35 Before 35 ~ Throw a Gilmore Girls party

IMG_1555

Remember back in November, when the Gilmore Girls revival was released on Netflix, and the world went Stars Hollow-mad? That would have been a great time to write a post about the Gilmore Girls party that I threw, when it was especially relevant. Cut to nine months later, when everyone is totally over it, especially given just how disappointing 75% of the revival was, and here I am, writing my post.

Hey, I never said that I was a good blogger.

I put this item on my list last year for the simple reason that I was so excited about the new episodes, and I knew I’d be watching them with my friends, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to throw the type of party I have seen on Pinterest.

In the end, of course, it didn’t really turn out that way. The decorations weren’t Pinterest-worthy, and the new episodes were disappointing. I still managed to have a lovely time, however, because I got to spend time with my best friends, and we ate lots of food (we decided to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, except that just ended up being a roast dinner), and we got to go back to Stars Hollow.

IMG_1554

As you should be able to tell from the photo, we dressed up – V was Paris, Anna was Rory, I was Luke, and Hannah was Sookie. Actually, V didn’t dress up as Paris, she didn’t really dress up at all, but we just decided that she could be Paris. My other friend Jen bought a chow dog toy and sort of came as Michel, but doesn’t really like having her photo taken, so we used Paw-Paw in the photo in her place!

IMG_1552

Hannah went all out, ordering a smock and having Sookie’s name embroidered onto it! She did almost all of the cooking as well, so it was only right that she looked the part

IMG_1556

I wish that my house didn’t look as messy as it does in this photo, but I had to share it simply because I love that there is a sign on the wall that says ‘No Cell Phones’ (lovingly created by me), and these three losers are sat on their phones!

IMG_1551

Hand on heart, at this distance, I am mostly pretending that the revival episodes didn’t happen. The best bit, by far, was the scene in which Lorelai calls Emily and finally mourns Richard’s death properly. Everything else was something between don’t-really-care and I-can’t-believe-they-did-that. Some things* are just better left un-revived.

And Pinterest-worthy or not, I had a lovely time with my friends at my Gilmore Girls party!

*most things

12. Throw a Gilmore Girls party

July 2017 Books

August-Books

What books did I read in July? Read on to find out!

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah *

I’m a big fan of Sophie Hannah; I’ve read a fair few of her Spilling CID series, and loved pretty much all of them. She’s known for this series, primarily, and her Hercule Poirot books, but Did You See Melody is a stand-alone novel. Cara Burrows is facing problems at home that she doesn’t want to face up to, so she hops on a plane from Britain and heads to a luxury spa resort in Arizona. While there, she becomes entangled in a murder mystery; years before the parents of Melody Chapa were convicted of the child’s murder, and now Cara is convinced that the girl, now a teenager, is at this very same spa. It truly is one of those stories that becomes unputdownable, as you reach a point where you can’t rest until you know how the mystery will unfold. I’m now planning to pick up where I left off with the Spilling CID series.

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Man of My Dreams is one of those books that, a month on from reading it, I’m searching my memory for details of the plot. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it; I did, as I do with most of Sittenfeld’s work that I’ve read, but it’s a book that is not heavy on plot. It centres around Hannah, who at the start of the novel is staying with her aunt and uncle due to her parents’ marriage being all but over. As the book progresses, we are party to the major milestones in Hannah’s life, and we discover how her parents’ marriage and subsequent divorce impacts on her and her own relationships. Sittenfeld’s characters are just so well written that they stay with me for some time after, and Hannah was no exception.

Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks *

There’s always room on a bookshop shelf for novels like this, as people are jetting off on their own holidays, I suppose the assumption is that they’d like to read stories of other people’s summers, especially if they are exotic. I reviewed this book as part of a blog tour; I can’t say that I’d necessarily have picked it up otherwise, but it was diverting enough while I was reading it. It’s a very formulaic romance story, but that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. Our hero, Cesca, is one of four sisters, and I believe that there are three more stories to follow in the Shakespeare Sisters series. You can read my review of Summer’s Lease here.

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara * 

Another blog tour that I was involved with, and another summer book. This one was a little different, however, because it was set on the west coast of Ireland – rather less exotic than the Italian villa of Summer’s Lease, though I’m sure no less beautiful. Its most pointedly noticeable difference from other romance/chick-lit books though, was the inclusion of a fair amount of mythology and local folklore. It made a change that this was the backbone of the story, allowing the romance of the central characters to play out around it. As I mentioned in my review of The Summer of Serendipity, my major complaint with this book was the sheer number of cultural references, something that I find pretty hard to ignore, even in whimsical romances.

Songs About Us by Chris Russell

Last year I went along to YALC, heard Chris Russell speak, bought Songs About a Girl and got him to sign it. This year, I didn’t go along to YALC, but I did go to the library to collect my reserved books, and amongst them was Songs About Us, the second in his Fire&Lights trilogy. It follows on from where the last book left off, so anyone coming to this book without having read the first would be wise to start with Songs About a Girl. Charlie Bloom, having had her heart broken by boyband heart-throb Gabe, apparently hasn’t learnt her lesson, and heads back into the Fire&Lights maelstrom to once more take photos, and to try dating another member, Olly. All the time that this happening, she’s also trying to repair her relationship with her dad, study for her exams, and uncover the mystery surrounding her mother, which is intrisically linked to Gabe’s own family. This is a really entertaining series; Russell has a deft hand when it comes to writing about a teenage girl, and the insight (real or imagined) into behind the scenes of a world-famous boyband is a lot of fun.

Books with an asterisk were provided by publishers.

Books in 2017 – 25

 

Photo an Hour #45 ~ April 2017

This was a busy weekend, according to Instagram. I was apparently slightly hungover on this particular Photo an Hour day, though I can’t for the life of me remember where I had been the night before. I rarely drink anything, never mind enough to feel hungover, so it should be much easier to remember! The day itself saw me meeting up with my best friends for dinner, and then the following day I saw my great-niece for her first birthday. Weekends like that are nice, but I’m sure I needed some sort of lay down on Sunday evening to get over all the socialising.

07 08

7am | Up early, despite this apparent night out the previous evening. I still can’t work out where I could possibly have been.

8am | McDonalds for breakfast, because Hannah, who I live with, is the nicest person in the world and went out to get it.

09 10

9am | Back to bed, for some reading.

10am | Sometimes I’m just in the mood for some show tunes. More specifically, sometimes I am just in the mood to sing Defying Gravity as loudly as I possibly can and pretend that I sound just like Idina Menzel.

11 12

11am | We parked next to this HILARIOUS van.

12pm | To the shops, and in an attempt to ensure that I didn’t spend any money, I stuck mainly to shops I couldn’t afford, rather than those I can afford. I would never be tempted to spend the likes of £26 on a top, as nice as that white and blue stripey one is.

13 14

1pm | A quick stop at M&S, and I took the chance to pick up a bottle of Sparkling Florida Orange, because it’s delicious.

2pm | Back to bed, with chocolate and a book.

16 17

4pm | Shockingly, having laid down on my bed, with my book, nursing a bit of a hangover, I fell asleep and missed the 3pm photo. By 4pm I was awake and about to paint my nails.

5pm | Attempting to tame my hair with the best tools I have. (Actually, that comb has seen better days.)

18 19

6pm | Off out, with Jen and Hannah, to meet with the rest of the gang for food.

7pm | Trying to decide on said food.

20 21

8pm | I so rarely have dessert in restaurants. This might be hard to believe – I do not look like the sort of person who turns down food – but it’s true. I don’t know why; probably because I so often over-indulge on a main course.

9pm | But I went for one this time, and was treated this. I don’t remember for certain, but I’m sure I felt sick after this.

22

10pm | Yeah, I’m the loser who nearly always forgets to count their photos and make sure they end up with an even number so this doesn’t happen. It’s not even a good photo…

As you can see, your day doesn’t have to be scintillating for you to join in with Photo an Hour. Sometimes it’s the more mundane days that make for the more interesting photos (not sure this is the case this time, however…)

Our date for this month is Saturday 26th August (Bank Holiday weekend!), and if you sign up for a reminder email (in the sidebar on the right of this page), I’ll do my best to remember to send it. More details about Photo an Hour can be found here, and all my previous Photo an Hour posts can be found here.

 

Book Blog Tour ~ The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

9780751566208Serendipity is a property seeker. So much more than an estate agent, she, along with her assistant Kiki, travel the world hunting for perfect homes for their clients. One summer finds her on the west coast of Ireland, searching for a property in Ballykiltara, an idyllic town with a close-knit community and their fair share of folklore.

Ren (as she prefers to be known) finds the perfect house almost immediately, but there’s a problem; nobody seems to own the house. It’s known locally as the Welcome House; its doors are always open for anyone who might need it. Whether that’s hikers looking for shelter, or women seeking refuge, there’s always room at the Welcome House.

Ren tries to find out who owns it so they can negotiate a sale, all the while falling in love with the little Irish town, while trying to avoid the distractions of the hotel manager, Finn.

This is the first of Ali McNamara’s books that I have read; I know that she is very popular in the chick-lit circles, but I haven’t ever picked up one of her previous novels. I was pleasantly surprised by the story here, mostly because I wasn’t expecting anything quite so historical or mystical. It’s no fantasy book, of course, but there’s a fair sprinkling of mythology in the story, and the eventual mystery surrounding the house is not something that I was expecting.

Of course, this is a chick-lit novel, so there’s also a fair sprinkling of romance. Ren is ready to fall in love again after a traumatic relationship in the past, and Finn, the hotel manager, is the perfect man – mysterious, handsome and kind.

If I have one complaint about The Summer of Serendipity, it’s that there’s far too many cultural references. It’s one of my biggest bugbears when it comes to modern fiction; if you pepper your story with references to Ed Sheeran and Stephen Tomlinson (?) your story has a shelf-life of about five minutes. I also took some issue with the way that Kiki was characterised; she was described as being quirky and kooky as soon as we met her,  but somehow we were meant to believe that underneath all that, she was whip sharp. She wasn’t, she was ditzy and frequently got things wrong, and I found her really annoying!

Overall, however, this is a fun story, and one that will be an easy read if you’re heading off on your summer holidays. It has made me want to visit the west coast of Ireland as well!

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
Publication Date: 13th July 2017
Sphere
Provided by publisher

Album of the Week 013 ~ Evolve by Imagine Dragons

Imagine-Dragons

Album: Evolve by Imagine Dragons

Release Date: June 2017

My Favourite Tracks: Believer, Thunder, Walking The Wire, Yesterday

Album Notes: My Album of the Week posts haven’t been a raging success, as I started the series 33 weeks ago, and this number 13. I guess that’s a failure for that particular 35 Before 35 item! But despite the failure, I’m continuing with them and hoping to make them a little more regular, as I really like finding a new album to listen to every week!

The only prior experience I have of Imagine Dragons is their song On Top of the World – I think it’s been used on various adverts, and sports montages in the last few years. I haven’t listened to anything else they’ve done, but when I saw that they had a new album out, I thought it was a perfect contender for Album of the Week.

And I’m so glad that I listened to it, because I really like it. It’s been on repeat for a while now; it accompanied a full two days of proof-reading at work last week, and was the perfect soundtrack. I understand that it hasn’t had the best reviews, but who cares about reviews – when you like something, you like it.

It’s the kind of music that I like, I suppose. It has a slight 80s feel to it, which is no bad thing, and I like the voice of the lead singer. It might not be particularly sophisticated rock music, and it’s much more pop rock than it is hard rock, but it has given me an enjoyable few hours listening, and I’m certain I’ll be listening again.

(I feel as though I always have to apologise for my lack of ability to write about music; I have no words to describe what I like, I just know when I do like something! Perfect then, I suppose, for a series about music. Hey ho.)

 

 

1 2 3 247