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    Book Club // The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

    Author – Karen Thompson Walker
    Title – The Age of Miracles
    ★★★★★
     “I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different—unimagined, unprepared for, unknown.” 
    The Age of Miracles is narrated by a girl named
    Julie in her twenties about a time in her life when she was just 11 years old,
    and they called that time ‘The Slowing’.
    I
    loved how this book started with it being a natural reality and
    then it turning into an apocalyptic world. Karen Thompson
    Walker has written this book so beautifully well that on several
    occasions I woke up from dreams about ‘The Slowing’ happening in my
    reality and sometimes I would have to stop reading to make sure time was
    ticking away in the seconds that we are so used to.
    I
    would 100% recommend this book to anyone and especially if you like
    reading books where you can connect to the characters in more ways than one.
    I
    bought this book at The Works which came in a book set of 4 for £5 as it
    included ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ in a cover which I didn’t have and
    didn’t think the rest were going to be all that. I do love it when books surprise
    me.
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    Travel // Brecon Beacons, Four Falls Trail

     
    Last weekend me and a few friends spontaneously took a trip to Brecon Beacons, although our original plan was to climb Pen Y Fan, but the visibility up there would be 0%.
    This series of Waterfalls can be found in Fforest Fawr, which is situated in Brecon Beacons National Park. To start, if your not a local then travelling by car would be the easiest option. There are 2 main spots to start this hike, also car parks situation around the National Park that will all link up to the route. The car parks do charge £4 and will only take coins, so don’t forget to take some change!

    The car park at Cwm Porth is near a pub, so great if you would like to stop for a pub lunch or just to have a sit down. If you would like a short hike on a flat trail, you are best parking at the Angel Inn, in Pontneathvaughan. If the weather is bad, wear appropriate footwear/clothing and I want to say wear warm clothing, but I did and I was sweating buckets by the end of it.
    The rocky and muddy trails run along four small rivers, The Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin, and Neath Fechan. All four rivers cascade into a series of Beautiful Waterfalls. To access these waterfalls some of the trail is quite steep and semi dangerous, so for anyone who is afraid of heights stay as close to the rock face (and don’t look down). Although there is a path, and if your like me and a bit of an adrenaline junkie then you don’t have to stick to the path.
     

    Depending on what time of year you go and visit these amazing waterfalls, you can walk behind the Sgwd yr Eira Waterfall in the Summer when the flow is low. You can do this in the Winter but you will get wet and it can get a bit slippery, so be careful!
     
    We set off on foot around 14:00/14:30 and we are in the middle of winter so our sun sets around 16:30 so at the end of the day we were walking back along a muddy and rockly trail in the dark which was a little dangerous but we made it before it was completely dark, obviously think about the time you go and the time the sun sets.
    Having grown up travelling to Brecon Beacons very often, I knew this versatile hike was going to be beautiful, and it did not disapoint. The trails are also so versatile that if you wanted to do a quick hike, you can. If you wanted to make it a 7 hour day hike, then you can.
    Amy x

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    Travel // 10 Things You Need To Know About Amsterdam Before You Go.

      

    1. Plan & Pre Book
    There are so many different things to do in Amsterdam that it can get a bit overwhelming if you are only there for a few days. As the tourism in the city is quite high, you are going to expect to queue for different attractions. If you are planning on visiting places such as Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum Museum then book in advance. You can pre book online which means you will skip all those nasty queues. The iamamsterdam.com website is a great place for tips on what/where/how on all things Amsterdam and you can also book the tickets through to website. There is also something called I Amsterdam City Card which gives you free unlimited travel on public transport for the duration of your stay, a free canal cruise, free city map and free entry to all the major and best attractions. For a full list of attractions and prices of the card to match the duration of your stay please check it out here.

    2. Bikes over Cars
    As soon as you step into central Amsterdam you will notice that cars are over run by bicycles. They are everywhere you look, and that includes cycle lanes. If there is one major thing that I have learnt is that you do not walk in the cycle lane. People get very angsty and understandably, I get why. One of the best things to do in Amsterdam is too rent a bike and get lost in the canals.

    3. Cheese
    Amsterdam is the city of cheese, and for me that literally is the best thing. Amsterdam produces and exports millions of tons of Dutch cheese each year. 
    Gouda is Holland best loved cheese. If are a cheese lover like myself, taking a trip to the Cheese Museum will be perfect for you. There are many shops and taster rooms around the centre of Amsterdam that will fix your cheese cravings such as Henri Willig Cheese and More, Golden Age Cheese Store, and Reypenaer Tasting Room.

    4. Dutch
    Travelling to another country can be daunting when your first language isn’t spoken but in Amsterdam, English is spoken everywhere. For me when travelling to another country, learning little phrases in another language is fun and I just like practising the phrases on the locals.

    5. Canals
    Amsterdam has more canals and bridges than Venice, 165 canals and 1281 bridges to be exact. Strolling over the bridges at night with all the pretty light is just perfect.

    6. Pick pocketers
    As
    the same with any other destination, Amsterdam does have its fair share
    of pick pocketers, make sure you’re bags are secure and with you at all
    times.

    7. Sex, Drugs & Prostitution
    Before I went to Amsterdam the most famous and intriguing thing for me was the Red Light District. From brothels to sex shows, everything you probably heard about this neighbourhood is true and I would definitely recommend checking it out for yourselves.
    One thing to remember when visiting the RLD is photographing the female entertainers is strictly banned.

    8. Coffee Shops & Cafes
    Although to me a Coffee shop and a cafe is the same thing here in Wales, in Amsterdam they are completely different. If you want to to smoke some legal marijuana or eat some delicious space cakes then you want to go to a coffee shop. There are many around, I would recommend staying away from the chain shops and the ones in the built up tourist spots as they can get very busy and they over charge you. There are some great ones, such as BasJoe, Green House, and also Prix D’ami.  

    9. Cash
    Majority of places in Amsterdam don’t accept cards, so cash must be carried around with at all times. The currency in Amsterdam is Euros and there are many places where you can exchange your local currency. 

    10. Alcohol
    Drinking alcohol whilst standing on the streets of Amsterdam is illegal. If you want to stand a drink, you will have to be inside a pub/cafe. If you would like to smoke whilst in the pub/cafe you will have to go outside, but remember don’t take our glass if you have alcohol in it.

    I hope everyone enjoys this post about the things I learnt the first time I visited Holland and will not forget when I return.

    My next trip to Amsterdam is in 3 days time, and I have planned a lot more things to do this time so watch this space.

    Amy x  

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    2017 Travel Wishlist

    Every year I make resolutions to travel more, do more and just generally live life a little more. Although 2016 was  great year for me with travelling. I travelled to a lot of places and even conquered travelling on an aeroplane, alone. I want 2017 to be bigger and better and to sure all my adventures and life on my blog. So that’s the plan.

    Instead of making any specific goals, I have made a travel wish list for this new year. Although most are doable, some on there are just dreams but I want them to there to give me the inspiration that I need.

    U.K
    Brighton


    London

    Bristol

    EUROPE

    Amsterdam

    Budapest

    LONG HAUL


    Las Vegas



    Maldives

    Amy x


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    Book Club // The Secrets Of Happiness by Lucy Diamond


    Author – Lucy Diamond
    Title – The Secrets of Happiness
    ★★★

    The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner
    The only reason I read this book was because I saw a review on Tanya Burrs blog. The Secrets of Happiness is about step sisters who live separate lives and are brought together by something that happens. It’s a story about the bonding and the growing relationship that should of happened a long time ago but you learn why it hasn’t.
    I don’t want to say I didn’t lie the book, I just can’t put my finger on what made me struggle getting through the whole story. I’m not sure whether because it was really long as it felt like it was dragging I don’t know but I managed to read the whole thing eventually.
    Without giving any spoilers, I do want to mention the relationship between the sisters in the end and importance of family which was very heart warming. 
    I know what I said above, but I’m willing to give Lucy diamond another go and I bought 5 (don’t judge) other books written by her that I’m planning on reading in the new year. Keep your eyes peeled for hopefully a better review.
    Thank you for reading!
    Amy
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    What to do for Bonfire night in Cardiff.

    As Cardiff being the capitol of Wales and with a lot of other places nearby there are a lot of options for everyone on Bonfire night.

    If you don’t want to travel far then the obvious choice is Sparks in the Park.

    Sparks in the Park is situated in Coopers Field, Bute Park (behind the castle). This event is ticket only, and you will not be able to buy tickets on the door. Tickets are available from here.
    This event has over 200,000 fireworks and most of them reach 2,000ft.

    Doors open at 16:30
    Children’s displays starts at 17:45
    Bonfire starts at 6:15
    Main firework displays starts at 19:00 and last around 25/30 minutes.

    I would get to the location a little earlier then you were planning as there is a rugby match is the Millennium Stadium which kicks off at 14:30 and 74,000 people are expected to be there so as you can imagine it will be very, very busy!

    There are 3 entrances to the park, the one’s situated towards town centre will be the busiest but the entrance between the tennis club and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama be the quietest one so I would recommend using that one.

    Only guide dogs are allowed and you can’t take your own sparklers for health and safety reasons.
    There are also food stalls, alcohol stalls, and also rides and attractions to keep the children occupied.

    Obviously if you don’t want to travel into the city centre there are a few more displays that are happening all over Cardiff on the Saturday and Sunday.

    Whitchurch Fire staton displays starts 19:00.
    Grangetown Commuity Fireworks in St Paul’s Church starts 19:00.
    £3 for children and £4 for adults (includes hot dog/burger).
    Caerphilly Castle displays stars at 19:00.
    Free entry but there is a charity collection for Caerffilli Lions & Wales Air Ambulance.

    Although there are displays shows happening all over Cardiff there are also spots where you can view and see lots of fireworks going off all over. First one, Cardiff Bay Barrage. Go past the skate park and you can view the ones in Penarth too.
    The other spot is Caerphilly Mountain. Although you will probably have to drive to this location, its a great place to view all the fireworks going off all over Cardiff and you can even take your own. (make sure you clean up after yourself when you’re done.)

    Amy xo

    Dislaimer, photo from Flickr

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    Food // Revolucion De Cuba, Cardiff

    Every
    now and then its nice to get out of the house and to have some good
    food instead of slaving in the kitchen and cooking something not so
    great (I cant don’t like to cook). Revolucion De Cuba
    is a Cuban and Rum bar that has been in Cardiff for a good few years.
    First time I went, I did not have a great experience because I came down
    with a bug the next day
    and just couldn’t tell if was from this place or just a general stomach
    bug. But having said that I have been back a few times since and I have
    had no problems.
    When
    I used to work at a previous job this would be the place we came to all the time
    for a de stress as the cocktails here are amazing although they aren’t
    cheap but definitely worth the money and some days they even have 241.
    They
    have updated their menu since I last ate at Revs De Cuba, so now you
    only have a small choice of what’s on offer, sometimes that’s a good
    thing for someone who cant decide like me. I had the Chimichanga
    which was basically a fried flour tortilla with peppers, chicken, pico
    de gallo and it came with 2 side dishes of sour cream and guacamole.
    This dish was unbelievably good and a lot nicer than when I was have
    been before. Although one bite half way through was so hot that it took
    my breath away. My boyfriend also ordered the Paella De Cuba., I cant
    really comment on how good this as I don’t eat fish but he said it was
    really, really good.
     
    The cocktail I had was called a Ruby Punch, it was glorious and as you can see it came in a really fancy elephant glass! The only reason I chose this cocktail was because all proceedings from the sales of these go to orphan elephants in Sri Lanka.
    If you’re around the Cardiff area and fancy some yummy food and great cocktails then I would definitely recommend.
    Ps. If you’re thinking about going later or in the afternoon/night then I would recommend booking a table.
    Amy xo
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