Sunday, 17 August 2014

bad girls don't die series | book review

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Yesterday at 2pm I started reading 'Bad Girls Don't Die', the first book in Katie Alender's young adult horror trilogy. By 4 o'clock this morning, I'd finished all three. I have always been a super quick reader and when I get into a book, if I don't have any other plans (and sometimes even if I do!) I can spend hours reading it and be finished that same day. I don't think I've ever read a trilogy in less than 15 hours before though, but for some reason with this series I just couldn't stop! 

A part of me is still unsure why I found the books so addictive. They were good, yes and I did enjoy reading them but they were definitely, in my opinion, flawed. However, once one finished I just wanted to carry on with the next, I needed to know what happened to the characters and I guess that that is what makes a good book.

The three books, Bad Girls Don't Die, From Bad to Cursed and as Dead as it Gets, are narrated by Alexis Warren, an american teenager who through out the novels gets in all sorts of supernatural trouble. In the first book, her sister Kasey is possessed. In the second book she is mixed up in the strange Sunshine Club and in the third girls from Alexis' school start going missing and she is convinced a ghost is behind it. 

You might be thinking, as was I, how can one family get involved so heavily with all this supernatural business?! What absolute bad luck! That was kind of a problem for me, the way the characters jumped back in to all this creepy stuff seemingly readily after their first terrifying brush with the dead. In my opinion, the second book is the worst in the series, I just couldn't understand WHY the characters were doing what they were doing after what happened in the first book and their behaviour and attitude frustrated me at times. The third book was my favourite by far. The reasoning for Alexis' involvement in the supernatural a third time was much better explained and believable. I loved the friendship between Alexis and the ghost and at parts the book was funny. This was also the most creepy of the three, although none of them scared me. (I am a horror lover though and it does take ALOT to scare me after years of becoming desensitised, I know other people who did find the series scary.) Sometimes I found that the books were a bit too fast, that everything was happening on top of something else and I also found that, even though Alexis' sister Kasey was a main character throughout the trilogy, I didn't really ever warm to her because I didn't really ever know who she was. All the other characters I could picture in my head, but I don't think Kasey was developed enough for me to get a clear picture of even her psychical appearance, let alone her personality.

Reading this review, you might be wondering why I spent a whole day doing nothing but reading these books. Despite all of my criticisms, I did enjoy reading them and I just couldn't stop. After I finished the third book, I even found myself missing Alexis and wanting to know what happened after, if she managed to finally stay out of supernatural trouble. Because what Katie Alender managed to do really well, in my opinion, is build a relationship between myself and Alexis. I liked the characters she liked, I hated the character she hated, I fell for the boys she fell for and I was screaming at her to not get herself into danger. I really cared for Alexis and I really wanted to keep on reading, and that is what made this series for me a pretty good series! I would definitely recommend these three books to anyone interest in young adult horror/paranormal stories.

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This was my first ever book review, what did you think? Please let me know if you found it useful, if you've read the series and agree/disagree or if it's made you want to try out the Bad Girls Don't Die trilogy!

Monday, 11 August 2014

TRAVEL | ILFRACOMBE, DEVON

I love to travel. I love to see new places, experience new and interesting cultures, treat my eyes to the beauty that is planet earth. But to me travel isn't just about hopping on a plane and jetting off to exotic, foreign lands. It's about exploring your own back garden, jumping on a train/coach/in the family car, and heading off to learn more about the country you call home. On the 26th July that's just what I did. Accompanied by my mom, dad and best friend, I spent the week soaking up the English sun in the stunning north of Devon.

The first place we ventured to was the seaside town of Ilfracombe, an absolutely beautiful little town with a sweet little harbour, surrounded by cliffs and sea. This little place is steeped in history having been around since the Iron Age, being the town the late great Peter Sellers made his very first stage appearance, a brief home for the evacuated Joan and Jackie Collins and now for the artist Damien Hirst. It's history, it's cute little buildings, beautiful views of the harbour, beach and cliffs all make this town a very worthwhile place to pay a visit to if you are ever in this part of the country.





If you do find yourself in Ilfracombe and are looking for somewhere to grab a spot of lunch, I'd definitely suggest heading down to the harbour and popping in the The Smugglers, a beautifully decorated, cosy cafe where you can grab a very tasty light bite.

my mom and dad inside The Smugglers



Thursday, 7 August 2014

Go with the flow


As of Wednesday the 28th May I had finished my degree. As of Sunday 22nd June I no longer lived with my best friends in Swansea. As of Monday 14th July 2014 I had officially graduated Swansea University with a BA 2:1 degree in joint honours Ancient History and Egyptology. As of now, for the first time in my life I have no idea what will happen. I've got plans of course, I plan to get a job, save some money, do some  A LOT of travelling and eventually do a PGCE and become a teacher. That's what I hope to do, but I have nothing concrete, nothing sorted. For a control freak, planner, change-aphobe like me (I'm a Virgo, I am SO a Virgo) that is the scariest thing ever...

Ever since I was a little girl, I had a plan and I knew what was going to happen. I was going to spend 7 years in Primary school, then another 7 years in secondary school/sixth form, and then I was going to go to university. That was set in stone for me. I never thought about any of that not happening, I never contemplated the fact that I might not get into university. I worked hard and it was something that I knew was going to happen for me, perhaps my mind changed about which university/degree, but university was always my next step after sixth form. And sixth form was always my next step after secondary school. And now everything is up in the air and I'm anxious and scared and just a tiny bit excited. 

I know what I want. I want to get a job and travel, but for how long? Where will I go? Who will I go with? I want to eventually become a primary school teacher, but where will I do my PGCE? What age will I be when I come to do it? Where will my first teaching job be? Am I even capable of becoming a teacher? And then there's all the will I get married, will I have children questions that I don't even want to think about. I'm a worrier and a planner and this is a really, really scary time for me right now but I'm really trying to relax, to breathe and to do something I'm not sure I've ever done before... to just go with the flow. To welcome the unexpected, to embrace the change and to walk down roads that I don't know exactly where they are going to lead. I've got a plan, a very vague plan and I know where I want to end up and somethings I want/need to do on the way, but this is the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and let my life go where it's going to go. I'm scared and I'm excited and I'm going to take you along on this journey with me.

I've decided to fully immerse myself in blogging. I've got time, plenty of time. And I've got loads of ideas and I want somewhere to express how I'm feeling and record my adventures and document my life. It will be nice to have a constant in my life amongst all the changes that are inevitably going to occur. So that's why the blog has undergone a makeover, thanks to the lovely Amy from The Little Koala 

I'm scared and excited, but I think it's going to be okay. I think it might even be fun!



Thursday, 24 July 2014

I grew up in Swansea

A few months ago whilst reminiscing about our time at university in Swansea, Adam said to me "you were born in Birmingham, but you grew up in Swansea." Whilst mocking him for how corny it sounded (and secretly wishing it had been me that had said it, because it's kind of a cute line) I couldn't help but be mind-blown about how true it was.

When I was 18 I was cripplingly shy, I was reserved, I was a worrier, I was totally dependent on my boyfriend, my parents and my group of friends I had made in school. I was terrified about having to do things on my own, about having to do new things, about being out of my 'comfort zone'. I was petrified of moving away from home, of having to grow up and stand on my own two feet, of having to be brave and strong. I was convinced I was going to fail.

I'm 21 now and I stand before you still shy, still a worrier (somethings just aren't ever going to change) but a completely different person.

I remember the first time I ever visited Swansea, with Adam in July 2010. I remember walking along the sea front all the way to Mumbles and back and falling madly in love with the views and the city. I also remember the sinking feeling in my stomach, the voice in my head screaming that I couldn't do it, that I couldn't be happy here. I remember two weeks into the start of my degree, crying to Adam about how much I hated my life, how much I hated it here and how I was so dangerously close to quitting.

And now I sit here, laughing at how stupid I once was, smiling at the thought of how amazing these past three years have been and with tears welling up in my eyes because its all coming to an end. And that voice inside my head is now screaming "YOU DID IT! YOU FUCKING DID IT! WASN'T THAT FUN?"

I guess I've been on a 'journey'. I'm a different person, a better person. I went to university and I got a degree which I'm so proud of and will be so useful to me when it comes to future career options. But I got so much more than just a degree.  I fell in love with the city of Swansea and with the freedom and independence that came with living on my own. I got a best friend, I got three years worth of fun, happy and unforgettable memories and, perhaps most importantly, I gained a fresh set eyes. Through these eyes I saw everything differently. I saw myself differently, I saw things that were good about me and I stopped being so self-deprecating and because of this I saw my future differently. I realised it didn't have to be as bleak as I'd always envisioned because I was 'too shy/too stupid/too clumsy/too ugly/too bla bla bla' to get anywhere. I realised I had so much to look forward to, I was so lucky to be where I was and have what I had and I was (and still am) very excited about what was to come.

It's finished now. Over. I've officially graduated. I've moved out of Swansea and said tearful goodbye's to the friends I made there. But I will carry these three years with me forever because Adam's right, I did grow up here. I changed and I grew. I had sex for the first time here (TMI? probably, sorry), I made friends that I actually wanted to be around forever, I tackled my depression and anxiety, I learnt that I wouldn't be happy if I wasn't a primary school teacher, I became a vegetarian, I discovered I could actually live on my own (AND BLOODY LOVE IT), I started down the path of health, exercise and fitness and I put in a shit load of hard work and came out with a 2:1 degree.

All that's left to say now I guess is, thank you Swansea. You've changed my life, you've made me happier then I ever thought I could be and, whilst I'm so sad to leave you, you've given me a fresh pair of eyes to look at the future with and I'm not scared anymore. Well, at least not as much.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Oh Vienna | Day 1

I like to plan what I'm going to get people for their birthday or Christmas well in advance. So last November, I slyly got Adam to tell me where he would most like to next travel in Europe and quickly set about booking us up a surprise birthday trip. With it being our last year at university and therefore being super busy with exams and dissertations and spending lots of time getting drunk with our friends, I booked the trip for early June. 

So on the 7th June at 8:30 am we set off from London Gatwick to Vienna. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about Vienna. It wouldn't have been my first choice (or 10th or 15th...) and I really wasn't sure what to expect or what there would be to do/see there and even watching one of my all time favourite movies Before Sunrise, which was set in Vienna and really did make it look stunning and interesting, didn't stop me thinking it wouldn't be as good as our other trips abroad. Oh, how wrong I was!

As soon as we began exploring I fell in love (sidenote... you will notice that I fall in love often, with places, with things, with experiences... some people might think I'm just over exaggerating or using the term 'falling in love' too easily but I actually do fall in love, over and over and over again. I feel so strongly about everything I feel anything about that 'falling in love' with things (or, you know, hating things with fiery passion) happen on an almost daily basis). Day 1 constituted settling into our hostel, taking a quick power nap and getting acquainted with the city, wandering around and soaking up the sights. Here are a few pictures of that first day.








Over the next couple of posts about this city, with both my words and pictures I'm going to try to set the scene. I'm going to try to explain Vienna. I'm going to try to do Vienna justice but please forgive me  if I can't because it is going to be a bloody tough job. Capturing a city such as Vienna should really be left to the John Shaw's or Fitzgerald's of the world. Describing any city should be actually. But, as I've done in the past and will undoubtadly contine to do, I'm going to give it a whirl. Keep your eyes peeled for the next few up and coming blog posts about my (way too short) time in Vienna, Austria. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

#23 things to do this summer

I'm going to assume that most of you know who Alfie Deyes is. Not long ago he posted this video on his YouTube channel and it's not a bad idea. Infact, I actually think that making a list of things you want to accomplish this summer and documenting them somewhere is a really good idea. I find that summer can be quite boring and repetitive and turns me into one lazy biatch (okay.. more of a lazy biatch because I'm pretty lazy whatever the season)... so having a list of things that I know I want to get done means that on days where I feel like I have nothing to wake up for I can say to myself "hey, remember that list of things you'd love to get done over summer, let's scratch one of those off today!"

So here is my list of 25 (erm, actually it's only 23 because I really struggled to come up with 25 free/cheap things to do over summer) things I want to get done!

#1:   Go on some bike rides. I love bike rides.
#2:   Go to Brighton for the day/overnight. I also love Brighton and am pretty excited to show Adam the city.
#3:   Go to/host a B B Q. Not sure how many of my non vegetarian friends will come to/cater a veggie BBQ, but it's worth a shot.
#4:   Spend some time with friends in a beer garden. Because sometimes there's nothing better than spending a warm summers day             getting tipsy and catching up with friends.
#5:   G R A D U A T E ! 
#6:   Have a pretty awesome time in Swansea with all my uni buds one last time :(
#7:   Read at least 5 books. Because over these past 3 years of university I've majorly missed reading for fun.
#8:   Finally watch the movies on my 'to watch list'. Of which there are a few.
#9:   Get some work experience in a primary school again.
#10:   Start my online Teaching Assistant course.
#11:   Get a jogging routine going.
#12:   Get a JOB!
#13:   SAVE, S A V E, S A V E!
#14:   Have an evening picnic... beers, friends, veggie sausage rolls, sunset.. what is better?!
#15:   Take my beautiful dog on plenty of walks and find somewhere new to take him.
#16:   Spend some quality time with my wonderful, amazing, family.
#17:   Go to a fair/theme park.
#18:   Start learning The Tarot... again... properly this time!
#19:   Go to Go Ape (an adventure playground).
#20:   Do something c r e a t i v e !
#21:   Now I have the time I can finally get blogging consistently.
#22:   Begin learning German ????
#23:   Do something random and fun and new.


When I get one of the things done I'm going to blog about it, so we'll see how many of these I manage to tick off by the end of summer! Do you have a list like this or is there anything you'd like to accomplish this summer?

Oxford town in the afternoon

Over the Christmas (2013) break Adam and I went to Oxford. We've both been before but it was so long ago for me that I could hardly remember how beautiful the city was. It's a really magical feeling place filled with wonderful architecture and picturesque scenes round every corner.

We were only there for a few hours and hadn't done any research into what we wanted to see in the city, which was totally out of character for us (well me, I'm a bit of a huge control freak/planner) but it was really lovely. We just got off the mega bus, picked a road and walked down it taking in whatever was to see where every we ended up. We had such a lovely afternoon just wondering around, talking about anything and everything and enjoying the beautiful scenery.













Post Title | Bob Dylan - Oxford Town

Thursday, 26 June 2014

We're going through changes

So you might have noticed a few changes around here! I'm finally finished with uni and have so much time on my hands now to do what I've been craving the time to do properly for a long, long time... blog! 

New Name
I wanted a fresh start and felt like that would only happen with a new name. The old name was all about me and Adam, and in some ways the old style of blogging seemed to be a sort of online journal about our exploits as a couple, but that's not really I want this to be. I want it to be mine about things that are important to me so I decided to change the name to something that is purely for me.
I'm an ancient history student and I love myths and legends and Pandora's box has always been one of my favourites. I also think it has a really nice ring to it although I didn't want to just steal the name Pandora's box and so switched the box for 'fox'. When I was about 11 and into doing quizzes all the time in my magazines like What Saved by the Bell character are you? and Who is your perfect celebrity boyfriend? (Jessie and Ben from A1.. is it sad that I remember the answers!?) I did a ‘What animal are you?’ and got the answer fox and I just loved that. The description and reasoning for why I was a fox was just so spot on and (as stupid as this sounds) because I was so young it kind of stuck and ten years later I still feel like a little I’m a secret fox. So there’s my new name. I hope you like it!

New design
Every time I looked at my blog I would cry. Not literally, but it made me feel so depressed and uninspired. I had an image in my head of how I wanted it to look but I had no idea how to make it look anything like my dream layout. That’s where Amy came in (massively) handy, with her beautiful ideas, brilliant skills and affordable prices she created exactly what I was after and I’m so so happy with the final result! If anyone is thinking of getting their blog redesigned or any aspects designed then I would really, really recommend Amy. She was so easy and friendly to work with and really listened to my ideas and incorporated most things I asked for into the design. And she created something I’m really happy with. 

What to expect
I guess I'd describe it as a travel and lifestyle blog but I'm going to be blogging about everything, from fashion to beauty to book reviews... I love writing and I'm now so committed to blogging because it's just so much fun that I will be taking myself off to my bedroom, grabbing my laptop and typing away about everything that interests me.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How can you be mad in a moonlit Rome? | Day 3


















^^^ Look at that moon! ^^^


Friday the 21st September was my 20th birthday and the day we decided to go see the Vatican. What a wonderful place, and the Sistine Chapel is just as beautiful as you imagine. It was a completely magical birthday, one I'll never forget in a city I'll always remember as the love of my life.

The title of this post comes from something Adam said to me as we was strolling around in the dark. Very poetic, very cringey and it's become a kind of catchphrase for us now. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

On an evening in Roma | Day 2












^^^ As an Ancient history student, it was pretty amazing learning about these places in my lectures and then visiting them for real. Seeing how much has survived over thousands of years and being able to visualise the goings on that happened here. Wow. ^^^

^^^ If I could chose any place in the world to get married in, it would be here in the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli next to the Capitoline hill. Such a beautiful building inside and out and has the most amazing feeling. And, the most incredible view, seen in the picture below! ^^^





Day 2 was our tourist day. We jumped on a sightseeing hop on hop off bus and went exploring the city. Wow. Just wow. If there is one city which amazed me at every single opportunity it was Rome. So much beauty and history and culture on every street. Me and Adam both said how much we’d love to just put on a playlist of our favourite songs and spend hours walking alone around the city because it was just so inspiring and amazing and… wow. I think ‘wow’ is actually the only word I can use to describe it. Wow.