Travel Tuesdays: A First Timer’s Guide to London

I decided to take a little break from writing about last year’s interrailing trip to post about my favourite city, London. This weekend I visited for the eighth time – and the fifth year in a row! – and I realised that now I think of London in less of a touristy sense, more as a regular visitor. (Although I would definitely love to visit more than once a year.) I’m still yet to visit loads of the places that I have on my list because there’s just SO much to do in London, but here is my guide for some of the best things to do and explore in London as a first-time visitor.

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I don’t really know why I have a photo of me looking sad next to Karl Marx’s grave, but I do, so here you go…

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Book Review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Hello, everyone! Hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far and that you’re all looking forward to the weekend. I usually work at the weekend, which means my favourite days of the week are the random weekdays that I spend writing, but this weekend I’m in my favourite city, London!

Today I wanted to talk all about Becky Chambers’ bestselling debut, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I’m not keen on sci-fi but a mixture of the incredible reviews, the beautiful cover and the enticing blurb convinced me to buy this beloved book anyway. I was intrigued by the idea of a story set on a spaceship, and I had read about Chambers’ wonderfully convincing characters. Although the novel took me in a completely different direction than I was expecting, I still really, really liked this book!

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Book + cake + smoothie = happiness

Still, I didn’t immediately fall in love with the characters or the scenario; initially, I found the lack of concrete plot and dramatic tension a little disappointing, and although I was really impressed with the Star Wars-esque world-building and the brilliant imaginative detail with which the entire novel is suffused – not to mention the interesting idea that humans are seen as a fairly lowly species – it didn’t quite live up to the hype. But, as the novel progressed, I definitely began to enjoy it more. The development of Chambers’ ideas and the slow reveal of fascinating aspects of the Galactic Commons – the planets, moons, species, social customs – completely hooked me. For a novel where the majority of characters are ‘nice’, considerate and compassionate, the openness of sexuality and exploration of love was a pleasant surprise.

And, oh my God, that ending!! I won’t say any more in case anyone reading this hasn’t delved into the world of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet yet, but I was gripped.

Verdict: a lovely, engaging and pleasingly imaginative novel populated with characters that will stay with me for a long time! 

4.5 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 💡

 

Has anyone else read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear your thoughts! ❤

Travel Tuesdays: Ljubljana

Seeing as last week’s post focused on the magic of beautiful Bled, I thought that I would continue with my love for the gorgeous country of Slovenia by posting about the capital city, Ljubljana. Disclaimer: it wasn’t the best weather when we visited, so expect to see lots of cloudy grey skies and, sadly, little of the sunshine that brightened our time in Bled. Nevertheless, I really liked Ljubljana – it’s a city that felt cool, picturesque and liveable all at the same time. That’s something that always really attracts me to a city, although I can’t say that I’ve encountered it very often: the idea that I could imagine myself living in that city in another reality. (Cause, let’s be real, I’m not going to learn Slovenian and move to Ljubljana.)

When I was planning my interrailing trip, my family kept referring to Ljubljana as ‘Lubble-jubble’ because the name seemed so incomprehensible. And it’s not a city that I’ve ever heard much about. It was recommended to me by some uni friends and as we were looking for an additional destination that we were already travelling through – which narrowed down our extra locations to Trieste, Milan, Vienna (which I’ve already visited), and Bern – we decided to go for the wonderfully unknown Ljubljana. And I’m so glad we did!

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Me in front of my fave view in Ljubljana

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Book Review: The Lord of the Rings

I’ve been meaning to read The Lord of the Rings for absolutely ages. Years, in fact. (We’ll ignore the fact that I started reading the trilogy at around age ten, managed around fifty pages, promptly got bored, and then gave up.) Although I adored fantasy novels as a child – think Harry Potter, Inkheart, Northern Lights – adult fantasy novels have never particularly appealed to me. But I’m always willing to expand my literary horizons and seeing as I re-watched the films a few months ago, I decided that now was the time to finally tackle the mammoth trilogy and cross it off my list. And what did I think of it? Well, I’m still not really sure…

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My dad’s decades-old copy of The Lord of the Rings

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Travel Tuesdays: Bled, Slovenia

To be perfectly honest, in this blog post I could write ‘Bled is absolutely gorgeous, go there as soon as you can’ and that would pretty much sum up everything that I have to say about Bled. It is stunning – the sort of location that requires a camera to be glued to your hand, the sort of breathtaking scenery that you can’t stop exclaiming about every five seconds. Just me? Okay. Except I know it’s not just me, because there are several people to whom I’ve spoken about the sheer spellbinding magic of Bled, and they all agree: you will immediately fall in love. DSC01496

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Bookish January Wrap Up

Hello! One of my main bookish goals for 2018 was to post more regularly on my blog, and I’m so happy that I’m managing to keep it up so far – earlier this week I shared my thoughts on my interrailing trip around Europe, and now I’ve decided to start posting monthly wrap-ups of all the books that I’ve enjoyed each month. But I would also like to follow more bookish blogs on WordPress, so if you have any recommendations then please let me know in the comments!

This month I read nine books, which is around my average, and I enjoyed all of them. I’m really pleased with my choices this month – there were a few books that I read purely because I was in the mood to read them (I have a tendency to be a bit of an over-planner so that’s a real accomplishment for me!) and others that I’d had on my shelf or been meaning to read for ages. My favourite new read of this month was definitely A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – slightly surprising because Hemingway isn’t usually one of my favourite authors, but I really enjoyed his evocative, romanticised and beautifully written memoir of his time in Paris. Plus, as you’ll probably know if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve become so jealous of his writing schedule! I wish I could write all day and have a whole morning to dedicate to a paragraph, but alas, I have to work. I’ve even tried writing in a cafe to try and capture his writing spirit… although the extra cake I’ve been buying has definitely been a bonus!

 

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All of this month’s reads!

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Travel Tuesdays: Interrailing

In September of last year I went interrailing around Europe for three weeks with my boyfriend. It’s a trip that I had wanted to take for absolutely ages – years, in fact – and it still doesn’t feel quite real that I have finally ticked ‘interrailing’ off the bucket list. Of course, we travelled to a tiny, tiny fraction of the places in Europe that I actually want to visit and by the end of the trip, I felt as if I wanted to keep exploring for much longer (although if I had been travelling for longer than three weeks, my next priority definitely would have been a chill week in somewhere sunny – I was a bit tired of living out of a suitcase!)

I’m definitely going to write a focused blog post on each of the destinations that we visited, but right now I’m going to share some of my favourite photos and moments of our trip, and some of my thoughts about our travelling experience! PS the header photo of my blog is also from our interrailing trip, from one of my absolute favourite places in the world, Bled. How gorgeous is that lake?!

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Me in Ljubljana on the prettiest high street

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