The Lost Life of Eva Braun

A depressingly long time ago, as a fresh faced young undergraduate at the University of Nottingham, I signed up to a module devoted to art in Nazi Germany, which was taught by Dr Fintan Cullen. Fintan and I never really got along all that well (this is a massive understatement – we absolutely loathed each other) but he was, I have to admit, a really impressive and rather floridly verbose teacher who really came into his element when dealing with the robust imagery and political ramifications of Nazi era art. At the time, WWII had ended just fifty years earlier […]

Dover Castle

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my recent English Heritage giveaway! The winner has been notified and will hopefully have their membership cards in their clutches very soon! I absolutely love being a member of English Heritage as they really do have something for everyone – from Roman forts to cottages to castles to stately homes, including Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, which I’m hoping to visit over the summer. Last Monday (which was a bank holiday here in the UK) we were invited along to the brilliant WWII event at Dover Castle, which is another […]

Bletchley Park – The Imitation Game

Long term readers (you poor poor things) may well recall that around a year ago, I came clean about my shameful lack of knowledge about the Second World War. This was not entirely my fault – despite going to three different secondary schools, all of which have since been ranked as ‘outstanding’ by Oftsed (God only knows how or why), I didn’t have any formal history lessons at all until I started my Early Modern History A Level (i.e. covering the Italian Wars to the English Civil War and not the Modern History A Level that most people default to, […]

A War of Flowers – Jane Thynne

I’ve already reviewed the first two brilliant books in Jane Thynne’s Clara Vine series and had to come back and let you all know how much I absolutely loved A War of Flowers, the third instalment in this gripping and darkly evocative series of books set in the glittering but dangerous world of pre-war Berlin, where people are already scared to death, food is already scarce and Hitler and his revolting cronies are treated like demo-gods by their fanatical followers as Europe trembles on the very brink of war. I absolutely love Clara Vine, the half German, half English heroine […]


The Worst First Day At Work Ever is usually a rather pleasant cinematic or literary trope, wherein a usually hopelessly naive young thing starts a new job and finds them up against all manner of terrible obstacles, either amusing or terrible. It usually ends well and is generally a bit of a character building exercise for the main character, in this case the unfortunate young clerk, Norman who has never even seen inside a tank before and is now expected to join a battle hardened crew on a dangerous mission into the German countryside, as all the dreadfulness gradually quashes […]

Alan Turing 1912-1954

Alan Mathison Turing, Elliot and Fry, 1951. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London. On this day in 1912, my hero Alan Turing, without whom many of us wouldn’t be here in more ways than one, was born in Maida Vale, London. War hero, genius, mathematician, cryptologist, computer pioneer, independent spirit and cider drinker we all owe him SO MUCH and yet he was treated shamefully by the British government after being prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, only finally receiving a Too Little Too Late pardon from the Queen on Christmas Eve last year. The quintessential genius, careless of his appearance, blunt […]