Boxer Handsome

Boxer HandsomeA book that captures my attention is a book that I will most likely read again and again.

Set against the backdrop of East-End London, Anna Whitwham’s debut novel, Boxer Handsome, tells the story of Bobby and Connor. Two boys fighting over a girl. Fiction or non-fiction, it’s always the same with you lads, isn’t it?

When I think boxing, I immediately think Manny Pacquiao. Mainly because I’m half Filipino (if you hadn’t already guessed from previous blog posts. I can wax lyrical about the Philippines for days. Weeks. Months, even), and also because his nickname, Pacman, tickles me pink.

So, to be introduced to a world of boxing I would never normally think about, was refreshing to say the least. The opening scene had me hooked from the get go, but also left a bad taste in my mouth for a certain character. I shan’t say anymore on the matter, because spoilers, but you will probably agree with me when you read the book. I say when, not if, because you must read it.

The myriad of characters Whitwham introduces to us is exciting. As a Londoner myself, I can probably tell you that I’ve seen characters like these around, but it’s nice to delve into them deeper. Layered characters are my favourite. The fight between Bobby and Connor takes you right into the ring with them, but it’s the end fight that really set me on edge. Lets just say that I won’t be going near knives for a while.

Bobby, himself, is somebody I would probably fall for in real life. The way Whitwham describes his looks isn’t what you think a typical boxer looks like, but it takes my fancy, so I guess that’s all that really matters. (Right?) We see Bobby’s internal struggle over his feelings regarding his father to traveller girl, Theresa, and finally to the mysterious girl who has entered his life, Chloe.

Although, some parts were a dredge to get through, overall the book captured me enough that I couldn’t put it down.

It’s not just a love story, nor is it a story just about family. It’s a story about a community, and the odds people are faced with. It’s a story about hardships and trouble. Ultimately, it’s a story that will make you see boxing in a whole new light.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Joe Blogs Bloggers Network <http://www.joeblogsnetwork.com/>. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Barrio Fiesta sa London 2014

It’s times like this that I’m so happy that I have Filipino blood running through my veins.

It’s more fun in the Philippines” is an understatement. Barrio Fiesta is a festival that will make you crave going to the Philippines so bad, you’ll be checking flight times on your phone whilst jamming to Sam Milby.

It just reminded me of my holiday to the Philippines, two years ago. How much fun I had, and how much food I ate, and how friendly Filipinos are. I’m planning to go back, next year. To be honest, I’m planning to go to a lot of places, next year. Isn’t that everybody’s plan?

10 minutes into Barrio Fiesta, and my mum, sister and I were already eating. I had dinuguan for the first time, which, for obvious reasons, always put me off when I was younger. I’m more appreciative of different dishes now, and it was actually so nice. I really want to try making it for myself. Lechon paksiw, pork menudo and lots and lots of rice filled my belly. Oh, and I can’t forget the delicious BBQ I had, as well.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have halo-halo and instead had bubble tea. Halo-halo is nice, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not a big fan of ube. And all the halo-halo I found had ube. I only like ube as an ice cream flavour. Just so you know.

It was scorching hot, so around midday I obviously fell asleep in the sun. Side note: I had to undo the button to my jeans several times twice. The first teleserye from the Philippines I ever watched was My Girl, which featured Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson and Enchong Dee. Please believe that I died when Enchong Dee turned up, sang a boy band medley, and danced his cute butt off. I didn’t manage to film it, but I found this video on YouTube. Bae.

My other bae, Sam Milby, was just magical. Again, not my video.

Pokwang was also present, flirting with the security guard. Outrageous woman. She’s my spirit animal. I’m just extremely happy her last outfit was Darna’s.

(I’m so glad someone filmed everything)

When I go to Barrio Fiesta next year I’m definitely bringing a tent, so that I can chill. Also, Mutay is coming because even though she’s Nigerian, she’s basically Filipino as well.

It’s definitely more fun in the Philippines.

Me encanta Barcelona

Barcelona in one sentence: sun, sea and alcohol.

Well, maybe not so much sun because it was pretty cloudy when we went. My friends were complaining that it was too hot, but as someone who’s been to the Philippines many times it was like water off a duck’s back for me. Nevertheless, I have an interesting tan line on my butt to show for it.

Barcelona is amazing. It’s so amazing that I’m going back in September with Mutay. I haven’t booked anything, yet, but the passion to go back is so ridiculous. Alas, I’m stuck in an office being jealous of my colleague who’s going to China in August. (I’ve already put in my order for a shot glass from China. I’ve decided that’s the thing I’m going to collect when I travel or when my friend’s go away. I already have shot glasses from Prague, Barcelona and Malia)

Barcelona was a learning experience for me, even though I never intended it to be. It has made me realise my passion for the Spanish language, how much I want to meet new people and how good weather definitely affects how you feel in life. (By the way, life is great)

Interesting side note, I actually got stuck in Barcelona because of the French air strike. France weren’t letting anyone fly over their country, so our flight which was meant to be at 2.35PM was cancelled. However, thanks to my level head, I was able to rebook our flights for the next morning.

This did mean that I had to sleep on the hard floor of the airport, but I thought of it as an adventure. I even spoke to a few people whilst my friend’s were sleeping, so that was pretty cool as well. Making friends, FTW.

It’s kind of difficult for me to write about how much fun I had in Barcelona without bragging, and I hate a humblebrag. Even though I do it sometimes without realising. The irony.

Top places to visit/see

  1. La Rambla
  2. Park Güell
  3. Sagrada Família
  4. Bar Piranya
  5. Makamaka – Beach Burger Cafe
  6. Futbol Club Barcelona
  7. Port Vell
  8. THE BEACH

It’s really one long beach, but they all have different names. On our last night, we found out it was Summer Solstice, so the hostel we were staying at took us all down to Marbella beach. Summary: sea, sand, American accents, fireworks, tiki torches, dancing, bonfires, gypsy dancing, and lots and lots of beer.

I think you’ll see why I want to go back when you see these pictures. There’s more, but that would be a whole post by itself.

Don’t worry, Barcelona. I’ll be back.

#BGOmeetup

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Fluctuating between tiredness and hyperness I somehow made it to the BGO meet up.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. People commented that I didn’t seem nervous, but that was probably due to the two big coffees I’d drank to stay awake.

Thanks to Joe Blogs Blogger Network, I was invited to my first blogger’s meet. I’ve been blogging since I was 16, but this is the first time that I’ve been offered the opportunity. I am eternally grateful to you guys.

The aim of the night was to raise money for World Wildlife Foundation and also “beat the boss”. I’m one of those people who will pretend not to know what’s going, just to have it explained and then observe. I was doing pretty well, until I drank too much prosecco and went all in. Still, a fellow blogger and I managed to win some money on the Jungle Trouble Slot Game!

Of course, there were prizes to win throughout the night and Claire, the bubbliest person I’ve ever met in my life, won Jeff the dinosaur. I found a kindred spirit in fellow writer, Charlotte, and petite power with Holly. Don’t you find it strange when you talk to someone online, and then you actually meet them in real life. Total surreal moment (Psst. Hi, Haydn).

Check out the #bgomeetup tag for more amazing bloggers.

The night was fun, despite me being a nervous wreck inside, and the pizza was delicious so you can’t really complain there.

There's little something on your face, Claire.

There’s little something on your face, Claire.