Book Bingo Reading Challenge 2022! Advent Street – Carol Ann Duffy

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you all had a wonderfully festive couple of days and an excellent Christmas. It was really nice to spend time with my family and I was really excited to see my parents reactions to their gifts. The whole time I was thinking just how lucky I am because they always made Christmas magical for me. It’s also been wonderful to crack on with some reading and get down my to be read pile!

Today I want to share with you what I chose for my final Book Bingo Reading Challenge. The theme was: read a book with snow on the cover. I can not tell you how difficult it was to actually find a book with snow on the cover! I couldn’t find any for ages! Eventually, whilst out Christmas shopping I stumbled across this beautiful Christmas poem by Carol Ann Duffy. The illustrations by Yelena Bryksenkova are stunning too. I’m talking about the glorious Advent Street.

What’s it all about?

Like you would an advent calendar, this glorious little book invites you to open the windows on Advent Street and see what hides inside. As you explore the poem, you see inside a street pub, an old man and his tangerine bird and a ballerina, poised by a Christmas tree. Yet, there is a sense of melancholy for this time to year too, especially if one is alone.

‘That was the year when worse luck heaped on bad brought you to Advent Street…’

Another page, another window. This time a young girl at the piano, readying herself to play O Little Town. The next window shows a boy with nine Hanukkah candles, providing light. TV screens, Christmas trees, lovers, singers and another. Sadness sits with the speaker, the one outside the windows, gazing in.

‘Your heart pined to be whole; heal, like the sorrow sung by the carols towards joy.’

Babies, teenagers, the elderly all feature in this poem and an opportunity presents itself for the speaker – a house for sale on Advent Street. But the sadness is overwhelming until the next window, with neighbours together, welcomed the speaker in with open arms.

‘So you did sit and eat in Advent Street.’

Final Thoughts

Isn’t this just beautiful? It’s probably one of the shortest books I own but I found the poetry and the illustrations to work perfectly. I love the play with light and dark, happiness and sadness, togetherness and isolation. There is a joy to being together and also an appreciation that some may be alone. I really enjoyed this poem and found it to be quite compelling and a unique little festive read. Each window does provide the reader a gift as well as the speaker. This has also made me realise that I need to read more poetry. A New Year’s resolution maybe! Carol Ann Duffy is a pure talent. I love how she plays with language and I really need to make more effort to read her poetry anthologies.

Well, would you look at that! 12 themes, 12 books, another reading challenge completed. Granted I slipped behind in October and November but I feel like I’ve finished on a high. I can’t wait to create a reading challenge for next year!

Have you read any festively brilliant reads this holiday? Do let me know! Have you completed your own reading challenge? Again, tell me all about it! I’ll get cracking on mine to share with you in the next few days.

Enjoy the rest of the break everyone.

Big Love all xx

Unwrap It! December 24th – Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!

What a magical day. The anticipation of Christmas Eve is unlike anything else. It’s really hard to describe it. It’s just like a different magic that you cannot comprehend. I’ve spent today as I’ve spent all other Christmas Eves – with my favourite tiny human who now really gets it and is super excited. We spread reindeer food and did some Christmas crafting. It’s been perfect.

So, this Christmas Eve morning was the time to open the last book in my book advent calendar. It’s a wonderfully festive read and again one I’ve never read before! I’ve even finished the book from yesterday, The Last Thing To Burn which was a great read. I just couldn’t put it down so stayed up till quite late to finish it. I’m sad it’s come to an end but it’s been an incredible experience. I’ve absolutely loved it and I will definitely be doing it again next year.

December 24th:

Finally, for those of you who have followed my blog for some time, you may remember that every year I also take part in the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod on Christmas Eve. This year I was gifted the stunning festive edition of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. It’s absolutely beautiful and will sit proudly on my bookcase.

So, whilst I settle in this Christmas Eve evening with my beautiful book, all that’s left for me to say is, a very, Merry Christmas to you all. Have a wonderful day tomorrow full of peace and happiness.

I’ll be back after Christmas to review the book I chose to complete my reading challenge – it might surprise you because it’s not my usual genre or style at all. Stay tuned!

Merry Christmas again!

Big love xxxx

Unwrap It! December 20th & 21st

Hello loves!

It’s Wednesday and even though the snow has thawed, the sunshine is jolly wonderful. I’ve got a couple of presents left to wrap and then I am ready for the big day! How are you all? I hope you’re all able to have a peaceful and relaxing time. Anyway, time to share with you the last two days of my book advent calendar!

December 20th:

December 21st:

Two more books I’ve never read before which is exciting and the latter I’ve never even heard of. My to be read pile is growing but it’s just so enjoyable too. I can’t wait!

I’ll be back to share the last few books and also my choice for the reading challenge this month too. I’m all caught up and on target!

Until next time my loves, have a brilliant day.

Big love xx

Unwrap It! December 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th & 19th

Hello loves!

It’s the holidays! Finally! I’m so happy that I can finally stop and relax, read and eat plenty and enjoy the festive season. It’s not quite hit me yet and I’ll be tired until the end of the holiday but I can lie in and mooch about as I see fit. It’s going to be bliss!

It’s time to catch you all up with my book advent calendar. So far, the odds are still pretty impressive with only one book that I’ve read so far. My to be read pile is healthy and growing!

December 15th:

December 16th:

December 17th:

December 18th:

I apologise that December 18th is so dark – it was snowing at this point so I was super excited!

December 19th:

Big love xx

Unwrap It! December 11th, 12th, 13th & 14th


Oh my days, just two days to go until we break up for Christmas and I can’t lie, I’m super excited. I’ve organised all my books that I want to read (I’m sure I won’t read them all but I’ll definitely try) and I’m counting down for school to end. I. Can’t. Wait. I’m in that phase where you wake up and you’re tired, do the day at work tired, go to bed tired and repeat. However, opening my books every morning really is a delight. Let’s check out the latest ones!

December 11th:

December 12th:

December 13th:

December 14th:

This time I did manage to work one out, The Maidens, because I’m a huge fan and I’ve read it before. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled to be able to pass this onto someone else to discover. (I must say, I did prefer The Silent Patient…) I think to have one so far out of so many that I’ve already read is remarkable too. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet, in fact, I’m worried about when it all ends! I’ll be beside myself for sure.

Fellow teachers – stay strong, we’re nearly there and ignore the fact that we return to school straight after New Year. Keep safe and warm (-4 today!) and I’ll see you next time.

Big love xx

Unwrap It! December 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th

Hey loves!

This post today comes from London as I’m here this weekend to get some Christmas shopping sorted. It’s been a bit manic at school (one week to go – I can totally do this!) so I’m a little behind with the unwrap it posts but there’s been some excellent books in the advent calendar that I can’t wait to share with you!

December 7th:

December 8th:

December 9th:

December 10th:

So far I’ve not managed to guess any of the books from the clues but that’s ok! I’m really enjoying seeing what’s wrapped up. I’ve taken so much pleasure from it and it’s something I want to do again, for sure.

Sorry there’s so many in this post – I’ve well and truly fallen behind but that’s ok! I hope you’re all enjoying the unwrapping with me. Do continue to let me know which ones you’ve read and enjoyed. It really does help me decide where I should go next on my reading adventures!

With so much festive love from London, until next time…

Big love xx

Unwrap It! December 5th & 6th

Good Morning!

It’s time for me to bring you book number five and six from my advent calendar. I must admit, with each morning waking up for work and it still being dark outside, this really is bringing me a little light to my life. I’m thoroughly enjoying it! It does feel like I’m unwrapping a present every day. What’s not to love about that?!

December 5th:

December 6th:

Two excellent and undiscovered books for me in the last two days which I’m really pleased about. All I need now is for school to finish so I can sit and read them all! Have any of you read either or both of these?

Finally, as promised, my tree. I think he is a real beauty.

Big love xx

Unwrap It! December 1st, 2nd & 3rd

Hi Loves!

I am super excited about counting down to Christmas. I’ve always been really fortunate that Christmas is family time for us and we always make the most of it. My dad always gets me an advent calendar and it’s just lovely. However, this year I wanted to feed my reading habit for Christmas too. I did some research and found something that was perfect for the job!

From some of my other posts, you may remember that I’ve tried to put myself on a book ban so I can get down my reading pile. That has come to an end with my wonderful advent calendar. And thus, ‘Unwrap it! Count Down To Christmas: The Bookish Way’ was born.

The wonderful Athina at Lost and Bound Books created my amazing book advent calendar. I found her by pure chance but I’m so grateful. Due to the delays with the post I’ve only managed to get this today so I had three books to open this morning. I can’t wait to share them with you!

What I love about this is that the books are preloved which means they are being saved from the bin and the wrapping paper is all recyclable. I really want my Christmas this year to be more sustainable and this is also perfect for that. Also, each day comes with a little card with clues about the book. So much work and effort has gone into this – it really is incredible.

To be honest, the book advent calendars were out of stock but Athina very kindly made me one. I requested crime, thriller and modern fiction. I like to have a mix really!

So without further delay… Let’s get unwrapped!

December 1st:

December 2nd:

December 3rd:

As you can probably tell, I’m really excited about this. It’s definitely getting me into the festive spirit and I am really looking forward to seeing what hidden gems are beneath the beautiful Christmas paper. So far, so wonderful! Three titles I’ve not owned or read.

My aim is to post every day so you can unwrap it with me! Do let me know if you’ve read any of the titles too and share your thoughts on them.

I’ll see you tomorrow for the next Unwrap It post.

Big love xxx