Crow – 7 Days of Books

“Black was the heart
Black the liver, black the lungs
Unable to suck in light”

This week I was tagged by my friend on Facebook to share seven books over seven days that I love. I rarely use Facebook these days (I’m not that great with social media), but it seemed like a cute little challenge so I thought I would share my picks on here.

As today is National Poetry Day, I thought it fitting to begin with a poetry collection I recently read and loved – Ted Hughes’ Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow.

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The collection follows the character of ‘Crow’, an anthropomorphised animal who displays different qualities depending on the individual poem, but who is, for the most part, a grotesque being. Written by Hughes as a way to deal with the suicide of his wife Sylvia Plath in 1963 and the suicide of his partner Assia Wevill in 1969, the collection is an amalgamation of his grief, with Crow serving as its personification.

Having lost both of my Grandparents last year, it was not hard to identify with the grief present in the poems. It is brutally raw and ugly, angry and depressed, and as such, is one of the best depictions of grief I have ever encountered. I recently read Max Porter’s Grief is a Thing With Feathers, which is a narrative crafted around the premise of Crow, and whilst it too is a book filled with loss, it did not grab me in the same way.

Sometimes we read books at exactly the right moment in our lives – had I read this two years ago, I doubt it would have left the same impression. But I was ready for Crow, and the horrid, twisted thing gave me some catharsis.

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A Weekend in Tenby – Part One

A short while ago my Mum invited me to spend the weekend with her in the Welsh seaside town of Tenby. Technically I was a replacement for her partner who had to look after their newly acquired cat (they didn’t intend on getting a cat, and then adopted one incredibly quickly) so I was called in last-minute lest the hotel go to waste, and hopefully because my Mum enjoys spending time with me! So I thought I would share what there is to do in a weekend in Tenby, things to see, where to eat etc.

We arrived late in the afternoon without much of a plan, Tenby is a town best enjoyed via a wander. We headed up to Castle Hill to soak up the views, from the very top you get a great panoramic view of the town and its beaches. We sat down by the Bandstand and looked out over St Catherine’s Island, which made for the ideal backdrop for the many photos I insisted my poor Mum take of me.

Once the ‘photoshoot’ was over, we went to grab some food opting to eat at The Qube, mainly because it was the first restaurant we saw whilst walking along the high street! It was a great decision though, the food was excellent – I’m a terrible food critic so I won’t attempt to describe the meal, but there was a group of us and we all scraped every last piece of food from our plates. As an alternative, I’ve also eaten at the Plantagenet House before, which is a 10th Century building turned into a restaurant with a very Tudor feel. It is an incredible building and the food there is good too if you prefer something a little more historic.

After dinner we had a bit of a potter around the shops too, I bought some sweet little amber earrings from the shop Equinox, which is full to the brim with trinkets and souvenirs. I also went in every sweet shop I came across (of which there are many) and discovered so many different flavours of rock – did you know you can get pizza flavoured rock?! My favourite of the bunch is Lollies because it is a traditional sweet shop, and is filled to the brim with sugary goodness.

As we lucked out with the weather, I wore my white Topshop straight leg jeans with a linen Jaeger jacket/top that my Mum picked up for me at a car boot sale a few years ago. As I knew we wouldn’t be doing a lot of walking, I wore my beloved Castañer wedge espadrilles– I am truly distraught that it is now too wet and too cold to wear these again. Until next year I guess…

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5 Ways to Wear the Realisation Par Bianca Top

I recently bought the Réalisation Par Bianca blouse in summer loving blue after noticing it had been added to their clearance sale. I’d been admiring this top for years, but had never been sure of how much wear I would get out of it. Before buying it, I thought about how many different ways I could style and wear this piece – I wanted to get my money’s worth – and realised it has been designed to wear a multitude of ways and would therefore be a super addition to my wardrobe. Essentially, I didn’t buy just one top, I bought many (sort of), which makes it the best sort of investment.

In case you are still on the fence yourself (it is still pretty pricey, even in the sale) here are the five ways I have found to wear the Réalisation Par Bianca top so far.

First up is the ‘original’ way to wear this top, it is how it is most frequently styled on their website and in campaigns. It is pretty self explanatory, you just pull the ties together and tighten and voila, you have an extremely laid back (and slightly revealing) top. This is not bra friendly (most of these looks aren’t to be honest) and I would advise the use of tit tape. I bought this top in a size small and it is a tad loose on me, especially when styled like this – I don’t really have a chest that is likely to ‘pop out’ but the top gapes slightly when worn like this and did not feel very secure. Perhaps size down if this would be your preferred way to wear this top.

The second styling is my personal favourite and the reason I bit the bullet and finally purchased this top. It has been designed to wear as a wrap top, so there are small holes at the side of the garment to pull the ties through. It feels perfectly secure and more demure than the previous look – perhaps more day appropriate. This is likely how I will most often wear this top.

The third look is deceivingly similar to the second but slightly looser – you couldn’t wear it this way without tucking it in. To create this style is very simple, you just need to wrap the top over your front (as if creating the second look) but without tying it, instead securing it in place by tucking into your skirt/jeans/bottoms of choice. Tit tape may again be a good shout with this one.

The fourth option is again incredibly simple to style. You can just throw this top on and you basically have a jacket, but to create a smoother silhouette I loosely pulled the ties behind me so they weren’t dangling at the front which led to a nice drape at the front. Easy to pair with jeans for a relaxed look or you could even wear it as a beach cover-up, I think this is the easiest to style multiple ways.

The final look shows a lot more skin as it is cropped. I don’t normally like wearing cropped tops, I’ll be honest, but I felt surprisingly comfortable wearing the top in this way. To create this style you need to tie the two corners of the top close to your bust and then pull the ties around the back – I quite liked how this looked exposed, but you could hide the ties under the rest of the top’s fabric if you want a cleaner look. Whilst you can’t really get away with wearing a bra for this one, it did feel pretty secure because of how tight I was able to pull it to my chest.

So those are the five ways I was able to style the top, you can see them all in action here. It is a happy addition to my wardrobe as I think it is very versatile and I am currently eyeing up the other prints. Someone hide my credit card!

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Some Initial Thoughts On The Catch-22 Mini-Series – Episode One

I just finished watching the first episode of the new Catch-22 mini-series airing on Channel 4, and as its source material is my all-time favourite novel, I wanted to do post my reaction to it, along with some hopes for the future episodes. Technically, all episodes are already on Hulu, but I live in the UK and it is being drip-fed so I can only go off of the one episode as it is all I have currently seen.

For the unaware, Catch-22 primarily follows Captain Yossarian, an American bombardier stationed in Italy during the Second World War, who is very cross that thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. It is a slightly surreal anti-war satire which highlights the absurdity of war and the dangers of bureaucracy. It is also widely regarded as an ‘unfilmable’ novel, though that didn’t stop Mike Nichols from trying to turn it into a feature in the 1970s (with an almost perfect cast, Alan Arkin is the most Yossarian Yossarian that could ever Yossarian) with very little success. This time George Clooney has stepped up to the plate with this new mini-series but does it hold up?

Well, the good news is that the casting is pretty good. As said, I am a fan of the Mike Nichols casting (other than Art Garfunkel, who was a very odd choice) and honestly wasn’t sure I could see any other actors in certain roles, but I am pleasantly surprised by Christopher Abbott’s Yossarian – he sounds exactly like I have always imagined him to sound. I don’t think we’ve seen enough of the other characters yet to determine how good a pick they are (and haven’t met some of them) but I will say, so far, so good.

It is also really beautifully filmed – if you can call a war piece beautiful, there is some gore in this right off the bat. But the colours used really bring out the beauty of the Italian setting, which makes the death and destruction of war even more jarring. The CGI is actually quite good as well, considering it didn’t have a blockbuster budget.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those people who bemoan an adaptation because it isn’t exactly like the book, however right now I am one of those people. I know, I suck. It’s my favourite novel, cut me some slack – and surely the target audience is the readers anyway, so it matters somewhat. So I would be lying if I said there weren’t a few things that really bother me so far with this adaptation.

The first of these is the fact that – for the first episode at least – it is in chronological order. I appreciate that some people may view this as an improvement, non-linear storytelling is always going to be difficult to keep up with, but it is one of the things I love most about the novel. You follow so many different characters and often see the same event from multiple points of views but without context or full understanding of what is going on, and by the time you get that context, it hits that much harder. I’ve seen it explained as akin to getting the punchline before the joke, which is a great summation. I appreciate that this is not an easy literary device to adapt, but I feel like some of the magic and insanity is lost in telling the story chronologically. It isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but I’m disappointed it is told in such a run-of-the-mill fashion.

The next irk is kind of petty, but because we are going chronologically, we have not yet met the Chaplain and therefore not experienced Yossarian falling instantaneously in love with him. This bothers me, but I’ll get over it, though the sooner he appears on the screen, the better.

My final nit-pick is truly the nit-pickiest nit-pick, but it honestly threw me and I am not a fan of this particular adaptational decision – Yossarian is not called Yossarian by anyone in the series, instead, he has been dubbed ‘YoYo’. Every character in the novel calls him Yossarian, the text always refers to him as Yossarian, the only time he is referred to as YoYo is in one chapter by inconsequential characters that he does not like. Why the fuck is he called YoYo in the series? Could they not work out the correct pronunciation for Yossarian? Yet the figured out Minderbinder? Honestly, the strangest choice to make in my opinion and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the thing that annoyed me most. I’m petty, I know.

On the whole, I had pretty high expectations for this show, and so far I do feel a little letdown. It is only the first episode though, the next five could be spectacular, so I still hold out hope. Just please don’t make me call him YoYo.

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My ‘If Money Were No Object’ Net-a-Porter Sales Picks

The bi-annual Net-a-Porter sale is in full swing, and in true shop-a-holic style I have had a little peruse. Now, if money were no object I would have done more than simply peruse, but money is an object, one not currently in my grasp, so I have had to make do with window shopping. To make this not seem so completely sad and pathetic, I thought I’d collect all such finds here as a wish-list of sorts – a hideously expensive wish-list, the sort you would have to have more money than sense to splurge on. And with how many gems I found, it seems if I were to have money, I’d have next to no sense…

Ah, shoes, forever my biggest weakness. Truth be told, I saw a lot more that I liked (with a whole heap of Instagram darlings By Far available, who can blame me for making a list as long as my arm?) but I whittled it down to this smattering of black and tan. My favourites are these Ganni slingbacks which I had been eyeing up even at full price. They are also the most affordable option (ha!) though weirdly the exact same pair are also listed for £30 more… I am baffled. I’m also quite enamoured with the glitter version because I am a magpie. Speaking of which, these sparkly By Far sandals are so shiny and impractical and very luckily for my wallet unavailable in my size.

I love the chocolate croc offerings from Staud and the boxy shape of this bag is so wonderfully retro. I never thought I would jump on to the ‘rope bag’ trend, but I’ve seen this Alienina one everywhere online and colour me converted – though a considerably cheaper option is currently available from Miss Selfridge, if you are not yet convinced. Finally for bags, I love this round golden offering from Cult Gaia, even though it is so style over substance, you can’t deny it looks like a piece of art.

Lastly, I really liked Faithful The Brand’s spring prints this year but especially like this red mini dress – it really is the quintessential summer dress in my opinion. I’m also really drawn to this Ganni cropped top and am already imagining pairing it with the Re/Done denim skirt (only in my dreams…)

Now if someone could please hide my purse from me!

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