggest street parties, with a special kids day opening the weekend of fun.

We also like the look of  the Lollibop Festival.

Lollibop Festival 2013

A bash for little people

And there are always smaller events that run though out the year, like Southbank’s Imagine Children Festival.

And if you want to travel further afield, take a trip outside London and visit the Butterfly World Project in Hertfordshire, the biggest butterfly experience in the world.


LIVE BLOG – Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950


This year the V&A Museum hosted an event/exhibition of the best of British ballgowns since 1950 in South Kensington, London. Glamorous dresses and designers took a place in this extraordinary exhibition from Alexander McQueen to Bellville Sassoon, from Christopher Kane to Catherine Walker, Vivienne Westwood.  All the best British designers and their unforgettable dresses had illustrated the atmosphere of vintage and the beauty of 1950s. This is a live blog from the exhibition;

10:00 am

Victoria and Albert Museum opened its doors for a spectacular exhibition by the best British designers. Bill Gibb’s is one of the main designers which exhibited his six dresses at V&A. The moiré taffeta silk, tulle and breading dress was made by Gibb’s in 1974 and given to British Fashion Council by Sandi Lucy in 1995.

10:30 am

During the exhibition, Catherine Walker’s dresses brilliantly shined at the event. Walker’s especially highlighted Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis’ dress with saying “She shone in the dress”. The dress was worn by Princess Diana for the British Fashion Awards in October 1989.


The dress is strapless and combined with half-sleeved jacket. One of the exhibition visitor Melek Gokce said; ‘I loved the exhibition, I have been to Diana’s wedding day and her funeral. I love her deeply and she is shining like an angel in this dress and we misses her as nation.”


11:00 am

The purple-yellow dress made by British-Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu at the V&A. Erdem is a designer recently noticed by Princess Katherine Middleton during her Royal Canada Tour. The Royal College of Art graduate designer had a huge impact by his yellow & purple dress in the British Glamour Ballgowns exhibition. Sumeyye Can is a Turkish visitor of the Ballgowns exhibition and she said; ” I am here as a tourist in London and heard about this exhibition from my friend. When I entered the exhibition I was amazed and feel honored by Erdem dresses as a Turkish citizen”.

V&A Ballgowns

Erdem dresses are recognized by Britons after the Duchess of Cambridge special interest to his designs. Erdem titled his purple-yellow dress as ‘Rumina’. The dress lent by Erdem and made for an Autumn/Winter 2008 collection.


Vivienne Westwood’s bridal collection and her brilliant ballgowns were one of the most eye-catching dresses at the exhibition. Her terrific creativity illustrated the sense of fashion in the Great Britain.


A tour of Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK


Bellville Sassoon created her yellow dress in 1968 which many visitors dream to wear it. It is mustard yellow silk with half sleeved bottom contrasted with milled silk top.

At the end of the my visit I could say I have become a fan of Bellville Sassoon.




What’s on Twitter:

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The London Book Fair 2013


The London Book Fair is a trade event and global market place for negotiations with an advertising of books, videos, movies and digital productions. The London Book Fair opened its doors to public at Earls Court from 15-17 April 2013. Turkey is designated as Market Focus Country for this year’s London Book Fair festival.

London Book Fair welcomed Turkey to the one of the world’s biggest publishing events of the year in the United Kingdom. Turkey, as the Market Focus country had the spotlight on publishing trade links with international and the UK professionals. The event also showed various publishing industry opportunities from all around the world.

Festival guest writer Zahira Hussain, from SOAS university, said that “it is great to welcome different Market focus countries every year in the city of London. In 2012, the Market focus country was China and this year is Turkey as a rapidly growing country in the region. I  love Turkish literature and it is absolutely amazing to meet with our favorite authors from Turkey in our hometown.”

Market Focus 2013 Introduction to Turkey:


Turkey Market Focus of 2013 

London Book Fair brought nearly 20 different writers from Turkey to participate in this astonishing organization.

Turkish authors have had several discussions on Turkey, feminism, women’s right, Kurdish problem and all the other social conflicts in the country. Readers had given a chance to ask many questions to publishers, academics, writers and designers.

35% of Turkish books are translated to foreign languages and the aim of this year’s event was to exhibit Turkish literature to the UK readers from historical narratives to contemporary  literature.

LBF 2013 visitor London School of Economics graduate James McCain told us; “this is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to see Turkish traditional literatures in London. I read several Turkish books, so that I have a bit of taste of Turkish literature beforehand. I also finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence  and  would like to visit Istanbul to see his special museum on this book.”

London Book Fair festival promoted Turkey’s literature with many inspirational writers, such as Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel prize winner of literature and Elif Shafak, is an award-winning novelist of The Forty Rules of Love.

#visiting #london #bookfair #festival #via #instagram

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As London Book Fair Author of the Day on Tuesday 4th of April 2013, Elif Shafak:

London Book Fair – Earls Court

Local Map & Guide

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David Nash at Kew – A Natural Gallery 2013


David Nash, one of the UK’s most successful sculptor began to exhibit his work at Kew Gardens in April. He created the art of sculpture as a response to nature and the extraordinary exhibition includes sculptures, flowers, art drawings and film preview all over the Gardens.

From April to September 2012, David Nash created his sculptures with new pieces from ‘wood quarry’ – using trees from the Gardens that had showed the natural atmosphere of Kew Gardens to visitors.

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, the Wood Quarry and stunning piece of work by the Nash Conservatory was the three main galleries which displayed on the exhibition.

British artist Nash’s historical sculptures invite you to understand the relation with nature in the astonishing place of Kew Gardens. “Some of his works fit better into the gallery, while others worked better in nature,” said one of the visitors at Kew.

The Guardian newspaper claimed his work of art as ‘dramatic artworks’, as he has generally been trying to create sculptures from fallen trees, which gives Nash an inspiration to re-create a dead wood to a magnificent piece of art.

27-years-old, London-based industrial designer Yasmin Celik said that; “Nash’s pieces are great example of re-creation of the nature by woods. As a designer, I am very glad to see how fallen dead trees can become a piece of art by an artist like him.”

Tickets to the Gardens and the exhibition – adults £14.50, concessions £12.50, children 16 and under FREE

Exhibition closed last week on Sunday 14 April 2013.

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David Nash – A Natural Gallery: Seeds of Inspiration, you can find out more here;

Tweets about David Nash’s exhibition;

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David Nash on Pinterest;

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The Color Purple Comes to London

Copyright Wikipedia

Copyright Wikipedia

By Soraya Downie

A stage production of the 1982 novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker is set for a show at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory on July 5.

What is The Color Purple

The African American drama sets around the life and times of Celie, as she journeys from childhood to adulthood, along the way she experiences joy, tragedy, hope, love and anguish.


Film adaption

In the Steven Spielberg film adaption in 1985, Celie was played by US actress Whoopi Goldberg, Akosua Busia played her sister Nettie and US actress and TV talk host, Oprah Winfrey starred as their friend Sofia.

Proving to be a huge commercial success, the film was awarded 11 Academy Awards nominations and four Golden Globes, with Goldberg winning Best Actress (Drama).


Divided opinion

The novel is still considered to be one of the best novels of the 1980s and in American history.

Marie Kolawole, 30, a dental nurse from Camberwell, said, “The Color Purple is an exceptional story and I really enjoyed the film when I was growing up. I am slightly dubious in whether the British cast can capture the American nature of it.”

“As it looks at the hard times of African Americans, I’m hoping they really try to imitate the essence of film and really show Celie’s journey and everything she had gone through.”

Who’s who

This will be the first time that a theatre production of The Color Purple will take place in the UK, as it had been previously on Broadway in the new York in 2005.

The Color Purple’s first European premiere will showcase British talent, with stars from other big productions starring in the big lead roles.

Cynthia Erivo, who stars in Sister Act: The Musical, will take on the role of Celie and Abiona Omonua, stars in both Legally Blonde and Hairspray, will play the role of Nettie.

A worthy winner

Walker’s novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, making her the first African American woman to achieve this.

Fanatic theatre fan, Callum Moore, 27, from Camden, said “I think the show will be amazing. I’ve been waiting a long time to see a stage production of it here and it’d be interesting to see how it turns out.”

The Primary school teacher also said, “The book itself was fascinating, I’m just praying that all the British cast do a good job and bring the story to life on stage.”

Look out for…

The UK show will be directed and designed by Tony Award winner, John Doyle and adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman.

The London Menier Chocolate Factory is located on Southwark Street, South London.

Tickets are on sale now and are priced between £29.50 and £37.50.

Getting to know all about Sickle Cell Anaemia

By Soraya Downie

Living with the disease

Emmanuel Bola, 37, a driving instructor from Brixton in South London, has been living with Sickle Cell Anaemia since he was a child. He has been in and out of hospital since the age of two.

“It’s painful at times but I’ve just accepted that it’s been a part of my life for so long and it always will be.”

A recent episode left Bola in hospital for two weeks and was the most painful one he had experienced in his life so far.

“People will think, as you get older, you are more likely to bare the pain. There’s no truth in that at all, pain is pain, whether you’re five or fifty. I just think children wouldn’t be able to deal with it, as well as young people and adults do.”

A recent survey conducted by Roam showed that 40% of people are unaware of what the disease is, but a quarter of us knew someone with it.

Sickle Cell Pie Chart

Sickle Cell Pie Chart by Roam

Sickle Cell is an inherited disease, which is incurable.

Copyright tutorvista.com

The disease is inherited through each parent, but some people have been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Trait.

This is where they have inherited Sickle Cell from one parent and do not experience the symptoms that people with Sickle Cell Anaemia do.

Red blood cells form an abnormal crescent shape, known as the ‘sickle’ and differ significantly from the typical disc shape.

The abnormality is caused by the haemoglobin S, a type of protein found within red blood cells that carries oxygen.

The haemoglobin S therefore changes the usual shape of the red blood cells and delivers less oxygen to the body’s tissues.

These sickles can even get caught in small blood vessels in the body and break into smaller pieces, which can interrupt a person’s blood flow. This can cause a massive decrease in the amount of oxygen flowing through the body.

What sufferers experience

Sickle Cell is painful from the initial stages when it is first detected and diagnosed, but it can become worse overtime. A person with Sickle Cell can experience periods of fatigue, paleness, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and outbreaks of jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin).

Some people with Sickle Cell can suffer from other complications or ‘comorbidities’ such as: congestive heart failure or heart attacks.

Younger children are more likely to have attacks of abdominal pain, ranging from mild to very severe have to spend time in hospital.

Most likely to be affected

The disease is much more common among African and Caribbean communities and other cultures such as South and Central America and the Middle East.

Georgia Oakley, 28, a nursery nurse, from Stockwell, knows the affect of Sickle Cell on children as young as three years old.

“I often see many young black children who will have to take off and go hospital to get the necessary help. Their parents will phone and say, he or she won’t be in till next week and it usually involves a lot of abdominal pain.”

The affects on the disease differs from person to person, but Sickle Cell Anaemia can have a lot of complications.


By Soraya Downie Dominique Davis, 21, is a comedienne from South London, who goes by the stage name, Variety D. A funny, out-going girl, Dominique recalls that high school was filled with ups and downs. Being bullied because of the … Continue reading

The delights of Venn Street Market

Where it's happening.

Where it’s happening.

By Soraya Downie

Run out of ideas on what to do on a Saturday morning?

Hop on down to Venn Street Market along Clapham High Street. Less than a minute’s walk from Clapham Common tube station, Venn Street market is a local community food and drinks market, which aims to appeal to anyone.

The market takes place every Saturday, from 10am till 4pm and is located in front of Clapham Picture-House cinema.

The Perfect Location

Clapham High Street already has a great deal of restaurants, bars and shops to offer.

But Venn Street Market is real community pleaser; it first launched in November 2009 and has gone from strength to strength.

What’s on offer?

The stalls offer a vast amount of tasty food and drinks from up and down the UK, including traditional English foods such as, savoury pies and pastries.

The market is a Saturday ritual for many, who come here to explore exceptional food and drinks, produced by the finest chefs across the country.

Other cuisines are present and add vitality and a variety of tastes from many different cultures. You feel like you are travelling between British towns and cities, sailing down the sea to the South Coast, whilst tucking into delicious scampi or fresh sea bass. You can walk for 30 seconds and end up at Italy and experience the finest Italian food: pasta, meatballs and cheeses.

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Don’t just take our word

“There’s so much to try, but I always buy a few selection of cheeses,” says Helen Fitzgerald, 26, a retail manager from Clapham. She visits the market every week just to get her hands on the finest cheeses.

“My favourite cheeses are: Fontina, Gorgonzola Piccante and Gran Blu di Capra. The smellier the better.”

Helen recommends the stall occupied by Gastronomics, who produce high quality Italian food. She said, “They know so much about Italian food.”

The Gastronomics chefs know a thing or two about good tasting food, their meats, cheeses, preserves and wines continue to be a hit with locals and visitors of the market.

The perks of being a stall worker

Elizabeth Harrod, 33, has been working at The Pie Chart stall, since July last year. She’s been selling a range of pies and other foods, such as Scotch eggs.

“I think that people will buy into good quality foods. The prices here at The Pie Chart are good value for handmade products and people who visit us are very lovely.”

Pies are £4 each, or three for £10, which is really good, once you see how plumped the pies are.

These pies are all homemade and come in a variety of flavours, such as: chicken, leek and mushroom; Moroccan spiced lamb or steak and cheese.

Venn Street market is lively and filled with foods and drinks from all over the world. Stall holders are friendly and are honest about what they sell and the price. There’s a real sense of community spirit and the locals are welcoming.