Monday, 27 July 2015

Sometimes you just need new PJs



I swear until now my pyjama drawer has been a constant rotation of 'old and comfy but no-one should ever see' and 'Christmas/penguin themed so really not appropriate for the time of year'. I'm not really one for sleeping naked (thanks to a lifelong fear I'll be burgled and have to chase someone down the street in my birthday suit), so I figured it was time for an overhaul.

Naturally, popping into Primark to pick up a new set of PJs snowballed a bit, and I left with the comfiest Hogwarts lounge pants known to man and magic, plus a sleep shirt, some shorts, AND a totally unrelated but very necessary Jurassic World t-shirt. Love them dinosaurs, so on point. Oh, and I also didn't make it to the check out before I spied a snazzy geometric print duvet cover set in the home selection and added a few more little bits to the basket.

I slept amazingly last night, all clean and bathed in new jammies with new sheets. There's something about it that makes you feel totally reborn. Now, if someone could also explain to me why no human being can enter a Primark and leave with only the thing they went in for, that would be really helpful...
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Sunday, 26 July 2015

6 books I will always re-read



Because I don't have quite as much time for reading these days as I did when I was in school and college (and uni if you count my gargantuan English Lit reading list), choosing to re-read a book isn't a decision I take lightly. There are however a selection of books that I will always revisit and will forever have a place on my bookshelf. Here they are...

Harry Potter - The HP series was my first literary love. I was addicted to the wizarding world and would read the books cover to cover, over and over until the next one came out. By the time the final instalment came out I was about 15 so was actually allowed to queue up at midnight with my dad to get a copy. Fast forward to me aged 23 and I have a tattoo and a decent stash of merchandise to my name that's dotted about the house. You can take the girl out of Hogwarts...

The Hunger Games - This trilogy sort of helped ease the Potter deprivation I experienced in the years after it had ended. I can't explain how good of a young adult writer Suzanne Collins is. The story is a haunting one and the hype is so beyond justified. I remember finishing Mockingjay and immediately picking the first book up again at 2am to start again because I just wasn't ready for it to end!

Dracula by Bram Stoker - Although I like my reading material dark, I had never even thought to read Dracula until it appeared on the Gothic module of my university course. It's an epistolary novel in format, that is, the story is told through a series of diary entries and accounts by each of the central characters. It's definitely dark and mysterious, and at times scary but wasn't what I was expecting. I've reread it a couple of times and am always blown away by the pace and urgency Stoker creates.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe - This is a book I also picked up at uni. It's famous for being part of the 'Angry young men' movement of the 1950s, in which much of male socitey, especially the working class, felt disaffected. It's also where the band Arctic Monkey's picked up the title of their debut album - you'll know it when you read it!

The Bone People by Keri Hulme - This is such a weird and wonderful book. Keri Hulme is a New Zealand based writer, and the story is full of Mauri words and poetry. There's even a dictionary in the back! It's a very emotional story about love and violence, and it's also tinged with magic realism thanks to a heavy focus on mythology. It was difficult to read at first but will eventually suck you in.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - This is a book I never expected to like. I certainly have my favourites here and there in what you might call the classic canon, but I'm not a huge fan of classic literature in general or 'wholesome' stories. Rebecca was a book I always considered to fit in to that category, until it was recommended to me by a college tutor. It has that element of mystery about it that keeps you reading and is full of good old-fashioned scandal!

What books would you always go back to for a good read?
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Sunday, 5 July 2015

How to be a tourist in your own city


Cambridge was always my nearest city growing up. I lived just down the road in Royston for 22 years. Having said that, I've always left the exploring to the millions of tourists that flock to Cambridge every year to swarm the streets. I never really appreciated how nice this place is! Now that I've lived in Cambridge itself for over a year I feel like I've pushed myself to explore a little bit more of the place, and it's definitely been worth doing. In the past I always felt the need to get out of the country (or even better, the continent) to truly travel, but there's often a lot more to see on your doorstep than you might think.


Get out and about before the crowd - Cambridge is obviously pretty famous for it's beautiful university buildings (like the iconic Kings College), and these areas are always incredibly crowded with tour groups over the weekend. If I explore these areas I'll come out nice and early before the shops even open and just sit and take everything in.


Go off the beaten track - Some of the loveliest parts of Cambridge can be found just by taking a stroll down an alley or two. Get away from tourist attractions and shopping districts and just have a wonder. You never know what you might find, and being local you'll be able to navigate your way around fairly easily with the help of Google maps.


Go into the places you always walk past - If I'm shopping in the city centre or out running errands I completely places that could be really interesting. Last weekend I wondered into a craft faire that runs every weekend, which I would usually whiz straight past and head for Space NK. If there's a coffee shop, museum or boutique that's always caught your eye but you've never ventured into, just go for it.


Seek out the niche - There are all sorts of quaint little shops around Cambridge, the sort in which most people would never buy anything. I had always heard of The Haunted Bookshop but never bothered looking for it. If you've seen or heard a place or activity recommended but always ignored it and dismissed it as touristy, just this once allow yourself to check it out. You might be surprised.

So what are you waiting for? Get out and explore your town or city with fresh eyes!

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© kelly anne rist

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