Top 5 places on my bucket list

Well hello to you my reader chums! I love to make goals and think about the places where I want to visit as there's so much of the world I haven't seen. The world is a wonderful place with different cultures, delicious foods, cool sights, and beautiful languages that I'd love to tick as many countries off my list as possible.

With the option of travel a little uncertain right now, I wanted to take the time and dream about my must-see places when things are back to normal.

Top 5 places on my bucket list

Here are the top 5 places on my bucket list...

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has been the top of my list for a while now, ever since I got back from my backpacking travels. I've seen so many photos on Instagram, read plenty of blogs about it and every person who I've spoken to about it has said it's one of their favourite countries they've visited. There's no one reason why I want to visit Sri Lanka, I have too many. I want to experience its open nature, I want to go on the iconic train ride between Kandy and Ella, I want to meet the friendly locals and experience the country's culture. I'd love to learn more about the country, explore the hidden gems, and soak up the glory that is Sri Lanka.

Croatia 

I adore Europe and have already ticked quite a couple of countries off my list, however, there are so many more and top of my list next to see is Croatia. Croatia is one of those places that not everyone goes to as much as Spain, but also has more of a luxury appeal to it. I'd love to go island hopping on the Croatian islands and soak up the sun, and exploring the towns of Split, Istria, and Dubrovnik. Croatia seems to be unique to me as I haven't heard a huge amount about it but what I have heard is always positive.

Indonesia

I fell in love with southeast Asia on my travels and I would love to go back to see more of the countries in that region and this includes Indonesia. Like any typical obsessive Instagrammer, Bali in Indonesia is the top of my list firstly but then I'd also love to backpack around and explore the less touristy areas. From Ubud, Jakarta to Kuta and experiencing its open-air of nature, the beaches and delving into the country's culture.

Malaysia 

Similar to Indonesia, I'd love to have the opportunity to delve into the wonders of Malaysia. When I was in Thailand, I met an older couple who had told me Malaysia is like what Thailand used to be before it got busy with tourists. So I'd like to be able to experience the heart of what Malaysia is all about, meet the locals, experience the food, and venture from everywhere like Kulala Lumpur to Langkawi.

Philippines

I'll always regret not adding Phillippines to my backpacking route as it looks like such an incredible country to explore. From its beach scene in Boracay to soaking up the main culture in Manila. I don't know much about the Phillippines and its history so I would love to learn more, experience its secret hideouts, and see as much as I can.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where is next on your bucket list?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Well hello to you my reader chums! Vox is a fiction novel I was recommended by a friend and once I read the blurb I couldn't wait to get stuck in. A lot of people have said it was similar to The Handmaid's Tale, and after hearing brilliant things about that novel, I was intrigued about Vox.

Book review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

This book was insightful, addictive, and genuinely blew my mind, and here is my review on it:

Plotline

The book is about Jean McClellan and her view on the change in the world. Jean spends her time in complete silence and is only allowed to say 100 words a day. If she says anymore, then thousands of electricity volts will course through her veins. Overnight the new government has changed everything but only if you're a woman.

Millions of women lose their jobs, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and more shockingly, young girls are unable to read or write. Jean is determined to make a change for every woman including her daughter and reclaim back her voice.

Characters and relationships

The characters in this book add to the intensity in the plot. The story is written in snappy short paragraphs with suspense in every chapter that you can't help but feel on edge. Jean is a mother of 4 and her motherly love comes across hugely in the tale and she shows the lengths she will go for her kids. 

Her relationship with her daughter Sonia is heartbreaking as she's the only other girl in the household and Jean struggles with the idea of what will happen if Sonia speaks to much. Their bond is lovely, and it's interesting to read how they communicate without speaking. Steven, her eldest son has a completely different relationship to her other children with Jean as he has opposing views on what she believes in.

Her relationship with her husband Patrick is also an interesting one and that plays out differently throughout the book which you can discover as you read. Other characters like Lorenzo, Lin, Jackie, the neighbours, and scientists in charge play a huge role in developing the plot.

Overall thoughts 

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was thrilling, addictive, mind-blowing, and honestly at some point shocking. I couldn't fathom some things I was reading, however, I really enjoyed working my way through the plot. It was a book that really made me think about how far we have come as a society in terms of equality, feminism, and human rights but also that there is still more way we can do to smash the patriarchy.

It's certainly one of those books which opened my mind to the scary things that could happen if women lost their voice completely and how life would be incredibly awful, but also sheds light on the fact that this still is a reality for many women across the world who can't share their opinion or express who they are. And, it sheds light on how things were decades/centuries ago when women didn't have any rights at all. It made me feel even more grateful to the women and men, who have stood up for women's rights and fought for change. It's a must-read and I can assure you, you'll love every page.

Ending 

Like any review, I won't give away the ending, however, I will say how fast-paced the last few chapters went in terms of the plot. It was all working at a sudden pace and then suddenly, a few shocking plot twists happened and the book ended on a satisfying note.

I hope you enjoyed this book review. What are you currently reading?

Thank you for reading <3


Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Well hello to you my reader chums! City breaks are one of my favourite ways to travel for a few reasons; it allows me to experience a new place, I can do it on a budget and usually, I can squeeze everything to see into a few days. It's a quick and unique way to travel which offers the taste of a new country. I've visited quite a few different cities across the world and there are a few which have stood out.

Here are the top 10 favourite cities I've visited:

Florence, Italy

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Italy will forever have my heart and when I went to Florence last year, it fulfilled everything I dreamt it would be like. Florence was at the top of my Italy list for a while and I fell in love with it as soon as I first stepped into the city. Florence has a heartwarming vibe about it with a cool art scene, a beautiful selection of restaurants but also the traditional ambiance of Italian culture. There are endless things to do, it's a great centre point for excursions and I could never get sick of walking through Duomo Square. It's one of those cities that I didn't want to leave and would happily spend endless amounts of days searching for the hidden gems.

Hue, Vietnam 

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

I loved Vietnam so much and 10 days really wasn't enough to experience everything. My favourite city there had to be Hue for a couple of different reasons. Hue was located in the centre of the country and had a cool but chilled vibe about it. It's home to the Imperial City which most visitors flock to the city for but there's more to Hue than first meets the eye. Its city centre has a flock of the quirkiest restaurants, shops, and the bar scene is insane. I fell in love roaming around the city, its markets and I loved the river area for a mooch. There is so much history discover and a lot of hidden gems along the way! It also was my favourite accommodation I had in Vietnam as the hosts were so lovely!

Luang Prabang, Laos

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Laos is a country I haven't really written much about on my blog, however, I really did love the small amount of time I spent there, and my favourite city was Luang Prabang. What I loved most about Luang Prabang is that it had a much quieter appeal than its neighbour Thailand. Don't get me wrong, there were still tourists, but it was significantly less than Thailand and felt a little more authentic when roaming around. My highlights were venturing around the night market, going on a river tour, and generally exploring the city, and its temples.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Everyone raves about visiting Amsterdam so it's no secret that it's a cool place to visit. I loved the Dam because it had a chill atmosphere about it, the city had plenty of things to see and do, quirky eateries and that hipster vibe to it. The city has plenty of history to discover but also makes for a place to have a great night out and I enjoyed the mixture of that. Plus, it's quite close to the UK so easy to get to for a weekend away.

Rome, Italy

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Italy's capital and the heart of Italian history and culture, Rome is a must-see for any history nerd. I've visited the city twice and I would happily go back again and again. Despite the flock of tourists and the level of tourism, the city has lots of off-the-beaten-path finds, is a hub for the best food around, and offers so many activities for any walks of life. 

Dubai, UAE

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Dubai was one of those cities that I can only describe as completely unique and luxurious. I never thought Dubai would be my kind of place as it's over the top commercial and all about designer things. However, I really loved venturing around on my trip there. As Dubai is very much build-up, it has plenty of things to get stuck into and some out-of-this-world experiences. The food scene is insane, I loved the beaches and generally, it's an extravagant place to have some fun.

New York City, New York 

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

I cannot do a favourite city post without mentioning the Big Apple! New York is simply one of the best cities I've ever visited. I went for my 21st with my twin sister and we honestly fell in love with New York. The city's hustle and bustle, its broadway scene, shopping scene, and all the cool restaurants we came into contact with. It's honestly such a unique place and I'd love to revisit again! You really can't beat NYC.

Venice, Italy

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Italy's canal capital is one of my favorite spots in the country. It's small but there's so much to it. I know a lot of people may say it's overrated but I absolutely love the wonders that Venice offers. Strolling along the canals, wandering the quieter streets, eating the best food around, and experiencing some of the architecture and churches in store. Venice is a beautiful city and I'd love to revisit someday.

Krakow, Poland 

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Krakow was my most recent trip before lockdown occurred and I really fell in love with the city. The thing that strikes me about Poland was how calm it was compared to other cities I've visited around the globe. Main Square was my favourite area and it was a picture-perfect area of pastel buildings, cute cafes, and the main hub of the Old Town. The city is packed with history and I loved that there was co much to learn on my trip.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Top 10 favourite cities I've visited

Copenhagen has to be one of the interesting cities I've visited as it felt more like a homely environment than a city itself with a huge Scandinavian vibe (as it was Denmark.) My favorite thing was how everyone rode around on bicycles, the vegetarian/vegan scene, and the unique things there was to see and do.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What is your favourite city?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm a feminist, a huge one in fact, and a large advocate for women and how we are misrepresented in so many ways in life. I love reading anything about feminism, building my knowledge, and understanding more about the patriarchy and how as women, we can smash it and fight for our rights to be viewed as equal.

I saw the book 'Invisible Women' on my local bookshop's Instagram and as soon as I read the blurb, I had to buy it. I think it's so important to learn and be aware of how inequality is still a prominent issue across the world today and this book highlights that in an incredible and insightful way, looking at case studies, stories, and decades worth of research.

Book review: Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Synopsis

Invisible Women shares how in a world mainly built for men, we're ignoring half of the population aka women and this often leads to awful consequences. The author includes a huge collection of case studies, stories, and worldwide research which illustrates the hidden ways women are forgotten and the impact it has on us all as a society.

Thoughts on the book 

Genuinely, this book is mind-blowing, to say the least. I don't even know where to begin on explaining the level of insight it has on how women are forgotten in society and the lack of research there is for us in so many different scenarios that many of us wouldn't even think of.

The book is broken up into different areas of research including daily life, the workplace, design, and public life, with chapters included under those topics. Each chapter was more shocking as you went through and some of the statistics I read really surprised me. For example, in the workplace how men and women have different body temperatures so the air con in offices is kept at a lower temperature to aid men - and that's why women are often found wrapped up in blankets or huge jumpers as it's too cold for them. 

One of my favourite parts of the book was the medical section and the lack of research behind developing drugs/treatment for women. It baffled me that a lot of the time new drugs are tested on male cells and if they don't work they're forgotten about. However, due to women's natural biology, drugs work differently in our bodies and we're not given the option to see if it works for us as it didn't on the male cells first. Also, how long it can take for women to get a diagnosis on any medical matter as doctors would generally tell women 'it's all in their heads' and again, due to lack of research, the doctors aren't aware of what could be wrong as they're simply not taught as much about women's bodies as they are males. I found this so interesting as it's definitely something I've experienced personally when going to see my GP. 

I also really liked it when it talked about how we've been ingrained as a society to think of men and women as different gender roles, for instance, a man as a scientist and a woman as a care worker. There were several studies in the book where children, both boys, and girls were asked to draw a scientist or a doctor, and the majority would always choose to draw a man, over a woman. Over decades this study has been repeated and more people are drawing females, however, it's crazy to think that it's ingrained in our minds, that you would firstly think of males of those roles. Instead of thinking of a woman. 

The book is packed with an intense amount of knowledge to do with politics, human rights, natural disasters, the gender pay gap, unpaid work women do, sexual assault, gender roles and the worth of a woman's body - and how all these things link into the gender data gap that is so prominent in our society. It's intelligent, cleverly written, eye-opening and a book everybody needs to read to understand the data bias in a world designed for men.

Ending 

The book doesn't necessarily have an ending as each chapter is around a different topic to the next. However, there is an afterword that sums up everything in the book and gives an overview of exposing data bias in a world designed for men. It summed it up in the perfect way and is a well-rounded way to finish the book.

I absolutely loved this book. It's sheer brilliance on every single page and something that I think should be implemented someway into schools so younger readers are able to learn about feminism, about the data gap between men and women, and how inequality still exists today. Let's smash the patriarchy together!

I hope you enjoyed this review. Do you have any other feminist book recommendations?

Thank you for reading <3

10 mistakes I've made whilst travelling

Well hello to you my reader chums! As a self-confessed travel addict, I travel a lot and through that, I also make loads of mistakes. There is no perfect way to travel and the more I go to different places, the more I learn about travel and pick up tricks along the way.

10 mistakes I made whilst travelling

As much as I plan things for travelling, there are loads of things I've gotten wrong and here are 10 mistakes I've made whilst travelling:
  1. Planning too much - I'm a serial researcher when it comes to planning my travels, whether that's a city break or long-term travel. And, as much as it can be a good thing, sometimes I've also learned, it's a bad thing too. It's a bad thing in the sense that by planning everything down to the fine detail, I missed out on the spontaneity of travel. My advice would be to make a rough list and do research to give you knowledge of the place but when you arrive to embrace your surroundings and go with the flow more.
  2. Don't under-plan - In the same breath, I've found when I haven't planned enough or gone on a trip without much preparation that it made me feel a little out of my depth. I think as when it comes to travel, I like to get the most out of a new place so by researching I know the best things to see/do at least.
  3. Not bringing back up money - I've come to learn as I travel more, that always having back up money is essential as you never know what can go wrong. Whether it's a flight delay, a cancellation, falling unwell or an extra excursion, it's important to have a little extra to help you along the way.
  4. Overpacking - As time has gone on, I've brought less and less away with me in my suitcase. However, when I first started travelling, my suitcase used to be packed with unnecessary items that I didn't need. It's all about picking what you think you need then sifting through and taking out unnecessary things.
  5. Cramming too many things in a short space of time - I have a problem with doing this way too often. As I tend to go on a lot of mini-breaks, I always try and cram a lot of things in only a few days. Although there's nothing wrong with this, I always get very tired and sometimes aren't able to be a little spontaneous when travelling. I feel like I sometimes miss out on relaxing and soaking up the hidden gems.
  6. Relying on my research - I have a bit of a research addiction when it comes to travel, however as much as I love it, I have found relying on the research too much can be a downfall. It's best to ask the locals and find things to do whilst I'm there.
  7. Overspending - I try to set a budget for every place I go to and choose a daily allowance. However, it's not to say I've always stuck to the budget and have ended up overspending on many occasions, which took its toll on the total budget for the trip. 
  8. Not reading the terms and conditions on any booking - When I went to Asia, something I didn't do on a few occasions is read the terms and conditions for a few of the airlines I went on. Each airline is different and so is their baggage policy. As I booked flights in advance, I didn't realise when I had to check-in bags on some flights and ended up having to pay a fortune at the airport.
  9. Putting your debit cards in one purse - Unfortunately, when travelling, pickpocketing is a real issue and that's why it's so important to take care of money. When I was in Italy, I lost my purse and it had my debit card in. I was fortunate enough that my cash was stored somewhere separately, however, I had to cancel my bank card and had no means of getting one for a while. So that's why I'd advise having your debit card in one place and a travel money card/credit card elsewhere.
  10. Putting pressure on myself - When travelling, I always want to make sure I'm having the best time and seeing everything possible, that I put huge pressure on myself to be happy all the time. It's normal and natural to have a down day when travelling and or not fulfill your itinerary.
I hope you enjoyed this post. What mistakes have you made whilst travelling?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Well hello to you my reader chums! Books bring me so much joy and as much as I love pretty much most books I read, there are only a few that I'm like wow, that was sheer brilliance. And, that was The Silent Patient. It gripped me on every page and there were a few jaw-dropping plot twists that I couldn't put it down. Here is my review of the book:

Book review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Plotline

The book is about Alicia Berenson who lived a normal life until she shot her husband in the head five times one day, six years ago. Since the incident, she hasn't spoken a single word and now it's time to find out exactly why that is. The storyline is written from the perspective of the psychotherapist and also includes snippets from Alicia's diary, and the structure goes hand in hand- and thickens the plot as the pages go on.

Characters and relationships

The characters in this book are incredibly interesting as my perspective of them changed as I read through the book.  Alicia is the sole focus of the novel and you learn more about her and her life as the pages go, and she is the most complex character. Her relationship with Gabriel, her late husband is described so poetically at the beginning of the novel but as things unravel, the description changes. The narrator, Theo comes across as a troubled and nice guy from the off and he is a likable character, however, as events unfold, another side of him comes out which really intrigued me.

Other characters included Theo's wife Kathy, Alicia's cousin and aunt, Paul and Lydia, the care workers at the psychiatric ward, and Gabriel's brother Max. Each of these characters intertwines into the story and have their impact on the overall plotline and turn of events.

The best relationship in the novel is Alicia and Theo's as this changes the most throughout when the novel goes on as he becomes her psychotherapist in the psychiatric ward. Their bond is strange and at the start, you sympathise for them both and really wonder where this is going. I'm not going to give anything away, but things change slightly as the plot goes on and their bond is interesting to note.

Overall thoughts on the book

Overall, I cannot recommend this book more! It's one of those thrillers where I was hooked from page one and literally couldn't put the book down. The plotline is written in such a clever way with added layers as you go through, complex situations and plot twists that it's such an intriguing read. I don't even know how to put into words how phenomenal it was. It's certainly an unforgettable read and the pace of how the story pans out is written in a steady way that it entices you to read more so you can find out what's going to happen. If thrillers, murder mysteries, and physiological thrillers are your types of things, this book needs to be top of your to-buy-list!

The ending

Like every book review, I won't give the ending away. However, what I will say was how incredible the last few chapters were and how the ending of the novel panned out. There was a moment in the last few chapters that my mouth actually dropped in shock, the plot twist was that good. 

I hope you enjoyed this review. Which thrillers would you recommend?

Thank you for reading <3