Wednesday, 6 December 2017

 

What I Read in November 2017 – Wrap Up & Mini Reviews

October was a bit of a dud when it came to my reading list. I couldn't really decide on what books to pick up and very few managed to capture my attention fully. I am very pleased to say that this feeling completely turned around in November due to an excellent mix of books that managed to get me excited again about reading! Not only did I devour 11 books (which is a lot in a single month for me) but there were many I really fell in love with along the way, most notably evocative YA Vanilla by Billy Merrell told in verse, funny memoirs The Amazing Book is Not on Fire and Dan & Phil Go Outside by YouTubers Dan Howell and Phil Lester, fantasy YA Everless by Sara Holland, and the fact-filled 147 Things by Jim Chapman. (Excuse the poor quality of the photos in this post though, I had no day light to work with this weekend 😢)

Monday, 4 December 2017

 

The Dickens Festival in Rochester

When I lived in south east London I loved exploring Kent as there are so many picturesque towns to visit, filled with cobble-stoned streets, castles, homely pubs and tons of history. One of the places I particularly enjoyed going to in December was Rochester as their annual Dickens Festival was the official start of the festive season for me. However, after moving to North London I haven't made the trip down for quite a few years – until now! I've been raving about the festival to friends, familiar and colleagues for ages and was excited to return.

Friday, 1 December 2017

 

The Wedding Reception at Kingsway Hall Hotel


Interactive Theatre International is the company that managed to make me an immersive theatre convert after years of dreading unexpected outbursts of audience participation in a show. Their Faulty Towers Dining Experience, transporting diners to the mayhem of Basil Fawlty's hotel through the medium of some excellent rehearsed sketches combined with improvisation on the night, was hilarious from start to finish and we loved the uniqueness of enjoying a meal while surrounded by the iconic characters. The Wedding Reception is the latest endeavour of the company and needless to say we had high expectations after our previous experience.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

 

Vanilla by Billy Merrell

I love the variety of YA novels that are currently released, especially by publishers such as Scholastic. Whether I'm in the mood for sci-fi or a comedy, they'll likely have something to suit my every mood. The last Scholastic book I read was fairy tale fantasy A Shiver of Snow and Sky, and while this may sound a million miles away from the contemporary Vanilla, which explores gender identity and sexuality, both were very excellent in their own right.

Monday, 27 November 2017

 

Christmas at Kew Gardens


When I lived in South London I had a membership to Kew Gardens and I loved visiting during different times of the year; in spring to see the beautiful gardens in full bloom, in summer for a relaxing picnic with a good book, and in autumn for a crisp stroll while surrounded by reds and yellows. But somehow I'd never visited in winter time. Now living in North London, unfortunately Kew Gardens is quite a trek to get to and I haven't been in years. But when a friend invited me to join her on a preview night of Christmas at Kew my festive senses started tingling and I was more than willing to make the journey down to check it out.

Monday, 20 November 2017

 

Getting Festive With Maplin Electronics


I'm a huge Christmas geek and if I get an invite for anything with a festive angle, I'm in. And so with the promise of getting a sneak peek at some of the most exciting tech and toys for the holiday season – and the lure of a mince pie, or two – I set out for Maplin's headquarters last week. While it may have been the seasonal fun that captured my interest initially, it was fab gadgets such as a mini chocolate fountain (yes, it is as divine as it sounds), that have made my wish list a lot longer in the past week.

Friday, 17 November 2017

 

Aladdin at The Prince Edward Theatre


I was eight years old when Disney released Aladdin and I fell utterly in love with it; from Aladdin's cheeky antics to the glittering Cave of Wonders and from his adorable animal side-kick Abu to the Genie's impressive dance skills. It being a much-loved classic from my childhood I wasn't too sure how much I'd enjoy a theatrical adaptation and whether it'd live up to my memories. However, I needn't have worried as the musical version currently threading the boards in London takes some of the best elements from the animation, and turns it into its own dazzling spectacle.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

 

5 Books to Cosy Up With on Cold Winter Nights


A few months ago I wrote about 5 Books to Curl Up With in Autumn, which was filled with reads that matched the chill and creepiness of the season. As the days are getting even colder and darker, the time has come for a follow-up with my top picks for the frosty winter months ahead. These are books that evoke the feeling of freezing with snowy landscapes, as well as a dash of heartwarming kindness thrown in to reflect the season of sharing. So grab your cosiest flannel PJs, fluffy bed socks and a fleece blanket as it's time to hibernate with a bunch of wintery reading delights.

Monday, 13 November 2017

 

Backpack Flashback: Let's Start at the Beginning...

Back in 2005, before travel blogging (or any kind of blogging as a career, really) was a thing, I started a Livejournal account to keep my friends and family back home updated on where in the world I was and the wonderful things I saw and explored along the way. I lived in Canada for a year, Australia for another, went to New Zealand for six weeks and hit up some places in Asia and the US too. It was an incredible, life-changing experience.

Friday, 10 November 2017

 

Top Picks From Transworld's Debut Fiction Showcase


Transworld (part of Penguin Random House) was one of the first publishers to ever invite me to a book event all the way back in 2013, and I have been a big fan of their diverse list since. I've reviewed a ton of their women's fiction books for Novelicious throughout the years and even picked up a thriller or two (which I don't tend to read very much normally). However, most exciting I've found reading new voices and their annual Debut Fiction Showcase provides the perfect opportunity to discover what's coming up next.