I hate winter. I mean, don’t get me wrong I love the build up to
Christmas when its starting to get a little cold and the excitement for
all the alcohol that I’m going to drink over the Christmas/new year
period is building. But I dislike getting to work when it’s pitch black and finishing when its pitch black.
Once it hits January 1st, it really
affects my mental health. I seriously think I suffer with SAD and spend
around 80% of my life on Skyscanner.
Easing myself into the new year with a book review, and yup it’s a good one.
Even though I don’t work for in a library, my office is based in one so I get to walk past all the new arrivals every day and this book The Sunlight Pilgrims was one of them. I had heard of this book and it has been on my Goodreads list for a while now, so I snatched it up pretty quickly. I got through TSP in a week, and that was only because it was a pretty big book and didn’t want to carry it home so I read it on my lunch breaks and whenever I could.
The Sunlight Pilgrims is primarily a book about the end of the world. Stella is a 12 year old transgender, and she’s growing up quicker than she would like to. Dylan ran away from his life in London and heads to Scotland to grieve his mother and grandmother and Constance is getting through life by her daughters side.
For me TSP wasn’t JUST about the end of the world, for me it was about friendships, relationships, love and general life. The way Jenni Fagan constantly made me feel cold throughout the whole book really sold it for me. I have a perfect image in my head of what the caravan park looks like, and the scene of the iceberg as its approaching.
Stella is a very relatable character and the way she was perceived was brilliant, and I would definitely recommend this book to someone who is going through the same transition.
Without giving too much away, but the ending was very chilling and perfectly written.
I have started a book club with my gals, and this will be top of my recommendations.
Has anyone read The Sunlight Pilgrims? What did you think?
Click the affiliate link here to get The Sunlight Pilgrims for just £8.99 and free PP! (also the choice of 2 different covers)
don’t make resolutions/goals. Not because I won’t stick to them or because it’s
cool too but because I feel like it doesn’t have to be a new year to do/change
things you’re not happy about. 2018, will be the year I carry on doing me. I don’t
do it well, but I survive.
year, I travelled to some of the world and I wrote about. I finally pulled my
finger out of my ass and did it and it felt so good to be creative and to
create content. I then had a few shit months, and so many of my scheduled posts
didn’t make the publish button and are now deleted.
moving house in 4 days and I feel like I need to start afresh. New home, fresh
I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and clench that thirst for
adventure. Crikey, that sounds so cliché but it’s true. I have a love/hate
relationship with change and it’s something I’ve struggle with the past couple
of weeks/months but now it’s here, I can’t be more excited.
want to create something I’m proud of, that I want to show the whole world. So,
1. Stockholm Arlanda airport is fancy. Fancy as in plants
everywhere, shiny shiny floors, it just puts most airports that I’ve been to,
2. Be prepared to spend a lot of money, Stockholm is very
expensive. We bought 2 half baguettes, a bottle of coke and a bottle of water
and it came to £38. £38!!!!
3. It’s cold. Although I went at the end of the summer so I
would have thought it would be slightly chilly. No, it was freezing. As soon as
we walked out of the airport the Baltic blast hit us in the face so take warm
4. It’s not all cashless. Before I went, I read too many blog
posts about how you don’t need to take cash because nowhere accepts cash. That is not true. Yeah, the bigger
restaurants such as Wagammas and Upper Crust, DON’T. But mostly everywhere else
did. We didn’t take much cash with us because we were advised not too (but
drama with the money we were given as it was out of date meant that we only had
around £50 in cash anyway) but we managed to pay for most things on card and go
to the cashpoint if need be. Obviously check with your bank provider to make
sure you’re aware of any charges.
5. read before going to Sweden that alcohol is very expensive
and you can only buy it in special supermarkets called Systembolaget. And yup, that’s
right. I had one glass of wine and it cost £7.81. Yup.
6. Uber is cheap. When we arrived at the airport, we were a
little confused about how to get to our accommodation via public transport (we
had, had a long day). Having read that taxis are unregulated so can charge
whatever they want, we didn’t want to get one of those, so I checked Uber. The
journey took 1 hour and it cost us £54. Now, living in Cardiff and getting home
after a night out would cost me around £7 for a 5/10 minute journey. Madness.
7. The rumours are true. There are beautiful tall, blonde haired blue eyed girls everywhere. Also hunks. Hunks everywhere.
8. The metro / Tube was the best form of transport for us.
Although we do tend to walk everywhere, but as we were staying just outside the
centre we got the metro into where we needed to go. You could literally just
hop on and hop off anywhere, which for me is the best way to explore.
9. At the airport we were advised that we could buy a Travel
Card/pass for £15 each and that would last for 72 hours and the time would
start from the first time you use it. I would 100% recommend this card to
anyone that visits Sweden. It can be used on the Metro and buses. It was
brilliant and well worth the money.
10. You have to go to Wayne’s Coffee. Its like starbucks, one of every corner. But seriously, I had this Spinach, Feta Pasty thing and it was amazing. So amazing, that I went back to the next day and the day after that. But enough about Wayne and his awsome feta pasty
11. Stockholm is basically made up of islands that’s all
connected by bridges. Sounds beautiful right? It is! You can
walk/taxi/boat/metro from one to another.
12. Everyone speaks English. Although it is nice to pick up the important
words from the places I travel too, it does make my life so much easier when English
13. There is Wi-Fi everywhere. Although its 2017 and having no
data when travelling out of the UK is no more, it’s always nice when there’s Wi-Fi.
14. Did you know that Sweden has its own Royal family? Nope, me
neither and they do and the kind lives at the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan so be
sure to check it out!
15. The delicacy in Sweden for me is Meatballs (IKEA RULES!) so I
was so disappointed with the lack of meatballs. And I was also disappointed in
how expensive is it to eat. I am a growing women, and I need a lot of food.
16. If you like Amsterdam for its Bikes and lack of public
transport in the built up areas then you will love Stockholm. There are bikes everywhere,
cute ones with little baskets on to put your dogs in.
After getting stuck in that YouTube hole that I often find myself in, I found myself watching book reviews and this was one of them. I’m not really a sci-fi kinda gal when it comes to books, but everyone was raving about it and to be fair the cover pulled me in.
As this book is obviously set in space, and it’s a very heavily character based book Angry Planet starts off slow, and quite a difficult to read. But I stuck it out and I ended up loving it. By slow I mean, I couldn’t keep up with all the characters and their species and what planets they were from. But as with any book, you do eventually remember who/what they are.
From the title of the book, you know exactly what it’s about but the concept behind it, is brilliant. The characters are different religions, it has interspecies relationships and also LGBT characters.
I know Becky Chambers has another book called A Closed and Common Orbit which on my ‘to read’ list so keep your eyes peeled.
Has anyone read this book? Did you love it/hate it? Let me know!
Click the affiliate link here to get The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet for just £4.50 and free PP!
When travelling I tend to rely on my phone
heavily for not getting lost/planning my itinerary and there has been many
times that an app has saved me. So through my travels I have made a note of the
apps/website that I use.
Scanner (free) – Out of all the apps
mentioned this is probably my most used one. If you have never used it before,
it basically lets you search for flights from many airline companies, so you
can see which one fits your needs and which one is the cheapest. They also have
a really good feature, which you can search anytime/anywhere. So if you’re
stuck for inspiration or on a budget. Check it out!
AirBNB (free) – After using AirBnB for
the first time a few years ago for a trip to London, I haven’t gone back to
hotels since. The freedom you get with AirBnB is very appealing and suits my
needs. I like to travel on a budget, so staying in a flat/house where there is
a kitchen, helps me budget a lot. Every time I’ve stayed in a place, I have
booked the entire place but in a few weeks, I will be staying in just a room
with the host being there too. Not sure how I feel about it, but it does tend
to be a lot cheaper, so I want to test it out.
Translate (free) – Google Translate does not
have the best feedback. I have heard a lot of bad things, but I have heard a
lot of good things. I was in a foreign country and was having difficulty
communicating, so I researched some apps that would be good for on the go.
Google Translate lets you take a photo of what you want to translate, lets you
speak and also lets you write. Although the translation may not be accurate if
kind of gives you an understanding of what you’re looking for. I personally
like the camera option, as this is great for sign posts, menus, maps and
Uber (free) – If you haven’t heard of
Uber by now, have you been living under a rock? My personal experience with
Uber is a bit…meh BUT that’s because Uber in my home city Cardiff is really
expensive, because the demand is very high and there aren’t enough drivers. It
recently got rolled out here so it’s still pretty new, so hopefully things will
smooth out. Anyway, I have used Uber in London, and also in Amsterdam and they
were both great and really cheap. If you’re stuck with public transport and don’t
want to pay a fortune for a taxi, then Uber is your guy.
Tonight (free) – Hostel tonight is great
if you’re unsure on where you’re going to be on a day to day basis. Basically
the apps finds all the hotels in your area that have rooms available for that
night at a discounted price. So if you decide to hop to another city/location
and have nowhere to stay then this app is for you.
Deliveroo (free) – I’m not sure how many
cities has the Deliveroo option, but I do know the majority of the U.K does,
Amsterdam and Spain. Deliveroo acts as a taxi service for your food, and by
that I mean you don’t ring up your local take away and get them to deliver it.
You use their app, pick from the high end restaurants like Wagamamas, KFC,
Pizza Express and many, many, many more and delivers it right to your door. It’s
great. If you’re in a city and don’t fancy going out/don’t know where you’re
going its really good. The only downside is that you have to pay by card and
XE (free) – I use XE Currency not
just when I’m travelling but also when I’m home. Whether that be for research
for a planned adventure or buying things online from non UK stores. This app is
great for accurate and up to date conversions, more importantly it works when
you don’t have signal or on aeroplane mode.
EasyJet (free) – Although I mainly book flights through Sky Scanner, if a flight is
cheap/perfect time and the airline is EasyJet I will also ways book through the
EasyJet app. The app acts as your boarding pass, you can check in and you can purchase
your seats on there. It’s great! Sometimes I worry too much about where my
passport is, so it’s nice not having to carry around a boarding pass too.
Wriggle (free) – For me this is a new app,
and I have only used this once in Bristol. For some, you won’t be able to use
Wriggle but if you’re based in Cardiff, Bristol or Brighton then I would definitely
recommend. Unlike Deliveroo, this app acts as a kind of groupon but for
restaurants. It will have offers on there, for example 2x chai lattes & 2 x
chocolate brownies for £6.95 instead of £10.50. The offers will only be on
there for a certain amount of time (couple of hours), so you have to get in
quick and are updates regularly. What I like most about it, is that it has all
the little quirky and (sometimes) new places on there that I have never been to
or heard of.
Citymapper (free) – This is a new
one for me. I had watched a video from Raya (rayawashere) and she mentioned this
app so I downloaded it. During my recent trip to Sweden, we had just landed at
the airport and as we had been awake for many, many hours we were pretty tired,
so instead of faffing about with transport we decided to see if we could get an
uber/taxi. I love this app, it’s great for knowing how to get from A to B in any
form of transport and how much it’s going to cost. You can also book an Uber
through it (which is what I did). This app has now been moved in my ‘Travel’
folder on my phone to number 2. BUT there is a limitation on the app…it’s not
in every city. I know they have London, Brussels, Manchester, Paris, Berlin,
Milan and many more on there so check it out! If they don’t have the city your
looking for you can also vote for it, and more than likely they will add it.
Been (free) – This app is great to note down where you’ve been.
It shows you on a map basis and it also tells you how much of the world you
have seen and you can narrow it down to, World, Europe, Asia, North America,
South America, Oceania, Antarctica and Africa.
What are your favouite apps? I’d love to discover some more!
Recently I visited Stockholm, Sweden with my
boyfriend. And we were there for 4 nights, 3 days. As we were only there for a
short amount of time, we didn’t get to see all that Stockholm has to offer, so
here is a guide of what we did during our time there. From being in Stockholm
when the weather was getting cold, and daylight getting shorter, you can tell
that being there in winter will be completely different to summer
Where to stay – We stayed in an AirBnb (for me,
this is the best option) in Hammarbyhojden which was a 15 minute walk from
Globen Station which then a 20 minute metro journey to the centre of Stockholm.
For many, this may seem quite far away but if you’re on a budget and don’t mind
exploring further out of the centre then its great! For 4 nights, it costs us
Food & drinks – For us this was the most
expensive part of the trip. Before heading to Scandinavia, I did a lot of
research of what to expect/do etc. And every single post mentioned how
expensive it was. We did want to try lots of new things and walked past some
pretty cool places, but as we were on a budget we didn’t be adventurous! There
was one place that we went to quite a few times and that was Wayne’s Coffee, if
you’re struggling to find one, google map it and there probably one around the
corner. One of the nights, we had a Wagamamas and decided to treat ourselves to
some alcohol. We ended up paying around £20 more than what we would of if we
were in the UK. (Small glass of wine was just under £8 and a small bottle of
beer was £7). I was sad that we didn’t try some Swedish meatballs, because IKEA
but if you did want to try some there’s a restaurant in Sodermalm called
Meatballs for the People which apparently is the best in Sweden, so check that
See & do – Before heading to Sweden as I do
with every trip I go on, I go crazy on Pinterest looking for guides and blog
posts, so I make list of the things I wanted to do/see whilst I was there and
we ticked off everything (apart from going on a boat island hopping – the boyfriend
doesn’t like boats).
Gamla Stan – Also known as Old Town. It’s like a
real life VSCO filter, everywhere you look are beautiful buildings and Scandinavian
goodness. Its home to the Royal Palace, lots of churches and has so many cute
little restaurants and historic buildings to visit, and if you’re looking for
gifts for people back home, this is where you want to be. Every time I go away,
I always buy a souvenir for my Nan (always) and at least 2 for myself, the
cobbled streets are littered with little quirky shops. Gamla Stan is also home
to the oldest restaurant in the entire world.
Skansen – Skansen was founded in 1891 which makes
it the world’s first open air museum. Skansen is 75 acres of historic
buildings, a zoo and gardens. We didn’t actually manage to go inside as it shut
about 20 minutes before we got there, but the surrounding areas were beautiful
and had an amazing museum (the building was insane). Entry £13/140SEK
Sodermalm – Sodermalm is the Jordan of Amsterdam
aka Hipsterville. There is a lot of regeneration work going on there at the moment,
so it was a building site and the views weren’t as glorious as the pictures. We
only stayed near the dock on Sodermalm near the photography museum,
Fotografiska. But further in, there are loads of cool and quirky restaurants,
and vintage shops/warehouses.
Museums – We aren’t one for museums, but we have
the ‘if we pass one, we’ll go in’ kinda vibe. As we were wondering around the
Royal Palace we saw a sign for the Medieval Museum and took a gander. Museum
was free entry (always good) and it was pretty cool and had lots of interactive
bits. They didn’t have any of the torture weapons in there (boyfriends a fan)
but it was interesting and good for a free entry museum. We didn’t go into
anymore as most of them had an entry fee and only accepted cash.
Royal palace – Located in Gamla Stan, the Royal
Palace is home to the His Majesty the King and is used for most of the monarchy’s
royal receptions. The Palace is surrounded by guards (saw a man get shouted at
pretty aggressively for getting too close) but some of them were happy enough
to have photos taken. Parts of the building itself is under refurbishment and
will take a long time to finish, but it’s a beautiful building. You can go
insane for a small fee and see the royal apartments and other bits.
Ice Hockey – If you aren’t a fan of Ice Hockey
then this may not be for you but near Globen they have an arena called HOVET
which is the ice rink (and also where we saw J COLE). We watched the local team
called Djurgardens IF play against another Swedish team. The arena was massive
and a lot bigger than the hockey arena we have in Cardiff, the atmosphere was
insane, so if you are ever stuck for something to do in Stockholm, go watch
some ice hockey (and for the ladies, you really wouldn’t want to miss good
looking Swedish men fighting on ice,
Nightlife – Sweden is well known for its EDM and
DJ’s, and has a lot of famous nightclubs, but I’m a 20 something women going on
60 so clubbing just isn’t my thing. We did struggle with things to do in the
night, even after some research we just couldn’t find anything. But whenever I go
to a new place, I feel like you never truly know what it’s like until you’ve experienced
it at night. Walking through the streets didn’t feel safe but it didn’t feel
unsafe either. We took a walk through Gamla Stan to the famous square and my
gosh it was even prettier at night with all the little restaurants and music.
In Gamla Stan they offer free/paid ghost walking
tours, but we didn’t find out until it was too late L.
SkyView – SkyView is part of the Ericson Globe which
is located near Globen. It’s basically a ball on the side of the building that
takes you up to the top to see the entirety of Stockholm. £14.50/150SEK for a
30 minute journey.