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!
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:
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 Writer’s Block which I was super nervous about, but it was a really fun experience and I’m looking forward to doing it once a month.
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!
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 did great food and coincided with the hottest day of the year so far so I even got to sit outside!
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.
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 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!
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 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 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?
The history of witchcraft is more in the spotlight in Britain now due to the recent rise in believers of Paganism, Wicca, and other belief systems and religions that incorporate witchcraft, but for the majority it’s still largely unexplored. Essex and the surrounding counties have a prevalent past when it comes to witchcraft, with the most notable event being the witch trials held in the area. This is the focus of Susan Pui San Lok’s latest exhibition, ‘A Coven A Grove A Stand’ at Firstsite in Colchester, where she explores these trials through sight, sound, and audience participation.
part of the exhibition invites you to remember a persecuted witch by writing
their name with your own on a large blackboard wall. I chose to remember
Margaret Moone of Thorpe-le-Soken, a village local to me. I really love this as
an introduction, as it gets the viewer to consider the impact and history of
the topic before it’s even really begun. I spent some time reading the wall,
and it prepared me to get the most out of what was to follow.
The rest of the exhibition is spread over three different rooms, with a striking recycled cardboard installation as the first thing you see, designed around 3D scans of ‘Old Knobbley’, an oak tree in Mistley (believed to be 800 years old) where witches were thought to have hidden. This tree is featured again in a video in the second room, accompanied by audio providing information of the persecuted – who they were, how they died, and why they were sentenced to death. Beautifully haunting folk music plays in the background of the main room, so encompassing that I had to stop and listen to it on its own. The lyrics of the music are printed on the wall towards the back left, describing the concepts of female sexuality against violence and power.
The most powerful part of the exhibition for me is the final room, showcasing embroidery to honour the persecuted, as well as a hundred red ribbons tied from the ceiling to honour those without names – it’s set up in such a way that you’re able to walk through the ribbons to fully experience and digest the concept. I appreciated how Susan Pui San Lok has got the community of Colchester involved with this part, with Colne & Colchester Embroiderers’ Guild, Stitch & Bitch Colchester, and Young Art Kommunity all creating the embroideries and Mohila Shomity assisting with hanging the ribbons – it adds to the personalisation and reminds the viewer that these are the ancestors of our community. This is something from our past that brings us together, and we can all relate to it.
I found the exhibition to be quite emotive as I have a particular interest in the history of witchcraft, especially locally. Much of the emotion comes from within, as Susan Pui San Lok has been quite minimalistic with her artistic choices, using a ‘show not tell’ approach and allowing the viewer to build up the exhibition and its impact from their own feelings. For me, it felt personal and poignant, however for this reason it may not feel that way for someone with little interest in the topic. But for those that appreciate the history, ‘A Coven A Grove A Stand’ at Firstsite is a collection of art that works just as well as a memorial and will get you thinking back to those times and what really went on.
If you liked this review please click like and leave a comment! You can also check my other reviews for Firstsite exhibitions here:
The first post is always the hardest for me – I’m itching to get on with a whole myriad of posts for Pages, Places, & Plates, but I guess I better introduce myself first!
I’m Hannah – I’m 26, and I live in the rural depths of Essex, UK. We’re right at the end of the line in my town – if you go too far you drop off the edge. It’s a beautiful, thriving, seaside town in the summer, and a beautiful, desolate, seaside town in the winter, and even though I love it I constantly have the desire to explore further afield.
There are many people more well-travelled than me, but my adventures have lead me throughout the UK, into a variety of different European countries, and into Kenya, with Diani Beach being my furthest point away from home so far (Technically I’ve also been to Turkey and Dubai, but apparently it doesn’t count if you just visit the airport…). I have so many more places I want to go to, and that’s one of the things that inspired me to set up this blog – not only do I want the experiences for myself, but I want to share those experiences with other people.
It’s not all about going abroad though, as I also want to share what our wonderful tiny island in the North Sea has to offer, from cafés and restaurants to galleries, exhibitions, and outdoor experiences. Often we take our homelands for granted and never truly explore them the way we should, so from this year forward I’m going to put a stop to that (for me, at least, but hopefully for you as well!). Another passion of mine is reading, and so I’ll also be reviewing books both new and old, for those days where it’s actually much nicer to just sit at home, cosy in your pyjamas and with the company of a cup of tea and a good read.
I’ve done a lot of other writing in my spare time as well – I currently reviews films and games for CEX, and I’ve also had a column in a local magazine and written voluntary pieces for various different publications. I used to write for eHow, too, but now it’s time for me to focus on what I love to write about – sharing my experiences with the world so they too may make the decision to experience them as well.
I want Pages, Places, & Plates to be a space where comments are made and discussions are held, rather than just my voice, so I encourage as much interaction as possible! I want my posts to be inspiring, and convince others to maybe try something they haven’t (or something they have – sometimes you just can’t have too much of something). I’m not going to sell you anything, but rather give you some ideas. If I’ve made you think about trying something new for yourself, then I’m happy.
Pages, Places, & Plates will undergo some redecorating soon so is a work in progress, but any feedback is gratefully appreciated! You can find my contact details here and more information on the blog here so feel free to get in touch, otherwise I’ll hopefully see some of you around on my future posts.