A Day in Cardiff

One of the great things about where I was in Swansea was being an hour away from Cardiff on the train. Sadly I didn’t really discover this properly until after Easter this year otherwise I think I may have visited more often! Swansea was OK… I mean it was good enough, BUT it is pretty naff for shopping which means if you want a proper shopping trip your best bet is to head to Cardiff for the day. So that is what I did a few weeks ago now. It wasn’t really for the shopping that I went, but really for a little day out to get away from uni work because I just needed a day off!

With a 16-25 railcard, a day return to Cardiff from Swansea costs only Β£7.60! πŸ˜€

So I got on the train and headed to Cardiff. Once I arrived in Cardiff I got off the train and got on the BayCar to Cardiff Bay, where I decided to ride through to the Doctor Who experience and walk back through the Bay.

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Cardiff Bay is honestly a beautiful place and I fell in love with it the first time I visited when I was about 12. I really would recommend a visit if you ever get the chance!

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The main reason I headed out to the Bay was to visit the Poppy display they had on at the Welsh Assembly building. It really was beautiful!

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I then had a little wander round the Bay and went on the big wheel they had there πŸ™‚

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After a wander round the Bay I got the bus back to the city where I did a bit of shopping. Thankfully I’ve always managed to go to the shops during the day so it has never been that busy in Cardiff when I’ve been, but I’m not sure I’d like to go at the weekend!

I didn’t take any photos of the shops/centre, but here is a photo of what I bought πŸ™‚ I had a bit of a shopping spree really!

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I bought a couple of scarfs from Fat Face. I already have a Fat Face scarf but I fell in love with the blue star one as it is less Christmassy than my scarf I already have! πŸ™‚

Of course I also visited Cath Kidston πŸ˜‰ (The purse was for my mum) as well as stopping off in Animal back in Swansea on my way back where they had 20% student discount! I wanted the coat but couldn’t justify full price, but when the 20% student discount came up I could no longer resist!

All in all I had a lovely little day out, I only regret not discovering how easy it was to travel to Cardiff sooner, otherwise I would have liked to have visited a few more places there! πŸ™‚

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September Favourites 2017

How is it October already? :O Although September has gone pretty quick for me I know the next few weeks/months are going to drag on for me until I find a job 😦 I’m rubbish at doing nothing!

September was busy for me, with finishing off my dissertation, moving back home, unpacking back at home, buying my first car, and giving my final university presentation. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to do a September Favourites as I can’t think of much to put in but then I had a few ideas πŸ™‚

First thing I’ve been loving is being back home. OK I’m bored a lot of the time and time really really really drags on some days, but I’m loving being reunited with my bookcase and the cushions on my bed πŸ˜€

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Secondly I’ve been loving long pyjamas! Yes now that I’m out of my sauna of a room at uni I have been reunited with the enjoyment of snuggling up in long, soft, cozy pyjamas in bed at night πŸ™‚

Thirdly, is my car. I can’t really afford to go too far at the moment but it feels great having a car and knowing I can take myself out/go to the shops/visit people without relying on other people. It is also exactly what I was looking and waiting for πŸ™‚ Plus I was so lucky that the garage knows us (we’ve had a few cars from them now) and they’ve really made sure it is in full working order for me.

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My next favourite this month has been the Cath Kidston x Peter Pan collection πŸ™‚ You should go and look at it if you haven’t seen it πŸ™‚ It is all so wonderful and pretty πŸ™‚

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Finally, this is going to be quite weird, but my final favourite this month is my achievements in the last year. I’m feeling so flipping proud of myself for obtaining one of the two awards for my degree. I can’t believe I got the highest mark! And finally, I’m so proud of my dissertation. πŸ™‚

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So they were some random favourites this month πŸ˜€ What have you been enjoying this month? πŸ™‚

I Heart Forever

I was sooooooo excited for this book to come out πŸ™‚ I love Lindsey Kelk’s books and I especially love the “I Heart” Series. So when Kelk announced her next book was to be the next in the “I Heart” Series I was sooooooo excited! πŸ™‚Β “I Heart New York”, the first book in the I Heart Series, was the first ever Chicklit book I read so I think these books will always have a special place on my bookshelf! πŸ˜€

I’ll give you a little flavour of the “I Heart” story. Angela is originally from the UK but after finding her boyfriend cheating on her with someone else at her best friend’s wedding, Angela takes off to New York with a small bag. Angela then meets Jenny and Alex (among others) and starts a whole new life for herself out in New York.

“I Heart Forever” is the latest (but not last) book in the series where we join Angela, Jenny, Alex and Erin again for their latest adventure. Alex heads off travelling, leaving Angela alone in New York. On top of that Angela is dealing with a crisis at work and trying to organise Jenny’s wedding for her. But Angela also has a secret she needs to tell Alex, but getting hold of him proves somewhat difficult!

I loved “I Heart Forever”, I mean I won’t lie, I don’t think there was as much story in there as say “I Heart Paris” but it was still a really enjoyable read. My only regret is that I didn’t have time to read through the rest of the series again before reading this book, “I Heart Christmas” came out in 2013, so a long time ago and I struggled to remember some of the story/characters! But that didn’t stop it being enjoyable. The thing with this series though is I think it is one where knowing the background etc. makes for a better read. I’m not saying you couldn’t read it as a standalone book, but I definitely don’t think it would make as much sense!

All in all “I Heart Forever” was a light, enjoyable read and I’m so happy it isn’t the last we’ll ever see of Angela and Alex πŸ™‚

Quick Catch Up

I wanted to start off by apologising for being a little AWOL the last week or so. I’ve been really busy finishing off my dissertation, moving out of my room at uni, unpacking everything back at home, going back to uni to give my final presentation and then buying and picking up my first car!

So I’ve finished uni! :O I’ve finished my masters and I vow I’m never doing it again. It isn’t that I haven’t enjoyed it, it has just been very stressful at times! Especially exams! Just you wait, you’ll probably see me doing a PhD in a couple of years time cause I’ll want to be a student again! πŸ˜› Anyway, I gave my final presentation for my masters on Friday and I think it went well. Well my project supervisor said it was really good which is also a good sign! I also had a great surprise. I won a prize! They gave out 2 prizes on Friday for the course, and out of the 18 of us on the course I won the prize for getting the best mark in the taught part (so in all the exams and coursework) of the degree! I knew I’d done well, but I didn’t know I’d done that well!

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It’s mad really when you think about my A Level grades and where I am now!

I’ve now moved back home too which I like. I miss my parents sooooo much when I’m away at uni! I’m very close to my family so it is nice to be home πŸ™‚ Although at the moment I’m trying to get used to eating a bit later again as I used to eat dinner really early at uni!

I feel like such an adult now too! I’ve bought a car. I’d saved up the money to do so and suddenly a car exactly what I was looking for came up. So although I haven’t yet got a job I’ve bought a car :O It will be so exciting to be able to get myself around a bit more again! (My car is called Ruby if anyone was wondering!)

So that’s all for my little catch up! I’m now just applying for jobs again so I’ll be around again a bit more πŸ™‚

See you all soon πŸ™‚

 

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters

Nadiya won the Great British Bake off 2 years ago and since then she has written a couple of cook books, as well as this novel. I held off buying this for ages partly because it was hardback so really expensive, but also because very mixed reviews started to appear on Amazon/Goodreads.

When my friend finished reading it a few weeks ago she lent it to me to read so I was quite excited to see what I made of it!

The four Amir sisters – Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae – are the only young Muslims in the quaint English village of Wyvernage.

On the outside, despite not quite fitting in with their neighbours, the Amirs are happy. But on the inside, each sister is secretly struggling.

Fatima is trying to find out who she really is – and after fifteen attempts, finally pass her driving test. Farah is happy being a wife but longs to be a mother. Bubblee is determined to be an artist in London, away from family tradition, and Mae is coping with burgeoning Youtube stardom.

Yet when family tragedy strikes, it brings the Amir sisters closer together and forces them to learn more about life, love, faith and each other than they ever thought possible.

I was worried I’d get confused between all the characters as I have in some other books, but actually this book was really well written and I didn’t get confused at all. It was such a lovely storyline which kept me wanting to read throughout and I really loved all the characters. Especially Mae and Fatima.

It was quite an unusual storyline but actually it was really good and I didn’t find any of it predictable at all. I really loved Fatima and her little journey she went on, my only gripe is that I’d like to have seen more of Fatima’s story at the end.

But all in all this was a fantastic book and I’m so glad I read it and wasn’t put off by the mixed reviews! I really hope Nadiya decides to write more fiction books for us! πŸ™‚

Have you read this book? If so what did you think?

Bake With Me #7 – Chocolate Muffins

I love a good chocolate chip muffin, so I was so excited to make some last time I was home. The recipe I used comes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook πŸ™‚

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Ingredients (for 12 muffins)

2 eggs

200g caster sugar

130g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

160ml whole milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

160g unsalted butter, meted

120g chocolate chips (I recommend chips rather than chopping up your own)

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3
  2. Mix together the eggs and sugar in a mixer until well mixedPhoto 22-08-2017, 09 02 00
  3. In a different bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powderPhoto 22-08-2017, 09 03 46
  4. In a jug mix together the milk and vanilla extract.Photo 22-08-2017, 09 05 48
  5. A little at a time, alternate mixing the milk mix and the dry ingredients in with the sugar/egg mix. Mix them together until well combined.Β Photo 22-08-2017, 09 15 58
  6. Stir in the melted butter and then fold in the chocolate chipsΒ Photo 22-08-2017, 09 16 46
  7. Spoon the mixture into the cases (about 2/3 full) then bake for around 30 mins.Β Photo 22-08-2017, 09 54 38
  8. Eat!

The Book Blogger Test

So a couple of weeks ago now Angela did the Book Blogger Test and suggested I give it a go. So thanks Angela, I’ll give it a go! πŸ˜€

BLOG RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  • Answer the ten questions asked on this post.
  • Nominate at least five people to do the tag.
  • Let your nominees know you nominated them.

Questions:

  • What are your top 3 book pet peeves?

Really long chapters! I hate really long chapters!

Books coming out in hardback a whole year before it comes out in paperback! 😑

I know I should be supporting places like WH Smith and Waterstones, but how can supermarkets and Amazon charge so much less for a book than the “proper” book retailers?

  • Describe your favorite reading spot.

Sat in bed or on the sofa at home πŸ™‚ I prefer being on the sofa at home with my blanket because its a bit more comfy than being sat in bed.

  • Tell us 3 book confessions.

I prefer to buy physical books than kindle books, is that a confession? I’ll buy a kindle book if it’s cheaper though, but I’ll also quite happily settle for a second hand book.

I’m a bookaholic. I think they look so pretty on my bookcase. I then hate passing on books because I always like to think I’ll read it again one day.

I hate borrowing books from the library. I mean half the time I’ve been they’ve never had the book I want. Plus, by the time I’ve paid a bus fare in to town (Β£5) it would be cheaper for me to buy a book off Amazon. I also like owning books… πŸ˜‰

  • When was the last time you cried during reading a book?

The only book I can think of that has made me cry is “The Last Song” by Nicholas Sparks.

Nicholas Sparks UK
  • How many books are on your bedside table?

One at the moment. I don’t really like reading multiple books at once.

  • What’s your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Erm… Hot chocolate?

  • Name 3 books you would recommend to anyone.

The CHERUB series, definitely. Oliver Twist, maybe? I think we should definitely have a classic in there! And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Again, another book I think everyone should read in their life!

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  • Show us a picture of your favorite book on your bookshelf.

I really can’t pick! So maybe I’ll just show you my whole bookcase. I know people love my bookcase πŸ˜‰

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  • Describe how much books mean to you in just 3 words.

I think Angela summed it up perfectly when she did this post, so sorry Angela I’m keeping yours!

Stories. Imagination. Dreams.

  • What is your biggest reading secret?

I’m a little stuck in a rut. I love chicklit/romance/romcom books. I should really branch out a little more but I need ideas :O πŸ™‚ Please suggest some if you’re reading this!

Nominations:

Anyone who wants to do this tag! πŸ™‚