A new Bluebird comes to the Lakes – Interview with author Vesna Maric #tbt

Another Throwback Thursday, and another interview I did while studying Travel Journalism at the University of Cumbria.

I spoke to Bosnian author Vesna Maric about her memoir Bluebird for Words by the Water in 2009.

This interview was first published in Write On! magazine, the official Words by the Water 2009 festival magazine created by the journalism students at the University of Cumbria.

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Bookish Things: Book Lovers’ Soy Candles by Frostbeard Studio


Book Lovers' Soy Candles sample packs from Frostbeard Studio on Etsy ©Literati Girl

Book Lovers’ Soy Candles sample packs from Frostbeard Studio on Etsy ©Literati Girl

You know that Old Book smell you wish you could bottle? Well, it hasn’t been bottled, per se, but you CAN get candles with that particular scent!

Frostbeard Studio in Minneapolis, USA, specialises in Book Lovers’ candles made out of soy wax, which are infused with bookish scents.

Most of their candles come in 8oz jars and 3oz packs of wax tarts/melts, but they also offer themed tealight sample packs. How do you choose between such scents as Hatter’s Tea Party, Oxford Library, and Reading at the Café? I couldn’t is the easy answer, so I ordered the sample packs that intrigued me most, as well as one 8oz candle scented Don’t Panic (Fresh Towel).

So what did I get?

The Don’t Panic (Fresh Towel) candle smells just like fresh laundry. The scent is a blend of fresh laundry detergent and green tea. And even unlit, it fills the room with that fresh, clean scent!

The Bibliophile Sample Pack includes:

Old Books – which smells mildly of paper, dust, vanilla and fresh grass. It’s a lovely smell, even though I am not a fan of vanilla.
Oxford Library – which combines oakmoss, sandalwood, amber and leather for a pretty masculine but pleasing smell. Apparently, one customer called it “Freshly showered Sherlock.” Let’s go with that.
Book Cellar – which smells mildly of a combination of basements, dirt and vanilla bean. Again, quite a pleasing smell that captures that book cellar atmosphere, but once again, it contains vanilla.
Bookstore – which has a divine smell of driftwood, mahogany, coffee and a hint of leather. It smells like standing in line at the local bookstore’s coffee counter, at the end of a Saturday afternoon, behind an outdoorsy guy dressed in a leather jacket. Yes, it’s that specific. At least for me.


The British Sample Pack includes:

Sherlock’s Study – which has a smokey, masculine scent of pipe tobacco, cherrywood and fresh rain, and does kind of smell the way I’d really imagine Sherlock Holmes’ study to smell like  – you know, minus the mold cultures and rotting body parts.
Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey – admittedly, I didn’t really picture the TARDIS to smell like driftwood, blackcurrant tea and juniper, but it is a lovely, mild, timeless scent that fits a madman in a box.
Through the Wardrobe – which smells of Aspen winter, apple wood and spruce tree, and reminds me of winter and white Christmas spent wrapped in a blanket.
Hatter’s Tea Party – which is so simple it’s brilliant, and combines the scents of Earl Grey tea and sugar cookie. Very British indeed.


The Fantasy Sample Pack includes:

The Shire – which smells of oakmoss, clover, aloe, and pipe tobacco and the combination makes for a down-to-earth scent I can imagine in Bag End. Anyone for a pint of South Farthing at the Green Dragon?
Wizardy Buttery Drink – a heavenly mixture of butterscotch, crème brûlée and buttered rum which is perfect for afternoons spent reading and apparating in and out of the Three Broomsticks .
Headmaster’s Office – which smells of cedarwood, vanilla, fireplace, and lemon drop. Again a fairly masculine, slightly smokey smell but not unpleasant, even though I don’t think this should have vanilla in it.
Winterfell – the North, wherever you go, seems to be defined by the smells of scotch pine and firewood. While this reminds me more of Scotland and highland men, I’m sure the men of the North of Westeros are surrounded by similar scents.

The Book Nerd Sample Pack includes:

Gatsby’s Mansion – which smells of champagne fizz, daisies and sea mist. I’m not particularly fond of this scent, but if I ever imagined what the Golden Twenties smelled like, this would be a pretty close approximation.
Cliffs of Insanity – which smells of sea mist and Caribbean teakwood and reminds me of white beaches and clear seas.
Reading at the Café – a scent for rainy afternoons or warm summer evenings, bringing the café to your favourite reading nook. It smells like roasted coffee and chocolate pastries and makes me crave a large cuppa and a pastry from my favourite café.
Bookworm – a fairly fruity scent of apple, newsprint and crayons. This scent reminds me of study sessions and all-nighters spent highlighting pages, copying books, colouring in graphics and doing homework.

All in all, these packs give a brilliant combination of scents. Frostbeard Studio does even more, including Pemberley Gardens, Hero’s Nectar, Sassenach, Lallybroch, Sexy Librarian and Trashy Romance Novel, but to be honest, they sounded too flowery and sweet for my liking as I could never stand the scents of rose and potpourri.

I think the idea of book-themed candle scents is a brilliant one, especially for people who’d rather have something more down to earth than the traditional fruity and flowery scents. But they do come at a price. An 8oz jar will set you back $18, while the sample packs are $12 each. Plus international shipping and customs, this is a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence. The 8oz jars are a decent size, but I was disappointed that the sample packs are mere tealights – as a German I don’t use oz as measurements, so I was unsure of the size but expected slightly more.

The sample packs are still good value if you can’t decide which scent you’d like, but you can’t mix and match. They come themed, so you’d have to find one pack you like the sound of. Single candles only come in the large size, which is a bit of a shame, as you are forced to buy the whole thing even if you’d just like to sample it.

There are some really nice scents in these bookish packs, though.

Happy Towel Day

Do you know where your towel is??

Celebrating Towel Day 2016 ©Literati Girl

Celebrating Towel Day 2016 ©Literati Girl

You don’t know what Towel Day is? Well, DON’T PANIC!

Every year on May 25, fans of Douglas Adams and the Trilogy of Five (aka Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and sequels) carry a towel around to remember the author and spark conversations.

Douglas Adams passed away on 11 May 2001, and has fans decided to celebrate his life and works a fortnight after his death – Towel Day was born. Many dress up as Arthur Dent, the protagonist of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who runs around in his pyjama, bathrobe and – because his extraterrestrial friend Ford Prefect tells him to – a towel.

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to ail a miniraft down the slow, heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it around your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblater Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal; and, of course, dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

I do love Douglas Adams’ way with words, and his descriptions and observations are hilarious. There are way too many example to mention them all, but just remember, that the answer to the big question, the question of Life, the Universe and Everything… is 42.

Happy Towel Day!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Now Feel Differently About

Top Ten Tuesday is the brainchild of The Broke & the Bookish. Every Tuesday, we compile a list of our literary Top 10, and then add it to the blog hop.

This week is all about our Top 10 Books We Now Feel Differently About.

1.) Shakespeare’s works

At school, I hated Shakespeare. That’s mainly due to the way we were taught. They were dry, old texts in an English we did not fully comprehend, and instead of reading the plays properly – as in: proper speech – we had to go by rhyme and it just sounded odd. It took a brilliant production of Richard III to change my mind. Now I love Shakespeare, I think I finally got him!

2.) Sissi books by Gaby Schuster

My mum was really into Sissi (Austrian Empress Elizabeth) for a while, even dragged us around castles and palaces on holiday. For a while, I read all the books. Now I find them incredibly boring. I’ve had enough of all that pomp.

3.) When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

We had to read Pink Rabbit in Year 5 at school. Back then, I was too young to fully comprehend the story of a Jewish family fleeing Berlin and trying to find a safe place to live in several countries, having to start from scratch in Zürich, Paris and London.

4.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

It’s been my favourite book for a while, since I was 11. But with each re-read I love it even more. Middle-Earth is my second home, and I love Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves.

5.) Felix Krull by Thomas Mann

This is another book I had to read at school for my Advanced German class. I even wrote my final exam about Felix Krull. Back then I thought Thomas Mann’s writing style was tedious, but I was in a can’t-be-arsed-anymore mindset and just wanted to get the exams over with. So I gave him another try. The first sentence runs on for half a page. No thanks.

6.) The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

One of those books I thought I had to like because it’s Hemingway. I made it through the book alright. But now I really can’t stand his writing style.


 That’s all I can think of right now. Sorry. 

Bookish Things: Book Club stamps by Sweet Stamp Shop

What’s better than to receive Happy Mail on a Monday? Receiving Happy Mail in a Golden Envelope on a Monday!

Planner girls like me often use stamps to decorate our planners, cards, or lists. So when Sweet Stamp Shop announced that they are doing a Book Club themed stamp set, I thought that was right up my alley.

Here’s what the full set looks like:

©Sweet Stamp Shop

©Sweet Stamp Shop

Now, I for one can think of several ways to use this stamp set! And as soon as I opened my golden ticket envelope, I had to get stamping.

I got some graph paper index cards I had lying around and stamped the two shelves and the Title-Rating block on one side, and the Tracker, Book and Book stack on the other. I will be using these as bookmarks for the 12 Australian novels I have to read for my M.A. thesis. There’s space enough left on every card for notes and impressions of the book, and it will keep me on track with my reading. Here’s what the two sides look like:

Book Club Cards

©Literati Girl

I can really see this system working for book bloggers keeping track of their readings, and book clubs comparing notes on the books they’ve read.

Here’s a gallery of how others have used the stamp set so far:

By the way, Sweet Stamp Shop’s customer service is stellar, and their international shipping extremely quick!

How would you use a stamp set like this? Let me know in the comments!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On May 21

Hello my lovelies,

How are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it to last week’s Weekend Coffee Share, and I’ll explain why in a second. But I’m here now and the sun is shining and we could have coffee and even a slice of the coconut-buttermilk cake my mum made while catching rays out on the patio.

What would you like to drink? I can offer you coffee, tea (in various flavours), still or sparkling water and a lemongrass lemonade.  Make your way outside, the grass is all tall and wild and full of wild flowers as I don’t like meticulously maintained lawns. I’ve cleaned the garden furniture  as best I could, but it’s that time of the year and there’s green and yellow pollen absolutely everywhere.

For the last two weeks, I have been extremely busy with university work. Finishing up my last assignments despite no help from my professor – resources are missing and incomplete, and I’ve asked for the proper ones because we need to reference them in our assignments. So far, no reply. I’ve even reached out to another professor in the hopes she might have a digital copy of the resource, as she used to teach the course.

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#DylanDay: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Today is Dylan Thomas Day and it’s here to celebrate the life and works of the Welsh Poet.  Why May 14, you may ask. It’s the day Under Milk Wood was first read on stage!

But I’ve already written about his Play for Voices. So I’ll share my favourite Dylan Thomas poem with you.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Books of Colour: Purple

@Conny Kaufmann / Literati Girl

@Conny Kaufmann / Literati Girl

In this picture:

  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
  • Constellations by Nick Payne
  • Der Sohn des Donnergottes by Arto Paasilinna
  • The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes
  • Die Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot
  • Leben des Galilei by Bertolt Brecht