Paris, Photography, Travel

Tour Montparnasse | The best view in Paris

February 9, 2016

Tour Montparnasse - the best view in ParisView over Paris

The Eiffel Tower is easily the most iconic building in the Paris skyline, but the problem is that you can’t see it when you’re up it; enter Tour Montparnasse, the best view in Paris.

Tour Montparnasse is that huge black building you can see from the Eiffel Tower. The building itself is probably the least appealing building in the city; it’s got a very 70s look to it and it sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the beautiful buildings of Montparnasse.

However, it’s redeeming quality is that you can’t see it when you’re stood on top of it. Instead, you are treated to stunning 360 views of Paris. Also, the queues are much shorter than at the Eiffel Tower.

Sunset over ParisSunset over Sacre Coeur

Tom and I managed to time our trip up Tour Montparnasse perfectly for sunset. It wasn’t the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen in terms of the colour and vibrance, but it was really special to watch the City of Light bathe in an orange and pink glow.

Security is high at Tour Montparnasse and you have to put your bags through an x-ray scanner, and walk through a scanner like you do at an airport. Once you pass through security, you’re shown to some of the fastest lifts in Europe, which climb to the 56th floor in less than 40 seconds. 

Orange sunset over Paris

Floor 56 contains a cafe, somewhere to have a very touristy photo taken by staff, toilets, and a gift shop. Through the huge windows on this floor is where you get your first brilliant views of Paris, but take the stairs up to floor 59 to have your breath taken away.

The top of the building is entirely open, allowing 360 degrees around the city. Tour Montparnasse have been clever and photographer-friendly here by designing the clear safety fencing with a small gap in it to let you poke your phone / camera through so you can get clear photos, instead of having reflections in them, or mesh fencing.

We went up at about 5pm, and it was surprisingly quiet. There were probably about 30 other people up there at the same time as us and though most people were on the side facing the Eiffel Tower, it didn’t feel crowded which allowed us to soak in the views.

Sunset over the Eiffel Tower from Tour Montparnasse

View of the Eiffel Tower from Tour MontparnasseSunset over the Eiffel Tower from Tour Montparnasse

You can see every part of the Parisian skyline, but obviously the Eiffel Tower steals the show.

If you’re heading to Paris any time soon, make sure you pay a visit to Tour Montparnasse, and then enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants around the tower.

Tickets for Tour Montparnasse are slightly cheaper than the Eiffel Tower, with a full rate adult ticket for Tour Montparnasse being €15, in comparison to €17 for the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower offers youth rates for under 24s, at €14.50, while Tour Montparnasse’s youth rates are for 20-year-olds and under plus students, for €12.

What’s your favourite view?

Music, Vinyl, Vinyl diaries

Vinyl Diaries: Paramore – All We Know Is Falling

February 8, 2016

Paramore - All We Know Is Falling on vinylParamore All We Know Is Falling on vinyl

I’ve been itching to get my paws on a copy of Paramore’s All We Know Is Falling for years but most copies were upwards of £70, so I was really excited when they announced they were repressing their first three albums. 

Paramore released a ridiculously beautiful tenth anniversary special of All We Know Is Falling, but it was only for sale in the US and I was really nervous about whether I’d get a copy or not, so Tom ordered me the standard repress for Christmas. (He also got me Riot and Brand New Eyes too, because he’s wonderful like that.)

It’s so nice to hear the likes of All We Know, Pressure, Never Let This Go, and My Heart on vinyl over 10 years since the album first came out.

Paramore All We Know Is Falling vinyl Paramore All We Know Is Falling vinyl lyrics

Whenever I listen to AWKIF, I’m always reminded of playing The Sims. I spent about 60% of my teenage years (this is probably only a slight exaggeration) playing The Sims, so it was a match made in heaven for me when Paramore recorded a Simlish version of Pressure. (How does Hayley sound so flawless in Simlish too? IT’S NOT EVEN A REAL LANGUAGE!)

The downside of that is that it also makes me want to play The Sims and that’s dangerous because I will be no good for nothing for about three days until I get over my obsession. I’m liable to start throwing a tantrum when called for dinner or if someone asks me if I’m going to get dressed because MY SIM NEEDS ONE MORE FRIEND BEFORE THEY CAN GET A PROMOTION, LEAVE ME ALONEEE!

If you want to get your paws on the repress of AWKIF it looks like you might be too late to get it at a decent price, so unfortunately it means you’re probably going to have to do a bit of hunting, or write a nice letter begging them to repress it. Or maybe try to bribe Fueled By Ramen with cake?

Listen to:

Tell me about an album or song that reminds you of something happy?

Book Reviews, Young Adult

All The Rage – Courtney Summers* | The book I should have raged about

February 5, 2016

All The Rage - Courtney Summers book review

I cannot get enough of authors pushing the boat with heavy topics in young adult, and I wanted to read All The Rage as soon as I read the description.

Trigger warning: All The Rage discusses rape and sexual assault.

All The Rage follows the story of our protagonist, Romy, who is trying to deal with the aftermath of being raped. She has become an outcast from her friendship group, is regularly bullied, and it’s quickly clear that no one believes that she was raped.

The blurb focuses heavily on her attack and a link to a girl who goes missing, but the blurb is quite a poor representation of the book. I do take blurbs with a pinch of salt because their job is to pull you in, but I went into All The Rage expecting one thing and got something very different.

For starters, the attacker, who is referenced in the blurb, is only mentioned in passing in the actual book. I was expecting that maybe they were at school together and she might have to deal with that, but nope. I also thought that maybe we would see a lot more of a back and forth between people who didn’t believe her (as her attacker is labelled a ‘golden boy’), but that didn’t happen either.

I must admit that the timeline baffled me to begin with. It jumps back and forth quite confusingly (despite being labelled…) and I found it a little tricky to figure out what was happening and when. On top of that, despite the horrible things Romy was going through and having to deal with, I didn’t connect with her.

Now, I have two thoughts about why that might be:

  • I just didn’t connect with Romy
  • Romy has been through an extremely difficult time and has become very withdrawn, so maybe that’s the whole point of why I couldn’t connect?

I should have felt angry that Romy was the victim of a horrific attack and victim blaming. My blood should have been boiling because her attacker got away with it. I wanted to feel for her so badly, but it just didn’t happened. Believe me when I say I tried.

Additionally, some of her actions didn’t make sense to me and felt a little forced as a way to add something into the plot. Again, I feel like this could also be due to her mental state but I’m not entirely convinced that that’s why.

The pacing wasn’t bad, though it felt a little slow at times, but the plot didn’t do much for me as a whole; I didn’t ever feel that I could really figure out what the focus was on. A former friend going missing seemed like a bit of a distraction and I felt that the ‘resolution’ was very rushed and not particularly satisfactory for me.

In general, it felt quite directionless the majority of the time and perhaps that was the whole point, but if it was it wasn’t made clear enough. I would have preferred the book to focus on Romy coming to terms with what happened and people finally believing her.

On paper, All The Rage should have been a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I like reading about difficult topics and as Louise O’Neill proved to me in Only Ever Yours, a book about dark topics doesn’t need a happy ending, or to be nice to read in any way, to be gripping or powerful.

I’ve said mostly negative things about this book so far, but I cannot deny that it did keep me gripped. Though, some of that was me waiting to see when this book would live up to the blurb. Courtney’s writing style was beautiful also, very poetic at times.

“You know all the ways you can kill a girl?
God, there are so many.”

I also really liked the relationship between Romy, her mother and stepfather, and her boyfriend. That gave me an insight into what it must be like for parents to feel so helpless when their child is suffering. The relationship with her boyfriend made me think about something I’d never really thought about before; how do you move forward and have a relationship after going through something like that? I commend Courtney for opening my eyes there.

Now, it does seem that I’m not in the vast majority with this book because there are so many four and five star reviews for All The Rage on Goodreads. It was definitely one of those books where I read the reviews and asked myself if I was reading the same book as everyone else.

With all of the above said, I’m not going to tell you not to read it because you might read it and love it. I also think it’s really important to read about heavy topics that open our eyes to other people’s experiences and give us some kind of understanding of what it’s like to go through something like this.

I see victim blaming being challenged more and more and I think books like this can go a long way towards helping people understand what it’s like to not only have to deal with sexual assault, but to then have people think you’re a liar and / or blame you for it.

*I received a copy of All The Rage in exchange for an honest review. As nice as free books are, it does not affect my opinion of a book at all because you guys are too awesome for me to lie.

Rating for All The Rage by Courtney Summers - Meh

All The Rage Book Cover All The Rage
Courtney Summers
Young adult, contemporary
Pan Macmillan
January 28th, 2016
eBook

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

Food, Vegan

30-Day Vegan Challenge | Week #2

February 4, 2016

  

I have now completed my second week without eating cheese!

I don’t feel like there’s a huge amount to say in addition to last week’s update because I haven’t found it hard. Well, I tell a lie; I went out for a meal on Monday and there was no choice but to eat a non-vegan meal. There were no vegan meals on the menu. I had a veggie burger which, for some reason, had cheese in it. I have no idea why because it’s not necessary and I couldn’t even taste it – so that was a bit annoying.

When I started this challenge, I knew that eating out would be the hardest part because so few places near me are vegan-friendly.

In other news, I read that Ben & Jerry’s are releasing a vegan range which makes me so happy. It’s nice to see a big, international brand acknowledge vegan diets or people who are lactose intolerant. I’m not sure if / when it will be available in the UK, but I hope they bring it over here.

I’m continuing to feel better in myself and am enjoying cooking, and experimenting with new things. Here are a couple of recipes I’ve enjoyed this last week:

What recipes have you been enjoying recently?

Books, Booktube Videos, TBR

January Roundup + February To Be Read

February 3, 2016

January roundup and February TBR


What I read in January

As many of you might know from my moaning on here and Twitter, January was a slow reading month for me due to exams and assignments but I managed to finish off three books.

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan

I thoroughly enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, so when I saw that Rick had written a Norse mythology series I knew I had to read it. I did an Audible trial throughout December and January and I didn’t really get on with the narration of it or the general concept of an audiobook, but I really enjoyed the story.

Magnus Chase follows the same concept of the Percy Jackson series and is packed full of action, interesting characters, humour, and general badassery. Well worth a read if you’ve enjoyed anything else Rick has written.

 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater

I picked up Shiver while in Paris over Christmas on a bit of a whim (and by that, I mean it had ‘Maggie Stiefvater’ on the side of it) and I’m so glad I did. As with The Raven Boys, Maggie’s world-building is so enthralling and drags you in straight away.

For me, Shiver had quite an old-school young adult feel to it; it suffers from a serious case of absent parents, and it reminds me of Twilight a little. I really enjoyed Shiver, it’s become a fast favourite, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

 

All The Rage – Courtney Summers

I received a copy of All The Rage in exchange for an honest review, and my full review will be up this Friday. I didn’t get on with All The Rage as much as I wanted to.

The blurb didn’t match what the book was about, which was confusing and I felt that the plot was a bit all over the place and couldn’t quite settle. This should have been a book that made me angry about what our main character was going through; my blood should have boiled at the injustice of her situation, but it didn’t. I failed to connect with the character, which combined with the plot issues just didn’t do it for me.

It’s worth noting that my opinions are in the minority, as the majority of reviews on Goodreads are 5 or 4 stars, so don’t let me put you off reading it if you want to.

 


February to be read

Tell The Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt

This was the January pick for The Olive Fox Book Club, and it doesn’t look great that I haven’t finished it yet! If I can put my defence forward:

  • Exams
  • I’m finding it slow going so far (did anyone else find it slow?)

 

February’s Olive Fox Book Club Pick

This hasn’t been announced yet, but obviously I will be reading February’s choice for The Olive Fox Book Club.

If you’re interested in taking part, keep an eye on my Twitter, The Olive Fox website and their Twitter page as February’s poll will be opening very soon!

 

Did I Mention I Need You – Estelle Maskame

Towards the end of last year, I read Did I Mention I Love You and while I had very mixed feelings about it, I am hooked on the characters. I need to know what happens to them next.

In the interest of transparency, I have received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

TBR jar pick: The Uninvited – Liz Jensen

In an effort to get through some of the books that have been sat on my shelf for a while, I’m picking one book at random using a TBR cup.

I bought The Uninvited about two years ago and it has been sat on my shelf untouched since then. I was really excited about it when I first got it, so it’s about time I read it.

 

What did you read in January? What are you planning to read in February?

Travel

Which European city should I visit next?

February 2, 2016

View out a plane window

Two of my friends and I are planning a few days away somewhere wonderful in Europe over the summer / autumn and we are spoiled for choice.

When Yelloh! Village asked me to waffle about holidaying in Europe, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about some European cities I am desperate to visit and ask you for advice and help with deciding where we should go.

 

Amsterdam

Image: Unsplash

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

A short hop over the pond, Amsterdam is somewhere I’ve always overlooked until recently. It seems to be popping up everywhere on travel blogs at the moment, and with good reason too because it looks like such a cosy and pretty city. My sister has been three times and has always told me how beautiful it is.


Prague, Czech Republic 

Boasting the largest ancient castle in the world, Prague is full of history and beautiful buildings that I could spend all day looking at.

Hotels are cheap in Prague, so this is the best bet on this list for a fancier hotel than we would normally stay in. On top of that, it’s very cheap once you’re there. (My Dad is proud of telling me that four rounds of beer cost him in the equivalent of £10, which is all very well and good but none of us drink.)


Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden

Ok, ok, so I went to Stockholm last year, but I was left wanting more. It’s a beautiful city and after I talked about it incessantly, my two friends want to go and explore it now.

It’s a stunning city full of beautiful architecture and more cosy cafes full of more cake and coffee than you could shake a stick at. (If you’re inclined to shake sticks at cafes, that is.) And what’s even better is that the breathtaking archipelago is a relaxing and enjoyable boat ride away.


Copenhagen

Image: Jasmin Charlotte

Copenhagen

I’ve got a thing for nordic cities, and I cannot resist the charm of delightfully coloured buildings.

Last year, one of my favourite bloggers, Jasmin went to Copenhagen and posted about five things to do in Denmark’s capital city and I’m completely sold. Tivoli looks wonderful and reminds me of the Djurgarden in Stockholm. Plus, they have a wonderful town called Christiana which has it’s own laws, separate to Danish laws.


Milan

Image: Unsplash

Milan, Italy

I went to Milan a couple of years ago for the Italian Grand Prix, but I didn’t have any time to actually see the city. It would be great to spend a few days exploring (and being dragged around all the shops), and hopefully we could visit Lake Como and have better weather than when I went in 2014.


Rome

Image: Unsplash

Rome, Italy

Because one Italian city on this list isn’t enough.

The three of us are history buffs so Rome holds so many exciting things that we’d love to visit; the Colosseum, the pantheon, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Sistine chapel, and all those beautiful churches.


Vienna, Austria

Oh, Vienna – so stunning, a song was written about it. Vienna has been on my travel list for a while, but after watching Travel Man’s 48 hours in Vienna a few weeks ago, I want to go even more. THEY HAVE A SNOW GLOBE MUSEUM. (You probably don’t know it, but I have a snow globe collection. Mine and Tom’s house will be full of animals and snow globes…)


Dubrovnik, Croatia

Being a Game of Thrones fan, Dubrovnik is on my list of places I’d love to visit so I can walk the streets of King’s Landing myself. Hopefully no one will be ringing a bell behind me, shouting “SHAME!”

Neither of my friends have expressed an interest in going to Dubrovnik, but that’s just because they don’t know that they want to go yet.


Zurich, Switzerland

Surprisingly, Zurich isn’t quite as expensive as I expected it might be. Well, it’s not that expensive to get and stay there, not sure what it’s like when you get there mind you. With a lake, a 19th century old town, museums and plenty of cafes, Zurich looks like exactly the kind of place the three of us would love.


A view over Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

I’ve been to Barcelona a couple of times during the past two years before the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s such a vast city, that just keeps growing and growing and growing as you fly over it. I really enjoyed the few hours I’ve spent in the city, and there’s so much more that I didn’t get to see, such as Park Guell, and the Gothic Quarter. And of course, I’d be more than happy to go back to that little cafe on a terrace in Montjuic to take in the view over Barcelona.


If you’ve been to any of these places and have any hints and tips, please let me know and help us make a decision.

So, where should we go?

* This post was sponsored by Yelloh Village, and all ramblings and musings are my own.

Share The Love

Share The Love | January 2016 Edition

February 1, 2016

Share The Love January 2016

I’m sure that the older I get, the faster time whizzes by. We’re already a month into 2016 – how’d that happen?

January was such a busy month for me because I had assignment deadlines and some exams, which were a little nerve-wracking as they were the first lot of exams I’ve done in five years. I’m glad they’re out the way now, and I definitely learned a couple of things that I’m going to take forward into semester 2 and for preparation for my exams at the end of the year.

Blog – Northern Blood

This was such a tough choice because I’ve discovered so many blogs that I love this month. I actually discovered Joe’s blog towards the end of last year and every time I see a new blog post from him pop up in Bloglovin’, I read it right away.

He just seems to be bang on about everything, from his review of Panic! At The Disco’s latest album to the perils of leaving the house. I feel that if I were male, I would probably be Joe. (Is that a weird thing to say? It’s probably a weird thing to say.)

 

Blog posts I enjoyed

15 real things you should know about dating a girl who blogs – Living For The Now | After that article, Laura has put together a much more realistic list of some of the things many bloggers (I know I am) guilty of doing.

23 reasons the outside world is a terrible place – Northern Blood | I agree with all of these things.

Today’s look – Red – Linda Hallberg | I love this red eyeshadow look.

Is the grass always greener? Embracing ‘okay’ – A Rosie Outlook | A lesson for all of us.

Girl Online On Tour review – Famous In Japan | #MorePeriodsInYAPlz

 

Music

I’ve been really into Rachel Platten’s new album Wildfire, and Panic At The Disco’s new album.

 

TV

I started a 30 day Vegan challenge this month, so I’ve watched a couple of foodie documentaries that were really eye opening. Cowspiracy is well worth a watch, whether you have an interest in being vegan / vegetarian or not.

 

Books

Reading was pretty slow going in January due to exams, but I did manage to finish three books off. My favourite, by far, was Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. It was such a fun read that completely sucked me into it.

 

Most popular posts on Eat Read Glam in January

 

What did you enjoy in January? Feel free to share links.