Notes from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands #6

Note from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands is my feature where I discuss my time studying at Leiden University. I want to blog about this amazing experience as much as I can!

So it’s been a while since I posted about my time in the Netherlands, therefore I have a bit of a backlog, about 3 posts or so to cover November and December. Let’s begin!

  • One afternoon I went with two of my friends to Leidse Hout, which is a big park/wood on the outskirts of the city. They have deer, rabbits and chickens, and there’s a little tea house near the entrance, so we stopped for tea and cake before going for a walk. It’s a beautiful place, a little green haven, and I definitely want to go back there to take some proper photos.
  • Leidse Hout

    Leidse Hout

  • In November I met up with the wonderful Amber, Mel and Judith in Amsterdam. First of all, we ate lunch in the library which is HUUUUGE, and we were hoping for a fantastic view over the city from the balcony – which was unfortunately closed for the winter. Luckily, there was still a nice view from the building itself!
  • After lunch we headed to… the bookshops. Is that a surprise? No? Well what is surprising is that we were all on book buying bans, and we stuck to them! I think my favourite of the bookshops we visited was the American Book Center, where I got to meet Tieman, who I have chatted to on Twitter, in person! They had a really great selection of science fiction and fantasy, and it wasn’t all shoved away in one tiny corner like you find in so many bookshops.
  • It still has the apostrophe!

    It still has the apostrophe!

  • Of course we ended up in Waterstones (which apparently still has the apostrophe in Amsterdam). It was strange being in such a familiar environment in a different country, and even stranger seeing a section for ‘British food’ and snacks, like Marmite, teabags, HobNobs and other things we might miss…
  • There was a board on the way out where you could write what you were currently reading, so of course we had to leave our mark.
  • The Wise Man's Fear! It's there, somewhere...

    The Wise Man’s Fear! It’s there, somewhere…

  • And finally, we ended up in Starbucks, as you do! It was wonderful to meet them all (or again, in Amber’s case), have a wander around Amsterdam and band together to keep each other from buying books!
  • Judith, Amber, Mel and myself.

    Judith, Amber, Mel and myself.

  • After everyone left, I was still hanging around in Amsterdam – because I was going to a paint party with my friends that evening – but my account of that is for next time!

There’s still a lot more to catch up on! As I write this, I’m 2 days away from going back to Leiden after the holidays and I’m super excited to be returning, but it’s also been nice to be home for a little bit.

Misc.

It’s My Blogoversary…

Yep, that’s right, Rinn Reads has now been going for two years! I’ve not got a giveaway to celebrate this time because I’m being super careful with my money now I’m at uni (especially since it’s orientation week and bound to be more expensive…), but I just wanted to talk about the past two years and thank some awesome people!

ron dance gif

Since I last celebrated my blogoversary I have…

  • Taken part in lots of events like Horror October, The Journey Home, Bell & Sword and Harry Potter Month.
  • Hosted my own blogger event, Sci-Fi Month, and it was really successful! It will be returning this year.
  • Met various authors: Sarah J. Maas, David Leviathan, Maureen Johnson, Malorie Blackman, Mary Beard, Laini Taylor and Lauren Owen.
  • Started lots of new features: Fantasy Friday, Museum of Literary Wonders, Prose & Pixels, Snapshots and Turning Off The TV.
  • Received some amazing review copies.
  • Been added to the blogger review copy list of several publishers, and been auto accepted by Harper Collins on Netgalley.
  • Gained more followers, much more traffic and generally felt a lot happier about the quality and content of my blog overall!
  • I also feel like I’ve connected with the book blogging community a lot more this past year. I’ve made closer blogger friends, and even got to meet some of them!

leslie gif

My thanks go out to…

  • Asti, Leanne and Kelley @ Oh, the Books! – I always admired their blogs individually, but now they’ve teamed up to make one massive, amazing blog. They’ve been a source of inspiration, great friends and now my lovely Sci-Fi Month co-hosts!
  • Claire @ Bitches With Books – my fellow museum nerd, I finally got to meet Claire at YALC this July! It’s so fun to find someone who loves museums and books!
  • Paola @ A Novel Idea – my fellow Queen of Ferelden and Alistair lover! We bonded on Twitter over video games, and our love for the Dragon Age series. We then also found out we had loads of other things in common!
  • Amber @ Books of Amber – another book blogger that I got to meet at YALC, I often fangirl or talk nonsense with Amber on Twitter. I will never forget the new subtitle I once accidentally gave Spartacus when talking to her…
  • Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy – Charlene just has an absolutely gorgeous blog, with some great features, as well as an eclectic range of posts. From Jane Eyre to Star Trek, she’s got it covered.
  • Ana @ Read Me Away – another fellow blogger that I bonded with over a love of video games, Ana also interviewed me for her blog so we’ve exchange quite a few emails discussing anything and everything! I love how much we have in common.

I could list so many others – but thank you to anyone who follows, comments on or interacts with my blog in any way! It’s because of you that it’s been going strong for these two years! 🙂

Recap

London Film & Comic Con and YALC Recap, Part 2

YALC

Time for Part 2 of my recap! I posted Part 1 last week – on 12th July 2014, I went to London Film & Comic Con and YALC, where I met up with various book bloggers and saw lots of exciting people!

I think the combination of the crowds, which made it really difficult to get ANYWHERE, plus the ridiculous heat just made me, well, less interested in looking at stuff. Honestly, we spent the large majority of the day queueing. I spent an hour in the queue to get my book signed by Malorie Blackman, who was absolutely lovely. She made a comment about how well thumbed my copy of Noughts and Crosses was, and how she liked to see that – so I explained I’d had it since I was about ten, and that both me and my sister had read it multiple times.

Malorie Blackman
Malorie was lovely!

After this was another queue to see Kristian Nairn. The photo shoot started about half an hour late, so we were queueing for about an hour total. It was all very quick, although that of course made the system very efficient and meant that lots of people could have their photos taken, but it was kind of annoying after queuing for so long. When Kristian saw that both me and Kerry were having our picture taken together, he just held out both his arms which was really cute!

After meeting Kristian, we were going to head over to the other building which held the games and comic book areas, but after seeing yet ANOTHER hour long queue… we gave up. Which is a shame, because after walking through a crowd that took twenty minutes to pass, then realising we’d have to queue to get back into the building we’d just left, I didn’t really have the time (or the patience…) to go and say bye to everyone. I did see Amber and Tatum again before I went, in the queue (UGH) for Rainbow Rowell, which I wanted to join but… queues. We managed a quick chat but I’m sad that I didn’t get to talk to Amber as much as I’d hoped to! And also before leaving we bumped into Claire again, along with Hanna.

Hodor
Hodor

Whilst I enjoyed my day, there were a few problems. The air-con was apparently broken, and on one of the hottest days of the year, in a hall with thousands of people it was NOT ideal. It was absolutely boiling in there, everyone was sweating and I was constantly thirsty. Of course I drank the water I’d brought with me in no time, and there was naturally ANOTHER queue for any of the cafes – and then everything was over-priced. I got so sick of queueing, fed up with all the crowds and people constantly bashing into me and bashing into other people and I was starting to feel a little anxious.

BUT I got to meet some of my awesome blogger friends. Although I didn’t get to spend us much time with any of them as I wanted (I hung out with Claire the most), it was nice to finally meet people, however briefly. YALC definitely needs its own space next year, I think they would sell enough tickets to make it worth it. I also feel that YALC on its own would be a much calmer atmosphere.

We did also spot quite a few celebrities apart from the ones mentioned above: Paul McGann (my 4th Doctor Who cast member!), George A. Romero, Isaac Hempstead-Wright (who towered over us, embarrassing), David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Anthony Head, Adjoa Andoh (my 5th Doctor Who cast member!) and Summer Glau. I was a bit sad that I didn’t get to really see Lena Headey or David Wenham – or Stan Lee, but there was definitely no chance of that! And my gosh, if Michael Fassbender was there then I’d buy tickets in a heartbeat. There was also some SERIOUSLY amazing cosplay there, from such a wide variety of fandoms!

George A. Romero - I'm surprised there wasn't a bigger queue for him?
George A. Romero – I’m surprised there wasn’t a bigger queue for him?

In conclusion: a good day but hampered by the heat, the QUEUES and the lack of time with blogger friends!

Recap

London Film & Comic-Con and YALC Recap, Part 1

YALC

For much of June and the first part of July, you may have seen me chatting on Twitter about LFCC/YALC, also known as London Film and Comic Con and Young Adult Literature Convention. I’ve always liked going to conventions, I’ve been to the London MCM Expo quite a few times, and I went to Bristolcon last October. So me and my friend Kerry (my frequent companion on these sorts of things, we also went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and the Doctor Who Experience together) decided it would be a great thing to do before I went off to university. We eagerly bought our tickets to LFCC, and then to my delight I discovered there was a new addition to LFCC this year: the Young Adult Literature Convention. And not only this, but many of my blogger friends were planning on going!

Cue weeks and weeks of Twitter chat, WhatsApp conversations and much fangirling. Then finally the big day arrived, and after getting our train at 8.05am, we reached Earl’s Court at about 10.15. And OH MY GOSH, THE QUEUES. Claire had been there since about 8.30, and had already warned us of the queues – but we thought that by the time we got there, on the end of the Early Bird ticket slot, the queues would have died down and we’d be fine. Oh, how wrong we were… the queues, of which there were many and it wasn’t entirely clear which one we were supposed to be in, snaked around and around Earl’s Court. Luckily, the Early Bird queue was constantly moving – but it still took us a good forty minutes to get in, which gives you some idea of how crazy it was. Not to mention that it was an absolutely boiling hot day, and there was no shade.

When we FINALLY got inside, Kerry went straight to the queue to buy tickets for a photo shoot with Finn Jones (Ser Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones. I took this chance to go and hunt down some book bloggers! I headed straight for the book area, where I spotted Amber and Tatum, and had a brief chat with them before they had to move on. It was already so packed in there, and absolutely boiling, and it was going to get much, much worse… I then found Claire over at the bean bags, and we grabbed some swag from the freebies table (Egmont tote bag, a couple of badges, a few samplers and some postcards) before meeingt up with Natalie quickly, and Claire gave her a ticket to the Dystopian panel (where Amber and Tatum had gone) because she didn’t feel like going.

Claire & I take a sneaky shot with Adam Brown (photo taken by Claire)
Claire & I take a sneaky shot with Adam Brown (photo taken by Claire)

Then it was time for a wander! We didn’t really go too far because it was just so cramped – they’d definitely let far too many people in, there were queues everywhere for various photo shoots and autograph sessions, not to mention the crowds around the dealers stalls – but we did manage to grab a sneaky photo with Adam Brown, who plays Nori in The Hobbit! We also bumped into Asti briefly! Mostly we just checked out which celebrities were nearby and tried to look at the stalls we could actually reach… We met up with Kerry again, who managed to get a ticket for Finn Jones, and also bought a ticket for me and her to meet Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor in Game of Thrones!

The three of us wandered around looking at the stalls, and when I went I was prepared to go in and pretty much spend all my money (‘sorry Leiden, I can’t pay tuition fees now, I spent all my savings on comic book merchandise and books’), but actually… well I only ended up buying the one thing: a Tyrion Vinyl Pop figure (I was going to get Magneto but he doesn’t exist…).

Mostly freebies, the only things I paid for were the Skittles and the Tyrion figure!
Mostly freebies, the only things I paid for were the Skittles and the Tyrion figure!

That’s the end of the first part of my recap, look out for the second part next week! Otherwise I think this post would get a bit too wordy…