Monarch Series: Empress Dowager Cixi

Fact File


  • Name: Empress Dowager Cixi
  • DOB: 29th November 1835
  • DOD: 15th November 1908
  • Reign: 1861-1908 China – Qing dynasty


Rise to Royalty

At just 16 Cixi was chosen to become a concubine for Emperor Xianfeng. She started as a third-grade concubine but rose to secondary consort to the Emperor after the son she bore him turned one – she was the only concubine that bore him a male heir. At the age of thirty, Emperor Xianfeng died and Cixi’s five year old son became Emperor Tongzhi.

On his deathbed, Xianfeng had set up an eight-man regency group to rule China after his death. It is believed this is due to his mistrust of Cixi and his belief that she would meddle in affairs of state. If this is true, he had every right to be wary. Continue reading


Hardback vs. Paperback

There’s nothing prettier than a hardback. They often have special, gorgeous covers and shows the world that you bought it as soon as it was published. As presents, they show that thought and care has gone into the purchase. However, I can’t help but feel the current release system for new books would serve the public better if it were reversed. Usually, hardbacks are released first and then the paperback is released months later. Hardbacks tend have a smaller print run compared to their paperback counterpart, but as their prices are higher, publishers make more money per unit than they do with the paperback. Hardbacks make good review copies, excellent library editions as they are more durable and are appealing to literary collectors, yet are they practical or even preferable to the common reader? Continue reading

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger AwardHello everyone! Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday. I’m just trying to relax and recover after completing the Cambridge Half Marathon this morning! I still can’t believe I did it, and we managed to raise over £1000 for Cancer Research UK which is of course, fantastic.

Anyway, I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award by the lovely Janet Wertman. Janet is a fantastic author of Tudor historical fiction (one of the best periods of history I’m sure you’ll all agree 😉 ). She is currently writing the first two novels in her Seymour Dynasty series, watch out for them! Thank you so much for the nomination, I’m glad you like my blog! Yours is fantastic and I enjoy reading all your posts. Please visit her website,

To accept this award I have to follow these rules..:

The Rules for accepting the Award:

  1. Display the Award Certificate
  2. Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you
  3. Post seven interesting things about yourself
  4. Nominate up to fifteen other bloggers (and why you’ve nominated them)
  5. Inform them of their nomination

So here we go..

  1. Despite being born on the sunny West Coast of Mexico in Acapulco, I grew up in the Lake District, UK. Full of gorgeous scenery it was a beautiful place to live, but I’m a bit of a city girl at heart so now I’m happily settled working in Cambridge.
  2. My favourite film used to be The Mummy. It inspired me to want to be a historian, although back then mainly specialising in Egyptology. Every Easter and Christmas I used to get books about Ancient Egypt and I loved it. The country and it’s history still hold a special place in my heart and I hope one day I can see the pyramids and the tomb of Nefertiti.
  3. I spoke fluent Spanish for the first four years of my life, but when it came to school I decided to learn French. Mainly down to teenage rebellion and all that. I love French, I think it’s a great language and I love that when I pop over the channel I can speak the lingo and get by.
  4. I always wanted to study Ancient History or Classics at University but I ended up studying Modern History at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge. It was the best decision I ever made. I graduated last October (2014) with a First Class Degree and was able to complete a Dissertation on Anne Boleyn, who is possible one of my favourite people ever, even if she is dead. Also the lecturers were incredibly supportive and inspiring and made me want to continue studying the past.
  5. Books are my life. They are perfect for escapism and learning. I remember when I first started to read on my own – i couldn’t wait for my mum to read to me so I grabbed the book and carried on myself. I have hundreds of them and my dream is to one day have a living room where a whole wall is a bookcase! and to be a publisher, cause y’know, obviously.
  6. I’m currently really interested in Medieval history and can’t believe i’d never thought to learn more about it before!

So, from what I can see, most of my favourite blogs have already been nominated so I’m just going to stick to four of my faves. (Janet would be on here but she’s been covered in the first half of my post 🙂

1. Ryan Webster’s Military History blog – Short, snappy snippets of Military History. Excellent writer and wannabe Lecturer he has a few projects in the pipeline so definitely one to watch.

2. Poppy Coburn – Poppy’s blog is what got me into blogging/reading blogs in the first place. She writes on lots of different things, from fashion to history to book reviews. Really easy to read and interesting!

3. Little Miss Katy – Katy is a lifestyle blogger who just cheers me up. She posts 5 times a week and every time I read her posts they make me smile. She writes reviews on places/events/her life and every Monday posts things to be happy about. Really makes you think about things that make you happy which is always good.

4. The Freelance History Writer – Writes fantastic articles about all sorts of history! You can easily get lost in this blog….