Educating Alice (#EducatingAlice)

The day after my last blog post I walked into the office to get the standard review/critique from my number one fan, Steve (aka my boss). ‘It was good, but again Swindon is not mentioned. You haven’t mentioned all the good things that are here!’ ‘So, overall, B+ for effort?’ ‘Oh I wouldn’t go that far.’

So, here I am, writing ten things positive about Swindon. Because who doesn’t like pigs on hills?

1) There are nice coffee places

The team’s desire for me to write something positive about Swindon actually goes back weeks. Backtrack to the day after my post on when I visited my sister in Cardiff ( and there was uproar among staff (well between Steve and homeware buyer Lucia which is as close to an uproar as we ever get). The pair of them, unknown to me, had been furiously texting the day before over the comment I made that Swindon doesn’t do nice coffee. A couple of hours into the working day and a calendar invite springs up in my inbox titled “#EducatingAlice” (yes, this is such a big deal a hashtag was created for it #SoCool #YouKnowYouveMadeItWhen).

Scroll forward a week and a chunk of the team took me out to coffee at Swindon’s Darkroom Espresso…

10990803_10152587539161050_8914475361385716545_n (Left to right: Steve, Lucia, Sarah, yours truly, Lorna, Catherine)

(On a side note, Steve pointed out that this was a very good photo of him and mumma Bennett commented that Lucia, Sarah, Lorna and Catherine looked really pretty/lovely. “Have you missed someone mum?” “Oh yes, Steve looks like a nice guy too.”)

Following this outing I now have to admit that Swindon does have at least one nice coffee shop within walking distance from home/work.

2) Swindon has the cheapest petrol in England

Headline says it all really. This information comes courtesy of Steve/the internet.

3) The name ‘Swindon’ is believed to derive from the Pig (swine) market that happened on the hill (don)

The tops of hills = wonderful views (= awesome) and pigs = bacon or babe (both of which are awesome).

4) Wagamamas is a five minute walk away

I do have a tendency to take things for granted. The super snazzy shopping outlet is one example of this. Today, a group of us went to Wagamamas for lunch as part of ‘Educating Alice’ which enabled me to experience the restaurant for the first time (although based on this it was really ‘Educating Alice, Lorna and Barbara’). Photo time…

IMG_2582(Left to right: Barbara, Lorna, Catherine, Helen, yours truly. All of us are in universal agreement that we’ve all looked better.)

Nice dining, and I got a pile of food left over for my dinner this evening (a combo of my, and Lorna’s, leftovers. You can take the girl out of University…).

Following this we trekked some 50 yards to get ice cream from the Thornton’s outlet shop. I have to admit that compared to my normal lunch of cheese sandwiches and a yoghurt (on a crazy day it’s chicken), today trumps them all.

5) My pottery course at the local college

Over the past few weeks I’ve really come to enjoy my Monday evenings thanks to the pottery course I’m enrolled in and, as of last Tuesday, I will be continuing next term also. It’s given me a chance to learn a new skill outside of work. Forget attractive men, I now spend my evenings looking at good-looking pots! (And there is something I never thought I’d say in my life).

I’m about the 8th week in and I’m still learning the ropes with different clay techniques. And while I have several items still in development and one success story (there will definitely be a post dedicated to that one), there have also been a fair share of failures. Week 2 coil pot will always have a piece of my heart. Week 2…

10924741_10152537560526050_7716595791527569380_nBut, post firing (week 3)…


Tutor Belinda thought it was probably due to a trapped air bubble in the base which exploded in the kiln. Still, RIP coil pot, you will never be forgotten.

The people on the course are all friendly, and it’s just nice to be able to unwind and not think about anything. Plus there aren’t many places where if something goes wrong you can screw the clay up, throw it on the table and make something beautiful out of the mess.

6) The Magic Roundabout

Love it or loathe it, you have to acknowledge this piece of roundabout engineering:

7) It is easy to get to other places

I won’t dwell on this one as it has been extensively covered in a previous blog post: ( but I have to admit it has been a big plus factor when I’ve wanted to explore places outside of Swindon or get home. There’s also lots of pretty Cotswold towns nearby. As a Cotswold girl myself that’s certainly no negative.

8) Urm, Swindon contains the word ‘win’…?

8.5) Potential team outing to Swindon’s indoor crazy golf course

(TBC, depends when Catherine gets round to planning it. I’m told it’s a must as part of #EducatingAlice. I’ll keep you posted on this one).

9) Thanks to an enthusiastic, active individual, Swindon now has a brilliant social group for young professionals

34 members and growing, with lots of events going on. I hear the person that created it has also sweet talked venues to providing drinks deals and pizza for free. She sounds like the kinda gal I’d like to be friends with. Find out more here: 

Swindon 18-30 Professionals

Swindon, GB
34 Young Professionals

Have you just recently graduated and/or moved to the area? If you have, and you are aged 18-30 then come and join us for social activities to meet new people and make friends….

Next Meetup

Cinema (Focus) and Nandos at Regent Circus

Thursday, Mar 12, 2015, 6:00 PM
10 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

(Look, if I can’t plug my own social group here where can I? #ShamlessPlug)

10) I live with friendly housemates and work with a crazy but loveable bunch of people who do random things like celebrate my birthday by wearing hats:


And you know what? I wouldn’t change them for any town, anywhere.

2 thoughts on “Educating Alice (#EducatingAlice)

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