London Trip 2017 | Day Three aka Parliament and HAMILTON!!

Welcome to the third post in my wrap up of my (not so) recent trip to London  – you can check out what I got up to in day two here or take a look a day one here. What has inspired me to finally write up this, you may ask? Well, it just so happens that this very day I (yes I, not someone else) managed to bag some tickets to see Hamilton in the West End again in October! So it seemed about time to talk about the first time I was lucky enough to see the musical during my trip to London back in December 2017. Let’s see how Day Three of my London trip went, shall we? Let’s indulge nostalgia…

Day Three dawned bright and not so early and (not ashamed) we ended up eating leftover Dominos pizza as breakfast. We’re adults, we can make those kind of decisions, ok? We lazed about a bit, not going to lie, but knew we had to make it across to the first destination of the day by 11am – the Houses of Parliament tour – so we finally got up and got dressed and got ready to leave.

As soon as we stepped outside the hotel, I realise one very key thing – it was a shit weather day, there’s no two ways about it. I came very close to a hissy fit on the morning before we’d even got to Westminster because it was very cold and the weather had decided to do what I would call “horizontal rain”. Lovely. So instead of walking along Embankment, we plumped for hopping on the Tube at Tottenham Court Road (via Pret, naturally) and hopped off at Westminster. When you get closer to the River Thames, the wind gets stronger and that makes for a very miserable and very squidgy walk over to the Palace of Westminster.

We arrived at Westminster in plenty of time so we decided to take refuge in Westminster Abbey’s gift shop for a little while, and Liz managed to buy her Gran a nice postcard whilst we were in there. Then, scarves and hats donned, we headed back out into the driving rain for the mercifully short walk over to the Palace. As we approached the security gates at the visitor entrance I quickly realised that I’d been pissy about the rain but at least I didn’t have to stand out in it all day like the security guard did. We’d barely even said hi and started to make chit chat with him when he said “ah, it’s fucking freezing, I hate it” in an extremely broad Scottish accent. Nothing like a bit of weather-based banter to bring together nations, eh?

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Some Thoughts on Theatre

Greetings from London! As I sit and type this (hopefully brief) blog post, I am sitting in a Covent Garden hotel surrounded by West End theatres. The purpose of my visit? To go to the theatre of course! It has struck me over this weekend just how incredibly lucky I am to be able to go to so much live theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in London, it’s not as simple as just strolling on over to a theatre and grabbing a ticket.

But, relatively speaking, I find theatre extremely accessible, if I plan in advance. And it was yesterday, after snow had stranded us at Watford Junction, meaning our original plan to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour was scuppered, that we regrouped in the hotel and wondered how we could spend our wasted Sunday if we couldn’t get to the Studio Tour. A text came from my friend Liz’s dad, as he suggested trying to get return tickets for the Cursed Child play. As the snow had cut off so many people, return tickets were coming in thick and fast as people just couldn’t get into London to see the show. Half an hour later, after a rather reckless purchase, and we’d landed seats in the front row of the Grand Circle for both parts of Cursed Child. I realised very suddenly how incredibly lucky I was to be able to impulsively take that chance of offered tickets and get to see such a sought after play.

(By the way, the price of the tickets? Worth it. So incredibly worth it. The amount of effects and stage craft involved in the performance, let alone the actors themselves, is well worth the price of admittance. But I won’t say anymore because #KeepTheSecrets!)

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Friday Reads | 20th January 2017

Yes, I’m doing 2 Friday Reads posts in a row. Why? Well, to be honest, this week has been a bit just bitty… low level stuff has happened that made me not get the opportunity, or desire, to post. Also, mostly, I’m lazy. But here we are, another Friday, another weekend looming so let’s try and get life and blogging back on track, shall we?

In fact, whilst I’m here I’d like to mention a few very good things I’m excited about that happened this week.

Firstly… and let me take a breath to try not to scream in your face in excitement…

WE GOT HAMILTON TICKETS FOR THIS YEAR!

87fa8c29-3a5b-4098-9255-b28008789785Yes, my friends, I get to see Hamilton when it comes to the West End and I’m super excited that I can say I am officially seeing Hamilton in 2017. 2017 is already so much better than the shit show that was 2016. Needless to say, myself and Liz are now diligently memorising every single damn line. We’re tackling CD 2 and, let me tell you, CD 2 really teaches you political history, like relentlessly hits you in the face with it. But it also contains the room where it happens (the room where it happens… the room where it happens…) so, you know, we’re good.

The second good thing – Wicked is going on a UK tour again, so there’s a chance for me to finally see it, and it to not be a big trek to see it because, handily, it’s coming to Liverpool. I’ve never managed to see Wicked (not even illicitly on YouTube) but it’s a musical that I really want to see done, and done properly. I’m not really in a position to go to London to see it so the touring production will definitely do rather nicely. I haven’t managed to nab tickets yet since it’s only just been announced but I’m crossing my fingers and I am quietly hopeful.

So, yes, two very nice musical-related things have happened, which brightens up 2017. And now onto the present, and the very near future…

As Friday dawns I am wilfully ignoring The Event which is happening today, which is quite the feat given that rolling BBC News is constantly playing, right in my eye-line, at work. But I simply refuse to acknowledge it and instead will move onto better things – namely books.

You might have seen in my last Friday Reads post that I was reading Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds and listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on audiobook as a way of re-reading the series. The latter is still ongoing because that book is bloody huge. The former… well… let us just say me and The Darkest Minds did not get along. In fact, it was a DNF for me, and I did a review of it for Cuckoo Review which explains why I was so disappointed in this book. If you have any interest in that, you can read it over here, but be pre-warned, it is a critical review since I didn’t like the book.

Moving on… this week I decided, for no apparent reason, that as part of my Read More Damn Classics mission, I would tackle perhaps the most intimidating of classics first. Because that obviously makes complete logical sense for a girl who used to read such books at university but hasn’t really since as some kind of weird form of rebellion and liberation after graduating.

warandpeaceSo, I am currently reading (and I anticipate I will be for a long time) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. No, I’m not sure what moment of madness lead to this. But it’s happening. And do you know what? It actually isn’t that difficult, so far. I mean, true, I’m only 160 pages in, and it has taken me a week to get to that point, but I’m quietly optimistic I will stick with this one. I’ve put together a character list and have given it a tracker page in my bullet journal and everything – I’m all prepared.

(PS- A post regarding bullet journalling is in the works, obviously, because a person can’t just bullet journal and not take photos of their page layouts. I’m fairly sure it’s the law so stay tuned for that.)

But that’s all folks, that behemoth of a book up there is all I plan to read. Undoubtedly, when I am hit with the enormity of how many words War and Peace actually consists of, I’ll seek immediate gratification and mix up my reading by also picking up something like the A Series of Unfortunate Events books (my review/discussion of the Netflix series is in the works too!). But, until that point, it’s me and Tolstoy, that is my Friday Reads.


So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts?

Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Or a new film release? (I haven’t seen La La Land yet but it’s happening soon-ish hopefully!) Let me know in the comments!


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October Favourites

October was a rather lovely month; it usually is. It’s my birthday, so that’s always very nice, mainly because it gives me an excuse to spend money on books and/or food. October brings a proper sense of moving into Winter at last, with all the suitably aesthetically pleasing golden leaves falling off trees, and with Christmas decorations beginning to creep into supermarkets and shops. I adore Christmas, and winter is my favourite season, so I’m very much looking forward to the months ahead. However, this post is not about what is to come but what has been – specifically, these are a few of the things I enjoyed in October. If you want to see September’s favourites post, you can find it here, otherwise read on to find what I obsessed over in October.

Favourite Books

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crookedkingdomAnd in a completely predictable turn of events, just as Six of Crows had pride of place on my September Favourites post, so does Crooked Kingdom on this October Favourites post. I inhaled this greedily over the course of the 24-hour readathon a couple of weekends ago, and I was so incredibly sad once it was over. That is the sign of a truly brilliant book. It’s a complete change of pace from the first, though, so if you’re expecting another heist then you’ll be sorely disappointed; rather, it deals with the fall-out of the conclusion of Six of Crows and its action is more focused in on that den of thieves and dubious morals that is the city of Ketterdam itself. I loved it, it’s one of my favourite books of the year, and as a duology these novels have quickly but firmly become some of my all-time favourite YA fantasies.

Favourite Films

Doctor Strange

The latest offering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr Strange was a film I always knew, from the very first teaser, that I’ve have to see in the cinema, in the best way possible. Having now seen the film I’m fully convinced that if you see it in anything less than IMAX, it won’t be the same film. It’s a film that bends reality, time and space, and matter itself, so obviously depth of frame created with 3D is downright necessary. I hate 3D, it makes my eyes and head hurt, but I’d watch Dr Strange over and over again in 3D. Although I’m always a Benedict Cumberbatch fan (I even ignore the weirdness of hearing an American accent come out of that mouth), I have to say he wasn’t my favourite character at all in the film. Tilda Swinton is epic, as Tilda Swinton often is but, for my money, the cape was easily one of the best characters, second only to Wong.

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