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

Reading Round-Up: November

Hello Loves!

Happy Advent Eve! I love December so I am very excited about it approaching. Have you got your advent calendars and candles ready? I definitely have! I’ve got a very exciting advent treat that I can’t wait to share with you too. However, it’s sat in a Royal Mail depot somewhere at the moment due to the strikes – along with my book choice for October and November… I solemnly swear that I will catch up on my reading challenge in the next week!

Anyway, November has been quite a good reading month for me, despite being mock season at school. I’ve also found the lack of daylight really difficult – I miss the sunshine! I’ve been struggling a little but my books have kept me going – that and getting excited for Christmas to be honest! I’m super pleased that I managed to read 12 books this month. I had a little slump in the middle because I was stressed about my reading challenge but I decided to read anything that takes my fancy and it really did take the pressure off. I’ve neglected my blog a little but I can’t wait to show you these 12 amazing books. Let’s check out the shelves!

November gave me a real mix of titles really and to be honest, I’ve loved it! Picking a top three is always difficult but when there’s been a slump in the month, I’m always grateful to the books that have pulled me out of it. Anyway, here’s my top three – what do you think?

  1. Are You Really Ok? – Roman Kemp. There’s one main reason why this is the top of the list and that is because it raises the importance of mental health, especially in men, and the need for friendship groups to open those lines of communication to be there for each other. It was really moving and as a teacher in an all boys school, really important.
  2. We’ll Meet Again – Anton Du Beke. Most famous for being on Strictly Come Dancing, I was lucky enough to receive the first few books prepublication. I LOVE them. The setting, the glitz, the characters, the dancing and the wartime background mean these really are the perfect read. They’re usually set in Christmastime too (just saying…) I must admit, if you read this get some tissues ready – I sobbed.
  3. The Twelve Days of Christmas – Alex T Smith. First of all, there is nothing to not love about this book. The illustrations are incredible, each page is a pop of colour and character but also, I just love the premise behind it. We all know the popular Christmas song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, but do you remember what each day brought? If not, this quirky, hilarious take on this book is for you. It’s also excellent for little readers too.

There we have it! Another excellent month of reading even though I didn’t get to my book for November. I will make sure that happens this weekend as well as my new post, especially for the advent period. I cannot wait to show you that! I plan to post most days too so stay tuned! I’m genuinely so excited about it.

I hope you all have a wonderful start to December. Thanks for being there with me, even when I don’t quite reach my own goals that I set for myself.

Big love all xxxx

Wildest Hunger – Laura Laakso

Hi Loves,

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday. Today I want to share with you a book that I was kindly gifted from @LouiseWalters12 and @LLaaksoWriter for the blog tour for Wildest Hunger (#WildestHungerBlogTour). Those of you who have followed me for sometime will know that I will never say no to a book so I am grateful for being a part of this. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did.

What’s it all about?

I was attracted to this book immediately because of it’s lovely cover. The blurb on the back was enticing and contained all the elements I love in a work of fiction. Worlds that are familiar but strange. Settings we know and love that have a twist as if they are distorted and warped.

This book is part of a series, which I didn’t realise when I first read it but as with all well written novels you can pick up the threads quickly and the characters come to life in your imagination despite the obvious missing background that would be there if you read them in order.

We follow the movements of an investigator, Yannia. She is living in Old London, away from the rest of her people. Yannia, you see is not human. Humanlike, yes but she is wild.

“Jamie recoils, but I keep following him. ‘I may look human, but I’m not. Nor is anyone who carries the WildFolk blood.’”

There is magic in this world and the non humans can use it, sense it, manipulate it. Yannia is called to consulate for the police when a young boy is abducted. As a member of the Wild Folk, Yannia quickly comes to realise that the perpetrator is one of her own. A Wild Folk like her. This one however has broken the oldest and most important law of the Wild Folk, they have started to kill and feed on humans.

“Of all the laws and traditions that govern our existence, one stands above all others; it is forbidden to consume the flesh of humankind.”

This leads her back into contact with her family, who are far away in a Wild Folk conclave. Yannia is very conflicted about this renewed contact as she left the conclave to get away from her overweening father and his plans to marry her off. In doing so, she has created resentment and ripples of rebellion throughout the Wild Folk community. Could this killing be in some way linked to her own rebellion?

“Most of the conclave has convened around the fires, and the nearer I get, the more hesitant my steps become. I feel unwelcome, though no-one has so much as glanced my way. These are my people, my kind, and yet I am not certain I am theirs. The old mould has been broken, and I have left the pieces behind.”

With the help of her partner, a magical Bird Shaman who works alongside her, Yannia begins to trace the movements of the killer. It soon becomes clear that they have travelled a long way and killed repeatedly. Yannia is forced to enlist the help of Dearon, her father’s heir to the leadership of their Wild Folk conclave. His lack of respect for the human police and her partner quickly causes friction – as does his utter failure to understand that he cannot simply meet out Wild Folk justice, this case must be dealt with by the police.

“Dearon’s nostrils flare as he identifies Jamie as human, and his expression changes to disinterest. I supress a surge of irritation. In Dearon’s world, humans are an inconvenience to be tolerated and avoided as much as possible.”

Final Thoughts

The plot twists and turns with all sorts of unexpected revelations. The complex relationship between the different characters and their ‘races’ in the story creates some delicious tension as things move to a climax.

The novel is a clever blend of the familiar and the magical.  Mobile phones and cars juxtapose portals and bodily transformations. I really enjoyed getting to know the rules and mores of this familiar/strange world. The characters are well written and you quickly become invested in the story.

I think the most telling thing about my reaction to this book is that I immediately went looking for the earlier books in the series – that says everything really. I have found a new author to follow and I’m looking forward to the journey.

Thank you again to @LouiseWalters12 and @LLaaksoWriter for letting me be a part of this. Do check out the other stops on the tour. I’ll see you next time.

Big Love xxx

Reading Round-Up: October

Hi loves!

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all well rested and enjoying the weekend.

Whilst the rain is lashing down my windows, I thought now would be a good time to share with you all my round-up for October. October was a great month for reading which I’m really pleased with. I’m also surprised because even though I had half term, I was in London so only read one book! Anyway, there were some great books last month and some potential Christmas presents if you’re needing ideas! I do have to admit something though, I didn’t manage to get my book read for the book bingo but that’s ok!

So, I managed to read a thrilling 13 books in October. To be honest, I’m really chuffed! I’m desperately trying to get down my to be read pile and not buy anymore so I’m pleased with the progress I’m making, albeit quite slowly! Let’s check out the shelves.

I’ve already blogged and reviewed a couple of these: The Journey and Beyond the Wand. I absolutely loved both of those books and highly recommend them. However, I’ve picked a top three that lies outside those two.

  1. The Bullet That Missed – Richard Osman. The third book in the series and this was just as witty, thrilling and well developed as the others. Featuring our favourite Thursday Murder Club and another mystery that needs solving.
  2. Platform Seven – Louise Doughty. I received this in my halloween subscription box and it really didn’t disappoint. It’s just as gritty as Apple Tree Yard and I found myself falling into the depths of the murky world of murder. (Do not read if you’re planning on travelling around via train – I read this in London when I was hopping on and off tubes and I became super paranoid.)
  3. All About Evie – Matson Taylor. This book really was a breath of fresh air. It was utterly delightful and charming and I absolutely loved the character of Evie. A feel good read for those times when you really want one!

And there we have it! 13 fabulous books including one I’ve got for the tiny human in my life: Five Penguins. I must admit, it’s got beautiful illustrations and is perfect for the little ones. Who doesn’t love penguins as well?!

All in all, October was a brilliant reading month and I’m really excited about seeing what November brings on the reading front. It’s getting a bit exciting now with all the books being advertised for Christmas. I just need to resist temptation and get my pile down a bit more…

See you next time where I promise I’ll catch up the book I should have read for October and share with you some of the wonderful experiences of London.

Big love all! Xx

Beyond The Wand – Tom Felton

Hi Loves!

I hope you’re all well. I’m back from an incredible few days in London with my family. We have had an action packed time with adventures I’m sure I’ll share with you as time goes by. Just know I carried you all with me with the power of phones and internet! Big statement alert: this is my favourite book of 2022 so far. There, I said it. And that’s coming from a Gryffindor girl! As soon as it was announced that Tom Felton had written a book, I desperately wanted to get my hands on a copy. This book is everything and more and I am proud to say that I read this in just a few hours. I had to share my review with you all. For those of you who are not into Harry Potter, don’t worry. This book is an exemplary example of non-fiction. Let’s do this!

What’s it all about?

The novel starts with a foreword by Emma Watson. What we learn from foreword is the beauty of their friendship and how they are soulmates and will be in each other’s lives forever. It made me reflect upon my own friendships and having that specific connection with someone is truly remarkable. From here, Felton takes us through his childhood in chronological order, with each chapter being linked to the magical world of Harry Potter. It starts off quite humbly, with Felton showing us just how difficult it is to juggle a normal life with being a huge film star on one of the biggest franchises the world has ever seen. In his ever reflective narrative, Felton explains about an incident at HMV and an adult DVD. The incident itself isn’t that dramatic but it’s the fear that comes with it; the disappointment from his Mum and the fear of Warner Bros finding out and taking away his acting career. There’s a fine line between having a laugh with friends and being reckless.

“While the young Tom Felton was no Draco Malfoy, he was no saint either. Maybe that’s what got me the part in the first place.”

We learn about his family, the influence of his brothers and how his early auditions and acting experiences weren’t amazing. However, none of this stopped him and he got a part in The Borrowers. This led to his first film premier where it was all unknown really. His family went with him in another example of lovely family unity. Little Tom Felton had no idea what his future held and if it wasn’t for his mother, he wouldn’t have attended some of the auditions that he did. The next film was Anna and the King and this took Felton to the lights of Los Angeles for an audition, where he was successful, which led to filming in Malaysia. More new experiences for a young Felton who appreciated all the lessons that these experiences provided. From here, the calling of Harry Potter wasn’t far away. Yet, it wasn’t to be as expected. Felton made a bit of a fool of himself quite early on. But, this led him to a different part; one that he could never have imagined.

“Would Draco have gone home to mug up, Hermoine-like, on Harry Potter books? I think not. Would he have blagged his way through a question about which character he was most excited to see on screen? Possibly.”

We are taken through the filming and what life was like for a young Felton and his appreciation of his fellow actors. There’s anecdotes about working with Daniel Radcliffe, Alan Rickman, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith and Zoe Wanamaker, just to name a few. Likewise with Emma Watson, Felton shares his views with the world about her. Their relationship is pure, innocent and utterly compelling. The support they share for each other and the unquestionable loyalty they have for each other means that the two will be connected for life. I also think his appreciation of Daniel Radcliffe is also reflective and kind. It’s always lovely as a reader to see that the friendships on screen are mirrored in real life. We are also aware that some of the cast have since passed away. I too appreciated the acknowledgement of these and of Felton who, now as an adult, appreciates those interactions even more.

“We grew closer and the more I saw and understood what he life was like, the more empathy I had for her. I became very defensive of her, whenever she needed defending. I began to see her not as a little girl, nor as a public-property celebrity, but as a young woman who was doing her very best to negotiate a life where ordinary social situations and interactions were practically impossible.”

For me personally, the part of the novel that made me feel a whole range of emotions was when we saw an older Felton struggling with the reality of life post Harry Potter. Say goodbye to being anonymous and having a sense of real life outside of the public eye. This in itself sounds easier said than done and I found the honesty of Felton humbling. I am not afraid to say that I shed a tear or two! His family felt the need to stage an intervention based on Felton’s alcohol consumption. The end of the book is all about Felton’s struggles with his mental health and his addictive behaviours. He found himself in rehab – something that has a stigma and a label attached to. Like the rest of the novel, it’s unapologetically honest. I was relieved to see by the end of the novel that whilst mental health can still be an issue, Felton is now in a better place, cementing himself as a hero for his generation for being so open and honest.

“I realised that before I had been existing a state of absolute numbness. It wasn’t that I was ready to jump off a bridge; it was that jumping off a bridge and winning the lottery seemed like equivalent outcomes. I had no interest in anything, good or bad.”

Final Thoughts

I cannot deny how much I love this book. I didn’t want to put it down, I’ve recommended it to my friends and also some of my students at school. I think that Felton is a role model for young people and his honesty and reflection throughout this is commendable. As a massive Potterhead, I know I was always going to read this book but I didn’t appreciate how much I come to value this book. The issues around mental health are so key and prominent – I could relate to many things – and that is absolutely acceptable because life happens and things impact our state of wellbeing and equilibrium. People, young and old, Harry Potter fan or not, read this book. It might just change your life. It has mine.

Big Love xxxx

Book Bingo Reading Challenge 2022! Takeaway – Angela Hui

Morning Loves!

I’m back in the UK after a glorious holiday. I had such a wonderful time and feel more refreshed and recovered which is lovely. I hope you’ve all had a lovely August and have managed to have some form of a break. It’s needed for all of us! Hello September as well! I cannot believe how that has crept up on us!

Today I want to share with you my book topic and choice for my Book Bingo Reading Challenge! For August I opted for Non-Fiction which I do love. I go through a cycle of reading it, loving it, going back to fiction, remembering I’ve not read any non-fiction so then pick one and then the cycle continues. I wish I could understand why that happens but that’s a discussion for another day. I decided to read Takeaway by Angela Hui. Oh my days, I love this book so much. Let’s crack on with it!

What’s it all about?

I picked this book because like many families, mine has a long tradition with popping to the Chinese take away. In fact, it’s something I still do today both with my family and friends – pop to the Chinese takeaway, usually on a Friday or Saturday night. But what about the people behind the food? This book is honest, humble and wonderfully written. It’s a fine piece of non-fiction.

This novel explores, through Angela Hui’s voice, the story of her parents and how they came to be in Wales and their day to day lives of running the takeaway during the 1990s. We see just how different the family were and how they naturally stood out amongst the habitants of the Welsh valleys. Lucky Star was their home and business for thirty years. The rhythm of that life was comforting and joyous. But, it wasn’t always easy.

“The telephone rang constantly and a stream of people would pop in to pick up orders in hot foil containers stacked in white plastic bags. It was a juxtaposition of us being treated like immigrants, but also being keepers of something instinctively British.”

Each chapter focuses around a specific aspect of life within the takeaway: the weekend service, language barriers, summer holiday and competitions, just to name a few. However, there are a couple of anecdotes that really stuck with me. Hui talks openly about the racism she and her family experienced and how isolating that is. It’s an uncomfortable but essential read because I bet it still happens today. The reactions of her parents are contrasting; calmness and defiance from her mother, rage and anger from her father.

“We’ve always held our tongues and erred on the side of caution when confronted by racism. In reality, we’re just cooking to survive. Trying to get through a night’s service smoothly is just basic survival.”

I found myself feeling like I knew both Hui’s mother and father. There’s obvious conflict with the father but that is explored openly. They’re so different yet they work together to provide food for the local area. Hui’s opportunity to do deliveries means that (finally) she can get out of the takeaway and see new places. We can take for granted the childhood experienced Hui wouldn’t have been like yours or mine. Life was the takeaway. Every revolved around that kitchen; serving the community and then having a meal together. The impact on Hui’s own romantic relationships meant that this was strained too throughout her young adult years.

“I’m ashamed that I never gave him a chance to understand my situation by explaining things to him. How the takeaway had a hold on me.”

Time goes by, Hui ages and the little girl is now off to university. Even that is still tied to the takeaway, working weekends to help. But, as things most often do, it’s time for the takeaway to close its doors. The changing climate, the local competition and the stress on the family resulting in her mother’s poor health meant that it was time to finish serving. Their story has come to an end.

“We had some good times, right?” I say to no one in particular. Mum is holding back tears. Dad looks to the ground and pats me on the back. “Well, since Tom’s here I’ll get started on my ribs…”

Final Thoughts

I love this book. There, I said it. I found it honest, upsetting, humbling, overwhelming, moving and utterly remarkable. It’s made me really think about my own local takeaway and their own stories. What brought them here? The food of my Friday nights, what does it mean to them? Etc. The truth in this book hurts. Times change, people change, poor attitudes towards others different from us are still being displayed. Yet, at the heart of it all is a family wanting a better life and wanting to be part of a community. To sum it up perfectly:

“In these fear-filled times, I hope this book will serve as a refuge of nourishment, a fortune cookie of joy and an education to what goes on behind closed doors in the nation’s favourite takeaway.”

I urge you all to go buy and read this book. If you’re interested in cooking, at the end of each chapter is a recipe so the reader is able to try out some of these signature dishes at home. I’ve got my eye on a beautiful belly pork dish! This added touch is something I’ve really enjoyed reading too. It’s another way of bringing Chinese cuisine into our own homes.

Speak soon loves! (I’ll be back at school by the time I post again! Wish me luck…)

Big Love xxx

Reading Round-Up: July

Hello Loves!

I hope you’re all well. You may have guessed from my previous post that I’m on holiday now (finally) and I’m getting back into the swing of reading and resting!

Today I want to share with you my reading round up for July. July is my favourite month – my birthday, summer and the days are just a bit lighter and longer. It also means school is finishing. I have to say, I’ve found this July really difficult. I’ve barely read (only since I’ve been on holiday) and work was really a case of surviving and getting the job done. I’m on the road to recovery now but it’s been tough. I’ve had lots of doubts along the way but I’m pleased I’ve managed to read the books I did.

In July then, I’ve read 6 books – all of which have been after the start of the summer holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased with 6. But, it’s only now really that I recognise how much I was struggling before. Never mind! My life for the next month is the sea, sunshine, books and beach donuts! Let’s check out the shelves!

It almost seems silly picking a top three. I’ve blogged already about The Lamplighters – I still adore this by the way – and Shape of a Boy. In the interest of being fair, I’ll put the other four books in order of how much I enjoyed reading them and the narratives produced.

  1. The Other Passenger – Louise Candlish. I’m a huge fan of Louise Candlish. She really is the queen of plot twists and this one really kept me hanging until the very end. Perfect for the summer!
  2. Dial A For Aunties – Jesse Sutanto. This was really funny and I did also love the cover. A touch far fetched by the end (a murder, a freezer and a family trying to hide it) but enjoyable nonetheless.
  3. Counterfeit – Kirsten Chen. This was another good read really with an interesting plot. I picked it because it’s to do with real and fake handbags and the people who get mixed up in that. Really different to what I’ve read before.
  4. The Pact – Amy Heydenrych. Just because I’ve put this one 4th, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I really really did and I had to finish it – it was so compelling. But I did manage to work out the ending in terms of who killed Nicole. Regardless, it was a thriller of a book.

So there we have it! Another 6 books read and more on the horizon. I do like to mix it up with the thrillers and the more chic lit bits. A variety is always better. Plus I do end up getting paranoid if I read too many thriller books!

Here’s hoping for a better reading month in August! But for now, it’s beach donut time!

Until my next post, take care all! Big Love! Xxx

Book Bingo Reading Challenge 2022! The Lamplighters – Emma Stonex

Hello Loves!

I hope you’re well and enjoying July. Now the summer holidays are here I’m getting my reading game back on and the plan is to clear some of my reading piles! No more book buying until the pile is significantly lower! (Here’s hoping anyway!)

Today I want to share with you the amazing choice I had for my Book Bingo Reading Challenge. For July I decided on picking: Read a best seller. Now, I’m not very good with books that are really hyped up because I always feel the pressure to like it too. However, I can totally see why my choice for is a best seller – it’s absolutely incredible. I’m talking about the debut novel The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex. I hope you love this as much as I did!

What’s it all about?

Well, it’s really tricky to review this book without spoiling anything but I’ll give it my best shot! The first thing to know is that the novel alternates between then and now. We start in December 1972 when three men, Bill, Arthur and Vince, have disappeared from a tower lighthouse off the English coast. What makes this more mysterious is the state in which the place is discovered by the relief team; the door barred from the inside, dishes set out at the kitchen table and both clocks stopped at a quarter to nine. Everything was polished and cleaned to perfect – no evidence of a struggle of any kind.

Twenty years have passed and the Maiden Rock Mystery is still a mystery and still remains unsolved. This naturally leads to plenty of speculation and theories developing – ranging from the sublime, grim and ridiculous. What really happened though?

“This isn’t a thriller, this is my life.”

Some of these theories follow the ideas that one man killed the others, then killed himself. The Trident company seem to be pushing this theory quite strongly. Maybe all three were suicidal? Perhaps a monster approached and attacked them. Maybe they were all swept out to see. Some even swore that they have seen a trio of white birds hovering over the lighthouse, believing this to be the men with some supernatural powers.

“I’ve heard it all, over the years. Arthur was abducted by aliens. He was murdered by pirates. He was blackmailed by smugglers. He killed the others, or they killed him, and then each other and then themselves—over a woman or a debt, or a washed-up treasure chest. They were haunted by ghosts or kidnapped by the government. Threatened by spies or gobbled by sea serpents. They went lunatic, one or all of them. They had secret lives no one knew about…”

As time moves back into the now, an author long inspired and naturally curious about the incident begins to interview the women of the lighthouse keepers. After all, these are the ones left behind. Helen, Jenny and Michelle all differ remarkably meaning it’s really easy to follow their narratives. It’s these interviews where we learn the narratives of the men, the secrets the women have too and the personal tragedies that this event caused.

Running alongside this, back in 1972, the men share their own stories following the days before the incident took place. Like their wives, they too have their own stories to tell. The entrapment within the tower is a mere metaphor for the ensnaring of their past mistakes, their sins and regrets. Over time, resentment too increases. The demands of the job and the time away means that this is ever prevalent.

“When I’m ashore I have to pretend to be a man I’m not, part of something I’m not part of. It’s difficult to explain it to normal people. Lighthouse worlds are small. Slow. That’s what other people can’t do: they can’t do things slowly and with meaning…”

It’s here that I struggle because I want to tell you but what I want more is for you to read it and feel the magic yourself. This book made me feel exactly the same as Where the Crawdad’s Sing did and that was my favourite book of last year. It’s haunting, atmospheric, emotional and utterly thrilling. I couldn’t put it down and I doubt I’ll read another book like it this year.

Final Thoughts

I started to summarise this book above but I literally cannot stop gushing about it. In fact, I’ve left my copy for someone else to stumble across and read. It’s incredible and I don’t have the words to really show that.

See you next time my loves!

Big Love xxx

Blog Tour: The Shape of a Boy – Kate Wickers

Hi Loves!

I hope you’re all well. Today I’m here as part of a wider blog tour to share with you a really wonderful book: The Shape of a Boy by Kate Wickers. Thank you so much to @KateWickers and @QuartoKnows for the opportunity of reading this and being a part of the tour! I can’t wait to share this brilliant book with you all! So, let’s get on with it!

What’s it all about?
This book is really a complete joy. To be honest, I’m not the target audience for this: I don’t have children. However, I still found myself really excited by it. Kate, her husband and three children: Josh, Ben and Freddie and the journeys they take over the course of their lives so far. I think it’s really important to show just how crucial family memories are but how they can be made based on the simplest experiences as well as the most incredible ones too. Starting with her own childhood memories, Kate Wickers talks about what she remembers growing up. The simplest things like drinking chocolate milk out of glass bottles, making friends with people who don’t speak the same language and riding a pillion. Therefore, now she has her own family, Wickers is really keen to challenge the belief that young children won’t remember anything. This book is a testament to that.

‘Most experiences were magical and exceptional, and on very rare occasions disconcerting. All were life-defining. I felt sure that there experiences would shape them Ito the adults they’d become, whether they remembered them or not.’

Each chapter is a destination that the family went on and the experience they gained there. Rather than ruining the whole journey, I’ve picked two that are my favourite. My first tells the story of Thailand, when Josh was aged three and Ben was aged two. Naturally, one may assume that this is such a long way to take young children but why not? I don’t blame her! The reason why I absolutely love this experience is because a simple mishearing results in the children thinking they are off to Toyland! What’s even more special is that by being honest and open with the children and sharing historical facts, it meant that they were totally on board. Ganesh, Garuda and Hanuman to the rescue!

‘From Garuda was Josh’s constant companion on our travels through Thailand, and poor Noddy rarely saw the light of day.’

Fast forward a few years; Josh now seventeen, Ben sixteen and Freddie twelve and the destination is Laos. Naturally being older, tensions can arise but this trip taught the family to slow down, relax and let things go. Trying to get the boys to step away from technology and electronic devices is a challenge. But, after some careful coaxing, the boys do it. On a trip to Mount Phou Si, climbing 329 steps to the summit, they spotted a lady selling birds which she’d trapped in tiny pink and yellow cages. The vision is fairly awful: anxious birds in a small confined space, with a cat watching nearby. Moral dilemma approaching… support a business that you don’t agree with for the greater good? Or leave them to more likely die? The boys chose to buy one bird each, consequently setting them free. Wickers isn’t too afraid to see the symbolism of the birds and her boys.

‘Their intentions were good, only for the welfare of the birds, and possibly a little to prove to me that they were now their own people now, free as a bird…’

Final Thoughts
Travelling to different places at different times, from pregnancy to teenage years, this book really does cover it all. I love the gusto that Wickers has and I really love the experiences that are being made or these children. She’s absolutely right – these family memories really matter. I was super jealous that they saw orangutans in Borneo, crocodiles in the Nile and zebras in Tanzania. I think there is so much to learn from this book and it is summarised perfectly by the mantra: ‘Have kids, will travel’. Part of me wishes that I had the travel bug when I was younger but this book gives me the hope that when children come may way, my travel dream might do too and that is possible and wonderful.

Thanks again to @KateWickers and @QuartoKnows. I loved this book and appreciate the chance to read it.

Until next time all!

Big love xxxx

Reading Round-Up: June

Morning Loves!

Today I want to share with you my round-up for June! I’ve read some amazing books in June but I do feel like my progress was slow. For my fellow educators, June is a funny month because there’s still official examinations but they’re coming to a close and you get some gained time from those students leaving but all the jobs you need to do are bigger and more time consuming. Anyway, it’s nice that some of the pressure has gone at least!

June is also the month where I mentally start making the switch to summer vibes. You may have all seen my Book Bingo book for June which was all about summer! I’m right there and counting down to the holidays.

Before I get my flip flops and sun cream out prematurely, let’s check out the shelves for June! I managed to read 8 books in June which is a bit less than normal but still quite acceptable.

These 8 books I really, really enjoyed. I say it every time but picking a top three has been difficult. I’ve reviewed The Summer I Turned Pretty which I loved and The Wild Year which was a complete joy. Hmm. Let’s see!

  1. Lost Property – Helen Paris. This book was utterly adorable. I go through phrases of reading books with city settings (I tend to go through a London or Paris phrase) so this book called to me. It tells the story of the incredible woman who works in Lost Property for London’s transport and the items that are left behind and some of the people who collect them.
  2. Careering – Daisy Buchanan. I’m a huge Daisy Buchanan fan actually. I’ve shared a couple of her books now because her writing style is just incredible. I love how true and raw it is as well. This one is all about a young woman and her demands of work on her life. Very apt for me at this point!
  3. Thrown – Sara Cox. I’ve managed to bag myself a really lovely signed edition. As well as that, I absolutely loved the story. It focuses on four women and how their lives are intertwined through a pottery class. Watch out for Sheila though! She was a bit nosey for me!

And that’s June! The thing that I’m most excited about now is JULY. July is my favourite month in the whole year because it’s the end of exam marking (I’m half way there so far), summer break and my birthday as well! SO HAPPY IT’S JULY. I can hopefully make a proper dent in my TBR pile too.

I hope you all had a wonderful reading month and I wish you lots of reading time in July. Enjoy the sunshine and I’ll see you next time!

Big Love xxx