Festive Sprits by Kate Atkinson
Published by Doubleday, 2019
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
A slim collection of three stories set during the festive period. In general, they explore the more melancholic side of the holidays, when feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction are often heightened. That said, Atkinson weaves humour and warmth throughout; the strength of her characters’ voices giving us a sense of who they are incredibly quickly.
One of the stories ended on a bizarre, tonally jarring moment of magical realism that didn’t work for me, but the other two stories worked very well. Overall, they perfectly capture the bittersweet blend of nostalgia, sadness, and joy that so often go hand-in-hand at Christmastime. Lucy’s Day in particular is about finding small moments of genuine contentment in a life dictated by anxiety and burnout – something most of us can probably relate to at the moment.
This was such a great taster of what Atkinson can do, and I’m excited to explore more of her work.
The Wren-Boys by Carol Ann Duffy
Published by Picador, 2015
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Narrative driven and simply told, yet bolstered by vivid imagery, this ranks among my favourite Christmas poems from Duffy so far.
Dermot Flynn’s illustrations are a beautiful, well-matched accompaniment, bringing to life the crisp, winter landscapes painted by Duffy’s words.
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Hello, all! I’m back from my trip to Copenhagen, having had a wonderful time. It’s an absolutely beautiful city with a fantastically warm and friendly atmosphere. We also really lucked out with the weather, which was amazing. I highly recommend a visit here to anyone who may be planning a holiday of their own, and thought I’d share a few snaps of my favourite sights to hopefully give you a taste of what the Danish capital has to offer.
Nyhavn; one of the most vibrant, picturesque parts of town.
A fountain depicting the Norse goddess, Gefjon, and the neighbouring St. Alban’s Church.
Climbing Rundetaarn (The Round Tower), and a view over the city from the top.
Rosenborg Castle and grounds (left); and the Botanical Gardens (right).
Inside The Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg Palace.
Some more shots of the grandeur at Christiansborg Palace.
A few of my favourite pieces from a sand sculpture exhibition. Each piece depicts an endangered species.
Pictures don’t do justice to the scale of the sculptures, or the level of detail that went in to creating them.
Views enjoyed from a boat tour of the canal.
Tivoli; a vast entertainment area in the heart of the city that includes gardens, live performers, an amusement park, and lots of bars & restaurants.
Tivoli is a charming and bustling place that’s well worth a visit.
Perhaps Copenhagen’s most famous resident: The Little Mermaid; accompanied by a cute family of swans that were swimming by her when we visited.
Have you been to Copenhagen? What were your favourite sights?
I just wanted to give a quick heads up in case I’m a bit quiet on here for the next little while. Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving for a holiday in Copenhagen with one of my best friends, which I’m very much looking forward to. I’ll try and keep up to date with posts whilst I’m away, but will otherwise catch up once I’m back.
Hope you all have a great week!
I’m back from my trip to Barcelona, a holiday with one of my best friends that was full of beautiful sights and a lot of sunshine. Here are a few highlights from our time away.
A view across the city from Park Güell, a major work by the much beloved Gaudí.
Some more examples of the famous mosaic design style present throughout Park Güell.
Some of the area’s more natural sights.
Some exterior shots of the iconic La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s true passion project that’s so vast it remains under construction to this day, despite being one of the city’s most popular attractions.
A glimpse at La Sagrada Familia’s beautiful interior.
More of the city’s renowned architecture, found in and around the Gothic Quarter, including Barcelona Cathedral, pictured in the middle.
The very charming Parc de la Ciutadella.
A few random finds I particularly liked: the Arc de Triomf; a fountain that was just outside our hotel in the heart of the city; and a statue of a mammoth, because why the heck not?
The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, which sits on top of Tibidabo Mountain right by a retro-style amusement park.
A few shots of the church’s interior.
A couple of different perspectives from high above the city; one taken from Park Güell and one from the top of Sagrat Cor.
Have you ever been to Barcelona? What were your favourite sights?
See you soon, Barcelona!
Just a quick post today to let you know that I’ll likely be pretty quiet on the ol’ blogosphere over the next week, as I’m flying out to Barcelona this weekend for a holiday. I’ll try and keep relatively up-to-date with people’s posts via the app, but will otherwise catch up and get back to posting once I’m home.
I hope you all have a lovely week.
Iceland, here I come!
Tomorrow is the day I tick a big box on my bucket list and finally fly out for a trip to Iceland. The landscape, the nature, the culture; it’s a place I’ve long wanted to see for myself and I’m very excited to make it a reality at last.
I’ll do my best to check out posts as and when I can but I won’t be posting for around a week myself and forgive me if I’m a little more absent than usual when it comes to commenting – I’ll try and catch up when I’m back home!
Have a lovely week and happy World Book Day!
Paris, here I come!
From tomorrow I’m going to be spending four nights in Paris with a couple of my good friends. Thanks to the wonder of Wi-Fi and my iPhone, I should hopefully be around every now and then to read some of your posts but won’t be posting in that time and for the most part will try and catch up when I get back. I hope you all have a lovely week and I’ll be back to regular posting soon.
Au revoir, mes amis!