Thursday, 29 December 2016

My Month in Favourites – December 2016


December is the month of favourites with my yearly round-ups of books and theatre having already gone up on the blog this week, and my 2016 in review to follow next week. That doesn't mean that I'll skip my monthly round-up though as there has been lots I've enjoyed this month and I want to share with you guys, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, RENT the Musical, Hygge, Vlogmas, The Netherlands, and Boxing Day sales!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My 16 Favourite Reads in 2016




What an amazing bookish year 2016 has been. I read a total of 103 books and managed to hit my Goodreads challenge once again (though, in fairness, it was lowered considerably from my usual target as this year has been far busier for me working wise and blogging wise and so I knew that elusive 125 books was out of reach early on. This is the year I discovered my love for beautiful non-fiction books, redisovered my love for young adult fiction, and I started collecting beautiful hardback to prettify my shelves. My favourite books of the year are mostly YA and non-fiction titles, though there is general fiction in there too, as well as a children's series I reread and fell head over heels in love with again. So without further ado, here are my 16 favourite reads in 2016!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Top 10 Favourite Theatre Shows From 2016



With the year drawing to a close it's time to look back on all my theatrical outings of 2016 and which were the very best of the best. I've had the pleasure to see a fair share of mostly great productions and so narrowing it down to just 10 favourites wasn't an easy job, but I got there in the end. The final list is a decent mix of West End and fringe shows, with even a UK tour thrown in. The majority are musicals because I do tend to see more of those, but there are a few plays in my favourites too. So without further ado, here are my top 10 favourite theatre shows from 2016!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Book review: Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson



When Lisa Dickenson won the Novelicious Debut of the Year for Twelve Dates of Christmas, it propelled her into Hollywood stardom and she now spends her days hosting dance parties with Beyoncé and meeting up for regular coffee dates with her friends in Central Perk. Well, not quite. But she has written a host of fabulous books since, including You Had Me At Merlot, Catch Me If You Cannes and the brand-spankin' new Mistletoe on 34th Street, which brings Lisa back to her festive writing roots.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Book review: The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt



I was so excited when last year I discovered that Pushkin Press had brought out English translations of Dutch children's classics The Letter for the King and The Secrets of the Wild Wood by Tonke Dragt, because – finally – more people could discover the incredible words and illustrations from an author who was a big part of my childhood in the Netherlands. And Pushkin Press didn't stop with her most famous duology either. Together with translator Laura Watkinson they published another work by Tonke Dragt: standalone adventure The Song of Seven.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Book review: Christmas Stories by Scholastic Classics



I'm absolutely loving racing through the festive titles from my Bookish Gift Guide for the Holidays. The beautiful Christmas Stories anthology by Scholastic Classics was a particularly seasonal read that started to get me excited about the upcoming holidays. I mean, with words by Charles Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen within the pages, how could it not?

Monday, 19 December 2016

A Very Christmassy Evening at Walker Books



For the last bookish event of 2016, I was delighted to join the Walker Books team for their very Chrismassy evening last week. They revealed some of their most exciting Spring/Summer 2017 titles with authors Katherine Webber (Wing Jones) and Non Pratt (Truth or Dare), and a very special cover of Lauren James' upcoming novel The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which sounds so very amazing.

Friday, 16 December 2016

RENT the Musical at St James Theatre



Billy Cullum (Mark) and Ross Hunter (Roger). Photo credit: Matt Crockett

On the surface, a contemporary musical about a group of young people struggling with poverty, AIDS, addiction and prejudice in New York doesn't sound particularly enticing, but with a powerful story, an incredible cast of characters and a super catchy rock score this loose retelling of Puccini's opera La Bohème is one of the very best musical theatre has to offer. And the 20th anniversary production, touring the UK after it finishes its run in London at the end of January, is an absolute must-see.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Book review: The Twelve Days of Christmas by the V&A


Sometimes a book comes along that is so stunning in design that the only logical response is to stroke the cover upon first laying eyes upon it. The Twelve Days of Christmas, using intricate patterns from the Victoria and Albert Museum's William Morris collection with new illustrations by Liz Catchpole, is one such a treasure. This is not a book that evokes emotion through carefully crafted words, instead it does just that with its beautifully designed pages.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre



I wasn't certain that I was going to be able to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this decade. The theatrical continuation of arguably the biggest book franchise in history, has been so popular that not only tickets are completely sold out, but when the next batch will go on sale they will be for mid-2018! Luckily for me, the producers have set up the Friday Forty in which fans have the chance to win tickets to both parts of the play the following week for just £20 each (so £40 in total). While demand for that too was through the roof, after months of trying my friend was lucky a few weeks ago – and we got to see both parts of the play two Saturdays ago from the centre of the Stalls. It was a magical experience.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Dinner at Salaam Namaste in Bloomsbury



It's been a while since I've highlighted some yummy food on here, but today I have a good one for you: Indian and British fusion restaurant Salaam Namaste. Located in Bloomsbury, this eatery has recently updated their a la carte menu for the winter season and I was delighted to try a selection of their dishes, which mix East and West not only in flavours and ingredients, but also in presentation.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Book review: A Christmas Cornucopia by Mark Forsyth



One of the books from my Bookish Gift Guide for the Holidays I was particularly keen to dive into, purely from an aesthetic point of view, was A Christmas Cornucopia. The cover design is beautiful, and printed in hardback this makes for a very lovely stocking filler. Not only that, but when I actually started reading it I was instantly hooked on the words hidden within this pretty little festive tome too, which were insightful and hilarious in equal manner. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Literary London: Hogwarts in the Snow



First I don't mention Harry Potter for ages and then I can't stop talking about it! This past month has been completely taken over by the Wizarding World as I attended the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere (squee), saw both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in theatre (double squee), and I was recently invited to a special event at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden to see the glorious festive additions to the Harry Potter sets for Hogwarts in the Snow. It was a truly magical experience. Do sit back as I take you on a Christmassy ride through Diagon Alley, the Great Hall, the Gryffindor Common Room, and more.

Friday, 2 December 2016

My Month in Favourites – November 2016



After the awesomeness that was October, filled with autumn fun and Canada, I though most of November would be me longing to go back on holiday or looking forward to my visit to the Netherlands for the holidays. While there was certainly some of that, November has been an unexpectedly brilliant in its own right. This month's favourites are pretty heavy on the TV, film and Harry Potter related fun with a special event at The Harry Potter Studios, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere, Moana, Gilmore Girls, and Planet Earth 2.