Friday, 1 February 2019


2018 was well and truly the year I rediscovered my love for books. It’s not that I ever fell out of love with reading as such; it just got pushed to the bottom of the priority list whilst at Uni. Having completed my degree in 2017, it seemed good timing to get back into reading once the New Year hit. So last January I set my self the challenge to read 12 books in 2018; one book every month. Not a mammoth task to some perhaps, but enough of a nudge to keep me grabbing for my book during my daily bus commute rather than scrolling my phone.
 December arrived and I was on my 12th and final book of the challenge, finishing it off during my last week at work before the Christmas break. I am incredibly pleased to have completed last year’s challenge and it’s spurred me on to increase it in 2019.

Below is a round-up of the 12 books I read last year, with some of my thoughts on each and a score I gave each out of five. I keep track of my reading challenge over on Goodreads; I discovered it last year and am obsessed, it’s so useful when looking for future book inspiration. You can find me here.

January: Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie
I kicked off the year with a classic and my first Agatha Christie novel. Whilst I enjoyed the book on the whole, it proved that I do prefer more contemporary writing and I’m just not convinced mystery will ever be a go-to genre for me.
Rating: 3/5

February: The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Throughout 2018 my friends and I swapped books between ourselves, acting as a bit of a mini book-club. This is one of the ones I got given and I must admit, I really enjoyed it. It’s light-hearted, fun and well...charming. I didn’t expect all that much from it as it appeared as just another chick-lit read which I had gone off a little in the past few years, preferring books that packed more of a punch; however it had me laughing out-loud many times. The main character, Don, is exactly like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and I enjoyed reading something within the romance genre from a male perspective.
Rating: 4/5

March: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
When I heard this was being turned into a film by Spielsburg and had tons of 80s references, I had to read it but surprisingly, it didn’t grab me in the way I expected it to. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts I really enjoyed but because it was so hyped up, I finished it feeling that it was just okay. However, if you’re a big sci-fi fan, this would be perfect for you.
Rating: 3/5

April: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
I’m pretty sure 90% of the female population read this book last year; I was constantly seeing it across my Instagram feed so when I placed a top-up Amazon order of books, this was the first to be added to my basket. I think this would have been a lovely summer holiday book as you could get completely engrossed and devour it in a matter of days. I absolutely loved it. Eleanor is a really interesting character and even if you don’t love her, the story itself is gripping and is much more than you’d perhaps expect.
Rating: 4/5

May: After You – Jojo Moyes
If you liked Me Before You then of course, it’s worth reading the next one to find out what happens but whilst it’s enjoyable, it’s not nearly as memorable as the prequel but then again, that’s usually the case. An easy-to-read book for the Jojo Moyes fans.
Rating: 3/5

June: Miss You - Kate Eberlen
Now don’t get me wrong this was perhaps the most chick-lit book of the whole list, a fairly obvious storyline which has been done in the romance genre time and time again and yet, I really liked it. It is incredibly similar to Love, Rosie but I found myself getting lost in the story, connecting with all the characters and emotions.
Rating: 4/5

July: Call Me By Your Name - André Aciman
I heard so much about the film adaptation of this that I felt it only right to give it a read and I set my expectations high. Whilst I agree it’s a good book and well-written, I just don’t think I connected with the story or the main character as much as I was hoping and therefore, it felt slow at times.  
Rating: 3/5

August: This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor – Adam Kay
I summed this up on my Instagram Stories as “one of the best books I have ever read” and almost six months on, I am still recommending it on a regular basis. It is so incredibly insightful into the real story of what it is like to be an NHS doctor and will result in the absolute upmost respect for the incredible people we have looking after us. I truly think this should be added to the GCSE English curriculum so we can ensure future generations read this book. I am such a huge fan of Adam Kay for writing this and I am incredibly pleased to have gotten people who do not enjoy reading to not only read this book, but love it as much as I did. 
Rating: 5/5

September: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
This book was incredible, heart breaking and harrowing and yet completely absorbing and touching at the same time. This unforgettable read is a true story about Lale and Gita Sokolo; two Slovakian Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz and follows their time at the concentration camp. It’s written sensitively and emotionally whilst remaining true to the factual story and will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
Rating: 5/5

October: Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
This was another one I was excited to read due to all the rave reviews I had seen. It’s a slow-moving book and had I known that beforehand, I may have enjoyed it more from the beginning but I found it took a while before I became truly engrossed in the story. Saying that, on the whole the story is really powerful and I loved how the author linked the various characters’ stories. I’m intrigued to read Celeste Ng’s other novel, Everything I Never Told You, as part of my 2019 reading challenge.
Rating: 4/5

November: One Plus One - Jojo Moyes
So this was my second Jojo Moyes book of the year and I must say it was my favourite of the two, by far. It’s completely separate to the Me Before You series yet follows the similar ‘opposites attract’ style storyline. It’s easy-to-read but the way the characters and events are depicted makes it a book I wanted to consume all at once, a true page-turner and offers pure escapism.
Rating: 4/5

December: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes – Ruth Hogan
I absolutely loved Ruth Hogan’s first novel The Keeper of Lost Things so I was really keen to read her next one. Whilst I liked it, at no point did I love it; I just kept waiting to become hooked on the storyline but I never did. It’s not by any means a bad read but for me, it didn’t live up to my expectations.
Rating: 3/5
So there we have it, a little summary of the 12 books I read in 2018. You might be able to tell from the above that my favourite read of the year was without a doubt This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. I loved it so much I have tickets to see him live in March as part of his book/comedy tour and I honestly think he’ll be a name to remember.

I’ve upped my challenge this year to 15 books and I’m well underway with the second book. 

What was the best book you read in 2018? Have you set yourself a reading challenge? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, 5 November 2018


On a mission to begin posting again and more specifically, actually write all the travel post ideas I've thought of over the last couple of years, I decided to kick things off with this superb, little, European city.
Anyone who knows me, will know that I prefer receiving and giving experiences rather than items as presents and last September, for my 23rd birthday, I was generously treated to a long weekend in Gdansk.

Prior to this trip I had wanted to visit Krakow but I had no plans (or even knowledge) of any other places in Poland. However, just 48 hours spent in this Polish old town and I had come to the conclusion that it wouldn't be unknown for much longer. It's certainly going to keep gaining popularity and I imagine will start competing for the number of tourists that the likes of Amsterdam, Prague and Budapest attract.

If you ever search for budget flights from the UK, you'll know Poland crops up time and time again. For some, I think this country still holds connotations of bitterly cold weather and grey landscapes. And I can confirm that the latter is just simply is not accurate (the weather, however, was freezing!)
In less than four hours and for well under £50 return, you can travel from ten different airports across the UK to Gdansk. Followed by a 30 minute taxi (which will set you back a mere £7!) from the airport and you have arrived in the Old Town. 
A big proportion of this trip was spent walking around and exploring the old town, followed by escaping the snow at a bar for a drink and then heading out into the cold again until we needed to warm up at the next stop. The most memorable bar we visited was Mała Sztuka where we had an unforgettable egg white (sounds weird, tastes amazing) and dark chocolate cocktail.

One of the main things that attracts us Brits to Poland/Eastern Europe is the affordability. I've covered flights and taxis, but accommodation follows suit. 
We stayed in a lovely, modern, ground-floor Airbnb apartment, just a two minute walk from the centre of the Old Town. With an average price of £50 per night for an entire place and 300+ homes to choose from, it really is the ideal location for a cheap getaway. 

Now, to be honest, this is where Poland let itself down slightly for me. As the least fussiest person around, I will give just about anything a try. But unfortunately Polish food just did not grab us. 
I was intrigued to taste a few pierogis (Polish filled dumplings) however after our first meal in Gdansk, of which was pierogis, I was without a doubt put off. The texture was just not for me. I did give them a second try at a pretty cool place, Pierogarnia Mandu Centrum, which was definitely more successful so I would recommend stopping by but I just don't think I'm a fan of pierogis.
If the thought of food in Poland does concern you, there's really no need. There are loads of different cuisines available including Italian and Asian if they're more your bag. 
A couple more recommendations for you; if you're after somewhere a bit more upmarket or have a special occasion, Correze, is worth booking. Also, if you're a burger fan like me then Original Burger was pretty darn good (the records and film posters covering the interiors are rather cool too!)

To sum this section up...there's tons to do in Gdansk. 
If you're a culture vulture then this place is honestly perfect, there are museums galore. But if you're just after a chilled time walking, exploring and taking photos then it'll not disappoint either. I'm a solid believer in anywhere with an Old Town provides the opportunity for endless hours of exploring. I absolutely love just wandering around a new place with nowhere in particular to get to and delving into all the side streets of an Old Town. 

That aside, the following five points I believe are well worth adding to your to-do list when visiting Gdansk:

ONE: Dluga Street/Neptune’s Fountain
TWO: Motlawa River Embankment/The Crane/GDANSK sign
THREE: Oliwa Park
FOUR: Sopot (a day trip to the beach!)
FIVE: Amber Sky ferris wheel
Although it's bloody freezing, if you don't mind wrapping up warm I would definitely suggest checking out Gdansk in the winter. It might snow, it might rain but the price of flights and the Christmassy atmosphere (November/December time) is really lovely. 

Have you ever been to Gdansk? What other places are worth checking out in Poland? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

Emily x

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Reading is one of my favourite ways to spend my time. I've always loved getting completely engrossed in a good book. I will often read countless books over the summer months however when I return to uni, it takes a backseat as the deadlines take over.
There's still been a couple of good'uns lately though that I wanted to share and hopefully I will be able to (or, at least attempt to) juggle fictional reading with my course textbooks to keep updating you in the future with the books I have been loving.

1. Behind Closed Doors
I downloaded this on my Kindle as it was a suggested read after I finished What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Between May and September I was commuting daily on public transport to my job so it gave me a good 30 minutes every day to read. 
I loved this book. The plot may be a little predictable at times yet it is also completely shocking. It kept me hooked but didn't confuse me, it was simple yet brilliant. This was a book of extremes and I would highly recommend it - many people have said if you liked The Girl on the Train, then you'll enjoy Behind Closed Doors - and I would definitely echo that. I do agree it isn't the best written book and for the most part, quite unbelievable in it's storyline. However, I didn't mind that at all in this instance.

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I guess this is slightly cheating as I'm only just over half way through but boy is it good. J K Rowling, the woman can do no wrong. I was just so excited at the news of a new Harry Potter book, I didn't even realise it was a play script but I am really enjoying this aspect. I'm imagining how the stage looks and how the actors are performing their lines. I just wish I had more time to read because it would be done and dusted in a matter of hours.

3. Lonely Planet

I got this little book for my birthday as I plan on doing a little travel adventure next summer after university. I've enjoyed just flicking through this on my odd essay break, there's definitely some useful tips and tricks that I'll be using when planning my trip. I absolutely love Lonely Planet books and it would make a perfect present for any travel enthusiast. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What have you been reading recently? I'd love to hear your book recommendations!