Now some of you may know but a few weeks ago, I went on a spontaneous holiday to Wales. I saw a brilliant bargain and I just decided that I would go for it. I haven’t been on holiday since July 2015 and I just felt like I really, really needed a break. So… why not?
What some people have since found strange is that I went alone. But for me, this wasn’t actually that unusual. In fact, the last holiday I went on in July 2015 was also a holiday I took on my own. And while I love holidaying with friends and family, there is something infinitely wonderful about going on holiday alone. If I didn’t feel like going out, I didn’t go out. If I wanted to go somewhere, I went there with no arguments. If I wanted an early dinner, I had early dinner. But really, what was truly wonderful about the holiday being spent alone was that I got to spend some quality alone time with me, myself and I. I let my thoughts rush me, I read, I watched DVDs and I just was. There was no guilt about wasting my time or worrying about work or stressing about work. It was just… everything that I needed it to be. An escape.
And, because I enjoyed it so much. I am already itching to go on another holiday alone. To spend some quality me time which I apparently don’t do enough on a day to day basis!
So if you’ve never holiday-ed alone and are in a position to do so, I say go for it. It’s so enlightening, refreshing and relaxing. I promise you most likely won’t regret it…
But because this post will be short and boring if I end it here… I thought I’d discuss some things I did while away on my own! (With photos of course because who doesn’t love photos?)
This was potentially my favourite part of the holiday, not going to lie. I almost didn’t go because I was feeling too worried about the whole thing but essentially because I had paid and couldn’t get a refund, I got off my ass and made my way to the cafe where it was all starting and I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did.
Go Below is an underground adventure in the mines. It starts with an incredibly long and difficult climb up to the entrance of the mine – at which point I was almost certain I wasn’t fit enough to continue the adventure but I wasn’t about to give up again! So I persisted and I soon found that the climb up was actually the only part where I felt unfit, which is pretty awesome.
Once inside the mine, we were taking through a set of challenges to get from the bottom to the top. This included a boat ride in an inflatable raft, a zip wire across a very deep bit of water, walking through the mines and not hitting our heads (I hit my helmet ten times, oops), rock climbling, climbing up a few waterfalls, abseiling, and lastly climbing up a very steep shaft that used to be the air vent with metal ladder bits… and battling a downpour of water while we did.
It was intense, insane, and so much fun.
I’m not 100% sure I’d do it again but I am incredibly glad I did it in the first place. It is a memory that I am certain I will keep with me for years to come.
I have always loved horses. As a young girl they were my favourite animal ever. While they’re not exactly my favourite animal anymore, they do still hold a very close place in my heart. That being said, the last time I went horse-riding I was 13, maybe 14 – I actually can’t remember exactly when it was!
With that in mind, the minute I found out about Snowdonia Horse Riding, I practically jumped at the chance to have a go. I ended up booking for the wrong day and only realised the day before I wanted to go and did a little panic that I’d miss my chance but fortunately the stables were really nice and able to fit me in the next day!
Thus I ended up on a horse for the first time in over ten years and it was both scary and exhilarating all at the same time. I was helped onto my horse, Blossom, and then asked if I remembered how to steer, – I remembered a little – and then we were walking to a little enclosure to test our skills and combatibility with the horses.
Not going to lie, I was feeling pretty terrified at this point. My brain suddenly realising it was very high up on a horse who could rear out of control at any time. But, fortunately, I was able to get the hang of the steering of Blossom quite quickly and she seemed quite receptive to my commands. And then we started our trail ride.
And it was wonderful. Just being able to look at all the scenery on the mountain, the nature of cows, sheep and other horses. As well as peacocks and one very daring kitten too. We got to trot a few times too and had to do a few u-turns to let traffic go past as well. It was a brilliant hour that I’m really glad I decided to go and do!
On the same day that I did the horse riding, I decided that I would also do a little bit of exploring. I ended up in Caernarfon and one of the first things I saw was the castle, and upon moving closer realised it was also free to have a look around so I did just that. On my own I was able to spend as much or as little time as I wanted looking at everything and it was wonderful. I did spend quite a bit of time just enjoying the view from different angles because it was beautiful.
I then explored the town and had some coffee and food. All very lovely and the harbor was really beautiful too with interesting statues lining the walkways too. It was all really quaint and lovely and I would have loved to have spent a little more time there but alas my car parking ticket ran out!
The other place I visited while there was Bangor. I wasn’t in Bangor for a long time, more just a little stop to get some much needed coffee before the long drive home but I did have a little wander around and found it also to be a very interesting place. A mix between quaint Wales and mainstream Britain. I quite liked it and would probably visit again, mostly just to have a longer look around!
Steam Train to the Summit
On the last day of my trip I decided that I wanted to visit the Summit of Snowdon and while I may have been able to trek it a year or so ago, I didn’t feel comfortable doing so this time around – and certainly not alone. So I booked to take the train up. This was a very odd sensation for me as the views were stunning and it was so interesting to see how it all changed the further up you went. Sadly, however, when we got to the top, the mist was too thick to see anything but what was in front of you so I missed out on the views from the summit which I can imagine were absolutely stunning.
While I am sad that I didn’t feel physically capable to climb Snowdon, I am glad that I didn’t let that stop me from reaching the summit. I do plan to go back one day to climb it – maybe in the summer when it’s not as misty and cold!
Have you ever been on holiday alone? What are your favourite holiday memories?
Dear Charlie by N.D Gomes
I’m here today on the blog tour for Dear Charlie and I am here with a review of this book! In all honesty I devoured this book quickly because it is incredible. But more on that later, first… here’s some info on the book!
About the Book
At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.
Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.
After reading the synopsis of this book, I was very much intrigued and curious. In my mind I thought it would be like This Is The End but instead this book dives a little further. It’s not the shooting itself that the book focuses on but the consequences that the action leaves behind. And I have to admit that I absolutely loved it. I was pulled straight into the story and connected with the main character instantly as he was incredibly well written. This story pulled me in many directions but left me feeling hopeful and full of warmth.
You Move On
What I found truly powerful about this book was the way that it reeled you in with emotions. I am one of those readers that absolutely loves character development in books and this book had character development by the shed-load. I devoured this book because of it and it meant that the plot of this book followed the journey of our main protagonist as he dealt with the consequences of his brothers’ actions and learnt to deal with it all, growing as a person as the story continued. It was wonderfully written.
There was a small handful of important characters in this book but they were all fully developed and full of personality. My favourite character was Sam. I loved how much he grew throughout the book, but I also just felt for him so much and continuously wished that I could help him. I found him to be a really strong, caring and gentle character and it would have been difficult to hate him. I also thought that his parents were portrayed really well too and you could really see and feel the struggle that they were going through. It really made this book feel more real and that much more emotional.
Dear Charlie is a very moving, very powerful book that I would highly recommend. I got blown away by the characters and felt every emotion that the characters felt. It was intense, heartbreaking and heart-warming all at the same time. It was interesting to view how it must feel like when one of your family members is the monster but they’re no longer around to take the blame. It was a wonderful portrayal of human emotions and a dysfunctional family. If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel and think and question, then you should definitely read this book. It was just a very, very gripping read.
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My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood
Today is my stop on the My Sister’s Bones blog tour and I am here today with a review, which will hopefully be more than just READ THIS BOOK, but we’ll see. First, here’s some information about the book!
About the Book
But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.
At first Kate tells herself it’s just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it.
What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it…and make it out alive?
In the Dark
When I first heard about this book, I was instantly intrigued. A fish hook had landed and I was curious to see where it was going to take me. Now that I have finished the book, I am struggling to find the words to explain just how immaculate, powerful and intense this book was. From the very first sentence to the very last, I was absorbed by the words on the page. It took me on an exceptional journey that I may never forget.
In The Light
The problem about reviewing is that I don’t want to gush too much and put you off or put too much pressure on you to read this book but it also the worry that you will give too much away. And in the case of this book, I do not want to give anything away. A large part of what made this book so gripping and thrilling was not knowing what would happen or where the book was leading me. Thus all I want to say here is that this book was intense, thrilling and an emotional rollercoaster that leaves you breathless.
How Do You
What really captured my attention was how intricate and detailed all of the characters were. I was pulled into the story by Kate whose story tugged at my heartstrings. And I swayed along with Sally as life plodded along. All the characters were dark, deep and full of life. You could see where things fitted and fell apart, could understand the feelings and thoughts from all sides and it just made the book that much more intense and powerful.
Know The Truth
In case you missed it, I have fallen head over heels in love with this book. I devoured it from beginning to end and really struggled to put it down. It was an emotional book that struck my heart when I least expected it. With an absorbing narrative, this book is sure to pull you out of this world and into an entirely new one where things aren’t quite what they seem…
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Mystery at the Ice Hotel by Sara Grant
Today is my stop on the Mystery at the Ice Hotel blog tour and I have for you a few reasons why I think you should be reading this series!
But first, here’s some information on the book.
About the Book
Reasons to Read this Series
No… seriously. Chase is one hell of a kick-ass heroine. She risks her life to save those she loves. She battles against evil over and over again and she does it all with incredible army training. But, as well as all of that, she also goes into things head first without thinking first and can sometimes put herself into more danger than necessary, she is also loves adventure a bit too much. Basically, this is a heroine who is a very rounded character. Both strong and feisty, stubborn and head-strong. Lots of attributes that make her feel very realistic and very easy to read and love.
Both Chasing Danger and Mystery at the Ice Hotel have very exotic and very interesting locations and really help to make the books that much more interesting. It makes the chase scenes more fascinating as the main characters run around an island and get caught on a dog sled gone wild. It creates a vivid backdrop to wild and dangerous adventures that really pull you into the story and make them more exciting to read about too!
Fast-Paced and Action-Filled
This is always an important one for me when it comes to adventure books. And these two books have action leaking from the pages that has you turning the page quickly while your heart races. Will it all go to plan this time? These books really got my heart thumping as I followed Chase and Mackenzie on their journeys. They have you jumping from one threat to the next until the final climax reveals everything for what it was. Add in a few twists a long the way and these books are utterly gripping.
Wonderful Friendship Duo
If you know me, you know that I love when books have good friendships in and these books are perfect for that. When Mackenzie and Chase first meet they do not get along, at all. But soon they form an unbreakable bond and their personalities work so well together. They would do anything for each other and I absolutely love that. They’re incredibly close by the end of the second book and honestly, I just cannot wait to see how much stronger their friendship will become in the next book in this series!
About the Author
Sara Grant was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She has worked as an editor and is also the author of a number of books for young readers and teens. She lives in London and writes full-time. Sara-grant.com
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Lie Kill Walk Away by Matt Dickinson
Today I am here to share with you all a brilliant guest post by Matt Dickinson to celebrate the release of his newest book, Lie Kill Walk Away! Hope you enjoy.
But first, here’s some info on the book!
About the Book
I check the Range Rover dash. The keys are in there.
The sirens are closing in. There s a police helicopter coming over the hospital
I have to decide. Decide right now. I can keep out of trouble. Not get involved. Just run away through the park and go home and pretend none of this has happened.
Or I can help Becca.
I stare into her eyes. Those deep blue eyes. Just for a split second.
I tell her, get in the car .
Joe and Becca uncover a deadly secret. A lethal bioweapon is about to be unleashed. Millions will suffer a terrible death.
Now they are being hunted down.
And their problems have only just begun …
Guest Post by Matt Dickinson
BUILD A BIO-WEAPON FROM THE SAFETY OF YOUR OWN BEDROOM!? THE TERRIFYING RISE OF DIY KITS WHICH MAY UNLEASH SUPER CHARGED PATHOGENS
Imagine you have a grudge against the world. Imagine you have a pathological desire to get revenge. An agenda to spread mayhem. A burning need to harm.
This is the mindset of Jon Melzack, the antagonist in my new thriller Lie Kill Walk Away.
Melzack is a cult leader, hiding behind a wall of religious rhetoric. But behind the scenes he is working with a lab to create a deadly new bioweapon. A weaponized form of the Ebola virus which can kill in hours. He is the leader of a clandestine terror group.
He wants revenge on the western leaders who have destroyed his life.
And a superweapon may be within his grasp.
During the research for the book I discovered some truly terrifying things.
It is now possible to buy a ‘starter kit’ to mess with the DNA of certain life forms – even if you have no experience and no laboratory of your own.
One example is the CRISP-CAS9 kit which costs about £100. It’s widely available and many medical research organisations are already warning that it is potentially lethal. Google it and you’ll find out more.
You can now play God with the E.Coli bacteria in your own house, giving this potentially dangerous organism the ability to resist antibiotics, or even more dangerous scenarios, which might be completely impossible to predict.
Basically it is a gene-altering kit for a simple bacteria.
It seems harmless perhaps. The new bacteria will just die in the test tube won’t they? Maybe not. The peril is real, as explored in my thriller Lie Kill Walk Away.
The question is: where does this all end? Will it soon be possible to buy a kit to alter the structure of human DNA?
Will commercial organisations begin to market ‘do it yourself bio-terrorism kits’ on the dark net?
This is the brave new world that my two teen heroes Rebecca and Joe are plunged into. Where millions of lives may be at stake from a single vial of a brand new pathogen.
Playing God? Anyone can now do it. We have to wonder where tinkering with genetic information will end.
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The Elders by Inbali Iserles
Today is my stop on The Elders blog tour and I am here today to tell you some reasons why I think you should be picking this series up – and you really, really should be! But first, here’s some more information on the second book!
About the Book
Skilled though she is, Isla’s grasp of foxcraft is still new. And she’s not alone… A cruel and mysterious fox stalks the forest, with the power to enslave others to his will. In order to survive, Isla must learn to trust in the rustic Wildlands foxes.
But there are tales of others — a council of Elders who are masters of foxcraft, and who warily guard its most potent secrets. If Isla wishes to master her gifts and find her brother, then the Elders may be her only hope.
Reasons To Read Foxcraft Series
I am nothing if not an animal lover. I love how cute they can be, how smart, brave and just purely fascinating they are. So, naturally, I was drawn to this book the minute that I realised it was narrated by a fox. And I am so glad that I read this book because it is a wonderful read. It was fascinating reading from the perspective of a fox, of living in the world through their eyes. I loved every little detail about this book and I would definitely recommend you read it if you’re an animal lover, or even if you’re just curious. It’s definitely worth the read.
Illustrations and Descriptions
Throughout the book each chapter heading has a little illustration like above and they’re so beautifully drawn. They really show and reveal the essence of the books too. I loved how well Inbali has described the world as the Fox sees it. How wonderfully descriptive even the most mundane detail is. I was truly pulled into this story and able to fully imagine the world as Isla sees it. It was incredibly well done and I love when that happens in a book.
Something I absolutely love in books are characters that are strong and powerful as well as weak and small and Isla is all of this. She is fierce and stubborn, powerful and impatient. She is a character with both good and bad qualities and I absolutely loved that but I also just loved her so much. I loved how much she cared for her family, especially her brother, Pirie. I loved that she was feisty and not willing to back down when the going got tough. She’s crafty and sneaky and one in a million. She definitely makes this series a brilliant read.
Alongside a vibrant protagonist and beautiful scenery, these books also have adventure at their core and I really love that about them. You’re witnessing Isla on her journey as she comes across enemies and traitors and potential friends. You witness as she gets out of scrapes and continues moving forward. How she never gives up because she is determined to find her family. I was fully enthralled with the story and the journey she took. It is one of the main reasons that I love adventure books so much. This series should definitely not be dismissed as a simple fox series.
Last, but certainly not least, I cannot tell you how emotional these books have made me. From the very beginning of the book, I was almost in tears. Then I felt Isla’s strength and couldn’t help but urge her onwards, praying for her that things go well. I got completely immersed in the book and let my emotions wrap around me as I drowned in the words. I laughed when she laughed, cried when she wailed and felt afraid when she did too. It was incredible and one of the very best things about reading any book.
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Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
To anyone who has met me, this post will probably not come as a major surprise. Even to those who follow me on social media will probably have been expecting a post like this for a long time for I am 100% a Coffee Addict. I basically do not function until I’ve had my first cup of coffee in the morning. You really don’t want to see me before I’ve finished my coffee.
A large part of my addiction to coffee has gotten worse because of my health causing my energy levels to plummet but also it is because I love coffee. I love the smell, I love the taste, I love the cups. I just love everything about it.
So today, I wanted to talk about some of my favourite ways to have coffee and some of my favourite coffees!
The Favourite Coffees
I know, I know. I’m sorry. It’s just that there is something so utterly wonderful about the taste of a Starbucks coffee. Plus, I love being a proud Gold Member. (#braggingrights)
I’ve actually only recently discovered the wonderful taste of Nero. I never wanted to betray my beloved Starbucks and since Costa coffee is so foul I was rather worried. However, I needn’t have worried as Nero is lovely!
LavAzza Coffee Beans
Filtered in a caffetiere for perfection. This coffee is smooth, rich and just wonderfully amazing on the tastebuds. Unfortunately I only have a caffetiere at my mums but maybe that’s what I’ll purchase for myself next month…
Anyone else noticed I’m a brand girl? For me I loove a good Nescafe Gold Instant coffee. There is just something so wonderful in the taste and you know, it’s instant which is awesome.
The Favourite Ways
Strong, two scoops of instant coffee, and black. A few scoops of sugar and voila! What a sensational treat!
The complete opposite of the above! But I love a latte in the morning. It’s the perfect mix of coffee and milk – hot milk too which is the best way to have it!
All the Syrups
Generally I like having Monin Syrups in my coffee with my favourite flavours being Hazlenut and Caramel. I could have coffee with syrups in all day long.
So there you have it. A little bit more about my coffee addiction!
*please note* This is a collaborative post, all content was written by me!