Saturday, 19 March 2016

Caroline vs. Paper Towns

I bought John Green's popular novel Paper Towns last year, when it was announced that the movie version would premiere in summer 2015 (I did the same thing in winter 2014 with The Fault In Our Stars).  I didn't end up taking it with me to Tokyo, so it stayed on my bookshelf in Ottawa until I got back at the end of August.  I read it in one day on the Greyhound between Toronto and Ottawa, and now I understand they hype among Green's young adult audience; the characters are great for portraying teenage angst, overwhelming love, and adventure.  I liked it a lot at the beginning and thought the action up to the climax was really exciting, but I felt let down by the ending.  I'm hoping to watch the movie sometime soon though, so maybe that will massage my feelings of the book a little bit.

I see John Green quotations on Tumblr all the time so no phrases in Paper Towns really really jumped out at me, but the story had some profound moments and lessons.  Don't discount this novel (or any of Green's other works) simply because it is in the Young Adult genre; it's easy to read but intelligent and moving at the same time, and I'll be keeping it on my shelf for those times I need a break from heavier reading materials.

xx, C.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Caroline vs. Yorkshire

From London we took a train up to Sheffield to spend a few days with friends in Rotherham and Wickersley before our friends' wedding. The bride's family has known my family for three (going on four) generations now, and it's always a treat to hang out with them. I've been to Rotherham a zillion times, but have never really gone into town; this visit we stuck around Bawtry Road, where we had drinks at the Masons Arms and burgers at Maizies, and I had my first ever gel manicure and a lovely pedicure at Valentino's in The Courtyard.
Baby duty at Wedding HQ! 
After a few days hanging out and helping with last-minute wedding prep, we joined the convoy and headed up to Richmond, North Yorkshire, where the wedding was taking place.  Clem and I stayed with my parents and brother at the stunning Mount Pleasant Farm B&B, a few miles outside of Richmond, and while B&Bs in England don't tend to be cheap, boy are they a wonderful way to travel the countryside.  Our rooms were spotless, incredibly comfortable, and had windows facing the garden, through which we saw a poor sheep get stuck in the fence one morning.  Add that to a full English breakfast every morning, and you've got yourself a typical English country holiday.
Stunning sunset on the eve of the wedding.
Taking a break from the night-before games and shenanigans. (credit Bonbon Photography)
Mount Pleasant Farm House
The morning of the wedding we had a couple hours to kill, so we drove into Richmond for a little look around.  It's a charming market town with loads of small businesses, architectural landmarks, and the requisite medieval castle nearby, and we were lucky enough to be there during the Saturday Market, so we snapped up some fruits and ice cream for a pre-wedding snack.
Richmond Castle
And then...the wedding.  It was held at the spectacular Natural Retreats in the Yorkshire Dales, with the wedding venue overlooking the rolling hills and farmers' fields.  It had sprinkled rain a little bit the night before the wedding, but the day of was truly a miracle of English weather: sunny and warm, with blue skies as far as the eye could see!  The decorations were minimal and mostly DIY, which added to the really personal feeling of the whole weekend, and the fabulous Kim and Chantelle from Bonbon Photography were on hand to capture every delightful moment. This was the first wedding I've been to for one of my friends (as opposed to relatives or friends of my parents), and it was so special to be there and to celebrate with the bride and groom.
That glass wall looks right out into the Yorkshire Dales! (credit Bonbon Photography)
I couldn't hold my shit together during my reading, and I took everyone else down with me. (credit Bonbon Photography)
The view from the venue.
Family of the bride.
(credit Bonbon Photography)
My dress was an emergency buy from H&M in Tokyo (after my parents left Canada without the Darling dress I'd bought specifically for the wedding...), I got the necklace from a teeny antique shop in the Poconos (but I'm pretty certain it's originally from BaubleBar), sunglasses are vintage Missoni from Designer Pop Up Store in London, my watch is Burberry, and you can't really make out my earrings, but they are by Tokyo designer Kimiko Suzuki and I got them from UGUiSU the little shoppe in Roppongi (credit Bonbon Photography)
The bridesmaids wore these fabulous convertible dresses, which gave them that great same-but-different look. And holy moly, can we talk about the back of that wedding dress?! The dress was kept a secret from everyone except the mother and sister of the bride, and oh man did she cause a stir when the rest of us saw her at the end of the aisle. My friend would have looked gorgeous in a paper bag, but in this dress the was absolutely glowing.
(credit Bonbon Photography)
Ceiling decorations of fairy lights strung up between salvaged branches.
(credit Bonbon Photography)
Party favours!  Berry-infused gin and vodka.
The best table! (credit Bonbon Photography)
Starter: Salad of Pickled Yorkshire Beetroot, Goats Cheese Panna Cotta, Preserved Walnuts & Savoury Granola
Main: Risotto of Marrow, Milestone Courgettes, Lemon & Smoked Ricotta, Salad of Milestone Radish, Oregano
Dessert: Chocolate Brownie with Salted Caramel
(credit Bonbon Photography)
How cute is the cake and its toppers!
With the bride and my brother.  We were having too much fun and didn't end up taking a photo with the five siblings from our two families - oops!

I was so thrilled to be a part of this wedding weekend, and to visit a new part of Yorkshire - I can't recommend this part of the country highly enough, and am eager to go back and do some more exploring.

xx, C.