Friday, 8 November 2019

 

Mary Poppins at The Prince Edward Theatre


Who doesn't know the story of Mary Poppins? The nanny who quite literally flies into the lives of the Banks' at Cherry Tree Lane, showing children and parents alike that all that truly matters is family (all while dancing on rooftops and with penguins)? The stage adaptation of the classic P.L. Travers stories has 'chim chim cher-eed' onto the London stage for the first time in 15 years, taking over from fellow Disney-alumni Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Friday, 1 November 2019

 

10 Cosy New Books to Read This Autumn


As the days grow darker and colder, I bring out my staples for cosy nights in and weekends at home: festively-scented candles, my trusty checkered and wool-lined fleece blanket, warm-coloured fairy lights, and my towering to-read pile that has been building up over the summer months. Yes, it's the best time of the year for reading while snuggled up with a cup of tea! And today I'm delighted to share with you book releases from the past few months that are perfect to curl up with this autumn. Whether you love a good ol' Christmas tale, harrowing historical fiction, Sherlock Holmesque crime, magical middle grade, laugh-out-loud women's fiction, gripping YA thriller, or thought provoking non-fiction essays, this list of recent favs has something to delight readers of all tastes.

Friday, 4 October 2019

 

Exploring Vancouver's Best Parks: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park


Vancouver is one of the busiest cities in Canada. It's bustling with sport and music events, has museums and galleries galore, and whether you're a foodie or shopaholic, you're never far away from new places to discover. However, sometimes you want to get away from the business to enjoy a quieter time and surround yourself with snow-capped mountains and trees as far as the eye can see. British Colombia has an incredible array of green spaces right on Vancouver's doorstep that are quick and easy to get to. In this new series I'll take you along to a few of my favourite scenic outings. First up: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

 

Falsettos at The Other Palace


It's 1979 and Marvin (Daniel Boys) is trying really hard to make his unconventional family work. With his boyfriend Whizzer (Oliver Savile), his ex-wife Trina (Laura Pitt-Pulford), their 10-year-old son Jason (Albert Atack on press night), and his psychiatrist Mendel (Joel Montague), who's now dating Trina, in the mix this is not an easy feat – as catchy opening tune Four Jews in a Room Bitching makes all too clear.

Friday, 30 August 2019

 

Following in Heidi's Footsteps in the Swiss Alps


I'm most in my element when I can combine two of my loves: travel and literature. I've written about it extensively in my 'a book lover's guide to' series, and earlier this month my travels once again transported me to one of my favourite childhood novels: Heidi by Johanna Spyri. If you're not familiar with the classic tale of the spirited girl who lives in the Swiss mountains with her grandfather and spends her days herding goats with her friend Peter then I highly recommend you check it out before exploring the scenic mountain trail at Pizol in the Swiss town of Bad Ragaz.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

 

The Last by Hanna Jameson


When I first heard about The Last it sounded like it could be a pretty compelling read, but I didn't anticipate quite how gripped I'd be by this post-apocalyptic murder mystery. So much so, in fact, that when I started reading the novel I missed my stop on the commute into work – a journey I make every single day... I'd flown through the pages and the story, hooked by the disconcerting unknowns and the depth of the characters, and I clearly didn't want it to end. If that isn't a sign of a true page-turner, then I don't know what is.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

 

Dead Popular by Sue Wallman


I love a good boarding school story. The first books I remember reading by myself were the St. Clares ones by Enid Blyton, and I was so enthralled by them that I subsequently read them over and over again, at least once a year until I was well into my teens. Fast-forward a few (ahum) years, and I still have a soft spot for novels taking place in a boarding school, so I was thrilled when I discovered that Sue Wallman's latest book is set in one.

Friday, 2 August 2019

 

Living My Best Li(f)e by Claire Frost


A few months ago I was in a reading slump. I hadn't been finishing as many books as previous years because of lack of time around my job, and so I wanted each read I picked up to be truly worth it and wow me. But they didn't. Until I devoured Lindsey Kelk's I Heart Hawaii (the final installment in her most wonderful I Heart series) and Claire Frost's Living My Best Li(f)e back-to-back. I finished Claire's brilliant debut in almost one sitting, it was that good, and together this power-duo has rekindled my love for reading ♥

Friday, 26 July 2019

 

Chambers: Multi-Dimensional Dining With Gingerline


[AD – invited] Immersive theatre experiences have become all the rage in recent years. From Alice's Adventures Underground underneath the Vaults in Waterloo through to slapstick comedy The Faulty Towers Dining Experience set in an actual hotel, there is something to enjoy for all stagey tastes. One company that has mastered the art of immersive adventures is Gingerline, well-known for their Chambers of Flavours series. They combine an imaginative theatrical journey into the unknown with a surprising fine dining experience.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

 

Top Tips for a Weekend Break in York


With cobble-stoned streets, riverside walks, medieval architecture, and the Yorkshire Dales on its doorstep, York is a picture-perfect representation of a traditional English town. It's also where many of our national chocolate originates from, it's the home of the Yorkshire pudding, and with multiple locations of Betty's famous tea rooms in the heart of the town, it isn't just a picturesque destination, it's a foodie one too. And as it's just a 2-hour train journey from London, you can easily make the journey for a day trip. However, there is so much to enjoy in York that a long weekend break is really the way to go – and here are my top tips to make the most of your visit.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

 

Highlights From MCM Comic Con & Blogger Brunch


I used to go to conventions all the time, I even made it to the holy grail of geekery: San Diego Comic Con (making the trip all the way from Australia where I was living at the time). As I'd just finished my studies and was travelling, it was easy to take time out for these events. Nowadays though, with a busy day job and other interests as well, not so much. Until last week, when I was given the opportunity to combine two of my loves at the MCM Blogger Brunch: geeking out about pop culture and books.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

 

School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre


[AD – gifted] School of Rock is what you get when you cross the headbanging music of Rock of Ages with a talented young cast like in Matilda. Preppy children in school uniforms turn into rock stars in this super fun show with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellows. Nearly three years on from its West End debut it's still rockin' night after night, and I had the joy last week to see the show again for the first time in a few years.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

 

A Shakespearean Evening With Viking


[AD - Gifted] Last month, office suppliers Viking hosted a Shakespearean evening filled with themed workshops, networking opportunities, and delicious food, which they kindly invited me to come along to. And since today, 23 April, is the day we celebrate the Bard I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my blog of the event. Fun fact: it's also 'National Talk Like Shakespeare Day', but since I don't really want to translate this post into old English, I'm going to pretend that isn't the case...

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

 

How to Spend a Rainy Day in Bruges


The Belgian city of Bruges is known for its picturesque beauty; filled with cobble-stoned winding streets and stunning architecture showing its rich history. On our visit we were planning to spend a lot of time walking throughout the compact town and get lost in its charm. Unfortunately the weather had different plans, and the day we visited it was cold, pouring non-stop with rain. We'd also managed to coincide our visit with a festival, which meant the iconic square was obscured from view by large white tents. Not ideal. We are planning a do-over in sunnier weather, but in the meantime here are my top tips for making the most of a rainy day in Bruges, as there is still plenty to see and do when trying to avoid the cold and rain.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

 

Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre


[AD – gifted] Everybody's been talking about Jamie. Inspired by the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, the musical with a book and lyrics by Tom MacRae and music by The Feeling frontman Dan Gillespie Sells has been a West End hit since transferring to London from Sheffield in 2017, winning a slew of WhatsOnStage Awards and being nominated for five prestigious Olivier Awards too. And this week I finally had a chance to see for myself what all the buzz was about.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

 

Gingerline's The Grand Expedition – A Steampunk Dining Experience


[AD – gifted] The Grand Expedition is a new immersive dining experience promising to provide visitors a "flying, feeding, floating" night out. Set up in a secret location not too far from Central London, audience members are encouraged to dress up as aviators to fully immerse themselves in the Jules Verne-esque adventure.

Friday, 1 March 2019

 

Rock of Ages at New Wimbledon Theatre [UK Tour]


[AD - Gifted] When Rock of Ages was playing in the West End I was obsessed with the show. The feel-good story, rockin' 80s score, absolutely perfect casting, and the hilarious absurdity of some of the characters, mashed together in a winning combination that had me return 20+ times. Yes, I thought it was THAT good. There is no other musical or play I've seen that often (or even more than a handful of times), so needless to say I was very excited when a new UK tour of my favourite 80s-inspired musical was announced. This week the tour hit the edge of London at the New Wimbledon Theatre and I was thrilled to be invited to attend the gala night.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

 

Atypical Antwerp: A Visitor's Guide to Belgium's Jewel of the North

When you think of Belgium, the first things that come to mind are most likely of the food related variety; beer aplenty, scrumptious chocolate and the iconic 'French' fries to be exact. But what about a shopping centre in a century old dance hall, a giant severing hands, or the only museum in the world to make the UNESCO world heritage list? Antwerp, a city in the north of Belgium on the bank of the river Scheldt (or Schelde in Dutch) and just a 45-minute journey away by train from international travel hub Brussels, has all that and more to offer visitors.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

 

Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre


Have you ever had goosebumps watching a piece of theatre come alive on stage? I experienced this for the first time during the electrifying 25th anniversary performance of Miss Saigon quite a few years ago now – reuniting the original West End leads alongside the then London ones – and again this week when I had the immense pleasure of watching one of the first preview performances of Broadway hit musical Come From Away in its brand-new London home; the Phoenix Theatre.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

 

When All Is Said by Annie Griffin


I've recently become a member of the 'Friends of Bookends' community, which means that the kind folks over at Headline send me a selection of not yet published books every few months, in return for me sharing my thoughts on a couple of the reads with them. With the new influencer/social media advertising standards having come into force in the UK recently I'm putting this disclaimer up front, before delving into my review for my favourite book of the bunch so far: When All Is Said by Annie Griffin. I didn't know anything about this novel before going in and wow, I was blown away!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

 

Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim


For many people, January is the time of year for a fresh start and promises to better themselves and their lives in the year ahead. They resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, and kick a habit they're not happy with. But what about the things that can not be seen on the surface, yet which can lead to anxiety and depression? Your mental health is just as important as your physical one, and The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down helps you tackle one of the biggest challenges out there: self-care.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

 

Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland


Everless by Sara Holland is a young adult fantasy novel set in a world where blood is a powerful currency with which the rich literally drain the proletariat of their precious time. And it was one of my favourite reads of 2017. Its imaginative and unique concept was executed so very well that despite really despising open endings and cliffhangers I've been patiently waiting for the concluding sequel for over a year. And the wait is finally over!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

 

Top tips for a day exploring 'Hanzestad' Zutphen in the Netherlands


As a Dutch person living overseas I've gained a renewed appreciation for my home country. And I love promoting the Netherlands, especially lesser know places that are a delight to visit and explore. There is so much to discover beyond tourist magnet Amsterdam with its canals, cannabis and cyclists... In my I Love Holland series I've already covered the meaning of 'gezelligheid', what to see and do on a day trip in Haarlem, I've shared a recipe to bake real Dutch pancakes, and I've spoken about one of my absolute favourite and unique Dutch outings: fairy tale theme park Efteling. Today I shine the spotlight on beautiful historic Hansa Town Zutphen, also known as the city of towers.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

 

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris


Happy New Year everyone! My posting has been very sporadic in the latter half of 2018 and there's only so long I can blame a new job (which I'm now nearly six months into, so it's hardly new any longer). It's time to get my blogging mojo back, and what better way to do it than with the book I read last year and rated as the debut novel of 2019? The wonderful team at Simon & Schuster even included my quote in the final hardback edition of this gorgeous novel, which I'm very proud of.