Saturday, September 17, 2016

Off, off and away!



The bags are packed.

The plans are made.

The housemate has a number for the vets and a chicken budget for spoiling the fur-children (yes, I know they aren't real children. But man, I love 'em). I've double checked everything is switched off and safe in our rooms.

The out of office is on the email and the car will be here in a couple of hours.

I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

Excited to visit New York for the very first time - a place I've seen and heard so much about. I've listened to songs about it, seen it in movies and TV shows, read about it in dozens of books. I can't wait to be a proper tourist and check so many things off the list - the Empire State building, the High Line, Central Park, pizza by the slice....

I can't wait to explore Boston and Cambridge in our super quick two days there. Such an amazing place, I'm glad we managed to wedge in a quick visit amongst the other excitements!

Toronto is such a favourite and I cannot wait to return! I'm looking forward to quality time with my girl Christy, catching up with our friends Szymon and Caroline, and exploring bits of the city I haven't seen before.

And then? Vegas. Cocktails and blackjack and shopping and spa times, oh my!

I'm taking my laptop and may well do a quick hello blog while I'm there, but the big posts will come afterwards - I have two new memory cards and I am not afraid to use them! I'll also be sharing lots of fun on my Instagram over at @cmclaire as well as plenty of silliness over on Snapchat, where I'm @cmclaire12

Have a great couple of weeks - it's time to holiday here!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: Feminist Fight Club


Way back in the mists of February (Aside: do you remember cold weather? Man, I love cold weather. This endless sunny hotness suuuuuuuuuuucks), when I was interning at Penguin, one of my favourite things to do was look forward to the books coming later in the year - many of which I'm lucky enough to be reviewing here as their release dates arrive.

One I was truly intrigued by in the autumn calendar was Jessica Bennett's Feminist Fight Club, which publishes today in the UK on the Portfolio imprint. I love a bit of non-fiction, find the journey of twenty-first century feminism fascinating (to quote a song from the film Hairspray, it truly feels like "We've come so far, but we've got so far to go"), and  have always enjoyed Jessica Bennett's writing when I've encountered her pieces in on Time.com and in the New York Times, so my interest was well and truly piqued. So naturally I emailed the team and asked for a copy (thanks, Joel & Lydia).

Feminist Fight Club is a clever, funny, interesting read. Bennett makes her points well, incisively cutting through some of the rhetoric that surrounds the subject and providing plenty of thoughts to ponder and calls to action. The research involved in putting this book together is amazing - there are plenty of titles in the bibliography that I know I'm going to be seeking out and reading myself, and the prose is never dry or stuffy - the book is engaging and written with a deft hand. Bennett communicates her points with verve, clarity and humour, making this a great read. I also adored the illustrations, by Saskia Wariner with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, which are brilliantly drawn, witty and a great accompaniment and complement to the written sections.
  
Each chapter has an amusing title, making it easy to go back and refer to parts of the book you may wish to consult or reread. I especially enjoyed the 'Get Your Speak On' chapter and will definitely be taking on board some of the lessons within it! Great for a boost of confidence and clarity.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Happy Monday/Ten Happy Things #11

It's Monday, it's the start of the week, and I'm joining up as ever with Katy and Jasmin for a lovely, positive start to the week. Let's go!

1. Holidays right on the horizon!

From months to weeks to days, our holiday has finally come right into view. I can't wait to explore New York and Boston, revisit Toronto, and go back to the play-area-for-grown-ups that is Vegas! Beautiful hotels, so much to see, catching up with friends and amazing food are all on the menu, and I can't wait. Our dear friend Shona is kitty- and house-sittign for us too, so there are no worries on that front (the trio love Aunty Shona!).

There's a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rosé in the fridge chilling all ready for Friday evening!

2. Theatrical fun

Between Pride and Prejudice and Vanities last week, I'm in a very theatrical spot right now! I must get some tickets arranges for the last few months of the year. We'll definitely try to catch some theatre in New York too. Hamilton's a non-starter (resale tickets only, and they are all about £1000 for a pair), so we've gone for the next best thing and are preparing to laugh our socks off at Spamilton instead. We'll definitely try the ticket lottery while we are in town too, although with odds of 10,000/1 it will be the most foolhardy gambling of the whole trip!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Theatre: Vanities


Wow, it's been a very theatrical week on the blog, no? Absolutely not a peep of complaint from me about that - a week filled with books to read and plays to enjoy is just my cup of tea!

On Wednesday I headed over to Trafalgar Studios to see Vanities. I'd heard a lot about this musical and the play it was based on and was excited to see a UK premiere of a work - it's always so great when shows make it across the pond. I was also intrigued both by the subject matter and the cast of three; I am a sucker for a trio of females heading (or in this case being) a cast. One of my favourite musical scores ever is The Witches of Eastwick, mainly down to that supremely strong female trio at the centre, so I love to see shows with that amazing central core.

Vanities follows the lives of three friends, Joanne, Kathy and Mary as they move from high school to college and then out into the world. As all life paths do, their paths diverge and against the background of the 60s, 70s, and 80s we see these friends grow and change. From naive cheerleaders to mature women the show offers an opportunity to see the relationships alter, break, morph and repair, as friendships so often do.

I loved the show. The story itself is fairly good, if a little predictable at places, but this leaves ample room for some cracking songs and three fantastic performances. In a cast of three there is nowhere to hide, and the three leads all sing beautifully, act their bobby-socks off and show a great amount of comedic timing as well.

Me

Me

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

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