Let’s Talk – I’m Stuck

Hey my wonderful followers, I think if you’ve been following me for some time now you probably have noticed that my blog has got a little bit stagnant. And there’s a lot of reasons for this as my blog has gone through such an upheaval in the last year and I just don’t have the time I used to have and its making me sad because I used to love spending so much time on my blog.

This time last year I was just working for my parents getting ready to start my teaching course and I was so excited. Flash forward to December and the teaching course was not what I was expecting, my gran died and I wasn’t getting any of the support I desperately needed from uni. So as this continued to February I just couldn’t do it anymore because I was miserable. I was on the highest dose of anti depressants I’d ever been on, I didn’t have time to read let alone blogging and it was honestly just awful.

Since then I’ve had a couple of jobs and feel like my mental health is getting back to where it should be through routine and not hating what I’m doing and I feel much more even. But, and thats a big BUT, I just haven’t been able to get my love for blogging back. I’m back into reading and I’m really happy with where I’m at with my reading but I’m struggling so much with my blog.

I’m not happy with how I’m running things but I don’t know how to change it up. I’m trying to have my blog more for reviews and my youtube for general bookish and life things. And I like having them separated like that, but what I’m struggling with it that I can tell my reviews aren’t great and my engagement isn’t great and I’ve not been very good at looking at other people’s blogs and I’m trying to get back to that.

I just feel like I don’t know how to review anymore, I actually dread some of the reviews I write because I don’t know what to say . I don’t know how to make people want to read my reviews. And I need help.

So basically this is me asking my wonderful followers for some feedback. If you’ve followed me for a while what parts of my blog do you like and what don’t you like. If you’ve been in a similar situation, what did you do?

I feel miss blogging and the community and I just feel stuck and it’s making me sad.


Life Update: Putting My Mental Health First

Hey everyone, how are you all? I know I’ve been a bit scarce lately but I will be explaining that in this post.

As those of you who have followed me for a while are aware I have spent the year training to be a teacher at University. I’ve been preparing for being a maths secondary teacher as it is something I’ve always wanted to do. But recently I have found myself struggling with my depression worse than I have in a long time, and after having a harsh mid placement report on Friday I spent the weekend thinking about everything. I realised I wasn’t enjoying the experience as I’d hoped. I’d been struggling with stress and I’ve just been constantly anxious.

So I’ve decided to withdraw from the teaching part of the course. I’m hopefully going to do the final essay so I still get the course credits for the work I have put in academically. It was a hard decision but I cannot believe how much better I feel already, which I think is pretty telling.

I think maybe in a few years I will come back to teaching when I’m much more mentally prepared but right now isn’t the right time. I’m actually shocked how calm I feel considering my whole life is up in the air right now, but I just feel such a release for not being in that situation anymore.

Overall, I’d say make sure you put your mental health first, don’t stay in a situation if you can get out of it when it’s not making you happy.

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I hit 500 Followers! Giveaway!

On Sunday night I hit 500 followers and I’m so happy. I started this blog just as an attempt to push myself to start reading again and here I am. I didn’t think I would get 100 followers let alone 500.

Thank you so much for following me, I appreciate every one of you. Thank you for your likes thank you for your comments. Just thank you for the support you’ve given me.

I hope you’ll stick by me over the next few months when posts might not be so on time with how hectic I think uni is going to be. I love you all!

So I’ve set up a give away as a thank you for any preorder of your choice. It’s international if TBD, amazon or a company that is easy for me to pay through ships to you. The rafflecopter will be live for 2 weeks!


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Asia Travel Blog #4 – Hong Kong

So to set the scene I’m going to tell you how our journey to Hong Kong started. We got on the bus to board our flight from Shanghai (click for my post on China) and were driven around for about 20 minutes, then we were taken back to the terminal. When we got back to the terminal they told us our flight was delayed and they would update us. About an hour later we finally boarded the plane. Where we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours.

Thankfully we eventually got to Hong Kong, Joanne tells me the flight was the worst turbulence ever, as we went through a huge storm but I slept through it.

Our hotel was one of those like tiny box rooms like most hotels in Hong Kong are because they have too many people for the space but for how small the room was they have good spatial management and it actually felt clean.

Hong Kong is such a weird place because obviously it’s Cantonese so has a lot of Chinese values inbedded in their infrastructure but because British people were so involved in the build up of at as a City there’s some really Western behaviours and the two do not create a good mix in my opinion because the people are pretty pushy. And lets not even talk about how many people tried to sell me shit.

On the first day we took a trip to the Big Buddha, like the typical White Girls we are. If you went to Hong Kong and didn’t get a picture with Big Buddha did you really go to Hong Kong?

When we got there there was just so many white people doing stupid things and I was so ashamed to be the same race as them. And then a huge tour group of Latinx students appeared and it was like they were having some sort of photoshoot for a magazine honestly I’ve never seen so many people take so many ridiculous photos. We spent at least 20 minutes just watching them and taking the piss out of them. I understand getting a few selfies and group shots because hey we did that but man going so overboard is just a bit disrespectful.

After visiting the Big Buddha we went for a wander around Hong Kong island before heading to the Happy Valley Race Course, which was very surreal. It was the equivalent of £1 to get in and just watch. I don’t like Horse Racing so I only went because Joanne wanted to go, but again I spent the majority of the time there people watching. There were these very weird model types advertising Quiksilver but we have no idea why and a pair of them were flirting until his girlfriend appeared thinking she was bloody Gigi Hadid and marked her territory, it was hilarious. There was also a band who thought they were the best band ever and they kept playing very bizarre songs.

On our second full day in Hong Kong we decided to go to Disney as we originally planned to go on our last day but there was weather warnings so we didn’t want to miss going.

If you’re in Hong Kong you have to go to Disney because it’s fucking empty, it’s amazing. You can go around the park twice in one day, I went on Space Mountain twice (which is a feat in its self as I hate coasters) which you should know is super difficult to do normally. Please look at the pics below and see the ridiculous ride photo we got. Joanne got her degree classification whilst we were there, so we were crying into our veggie curry’s in Disney.

On our final day we went up to Victoria Peak on the tram, which was a bit terrifying to be honest. We bought our tickets as a combo ticket for the 360 view but once we got up there the cloud was just not moving. They hadn’t even warned us when we got our ticket which I think was pretty shitty but hey capitalism. The staff kept telling us the cloud was moving but it didn’t really.

We took the Star Ferry around the harbour, I felt like I was going to vomit most of the time, which I’m not normally like on boats but man alive it was so bumpy.

Later on that day we saw the Symphony of Lights, which was also super disappointing as it wasn’t even anything fantastic it was just some lights and everyone was pure buzzing and I was just like… is that it? We then got some pizza that was larger than our faces.

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Asia Travel Blog #3 – China

And I’m back with the travel blogs. If you missed them I had posts about Japan and Korea.

To go to China for a period of time you have to pay a large amount for a Visa so we decided to get a transit visa which is a free 144 hour pass into China. There was 2 or 3 forms to fill out so it’s a bit complicated and obviously as you haven’t had the background checks of a standard visa they judge you pretty harshly at immigration. So we spent a good hour at least waiting to get through passport control in Shanghai. There was only like 10 people in front of us in the queue but they kept doing things wrong and god it was such a huge faff I’m just glad we didn’t have anywhere we needed to be.

We took the maglev to the city centre of Shanghai which was incredible because you don’t feel like you’re moving that fast but you’re going like 400 km/h and you can see things zooming past you out the window. Chinese people themselves will literally travel the maglev for no other reason that to experience the fastest train in the world.

We stayed in an actual Youth Hostel so it was a really nice quality hostel but my god it was so hard to find. If you’re going to have a youth hostel surely it shouldn’t be super out the way, but what do I know?

After our experience at the airport we just kind of stayed in the hostel for the night, it was also raining so we just chilled out.

The next day it was still raining, which sounds like a bad thing but honestly when you’re in a place like Shanghai you want it to rain because it clears the air. We literally didn’t have to wear any breathing masks when we were there. Because it was raining though we needed somewhere that wasn’t outside to visit so off to the Shanghai museum it was. If you ever want to go to the Shanghai museum make sure you go in the morning because they only allow so many visitors a day. I learned some things there I didn’t know but there is a lot of the same thing there on display, they don’t have just one of each thing. I was kind of amazed though at how much they had that was still in such good condition.

Then once it had stopped raining we headed to The Bund which is a nice view but is literally just a view of some buildings and I have no idea why it’s so famous. Then we grabbed lunch in a shopping centre, which is probably the best option if you don’t speak Mandarin and aren’t interested in mystery meals.

We then headed to the YuYuan market which is outside of the Yuyuan Gardens and was just a really weird place. It’s full of shops and random people trying to sell you stuff which I find so sad because the buildings themselves are so pretty but they aren’t allowed to be the original buildings because the Chinese government is so tight fisted in its laws on there being no religion in China. We didn’t go into the Yuyuan Gardens because they were fairly expensive and I’m not paying that much just for some gardens no matter how pretty they are. Holy shit the amount of people in the Market was just ridiculous. We crossed the bridge which is like the most pictured bridge in China and it was a trial in itself just to get photos.

That night we went to a bar called Perry’s. What an experience that was. If you ever go to China go to a bar where the students frequent because you will see some things you would not believe. I come from Scotland I’ve seen people in some states due to alcohol but my God what a night.

The next day we headed to Nanjing and just wandered around the city. Joanne spent a month in Nanjing last year studying so it was cool for me to see a place that she called home for 3 weeks. After having a wander around the university campus we headed to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, got off at the wrong metro station, walked to the Hall and found it was closed.

We went in some duck boats and got stuck in the middle of a lake for a few minutes because the engine needed a little rest. Then we went to the Nanjing Fuzimiao where there is a Confucius Temple which again costs a lot of money. China has to be one of the most Capitalist Communist states to ever exist.

Our final day in Shanghai was in Disney which was probably my worst experience at a Disney. Not through any fault of the park but just the people at the park were just the worst. They were so rude all the time and even the staff didn’t seem that happy. What I found wild was that there was like no queues for character meetings, but the queues for rides were all really long. We kind of just wandered around a lot of the time because the rides we were interested in all had long wait times and we just couldn’t be bothered with it. But it was still nice just being in Disney itself.

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Asia Travel Blog #2 – Korea

So if you know me you know I love Kpop, Korean beauty and just general Korean culture so Korea was my most anticipated part of the trip. If you missed my last post about Japan click here.

Upon landing in Incheon we found our way to the train to the centre of Seoul and were sat next to the 2 most annoying Canadians on the planet, I wanted to put my head through the window so that was the best welcome ever.

Our hotel was in Jongno-gu so it was really straightforward to get to off the metro, thankfully. The hotel itself was super nice and we couldn’t believe the price we got it for, considering it had a Jacuzzi in the room and a computer.

First on the to do list was heading to Myeongdong and seeing how many Kbeauty shops there really was. And I was not prepared. I did not expect to see the same shops 5 times on one street each. And every single company had a buy one get one free deal going on for face masks and various other things. Overwhelmed is an understatement to say the least. Some guy who worked at Etude House even stuck out his hand so Joanne could test out lipstick on him instead of herself, which was wild.

For dinner we had some famous Korean fried chicken. We had wanted to get Korean Barbecue but nowhere we could see had chicken and neither of us are fans of pork and beef, so I was sad about that.


Waking up on our second day Joanne had a migraine so I went out to explore on my own as I didn’t want to waste any time and I knew Joanne wouldn’t want me to just hang around. I first headed to Jongmyo which was the shrine of all the royalty. As it was Korean Memorial Day the place was pretty quiet and definitely had a bit of a weird air to it.

I then headed to the Bukcheon Hanok Village which is probably the most photographed place in Seoul besides the Palaces. I got a little bit lost as I was in the right area but wasn’t sure where to find the parts I’d always seen pictures of but then I found a tourist info place and was able to find my way. But first I was hungry so I went and grabbed some Bibimbop (that’s bibimbap with no meat). It was so good, I just love bibimbap so having actual Korean Bibimbap was 10/10 and the shop I got it in was really cute.

The actual Village was so busy with young Korean kids dressed up in Hanboks taking photos as if they were residents of the village. And the hanboks were super cute, some were just standard ones and some were embroidered so nicely. But aside from that the village was really cool, it was so interesting to see how houses used to be and I couldn’t imagine how expensive rent would be for the houses. I went for some patbingsu at a sweet cafe in the village and it was bigger than my head so I couldn’t finish it but it was so good.

Next I went to the The National Folk Museum which was quite a sweet open air museum with some reconstructed buildings to show what village life used to be like. Then I went to the Gyeongbokgung Palace which was the main Palace of Joseon (Korea before it became North and South). It has been burnt down a few times so isn’t the original buildings all the way through but there is constant work to restore it to the way it once was. If you ever go to Seoul you should make this your number 1 priority because its so serene and unbelievable that it’s in the middle of Seoul because you can’t hear any noise.

Joanne woke up and felt a lot better so joined me at the Palace. After quickly showing her some of the things she missed we headed to the COEX which is this insanely huge mall in Gangnam. My main reason for going here was because it has SMTown@COEXartium and I desperately wanted to go there to see what SNSD merch I could find. I spent way too much money and never took a picture of it and it’s currently still in the mail to me (which is kind of terrifying). I then went into a book shop which sold CDs as well so bought more there. The other awesome thing about COEX is that it has a library in the middle of it.


The next day it was pissing down so I had to google some things to do on rainy days in Seoul. Off we toddled to the National Palace Museum which was actually really interesting because I never really learnt much about Korean history. One thing that stood out to me that Korea were quite eager to embrace Western cultures which a lot of East Asian countries were against.

We left the museum earlier than we expected so we walked to Myeongdong as we wanted to go to a Cat Cafe but we knew places didn’t open very early there. It was a longer walk than we thought and we got very wet, but got to see some cute policemen with golf umbrellas. Of course the cafe didn’t open for another hour anyway so we wandered about a little more, found another place to buy some CDs. Nature Republic had this amazing deal: buy one set of 56 face masks and get another set of 56 free so of course we went halfers and bought them.

The cat cafe was the sweetest place ever, it was pretty cheap compared to the ones we have in the UK as well, considering it was 9000 won for entrance and a drink. We met a group of people from Liverpool whilst we were there who started talking about going to a dog cafe which we were kind of interested in too but we wanted to do something else first so we didn’t keep awkwardly bumping into the same people.

I’d read about this place called Common Ground which was a shopping centre made out of shipping containers. However information on where it was was scarce so we got a little lost on the way due to orientation confusion. It was pretty cool to navigate through and it was all indie shops, sadly there wasn’t really anything for either of us to buy though as it was all Asian sizes and even the large wouldn’t fit my thigh.

Eventually we headed to the dog cafe. They had the dogs split up into small dogs and big dogs but thankfully we could move between the rooms to our heart’s content. And you can bet I gave my love to all the dogs. There was 3 corgis! The cutest miniature poodle ever immediately jumped in my lap as well. The staff just let the dogs do what they wanted which was a bit weird to see when the dog’s started getting a bit aggro but I know how that’s better for the dogs themselves.

We flew to Jeju Island the next day and Gimpo Domestic airport was an experience I can tell you, every single flight was running late and every single person was running late. I hate being less than 2 hours early for my flight so I was feeling a bit stressed out by everyone.

Jeju was not what I expected, I think we were staying on the wrong side of the island as I thought it would all be golden beaches. But as we were only staying for a night we couldn’t stay too far from the airport. The Guest House we stayed at was nice and homey and was easy to get to once we got off the horrendous bus journey. Honestly, you should take a bus in Jeju, I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared for my life.

The one night we were there we walked a lot, first we tried to find a beach, which we couldn’t. Then we tried to find an ATM that would accept my card, which we couldn’t. And then we tried to find the place called Noodle Street, and we did.

So since we couldn’t find a beach that night the next day we endeavoured to get to one. Which Joanne managed to find a way to using her inherited navigation genes. Another horrendous bus journey and we found a beach and sat there for 2 hours. Somehow there was free wifi there too so I spent the majority of my time there watching the live results of the UK General Election.

I think I will need to go back to Jeju and see the south side of the island and explore the Sex Museum.

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Asia Travel Blog #1 – Japan

So you may or may not know that I was away for the whole month of June backpacking through cities in East Asia with my friend Joanne. We went to Tokyo, Seoul, Jeju Island, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Phuket and Bangkok. We had some very interesting adventures, saw a lot of weird people and ate some amazing food so I thought I would write a few blog posts detailing our adventures.

We landed in Tokyo at around 8 in the morning and our hotel didn’t open check-in until 3 o’clock, neither of us had slept on the flight so we just wanted to nap but instead we dropped off our bags and went for food. Now you know I’m a vegetarian and have been since December but I knew going to Asia it would be difficult to find veggie food, because of course there was a language barrier but vegetarianism isn’t a big a thing in the cultures as it is over here (apart from the countries that have a strong Muslim population. So I had a pork curry, I didn’t eat the pork as I generally don’t like pork but the sauce was so good.

Then we went to Ueno park which was a 20 minute walk from out hostel and was super pretty but there was some weird drunk people there and it was a very interesting experience for the first day in Japan. Then we went back to the hostel to check in and have a nap. The hostel was really nice and I would definitely recommend it. So if you’re ever in Tokyo 1 Night 1980 Hostel is a good capsule hostel.

The next day we went to the Palace Gardens, but they were closed, which you will notice is a theme of the experience. Then we decided to walk from the Palace to Ginza to see Tokyo station, which has some French architecture then we headed to the Kabukiza theatre. We went to the museum that is part of the theatre which has some things you can try on or test noises to see how they did the theatre. Part of our ticket for the museum included a 3 minute watch of the show which was really interesting. We didn’t want to get a ticket to the full show because they were crazy expensive but we wanted to see what it was like so that was worth the money.

We headed back to a more central area and found a Sanrio shop where I spent a lot of money on stationary without realising because I was still kind of jet lagged and the currency conversion confused me. After lunch we headed to Shibuya and got a bit confused along the way because we got out of the train station at the wrong place so we spent half an hour wandering around not sure where we were. But we managed to get to the Scramble Crossing, which you honestly will not understand how crazy it is until you go on it. I have never seen so many people cross a road in my life. And it’s every single crossing as well, it’s not like every now and again there’s a build up, there’s just so many people.

Before going to Shibuya we had stopped off at a place called the Second Hand Books Street and honestly it’s just something you can’t even imagine. Every building has a second hand shop and there’s so many books. Not only that there was a few that had English books and I was expecting like some well loved Dan Brown novels but no, there were these HUGE first/second/third editions of classic, people’s bind ups of essays, histories. Things you couldn’t even dream of owning because they’re so expensive and it was incredibly surreal to see something like that so far away from home.

We walked up to the top floor of Shibuya 109, not really sure why, but just to see what was going on in there and to say we did it. We saw some really interesting clothes and accessories but nothing I could pull off. We also spent some time in an arcade where I played Mario Kart as an actual racing game and I was freaking out.

The next day we went to the Tokyo SkyTree which is the world’s tallest tower. We didn’t go up it because it was super expensive and there was a viewing deck at the Government Metropolitan Building which was free so we felt like that was a better idea. In the SkyTree complex was a Studio Ghibli shop which was super cool though it only really had stuff from Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service and My Neighbour Totoro, It would’ve been cool to see other items but hey ho. We also stumbled on a Pokemon store which was incredible and we spent a lot longer in there than necessary, and I spent more money than necessary. Then we went on a walk to go to the Sumo Museum but found it was closed (see the theme?) so decided to walk to Akibahara. We did a lot of walking this day because there was a couple of places on lines of the metro that we didn’t have tickets for and didn’t see the point in paying more just to go to one place. We realised we made a mistake when we checked our health apps on our phones and discovered we’d walked 36000 steps.

We couldn’t be bothered to walk the whole way to Akibahara because it was a lot further than we thought. So we skipped to going to the Meiji Shrine which was insanely busy and very idylic. There was a wedding having it’s photos taken when we were there which was really cool to witness as they don’t smile in their photos, but there was so many tourists taking photos of it and being annoying it made me a little bit mad.

Shinjuku was next so we could go to the Government Metropolitan Building. We got lost because Shinjuku is an absolute mess of a place. We also didn’t realise how far the building was from the station and ended up walking really far again. But the views were phenomenal, you can’t even see the end of the city it’s so vast.

After this we headed to Tokyo Bay to see the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. We took the monorail across the Rainbow Bridge to Bay. We walked around the shore bit where there was a bunch of malls and hotels and where the Statue of Liberty was. There was also a viewing area for the bridge, which was incredibly disappointing because it wasn’t rainbow at all. We also witnessed a couple on a date taking more selfies than you can imagine and some middle aged American man trying to chat up some young Indonesian women, very badly.

We ambled over to Palette Town to see the rainbow ferris wheel which was definitely more rainbow than the bridge. Then we stumbled into another arcade which had a lot of penny drop machines. I found a coin in a machine and put it in and like 10 came out so I just kept playing. Then a guy came over to us and gave us a huge tub of coins because him and his son had to leave. We ended up playing for somewhere around about an hour without spending any money. And these coin drops were on a whole other level than the ones I’m used to, there was like an arcade game as part of it. I had no idea what was going on but I had fun.

The Sunday was the day we chose to go to the first of the Asian Disneys. As we only gave ourselves one day for Disney we decided to go to Tokyo DisneySea as it’s the only park of it’s kind. It was such an aesthetically pleasing place as I love the sea. All the groups who were there were all dressed matching so they knew where there friends were or just because they were trying to be cute and it was adorable. We went on most rides though it was a little bit busier than we expected. They have this whole popcorn thing there where they had like 7 flavours. I tried caramel, pepper and salt but I wasn’t really interested in trying curry flavour or tomato and basil flavour. I discovered that Japanese people absolute adore the Disney bear: Duffy. I had never even heard of Duffy before this but he was EVERYWHERE. My only problem with the park was that it was hot and not enough rides sprayed water on you. Tokyo Disney also still runs on old school fast pass where you have to go to the ride and get your fast pass which stressed me out and most of the rides which were busiest ran out by 11/12.

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Discussion: Multiple books in the same world

I’ve been thinking to myself lately about how authors tend to settle into loving the worlds the build and writing in that world and not doing much else. One of the people most well known for this is Cassandra Clare. I’m not the biggest fan of Clare as a person so this is coming from a pretty unbiased point of view I think, but people seem to ridicule her a lot for writing multiple books in the same world. They talk as if there is something wrong with this, as if she hasn’t written other books, like the Magisterium series, as if this is something out of the norm.

Now I am in no way comparing Clare to him, but Terry Pratchett wrote so many Discworld books, but I never saw anyone complaining about that. Rick Riordan has written 3 series based around the Greek Gods. There are so many other fantasy writers who write many books in the same world, though now I’m thinking about it the majority of which are male. I would also say that whilst there isn’t as much hate as Clare gets, J.K. Rowling gets a lot of people saying “ugh can she not write something else” when she adds something to the Harry Potter universe, as if people haven’t been so desperate for more of the Wizarding World that it has the biggest archive of fanfiction available.

Is this a misogyny thing or is it that people just love to hate Cassandra Clare? Yes, I’ll grant you she hasn’t done great things in the past, I’ve read so much about the things she did when she wrote fanfiction, and since then as well, but that has nothing to do with her continually writing in the same world. And it’s not as if it’s the same characters for all the books she writes, The Infernal Devices was set in the 1800s for goodness sake.

The other thing that I thought about was that a lot of the people who complain about authors writing about the same world are more often than not people who wouldn’t be buying any of the books the author writes anyway regardless of what world they’re set in. To add to that, they don’t take into account how much work an author puts into creating a world, they come up with so much content that a lot of people will literally never see because it’s irrelevant to the books themselves and is just part of the world, and I imagine it’s completely exhausting just thinking of it all.

Have you noticed any other authors get hate for writing in the same world when others have not? Do you think it’s misogyny or just bandwagon hate?

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