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Comics Galore

Graphic novels are great. Unfortunately they can also be really expensive, so online comics are super useful, when you don’t want to break the bank. Here are three online comics that I’m loving reading at the moment.

1. Lore Olympus

I’m a sucker for retellings of the Hades and Persephone myth. I’m not sure what it is, but something about that pairing gets me every time. Which is where Lore Olympus comes in.

Updated once a week, this is an updated version of Persephone and Hades, where everyone is still a god but they also have mobile phones and business cards and limos that vengeful love goddesses can stow drunk spring godesses in.

I really love the art style and the artist’s use of space in the strip, and I find myself checking for an update even when I know it won’t update till Sunday. I’m really interested to see where it’s going to go.

2. The Substitutes

There’s always a chosen one. Or a chosen group of friends. But what would happen if they were beaten to the punch by people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? The Substitutes follows two groups of three friends. One, a band of adventurers in a fantasy world poised to take up magical artifacts on their quest, the other, a band of friends from our world who nab the artifacts first, by accident.

I love the switching between our world and the fantasy world, and with updates every other Tuesday, I’m always excited for the next page to be uploaded.

3. Peritale

Fairy tales always have a fairy godmother. But how do fairy godmothers get to be godmothers? Passing exams, of course. And Periwinkle desperately wants to be a godmother and help some humans out. Only problem is, she’s the only fairy in fairyland who doesn’t have any magic.

Periwinkle is a fantastic heroine, throwing herself into every challenge that comes her way. I’m also jealous of her outfits. Peritale updates every Monday and Thursday which means there is plenty of comic goodness to keep you going all through the

Have you guys read any great online comics recently? Have you read the ones I’ve recommeded? Let me know what you think^^ 

All comics have been recommended because I really enjoy them. I’ve no contact with the creators – this post is sponsored by no-one.

 

 

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe Launches

Last Thursday, I was off on a special mission. A mission that took me all the way to Kenilworth, faster than a shooting star, headed for Kenilworth Books to make it on time for the launch of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

Last time I was at a launch for a Lauren James book, I’d already read the book. This time, I had to wait until the launch to get my own copy,  so anticiaption levels were high, because 1) book launches are inherently cool, 2) I haven’t seen Lauren in a little while and 3) I could finally get my hands on a copy off The Loneliest Girl.

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It’s such a pretty cover, guys

Me and Beth rocked up in our finest space gear. The Loneliest Girl is set aboard a spaceship called The Infinity, and so the invitation encouraged space inspired outfits. And the first thing we did when we walked through the door was get glittered up.

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Not featured: my space skirt and Beth’s space top. 

As ever the food was themed, meaning lots of star and moon shaped biscuits, star sprinkled brownies and a fabulous looking cake inspired by the book cover. Fun fact: the cake had skittles and popping candy inside it. Absolutely delicious.

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So impressive

Lauren’s editor made a speech about how great the book has been to work on and how great Lauren has been to work with. And then Lauren made a speech about how excited she is about The Loneliest Girl. Last week it was announced that Harper Collins will be publishing the USA run, so it’s no wonder that Lauren’s super excited for her third book.

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Srs author business

Before cutting the cake and signing everyone’s copies of The Loneliest Girl, Lauren read the first chapter aloud. I’m so looking forward to reading The Loneliest Girl – a space romantic thriller. Not a combination of words you hear every day.

You can read the first chapter for free here or listen to Lauren read it here. And if you want to get your hands on The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James, you should be able to at your nearest bookshop.

I had a great time at the launch, and I’m sure reading The Loneliest Girl is going to be just as good. Watch this space for a review.

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Space glitter nerds

I was invited to the launch of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe as a friend, not as blogger. This blog post is entirely just because I had a great time, and book launches are cool.

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Good Times at Greenbelt

I spent my bank holiday weekend at Greenbelt Festival, in the grounds of Boughton Estate in Northampton. The weather was glorious, the company was great and I have a list of acts and things I took part in that were so good and you should check out.

1. La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva were really really fun. Formed in Brussels by 3 Colombian immigrants, the band is super high energy with music you can’t help but dance to. I couldn’t stop the entire set, and was exhausted by the end. But no-one in the band flagged, and even when we met them afterwards, they were still up and going. And so so lovely.

2. Toby Campion

At a spoken word event hosted by Harry Baker, several great poets performed – Erin Bolens, Bridget Minamore, Gecko and Toby Campion. As you can probably guess from the title of this section, I’m gonna talk about Toby, but you should check the others out too. Because who doesn’t need more poetry in their life?

Toby came on and performed a drunk love poem about a chance meeting abroad, about meeting someone called Marcus. I can’t deny that LGBT content always has me paying a little more attention, because as a queer woman, I’m alway looking for representation and community. And the poem was also well written and highly enjoyable.

Following the poem about Marcus, came a poem about imagining your ex in twenty years time that expressed feelings about the homophobia still riven through our society that I don’t know whether I could put into words. And then a poem about the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub, which had me in tears.

To end, Toby weighed in on the great debate of whether the Midlands is in the North or the South, reminding everyone that the Midlands is it’s own unique entity. At Uni this was well worn terrority, and this poem rings true with all the things I wanted to say about being from the Midlands. All in all, every poem Toby performed rang true to me, and if you’ve got the chance to go see him, I would really, highly reccommend it.

3. Harry and Chris

I saw Harry and Chris by myself at Greenbelt last year and have spent the whole year listening to Simple Times, so I was pumped to see them again, this time with family in tow.

Bringing their second Edinburgh fringe show to the stage, Harry and Chris were just as enjoyable as last year. I was a little disappointed that most of the songs I’d heard before, but I have been following their YouTube channel closely so it’s not too much of a surprise. Besides, hearing people live is always good. They’re touring now so you can catch them in a town hopefully vaguely near you.

4. Herstory

This year, in addition to all their usual areas (The Canopy, The Big Top, The Playhouse to name a few), Greenbelt had The Red Tent – a space for those people who identify as women. While some talks were open to all genders, for the most part over the weekend, it was a female only space.

One of the events was Herstory by Alice Wroe. Firstly, Alice gave a talk about the importance of finding women in history, reasons why we often can’t find women in history with the way we think about the past at the moment, and what the Herstory project is. Alice is a really engaging speaker, and I left with a lot to think about, particuarly about why, when I’ve questioned the lack of women in history books, I haven’t gone looking for them.

The second event was taking part in the Herstory project, where you are invited to recreate Judy Chicago’s art work, ‘The Dinner Party’. An important piece of feminist art from the 1970s, it remembers and celebrates women from history. At the Herstory event, you are invited to explore the story of a woman from history, to assemble her story in your voice and to present it back to those gathered as if you are her. Not only does it mean you learn about several women who you might never have heard of before, but you celebrate and support each other.

Both Herstory events were incredible, and if you ever get the chance to go to one, I would highly reccommend it. It’s left me trying to find the women in the history of the places I go to and the things I take part in, and not just accepting that history is always men because that’s the narrative we’re so often told.

All of the people mentioned above were really great, and I loved seeing all of them. If you get the chance to see any of them, I hope you have a great time. Let me know what you think.

I paid in full for my ticket to Greenbelt and no-one has asked for my opinion on any aspect of it, never mind asking for a list of my favourite bits. I just really enjoyed the people listed above. 

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Pizza for Days: All You Can Eat Pizza at Rub Smokehouse

This week has been one of unending rain courtsey of the British summer and pathetic-ness on my behalf because a cold smacked me round the head on Monday and showed no sign of lifting. But there was a bright spot admist the torrential downpour – along with Bite Your Brum, Caramel Latte Kiss and Miss Pond, on Wednesday I headed to Rub Smokehouse on Broad Street for All You Can Eat Pizza.

I was picturing an old school Pizza Hut style buffet where you go and help yourself, but that’s mostly because that’s what I long for every time I go get pizza. At the Rub Smokehouse event, by booking in advance for £12.95 per person, you could have as many slices of pizza as you wanted in an hour and a half. Served one slice at a time, the record eaten is 20 slices. Beat it and you could win £100 in vouchers for Rub Smokehouse.

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The Mad Korean in all its glory

I’m sure you’re sad to hear I didn’t set the record, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t eat a lot of pizza. The Nacho Cheese Monster was my favourite. With salsa, mozzarella, smoked applewood cheddar, sour cream, fresh cheese, crushed cheese nachos and cheese sauce, it was weirdly delicious, despite of or possibly because of the sheeer amount of cheese and cheese related products on it. The Mad Korean was definitely a closer runner up though. Decked out with pulled BBQ pork, spring onions, sesame seeds, kimchi, chilli, mozzarella and prawn cracker dust, it tasted more like a traditional pizza than the Nacho Cheese Monster. Not sure I could have eaten more than two slices thought – some combination of the ingredients meant two was definitely enough.

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Idaho State Fair looking great

The Idaho State Fair tasted exactly like a hot dog, which was confusing for my tastebuds, but not really surprising when you consider the toppings were frankfurter, dill pickles, french mustard and keetchup base and buffalo sauce popcorn. Yes, it had popcorn on it too. Was really reminiscent of eating something from every food van at the fun fair, but I’m not sure the popcorn added anything.

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Katsu Curry on pizza. What will they think of next?

Katsu Chick Flick was my least favourite, though by the time it came to me, I was probably suffering from a case of over pizza-ing. With Japanese curry sauce, mini chicken nuggets, pickled ginger mozzarella and crushed spicy rice crackers, I felt like the curry sauce was over powering and too much for a pizza. I love katsu curry, but I don’t think it needs the addition of pizza dough.

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Delicious, delicious cheetos

However, Mac n Cheetos was an unexpected win. Combining mac n cheese on a pizza with cheetos and mozzarella sounded like it wass going to be awful, but turned out to be surprisingly good. I really enjoyed the addition of Cheetos to pizza, and strrongly recommend you try adding wotsits to your margherita.

Despite walking down Broad Street on my way home, I’d never noticed Rub Smokehouse before but now I know it’s there I’m anxious to go back. The portion sizes are huge, the staff were all super lovely and the interior design is very Americana. It’s definitely one for when you’re in need of something  unhealthy – they serve their ice cream in a sink guys, there’s so much of it – but we all need delicious, ridiculous food combinations sometimes. And also they have yorkshire pudding burritos. Roll on Sunday Lunch.

I was a guest at Rub Smokehouse, eating all the pizza I could manage in exchange for a blog post (which you’ve just read). My opinions are entirely my own, and honest as always. 

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Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones

I picked up Sworn Virgin at least three years ago, at Daunt Books in London, because it looked interesting and I didn’t want to leave such a nice bookshop without a book. Fast forward a while, and I finally got round to reading it. Turns out that once I actually started it, I couldn’t put it down.

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I’m milking my sweet peas for pretty pictures until they are no more

Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones is the story of Hana Dodes, an Albanian woman, who, for traditional, cultural and personal reasons chooses, as a young woman, to live as a man. But years later, she moves to America and chooses to start living as a woman again. The novel follows two time lines – the present day, beginning with Hana on a flight to the States, and the past, following her life as a university student leading up to her deciding to live as a man.

Originally written in Italian, my copy of Sworn Virgin was translated by Clarissa Botsford. It’s a measured translation, care taken over the words used, and it feels as if the translator and author have thought as much about how to tell Hana’s story as Hana thinks about how to live her live throughout the book.

The present day story line follows Hana trying to shed her male life, while clinging to the familiarity of it, while also contending with the culture of America which is new to her and so different from what she has so far experienced in her life. Immigration stories are always interesting, and I find they encourage me to look at the culture I live in a little differently, to questions things that have always seemed to be how life is and explore whether they should be that way.

The novel is an interesting look at gender and gender inequality, focusing on Albanian traditions and culture. When I initially picked it up, I thought it was about trans issues. However, as Hana chooses to live as a man for cultural reasons rather than as an expression of her gender identity, I didn’t read her as trans or gender fluid, but rather as a cis woman, who was unhapppy living as a man but had no other choice. That said, I feel that sentiments and issues expressed throughout the book about gender identity could be similar thoughts and experiences of those in the trans and/or gender fluid communities. And, on reading Sworn Virgin, you could disagree with me and read Hana as trans or gender fluid. As no definitive label is put on Hana’s gender identity, you can read this novel in whatever light you choose.

Normally I rush through books, but how considered every aspect of this novel was slowed me down, and while I wanted to know how Hana’s story played out, I was also wanted to savour every page. I’d definitely recommend Sworn Virgin if you’re looking for a measured look at how society shapes and defines our gender, as well as an expertly navigated immigration story.

I bought Sworn Virgin out of my own pocket back when I was a poor student. All opinions are mine, so if you agree, disagree or just want to talk more about what I’ve said, drop me a comment. 

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Time for Tea: Melbourne Breakfast

Tea is a big deal in my house. If you can remember my post about my new house, I talked about how much tea we had. That hasn’t changed. Well…actually, the numbers gone up.

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So. Much. Tea

So, I was going to do a whole blog post about my favourite teas. And while it would have meant being able to make, like, 8 cups of tea in one go for some very pretty photos, it’s way too warm for that. And so this is the start of a series that probably doesn’t have a end about my favourite teas.

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I introduce you to: Melbourne Breakfast

Melbourne Breakfast entered my life, courtsey of a friend who served it at her house. It was a++, exactly what was needed after casual drinks in the nearby pub. Then it came into my house via Beth, who bought me some for my birthday.

It’s sold by Tea2 as bags and as loose leaf tea. You can get in in bright yellow cubes of 25 bags or 100g or in large foil packs or tins of 60 bags or 250g. Beth bought me a gift cube of it, and we drank all of it in a week and a half.

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It’s so bright. I love it.

The description says ‘A deep and warming tea with a hint of sweetness, reminiscient of Melbourne. Full bodied with vanilla notes. An essential tea.’ I think that’s pretty bang on, though I’ve never been to Melbourne so can’t speak to that. I love this tea because its comforting. And because it’s part vanilla, it’s perfect morning, noon and night.

I think how fast me and Beth drank it when we first had it in our house speaks for itself. Oh, and one of our friends came over that week, tried it too, loved it so much that she went and bought some for herself. Legit good tea.

Was not sponsored in any way to make this post. The cup of it I drank while writing this post was made from teabags I bought – I just really love Melbourne Breakfast tea.

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Pieminister Gets My Vote

I’d heard about Pieminister. My friends had sung its praises, my girlfriend has often sighed at pie we’ve bought, saying it’s just not Pieminister, and then we also own their cookbook ‘A Pie for All Seasons’, from which delicious pies have been made. But I’d never actually been to a Pieminister.

Hipster looking shop with views of the Town Hall

This all changed today, when Beth took me out to celebrate my new job. (I work in tech now guys – any women or LGBTQ+ people in tech advice, hit me up.) And so, with a Pieminister recently opened in Brum, we went. And man, it was not oversold. At all.

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View of the Town Hall was A++

With all kinds of pie, from beef to chicken to vegetarian and even gluten free, you’re not short of options. Unless you’re vegan. With only one main option that isn’t even a pie, it might not be everything you want from a pie joint if you’re vegan. All names are puns and everything sounds delicious – which is my kind of restaurant. And all pies come with gravy. Our waitress was very clear on that, which I fully appreciate.

When you’ve picked your pie, then you can pick your meal type. Classic, Mothership, Feast or Stick ‘Em Up – all of which come with varying amounts of sides or sticks (kebabs skewers with either pigs in blankets, onion rings or halloumi).

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Gotta love a flat lay esque photo

I went for the Free Ranger (chicken, ham, leek and thyme), with mash, garden peas with chilli and a stick of pigs in blankets. Beth had the Chicken of Aragon, with mash, minted mushy peas and a stick of pigs in bankets.

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Food for the eyes as well as the stomach

It was gorgeous. Not only was the presentation lovely, but it tasted delicious. The pie was everything pie should be. If I had to describe the epitome of a pie, it would be the pie I had at Pieminister. Both kinds of pea were great, and the pigs in blankets were exactly right.

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I was trying to be arty with gravy

All of the staff were super lovely, and the service was good. Oh, and on Sundays, cocktails are two for one. I thoroughly enjoyed Pieminister, totally see what all the hype was about. I’ll be going back as soon as I can. Next time you’re dreaming of pie, this is the place to go.