Book Lovers of the World Unite :: Reasons to Stay Cheerful No.2

Book Lovers of the World Unite :: Reasons to Stay Cheerful No.2

After lashings of rain, I think we’re all in need of some cheer.  This isn’t the June weather I, nor my summer dresses, were dreaming of. Let’s hope July is on hand to spoil us with sunshine! With so much rain around, it seems only natural to curl up with a well-loved book and indulge in 

Reasons to be Cheerful No.2 : Books


When I was younger, I was an unashamed bookworm. Books were captivating and their only limit? Imagination. Oh, and pocket money. Personally, I’d like to think back then I was a modern day Matilda  (just quite a bit older and not as clever). I would read as my teacher was doing the register, morning and afternoon, read after lights out, read whilst eating breakfast and any other (in)opportune moment. I remember reading the entirety of the Sweet Valley High series, although I had to visit our town’s central library each Saturday to seek out unread books. Isn’t our library a beauty? (I’ve talked about my love of this library here.) 

Source

When I was in year 6, we had a teacher called Mrs Tomlinson. After our SATs were over, and level 5s secured, she started to read the book ‘The Silver Sword’ to us. I remember being enthralled by the plight of the Balicki family as they were torn apart by the Germans in war torn Poland. (I claim that it was here that my fascination of World War Two and the Holocaust started.) Sadly, the summer holidays came before the end of the book and I never learnt if the family met again!


As I grew older, books became a rare pleasure. It seemed that there was just too much to cram into the day. At best, I was managing a few pages each night until, sadly, books were squeezed out entirely. Until recently. Until the discovery of audio books! 

Chatting with the boy late one night, we were surprised to discover we both held this book close to our hearts. He downloaded it and lying in bed we started to listen to the tale of the Balickis. It was so relaxing. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep…always at the best part. Typical. I’m now considering audio books to keep my company when I’m ironing, cleaning and cooking tea. 

Did you know? You can take audio books out of the library for free? If you’re not a fan of libraries, Love Film offer a streaming service on audio books. I’ve yet to look into this in detail, but it’s something I’m considering!

Do you listen to audio books? 

As always, much love,

Donna x

Mundane Midweek :: Strikes and Domesticity

Mundane Midweek :: Strikes and Domesticity

It’s Thursday, yet for me, it feels like Sunday. This is because I haven’t been to work today, due to industrial action. There aren’t many perks of a strike and the loss of a day’s pay, however it has given me ample time to catch up on my favourite blogs. I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed reading everybody’s Mundane Midweek posts, some of them have made me laugh out loud! If you’re unsure of what I mean, it’s an idea created by Charlotte of Charlotte’s Web, check out this post for a round up and other bloggers taking part.
 
Yes, I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon but my day has truly been mundane. So mundane, I thought it deserved a post of its own. It started with the trusty alarm clock, set for 6.50am. I had such good intentions of getting up at my usual school time! Did it happen? Hell no. 8.30am. Oops.
Does anyone else get a ridiculous amount of emails about voucher codes and sales? Normally I delete them straight away, but I decided to open Debenhams’ offering. Betty Jackson.Black ‘Camilla’ bedding reduced to £19.50. Erm, yes please! 


 
After a truly frustrating check out experience from them, I thought I’d check out Topshop’s sale. There’s so much I want in the sale, yet so much not in my size in the sale. Cue more frustration. Those leather tan sandals will be mine! Then I spotted the Cath Kidston sale. Oh my days! I made two purchases, both as gifts for a friend. However, if this London Backpack would have been in stock, let’s just say I’d be very poor right now. 
 
I will admit, I spent more time than I should working today. But the reports won’t write themselves and I have *a lot* of work to get through in very little time. So the next few hours passed like a blur. My only breaks were to wash my bedding , empty the dishwasher and reheat some pasta for my dinner.

And what am I doing now to make the day truly exciting? Well, I’m about to cook tea and do some more work. Rock and roll.

How’s your day been?

As always, much love,

Donna x

New Music I Love :: Playlist 3.0 JUNE

June has been such a lovely month for new music, hasn’t it? With the festival season almost upon us, my Spotify playlist is bursting at the seams… and pleasingly so. 
 
No doubt you’ve heard of London Grammar? In just a week, I’ve caught of a glimpse of them on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch playlist and also had the pleasure of catching them on the radio. Driving past country fields with a gorgeous sunset in the rear window, this was my soundtrack. I’m absolutely addicted to this song. It’s hypnotic and haunting! Although, I can’t help but compare them to Canada’s Austra, just me?
 
Moving on! Jagwar Ma! I’m rather sad  embarrassed to say, I missed their gig at the Deaf Institute in Manchester last week! (Shame on me) They seem to be on everyone’s radar at the moment, with due cause. 
Ah Tame Impala! I love their hedonistic, 70s vibe. Their latest offering does not disappoint. Not as iconic as ‘Elephant’, however just as catchy. 
Camera Obscura are back! Hurrah! No longer will I wait for the adverts on Come Dine With Me just to hear a snippet of their silky tones (and continue to annoy everyone in the room with my awful singing.) Look up ‘French Navy’ if this confuses you. ‘Do It Again’ does not disappoint, it’s simply lovely. Good moods all around. 
 
I had absolutely no choice about adding ‘Love Sick’ by Peace. I apologise now. Even though they are appalling live, this song is ridiculously catchy and twee. A definite festival song. I challenge you not to get it stuck in your head!
Now, Temples. A band that have been on the tip of any music lover’s tongue for the past few months. These were recommended to me way back in March, however I’m not one for following hyped bands, *cough* Palma Violets anyone? I may have missed a trick here though. 
On a completely different vibe, I’m going to leave you with Drenge. If you’re looking to relieve a little pent up rage, try these. I caught this on the radio, late one angst filled night. If you like Queens of the Stone Age, I’m guessing you’ll like Drenge. Huge giddy bumps that they will be playing Kendal Calling! Before you click! Turn it up…loud!
 
 
Want more? The latest offerings from Phoenix, The XX, Vampire Weekend and Local Natives don’t fail to please. 
 
What are you listening to this month?
 
Much love,
Donna x
 
Psst! Like this playlist? Check out my previous playlists from February and March
 
Psst psst psst! Don’t lose me! Add me on bloglovin’! *poke*
Life of Late :: A Little Down Time

Life of Late :: A Little Down Time

Well, it’s safe to say that I have been off the proverbial radar of late. The #lbloggers chat has passed me by each and every Sunday and on twitter, I’ve lurked but rarely said a word. My, I’m starting to feel invisible! I’ve been blogging, but saving them to drafts. A few posts have made it through the net and onto the world wide web! Truth be known, I’ve been a bit of a Miserable Minnie! Time away from blogging has meant that I’ve been able to see more of friends and loved ones. 
My weekend started early this week, with the weather being beatific, my friends and I decided to have a picnic style tea and a bit of a catch up. Typical that on Thursday it should decide to howl it down! We spent the night (indoors) making loose plans for Kendal Calling, which involved winning a weekend stay in a luxury pod as the main plan, deciding if we should pay to pee and the likelihood of greasy hair issues. Always cheers me up having a wee chat to the girls. Suddenly, things don’t seem half as bad.
So Saturday was a lazy affair. After a much needed lie in, the boy and I decided to have an afternoon out here…

 It’s Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley. Famed for its appearance in the Oscar Winning film ‘The King’s Speech’. They’re rather proud of this fact and to be honest, I don’t blame them! It’s the last surviving steam powered weaving mill in the world. It’s a Victorian gem in Burnley’s crown and it’s certainly interesting through the lens of a camera.

Now something else happened this weekend that made me do a little jig on the spot…my followers jumped by 3. For those that have been blogging for a while, you mightn’t understand my joy at this. When I started blogging, I doubted anyone would read my ramblings… so to now have a total of 64 Bloglovin followers has made my weekend! So, thanks to each and every one of you …it means a lot. 

Sunday was an even lazier affair, we only ventured out of the house to go to TK Maxx and Tesco, nothing newsworthy there! However, I don’t know if you coffee lovers have seen? But Costa Coffee are offering a Tassimo coffee machine for £30! It’s an absolute bargain. The arrival of the Tassimo, teamed with Sunday afternoon lazing was pure bliss! I’ve also been finding some amazing new blogs which I absolutely adore, thanks for leaving your links in the comments!

Oh! And one other thing to share with you (which brightened my Monday morning no end)…

A Weekend Away :: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (Day Two)

A Weekend Away :: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (Day Two)

The beauty of visiting Yorkshire is that you are only a stone’s throw away from each of its towns and cities. Waking early, well early enough for a Sunday morning, we hopped into the car and left Sheffield for the short drive to Wakefield. 
 
As you may know, I am from the small, industrial town of St Helens. Six years ago, a Channel 4 TV series saw us receive a 20 metres high statue called ‘Dream’ by Jaume Plensa (you might have seen it in this blog post here). Wakefield is home to Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) and more sculptures by Plensa. So, the boy and I decided to check it out, whilst we were in the neighbourhood. 
 
After a picnic pit stop and a McDonalds refuelling session, we arrived at YSP. Free to enter, the park boasts 500 acres or rolling countryside and some amazing sculptures to boot too! Yes, you have to pay £7.50 to park, however that’s any Yorkshire man’s bargain when you consider it equates to £3.75 per person! 
 
 
Now, I’m not a huge fan of sculpture, but I am an advocate of strolling around beautiful gardens in the sun and taking lots of pictures. Look at what my camera spied…
 
 
Molecule Man! An almost identical sculpture stands in Berlin’s River Spree. It just goes to show that you’re never too far away from a blog post banging on about Berlin! You will be pleased to hear my next jaunt is far, far away from Berlin. Phew!
 
Obeying thy stomachs, we decided to find a picnic spot in the 500 acres. I’ll admit, it was a definite highlight of my day Then again, that was until the midgies caught up and we were forced to move on and take yet MORE pictures!
 
I was so relieved to see a piece by Antony Gormley. Finally! An artist I knew at least two facts about. I’ve even seen his other work, not to brag like. I was in awe of the piece so much, I forgot to take a photograph…doh. 
 
Escaping the heat, we headed inside to see Yinka Shonibare’s exhibition, Fabric-ation. Unfortunately, there was no camera action allowed, which is a shame as his Blackberry wielding, bling covered ‘Urban Fox’ was pure genius. We did snap this little beauty in the YSP entrance though. 
 
 
The perfect end to a smashing weekend? Putting the roof down on the car, soaking up the last rays of sun and finishing the last bits of our picnic. Bliss!
 
As always, much love,
 
Donna (Apparently, a culture vulture these days!)