Looking Back ~ January 2017

Who can believe that the first month of the year has come and gone already? Of course anyone with a basic understanding of how time works probably can believe it, but January always feels like a challenge, and getting through it is something that has to be ticked off, instead of enjoyed.

Whatever else has happened personally, January 2017 will always be the month when I was scared to turn on the news. Unbelievably, as I write this, it’s been nine days since the inauguration, and each new day just brings more terrifying developments. I can’t imagine what the next four years will bring.

But to forget about the macro, and concentrate on the micro, January was a fairly uneventful month, as the long first month of the year tends to be. I spent the first weekend of the month working at an event at Alexandra Palace, where I managed to grab a photo with Evy Lynch, also known as Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood. I try not to be a total loser, but inevitably from time to time it spills out, but luckily she was happy enough to let me take a photo with her. (In the writing of this, I’ve decided not to share the photo here. It’s on my Instagram if anyone cares enough to take a look!)

Pizza Express Prosecco

I toddled along to Pizza Express to try out their Ultimate Comforts menu, review can be found here; I also went to The Den at 23 in Colchester so my friend Hannah could try their Quarter Pounder Cheeze Burger, which is apparently a vegan version of a Big Mac. I didn’t have it, opting for the hot dog instead, but Hannah gave it a massive thumbs up.

Vegan hotdog

And finally, as ever with a monthly round-up post, I should mention another Mark Kermode in 3D has been and gone with myself and my buddies in the audience. He’s booked in for another year there, so no doubt you’ll hear me mention it a lot again, though I think my attempts to attend them all will once more be stymied. January’s saw two top guests; Anna Smith, president of the Critics’ Circle and film critic, and none other than Mark Gatiss, who was on top form, very funny and engaging.

Mark Kermode BFI Southbank

Fun to Come in February

• Another MK3D at the BFI Southbank

• The wedding of a very dear friend from school 

• Hopefully another weekend with my niece and great-niece

34 Before 34 ~ Go to Liverpool

It’s been such a long time since I did a post on here that wasn’t books, photo an hour, or monthly round up related! It’s also been a while since I updated you on my 34 Before 34 progress, so that’s what you are getting now.

I popped ‘Go to Liverpool’ on my list because I’ve always wanted to visit the city, and I was hoping this would provide the impetus to do so. In my head, I was going back to Edinburgh this year, because I enjoyed my time there so much last year, and I had only managed to stay for a couple of days. But then, in the event, I didn’t go, because the radio event that I had attended last year wasn’t on this year. So I thought, rather than go back to somewhere I only went a year ago, I’ll actually go to Liverpool!

I went for three nights; for two nights I stayed in university accommodation, as it’s cheap and functional! I then booked a hotel room in a Travelodge for the last night, because it was the only night that was cheaper than the university room, and it was a little closer to the train station for my return trip. I always do these kinds of trips on a budget – they aren’t about luxury hotels or expensive travel, and this time, as with Edinburgh, I was more than satisfied with my accommodation.

The weather was appalling for the most part; I stepped off the train into the most ridiculous rain! But of course, I didn’t go to the north of England in August for the weather, so I just made the best of it (this included buying an umbrella from Poundland!). Tate LiverpoolTate Liverpool

As my dad works for Tate Britain it would have been remiss of me to go all the way to Liverpool and not visit Tate Liverpool. He got me a ticket for the Francis Bacon Invisible Rooms exhibition that is currently on display there, so I went along on Sunday morning for a look around. It’s not entirely my cup of tea, if I’m honest; I can appreciate the genius without entirely getting it. But there was a Maria Lassnig exhibition on at the same time, and I quite enjoyed that. And Tate Liverpool is in a really love part of the city, on the Albert Dock, so it was nice to spend some time down there. It would have been even nicer if the sun had been shining!

Liver Building Liverpool

Waterstones Liverpool Paperback Writer

Kernaghan Books Liverpool

Albert Dock Liverpool

Albert Dock LiverpoolRailway Offices LiverpoolKermode Award

I managed to find the Kermode Award that I knew was at the Museum of Liverpool – it was tucked around a corner, but I found it! It’s part of the Reel Stories exhibition there that celebrates film in Liverpool.

Liverpool Bluecoat Centre

Liverpool Albert Dock

Albert Dock Liverpool

Albert Dock Liverpool

 

 

Liverpool Maritime Museum Mauretania

Liverpool Maritime Museum TitanicI almost didn’t go to the Maritime Museum, because I didn’t think it was going to be up my street.

But then I realised that Liverpool has a Titanic connection, and found out that there was an exhibition at the museum. I’m really pleased that I did go in the end, because it was a highlight of my weekend! The Titanic exhibition was interesting, and I also loved what I learned about the Lusitania, something I knew absolutely nothing about prior to this. It’s well worth a visit.

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I had to get an idiotic selfie with The Beatles!

Liverpool Beatles Statue

Liverpool Albert Dock

 

I had a really great weekend, despite the weather, and I would love to go back some time. I think what I love most about the city is the mix of new and old architecture – it manages to feel modern and classic at the same time.

9. Visit Liverpool

33-before33

Looking back ~ July 2016

One day before the end of August, and here I am recapping July. I was tempted to miss it out, but I actually had a lot of fun in July, and I didn’t want for it not to be documented!

I began the month by taking a holiday to Camber Sands with my best friends. As I so often say on here, we are so rarely all together, but there are a couple of times a year when we try really hard to be all in the same place. One is a Christmas date, and the other is a weekend in East Sussex, where my friend’s mum has a caravan. Freebie holiday with my favourite people – there’s nothing not to love!

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We got fake tattoos, we played Pass the Pigs, we went to the beach, we played Cards Against Humanity, and we generally had a lovely weekend.

My dad turned 70 and had a party, so I got to see all my family. And if it’s difficult to get my four friends and me in the same room more than twice a year, it’s actually impossible to get my entire family – all 25 of us – in the same room more than once every couple of years. So that was nice.

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This is just my siblings and my dad – the photo of all of us contains too many children for me to comfortably upload it onto my blog. But this is one of my favourite photos of the year!

I went to Bedford for the Bedford River Festival in July – my brother and sister-in-law live there, so Hannah and I drove up to see them and take part in the festivities. It was a very busy and hot day; I had fun, but I was glad to get home!

Bedford River FestivalI also headed along to the BFI Southbank for yet another Mark Kermode Live in 3D. It feels like such a long time ago, because there was no August date, so I feel like I’ve been waiting forever! This time we were treated to Hadley Freeman and David Arnold as guests, as well as a special video message from Jordan Vogt-Roberts, especially for us!

Mark Kermode BFI

And last, but by no means least, I went to YALC, which is the Young Adult Literary Convention. I had planned a full post on this, and I still hope to do it, but in the meantime here’s what went down: I met up with my friend Chloe, and we saw two panels, one with Simon Mayo as a panellist, talking about revolution in YA fiction, and one with him as the moderator, with panellists talking about music in YA literature. Then afterwards, I met him, he signed my book, and was as charming as ever. Yay for YALC!

YALC Simon MayoSo, that, in a nutshell, was July. See what I mean about not wanting to miss this one out? Usually I have to scour my Instagram looking for fun things I did, but this month was all about the fun!

I’ll be back soon (probably in a couple of weeks, knowing my track record), to round up August!

 

Looking Back ~ April 2016

What happened in April? It all seems like a long time ago (not least because it was), but it was a good month!

Most importantly, I became a great-aunt! I’ve mentioned this time and time again, but April 2016 will always be special to me for this reason, and I’m pleased to report that Peggie Jane (middle name for me) is beautiful!

In other news, right at the start of the month, I visited Glasgow for the first time. It was a work trip, so no real time to see the city, but we were staying by the river, and the views were nice! We also got to head into town for some food and had some lovely vegetarian/vegan Indian food at a place called Usha’s.

River Clyde Glasgow

Elsewhere, outside of work, I headed into London for Mark Kermode Live in 3D again. I decided to take the whole day off and do a little exploring this time; nothing too off the beaten track, as I stayed largely on the Southbank. I popped into Tate Modern, somewhere I like to go very sparingly, as I am not a huge fan of modern art. But I do love Mondrian, and I was excited when I chanced upon a couple of his paintings in one of the exhibitions.

Mondrian Tate Modern

The Mark Kermode event was as wonderful as ever – it’s a monthly event but each one is distinct; they follow a similar structure but he covers all sorts of films, and it’s honestly just an honour to get to hear him talk so passionately about films. I also toddled along to Norwich at the end of the month, again to see Dr K (I know), this time presenting Silent Running.

I also ticked off a 34 Before 34 item (Go to IKEA – blog post to follow), went on a course in London, and very much appreciated the first warm days of spring. I am now able to go for a walk in the evenings, because the sun is invariably shining and it stays light for longer, so I load up a podcast, and walk away!

Earls Colne

May has already been pretty exciting, so I’m looking forward to next month’s roundup.