Sunday, November 23, 2014

Autumnal Day In The Life...

Most weekends, Ben and I follow a little routine of him dragging me to the gym followed by heading out to explore our local area. A few weekends back, I brought my camera along to Knole Park so thought I'd pop the photos up on here as an autumnal day in the life type post...















Sunday, November 16, 2014

Current Reads...

Since going away in the summer, I've been on a bit of a roll when it comes to reading. I've managed to get through a few so thought I'd share them on here with you. 

Having heard work colleagues rave about "The Goldfinch", I decided to take it with me travelling. They all said that they were hooked on the story of a boy who survives a terrorist bombing that kills his mother, and then struggles with survivors guilt for the rest of his life. Chronicling Theo's life from pre-teen to adulthood, this is an epic exploration of how one unexpected event shaped his life and affected all his future decisions. Drugs, art theft and the criminal underworld are all prominent throughout this 800+ page book; it's not a happy tale.

The first thing to mention about this book is that I started it in mid-July and only finished it at the end of October. Admittedly I did stop reading it for a few weeks, but even so, it's still an unusually long time for me to get through a book. I did like it, I got invested in the characters, particularly Theo, but for me Tart's in-depth description of every scene and emotion became too much. I found myself skipping chunks of text to get to the bit that actually pushed the storyline forward. I was desperate to know what was going to happen to Theo but had to wade through a couple of hundred pages too many to finally reach the end. I would still recommend this book but I'd make sure I let people know that it's definitely not one for those who like a quick read!

I read Giovanna's debut novel "Billy and Me" when it first came out and as soon as I heard she was releasing a second novel, I knew I had to pick it up. I actually got this a while back and planned to take it travelling with me but I couldn't squeeze it into my rucksack! I read this during my hiatus from"The Goldfinch". 

Following the lives of three best friends Ben, Robert and Maddy, this is a romantic will she - won't she tale. Written in alternating chapters from Ben and Maddy's perspectives, the story explores the relationship between boys and girls/men and women, and the idea if they can ever really just be friends. The opening chapter sees Maddy preparing to marry Robert, but she reveals that if best man Ben stood up and said something, even at that late stage, she may pull out the wedding. 

As the half of the chapters are from Ben's perspective, you naturally take his side and feel more protective towards his feelings than Robert's. The only time you hear Robert''s thoughts directly are in prologues to some of the chapters but these are often only a paragraph long. As the story unfolds, you want to read more and more to see where Maddy's decisions will take her. Giovanna has become one of my favourite authors, she brilliantly captures and puts into words the perfect romance stories - I've just picked up her new short story "Christmas With Billy and Me" and can't wait to read it!

All Because Of You - Melissa Hill
Whilst out and about exploring my local area I came across an Oxfam Books shop and thought I'd pop in to see if anything caught my eye. After spending way too much time in there, I settled on this particular novel - there was something about the cover that drew me in. 

Tara Harrington has what seems like the perfect life - she's built up a successful career as a life coach, has a flash new car and a nice home with Glenn. When her younger and somewhat troublesome sister announces she's pregnant and refuses to reveal the identity of the baby's father, things start to unravel. Suspicion starts to fall on Tara's best friend's husband Eric and the perfect life the two of them have built starts being questioned. 

Natalie, an ultra glamorous PR girl from London, also seems to have it all. That is, apart from the fact she can't hold onto a boyfriend and find the husband she so desperately craves. Enlisting Tara's help, a friendship blossoms between the two and they discover they have more in common then they ever thought they would.

Hill keeps you guessing until the very end with plot twists and turns that I didn't predict coming. It's definitely worth a read if you're normally a chick-lit lover but looking for something that has that little bit extra to the plot. 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

You're A Wizard, Sophie...

After what feels like years of waiting, I finally got to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour! Ask any of my friends or family and they'll tell you that I am a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan. There's just something about the magic of Hogwarts that I love, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I have read the books and watched the films an unhealthy number of times. 

Although our scheduled time wasn't until 6.30pm we decided to head to Watford early to grab something to eat and in all honesty, I was just way too excited and couldn't wait to get there! Seeing as the day was HP themed, there was only one thing I could wear, my new personalised Rock On Ruby jumper. If I could wear this jumper every day I would! (I think Ben may have secretly been a bit embarrassed about how into HP I got yesterday).

Best day ever!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Breakfast Post | #7...

As part of my birthday gift, Ben took me to Balthazar's in Covent Garden for breakfast (the second part is a trip to the Harry Potter Studios - post to come next week!). Right by The Royal Opera House, it's in the perfect location for starting off a day of sight-seeing/shopping! I don't know if I've been watching too many period dramas but the decor had a distinctive Downton feel to it (think plush leather and old school Upper Class tea room). 

We got a bit menu-happy and ended up ordering not only a meal each but also one to share; it seems we both have a weakness for American Pancakes whenever they appear on a menu! For my individual dish, I went for Avocado on Toast with Poached Eggs served on sour dough bread accompanied by a tomato salsa. Ben had Eggs A La Basque - fried eggs served on a bed of roast peppers, tomato and chorizo. 

The food, as you'll probably guess, was absolutely delicious. Tomato salsa for breakfast may not be the most obvious choice, but it added a zingy acidity to what may have otherwise been a fairly plain avocado and eggs. Ben was forced into kind enough to let me sample some of his very enticing fried eggs. Again, the flavours were amazing - I've become a real fan of eggs and tomato based dishes for breakfast. The spicy chorizo added a great warmth to the dish that almost made me wish I'd ordered it too! 

The only complaint I had was that they brought the food out within three minutes of us ordering it - I guess that's better than having to wait for what feels like forever for your food to arrive but it made me feel a little rushed when I wanted to enjoy a nice leisurely birthday breakfast.

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