Sunday, 18 March 2018

What I've Been Reading Lately

books I've read, currently reading or want to read

I've kind of missed talking about books. As a self-confessed bookworm, there's nothing more I love doing than ranting on about a book I'm currently reading or want to read. I think this comes from the fact that I started reading from about the age of two so by the time I went to nursery aged 4 I was devouring books like I now devour Oreos (obsessively). This love of books remains a strong part of my life right up until today, and I find relaxing with a good book for a couple of hours the idea of bliss.

I've spoken a couple of times on here and on my Youtube channel about my love for books and reviews on what I'm currently reading, but it kind of petered out when I went travelling. I was (of course) reading while I was out there, and even brought a few more books back with me, but I had gotten out of the habit of discussing it with other people and on my different outlets.

I'm resolving that today by coming to you with an update on what I've been reading lately, including the books I've read over the past couple of months, what I'm currently reading now, and what I want to read in the next few months. I'm on a mission to read a book a month this year, and with this lot, I'm certainly on the way to achieving that.


books I've read


After seeing the film a few years ago, I knew I wanted to read this psychological thriller - I'm one of those weird people who will compare a book to its film adaptation and vice versus. This is certainly one rollercoaster ride and is thankfully pretty similar to the film (I just hate it when a film is nothing like the original book). I found I was displaying the same mixture of empathy and suspicion towards Nick as I did to Ben Affleck, and was still as shocked by the twists and turns when they occurred even though I knew what was coming.

In my mind, this shows how fantastic a writer Flynn is- she's able to create the suspense and shock that you might feel when watching a thriller but through written words. I also think the way she switches between Nick and Amy works perfectly to lay out this story as well as creating a timeline for us to follow. I feel this is a book I can always dive back into to lose myself in the strained and tense relationship of the Dunne's. 


I very rarely put down a book before finishing it and if I do, it's because I really don't like it. Unfortunately, this was the case with this book. I managed to last until just over halfway through but by that time I was well and truly finished with this mentally. 

I can't tell whether it's just my young fast-paced mind but this was so slow. This love story focuses on the relationship between a young awkward sales assistant and a soon to be divorced housewife in the 1950's, and the sexual tension between the two of them builds up very quickly from the start but seems far too drawn out. There is no pace or variety, and the whole 'will they, won't they' fiasco carries on without a single thing happening so by halfway through I started to get a bit bored. This is a long book too, and the events that were unfolding seemed to be having no impact on me whatsoever. 

I always feel guilty when I don't finish a book but I knew that I couldn't make it through the rest of the book without throwing my kindle at the wall in frustration. I even skipped through to the end (something I never do and do not recommend doing if you want to be a spoilsport to yourself) and for me, the ending was rather disappointing. 


I had read this before starting Carol and could be the reason why I didn't click with it. This moving love story is loosely based on the life of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history and her struggles with dealing with her feelings and transformation in the 20th Century. I immediately fell in love with Einar and Greta, and how their love blossoms into a close partnership as Einar realises he isn't in the body he should be in. 

His childlike innocence at the beginning soon turns into a burning confidence as Lili emerges from the inside out, and instead of being horrified by this change, Greta encourages and supports him through the whole process. It is a truly magical, remarkable and inspirational story, one that I hold very dear to my heart as it shows that life is full of happiness when you can be exactly who you want to be.


I took this away in my hand luggage when I went backpacking, mainly because it was light but also because I was super curious about the hype around this. It had been sitting in my 'to read' pile for a long time, but something made me reach for it when I was packing my bags. Maybe because this book would be as life-changing as the trip...

This coming-of-age story is one that will remain on my bookshelf for many years to come, as it's one of those stories that is so familiar but so new all at once. Even though I consider myself an extrovert, I found Charlie's introverted mannerisms charming and they transported me back to my own school days, trying to navigate the many twists and turns it presented to me. In an environment filled with first dates, making friends, drugs, and hormones, Charlie finds his own way to find his place in the world. 

After finishing the book, I immediately found the film and watched it during one of the many flights I ended up on and I can honestly say this has its place among some of my favourite books of all time. 


This was my first ever gifted book from a publishing house, and I am super grateful I had the chance to read this. I've just finished it and I feel like there's so much I want to talk about (please let me know if you want a long ranty post or video about it because that can certainly be done). 

The story revolves around Mary, who was given up for adoption at seven weeks old, and her birth mother Ruth, and how their lives play out over the years as they slowly make their way back to each other. Mary had a child of her own at a similar time to when Ruth had her, and we see how these two mothers are treated very differently during the early and late part of the 20th century. Out of the two, I felt like I was drawn to Ruth more as she holds her strength through so many horrific events. For some reason I just couldn't gel with Mary- I found it really hard to show empathy to her while she toyed with whether she should meet her birth mother or not. 

I really enjoyed this book and was always excited to sit down and read a bit more each evening, but sometimes I felt like it dragged a bit, especially when it came to the speech. I found there were times when a certain detail would be explained, only for the character to say exactly the same thing directly after. This was something I got used to and accepted as the writing style. For me as well, setting the era is always important, and I found sometimes when I read Mary's parts that I forgot when it was set altogether. I could have been reading a modern novel, which shows that this story does transgress time but I also feel more could have been made of the late 70's setting especially. 

This book, however, highlights the specifics of how women were treated after the war, with all young mothers who were unmarried being seen as 'easy' regardless of the how they got pregnant. This is worth a read if you want to see how women's rights and freedom have changed massively over the past seventy years. 


books I'm reading


I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and have always had a soft spot for a bit of Poirot or Miss Marple. I haven't, however, delved into any of her other novels but after watching the TV adaptation of this a couple of Christmas's ago, I immediately added it to my reading list. This mystery thriller centres itself around ten strangers who are brought together at Soldier Island by a mystery host. However, strange things start to happen as they are accused by their unknown host of crimes they have committed and soon they start dropping like flies. 

I adore Christie's style and so far she has set the scene beautifully, introducing each character with surprising ease, so much so that we already feel like we know them already. This is hard to do with ten protagonists but we soon are able to tell the difference between all of them without getting confused. 


I really have no idea why I left it so long to read this. I picked this up just before we went away, rediscovered it after returning and boy am I loving it so far! Knight is funny, witty, and just totally gets what we're all feeling about pleasing people and stressing ourselves out over the tiniest of things.

Her humour has allowed me to absorb her tips without even knowing I am, and so far I'm learning to not feel guilty about saying no to things and people. Knight explains how you should be caring about the things that make you happy and the rest you can just get rid of. This way of mentally decluttering my worries is extraordinary, and even though I've not read a book with so many swear words on one page alone, it lightens the mood when discussing subjects like dealing with work, friends, and family. 


books I want to read


I know, I know, I fell into the hype of this one. Sorry Not Sorry (I guess that Knight's book is helping already). I found recently that I've been drawn to self-help books as much as fiction, and I think we've all seen this as a common trend over the past couple of years. As someone who works part-time and freelances on the side, I've found myself reading blog posts on handling your working life and so thought this little handbook would be right up my street. 

As well as helping career-driven women working their way up the job ladder, this apparently works for freelancers too, meaning this will hopefully be relatable and helpful at the same time. 


I have always been intrigued by evolution (you can thank David Attenborough for that) and so when I saw people talking about this book pretty much everywhere, I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. 

Sapiens journeys through our history from the Stone Age and talks about how we came to be the dominant species of today as well as where we're going to be going in the future. I'm so excited to get stuck into this, as learning about who we are is so fascinating to me and how we need to be so careful about our impact on this earth. 


After seeing a couple of people talking about this book, it caught my eye and so I took a chance and popped it into my basket. I read up a bit more about it and this sounds like a heartbreaking tale about a woman who has built up walls around herself to create this 'happy life' she thinks suits her. 

However she is rocked by a small act of kindness and soon her routine starts to unravel, showing how change can sometimes be the best thing we need. So many of us put on a brave face for the people around us to show that we're doing 'fine' but really we know that that isn't a way to live. 


I believe in supporting great women and this is one example. I'm over the time when I would buy every Youtuber's book even if it was a bit rubbish, but I bought this one because it seemed like a genuinely interesting read to me. 

Lily has decided to talk about something that has been a rollercoaster part of my life over these past few years: friendships. As someone who has lost a couple of close friends, I felt this book would be a good insight into female friendships in the modern day and how amazing or life-destroying they can be. 


I hope you've enjoyed getting back into the book convo as much as I have! Expect lot's more reviews and book hauls featuring on here over the next year. 

What have you been reading lately? Anything you'd recommend I read?


Sunday, 4 March 2018

4 Beautiful Places to Visit in Bali

Sunset at Dreamland Beach, Bali

After leaving Christchurch in New Zealand, and a 9-hour layover in Sydney we were on a plane heading to one of my dream destinations- BALI.

Bali is one of those places that you picture when someone talks about a 'tropical paradise', so I had really high expectations. I have to be honest: I wasn't completely bowled over by it. Shock!!! Horror!!! 

This may have been because we only spent just over a week there all in all, and also because we got to visit Lombok and the Gili Islands which have some really stunning beaches. But this wouldn't stop me visiting again as it still is a beautiful country. 

I will go into detail in some later posts about things like costs and places to stay but here are 4 of the beautiful places we visited while in Bali.

Sunset at Seminyak, Bali


If you're looking for a really big sandy beach with bars along it, then this is for you. We chose Seminyak over Kuta as it's a bit more chilled out, but if you're looking for more of a party scene then head south down the beach to Kuta.

The streets of Seminyak are not exactly the prettiest, but it gave us that bustling rundown charm that parts of Bali have to offer. However, when you get to the beach, you're really in for a treat. It's big enough to not feel overcrowded and even though it doesn't have white sand like some places in Indonesia, it's pretty clean and well looked after. 

In the evenings, why not grab a Bintang and pull up a beanbag to watch the amazing sunset with the mountains silhouetted in the distance? Even on a cloudy day, it's pretty beautiful and even though we didn't get to spend much time here due to Nyepi Day (essentially a day where everyone has to stay inside, but more on that another time), it's somewhere I will definitely be returning to. 

Jambe Culture Village


Think rice terraces, beautiful temples, and cheeky monkeys and you have Ubud. This is the place to experience the real Bali- walk down the side streets and you'll pass traditional house compounds with stunningly decorated house gates and small family-run shops stocked with decorations for religious festivals.

Ubud's terraces and temples are so picturesque, but the thing that makes it beautiful to me is the atmosphere. Even though it thrives off of tourism and this sometimes shows, it is also a very chilled out and safe place. It is a hub of culture and wellbeing which has been fully embraced by those who visit- you'll find many a bookshop or yoga retreat around here. 

Bingin Beach


After returning from the Gili Islands we chose to spend our last few days based near Bingin and Dreamland Beach and boy, was it worth it. Even though the place we stayed wasn't exactly the best accommodation we'd experienced, the area itself is so beautiful. 

Set against the cliffs with homestays and cafe's perched on the side, Bingin Beach is a surfer's paradise, with a rocky beach that goes straight into deep water. The water is choppy but great if you're a strong swimmer, and if you're not up for a dip then chilling out with a smoothie on the rocks makes the perfect day. In the evenings this place is buzzing with people coming to watch the sunset and take in the surroundings.

Just up the coast is Dreamland Beach. This is a fab sandy beach just a short drive from Bingin and I could spend hours here. Like in Seminyak, this beach is huge and the water is a lot calmer than on Bingin, but still loved by surfers. The one thing that made this beach stand out for me was the sunset in the top photo, which was one of my favourites from the whole trip! 


Thanks for stopping by and hope you love this post! Can't wait to start posting some more of my South East Asia content. Would love to hear your thoughts about this post, is there anywhere in Bali you want to go to that I didn't mention? 


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

My Post-Travel Pamper Routine

My Post-Travel Pamper products

If any of you have been travelling or backpacking for a long period time, then you'll know what I mean when I say you end up returning home in a bit of a dishevelled state. You've been on a plane for the past 12 hours, where you've tried to sleep (and failed), have been sitting in the same clothes for way too long and have had the air-conditioning slowly sucking all the moisture out of your skin.

I realised after going on a lot of long-haul flights that I wasn't the type of person to sit there with a sheet mask on, however good it may be for me. I can certainly manage to do a quick cleanse and then pop on a night moisturiser to keep as much moisture in as possible, but the idea of freaking out the flight crew and my fellow passengers while sitting there looking like the guy from Friday 13th isn't my thing. Plus I think Chris would disown me if I did that!

Once I get home, as well as tackling the mammoth task of unpacking and washing all my clothes, I also set about bringing my skin and hair back from the dead by giving myself a good old pampering. As well as helping me feel more human again, I also find it relaxes me after spending the past day manoeuvring around airports with a huge backpack. 

Here are the main things I do after travelling to pamper myself back to normality.

formula 10.0.6 one smooth operator face scrub, 7th heaven charcoal nose strips and soap & glory's scrub of your life


Even though I take exfoliators and masks with me when I travel, I don't always use them as much as I would at home. When I do it's a real treat while on the road, but sometimes I may not have the time to put aside to do a face mask or I could be on an overnight bus or train. Essentially when I come home, I normally find my skin and body is in desperate need of a good descaling. 

I'll initially give my face and body a good scrub on the day I return, and then throughout the week, I'll apply a couple of masks to rejuvenate my face and give it a moisture kick. This is honestly the best feeling after a long day of moving around. As you may know from my winter skincare checklist, I love 7th Heaven's face masks as they are so easy to apply and remove with maximum results. I'm currently using these Charcoal nose strips on repeat, as they are perfect for removing a build up of blackheads and blemishes 

Recently I've been trying out Formula 10.0.6's face scrub and it definitely does the job at removing the dead skin! It doesn't leave my face raw after, and the smaller particles help clear pores and brighten my complexion. It works particularly well if you're prone to blemishes or your skin can be a bit temperamental after travelling. My skin always feels so smooth after and I find I only have to use this once a week to keep up the results.  

When it comes to my body, nothing beats Soap & Glory's Scrub of Your Life. It does a great job of removing any dry patches and also helps reduce the appearance of any 'chicken skin' or impurities I may have. I've been using this for a couple of years now and it's my favourite body scrub to date.

monu spa warming ginger bath and body oil and rosehip plus oil


I used to completely forget about how wonderful oils are but I'm making a conscious effort to include them in my life more often. Whenever I use a serum on my face or an oil in my bath, my skin is like brand new thanks to the goodness they give my skin.

I normally reach for a Vitamin C serum like the Balance Power Serum which perks up my skin but I've also been trying out some others to see if they can help my skin even further. A favourite at the moment is this Rosehip Plus Oil

I've found that using this has been improving my skin pigmentation which, if you didn't know, is red tomato territory, and has been helping with any blemishes that have been trying to take shape on my skin. On top of this, rosehip oil is known for repairing sun-damaged skin so this would be perfect to use after a beach holiday when you've fallen asleep on your towel or in my case, bought a suspicious sun cream in a Cambodian chemist that practically invited the sun to have a party on my face. I give you sun-dried tomato Georgie.

Bath oils are rather a recent discovery, as in the past I've normally reached for a bath bomb or bubble bath to jazz up bath time. But now I'm pretty hooked, and every time I have one at the moment I reach for the MonuSpa Warming Ginger Bath and Body Oil. This little guy came in my most recent LookFantastic box which is rather fab for travel size products, and the ginger doesn't only rejuvenate the skin but also the scent (if you like the smell of ginger) refreshes your senses while relaxing your muscles.

lush mint julips lip scrub, carmex cherry tube and carmex sugar plum lip balm


My lips took a bit of a beating last year- I didn't take my trusty Lush Mint Julips lip scrub with me and after 5 months of not scrubbing them it felt so good to finally treat them. I definitely need to get a new one and possibly try another flavour, but it's a habit I'm glad I've picked up again. 

After scrubbing them, I apply my trusty Carmex as I know it will keep my lips crack-free for hours. If you haven't tried the cherry one or the limited edition sugar plum one then you're really missing out! Even my bf is a fan, and he's always asking for some when we're out and about!

shea moisture organ oil and almond milk smooth and tame shampoo and conditioner and 7th heaven organ oil hair mask


As much as I loved having beachy waves every day last year, I realised when I returned home that my hair had turned into a mass of sun-bleached straw. All the days spent in the sea had stripped any moisture from my hair that had been there which meant that when I returned home it was hard to style without looking like a birds nest. 

The first thing I did when I was home was to book a haircut. You can apply as much conditioner as you want or slap on a hair mask but nothing really beats getting a fresh cut. As well as taking off all the dead ends, it's nice to refresh my look with some layers so it looks more alive than when I sat in the chair. 

After going for the chop, I then go in with a shampoo and conditioner that are super moisturising, like the Shea Moisture Argan Oil and Almond Milk Smooth & Tame shampoo and conditioner. The first time I tried this set I was completely sold, mainly because it really helped tackle my flyaway hair and any frizzy parts. The shampoo especially felt just as thick and luxurious as the conditioner which is a big tick for me and soaked into my hair really well. 

Also, I always find that like a nice hot bath, washing my hair can be really relaxing after a flight, especially if the products I use smell as good as these!

If my hair is really struggling, I'll go in with a hair mask like the 7th Heaven Argan Oil Rescue Mask that I'll leave on for between 5-10 mins depending on how much time I have. This normally gives my hair a breath of fresh air and gives it a bit more volume and bounce than normal. 

bilou fizzy berry creamy shower foam and patisserie de bain sugared violets hand and body lotion


As well as my face, my body needs a moisture boost after being repeatedly sunburnt (not intentional, promise!) and so I turn to products that do the job but that are also gentle on my skin, as it can get a bit irritated when dry and break out in patches of eczema. 

If you're looking for a lush smelling shower gel that won't irritate your skin, then you'll really love Bilou's products- I'm pretty obsessed! I first spotted this brand in a Zoella video, and they just launched exclusively at Superdrug with some of the most delish smelling products I've ever tried!

The Fizzy Berry Shower Foam is the perfect balance of smelling sweet but not too artificial, and the foam consistency is surprisingly creamy on the skin, with some of it sinking in before you wash it off. This means the moisturising starts before you've even stepped out of the shower, but it also doesn't flare up any sensitive areas which some yummy smelling products do.

Once I've dried myself, I immediately put on some body lotion to make the most that my skin is soft. I always go for one that is thick and smells good as I love getting wafts of it throughout the day. If you're looking for some really yummy smells, the rest of the Bilou range and Patisserie De Bain do great options. I'm currently loving the Sugared Violet Body Lotion which smells like Palma Violets and is super thick without using too much. 


After I've finished pampering my body, I'll go and pamper my mind. Books have been a big part of my life since I first learnt to read, and there's nothing more I enjoy than chilling out with a book after a hectic couple of days of moving around. I may get the chance to read on a flight, bus or train, but in the back of my mind, I know that I have to keep slightly alert so that I can get off at my stop or get ready for landing. 

I've set myself the challenge of reading a book a month this year so expect a lot more book reviews coming your way! At the moment I'm making my way through A Corner of My Heart by Mark Seaman, and I'm really enjoying it so far! I'm just over halfway through so I will be posting a full review when I finish it.


I would love to hear if there is anything else you do to recover after travelling and stayed tuned on here and on my Instagram for news on where I'm travelling to next!


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Travel Bucket List 2018

bali tegalalang rice terraces

After having the most amazing year of travel in 2017, I have well and truly caught the travel bug. About a month after we flew back in from 5 months away backpacking New Zealand and South East Asia, I was already back on Skyscanner looking at what deals there were for our next trip.

Since returning home I've made it my mission to get proactive with my income- pushing my blog more, taking up freelancing roles and not going too crazy on ASOS when new things drop. This is all in aid of building my savings back up and putting aside a bit to use for traveling.

The question is: where do I go next? There are so many amazing places to explore that it can be hard to know where to start, so I've put together a little bucket list of travel for this year that I want to try and tick off.


When we were backpacking last year, loads of people we met always said the same thing: you need to go to Nepal. After seeing pictures of their adventures, I soon understood why. The Himalayas are really hard to describe other than that the snow-topped mountains are strangely magical, and the fact that you can trek around the villages of the Middle Hills with the mountains surrounding you is something I never dreamed was possible. 

The 3-week loop is definitely for those who like their walking- it's a 300km trek! But the idea of walking through the mountains is weirdly appealing to me and something that is firmly at the top of this bucket list when we've saved up enough. 



Not going to lie, but I've been heavily influenced by my next destination by Ed Sheeran's song. I had always wanted to go, but he reminded me that it really is a fab city with a lot of spirit. The Gothic quarter really appeals to my inner architecture lover, and the idea of eating tapas every day is a dream. I've always wanted to see the Sagrada Familia too regardless of the crowds, I feel like you haven't been to Barcelona without at least having a look. An added bonus of having Gava Beach just a short drive away means I can squeeze a beach day into our city break!

I can just imagine sitting outside a little cafe on a warm day, consuming endless amounts of coffee and churros...



I know this is very broad, but I would be perfectly happy going anywhere in Italy. I've always wanted to go there since I was a little girl, and after seeing Roman Holiday I was practically packing my bags ready to go! The opportunity hasn't risen yet to go, but I'm determined to go this year. 

As a major foodie whose guilty pleasure is Italian food, eating olives, ice cream and pasta in the country they originate from is the perfect way to enjoy Italy. A couple of places I'd like to explore first are Milan, Rome, Naples and Lake Como. If you've been to any of these, let me know where I should go first!



I never really considered Switzerland as somewhere I wanted to visit, but over the past year, I've seen so many people going there be it for skiing or city breaks. Firstly the scenery is spectacular- the Swiss Alps are just as beautiful in spring as they are in the winter as they remind me so much of the mountains in New Zealand. I definitely want to go skiing and paragliding at some point too and this place is high on the list.

As for city breaks, Basel has the most beautiful architecture especially in the Marktplatz area and along the river, and Zurich has some really pretty streets that I could imagine spending hours exploring. It just seems to me like a really chilled out country which will prove to be a really relaxing trip.



Now to tell you the truth, I have already been to Paris but it was when I was about 11 on a school trip and I feel like I never got a chance to fully appreciate this wonderful city. We did the attractions like the Eiffel Tower but never got to explore the streets of Paris, which is something I'd definitely do if I got the chance to go back. I also didn't get the chance to visit the Louvre or Notre Dame, and I'd probably end up on a hunt for all The Da Vinci Code locations!

As well as this, the little cafes and trips to places like Angelina's need to be ticked off the list,  and a stroll down the River Seine would make all my American in Paris dreams come true. Plus I'm sure a little retail therapy would suit me for a rainy day...



I always associated Ibiza with being a party island, but after reading about it in a bit more detail, I now know it's much more than that. You don't have to hit the clubs every night- you can stroll around the old town in search of wonderful views, lounge on the beautiful beaches or take a day trip over to the stunning Formentera.

I feel like I need to do the clubs in Ibiza at least once in my life, but if the food and relaxed vibes during the day are as good as people say they are, I'll definitely be heading back for more beach holidays in the future...




I hope you've enjoyed this little bucket list, and maybe given you some travel inspo of your own! The blog posts that I've recommended are all great articles that I'll be referring back to when I'm planning my trips!


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