I feel like this is going to be a short post mainly because all I’ve really been reading is PLL.
Flawless PLL Book #2
Full blog post here.
I feel like I don’t have lots to say about these because I already wrote full blog posts on them. But this book was cute, I enjoyed the stories that were told. I wasn’t expecting Spencer to be one to lose herself in a boy but even the smartest of the girls make stupid mistakes when it comes to boys.
Also was not expecting a death so soon in the series, but leads me to wonder how many more we can expect as time goes on.
It’s In His Kiss
I was not sure about this book considering how much I disliked the last Bridgerton story. However, this one was completely different and I enjoyed it a lot.
I think it was interesting because there was more than just the love story going on. There was a hint of a mystery and also learning more about the man Hyacinth was going to marry. He had a backstory and it was good and he got along well with Hyacinth in a way that didn’t make me want to vomit.
Plus there was a good amount of Lady Danbury thrown in as well which was nice.
So yeah, glad I didn’t completely give up on the series. That being said there’s still one sibling book left and then a happily ever after epilogue kind of book for everyone. So we see how it all ties up, I expect nothing less than it to be all wrapped up in a nice bow but that’s perfectly fine for a series all about eight siblings falling in love with their perfect partner.
Perfect PLL Book #3
Full blog post here.
I enjoyed this one, I still can’t get over how different Aria is in the books compared to TV. Everyone else seems similar enough but they changed Aria a lot and I guess it’s because they didn’t want her to seem too out of place with everyone else.
Also interesting that A slipped up with that text to Hanna, I thought they would have been smarter than that. But we’ll see what happens next and what leads to that big reveal.
Currently Reading: Unbelievable PLL Book #4
We are heading into July reading another PLL book. They are very easy to read so I find myself reading pages here and there when I can. I mainly am dying to get through this one to see how the girls all find out about A, I mean I suspect Hanna tells them but I need Mona to go to all the lengths to prevent that from happening. I mean she did hit Hanna with a car…but still.
So yeah lots more PLL in the future as there are 16 books in that series, and I still have two Bridgerton books to read and I bought some books this month so going to try to sprinkle those in as well. All in all, I’ve got a good lot of books to keep me busy for the rest of the year and I’m not mad about it.
First of all, Aria and the fact that her mom can’t stand to look at her after the fact she knew about Byron and Meredith. Gross. I mean I know her mom is mad at her daughter but that’s still your daughter…yet she still says she can’t see Aria for a while so Aria is staying with Sean’s family.
Also, Aria painted a red A on Meredith’s chest for adulterer and I thought that was kind of fun, though nothing comes from it and I thought for sure Byron was gonna freak out about it.
Even though Aria is with Sean that doesn’t stop her feelings for Ezra as she ends up hanging out with him and telling him about her parents and everything going on and they reconnect… but not for long! Because A tells Sean about Aria and Ezra and Sean calls the POLICE. HA.
Yes, that’s right. Ezra Fitz went to JAIL. FINALLY. That’s why I needed to talk about Aria first I needed to get this out because this is what I needed lol. Instead of dragging us through their whole messy-ass relationship, they gave me what I needed. A brief romance that ended with the child predator being arrested. Thank you.
Needless to say that Aria and Sean are over and Aria is a bit homeless now because her mom still doesn’t want to see her, she’s not talking to her dad and her boyfriend has dumped her. Not sure what is next for Aria but I imagine something kooky is just around the corner.
Next, we have Emily, who wanted to tell the police about A. Poor girl. She hasn’t learned that you don’t do something A doesn’t want you to. Well, she finds out the hard way when A outs her to the whole school at a swim meet by posting photos of her and Maya around for everyone to see.
Unlike on the TV show where no one at school really finds out or cares, everyone at school is fetishizing Emily which is pretty gross. Like all the boys wanting to hang out with her to see her kiss a girl. Bleh. But also not surprising.
What’s really gross though is that her parents want her to try a gay conversion therapy camp place. And Emily thinks she should do it and “fix” herself until she realises that’s not how it works and she can’t change who she is. This is not good news for Mrs. Fields who definitely wants her child to be straight and is threatening to send her to Iowa to live with her aunt…
Thank God this is not what happens on the TV show because it would not have gone down well. Obviously, Emily’s mom is upset but she eventually comes around to everything, I don’t know if that will happen in the book though. I’m not sure what will happen for Emily now to be honest but she can’t just be shipped off she’s one of the Liars.
Then there is Spencer who is being made to see a therapist by her parents. Which I think is a good call, though it’s probably not best to be seeing the same therapist as your sister, there is definitely some conflict in that. Not to mention Melissa’s appointment is right after Spencer’s which is again not good.
Spencer finds out that she’s been suppressing horrible memories or traumatic events in her life as she is having a mental block on the fight she had with Alison on the night she disappeared. Through therapy and time she discovers that the night that Ali disappeared, they were fighting over the fact Alison was dating Ian and Spencer couldn’t have him. Yikes.
Alison apparently told Ian to kiss Spencer as a test to see if he would do anything for her and he did. And now Alison was holding her relationship with Ian over Spencer. And Spencer was angry with Alison and so she pushed her, and Alison fell and hit her head. So Spencer realises that she hurt Alison that night but she is sure she didn’t kill her…well she definitely didn’t carry Ali into her backyard and dump her body where the police found it at least.
So that’s one revelation. It’s good to know they kept key points about the girls similar to the TV show. Like the relationship with Ian and Spencer not remembering what happened that night. Though they made Spencer out to be on drugs when that happened on the TV which was a bit extra but there you go.
Anyway, on top of that Spencer and Melissa fight after A lets Melissa know that Spencer stole her essay for the Golden Orchid. Things get heated and Spencer ends up pushing Melissa down the stairs. Which is pretty dark, like I didn’t expect this from her but now her family thinks she’s dangerous. So it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.
And finally, we have Hanna who spends this book trying to prove to Mona they are still besties after she misses her Friendaversary with Mona to be questioned by the police about Alison’s disappearance. Naturally, Mona doesn’t want to listen to any excuses though, and kicks Hanna off of her birthday party court and uninvites her to the party completely.
But this gives Hanna the excuse to make friends with Lucas. Apparently, he was cool in school until the rumour of him being a hermaphrodite circulated around and now he is a nerd. But he is nice to Hanna and he invites her on a hot air balloon ride of all things and they bond haha. Like why would you trust anyone who you are hanging out with for the first time to take you up in a hot air balloon that’s such an easy way to get murdered but anyway Hanna makes it out alive.
Plus after Hanna gets humiliated at Mona’s party her and Lucas have a moment where they makeout so I’m wondering if they start to become a couple or not. Which I would be all for because we never got that on the TV show, and if Caleb is not going to show up I feel like Lucas is a good option for Hanna.
At the end of the book, we have Aria looking at an old video of her and the girls and making the connection between Alison and Ian and then thinking maybe Spencer had something to do with Alison’s death since she was crushing on Ian. And we have Hanna who receives a text from A but this time with a number that she recognises…looks like she knows who A is.
As Hanna is rushing to tell the girls, BAM! She gets hit by a car.
She knew too much. – A
Yep. Can’t say I’m surprised I saw the TV show. Similar events play out in season one at Mona’s birthday. Except for the girls at Camp Mona for her birthday and not at a Planetarium. Though I gotta say that Hanna getting hit by the car in the books makes way more sense than on the TV show.
The TV show says Hanna knew too much because she saw Noel Kahn write on the back of Ezra’s car while he is with Aria. But that ultimately leads nowhere because Noel is not A. But in the book? Hanna definitely knows who the real A is and that’s more interesting.
This book also has an A chapter but it’s not as cringey as the one from the first book. It also confirms that Mona slipped up when texting Hanna and it’s not a tactical slip to make her think A is someone else. So I guess if you were paying enough attention this is where you would figure out who A is, as before this I feel like there are not super strong hints that you can tell who it is?
Also interesting that Mona is pointing the girls toward Spencer killing Alison? Of course, she could have been lurking in the shadows that night and thought it was her. In the book, Spencer gets a text that alludes to the killer being right in front of her, while she’s standing at a mirror. So Mona could have easily seen them fight but not what happened next.
Well looks like all will be revealed in the next book which is exciting! I am looking forward to seeing where things go from here. I like seeing the elements they pulled out from the book for the TV show. I do think some of the things A made the girls do early on in the TV show were harsher than in the book. Particularly in relation to Hanna and bingeing and Sean/Lucas. But we’ll see what happens when new A comes into play.
My birthday was on Wednesday and I had one unexpected birthday present: COVID. Yay.
So I spent my birthday self-isolating and watching Gossip Girl. So far 25 is looking so glam lol.
Honestly kind of annoyed at myself for getting COVID, I thought I was doing my best to avoid it but I guess it was only a matter of time. I still take pride in the fact I managed to avoid it this long and am also grateful that I was able to go on holiday and do all the fun things I have so far this year without being ill.
The only thing I am going to miss is a drag show that is coming up next week which is fine, after that there are no events for a bit so I can take my time and rest. I’ve been doing a lot this year so far and I think my body was just like “time to rest” so here we are.
My symptoms haven’t been too bad which is also good, part of the fear of getting COVID was not knowing how it was going to affect me. Thankfully nothing too crazy, a scratchy throat, blocked nose…the first day I did have chills but they have gone away.
I am sure I will be fine in a few days, I just need to be patient. That being said I find myself being restless being sick this time around. I was sick for a week last year and I think I was grateful for all the time to be sitting around and doing nothing but this time is different haha.
But I know my body is not up to doing anything too taxing, even now trying to write this blog post it’s challenging. So I’m going to take it easy and while I’ll be sad that I won’t be immediately heading back into my everyday activities I want to take my time with healing so I don’t end up ill again anytime soon.
Plus, the idea of going back to normal and rushing back into crowds of people doesn’t sound appealing to me. And I will definitely be keeping the mask on when I go places. Funnily enough, the first time I really went anywhere without a mask was last weekend, and now I have COVID so…if that’s not an incentive to wear a mask I don’t know what is.
But yeah, that’s where we are for now. On the bright side, I can get fresh air from my back garden and enjoy some time binge-watching TV and playing games. Hopefully, by next week the tests start coming in negative but we’ll see.
We are halfway through 2022 and I just had to do my midyear evaluation at work and so I thought this would also be a good idea to do a midyear check on my personal goals for this year.
Not going to lie, midyear and end-of-year evaluations at work are not the most exciting things but it’s also interesting to look back to see how much you accomplish in the year, professional or otherwise. So we are going to take a look and see what progress or lack thereof I have made on the goals I have set myself this year.
Learn to Drive
This one is not going well and it’s not for lack of trying lol. So I looked for a driving instructor in February and managed to get on a waiting list for April because everyone has a backlog due to the pandemic so we waited until April…I had my first lesson with this guy and I felt good about it and we had scheduled another lesson and then…for personal reasons my instructor said he couldn’t continue with our lessons. Ouch.
It’s annoying but it happens. And then in May I looked for another instructor and I didn’t have much luck. Some guy has said he might take me on in June/July but it is June now and I haven’t heard back yet so I’m still waiting.
So as you can see there hasn’t been any movement on this and it’s so frustrating. When I have been trying to find an instructor I have reached out to four/five at a time hoping that someone will have a spot for me and most people don’t.
At this point, I feel like I need to start taking lessons in a different town or something just to give me access to a different range of instructors or something because I’m not really sure what else to do. And it’s really bothering me especially since two of my friends have learnt to drive recently so I’m literally the only one who isn’t. It feels like I’m 17 again and everyone is learning to drive except me…it’s wild.
But I have hope I’ll eventually find an instructor who will take me…otherwise I’ll need to win the lottery and hire a driver lol.
This is a goal I’ve been having some success with! Yay! I have been doing my monthly reading recaps which adds some content to the blog which is nice. I have also done some posts on TV shows and travel.
I’m going to say this one is always a hit or miss for me because sometimes I have things to write about and sometimes I don’t. But I’m happy that I have found some things to post about this year compared to other years when I’ve only made one or two posts.
Maybe I will do some blogging around my house renovations though not sure how often those posts would be…also I guess if I am feeling that I need to put my thoughts out there on something it can be in blog form instead of video form sometimes. We’ll go with the flow, but like I said I’m just glad I’m posting something haha.
Read 22 Books
A goal I have been thriving in, obviously part of doing reading recaps on my blog means I have to have been reading. I am currently reading my 15th book out of 22 so this goal will be reached in the next couple of months. I have also started reading the Pretty Little Liar books and so far I’ve read the first two but it’s definitely a series I am eager to get through so I imagine I’ll be finished pretty quickly.
Thankfully if I can do nothing else, I can read haha.
Learn a Language
So this has been going okay, I’ve just been learning Korean through Duolingo and I have a streak of 156 currently. In terms of Duolingo I would say I’m thriving but I definitely couldn’t talk to you in Korean haha.
My boyfriend abandoned Korean after the first couple of lessons because it was too difficult and so he hasn’t really been on the journey with me but that’s fine. I’ve actually come to enjoy my 10/15 mins of Korean every day, it’s a nice hobby to have.
I’m hoping to finish the Korean modules there and revisit the Korean textbook I bought at uni and see where that takes me. I don’t think I’ll be fluent or anything but it’s nice to have a hobby where you’re learning something.
Spend more time with friends and family
I have been doing good at this I think. Well on the friend front I think it’s going well considering we recently just went on a holiday together haha. Still, aside from that I think we’ve been good at keeping in touch and hanging out. Plus Jasmine and her partner have moved back to NI so I think that will encourage us to hang out more – mainly because before there was just me and Lauren in NI and we wouldn’t really hang out one to one so it’s nice to have a third person to see haha.
And then in terms of my family, I think this is going okay but could still be better. I did spend a weekend with my mum at a spa for her Christmas present, and I’ve been hanging out with my brother and my dad on occasion but I could probably make the effort to visit more. It’s just something I have to actively try to do.
Make progress on the house
This one is mainly up to my boyfriend and not me. And I say this because he is doing all the work and I am not lol. I mean I definitely want to try to help where I can but sometimes it’s best if he just tackles it on his own.
In January we bought a new kitchen which was exciting, it arrived a couple of weeks ago and sits in a mountain of boxes in the living room lol. We still need to pick out a few things for the kitchen and also block out time where we can tear out the old kitchen to put the new one in.
My boyfriend has started tiling the ensuite which is good, we started the ensuite stuff last year but it turned out to be more work than expected – I definitely feel like I could make my own blog post about that lol.
And we also need someone to repair a hole in our roof as birds have been getting into the attic. Hopefully, someone is coming out in July…
So yeah lots going on, it’s definitely a project that’s taking a long time and it can be frustrating and slow at times but I’m sure the final product will be amazing and I’m excited to share it. But for right now I’d appreciate it if we didn’t have visitors until we get it sorted haha.
Exercise more consistently
This one is a hit or miss haha. Sometimes I exercise a lot in a week, sometimes I just about make it to pole and hoop and no more. It’s the kind of thing that I fit in when I can but sometimes life just gets in the way.
My boyfriend and I did sign up for the gym two months ago but I have only been a handful of times – I’ve always had things come up haha and my boyfriend is taking a break from the gym to work on the house. So I think the gym membership is going to go on hold for a while.
I know I could still go to the gym without my boyfriend but I don’t know if I would go enough to justify the cost. I also want to do more pole things at home but have not put my pole up in a while, I think if I can finally do that I might actually use it…though that hasn’t worked in the past lol.
So yeah something still to work on but that’s fine. Progress is not a straight line and all that.
And that is where I am with my goals for 2022! Honestly, for the most part, I am happy with the progress I am making on them. Obviously, the driving one is the big one that doesn’t have much progress but hopefully, I can get an instructor for the second half of the year.
I won’t be mad if I haven’t passed my test by the end of the year but at this rate, any progress would be nice. And with everything else, I’ll keep working on it, one step at a time.
A few weeks ago my friends and I went on a trip to Lisbon and I thought I would share some fun things that we did while we were there! I am by no means a travel blogger, but after being on my first trip out of the country since COVID, I could definitely consider it, if I had the time and the money lol.
On our first full day in Lisbon, we decided to take a boat tour. It was with Rent a Boat and my friend Jasmine had booked it for us. We weren’t really sure what to expect but it turned out to be an instant crowd-pleaser for all of us.
When we were getting onto the boat we saw a lot of people choosing to sit in the designated seating area at the back of the boat, but when the tour guide said we could sit at the front we decided to head up there immediately. And honestly, if you are going to pay for a boat tour why wouldn’t you sit at the very front? This was great because there was enough room for all four of us and also it gave us some privacy away from the other people on the tour so it was like we were on our own private boat tour.
The tour itself was really chill, and there was music playing and the tour guide offered us some ‘green wine’, which we had never heard of but we were instant fans. To quote the tour guide when he offered us the wine “you are Irish, I don’t even have to ask”. The only thing he was asking was “do you want more?”. Now I don’t know if it was because we were special or if the tour guide was offering everyone wine a second (and third/fourth) time but I will not complain.
In terms of a guided tour though, we did not get much which was fine by us because we just enjoyed being on the water in the sunshine and enjoying the views. Our tour guide did come down and give us some ideas of what to do while we were in Lisbon as we hadn’t planned much for the trip yet. And he was really friendly and enjoyable, I think if we had been with the rest of the main group we might have gotten more of a guided tour.
And that was our first boat tour of the trip! Yep, we went on another one lol. That night after the tour, we all kept talking about how much we enjoyed it and so we decided to also book a nighttime tour. We did look at sunset ones but they are hella pricey because that is an obvious peak time.
So the next night we once again arrived at Belem marina for our second boat trip. This one was with Get Your Guide – we did originally want to book with Rent a Boat again, but they were not available. Though I think this was actually a good thing because we had a different experience with this company.
We got lucky with our night tour that we were actually the only ones on the boat, there was supposed to be a second group joining but they didn’t show. So it really was a private boat tour this time.
Like before, we opted to sit in the front, because again you gotta have good views. That being said, at night the tour was much colder, thankfully though the company provided blankets for us which kept us warm during the trip. Also because we were the only ones on the boat we got more of a guided tour, so the tour guide was able to tell us about all the attractions we could see along the river banks. I appreciated this because we didn’t get that the first time so it was nice to learn a bit more about what we were seeing. And it wasn’t repetitive which is good.
Unlike the last tour I found this one more chill and relaxing, I guess because it had been a long day and also there’s something about being away from all the noise of the nightlife and sailing along the water. Also in terms of wine, we did get one glass which was included in the package, which was more what we expected from the tour anyway.
And that concludes all our boat tours in Portgual lol. Honestly, I would recommend doing more than one, maybe not in the same trip if that’s not your vibe but they are definitely worth it because it gives you a different view of the city. And also the different times of day were nice because the contrast between both of them was nice to see.
And Portugal offers a lot of different boat tours, we saw plenty of them on the water as we were sailing though I would highly recommend the sailboat ones. We saw a lot of tour boats that were filled with a lot more people and that didn’t seem as enjoyable but might be for you if you prefer hop-on and hop-off kind of tours. There are also tours that include snorkelling and lots of other things so it’s definitely worth checking out!
In terms of pricing, the tours weren’t super expensive either which was nice. Both were around £30 per person and if you book private ones, then the more people you have the less you pay as the price is split between people. So 100% would recommend it to everyone.
I am not sure if this place is for everyone but it’s definitely a pretty photo op during the day. Pink Street is a street in Lisbon that is lined with bars/clubs on both sides and is party central at night.
My friends and I decided to go for drinks after we had been on our daytime boat tour and it was Friday night and packed to the brim with people. Usually not my scene, especially because we have just come out of a pandemic but we decided to be optimistic about it.
We walked up and down the street a couple of times, trying to find a bar with seating which was almost impossible, but we finally found a table outside a bar called Liverpool, named after the football team. Not exactly Portuguese culture but the only place with space and we took advantage.
I’m not going to say it was a glamorous night because in reality, you were sitting in a very crowded area in the heat of the night and the noise of the goings-on around you but we still had a great time. It worked out well we had this table, and there was a waitress who was taking drink orders for the bar so she would come by every so often to take our order. I honestly felt bad for her because she must’ve been getting all kinds of abuse and such throughout the night but we did our best to be polite and non-disruptive. We’re not that kind of people lol.
So we sat and we enjoyed our drinks, enjoyed seeing the parades of bar crawls and hen/stag do’s that passed us by.
Eventually, we did have to use the bathroom and the inside of the Liverpool bar is tiny, definitely wouldn’t like to be crammed in there with a lot of people. And also the female toilets only had one toilet which isn’t great for a bar but thankfully there weren’t many people inside, and so not many people in the bathrooms either.
And then around 3:30 a.m the staff were packing up the tables so it was time for us to move and probably go home because we didn’t realise it had gotten so late so quickly. The drinks were strong and we were enjoying our time so we had no idea it was going by so fast. The bar wasn’t closing at 3:30 though, they were just putting the tables away we could have still gone into the bar as they were open till SIX AM. Yeah, SIX IN THE MORNING. Crazy.
We did not feel like going inside so we decided to find a spot to stand and finish our drinks before heading home. Even at 3:30 in the morning, there were people everywhere. It was crazy, especially when in Northern Ireland clubs close at 2 and everyone is in Mcdonald’s by 3.
And so yeah our Pink Street adventures were pretty tame compared to most going on around us but I’d still say pretty wild for us lol. Like I said I wouldn’t say it was a vibe for everyone and I feel like if we hadn’t gotten sat at a place with a table it would have been a bit miserable. So I’d say it could be hit or miss if you decide to take a trip.
We did walk through the next day while trying to get somewhere and like I said, I think it’s nice for photos but otherwise not worth a trip, unless you’re looking to get smashed.
I feel like Time Out Market is one of those things that everyone mentions on their list of things to do in Lisbon. It is a big food market located close to Pink Street in the middle of Lisbon.
We decided to take a visit the afternoon after our Pink Street adventures and it was packed to the brim with people. I don’t think it would ever not be busy, to be honest, but it’s definitely a fun vibe. The market is set up in long cafeteria-style tables, and then the outside of the room is lined with various food vendors. So if you are ever undecided in the friend group about what to eat, this is the place because everyone can go to different places, or you can all share little things from various places.
I will say it’s not ideal if you are looking for anything private or intimate as you are sharing a huge table sandwiched between groups of people but it’s nice for lunch or something light.
The waiting lines for each vendor vary greatly as my friends and I scattered to our selected restaurant and came back to the table with our buzzers. Though I’d say waiting in line to order actually takes the longest. Once you get your order in then the food is prepared quite quickly.
Needless to say the food was delicious and everyone enjoyed it. Lauren and Jasmine even went to get dessert from one of the vendors.
So yeah a bright and fun place to go if you aren’t sure where to eat. I also think that if you enjoy the food from a vendor there that they have full restaurants you can go to if you want more of the food so definitely worth checking out. Though I’d say if you aren’t a fan of the crowds to not stay longer than needed, I found it quite draining to be there for a long time. But that could’ve been the late-night out before, who knows?
We saw so many people zooming about on electric scooters while we were away and we decided to take them for a spin ourselves after Time Out Market. To use them you just need to download an app corresponding to the branding on the scooter, scan the QR code, and off you go! There is no shortage of scooters or electric bikes in the centre of Lisbon, we saw so many of them around and it’s such a handy mode of transportation.
Something to note about the scooters though is they are heavy. Like heavier than your average Razor scooter as a kid and definitely more painful to the ankles. So basically, doing a lot of pedalling on them is a lot of work, as I soon found out because it took me a while to get to grips with the scooters. Like you’d think you can just step on and go but no lol.
You basically pedal a little bit and get your balance and then SLOWLY press on the accelerator until you feel comfortable to zoom off. Unfortunately for me, the balance did not come quickly lol we first took the scooters out in a busy area and trying to navigate through people and also get your balance was not the easiest.
So, later on, we were in a quieter area and took out some scooters again where I got to practice my balance and it was much easier to figure out when you weren’t worried about hitting anything or anyone. Plus, the scooters can get up to some speeds so you really need to spend time adjusting and figuring out what works for you.
Once we got the hang of the scooters they were super fun. We wanted to use them at every opportunity, especially because we were along the river and it was a long straight path towards where we were staying. It was so fun zooming down the street at night with the girls. Definitely, something we’ll remember for a long time.
So if you want something fun and easy to try out, get some scooters! I will now be sad if I go elsewhere on holiday and they don’t have scooters.
Sintra is not actually in Lisbon as it’s a separate town but I wanted to include this in the post anway because this is something the girls and I did.
Sintra is a town about an hour by train from Lisbon, and it contains four castles that you can visit and is perfect for sightseeing and pictures…unless you go in the rain which we ended up doing. So you go on holiday expecting sunshine and warmth and then the next thing you know it’s cold and rainy. Not fun, but something you can handle especially if you’re from Northern Ireland.
Even though the weather wasn’t great it was still a good day. We went to the Pena Palace and Moorish Castle. First was Pena Palace as it was at the highest up the mountain. It definitely would have been better if it was sunny, as the views from the palace were obscured by the mist, but it did clear up a bit by the time we had finished the palace interiors and had some lunch at the cafeteria.
I am thankful the weather cleared up a bit so we had some views, it would have been disappointing to continue to see nothing from such a great vantage point. But still would recommend a clear day to visit. It was also very busy waiting to get into the palace, we were waiting for an hour in line, I think if it was sunny it wouldn’t have been bad but I assume everyone was wanting to get inside to escape the rain.
The rain wasn’t actually too bad, it was a light mist at most but I think the altitude and wind made it a lot worse. So if you do see rain in the forecast, bring a rain jacket!
After Pena Palace we made it to Moorish Castle, again there would have been great views if the weather hadn’t taken a turn again. Moorish Castle was stunning and while climbing up all the stairs was a journey it was one I’m glad we took, even if we couldn’t see anything from the top I am proud we made it all the way to the top. Plus the views that we could see were stunning.
I would love the opportunity to go back with better weather to see the full thing and also explore the gardens of Pena Palace, as we decided to skip those due to the weather.
So those are all the things I would recommend doing in Lisbon! There were a couple other things the girls and I did like go to a flea market and also the beach but I feel like those you can kind of do anywhere. And in terms of where to eat and restaurants, my friends and I basically just walked along wherever we were until we found a menu with a vegetarian option for my friend Lauren and also something everyone else could eat. Unfortunately for us, Portugal is seafood heaven and none of us actually eat seafood lol.
But yeah, I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and if you are interested in seeing more of our Lisbon adventures I did manage to vlog a little of each day so you can check that out below!
Now for me, it’s time to return to regular life and start planning my next holiday…
Last month the girls and I booked a trip to Lisbon and I’d been counting down the days until we finally got to go! I feel like I really needed this holiday, I hadn’t been out of the UK in such a long time and it was just nice to kick back, relax, enjoy the sun and spend some time with the gals!
We are back with our second PLL book review! I feel like I couldn’t put it down I just had to know what happened. I also found out that when I had intended to read the series a few years ago, I was actually halfway through this one and stopped. Thank you Kindle app! But also don’t know why I stopped reading, there could be 100s of reasons but part of me thinks maybe it was because of exams and school. But that doesn’t matter now because I finished it this time!
So I think it makes sense to talk about each girl individually and all their drama because the girls are still not close yet. Yes, they discussed A briefly at Alison’s funeral but they are still keeping secrets to themselves. It is only at the end of the novel that they come together as Spencer spills some tea about The Jenna Thing, but we’ll get to that.
First off let’s talk about Aria, I feel like she didn’t have as much going on this time compared to the other girls. I also find her drama kind of boring. Thankfully Ezra Fitz was nowhere to be found in this novel. Not like in the TV show where he shows up at the funeral and he and Aria kiss. Bleh.
In this book, Aria is being pressured by A to tell her mom about the affair that Byron had with Meredith. Like I said I find this kind of boring. I guess because it matches up with the TV show. We know what happens, A writes a letter to Ella and she is devastated and can’t believe Aria knew the whole time. Ouch.
Aside from that, we see Aria get close to Sean Ackard who is Hanna’s ex. This was hinted at on the TV show but Aria shut it down because she could never do that to bestie Hanna. Except in the book she definitely does do that and doesn’t give Hanna a second thought because she and Sean broke up and Hanna and Aria aren’t friends. Savage.
I wasn’t expecting this pairing to happen and I don’t really know if I like it. Plus there’s the whole aspect of the girl code which was so obviously broken. I mean okay Aria and Hanna weren’t close anymore and Hanna had broken up with Sean but I still think it would be weird to date someone that your old friend also dated…but eh it’s high school and as long as Aria is hooking up with people her own age I can’t be mad. I just don’t see it lasting.
Meanwhile, Hanna is dealing with so many more issues. Like the fact she totaled Sean’s car and has to work at Sean’s family’s burn clinic to pay off the debt. Not cute. But still better than the dental clinic she had to work in on the TV show.
But also, Hanna’s dad is back and he has ulterior motives for wanting to see Hanna as he wants to bring his old family and his new family together. Gross.
Similar to the TV show the events unfold with Kate and Isobel as expected. That Kate ends up getting Hanna in more trouble by lying to Hanna and then exposing her terrible behavior to her dad. Except in the TV show, Hanna’s grandmother can see right through that crap. No such luck in the book, Hanna has no one to defend her and it looks like her dad may never speak to her again. Eep.
I honestly hate how none of the characters in this book have good parents lol. Like Hanna’s dad goes AWOL and starts a new life for himself and when he sees his daughter is clearly struggling he just pawns her off to her mother and goes back to his new family. And then Hanna’s mom is obviously a shitty parent who is never present and is sleeping with a cop to keep Hanna out of jail…I suppose that’s a “nice” thing to do for your daughter? But still shitty parenting lol.
Anyway, aside from the Kate drama, Hanna is also bullied by A into confessing to some girls at school that she has been making herself throw up. Which is horrible, but I am also glad they address Hanna’s eating disorder more in the books than in the TV show. Like in the TV show they mention it once and just act like it’s no big deal but it’s clearly still a very real thing in the books and I hope that Hanna can get it under control. I just wonder how far Mona will push her on it.
Next, we have Spencer who is totally head over heels in love with Wren. And it makes me sick. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again he is a full-ass adult who is hooking up with a teenager and it’s DISGUSTING. He calls Spencer not two days after breaking up with Melissa and then the first time Spencer hangs out with him they have sex. Ugh. Hate it.
I can totally see from Spencer’s point of view why she thought this would be okay but Wren is just an adult who took advantage of a child in that situation and it makes me want to barf.
But after Spencer sleeps with Wren she becomes the classic girl in love who is very clingy to Wren since she thought they had an amazing bond since they had sex. And it’s surprising to see Spencer fall like this I feel like in the TV show she is much stronger and the Wren thing doesn’t last as long. But yeah, naturally Wren gets annoyed with all of Spencer’s calls and texts and tells her it’s over.
And to make things worse, Spencer finds out from Melissa that Wren has actually been seeing her too. So not only is Wren scum for sleeping with a minor but he’s also been sleeping with her sister the whole time too! I hate him so much. And in the TV show, he ain’t much better so I guess he did deserve to be turned into a diamond.
I don’t know if we hear much from Wren after this book but I’m hoping not.
Also, Spencer stole her sister’s essays because she was way behind on school work and too busy focusing on Wren. But she also stole the essay on the TV show and if things play out the same then we know she kind of gets away with it. So not super important to note.
Then there’s Emily who is still struggling with her sexuality but she ends up making friends with Toby Cavanagh who saves her from a bad encounter with her ex Ben. Again, these events play out kind of similar to the TV show, except the dance they are at is homecoming and Toby doesn’t die.
I gotta tell you I was not expecting Toby to commit suicide. Like in the TV show he is Spencer’s main love interest and he actually seems like an okay guy! I am surprised they kept him around considering how quickly he is killed off in the books. This makes me wonder if Spencer has a different main love interest in the books or maybe none at all. I think I would prefer if the focus was on the drama and not the relationships so I’m fine if Spencer doesn’t have someone but we’ll see how it plays out.
It also turns out that Toby was the one who forced himself on Jenna and not the other way around like on TV, and that’s why he kills himself. He thought everyone knew his secret and he couldn’t live with it anymore. Even though the secret Emily was confronting him about was actually that she thought he killed Alison. Yikes. This is the tea that Spencer spills to the girls when they find out that Toby has died.
So yeah things took a turn at the end of the novel. All the girls think Toby was A and that they would be free but then Emily gets a text from A telling her “it’s not over till I say it is”. And then that’s the end of the book.
No A chapter at the end which is nice, I think it was good to end on that message because it’s a good cliffhanger and definitely makes me want to find out what happens next. I am hoping there is more deviation from the TV show because I find myself guessing what happens and that’s not always fun. I want to be shocked lol.
I am wondering if Jenna ever comes back to Rosewood properly or if we never see her again now that Toby is gone, I am wondering when Emily embraces her sexuality with Maya as it could still be a while, I wonder if Wren comes back though I really hope he doesn’t…and I also want to know what Hanna’s mom plans to do since her daughter is so ‘out of control’. And of course, I wonder if the girls will be able to figure out who A is now that Toby is gone, even though they aren’t really speaking at the minute.
And so that’s where we leave the girls for now. I am not sure what will come next exactly, other than Spencer’s essay thing kind of working out for her, Aria trying to keep her family together, and Emily trying to be straight lol. But I’m interested to see what A pushes them to do next. After all, I feel she is just getting started.
I am finally starting to read the PLL books! I have wanted to do this for years but I’m finally committed to it now.
I also don’t know what to call these blog posts because I guess they are reviews but mainly it’s just going to be me comparing the books to the TV show and also trying to piece together clues about who A is.
First of all though disclaimer: I already know who A is in the books. How could you watch the TV show and search A theories without being spoiled? So I know who it’s going to be and now I wanna see if there are hints to see if I can figure it out or guess.
Anyway yes, so here we are PLL. I’ve actually read the first book before. Back in 2013 when I thought I was going to read the series. I got to the second book and stopped for whatever reason lol I swear I’ll get through this time.
So the first book is basically the pilot of the TV show. We are introduced to the four girls and who they are now that Alison is missing. The TV show also reveals the girls were at a sleepover when Ali went missing but we do not know this in the first book.
Mainly the things I focused most on in this book were the differences between the TV show.
For instance, everyone is hella rich in the books. So I don’t think Hanna will be having any money troubles.
They also have pets! How wild lol and Emily has a whole ass family of siblings and her dad isn’t in the army. How strange. Also, her mum is racist towards Maya’s family which is not cute.
The appearances of the girls are also different in the books but I won’t be mad about that because that always happens when doing book adaptations to movies/TV.
So yeah those were things that were strange to me. Also, A sends the girls a lot of messages in the first book. In the pilot, I think they all get one each. But A seems relentless in the first book, texting Aria nonstop about Ezra, leaving notes for Hanna and emailing Spencer. I like this though because it really shows how forceful A is.
Also A is Mona in the beginning so tell me how she be laying high in a field at Noel’s house and sending all these messages to Aria at the same time lol. I mean she was maybe acting and wrote a script to auto send messages but for real how did she know Aria was gonna see Ezra?
I think that’s the biggest thing I wondered about while watching the show is wondering how Mona even did it all. I mean they say some crap about her mental illness making her feel omnipresent or something but there had to be more. So I am hoping the book gives me some insight.
There was also the A chapter at the end of the book which, apparently back in 2013 I loved but today I read it and it was kind of cringey. It gave me some Gossip Girl vibes like very much “and who am I? That’s a secret I’ll never tell” sort of thing. Probably could have done without it.
Though I wonder how often these A chapters happen or maybe it’s just at the end of each book. I don’t know if I like it though. We’ll see how it goes from here on out.
Another thing that was wild to me is how they write Aria and Ezra. I mean I’m 100% against Ezria because it’s creepy, I might have felt differently back in the day but now I can’t stop being like “HE IS HER TEACHER AND SHE’S UNDERAGE”. So I’ll probably complain about them a lot in every blog post lol.
Anyway, the way Ezra is written is like he might as well be Aria’s age. I mean him getting jealous over her flirting with Noel is so icky. And even when he is hurt when he thought Aria told someone about them. “I really liked you” bro get over it she’s 16 and you’re in your early 20s…
Yeah, it’s all icky and I hate it. The way they write it in the book also makes it so casual and I hate that too. So yeah not a fan of Ezria can’t wait for it to be shut down. Hope it happens soon lol.
It’s also wild how they write about Wren and Spencer and how he immediately is way more attracted to her than Melissa and stuff. Like there’s no build-up, I wish there had been more to it…not sure what else I would have wanted lol but it just seemed a tad unbelievable.
Not to mention the way Spencer’s family treat her it’s so gross. How about being angry at the 20 something student who is preying on your 16-year-old and not your 16-year-old???
Yeah, that’s another inappropriate relationship. Ick.
Aside from all of that, the book is a strong start into something interesting. I’m excited to get into the series for real this time. I’ve read bits and pieces about the book series online so I’m interested to see how it all plays out.
And of course, I’ll be blogging about it along the way. This is the kind of series I feel I’m going to have a lot of thoughts about. So stay tuned for another post probably very soon!
I read quite a bit this month! Proud of myself considering last month was a bit of a fail reading-wise, but we soldier on.
Talking As Fast As I Can
I finished this one on the 1st May so I guess technically an April read? I covered it in my last post as well.
It was a nice one. Nothing super special I feel but a nice insight into Lauren Graham’s time as Lorelai in the Gilmore Girls reboot and some other fun anecdotes about her career as an actress. Would recommend it to any Gilmore Girls fan out there.
I wasn’t planning on reading an Amazon Prime First Reads book this month, but I started it when I was out of the house and wanted something to read.
This one was actually a good one! Amazon Prime First Read selections can be hit or miss and I always have a love/hate relationship with the ones that I choose. But this one I liked. I’m not saying it was amazing though, murder mysteries are always touch and go with me.
I think this one had a good pace, I hate when a novel drags something out when they don’t need to. I think the mystery was just enough but nothing crazy that you couldn’t guess what was going on.
So yeah, this one would be on the higher end of 3 stars compared to others I’ve read. And I usually end up rating a lot of books I read 3 stars lol so I guess that’s saying something.
Cinderella is Dead
I read this one very quickly, credit to the fact that we were getting work done on our house and the electricity was off for a few hours haha.
I’m not usually one for fantasy books, which sounds ridiculous when I tell you I loved Twilight and Vampire Diaries in my teens lol but yeah I don’t know they just don’t usually have an appeal to me. So I was taking a chance with this one it sounded interesting.
I ended up really enjoying this, I think it was a good twist on an old story. I wasn’t expecting the plot twist at the end either. Honestly just a great story and something that kept me wanting to go back to see what would happen. I’d definitely recommend it if you enjoy fantasy/fairy tale type stories.
Pretty Little Liars
IT. IS. TIME.
I have been wanting to read this series basically since I watched the TV show, was disappointed in the ending and found out the books are better. I have read the first book I think twice before with the intention of reading more and I just haven’t. But I’m doing it this year.
So I actually managed to finish the first book in the series yesterday which means I can officially include it here! Yay! But because I want to talk more in-depth about the books they will be getting their own blog posts.
I want to discuss everything, the secrets, the drama the “who is A” of it all. I mean I know who it is already because the internet spoiled it for me long ago but I need to know if there are clues. I wanna relive my 16-year-old self’s life of being immersed in the PLL universe. So be ready for this because I am so ready for this.
But don’t worry, I will still be breaking up the series with other books in between. How many I couldn’t say but there will at least be a couple Bridgerton books thrown in there.
Anyway yes, that’s my reading for May, I don’t know if reading will pick up now I’ve started a series like PLL, in my head, those books are easy reads and not super long so I feel like I’ll get through them quickly but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
This one is going to be a short one because I managed to read ONE book the whole month haha.
I actually didn’t even think I was taking that long to read this one book but I guess I did because well…the facts are it took me almost four weeks to read this book.
I’m not mad about it though, these things happen I feel like because I was off for Easter and not travelling etc I wasn’t reading much and so it’s not a big deal. We will just work on reading a bit more next month to make up for it.
So the book I read this month was:
When He Was Wicked
This is the 6th Bridgerton book and I did not like it lol.
First of all the first couple of times, I did some reading on it I was falling asleep while reading. Like partly because I was tired but also the story was not exciting.
The story goes that Francesca is married to John the Earl of Kilmartin and she has a wonderful life. However, Michael, John’s cousin is secretly in love with her. Eh. John ends up passing away very suddenly and so Francesca becomes a widow, and long story short she and Michael fall in love.
And I really did not like it. I mean I will give credit that because Francesca is not a virgin the love scenes were different than the usual “first-time” ones which have been in every other Bridgerton book so far. So that was something.
But Francesca’s constant indecision and vague “I can’t marry Michael just because” thoughts were so annoying. I am an indecisive person so I hate to see it in someone I’m reading about too. Just because I know it’s annoying when I can’t make up my mind never mind a fictional character. And there’s not even precise reasoning behind the indecision other than Francesca refusing to see Michael as anything but a friend really.
I also found that Michael’s plan to essentially trap Francesca in marriage by impregnating her is not the vibe. I know she never rejected his advances but it did not sit right with me at all.
So yeah, I was very glad to be done with this one. I suppose I could have just stopped reading it if I disliked it, but I’ve made it so far into the series I have to see it through to the end now. I probably won’t read the side books to the series but if I at least get through the main Bridgerton siblings that’ll be enough. Not sure how the other books will go but I can feel myself getting a bit fed up with them so I’m hoping to end it soon.
That being said I am still enjoying the TV show and am hoping for some creative changes to make some of the stories a bit more modern and more tolerable so…we’ll see how that goes.
Currently Reading: Talking As Fast As I Can
I kind of want to count this as part of my read books in April since I managed to read a lot of it in the last few days. But it’s not finished and it’s not even like I have 10 pages left either. I’m about 3/4s of the way through.
This is a non-fiction book written by Lauren Graham where she shares some stories of her time on Gilmore Girls and how she came to be where she is today.
The book is okay, for a non-fiction book. Lauren’s writing style is basically the talking style of Lorelai Gilmore which makes for an easy read. If you watch Gilmore Girls then you know, the characters talk fast so the book’s pace is fast. If you can read at the speed they talk haha.
But yeah I think I will finish it up in the next few days and I’ll be onto something else.
Reading plans for May consist of, reading the last of the physical books I bought a few months ago. I feel like I’ve had them for ages and I don’t know what’s been taking so long to read them – I guess I have been reading some Kindle books in between.
Another big goal is to actually start the Pretty Little Liars book series. I want to read it this year and I have officially finished my TV show rewatch so I want to get into the books when I can. Hopefully, by June I will have started into them, from what I hear they are better than the TV show so I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring to the PLL universe.
I’m not sure how much I will read in May, but I’m hoping it’s more than one book haha. I do have a holiday booked at the end of May but I’ll be with friends so not sure how much reading will get done, so better work on getting some books in before then!