Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Books

One thing I have never mentioned before on my blog is that I am and have always been a massive book worm and have spent many an evening unable to put down a book. I enjoy looking at other blogger's reading lists as I am always looking for something else to read. Here are the books I read in June and July.
The Traitor's Wife- Kathleen Kent (4 stars)
Synopsis: New England 1673, Martha Allen is sent to her cousin's home where she meets the Welshman with the mysterious trunk containing a red uniform. Meanwhile in London five assassins board a boat to the New World in order to capture Thomas Morgan, King Charles I's executioner.
Originally titled The Wolves of Andover, this book is a prequel to The Heretic's Daughter. It is absolutely fine to read this as a standalone book, I didn't even realise it was a prequel till I finished it! Based on fact, I really enjoyed this book as it is a period of history I know nothing about. 
Chinese Cinderella- Adeline Yen Mah (5 stars)
Synopsis: 'If you had not been born, Mama would still be alive.' Adeline's family considered her bad luck and she was made to feel unwanted. This is the true story of her struggle for acceptance.
Although a children's book, this heart-breaking story is something everyone should read. It is so moving to read about everything she went through before the age of 14. It has made me want to read her book for adults, Falling Leaves.
Safe Haven- Nicholas Sparks (3 stars)
Synopsis: When a mysterious young woman named Katie suddenly appears  in the small town of Southport, it raises questions of her past.
I enjoyed this book as lightweight easy read. Despite the fact that it follows the same old formula of Nickolas Sparks books there was an unexpected twist at the end.
The Fault in our Stars- John Green (5 stars)
Synopsis: Hazel has never been anything but terminal. But when Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
I'm sure I didn't even need to write a synopsis, is there anyone out there who has not heard of this book or seen the film?! My favourite books are the ones that make me laugh, cry and think. That is exactly what this does.
Longbourn- Jo Baker (4 stars)
Synopsis: 'If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats,' Sarah thought; 'she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields.' Life below stairs at Longbourn is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the sent of the sea. 
As a Pride and Prejudice fan this book was an absolute joy to read! However even people who have never read Pride and Prejudice will enjoy this insight into the working conditions and position of women two hundred years ago.
Linking up with Nicole for Treat Yo'self Thursday
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
(P.S sorry this post is very word heavy compared to normal!)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Travel Tuesday: Gion Matsuri

So, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Japanese festival Gion Matsuri and explained how I saw the building of the floats everyday on my way to language school. Well this week I am showing photos of the big parade.

Gion Matsuri is a very lively festival where huge floats are pulled through the streets. There are floats for each neighborhood and on top of each float are groups of musicians. I love the music of Gion Matsuri. It is so distinctive and in the weeks prior to the festival you can hear it playing in shops. Like all the Christmas music you hear in winter.

The best way to experience Gion Matsuri is to stand on a road corner which is part of the parade route. This means you get to see the floats being maneuvered gradually around the corner which is much more interesting than seeing them go straight past you one after the other. 

I have seen many Japanese festivals, but Gion Matsuri was definitely one of the most impressive!

Linking up with Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday

Don't you think the floats look quite different from when they were being built?!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Life Lately

  • Don't worry, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, despite the fact that it has been two weeks since I last blogged. You see I have been doing this time consuming thing called moving house.
  • Since arriving back in England two months ago I have been living out of a suitcase as it seemed pointless unpacking when I knew we would be moving house soon. This meant I just kept wearing the same outfits over and over again to avoid ironing everything. Now I have finally unpacked all my stuff I brought back from Japan!
  • On another note, the weather has been surprisingly good in England recently. By surprisingly good I mean proper summer weather where its warm enough to walk around all day in sundresses!
  • The sunny weather has put me in the mood for salads everyday, and Pimms...
  • I have been spending way too much time colour co-ordinating all my books. You see I have a bit of a thing recently for well presented book shelves. I'm not ocd, I promise!
  • My music for moving house playlist consists mostly of George Ezra, Haim and First Aid Kit over and over again. Love!
  • Sorry for all the bullet points, my blogging mind isn't quite functioning properly yet and my thoughts are just coming out in random spurts! Will try to get back on track tomorrow.
Hope everyone is enjoying the summer wherever you are in the world!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Travel Tuesday: Building the Gion Matsuri Floats

Those of you who have never been to Japan will probably have never heard of Gion Matsuri. So what is it? Gion Matsuri is the biggest festival in Kyoto and one of the three most famous ones in the whole of Japan! The main event is a parade however it is actually a month long festival throughout the whole of July with events happening every day!

The parade is on the 17th, and from the 10th to the 14th the floats are constructed. I was lucky last year because to get to my language school I cycled past where the floats were being constructed. This meant I got to see them change from just a few poles of bamboo into massive stunning floats.

Below are the photos I took over five days on my way home. I will be writing another post about the main parade so be sure to come back and take a look at photos of the floats in their full glory!

Some of the floats are so tall they are built on their side...
...and then pulled upright with a couple of ropes!

Linking up with Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday

Have you ever heard of Gion Matsuri?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Style in a Suitcase: Paris

When you're packing it's hard to decide what will make the cut and what will have to stay at home. I think it's best to take a little of everything; I know you might love breton tops, but do you really need to take five?! Take one long sleeved and one short sleeved then swap the others for a pair of comfy shoes. Never underestimate the merits of a comfy shoe when on holiday. Jelly shoes may be gracing the pages of every fashion magazine at the moment but they were not made for sightseeing! Welcome to my Style in a Suitcase series!
I didn't do a Style in a Suitcase post last weekend due to Le Tour de France. Because of the tour I decided this week I would do Paris. Also it has been the Couture A/W shows in Paris which has got me looking at all the super chic Paris street style. 

Top-Petit Bateau | Bag-Zara | Shoes-H&M | Jeans-Miss Selfridge

There are so many amazing art galleries and museums in Paris, such as The Pompidou Centre and The Louvre. You want to go with something comfy yet chic so why not go for a classic Breton top. In my opinion the best you can get is this lovely one from Petit Bateau. The neckline is perfect and the stripes on the sleeves line up with the ones on the body. Wear with a pair of high waisted jeans and red shoes and bag. I love this little bag from Zara, but be quick as it's in the sale!

Necklace-Topshop | Bag-Zara | Shoes-Topshop | Dress-ASOS

You can't go to Paris with out checking out the shops! Go for a simple, smart dress like this navy one with a cute white collar. Wear this necklace from Topshop under the collar so that all you can see is the green and gold centre piece peeking out. Stop things from looking too twee with a pair of white leather shoes with a chunky heel.

Don't forget:
Trench coat- you never know when it might rain in Paris.
A padlock- in case love lock bridges are your type of thing
Phone charger- no doubt you will be busy instagraming everything!

Inspiration: Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard and Sofia Coppola

Have you ever been to Paris? What do you think about Parisienne style?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Spotty Dotty

As I mentioned in my post, How to Survive Le Tour de France, a lot of people get dressed up and decorate their houses. Most people went for yellow but there were also a few people who went for white with red spots.
The reason for this is that the best climber in the race wears the maillot a pois (polka dot jersey.) I love the house below which I saw in Knaresborough. I wonder if they've taken down all those spots yet?!

My favourite was the woman below who was wearing a spotty dress, spotty hat and spotty shoes!

Linking up with Nicole for Treat Yo'self Thursday

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

How to survive Le Tour de France

Do find where to take the perfect shot 
(But don’t stand in the middle of the road, unless you want Marcel Kittel to push you out of the way)

Do take a chair/ blanket/ cushion/ stepladders... 

...unless you’re lucky enough to find a strategically placed pile of hay bales

Do take money as there will be lots of yummy food stalls 
(eating is something to do while you are waiting)

Or why not just cook a Sunday roast and eat it by the road side? Perfectly normal.

Do enter into the spirit of the occasion and get dressed up 
(your options are yellow, white with red spots or a breton top)

Don't forget to dress your dog up as well
(the same rules apply)

And finally... just let me take a selfie!

Linking up with Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday

(obviously this post is meant to be a bit of fun and is best taken with a pinch of salt, just like that Sunday roast!)

Monday, 7 July 2014

TDF Caravan

At the weekend Le Tour de France came to Yorkshire. In fact, not only did it come to Yorkshire, it started in Yorkshire! Stage 1 on Saturday started in Leeds and finished in Harrogate. Then on Sunday the riders started in York and finished in Sheffield.

Tomorrow I will write about it all in more detail but for today I will leave you with some photos of the caravan. The caravan (french: caravane) happens before the race and it is when around 180 publicity vehicles drive the route thowing freebies into the crowd.

Well that is what I thought would happen. However on the road that we were along most of the floats drove past really quickly without throwing anything out or even waving to the crowd. Oh they were also over half an hour late.

Anyway some of the floats were quite cool, my favourites were the massive bottles of wine and the miffys.

What do you think about the floats?