15 May 2016

Edinburgh Antics

Hi folks, long time no speak! Apologies that I haven't been very active for the last month, it was actually my birthday a couple of weeks ago- I'm 21!- and since then I've also relocated back to Lancaster, so it's been a busy past few weeks for me and unfortunately my blog has suffered once again! However, as a consequence of a bit of time off I now have lots and lots to share :))

Firstly, as part of my 21st birthday celebrations, Carlo and I and our two friends, Max and Hannah took a little trip up to Edinburgh for a long weekend. I'd somehow never been to Edinburgh before I went up to visit Hayley last May, but it definitely made a lasting impression. Since then I've been twice more and it's quickly become one of my most favourite cities. I absolutely love the architecture and its oldy-worldy feel. Every time I visit I just never want to go home!

I noticed when I went to edit that we really didn't take many photos on this trip, but really I think this is a testament to the fact that a good time was had! Admittedly though, we also didn't venture too far either night of our stay due to us managing to nab the most beautiful Airbnb, a lovely townhouse apartment in the Haymarket area that was very difficult to part with. Consequently, we chose to spend our evenings nested on the sofa with lots of wine and snacks playing increasingly tipsier rounds of Cards Against Humanity!

That being said, we still squeezed in a fair few of the sights during the day, the Castle being one of them, as you can see. We also visited Greyfriar's Kirkyard, had a nosy up and down the Royal Mile and actually quite ironically bumped into Dylan Moran from Black Books in Blackwells on South Brige. However, I think all would agree that the vast majority of our time was spent more or less eating our way right through the city.

I feel like this is where The City Cafe on Blair Street deserves a mention. I have no photos of our food, quite literally because it didn't last very long, but take my word for it, it was amazing. We'd woken up on the second day of our trip really craving a proper fry up, and after a bit of Googling and ogling at pictures, we decided The City Cafe was the place to be, and it did not disappoint.

With it's American diner-style decor and facade, the place seemed quite unassuming as we walked in through the door, however we took the queue of people waiting to be seated at 11am to be a good sign, and actually, it was hand-on-heart best breakfast I've ever eaten. I was super impressed by their substantial all-day breakfast menu, which despite the American theme offers a proper Scottish breakfast- haggis and all!- as well as veggie options. We all ended up having a fry up as well as polishing off a stack of vanilla-infused pancakes between us which were also out of this world!! 

Of course, when I was in Edinburgh I also had to make sure and squeeze in an evening with my favourite Scottish gal, Hayley! So, on our last night the two of us (and Carlo as well, actually) headed out to a little bar called the Dog House for a round or two of drinks and some deep conversion, which was had aplenty! Overall we had an amazing weekend, and as per, I can't wait to get back to Edinburgh soon!

Where is your favourite place to visit?


30 March 2016

Recently Read

The Good Girl, Fiona Neill

I picked this up in Waterstones on a recent jaunt to the Trafford Centre after scanning through the 'Buy One Get One Half Price' tables and being drawn in by the blurb, which sounded very much like my cup of tea:

"The Field family have just moved from their London home to the wild Norfolk cost. Nine year old Ben's the first to realise that the reasons for the relocation don't quite add up; that the narrative of their family life is constantly being rewritten. 
But why? Just what is everyone hiding?  What is the cataclysmic secret that his mother, Ailsa, harbours from her past? Who is her devoted husband, Harry, receiving anonymous text messages from? Why have their gifted daughter Romy's A-level grades plummeted overnight? And once the truths come out, can the Fields ever go back to how they were?"

I've noticed that this one has received a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I personally couldn't put it down. The story revolves around one family throughout the course of a year, and is told from the perspective of mother, Ailsa and her seventeen year old daughter, Romy. I found the way in which the author explores the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship very interesting, particularly since it's presented from two different points of view. It's kind of like a set of two psychological character studies but there was still plenty of excitement in the book to keep my interest the whole way through!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

This book had been cataloged somewhere in the back of my mind for years; really ever since my mum and sister going to see the film adaptation in the cinema and came home singing its praises. However, I always thought it might be too sad, and it wasn't until I was putting together a reading list in preparation for Game of Thrones filming (extra work involves an absolutely extraordinary amount of waiting around) that I decided to finally give it a go. The blurb is as follows:

"Entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace."

Doubling as both the story of a young boy coming to terms with the death of his father as well as somewhat of a social commentary, it was a book I'm glad I read, and overall, I liked. Before I even picked it up I had fairly high expectations considering the fact that there are a lot of people who really love this book, and that it's sitting on a very strong rating of 3.98 stars on Goodreads. However, for me, it didn't quite live up to the hype.

It's hard to explain exactly what I didn't like about it but mostly I think I found the writing a little bit pretentious, particularly the way in which some of the characters and the relationships between them were portrayed. I just couldn't shake the feeling that the book was trying to be something it just wasn't, but I think that opinion definitely puts me in the minority. I'd say it's still very much worth a read.

What have you been reading recently?

© Alphabeth. All rights reserved.