Tuesday Tunes – Banks

Banks singer style

Waiting Game by Banks is one I’ve had on my ipod for a few months, I just like it more every time I hear it. Soft and gentle, but kinda dark too. It’s good music for when you’re trying to create an atmosphere.

Banks on YouTube

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Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus

The Night Circus

Although it’s more than two years since I read The Night Circus, I still think about it every now and then. I think that’s a sign of the impact it had on me. It is a beautifully written book, one I could easily have finished in a day – locking myself away from the world and just curling up with a big mug of tea.

It’s a story about magic, and love, and duty and it’s all wrapped up in a story about a magical circus. Part of the reason this book works so well it’s cast of strange and wonderful characters.

Even the secondary characters in The Night Circus have a lot of personality, and it feels as though Erin loves them as much, if not more than the main characters. They spark off the pages, and really bring the book to life.

Definitely time I read it again.

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think of it?

Find The Night Circus on Amazon

Bonus – make some of these yummy Night Circus cookies from Not Your Mommas Cookie!

The Night CIrcus


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What prepares you for the day?

My morning routine

Written in response to Medium’s Writing Prompt - What prepares you for the day?

Morning is perhaps my favourite time of the day. Calm and peaceful, it is my quiet ‘me’ time. My chance to awaken slowly and spend some time alone before forcing myself out into the world.

Some days I go to the gym first thing. On those days I have to jump up and dress quickly, leaving the house in time to arrive at the gym as it opens. Not too early, so I don’t have to stand around waiting in reception. I have 45 minutes – 1 hour for a workout, then it’s another mad dash to shower and dress, and get to work in time to get a space in the car park.

Going to the gym on a morning isn’t always easy, bit it makes me happy feeling like I’ve achieved something so early in the day!

My morning routine

Once at work though, it’s time for breakfast in the canteen. Always porridge with almond milk and fruit, ready prepared the night before and straight in the microwave to warm up. While I’m eating I read. Sometimes a novel, but usually a design or web development book, or maybe my boyfriends old copy of New Scientist. I like to feel like I’ve learnt something each day.

Then it’s up to my desk, and a cup of tea while I check my emails and really get going.

What’s your morning routine?

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Tuesday Tunes – Christmas Songs from The Puppini Sisters

Christmas Songs by the Puppini Sisters

I love old Christmas songs, and this is an old school version of the modern song  All I Want for Christmas. Sung by The Puppini Sitters who cover a lot of modern songs. This is perfect Christmas song to put on while you’re decorating your Christmas tree!

Sorry, there’s no real video for it (how amazing would this be if it did have one!) but just press play and listen – it’s worth it.

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9 Alternative Christmas books

Christmas Books

A couple of years ago I wrote a post on Christmas films for geeks - a collection of Christmas films that aren’t the usual sentimental rubbish. If you enjoy films with monsters, zombies and lots of action, but you want to feel christmassy too then have a look – you might find something new!

This post is in a similar vein, but covers Christmas books instead of films. I’m including books that are set at Christmas, or have a wintery feel, and are a bit different, a bit unusual. These are all books to curl up with for a cosy night in.

What are your favourite Christmas books?

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Published in 1938 this is a nicely  old-fashioned Christmas book. Of course there’s a rich family, a big house, and a locked room murder mystery. You can’t get much cosier than an Agatha Christie!

The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu

I’ve written a review of The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart before – it is a dark fairytale about a boy called Jack who is born with a frozen heart. It’s not set at Christmas, but has a wintery feel to it. I feel fairy tales are very appropriate for Christmas, and this is a lovely book for a dark, snowy winters night.

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

Well Harry Potter just has to be on the list really. Any of them will do, get out a blanket, light the fire (or a candle) and don’t forget the chocolate!

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This was made into a film (twice!) a few years ago, but in my opinion the book is far greater than either film. It’s a dark and bleak read about Eli, a vampire girl and the twelve year old outcast boy she befriends. Set in Sweden, it’s a nice change from the normal vampire story. It’s easy to read and is really a book you can get lost in!

Christmas books for geeksTwelve by Jasper Kent

Another vampire book, this one is set in Russia though the author is English. Set in Autumn 1812 when Napolean’s army is on the march into Russia. This is a fast moving, dark fantasy with plenty of snow and cold weather – you’ll need the hot chocolate while you’re reading this one.

The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

The film version of this is in my list of Christmas films. It’s one of my favourite books, starring one of the most loved Discworld characters  - Death. In this one the Hogfather, Discworld’s version of Father Christmas, disappears and Death has to take his place while his granddaughter Susan tries to find out what has happened. Just brilliant.

M is for Magic by Neil Gainman

A collection of magical, scary, and humorous short stories from Neil Gainman. There are some real gems in this one, my favourite being Chivalry, the story of an old lady who finds the Holy Grail in an Oxfam shop. Rich and imaginative, these are the sort of stories that should be told around the fire on a dark winters night.

Outpost by Adam Baker

Zombies in the Arctic! The word is being overrun by zombies, and this is the story of the fight to survive on a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. Adam Barker’s debut novel, this is well written and fast paced.

MM9 monster Magnitude by Hiroshi Yamamoto

The Meteorological Agency Monsterological Measures Department keep Japan safe from giant monster, or kaiju,  attacks, that happen just as regularly as the other natural disasters. This books focuses on one team, and follows them as they face increasingly dangerous kaiju. It’s a fun and easy read, and who doesn’t love a good monster story on a dark and cold night?



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