There’s nothing quite like a good cup of tea…

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you will know that I am a massive fan of treating myself to a breakfast ever now and again.

In Newcastle, we are spoiled for choice of places to go… but I will ALWAYS go back to the same place. And I recommend that you guys start going too:

Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

img_5374(Look at that cute little tea cup man, and my own pot of tea!)

For those of you who have no idea what Quilliam’s is, it’s a teahouse in the centre of Newcastle and it’s just majestic. When you go in you are handed a menu, but it’s no ordinary menu… it’s a tea menu. There are tens of choices you can choose from (I literally have only breakfast tea, or lately I’ve been having a vanilla black tea which is delicious) and there are teas for ALL tastes. The first time I went I had NO idea what I was doing/wanted, and the staff were MORE THAN HAPPY to recommend and help me make a decision. You get a cute little Quilliams tea cup and your own pot of tea (for someone who was a newbie like me, this was a PROPER revelation… not only was I able to choose from 10s of teas, but I got my own pot of tea!)

Now, I mostly go to Quilliams for breakfast (those of you who follow me on Instagram will see that mostly!) and, as the pictures above show, the breakfast is something that is well worth grabbing. You can get a whole host of different breakfasts: eggs, pancakes, granola, sandwiches, full English. There’s options for those who are gluten free and dairy free too! Just ask the people who work there and they’ll be happy to help. I always get the Eggs Claremont (poached eggs on toast with sausages) without hollandaise sauce. I would recommend this 100%. Everything that comes out looks and smells delicious… I’m just a stick with what you know kind of gal ha! 

Quilliams doesn’t just do breakfast though… 

There’s a MASSIVE range of cakes and treats you can get as snacks! Pictured above is the mini egg brownie, chocolate banana bread and orange cake (gluten free). Recently some friends and I went and we all have pretty different tastes in life, but we all managed to find something to eat AND ENJOY. We all had some food, some cake and some tea. It was a majestic day. The other picture shows the nachos they do on a night time and man… they’re just DELICIOUS. 

If you’re in Newcastle, or ever in the North East, I would completely recommend visiting Quilliams. It’s one of my favourite places to eat and just have a little me time. The vibe is really chill and the staff are always more than happy to help! 

Check out their website here where you’ll find more information about their menu, where they are and other essential information! 

What’s your go to breakfast food?
Do you have one place you ALWAYS go for a little treat?
Can you recommend somewhere for me to go and try out in Newcastle?

I can’t wait to hear what you all think! This wasn’t quite books… but Quilliams is another love in my life! 

S x 

 

#CelebrateYA

HELLO.

IT IS ME. Your resident YA loving bookworm. 

Recently, there’s been a lot of MEH-ness about YA books and its decline (?? not in my life lols). I saw this tweet from the brilliant YA author Lisa Williamson and thought ‘YES. I WANT TO BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT.’

celebrateya

So here I am today to do just that… I am HERE to celebrate YA. To shout about how brilliant it is, how necessary it is, recommend some of my favourite YA books of the past few years and to inspire you all to go out and either share your favourite YA books OR to just pick up something new. Your local Waterstones will have a YA section, go and explore… I guarantee you’ll find something that you’ll love.

So, why YA?

I get asked this question A LOT. “Why do you, as an adult, read books marketed at teens and young adults?” and the simple answer is because YA books are BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

YA books don’t shy away from some pretty tough subjects. If I think of some of my favourite YA books they’re about hard hitting topics: love, loss, heartbreak, friendships, OCD, manipulation, empowerment.

YA books MOVE so much faster than adult books. The pacing, the characters, the plots… they’re just SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING.

YA books start conversations. If you look at The Hate U Give for example (a book I still haven’t read… I know, I might be the only YA reader IN THE WORLD who hasn’t!) that had a BIG impact. That made people start talking. Another example of a book that got my little twitter YA worls talking is the brilliant The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. This book deserves ALL of the praise it gets. It is BLOODY incredible and makes some REALLY bloody important points.

YA books will make you think, feel and want to act. We all know I cry at every book (that’s just who I am) but some of the books that have hit me the hardest have been YA books. If I think about Countless by Karen Gregory for example… man, I read that book almost 2 years ago and STILL now it makes me tear up. They don’t just make me cry though. They make me angry, they make me laugh, they make me hopeful.

YA is doing a lot for representation. People want to be seen. People want to have their stories heard. Finding yourself represented in a book can change a lot of things. Last year I read a book that I remember vividly feeling seen and MY GOD it was a bit of a punch in the face. For so long, books have been written about the same group of people and YA is slowly changing that. I know what it’s like to be seen, I know how important it can be. The brilliant people of Stripes have published an anthology full of LGBTQ+ books and it’s going to make waves.

There are so so many other reasons why you should read YA. I will stand on this I LOVE YA pedestal whether anyone is listening or not.

So, where do I start?

Now, just because I recommend these books doesn’t mean these are the only books that you should read because LET’S BE REAL there are so so many, but here are some of my absolute favourites (authors/stories) from the past few years. Some of these won’t be a surprise to long time readers of my blog, some of them may!

In there you have books that will make you laugh, cry, anger you, move you, make you think about life. You have representation of all sorts of relationships. You’ve got books which span genres. You’ve got books from some of my favourite authors in the world. There’s books there that changed something for me. There’s books I’ve read that I’ve felt seen in. There’s books that have made me change my thinking about things.

I loved them all and they’re ALL YA.

OK, so I could keep going. I really could. I won’t. I want this to be a conversation, not Steph’s Lecture on Why YA is Something The World Needs. Talk to me. Why do you want to #celebrateYA?

Every day this month, I pledge to #celebrateYA. Starting tomorrow (Valentines Day) I’m going to #celebrateYA by sharing one YA book I love!

Now let’s keep the conversation going:

What was the last YA book you read?
What’s the next YA book you’re going to read?
Why do you think we need to #celebrateYA?

I really really want the conversation about YA to continue. So talk to me, tweet, whatever. Get it out there that YA is a thing and we need it to stay a thing!

S x

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

“Which books should I add to my Christmas list, Miss?”

Yesterday, I shared 10 recommendations for emerging chapter book readers – check it out if you’re after recommendations for 6+ years! Today I’m sharing books that I’ve shared with the kids in my class, school and life! Today is the turn of those who are confidently reading longer chapter books – longer chapter books that are BLOODY BRILLIANT.

None of these books will come as a surprise to ANYONE who knows me, but nevertheless. I think one of the best books you can buy kids is a book. These recommendations are books I’ve loved, but also books that my kids have wholeheartedly taken under their wing!

2018 mg recs

(I know right, SHOCKERS)

Now, some of these are book 1 in a series that I would recommend the whole series of… but if I’d put ALL of the books in the series of, I would have been here forever!

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series – Alex Bell

A Place Called Perfect series – Helena Duggan

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson

The Nowhere Emporium series – Ross Mackenzie

Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

Who Let The Gods Out series by Maz Evans (Simply the Quest reviewBeyond the Odyssey review)

And there you have it… my second lot of MG recommendations which are perfect to buy for any budding bookworm in your life!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any favourites?
Would you recommend any for me to add to my list?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Come back tomorrow for YA recommendations!

S x

 

“You know books… can I have some recommendations?”

The amount of times I’ve been asked for recommendations over the past few weeks is LUSH. Whether it’s from my kids for what to read next, for parents on what to buy their kids for Christmas or from my colleagues on what to read, it’s all lush to talk books.

Over the next 3 days I’m going to collate 3 different lists for books I’d recommend – be it to read or to buy someone for Christmas!

Today I’m tackling 7+ (ish) recommendations

Tomorrow will be 8+ish and then Wednesday will be YA recommendations! There are LOADS of recommendations out there, I just decided to collate my favourite 10 from the past year (or so)!

If you have a reader who is just starting to read chapter books, or likes the look of illustrated chapter books, these books are brilliant.

2018 recs

Violet and the… series by Harriet Whitehorn

Fabio – The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective by Laura James

Royal Rabbits of London series by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

Amelia Fang series by Laura Ellen Anderson

Max – The Detective Cat series by Sarah Todd Taylor

The Wild Robot series by Peter Brown

The Twitches series by Hayley Scott

Sam Wu series by Katie and Kevin Tsang

Horace and Harriet series by Clare Elsom

There you have it! 10 of the best books for Y2+ I’ve read recently. I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations that I could add?
Which of these would you like to pick up most?

Talk to me!

Remember to come back tomorrow for recommendations for books for those 8+ years!

S x

Perfect Presents: Miscellaneous edition

Hello there!

I hope you’re enjoying my “Perfect Presents” series – it has been so much fun recommending books for everyone this year! I AM that person that buys EVERYONE a book. I have strong feelings about books and let’s just say that I think a book is the perfect present, so yeah… that! 

Today’s edition of Perfect Presents features a whole array of things, most of which could be classed as non-fiction. As a prolific fiction reader, it has been great for me to think about some non-fiction recommendations for everyone! From the kids in your life, to the teens, and the adults! Let’s get on with it!

Image result for sarah millican how to be champion

I can’t recommend some non-fiction without recommending this. I love Sarah Millican. I am a proud Geordie. I love an autobiography. This book is definitely on my Top Books of 2017 list – it’s just wonderful. Your mam will probably love it. Your sister probably will too. You’ll probably catch your dad reading it and laughing, despite protests that he wouldn’t read it. It’ll make you laugh, maybe cry (it made me cry): it’s just lush. 

Related image

The next recommendations come from a set of books from the brilliant people of Quarto Books. Their ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ series is an exploration of some of the most incredible women the world has seen. These books give a biography of the women in a beautifully illustrated and accessible way for kids. I was lucky enough to be send 2 of these from Quarto and I adore them. If you can get your hands on them, get your hands on them. I can’t recommend these enough.

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Another incredible book, filled with exceptional stories about brilliant women that I can not recommend enough. Now that there is a second one too, I must get my hands on that! I did have a copy of Rebel Girls 1, but I can’t find it… so I must get back to Waterstones and purchase 1 and 2. 

Image result for dinosaurium

I love Dinosaurium – I see it everywhere on twitter and I reckon it would be a brilliant present for any of the dinosaur obsessed children in your life. There’s been a whole host of exceptional non-fiction books released this year that I don’t think you could go wrong with any of it! 

Image result for doing it hannah witton

This book is brilliant. At 28, it was incredible to read and learn things from this book. Hannah Witton so brilliantly deals with everything from consent, to sexuality, to sex in this book. It would be a great present to buy a teenager in your life, but also… adults. No shame in reading books which explore sexuality and aim to educate. I read this for a book group and I really enjoyed it. 

There are SO SO SO many others I can recommend that I will happily talk to you and give you recommendations! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Perfect Presents series! Let me know if you have any recommendations which aren’t on my lists. Also, let me know if you buy anything for anyone in your life based on my recommendations – that’s always fun!

Merry Christmas! Happy book buying!

S x

S4S – Recommended books

Morning! SUNDAY AGAIN? Where did last week go? How was your week? 

What has everyone been reading this week?

This week’s#SixforSundayis:

Books people keep recommending to me

  1. Gilded Cage (Liv is responsible for this recommendation)
  2. Department 19 (Zoe, you are the reson behind this… but also After The Fire was exceptional)
  3. Anything written by Leigh Bardugo (Wonderful Kelly is responsible for this… I know. I will get on it)
  4. Station Eleven (one of my favourites, Sara Barnard, raves about this! I have it on my shelf!)
  5. Kevin Brooks (My friends Rachel, Aoife and Cora all rave about him… I will read them one day)
  6. The Hate U Give (everyone… basically everyone recommends this. It’ll happen one day soon!)

So there you have my#SixforSunday this week! 

Have you read any of these?
Can you recommend me a book? 
What books do people keep recommending to you?

Let me know if you post a#SixforSunday! Use the hashtag and link me to your post! I would love to see what books people keep recommending… not that I need more books recommended! My TBR is a monster!

S x