Victoria Nugent

A writer, a reader, a daydream believer

An ode to bugnes July 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 10:31 am

When I was 17, I went on exchange to Saint-Étienne in France. I quickly fell in love with the food and particularly the sweets.  There was one particular treat that particularly stood out- bugnes.


Fresh from the bakery in a brown paper bag, these little morsels tasted like nothing I had tasted. They were a regional speciality and a Mardi Gras treat. Sitting around a crowded table in the smoky café across the road from our lyceé, we’d share around the delicious fried pastries. They were still warm and dusted in icing sugar. I would usually have a hot chocolate topped with chantilly cream at the same time. I was in heaven.


When the Mardi Gras period was over, I was sad to find out the bugnes supply had dried up. For years I despaired of tasting these delights again until the next time I ended up in France, whenever that may be. But last year an amazing thing happened. My sister gave me a French cookbook for my birthday. Lo and behold, there was a recipe for bugnes.



Happily, the recipe did not disappoint. The taste of them instantly took me back to that smoky café .

I’m 17 years old and worrying that my leopard print socks make me look silly to one particular cute boy, despite him touching me on the ankle with the lightest fingers and saying, “Tes chaussettes sont mignon”.  I’m still picking up the nuances of the language and feeling ever so shy, but the taste of bugnes makes it all ok.  It’s freezing outside but it’s warm in the café, where we spent our time hanging out, talking, drinking hot beverages and playing bébé  foot (foosball).


When I finally got the chance to make bugnes myself, it felt a little bit like recapturing that long-lost time of cultural exploration and coming of age.  I love that I got the chance to sample a regional treat not known to every traveller and I love that I can recreate those beloved food memories at home.  Vive la France,  vive les souvenirs  et vive les bugnes.


So easy to relate to… June 10, 2014

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How to Level Up by the incredible Anna Akana June 3, 2014

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This video is the best piece of advice I’ve come across recently for procrastinators like myself. It also led me to a bunch of other awesome YouTube clips by Anna Akana. I have come to the conclusion that the LA actress and filmmaker is actually quite awesome. Respect.


10 things you don’t learn about being a journalist at university September 22, 2013

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  1. The first time someone rings you to yell at you, it probably won’t be because you have written something defamatory. It will be because you spelt their mother’s name wrong.
  2. It is incredibly rare to get a good quote from a teenage boy. If you want a good quote, ask their teacher about how much potential they have.
  3. You will come to loathe vox pops rapidly and with a fiery passion.
  4. Those Facebook stalking skills you have will prove to be incredibly useful.
  5. Learn to pack your lunch. Some days you will be so busy that going out to grab something seems like a valuable waste of time. Also, lunches are expensive and journalists are not known for being well-paid.
  6. When sources, suggest that you get a coffee you should try to make the time. You never know if they are going to give you a tip for incredible story. Even if that’s not the case this time, it may be down the track simply because you made the effort to connect with them.
  7. You will express the need for a drink before midday on a surprisingly regular basis. Don’t worry; your colleagues will do the same thing.
  8. How many cups of coffee do you think you’ll buy during the week? Double it.
  9. There are many people who don’t understand the concept of news and will think you can’t be trusted not to report every mundane detail you hear. These are the people who will share some gossip about their friend’s divorce/battle with prostrate cancer/ affair with their neighbour and then say,” Oh, but please don’t do a story on it”.
  10.  Some days you will think longingly of finding another profession. Being a waitress or a shop assistant  may even look like good options. Other days you won’t be able to contemplate the idea of doing anything else for a living. 

Writers need to eat too September 19, 2013

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In August I did something a little bit different. I agreed to curate the Pay the writers twitter and Tumblr accounts for the month. If you haven’t heard of Pay the Writers before, the premise is simple. Earlier this year Overland’s Jennifer Mills wrote about her own experiences of the difficulties of being paid as a freelance writer. She then set up the Pay the writers movement to keep the discussion going. 

It’s an idea which I support wholeheartedly. Writing is work and writers deserve to be paid. You wouldn’t say to your hairdresser, “I can’t pay you but I can recommend you to lots of people and basically give you so much exposure you should be grateful to me.”

Full disclosure: I am not in the same boat as many writers where freelance work is my main source of income. I am employed full-time as a journalist. However, I do like to write for other publications  for a number of reasons. Extra income is always nice, it’s fun to write in a different style to what suits a regional newspaper and it helps me to grow as a writer. Except the extra income part isn’t always guaranteed. I have to admit I have chosen to write unpaid several times but these days it’s always for publications I respect. In my uni student days I would often write for anywhere that would publish me but these days I’m pickier. 

This year I had an article published in Peppermint magazine, which made me immensely happy because it’s my favourite magazine. What boosted my happiness is the fact that I got paid and I got paid promptly. It was a milestone.  There is nothing like waiting for payment that doesn’t arrive until after many passive aggressive emails to make you want to cry in frustration.  

Curating Pay the writers was a great experience. It was great to help provoke that kind of conversation. The discussion encompassed topics such as waiting to get paid, financial tips, submission fees and so on. 

It’s a fact that publishing models are changing and we’ve slipped into a world where writing for exposure has become an everyday occurrence. If we’re to change it, we need to start thinking about new ways to go forward and discussion is key. I’m glad to have played at least some small role in that discussion.


Nelson Mandela wisdom for the day July 20, 2013

Filed under: Inspiration,Uncategorized — victoriajnugent @ 3:02 am

There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
-Nelson Mandela

This week marked Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. As the world keeps an eye on the health of the anti-apartheid leader, his words still resonate strongly. His vision of freedom, hope and justice lives on. 


On love and poetry April 23, 2013

Filed under: Inspiration,life in general — victoriajnugent @ 10:22 am
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I’m a little bit in love with this piece of spoken word by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. For those who haven’t across either of them before, here’s a quick rundown.

Sarah Kay is a 24-year-old Brown University graduate who has already made a significant impact on the world of spoken word.  She started performing at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC at just 14. At 14, I wasn’t doing anything nearly as cool as that. Pretty sure I was in the midst of having the standard Year Nine dramas actually.  She has since performed at venues across the US and has also graced stages here in Australia and in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, France, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, and Singapore.

She is also the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E., the collaboration between herself and Phil Kaye, a fellow Brown alumni.

Phil Kaye is another spoken word poet and I must admit I’m not as familiar with his work. He has been travelling the world as a performer, writer, and teacher since first hitting the spoken word scene at 17. His debut poetry book, A Light Bulb Symphony, was published in 2011.  He has twice received America’s  National College Poetry Slam award for “Pushing the Art Forward”. He is the only person to have received this particular award twice.

Together, the two are incredible. But don’t take my word for it. Watch. Find out for yourself. Feel a little magic.