April Wrap Up

Wow, what a busy month April was, particularly the end of the month, hence the lack of posting on here and on my Instagram. I’m hoping to catch up at some point soon… 😂 Participating in the OWLs Magical Readathon has definitely helped my reading challenge. After being about 2 books behind schedule last month, I’ve now read 21 of my target 50 books and am 6 ahead of schedule! Having two weeks off for the Easter holidays definitely helped! You can read more about my Magical Readathon escapades here. I’m hoping to get a wrap post up for it during the start of May.

Books I’ve read this month:

  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud – musings here.
  • Five Give Up the Booze by Bruno Vincent
  • Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye – musings here.
  • The Lost Sisters by Holly Black
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – musings here.
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander [J.K. Rowling] (reread)
  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
  • The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien [audiobook]

Films I’ve seen this month:

  • Wild Rose (15)

I love country music so a film about a single mum trying to get to Nashville was definitely going to be on my “must-see” list. Also, it has Julie Walters so it’s a win-win! Asides from the brilliant soundtrack, the film has a great sentimental message at the heart of it too.

  • Greta (15)

This film FREAKED ME OUT – but in that great ‘scary-movie’ kinda way! It isn’t a jumpy film with the non-existent soundtrack and bad guys jumping out from everywhere but it definitely leaves you really reconsidering the phrase ‘the kindness of strangers’. Kudos to Isabella Huppert for playing one hell of a scary psychopath! Basically her character utilises her lonely widow status by leaveing fake handbags on the subway in the hope that people will bring them back to her. She befriends them but then gradually wields her stalkerish and obsessive ways with them. If you love films that leave you with the chills, then this one may just be right up your street.

As the calendar has been quite busy and I was away for part of the holidays, I didn’t really get to see as much as I like at the cinema. May is definitely going to be busier as I’ve already got three films scheduled this weekend and one of them is Endgame! 😆

Other life stuff:

  • My friend Emma got married in April! This was my second wedding of four this year. She lives in Lanzarote so she and her now-husband had a quiet UK ceremony for their friends and family over here before flying back to Lanzarote for the ‘party’ part of the celebrations and their friends over there. It really was the perfect celebration to suit my friends; her dress was beautiful and the lace hair piece (which she had instead of a veil) was so gorgeous and intricate. It was a wonderful day which very nearly ended up with us crashing a country dancing event that was also going on in the hotel!
  • Keeping with the wedding theme, I spent the last weekend in April on a hen party for my Potterhead friend who I’ve known since primary school. We had Potter-themed T-shirts, went on a cauldron cocktail making experience at the Cauldron Pub in London and then finished with a Witchcraft and Wizardry escape room at Escape Leicester. Cocktail making was so much fun – there were robes, interactive wands, magically stirring drinks, fire, mythical beast heads and alcohol a-plenty! It’s amazing we made it back to the train in one piece! The Escape Room was also an absolute blast. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it out of the room as we ran out of time, however we’re hoping to go back sometime to complete it again. We’re all such competitive people that the idea of not finishing the game left us slightly dejected until we saw online that it only had a 51% success rate… at least we weren’t the only ones not to finish!
  • The Racing Club I am a part of were treated to a morning on the gallops to watch one of our new horses whose stable-name is ‘Happy’. She wowed us with her speed so we’re looking forward to seeing what she can do once the summer season commences fully. Afterwards we were treated to some deliciously home-baked cakes. One of our members really has top-notch baking skills.
  • The rugby team I support has made it into the top 4 of our league which means we get to enter the play-offs this month! Our boys have worked so hard this year and we’re looking forward to seeing them get their rewards. The final games of the season will be super exciting!

April has been so fantastic and it seems like there is going to be so much to also look forward to in May.

How was your April? Did you meet your reading goals or see any cool films? What are you most looking forward to doing in May? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

 

March Wrap Up

I can not believe ¼ of 2019 has gone already! I am so pleased that the sun is shining more and we are getting into warmer weather. We have so many blossom trees where we live and it’s beautiful when they all come out.

In terms of my Biblioshelf life I am so happy with how March has gone!

Positive things that have happened:

  • Managing to vaguely keep up with the Blog and Bookstagram (at least as much as I could)
  • New Blog and Bookstagram followers (💜 thank you all!!!)
  • My best month yet for reading (even though I’m still “2 behind schedule” according to Goodreads). I’m up to 10 out of 50 and half of those have been March reads.

Books I’ve read:

  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – In my bid to try and finish off some of the book series I was part-way through, I finally got around to ticking this off. What a stunning duology. I really enjoyed it. You can read my spoiler-ridden Biblioshelf Musings about it here.
  • Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett – I was way behind with reading my Fairyloot books from last year’s boxes so many of them are forming as my immediate TBR list to try and catch up. Onyx and Ivory was fab for getting me back into the fantasy genre and I really enjoyed reading it. I added the second novel Shadow and Flame onto my TBR straightaway.
  • The Duke, the Autobiography of David Nicholson – The Duke is one of our local heroes when it comes to horse-racing. He trained his horses in a village not far away from where I live and the trainer and his wife who run the Racing Club I am a part of both used to work for him as well. March was the perfect time to finish this book, which I’d started and then put down last year, as the Cheltenham Festival takes over the whole area where I live so there was a real buzz in the air. It offered a great insight and history into the sport and it was quite strange to read about people who I have met and even know in real-life.
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I tried to read this in order to take part in the Fairyloot readalong as this was their February book, however my work schedule didn’t really give me that much time to read it during that week. I have now finished it and love it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales and this retelling offered a fresh spin of such a traditional story. Biblioshelf Musings are yet to come…
  • The Time Machine by H.G Wells (Audiobook read by Kelsey Grammer) – As I have said previously in my Top Ten Tuesday post Audio Freebie, I’m not that keen on audiobooks. I think the price is something of an issue, plus I like to have a physical book in my hands to get lost in. This audiobook was free on iTunes so I immediately downloaded it. It’s quite a classic must-read novel for any fans of Science Fiction. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. Grammer’s narration really suited the character of the time-traveller, almost as if he was the time-traveller himself. The story was just short enough and suspenseful enough to keep me tuned it. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has this on their TBR.

Other hobbies in my life include going to the cinema. I am a co-organiser of a film club and we often see 2-3 films a week at our local cinema. Like with all things, I’ve missed a few of our film events due to doing other things but here are three of my top March film releases:

  • Fisherman’s Friends (12a) – I absolutely loved this! As I split my time between the Cotswolds and Cornwall it made me really nostalgic to go back to my little house by the sea! Stunning scenery and location aside, this film was heart-warming, funny and poignant in all the right doses. The only thing that disappointed me was that the tale of the ‘music manager falling in love with the village girl and buying the pub to save the day’ was purely fictitious! Anyway a fantastic film nevertheless; if anyone wants to join in a sea-shanty sing-a-long one Friday night down in Port Isaac then count me in!
  • Us (15) – This is probably going to be one of my Top Ten Films of 2019! It had scary bits, humour, mickey-taking, horror, doppelgangers, audacity, fairgrounds, violence, story-telling, mythology and pure, downright weirdness in buckets (or boat-loads 😉)! There are so many layers to this plot that keep you guessing right the way to the very end. Just when you think you’ve worked it all out, something else happens to make you think something completely different. It’s one of those films that you watch again and again and discover something new every time. I won’t spoil it for anyone who is going to see it but if dark, twisty, multi-layered psychological thrillers are your thing, then this is your must-see film of the year!
  • Fighting With My Family (12a) – Any film with The Rock in is immediately added to my cinema list. What I enjoyed about this film was how accurately it portrayed the real-life family which this film is based on. It represented a part of our society that does not get a lot of air-time (if only for the wrong reasons) and showed the hardships that they go through, the struggles they face just to make their way in the world and find a space for themselves. I honestly didn’t feel that this film would be my type of thing. I’m not a wrestling fan at all but that really didn’t matter – the key meaning to take away is about the sense of community and the dreams people can achieve if they all pull together. It’s a message of positivity in what can sometimes feel like a very negative world.

Other life stuff:

  • My friend got married – She had one of the most gorgeous wedding cakes I have ever seen! As a massive fan of the film Labyrinth, her three tier cake was themed around the film. The characters were made of fondant icing and there was even a dancing Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie at the top from the ball scene. It was almost too good-looking to eat but it tasted so delicious. We are massive fans of Gloucester Rugby and always go to their matches. We call ourselves the “Shed Family” after the area of the ground we stand in and in true Glaws Family style, we all piled into the bar to watch the Gloucester match that was taking place that evening – a true rugby wedding!
  • Cheltenham Races – I’ve already talked about this above and in a previous post but Race Week is always a highlight of March. Along with the Six Nations Championship the month is great for sports fans like me!
  • George Ezra – To be honest, if it wasn’t for my friend I don’t think I would have gone to see him live in concert but I am so glad I did! I have his album Staying at Tamara’s which is on constant repeat in my car at the moment and this sunny weather is perfect for blasting out Paradise and singing along at the top of my voice! He is even better live and the anecdotes he told throughout his set were funny too. He was supported by Sigrid who brought her catchy, bouncy pop songs to warm the crowd up. Before George came on they played Don’t Look Back in Anger into the auditorium and there is nothing like a classic Oasis song to get 15,500 people to burst into the biggest round of karaoke ever – fabulous! A brilliant evening and I’d love to see him again.

Tonight I am off out with friends to celebrate their birthdays. We are eating at The Botanist which is new in town so I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I’ve heard lots of great things about it. The restaurant looks so pretty and I bet they have an exceptional Gin/Cocktails list. Afterwards we are going to Mr. Mulligan’s Crazy Golf which I am extremely looking forward to!!!

I want to leave you with a quote from V.E. Schwab which I read from her Instagram post on 8thMarch. It was one of those motivational things you read which seems to come along at the exact time when you need it. I read it after getting some disappointing news and it really helped me to hold things together and get through the remainder of the day. I’ve referenced to it as well in my Six for Sunday post which comes up tomorrow. I’ve written it down; I read it often; it gives me the motivation to carry on doing my own thing, on my terms in my own way. I may not read as many books as everyone else; I may not post stuff on a regular basis; I may not have a viewpoint or an opinion that is groundbreakingly different or that people are even interested in; but this is my little corner of the big wide blogosphere and I am learning to stop putting myself under so much pressure to meet deadlines for this or fit into a mould for that and to just be happy and at peace with my extremely blessed life!

‘Show up. Put in the work. Let go of the outcome. The list of things out of your control is too long. Success is not guaranteed, and sometimes you can do everything right and still miss the mark. Because the mark is arbitrary, and always changing. The only thing you can do is tell your story.’

Gold star to you, reader if you made it through my March ramble! Have a super weekend and enjoy whatever is you’re up to!

T xx