Crickhowell Literary Festival 2018 Wrap Up

#CrickLitFest is over for another year.

What a crazy, tiring, inspiring, amazing nine days that was.

I met some great speakers: authors, poets, comedians, musicians. I was pretty restrained with my book purchasing however and only got 4 books over the festival!

For me, the festival kicked off with the amazing Paul Henry & Brian Briggs, a poet/musician combo reading and singing stories based around the local canal. It was heart-warming and heart-wrenching. It was great.

IMG_8700

Next up for me was the amazing Robin Ince, talking about his latest book, I’m a Joke and So Are You. Talking about life, death and everything in between in true Infinite Monkey Cage (minus Brian Cox) style, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and I bought his book.

IMG_8738

Then we had a local writing group launching their anthology to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, we had Oliver Bullough and Katy Mahood. And then there was Tristan Gooley, natural navigator.

Now I am not one for walking, not just going out just for a walk kind of walking anyway. However, I was really inspired by Tristan Gooley and his signs in nature that tell you where you are, which way you are facing etc just by looking at the shape of a tree or the angle of Orions Belt. Or knowing which direction the wind is blowing just by looking at the shape of a cloud. He was definitely inspiring, he made me consider the pros of walking for the sake of walking.

IMG_8765

Friday was a school event with Adam Baron (loads of fun),

IMG_8779

Frankenstein (super interesting),

IMG_8778

And Dr Brian Brivati talking about an exhibition of portraits of Yazidi women, survivors of Daesh.

IMG_8780

Then there was my faaaaaaaaaaaaave, Stuart Turton, interviewed by none other than Sophie Hannah! They bounced off each other so well and I enjoyed their conversation so much, I felt like the biggest fan girl in the room, or maybe second biggest after Amy from Tomes with Tea

IMG_8783

Sophie also had her own event in the evening, discussing her new Poirot story and how she got to write continuation novels for Agatha Christie. Words cannot express how excited I was for that and how lucky I felt for getting to be there. Swoon.

IMG_8787

On Sunday, the last day, I saw Neil Ansell and Bella Bathurst talk about sound and hearing loss and it’s effect on them. It turns out birdsong is usually one of the first sounds you lose when your hearing deteriorates, and that just made me feel so grateful for the fantastic things that are ears.

IMG_8790

Then there was Martin Dorey of #2minbeachclean fame, talking about his new book, No. More. Plastic. He was so interesting and it was great to see such an engaged audience for  a talk on saving the planet.

IMG_8794

Can’t wait for CrickLitFest19, but first, some sleep…

Amy x

I went to the Booksellers Association Conference 2018 and here are some photos

IMG_8546

I went to the BA Conference in Aston last weekend and thought you might like to see what we got up to! Here’s a sneak-peek of the “book bus” which came in very useful when transporting all our goodies home!

IMG_8550

 

First up was the Gardners Tradeshow where publishers shared with us what they were loving and promoting for Christmas. We found our good friend Adele Nozedar’s new book “Foraging with Kids” on the Watkins Media stand!

img_8552.jpg

After the Tradeshow, we got treated to Afternoon Tea with Harper Collins as they introduced us to some of their new titles – I got my proof of Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers signed by Anna James and really can’t wait to read it!

We then had a dinner provided by the Independent Alliance, who are a group of UK publishers including Atlantic Books, Faber & Faber, Granta Books and more. We got to hear from speakers like Robin Ince and Tiffany Watt Smith – it was a great evening!

IMG_8555

Breakfast saw Vaseem Khan talking about his newest Inspector Chopra mystery – I’ve loved these so far and am so excited for the new one!

IMG_8556IMG_8559

We then got to hear from TED speaker Margaret Heffernan and poet Benjamin Zephaniah – both were great speakers, very inspiring!

After some workshops, we got treated to a dinner by Pan Macmillan to celebrate their 175th Anniversary and got to meet Marianne Power, Alex T Smith and Kate Morton talk about their new books, another fab evening! (Do people say fab anymore?)

IMG_8561

Should have brought a bigger suitcase.

Can’t wait to share with you all what I’m loving out of what was generously shared with me, watch this space!

 

Thanks for reading,

Amy x

 

Wandering around the Welsh countryside (We’ve moved house!)

Hello!

Apologies for not posting for over a week, Max and I finally moved house on Monday! We’ve been so busy unpacking boxes and spending too much money in Ikea for the last six days, but everything is coming together so nicely now. (I hope to do a “house tour” blog post soon, so keep eyes peeled for that!)

This morning we went out for a walk near our new house, exploring the landscape, saying hello to the sheep, etc. I thought I’d take some photos and bring you guys along!

IMG_5357

Map and tea in hand, we wandered around, scampered up hills and got barked and ran at by the cutest spaniels ever.

IMG_5366IMG_5370IMG_5373

The views looking back were pretty incredible! (Yes, that’s a castle.)

IMG_5369IMG_5379

There were loads of interesting looking plants and flowers, definitely want to paint them!

IMG_5358IMG_5372IMG_5371

And I braved a walk through two sheep fields (turns out they tend to walk away from you).

IMG_5384IMG_5387

Then we reached a cow field and they’re a bit bigger and scarier, plus Max pointed out it was lunchtime (he’s on the ball, that one) so we headed back.

IMG_5395

And then we came home and had some lunch! I forgot to take pictures of that (-10 blogger points) but we had fried avocado, pepper vegan cheese and pesto wraps – do they have a name?

Hope you enjoyed having a look at those photos, like I said I promise lots more house-related posts really soon because we’re pretty much settled in now and it’s GREAT. Let me know if there’s anything specific you want me to talk about.

Laterz,

Amy x

Visiting the Art Chapel, Abergavenny

The other day I visited the Art Chapel in Abergavenny for the first time, after hearing so many good things. I’ve been to the associated Art Shop in the town many, many times but the owners recently opened up the Art Chapel as more of an events space with a cafe, keen on showcasing local, fresh  food produce as well as local artists and makers. (It also has the most beautiful stream running in front of it!)

We stopped for a bite to eat and I had the tastiest lentil and chard soup with sourdough (and apple juice – my favourite drink to have out). We sat in the garden area and it was so nice being surrounded by ALL the greenery.

They also had some plants for sale, I think Max and I will be returning once we’ve moved because, don’t know if I’ve told you yet, we’ll have a garden! 😉

IMG_5096

Inside, there were lots of books and art supplies for sale, as well as handmade ceramics, jewellery and artwork.

IMG_5094IMG_5093IMG_5092

I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area! And then go and visit the Art Shop on Cross St, it’s so old and narrow, with really wonky stairs going up to the gallery space – just such a lovely building!

As always, thanks for reading and let me know of any inspiring places you’ve been to recently!

Amy x

Visiting Blue Ginger Gallery, Malvern

The other day Max and I went to Blue-Ginger Gallery, near Malvern, Worcestershire, with his mum to prep some work they were both exhibiting.

IMG_4967

Above: the view from the car park.
Below: inside the gallery.

IMG_4941IMG_4946IMG_4950IMG_4951

There was quite a lot there that I wanted to take home with me, I think knowing that we’re moving soon has just made me so excited to get nice things to fill our new house with. Like these beautiful ceramic boats and submarines by Richard Goodwin-Jones

IMG_4942

And these stunning pieces by Hannah Willow (I especially love the cow in the middle!)

IMG_4965

But back to the task at hand! I was on tape-cutting and measuring duties while Max positioned and framed. I must say, the pieces turned out pretty nice!

His work (above) will be exhibited and available to purchase from next week at the gallery if you’ve fallen a bit in love with it like I often do.

All that tape cutting and measuring made me hungry so Karin, Max’s mum, kindly treated us to some tea and cake before we left. I had pear and ginger, it was amazing.

IMG_4964

I also wanted to quickly point out how cool this tiny dish is that Max’s creme fraiche came in…

IMG_4963

You can see more of Max’s work at:

www.max-low.com
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter 

and Karin’s at:

www.celestineandthehare.com
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

And I wanted to add this photo of Max because it makes me laugh…

IMG_4945

Thanks for reading!
Amy