Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A day at Grotte de Villars

Grotte de Villars is a series of caves that run just underground in France. You can't take pictures inside the caves but they were stunning! (I've included some pictures from the official website at the end!)  The caves also have a garden and a little about the history of the area.

Yes. they had a rhino. No, we never gathered why. 

If Alan was a cave person (I've been replaced haha!)

Matthew refused to be cave person in the series of pictures - so I took this one of him in the woods. 

Yes, there was also an elk. No, I don't know why. In the background, you can see some of the plants in the background - these were honestly the most interesting part as the signs explained how our use of plants has changed from the stone age to now. 

They built a real life stone age settlement, which was also very cool. 

The walk down to the caves!

The famous 'little blue horse' of the cave - it's one of the earliest cave paintings in existence. Certainly one of the oldest of horses as well.

Yes, it was that breathtaking!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Motivational Monday #30

Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

I hope you're all enjoying the day off but for many, it is the start of the new school year or preparation for University. I know that even now I'm a working adult, September still screams new beginnings and new starts. 

So today, I'm planning to have a look at my life and dream about how I can improve it - my goals may just be 'castles in the air' but maybe one day I can achieve them!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Book Review: Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Teenage drama at it's best. 

This book is about three friends, Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne. And really, that's it. If I was telling Alan, or my Dad, or my brother about this book, that would be it. 

But I, along with every woman, has been a teenage girl. And this is where the book succeeds. 

This captures so many things so well: school anxiety, relationships, friendships, peer pressure, parents, having a friend who just can't quite connect with, rebellion, exams and maturing. Plot wise, nothing really happens, and I could sum the book up quite succinctly in just a few seconds.

But that's not what this book is; it's the story of three girls, similar but different (my English teacher wants to burst out and say, too different to actually be friends but written so that the reader can at least pick out some of their own features in one of them - so critical) and their friendship together, 

Score: 4.5 out of 5 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Week in Brantome

We've just come back from a week in Brantome. Just a quick shot of what the countryside in the area looked like. We had a lovely walk between the town and where we were staying and this was part of it. 

Brantome was/is famous for it's abbey - here is a picture. The abbey was built at the same time as Charlmegagne and has a number of monuments. 

The name of the house - it means the pear tree!

Brantome reminded me a little of York or Lancaster - all very higgledy piggledy, lots of cafes where you can sit and eat and, as always in France, some lovely bakeries, butchers and other places for food. 

Another shot of the abbey. 

And a long shot next to the river. Apart from the trip I'm blogging about next time, we went to a lake and the boys went canoeing on the river. So we did get around more than the town haha. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

This is a weird tag because I think I've actually been tagged twice. Kezzie originally tagged everyone with an A in their name and then Hazel tagged everyone with an E in their name. I'm getting this done before I get tagged for a third or fourth time. 

1. What is your favourite gemstone?
Emeralds. This is quite an easy one as green is my favourite colour and emeralds are my birth stone. 

2. If you had to spend the day as any historical figure, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend the day as William Shakespeare. For those who don't know, I am doing a MA in Shakespeare Studies and Education, and one of my modules last year focused on Shakespeare's writing process. I would love to spend the day as him and gain more insight into this. 

3. Do you have a favourite genre of film, and if so, why?
I love historical/romance/dramas - especially films like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and The Duchess. I'm an old-romantic really. 

4. What was your favourite toy as a child?
Big Ted - a massive teddy who I used to cuddle at night. Special mention to Minnie Mouse, who was the last toy my Nana gave me before she died and will always have special memories for me too. 

5. What was the last book you read that you'd recommend to everyone?
Probably We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Shameless plug - but I wrote a full review on it a few weeks ago which can be found here!

6. What was the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
'Eat the Frog.' Whatever is your most difficult task for the day, try and get it done first so that you don't have it hanging over you. Something I try and do at work and also something I try and do in my personal life. 

7. Who would be your dream dinner guests and why?
Presuming alive and dead - Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, John Keats, Enid Blyton, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R Tolkein and Terry Pratchett. And they've all read each others' books/poems. 
8. Do you prefer day or night?
I'm a complete night owl and tend to work best at late night/early morning (1am-5am). When I was a student, I did all my writing then, and when I was a teacher, I ended up doing most of my marking then. It's peaceful and I like watching the sun come up and then going to bed. Don't get to see this time as much nowadays. 

9. If space travel became a possibility overnight, where would you go?
I'd want to go to a completely newly discovered and uninhabited planet - just too truly be alone and to be the only person to ever see/experience that planet. 

10. And because I'm always interested to know this, if time travel were real, what time would you go to?
The 1950s. Just because it looks so glamorous and fun. 

To join in, the rules are simple:
1. Thank the blogger for the award given (Thank you Kezzie and Hazel)
2. Answer the ten questions given to you
3. Nominate a further 10 bloggers for this award
4. Write another 10 questions for those bloggers to answer
5. Display the award on your blog or in a post

I really enjoyed these questions which both Kezzie and Hazel answered (and credit, where it's due - these questions are originally from Tasha) so I'm going to keep them the same. 

Keeping with Kezzie and Hazel's pattern, I'm going to tag anyone with an I in their name. Do let me know if you answer them.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Book Review: You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Relatable but a lot is left unsaid.

This book tells the story of three best friends, two boys and one girl. It follows them as they grow up and how both the boys (Rob and Ben) develop feelings for Maddy and she develops feelings for them. 

The book cycles between all three characters so you get to hear from them all, although it is mainly Maddy and Ben. Maddy and Ben are both well written and their voices and distinctive, meaning that even without the chapter headings, you know who is speaking.

The main issue is that despite being well written, engaging and quite funny in places, this is like any other love story. You know what will happen in the end and it just lacks a bit of sparkle that 'Billy and Me' offered. 

Score: 3 out of 5 - a little bland