Bibliophile, An Illustrated Miscellany: Jane Mount

Bibliophile, An Illustrated Miscellany: Jane Mount

Book Reviews, Non-Fiction
The back of this book has the phrase "BOOKLOVERS, REJOICE!" embossed in gold into it, and honestly, I did when I purchased it and I am while I write this review. What an absolute gem of a book. It is a prime example of why I don't own a Kindle, the reassuring weight of the volume and thickness of each page is just bewitching. Jane Mount, the creator of 'Bibliophile' caught my attention through her Instagram account. Everything on there contributes to you feeling as if you're in a sort of bookish heaven or, at the very least, a parallel universe in which teenagers read and fewer leaders come from a dystopian nightmare. These are the books she has been asked to draw most frequently out of the 15,000 book…
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Kidnap the Sandy Claws (keep the magic here!)

Kidnap the Sandy Claws (keep the magic here!)

Blog, Christmas
It's about this time of year, from the interim of Christmas day to NYE and beyond into January, that the 'slump' begins. Often, we have spent beyond our means, rushed around trying to fit in lots of things and taken up a chunk of our holiday days. The quicksand dread of going back to work and needing to pack away all the Christmas decorations sets in. Plus, January, as a month, seems to have become the lynchpin for abstinence campaigns! In all the most irritating types of socially acceptable ways, despite being quite frankly both competitive and passive aggressive, social media will let us know we've got ourselves on the 'naughty list' with all that festive indulgence. We will literally eat (char)coal as penance, as this 'super' supplement promises to…
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5 incredible nature accounts to follow on Instagram

5 incredible nature accounts to follow on Instagram

Blog, Instagram
Like everyone I love most dearly, I am smitten with everything David Attenborough has ever recorded. He's one of the few people I am comfortable with being given the title 'Sir'. I'm actually quite cross that this software is trying to autocorrect his surname to Peterborough, insinuating Sir Dave isn't famous enough to be recognised when Facebook is! The man is 92 years old, and still bothered to go and address the UN Climate Summit in Poland; speaking emphatically about the need for urgent change. I'm exhausted just thinking about it, it's winter and I'm tired! Surely he's exhausted? He's said these things previously, again and again, seemingly ad infinitum. Still, he rises.https://bit.ly/2EbghyL  The appeal of Dave and his programmes, narration and arguments lies in the way he has made…
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From Southampton to Las Vegas, our obsession with the Titanic

From Southampton to Las Vegas, our obsession with the Titanic

Blog, Culture, UK, USA
Is it perverse to want to have a drink at the pub in which passengers of the Titanic had their last? Is it strange that the manager, who has only been there 7 years, knows that over 100 years ago a pair of brothers missed said voyage because they got carried away with their merriment? Is it even weirder that I am so relieved for those brothers, of a different time, and now long dead, that I can feel myself welling up? We go to great lengths to visit places of historical significance; maybe significance is the wrong word, The Grapes is, after all, just a pub. However, it seems sentimentalities stir within us, a sort of selective empathic tug, over certain tragedies; this simply defies any sound reasoning. As…
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The Abandoned Acropolis Mall: Mexico City

The Abandoned Acropolis Mall: Mexico City

Day trips, Mexico, Photo Albums
It’s a given, that if you’re able to speak the language of the country you visit, and ask the right questions, you will get a more intimate exposure to it. After taking jobs at an international school in Mexico City, my girlfriend and I spoke acceptable, if ugly, Spanish. We’d been given free lessons, for 3 hours a week, there was no excuse not to learn something! We were rewarded with frank conversations about corruption; the rampant buying of prime location properties by Americans; the virtues of Salsa Verde; and, the importance of having "cambio" (change). We didn’t anticipate that a throwaway conversation about my interest in urban decay, and abandoned places, would lead to an invitation to “explore” Acropolis, a crumbling mall, but were immediately game. With a name…
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Best places in Cardiff to buy gifts for women

Best places in Cardiff to buy gifts for women

Blog, Cardiff, Shop local
This is my second instalment of a guide to buying presents for the independent women in your life, where I’m basically arguing that you should do that by supporting independent businesses and artists. I started contemplating this for a number of reasons, the first being that as somebody who has always prided themselves on buying good gifts I've noticed that a lot of the pleasure of doing so has gone out of it as I get older. Some of that can be accounted for because there are more pressures on my time these days, but I think the true reason for the feeling is because you see the same things on repeat every year. It gets boring and kills the magic. I don't know anybody who thinks it's appropriate to…
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How to Buy Independent Gifts for Independent Women: The Cardiff Edition

How to Buy Independent Gifts for Independent Women: The Cardiff Edition

Blog, Cardiff, Shop local
If you have independent women, (young, old, or in-between) in your life, and you like to buy them thoughtful presents, I suggest you show you get their flow by supporting other independent women, artists and businesses. Put your money where your mouth is kinda thing. Hit her in the heart by showing that you admire, respect, honour and want to cultivate that part of her personality. Before you continue reading this, it's really important for you to know that: I am not getting paid to write this, am not secretly in an affiliate scheme, not getting freebies and don't expect freebies once I’ve posted it. Since trying to make a living out of my writing, my eyes have been opened to how difficult it is to be self-employed and rely…
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What does depression look like?

What does depression look like?

Blog, Campaigner
I have enough sense to recognise Depression does not like an upside down smile. I couldn't depict Depression to a child on a single cue card with the aid of a definitive emoji. Comedians can get Depression, so I assume Depression isn't a mask of perpetual tears? So, what the fork does Depression look like? Five years on from bagging my own label, I've grown to understand a lot more about it. Doesn't make me wiser. Sometimes, when I'm lying in bed, and have been there for an hour when I promised myself I'd just have a 5-minute break, I try to determine, "is this what Depression looks like?". I start chattering away to myself about how THIS is why I have a jelly belly, "just get up! You could…
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Red Kites, a Leucistic Kite and Gigrin Farm, Mid-Wales.

Red Kites, a Leucistic Kite and Gigrin Farm, Mid-Wales.

Photo Albums, Wales
To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. John Burroughs Gigrin Farm is in Mid-Wales, in, of all places, "Rhayader". A place whose name has become a partly-butchered-Anglicised form of its original Welsh name "Y Rhaeadr" (the waterfall), or more fully, "Rhaeadr Gwy" (waterfall on the Wye). The absence of a waterfall hasn't usurped the old name; despite it having been forsaken in 1780, to make way for the bridge linking the town to Cwmdauddwr and the Elan Valley. Even as a…
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The Agatha Raisin Series: M.C. Beaton

The Agatha Raisin Series: M.C. Beaton

Book Reviews, Fiction
When I picked up 'Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet', by M.C. Beaton, it was initially because of a fondness for all things murder mystery based. (I'm still mourning the loss of my cherished Cluedo SUPER CHALLENGE! Maybe Ms Raisin was destined to be a substitute?) I also thought of my nan, we had very little in common but she hoarded Agatha Christie books, watched Midsummer Murders with my brother and I, when babysitting, and even had a strong affection for Poirot. Added to that, with mirth, my family often refer to my mum as, "Clouseau!" (she picks apart the minutiae of a story to make sure she's not being duped), it seemed fitting that Aggie came home with me. Four months, and 6 instalments of escapades, later, and I am…
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