Everyday life Life

January 2020

January was a very busy month for me. With my studies and a lot of work related things to think of, at the end of it I feel a bit tired. But I love the excitement and fast pace, so I’m not actually complaining. I just need a bit more rest and I will be fine.

Let’s see the highlights of the month. Firstly, I’m so happy Greggs added a new vegan bake to their range, a steak bake. It’s delicious and, with all my travels, is great I can have one of those without having to think too much. The bake is vegan, is delicious, and, of course, the palm oil they use is from sustainable sources. I think I had a few too many this month, but well, they are yummy. A cashier from Greggs told us they don’t stock it (so we’ve had a vegan roll instead), but that she tried it and that is similar to the meat one, so much that she would rather have the vegan one instead. So, well done Greggs for that.

I also blogged about Festus. Have you seen the movie with Festus? He is hilarious, so don’t miss it. He is doing all sorts of funny things, making us laugh every day.

Walker Art Gallery

Besides my visit to Sudley House, for the special exhibition, I went to Walker Art Gallery. The main reason was to see their 16th century paintings. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the gallery.

Pelican portrait

It was lovely to see the Elizabeth I’s Pelican portrait again. I forgot it was here, and I’ve read a book about the image in Tudor England, in which the portrait is mentioned.

Central library Liverpool

Now I’m going more often to the Liverpool Central Library too, as it is easier for me to borrow books from Liverpool than Oxford. Doesn’t it look beautiful? I showed more pictures from the library before.


Another highlight was London, from two days ago. I had no idea I missed London, but realized it when I was there. I don’t think I would be as happy living in London, as it is too busy for me, but I love going there at least once a year. This time we went because our annual pass to Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham was about to expire and I wanted to see the special exhibition on George IV.


I will talk about that in a post next month. I will also talk about my visit to National Gallery. It will close for three years for renovations and I wanted to see the 16th and 19th century rooms before it closes in a few months.

Car park

I just have to show this picture from the car park at Marble Arch. I can’t say we are used to paying so much for parking, but, at the same time, I don’t think I ever saw so many Rolls Royce and Bentley cars in one place. The Marble Arch car park is really great, not in the congestion charge area, but relatively close to Buckingham and National Gallery, at about 30 minutes walk. While 30 minutes is not exactly short, the walk is through Hyde Park to Buckingham and through the city centre to National Gallery, and is gorgeous. We will definitely park there again.

January 2020. Collage

1. Delicious desserts. 2. Vegan Steak Bake from Greggs. 3. Picture of me working, or, more accurate… taking a break for an afternoon nap, on the sofa. I think the picture is hilarious. 4. Lunch at the Veggie Republic, to mark my 12th veggie anniversary. 5. The Central Library. 6. Enjoying some home made bakes. 7. Cat, just outside our front door, when I wanted to go out with Festus. That was scary stuff. She ran and jumped on the wall, so I took a picture of her. 8. Off to Oxford. 9. Reading the last pages of the book I’ve read most of while commuting. 10. Busy day, studying. 11. I’m loving the Christmas pear range from the Body Shop that my husband got for me. Still have a bit of them left. 12. Rainbow. 13. Festus. 14. Crazy golf (from Thursday, but I had no picture for Tuesday, as I spent it studying for University). 15. On the way back from Oxford. 16. Coffee at Home, in Manchester. 17. Liverpool at night-time. 18. Art exhibition. 19. Fog. 20. Published the review for this 850+ pages book I finished at the weekend. 21. Hugging Festus. 22. I was hungry and the only vegan version at the services still open was KFC, so I’ve tried their new no-chicken burger. Delicious! 23. Nail polish. 24. Stand off with a couple of Rhinos at the Knowsley Safari Park. 25. I finished The French Revolution by Stephen Clarke, a very entertaining book. 26. Cute. 27. Afternoon tea. 28. Exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, at Buckingham Palace (on Wednesday, on Tuesday I was busy reading, so not much to take pictures of). 29. National Gallery, London. 30. Books I got from Buckingham, on the previous day, which I can’t wait to read. I got a few books from the library on the same day too. 31. Getting ready for an event, with my Kat von D super brow (there is a funny story in the review).


This month I’ve read 12 books! I had no idea I will be able to read so many. The difference, so far, between the Tudor history and the European history is that the former is usually discussed in the same book with the Stuarts, so I couldn’t say that I’ve read a book, when I read only a bit over half of it. But, in European history, it seems that a lot of topics are dealt with in short books, of 100-250 pages, which add up to the total number of the books I’m reading. Those aren’t exactly aimed at a mass market, but I enjoy reading them, and that’s what is most important. The last four books will be reviewed shortly, but the reviews for the others are already published on Coffee and Books.

Books I’ve read in January:
New Worlds, Lost Worlds by Susan Brigden – 4 stars. Good, very helpful for my studies.
Tudor Rebellions by Anthony Fletcher – 5 stars. Fab, really clear, at only 100+ pages it was perfect.
England and Europe by Susan Doran – 5 stars. Good book, much better than another one I read by her.
Invisible women by Caroline Criado-Perez – 3 stars. Too biased, which is a shame, as the data and topic were interesting.
Lamentation by C. J. Sansom – 5 stars. Interesting story, I’ve enjoyed it.
30-Second Physics by Brian Clegg – 5 stars. Great. I recommend it.
Tudor Economic Problems by Peter Ramsey – 5 stars. Great book, but surely not something everybody would enjoy.
Tombland by C. J. Sansom – 4.5 stars. Good, the 7th in the series and I liked all of them.
The French Revolution by Stephen Clarke – 5 stars. Loved it! I highly recommend it. It is hilarious.
The French Revolution by William Doyle – 2.5 stars. A bit too biased for my taste.
Uncovering The Merchant’s Secret by Elisabeth Hobbes – 4.5 stars. Interesting, but not as good as her previous books.
The Napoleonic Empire by Geoffrey James Ellis – 5 stars. It has an interesting “France first” idea, by Napoleon. It was funny to read about that.

7 Comment

  1. Happy new year Anca 🙂 sounds like you’ve had a busy month to start off 2020! I really want to try the new vegan bakes at Greggs actually, and i’m also really tempted by the vegan kfc burger! xx

  2. It’s so sad that the National Gallery is going to close for three years – it’s such a long time, not to visit this beautiful museum. But it takes what it takes to make it look even better I guess. The Liverpool Central Library looks beautiful, great to borrow books instead of buying them (as you know, I love the idea!) 🙂

    Julia x

    1. I will look forward to see the museum again in 3 years though. The central library is newly renovated and it is gorgeous.

  3. Goodness me, you’ve read a lot this month. And managed to do so much as well. Looks like you’ve been studying the French revolution.
    The portrait of Elizabeth I is stunning, I’ve only seen it in books. Haven’t tried Greggs vegan steak bake, but will check out our local one to try it.

    1. I theory I will study from 1815, but the French revolution and Napoleon had such a large impact that I needed to read a few books about that period too. It’s also very interesting, so I might read a couple of books if I have the time.

  4. I had no idea KFC had a vegan option! I’d be willing to bet our local store doesn’t have anything like that, but I’ll certainly check and see.

    1. I’m curious if the vegan option is only in UK or not. I searched online and saw that they are doing a pilot in a few stores (less than 100) with beyond fried chicken. That’s something I’d love to try.
      I hope they will have at least a vegan option in your local store. x

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