Book shops

I recently got back from a weekend trip to Hay-On-Wye, the country’s capital for bookshops. Our journey down to Hay was wet windy and took about three hours. However it was most certainly worth it. For this blog I have picked my top bookshops (or places to get books). There are so many more to see and so many more events over the year that I wanted to just give a brief overview of what it is like to visit Hay on a typical weekend away visit.

Where to stay?
Image result for the swan hay on wyeI was lucky enough to get us a room in the lucrative Swan Hotel based on the high street only a stones throw from the Main Street. The hotel is wonderful and elegant. It is on the pricy side of Hay, so if you’re looking to spoil someone (just like I was) it’s perfect. However if you’re on a really tight budget there are some other amazing options throughout the little town.

IMG_7715The Cinema Book Shop

Almost opposite the hotel is the old Cinema Book Shop which is over three floors worth of books both old and new. There is also a specialist section full of antique books, maps and much more. This was the first bookshop Jon and I went in once we arrived in Hay and by gosh, we stayed there a while! Jon was in his element and we ended up getting some incredible books, one of which was on ‘rare vegetables’ which made me laugh so much we bought it. I almost wish I had bought this book called ‘The Girl who was took good looking’ purely for the title, but I decided against it and settled with a photo.

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Two other books that caught my eye were The book of Asparagus and A book about potatoes because they seemed so random. There was also a book on rare vegetables was so funny (not particularly photogenic) but we I ended up buying it as the content was just so astonishing to me. It has artichoke, aubergine and even types of potato in it that we can get in pretty much any supermarket nowadays.

 

The Castle Bookshop at Hay

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The next stop on our bookshop-crawl through Hay, was to the outdoor bookshop overlooked by the most beautiful ruin castle. The thing about this bookshop is its honest. You can browse at your own leisure, take a seat on the lawn and read and then if you so wish purchase a book for £1 in the honesty letterbox by the steps leading up to the beautiful castle. Here I got a really cute little book about ‘ponies and horses’ detailing the ins and outs of ponies and horses over the world. I then spent the evening with Jon (as he read James Bond books) telling him random horse facts which I think drove him slowly mad as his laughter turned into eye rolling and ‘oh dears’. It’s little books like this that I love. As much as I find new literature and old classics dreamy and wonderful, it’s the books that are lost and forgotten that can be the most special.

Richard Booth’s Bookshop

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Hay-On-Wye has the most incredible collection of books, a cafe and a cinema to boot! There are sections fo kids, collectors, mythical believers, scientists, literature-lovers, zombie enthusiasts, gardeners, hygge-lovers and much more. The bookshop is spread across three levels (cellar, ground floor and first floor). Upstairs there are walls of literature, home comforts, Scandinavian books and all sorts of religious and mythical books. So, there is really something for everyone, you don’t really need to be an in-depth book-worm to feel comfortable here as there is really an area for everyone.  Whilst Jon spends the better half of an hour rummaging about the literature upstairs, I had a chance to sit down and read some wonderful books on Norway.

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One of the best books I found was in the ‘home / crafts’ section and it was called Living in Norway by Elisabeth Holte, Solvi Dos Santos and Knut Faldbakken.

The book is an eclectic mix of over 250 images of interior and exterior shots of Norway giving the reader a real sense of design, culture and heritage. My favourite bit about the book is the lack of ‘people’ and the fact there are so many museum style photos, or Insta-worthy photos throughout. It’s an adult picture book of Norway with some beautiful written text explaining the style / history and culture of the people.

After our exhausting mooch intertwining ourselves through bookshelves, we went for a much deserved coffee in Richard Booths is incredible coffee shop. When there we were amazed at the really lovely selection of homemade goodies from cakes to warm lunches and both opted for a cosy salad.

Addyman books 

image2-2The most instagramable bookshop in the town award has to go to this gem. This is a bookshop that has been created by someone artistic and with a real thought of the type of customers they want to bring to the shop. Jon ended up buying so many books here we went away with a free tote bag and a discount!

We loved this bookshop so much we ended up going back there again on Sunday. We were the only customers in the shop from 10am Sunday for a good hour or so, I found at the top of the stairs a beautifully decorated loft space converted into Shackleton’s hut from one of his expeditions. It was wonderful because the whole ‘hut’ was full of polar books, snow books, exploration books and of course Shackleton books too. Addyman’s is so wonderfully planned out, it just makes you want to feel at home. It’s also refreshing to a find a bookshop allowing you to feel honest and trusted. So many shops have sadly fallen victim to theft that they just case everything and cover the place in cameras, which makes for quite an uncomfortable setting if I do say so. This is certainly not something you feel in Addyman!

So when it comes down to it, if you love books, reading and culture Hay is somewhere you should (if you have not already) visit!

 

 

 

 

 

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Pets at Christmas

I am pretty sure our dogs, cats and small little pets don’t have the faintest idea what we are doing come December. We cover our house in lights, tinsel and all sorts of decorations not to mention adding a beautiful green (or pink perhaps) tree for our cats to jump on and burry themselves in.

Dogs Basil decorates himself

If you haven’t noticed from my previous blog posts already, I am completely festive crazy and I love any excuse for wrapping up presents, a good party or cooking a fancy dinner (also, give me a blanket and a cosy cup of hot chocolate, a movie and my best girlfriends and I’m good to go)!

Most years my dogs have to put up with my festive frivolities, I love to cover them in tinsel or LED lights and make them sparkle for however long it takes them to rip off the decorations and chew them up. My childhood German Shepherd Basil however, put up with my love of all things sparkly. As you can see in the picture above he would quite happily sit there and let me decorate him Capturewhereas Henry, our German Shepherd Puppy (the newest addition to the family) would prefer to take baubles off the tree and eat them (as caught in the photo to the left). 

When Christmas comes about at the house, my dogs take to helping themselves to all sorts. We currently have three beautiful dogs who have very stubborn and individual personalities.  Since getting Milly, who is my younger brothers dog almost three years ago now, we have moved the Christmas tree into the dining room at the front of our house opposed to the Living-Room, where the dogs are allowed freely! This prevents them all destroying the decorations and gives some breathing space to the room we use the most. It also means that the log burner in the Living-Room doesn’t droop the tree so its a win-win for us, not so much the dogs who think Christmas has quite literally come early and they have a big green bush to destroy!

Cats

I don’t own a cat myself, but I did grow up with a big fluffy black cat called Gladice! I’ve read lots of stories online and in papers about cats climbing Christmas trees, knocking them over and all sorts of funny things.My older brother and his wife have a cat, she’s the most I spend with a cat until I get my own and when it comes to Christmas trees she’s particularly dull. I know in the future Jon would quite like a cat (hoping we can get a dog first to be honest, so I can walk with purpose more). If we ever did get one, I’d probably be that person who takes a photo of my cat with an antler headband on or try to wrap it up if it sat on my paper!

Pet gifts

My parents have almost always given gifts to our pets for birthdays and Christmas, and why not! Our pets are part of the family and make us happy 365 days (unless they poop on the rug…) of the year, so why not treat them (and us) to extra toys, treats or a special day out walking somewhere!

I’ve noticed in upmarket food stores such as Whole Foods, they’re selling pet advent calendars, Christmas dinners and the cutest stockings for our pets. Little things like this are adorable and something I’m all for, but I’d much rather make my own Christmas foods for my pets as they’re cheaper and often much healthier!

Small pets

Last but not least….

There are so many types of pets people keep nowadays, more so than ever before and also different to ever before! I have a pet hamster called Walter, my best friend has a hamster also (who is almost the same age as Walter). I have other friends with guinea pigs, lizards, snakes, hedgehogs and even tortoises!

For us, Walter gets spoilt every day of the year (usually by Jon)! At Christmas he gets a little hamster cake which is homemade and always a hamster version of a roast dinner (raw vegetables and a slither of fruit)! I swear if I ate as well as my hamster ad ran in a wheel for half the night, I’d be my dream body shape.

Don’t forget, if you get a pet for Christmas it’s for life! Love and care for it constantly for the remainder of its life and if you can’t, I’m always here to help.

Have a woofing good Christmas,

love Lucy x

Using my little grey cells

There is nothing better than educating the mind and learning something that has either interested you for some time, or that somehow will help you progress in the career or are of life you are looking to do well in.

 

Recently I took it upon myself to enrol in two online courses:

Psychology and Mental Health from the University of Liverpool

and

The 21st Century and Museums from the University of Leicester

I thought this would give me a greater insight into both mental health and psychology, two things that I think are increasingly important in society and so far I have discussed some remarkable things that I had not considered prior to starting the course. This week my three hour lecture is on mental health and well-being and how our lives are affected by social factors and the events that happen to us.

My second online course started today and I am quite interested to learn more about Museums and the impact the 21st Century has had on them, considering that is my current line of work!

It’s odd and I know for a fact most people get like it after graduating, but I have missed University the last few months more than ever, purely the social side of things and the self-made responsibility of doing something you truly love and enjoy. Perhaps satisfactions we don’t always get out of our day to day jobs as they can often seem tedious and repetitive. Most of us (except for the small minority) spent all day at a computer or doing quite stressful tasks for a very odd reason. I have never quite understood the mind-set of those humourless type who live to work, I believe work should be fun and invigorate us and make us feel like we are achieving something! Today for example, I learnt what a French lyre clock looks like and what it is, I couldn’t have learnt that in a corporate environment, which is why I am forever glad I changed careers when I did.

So, if you’re currently wanting to move your little grey cells (as Poirot would say) I suggest you pick up a book or start an online course just to get yourself motivated and learn something new!