The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Instead of reviewing the 2 Little Beach Street Bakery books back to back, I thought I’d break it up with a different book review. In today’s post I’m going to be sharing with you my thoughts of the latest book I read for a book club: “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”.

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.Β 

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

I’d seen this book around and thought it looked like an interesting read but hadn’t yet got round to picking it up. When the chance to read it for book club came up, I bought it right away and couldn’t wait to get started.

I read the book in 2 days and couldn’t put it down. It was a really interesting read, yet also incredibly sad at the same time. History has always fascinated me, especially history of WW1 and WW2. It was a disturbing time in history, particularly WW2 which I really hope never ever repeats itself.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the story of Lale during his time at Auschwitz in WW2. Lale is an intelligent, and proud man. He speaks 5 different languages and from his arrival at Auschwitz he was taken in by Pepan, the Tattooist of Auschwitz. Shortly after his arrival at Auschwitz Lale contracted Typhoid and almost died, however he was nursed back to health and became Pepan’s assistant. He learnt how to survive in Auschwitz from Pepan, and when Pepan one day disappears Lale becomes the Tattooist of Auschwitz, risking his life on many occasions to help others. He develops a relationship with Gita and their hope of a life together keeps them both alive.

All I basically have to say is that if you haven’t read this book yet then do pick it up. It is a fascinating, yet sad read, documenting the life of someone who lived, and survived Auschwitz. Ok, there are a lot of questions and debates regarding the accuracies of the book and it has been quite heavily criticised. But that shouldn’t stop you reading it!

Have you ever read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” or do you have plans to? πŸ™‚

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Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery

As promised, it’s time for a review of “Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery” by Jenny Colgan. Having really enjoyed “Little Beach Street Bakery” it was time for me to move on to the next in the series!

When Mrs Manse (Polly’s landlord) passes away, her bakery business falls into the hands of her horrible son Malcolm. When Polly’s puffin Neil is found in her shop one day, Malcolm finds the excuse he needs to dismiss Polly. Struggling to make ends meet Polly’s husband Huckle heads back home to America to get some money back behind them, leaving Polly back at home planning her future. Polly quickly comes up with an idea to continue her baking business and it slowly sees her working her way back.

I absolutely loved “Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery”. The characters are just so relatable and lovable and it’s such a light and easy read. The storyline is great and Jenny Colgan does a great job of making you hate the right characters. Although at one point I was slightly concerned by the relationship that seemed to come up between Flora (who runs one of the bakeries) and Malcolm… It seemed and sounded a bit dodgy!

Would I recommend the book? Yes definitely, particularly if you want a nice easy read. πŸ™‚

Have you ever read “Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery”? Or would you like to?

My 2018 Books

Hello again! I’m back today with a new post! Since my blog was originally a space for me to review books, it only seemed fitting that my first “proper” post of 2019 was a book related post. So today I thought I’d share with you the books that I read in 2018.

In 2016 and 2017 I managed to read 52 books in a year, and although my Reading Challenge was set at 25 books I was secretly aiming for more. However, that didn’t happen… Work happened, and not only that but anti-social hour work happened, meaning as soon as I got home from work it was bedtime, not reading time! Anyway, without further ado I will share with you which books I actually read in 2018.

January

Photo 11-03-2018, 10 01 04January started well and I read 4 books. I finally read “The Fault in Our Stars” and actually really enjoyed it.

1) Game Ranger in Your Backpack

2) The Fault in Our Stars

3) Happy Mum, Happy Baby

4) Blue Planet II

February

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I managed to read 5 books in February, including a couple of really interesting reads. I really enjoyed reading Levison Wood’s “Walking the Himalayas” and Eddie the Eagle’s book. I also began reading books 7-9 of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” in preparation for Netflix’s series.

5) All That She Can See

6) Walking the Himalayas

7) Eddie the Eagle: My Story

8) The Vile Village

9) The Hostile Hospital

March

Sadly I only managed one book in the whole of March?! I’m not quite sure how that happened! But I did begin my job so maybe that accounts for it!!

10) The Carnivorous Carnival

April

Photo 24-04-2018, 10 32 47During April I read 3 books, including “The Martian”, a book which had been on my TBR list a long time! I really really loved the book and honestly couldn’t put it down! I also read a Nelson Mandela book which was really fascinating and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough!

11) Mary Poppins Comes Back

12) Doing Life With Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend

13) The Martian

May & June

May and June were again, slow months of reading. I read Carole Matthew’s newest book, which I absolutely loved and can’t wait for her next book.

14) Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

15) The Great British Bake Off: How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom

16) A Million Love Songs

17) On a Beautiful Day

July – September

Photo 13-09-2018, 13 27 36I only managed one book in these 3 months! That’s very unlike me. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the book I was reading but I think it reflects what I was doing during that time! I was working full time, obscure hours, and applying for jobs and reading kind of fell behind. Anyway, I finally read “The Rivers of London” which I absolutely loved and can’t wait to read again and more of the series!

18) The Rivers of London

October

Photo 07-11-2018, 16 23 52In October I discovered the ebook library of my local library and read my first book from it.

19) A Bear Called Paddington

20) One in a Million

 

 

November

November saw me unemployed and I obviously had some more time to read! I finally managed to read the next in the “Me Before You” series, and I also joined another book club, for which I read “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”.

21) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

22) Still Me

23) Little Beach Street Bakery

December

Finally in December I finished the “Little Beach Street Bakery” series. A series which I loved dearly and can’t wait to review the last 2 books on here for you.

24) Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery

25) Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery

So that was my 2018 in books! Again for 2019 I’m going to aim to read 25 books but we’ll see how that goes! As of 11th Jan 2019 I’ve read 3 books and hope to keep up my reading through the year.

Did you read many books in 2018? Or did you read any of these ones? πŸ™‚

 

If We Were Having Coffee #10 (January 2019)

Hello!Β  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are having a great new year so far! I apologise for the lack of posts lately. I’ve had very little inspiration but I’m back today with a little catch up post πŸ™‚

So if we were having coffee today I think I’d be having a hot chocolate as it’s really cold out today. What would you be having? πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee… I’d ask you how your Christmas was and what your best gift you received was?

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If we were having coffee…. I’d tell you how I’m currently job-less. Well, not really job less because I should be starting work again next month, but I’m currently not on any contract and I’m a bit bored and stuck with what to do with myself. I hate sitting around doing nothing!

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If we were having coffee…Β I’d tell you how exciting things are to come for me at Brownies! πŸ™‚ I don’t want to say too much yet but I can’t wait πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how so far I’ve stuck with my new years resolution (OK it has only been a week!). I’m trying to be more active during 2019 and my aim is to go running at least 2 times a week (3 if I can do 3). So far it’s been OK…. It’s been really cold which hurts my chest but I’m enjoying it so far!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how I really can’t believe that it’s a whole year ago since my graduation now. But not only that, but this time a year ago I was in South Africa.

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If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how I’ve now finally watched “The Greatest Showman”. It was on Sky Movies over Christmas and I finally got round to watching it yesterday! πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I understand the hype and obsession over it, but it was definitely enjoyable.

If we were having coffee…Β I’d ask if you have any news you’d like to share? πŸ™‚

What I Received for Christmas

Happy Christmas (ish) everyone! πŸ™‚ I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and ate far too much chocolate πŸ™‚Β I apologise for the lack of posts from me the last couple of weeks, life got in the way and content was lacking, but today I’m back to share with you what I got for Christmas this year πŸ™‚

This year I was pretty lucky with my presents and well and truly spoiled by my family. I was one lucky girl!

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The biggest part of my Christmas presents was made up by Cath Kidston x Bambi things. This included cushions, mugs, pyjamas, purse and a notebook set. As well as this I got a couple of the Mickey and Friends mugs from last year to add to my collection.

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I also received a lovely Fat Face jumper, bedding and slippers, as well as my Blue Planet 2 calendar and Camera Trap. I love the idea of a camera trap, especially as we have a hedgehog who sometimes visits our garden. I can’t wait to use it and see what animals it picks up πŸ™‚

From my brother I also got a Chilly’s bottle. It is the whale print one and I love it! Ever since I saw it in the whale print I desperately wanted one and I can’t wait to use it πŸ™‚ I also got a couple of books for Christmas, including a history of London Zoo book and the Dynasties book (the new David Attenborough TV show).

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It is safe to say that I was well and truly spoilt for Christmas this year! What did you receive for Christmas this year?Β πŸ™‚

Looking Back on 2018

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is coming to an end, but today I thought I’d share with you my best bits of 2018.

2018 started off awesome. January was my graduation where I graduated with a distinction from Swansea University with an MSc in Environmental Biology: Conservation and Resource Management. Not only was it just my graduation, but I also found that I’d got the award for the best overall student in my year. It was such a proud day surrounded by my family.

Shortly after my graduation I headed off to South Africa for 10 days with my mum. It was honestly the most amazing, incredible trip ever. I had the best time and learnt so much, and I actually think that all the knowledge and conservation I saw helped me to get the job I’m in today. You can read about my time in South Africa in my series of blog posts hereΒ πŸ™‚

After returning from South Africa I was back to job hunting throughout February and March.

In March I headed off to Liverpool for a weekend with my mum. My brother brought home football tickets for Liverpool Vs Watford and I headed up to Liverpool with mum for my first ever Premier League football match. It was a great experience and a lot of fun… just so cold!

After I returned from Liverpool I found out that I had a job. I can honestly say I have been so fortunate with my job. Not only do I ADORE my job, but I managed to work almost full time from the summer. When I took the job I was only guaranteed 6 shifts a month, which was a bit of a downer, but I then went on to work almost full time from July. I don’t think there are many people who can say their job is to sleep over in a zoo and tell people all about animals. It is honestly the best job in the world, and it has shown me exactly what I want to do for the rest of my career now. Plus, the fact I work for ZSL (The Zoological Society of London) is incredible and something I’m so proud of.

Not much happened between March and July for me apart from work! Something I was quite proud of this year though was all the “proper” birthday cakes I’ve made. I’ve made birthday cakes for a 1st birthday, 5th birthday and an adult’s birthday. It’s been my first “proper” venture into cake making and I’m so thankful for Ed and Jess giving me the chance to do this and trusting me to make their birthday cakes this year!

If you’ve been following me for long enough you’ll know I’m a bit Cath Kidston obsessed! This year Cath Kidston celebrated their 25th birthday and as part of the celebrations they hosted a Cream Tea Party at Alexandra Palace in July. I wasn’t working so went to the event with mum. It was great fun and we helped break the Guinness World record for the largest Cream Tea Party.

August and September were busy with me working full time, as well as applying for jobs. In September I also completed my leadership qualification for Brownies which was a great achievement πŸ™‚

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At the end of October I had a visit up to Newcastle to visit a couple of friends and to reminisce. I absolutely love Newcastle and couldn’t wait to go back.

Also at the end of October I finished my seasonal position at Whipsnade Zoo. It was really sad to be ending as I absolutely loved the job and had no other job lined up. Shortly afterwards however I found I would be able to transfer to the London Zoo overnight experiences team for the rest of the year which has, so far, been equally as incredible as my work at Whipsnade.

In November I turned 25. It is slightly terrifying to know that I’m now closer to 30 than I am 20! But all the same, I enjoyed my birthday with friends and and looking forward to what my 25th year has to offer.

Lastly, at the end of November I attendedΒ Christmas Lights at London Zoo with my family. It was lovely spending time with them, showing them where I work and enjoying the Christmas light displays.

How has your 2018 shaped up? πŸ™‚

 

 

Little Beach Street Bakery

Time for another book review! This time I’m back with my first ever Jenny Colgan book. Jenny Colgan is a new author for me, and although she’s been on my radar for a while I hadn’t yet picked up any of her books.

When I saw Little Beach Street Bakery on Amazon for Β£2 I couldn’t resist anymore and decided to pick it up.

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

In Little Beach Street Bakery we join Polly as she rebuilds her life after her husband’s business went bust. She moves away to a lovely little island connected to the mainland by a causeway and slowly begins to find a new life there. After her landlady has an accident, Polly steps in to help and slowly she begins to settle in with a new job on the little island.

I absolutely loved the Little Beach Street Bakery. It was such an easy read with lovable characters, including Polly, Huckle and Jayden. It was actually a pretty good storyline too. It wasn’t your usual “and they all lived happily ever after” book like many Chicklit books can be. There was a twist right in the middle which I wasn’t expecting.

All in all, this was a brilliant book and I can’t wait to read the next 2 books in the Little Beach Street Bakery series.