Sunday, 22 February 2015

P.S I Love You - Cecelia Ahern

I may have a little sob every so often at a film or a book but I hardly ever full blown cry. The film version of P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern was one of the only films I have ever watched that made me have a full blown; I’ve used an entire box of tissues because I’m crying so much meltdown. It is for that reason I have been holding off reading the book for quite some time, despite having rushed out to buy the book after I watched the film. 
30 year old Holly is completely and utterly in love with her soul mate Gerry and she can’t imagine spending a day of her life without him. Then the unthinkable happens and Gerry dies of a brain tumour and Holly is left in pieces with no clue about how she is meant to get on with her life without him. Gerry knew how much Holly would struggle without him so writes a series of very short letters for her of which she is allowed to one a month in a bid to help her move on. Slowly but surely, with Gerry’s letters help she starts to accept that Gerry isn’t coming back and begins to start her life again.
The beginning of the book lived up to my high expectations. It really makes you stop and think about how easily someone can be in your life one day and then be gone the next without much warning. However, that’s as far as my love for this book went. I just found it so difficult to like book Holly and her friends and at points I just found the book boring to read. When I got around half way through the book I was so close of just calling it a day and giving up reading anymore of the book. It got to the stage where I was finding reading it an effort. The film was so engaging but the book just didn’t have anywhere near the same effect in my opinion. The storyline of the book is brilliant but it just worked so much better as a film than as a book.
I don’t know if it was because I was expecting a lot from P.S I Love You but I just didn’t enjoy it. Save yourself the time of reading the book and watch the movie or pick up another one of Cecelia Ahern’s novels as her other books that I’ve read are fantastic.

Click here to buy P.S I Love You - Cecelia Ahern from Waterstones.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

VIP Concert Packages

To go and see your favourite band performing on their latest arena tour it has never been particularly cheap but somewhere along the lines I seem to have missed when it became the norm to charge £50 for tickets to the show and then charge fans even more for the privilege of sitting in the front rows or to meet the artist before the show?

VIP tickets have particularly grown in popularity over the years. Now you're hard pushed to find a concert that doesn't offer you some sort of VIP package. I know when I was younger the only opportunity I had to meet a band before the show was to win a meet and greet in a competition. Competitions now seem quite few and far between and the main way you can meet a band is to fork out extortionate amounts of money for a VIP package. I love meeting my favourite band as much at the next person but at the end of the day is it really worth forking out so much money to meet another human? For example, Demi Lovato is currently charging $6000 on a meet and greet package which doesn't even include a ticket to the show. It gets even more ridiculous when you realise a lot of these meet and greet packages are group photographs meaning that you may get complete strangers in your photo. If you've spent so much extra money surely the artist could spare a couple of extra seconds for just a photo of you and them?

Concert tickets are also starting to become part of VIP packages. I appreciate the fact that perhaps they're trying to stop touts buying and reselling front row seats by charging more than the resale price but I'm sure they're better ways to do it. It's sad that now to get close to the front at a concert you have to pay much more than the standard ticket price to enable you the privilege of a front row seat. Are the fans that can only afford a standard ticket any less of fan than one who can afford a VIP package? Probably not. In my eyes it doesn't seem fair.

I am particularly fortunate as when I was younger I was lucky enough to have had front row seats appear when buying tickets (not part of a VIP package) and managed to win multiple meet and greets with my favourite band. I am also at the age now where I have disposable income and can afford some of the VIP packages and I have to admit I have bought them. However, where does it stop? I feel as though VIP packages are out pricing fans. Why should a fan that has rich parents be able to get better concert tickets or able to meet the band over a family that have scraped together all year for tickets? Personally I think something needs to be done about them before it spirals even more out of control. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams – Fiona Harper

Nicole runs a wedding proposal company called Hopes and Dreams, she helps to plan the perfect proposal for her clients. The company isn’t doing so well and is looking like it may have to close until popular socialite, Saffron wants a proposal planning. Saffron could give the company the much needed injection of money and future customers it requires to stay afloat. Not only is Saffron wealthy she is also the first female that’s come into the shop requesting a proposal, a fact that I find quite surprising. All is going well for Nicole until she discovers that Alex, the man Saffron wants to propose too is the same man Nicole kissed on New Year’s Eve and hasn’t been able to get out of her head since. 
I really enjoyed The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams. Nicole is prepared to push her happiness aside and make everything work for the proposal Saffron is planning. Unfortunately no matter how hard she tries, feelings get in the way and before you know it no matter what Nicole does she just makes things worse and with each lie she tells it makes it even harder to get out of planning the proposal. Although I know nothing about weddings/the wedding industry I found it so easy to relate to the story. I’m sure everyone’s experienced a situation where no matter what you do; you just make it worse so from that respect I found it easy to relate. Alex, the love interest, is also likable. He’s following his dream career of being a photographer and I really liked how he really tried to help Nicole out with her fake wedding article. The detail Harper gives to the weddings is wonderful. Nicole attends very different weddings but I found it so easy to imagine them. The steampunk train wedding in particular, I thoroughly felt as if I witnessing that wedding for myself rather than reading a book.
I found the book slow moving to begin with but please do preserve through the opening through chapters as I’m sure you’ll get as hooked to the book. My other really issue with the book is that I don’t know how Nicole can continue attending the weddings with Alex. Nicole is relaying on Saffron’s proposal to be a success so I feel that her spending so much time with Alex when he so obviously likes her still is helping destroy what little of Saffron’s relationship with him is left. I was that absorbed in the story though I was able to push that frustration aside. I also did find the book a little predictable as times but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I enjoyed reading about the characters, I enjoyed the story, I just enjoyed reading this book especially as it came with the happy ending I love in a book.  

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Doncaster is one of the last places you’d expect to go to see lions, tigers and polar bears but the Yorkshire Wildlife Park offers you the opportunity to see all of those animals and many more.

The park is huge. If you’re looking at the park map it doesn’t even come close to emphasising the sheer size of the park. If you go and visit you’ll soon see why this is the case, the enclosures for each and every animal are exceptionally big. You’re never going to be able to recreate a space as large as the animal’s natural habitats but Yorkshire Wildlife Park does a great job in giving them space to roam and in also recreating habitats similar to how they’d live in the wild. At the end of the day we all would like these animals to live in the wild but these are animals that wouldn’t survive there due to reasons like being highly endangered or have lived in captivity all their lives so the wildlife park is a great place for these animals to go and live. It is refreshing to see them in such open spaces compared to the cramp conditions of zoos that I have visited and truthfully the animals do look happy and so well looked after.   

For me the highlight of the park is the newest resident, 16 year old Victor the polar bear who is in retirement from the European breeding program. Victor is one of the biggest polar bears in Europe and he is simply one of the most beautiful animals I have ever seen. Victor is the first polar bear that I have ever seen in real life and to see him plod around his extremely large enclosure is a wonderful sight to witness. I’m sure the park offers an animal everyone in a family would fall in love with and could sit watching them for hours. From the big cats of the lions, tigers and leopards to the tall giraffes to tiny meerkats, the park has it all. 

It is certainly not like a zoo. The enclosures are extremely large which in some instances means that you can struggle to see an animal in the enclosure at all. I know on one of my first visits to the park after the arrival of Victor the polar bear; he was asleep in the cave in his enclosure meaning it was extremely difficult to see him. However, it is worth remembering that this is a wildlife park and it’s lovely to see them in such large enclosures and that animals aren’t going to be lively 24 hours a day. Unfortunately animals are unpredictable and you can’t assume they’ll just sleep when the park closes. It is for this reason, I would recommend the park for people of all ages but I feel that younger children may be less understanding of why the animals are sleeping. Despite this the park does have large play areas so it really does cater for everybody. The park’s pathways can be muddy and dusty in places depending on the weather so it’s worth dressing appropriately. 
Personally, I absolutely love the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It is fantastic to see such incredible animals in Yorkshire. I recommend the park to everybody; it’s very much worth a visit. Seeing the animals, to the delicious Safari Cafe in the entrance courtyard to the gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir for all price ranges, it is truly a fantastic day out for the entire family. I for one am already planning my next trip to the park.  

For more information on the Yorkshire Wildlife Park visit the website by clicking here