The 12 Day Countdown to 24; What I’ve Learnt, Day 4

Day 4 of Lessons I’ve Learnt before turning 24 is to pursue your passions and wants, try new things, even if the passion and want only lasts for a day.

What does this mean?

If you want to do something, do it. You feel like starting a bullet journal? Do it, and if you start doing it and decide it isn’t for you, at least you tried hey? I think thats the most important thing, you don’t know until you try. I decided I wanted to learn French again and I’ve been at it ever since lockdown one and I was really passionate about it from the start. I’m very lucky that I’ve continued this passion and worked to learn more french!

BUT It doesn’t always work out that way and thats absolutely fine, life is all about trial and error. If you want to try and write a book with your passion of writing but you get started and you aren’t enjoying yourself or the process, at least you sat down and gave it a damn good shot.

You never know what you could get from your passions and wants, if could really turn out for the best. Take blogging and myself for example. I wanted to write and I never thought I’d ever get this far or have been blogging for this long. Try these things. Introduce something new into your life that you’re unsure about until you do it.

It could bring you on such an adventure you never even knew you wanted or needed to go on.

Book Review: 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words by D. Marino & J. Malley

Blurb: “20 Travel Tales in 200 Words, is a collection of true short stories of misadventure, humour and heart, while travelling the world. The authours have had a number of awkward, challenging and astounding experiences over the years. These tales (all told in exactly 200 words) will (hopefully) make you laugh, smile and see travel through their eyes.

Each tale is accompanied by their unique photography, taken while vacationing in the area featured in the travel tale. You will not find these specific photographs anywhere else.”

Genre: Travel, Travel Biography

Goodreads Rating: 4.83/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS


I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to access, read and review this book from the authors directly! So a huge thank you to them, of course they appreciate and respect that my review will be totally honest and my views only. So lets get into this!

You can find a copy of the book to purchase here and their website!

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com/product-page/20-travel-tales-in-200-words-pdf

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com

And you can find the authors on social media here!

Https://twitter.com/ThemTrips

https://instagram.com/Makethemalltripsofalifetime

https://www.facebook.com/makethemalltripsofalifetime

As an avid traveller and with Covid being pretty prominent at the moment, there isn’t much travel happening. So to be able to read 20 Travel Tales in 200 words was exciting for me because It definitely filled a travel hole that was huge in my heart. I really enjoyed reading each story and I’ll be writing a little bit about my top 8 from the book also further down in the review! I just wanted to cover some basics first!

The book itself is really well written and right from the heart, it feels so personal and I really felt like I could picture the experiences almost like I was there. Also it can’t be easy writing a travel story in only 200 words but the authors have done a really good job in doing so and making it an immersive and enjoyable read.

The photographs that separate the stories are all so beautiful and topical to the stories as well, not only is the photography brilliant but they also do a really good job of painting the picture of the adventure itself. It gives the stories more context and also gives the reader the beautiful imagery that goes with the story and I just thought that was brilliant because the story leaves you to your imagination and then you see the photos and it makes it even better!

So let’s have a look at my favourite 8 stories from the book! (although they were all great).

Rough Seas and Big Fish.

This one made me so excited, minus the sea sickness which I felt so sorry for them but I would totally be the same in that situation! Swimming with Whales sharks is absolutely a bucket list dream of mine, so to see the photos and hear the story was so great and inspiring. I was massively impressed they pushed through the sickness to swim with these magnificent creatures!

Murder House.

This one was plain creepy but I enjoyed that aspect, it was an experience that wasn’t as advertised and was unexpected and that added to my curiosity! Plus its nice to hear a different experience like this! I was left with so many questions, Why was there a for sale sign outside? Were the Anne dolls watching them through the night? Why were they not given the experience they bought or told beforehand it wouldn’t be as expected? and most importantly, WERE they fed the previous guests?? WILD.

The Case of the Missing (Water) Shoe.

This made me laugh out loud but also in a sympathetic way. Especially because this is something I would do. The best part was the ‘How could they not know?’ question, and then the sudden realisation when it was needed that the shoe was theirs! I was sad the rain washed it away, it belongs to the fishes now.

What Happens in the Clouds, Stays in the Clouds.

A zip-line experience is also on the bucket list and in a beautiful tropical place like Costa Rica, what a dream! I was so jealous of such an awesome experience but the zero visibility made me nervous and that nervousness was enhanced by her husband explaining that he had been pushed by the wind out of control but landed safely, biggest PHEW moment of the book! An amazing experience in a beautiful place.

A Hike of Spirituality.

This story was really great, an awesome experience, beautiful hike with the history explained as they went. A really great and spiritual adventure to connect with the history of Mauritius. But, it also really highlights others disregard for places with so much history and that deserve respect. It’s astounding that people were unable to “genuinely appreciate where they were” and that makes me so sad, as well as the authors who expressed their sadness of the situation too which I could fully relate too.

(Not) A Bag in the Water.

I love the ocean so I loved this story but this also hinged on another fear of mine. I am so very happy no one was hurt in the process of saving the planet! Which is always the right thing to do! But then the pain that came afterwards of moving to safety and being pushed back into the ocean made me go ‘Ouch!’, definitely a memorable experience for sure!

It’s Not Moving on, Its Moving Forward.

This was a beautiful and moving story. A trip of healing and relaxing through sorrow and sadness even though it provided no escape as the authors wrote. The tradition of planting a tree really brought a tear to my eye. The last line of this story was something that I felt so so necessary to share with everyone as it was beautifully written;

“You do not move on after the passing of a loved one, you move forward, carrying them with you”

The True Test of Love.

This is my favourite one, absolutely 10000% this is the true test of love. I’ve already explained to my man that when we go travelling this is to be expected and if he can’t handle it get out of the kitchen, wait, Bathroom. Im so happy the trip continued and so did their love! It did make me laugh how Burger King was a no go zone, so the family run Bistro where you wouldn’t expect the toilet troubles, was where the trouble started! But you don’t know until you try!

I gave 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words a 5/5 review because for me it was everything I needed and more through Covid-19, the stories were great fun and inspiring and the photographs were also phenomenal. This book is absolutely worth the read to fill that travel gap!

The Blog Brew Collaboration: Romance Book Recommendations for Valentines!

Welcome to another instalment of The Blog Brew Collaboration! Stay tuned for updates with our collaboration, we are wanting to re-brand and redesign as a group so this may be my last post as The Blog Brew! Exciting times ahead!

So I’ve decided to write my post about good romance books for Valentines day. Valentines in lockdown means that not many of us are heading out anywhere or have any plans in the mix, but for some, just cuddling up with a good romance book or some reading downtime in the day before lockdown valentines evening plans commence is definitely a must, SO here are 10 Romance book recommendations!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary.

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. 

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. 

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match

The Kiss Quotent by Helen Hoang.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic… 

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang.

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

One Day by David Nicholls.

15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

And every year that follows?

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast begins the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.

Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Award for Most Popular Book.

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons. 

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. 

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern.

A novel about holding on, letting go, and learning to love again.

Now in paperback, the endearing novel that captured readers’ hearts and introduced a fresh new voice in women’s fiction Cecelia Ahern.

Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!

Day 1 – Rhiannon over at Mrssleejones
Day 2 – Karalee over at talesofbelle
Day 3 – N/A
Day 4 – Kim over at chimmyville
Day 5 – Jessie over at wandererandtraveller (Me!)
Day 6 – Haley over at introvertedcreativity
Day 7 – Luce over at perselem
Day 8 – Beth over at thoughtsofarealredhead

My Best Books of January 2021

Out of the 6 books I read in January these are my top choices in a brief summary! There are only two that I considered incredible, although I enjoyed every book that I read this month so far. So let’s get into it!

The Beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri

“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again.”

This book was quite frankly one of the best books I’ve read in a while, this book has moved me so heavily, it is eye opening, harrowing, a true show of determination and seeking out a better life. Nuri and Afra’s life is completely changed and what they go through and what they experience is like no other. No book has had an effect on me like this has. Donate to refugee charities if you can, show others you love them and never take what we have for granted. Do yourself a favour and go read this book. 5/5 rating, absolutely incredible.

I will be posting a much more in depth review on this book later on in the month so stay tuned!


The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood

“Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . . “

I read this book after my sister recommended the TV series and I like to read the books before I watch the films or TV Shows and books are always better! and this book did not disappoint, I see in other reviews this book can be marked as satire but lord above, how? I found this book very dark and dystopian. I loved the way it was written, with little context straight away and with no introduction to anything really it leaves your imagination to run wild whilst following this journey of Offred’s in a life she isn’t used too. I rated this book 4/5 but enjoyed it thoroughly and thats why I rated this book one of the best ones of the month. Im looking forward to getting book #2 The Testaments because I need to know what happens next.

I will be posting amore in depth review on this book later on in the month so stay tuned!

Book Review: One Day by David Nicholls

Blurb: “15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

And every year that follows?”

Page Count: 435

Goodreads Rating: 3.80/5

Genre: Romance

My Rating: 4/5

THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS


I really enjoyed this book because I was always curious to see if Dexter and Emma ended up together, I really enjoyed how each chapter was the same day of each progressive year as well! But I definitely felt a certain way towards the characters, so let’s get into it.

The way the book is written for me, each chapter the same day of the following year, was really fantastic. I absolutely LOVED the catch up. Learning about what Dexter and Emma had managed to achieve and how their lives had changed year on year. They still lived, developed, moved on, moved out, moved jobs, had other partners, lived different lives but the same? They would still continuously meet each year (until the argument), and because of this I felt like even with their own lives and stories they still lived through each other. Still writing letters, trying to keep something alive that wasn’t exactly there. Thats where my next point comes into play.

One thing I got from this book was wrong time, right place. And then finally, right time, right place. For the two of them at the start, it wasn’t right and you could see that. And admittedly as they got older I firmly believed there would never be a right time (mainly because of my dislike for Dexter). BUT when the time did come and they got together I breathed a sigh of relief because I was like FINALLY. RIGHT TIME, ABOUT TIME. I knew I needed their relationship, I just didn’t realise how much.

One of the things that I really noticed was that I was really thinking about the characters Dexter and Emma. For starters, I didn’t like Dexter through pretty much the entire book. There wasn’t a single moment I sympathised or felt sorry for him, even when the ending happened. Even though he drank and partied himself into oblivion, I still couldn’t sympathise. I just honestly thought he was a knob, even when he and Emma ended up together I always thought she was too good for him. But with that said, I also really couldn’t warm to Emma either. I felt like she was really miserable all the time, as much I enjoyed seeing her progress and develop in her life without Dexter after their argument, she STILL didn’t seem to get any happier in the personal sense! It made me sad as it was almost like her happiness depended on Dexter, a man who wasn’t even bothered about her 85% of the time.

But the biggest twist for me, was the end.

I borrowed this book from a friend and at NO POINT, DID HE WARN ME. So when Emma DIED. I WAS LIKE WAIT. WHAT? It was finally the RIGHT TIME for them to be together. Finally they realised it was meant to be and then BANG. I was gutted, even though I wasn’t Emma’s biggest fan I still didn’t dislike her so much she needed to get hit off her bike and die. I just didn’t expect it and I guess thats what made it so good.

The ending really kind of put everything into perspective for me and I realised this book was actually really unfortunate. Two friends, two lovers, and never the right time. And when it finally is the right time, something this huge and drastic happens. It changes the dynamic completely. And even so, I still, couldn’t sympathise with Dexter. He lost so much, including his mother, throughout the book. And yet he was still unpleasant. Him and Emma could have had so much, so much sooner if he hadn’t been such a wanker. But then if Emma also hadn’t been so elitist and so critical about everything maybe Dexter would’ve felt more inclined sooner to make a move. Their whole relationship just baffled me and I actually felt they were really bad for each other.

The characters I did sympathise for were their partners, Ian who was with Emma, and all of Dexters girlfriends who I can’t possibly name. These partners I firmly believe, especially Ian, were caught in the middle of this whirlwind. I sympathised with Ian the most, he was so lovely and I’m so glad that him and Emma did get together, but It made me sad that she just wasn’t that into their relationship because of DEXTER.

But, none the less with this absolutely crazy rollercoaster of feelings, I really loved this book. I kept me hooked, I just didn’t know what was going to happen next with either characters and I feel like the chapters helped with that curiosity by setting the dates and time in-between. I expected so much and was never disappointed and always shook to the core. Hence why I gave this book 4/5.

I would recommend this book to all my friends and family, in fact I did recommend this to my mum!

My 2020 Reading Round Up!

My 2020 reading journey was a ride and a half. With Lockdown coming into play in early 2020 I’d already picked up more books as a means to keep myself busy. What was even better was when my boyfriend, our friends and I decided during lockdown to get a book club going. It really varied up my reading and as we were all really interested in different types of genres it was interesting to read something different!

My reading goal for 2020 was 50 books. I ended up reading 53 books, so I was really happy to have reached my goal and then some! You can find some of the books I read this year below, as well as my top 10 books from the year. Top 10 was not easy to choose thats for sure, but it definitely made me realise every once and a while you should pick up something you’re not used to reading!

My top 10 below! Let me know if you’ve ready any of the books below in the comments and your thoughts as well!

My Top 10 from 2020!

Choosing my top 10 was the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year (so far!), but please enjoy these recommendations in no particular order! I did also throw a few series in here which were amazing but will definitely tell you the best book from the series.

The Wayward Pines Series – Blake Crouch

The most excitable series I’ve read so far, futuristic, thrilling and absolutely terrifying all in one. The best book was without a doubt Wayward #2, the second book in the series. I was gripped from start to finish and didn’t take a minute between books before I was moving onto the next.

The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

This entire series was phenomenal from start to finish and the final book was the longest book I read all year. Winter #4 was 827 pages and I finished this book as I came into the new year for 2020. BUT the best book of the series personally for me absolutely had to be Scarlet #2. I thoroughly enjoyed learning abut Scarlet and Wolf, I remember their story, minus Cinders, more than any of the others in the book. Including Levanas story and that was pretty crazy.

A Court of Thorns & Roses Series – Sarah J. Maas

I finished this season quite recently and although I enjoyed all the entire series the best book was without a doubt the first one, A Court of Thorns & Roses #1. The way this book ended and meeting the characters and seeing how they change throughout made me so excited to see how the story was going to progress.

The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton

This was a recommendation from our lockdown bookclub and not something I would usually read. I know absolutely nothing about the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong or doping. But this book by Ex-Cyclist Tyler Hamilton definitely changed all of that and in a really great way. Tyler Hamilton tells his story of the cycling scene in Tour De France, how the doping happens and where, and what Lance Armstrong is really like. I LOVED this book, totally addicted. Especially as this is a topic I didn’t know much about I found it so so interesting to read and learn about!

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

A comedic and eye-opening revelation of what happens in our hospitals and the challenges faced with becoming a doctor. Another recommendation from bookclub too! I read this book in 2 days, it made me chuckle but it also made me cry with loss and heartache. So well written and incredibly well done. Not tasteless and a really insightful.

War Doctor – David Nott

Another recommendation from our glorious bookclub which I never would have thought of reading. Straight away I was sucked in. To be a doctor in a war zone sounds like carnage and I was so upset with a few of the stories and how devastating they were. It was just incredible learning what its like volunteering in a war zone, the risk of being kidnapped, murdered, tortured. But being able to save so many lives who had been involuntarily affected by the wars surrounding them must be SO rewarding.

10 Minutes & 38 Seconds in this Strange World – Elif Shafak

I picked this one up from one of the night manager at work. It was left in the hotel I work in and eventually we can take the books for ourselves if they go unclaimed. So I decided this was mine and it made me want to go to Istanbul and explore. This book also really highlights the essence of true friendship, love and traditions and really made me feel warm inside. Even if the story was based on murdering prostitutes.

The Kiss Quotent – Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotent is #1 of the series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was from a perspective I had only ever once read before. The Curious incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, the main character has Aspergers. In this story the main female character is Autistic. It was so lovely but also a learning curve to see this love story come together through their difficulties. The second book was also fantastic, I am now patiently waiting for book #3!

The Choice – Dr Edith Eger

I LOVE Holocaust books, I find them so interesting and insightful and I feel this is why I also enjoy Dark Tourism as I take a lot of interesting in learning about something I could not ever imagine having to experience. The Choice is based on Dr Edith Eger, Mengeles Little Dancer, and her experience and memoir of her time in the holocaust. Moving and truly inspiring on EVERY account.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I laughed and I cried and I wanted this love story SO MUCH. It was so lighthearted and constantly kept you wondering and wishing. I really really loved this book, the storyline and the way it came together. So much so that I recommended it to my boyfriend and even he enjoyed the humour it offered. I thought it was too much of a chick flick book for him but he loved it.

Happy New Year – 2021 Goals!

Happy New Year you wonderful lot!

We are back for another year of goals, blogging and adventure in travels and books! I can’t wait to see what this year holds. Although with a weak start with Covid-19 putting me back in Tier 4 restrictions and furloughed from work at least it will give me plenty of time to work on my blog and socials. Speaking of my blog and socials that is where a lot of my goals lie for this year, as well as a personal few of my own, and I’d really like to share these with you all. I believe if I share these goals with you it will help me to manifest and push my goals forward!

So here are my goals for 2021;

Reach my Goodreads reading goal of 50 books! I feel I may be pushing it this year with 50 books especially as last year I had lockdown and furlough to help me along, this year I am only furloughs until March and I hope to get back to normality after that (We can hope). Therefore I feel like I may be pushing myself, but hey isn’t that what goals are about? So here is to reaching 50 books this year, I’ll be reviewing these books as I go as well so stay tuned!

Reach 350 followers and 20 email followers for my blog! A huge goal, but I am hoping this is something that I can reach. So if you’re reading this with your WordPress sight, drop me a follow, lets help each other as I will absolutely return the love and favour.

Reach 2000 followers on my blog Instagram, Wandererandtraveller, so that I can share so much more with you beautiful people! I love Instagram and it is my favorite social media platform. I also love seeing everyone else adventures too especially in a time where we can’t travel as much as we would like.

A language goal now. In lockdown 1, 2020, I decided to start learning French to keep me going and give me something to do. I decided I wanted to really up my french language and started learning on Duolingo. I now have a 300 page French workbook and hope to smash the whole thing out so it will help me learn! As well as listening to Duolingo’s French podcasts as well, although I am not at the intermediate stage so the podcast is a little difficult I am hoping to be able to understand it better.

I also in lockdown 1 started a Digital Media Marketing course with Google Classroom and never completed it. Thats another huge goal for me. To sit down to learn and finish this course. I feel like my brain will turn to mush otherwise! Especially with no work going on at the moment I need to make sure I keep myself mentally stimulated otherwise I might also loose the will and motivation.

More blogging collaborations! I LOVE working with the girls on my Blog Brew Collaboration so it is only right to help make that collaboration even better, but also participate in more! More blogger awards, more blogging collaborations, more guest posts! Sharing is caring and helping each other along the way. The happiest of goals for 2021.

So there are some of my goals for 2021! Some which will take a lot of time and effort and others which I can master along the way. As long as I give myself the time and keep up morale and motivation I should be able to power through!

What are your 2021 goals? Let me know in the comments!

Road Trip Essentials: What to take with you on your travels!

If there is anything I’ve discovered from Covid-19 is that I love road trips. It’s made me appreciate where I am a lot more and especially just how much there is to do in the UK. When people tell you to visit England, they aren’t lying. There are just so many beautiful places in the UK which are so worth the journey, but when you go on the journey you need to be prepared!

This post is based for those who don’t have some super savvy RV or camper van to go road tripping in and have to go in their Renault Cleo to do 17 hours of driving (plot twist, that’s Brad and I!). We drove the South West coast of the UK staying in multiple Airbnbs, which you can view here, and driving along in Brad Renault Cleo. The OLD Renault Cleo too, and it was great!

When you’re travelling with a person like me who had a bladder the size of a pea and also struggles to sleep, did I mention I’m also a top worrier with my anxiety hitting extortionate levels when I feel the situation is out of my control, so I like to be prepared when we are doing things like this!

I am really glad we did the trip because it felt liberating after so long being inside. Of course we took all the necessary precautions and in doing so this also added a few extra essentials to our trip! So see the list below on what I feel are the best Road Trip essentials!


Our Road Trip Essentials

Covid-19 Essentials to start with:

  • Mask(s).
  • Disinfectant.
  • Correct paperwork if you are exempt from mask wearing.

General Essentials

  • Books! Lots of good books for the journey! Or a Kindle!
  • Your phone, of course! Or not! Depends how disconnected you want to be whilst away!
  • Your purse/wallet, ID and card.
  • If you like to film your adventures like I do, a Go Pro, memory card and external hard drive.
  • Torch (ESSENTIAL this one).
  • Chargers for every electrical appliance you are taking with you.
  • A Notepad.
  • A print out of your Airbnb or hotel bookings just in case!
  • Drinks flask.
  • A cool bag for food if you take any perishables with you.

Car Essentials:

  • Phone Charger.
  • Plug Adapters.
  • Neck Pillow & An Actual Pillow.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sat Nav (Or your phone in these modern days).
  • Phone Holder.
  • Aux Cable & Aux Adapter!

Clothing Essentials:

  • Underwear (I mean you can’t forget that, unless you’re a nudist, then you do you!).
  • Shoes and extra socks for all weather. E.G Walking boots, flip flops.
  • Backpacks!
  • Swimming Costumes & Trunks
  • Towels
  • Jeans & Trousers
  • ‘Going Out’ Wear, Anything from dresses to skirts, blouses to shirts, whatever you feel comfortable in!
  • Summer Dresses are always a must (weather permitting).
  • A Coast, Cardigan, Hoodie, all of the above. I always tend to bring an extra coat with me just in case the car breaks down and you’re stuck on the side of the road, got to keep warm!
  • A smaller bag instead of your backpacks! If you head out for some food you need a nice handbag or clutch bag to take with you.

Comfy Essentials:

  • Blanket, a KEY essential especially if your road trip involves any form of camping. Maybe even a duvet.
  • Slipper socks & Slippers.
  • Winter Coat (as above) to keep you nice and warm!
  • Fluffy PJ’s are always a vibe.

Product Essentials:

  • Deodorant.
  • Moisturiser.
  • For the ladies: Tampons, Pads etc.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Hairbrush.
  • Make up.
  • Compact Mirror.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner and Dry Shampoo (a must).

I also headed to twitter to ask my fellow bloggers if they were going on a road trip (in a Pre Covid-19 world) and they could bring 1 Essential item, what would it be?

Here are some of the responses below!

Get to know me! – 15 Facts.

So I haven’t ever posted anything like this before and I figured I’ve been blogging for a good six years now and recently its really taken off, so why not tell you all more about myself? That way I hope we can be a little more familiar!

  1. I have blue eyes! (A nice easy one to start off with).
  2. I’m a huge memory hoarder. I take far too many pictures, I have 3 scrapbooks, 5 photo albums (and then some), a notepad, bullet journal and adventure book. Including all my writing covered T-shirts from uni, school badges, primary school dresses and uniform. I love looking back at things it just makes me so happy.
  3. I graduated in September 2019 from the University Of Lincoln (UK) with a 2:1 in International’s Tourism Management! Ive always been huge into my travel ever since I was little, massively influenced by my parents and being so luck to be well travelled, I’m very grateful.
  4. My dream job is to work in Crisis and Disaster Management across the southern hemisphere regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes, landslides etc.
  5. I am 23 and will be 24 on March 12th.
  6. I have 5 Tattoo’s, 4 on my legs and 1 on my ribs. My first tattoo is my largest, I sat for 3 and a half hours to get a sea-witch. I also have a lotus flower, a Jigglypuff (I’ve always loved Pokemon) and an elephant on my legs and the Mental Health Semi-Colon on my ribs.
  7. I have 1 pet, wigglebum, official name Digby. He is a beautiful and bouncy 5 year old Sprocker Spaniel, you can follow his instagram here! @theadventuresofdigbydog.
  8. Lockdown really helped me to get back into reading, I have already read 36 books this year, thats a whole 35 more than last year if you don’t count university study books! I used to read quite intensely when I was younger, its been really nice to get back into it.
  9. I have a very intense fascination with Dark Tourism. I wrote my dissertation on the topic and am looking forward to visiting some Dark Tourism sites in the future once Covid restrictions aren’t so heavy.
  10. My all time favourite alcoholic drink is definitely Vodka or Malibu and Fanta Fruit Twist.
  11. I have 1 younger sister by 3 years who is absolutely 100% taller than me by a good foot.
  12. I LOVE the beach. I live for it, I was brought up only 5 minutes away from the beach and I adore the ocean, the sand, beach curls the salt on my skin. I miss the beach a lot now I’ve moved away from it, it will always be my goal and dreams to live next to or close-by to a beach or seaside town.
  13. I was a beach lifeguard for 4 years and that was easily the best job I have ever had so far. So much fun and I was super duper fit as its hardcore fitness, and also fully first aid trained. It was a blessing of a job and great experience helping others in need!
  14. I’ve been driving for 5 years now and in that time I have only crashed once, I had a good chat with a lorry and wrote off my beautiful Kirsten the KA. It was totally my fault and everyone walked away fine, I was just sad my car had to go. Definitely taught me a lesson, don’t think that a lorry can see you over their cab. Chances are if you’re in a small car, they can’t.
  15. My favourite holiday destination I have ever visited is Sri Lanka, it was such an eye opening and informative trip. I absolutely loved it and got to experience the Lagoons, the disaster management centre, Colombo, climbing Adams Peak and SO MUCH MORE with some of my closest girlfriends.

So there you have it! 15 facts about myself!

I hope you feel like you know me a little bit better and know the person behind the blog. Any questions or queries drop me a comment!

TWITTER // PERSONAL INSTAGRAM // TRAVEL INSTAGRAM

How to keep busy on your flights, Long Haul & Short Haul!

How do you keep busy when you’re flying?

I love flying with a passion, but it can be hard to find things to do whilst you’re up in the air especially on long haul flights! Its so important to keep yourself calm and busy during your flights, it makes them that much more entertaining and enjoyable. Here’s a few ides of how you can keep yourself occupied!

Reading – Get yourself a good book and settle down for the ride ahead. I find with short haul flights its a perfect time killer for 2 hours (for example) to get proper stuck in to a good book to keep occupied. Even with long haul it does a good job to kill a period of time, and if you get bored you can always put it down and come back to it later on in the flight as well. Here are some good book recommendations;

  • The Wives – Tarryn Fisher
  • Recursion – Blake Crouch
  • This is going to hurt – Adam Kay
  • Finding Emma – Steena Holmes
  • Wayward Pines Series – Blake Crouch
  • Normal People – Sally Rooney
  • The Tattooist of Auchwitz – Heather Morris
  • The Secret Race: Inside the hidden world of the Tour De France: Doping, Cover-ups and winning at all costs – Tyler Hamilton
  • Two Brothers – Ben Elton
  • Less – Andrew Sean Greer
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Road
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • Turtles All the way Down – John Green

Watch a Movie or TV Show – Especially if they are offering on board entertainment. They usually have so many great options and its a perfect pastime when they have something you want to watch that you’ve never seen. Even watch multiple movies, I love a good movie binge. I also find that sometimes I can fall asleep to movies and I always struggle to sleep on planes so its a bonus.

Journal – Write in a journal! How you’re feeling, about your trip, anything you like! And if you have a bullet journal then its the perfect time to release your creativity and do some prepping for the next month/trip in your bullet journal. Especially if you don’t like flying, this is something that can make you feel calmer as well expressing how you are feeling on the flight.

Blog – I know there isn’t any wifi in the clouds (although there is on some flights, I had an hour of free wifi on the way to Sri Lanka which was pretty awesome) but you can plan some blog posts, write some in your drafts ready to post upon your landing. Even get some pins ready for pinterest, prep some instagram posts in your drafts ready to go when you land.

Listen to Music or a Podcast – Another great pastime to set back and enjoy your favourite music or a good podcast, here are some podcast recommendations if you ever need them;

  • My Dad wrote a Porno
  • The Receipts Podcast
  • Off Menu with Ed Gamble & James Acaster
  • Unexpected Fluids
  • Shagged, Married, Annoyed
  • 3ShotsofTequila
  • Happy Place by Ferne Cotton
  • Everyday Positivity
  • Crime Junkie
  • Call Her Daddy
  • Hip Hop saved my life with Romesh Ranganathan
  • The Daily Pep!

Play a game on your phone – Make sure to download the ones that don’t require Wifi to progress! I can sometimes get too hooked on mobile games and they’re great to pass the time on the plane. I personally love Sand Balls, I’ve had this app since New Years 2020 and I am level 500+ and absolutely obsessed.

Play some card games! – Everyone loves a bit of Go Fish, Snap, Shithead, the list of card games goes on because there are SO MANY that keep you occupied for ages.

Colouring Books! – Another great, colourful and time consuming creative outlet for your journey. I LOVE a good colouring book, especially when I know its something I can keep coming back to throughout the flight if I need a break.

Take a self care kit with you. – This is SO important. Being up in the air for a long period of time really dries out your skin so take a mini self care kit! Some flights have the pleasure of giving you your own self care kit but to be on the safe side pack a little bag with moisturiser, some lip balm, maybe even some deodorant to feel fresher when you land and some baby/face/refreshing wipes as well. There is nothing worse than coming off a flight and feeling grotty and unkempt, so its a nice little ritual to have.

Learn a language – Duolingo doesn’t require any wifi as they have an offline mode so you can revise and work through your module and learn all before you arrive in the country you’re going too! Maybe even take a languages workbook with you so you have something to physically fill out and not relying on your phone applications to learn.

Sleep – One of the most important things needed to function, but like myself, not everyone can sleep on planes! Bring a facemark or use the ones they offer to you, try and get as cosy as you can and just pass out for however many hours you can on your flight. Remember to set your alarm or let the air hostess know if you don’t want to miss a meal!

What do you do to keep busy during flights? Any and all recommendations welcome!