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!

#Throwback: My Top Amsterdam Pictures

So Me and Brad went to the Netherlands in June 2019 to meet up with some of our closest friends Mel and Stan! Stan actually lives in the Netherlands too, so it was a pleasure to be hosted by him in his home country! We also met out friend Kaat from Belgium, she came across and stayed a few days with us.

We had an awesome few days and did some amazing things together. These photos below don’t actually do it any justice and it was so hard to find my favourites! We did a boat tour, went to the beach in Zandvoort, the A-dam look out and Swing, so many coffee shop and also a night out on the town! So these are only a quarter of my favourite shots I took in the Netherlands because If I had a choice I would have chosen all of them.

Enjoy and let me know which ones your favourite & if you’ve been to these places below!

The Blog Brew Collaboration – Christmas: Scrapbooking Gift Guide

I LOVE to scrapbook. Its one of my favourite hobbies, I’d say I’ve been doing it since 2014 and since then I’ve filled nearly 3 books. I like to call myself a memory hoarder because of this. I save everything from photobooth pictures, plane and train tickets, I might even pinch a menu from a restaurant for my scrapbook if its a memorable enough moment!

So for this months Blog Brew we are offering gift guides as its very appropriate before Christmas! (I’m hoping the girls posts will help me out as well!). I’ve decided on scrapbooking essentials you need for Christmas presents. Even if you are just starting out on your scrapbooking journey I will ensure that I cover all the bases!

Scrapbooking & Crafts to help you with your scrapbook for Christmas;

A scrapbook!

If you’re new to the scrapbooking world then of course, you need a scrapbook to start with! Now you can get some really really nice ones on Amazon but I personally feel that the best place to get scrapbooks are from Paperchase! Both places vary in prices depending on the size of the scrapbook you want but you don’t have to pay an extortionate amount. For a hardback cover you’re looking at an amount of £10-15 but these are so worth it as they last longer and are a lot more durable so they are the type of scrapbook I would recommend! Mine are all hardbacks as you can see in the photos!

Stickers

THE BEST thing to come from scrapbooking. There are stickers for quite literally everything and anything. You’ve been camping in the woods? There are stickers for it. Travelled on a train? Stickers. Been snorkelling or scuba diving? Stickers for that too. Want to give a gold star? EASY have at least 7 sheets in one packet. The list goes on and on and they can be really cheap as well! Unless you want a specific texture or size, that’s when it starts to get interesting and a little more expensive. Again Paperchase, WHSmith’s, Etsy, Amazon, all these places sell good quality stickers but make sure to check there isn’t a small sticker business out there that you know of that might need your help this Christmas!

Washi Tape

Again this is an absolute Scrapbook marvel. You can get Washi tape with basically anything on it if you search for it. My favourite one I own is a blue tape with a smiling hot dog on it. Like stickers, there is also washi tape for everything. Again definitely make sure you head to Etsy or someone with an independent craft shop or brand before you head to Amazon! I would say you can get x3 rolls of washi tap ranging from 50p to £5 depending on quality. I got a small 5 pack for £4.50 and they are brilliant and textured so I really feel it all depends on what you’re after!

A subscription to Free Prints

This for me is Hella important because you get 45 free pictures a month from this app available on android and iPhone and only have to pay for postage. You can also get a free matte finish on your pictures and a white boarder around the edges for free too (which I have been converted too and now only print my pictures with the white boarders on). For example with Lockdown 2 I knew I’d want to catch up and complete my scrapbook for everything I’ve managed to do recently so I’ve ordered some prints so they come before or just as we go into lockdown as I need pictures to go in the scrapbook! Of course though, putting the pictures in a word document and printing them also does just find and is also cheaper for you too!

Glue and Scissors

This is an essential unless you’re dealing with sticky stickers and washi tape. Glue for all your photos and tickets and everything else that belongs on those pages and scissors to cut them to shapes that you want them in! Big, small, love hearts, all of the above, To cut the washi tape from the reel, you need glue and scissors for your scrapbook. NEED. I would probably put this up there with having the scrapbook itself. These you can get from literally anywhere, supermarkets, craft shops, standard shops, literally, everywhere.

Craft papers (Inclu. Tissue Paper)

Sometimes you might want cute backgrounds for your pages so definitely get some patterned craft paper or tissue paper which you can stick on your pages first! I love all the different themed and coloured papers you can get online as well, so much to choose from! So many options! Again make sure you hit up Etsy and those independent shops before you head to Amazon as well!

Some good marker pens and pencils

If you’re going to write about your experiences instead of just putting pictures in then you definitely need a good set of marker pens or thin lined pens to write with, especially if your pages or cardboard or textured you may need something a little thicker. Normal biro is absolutely fine but you DEFINITELY wanna get some colour in there! Pencils also as well, especially if you’re artsy and want to colour on pages, do your own art in the book (which would look AMAZING). I only write in different colours. Sticking to one colour is boring for me! Again supermarkets and high street shops, independent shops and art shops can supply you with these!

Page protectors

I Don’t find these as essential, I personally have never used them but if you feel you’ve created a masterpiece and need to preserve it then these are really useful. As I’ve never had to purchase these or felt the need I’m sure independent brands and high street shops will be able to supply you with these and as a last resort, Amazon!

Paint

I’ve only ever used paint in my scrapbook once and that was for a memorial page for when we lost a family member and that was a really nice touch. It made the page really special. Of course the only downside with using paint is that you need to leave it to dry. But it is another really lovely way to express yourself and your art in your scrapbook! Doesn’t have to be just paint of course, oil colours, oil paints, paint by numbers (which is the paint I used!). I’m sure once again you can get these paints from supermarkets, art shops, high street and independent brands BEFORE you head to Amazon!

Day 1 – Lucy over at Perselem

Day 2- Beth over at thoughtsofarealredhead

Day 3- Jessie (ME) over at Wandererandtraveller

Day 4- Rhiannon over at mrssleejones

Day 5- Haley over at introvertedcreativity

Day 6- Karalee over at talesofbelle

Day 7- Kim over at chimmyville

Day 8- Kirsty over at kirstymarie

Day 9- Adebola over at mybreakingviews

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

The Blog Brew – My New Adventure Book!

So I guess you’re wondering, what is The Adventure Book? I am here to tell you!

I would also like to confirm I was not asked to post this, this is something I wanted to share with you all as I feel its such a great creative outlet and also such a cute idea, it kept me busy for a while and I wanted to share as part of my blog brew collaboration as I’ve really gotten into it and I think others will enjoy it too.

So this book originally came up on my Instagram feed as an ad, I already have 3 scrapbooks, 5 photo albums, one bullet journal, surely one more creative outlet can’t hurt? Especially because it was travel related and I love documenting all my travels, so this just seemed another great way to do so. The book is really well priced including shipping from the Netherlands and created by a couple by the names of Nicole and Robin! Their aim is to have all your memories in one journal on one page!

So as you can see from the instructions there’s a page for all 196 independent countries so that means SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVTIES, and also your creative side. I can’t wait to fill in the multiple places with pictures, money, paint and washy tape galore. I have a lot of washy tape, its my favourite part of my arts and crafts box.

The best part is at the start of the book you can colour in the world maps of where you’ve been, you can also tick the checklist of countries where you’ve been, which is great for planning which countries you need to edit and do in the book! Ive got quite a few to get started on;

Spain, South Africa, America (they have half a page for each state), Portugal, Iceland, Hungary, Norway, Sri Lanka, France, Turkey and more!

So not only do they have these checklists and world maps to colour in of course they have a section for each country. They’re really good size, enough for some key memories and bits & pieces.

They also offer on other pages through the book stamp pages, where you can out the stamps from that country (postal stamps) but they also have a passport stamp page! They also offer a ‘Surprise’ page where it tells you to go to the airport with no destination in mind and choose the first place on the list and go. In the book you’ll write the details of where you went and all! They also offer travel bingo pages, you can colour in all the flags of the countries you’ve been too (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) and just so much more.

It’s been a really good pass-time especially with Lockdown and isolation taking a toll on everyone. I was really glad I went ahead and got it because I miss travelling so much, it was just another way to reminisce and remember just how much fun I’ve had in the past going to different countries and having huge adventures with my friends and family.

Its a really good gifts for friends and family who love to travel and its also really well sized, not to small not to big! So you can totally carry it with you too! I just don’t think it would be as easy to carry all your arts and crafts stuff with you to do it, haha!

I highly recommend it for all travel lovers! I’ve really enjoyed the purchase and I’m glad I did it! This post was a part of the Blog Brew Collaboration, for the other girls blog posts and websites head to the links below!

July Collab – Head Over to Chimmyville.com

July Collab – Head over to Introverted Creativity

July Collab – Head over to Perselem

July Collab – Head over to Wanderer and Traveller (THATS ME).

July Collab – Head over to Tales of Belle

July Collab– Head over to Kirsty Marie

July Collab – Head over to The Makeup by Beth

July Collab – Head over to Mrs Slee-Jones

July Collab – Head over to My Breaking Views

Sri Lanka – Experiencing the Train from Kandy back to Colombo!

When we were ready to leave Kandy and head back to Colombo we were getting the train!

This was something we had all been really looking forward too as for starters it wasn’t the coach! And it was a long old coach ride back, so to get the train was a nice refresher.

The journey was about 3/4 hours long and was one long journey straight into Colombo, although we got off at a station before and got on the coach from there which made sense as that train was BUSY.

It was definitely an awesome experience.

Being 20+ students we did our best to not be seated together, although 12 of us girls decided to sit together in once space. As we were getting on at Kandy we all managed to get a seat, it was bliss, books out, eating our food.

Mel and myself even brought chocolate milk of one of the vendors walking down the isles of the train pushing through the masses of people that eventually got on the train.

Being comfortable and spacious went from being crowded, hot and cramped very, very quickly. I practically had a woman’s child sat on my knees at one point. Although it was a great experience, people hanging out of the doors whilst the train was moving. The seats were comfy and I wasn’t in any discomfort minus the heat the entire trip! Definitely worth it!

Just to get off the train I had to push myself through the masses and masses of people, clinging on to my stuff for dear life. El lost her shoe down the side of the train at the station so we had to wait for the train to leave and someone retrieved her shoe for her!

It was a really fun experience and you can see all the footage here!

Valentines Collaboration, Day 9: Gifts (Or Not?) On Valentines

Hey All! So I have had the absolute honour of working with 13 amazingly talented ladies this Valentines in a Valentines Blog Collaboration!

So what does this entail? In the run up to Valentines we will post a valentines themed posts right up until the 14th of February! The order and what these posts will be about are on Page number 2! Followed by my blog post on Page 3! Make sure you keep up with myself and the ladies on page 2 with all their blog and other social links!

A huge thank you to Luce (@perselem) for getting this all together! Its so lovely to be a part of something so fun!

Graduation

Graduation was the most memorable day of my life so far, It will take a lot to beat it!

If you read my new beginnings post you know I graduated with some beautiful ladies, was lucky enough to have my entire family there and partied the night away with my nearest and dearest. Not to mention Graduation ball 2 days later with MORE Alcohol.

For starters, to the girls if they’re reading this, WE FUCKING DID IT. I am so proud of us all for working so hard through all the tears, horrible lecturers, assignments that went on for weeks, GROUP WORK (EW) and every other wall we have had to smash through or climb over. How did we manage it many boozy nights later I will never know, but we did. And for that I am eternally grateful for you all.

Brad & I met our families at the top of the city of Lincoln’s Steep Hill! Our gown hire, photography and general drinks and sign in was in the Lincoln Castle Walls and our actual graduation ceremony was in the Lincoln Cathedral!

We went for dinner at 4pm to a restaurant called Cafe Zoot. The food was AMAZING, so tasty and filling. I had the chorizo and chicken paella and lord I never wanted it to end! Once our tummies were full Brad and I left the family to join us in the cathedral at 5:30pm as our ceremony was at 7:30pm but we had to head in to get seated at 6:30pm!

It was all very civilised and organised. I had a gentleman fit my cap and gown for me and pin my cap to my head so it didn’t wobble or fall off, our colours to graduate were yellow and blue! I had to re-fit my cap with Mel about 60 million times throughout the ceremony. Imagine how much my jaw dropped when I saw Brad in his graduation gown, Gorgeous. We were so lucky to get to graduate at the same time an he same day!

The family appeared and it was PICTURE TIME. So many photos but standing so proud in our gowns. Photos with Brad, with my family, with Mel and Stan, with the girls. Man, the list goes on. Not to mention the professional pictures we had once we got gowned up!

The ceremony was beautiful. Us students were at the front of the cathedral and the parents, double the amount of students, were sat behind us! The Pro Chancellor of the university, all our lecturers and many more very important people were sat on the stage in front of us all to take the graduation ceremony.

There was music from trumpets as 6 uniformed men walked down the centre of the Cathedral for the Chancellor’s procession before they were seated. Afterwards there were a number of speeches and awards and finally, our names were called.

Mel and I were lucky enough to be sat with each other which was one of the highlights of the day, we were so overwhelmed and excited we couldn’t wait to get up there and accept our degree!

When they did call us up we were nervous, they made us sit at the side of the hall as they had 2 speeches to do before our course was announced! We were SO NERVOUS. When you walk on stage you are too salute and shake the gentlemans hand, that was it, but it was SO nerve racking!

Brad was fairly close to the front so the whoops and cheers I made when he graduated were loud and proud, he walked and he Graduated! Then it was our time, I don’t remember going up but I know it happened. I do remember going up I just think my mind blacked out during it

It was surreal when my name was called and I walked, I graduated. When Mel’s name was called behind me, she walked and graduated. We met at the bottom of the slope of the stage and arm in arm with our degree’s we walked back to our seats with smiles so large you couldn’t miss them from the other end of the cathedral.

When the ceremony had ended the uniformed men with their trumpets had returned, followed by the Chancellor’s procession, and Us. The Graduates.

I will never forget the feeling walking down the centre of the cathedral, Mel in front. Parents cheering, clapping, the music playing out through the cathedral and holding my degree to my chest. I could’ve and nearly did cry.

WE HAD GRADUATED!

Afterwards, this was a cause for celebration.

We met our friends at the top of the hill and that was when all our families came together in The Magna Carta pub chatting and laughing.

Lets just say we ended up in Walkabout Australian Bar until the lights came on at 2pm with My mum, sister, Brad and his whole family, Mel and her whole family and our closest friends too.

I could not have asked for a better day, nor had I ever felt so proud. My heart is full.