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Monday, 18 September 2017

Goodreads: Why I love the Book Blogging Community

Goodreads: Why I love the Book Blogging Community
Monday, 18 September 2017
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When I started blogging, all those years ago, I was a shy and introverted 21-year-old trying to kill some time living abroad. I never in my wildest dreams thought that what I thought was a little hobby would develop into something as exciting as it has. In the last three years, I have formed relationships with bloggers and authors alike, I have been nominated for prestigious blogging awards and I have worked with brands I never would have dreamed to have worked with. In spite of this, and my move over from writing exclusively about books to a more varied blog, full of travel and food, the Book Blogging community is something that I am honoured to be a part of and it has done amazing things for me as a person.

You make friends with people you definitely wouldn’t otherwise.
One of my favourite things about this amazing community is the most obvious things: connecting with people all over the world and talking about something that we all have in common with one another- books. Having the opportunity to share my thoughts on something I’ve loved since I was a little girl makes me incredibly happy and it’s nice to be able to get recommendations from other like minded indiviudals.

It motivates me to read more often and more varied books.
Being surrounded by readers all the time definitely encourages me to read more. Seeing everyone recommending fantastic books means that I feel more motivated to get through my current read, so I can start reading the next!

I’ve befriended SO many of my favourite authors.
Reading and reviewing a book by one of your favourite authors is made even better when they actually acknowledge, engage and form a friendship with you! I’ve befriended quite a few different authors over the years and engage with them on a regular basis. It’s nice to know that they appreciate your review and it’s nice to be able to show my own appreciation on a public forum such as Twitter.

The (exciting) perk of getting books prior to publication.
I’m not going to lie: getting an advanced reader copy of a book makes me blissfully happy. Having the opportunity to explore a book before everyone else does and share my thoughts with the publishers is an absolute privilege and I feel very lucky to be in the position that I’m in. It’s also really helped me financially, as I’m able to put money aside to save knowing full well that I have more than enough books on my shelves to get through the weeks and months. Obviously, I still make the unnecessary book purchases, but I wouldn’t be a book blogger if I didn’t!


What do you love about the Book Blogging community? Let me know!



Sunday, 10 September 2017

Food: Digging in at Alma de Cuba, Liverpool

Food: Digging in at Alma de Cuba, Liverpool
Sunday, 10 September 2017
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I am always looking for beautiful restaurants to visit and eat in: I am an absolute foodie and love trying out different places, different cuisines and exploring brand new menus. When I was invited to check out the brand new menu at Alma de Cuba in Liverpool, I jumped at the opportunity.



I’ve been for drinks at Alma a few times, but I’ve never had the chance to eat there and I really didn’t know what to expect. I did, of course, expect a fantastic plate of food in front of me. I met up with my friend Becky a little before the start of the event and we made our way inside to check out what Alma had in store for us. We were greeted by glasses of Prosecco and the cutest Instagram selfie frame. Inside, we were able to check out the beautiful building and explore the restaurant a little. The restaurant is based in the old St Peter’s Church building, so needless to say the architecture is out of this world. I love a good old building and this one was definitely right up my street. There was the opportunity to network with the other people who had been invited and finally, we were led upstairs to our table.


The little details that the team had taken the time to put in place really made the experience. Everyone attending received a little personalised gift bag with choccies, sweets and Alma offers adorned inside. We also found our seats laid with beautiful name plates: 3D prints of our first names. It was a beautiful touch and really made the restaurant stand out as being something special. We ordered drinks and received our menus for the evening. I went for the Watermelon martini – I honestly believe that there is nothing more sophisticated than a martini – and it was absolutely delicious.  \




The menu left absolutely nothing to the imagination. There was honestly something for everyone and I really did struggle with choosing what I wanted to eat. I umm-ed and ahh-ed over the starters before eventually deciding on the Sweet potato and chorizo croquettas. Whenever I go to Spanish restaurants and order small plates, I always opt for croquettas as one of my dishes. I think they’re probably one of my favourite things to eat and I definitely wasn’t disappointed with Alma’s take on them. The croquettas were crunchy on the outside and soft and tasty in the middle. Of all the croquettas I’ve ever eaten (and believe me, I’ve tried all different flavours of the little devils!), I think that these were probably some of the nicest.


For the main course, as with the starters, I had a decision to make. Eventually, I went for the Chargrilled Argentinian sirloin steak which I do think was the right choice. The steak was cooked to perfection and was accompanied by yam fries and a sweetcorn fritter. The portion size was perfect and left me stuffed and incredibly content. After we’d finished eating, we took a little Alma de Cuba quiz and spent the rest of the evening catching up with one another and discussing just how fantastic the food was!

The entire evening flowed beautifully and I was incredibly happy with all aspects of the evening. As it was a Tuesday, whilst we were eating we were treated to the sounds of the Open Mic Night, which was a really relaxing background experience. It was nice to relax with some good food and listen to the beautiful music, with good friends. It was really good to hear about all the different events that Alma de Cuba have on on a weekly basis.

I’ll definitely be coming back to Alma at some point for drinks and food: a beautiful restaurant with a vibe that cries out with sophistication.  




Friday, 8 September 2017

Book Review: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

Book Review: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
Friday, 8 September 2017
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“Every love story is a potential grief story.” Julian Barnes, Levels of Life.

Grief is a tricky one. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes deals with it in a beautifully poignant and thoughtful way that had me smiling through the sadness, touching on his own grief and exploring the grief of others through fiction.

I am a recent Julian Barnes convert. Having read The Sense of an Ending on my last trip to France, reading another of his books on my recent trip to Germany seemed like an apt thing to do. This book surprised me in ways I cannot describe and I found myself reading every page on the edge of my seat, almost begging for more when the last page turned. I am at a bit of a loss in describing exactly how this book made me feel and what kind of effect it had on me- but truly, it left me a little lost for words. In all the right ways.

Reviewing this one adequately falls far outside of my capacity but a book like this deserves to be documented as being worthy of a good read. The story is split into three parts and combines grief with history, fiction and real life memoir. We are introduced to Felix Tournachon, a balloonist and photographer in the first of three narratives, The Sin of Height, and the story of how he was a pioneer in aeronautical photography. The love he has for his wife lasts the entirety of her life and he loses his own not long after her death. A lifetime of love.

We meet, in the second episode, Fred Burnaby, also a balloonist, and follow his lust for Sarah Bernhardt. We learn that his love for her is unrequited when suddenly, after a positive start to their relationship, she appears at a social gathering with a completely different man. Love is hard and doesn’t always go to plan and grief is there to heal us when this happens.

"You put together two people who have not been put together before; & sometimes the world is changed, sometimes not. They may crash & burn, or burn & crash. But sometimes, something new is made, and then the world is changed."

Needless to say, it was the third part of the story, the true story of Julian Barnes’ own loss of his wife, that had me the most hooked and invested. I have been quite fortunate in my life, having only lost a few close friends and family over my lifetime, but Barnes writes about grief in a way that makes sense and resonates with me as a reader. Whilst I enjoyed the first two stories, I found it a little difficult to understand where they were going, whilst I was reading them. It was only upon completion of the book as a whole that I understood and appreciated their inclusion.

I cannot wait to delve deeper into Julian Barnes’ back catalogue because his prose does beautiful things to my mind.


5/5.