white cover of Happyland book

“Prince Gobbledygook wears his heart on his head and his headache is akin to a heart attack”.

Prior to reading Tes Mekonnen’s Happyland, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Modern fairytales are not a new addition to the world of books, however Happyland without a doubt stands on its own as a wonderfully weird read, filled with delightfully quirky concepts and innovative linguistic devices. Not to be confused with the kind of traditional fairy tale that sadly, many young adults may be quick to write off as ‘been there, done that’, the book is a thought-provoking yet humorous read, that will likely satisfy language lovers of a whole range of ages.

On the surface, the story tells of the inexplicably sad Lily Marshmallow, who is discovered by Prince Goobledygook and led henceforth to a promised land of sorts, known to the Prince as Happyland. Sounds pretty stereotypical, prince meets potential princess, they face a significant life event together, and live happily ever after, right? However, the story is far from being a fictional fairy tale. Instead, the characters’ journey tells of Tes Mekonnen’s own story, and his perceptions of modern society. Here’s what he had to say about how his own life experiences infuse into his book: View Post

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display of theatre programmes and tickets

Back when I spontaneously decided that 2017 would be a Year Of The Theatre, I was completely unaware of just how much of a game-changer this decision would turn out to be. If it hadn’t been for a horrible night of insomnia that had me creating a blog just for something to distract myself with, there isn’t a single aspect of my life right now that would be the same. From my first review that’s so hideously bad that I can’t even bring myself to link it, to my most recent review of the Hairspray UK Tour, I’ve loved every single moment of becoming a theatre blogger.

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Flatlay of The Little Big Things book, press release, insert, and two quote cards, on a beige background

After reading the final page of The Little Big Things, I slowly closed the book and sat alone with my thoughts for a while. It’s not often that I feel divided about something I’ve read; usually, by the time I’m halfway through, I have my thoughts somewhat in order. However, this memoir had me to-ing and fro-ing so much that I went back to the publisher who sent me the book and asked whether they really did want me to be one of the reviewers. After talking to Seven Dials and hedging my thoughts and concerns, they encouraged me to go ahead and post an honest review. So… here we go.

The Little Big Things is the memoir and work of Henry Fraser, an incredibly talented individual who creates impressive works of art using only a mouth stylus. The book tells the story of Henry becoming paralysed after an accident on holiday at the age of 17, and his process of learning to live with his condition and find his new normal. Before I get to the review, I want to make clear that I think Henry sounds like an ace person, and definitely somebody who I’d be friends with. None of my critiques of the book are really a reflection on him.

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a hand holding up a blue Hairspray programme in front of red theatre curtains

Expectations: 5/5
Reality: 5/5
Chronic Illness Friendly: 4.9/5

Chronic Illness Friendly Review

Location

Bradford Alhambra Theatre is one of my happy places. I’ve been multiple times in the last few years, and given the city it lives in, you perhaps wouldn’t expect it to be such a gorgeous, gorgeous venue. If you have wobbly legs like me, you should perhaps take into consideration the location of the theatre itself; you’ll find it in the city centre at the bottom of a relatively steep hill with limited car access, meaning it isn’t the easiest place to access by foot, particularly if you have mobility issues.

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‘I wonder if Mum will be Mum again when she comes home. I wonder if she will remember that she tried to steal clothes from Debenhams and that she burnt our photographs in a saucepan. I wonder if she will remember that Dad is having an affair with a girl who, only last year, was too young to legally drink alcohol’.

Today I’m talking to author Emily Critchley about her debut YA novel, Notes On My Family. As one of my absolute favourite reads of the year, I jumped at the chance to chat to her more about it…

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