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    Book Club // Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

    “They always call depression the blues, but I would have been happy to waken to a periwinkle outlook. Depression to me is urine yellow, washed out, exhausted miles of weak piss.”  
    ★★★★

    Sharp Objects is another of Gillian Flynns books, which as you would of seen by now I quite enjoy.
    Sharp Objects is a chilling novel about a women called Camille Preaker who is a Journalist based in Chicago. In Wind Gap, Missouri a girl has been brutally murdered and another has gone missing so Camille has had to return to cover the story. You soon come to learn that Camille has had a hard life with her sister dying, her troubled mother and step sister who is an actual mean girl with a dark twist.

    This book has a lot of twists and turns and had me gripped, from the very beginning.
    I’ve recently read that they are turning this into a series, not sure how I feel about that but I’m quite intrigued to see how it turns out. I also read that Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson are going to play Camille and her mother, both actresses I really like!

    Have you read this? What did you think? 

    I have got 3 books that’s on my ‘next up’ shelf, but I’m in the mood to buy some more. If you have any recommendations, please comment below!
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    Travel

    Packing For A Mini Sun Break

    Mini breaks
    are a perfect way to forget your troubles at home, and explore new places.
    When travelling, I mainly only ever take carryon luggage, and the limited amount
    of liquids that the airlines allow you.

    Last week I
    went to Portugal, only taking hand luggage. Now normally this wouldn’t be a
    problem if it was a normal city break but as you have to take sun lotion with
    you as buying it out there is really expensive, hand luggage limits you with
    what you can take.

    Packing For A Mini Sun Break

    So let’s
    begin,

    Suitcase

    The suitcase I use is fairly new
    and was a birthday gift. (You know you’re getting old when you get excited
    about asking for a new suitcase for your birthday). The brand is…
    The best decision I ever made was getting a 4 wheeled suitcase. When travelling
    and carrying your luggage I tend to have my phone in hand, getting directions
    or taking pictures. Having 4 wheels lets you carry other things a lot easier.




    Clothes

    As I knew the weather was going
    to be really nice and warm, I wasn’t worried about packing many clothes and it will
    be too hot to wear anything fashionable. One trip I learnt from my mum is to
    roll my clothes, they take it up less space which yes means extra room for more
    or your suitcase will be less heavy. Recently I saw a Facebook video or a women
    rolling all her clothes and underwear, and then putting them into sandwich bags
    (clear bags you put your liquids in) and I was amazed. I’m travelling to Sweden
    in a few week and will definitely be testing out this trick.

    I also tend to wear the bulkiest
    clothes on the plane, and carry a jacket.


    Shoes

    I always tend to wear the shoes
    that take up the most room on the plane. The advantage of going on a summer
    trip, is that you don’t have to take heavy/bulky shoes. I wore a pair of
    trainers on the plane, and then I packed sandals for the evening and a pair of
    flip flops for the pool/beach. I always tend to take trainers with me, as I
    tend to go off the beaten track as they call it. But I also burn my feet every
    time, so I tend to keep them out of the sun.


    Liquids / toiletries

    For me when only taking hand
    luggage, organising my liquids is the hardest part. If you are struggling with
    what you can take, I will always check the airlines website on their rules and
    regulations. When traveling to Morocco, it stated that I could have 12 100ml liquids.
    When arriving, they would not let me through security as all 12 liquids were in
    2 clear bags and I had to throw stuff away, so ALWAYS check the website. If I’m
    feeling lazy, I will buy the travel sized products from Boots/Superdrug which
    they normally have on offer, but Primark have the travel bag for £1 which comes
    with around 6 bottles of different sizes and shapes which is great. I know a
    lot of people put some of their liquid make up in the clear bags but tend not
    too as it takes u a lot of bag usage, but if they ask then of course I will.


    Extras

    When travelling to Benidorm last
    year, I bought a hand fan and it has literally travelled with me everywhere
    since. I also like to pack a book, hair accessories and some jewellery. I
    always pack the extra in the net zipped part so nothing gets broken or tangled
    up on my clothes.


    Camera

    I will
    always have a disposable camera and my instax with me. If I tend to be
    documenting my travels, I will also pack a tripod (I have a gorilla pod which I
    would highly recommend). This will always be packed in the zipped part of the suitcase
    also, so nothing gets damaged during transport.


    Money / travel documents

    When you exchange money, they
    always give you the little plastic pouch with your newly exchanged money in. I
    will also keep my passport, any GBP and anything that I want to keep safe in
    that pouch. When I get back home, the pouch usually has all my Polaroid’s and
    other random bits in that I wanted to not get damaged/lost.

    Packing For A Mini Sun Break

    What went in my suitcase?

    Clothes

    3 bodysuits
    2x Stripe crop vest
    Band t-shirt
    Sheer t-shirt
    2x pairs of denim shorts
    Denim skirt
    2x Dresses
    Wearing – Dungarees & Band T-shirt

    Shoes

    Flip Flops
    Sandals
    Wearing – Vans

    Toiletries

    Body Lotion
    Face Cream
    Rollerball perfume
    Eye Solution (contacts)
    Dry Shampoo
    Deodorant
    My partner then have the SPF in his (he doesn’t take a lot).


    Advantages
    1.       You are less likely to over pack
    2.       Won’t have to pay anything extra (most airlines charge a fortune to check a bag)
    3.       Easy to transport from airport to hotel.
    Disadvantages
    1.       Liquids – you have a limited amount that you can take through security
    2.       You have to be more selective with what you want to take.
    3.       If you wanted to take more camera equipment, you are very limited with space. But if you’re anything like me, you can leave those 2 extra pairs of shorts and dresses at home.

    Packing For A Mini Sun Break

    A little taste of Luz, Portugal will be up very soon! Keep your eyes peeled.

     

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    Travel

    Top Tips To Save Money for Travel

    Top Tips To Save Money for Travel
    Although I don’t
    always have big adventures, saving for the little ones can be just as hard.
    I was always
    really bad with money when growing up, even in university when I would receive
    a very large amount every 3 months, I would blow it things that I don’t remember
    and I have nothing to show for it.
    Growing up, moving
    out, and having my own financial responsibilities I have learnt to manage how
    to prioritize bills and savings. Although, someone times I do slip up. (Especially
    in the summer months).

    SAVE SAVE SAVE

    1. Have a goal /target.
    When it comes to
    saving money for travel, for me the biggest tip is knowing where you’re
    going/what you’re saving for. I find it so much easier saving £300 a month if I
    know that it’s being spend on flights or accommodation. Create a breakdown of
    how much everything is going to cost you from flights to daily food budget.

    2. Put money away & don’t touch it.
    I’m going to be a hypocrite
    here, but SOMETIMES I do dip into the savings I put away but that doesn’t mean I
    still don’t save. I tend to find that throughout the summer months I spend a
    lot more which is probably the case for everyone.
    3. Minimise your spending.
    In the previous
    post, I mentioned that I spend a lot more in the summer months. Living in
    Wales, you only get around a weeks’ worth of nice weather so you kind of have
    to make the most of it. Spending money on alcohol, going to see that band or
    taking a quick trip to get some ice-cream. They all add up.
    4. Sell stuff you don’t need/use.
    Ebaying my life
    away was my thing when I was in university. I loved it and yes I used to make a
    lot of money. In recent months with moving and sorting out my life, I have a
    lot of stuff and clothes that I don’t use/wear. I am currently using Depop,
    which has grown significantly within the last few years. I also did a car boot
    sale not so long ago, and the stupidest of things that I was just going to
    throw away.
    5. Eating habits.
    I am pretty good
    at this one. I don’t eat out half as much as I used to. Ever since learning
    more about cooking and trying new things, I like to cook in bulk and freeze the
    extras for a rainy day. When it comes to work lunch, meal prep is your friend. Instagram
    & Pinterest are great for inspirations and recipes.  
    6. Subscriptions and memberships.
    Although I still
    have Netflix and Spotify, I split the costs with family members and have
    multiple accounts so the price is cheaper for everyone. Just before summer
    started I cancelled my gym membership and started running which is of course,
    free. Although it was only £20 a month, that £20 goes straight into my savings
    account on top of whatever else I put in each month. I did have magazine subscriptions
    and other things too which I cancelled and to be honest, I don’t miss them at
    all.
    7. Move home (if you can).
    If this was an
    option for me, I would jump at the chance. I miss living home a lot, as I don’t
    get to see my family that often. Although living at home was not free for me,
    it would still be a lot cheaper that what I’m paying now living in the city. I
    also feel like parents will be very strict with you also and help you save for
    those things that you want. And who doesn’t love getting their washing done for
    them?
    There are loads and loads of different tricks
    out there for saving money for travel. I’m still learning and I still have
    slips, but that’s just life.

    If
    you want something enough, you’ll make it happen.

    What
    tips and tricks do you guys have? Anything you think I can benefit from?

     

     

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    Bookclub // Girl Online by Zoe Sugg


    “Every time you post something online you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.”  

    ★★(half a star)
     
    I have this vivid memory from when I was a teenager of sitting at my computer desk at home and randomly coming across a YouTube video of a girl that I was instantly jealous of, the girl was telling the camera what she had bought whilst out shopping. 8 years later I still watch her videos, and I’m still jealous of her. I wanted to read this book for a long time, but as I’m reluctant about buying books these days (lack of space) and the library never had it available, but a few weeks ago, it did.
     
    I am going to be really honest, I’m not quite sure what to think of Girl Online. As you will know by now, I am a sucker for an easy read and a corney love story but I just felt the book dragged and was very predictable. I know Zoe has a young captive audience but I got the sense throughout that this was written mainly for them.

    The one plot in the book that I did connect with, was that Penny the main character suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. As a girl growing up with social anxiety but never realising that’s actually what it was and feeling really alone and different, I connected with Penny as I knew exactly how she was feeling. I felt like this could of been explained a little better and not just glossed over.

    All in all the plot was good, but a little sloppy at times. I’m still debating whether I want to read the follow on books. I think there are 2 more? But if I do, you shall know.

     
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    Travel

    My 4 Day in Marrakech, Morocoo Itinerary

    Having had a busy start to the new year, with a new job, moving house and some personal changes I was in need of a relaxing/exploring break. Myself and my friend Sophie spend most nights looking at holidays and planning random adventures, and this was one of them.
    Booked it. Packed it. Fucked off.
    Our hotel was around a 45 minute drive from the airport, that’s without the 2 stops we did at other hotels. I will say that drivers in Morocco are ruthless. We were in the car for around 5/10 minutes when a car nearly went into the side of us at great speed. Our driver got very angry and was shouting at the driver of the other car in Arabic, so we didn’t know what was being said but we could just see the driver shrugging his shoulders. After it had calmed down, our driver told us that they were the police and did not give a care in the world that what they had done was wrong.
    DID YOU KNOW?
    Marrakech is split into two distinct parts: the old city, or medina and the modern city of which Gueliz is the heart of and offers an alternative vibe to the traditional, relaxed old medina atmosphere. Best for modern high street shops, cafes and bars.
    Here’s my 4 day relax/explore itinery of Marrakech, Morocco.
    DAY 1
    As we arrived in the night, we was not able to see our surroundings. So in the morning we had a pleasant surprise when we awoke to large balcony doors with our own outside seating areas and surrounded by palm trees and beautiful flowers. To me, it was the definition of paradise.
    The first day was chill by the pool day and soak up some rays. Food was an all you can eat buffet, which included hot & cold food, drinks and desserts. Breakfast was served from 6 – 11:30, then there were snacks available before lunch and then lunch was at 14:00, and then dinner was served from 19:00 and to be honest it was lovely. Although every meal had peppers in it in some sort of way (which I am not complaining about, peppers are life) it was really, really good and very filling. 
    The pool area, included a bar which had unlimited alcohol (be careful in the heat) and multiple water slides and every day the hotel staff would do different pool activities and work outs.
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    DAY 2
    On the second day we booked an excursion within the hotel which cost around 375 MAD (Moroccon Dirham) which is around 30GBP go see the waterfall called Ouzoud which is about 150km Northeast of Marrakech. This was one the sites we wanted to see and was really excited.  I’m not going to lie, if I had known the coach journey would be 3 hours there and 3 hours back I probably would of given it some thought as it was 33 degrees outside and the bus had really bad air con. BUT, the coach journey took you through Marrakesh and showed us parts that we would not have seen if we hadn’t of gone and parts they don’t show you in the travel guides, and it really was breath taking. The poverty and the way people live their lives was just mesmerising and very sad. (I also saw some goats chilling in a tree and it made the journey).
    When we arrived, we had 5/6 hours to roam around the village and down to the waterfalls before we had to head back. Walking down the mountain side, through a little village with loads of the little stalls was beautiful and you kept getting glimpses of the waterfall through the trees.
    I do have to mention there were several animals being used for entertainment purposes and it wasn’t nice. As cute as the Monkey, Donkey and Horse were, they all looked exhausted and dehydrated. The young boy that was looking after the horse wanted to charge us for just making sure if was ok.
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

     The excursion included lunch, half way down the mountain was a restaurant that looked directly onto the waterfall, so every now and then you would get a little spray of the water, which is perfect as it was around 33 degrees. The food was amazing, we had starters of bread, dips and some olives.
    For my main I had a chicken kebab which came with the tastiest fries. The others had a Vegetable Tagine (which I wish I had got). The service was great and the food was amazing, they also gave us free large bottles of water. After food, we headed down to the bottom of the mountain/waterfall to see the plunge pool. There were boat rides to that took you into the plunge pool but as it is quite a tourist attraction is was very busy, and the wait was very long.
    If you don’t like hiking in very high heat, I wouldn’t recommend walking right down to the bottom as of course you have to walk back up. By the time we got to the top, I was the sweatiest mess. Also there are no toilets. Just a little hut, covered in creepy crawlies and no light, YUP.

    DAY 3
    On the third day we went into the centre of Marrakech and got lost in the Souks. There was an excursion within the hotel but it cost around 325 MAD which exchanges to around 26GBP but our hotel also ran a free shuttle bus that took you into the centre of town that ran around 5 times a day and back. So we decided to take the shuttle bus and find our own way around.
    The bus dropped us off into the town centre which was around a 15 minute walk from Jamaa El Fna Square which is where Koutoubia Mosque is located (the famous tower that you see on any travel guide) and then the Souks are a 5 minute walk away.
    Before going to Marrakech, I read a lot of blog posts about how women should dress and how to respect their religion and heard about many incidents where women had been harassed and spat on in the streets for the clothing they were wearing so I was a bit anxious on the way there. I wore a knee length dress, put a scarf around my shoulders (IT WAS SO HOT, HOW DO WOMEN COPE IN THAT HEAT) and some sandals and the girls wore similar things but when we were there,  there were many women out there that had very little on. Personally I wanted to respect their religion and beliefs and cover myself up so I kept the scarf on.
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo ItineryMarrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo ItineryMarrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    As the square is the most popular tourist destination, it is very busy so be prepared to be hounded with people selling trinkets and wanted you to get henna tattoos. There are also the snake charmers. Oh the snake charmers. I am one of those people that prefer animals to humans, so when I see an animal’s getting treated badly I just want to punch the human straight in the face. These snakes were thrown around, kicked and shoved into bags. As I have never been that close to a snake of that nature before, it was very surreal. But it was also very sad. Again, there were monkeys that just looked starving, dehydrated and just very unhappy.
    Once you get through the hustle and bustle of the main square you can enter the Souks in many different locations, so just remember where as you will probably get lost. Imagine entering a mirror maze and not taking notes/leaving a trail of where you’ve been well the Souks was like that. I read beforehand that the ‘exit’ signs are all wrong because they want you to keep walking past their stalls and make you buy things. But us, being the goody goodies that we are, we took a route that we would remember but even then we got lost and ended up in the back end of the Souks where all the making of some of the goods are sold, it was very dark and dingey and having it just being us 3 girls, very unsafe.

    Walking through the Souks, we were hounded by some of the gentleman on the stalls making crude comments but I guess you just have to ignore that and stick together.

    Once we were done, we got a taxi back to the centre, where there was a shopping centre and resturants and had a wander around until the shuttle bus would come and collect us.

    DAY 4

    This was our last day in Marrakech, so as the previous 2 days were very busy we decided to have another pool day and get in some tanning time and take full advantage of the all inclusive and free alcohol. This was the day that I burnt, and I am still rocking some questionable tan lines.

    8 POINTERS IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL TO MARRAKECH, MOROCCO.

    1 – Complete the embarkation card they give you on the plane and complete the form when returning from Marrakech before going through security.
    2 – Water. Make sure you buy big bottles of water.
    3 – In the souks they will try and make you pay for everything. Even taking photos of the ground.
    4 – Money. You can’t exchange your money beforehand, make sure you let your bank know that you will be using your card overseas to exchange money.
    5 – Wasps. Everywhere.
    6 – Be respectful of religion.
    7 – Wear your seatbelt.
    8 – Don’t take it to heart. If you go to the Souks expect to get harassed and have rude comments thrown your way.

     

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    Book Club // Dark Places, Gillian Flynn


    “I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”

    ★★★

    DarkPlaces is an unsettling but slow book. Libby Day, is the main character and her
    family was butchered when she was just 8 years old and she survived. But why?
    Did her brother Ben Day actually do it? 

    Libby
    is very open about her dark side and the way she has dealt with her past. When
    I read books, I like to connect to a character, but with this one I didn’t
    connect to any and even though I loathed Libby for the way she used her tragedy
    as an advantage in life, I did end up feeling sorry for her through out.

    Not
    giving any spoilers, this
    book was very unsettling and did live up to its title. But I feel it was very
    slow and I understand the reason it was slow but for me, I found myself
    skipping pages as I just thought they were unnecessary. I had this ending
    in head, that Libby was in fact the killer and Ben was covering up for her.
    Which would be have been a huge curve ball and I was a little dissapointed when I
    was wrong haha.

    All in all, if you’re a fan of
    a dark story that makes you feel a little uneasy then I would recommend. I have another book by Gillian that is on my shelf waiting to be read, Sharp Objects. Watch this space.
     

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    Travel

    10 things to do in Amsterdam under €10

    1. Kitten Café Kattencafe Kopjes Amsterdam

    Kitten cafe is situated around a 25/30 minute walk from Vondelpark. You are 100% guaranteed to have some kitty action from the 8 rescue cats and you can also order a ‘cattuccino’.
    €3 for 2 hours (all proceedings go to the cats food and wellbeing).

    photo from here
    2. Cheese tasting

    Ok, so by cheese tasting I mean, walking around the beautiful streets and going into the many cheese shops that you pass and just taking a few samples. All of the shops have lots and lots of cheese samples and although most of them have the same you do come across a few different ones.

    FREE

    photo from here
    3. Electric ladyland

    The only museum of it’s kind in the world, the first ever museum of florescent art. Go and experience ‘participatory art’, you won’t be disappointed.

    €5 (including 15 page booklet, children under 12 go free)

    photo from here


    4.  Ice skating

    Ice skating in Amsterdamon the canals is super romantic and very special as it doesn’t happen every year (depending on the weather) but fortunately there are 2 locations where you can 100% ice skate. The first and biggest is Jaap Eden and the other and most common is ICE*Amsterdam which is situation right opposite the IAMSTERDAM sign.

    €2.50 – €10


    5. Hang out on top of NEMO (science museum)

    The roof the Science Museum NEMO is the highest city square in the Netherlands. Although I went in the winter and it was slightly cold but the views were incredible and we stayed there so we could catch the sunset which for me, was the highlight of my trip. In the summer they have open air exhibitions and all year round there is a café which some impressive water features. When I return in the summer, this is first on my list to re visit. 

    FREE

     

    6. Rent a bike

    When wandering the streets of Amsterdam, and noticing how many bikes and cyclists there are roaming the city it can get very daunting and make you not want to rent one but take the plunge and do it. Make sure you following the instructions the vendor may have given you and always lock your bike up properly. There are plenty of rental shops around, you wont have trouble finding them.

    €7 for 1 hour / €10 for 2 hours

     


    7. Sex museum

     Although the Sex Museum isn’t what I was expecting it to be (although I have no idea what I was expecting) its still worth the visit to see the funny and quirky things if you’re not prudish. And with it only being a couple of minutes walk from the train station its hard to say no.

    €5
     



    8. Ride the ferry


    If you want a slightly different view of the city then you are in luck as there are free ferry’s. The ferry is situated behind the back of the train station on the River IJ (pronounced EYE) and it will take you to Noord (North). You can just walk on (bikes and scooters are also allowed) and take in all the sights. There are 2 different ferries. One take you to Buiksloterweg (short ferry) which runs every 10 minutes, the other takes you to NDSM (long ferry) and runs every 30 minutes.
    FREE
     


    9. Glow in the dark golf

    After seeing this on a travel blog, I knew this is something we had to do. It sounds really lame but for the price its definitely worth it. So when you go into the building is just looks like a normal restaurant/bar but downstairs is transformed into a 3D glow in the dark paradise. As soon as you put on the glasses everything looks completely different, even the Golf Clubs. A bit of advice, as its 3D trying to hit the ball of a darker surface is harder than is looks. Just be aware that because we were a group of 8, we had to split into 2 teams.

    €8.50

     

    10. Amsterdam light festival – Boat Ride

    As it was a birthday in the group whilst we were out in The Netherlands, this was booked as a surprise for one the nights. I know this only runs at a certain time within the year which is November 30th – January 21st But for the price was €9.50 each and we were on the boat for at least an hour. Architects, artists and designers from all over the world bring their light artworks and installations alive every year. Even if you weren’t too bothered about seeing these fantastic installations the boat ride is perfect for sight seeing and travelling around the canals. We went when the sun had just set, so it was dark but not too dark and it was amazing. By the time to tour had ended it was very dark and the installations looked amazing.

    From €3.50

     

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