Paper Views: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I know that my blog has kind of been all over the place this summer thanks to a dangerous combination of my various trips and general laziness, but hopefully now that I’m back at sixth form for my last year of school (eek) I can get back in the swing of things, and the holiday has meant that I’ve plenty of books of which to impart my professional opinion on for you. The first of these, and one that I wasn’t exactly eagerly anticipating reading, was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, one of the classics that was suggested reading for my A2 Literature course. Now, I don’t know if I’m the only one that had these preconceptions, but I was expecting this to be one of those novels full of wishy-washy lovey-dovey characters without any real plot line that anyone of our time can relate to (yes, this is exactly what I thought about Pride and Prejudice). I have to say, a few pages in and I was pleasantly surprised- the protagonist and the book’s namesake is a women who is independent-minded right from childhood and finds her way in the world without the help of any man- something that is refreshing to see in a book of that era.

It’s not until at least halfway through the story that you start to see a romance forming, and it is certainly not one of nature typical of romance novels; Rochester is moody and brooding and actually kind of ugly- something which only serves to make the characters more humbling and relatable. Described as something of a gothic novel, Jane Eyre definitely has more depth to it than the perhaps more commonly read Pride and Prejudice, and if you were going to read one of the two I would certainly recommend the former. Whilst I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite book that I’ve ever read, it completely surpassed my expectations and managed to be funny, gripping and profound in ways that I never expected. Definitely one to add to the bookshelf.

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No Place Like London

I don’t think I would be a true Brit if I didn’t say that I love London; it’s the symbol of our country and let’s face it, it’s an incredible city. There’s a guy called Samuel Johnson that said “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford” and I have to say I agree with this. It’s a place filled with the prospect of great things-a place where dreams happen, as cliché as that sounds. My favourite thing about London though, is the variety which you find. No matter what kind of person you are or what your idea of fun is, you’ll find it in this fast-paced city that never sleeps.

I actually got the chance to go to London with my mum and stepdad yesterday, hence my decision to write this. As someone who goes to London a fair bit and loves to find new places to obsess over, I thought it might appropriate to share some of my favourite places that I went to yesterday..

 

carboot

 

1) The Classic Car Boot Sale

As my mum and stepdad run a vintage clothing and homewares business, every place we visit involves vintage fairs- without fail. This trip was no exception, so we found ourselves at the Classic Car Boot Sale, outside on the most beautiful day of the year so far. It was a lovely morning and they had loads of really interesting stalls. As you can see above, they also had some beautiful old cars, bikes and scooters- half of which I wanted to take home with me. With thousands of visitors, music playing and the beautiful weather, there was a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed myself even though I didn’t buy anything. Although this was only the second one of these fairs that has been done, they are definitely worth checking out to find the next date if you like this kind of thing!

 

tea and crumpets

 

2) Good & Proper Tea Company

I love tea as much as any other English girl, so when I saw a van advertising tea and crumpets I didn’t hesitate long in going over and ordering a cup of darjeeling and a fresh sweet  crumpet with rhubarb jam.  At 10am this is exactly what I wanted and the woman who served me was the cutest and most helpful thing ever, she helped me decide from their fantastic range of teas (getting excited about tea makes me sound so sad but I don’t really care ok). They set little timers to ensure your tea brews for the optimal time which, as a sucker for effort, I find adorable. Plus the crumpets are to die for.

 

south bank

 

3) Southbank

Famed for it’s skating park, Southbank is a lovely stretch of London along the River Thames. With beautiful views across London and right next to the London Eye, it seems to be almost the central point of the city. There’s also always stalls and other things going on which makes it a lovely place to walk along, especially on a beautiful day like yesterday.

 

breakfast club

 

4) The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields

This next find is thanks to Carrie Fletcher, whose video a few weeks ago told of how much she loved this place, and after googling it I really wanted to check it out. As if being named after one of my favourite films wasn’t enough, this place serves breakfast (my favourite meal of the day) all day- what could be more perfect? Selling everything from full English to Spanish specialities to American pancakes and berries, this cafe can’t go far wrong. Unsurprisingly for those who know me, I opted for the latter option with extra bacon of course, and a virgin apple mojito (both pictured above). Although I felt ready to burst afterwards, it was hands down the best breakfast I have ever eaten. Team this with the fact you have to get to the toilets (wallpapered with My Little Pony and years of graffiti) by going through a fridge, and you might have an idea about how cool this place is. Aside from moving in, the next best thing you can do is go visit one yourself and see what all the hype is about. Find them at http://www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com/

 

brick lane

 

5) Brick Lane

Brick Lane, apart from Camden, is probably my favourite place in London. It’s basically vintage heaven, with about 3/4 shops packed full of gems at pretty good prices for the most part. Aside from this, it’s a beautiful place full of street art, which is one of my favourite things about London (I’m determined to get a street artist to paint the inside of my house when I am older). It is an area full of creativity and youth; always full of depressingly cool and beautiful people.

 

shops

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Beyond Retro & Blitz London

These are my two favourite vintage shops in existence, and they both have branches on Brick Lane, which makes me love them even more. I first found Beyond Retro when I was in Brighton with a friend a couple of years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since, going every time I am in London. Both of these shops are great for building up essentials, with hundreds of similar items in varying colours, it’s dead simple to find way too many things that you want to buy. Definitely worth visiting if you like that sort of thing, find them at http://www.beyondretro.com/en/ and http://www.blitzlondon.co.uk/

 

There are many more places I could rave about; London is full of hidden treasures that just need searching out. These are just a few that I visited yesterday and wanted to share with you, some of which I wouldn’t have known about without the likes of Carrie so what kind of person would I be if I didn’t pass them on? I’ll probably post some of these photos on my Instagram too so go check that out if you want to, otherwise that’s it until next time!

Beckie x