Friday, 12 July 2013


At last, summer is finally upon us, yay! We've had at least a solid week and a half or so of sunshine now, something I thought near on impossible just a few months or ago. However, as pleased as I am about the warm weather, my body isn't quite as happy. My pale Irish skinned self, with stupidly bad hay fever, has spent the past week looking like it's having an emotional break down (mainly in one eye...) and debating whether or not it's acceptable to bare such milk-white legs. Though, I've now decided, at the age of 24, that I'm just going to embrace my paleness and use Nicola Roberts and Dita Von Teese as my role models.

Summer fun

I always think that the summer makes you want to read more, sitting out in the garden with a good book is one of my favourite things. So with that, I've recently read The Handmaid's Tale and My Dear I Wanted To Tell You, both of which I enjoyed immensely. I've now moved on to The Wasp Factory, having never read anything by Iain Banks before I thought I should. I'm not too far in at the moment, but despite being quite removed from most of the books I usually go for, I'm finding it a really interesting read. At times it's proving to be quite shocking, but the elements of dark humour shine through. After this I might move on to something a bit more cheery.

I'm off on holiday in a few weeks and I've already scoped out a Literary Pub Crawl that takes place there. Needless to say, I'm planning on doing this. The combination of alcohol and literature, as mentioned in my previous post, is just too perfect to miss out on!

In other news, I recently treated myself to my first relatively expensive handbag, well satchel. I picked a colour that would be good all year round, there were so many pretty colours to choose from though, I found it quite hard. If I can justify getting another then I've got my sights set on a light green one.

New bag

Friday, 31 May 2013


While it may seem like all I do is read and makes lists, I do from time to time, find other ways to entertain myself. In fact, in the past week or two, I've watched The Great Gatsby (ah, Leo!), developed a bizarre girl crush on Gillian Anderson and seen some live music, where I found out that I have the capability of turning into a massive fan girl - 'I follow you on Twitter. I love your new song. I love you. Photo?'. As such, my new aim in life is to learn how to be cool and aloof. We'll see how that one goes!

Doing my best groupie impression.

But naturally, despite this *hectic* schedule of mine, I have managed to fit in some reading. I finished Tender is the Night and then moved on to The Marriage Plot, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Bell Jar. So, quite a varied array of literary offerings. From reading these books I've learnt a lot about Guernsey, gained more arguments for my new found feminism (which my friends now hear me do various speeches about - thanks for nodding along, guys!), realised that not all stories have to end with 'and they all lived happily ever after' and that, as amazing as F. Scott Fitzgerald obviously is, I don't think he's the writer for me.

Amongst all this reading and girl crushing, I've also managed to find the most perfect book ever. My Friday nights are now set to be a heady mix of literature and liquor. Because after all, literary inspired drinking is the best kind of drinking.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Latest Reads

In the past month or so I've read three novels: Water for Elephants, Gone Girl and You Had Me At Hello. All essentially are along the boy meets girl theme but they are each very different. Since reading Gone Girl I've recommended it to pretty much everyone I know, it's that good. I might even say it's one of the best novels I've read in a long time and goes to prove the old adage that 'you never know what goes on behind closed doors', whilst also making you question how well you can ever really know somebody. I won't say any more as I wouldn't want to spoil it, (somebody recently spoilt the end of Skyfall for me and I wanted to hurt them) just be sure to read it.

In other news, I am extremely excited about The Great Gatsby finally being in the cinema next month. I feel like this has been the longest wait for a film ever! In the meantime, I'll be reading Tender is the Night to get my F. Scott Fitzgerald fix.

Yay, Leo!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


I recently had ten whole days off work, something I was pretty excited about. As is the norm, it went far too quickly and I'm already looking forward to the 'holiday' I've booked next month. Anyway during my week off, besides seeing friends I've neglected a bit since Christmas, going bowling, drinking too much Prosecco and making lemon curd cupcakes, I did quite a bit of pondering of life's big questions. Well, perhaps less 'life's' and more 'my life's' big questions. I've not yet found the answers to all of these questions, but I'm sure you'll agree they're fascinating, nonetheless... Or, maybe it's more that I felt I wanted to blog and this is the best I could come up with.

Hannah's Big Questions

- Why did I not know that Charlotte Bron married and was pregnant at the time of her death? Thank you, Sheila Hancock, for filling me in on this.

- Has the 'if he can't see how wonderful you are, then it's his loss' speech ever made anyone feel any better?

- Am I brave enough to get a 'Where's Wally?' tattoo? I so want the answer to be 'yes'.
Tattoo number two?

- What is it about The Cure's 'Love Cats' that makes me feel so anxious? Seems I have an inexplicable, yet powerful, aversion to this song... 

- When does Facebook stalking go from impressive to scary? A friend of mine recently managed to find someone knowing only their first name and the university they went to... Worrying.

- Will I ever manage to convince someone to come on a literary tour of Britain with me?

- Should you ever trust a man who willingly professes his love for Michael Bublé and Hugh Grant? 

- At what age does it stop being acceptable to use hair straighteners to de-crease clothes?

- Will I ever give up on attempting to turn myself French? My latest 'man, I'm so French' attempt involved wearing a stripey t-shirt and baking madeleines, which I then forced upon my work colleagues. Although, when I think about it, I don't remember seeing that many stripey t-shirt wearing French people whilst on my year abroad. Hmm, maybe where I'm going wrong.

- Is there a better way to 'celebrate' an empty club than forming a conga line? I think not. 
Everybody loves a conga line...

However, there are some questions that I am quite certain I will always have the answers to, such as 'what are all the lyrics to the following songs: Disco 2000, Wuthering Heights and Jason Donovan's Too Many Broken Hearts?'. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

A Casual Vacancy

As a massive Harry Potter fan, I was intrigued to see what J.K. Rowling's newest offering would be like. Like her previous novels, A Casual Vacancy looked daunting, a tome of over 500 pages. For much of these 500 pages not a lot happens, even in spite of the novel opening with a death. (Note: this is not a spoiler and can be found in the blurb.)

Focussing on a small town in the west of England, much of the novel seems to be building up towards the denouement, which when it eventually comes is fast paced and exciting. There can be no doubt cast on the fact that Rowling is a wonderful writer. Like Thomas Hardy before her, Rowling sets the scene beautifully, slowly creating a back drop to her story. Rowling brings her characters to life and takes her time to creates a vibrant picture of life in a small community, alike in Hardy's Tess or The Woodlanders.

However, at times it feels like Rowling is throwing all she has into this novel, dealing with themes such as domestic violence, racism, bullying, sexual abuse and drugs. These themes, although interesting, seem perhaps slightly too much for one book and one small west country town. This said, J.K. Rowling presents us with a microcosm of society and challenges us to face several moral dilemmas and ask ourselves, 'what would I do in this situation?'. Beware, the answers to these questions mightn't be pleasant.

Although a slow burner, this novel is well worth persevering with. However, be warned, like the dementors of Harry Potter, there are many dark elements to A Casual Vacancy making it at times quite depressing.

I bought a new notepad, woo!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Literary Sisters

With 3 sisters of my own, the portrayal of sisters in literature is something I've always found interesting. Here are a few of my top literary sisters:

The Marches, Little Women: It's hard not to adore Louisa May Allcott's Little Women, arguably the most loving of all these sets of sisters. At times they seem like a family unit within themseleves, with Meg acting as a mum and Jo as a dad. They all play their parts as sisters well, Meg as the responsible eldest sister, Jo the outgoing, loud yet fiercly protective one, Beth quiet, caring, shy (and sickly) and Amy the spoilt youngest. (This is in no way a metaphor for me and my sisters...)

I still have the same hair and love of peter pan collars...
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, The Sweet Valley Twins: Elizabeth and Jessica, despite being twins, are complete opposites. Elizabeth bookish, academic and career-minded, whilst Jessica thinks mainly about boys, clothes and being popular. In spite of their differences and some sibling rivalry, deep down they're the best of friends and are always there for each other through various scrapes they seem to get themselves into. Undoubtably the series, which according to Wikipedia spans over 100 books, is pure cheese but it remains a classic for millions of girls of the late 80s and 90s. Myself included.

The Lisbons, The Virgin Suicides: Shown only through the eyes of the boys who loved them, at first sight the Lisbon sisters seem like your average group of siblings. But as one by one they commit suicide it quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it seems. Quite what drives them each to end their lives remains unknown. However, despite what must be a deep rooted unhappiness in each of them, perhaps somewhat due the strict ruling of their parents, the strong ties of sisterhood remain, each keeping the others secrets and perhaps even to some extent all commiting suicide as some sort of unspoken pact.

Cecilia and Briony Tallis, Atonement: As the novel opens, Cecilia and Briony are shown to have a stereotypical relationship where the younger looks up to the older one. However, this doesn't last long and over the course of one evening their relationship changes beyond repair. Through Briony's young imagination and foolish lies she condemns both Cecelia, and esentially also herself, to a life of unhappiness and regret. As the story unravels it becomes clear that no amount of repentence can repair the damage done be the 11 year old Briony. Although she does give Cecelia the happy ending that she so tragically stole from her in 'real-life', it's all too little too late and the Tallis family is torn apart forever.

Running with the Christmas themed photos.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Five Fictional Friends

Whilst reading I often decide I either want to be or want to befriend characters. Were they real, of course!

Here are just a few on my list: 

Elizabeth Bennet - Pride and Prejudice: We could go for walks, talk books and she could introduce me to Mr Darcy's rich friends. Perfection.

Emma Morley - One Day: In spite of her many flaws, Emma Morley is one of my favourite characters of all time. There are certain similarities between myself and her: both aspiring writers, share a love of literature, Scrabble and France. My real-life best friend even joked on seeing the film that they could have based the character on me. However, the same is likely to be said by millions of women around the world. For these reasons, were she a real person I would happily attempt to befriend her. Perhaps ever so slightly narcissistic of me.

Bernard - Not Now Bernard: Nobody has any time for little Bernard. Not only does he deserve a friend but also a protector from monsters.

Marty - The Woodlanders: In true Hardy style, life is tough for poor Marty. During the course of the novel she loses a tree, her hair, her father, her home, her job and the love of her life. I reckon she could do with a friend.

Neville Longbottom - Harry Potter: By the final book Neville had gone from geeky classmate to unlikely hero. Definitely someone worth having around, even if just to kill Basalisks.