My experience travelling solo for the first time

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Taking a solo trip has been on my bucket list for a very long time, but the opportunity never came up or truly, I never had the confidence to be like 'I'm going to book a trip for only me today.'  I had too many anxious thoughts surrounding whether I'd get lost, something bad would happen to me, or if I would get lonely. 

My experience travelling solo for the first time

It wasn't until the last minute my friend had to cancel my trip for unexpected circumstances that I was put in the position to do a solo trip. Even though at first, I was incredibly anxious about what would happen, returning back to the UK, I couldn't have been prouder of jetting off on my own and experiencing not only a new city but a new country.

If you're thinking of travelling solo or have anxieties about travelling solo, here is the experience of my first solo trip.

How did I prepare for my trip?

I only had a couple of days to prepare for the trip solo, because of the circumstances but to be honest, I think that was best. If I had longer, I would have doubted myself and walked away from the situation as I would have worked myself up. In terms of 'how did I prepare' for the trip, the main thing I did was reassure myself, and hyped myself up that I could do it. My itinerary was already planned, the hotel and flights were booked so I only had to mentally plan.

I read up many solo travellers' experiences, researched safety tips about Budapest and put things in place to ensure I felt reassured about my trip. There is only so much you can do to mentally prepare but with the support of friends and family, they gave me the boost I needed.

What was my favourite thing about traveling solo?

There are many things which I loved about travelling solo. I think my favourite thing was doing everything on my own accord. I could follow my itinerary, go to the restaurants I wanted to go, mooch where I decided and wake up whenever  I wanted. I really liked having full control of my day and not having to consult or compromise on what I wanted to do on my trip. It gave me such a strong and independent feel as I was in full control. I also loved spending time on my own. Usually, I never have a lot of time to myself to have fun. When I'm alone, I'm mainly working so it was nice to have quality time to myself to actually do something exciting and relax too, to have that break away from the everyday.

Another favourite thing of mine was pushing myself and stepping out of my comfort zone. Living with anxiety and going through the motions of overcoming my travel anxiety, travelling solo was the last thing to fully accomplish. And, I left the trip feeling so proud of myself.

How did I handle being lonely when travelling?

This was probably one of the hardest parts of my solo trip. In the day, mooching around, I actually really loved just being by myself so the loneliness didn't hit me then. However, when the evenings came and I was dining alone, that's when the loneliness was at its peak because there was nobody to bounce off of about my day and what I've been up to. The best way I handled being lonely was talking to family and friends back home and touching base with them. Also, speaking to other people I met whilst travelling shaked off some of that lonely feeling - and making friends too.

What was my least favourite thing about travelling solo?

As I touched on in the other question, the hardest thing I experienced was the loneliness. I'm a big foodie and I love nothing more than visiting new restaurants and socialising that way. However, on my trip, I felt like I was missing that as I didn't get the same fulfilment going to restaurants or the draw to want to find the best place to eat. I also struggled with feeling a little unsafe at night being on my own in a big city, so I spent the evenings in my apartment chilling rather than exploring the night scene.

How did I find the overall experience of travelling solo?

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. I didn't know what to expect from the trip because it was a new destination and I'd never travelled solo before. However, I loved being able to see a new place on my accord, I enjoyed experiencing Budapest and mooching around as much as I could. I loved meeting new people and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, in every single way. Plus, I certainly learnt a lot about myself on the trip.

Would I travel solo again?

I definitely would give travelling solo a go again! I probably would go for a slightly shorter amount of time or stay in a hostel so I'm able to make friends easier and have someone to go to dinner with or spend the evening with.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you travelled solo before?

Thank you for reading <3

How to make your small business more eco-friendly | AD

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Over the past few years, I've been a lot more conscious of my carbon footprint and how my everyday actions are affecting the planet. Like many people, I'm trying to do my best to be sustainable as possible, whether that means with my wardrobebeauty products, how I travel to my business.

How to make your small business more eco-friendly | AD

I run a home baking business called Twinnies Bake with my sister. Over the years, I've tried as much as I can to ensure how we're running it is as eco-friendly as possible. If you're running a side hustle or small business, here are a few ways how to make your small business more eco-friendly.

This post is a paid collaboration with Lil Packaging but all thoughts are my own.

Try to limit waste where you can 

When it comes to running a business, I know how much waste you can accumulate over time, whether that's packaging, paper, food waste, or more. I go through a lot of it when I'm baking, especially the number of wrappers I use from different chocolates or food products. However, where possible, try and limit the waste. This could be by purchasing products in bulk, repurposing the containers, or buying decomposable items.

Think about the packaging you're using

For many businesses, especially those online, the right type of packaging is key to ensuring your products are secured safely but also playing your part for the planet. Lil Packaging is a bespoke packaging company producing plastic-free, 100% recyclable e-commerce packaging made from recycled papers. They have an entire range of packaging from envelopes to large boxes, offering every type of packaging, for whatever your business may be. With that in mind, you want to consider how sustainable the packaging you're using is and if it is able to be recycled or reused.

Recycle as much as possible

Recycling is one of the most important things to reduce waste as it helps us use items or waste and turn it into something new, to give the waste a different purpose. When you're throwing things out in your business, ensure you recycle all the items that you're able to and dispose of things correctly. It'll do more help than you realise.

Conserve water

Water is something I feel like a lot of us need to feel more grateful for as in many countries around the world, they don't have clean or freshwater. This is why it's so important to conserve it but also because we shouldn't waste unnecessarily. Think about how you're able to conserve water. This could be using leftover water in the kettle to fill up the sink, or water left out to water your plants. There are many different ways, you just need to be creative,

Research the sources of your ingredients/products

I think many of us (me included) sometimes don't really think about where we source our items from, especially from a business perspective because we want things as cheap as possible to help with profits. However, even though it can help from a profit perspective, usually items may be cheaper because of where they're sourced or how they've been sourced. Do some research about your suppliers and where they're from, and try to see if you're able to make the process greener in some way.

Use green shipping methods

You can be a lot greener with how you ship things out to your customers. One way to do that is to use the right size boxes for the things you're sending off. How many times have you received a parcel that was far too big for what you actually purchased? Didn't you think, isn't that wasteful? Channel that mindset into buying the right-sized boxes. Also, you can encourage customers to order things in one order rather than multiple so you're shipping in bulk instead of individually.

Use reusable items where possible

Reusing things may not seem like the best kind of business move for your customers, however, there are so many things you can reuse which won't tarnish the quality of your product or service. For example, if you run a coffee shop, encourage customers to bring in reusable coffee cups for their drinks.

Collab with a sustainable charity

There are so many incredible charities that do their best for the planet. To do your bit, see if you're able to collab with a charity. This could be something like x amount goes towards x charity when a sale is made. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I did it, I went on my first ever solo trip. It has been a goal of mine for the longest time, to take the plunge and travel on my own. As many of you know, overcoming my travel anxiety is one of my biggest achievements so this trip to Budapest was one of the best wins so far.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

Budapest is a city I've heard many people rave about and one that was definitely on my list to visit this year. Initially, I hadn't planned to go alone but a cancellation of a friend meant I was forced in a sense to step out of my comfort zone and I'm thrilled I chose to go. If you're heading to Budapest soon and unsure what there is to see and do, here is my 3-day guide to the city.

This post contains affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.

Day 1 - Explore the Pest side

There are two sides to Budapest, Buda, and Pest. The Pest side of the city is the busier side with many restaurants, bars, attractions, and much more of a buzz. I loved the ambiance of the Pest side of the city. It had a calm appeal but with so much life across it and every sight I saw was incredibly stunning. Most of Pest can be reached on foot but you can easily get around using public transport. 

Mooch along the Danube River

The Danube river is what separates Pest from Buda and runs all the way through the city. The river became one of my favourite spots in the city to mooch over in the morning when it's quiet or at dusk when the sun is setting as it was so pretty. The river is long so it stretches quite a length of the city and there are many cute spots you can find along the way. I spent the most time near the Elisabeth Bridge as it's a great spot to overlook the city and next to the main hub of Pest. Also, near there is the promenade area with all the boats, which is super pretty too.

Shoes of the Dabube

One of the most iconic spots by the river is the memorial of the 'Shoes on the Danube Bank.' These shoes represent the Jews who were executed by the Nazis during the war. And honestly, it's such a powerful and heartbreaking memorial to see. 

Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament building is one of the most impressive to walk past and admire from the outside. It's actually pretty close by to the 'Shoes on the Danube Bank' memorial, by the river so really within reach. You can go inside the parliament building as well as simply admire it if you fancy learning more about the political history of Budapest. I only didn't go in as it was fully booked when I headed over for the different time slots. Tickets are around £15.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

St Stephen's Basilica

I adore visiting churches when I'm travelling, it brings a sense of peace to me, and especially in Europe, churches/basilicas are incredibly stunning to visit, and usually free too. St Stephen's Basilica was gorgeous in every way and lived up to expectations. The church was free to enter and in the hub of Pest.

St Stephen's Basilica

Dohány Street Synagogue

As the largest synagogue in Europe, Dohány Street Synagogue is a must-visit for everyone. I don't think I've ever been so blown away by how beautiful a synagogue was before. The detailing of the interior and exterior is everything and I loved being able to roam around and learn more about its history. Entry is 5,000 HUF (about £11) and worth every penny as it's a learning and observant experience in one.

Dohany Street synagogue

 Jewish Quarter

The synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter. After visiting, I would recommend taking a quick mooch around to find a sweet cafe or restaurant that tickles your fancy. The Jewish quarter is pretty quirky and chill which I loved.

Budapest's Metro 1 

Budapest's public transport was some of the easiest to navigate that I've come across. And when I heard about their old underground station, I didn't want to miss out on experiencing it. Metro line 1 is the oldest route and I hopped from Deak Ferenc ter, one of the main stations in Pest to Heroes Square and loved every minute of the simple journey.

Heroes Square and Vajdahunyad Castle

When I arrived in Heroes Square, it kind of reminded me of the outside of Vatican City. It was pretty bare to look at in terms of what was going on but the statues and monuments were phenomenal, to say the least. There's not much to see in the main square apart from that, and this is why I came across the Vajdahunyad Castle. It was located behind the square in the midst of all the greenery and had that Hogwarts, magical vibe about it. The castle area had so much greenery around it, making it the perfect spot for a picnic or to sit and appreciate the day.

Heroes square Budapest

Szechenyi thermal baths

You can't go to Budapest without visiting the famous thermal baths. There are many different baths across the city but the most famous are the Szechenyi baths. They were located about a 5-minute walk from Heroes Square which made them completely accessible from there.

thermal baths budapest

The thermal baths are absolutely dreamy and the perfect way to spend a few hours relaxing, after spending most of the day sightseeing. There are many different baths on offer including the two big outdoor baths which vary in temperature and a cold swimming pool in between, Then indoors, there was a huge array of different pools from big to small, varying in temperature and medicinal abilities. It was a super fine experience trialing out the many different temperatures. I would recommend booking the baths in advance however with a cubicle, because they can get extremely busy, especially in peak season.

Day 2 - Exploring the Buda side 

The Buda side of the city was a lot more refined and quieter than Pest so I can see why some prefer it. I would say the attractions in Buda are things you spent longer doing if that makes sense and it's a spot where you can experience the glorious views the city offers.

Buda Castle

For any newbies, Buda Castle isn't actually a castle. I expected to rock up to a palace and tick it off my list, however, that wasn't the case. Buda Castle is an entire area consisting of many different buildings, viewpoints, museums, gardens, and more. It's a whole area to explore and I would say if you want to do it properly, you'll need a couple of hours at least to do so, and some good walking shoes. It's very pretty to roam around, even if you don't visit any of the museums - and plus, you'll experience the best views of Pest too.

Buda Castle

Matthias Church

This church had to be my favourite in Budapest. I couldn't get over how beautiful it was inside and the many details of the mosaic the church boasted. It was one of those places I could have admired for ages by its sheer history and boldness. The church also only cost 800HUF to enter (about £1.80), which is a bargain if you asked me. You could also pay the entry fee to climb up the tower and see the city for a similar price I believe.

Matthias Church

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion is one of the cutest spots in the entire city and the perfect place to get your gram-worthy photos to show off back home. The monument is made up of towers and archways that overlook the city ahead, with significant history, where this part of the castle walls was protected by the guild of the fisherman, hence the name. The Fisherman's Bastion is free and opens 24/7 so you're able to roam whenever you wish. I actually visited when a snowstorm began, which made it certainly a unique experience! 

Fisherman's bastion

Gellért Hill

I had Gellért Hill on my itinerary list before I headed to Budapest but didn't really think much of it until I made the jump and headed over there - and I'm so glad I did. This hike isn't for the faint-hearted as there is a lot of steps involved to reach the top. However, once you get to the top, the view is worth it as you're able to see the entirety of Budapest in front of your eyes. Halfway up to the top, there's also the Gellért statue - which is impressive in itself to see.

Gellert hill

Labyrinth 

I came across Labyrinth as I was roaming around the Castle Hill area near Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church, to see what was on offer. It was located along a random back road and offered a pretty unique experience if I'm honest. Labyrinth are underground tunnels where count Dracula was once imprisoned. Entry fee is 3,000 HUF (about £6). I have to admit, the tunnels were pretty creepy as they weren't well lit, however, it was something interesting to do in a new city.

Day 3 - Soak up the hustle and bustle

Great Market Hall

I am obsessed with food and all things food markets so I couldn't leave Budapest without checking out their local famous market. The Great Market Hall reminded me of a smaller version of Borough Market with lots of fresh and traditional produce on offer. I could tell, it's definitely a place many locals do their shopping and grab something to eat which I loved. There were a few fresh food stalls to try traditional Hungarian grub and many souvenir stalls too.

great market hall budapest

House of Terror

I love museums and the House of Terror is one I'd highly recommend if you're only going to pick one museum to do on your stay. It's an incredibly harrowing experience to learn about the fascist and communist regimes in 20th century Hungary, but also quite an eye-opener too. I think the hardest part was visiting the basement area where a lot of the crimes were committed and learning the gut-wrenching facts of the ordeals that the victims experienced.

house of terror

Liberty Bridge

Budapest offers some beautiful bridges and another one worth seeing is the Liberty Bridge, the bright green oce, located near the Great Market Hall. 

Liberty bridge

Fashion Street

If you're a bit of a shopaholic, Fashion Street is a winner for you. Located right near the Budapest Ferris wheel on the Pest side of the city, the street offers all the classic high street stores, restaurants, and cafes, and is ace for a window shop mooch or simply a browse.

Enjoy your favourite parts of the city

Budapest has a calm and homely kind of vibe about it, and once I had experienced all of the attractions and the must-see things, it was time to fully appreciate that and roam as I pleased. I loved walking around random roads to discover pretty architecture, cute shops, and eateries. I could fully experience the solo travel way of life as I saw many other people walking freely on their own and dining alone. One place I found and fell in love with was Massolit Books and Cafe. I'm a big bookworm so as you can imagine finding a cafe which is surrounded by books, is the ultimate dream really. I spent a couple of hours in there reading and resting up after a few days of walking my way around the city and felt so at peace.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

Where to stay

I'm still obsessed with the place I stayed in Budapest. It was a gorgeous apartment, sat in the heart of the Pest side of the city, and had the prettiest balcony overlooking the Budapest Ferris Wheel. The apartment was around the corner from the bus station, Deak Ferenc ter, which is the last stop on the airport shuffle into the city - super convenient. It was modern, clean, secure and the perfect spot for a solo travel trip.

I would say because the city is so easy to get around that you could stay on either Buda or Pest side, but I would recommend Pest as there is more going on, with the busy vibe, restaurants, bars, and attractions.

How to get around

Budapest is one of the easiest cities I found to navigate around. You can easily travel around this city on foot and walk to all the attractions if you're fit and well enough. However, if you're not up for a lot of walking, public transport in the city is a dream. The buses, trams, and metro are incredibly cheap and very easy to understand. I basically used Google Maps to figure out the nearest bus/tram/metro stops to attractions and found it super straightforward. Metro tickets you can buy at the metro station and bus/tram tickets, you can purchase either on the purple machines that'll be near many bus stops or on the Budapest Go app.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning to go to Budapest?

Thank you for reading <3

Mental health vs mental illness - what's the difference?

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Talking about mental health is something I'm hugely passionate about and something that deserves constant recognition. Since the pandemic, I think many of us have realised how important it was to take care of our mental health and put ourselves first if we're not feeling okay. It's a conversation I've been fighting for years to have and it's good to see progress being made, with many of us finally opening up and talking.

However, I think one thing which always needs to be spoken about more is the difference between mental health and mental illness. We all have mental health and some people have mental illness and in this post, I'm going to share what the differences are.

Mental health vs mental illness

What is mental health?

By definition, mental health is the psychological and emotional well-being of someone. Mental health is the care of your own mind and emotions and is to do with how you think and how you feel. We all have mental health as we all have feelings. Mental health varies in people from being good and bad, and this can be down to circumstance or generally, how we are all different people and nobody's brain is the same.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is a health condition that involves changes in thinking emotion or behaviour. They can vary across a whole spectrum of different illnesses from anxiety, depression to bipolar, eating disorders, and more. As mental illnesses are an illness, they need a different type of care and attention than our mental health does. Every mental illness has a different treatment, it's not a one size fits all situation and this is where mental health can be similar too.

How can I speak about each one as separate things?

The two are completely different in what they are so when you speak about them, the differentiation should be apparent. Mental health should be referred to when you're talking about your wellbeing as a whole, how you're feeling, and whether it's good to bad. Whilst mental illness refers to an actual condition such as anxiety. This means if you're speaking about anxiety or depression, for instance, use the phrase mental illness rather than mental health. And, the similar thing applies when talking about your feelings. Talk about it as mental health unless it's a diagnosable condition.

Why it is important to know the difference between the two

The importance is the reason I'm writing this post, to bring awareness of the difference between the two and why we need to treat them as completely different topics. 

It's important for many reasons. The first is, that those who live with a mental illness, often feel unseen or unheard when you speak about their condition in the 'mental health' context as they're not receiving the care, support, or understanding they require, as it's more than just human emotions. It's important because once we learn to differentiate the two, we can understand that we all deserve the care and attention for our mental health because even if it's not an illness, it's part of being human. It's normal and natural to feel a variety of emotions and all parts of your emotional wellbeing. Also, it's essential to build our understanding and knowledge of mental health and the type of mental illnesses out there. This education can not only help yourself and your wellbeing but the people around you - as well as break the stigma around mental health and illness.

It's important now more than ever to seek the help you need and open up about your mental health and mental illness as it makes others not feel so alone in their own head, the way we all feel at some point. Starting conversations can really change lives and the time is now to do so.

How to get help 

Whether you're struggling with your mental health, feeling alone, or dealing with a mental illness, there is always someone to talk to. These hotlines below offer the care and support you need, when you're feeling uncertain, unwell or require some guidance:

Text 'SHOUT' to 85258 (UK-wide)

Samaritans - Call 116 123 (UK-wide)

Mind UK - 0300 123 3393

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have anything to add?

Thank you for reading <3


The best budget tips for visiting London

 Well hello to you my reader chums! It's no secret that London is a pricey place to visit. As one of the most popular cities in the world, many people want to experience the bustle that is the Big Smoke. London is a city for many, with opportunities, excitement, and endless things to do.

If you're new to the city of London or trying to save money when visiting the city, here are my best budget travel London tips.

This post contains affiliate links.

The best budget tips for visiting London

The tube is your best friend

The tube system is the heart of London and a must-do experience, especially if you're new to the city. When I first got on the tube years ago, it was very overwhelming but now it's second nature to me and is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city. I use the London tube app on my phone to navigate my route which makes it a lot easier to get around. To save money, the tube will be your best friend. It's a lot cheaper than any other mode of transport around London.

Make the most of food markets

Food markets are my favourite thing EVER. I love the opportunity to sample all kinds of foods from around the world and London's food markets are a gem. There are many different food markets all across London from Borough Market to Spitalfields in Shoreditch. Eating on a budget means you should make the most of the many food markets available instead of the pricier restaurants or cafes available across the city.

Stay out of the centre and shop around for prices

When it comes to accommodation in London, you need to shop around. Many hotels whack the prices up, especially the closer you get to the main centre of the city. I would suggest shopping around on websites such as Booking.com,  Airbnb, Hotel Trivago, Hostel World, and more. Go on as many websites as possible, see what deals they're offering and search on direct websites too to try and find the best price for accommodation. 

As well as shopping around for prices, you need to be flexible with your dates. Plus, change your radius on where you should stay. You don't need to stay directly near the main sights as the tube is easy to access to get wherever you want to go.

Walk as much as you can 

London is a great place for a mooch. One of my favourite things is exploring a new area of the city and taking a stroll, to see what it offers. To keep the costs low on your time in London, utlitse the power of walking (if you're able to), and spend some time taking in the city as you go from A to B. You'll not only save money, but have the opportunity to see sights you never knew were there.

Always factor in extra costs

London isn't cheap, that's a common fact, however, as an expensive city, you need to be aware of extra costs. This could be things like service charges, taxis, or pricier food and drink options. With that in mind, always be prepared with that extra bit more money in your account or with you.

Utilise the free attractions as much as possible

The city may be expensive but it isn't short of free things to see and do. You could spend a day for free simply mooching around London and taking in free sights for starters. Plus, there are many parks, museums, galleries, exhibitions, and markets you're able to see that are completely free.

Book paid-for attractions in advance

Booking things in advance is always a good idea, especially in a city like London. Activities such as theatre shows, events, popular tourist attractions, and more, not only secure your place but give you time to shop around for cheaper prices and deals.

Make the most of London bikes

You'll find bikes in London everywhere to pick up and take on a ride around the city. They're only a couple of pounds to hire and a cheap way to have a gander around different areas without tiring yourself on foot, going on the tube, or paying out for taxis. In the summer, they're especially a good idea because you can cycle around in blue sky London.

Avoid travelling in peak times

Peak times = expensive. If you can, travel into London at off-peak times and book your days out on quieter seasons, otherwise not only will the city be even busier than it usually is, but the prices of everything are even more expensive. I would suggest picking the in-between season for a stay in London or heading up midweek for a day out.

Book your train tickets in advance

Similar to attractions, booking train tickets in advance is always a good idea. I would suggest booking them at least a couple of days before if not weeks before if you can. The sooner you buy them, the cheaper you're able to find tickets because you can purchase advance singles.

Keep an eye out for vouchers

Vouchers are the answer to saving money in many places, especially when you're going to London. Whether it's one of the many attractions, museums, or theatre shows, do some research before you book anything to see if you can find any vouchers or deals.

Shop around for theatre tickets

Going to the west end is one of my favourite things in the world. I love the joy of seeing a production come to life and I think everyone deserves to see that magic. If you are going to book theatre tickets, shop around as much as you can from comparison sites to the show's direct website and be flexible with your dates, and where you sit.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things I've learnt about myself in a relationship

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I didn't think I'd be writing this post for a very long time. I genuinely thought I'd be single for years to come as I was loving the single life and spending that time learning more about who I was, growing, evolving, and healing. However, the best things in life do come when you least expect them and that's how I feel right now, lucky to find the man I've always dreamt of in my boyfriend. 

5 things I've learnt about myself in a relationship

Being in a new relationship has been incredible in many ways but also hard in many others, bringing up trauma, and past experiences, and really for me, a learning curve. This blog is a place I like to share my journey and experiences and that's why I wanted to share 5 things I've learnt about myself in a new relationship.

I was never asking for too much, I wasn't asking the right person

I saw this quote floating about a lot when I was single and in the midst of my healing process and honestly, I didn't truly believe it. However, now, I finally do. I've never been able to be my true self in a relationship before, be wholeheartedly unapologetically me, and right now, I can be and it makes me understand that this quote was true all along. The right person won't make you apologise for being who you are, they'll accept the flaws, the good things about you, and your troubles - and help you work on them as a team. It's made me realise that being me isn't too much and helped me finally accept the fact that I deserve to show the world who I really am.

I deserve love and respect

Love is the most magical thing in the world and something we all deserve in every way. I'm a massive advocate for self-love, I parade it around like a pretty headpiece and think everyone needs the same attitude. However, accepting love and being loved by others is something I've struggled with as it's not something I thought I deserved due to past experiences. Being in a new relationship has made me learn that it is something I truly deserve and I'm shown love, care, and respect every day - and it's the best feeling in the world knowing my partner has my back. 

I can still be independent and pursue what I like in life

There is always this thing that when you get into relationships, your life suddenly becomes just them or that is what I was afraid of as I love living my life the way I do. However, I don't have to lose that part of me because I'm in a relationship. My boyfriend is very supportive of me pursuing my goals, having my space and own time and I'm the same with him, as well as ensuring we grow and work together. It's an important quality to me as I am that person who wants to be working on a million things at once. Knowing I'm with someone who is my biggest cheerleader and also respects my independence is all I could ever want.

I love being able to share life with someone

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I didn't think I'd be in a relationship for the longest time. But the universe has a funny way of figuring things out for me and has given me the gift of a guy with who I can't wait to do life with and grow together. It's made me realise how much I adore having that person, someone who always has my back, can come along on my crazy adventures, and fall more in love with every single day. I love being able to share the little mundane moments and the huge moments of life with someone that means so much to me.

My love language is quality time 

I could talk about love languages all day and personally think they are something we should learn growing up, in order to know how to give love and feel loved. I've always known that quality time is my thing as I love nothing more than being with the people that mean the most to me and having that time to talk and be with each other. But being in a new relationship has actually allowed me to express it fully as I'm with someone who understands what makes me feel the most love and practices that as much as possible.  Words of affirmation are definitely a close second as I love how love is expressed through the power of words.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What things have you learnt in a relationship?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Pact by Shannon Bolton

Well hello to you my reader chums! Today's book review is one that I am completely obsessed with. As many of you may know, I love a good thriller and this one topped everything. If you're looking for a new thriller to read, here is my review of The Pact by Shannon Bolton.

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Book review: The Pact by Shannon Bolton

Plotline

The plot follows a group of teenagers who one summer play a daredevil game that goes horribly wrong, resulting in a woman and two children being killed. Megan, one of the group makes a pact with her friends. She decides to take the blame, leaving the others to be free and get on with their lives. In return, each one of them agrees to a ‘favour’, which they can give on her release to prison. After twenty years, Megan is free and ready for payback.

Characters and relationships

This was one of those books that the characters and their bonds were incredibly interesting and evolved over time in a way I didn’t expect. Megan is the character that intrigued me the most. Imagine taking the blame for a crime that your friends were guilty of? That was an admiral thing and because of that through a lot of the novel, I did feel sorry for her as she went away and her friends essentially abandoned her for two decades. When Megan was released, her actions towards the others were questionable and it made me doubt that empathy for her, of her friends leaving her. She acted peculiar and kind of like a stalker. It was strange. Her bond with Xav was the most interesting as she had loved him since her school days and you can tell that never really went away.

Amber, I really liked as a character. Even in beginning, she was the kind and caring one who wanted the best for all of her friends, and that trait prevailed through the novel as she stood by her friends and was the only one to stand in Megan’s corner in release at first. Felix, I also warmed to as you could tell his heart was in the right place but the guilt of the crime had eaten away at him all these years (like the others) and he couldn’t be okay with that. The two characters I didn’t really like was Talitha and Dan. Tal to me came across as selfish and heartless through a lot of the plot even towards her friends and had no care for Megan whatsoever. Dan, was just an oddball if I’m honest and it’s no surprise to me why he was really close to Tal and took the most isolated life of them all.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I’m still not over how incredible and addictive this thriller was. It’s one of those books where I thought the storyline was going one way and that flipped over and over again. I loved how fast-paced it was, how the plot always left me questioning after each page, and the character development. It was written in such a clever and well-thought-out way - and was so unexpected after every chapter. I was completely gripped and obsessed with the sheer intelligence of the writing. I would 100% recommend any thriller lovers to check it out!

Ending

The ending wasn’t what I expected at all. The book took a complete 360 in the last few chapters and my mouth dropped at what happened. I'm not going to give it away but what I can say is that it was intense and shocking. A must-read!


I hope you enjoyed this review! Are you into thrillers?

Thank you for reading <3