Best blog reads #1

I want to start sharing with you some of the best blog posts that I have read recently. I don’t know if this will become a regular feature or if I will do it once in a while, but let’s give it a go anyway!

A Little Obsessed
Sabrina’s latest bog gives five tips to improve your blog over the weekend. This is a must read for newbie bloggers.
If you are a lover of Mexican food, Roisin has some lovely recipes to celebrate Cino de Mayo. Just add a margarita!
Running White Horses
Carina’s trip to Copenhagen makes me want to jump on a plane and explore the world.

Style Sunrise

Karen looks stunning in her latest post, pairing bright red skinnies with a charity tee from Connected Generation. If you want to find a way to give something back, but on your own terms it is well worth checking this post out.

Who’s blog have you been loving? Proud of a post? Send me a link in a comment below!

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel menu Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel tea choices

It was my little sister’s 21st birthday in March, so to celebrate, I took her to Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel in London. We were both so excited to go, some friends of mine had been just before us and told us how amazing it was. Alice in Wonderland is such a unique story so we had high hopes that the afternoon tea would be just as special.

Upon arrival we were shown to our table under a canopy in a garden in the centre of the hotel. In the middle was a really pretty water feature and either side were tables filled up with families celebrating birthdays, and groups of friends on girly days out. The waitress brought over the menu which was in the middle of an old book and it detailed exactly what we could expect from the Mad Hatter’s experience. She then placed a silver tray with four glass vials filled with flavoured teas on our table and invited us to smell them and decide what we’d like to accompany our food. All of them smelled gorgeous, it was a tough choice between, strawberries and cream, apple pie, mint chocolate chip and rhubarb and custard. I went for the latter and it was amazing!

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel rhubarb and custard tea


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel sugar lumps


The details were very well thought out, from a riddle from the novel serving as a napkin ring, sugar lumps stashed away in a vintage jewellery box, and paper crowns worn by the teapot King of Hearts. These extra touches really helped to make it all feel extra special.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel cakes


When the beautiful cake stand arrived were both pretty much the heart eye emoji. They very top tier boasted a monochrome teacup on top with live pea shoots growing from it, Hiding in amongst the greenery were two carrot meringues and underneath were some strawberry and cream marshmallows. The middle tier was where the magic really happened. A clock shaped Victoria sponge, mango and white chocolate cheesecake and white chocolate and matcha green tea mousse in a chocolate tea cup. Everything was delicious, but very sweet!

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel sandwiches


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel drink me


The bottom tier had some mini scones, one type traditional and the other a savoury spinach version, plus herb butter, strawberry jam and clotted cream. The tiny brown bottles had, in true Alice in Wonderland style, little labels saying “drink me”. The potion was delicious and made up of coconut cream and passion fruit puree – unfortunately it seemed to have no effect on us… The sandwiches and quiches were probably my favourite part. I am a lover of savoury flavours, and they were definitely needed to balance out the sweetness of the cakes.

Our experience at the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea was completely perfect, it was the attention to detail as well as the fantastic service and well thought out menu that really made it something special. London has plenty of places that offer afternoon tea, but if you are after one that stands out from the crowd, this is definitely the one for you.

Book review: Wool by Hugh Howey

I studied English at university and this is where my passion
for dystopian fiction really ignited. I was chatting to my favourite tutor  in an office hour about an essay question for
a module on James Joyce and mentioned my love for Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and she encouraged
me to pursue my interest and write about it as a dissertation topic. Now
whenever I research new books to read, I always search for books in this genre
first. My boyfriend thinks it is weird and depressing, but clearly there is a
growing interest in dystopian literature shown by the huge success of novels
such as  The Hunger Games, Divergent and
The Maze Runner. So if you like these
books, you should definitely keep reading to find out more about Hugh Howey’s Wool.
This novel was originally a short story but the readers
loved it so much that Howey released four more parts to complete book one of the Silo trilogy. You can now buy an omnibus version of the book to save
yourself some money – or if you are feeling extra keen (like me!) you can also
buy the whole trilogy.
The story is set in the future in a world that has been
largely destroyed by a disaster and it focuses on the survivors who live deep
underground in a huge multi-storey silo that houses everything from farms to
hospitals. A view of the outside can only been seen from the very top level,
displayed on a huge screen that is linked with cameras on the outside. The
world outside is desolate and bleak and talk of going outside is forbidden,
punished by exile into the barren landscape and a certain death that lies
there. However there are a few in the silo that dare to dream and dare to push
the boundaries to find out more about what really happened years ago and what
lies beyond the hills.
After reading a synopsis on Goodreads I somehow got the
impression this book was going to be aimed at teens with a fairly simple plot
that would be predictable but an enjoyable and quick read. I’m not sure where I
got this idea from because in reality, Wool
is complex, but not overcomplicated
and I found it was something I could really
get my teeth into
. There was so much to learn about the way the characters live
I was hungry for more and more (so glad I bought the trilogy collection now!).
While it does focus on adult characters, it is suitable for teen readers too,
but be warned it isn’t a mushy Twilight style love story which unfortunately I
think The Hunger Games and Divergent etc focuses on a little too
much (just my opinion…!).
I loved Wool because
the post-apocalyptic scenario was fascinating and the fact that the residents
of the silo know little or nothing of their legacy just screams that there is a
lot more to discover.
The air of mystery was captivating and kept me turning
the pages to claw in more and more of this new world.
The book is quite a long one and at around 500 pages it may
be a stretch too far for some who prefer quicker and lighter reads. It has been
described by others as a slow burner, but in my opinion this made it all the
more interesting and gave a real opportunity for Howey to convey life in the
silo and develop his characters.
The characters in Wool
are fascinating
and due to the storytelling, I felt part of their world and
connected well with them. There is a perfect balance of goodies and baddies to
keep the story ticking along at an exciting pace to find out what they do next.
 It is told from different perspectives
which really helped to explain how different roles fit into the matrix of the
silo as well as giving an insight into their state of mind which is a huge
developing theme across the trilogy.
Having fallen in love with Wool and the world of the silo I quickly moved on to the next book
in the series Shift which I am now
coming to the end of and I have to say, I think I am obsessed with this trilogy,
so I highly recommend it if you are looking for your next big read.

What are you reading at the moment? Can you recommend any good
dystopian novels?