Friday, 20 April 2018

 

Bat Out Of Hell at the Dominion Theatre


The Dominion Theatre has a theatrical rock legacy, with Queen musical We Will Rock You playing sold out shows for many years at this location and the golden statue of Freddy Mercury at the entrance of the theatre reigning over that iconic corner on Tottenham Court Road in London like true royalty. So it's only apt that the transfer of Meat Loaf musical Bat out of Hell, with music from the concept albums of the same name, takes up residence in the West End home of rock 'n' roll.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

 

Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman


I've loved Sue Wallman's suspenseful YA thrillers ever since I heard her speak at the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast in 2016 and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of her incredible debut Lying About Last Summer soon after. So needless to say, when at this year's event her third novel was announced I did a little squee of excitement (also partly due to the fact that my review was quoted on the presentation just below Zoella, eep!) – and let me tell you, she has done it again.

Monday, 16 April 2018

 

Bottomless Brunch at Bounce: Ping Pong, Pizza & Prosecco


I'm a huge fan of brunch (so much so that last week I had a double brunch weekend!), and I love discovering new restaurants that put on a scrumptious spread. Especially if they give their own twist to the traditional brunch, and that's exactly what Bounce has done. They offer unlimited pizza, Prosecco and Ping Pong madness for two whole hours and I had the opportunity to check it out for myself this weekend.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

 

John Barrowman With Seth Rudetsky at Leicester Square Theatre


Leicester Square Theatre is a hidden gem in a side street just off the heart of the city's tourist centre. For stagey fans in particular this place is a spiritual home, not in the least thanks to Seth Rudetsky's Broadway shows. After intimate cabarets with legends Audra McDonald and Patti LuPone, his wonderful show is back this week with none other than West End, Broadway and TV-star John Barrowman in the hot seat.

Friday, 13 April 2018

 

What I Read in March 2018 – Round-Up & Mini Reviews


After reading just four books in February, in March I smashed through my TBR a little quicker again (though, to be fair, a few of the reads were quite short). Unfortunately I'd picked up some titles on a whim and they weren't quite for me. But despite March being a month of reading highs and lows, the ones I enjoyed, I REALLY enjoyed. Particular highlights include the essays in Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell, the beautiful nature descriptions in The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell, and Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, which is a highly imaginative YA set in limbo.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

 

Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You by Ann Shen [blog tour]


Over the past few years there has been a boom in books published about kick-ass ladies; from Women in Science: 50 Pioneers Who Changed the World to the adorable Little People, Big Dreams series. These highly illustrated titles for all ages showcase some of the most interesting and inspiring women – and I absolutely love them. A slightly different take on a similar theme is the brand-new, super gorgeous Legendary Ladies by Ann Shen, which rather than focusing on real life historical figures, taps into the wealth of mythical characters and goddesses that are equally amazing and we should all learn more about.

 

Savage Island by Bryony Pearce [blog tour]


While I devoured the Fear Street and Point Horror books as a teen (including the Cheerleader series by R.L. Stine, which made me sleep with the lights on after reading it and still makes my stomach turn thinking about it decades later) I am a big scaredy-cat and I don't tend to read horror books or watch horror films as I know I'll be freaking myself out. However, when I heard author Bryony Pearce talk about her then upcoming book Savage Island at the Stripes 2018 Young Adult Showcase, she made it sound so exciting and intriguing that I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!

Monday, 9 April 2018

 

5 Unexpected Highlights From My Dublin City Break


I can't believe it has been a week already since I came back, but I went to Dublin over Easter! It was my first trip to Ireland and I was very excited to explore a to me entirely new place. While we had jam-packed days filled with touristy explorations and shopping (more blogs to follow on everything we did), it wasn't actually the things we looked forward to ahead of the trip we enjoyed the most, instead some of our random discoveries or things we ended up doing on a whim became the highlights of the trip. So here are my favourite unexpected moments from our visit to Dublin!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

 

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim


You may have noticed I've started reading more lifestyle and well-being books in 2018, such as You Do You by Sarah Knight and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Combined with calming and evocative reads such as The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell and O's Little Guide to the Big Questions by the Editors of O, they've inspired me to be more mindful, which is just what I need in my life right now. And the beautifully written and thoughtful The Things You Can Seen Only When You Slow Down is a worthy addition to my collection of reads of this variety.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

 

The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen & MinaLima [blog tour]


Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima are the talented duo behind the graphic art in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast films. The wanted posters, magazines, Daily Prophet, school books, and even the funky labels of the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes products are all intricately illustrated by MinaLima. While this is already very cool, they also have tons of other beautiful designs under their belt and I especially love their fully illustrated versions of classic tales. After The Jungle Book, Peter Pan and The Beauty and The Beast, last week the latest instalment in this gorgeous collection was published: The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

 

5 Must Dos For a Short Weekend Break in Dublin


I'm very excited to be going away to Dublin over Easter, my first holiday of the year and one sorely needed after the incredibly busy few months I've had at work. We'll only be in the Irish capital for just over three days but we have a jam-packed itinerary to make the most of a flying visit, carefully researched and mapped out (though, I'll let you know afterwards if we managed to stick to all of our plans). I know I'm not the only one juggling limited holiday days and a full-time job but still wanting to get the most out of weekend breaks, so I've rounded up my top 5 plans for this getaway to help inspire other globetrotters with limited travel time.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum


We're incredibly lucky in London to have a wealth of museums and art galleries on our doorstep. Regardless of what you're interested in, you'll be able to find an exhibition to suit your tastes. I love discovering new animals facts and nature pictures, so the stunning Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum is one of my annual staples on the cultural calendar. Not only is it a gorgeous exhibit to visit, but the captions underneath each photo provide fascinating insights into exotic locations and animals, making it a very educational outing for all ages.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

 

London in Spring: The Columbia Road Flower Market


We may have had snow in London as recent as this past weekend, but meteorologically speaking spring has already started. Sure, we tend to go by the astronomical calendar but even then it's only another few days until the season of daffodils and blossoms kicks off. With the unseasonably cold weather recently it's been even harder than normal to find spring in London (Wisteria Hysteria is a little while off yet), but there is one London staple that you can visit all year around and looks particularly delightful in spring: The Columbia Road Flower Market.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

 

The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell


I've been meaning to pick up more nature writing and The Last Wilderness has been the perfect introduction. Neil Ansell's astute observations and eloquent descriptions of his solitary journey through the remote Scottish Highlands was a true delight to experience – bringing a sense of calm to my hectic days with the sheer power of his words.

Friday, 9 March 2018

 

Top Picks From the £1 Penguin Modern Classics Series


From the moment I first heard about the new Penguin Modern Classics series on the YouTube channel of Jean Bookishthoughts, I've become a little obsessed with this collection of books capturing some of the most captivating voices of modern literature through speeches, essays, short stories and poems. Where I purchased only a handful of the classics from the series that was released a few years ago, in the days since the launch of the gorgeous new pastel blue collection I've become the owner of 12 of the 50 titles. #sorrynotsorry

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

 

What I Read in February 2018 – Wrap Up & Mini Reviews


With my goal for 2018 to take more time for each book I read and stress less about getting through all of the review titles ever, I've read a 'mere' four books in February, and I'm okay with that. Being more picky with the titles I picked they've unanimously been brilliant reads (a lovely mixture of fiction and non-fiction too) and I feel very happy with my bookish accomplishment of the month. I've also had more time for reading other content, such as blogs and magazines. I've had years of subscriptions to National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller but never read them back-to-back and I'm now catching up, which I am really enjoying! They are my all-time favourite magazines and it feels so good to finally get around to them, plus they also nicely align with my goal of reading more educational and travel-related content this year, win/win. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

 

Wyld Afternoon Tea at Mondrian London


I love my themed afternoon teas, having enjoyed an autumnal tea, a Beauty and the Beast one and another in a library in the last year alone. So when my birthday came around last month and it was time to decide on a place to go, needless to say afternoon tea was high on the list. There were a few different location that all sounded great (and I will be checking out this year so stay tuned) but the one we went for this time around was the botanical tea, and it was delightful.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

 

5 Inspiring Reads for a Mindful March


The art of mindfulness is being discussed at length in literature at the moment and it's easy to understand why. In our fast-paced, digital society it's become harder than ever to focus on the here and now; too many distractions just a quick glance of a mobile device away. I've personally been so caught up in work and the stresses that come with it in recent years that I've hardly had time to focus on me. In 2018 I am making a conscious effort to spend more time on personal development and being present in the moment – with the ultimate goal to feel more fulfilled and happy. Inspirational books have been my first point of call to helping me on this journey, and here are some of my recent favourites.

Monday, 26 February 2018

 

The Ultimate Guide of Things to Do in Manchester


I absolutely love Manchester. It's one of my favourite places in the UK but one that is greatly underrated. My first visit was driven by meeting up with friends, rather than exploring the city, but since making my first trip down a few years ago I've been back plenty of times and there is always something new to discover. Filled with tons of arts & culture, great shopping districts and wonderful places to eat, it's a city I would highly recommend when hitting up the UK. It makes a good day trip from London as the Virgin Train from Euston station to the heart of Manchester is just over two hours each way (and tickets can be as cheap as £5 each way when on offer), or a long weekend getaway if you want a little more time to explore.

Friday, 23 February 2018

 

Eugenius! Super Fan Event at The Other Palace


Earlier this month I saw the geeky and 80s inspired Eugenius!, a fun-filled new British musical of which the songs are *still* stuck in my head three weeks down the line. I didn't expect to be back at The Other Palace theatre quite so soon, but when I was invited to a special evening that would also include a Q&A with co-writer Chris Wilkins, producer Warwick Davis (the one and only!) and director Ian Talbot, I of course didn't have to think twice before accepting.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

 

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

This book you guys, it's so cool! When I unexpectedly received a review copy in the post from the lovely Scholastic team and saw *that* epic proof cover I knew I'd be in for a treat but I didn't realise quite how much of one. I read Brightstorm all the way at the start of the year, and I am still in awe of its awesomeness and have extensively recommend it since. I can't wait for next week to come around so it's finally published and you all can pick up a copy of this excellent middle grade read too!

Monday, 19 February 2018

 

Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic Exhibit at the V&A


It's been a while since I added a new entry to my Literary London series and so I was very excited when I heard about the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (better known as the V&A), which makes for a great addition to any book lover's London itinerary. The honey-obsessed Pooh Bear and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood are mostly known for their Disney adaptations, but they originated from a series of written stories. Created by A.A. Milne and based on the tales he told his son Christopher Robin (who inspired the character of the same name), the books date all the way back to the 1920s and so there is a rich history there that has been captured delightfully within the exhibit at the V&A.

Friday, 16 February 2018

 

Highlights from the Scholastic Bloggers' Book Feast


Scholastic is the actual best. Not only have they recently published some of my most favourite reads, such as Vanilla by Billy Merrell (which I was telling everyone at the event to pick up and read asap as there were a few copies up on display) and Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy (review to come closer to pub date), but they also work closely with bloggers and throw some of the best bookish bashes in the industry. I've been lucky enough to attend their Bloggers' Book Feast both in 2016 and 2017 – and I was thrilled when the invite for the 2018 edition arrived in my inbox. There were many, many, MANY awesome titles presented on the day, and you can find my personal highlights below.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

 

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

How stunning does the proof for The Toymakers look (and you can't even see properly that the door actually opens up and that the edge of the pages are stamped with a toy soldier design too)? I'm sure I'm not the only one who instantly thought of the nutcracker when laying eyes on the lush cover and that magical wintery feel really comes across within the pages of this beautifully imaginative read too.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

 

What I Read in December 2017 & January 2018 – Wrap Up & Mini Reviews


I was overseas in December (away from all of my books) and my camera broke in January (preventing me from taking book pics), so my December reads are looong over-due making this is a double-whammy of a round-up! Out of the eleven books I read these past few months, an awesome four of them were 5-star reads: middle-grade sky ship adventure Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy, inspirational tome of essays O's Little Guide to the Big Questions by the Editors of O, powerful contemporary YA More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer, and non-fiction nature book The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel, filled with feathered facts and lush woodland descriptions. An eclectic mix of reads, but I fell heads over heels in love with all four of these for different reasons.

Monday, 5 February 2018

 

Boxing Day and January Sales Haul


December 24th is an important day in my diary. No, not Christmas Eve... we don't celebrate that in the Netherlands (instead we have 1st and 2nd Christmas Day on the 25th and 26th), but the start of the online Boxing Day sales! Spending Christmas with my family back home means I'm never in the UK to hit the sales in the shops (not that I'd really want to during the sleep-eat-repeat routine that is the void between Christmas and New Year's, mind) so the online bargains are the ones to give me my annual shopping sales fix. I posted a Boxing Day Sales Haul on the blog last year and I thought I'd share them with you this time around as well 😊

Friday, 2 February 2018

 

Eugenius! at The Other Palace


Back In 2012 Loserville, based on the Son of Dork album Welcome to Loserville, transferred into the West End and hooked me in with its loveable and geeky characters, pop culture references galore, vibrant comic book vibe and super catchy tunes. I loved it so much I ended up seeing it 4 or 5 times in its far too short-lived London run. It's still one of my all-time favourite shows, and one I miss sorely, and so I was thrilled when I was watching Eugenius! at The Other Palace this week and it felt like Loserville had returned to London... with bonus superheroes!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

 

O's Little Guide to the Big Questions by The Editors of O

I'm really into inspirational reads at the moment; books that make you think and give you a greater appreciation of life. I love how this journey and exploration has led me to discover all kinds of reads that I didn't necessarily gravitate towards before but I am now absolutely in love with. O's Little Guide series is one of those. Up until a few weeks ago I wasn't aware of their existence but after devouring the latest thought-provoking installment in just a day and a half I'm already eyeing the rest of the series, because these little books are true treasures that will enrich my life (and my book shelves, because they're very pretty as well ♥).

Monday, 29 January 2018

 

A Dutch Person's Guide to... Haarlem, The Netherlands


When I went to the Netherlands to visit my family over Christmas, I wanted to make a few day trips as well and explore the country outside of the north where my parents live. I haven't really done this since my uni days and I had a free nation-wide travel card courtesy of the Dutch government (and even then I didn't take as much advantage of it as I should've) so I was excited to see more of my history-rich and beautiful country again – and first up was picturesque Haarlem.

Friday, 26 January 2018

 

Highlights From the Stripes 2018 Young Adult Showcase


Stripes (the young adult arm of Little Tiger Press) has had a phenomenal 2017. Not only did they publish the host of stellar reads presented at last year's showcase, but their anthology A Change is Gonna Come, jam-packed with stories and poetry from BAME authors has made an incredible splash in the book industry, and rightfully so. Needless to say, I was very excited to see what they'll have in store for us throughout the first half of 2018! 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

 

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Sometimes a novel comes along that doesn't only make an emotional impact but its words also makes you think. More Than We Can Tell is one of those as it's a real eyeopener about the horrible things that can go on with people behind closed doors – and a powerful reminder to really listen to those around you. Especially when people are quiet and perhaps reluctant to share, as there can be so much more going on beyond the surface that they're able to put into words.

Friday, 19 January 2018

 

Highlights From the Walker YA Evening 2018


It's always wonderful to be invited to a bookish bash by the lovely team at Walker YA (the young adult division of Walker Books) as their titles are among some of the most exciting within the YA landscape right now. At last year's event they presented amazing novels like Wing Jones by Katherine Webber, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and Truth or Dare by Non Pratt (some of my favourite reads of 2017) and so I was thrilled to be invited once more to get a sneak peek at their 2018 publishing calendar.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

 

The Fandom by Anna Day [blog tour]

There were a few excellent novels I read last summer that aren't published until this year and after Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan, The Fandom by Anna Day is another one that even six months down the line I'm still recommending to people because it was such a fantastic ride. It combines the geekiness of Comic Con (which I've been to so I loved reading about it and recognising bits along the way from my own experience) with an epic fantasy world. It was fun, exciting and surprising, but most of all it was a thrilling adventure – and I for one did not want it to end.

Monday, 15 January 2018

 

5 Easy Ways to Beat the Blue Monday Blues


Today is also known as Blue Monday. The wonderful indulgences and relaxation of the Christmas break a distant memory, this dark and often rainy day marks the first of yet another long week at work and only the halfway point to the next paycheck. While Mondays aren't my favourite day of the week normally, today I'm feeling pretty positive thanks to receiving a generous self-care package by the lovely team at Penguin Living (publishers of beautiful and inspirational titles such as The Little Book of Hygge and The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking). And that prompted an idea: why not share some quick top tips to help you beat the Blue Monday blues too?

Friday, 12 January 2018

 

My Top 5 Reading Resolutions For 2018


I'm not normally one for making resolutions at the start of a new year because why kick them off when the calendar happens to change over and not just at any other time when you want to do things differently? However, towards the end of 2017 I decided I want to have more of a focus in my life on kindness, positivity and thoughtfulness (opposed to getting stuck on negative feelings and bad things that happen). And then I saw my friend Laura's excellent reading resolutions blog post (make sure to check it out!) and it sparked some more ideas of my own that I'd like to pursue this year. So suddenly I do have resolutions; from reading less (yes really) to returning to old favourites, here are my bookish goals for 2018.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan


You know a book is a good one when early buzz starts almost a year before publication date. The chatter surrounding Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan was particularly promising, and for good reason. I read this most excellent thriller back in June and have recommended it extensively online and offline since. And when a novel can stay memorable over six months and 50-odd books down the line, and I am still endlessly gushing about it to anyone willing to give me a listening ear (and even some people who don't!), you're onto a true winner.

Monday, 8 January 2018

 

Bananaman the Musical at Southwark Playhouse


Super heroes have been all the rage on the big and small screen in recent years. But what about the theatre? Besides the infamous Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway, known more for its stunt troubles and extortionate budget, few flying heroes have made it onto the stage. Here in the UK we had monstrous rock musical The Toxic Avenger saving the day a few years ago and following on from its success we now have a yellow-caped, spandexed super hero battling power-hungry villains at the same venue.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

 

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

Abrams & Chronicle is such a fabulous publisher. With stunning noterie and kick-ass young adult reads such as Noteworthy and Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate and RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, they cover a whole spectrum of my favourite kinds of books. And so when I saw the eye-catching cover for A Taxonomy of Love, I knew they had another original YA under their publishing belt that I was very excited to get my hands on!