World War II – Book Recommendations

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Historical fiction books are the closest things we have to a time machine.  It is incredible to think that these ink-stained pages could transport us to another time and place, allow us to meet different people and experience events that we’ve only read about in textbooks. I especially love books set during the Second World War even though the subject is not pleasant to read about considering it’s one of the worst events in history.

I have compiled a list of some of my favourite fiction books set during WWII. What I love most about these books is that while they deal with vastly different characters and recount different stories, there is something fundamental that binds them all together, and it is non other than human courage and the fight for survival in the face of adversity.

1. The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak

Synopsis: Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbours. [Goodreads]

It’s not everyday that we come across a story narrated by Death. In addition to the beautiful prose and the precious characters, you have  an opportunity to glimpse Death breathing life onto a story instead of snatching it away.

Things you need:

  • Boxes of tissues
  • A week off work to recover

 

2. All The Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr

Synopsis: This is a story about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. [Goodreads]

A captivating novel by one of my favourite authors that is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. While it is slow-paced, the complex characters and beautiful writing will make up for it.

Things you need:

  • Even more boxes of tissues
  • A slab of chocolate to sooth your soul

 

3. Atonement  by Ian McEwan

Synopsis: On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece. [Goodreads]

A beautifully written novel that tackles various themes, mainly guilt, forgiveness, warfare, dreams, hopes and family. The writing is truly enchanting and makes you reflect on people’s actions and intentions.

Things you need:

  • Even more tissues!
  • Enough strength to throw the book across the room
  • The movie to watch afterwards

 

4. Between Shades of Grey  by Ruta Sepetys

Synopsis: Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. [Goodreads]

I am so grateful for Ruta Sepetys. Reading this book made me aware of a part of history I had no idea existed and it is so important for people to read about it. The story is a journey of suffering and misery that still clings to hope in a life full of darkness.

Things you need:

  • Boxes of t…ok seriously don’t bother. Just use your shirt instead
  • Another edition of the book because yours will be splattered with tears

 

5. City of Thieves  by David Benioff

Synopsis: During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible. [Goodreads]

This book is a masterpiece! The story is equal parts poetic, hilarious and devastating. David Benioff manages to show the true horrors of war while still holding on to the goodness of humanity.

Things you need:

  • Eggs…because the characters need them!

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children  by Ransom Riggs

Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. [Goodreads]

The story takes place on present day Cairnholm Island, Wales but also in a timeloop, repeating September 3rd, 1940 over and over again, where bombs fly overhead like clockwork and actual monsters roam the island.

Things you need:

  • Keep the lights on…the story is creepy!

Here are a couple of books set during WWII that I’m really looking forward to read:

>A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell

Synopsis: It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive.

Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war’s final phase. [Goodreads]

>Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Synopsis: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. [Goodreads]

>The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Synopsis: FRANCE, 1939: In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences. [Goodreads]

Do you love to read Historical Fiction books?

x

London- Day 3

Tuesday, March 13th

Our third day in London commenced with a delicious breakfast at Byward Kitchen & Bar, a gorgeous restaurant just a stone’s throw away from Tower of London and the London Bridge.  It serves the best traditional British food in a relaxing setting, with modern decor on the inside and a peaceful garden setting if you want to enjoy a hearty breakfast outside. I ordered a steaming cup of English Breakfast tea and Miller’s toast, which consists of avocado, free-range scrambled eggs and goat’s cheese crumbs on toast. It was honestly delicious!

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After breakfast I decided to visit one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever seen: Hatchard’s bookshop at Piccadilly, one of the oldest bookstores in London. It’s a literal paradise for any book lover and also a feast for the senses, with moss-green exterior and bay windows filled with gorgeous book displays that transport you back to Victorian times. Inside, the walls are graced with hundreds of gorgeous bookshelves, and comfortable sofas invite you to sit down and relish the feast of books in front of you. There were so many books that I wanted to take home with me, but eventually I decided on a copy of Frankenstein and A Tale of Two Cities, both of which I cannot wait to read!

After this bookish endeavour, I met up with my aunt from Watford and together with my boyfriend, we decided to visit the National Gallery. This was my second time here but I was still mesmerised by all the beautiful paintings. There were moments where I couldn’t suppress my excitement, especially when I found myself face to face with some of Van Gogh’s famous works: Sunflowers, Head of a Peasant Girl, Two Crabs, Van Gogh’s Chair, A Wheat field with Cypress, Farms near Auvers and Long Grass with Butterflies. Seeing his paintings up close was such an unbelievable experience. The heavy expressive brushstrokes are absolutely fascinating and I had to stop myself from reaching out and trace them with my fingertips! I was also excited to see Caravaggio’s paintings, specifically The Supper at Emmaus and Boy Bitten By A Lizard. His paintings are quite dramatic, with almost theatrical lightnings and are truly mesmerising to see. This visit reminded me of how often we need to come to such places and allow our senses to roam free and bask in the beauty and simplicity of art; that simplicity being in the way a simple brushstroke can evoke a multitude of emotions in so many different people. From the gift shop I bought a Penguin edition of Van Gogh’s letters and a couple of postcards of his paintings, which I will cherish forever.

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After a quick lunch at Pret A Manger, we went for a walk around Westminster area, until my boyfriend dragged us to the Houses of Parliament: the House of Commons and the House of Lords, where we spent some time watching current debates while also appreciating the beauty of the interior design. I was especially mesmerised by the intricate details in the House of Lords, with magnificent carvings, beautiful narrative paintings and the throne, which is the focal point of the chamber.

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After saying goodbye to my aunt, we met with my sister and her husband and decided to go shopping. I thought that after my visit to Hatchard’s that morning, I wouldn’t buy any more books…but boy was I mistaken! The minute I stepped into Foyles, I knew I was in big trouble. One look at all the bookshelves and the number of floors in the shop rendered me speechless and I was practically hyperventilating the whole time I was there! I bought a total of six books plus a gorgeous tote bag:

  • A Dictionary of Tolkien by David Day
  • Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story by Bernadette Murphy
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four- George Orwell
  • Half of a Yellow Sun- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Food- Gertrude Stein

For dinner we decided to visit Burger and Lobster, where I ordered Black Bean Burger (vegetarian option), which comes with portobello mushroom, chimichurri, relish, lettuce and pickles. It was one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted!

Thank you for reading and I hope you’re enjoying these posts!

x.

25 Bookish Facts About Me

25 Bookish Facts About Me

After almost two years on this blog, I think it’s high time to finally share some random bookish facts about myself! I love to read these kind of posts because they are a great opportunity to get to know that person just a bit more. I hope you enjoy reading it! x

I do not have a single favourite book but a whole list of them!

I can never narrow it down to just one book…it’s too difficult! So when people ask me to name a favourite I try to choose one from each of my favourite genre. Also, my current favourite book often depends on my mood and my latest read.

Reading in a moving vehicle gives me severe motion sickness.

I learnt this the hard way!

My reading habits change with the seasons.

In summer I usually gravitate more towards contemporary books while as Autumn approaches I tend to read more high fantasy, horror and books inspired by mythology. Also, if for example a book is set during the winter season, I try to read it in Winter.

I often read two books at the same time.

I love reading two books at the same time as long as they’re from two different genres. I found this to be the best way to avoid a reading slump because if one of them is slow-paced or dragging, I would still be making progress with the other book.

Mass Market Paperbacks are banned from my bookshelves.

I hate them with a passion. I find them too uncomfortable to read from.

I take a book with me every where I go.

You can always find a book in my bag (if it fits) anywhere I go, even if I wouldn’t have time to read it. Somehow it’s presence comforts me.

I love rereading books.

I love revisiting old characters and places and relive those favourite moments with them. As of right now, Harry Potter is the only series that I reread every year.

Favorite genres:

Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Literary Fiction and Magical Realism.

I never DNF books…unless they’re extremely problematic.

I can never make myself stop reading a book. Somehow I still cling to the hope that something would eventually happen in the next couple of pages that would change my opinion entirely.

A huge TBR does not really intimidate me.

I love having a large number of unread books on my shelves. The sight of so many unopened doorways to unknown worlds warms my heart.

I don’t like ARCs.

For some reason, I find ARCs a great source of stress and anxiety. I appreciate the trust authors put in their readers by sharing their work with them, but I guess I’m not the right person for it. I tend to worry too much over the time I take to read it and then to eventually write a coherent review.

I rarely read books in my native language.

Unfortunately there aren’t a great number of books from my favourite genres to choose from. For some reason most of the books being published in Maltese are either children/middle grade or sappy adult romance books.

The first time I read Harry Potter, I did not read the books in the right order.

This was truly unintentional! I read Order of the Phoenix without having read Prisoner of Azkaban or Goblet of Fire, and I spent the better part of a week trying to understand what was happening!

I am a proud Ravenclaw.

…and Luna Lovegood is my best friend!

I love reading books which are set in or inspired by Russia.

Such books often end up on my favourite lists. To mention a few: City of Thieves, The Grisha trilogy and The Bear and the Nightingale.

I have four editions of The Book Thief.

The Book Thief holds a special place in my heart and there are so many beautiful editions out there that I want to have on my bookshelves!

My first foray into book blogging was in 2014, when I made my tumblr blog.

The book community introduced me to so many amazing and wonderful people who honestly mean the world to me. Close friendships started from a simple conversation about books and I guess that’s what makes the written word so beautiful in the way it brings people together.

I love visiting bookstores, even when I’m broke.

I love the atmosphere of a bookstore: the smell of new books, the feel of the book spines as you run your fingers over them, the knowledge that one of those books could be your next favourite. I wish someone would lock me in a bookstore overnight!

Some of my favourite books growing up:

The Sleepover Club by Fiona Cummings, books by Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Trevor Zahra and Meg Cabot.

I always imagine a specific face for each character, regardless of how they’re described in the book.

For some reason I always forget the way an author describes the characters so I just invent their own specific features in my head.

Books that make me cry often end up on my favourite list.

Harry Potter, Atonement, The Book Thief, Crooked Kingdom, The Grisha trilogy, All The Light We Cannot See…the list is endless!

I am absolutely horrible at finishing book series. 

Honestly the list is appalling. Hence why I decided not to start another series until I’ve finished at least one.

I am a sucker for anti-heros. 

Morally-flawed characters have the best stories. Period.

I love scenes in books that feature food.

They always get my taste buds flowing!

I tend to avoid buying a book until I find the prettiest edition on sale.

I don’t judge books by their covers per se, but if I’m going to spend my money on a physical copy, I want to at least buy the prettiest one!

 

Thank you so much for reading! Let me know some bookish facts about yourselves in the comments!

x

Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour

Visiting the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studios has been one of the best experiences of my life. I got to see and experience the magic behind the Harry Potter movies and witness first hand all the work and effort that it involved. It was honestly worth every penny and I would visit it again if I could. I hope these pictures will give you a taste of it’s magic x

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“He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘TO HARRY POTTER- THE BOY WHO LIVED”.
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“Mr. H. Potter, The cupboard under the stairs…”
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It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting […] The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight […]Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars […] It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn’t simply open on to the heaven.

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“Want to come to the ball with me?”
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One thing was certain: of all the teachers’ offices Harry had visited so far this year, Dumbledore’s was by far the most interesting… It was a large and beautiful circular room, full of funny little noises. A number of curious silver instruments stood on spindle-legged tables, whirring and emitting little puffs of smoke. The walls were covered with portraits of old headmasters and headmistresses, all of whom were snoozing gently in their frames. There was also an enormous, claw-footed desk, and, sitting on a shelf behind it, a shabby, tainted wizard’s hat — the Sorting Hat.

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…the portrait swung forward to reveal a round hole in the wall. They all scrambled through it — and found themselves in the Gryffindor common room, a cosy, round room full of squashy armchairs.

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“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making,” he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word—like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. “As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses… I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death—if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

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“I don’t care if you fall off your broom as long as you catch the Snitch first.”

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Life at the Burrow was as different as possible from life on Privet Drive. The Dursleys liked everything neat and ordered; the Weasleys’ house burst with the strange and unexpected. Harry got a shock the first time he looked in the mirror over the kitchen mantelpiece and it shouted, “Tuck your shirt in, scruffy!” The ghoul in the attic howled and dropped pipes whenever he felt things were getting too quiet, and small explosions from Fed and George’s bedroom were considered perfectly normal. What Harry found most unusual about life at Ron’s, however, wasn’t the talking mirror or the clanking ghoul: It was the fact that everybody there seemed to like him.

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“The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir… beware”

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“He was too sleepy even to be surprised that the people in the portraits along the corridors whispered and pointed as they passed”
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“Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd, while cats of every colour wound here and there between their legs. Owls hooted to each other in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and the scraping of heavy trunks.”

 

“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard . Just stick out your wand hand, step on board, and we can take you anywhere you want to go. My name is Stan Shunpike, and I will be your conductor this eve- ‘

 

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of Number 4, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much”.

 

There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon…

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“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”

x

London – Day 2

Monday, March 12th

Mondays are notoriously awful but this one was definitely an exception! I woke up early after only 4 hours of sleep and this could only be blamed on my uncontrolled excitement for the upcoming day! I am definitely not a morning person, but when I’m on holiday I always try to wake up as early as possible to enjoy every minute of the trip. I have fond memories of quite mornings enjoying the view outside the hotel, drinking peppermint tea and reading in bed. It was definitely the best way to start the day.

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We decided to start our day roaming around Covent Garden. This area is one of my favourite places in London. I love the gorgeous architecture, the stores, and of course the infamous market. We arrived at about 8 a.m and the shops weren’t open yet, which gave us the opportunity to see the place without having to jostle our way through crowds of people.

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We decided not to have breakfast at the hotel but to take the opportunity to discover new places, and I’m so thankful that we did. We managed to find this wonderful Scandinavian-inspired, open-fronted café, with weather-beaten wooden benches and stools and a cosy interior, that serves the best porridge I’ve ever tasted! 26 Grains is located on Neal’s yard in Covent Garden, surrounded by gorgeous buildings and globe string lights. You should definitely check it out and try the Hazelnut & Butter porridge, with almond milk oats and shaved apple. It tasted divine!

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After breakfast, we spent the morning roaming the streets and shopping. If you’re a tea-lover, then Whittard is definitely the place for you. The store is filled floor-to-ceiling with the best varieties of tea, coffee and cocoa imaginable. It is a joy to your senses to walk around the shop and bask in the smell of coffee beans and mint tea. The interior design is on point, with white-painted brick walls, shelves full of Alice in Wonderland items and teapot light fittings. In the end I ended up buying individually wrapped peppermint teabags, English Breakfast loose leaf tea and white hot chocolate. I haven’t tried any of them yet because I don’t want to ruin the lovely packaging…which is kind of stupid I know!

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Here are some more pictures from our walk around Covent Garden:

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For lunch we bought a go-to salad from Marks & Spencer and hurriedly made our way to Victoria Coach Station. We had tickets booked for an afternoon tour at the Warner Bros. Studios- The Making of Harry Potter in Watford and a coach was waiting for us at the station. I was on edge for the whole hour of the trip, buzzing with excitement and anticipation because finally one of my dreams was coming true! I have been looking forward to visit the Leavesden studios for years and I practically cried when I stepped off the couch and glimpsed the poster on the facade! I have so many pictures that I want to share with you all so I’m going to make a separate post dedicated just for this tour. After the 3-hour tour, we met up with my aunt and uncle who live in Watford not far from the studios, and had dinner with the whole family. It was nice to meet my cousins after so long and to enjoy a few hours with them.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I’m really looking forward to share the rest of the trip with you!

x

> London Day 1

London – Day 1

“London opens to you like a novel itself…. It is divided into chapters, the chapters into scenes, the scenes into sentences; it opens to you like a series of rooms, door, passsage, door. Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand.” – Anna Quindlen 

I visited London for the first time 5 years ago, and have been pining to go back ever since. There’s just something about this city that makes me feel truly welcome and at home. I love the streets brimming with life and activity, the lush green parks, the museums full of new discoveries and all the places rich in history and culture. This trip was incredible in every possible way, full of laughter, excitement, anticipation and pure bliss and I am so thankful that I got to share this experience with my sister, her husband and my boyfriend. The huge amount of pictures that I took is beyond belief, but I love scrolling back through them and reliving those beautiful memories. In fact, there are so many pictures that I want to share with you all that I decided to split the posts into multiple entries, one for each day of the trip. I hope you enjoy them! x


Sunday March 11th
Malta International Airport >>> London Luton Airport

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I spent the 3 hour-long flight reading The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert and listening to the album Smoke + Mirrors by Imagine Dragons on repeat! Now, every time I listen to it I feel myself being transported back to that wonderful moment! We arrived at Luton airport at about 2 pm and went straight to our hotel in Paddington, which was an hour long trip with the taxi. The location of the hotel was perfect- only a few minutes walk from Hyde Park and Paddington station. The room we stayed in overlooked the street and every morning I loved sitting by the window, sipping a cup of tea and watching the cars and people go by.

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We were in great need of a cup of coffee, so after leaving our stuff at the hotel, we found the nearest Starbucks and enjoyed a warm cup of cappuccino and a delicious pain au chocolat. We then commenced our walk around Westminster area, enjoying the evening sights of Oxford street, Piccadilly, Trafalgar square and Whitehall. Unfortunately Big Ben is currently undergoing extensive repairs so we couldn’t enjoy it’s beautiful facade and hear the tolling of the bell. But I guess that’s just another excuse to go back again!

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For dinner, we found this whimsical restaurant inspired by the 1994 film Forest Grump: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co on Coventry street. The place is filled with movie memorabilia and one can actually signal the waiter with a ‘Stop Forest Stop’ sign! I had a delicious dish of pan seared fillet of salmon and shrimps with cherry tomatoes and rice.

Despite being extremely tired, we decided to take a quick trip to Kings Cross Station to visit the Harry Potter shop at Platform 9 3/4. I honestly had to restrain myself from buying the whole store! It is so beautifully decorated and definitely worth a visit, and you can actually take a picture with the trolley during store opening hours.

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Have you ever visited London? I hope you enjoy the rest of the posts 🙂 x

Spring is blooming

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”
-A.A. Miller

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Spring? Maybe a field overflowing with daisies, a carnival of scents blowing in the air. Or perhaps it conjures a feeling of new beginnings, where we rid ourselves of the lethargy that consumed us during the cold winter months in order to bloom once again. At least that is how Spring makes me feel. These last couple of months have been awfully uninspiring, to say the least, probably because my mind was too busy hibernating beneath huge piles of warm blankets while the world was being leeched of it’s colours outside. So the change in weather is truly a blessing!

The sound of the world rising up from it’s slumber always inspires me to look around me and allow my mind to open up to new ideas. It may be the sound of a distant lawnmower, the hum of bumblebees looting from the flowers on the windowsill, or the nickering of horses as they cavort in blooming green fields. The world feels lush and bountiful again, full of new possibilities.

What better way to prepare for this new season than with a new playlist! Golden Spell is all about nature’s awakening…or the sound of my soul waking up from it’s interminable slumber. I hope you enjoy it! [Spotify]

  1. Mylo Xyloto- Coldplay
  2. Hurts Like Heaven- Coldplay
  3. Hannah Hunt- Vampire Weekend
  4. New Slang- The Shins
  5. Celeste- Ezra Vine
  6. West Coast- Coconut Records
  7. Fire in the Sky- Palace
  8. Boardwalks- Little May
  9. Virignia May- Gregory Alan Isakov
  10. In the Wind- Lord Huron
  11. Stella- Cereus Bright
  12. Blue Above the Green- Mike Edel
  13. Polaroid- Imagine Dragons
  14. Mountain Song- Little Chief 

This year, I want Spring to be all about new discoveries and adventures. In a few days’ time I will be on my way to London, where I will spend a whole week roaming museums, coffeeshops, bookstores and lazing around in the parks. I have been anticipating this trip for months, and while I made a vague list of all the places that I want to visit, not having a definite plan makes me free to roam, wander, and stumble upon places that I never would have gone to with my pre-planned agenda. However, I am open to any recommendations! My boyfriend and I also started this month with a day trip in Gozo, which is an island that makes up the Maltese archipelago. It’s about a 35km car ride to the ferry terminal and a half hour trip with the ferry [that’s the benefit of living on a small island…nothing is too far away!]. While I love travelling abroad, sometimes you need to look around you and realise that your own home country has so much to offer, and there are a multitude of places that you’ve yet to discover.

I obviously cannot fail from mentioning my Spring TBR! This season I thought I might be a bit overambitious and attempt to read the biggest book on my shelves: The Count of Monte Cristo, which amounts to 1243 pages. I love the movie starring Jim Caviezel and so many people have been recommending me the book so I’m finally giving it a try! Here are some other books that I’m also looking forward to read this Spring:

The Hazel Wood– Melissa Albert

Flux– Orion Carloto

A Sting in the Tale– Dave Goulson

The Dream Thieves (#2)- Maggie Stiefvater

The Essex Serpent– Sarah Perry

Burial Rites– Hannah Kent

The Last Unicorn- Peter S. Beagle

A Darker Shade of Magic– VE Schwab [reread]

Crooked Kingdom– Leigh Bardugo [reread]

I’m also really looking forward to read some more magazines this season, specifically Country Living Modern Rustic magazine, Another Escape and In Clover magazine. All of these magazines have amazing content, including gorgeous photography! If you’re on the hunt for some new magazines, I would highly recommend checking out The Future Kept for a vast choice of beautifully designed journals that are hard to find elsewhere.

 

What are you looking forward to most this season? Do you have anything planned for Spring?

x.