Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Book review: The Hidden Art of Disney's Musical Years – The 1940s, Part One by Didier Ghez



Those of you who have read my blog before will already know that I'm obsessed with musicals and books, but another passion of mine that doesn't always get the airtime on here that it deserves is Disney. I've been a big fan of the movies, the theme parks and all the merchandise you can imagine since I was a little kid and discovering new Disney gems still get me as excited now as they did all those years ago, whether it's visiting a new theme park (so far I've been to the ones in Paris, LA and Tokyo), watching a new animated film or reading an incredibly in-depth insight into the magical history of a brand I adore so much. The Hidden Art of Disney's Musical Years – The 1940s, Part One brings together my passions for musicals, reading and Disney in one gorgeously illustrated and comprehensive package, detailing the scope and depth of concept art that made the 1940s Disney animations such classics.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Exploring England: Shaftesbury



If there is somewhere in England that is more picturesque than Shaftesbury, I've yet to come across it. The beautiful cobblestoned street of Gold Hill is famous for featuring in Ridley Scott's 1970s Hovis bread television ad (and is therefore also known as Hovis Hill), gracing the front of many a chocolate box, and can even be seen on the cover of J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Literary London: House of MinaLima



In my exploration of London's literary side I'm moving away from Roald Dahl (House of Illustration and the BFG Dream Jar Trail) this week to the one and only J.K. Rowling. You may remember my blog post on the most gorgeously illustrated edition of Peter Pan ever, and the designers of that book, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, were also the creatives behind the magical graphic art in the Harry Potter films. A selection of their stunning work, both from Harry Potter and some of their other designs, is currently on display in Soho at House of MinaLima, an incredible four floors of art that you cannot miss out on.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Book review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick



Matthew Quick is foremost known as the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (as mentioned on the cover for Every Exquisite Thing), which was adapted for the big screen and starred Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the leads. But my first encounter with his written work didn't come until I read the incredible Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock back in early 2014. An intelligent, poignant, witty, provocative and deeply touching novel, it solidified Matthew straight on my must-buy list.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Allegro at Southwark Playhouse



Photo credit: Scott Rylander

Fringe favourite Southwark Playhouse has been hit (Grand Hotel) or miss (Grey Gardens) for me lately, but since I have seen some of the most wonderful shows at this venue I'm always keen to check them out when they put on another musical I've yet to see on stage. They're great at bringing smaller or unknown productions to London audiences and Allegro, one of Rodgers & Hammerstein's lesser known works, is one of those. Despite being created in 1947, the Southwark Playhouse production marks the musical's professional European premiere.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Literary London: The BFG Dream Jar Trail



In my quest to find London's literary side, I seem to initially have stumbled upon everything Roald Dahl-themed. After Quentin Blake's House of Illustration last week, which currently has an exhibit on The BFG, this week I followed The BGF Dream Jar Trail through London. Organised by Visit London to coincide with the film's release, the jars scattered throughout the city house the dreams of a host of famous faces, such as Steven Spielberg, Stephen Hawking, Helen Mirren, Sophie Dahl, Zoella, Sadiq Khan and Tim Minchin.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Book review: Letters From Lighthouse Cottage by Ali McNamara



I came a bit late to the Ali McNamara party, only discovering her novels a few years ago, but I've been hooked ever since. From time travel fun in Step Back in Time to movie star sightings in From Nothing Hill With Four Weddings... Actually, right down to the cute The Little Flower Shop by the Sea, I've devoured them all. And with a charming story and a magical realism twist I do believe that Letters From Lighthouse Cottage is Ali's best novel yet.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Exploring England: Bosham Quay



Last month I saw Half a Sixpence at the Chichester Festival Theatre (a charming new musical version by Downton Abbey-creator Julian Fellowes with music from British composing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe) and while Chichester is quite easily accessible from London by train, my friend decided to drive there so we could do some sightseeing along the way. We stopped at various scenic points in South Downs National Park until eventually we hit the idyllic village of Bosham with its beautiful church and quay.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Literary London: Quentin Blake's House of Illustration



Even though I've been living in London for over 6 years now, I'm still constantly discovering new things to enjoy within this city. From festivals to picturesque Dickensian streets, and from great places to eat to museums that weren't on my radar before. Mostly everyone will know tourist staples such as The British Museum, The Natural History Museum and The V&A, and I have been to all of these countless times myself as well, but it's the lesser known locations that I'm currently seeking to uncover. And because I have a particular focus on books on this blog, I thought it'd be interesting to explore London's literary side this summer, starting with Quentin Blake's House of Illustration in Granary Square (a few minutes' walk away from King's Cross St. Pancras Station).

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Book review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab



If you'd ask me last year, I would've said high fantasy wasn't my cup of tea. I've tried watching Game of Thrones several times and couldn't get into it, and I'm always kind of put off by the amount of pages a high fantasy book series entails (the one exception being anything Tolkien, especially The Silmarillion). Until I came across the Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Game of Thrones-hybrid Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, a really accessible young adult fantasy. I became absolutely hooked. I feel much more confident venturing outside of my reading comfort zone now and so when I was given the opportunity to review one of the novels by YA fantasy favourite V.E Schwab I didn't have to think twice.