Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue – M. Lee

“The queer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.” (Teen Vogue)

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When I started this book it was not at all what I expected it to be.

I have to thank Majelle again for leaving me yet another shiner of a book when she left from the UK and couldn’t take all her books back to Canada with her. Best believe they came to a good home that enjoyed them.

To summarise;

Monty heads off on his Europe Tour after finishing school, his sister Felicity will go to a boarding school in France en route, and he shall return to help his father run his estate and other things accordingly as a Lord should. Crushing hard on his companion Percy, things are not quite as easy as the three of them think it is going to be on this trip that’s for sure.

With endless adventure, illness, excitement, love and horror I’d say this story had me too immersed for my own good. I have a lot to say about this book.

Firstly, how well written the characters were;

How they acted and spoke really made you feel close to the three of them, Monty, Percy and Felicity on their adventures. So much so that the sequel which follows Felicity, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy’, is well and truly on my ‘to read list on Goodreads and my to buy’ list on Amazon. 

I felt like Felicity was so badass but SO looked down upon for being a woman, naturally in those days. Every time she came through in the book my mind was screaming: YES GIRL GET IT’She had sass, smarts and her wits about her. She was a great character who I thoroughly enjoyed the most.

Monty to me was a bit like a wet flannel to start and I didn’t originally like him. Written phenomenally as he was supposed to come across as the rich boy who loved to drink and fuck his life away and moaned at everything; which he totally did BUT I ADORE HIS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!! It’s absolutely wonderful coming to the end of the story.

Although Percy is one of the main characters he was the one I felt least connected too. Shy and discriminated against, his character was naturally quite quiet and incredibly self aware, the best and driest sense of humour and some common sense too! He came out with a few crackers which got me liking him more and near the end of the book had me sobbing a plenty due to this growing like for him!

Secondly, wow, some particularly good stand out points for me; 

This book was full of adventures and although slightly predictable still had me sat biting my nails as I read wanting to know what and where we going to go next! Being set in the Victorian era was a real reminder of the ways they used to travel around in those days. I’m mortified of boats so the fact these lost (but only slightly), excitable teens did all of their journeys via boat or horse and carriage would be the adventure and excitement in itself for me. 

The era it was written also shows the take on relationships back then, how difficult it must have been for young men and women to be gay which also hinders them from being themselves at heart. It really shows the hardships and strains on family relationships but also highlights how far we’ve come since then in a really heartwarming way. 

I love how a lot of the main storyline adventures are based around the 3 of them being cheeky and Monty taking something he shouldn’t have. God forbid how boring their Europe Tour would have been if not, I guess these things happened for a reason, right? DUH.

Finally it also made me realise and remember being taught about how difficult it was to treat illness back then! We are incredibly lucky. I really rate M. Lee’s absolute consistency in being able to make sure us as readers don’t forget wha era we are in, some authors really struggle to keep that maintained and I find in previous books based in these Victorian or ‘olden scale era’s’ I would tend to forget, but not this time!!! Really impressed and it wasn’t an annoying reminder either.

Thirdly, IS THIS HOW TRAVELLING EUROPE BECAME A THING? HAS IT BEEN A THING FOR THAT LONG?  ITS AWESOME.

I guess our version of A Europe tour is finishing university or school and Inter-railing Europe, travelling around Australia and New Zealand. Or America. Or Asia. The list goes on. But to have it known as a tour and be chaperoned, GOD FORBID MY PARENTS GOT SOMEONE TO CHAPERONE MY TRAVELS. I wouldn’t go (Sorry fam if you’re reading this).

Its still very much a thing to this day which is pretty cool to know that they even then when ‘on tour’ meant an old fashioned way of inter-railing. I doubt if I went it would be as action packed and wouldn’t take us 3 weeks to get from France to Venice by boat. And hopefully my parents wouldn’t send someone to breathe down the back of my neck.

All in all this book really impressed me with its adventures, the era it is based in and the romance, I highly recommend!

4/5

(Not quite up there as my standards are too high, but still pretty up there).

J x

Norway – Exploring Aurland & Flam!

That following morning we were up and ready for action! Exploring Flam and Aurland!

We walked out around Aurland for a while before we headed into Flam just 5 minutes down the road in the car around the fjord! Getting a glimpse of Aurland in the morning makes all the difference when the clouds are gone! The air is so fresh! We also went to the cutest little coffee shop as well and it was so gorgeous, all homemade cakes and pastries!

 

We then bopped into the car and headed our way to Flam! The journey was short and sweet. Just a little bit further around the fjord and even then there really were not may buildings at all in Flam! As you pull up right at the end of the fjord there is a nice small touristy area with a museum, the train that can take you up the fjord and some tourist shops to buy souvenirs.

 

The buildings are an iconic yellow and white and they really stand out between the mountains and the water. Here in Flam you can also get the ferry through and down the fjord from Flam! The sunset there was beautiful. The museum was a small train history museum of how the rail was built through the mountains and we just could not get over how quiet and peaceful the whole area was.

There was a small hotel and restaurant but when I say small I mean, small, there wasn’t a mad amount going on but there was a shop for dinner! Which was a bonus! Life would be so peaceful and eaaaaasy with beautiful sunsets to follow!

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We had a pretty chill night after this day all just in one room laughing, sleeping and reading, it was a really enjoyable experience being able to go on a holiday where we REALLY had no idea where we were or what there was to offer in the area amounted to not much!

 

Abbie and myself were not very tired this particular night which made for a lovely fresh walk at 10:30pm in Aurland in the other direction to SPAR and the shops. We hadn’t headed that way and so decided to wear ourselves out with a wander! We found elephants drawn in the snow and chatted away, we even put our toes in the fjord before we went inside just to say we had done! It was ice cold!

The next day is the road trip back to Oslo!

With even more stops than the road trip TOO Flam! Stay tuned! 

But if you don’t want it to be over just yet;

 Catch it and all the girls social media links & our Norway Videos Below! 

Majelle;

 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCttIR4FZPlhSMiGYnEBIuDw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/majellelegros

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/majelleabell/

Abbie;

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jttFXtOkTw&t=517s 

Jessie;

Youtube Video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Lj_CvN0OA

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jessiexmills

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_itsjustjessie_

Rebecca;

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7ioBFHy4TA

Norway – On The Road (trip) To Norway & Aurland!

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Spontaneity at its finest.

Going to Norway was one of the most spur of the moment idea’s and actions I’ve ever taken in my life to date. I definitely have the girls to thank for that because it was one hell of an experience.

We booked Norway 3 days prior flying from Stanstead airport to Oslo! We also booked a hotel nearby for one night so we had somewhere to rest out heads before the exploring started.


The main aim of this trip was for us 5 girls to get away and not only that but explore area’s of Europe which will be a little more expensive for the girlies to visit in the future! This is due to Lulu being from America and Abbie, Becca and Majelle being from Canada! I was incredibly outnumbered but I certainly was not complaining being the only Brit.

So we flew into Oslo airport and stayed one night in the Thon Gaardermoen Hotel, a 2 minute bus journey from the terminal with a free breakfast in the morning before we went to pick up our hire car. YES we had 5 people in the room when you’re not supposed to and YES when we asked for an extra bed the room they gave us a baby cot (this was how I discovered that in the USA an extra bed in the room is called a cot. For us in the UK and (maybe most of) Europe, its a baby cot, so that is what we got!).

IMG_20181123_112656We jumped back on the bus shuttle the following morning after enjoying our free breakfast, which was very impressive all things considered we ate like queens, and back to the airport to get our hire car! Done through Enterprise we rented a car for the duration of our trip as we needed it to get to our chosen destination. A small little village we chose by placing a finger randomly on the map. SO, we ended up in Flam!

A HUGE shout out to Lulu for driving on this trip. So so appreciated by the rest of us for sure. Lots of love g!

The journey from Oslo to Flam takes 5 hours, we were staying in a small village 5 minutes away from Flam called Aurland (Aurlandsfjord). The best part about this village? It was IN A FJORD. One of the goals for the trip was also to see some Fjords and we can safely say we managed that and them some on this trip. Below is the route we took on our travels to Flam, 4 hours and 32 minutes, not including our little pit stops!

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Along the way we stopped twice, once at Jevnaker and another at Hemsedal because all your girls have love for beautiful places. Jevnaker is only an hour or so outside of Oslo but its so small with a part of it being in the bottom of this beautiful fjord, Randsfjorden, we had to stop for the lakeside views! Although that is all we stopped for it was totally worth it, as well as some petrol station snacks for the rest of the trip!

We did one more stop along the way at Hemsedal and the scenery was beautiful, who would’ve thought beside a petrol station and supermarket would be a beautiful lake and mountain! Only in Norway hey? (definitely not actually, no).

Eventually we arrived in Aurland, Flam! The sceneic views on the journey were the whole reason we drove as we know we wouldn’t have seen half as much if we hadn’t have left Oslo. It was my first ever road trip experience with these girls and it was a beautiful one, which wasn’t over yet!

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The Journey back was even MORE gorgeous!

Stay Tuned For More in Aurland!

J x

But if you don’t want it to be over just yet;

 Catch it and all the girls social media links & our Norway Videos Below! 

Majelle;

 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCttIR4FZPlhSMiGYnEBIuDw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/majellelegros

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/majelleabell/

Abbie;

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jttFXtOkTw&t=517s 

Jessie;

Youtube Video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Lj_CvN0OA

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jessiexmills

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_itsjustjessie_

Rebecca;

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7ioBFHy4TA

The London Bucket list

Hey Guys, If you’ve managed to find your way here then you’ve reached the start! (Hopefully you discovered the page explaining what all this was for first but you catch my drift, if you didn’t, here!)

Below is my bucket list of thins to do in London before the end of the year, its your typical touristy stuff of course so dot think its going to be some super edgy bucket list with different things to do, yeah there will be a few things, but its pretty standard! I hope you will take to the time to read and enjoy it as much as I did!

Im going to aim to complete everything on the list by July 2018, So lets do this! The list will be added too after I have published this post so it will be ever growing during the year also!

Green = DONE IT M8

IF ANYONE HAS ANY SUGGESTIONS PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO LET ME KNOW! I would really really appreciate others experiences and where to go too so if there is anywhere to recommend please do so!

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The Bucket List

  • Visit St Pauls Cathedral
  • Drinks in the Shard
  • Go to a show on the west end, preferably Wicked or Book of Mormon of COURSE, love musicals, LOVE EM. (We went to see Book of Mormon, it was AWESOME, Highly hilarious and recommend big time).
  • Cereal Killer Cafe, Camden
  • Tour of Wembley Stadium (this one was a bit of a given).
  • London Zoo
  • Harry Potter Studios
  • The Shoeboxe’s in Shoreditch
  • Visit the Shakespeare Globe
  • Go to Buckingham Palace and see the changing of the guard.
  • Walk across Tower Bridge
  • The London Dungeons
  • Climb up Primrose Hill and Enjoy the view
  • Eat all the wonderful food at Camden Market
  • Visit the Cookie Dough Store / Naked Dough
  • Ditch CityMapper and get a little lost!
  • Boat ride down the Thames
  • The Imperial War Museum
  • Visit Alexandra Palace
  • MADAME TUSSAUDS
  • WESTFIELDS, Stratford
  • Get a Coffee in the Sky Garden
  • The Crossrail Place roof, Canary Wharf
  • CHINATOWN
  • A night out in London! its got to be done really: Fabric / Egg / Printworks / Ministry of Sound / Tobacco Docks / Tiger Tiger (these are some of the clubs I want to visit, they play the good tunes trust)
  • Notting Hill Carnival
  • National Science Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Yorkshire pudding wraps in Soho
  • Boedeans in Soho
  • Ride on the London Eye
  • Dinner in the Savoy
  • Stay At the Waldorf
  • SLIDE DOWN THE LARGEST SLIDE AT THE OLYMPIC PARK
  • The Ice Bar in Camden
  • Visit the Olympic Park Generally, its been a while since the olympics so its probably wise and I have still never been.
  • Borough Market
  • Visit Gods Own Junkyard
  • Walk along the Canal at Camden
  • Walk down Little Venice, Paddington
  • Visit Kew Gardens, ALL OF IT.
  • Chislehurst Caves
  • Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe
  • Have a Brick Lane curry
  • Climb the O2
  • Go to a gig at Brixton
  • Visit the fuckoffee Cafe
  • Go to an event at the ExCel London
  • Event at the O2 London
  • Botanist Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street
  • Visit the Palm Vaults
  • Hackney City Farm (This horse is ACTIN UP)
  • Broadway Market
  • Colombia Road flower market
  • Visit the Millennium Bridge (The one from Harry Potter)
  • Somerset House
  • Tate Modern & Cafe
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • See the Ballet
  • Kingston Dominos Phone box
  • Visit Ballie Ballerson in Shoreditch

 

Miami – Halloween is so much better in America.

33Halloween in America has got a reputation for being unreal, and it is definitely not an understatement thats for sure. Although we were in Miami for halloween night I thoroughly enjoyed all the halloween decor around Disney. It all looked so impressive and fun, I was jealous of all the people who got to stay in the park past 5 to do their Halloween themed evenings! Guess that means I’ll have to go back one day, oh no, what a shame (mwahah).

Once Halloween in Miami rolled around we obviously couldn’t do your typical trick or treating because we were in America so why not experience it right? Although it was one of those nights that I wished again that I was 21 because we headed out for the main halloween antics in the evening. We had got word from one of the hotel workers that they closed off a road just for halloween not far form the hotel. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the road but it was closely to the Hilton on South Beach Miami.

51So GJ, Ims and I all decided to dress up, my sister wasn’t really into it but hey whatever you’re up for! We did your typical blood coming from the lips and dark eyes and we hadn’t really planned to head far and dress up. I had a crown on my head like some sort of dead princess, I’d say for make shift costumes we didn’t look too bad!

It was the real costumes of those down this street which were impressive. We all headed out together, both families, to this road/street. We also went for some food down there and it was so lovely. As we were walking down the street you could just feel the baseline of heavy music as you walked and it was loud.

38All these clubs and bars had their doors open with music playing outside, there was flashing lights and people everywhere. The atmosphere was insane, hence why I wish I’d been 21 at the time. It was definitely more of a drinking thing on the street we’d been sent too. But it was a wonderful experience, we bumped into the pope and we also saw a ‘real life’ sausage dog, everyones costumes were proper full blown costumes and I was incredibly impressed.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay but it was totally understandable as once we had finished our food it had gotten SO busy outside and we had to younger ones with us, not only were they tired but to traps them through the rowdy crowds would’ve been totally unfair, so we called it a night!

To go back and celebrate Halloween in Miami, or anywhere in America for that matter, is definitely going on my bucket list.

 

 

Miami – KUWTK Style

When I was in Miami, I fell in love, With Miami. I would live there in a shot if I ever got the chance too. When we stayed in Miami on South Beach we did it in real Keeping up With the Kardashian Style and stayed in the Hilton on South Beach! Here they filmed Kourtney and Kim Take Miami where they lived in the penthouse, and it felt pretty cool to be able to say we were staying there, not only were the views from my balcony something else but we were also right next to Nikki Beach, and I was forever sad at the fact I wasn’t old enough to go at the time.

A pretty cool fact is that I’ve stayed in Hilton Hotels all over before, and now I’m about to start working in one. Wonder if they’ll let me have a transfer to Miami??? I wish.

I was incredibly grateful to be staying in such a place as it was something I’d never experienced before. I shared a bedroom with Imi and Tash, we had our own lounge where Tash slept and Imi and I shared the bedroom. We even had an en suite which was HUGE and a kitchen? It was wonderfully impressive and i’d never stayed anywhere like it before.

31The pool area was my favourite, with a large rectangle pool and a bar in the corner, plenty of sunbeds and these huge canopy beds at the back where I did indeed spend most  of my time tanning and eating, especially eating. When they bring chips TO YOU AT YOUR SUNBED, you just kinda have too really. Georgia and I definitely took advantage of this.

One thing I had to ask the barman, who was incredibly lovely, was what Miami Beach was like when Ultra Music festival was on. For those who aren’t aware of what Ultra Music festival is its for those who are into House, Techno, Drum and Bass, the list goes on but you get the idea of what type of music it is. Its known globally and while tickets aren’t exactly cheap they’re not unaffordable for normals like me, its just the price of actually getting to Miami thats the issue!30 From what he said, Miami South is a completely different place when Ultra is on, and I don’t doubt it for a second considering how huge the festival is. I was just jealous that he got to be around the area when it was on, and even be near it.

We were in Miami for about 4 days, and were there on Halloween. Halloween in Miami is something else but I’ll get to that on another post because it was definitely worth talking about. Most morning’s us 4 girls would vacate to the starbucks down the road for breakfast, it was nice to get out of the hotel for some food, see what was knocking about in the neighbourhood!

We went for a few meals out, one was at this awesome restaurant and Im eternally sorry for not remember the name of it because it was so nice. We all sat down and we had what looked like a green table mat, but when your mat was upwards and green they would bring meats to your table and you would then choose which meats you would like to eat and they would put it on your plate! And if you mat was reversed the opposite side was red, and that meant that you did not want anymore meat so they wouldn’t come and offer anything too you! I’d never been to a restaurant like it, so it was a pretty enjoyable experience and the food was heavenly.

105I’m assuming its a Miami thing to put all the expensive cars outside of the restaurants to make the restaurant look even more suave than usual?! When we left that restaurant there was a red Ferrari parked out the front!

We also went to another restaurant which was a steakhouse, this was on our last night and the food was lovely. They even did some monster desert that us youngens all thought we would share! It was a huge chocolate slab of cake, it woud’ve been rude not too. Although the place was lovely and we all dressed up as it was our last night, I didn’t feel to well so ended up walking back to the hotel and going to bed before I could even take a bite of the cake.

If I could go back to the Hilton I definitely would and one day I will, hopefully by then I’ll be able to go to Nikki Beach! I’m only one year away from 21, then I’ll be able too and I’m excited already.

Orlando To Miami – ROAD TRIPPIN’!!

We decided from the start of the holiday we were going to drive to Miami South Beach from Orlando as a convoy, two SUV cards both packed and ready to roll for the 5 hour journey! And it didn’t disappoint. Honestly I spent a majority of the journey wondering how the hell my parents knew where they were going. We did two initial stops, although there was a quick one because we got lost being adventurous.

162We’d been driving about an hour when we stopped for a toilet break and some breakfast,  Dunkin’ Doughnuts? Don’t mind if we do. The scenery hadn’t changed much; we could tell we were still in the depths of Orlando, but there was a lot less around as were were driving. Not as many buildings or places to stop and enjoy. So once we’d stopped at Dunkin’ Doughnuts and stocked up on munch and were satisfied, we were off on our road trip once again to the holy land.

A little further along the way more buildings and roads and cars generally appeared, which meant we were getting somewhere, and getting closer! We stopped for lunch on our journey to Miami at Palm Beach! I didn’t catch the name of restaurant we went to but we sat outside under a canopy and all 13 of us enjoyed a big lunch! Us younger ones went for a wander along the beach, there was a huge pier which I wish we’d had time to walk down. There were also countless volley ball pitches on the sand, which was awesome but I can’t play volley ball for love nor money. The food was lovely and it was a really good break in the journey as it was starting to get a bit tedious.

We got a little lost before we finally managed to make it to Miami. I could never have told you the route we followed but it involved looking at a lot of beautiful beachside houses that were impressively large. We had to make a stop to stretch the legs and figure out which way was the right way but we made it in the end!

I remember arriving in Miami and being absolutely lost for words. What a place is all I have to say. I would live in Miami if anyone gave me the chance because its hands down the place of my dreams. Beautiful beaches, houses, fast cars, better lifestyle, god If only.

One day hey! I’ll be writing about my experience in Miami from here on! These were some of my favourite experiences of the holiday!

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