Diani Beach – Kenya

When you’re visiting the beach you generally want long stretches of sand, clear blue waters, and balmy temperatures. What better place to get all of that than Diana Beach in Kenya?

Gorgeous white sands wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when I looked into visiting Kenya – we tend to think first of its expansive safari parks and crowded cities. Diani Beach is well known though, being Africa’s leading beach destination since 2015, and at 11 miles long it’s got plenty of space to relax. The nearest airport is Ukunda (the smallest airport I’ve ever been in my life) which you can fly to from Nairobi.

Camels walking across Diani Beach in Kenya
Camel rides are on offer at Diani Beach, as well as other things

Setting foot on the sand for the first time I noticed how different it is to other sand I’ve walked across before – it’s so powdery and soft, almost like walking across icing sugar. In the evening when the beach is clear you can witness small red crabs scurrying across it in hordes – we tried chasing them but they were too fast to get a photo of! It was a lovely site though, and a great thing to watch while you’re eating dinner or lounging on the sand.

As well as swimming Diani Beach is a very popular location for water sports, with plenty to do out there. We saw wind surfers, jet skiers, and kite surfers, and the area is also great for snorkelling, SUP, and sky diving. You can rent and buy equipment down there at the main water sports shop and instructors are also available for lessons.

View of the ocean at Diani Beach in Kenya
Do you really need anything more than this?

My favourite thing to do whilst there was swim, with the waters so blue and clear. You can see everything within the water which is magical, and due to the equator’s temperatures it’s warm from the moment you first dip your toe in. The sea can be quite rough at times with a strong backwash, so be especially careful if you aren’t a strong swimmer as the undercurrent is quite powerful at points and I definitely noticed it on some days.

For those who want something a little bit more relaxing than thrashing about in the ocean, Diani Beach offers much more in the way of entertainment. Dotted along the beach are a variety of shops where clothes, accessories, and decor can be bought for very reasonable prices. There are plenty of bars for drinks and snacks, and also some wonderful restaurants. My favourite restaurant is one that I have been to twice – Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant – and I would totally recommend the Red Snapper for a sit in meal or one of their beautiful pizzas, which can be takeaway if you want and are up to a metre in diameter!

Me walking across the sands of Diani Beach in Kenya
This definitely won’t be the last photo taken of me at Diani Beach

Although generally the vibe of Diani Beach is lovely there is one thing to watch out for… The beach boys (sadly I’m not referring to the band). Well-travelled people will most likely have encountered a similar experience in different countries but it’s always good to be aware of where they are. Beach boys will generally hang around and approach tourists trying to sell their wares – they are quite persuasive and don’t take your first few rejections as an answer so they have to be persistent. One even tried to trade his product for the clothes I was wearing when I said I didn’t have any money! They’ll stop hassling you after a while and guards are present to keep them from exhibiting too much harassment but it’s worth noting that you should never take a product from them when they try to show – as soon as you touch it they will claim you owe them money for it and they are much harder to get rid of. The best thing to do is to walk past them without acknowledging them and then generally they will leave you alone.

Aside from that Diani Beach has to be one of the best beaches I’ve ever visited – the scenery is stunning, the food is amazing, and it’s the perfect place to unwind and relax in the African sun. If you’re visiting Kenya at any point then Diani Beach is a must-visit location!

If you liked this review please click like and leave a comment!

***All photos taken by Adam Smith and Tim Wright as sadly I’d dropped my phone on Mt. Kenya and rendered the camera useless, oops***

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New Blog Feature & Paperless Post!

Thank You card for Pages, Places, & Plates designed on Paperless Post

THANK YOU

First off, I just want to say thank you to everyone that has followed my blog and engaged with me so far – you’re all so lovely and have inspired me in a multitude of different ways. After reading your blogs one such inspiration came in the form of below – a new idea to add to my blog!

NEW BLOG FEATURE

The design of the website isn’t yet finished (but will be soon, I promise!), however I’m very excited to announce a new feature of Pages, Places, & Plates… Product reviews! Being a review site I want to review as many good quality things as I can, so will now be reviewing products every so often as well as what I review already. These will mostly be linked to books, food, experiences, and travel, but there may be other products in there as well! My original reviews will still take priority, but expect a product review every month or so as well now to further enhance your reading and exploration. I was quite hesitant about this idea but you’ve all made me realise how much fun it can be and why it’s a great thing to expand into.

PAPERLESS POST

I’d like to start off my product reviews with a mention of a brand that helped me to design my thank you image above, which is Paperless Post. The website allows you to create your online invitations in the forms of cards or flyers which are then sent to recipients via email and messaging apps and tracked on your account.

Each design costs coins (you get 25 free coins just for signing up!) and increase depending on how many features and recipients you have, which makes it flexible and easy to stick within a budget. The design I used was actually free, however I can then send it out once made as a thank you note for a small cost. The tracking feature means that you can easily see who has RSVPed to your event and they can send their answer using a virtual response card that you set up yourself. These can both account for lots of different types of information which should make the invitation process more streamlined (especially if you’re like me and always forget to include the important stuff).

The designs used on the website are beautiful and made by individual artists (I fell in love with the ones by Hannah Berman). They are all fully customisable right down to the envelope lining and even the stamp. The website can be slow at times due to the amount of graphics and editing options but if you exercise a little patience you can produce some wonderful creations that not only look great and are cost-effective but also reduce the environmental impact of sending out invitations.

If you’re looking to shake up your invitation game, whether for personal or professional use, then I’d recommend Paperless Post as an eye-catching and current way of doing so!

Please note: This is a sponsored post where I agreed to provide an honest review in exchange for use of the product. My opinion is my own and not biased in any way.

Lost In Wonderland – The Minories

It was International Women’s Day just the other day and it’s always great to see women empowered and appreciated for what they’ve contributed to the world. There’s quite a lot of female-focused art in Colchester at the moment, and The Minories in Colchester is now showing another great example of the talented female artists we have within our community.

Lost In Wonderland The Minories Colchester title image

Artist: Various
Gallery: The Minories, Colchester
Dates: Sat 9th Mar– Sat 23rd Mar 2019

Lost In Wonderland is a new exhibition that features only women artists and is loosely themed around Alice In Wonderland, but from a feminine perspective. The pieces on show focus on narrative and exploration, among other themes.

Pam Schomberg's pieces from Lost In Wonderland at The Minories in Colchester
A selection of Pam Schomberg’s pottery pieces

Something that struck me about the exhibition was just how dextrous and interactive it is, which is something I always appreciate. The very first room features porcelain and stoneware works from Pam Schomberg, whose designs I felt absolutely captured by. Her pieces have a real Alice In Wonderland feel to them – ornate but quirky tea sets with legs and beautiful colours, and stunning wall pieces that stand out. I would quite happily have displayed the whole collection in my home (sadly the budget does not allow).

Artwork featured within Lost In Wonderland at The Minories in Colchester
Just one corner featuring a beautiful selection of art

Once in the main room of The Minories the viewer is treated to a rather eclectic range of artists and pieces. My eyes were drawn immediately to a set of collages by Olivia Browne, featuring magazines and photography. Like Schomberg’s work they have a magical feel to them and it’s easy to lose a lot of time studying each of the individual images and how they come together. Wall art is shown from several different artists – beautiful book-focused art from Alison Stockmarr, family photography from Carina Ioannou, and a particularly poetic and encapsulating set from Elinor Rowlands including photography of words and a collection of short films that explore her experiences with ADHD and RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).

In the middle of the room stand two interactive pieces. An ever-evolving piece from Gemma Abbott, inspired by Tacitus, showcases the stories of historical women so often told by men, and invites the viewer to plant a seed within the main piece of the set, These Holes We Dig. The other piece, by Roseanna Chew, is an installation inviting the viewer inside a cosy red tepee of sorts which is filled with photos, with the intention of making them feel safe and reflective of the friendship and warmth that surrounds them.

Installation pieces featured at The Minories in Colchester for Lost In Wonderland
These Holes We Dig installation by Gemma Abbott, with Roseanna Chew’s installation in the background

As well as the artists mentioned several other artists are featured – Dorry Spikes, Jane Frederick, Pauline Medinger, and Emily Godden. There’s so much to be seen in the exhibition that I can’t touch on them all, but each artist brings something a little bit different to the theme, meaning that there will be something there for everyone interested in art, and you’ll most likely have one or two that really stand out to you. I found the exhibition inspiring – not only because we have such a talented collection of women in Colchester and the surrounding areas, but also that they are so diverse, each with their own stories and imagery to convey. Definitely worth a visit to The Minories if you’re in the area, and you might even find yourself inspired to create something within that theme yourself!

If you liked this review please click like and leave a comment! You can also check out my reviews for two other current local exhibitions created by women here:

A Coven A Grove A Stand – Susan Pui San Lok

Emotions Go To Work – Zoe Beloff

Odell’s Coffee Shop, Rochford

Rochford is a quaint little town situated in Essex, not too far from Southend. During my first visit I noticed that, although there isn’t loads of stuff to do there, what Rochford does have it does very well. The town is compact, but filled with very British streets and loads of local businesses. One example of these is a wonderful little coffee shop I got to visit for lunch – Odell’s Coffee Shop.

Odell’s Coffee Shop is marked on Trip Advisor as one of the best coffee shops in the area so I just had to try it out. I decided to sit outside for my visit as it just so happened to be the warmest day of February – the outside tables are very close to the road, but it wasn’t massively busy so this wasn’t issue. The street is shady in the morning and in the sun for the afternoon so bear this in mind if you prefer to sit outside. I discovered quite quickly that Odell’s is very popular with the locals, so I’d advise getting there early. Once it got to around half 12 people were unable to eat there due to the volume of people (the coffee shop is quite cosy inside).

Photo of a panini, crisps, and side salad from Odell's Coffee Shop in Rochford
One of the tastiest flavour combinations I’ve had in a panini for a while

Odell’s menu isn’t available online so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they provide a good variety of different food from lunch items such as paninis and sandwiches to a rather hearty all day breakfast (which people have only said good things about online!). I decided to opt for the Odell’s Special panini for £4.90, which contained chicken, salami, mozzarella, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, rocket, and pesto. It came served with crisps and salad and was really enjoyable – the bread was good quality, the combination of flavours was lovely, and there was loads of mozzarella which is particularly important to me!

I had the panini alongside a small cappuccino which cost £1.90 and a large slice of chocolate cake for £2.95. I thought the cake was slightly expensive but this seems to be a common theme in England, with most cake slices costing around the same amount – the rest of the meal was very reasonable and the entire thing came to under a tenner which was great considering how full I was. I really enjoyed the coffee too, and it was the perfect strength.

A slice of chocolate cake in front of a cappuccino from Odell's Coffee Shop in Rochford
The chocolate cake I probably didn’t need (but gorged on anyway)

As well as the food I also really liked the general vibe of Odell’s Coffee Shop – it’s your typical British café, but somewhat more refined in its decor and ambience. Inside the café you can see exposed beams and brick wall features which looks great, and outside was quite cute as well with the tables set between brick pillars. The homely crockery was also a nice touch.

Photo of cappuccino from Odell's Coffee Shop
My cappuccino, complete with cute crockery pattern

I did find the waiting times to be quite long, but as mentioned before I probably chose one of the busiest times to visit so I forgive them for that! In a way it was nice to slow down for the day, and it gave me time to reflect and just enjoy the moment. There wasn’t any WiFi available either so this is something to take note of if you’re in the area and need to be connected, but for me it added to my relaxation as I was disconnected from the stresses around me.

I really enjoyed my visit to Odell’s Coffee Shop and if I visit the area again I think I’ll make a point of going back – I’ve got to try out that all day breakfast! As well as great food the staff were also really lovely and easy to talk to, which added to the overall experience. For anyone planning on visiting Rochford in the near future – definitely make this one of your stops.

Versatile Blogger Awards!

I’ve seen so many posts on Twitter for the Versatile Blogger Awards of late and I didn’t have a clue what they were, but now I’ve been nominated for one I think I finally understand!

The Versatile Blogger Award image

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  3. Unveil seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate other bloggers that bring joy into your daily life.

My Nominees

First off, thanks so much to @Tinkableeblog for nominating me! I’ve been blogging little over a month so knowing that there are people out there already that appreciate my writing is a great feeling. Her blog, Little Tinklabee, is amazing, and covers a real variety of different topics from books to mental health to product reviews, so there’s something for everyone.

I’d also like to thank @reine_Raki for my second nomination! She runs a really good blog called African Soul Goddess which focuses on beauty, lifestyle, self-care, and other things. She writes great posts so please check her out!

My Seven Facts

I always find these so hard to answer because my mind just goes blank (I really should know myself by now though). I don’t even have the excuse of I never talk about myself either as I’ve filled in things like this so many times! I like this though, as it means you can learn a little bit about me that is completely irrelevant to pages, places, or plates. Here goes…

1. My day job is a youth advisor…

Which has nothing to do with blogging! I really love it though, as I get to help the most vulnerable and barrier-ridden young people into employment, education, and training. It’s a busy job with lots of pressures and emotional baggage, but I get to work across the county, with every day being different, and it’s so rewarding when a young person finally gets the result they want.

2. …And I’m also an artist on the side

I’ve always had a passion for art, and I’ve been selling commissions since I was 16. I do lots of realism – portraits, landscapes, and so on – but I also love painting a particular abstract style with paint and alcohol. I try and do a bit of everything and also do tattoo designs.

HHR Art artwork examples
Some of the different styles I have done for both painting and drawing (the middle one is painted with coffee)

3. My dream is to move to Fuerteventura eventually

It’s probably fairly obvious already, but I love Fuerteventura like no other country. My partner introduced me four years ago and we’ve gone back every year since. Corralejo in particular is my favourite town – it’s vibrant and friendly with so much to do, but it’s also so natural with its beaches and volcanoes. I love arid heat and desert-like landscapes so it’s perfect for me out there!

4. I own a Giant African Millipede

Chongololo is my beautiful pet millipede – she’s such a great pet and really unique. I discovered these beauties when I visited Kenya for the first time and decided I just had to have one! She’s not to everyone’s tastes, but I love her and she really is so interesting to watch. As you can see she loves selfies (yes I know she has no concept of “selfie”, humour me here), as does my step-daughter:

5. I’m a major gamer

Despite not being focused on with my blog, gaming is something I’m massively into and I make sure to jump on the Playstation at least once a day. My favourite games are Skyrim, The Sims, Forza, and Fallout 4, and I also love loads of other RPGs and puzzles. I’m currently in a Platinum challenge with my partner so every game has to be 100% completed at the moment!

6. A couple of years ago I wrote a women’s fiction novel

I still haven’t published it though as I just can’t face the editing process! My plan was to do it during this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo but I keep taking things on so probably not going to happen. One day I will publish it though, so watch this (possibly very long) space.

7. I’m a practising Atheopagan

I only properly started exploring my spirituality a year or so ago, but Atheopaganism is the path that fits me. It means that I follow Pagan ideals but without the God/supernatural aspect. I’m the only one in my family with those beliefs (the rest are mostly atheists) but since committing myself to my beliefs I’ve felt so much better within myself, and way more connected to the natural world.

My Nominations

I believe I’m supposed to nominate 15 bloggers for this award, however I wanted to focus on the ones I really appreciate and so have chosen five (in no particular order) to share with you all today. Please take a look at their blogs – I’m inspired by all of them as they write so well about their chosen topics. Guys – you’re all amazing!

@SpectraSpectrum‘s blog The Spectrum, a thought-provoking site that covers a variety of different topics in such an engaging way.

@YourTrvlHndbk‘s blog Your Travel Handbook, which provides really useful travel tips from all over the world.

@jennymarston_xo‘s blog Jenny In Neverland – she’s helped me so much with blogging without probably even realising! Her site contains some amazing information for bloggers, plus lots of other topics.

@AlyssaJade_2‘s blog The Sacred Space, where she writes inspiring and thoughtful posts on mindset and self-improvement.

The Art & Science Of Worldbuilding, a seriously useful blog for any aspiring authors who need tips and advice on worldbuilding and character development.

To all of you who I’ve nominated – I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs so far, and you’ve all been so welcoming and supportive within the blogging community. I’m looking forward to reading about your nominations as well!

The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man – Jonas Jonasson

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase the product using the link then I get paid at no extra cost to you. I only provide links to products I really enjoy, so you can be assured that it’s a positive recommendation from me!

Title image of The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred Year Old Man with bookcase in background
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Genre: Comedy
Published: July 2018

If you’ve already read The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared then you’ll know what a quirky and great writer Jonas Jonasson is. After two more unrelated novels, Jonasson now has another book focused on the wonderfully odd Allan Karlsson – The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old-Man.

Leading on from the first book, Allan has managed to get out of the crazy situations that befell him previously and is now enjoying a relaxing life in Bali with his partner in crime Julius Johnsson. That is until he learns to use a tablet, and suddenly he finds himself interested in the world again. After a birthday mishap involving a hot air balloon and lots of panicked hotel staff members, Allan and Julius find themselves on a ship headed straight to North Korea, and the pair find themselves following a bizarre chain of events that lead them to meet Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, amongst other well-known political characters. Perhaps a calm and hassle-free life isn’t quite what the doctor ordered for Allan yet…

I’ll start by saying I’m a big Jonas Jonasson fan – I’ve read all of his novels to date and eagerly await more. There’s something so original about his writing; the humour is clever and witty and the way he writes is so easy to read. With every book I’ve read of Jonasson’s I’ve found them almost impossible to put down, and have regularly found the bath water I was sitting in to become cold because I’ve been so engrossed in the book!

The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man doesn’t fail to disappoint either, and I’d say it’s probably my second favourite of all his books so far. It’s great to be able to revisit the first set of characters he wrote (and clearly loves), and this time round the story is even more bizarre than the first one. I’ve seen a few reviews claiming that it’s too unrealistic but I have to disagree there – whilst many of the situations are astronomically unlikely that’s kind of the point, and the humour Jonasson creates from each one is in a league of its own. I lost count of the moments I laughed out loud (generally you can tell how funny I find a book by how many weird looks I get from my partner – I got a lot whilst reading this one).

What really added to the comedy this time is that Jonasson introduced actual real people into the story – written as characters, of course, but still quite accurate in their actions and talking styles. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un were written brilliantly as was Angela Merkel, and I looked forward to every scene that had them in. I’m not entirely sure if Trump and Jong Un would agree with me about their fictional selves being hilarious but that just makes it funnier.

I also love the supporting characters that Jonasson brings to life in his books – each one is explored in-depth, and you feel like you really know them whilst reading. Even minor characters who puts so much thought into, and it’s refreshing to read a book by an author that’s really mastered this element of writing. It’s not only the character development that is great but the chemistry between each character, and the dialogue is vivid and engrossing. One thing I’ve found with Jonas Jonasson’s books is that every sentence included has a purpose – there’s no fluff to be found.

The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man really is a book worth reading, as are the other books by Jonasson. With short, digestible chapters and so many twists and turns that you just have to keep reading, this is certainly one to put at the top of your to-read list (just make sure to read the previous book first!).

If you’d like to purchase either of these wonderful stories of Alan Carlsson’s mind-boggling adventures then you can do so here:

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared

The Further Accidental Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man

I’d totally recommend reading Jonas Jonasson’s other two books as well – you can purchase them here:

Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All

The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden

Have you read any of any of Jonasson’s books before? Which one is your favourite, and why did you enjoy it so much? Please let me know in the comments!

You can also check my other recent book reviews here:

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

The Summer Of Chasing Dreams – Holly Martin

Choosing Me: Love Letters From A Poet – Bill Weber

Isla de Lobos – Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is a beautiful place within itself, but it also contains another stunning island just a short boat ride away. Isla de Lobos, one of the smallest of the Canary Islands, is a protected national park and excursion location that can’t be missed if you’re in the area and is so easy to access if you’re staying in Corralejo. Its name is translated as ‘Island of Seals’, a species that used to be abundant in the area (until us humans came along and ate them all, of course).

Title image of Isla de Lobos against photo of Lobos from Corralejo in Fuerteventura

There are several different ways of travelling to Isla de Lobos depending on what you want from your trip, and all involve a boat trip. All options go every hour, and tickets can be purchased from Corralejo harbour either before or on the morning of your trip. You can either go on a normal, two-level boat, a glass-bottomed boat (which costs slightly more) or my all-time favourite option, the Water Taxi.

View of Isla de Lobos, Corralejo, Fuerteventura, showing hills and lake
Isla de Lobos from above

The Water Taxi is essentially a brightly coloured speed boat with chairs and a seating area on the floor – it’s a slightly more thrilling method than the other boats but totally worth it if you enjoy the wind in your hair and the waves passing by at speed! Despite how fast they are they are relatively safe and certainly a great experience, although I’d advise to choose the glass-bottomed boat if you are less of a thrill-seeker and more of an animal-observer! You can see fish, rays, and other marine creatures so it’s also a really good option.

Despite its small land mass there’s quite a lot to see on Isla de Lobos. Two great points of interest near to the boat drop-off point are the village where people live on the island (without electricity!), and the beautiful lagoon and beach area. Don’t make the mistake we did of following the ‘Laguna’ sign to reach it, as it turns out that it doesn’t even mean ‘lagoon’ and is actually in the opposite direction!

Image of one of the houses on the island of Isla de Lobos (Corralejo, Fuerteventura), with an upturned boat in front
One of a few houses on the island

If you fancy food while you’re there, you can pre-order it with the local restaurant when you buy your tickets. The only option is Paella, but it’s said to be absolutely wonderful and worth including in your trip. If not, then it’s advisable to bring a picnic-style lunch with you are there are no shops or resources on the island apart from one vending machine with limited drinks.

For those that enjoy a bit of a trek you can find some other points of interest further afield – the Montaña La Caldera which proves to be an exciting ascent, and you’ll be reminded very quickly why Fuerteventura is known as “the windy isle”! On the opposite side of the island you can visit the Punta Martiño Lighthouse, with stunning views and treacherous rocks and waves surrounding it. If you go the right way you may also come across an abandoned village, the salt flats, and an oasis-like clearing of agave plants, but due to the many walking routes it’s taken us a few trips to discover it all!

The Montaña La Caldera on Isla de Lobos, Corralejo, Fuerteventura
The Montaña La Caldera which is deceivingly big (don’t attempt in flipflops like I did)

There are a few things to be cautious of when visiting Isla de Lobos, namely the timings of the trip. If you are planning of walking to the further away points of interest then I’d recommend going earlier in the morning to remove any time pressures – the distance between the drop-off point and the lighthouse is quite far considering it’s on the other side of the island but can take quite a while if it is particularly hot. As the temperatures can soar in the afternoon it’s advisable to take lots of water with you, and a hat or headscarf is a must as there isn’t really any shade to be found except in the visitor centre right at the start. As mentioned food is also vital (and I’d always recommend TUC biscuits and the local lizards seem to love them!).

One thing to also take note of – the final boat ride home at 4pm is very final. If you’re late then no one will come looking for you and you’ll end up stuck on the island, which could be a very long night! Make sure to arrive back at the drop-off point in good time as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Closed footpath at Isla de Lobos, Corralejo, Fuerteventura
Isla de Lobos has loads of sights and footpaths to offer (just not this one)

Isla de Lobos is a place that I’ve visited four times already and I know I’ll go again countless times more – it’s a unique excursion on the island and offers some interesting and unusual experiences. Even if you’re not into long walks and boat rides it’s still worth it just to swim in the still waters of the lagoon, which is without a doubt one of my favourite places to visit during my Fuerteventura holidays.

If you’re interested in going further afield than Isla de Lobos during your Fuerteventura stay, then please also check out my review of the Lanzarote Grand Tour. Remember to like and comment if you enjoyed my review!

Thank You To My First 100 Followers!

I only started my blog in the middle of February and it’s been quite a wild ride so far – I didn’t expect to be putting so much work in but I also didn’t expect so much engagement back from it!

100 Followers badge from WordPress

Thank you to everyone that has followed so far (and thanks in advance to any future followers) – it’s been great reading your blogs and responding to your comments, and I really hope that people are appreciating the content I’m writing. Writing is something I am so passionate about so being able to do it more in my everyday life is just wonderful.

Now I’ve hit 100 followers I want to keep working at this, but I also want to find even more great content that I can read. Setting up the blog has been quite overwhelming so I haven’t been able to focus enough on what’s on my WordPress Reader, so another one of my goals this month is to really spend some time reading all of your blogs and contributing as much as I can. I’m really liking the blogging community so far and it seems there are some really genuinely lovely people out there, so thank you for all your help so far!

If you don’t already, you can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram:

Twitter: @pageplaceplate

Instagram: @pages.places.plates

Please get in touch if you have any suggestions or comments, and please also leave your website below if you want me to check out your content!

February Wrap Up & March In Focus

Hi everyone, and welcome to my monthly wrap-up and focus post! I’m hoping to do one of these each month to go over what I’ve done for the past month and also show you all what to expect for the upcoming one as well.

February Wrap Up

As you all know this is the first month that my blog has been live, so it’s all been very exciting! It’s been a great experience so far and I’ve really enjoyed finally being able to write about the things I’m passionate about. Despite going live mid-month I’ve still managed to review a variety of different topics and had authors start to contact me with new releases to read which is great! I’ve also had my first radio interview with Colne Radio which I was super nervous about, but it was a really fun experience and I’m looking forward to doing it once a month.

Books

My first ever review on the blog was a book review, of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – one that I enjoyed reading so much recently that it really inspired the push for me to go ahead with my blog! I was also approached by author Holly Martin to review her latest book The Summer Of Chasing Dreams, which again I really enjoyed. My final book review I produced was for Choosing Me: Love Letters From A Poet by Bill Weber, who approached me on Instagram. I enjoyed all of the books, but enjoyed The Summer Of Chasing Dreams the most!

Eateries

I only reviewed one eatery this month, which was Biddy’s Tea Room in Norwich, a place I visited not too long ago. Writing about it reminded me that I need to go back! I also visited a café in Rochford, Odell’s, which will have a review written up soon.

Experiences

February was a great month for art, and I visited two exhibitions at Firstsite in Colchester – Emotions Go To Work and A Coven A Grove A Stand. It was great to view some artwork right on my doorstep, and I especially liked how one of them was so local and community focused.

Travel

Sadly I didn’t actually get to travel in February (soon though!), but I did write a review of an excursion I really love – the Lanzarote Grand Tour. I felt some serious wanderlust writing that particular review as it really is an excellent experience.

March In Focus

Next month has quite a lot in store! As well as eight upcoming reviews, all scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays, I’ll also be planning a bit of a revamp for the blog, such as a new theme and some extra content. I’d really appreciate feedback and suggestions so please get in touch if you have any!

I’m Reading…

I’m excited to say I’ll be part of my first blog tour next month! The book is yet to be confirmed, but I’m really looking forward to taking part. I’ll also be giving a review of The Further Accidental Adventures Of The Hundred Year Old Man – I love Jonas Johannson so looking forward to writing this. books this month!

I’m Eating…

The review of Odell’s will be up in March, and I’ll also be giving a review for the new Colchester Wagamama where I visited recently. At some point during the month I should also be visiting a wonderful local café, Cakes By Emma, which I’m positive will receive an outstanding review for April. Emma has started serving a much more diverse menu recently so looking forward to trying it out!

I’m Experiencing…

I’m really looking forward to my two experiences for this month – a visit to The Minories art gallery in Colchester, which shows loads of great artwork and exhibitions, and a day out at my wonderful local zoo, Colchester Zoo. I really don’t go to the zoo enough so looking forward to going back and feeding the giraffes (and also seeing the new lizards from Germany!)

I’m Travelling…

I’m not going anywhere international this month, but I will be contributing reviews from two of my favourite places I’ve ever visited – Fuerteventura and Kenya. For Fuerteventura I’ll be focusing on the wonderful Isla de Lobos, an island and national park accessible by boat, and for Kenya I’ll be taking you to Diani Beach, a beautiful African beach and certainly the longest I’ve visited in my life! There will also be lots more from both of these countries in upcoming months, so stay tuned.

So that concludes my blogging so far! What was your favourite review to read? And what are you looking forward to in March?