Sunday 22 July 2018

Travel Diary: Speeding Through Scandinavia

These are a series of posts covering my 5 weeks in Europe, and each country I see in bite sizes. Or as my best friend likes to say, “speed touristing.” I visited most places for 4 days, with the exception of Germany and some day trips. This is my way of taking you guys on my adventures through Europe, giving you guys my thoughts on each place and any tips I’ve picked up!

Speeding Through Scandinavia

Stockholm and Copenhagen were small enough to walk through and take a look in one day each! It was rushed but I also felt like I saw what I needed to see - although not do everything I wanted to do. Both cities are beautiful in warm, sunny weather, as the cities have rivers flowing through them. You only have to sit back on the steps at the riverside or smaller parks and just sunbathe to have a great time. 


I stayed at this cosy and super cute Airbnb in Sodermalm. It's a short train ride away from the city centre, and home to various bars and clubs - perfect for the night life.

Places I Visited:
Gamla Stan
Stockholm's Old Town

I opted to check this out only because of the history behind this ship and how they managed to rescue it from the depths of the sea in it's entirety to be put on show.

Vasterlanggatan 9, Stockholm - located in Gamla Stan
Nytorget 6, 116 40, Stockholm 
This place was a short walk away from my Airbnb and I highly recommend it! I had "The Vanja"and it was such a unique dish to try out.

Nytorgsgatan 30, Sodermalm
You haven't gone to Sweden if you don't eat meatballs!


Places I Visited:
Tourist Sites

Located in the Christianshavn area, Free Town is a small anarchist district within Copenhagen, relatively well-known for its open cannabis trade. It has its own rules and regulations, independent of the government, although still in communications with the State. It is such a creative space, filled with so  many buildings of different designs, stalls and communal spaces. An absolutely gorgeous place. 

Moller - Kaffe & Kokken
Norrebrogade 160 2200, Copenhagen
The concept here is that you get a variety of categories on the menu with smaller dishes so you can pick and choose to make the perfect brunch meal! Loved it!

Refshalevej 167A, 1432 Copenhagen K
Is this super cool outdoor food market, where there are different zones with containers of a variety of cuisines. Best yet is the brewery, Mikkeller, located just near the riverside. Great beer and great views!

Transport Tips

From the Airport
There are loads of options, but the cheapest is the bus. However, it is also the longest option and you could possibly be stuck in traffic if your flight times are around peak hour so keep that in mind. Otherwise the metro/underground is also a relatively affordable option. 
Around the City
As I was staying outside of the city centre a little I had to rely on trains, which were easy to navigate and not expensive either. I was lucky to have an underground station right next to my Airbnb as well!

From the Airport
Travelling to and from the airport is so easy in Copenhagen because of how small the city is. There is only one train stop, and the S-train can take you to the main station where there are a number of buses to take around the city as well. 
Around the City
You definitely don't need public transport to make your way around Copenhagen. Everything is easily accessible by walking, and biking is the predominant mode of transport. 

Both countries use their own currency though so keep that in mind! 
Swedish Krona (SEK) or Danish Krona (DKK) 
The conversion rate is currently
1SEK = 0.15AUD
1DKK = 0.20AUD
They're not cheap countries - just a warning

Sunday 8 July 2018

Most Exciting Releases For The Last Half of 2018

We're now in the last half of 2018, which is insane, but also super exciting as we've already had some great releases in the first half and now we're making way for some more!

Wow I have a new video up? Is it too late to say new year new me? I list the top 5 books I'm anticipating the most for the rest of this year!

Other Releases In The Year

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally
August 14th
YA Contemporary
Julia Blake, Sylvia’s older sister, disappears leaving Sylvia to continue her legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy. But when Julia sends Sylvia a copy of their favourite childhood fairy tale book, renamed as Girls in Trouble by Julia, Sylvia begins to almost magically see Julia everywhere she looks. Sylvia decides to embark on a road trip with her best friends brother to find Julia.

The Towering sky (The Thousandth Floor #3) - Katharine McGee
August 28th
YA Sci-Fi
The third instalment to McGee's series that's been referred to as having futuristic Gossip Girl, set in a dystopian world within a thousand story tower in the middle of New York City.

Sadie - Courtney Summers
September 4th
YA Mystery
Sadie’s sister, Mattie is found dead. Determined, Sadie follows clues in an effort to discover how Mattie died, with the police being no help. Her investigation leads to a podcast being started by West McCray, tracking Sadie’s journey as she hopefully finds answers.

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) - Kendare Blake
September 4th
YA Fantasy 
Third instalment to Three Dark Crowns series, following three sisters and their battle for the throne, each with different powers.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth - Kirsten White
September 25th
YA Retelling
Retelling of Frankenstein through Elizabeth’s perspective, with a chilling twist to it - what if Elizabeth was never happy living with Victor and what if he posed as a danger to her? I am a huge fan of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley so am super intrigued to see what it was like.

What If It's Us - Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
October 9th
I told myself I'd read more diverse books, and I stumbled upon this one revolving around Ben and Arthur and their not so easy romance.

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) - Sarah J. Maas
October 23rd
YA Fantasy 
I can't believe we've already reached the 7th instalment to Throne of Glass, and to be quite honest I'm still excited about this series and revisiting the world and its characters.

How She Died, How I Lived - Mary Crockett
November 13th
YA Contemporary
The story follows a girl, who is one of five girls Kyle texted. Only Jamie, a girl too nice to ignore him, responded and it got her killed. A year after the incident, the girl is angry and wants answers. She wants to know why Jamie died and she didn’t. Except she’s beginning to be drawn to Jamie’s boyfriend, Charlie, which makes it even harder to deal with.

The Reckoning of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #2) - Michelle Hodkin
November 13th
YA Paranormal
I'm still obsessed with the Mara Dyer series and anything to do with Noah Shaw so this was a must add to the list.

What Are You Excited For In The Last Half of 2018?

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Travel Diary: A List Do's and Don'ts of Ibiza, As Experienced By Yours Truly

These are a series of posts covering my 5 weeks in Europe, and each country I see in bite sizes. Or as my best friend likes to say, “speed touristing.” I visited most places for 4 days, with the exception of Germany and some day trips. This is my way of taking you guys on my adventures through Europe, giving you guys my thoughts on each place and any tips I’ve picked up! 

A List of Do's and Don'ts of Ibiza, As Experienced By Yours Truly

Do research a little on where you want to stay. Ibiza is actually quite big and there are two areas that you can look into staying at - San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa. San Antonio is on the side closer to Barcelona, accessible by ferry between the two. Playa d’en Bossa is a 25 minute drive on the other side of the island, closer to the Airport. Both places have very well-known venues/parties, so take a look and pick your place! 
Accomodation: Ryans Ibiza Apartment

Don't just limit yourself to the area you’re in! Ibiza has a lot more to offer than just partying. Formentera, one of Spain’s smaller islands, is a short ferry ride away. I’ve also heard the Old Town, Dalt Vila is beautiful to visit. Find a local Spanish restaurant for a taste of some authentic cuisine or hire a Quad Bike/Scooter and get around the island at your own pace. 

Do have cash. It makes it a lot easier, especially when you’ll most likely be catching Taxis rather than buses. Not all taxis are fitted with EFTPOS machines. Also means you’re not pulling out your card at multiple times throughout the night, increasing the chances of losing it.

Don't rely on getting wasted at clubs/events. Drinks are insanely expensive. At one point I paid 65 euros for a voucher of 5 cocktails - that’s basically $100AUD. Instead, there are heaps of supermarkets that sell alcohol or bars where drinks are a little cheaper. Pre-drink is all I say!

Do plan your day ahead. By this, I mean look up events you want to attend as most places will be selling tickets prior and is a lot cheaper when you purchase beforehand. I used the website Ibiza Spotilght, which breaks down months, venues and days for easier viewing. Also meant I could skip certain queues.

Don't, in any circumstance, leave your mobile phone in the bathroom and then proceed to lose the people you are with, in a club that is immensely big. For instance, Pacha. The experience is not fun, stumbling around flights of stairs trying to remember which bathroom you went to or where you might find your friends again, as Fat Boy Slim hypes up the crowd.

Do make sure you have Find my iPhone, or any other tracking service your device offers turned on, so that you can track to see where it has gone. Turn on lost mode to ensure no one can use your device. If and when you do find it, either give your phone a ring or have something identifiable that you can point out to let the cloak room ladies know it’s yours. For me, it was a Polaroid photo on the back. (Yes, I did get my phone back).

Don’t freak out if you lose it. Enjoy your day. Ibiza is THE place to distract yourself from real life. Find a day party to forget that you did something so stupid, such as hitting up Ushuaia. The venue is an incredible open club, seeing some pretty big names during the Summer. As soon as party season starts the you’ll see the likes of David Guetta, Robin Schulz and Hardwell headlining. Get ready to party all day long!

Do have an amazing time in general. Regardless of what happens during Ibiza I can guarantee it will be memorable and you’ll look back and have a good laugh. I do, at the very least, when I recount my weekend in Ibiza. Honestly though, how the hell did I get my phone back after misplacing it for 24 hours?!

What Was One Thing I Should've Done in Ibiza?

Sunday 1 July 2018

Why You'll Love One Of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. 
Browyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four them suspects in his murder.

Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


Another 2017 read, guys please bear with me while I get through my last few reviews of 2017! 

This was a killer read - pardon the pun. I love a good mystery that’s well set out to lead to a shocking ending alongside having characters that I can invest in. One of Us Is Lying is exactly that. I was on edge for most of the story and knew that I couldn’t put it down until I finished. It’s a fairly short read that delivers an immense amount of impact, not only from the mystery itself but from McManus exploring diversity, acceptance and other social issues that crop up within high school as well.

McManus delivers a clever and surprising plot twist, which took the book from a 4 stars to 5.&nbspThere was no way I could’ve suspected that was the resolution to the novel, but it was well thought out and explained, that I wasn’t questioning how ludicrous it seemed to be. The plot was fast paced and suspenseful, being an absolute page turner.

I didn’t expect to see such strong character developments or feel attached to them either. The personalities introduced are somewhat cliches to novels set in high school however, they have a lot more depth to them that is revealed and explored as the plot progresses. Each character will come across as relatable, with issues that most of us have dealt with or are dealing with currently. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like them that much but they were pretty much all flawed characters and I am a sucker for that.

Throughout all the crime solving and character development is another aspect that made One of Us Is Lying an engaging read. McManus addresses social issues that have been and continue to be discussed amongst our social sphere. Trigger warnings for bullying, school shootings, suicide, abusive relationships, mental health, discrimination against LGBQT+ community. As much as I love a gripping read, nothing is more satisfying than reading a novel that engages me with real life concerns that gets me thinking and is challenging.

Bottom line. You should read it.