Negotiated Portfolio: Pieces for Frais Magazine

For my portfolio, I wanted to play to my strengths and flowery writing has always been one of them. That doesn’t mean it always works to my advantage academically!

Luckily, my flatmate and I both have this similar style of writing and we aren’t just contributors, we’re also appreciators of published flowery writing as well. With me adoring Kinfolk and Harriett Cereal magazine, we decided to combine our talent and brains to create our own ‘online magazine.’ At the moment, it’s just a WordPress blog like this but it’s a start!

When we brainstormed about it one day, we came up with the idea of it being called ‘Frais,’ the French word for fresh. We wanted it to bring fresh and inspiring content to the same readership that we belong to. It also provides the platform for both of us to have a strict guideline for what we feel our favourite magazine editors would appreciate. We’re also able to read over each other’s work with the knowledge of our respected target publications (and what we know we’d enjoy reading) and provide constructive feedback and suggestions.

Part of our manifesto, which we spent an afternoon (or two) rewording and moulding, reads:

“frais magazine was set up by two like-minded friends. One, quietly driven with a fondness of her French childhood and the other, an Island girl with an adoration for food. With an abundance of storytelling goodness, our aim is to focus on original, new, and interesting content that invigorates the senses and is ultimately, fresh for our readers in every sense of the word.”

Our first post was inspired by a day of baking. I have a bundt cake tin that my Nan gave to me as a replica of one from my childhood in the Bahamas. My dad still makes me a chocolate chip banana cake every time I come home in the summer or Christmas. It’s so good! And because Harriett, who grew up in France, loved the idea of making madeleines, I bought her a French madeleine tray for Christmas last year. We decided that they were the two pieces we adored most in the kitchen – pieces we’d cherish. So together, we wrote ‘Keeping Old Things Near.’

Keeping Old Things

Having been busy with our deadlines, poor Frais hasn’t had much attention and we’ve only just been able to post our best pieces straight from our soon to be submitted Negotiated Portfolios…but we’re finally able to share them with you!

To go with the trend of cherishing, I wrote a piece for my portfolio about a very close friend of mine who taught me how to make butternut squash risotto and called it ‘Ingredients for a Timeless Friendship.’ Suzanne is someone who I met when I first moved to the UK at my weekend job in Hay-on-Wye. We worked at the same gift shop and after a year as coworkers, we formed a mother-daughter relationship with her being in her 60s and me in my late-teens, now early-twenties. It fit the Frais style because it goes with the element of sharing memories. I really enjoyed writing the piece but it was hard with it being something so near to my heart. The words didn’t come as easily as other pieces I’d written!

Ingredients...

To give the quote-less feature a bit more life and colour, I found that the photography of Finn Beales fit perfectly with the text. Because Finn is a photographer from Hay-on-Wye, the photographs he takes capture the stunning beauty in the area Suzanne and I meet-up. The only thing I would change would be to have a photo of Suzanne in it but I think the photos from Finn’s blog worked really, really well and I hope he gets the chance to see the piece! I’ve also worked on a Kinfolk-style mock-up in InDesign so it looks as if it came right from their office in Oregon.

Also on Frais is my ‘A Chat and a Bowl of Pea Souk’ piece. So pleased with it! Feels so good to actually have it published and available for people to read and share. This feature on the chef and owner of Falmouth’s Pea Souk (a vegetarian and vegan specialty cafe) has been quite honestly my pride and joy out of all of the other work I’ve done in the past. It’s pieces like this one that really make me realise that I have just a little bit more than a passion for writing. Hopefully anyway!

Pea Souk

I think that by creating Frais, it’s allowed both Harriett and I the ability to stand back and think “wow…we did that?” Because we have the mixture of support from the other and the reassurances that together, our pieces really work well. There have been quite a few high-fives exchanged and full-on-grins even as our deadline approaches…<two days! I’ll stop chatting about it so you can go and have a look for yourself!

Next on the list for Frais, from my behalf, is a profile piece on Vertrum Lowe, a local Bahamian ‘artist’ who crafts the most beautifully replicated sailing vessels. Link to follow shortly!

*Note: featured photo by Finn Beales

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