Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book review: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoë Marriott

Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time, and the Disney adaptation is one of my favourite animated films. It isn't without its flaws, however. Library envy and adorable talking tea cup aside, the story is dated and sexist, and it's doesn't make sense that while the Prince is the one being punished for being selfish, it is Belle who has to learn to look past his beastly exterior to break the curse. So when Zoë Marriott described her take on the classic fairy tale as a feminist interpretation, I was intrigued. And when she read an excerpt ending on a massive cliffhanger, I was most definitely hooked.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Baking Rana's Artisan Gluten Free Bread

With The Great British Bake Off having kicked off again last week, who doesn't feel inspired by Mary, Paul and the contestants to go on their own quest to creating a scrumptious showstopper? But if the fear of soggy bottoms gets the better of you, rather than attempting to create something entirely from scratch, a simpler baking adventure might be more suitable to get into the swing of things.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Little Shop of Horrors at New Wimbledon Theatre (UK Tour)

Photo credit: Matt Martin

Sell A Door Theatre Company has been doing stellar things within the UK in recent years, going from strength to strength with their touring productions that often rival West End shows in talent and production values. I've been a big fan ever since I saw Spring Awakening back in 2011 and they've gone on to produce shows such as Avenue Q, American Idiot and Hand to God. Their latest big musical venture is cult classic Little Shop of Horrors, which opened at New Wimbledon Theatre this week.

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.