July Reading


I've read a lot this month (see my holiday reading post here) but without a doubt my favourite book in a long while is Adele Park's The State We're In

Now, if you're not familiar with Adele's work, I suggest you get acquainted asap because quite frankly, you're missing out. Her books are brilliant. 

She's written 13 books since 2000 and even though I love them all her past couple of her books About Last Night and Whatever It Takes were by far the best. 

Then came her latest, The State We're In which blew everything out of the water. 

Written across two generations, we meet Jo - a hopeless romantic on a quest to settle down, who wants a marriage as strong as her parents. We also meet Dean - a commitment-phobe who has been scarred by his father, a serial adulterer, and had a difficult childhood leaving him with more than a few issues. 

As their paths collide it becomes obvious they have more in common than they realise. And as their pasts catch up with them, will it mean a happy ever after? 

This REALLY is a roller coaster ride of a story. You'll think you've guessed the ending. Then you'll change your mind. But then everything changes again and you're left reeling. 

Even my housemate Rachael, who prefers really gritty crime books, was left weeping at this. 

I know I'm gushing, but it really is a brilliant read and Adele Parks best novel yet. 

If you're about to go on holiday grab or just need something to read on your commute, grab a copy/download it and let me know what you think! 

The Olympic games - has it really been a year?!


Has to really been a year since the start of the Olympics and Paralympics? REALLY? 

It seems like only yesterday that the 'Queen' parachuted from a helicopter into the stadium, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the first gold medal in the rowing, Jessica Ennis Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford took golds on Super Saturday, Tom Daley demanded a re-dive after flashes distracted him and Jonnie Peacock beat his hero Oscar Pistorius  in the 100m. Amazing times. 

Now I am the first to admit I was an Olympic grump pre the games starting. The stadium was literally on my doorstep (I lived in Bow) and I just saw it as a huge hassle. In the weeks leading up to it roads round me were closed and we couldn't even park on our street. Plus it was impossible to get a full nights sleep as helicopters would be flying overhead until 4am. 

And I was dubious that London, especially the transport system, would be able to cope with the sheer volume of people descending from all over the world. 

But from the moment the opening ceremony started I went and cut myself a large slice of humble pie and got stuck in. I was sold. We were going to be amazing. 

For the opening ceremony I threw a party. The excitement levels were high, we drank a lot, playing a drinking game as the nations came out. But the rules of the drinking game got lost in translation… Was it drink a shot if you'd been to the country? Or drink a shot if you hadn't? We ended up pretty much drinking a shot for every country that came out. Messy. 

We oohed and ahhed as the fireworks went off and as everyone left to get the last tubes, my friend Stephen and I wanted to get in the middle of the party atmosphere. So we headed to Bow Road station, bottle of fizz in hand. Once there we directed tourists to wherever they wanted to go. Helpful, we thought. But in hindsight, with the amount we'd had to drink, who knows where we were directing them too? Poor tourists. 

The Olympic games were officially open and we exceeded expectations. The atmosphere in London was amazing. Travelling on the tube with Canadian hockey team became normal, as did actually smiling at fellow tube passengers! 

Then came the Paralympics. I was lucky enough to go to one of the games. The atmosphere was electric, it was the most amazing night.

It seems mad that it was all a year ago. If only we could have the games every year!

Do you wish it could happen all over again?!  

Feast in the Fields


Yesterday, despite the weather warnings of torrential rain and thunder storms, Soldier and I took a walk down the canal to London Fields. Destination? Feast in the Fields. 

Feast in the Fields is a monthly gathering of London Street Food and resides in the London Fields Brewery's brewhouse space. If you haven't been, it's an awesome venue and obviously has amazing beers, brewed right there, obvs. Oh, and they have a DJ whom you can dance along too while you browse the pretty impressive beer list. 

After grabbing ourselves an unfiltered lager we browsed the food that was on offer. My mouth was watering a little at all the amazing smells. For a second I wondered how on earth I was going to pick just one thing - then I spotted it. A duck burger. 

As you know I love burgers. But what you might not know is I really love duck. So duck combined with a burger = winning. 

The creator of this burger was the South West Supper Club. It was cooked to perfection and presented with orange and Earl Grey chutney and rocket on a wholemeal, seeded roll. 

Sounds amazing? Trust me, it WAS. 

Here it is in all it's glory: 

It was possibly the best burger I've had in a long, long time. I was almost tempted to buy another…

I knew what Soldier was going to order, probably before he knew himself. Soldier LOVES and I mean LOVES pork especially pulled pork and pork belly. So it was no  surprise that he headed to Beard To Tail, famed for their grilled, slow roasted an barbequed meats.

Luckily he allowed me to take a quick pic before he dived in. It was demolished in seconds and declared: 'Possibly the best pork I've ever tasted!'  

We're now really keen to head to their restaurant in Shoreditch. 

Even though I was pretty full, the smell of nearby stall La Crepe des Delices was too much resist. Before I knew it I was up there ordering a crepe with Nutella and banana. LUSH. 

The crepe was HUGE. Big enough to share. Though I didn't… I shall definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for them popping up elsewhere around London. 

All in all, Feast in the Fields was a huge success and it didn't even rain. So, if you fancy some excellent food in a awesome venue that is open until late then check out their website for when they are next popping up: Feast in the Fields

A Royal Delivery


I'd never really considered myself a Royalist as quite frankly I didn't care much for the Royal family. Growing up I knew my nan liked the Queen as she forced us to watch her speech at 3pm on Christmas day and had tea towels with her face on. And my mum liked Princess Diana, probs because they were similar age and had a similar haircut. And I've always liked Harry because he was a ginger. But that was it really, I wouldn't say I was a fan.  

The the 29th April 2011 happened (William and Kate's wedding, if you need to be reminded.)

My friend Amy and I knew that we wanted to head to Hyde Park for the celebrations and to watch the ceremony on the big screen - mainly because it meant it was a great excuse to drink really, really early. 

So we met at 6am, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of Pimms and a picnic in hand. We smiled at all the other Royal revellers and as we stepped off the tube at Hyde Park was convinced we'd seen Prince Harry…. This was before we were drunk. 

We found a great spot and cracked open the champers. By 8am it's fair to say we were plastered. 

The Americans loved us and wouldn't stop taking pics with us. We more than happily posed. 

Then it all kicked off. We screamed when we first saw Kate in her dress like we were teens at a pop concert. By the time they said their vows we were crying. Then opened another bottle of champagne… 

The next day I woke up with a sore head and with a new status - as a Royalist. I was SOLD. This wasn't the Royal family. This was a NEW Royal family. 

So when Kate announced she was pregnant late last year, I was thrilled - we were going to get a new Royal heir! 

I loved watching her bump grow and seeing what maternity outfits she'd wear next as I crowned her most stylish pregnant person EVER. 

Then the due date arrived (or what we thought was the due date) and there was no baby. Another week passed. Still no baby. Then I stepped off the escalator at Camden Town yesterday morning my phone flashed up with an alert - the Prince or Princess was on their way.  

From that moment until the it was announced last night that they'd had a son I'd become obsessed - as did pretty much everyone I knew especially my friend Emily who lives in India and stayed up until ridiculous o'clock until she'd heard the news. At the end of the day we were witnessing history - we'll never have another heir to the throne born in our lifetime after all. 

And as Kate, with her beautiful, glossy, bouncy hair, and Wills, with not so much hair, came out of the hospital to showcase their son I couldn't help but shed a tear. 

Congrats Will and Kate. Now where's the champagne? 

Holiday Reading


So if you read my last post, you'll know that last week I was on holiday (if you haven't read it, read it here).

As well as sunbathing, swimming, sleeping, eating and drinking another important ingredient of a fabulous holiday is to read as many good books as possible by the pool. 

I managed to read four and was just going to post about just one of the books I read but I really enjoyed all of them so struggled to pick… So you're getting the down low on all four! 

First up…

Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

I've been excited to read this ever since my good friend Emily over at Emily in Wonderland raved about it. And it didn't disappoint. 

I started it on the train to the airport and by the time I touched down in Portugal I'd finished, it was that good. 

The book is based round sisters, Katie and Mia. Katie finds out that her sister has killed herself while travelling round Bali - but she can't accept that her free-spirited sister would do that. 

Katie decides to work out what was going through her sister's mind when she died so she follows Mia's exact movements of her travels by reading her travel journal. But will she get the answers she wants? And will she like what she finds….? 

Fab book and as I've travelled to most of the places Mia and Katie went too, it made me want to dig out my backpack and head off! 

The Sleeper by Emily Barr

I love all Emily Barr books and The Sleeper certainly didn't disappoint. With the tag line: Two strangers meet on a train. Only one gets off… you know it's going to be good. 

It was gripping from the start as we're introduced to Lara who is bored of her husband and life in Cornwall. So when a job comes up in London she jumps at it, promising husband Sam she will take the sleeper train back each Friday night. 

On the sleeper train, Lara makes news friends including an handsome man who soon becomes her lover. But Lara is hiding a dark secret. And things aren't going to end well…

Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger 

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this at all so I was pleasantly surprised to find I really enjoyed it!

Set 10 years on from The Devil Wears Prada, Andy Sachs and her former nemesis Emily are now running their own high-end bridal magazine, The Plunge. Now their own bosses, life is much better and happier without Miranda Priestly in their lives. 

But just when everything is going well, the devil is back to stir things up… 

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick 

A couple of weeks ago I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (review to come soon!) and loved it so much I was desperate to read more from him. 

I'd heard of The Silver Linings Playbook because it had been turned into a film, but as you from this post here I hate any TV show/film that has been adapted from a book because it is just never as good! 

I read this super fast as I was desperate to discuss it with my holiday mates Stephen, Sarah and Kayley who had all seen the film....

So, our main character in this is Pat. Pat is living back at home with his parents after being released from a mental health institution. He is waiting patiently for 'apart time' to end so he can be reunited with his wife Nikki. 

Pat feels like he is starring in a film of his own life, one where he is waiting for his happy ending, the silver lining of his cloud, which is to get back with Nikki. 

But during apart time, Pat meets Tiffany, another troubled soul, who helps him to deal with his metal health issues and create his own silver lining…

This book is utterly brilliant and made me really smile at the sad but nice ending. 

From talking with the holiday buddies though, straight away I realised that the film is slightly different. Why do they do that?!

Matthew Quick has easily become one of my favourite authors. I can't recommend his work highly enough.

So that's my holiday reading! Some great reads! Have you read any of the above? Or will you be taking any on your holiday?

Summer holidays


You will have noticed I have been MIA for the past week (if you haven't noticed, humour me OK?) 

I spent the past week in sunny Portugal and while I am well aware it was just as hot, if not hotter, in the UK, you can't just roll out of bed and into a pool here can you? 

And this trip had all the ingredients of a fantastic holiday….

Fabulous people 

Champagne sangria

Lots of laughs

Gin based cocktails (Joely specials!)


Did I mention booze was an essential ingredient?

Oh and no holiday would be complete without a Dean the Dinosaur… 

Can I go back please?