Book review: The Missing Pieces Of Me by Amelia Mandeville


Well hello to you my reader chums! I’ve been meaning to read Amelia Mandeville’s second book The Missing Pieces of Me for a while as I adored her first novel, Every Colour of You. I downloaded it on my travels and it’s safe to say I was hooked from page 1, I couldn’t put it down!

If you’re on the hunt for a page-turner, here’s my full book review of ‘The Missing Pieces of Me’ by Amelia Mandeville.

Book review: The Missing Pieces Of Me by Amelia Mandeville

Plotline

The plot line follows Willow and Dustin, two people who fall head over heels in love and after having their baby, Dustin feels like his world is complete. To everyone around them, they are the perfect couple. This is why when Dustin comes home one day with a note from Willow and discovers she has disappeared, his world crumbles. He starts to question why and the more digging he does, the more answers he learns, discovering who Willow really is.

Characters and relationships

In this book, I loved the diversity of the characters, how different they all are, and how everyone had a different type of upbringing. The character Willow, I really related to them on many levels as her anxiety was a large theme throughout the novel and some of the scenes, when she was having panic attacks, were on point. I understood how she was feeling growing up, and that level of shyness, wanting to hide away from the world. My heart went out to her when I learnt more about her upbringing, feelings and how it affected her happiness. The way the author describes Willow’s feelings is insightful, raw and human, and helps bring the character to life more.

Dustin is the type of character I can see at every social event, the confident, loving guy who everyone is a fan of - and you can see that love for him, even when he faces struggles throughout the book and his own family disputes. He definitely has more layers than initially shown and I enjoyed learning more about who he was and the love he has to give.

Willow and Dustin’s relationship was the most bittersweet thing to read about as it was incredibly honest, innocent and true to wanting to make each other happen. And when things go wrong, they still want that, they still love each other. I love how the waves of the relationship are described in the novel, it felt real and beautiful. It shows that no relationship is perfect and it takes work to keep the same level of love.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I adored this book in every way! From the first page, I was hooked on finding out what happened to Willow and learning more about the layers of the plot unfolding. It’s one of those books where more happens than first meets the eye. I expected it to be a romance novel, but it was more than that, it had a deeper meaning with honest dialogue. The book discussed many crucial themes, including anxiety, panic attacks, post-natal depression, childhood trauma and grief. With all of these themes woven into a beautifully planned story, it made the book a memorable and insightful one for me.

Ending

The ending I won’t give away, however, what I will say is that although it’s not what I wanted to happen after learning about the relationship, the ending occurred realistically. It felt human and right and perfect for both characters’ growth.

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

Thank you for reading <3

Seeing the best of Portugal in 8 days: where to go

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Portugal is a country that just keeps on giving with its sunny skies and warm weather, historical wonders, panoramic views and delicious grub. Although I had visited the country before, I knew there was so much more to it than first meets the eye. 8 days is a wonderful amount of time to see 3 different locations, the best sights and get a feel of the country's culture and overall vibe.

If you're planning a long break to Portugal, here's my guide on seeing the best of Portugal in 8 days: where to go, featuring Porto, Sintra and Lisbon.

Seeing the best of Portugal in 8 days: where to go

Porto: 4 days

Day one

I fell in love with Porto when I arrived in the city as it has a modern, hipster appeal, gorgeous weather and plenty of activities to keep you busy over 4 days. Plus, it's a hub for day trips with many northern destinations in Portugal not too far away.

Clerigos Tower

To get a gorgeous look at the city, climbing Clergios Tower is a great place to start your venture around the city. Tickets cost 8 euros and I'd recommend booking them in advance as it can get pretty busy, especially in peak season. The climb can be steep and claustrophobic so I would bear that in mind if heights or tight spaces worry you. The view of the city, especially on a blue-sky day is glorious.

Wander around the city and get your bearings

Porto has hidden gems wherever you look, from quirky coffee shops, independent stores, characteristic roads, parks and beautiful art dotted around, and the best part to see it all is to wader. With any location, everyone has their favourite spots but this is your opportunity to find the places you love and get your bearings where the main attractions are.

Igreja Do Campo

Porto is renowned for the staple blue mosaic tiles with plenty of buildings and art featuring them. The Igreja Do Campo is famous for its exterior, showcasing the stunning blue and white tiles, ideal for the perfect candid photo backdrop. Inside, there's a church, just as beautiful (if not more beautiful) than the outside. 

Porto Cathedral

I adore cathedrals and roaming around them and Porto Cathedral blew me away. It gave me a Hogwarts vibe and the exterior was just majestic in every way. Entrance is free but you'll need to pay 3 euro for any extras, such as the cloister.

Day two

Bolhao Market

I love a market and to get a taste of the local culture and this place hits both nails on the head. Bolhao Market serves up all the produce for a grocery shop, plus drinks, bakery items and hot food. You can grab something for breakfast, smoothies on the go or local produce for a food shop, cooking up a meal in your Airbnb.

Explore Riberia

Riberia is completely different to the main hub of Porto, located on the water's edge and boasting colourful and rustic homes throughout. It's a charismatic area of Porto to explore, roaming around the independent shops, stunning riverside restaurants and market stalls. 

Go to Mercado De Gaia 

Over the river from the main part of Porto is a strip of shops, restaurants, market stalls and the Mercado De Gaia. This is like a typical indoor food market of dreams with plenty of choices from pasta to sandwiches. I'm still dreaming of the focaccia sandwich I had here and would love to eat it again and again.

Gardens of Crystal Palace

To experience a taste of nature in the city, the Gardens of Crystal Palace is a manicured garden, perfect for sitting and eating ice cream, reading your book or sunbathing. As it's a free spot, you can spend as long as you like here, walking around the wonders of the green space.

Liberia Lello

I'm a book lover and when I heard about this bookshop, I had to visit it. I have to admit, it is incredibly crowded so you don't get the usual peace of a bookshop, but the beauty of it is something else. And, they even offer special editions of classic books, such as The Wizard of Oz.

Watch the sunset over the city

Sunset is my favourite time of day and seeing it over a city is everything to me. The best place in Porto to see the sunset is Jardim do Morro as it's set perfectly above the river and the city. Especially as most nights, they have live music here so it adds to the ambience.

Port and chocolate tasting 

Portugal is home to port and I couldn't leave the country without trying it. Although, I wasn't sure I liked it and that's why I decided to try it at Vintevinte with a chocolate tasting as well. I was right in that I didn't enjoy the port, but the chocolate was absolutely delicious! You can book port tastings throughout the city, whether you'd like it at a local bar or at the nearby Douro Valley.

Day three

Day trip to Douro Valley

As I said, Porto is the ideal location for many day trips up north, such as Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is the heart of where port and port wine is created and a must-see when you're staying in Porto. You can easily get the train down to one of the towns within Douro Valley and explore as much as your heart desires. We got the train to Regua and spent our time exploring the town, going to the museum there and wandering along the natural beauty of the rolling hills. Here, you can also book tours to sample the port and the other wines on offer.

Day four

Day trip to Braga 

Porto is also easily accessible to Braga by train, which is a sweet town with a few sights and humble appeal and a bus ride away from Bom Jesus Do Monte (a must-see). In Braga, you can spend your time walking around the shops and the cathedral and chill in the many coffee shops. A bus ride away is Bom Jesus Do Monte, a religious retreat with a gorgeous church and open green space. I loved it here as we could just sit and take in the gorgeous lake, marvelling at the buildings.

Sintra: 2 days

Day five 

Explore the historical old town

Sintra was a charming town to spend a couple of days and explore the main sights. The old town area isn't big at all but there are a few gems to see, such as the quirky stores, restaurants, coffee shops and museums. It's lovely to spend time wandering here and grabbing some souvenirs for you or your loved ones.

National Palace of Sintra

Sintra is renowned for some phenomenal sights, such as the National Palace of Sintra. Tickets cost 13 euros and the palace is located in the historical centre. This palace is a gorgeous spot to learn more about the history of Sintra. 

Quinta Da Regaleria

Classed as a UNESCO sight, the Quinta Da Regaleria is a must-visit, near the main historical centre with tickets costing 12 euros each. This site is a 16th-century property and has a taste of nature and majestic buildings, giving you a look at what a Renaissance manor is.

Day 6

Moorish Castle

The thing about Sintra is all the sights are pretty far away from each other and you have to get on a bus to see them. There are different bus routes for different sights and I'd recommend Moorish Castle as one of your top choices. This castle gives you a stunning glimpse of Sintra and beyond as you climb your way to the top. The stone castle has walkways which wind up into the heels and if you get a blue sky day, the sights are even more beautiful.

Pena Palace

As the colourful picture you see on all the postcards, Pena Palace boasts red, yellow and blue coloured buildings and is a dream to roam around. The Romanticist castle is seen wherever you look in Sintra and it makes the long walk up the hill worthwhile, through the park. The price for this palace is 13 euro each and I'd recommend booking in advance. Out of all of the sights, this one is the most popular and you'll likely be queuing for a while before you let in.

Lisbon: 2 days 

Day 7

Praca do Comercio

Lisbon is an hour's train ride from Sintra and as the capital city, it's a little pricier than the other locations. Praca do Comercio is set on the harbour and has a little beach area and plenty of waterside restaurants to enjoy. It's also the entrance into the main hub of Lisbon with gorgeous shops, restaurants and cafes.

Wander around the city

Lisbon is a colourful and rustic city with trams everywhere and a charismatic look, compared to modern Porto. With that in mind, there are plenty of areas to wander around, such as Alfama. Take a browse around and discover your favourite gems in the city, from tucked-away shops, independent coffee spots and local restaurants.

San Jorge Castle

San Jorge Castle is one of the most popular sights in the city and it's worth buying your tickets in advance for (15 euros each), otherwise, you may end up queuing for a while. The historic castle is located up one of the many hills in Lisbon and is wonderful to walk around. You'll witness the significance of history as you admire the structure and see the gorgeous city views as well.

Lisbon Cathedral

I love a cathedral as I've mentioned and Lisbon's sits on one of the corners of the city and doesn't shy away from beauty. It's definitely worth ensuring you visit this cathedral just to say you've done it.

Pink Street

Pink Street has become some sort of tourist hotspot with the iconic 'pink street' and the range of bars and restaurants available throughout. It's a great location to wander at night, and grab some dinner or a refreshing drink after a day of city exploring. 

Timeout market

If you're a foodie, the Timeout market should be top of your list. This market is a food lover's paradise with a variety of cuisines, drinks and desserts. It features some of Lisbon's best restaurants, allowing you to sample food, from classic Portuguese to gelato.

Day 8

Head over to Belem

Belem is near Lisbon and offers many sights, such as the Belem Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. You can spend the morning here, exploring these sights. The tower isn't massive but it's great for a view of the water and ticking off another sight on your list. The Jerónimos Monastery is one of those buildings which blew me away with its beauty.

LX Factory

The LX Factory is a great way to spend your last afternoon in Lisbon and Portugal overall as it's a hub for arty shops, cafes and restaurants. You can find yourself a gift, grab the iconic chocolate cake at Landeau or have some lunch.

Take a tram ride

The city is the heart of trams and you can't leave here without jumping on a tram, whether it's the classic 28 route or one of the more modern rides.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning your trip?

Thank you for reading <3

My experience of the overrated Gili Trawangan

 Well hello to my reader chums! Gili Trawangan and the rest of the Gili islands are raved about online and across the media, boasting their paradise status. For me, Gili Trawangan has to be one of the most overrated places I've visited.

Dreaming about clear-water beaches, hot sunshine and the best marine life, I thought Gili Trawangan would blow me away, but it showed me the detrimental effects of tourists and the climate crisis. 

If you're considering travelling to the Gili Trawangan, here's my honest experience of the overrated island.

My experience of the overrated Gili Trawangan

The journey

The experience of this island didn't start off on a high with one of the worst and most stressful boat journeys I've ever been on. The journey from one of Bali's ports was the busiest I've seen a port of that size - it had hundreds (or what felt like thousands) of people with luggage and impatient energy. A few different boats were heading over to Gili Trawangan and the system was incredibly disorganised with multiple boat companies and times. It seemed like forever for our boat to arrive and ended up being the last boat in port. 

The journey itself wasn't too bad, what I really expected from a cheap boat ride in Asia. It was loud, overcrowded and not the comfiest of seats but to be honest, on a backpacker budget, it's what I thought. I think I'd be a bit unsettled if it was a luxurious honeymoon and they were throwing my luggage around like it was nothing. The boat took 1 hour and 15 minutes which despite the delay made good timing.

The accommodation

This is where the issues really began as arriving on the island feeling stressed and overly hot from a delayed boat, I wanted to put my head on a bed and rest up before getting on with our day. However, when we got to the hotel which we thought we booked, the owner said that the place was fully booked and we didn't have a booking. Due to this and our frustration, we had to book the only place left on the island which wasn't a ridiculous price (but still four times what we originally paid). This accommodation granted was lovely, private and even had a communal pool. The only thing I would say is I think it was pricey for what it was compared to what we had booked for a similar level of luxury at a smaller price tag.

The beaches/marine life

I was most excited about Gili Trawangan for the beach scene and going snorkelling, seeing the phenomenal marine life and what was beyond the island waters. However, I've never been so disappointed with what lay beneath the waters. The beaches weren't exactly spacious as most of the sands were covered in sun loungers, and parasols, like a resort rather than spots to make the most of the soft sands.

The water was clear but not as clear as I thought it would be and you could tell the quality of the clear waters has been affected by too much tourism and the mass of boats that go in and out of the island every day. Also, this goes with the marine life. Unfortunately, as I snorkelled, I could see the dead coral reefs below me and the remains of what once was paradise for the underwater world. When you swim further out, you can see various coloured fishes, yet it wasn't the 'wow' factor that I expected compared to more untouched places, such as Pink Beach on Komodo Island.

The island itself

The island has the effects of tourism all over it. The front of the island looks quirky with its strip of restaurants, Instagram brunch spots, spas, ice cream shops and tour hire places. Whilst, behind that strip, the unpaved roads and shack-like houses emerge of residents who have the island as their normal, everyday life. As it was rainy before we got there, muddy puddles were everywhere and you could only ride around on bikes, meaning it wasn't the 'luxury' you'd expect from a 'paradise' island.

The only positive I would say is the places you can eat and drink at are fab and that gave the perfect holiday vibe, quirky bars and mini golf added the fun element to the island. But for me, it wasn't enough to override the over features of the island.

The tours

As an overpopular island, known for pub crawls and snorkelling tours, the range of water activities is endless. Snorkelling tours are the most popular and honestly, a massive disappointment. As they try and cram so many people onto a boat, you end up touring with 20+ people and when you arrive at a snorkelling spot, it's overcrowded and sometimes, you can barely find what you're meant to be looking for, such as turtles.

The overall vibe 

Overall, Gili Trawangan was overrated in many ways from the beaches, marine life and general vibe. It didn't have the 'wow' factor that many travel magazines and Instagram accounts chat about. I expected relaxation and dream-worthy experiences, but I got the opposite. The crowds stressed me out, I didn't feel entirely safe moving away from the tourist strip and generally, I left feeling disappointed. Despite enjoying some yummy brunches, and soaking up the gorgeous weather and sunsets, there are many better places in Asia to grab the wow factor.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What was your experience of Gili Trawangan?

Thank you for reading <3

Feeling insecure: how to cope and overcome your insecurities

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Feeling insecure is more common than you may think and everyone has insecurities personal to them, whether it's certain features or traits. Struggling with insecurities is normal and a part of everyday life. 

If you're struggling with particular insecurities and unsure how to overcome them, here are some tips on overcoming your insecurities. 

Feeling insecure: how to cope and overcome your insecurities

Create a list of positive affirmations

Affirmations have honestly been a blessing and something to reaffirm a positive thought of myself, whether I'm feeling low or even feeling good about myself. Positive affirmations are great to boost me up when I'm not feeling great and when I'm feeling good as a good reminder. These affirmations are different for everyone, from hyping up how you look to your personality traits.

Speak to people about your thoughts

A problem shared is a problem halved and speaking with others about how you're feeling and thoughts you have can give you the reassurance you need. They may offer you guidance on how to change your thoughts, share their personal experience, hype you up or give you a listening ear. The most important thing is opening the conversation as then you can ask for exactly what you need from the specific person, whether it's your partner or sibling.

Read other people's stories and experiences

Everyone has a story and a journey they've been on, especially with insecurities. Some people gain insecurities from experience and others inherently always have it, and learning about that journey can gain some perspective. This perspective can give you some tips, advice and guidance but also help you understand how strong you are.

Accept everyone has flaws including you

Nobody is perfect and having flaws is what makes you human. The sooner you understand that everyone has flaws, the sooner it can help you learn to accept and love your insecurities as they're the things which make you who you are. I used to have terrible body confidence and large insecurities about what I looked like but over time, those insecurities lessened and I've learnt to accept who I truly am.

Create a more positive image of yourself

A positive image of yourself is key to thriving and overcoming your insecurities. It's so easy for us to dislike who we are and compare ourselves to everyone around us as that's what society tells you to do. However, positive messaging and learning to love yourself, builds your self-esteem, self-love and that positivity to live a content lifestyle. 

Learn techniques to self-soothe

We all self-soothe in different ways because we're all unique and have different triggers. Some people like to get out and about, exercising whilst others prefer to journal their feelings or channel it all into creativity. Whatever the activity, there are many methods which can help you self-soothe and you can learn how to do that through trial and error. Over the years, I've tried many ways to soothe myself, some have worked and some haven't, or made me feel worse. Keep going until you find your method for all types of circumstances.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3


Book review: The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As many of you know thrillers, especially crime thrillers are my thing and when I was recommended this book on my trip to Bath, I couldn't wait to read it. I actually ended up reading it in only a few sittings as I couldn't get enough of the hard-hitting plot.

If you enjoy a crime thriller and an honest, first-person perspective, here's my full review of The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean.

Book review: The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

Plotline

Set on an isolated farm in the UK, a woman is trapped by the monster who kidnapped her over seven years ago. The everyday motions she goes through and the punishment he gives her if she doesn't obey his every order. He films her every single move meaning that when he's away from the house, he knows what she's up to. When she discovers she's pregnant, she strives to protect her child no matter the cost and begins planning an escape away from him. In the meantime, another woman is kidnapped into the farm and it's down to her to escape with the woman and her child - but will she save them all?

Characters and relationships

Told from the perspective of 'Jane', the name her kidnapper gives her, I really came to grips with her raw feelings, the everyday emotions and what she has been through. The rules of the land she has to live, the pain she feels, the abuse she tolerates and the punishment she endures. It's an honest and heartbreaking account to hear the trials she deals with every day by this monster. 

'Jane's' relationship with her monster is honestly hard to describe or write as at times I could feel her pain and desperation for how he treated her. It made me so angry to see a human treat another human being in that way like they were absolutely nothing. 

'Jane's' relationship with her child, however, is the most beautiful thing to read. It really does show the power a mother's love will have to protect their child and sacrifice everything to do just that. The love she shows for her daughter broke my heart in every way as I wanted to leap onto the page and help her out. 

Overall thoughts

Overall this book is an intense page-turner and one which is impossible to put down. I could have easily read the entire book in one sitting as I desperately wanted to know she gets out and ends up okay. It's a gripping book, a psychological thriller showing the rawness of humanity and the desperate things people will do when they're truly suffering. 

It's a book highlighting the awful truth of what happens to victims of human trafficking and the abuse they endure every single day. Even though this story is fiction, I know it's based on many of the real stories of people who are kidnapped, trafficked and abused. If you read it, expect that sense of desperation in the words of 'Jane', the fear factor on every page and feeling every kind of awful emotion as you make your way through the story.

Ending

Like always, I won't give away the ending and honestly, with this book, I wasn't sure which way it was going to go. I sat in hope throughout the entire book as I wished for a happy and content ending. Luckily, the ending is positive and hopeful, everything this novel needs.

I hope you've enjoyed this post. What's next on your TBR?

Thank you for reading <3

Exploring the wonders of Bath: 3-day guide

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travelling around England and the rest of the UK and seeing more of what's on my doorstep has become a goal of mine, as I'm usually travelling abroad. Bath is a city that has been on my must-see list for a while and my partner and I decided to book a long weekend there so I could see what it was all about.

If you fancy a trip to Bath and want some personal insight, here's my 3-guide to Bath and everything I got up to.

Exploring the wonders of Bath: 3 day guide

Day one - Getting to know the city

Brunch at The Courtyard Café

When I arrived in Bath, the first thing on my list was grabbing something to eat (after a long drive) and through recommendation, I went to The Courtyard Café, tucked away down a quaint road. This café was cute, the best way to describe it with a tiny, homely feel and reflective ceiling. They also had an outdoor dining space but it was too cold. I loved it here because of their cheesy crumpets - such a moreish and wholesome dish to set us up for the day.

Visit The Roman Baths

The biggest and renowned tourist site in Bath is undoubtedly the Roman Baths and you can't go to the city without a visit here. Tickets cost around £20 each for adults (depending on the day you go) and I'd advise booking in advance. It wasn't too busy when we went all things considering but for a Friday in January, busier than I would expect. Seeing the Baths in person was such a fascinating and insightful experience and I love roaming around, listening to the history on the free audio guide. You could easily spend one to two hours here, depending on how much detail you'd like to learn.

Afternoon snack at Mrs Potts Chocolate House

I'm chocolate obsessed and when I saw the Mrs Potts Chocolate House on TikTok, I made sure to give it a visit (twice) during my time in the city. On the first occasion, I tried their delicious and rich 'Matilda' chocolate cake and it tasted like heaven (giving me a sugar high for sure). I absolutely loved it and because of that made sure on day two, I tried their hot chocolate to take around in the city.

Mooch in Toppings and Company Booksellers

I'm a bookworm and one of the things I adored about Bath was their gorgeous bookshop scene. The most famous that I saw wherever I researched was the Toppings and Company Booksellers. This place was like a maze for books and there were too many to look at but I loved the variety and how busy it was - it makes my heart happy to see many people invested in the book world.

Get your city bearings

As Bath is such a beautiful city with typical traditional architecture, it's wonderful to take a walk around and gain your bearings around the city. Whether you love boutique shopping or admiring the architecture, taking a walk around allows you to get your city bearings and know your way around.

Visit Pulteney Bridge

When mooching, you'll probably come across Pulteney Bridge and I would take some time to admire it in all its glory and take a wander along the river and across the bridge itself. 

Dinner at The Hope and Anchor

Bath boasts a diverse range of restaurants, from classic British pub grub to pizzerias or Thai restaurants that it can seem impossible to know where to dine. We were staying slightly out of the city in a nearby village and had dinner at The Hope and Anchor. This pub is slightly upmarket with a delicious menu and cosy vibe.

Day two - Exploring the sights

Visit Bath Abbey

On the second day in Bath, you'll have more of an idea of where everything is and delve more into other gorgeous sights, such as the Bath Abbey. I walked past the Abbey plenty of times on the first day but only went inside it on the second day. I'm obsessed with churches and Bath Abbey was certainly unique and glorious to admire. Tickets cost £7.50 each for adults and you can buy in there but if you're visiting during a busy time, I'd suggest buying them in advance.

Wander in Mrs B's Emporium

This bookshop has to be one of my favourites ever and I came home with a stack of books from it. Like Toppings and Company booksellers, it was a maze of endless book varieties with a quirky interior. But the best part was the staff were all trained to give personal recommendations based on genres and authors you like. I told them how I adore thrillers, murder mysteries and a list of authors I read a lot of and they recommended so many apt books I've not heard of but were right up my street.

Visit The Circus and The Royal Crescent

You can channel your inner Bridgeton with a visit to The Circus and The Royal Crescent. Both are quite near each other and are free to roam around and get that much-needed photo. I loved walking around these sights because they made me feel a little royal and fancy. I'm pretty sure you can also go on a Bridgeton tour and they'll show you the houses/streets used in the series.

Go to Bath Artisan Market

I'm a market girlie and love roaming around markets wherever I am, including Bath. The Bath Artisan Market was a local paradise with fresh produce, crafts and second-hand books. You can easily spend a while here walking around and finding some gems to take home as souvenirs.

Try the classic buns at Sally Lunn's 

Bath is known for the 'Bath Buns' and at Sally Lunn's, you'll have the complete traditional experience, trying a bun (sweet or savoury), in a quintessentially British café. I loved Sally Lunn's as not only are you enjoying a delicious treat but knowing there is a lot of history in the building makes the experience even more authentic. 

Eat gelato at Swoon Gelato

When I'm on holiday, ice cream is a must and I couldn't resist trying the gelato on offer here, even if it was January! Swoon Gelato had an authentic feel to it with an array of delicious flavours to offer - I had the hazelnut and adored every bite.

Play games at Thirsty Meeples

My partner loves board games and he found a board game café right in the centre of the city. We decided to book and spend a few hours playing games and honestly, I loved the energy here. Everyone was enjoying their games, the staff were fab at recommendations and the café offered various foods from cakes to cool alternatives of fizzy drinks.

Dinner at The Circus Restaurant

I wanted to try out one of the higher-end restaurants in Bath as the weekend we went was also our anniversary and we wanted to celebrate with a lovely dinner. The Circus Restaurant blew my taste buds away. Their menu was small but well-thought-out with a variety of dishes for the different palates. I'm still salivating over the starter, main and dessert.

Day three: Visit sights nearby

Go to Prior Park Landscape Garden

You can easily spend more time in the city on the last day, soaking up more of the shops, endless museums and cafes, or head out of the centre to one of the nearest National Trust sights, Prior Park Landscape Garden. Tickets are around £8 and there is no parking onsite, yet you can easily get a bus from the centre or park on one of the local streets nearby. Prior Park is a breath of fresh air from city life. The endless greenery makes for an impressive nature walk around. Plus, the main bridge and buildings are superb to admire as you soak up the open space.

Head over to Castle Coombe

Bath is near the Cotswolds, around half an hour (depending on which part you visit). With such close distance, I'd recommend spending your last afternoon heading over to the Cotswolds. We went to Castle Coombe, a small village in the Cotswolds which is stunning but exceptionally small and we only ended up needing 2 hours here. I would say come and see Castle Coombe as it is charming and what I'd picture the Cotswolds to be but there are also many other spots in the Cotswolds you can venture to.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning your trip?

Thank you for reading <3

How to maintain a long-distance friendship

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As an adult maintaining friendships can be challenging as many people can be busy with other commitments. Adding long distance to that can make maintaining friendships even more difficult. One of my closest friends has lived in another country across the world for nearly six years now and at times, it has been hard, yet, our friendship is still strong and I'm grateful to have our connection.

If your friend has moved away or you're struggling with distance in a friendship, here are my tips on how to maintain a long-distance friendship

How to maintain a long distance friendship

Schedule call and face time dates

The most practical way to stay in touch with someone, not in the same country or time zone is to schedule time in to spend and chat with each other. Whether it's a phone call, Face Time or Zoom call, having that regular time with them in the diary will guarantee a catch-up. In the same way, you have catch-ups with your friends who live in the town at coffee shops, do the same virtually. Grab a drink and get comfy as you have a good old chinwag.

Text or voice note them as much as possible

Texting and voice notes are the quickest way to communicate with someone, especially a friend in a different location. If they aren't available to answer your call there and then, a text or voice note will give you the chance to share your thoughts with them and wait for them to respond when they get a spare moment. I find when I don't have time in a week for a call, I can still stay connected by sending a quick text or voice note here and there.

Show them love on social media

Being your friend's hype person can be challenging when you are miles apart, but this is where the power of social media can come in. Whether they post something they're doing or have a business venture, give all the support through likes, comments and messaging. It can remind them you're still there for them even miles apart.

Include them in group chats

I feel like as an adult, the best way to communicate with multiple people is through group chats. Ensure your long-distance pal is included in the relevant chats as it can help them stay in the loop with the everyday things going on, and gives them another level of connection.

Organise to meet up when they're in the same country as you

It may be once a year or twice a year but whenever they're in the same country as you, organise a meetup. This could be a coffee, a simple walk, dinner out or an activity you enjoy together. Whatever the occasion, any form of quality time will help keep that connection alive.

Send out cards on birthdays and special occasions

Special occasions are a wonderful reminder of the important people you have in your life. If someone's in a different country, it can be expensive to send a physical gift or organise to do something for their birthday. Due to this, a card is a happy medium as it shows you've remembered and thought of them, a simple gesture of love.

Arrange to go see each other

Again, this is down to your personal circumstances. But when you're able to, see if you can organise a trip to see each other, whether it's once a year or every few months. Flying out (or driving) to see them can mean the world and give you dedicated time to spend with one another.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where in the world does your friend live?

Thank you for reading <3