Friday, 29 April 2016

The Toxic Avenger at the Southwark Playhouse



Photo credit: Claire Bilyard

I knew nothing about cult classic The Toxic Avenger before taking my seat in the theatre, but I have been a big fan of the Southwark Playhouse for quite a while now as they have the tendency to take Broadway or Off-Broadway hits and move them across the pond for a very successful, often smaller-scale version, of shows that are very popular within the musical theatre community. Recent favourites at the Southwark Playhouse have included Titanic, Grand Hotel and Carrie, and The Toxic Avenger is going straight onto that list as well.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Book review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders



All the Birds in the Sky is a crazy sci-fi/fantasy mash-up, which started out as a solid 5-star novel aimed at the young adult market. As the story progressed, however, it became less sure of what it wanted to be and the feeling of excitement I felt over those early chapters mostly disappeared. In the end I did think it was an interesting read, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it, but it didn't manage to live up to my initial expectations.

Monday, 25 April 2016

My Jewellerybox Favourites



I love Jewellerybox. Not only do they sell pieces that perfectly match my style (Sterling Silver dainty studs, bracelets and necklaces are my favs) but they're also super affordable, great quality and based in the UK. Their packaging is also adorable and very photogenic. If I've seen you in the last year it's very likely I've told you about this brilliant brand already or I've even gifted you something from them for a birthday or other special occasion. And I've mentioned them on my blog a few times before already as well but as they're a firm favourite of mine – and they're a small business – I'd love to support in any way I can. So, without further ado, check out some of my favourite jewellery from the brand below and make sure you pop by their website to view their entire incredible range (they also have lovely pieces in rose gold and gold).

Friday, 22 April 2016

Book review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken



I owe a big thanks to Booktube for flailing all over Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, as it was released in the US a few months prior to the UK and the hugely positive reviews I've come across since is what got me interested in this book in the first place. It's crazy to think that I read not just one complex and completely gripping time travel young adult novel with pirates within a single month but two (the other one being the brilliant The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig), yet there you have it. If this is the latest hype in YA fiction and more swashbuckling time travel novels will be released soon I'd be totally okay with that, because I'm hooked.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

York day 3: Castle Howard



After spending two days in York, exploring sights such as York Minster, the Shambles, York's Chocolate Story, the city walls, Clifford Tower and YorkBoat, on our final day in Yorkshire over Easter we left the city for a trip to Castle Howard. This is a stately home you might have seen on the big or small screen before as, among other things, it was featured in both in the mini-series and film adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. It already looked impressive on screen, but it was even more so in person.  

Monday, 18 April 2016

Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum



Sensational Butterflies is an annually recurring exhibition outside of the Natural History Museum but I'd never actually visited before. The zoo near my hometown in the Netherlands (Dierenpark Emmen) housed the largest butterfly garden in Europe for many years and so I've been pretty spoiled in that regards. However, it's been a while since I visited and I was keen to see how the London version would compare, so this year I finally made an effort to check out Sensational Butterflies.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin *GIVEAWAY*



Today I'm delighted to take part in the blog tour for Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin (author of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes). I had the pleasure of listening to Anna talk about her new novel at Transworld's Rising Stars Event and it sounds like both a poignant and funny read (and Anna herself was hilarious). Telling the moving tale of three generations of women, the novel is described as "heart-breaking yet uproariously uplifting" and you can get your hands on the book thanks to the lovely folks at Transworld have given me a copy to give away to one lucky winner (UK only)!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

York day 2: YorkBoat, Clifford Tower and Ghost Hunt of York



After our first exploration of York, including York's Chocolate Story, the Shambles Market and York Minster, we had grand plans for our second day in this historic English town, but the weather wasn't quite so co-operative so we didn't do a huge amount. Nonetheless we still had an excellent time and did catch a few more of York's main attractions.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Book review: MARTians by Blythe Woolston



After reading a few hefty novels in a row, filled with intricate world-building and stories that required a slower pace of reading to ensure I didn't miss a small nugget of information that would become important later down the line, I was keen to delve into a lighter read which wouldn't require quite so much brain power and I picked up the thinnest novel on my to-read shelves; the interestingly named MARTians. I assumed this would be an alien invasion novel, but it's actually more of an middle grade/young adult dystopian tale which looks at today's society of excessive consumerism and takes it one step further into the extreme – a fascinating concept.

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Bloggers Hangout Tea Party



There has never been so much choice when it comes to food brands, almost overwhelmingly so, nor have there been so many scrumptious options of the healthy variety. It can be difficult to decide what to go for when wanting to branch out and that's where The Bloggers Hangout has been absolutely amazing. After their Christmas Food Fest I've become addicted to JimJams, Jools and Roasters, and now I'd like to highlight my favourite newly discovered brands at last week's Tea Party; Jake's Boost, Pic's Peanut Butter, Just Bee, Chika's and Cocoa Den.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Q&A with editor Drummond Moir about My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises



My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Swedish author Fredrik Backman (of A Man Called Ove fame) was my absolute favourite novel of 2015; it is magical and clever and absolutely brilliant in every way. As an avid lover of the novel I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour this week to celebrate the paperback release. As I've already shared my review from the hardback edition and have done an interview with Fredrik before, today I am excited to have something a little different: a Q&A with Fredrik's UK editor, Drummond Moir.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

York day 1: Wall Walk, York Minster, The Shambles and York's Chocolate Story



When the Easter Bank Holiday weekend was nearing I felt the urge to leave London for a little while and explore somewhere new and interesting – to have a proper break from life and work and be a tourist for a few days. Places such as Dublin and Berlin were momentarily on the shortlist, but logistics and travel expenses eventually led us a little closer to home: York. Even though I've been living in the UK for over 5 years now I still thoroughly enjoy exploring the country and the historic town of York was one I had not yet had the chance to visit, so I was excited to discover what was hidden between the famous city walls.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Book review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Pheadra Patrick



I was drawn to The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper for two reasons: its quirky title and its elderly main character. I'm always fond of something a bit quirky and after reading books such as A Man Called Ove and Last Bus to Coffeeville, I've also fallen in love with main protagonists that are a little older, so bringing these two together sounded like the perfect match. And it was. It's been a while since I've been so completely and unexpectedly charmed by a novel as I was by this one. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper was sweet, surprising, adventurous, funny – a lovely and life-affirming read.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Book review: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig



I rarely receive unexpected YA book mail, because usually I get a new read in the post on the back of an email rounding up upcoming releases from which I let the published know which titles listed I'd like to review. This is the case with Hot Key Books as well, so I was super surprised with The Girl From Everywhere popped into my mailbox completely out of the blue and cheering up my desk instantly with its stunning cover and the colourful lei that came with it. Even more so, because I hadn't heard of the novel yet, so I had no idea what I was in for when I dived in. And what an utter treat this swashbuckling time travel adventure ended up being.