Pages: My Favourite Audiobooks of 2019

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

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Image of audible book the name of the wind on a spotted sheet

2019 was the year that I REALLY got into audiobooks. I had tried the 30 day free trial on Audible a few times but it wasn't until a friend recommended the below, and I was in a job with a long commute that I started to really appreciate audiobooks and became a member. So yes, March is very late to discuss a 2019 faves but with these free evenings, I am finally getting time to blog again. It is also the perfect time for people to take up listening to audiobooks, especially with free audible for the little kiddlewinks in your life!

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Audible Book Cover  

Narrated by Jot Davies, Stuart Turton's The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was an incredible way to dip my toes into the audible waters! At 16 hours and 41 minutes, I thought I'd invested my first credit well and I certainly did! The novel is about a man who wakes up in a body that is not his own but with some of his traits and some of anothers. He is given eight identities and eight days to find out who is responsible for the death of Evelyn Hardcastle and his own destiny. Each identity has their own part to play, knowledge and characteristics and as a mammoth of a book it can take some time grasp each character but when you do it is completely worth it.

Each unique and mysterious character deepens the story and sweeps you in further and further. Moving from creepy scenes to the wilds of the party, there is not a point during The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle where you not second-guessing! I realised I've strayed from the plot but I highly recommend giving this novel a read or a listen!

The Name of the wind Audible Book Cover

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Narrated by Rupert Degas,  Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind was constantly recommended to me for years,  but as a pretty hefty book I just never got round to it. As book 1 in the Kingkiller Chronicles, I knew I would be getting myself into a series that wasn't finished yet, and it still isn't! As I am typically a binge reader when it comes to series I put it off but when I saw The Name of the Wind is one of the audible sales I couldn't resist and at 28 hours and 3 minutes I knew it would fill my work commutes at the time.

Told by the main character Kvothe we are swept into a magical world as we follow the young man growing up in a mortal world interlinked with the fae. A beautiful fantasy novel, I felt the world-building around me, growing with Kvothe's story and his life. But what I found most interesting was that the stories about Kvothe seemed so much more outlandish than the story unveiled before us. Not only did I not want the book to end but I didn't want to leave the world either. I needed to know more about how his life unfolds after, or what was happening in the gaps he wasn't sharing with us, the reader. Luckily I picked up the second book 'The Wise Mans Fear' in a second-hand book shop recently, but I am reluctant to start it until the idea of a published third book is on the horizon!

The Bell Jar Audible Book Cover

The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath

One of my favourite finds of this 2019 was the selection of audiobooks narrated by Maggie Gyllenhall. I have read The Bell Jar numerous times but listening to it with Maggie's ethereal voice brought the novel even closer to my heart. If you are going to listen to one audiobook, I recommend this one.

At a reasonable 7 hours and 24 minutes The Bell Jar, the only novel written by Slyvia Plath follows Ester Greenwood as she embarks on a summer internship at a magazine in New York. The internship begins the downfall of Ester with a series of events that see a decline in her mental health. The novel follows these darkest moments of Ester's life, pushing through various suicide attempts and treatment plans in 1950's America.

The Bell Jar is one of the best things you will ever read and this edition is requisite.

neverwhere Audible Book Cover

Neverwhere, a BBC Dramatisation by Neil Gaiman

Although I LOVE Neverwhere the novel by Neil Gaiman, which I reviewed here. I also love this dramatisation so much I have listened to it multiple times. The story follows Richard Mayhew after he's moved to London when one simple act of kindness gives him the glimpse into another part of London and that changes his life forever. Richard's act of kindness was rescuing a beaten girl named Door from the street of London and letting her recover in his apartment after she declined the hospital for fear of assassins Croup and Vandemar. From then on he is invisible to London, having to search for Door and entering a dangerous new life in London Below.

An urban fantasy story to completely lose yourself in Neverwhere will make sure you never look at London the same way again. Complete with an incredible cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Natalie Dormer and James McAvoy, Neverwhere is 3 hours and 48 minutes of absolute escapism.

the crimson petal and the white Audible Book Cover

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber 

Narrated by Jill Tanner, Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White was the heftiest audiobook I listened in 2019 at 41 hours and 32 minutes and I am so glad I did it. I studied Neo-Victorianism at University and loved the TV adaptation of the novel but every time I went to read it the tiny font put me off. So this audible edition was perfect.

Set in Victorian England the novels tells the tale of two very different women, Agnes and Sugar, with one man in common, William Rackham. Whereas Agnes is the Victorian ideal of a woman Sugar is a confident, well-read prostitute. So as Agnes' health declines and William's fortunes grow it soon becomes that his favourite prostitute becomes his daughter's governess and in turn his live-in mistress. But unfortunately for Sugar it does not all go in her favour...

daisy jones and the six Audible Book Cover

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Another amazing listen with a stellar cast, Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a must listen or read! It's 9 hours and 3 minutes felt like seconds as I was enveloped in the story about a fictional rock band from 1970's recording an album. In an almost documentary style the story is told from various members of band, friends and family, circling rumours in truth and showing the roots of creativity.

For me, Daisy Jones and the Six tells of the passion and the people behind art and music and everything that goes into it.

a room of ones own Audible Book Cover

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

I picked up Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own after I saw that it was narrated by the lovely Juliet Stevenson. The book fell blissfully in my ears as I listened to it in full one afternoon, with the feminist question of if women can write and if this was a dangerous space for a woman to be in. Woolf drove the question of place, poverty and education with the conception that 'a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'. Reflecting that freedom allows women to write and that although women are sensationalised in fiction it is the patriarchy that limits them in reality.

This extended essay is essential listening.

nigel Audible Book Cover

Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs by Monty Don

Read by the man himself, Monty Don's Nigel, My Family and Other Dogs was my final audiobook but of 2019 and my gosh did it fill my heart with love. At a short and sweet 5 hours and 50 mins I listened to this book on a trip there and back down south to visit my Grandma, and crying on the M1 is not fun! Well, nothing on the M1 is fun.

Monty Don's golden retriever Nigel was an unexpected TV star when he started gaining fans on Gardeners' World and in the novel, Monty explores his deep bond with Nigel and other family dogs in what is very much a pooch-esque memoir. Heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time, every dog lover should read this.

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2019 reading challenge and setting intentions for 2020

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

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Amber carnegie typewriter teeth sexiest seo sat on a sofa

After University I lost my love for reading, I'm not sure if anyone else who studied English feels the same but it took me a while to find my passion for reading again. I knew I was missing finding time for myself and time for reading so in 2018 I decided to take part in the Goodreads challenge and make books a priority again.

In 2018 I set my reading goal as 20 and started a branch of the Oh Comely Book Club in Sheffield which not only brought reading back into my life but also brought bookish friends with it. This alongside taking some time off work for my mental health meant that I exceeded my target and ended the year by reading 25 books.

the familiars book typewriter teeth

Taking this in my stride I set my 2019 goal at 25 and found that setting aside time for myself and reading was making a positive effect on my mental health and also helping me focus. Part of my 2019 goal was to also read over 10,000 pages to make me reach for the bigger books too. Not only did I end the year on 14,312 pages but this meant I also read an amazing 41 books in total. 2019 also saw the end of the Oh Comely Book Club but we decided to continue it and I absolutely love the bimonthly book chats and beers!

Sheffield book club table image peach emma glass

So although we're a few weeks into 2020 you don't need a new year to set intentions and I've set my reading challenge at 30 books but also want to add some more goals for the year...

2020 Intentions 

1.  Read 30 books, including Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy
2. I feel like I've finally found my job for life and I intend to work my fucking arse off
3. Write 1 or more blog posts a month
4. Put more energy into creating and write more
5. Make a dent in my unread books
6. Go on more dates
7. Wake up earlier
8. Find the courage to do more public speaking outside of Book Club
9. Book the tattoos, gigs and holidays I keep thinking about
10. Make time for those quick cuppas, brunch dates and days out.

Temple coffee cups, typewriter teeth blog

These aren't resolutions but more of an energy that I want to drive forward. I feel like I've really focused on my mental health for the past few years and it's time to stop letting it dictate my life by pushing P.M.A and maintaining my own expectations.

Have you set any resolutions or intentions for 2020? I want to know what you want to focus your energy on this year.

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A Bookish Christmas Gift Guide

Thursday, 12 December 2019

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Okay okay, I know that we are well into December by now but there is still time to order for your bookish pals in time for Christmas! Whilst also shopping independent! 

I've compiled plenty of bookish goodies that are destined to put a smile on any book-loving face this Christmas. But if you can think of some more PLEASE let me know, I bloody love supporting amazing independents and their beaut products! Let's keep all this creativity flowing! 

Bookish Pin on TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide
[The Literary Emporium Pin image by Typewriter Teeth]

The beautiful pieces that come from The Literary Emporium never cease to amaze me (and my bank account). From unique pins and stationery to incredible apparel and jewellery The Literary Emporium have nailed it! But even better, if you are struggling with ideas for your bookish gifting then they have incredible gift sets too! I've definitely got my eye on the Virginia Woolf one. 

bookish gift guide
[Image by Books That Matter]

What about the gift that keeps on giving? The guys over at Books That Matter have created the PERFECT present for book lovers - a book subscription box. Each box includes one book, at least three gifts from independent creatives, a crafted menu, and beautiful packaging! What more could you want?

TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide Books
[Nutmeg and Arlo Pin image by Typewriter Teeth]

Nutmeg and Arlo have some of the best pins I have ever set my eyes on, and I love pins! I can never decide which ones I'm going to buy so end up buying for friends too. But it doesn't stop at pins, from phone cases, cards, washi tape, mugs and more you are bound to find not only presents for book lovers but basically anyone with an interest in anything remotely cool. 

TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide  book pin
[Kate Rowland Pin image by Typewriter Teeth]

I am ALWAYS lusting after Kate Rowland's work so you need to as well! Not only does she make this beautiful 'Book Worm' pin from sustainable plywood but she also has the most insane Harry Potter pins including glittery 'Felix Felicis' for when you need a little luck and a perfectly detailed 'Flying Ford Anglia' for when you need to fly to Hogwarts. Her bookish work doesn't end here, from 'Snozzcumbers' to 'Violet Beauregarde' and even 'Bruce Bogtrotter' famously demolishing that chocolate cake, how on earth are you meant to decide?! 

TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide
[Image by Bookish and Bakewell]

I didn't mean for this post to be predominately pins but here we are, there are just so many amazing ones. Bookish and Bakewell are another independent who are just killing it with their geeky pins from the 'must be a Weasley' pin above to amazing Lord of the Rings pins. 

They don't stop there, with stationery, clothes, coasters and stickers I NEED! 

TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide
[Image by Katie Abey]

It wouldn't be a bookish gift guide without an appearance from the talented Katie Abey - Queen of some of the best puns in the business. From pins and badges to mugs, prints and apparel you'll be sure to find something for everyone and yourself! 

But bookish doesn't always have to have a specific book in mind, us book lovers typically love stationery too...

TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide
[Image by Sighh by Polly]

These 'Weekly Balance' planner pads from Sighh by Polly always catch my eye and now I've started a new job I may have to treat myself. Visualising your week in such a creative way can help you plan and manage your time and also prioritise your work, so treat that bookish person in your life! Not only are Polly's pads amazing but so are her tote bags and wall mountras too! I highly recommend having a snoop through her online store. 

TypeWriter Teeth Christmas Gift Guide
[Image by Delicate Rebellion]

If Polly is helping us sort our week out then the Delicate Rebellion is helping us sort our day out, with wonderful illustrations and ranking priorities. So not only have you got something for the stationery loving bookish people but for the organised too! 

I could keep this bookish Christmas gift guide going forever, my Instagram is full of shopping inspo of amazing independents that could fill another guide themselves! But honestly, if you've still got gifts to buy, have a look at the above and get people something with thought, love, uniqueness and most of all bookishness! 

*None of the above are sponsored or gifted, I just bloody love them*
*Not all the above images are my own - if you need the captions changing just drop me an email*

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Pages: 'How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' by Sue Telford | Gifted

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

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How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' by Sue Telford flatlay

You may or may not know that I have a little bit of a love for gin, I think it might be hereditary but it also comes down to a couple of years in marketing at True North Brew Co, makers of Sheffield Dry Gin. 

Before I worked there I enjoyed gin but in the surge of the gin boom not only did I learn a lot but I loved a lot! So when I was offered a copy of Sue Telford's 'How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' I couldn't resist. 

gin botanicals

With the gin boom came an onslaught of gin and gin themed books mostly filled with cocktails and the odd fact. 

What is brilliant about Sue's 'How To Drink Gin' is that her passion for the spirit really comes out. The book takes you through what gin really is and all the unique styles available before touching on its history.

How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' by Sue Telford flatlay

Chapter 2 then takes you into the botanicals, a section I love! Sue Telford not only takes you through the key gin botanicals but also explains how they pair with each other and sit within our tastes. 

How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' by Sue Telford flatlay

This helpful insight doesn't end here, Sue then goes on to debunk all those terms you hear that can make you feel a little out of touch from 'mouthfeel', 'thin legs' and 'the finish' so now you actually know what these words relate to.  With this simple chapter you can feel more confident when tasting gin and secure in your own taste palate. 

gin botanicals

On this ginthusiast's adventure in 'How To Drink Gin' Sue also covers bar tools and glass ware with stunning illustrations before heading into the who's who of mixers and how to garnish like a pro! I loved this section, the steps make them look so simple and I cannot wait to have a go at making some myself. 

How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' by Sue Telford flatlay

Ending on a high 'How To Drink Gin' finishes with a collection of cocktails with beautiful photographs that will have you whipping out your bar cart and thinking about a lunch time negroni! 

How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' by Sue Telford flatlay

Pick up 'How To Drink Gin: Make It, Mix It, Master It' here and take your gin drinking to the next level! 

*gifted book from Red Door Books but all words, opinions and gin drinking are my own
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Sticky Chai Tea Workshop at Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen | Gifted

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

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Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

There are cupboards in my flat dedicated to tea, if you fancy it - I probably have it or have just finished it! So when Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen invited us down to try their Sticky Chai Tea workshop I couldn't wait to have a go at making my own blend and learning more about the brew I love so much.  

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop image of bowls of tea

We were welcomed into their ever beautiful tea bar on Sidney Street in Sheffield to bowls of chai tea and spices perfectly laid out and filling the air and our senses. 

After we were all seated the lovely Rebecca began the session by telling us all about the origins and history of tea and how the differences were reflected in the taste as we tried the pairing teas. I'm not going to dive any deeper with what she told us as i'd love you to find out for yourself but it was so interesting I came out with so many notes and a new found appreciation for my tea collection.

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

After dipping our toes in tea history Rebecca then went on to describe the origins of spiced chai tea and the differences between the dry and sticky blends before taking us through what we would be doing to create our own. 

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

Using the Birdhouse Chai blend of Assam tea, cinnamon and ginger as a base to build upon we added as much ginger, peppercorn, nutmeg, turmeric, star anise etc to our hearts content whilst trying our brews to make sure we'd got them right.

It was so interesting to see how every person in the workshop came out with different teas just from the colours of brews to the smells changing around the room. 

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

After we nailed our own blends we transferred these to sealable bags and remade our blend in our jars ready to make our chai tea sticky! 

The beauty of sticky chai is that it helps all the different sized tea and spices blend together better. Typically when tea settles it separates by size, the 'sticky' part helps them come together as they infuse and prevents the tea levelling out this way.  

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

I used agave syrup to make my brew sticky but honey was the go to of the group! A sticky chai makes for a richer flavour and an absolute treat! Just add a spoonful to simmering milk for the perfect winter pick me up! And the syrup! Oh my gosh, drizzle that bad boy on a cake!

You can keep your sticky chai in the fridge and just top it up with your dry mix as you use it up, so we came away from Birdhouse Tea Company with chai for months!

Birdhouse Tea Company Spices Sticky Chai Tea Workshop

My nickname is Bam so I had to name mine 'Bam's Brew' but there were some hilarious names within the group. We had such a laugh whilst learning about tea and creating something unique - I am desperate to do it again maybe for a Hen Party or Baby Shower with a cosy keepsake. 

If you'd like to try your own Sticky Chai Tea Workshop go get in touch with Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen on 0114 327 3695 or drop them an email on or just pop in and see them on Sidney Street for food and drink, they're lovely!

*gifted press event from Birdhouse Tea Bar but all words, opinions and chai tea are my own

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