Oxford//eat: The Handle Bar

28-32 St Michael Street, Oxford, OX1 2EB I don’t write café reviews often, but when I do, there is a common theme: brunch done well. These three words could comfortably sum up the three café reviews currently on my blog: The Locker Café in Cambridge, Wild Café in Bath… and now The Handle Bar in…

My 2020 in books: a reading year in review

I’ve read 52 books this year – a classic number, one for every week. It is down from 85 in 2019 and 100 in 2018, though. However, with my average book length being 353 pages (thank you Goodreads), I think I had a lot of longer reads which took a couple of weeks to get…

Not haunted enough by Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts: Review

2 STARS Dolly Alderton, 2020 CONTAINS SPOILERS ‘When will this all end? I just want someone nice to go to the cinema with.’ The above line was the most heartbreakingly depressing moment in Dolly Alderton’s first novel, Ghosts. It promised ‘whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.’ What it presented –…

Film Review: Rebecca

3 STARS Ben Wheatley, 2020 CONTAINS SPOILERS “I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.” When Armie Hammer delivered this line in a smouldering whisper, clutching Lily James’s face tenderly in both hands against the lush backdrop of an opulent bedroom which suggested sensuality just as much as James’s tilted head and open mouth…

Untimely Endings in Ali Smith’s Summer: Review

4 STARS Ali Smith, 2020 Summer isn’t just a merry tale. Because there’s no merry tale without the darkness.               It’s quite sad that this series has come to an end. The contemporary-est of contemporary novels, they have featured current events often of only a month or two before publication, mixed in with stories about…

The Testaments: The Sequel You Didn’t Know You Needed?

3 STARS Margaret Atwood, 2019 CONTAINS SPOILERS You don’t believe the sky is falling until a chunk of it falls on you. In many ways, The Testaments is the exact opposite of The Handmaid’s Tale. There, we were claustrophobically confined to one character’s limited viewpoint. Here, we move rhythmically between three different ones. There, we…

White Teeth: the Debut Author’s Hysterical Realism

3 STARS Zadie Smith, 2000   Shiva shook his head. ‘I been out with a lot of white birds, Samad. A lot. Sometimes it’s worked, sometimes it ain’t. Two lovely American girls. Fell head-over-heels for a Parisian stunner. Even spent a year with a Romanian. But never an English girl. Never works. Never.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Too…

simple student recipe: prawn salad bowl

A salad bowl is such a simple meal: just stick loads of healthy things in a bowl together. However, I don’t eat this sort of thing often at uni, because it relies on having a large variety of ingredients in your fridge or cupboard. Having said that, most of these ingredients are cheap, and buying…