July 2015 archive

Reading the Year – June

Karen iphone 2015 1892

Winter really is the reading season isn’t it? I’m all for great summer reads, reading by the pool and the beach but nothing beats a cup of tea, a cosy location in front of some heating device and a great book in my opinion! Having said that, unfortunately winter is also a big working season for me this year so most of my reading has been in the form of academic articles and reports but I have still managed to squeeze in a few “for pleasure” reads over June…

The Wolf Border – Sarah Hall – I had heard/read some good things about this book but once again my dislike of all topics “nature” had me steering away from it. I’m not sure what finally convinced me to give it a go but I am SO glad I did. I can fairly convincingly state that this will be one of my top reads of the year. The main character, Rachel, is lured back to her home in the UK from the USA to work on a project that is attempting to slowly introduce wolves back in to the English landscape. The strong portrayal of characterisation and place makes this book so memorable and unable to put down. I felt so connected to the main character and her story and the depictions of the wolves were amazing. I really have to stop judging books by their nature content!!

After Birth – Elisa Albert –  I ordered this book purely on its description – “After Birth” cuts open the body of literature on mothering, birth, feminism, female friendship, female hateship — whether academic treatise or poem or novel — and wrenches out something so new we barely recognize it. Wet, red, slimy, alive: a truth baby. I will read anything that promises to offer up the “truth” about motherhood. I’m not sure that After Birth gives the definitive account of those early days and months of being a mother but it definitely provided one I could relate to in so many ways. A really raw, nerve shattering read.

Bad Behaviour – Rebecca Starford – A memoir from an Australian woman about her year as a teenager spent in an exclusive boarding school environment in the Victorian bush. The book explores her experiences of bullying and being bullied and the cruel and ritualistic ways in which adolescent girls can treat each other. This book was so engaging and honest – I really felt as though the author was trying her best to objectively reflect on this time in her life and how it had shaped her development. It brought back some painful memories of my own and made me realise just how much I need to foster my own daughter’s self esteem before she embarks into her life of female friendships…

What about you? What great books have you been reading lately?

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10 Ways to Bring Paris to You

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It’s winter, it’s cold, everyone around me is sneezing and coughing and I have to work. First world problems I know but let me drown in my own pity party for at least a little while… When real life gets a little rough I like to imagine flying away to another place – preferably Paris. It’s just such a dream destination isn’t it?? There’s something about imagining yourself in Paris, sitting in a little café somewhere near the Eiffel Tower or The Lourve, eating pain au chocolat and reading a book just watching the world go by that makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. I have actually only been to Paris once but it had such an effect on me that I have been dreaming of it ever since. Unfortunately the reality is that I’m not getting anywhere near Paris in the immediate future so I have to be a little creative in bringing the gorgeous city to me. As part of my beautiful friend Thyme for Tea’s Paris in July event I bring you 10 ways to bring Paris home to you…

1. Read Parisian/French Books – A big way of travelling for me is through my reading and Paris is no different. Ever since my first (and so far only!) visit to Paris I have been seeking out novels and non-fiction books based in the city to help fuel my love affair. Some of my favourites are, The Hare with Amber Eyes, Madame Bovary, Suite Francaise, The Paris Wife, My Life in France, and my all time favourite – Almost French.

2. Look over holiday photos – If, like me, you have been lucky enough to travel to Paris even just once you should have copious amounts of photos you can flick through to help you remember your visit. Whenever I feel a bit dreary looking through my Paris photos always brightens me…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 3. Watch French Movies – If you can actually speak French like my beautiful friend then you will have a lot more to choose from but for the rest of us there are always subtitles! I have the biggest girl crush on Audrey Tautou so some of her movies are my favourites – Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, Priceless and Coco Before Chanel are all on high rotation in this house.

4. Listen to French Music – Some of my favourite music to have on while doing work or reading is French music. I love that because I don’t speak the language I can concentrate on what I need to be doing while at the same time my senses feel like I am smack bang in he middle of Paris!! Some of my favourites are Carla Bruni , Emilie Simon and So Frenchy So Chic

5. Eat French Food – for the chefs among us this might not be so difficult… I have to really stretch myself when it comes to this type of cooking as it is not generally my forte – but the effort is definitely worth it! I have some gorgeous French cookbooks to help me on my way – The Little Paris Kitchen Book and Lunch in Paris being two I can relate to (i.e. actually use!).

6. Read French Blogs – There are some absolutely divine Paris and French based blogs around that make you feel as though you have just stepped off the plane. Some of my favourites are Boheme Circus, Paris Hues, and Paris in Four Months.

7. Plan your dream trip to Paris – This is one of my favourite things to do when I have a serious case of wanderlust. I love jumping on sites like AirBnB and TripAdvisor and planning a dream trip to Paris. Ok, so it might be a tad depressing when you realise you are not actually going to be making this trip but it’s still fun to dream…

8. Gaze at Gorgeous Parisian Images – Pinterest and Instagram are a Parisian lovers dream – you can find beautiful images posted by people who are lucky enough to live there themselves and imagine that it is actually you…

9. Visit a French Bar or Restaurant – One of my favourite things to do is dress up, put on some heels and head to Le Passe Temps a beautiful French bar in my local city to drink French champagne. It doesn’t happen often but when it does I do actually fee as though I’ve left Newcastle behind for just a moment…

10. Learn French – Ok, so this is not something I have actually done myself but I always see notices for French language classes with our local community college and think – maybe one day…

So there you go – ten ways to bring Paris to you when you can’t just hop on a plane and be there yourself.

How about you? Do you have a love affair with Paris too?

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