Left & Found – London

Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re all well and have got your umbrellas handy! ☔️ The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse but not to worry. It helps things grow after all. Today’s post is all about my first instalment of Left & Found. If you’re unsure as to what my little project is, please see my other post: here!

I was in London last weekend so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to spread a little happiness and start my Left & Found project.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect. However, I had one goal and that was (and still is) to bring a smile to someone’s day. Who wouldn’t want to find a free book? I figured that if someone didn’t want it, they’d just leave it for someone else to find. I had four books to leave and that’s exactly what I did.

Whilst I spent Saturday mooching around, the first book I left was at Bank tube station. This station, like the others really, gets quite busy so I hopeful that this would get picked up quite quickly.

The second place where I left a book was outside the stunning Westminster Abbey. Again, there were crowds of people here from all over the world. The building is absolutely breathtaking too!

Thirdly, I left my next book not too far from here actually. I decided to take a walk to Buckingham Palace and found the perfect spot along the way. This time, outside the Queen’s Gallery which is currently showing a Leonardo Di Vinci exhibition.

My last one was possibly my favourite stopping place. I was lucky enough to have tickets to see Wicked the musical. It’s just such an awesome show! I highly recommend it. Anyway, it seemed the perfect place to leave a copy of the book there for a lucky finder.

I did happen to notice on my way back to Kings Cross that the books had gone which was such an exciting prospect! I really hope whoever found them loved them and have had some ‘me’ time for reading.

Fast forward a couple of hours later when I checked my inbox. There was an email! I can’t lie, I let out a little scream. My heart leapt as I read it. Someone found a book AND loved it! This is all I ever wanted.

“We spotted a little gem by the stage door in which we had waited for the stars of the performance the previous night… The book is now in the hands of a 10 year old avid reader and now life long Wicked fan.

Thank you for your lovely gesture, and we will pass it forward once we are finished.”

This book was picked up by the lovely Meggan and her daughter on their weekend adventure in London – just like me! Since then, it’s made it’s way to Liverpool. Megghan, if you’re reading this, thank you.

Fingers crossed I hear from others who have found these books but even if I don’t, I’m really pleased with the start of this project. I can’t wait to see what happens next! 😊

Here’s to the next instalment of Left & Found. I’ll keep you all updated.

Big love all. Xx

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Filed under Books, Exploring, Left & Found, Random Acts of Kindness

Picture Perfect Polaroids #11

Hey Everyone!

Happy June! I know I need to post my review of May’s book of the month. However, I wanted to share a gorgeous snap I took whilst visiting London.

It’s been on my bucket list since I heard it was built. I’ve always wanted to visit The Shard and boy it didn’t disappoint. It was amazing in every sense of the word! The height, the views, the champagne bars! Lush!

My favourite view was of Tower Bridge. I hope you like too!

I’ll be back for May’s post and more adventures! For now, have a great weekend.

Big love all xx

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Filed under Days Out, London, Photography, Picture Perfect Polaroids, Places

The Reader on the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a great bank holiday Monday and are enjoying the last week of May. It’s been a bit changeable I think but at least the sun is streaming in now. Nevertheless, this has given me ample opportunity to read.

Today I want to share with you a book I read this morning: The Reader on the 6.27. It was a really lovely little read! I hope you enjoy it.

What’s it all about?

The novel focuses on Guylain Vignolles and his simplistic life. Every day he takes the the morning train, at 6.27 to his job as an engineer at the TERN company’s book pulling plant.

Every morning, he read aloud from a few damaged pages that he salvaged from the plant. Fellow commuters thoroughly enjoyed this routine and listened to the snippets they received. Once the commute ended and Guylain arrived at work, greeting the security guard and poet friend, Yvon Grimbert, his joyless day began.

‘For all those fellow commuters, he was the reader, the bizarre character who each weekday would read out, in a loud, clear voice, from the handful of pages he extracted from his briefcase.’

Under the watchful eye of the awful character Felix Kowalski, Guylain and his younger coworker Lycian Brunner ran “the Thing”, the Zerstor 500 industrial pulling machine.

This machine is the epitome of hideousness. It is presented as a monster. It even ate rats in addition to the truck loads of books that it daily slashed to bits. Guylain detested this machine for many reasons. He missed his coworker Giuseppe Carminetti, who had nearly been killed as the machine came on whilst he was cleaning it, munching away his two legs. At first, he was accused by TERN’s lawyers of gross negligence. Some time after, we was awarded 176,000 Euros in compensation after it was discovered that the Thing has faulty wiring.

The first mouthfuls were always tricky. The Zerstor was a temperamental ogress. She sometimes became congested, victim of her own greed. Then she would stall, in the midst of her chomping, her mouth full to bursting.

Following his recovery, Giuseppe set off on a mission of tracing down every copy of the book made with the batch of recycled paper in which his legs had been pulped into. Guylain decided to help him by contacting the author. As a result, he managed to get one hundred copies of the book which he gave to his friend periodically over time. Each time Guylain found a new copy, they would meet and have an elaborate Italian meal to celebrate. Afterwards, Guylain would return home to the apartment to see his only companion, a goldfish named Rouget de Lisle.

‘He was truly addicted to the golden creatures. Guylain could no longer cope without that silent, colourful presence gracing his bedside table. From experience, he knew that there was a vast difference between living alone and living alone with a goldfish.’

One morning following the celebratory meal, Guylain was approached on the platform by two elderly fans of his daily reading. Mesdemoiselles Monique and Josette Delacote. They managed to convince him if he would read at their home next Saturday. He reluctantly agreed, but agree he did. Upon arriving, he quickly realised that they lived in a nursing home, where a crowd of residents were waiting for his reading.

He read from the discarded pages he found and every extract he read was received positively, even one from an erotic novel. Guylain decided he would visit again next week to read further pages he found from the machine.

Guylain’s life was about to take another turn as the train was about to give him a gift, a mission of his own. Whilst pulling down his usual seat, he discovered a USB stick on the chair. It was bright red and calling to him. So, out of curiosity more than anything else, he picked it up and read the contents on there, hoping to find clues about its owner so he could return it.

‘When the train pulled into the station and the passengers alighted, an outside observer would have had no trouble noticing how Guylain’s listeners stood out from the rest of the commuters. Their faces did not wear that off-putting mask of indifference. They all had the contented look of an infant that has drunk its fill of milk.

The little stick contained a journal of a young woman called Julie. Guylain devoured the 72 entries she had written. She was funny, witty, charismatic. He learnt that she was a lavatory assistant in a shopping mall. She was a creature of habit, every morning of the spring equinox she counted the tiles: 14,717 just as the previous year. When he finally fell asleep, deep into the night, he felt that she had suddenly shone a light into his bleak world.

The following morning, Guylain decided to read the printed pages of Julie’s journal to his fellow passengers. The commuters enjoyed her having to hide her writing habit to snippets about her aunt and her habit of eating sugar puffs in the lavatory stall. Following this positive reception on the train, Guylain decides to read the journal again on Saturday at the nursing home.

Again he received a warm and positive review of his readings, so much so that he decided to invite Yvon to his next weekend there. As a result of Julie’s writing, Guylain began to feel a new hope rise up within him. It made him address certain fears – the fear of commitment following his father’s early death.

Each morning Guylain continued to read the journal on the train. In one entry, Julie describes her daily routine – breakfast with her friend Josy, the crowds that descend on the mall, especially in sale season and the horrible visitor every 10.am who sullied her pristine stalls.

“The 10a.m lard-arse didn’t put anything in it. Besides, he wasn’t in a state to put anything anywhere. But the sight of Josy and I were treated to as he attempted to go up my stairs with his shit-covered buttocks clenched will forever be one of the best tips I’ve ever received.”

When Guylain retold the story to Giuseppe about Julie, he decided to start a quest. He was going to find her! He showed Guylain a map of Paris with eight possible malls he had identified through clues in the journal. Guylain came alive at such hope and he too began searching for her.

He knew she was single (thankfully to him) and was having trouble meeting someone. She tried and failed at speed dating, returning home to the book that was waiting for her bed.

By that Saturday, Guylain had visited seven of the malls and was beginning to lose faith. He was cheered up by Yvon’s antics at the nursing home following another successful reading there. After finishing there he decided he would visit the final mall on the list provided by his friend. The world stopped and his face lit up as he finally found Julie.The final chapter of the novel is written as an entry in Julie’s journal. She tells of her amazement at the huge, glorious bunch of flowers she receives and her missing USB stick. In an attached letter, Guylain explained how he came across the stick and has fallen in love with her as he was reading. With immense affection, he asked if she would go out with him sometime. Julie paused, hesitated, but she thought about his words all afternoon. She decided she would call him the following morning and set up a date.

“This morning, the spring equinox, I hummed as I counted my tiles. Guylain Vignolles’s tile, tucked in the pocket of my overalls, knocked pleasantly against my hip… 14,718 was a really beautiful number on which to begin a love affair.

Final thoughts

This was a charming little read, chosen really by my love of books. It was so lovely to see a character transformed by a small event like finding something. A USB could be seen as something insignificant but to Guylain it changed his world. It’s setting in the heart of Paris also ticked a box for me. I just knew it would have a happy ending. I really loved the fact that for Giuseppe, books were literally his way of getting his life back. The metaphor surrounding his legs was a really clever touch.

This book was an easy read which left my heart full. Sometimes, I believe we just need a happy ending novel to distract us from our daily lives. Needless to say, this book has been added to the Left&Found pile ready for hiding.

Enjoy the rest of the week all!

Big love xx

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Filed under Book review, Books

4th Blogiversary 🥳

Hello Lovelies!!

Just a quick post from me today to reflect upon my little blog because yesterday, 25th May, it turned four years old! I can’t believe it!

Every year I feel like I say the same thing which must be so boring for you all. I tend to just gush with gratitude and marvel in how amazing this community is. I’m incredibly grateful for the love and kindness I get on here.

However, this year I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learnt along the way.

  1. It’s absolutely ok to not post something every day / regularly. I admire people who do this! They’re extremely talented. Personally, sometimes I just don’t want to or I feel like I don’t have anything worthwhile to say or (most likely) I’ve done a 12 hour day at work and I’m about to drag myself home to mark some exercise books. Regardless, I know the community will welcome my next post with open arms when I return. They do it for everyone.
  2. We can’t all like the same thing. I mainly blog about books, places I’ve visited or a few photos here and there. Whilst this is perfect for me, it may be that I blog about a book / place which you absolutely dislike. That is fine! How boring would the world be if we all liked the same thing?! 🤗
  3. Offer support back. I mentioned in the first one that the community always welcome you back with open arms, but give something back. Leave them a like, tell them you’re pleased to see them. We’re all behind a screen here so none of us really know how the other is or what insecurities they may be feeling. Reach out to someone new. Make them welcome. I wouldn’t have got this far without the support of some of my fellow bloggers, especially those from the start.
  4. Have realistic goals. Whether this be for scheduled posts or word counts or number of books, keep it realistic to you. Don’t compare what you’re doing to everyone else. It’s not a competition on here – it’s a network, a community. I’ve never set a target of how many posts or anything like that. For me, my goals are to keep in touch with the bloggers I follow now and post whenever I feel like it. I do have one goal this year and that is to read 100 books. So far, I’m on 42! 😎
  5. Be kind, always. I know I have flaws. I miss posts that people have spent hours crafting. I forget to check notifications after a long, challenging day at work. None of that matters if you show kindness with it. I apologise (a lot)! I do catch up or try to at least. Inevitably, there will be something people miss. That’s absolutely ok! I’m really really fortunate. In four years I’ve never received any hateful or hurtful comments. This is the place where you can write what you want! Your blog is for you, after all.

That’s it really! But they’re huge lessons to learn and I really value learning them. I want to be a positive support on here, to everyone.

So to start this lovely Sunday, I’m off to celebrate the life of the amazing Judith Kerr now. How many generations have been shaped by her writing?! Such a loss, but what a life! ❤️

Honestly, thank you to each and everyone one of you who have stopped by, commented, liked, and stuck with me over four years. I’ve nothing but love and good feelings for you all! I can’t wait to see what the next four years bring!

Big love all. Xx

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Filed under Birthday, Blog

Left & Found – my next project!

Hello Lovely People!

I hope you’re all good and having a restful time, reading plenty. I wanted to share with you an idea and a plan I’ve had recently. It’s linked to the new banner at the top of this post so that’s a bit of a giveaway!

So I was thinking about all the books I donate to charity, which is a lot. However, I also thought about how I want to do more random acts of kindness too. Thus, the Left & Found project was born! Basically, I want to leave books in places I’ve visited for someone to find and enjoy for themselves.

I’ve been doing some research too. I remember hearing something about Emma Watson leaving books on the subway for people to find which she absolutely did! Also, I’ve learnt that in London there is such a thing as Books on the Underground – more information here! There are branches around the whole world it seems!! Books on the Move are doing something so amazing. Obviously, these are all based on transport. Whereas I’ll be leaving mine wherever I end up on my travels.

Early followers may also remember why I even started blogging in the first place. I wanted my own little internet space to call home, but it was reading 60 Postcards by Rachael Chadwick that really showed me the power of social media. Information about that here.

I’ve got a few city breaks coming up and my plan is to leave books dotted around the city for people to find, read and pass on. I’ve put little cards on them (laminated of course) for the people who find them to hopefully get in touch. I’ll keep you all posted too, my beautiful blogging friends.

The first five books I’ve got to hide are shown below. I’ve gone for a right mix because I just don’t know who will find them.

Regardless, I’m really excited about just sharing a little bit of happiness! What do you think?

I’ll update you with where I’ve put them. Can’t wait! Let me know your thoughts – I’d be so grateful.

Big love all xxx

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Filed under Books, Exploring, Left & Found, Random Acts of Kindness

Picture Perfect Polaroids #10

Happy Saturday!

Big love from Flamborough Head. Xx

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Filed under Photography, Picture Perfect Polaroids, Seaside

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Turns 50!

Happy Bank Holiday Monday Everyone!

I hope you’re well and making the most of the long weekend. Today is a very special day in the book world because it is the 50th birthday of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It has its own hash tag on Twitter and everything! (#VHC50 if you’re interested).

I saw this as the perfect opportunity to review this book and look at how important this book has been in so many peoples lives.

What’s it all about?

The book starts on one Sunday morning where a caterpillar hatched from an egg under the moon. He’s absolutely starving, ravenous for gorgeous food. Thus, the Very Hungry Caterpillar is born. He goes off to search for food.

‘One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and – pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.

Over the course of five days, he eats increasing amounts of fruit. He starts on Monday with one apple, two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, four strawberries on Thursday and five oranges on Friday.

On the Saturday, still hungry, he eats a ginormous amount of food! He eats one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, on slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake and one slice of watermelon.

However, that night, he gets a pain in his tummy from eating so much. By the next morning, he feels much better after eating a luscious green leaf. By now, he’s neither hungry nor little. He’s a very big caterpillar who looks like he’s fit to burst.

The caterpillar spins himself a cocoon where he sleeps for two whole weeks. After this time as passed, he emerges from it as a beautiful butterfly, with large and colourful wings.

Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and…

he was a beautiful butterfly!

Final thoughts

It is easy to see why this book has turned 50 years old. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t read it. However, what I find more meaningful than any age of a book, is where it goes next. Of course, this book has travelled through generations of readers. I read this book as a little girl and I still marvel in its wonder today as an adult. Reading this with smaller children in my own family is a joy as the legacy continues.

I was reading somewhere that apparently one of these books is sold, on average, every minute. The story and the illustrations have lived in many a home and continue to do so today. It’s been translated into over 60 languages with more than 46 million copies being sold. There is, of course, a new edition for the 50th birthday which features a rather lovely gold cover. Regardless, this story is just a wonderful, humble piece of writing that we’ve all loved, since our childhood. Happy birthday Very Hungry Caterpillar! 🎂 🎉

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend my dearest friends.

Big love xx

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Filed under Book review, Children's Literature, Reading