12/30/2016

My 2016 Book List

COMPLETED


The first instalment of the Bill Hodges trilogy. A thrilling story about a retired detective (Kermit William Hodges) who gets targeted by an elusive serial killer (Brady Hartsfield). This was my first ever Stephen King book, so I stuck with it till the end even though there were times I nearly dropped it. I quite liked this book in the end though as it set a good scene for the rest of the books to follow.

The second instalment of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. This book centres around one of Brady's victims and his family. This book has a slightly different story about the grim consequences of being obsessed with books. Into Addition to the consequences of stealing from a thief. Whilst our favourite character (Brady) from book one is in the background somewhere. I quite liked this book so much so that I read it in 5 days.

The book is about an ordinary guy (Shadow) who starts working with an old god (Wednesday), and they prepare for war with the new gods. This book is over 700 pages long, and was a complete waste of my time. I gave this book a chance because it's been talked about so much, and is being made into a TV series as we speak. Nonetheless, It did have some good parts, like when shadow discovers who he really is.
- Covered in Currently Reading 2


This is the 2nd instalment of the Midnight Texas trilogy. This book is about the little town of Midnight in Texas, and it's supernatural inhabitants. I loved this book, it was slow but it has significant links to the Sookie Stackhouse series (BKA True Blood). As previously mentioned, I have read all 13 of the True Blood books so I was really thrilled by this book.

CURRENTLY READING

A book containing 21 short horror stories.

The Fireman by Joe Hill
This book is different from anything I have ever read. It is about a virus that causes people to self-combust. I am really excited to find out why this happens.

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz
Another instalment of the Original sinners of series.

The Scent of Winter by Tiffany Reisz
A winter novella - Father Marcus spends his birthday in a cabin with no electricity.


DROPPED

I could not carry on reading the books below, as they were not engaging and far too wordy.



The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher


I am hoping to read more books in 2017, so I am open to suggestions if anyone has any



12/27/2016

Balboa Park, San Diego

Following on from my San Diego post. One of my favourite places in Central San Diego was Balboa Park. When I got into my first ever Uber to Balboa Park, I initially thought it would be a park with lots of trees and grass; and nothing more. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised that it was more than just trees and grass. There was over 20 attractions, from science exhibitions to San Diego Zoo. In addition to Museums, Gardens, Art installations and Eateries. Unfortunately it was really difficult to take pictures due to the multitude of other people who were there. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful place for all ages, and you can spend a whole day there, without even realising it.











12/23/2016

I Have Completed My Masters Degree


I recently finished my masters in Forensic Psychology. This has probably been the hardest thing I have ever done. For the reason that it was full time and thus made balancing all aspects of life quite difficult. Additionally, there is no financial help from the government at this level and it was not possible to get a scholarship. Nonetheless I have passed every single assignment within all my modules with flying colours and thus I am hoping for a merit overall. we do not officially find our overall grade till February 😩.

I wanted to share what life lessons that I have learned from completing this course, and they are as follows:

One of the best feelings in the world is finishing something you initially thought you could not do.
A masters is not for everyone, its extremely hard. Especially one that focuses on morbid complex issues. My lecturers always said "If you aren't finding it hard or/and stressful then you are not doing this right". With that said, the sense of accomplishment is all worth it.

Completing a Masters does not mean that I now know what the capital of Mongolia is.
People presume that just because you have a masters then you must be extremely knowledgeable about everything in the world. I am certainly not, as I'm only an expert in the area of forensic psychology. I am horrendous at geography. Additionally contrary to popular belief, psychologists can not read minds - the though I hope to learn one day.

Having a masters gives you the confidence to go for higher paying jobs
This is pretty self explanatory, however our course emphasised that work experience is equally as important as a degree.

Deadlines are helpful organisation tools.
Having a non adjustable goal to work towards may seem daunting at first,  but at least you can use it to prioritise your time. This has also proved to be beneficial in everyday life.

You just can't win them all.
I gave each assignment the same high degree of effort, whether it was 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% or 100% of the mark. And still, there were some which I didn't get the grade I wanted, and that was fine. I just moved on and focused my efforts of doing the next one. I found that this helped with being resilient and staying motivated when faced with negativity.

Having a MSc at the end of your name
It just looks so pretty. A lot of blogs say this can come off as pretentious or arrogant. My question is, when did it become a negative to be proud of something you have worked so hard for?

People who find out that you have done a masters...
They feel the need to explain to you why they never went to university - when you never even asked them why in the first place. This one I still don't fully understand, each to their own and god for us all. Going to university is not everything. Not everyone wants to go into higher education or can go into higher education, so it's not my place to judge.

Your way of thinking changes how you approach things in life.
I am now very critical of what I read online, in newspapers, what people tell me and even some scientific research. For example, companies can hire scientists to conduct research that will support their narrative that something is good or bad for you. When really said companies should also report opposing findings, so we can make our own mind up about things.

Whilst being critical has a negative connotation, it's really a tool to positively or negatively appraise something in equal measures. I think, and I hope most people think that we need to be more critical of news especially since the rise of fake news.

Its not all negative though, I am now more open minded about everything in life, because anything can happen even if we can not prove it.

Personal and professional development

In my course they really drilled into us what we can actually do with our degree, and the steps I need to take to get a job with my degree (within module one). Additionally I got plenty of opportunities to speak to people in the field I would like to go in. People who were newly qualified as well as those have been in the game for years. With in the first modules that you complete. I found this really helpful and so did my classmates, as this kind of information is not available at undergraduate. This also gave us enough time to get a refund, if we decided that the degree was not for us.

With all that said, I am glad to be out of education for years to come!


*P.S. Merry Christmas!



12/18/2016

San Diego, Califonia ♥

San Diego Harbour Skyline   

I recently visited California and it was absolutely amazing! Though getting there was very tiring, as the flight from Heathrow to San Diego, connecting in Philadelphia was just over 18 hours. So it was quite nice that our hotel the Rancho Bernardo Inn (in Rancho Bernardo town) was a nice, secluded and away from city traffic. Which allowed for lots of peaceful and indulgent sleep and visits to the spa. Additionally the hotel had a number of beautiful restaurants so there was never a boring meal.

The only downside to this beautiful scenic hotel was that it was a 30 minute drive to downtown San Diego. We actually did not know this when we arrived at the San Diego airport, we got a $90 taxi to the hotel; When an Uber was $22-$30. The reason why I mention price differences is that America is not as affordable as it used to be, since GBP fell due to brexit. So the last thing you want to do is waste money on travel when you could be having fun in The Gaslamp District or Ocean Beach with beautiful weather that ranged from 20°C to 28°C (during the day, and pretty mild in the evening). Keeping in mind this was still in winter!

 ✤

Downtown San Diego itself was beautiful, it was hot and the people were so friendly. Though my favourite places were Balboa Park and The Gaslamp District. The latter was a beautiful quarter full of bars and restaurants spread across 4th, 5th and 6th street. With Horton Plaza Westfield mall on 4th street. In addition to Embarcadero Marina Park located at the end of the Gaslamp Quarter. Whereas Balboa Park was a surprise within itself.

I had a wonderful time in San Diego, though I would have to say that I preferred Los Angeles. 

Embarcadero Marina Park

View of Rancho Bernardo Golf Club from the Avant Restaurant - Where Breakfast was Served
View of Some the Ranch Estate

Giant Sangrias - These were Available From Any Place That Served Alcohol

Atop Embarcadero Marina Park


Embarcadero Marina Park
One of the New and Old Navy Ships Visible at San Diego Habour 
San Diego Harbour


8/20/2016

Currently Reading #2


The Confessions by Tiffany Reisz
Novella

This book is about the confessions of Father Sterns and Nora, who are the lead characters from the Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz. In addition, there are some confessions about the series by the author herself as well ass some interesting facts about the series. I would rate this a good 8/10. Though, I feel as though if people have not read a few books from the series, then this novella would be very confusing and shocking.

Midnight Cross Roads by Charlaine Harris 
Midnight Texas Series

This book is about a small group of weird and wonderful people who reside in Midnight, Texas. They fight together and protect each other, from evil Right wing individuals. I think I would give it a good 5/10. I can see that the series on the whole has potential to be amazing like the stackhouse series. Though it is super slow and very PG/PC compared to her other works, which makes me wonder what audience this book is aimed for. At times I nearly did drop it because I got tired of reading about the cat. Nonetheless, I do like the plot, especially the twists at the end! They were really good. The characters were great, I particularly liked Manfred the psychic, even though there wasn't much of his ability going on in this book. I also like Lemuel the vampire, it will be interesting to know more about him in the next book. I did not like the witch, she is the fun police in my opinion 🙊. I can not really say much more without spoiling the book for people, but I think it is worth a read.






8/18/2016

Ibiza 2016

I have been meaning to write this post for sometime now, however life has been getting in the way.

View from my window seat on the plane

Here it goes! I went to Ibiza and it was amazing...once we sorted out all the issues. My friend and I went to work there through an agency. She got there a week before I did, and discovered the agent lied about being provided accommodation at a workers price by the club we would be working at. The club informed my friend that there was no such thing. Luckily my friend got to stay with someone she knew who already works in Ibiza as a DJ. The agent also lied about the price of the NIE (it's a Spanish NI), he said it was €60 but it turned out to be €100. This obviously added on to my limited budget. So knowing all this, I still decided to go meet my friend as the plane tickets were non-refundable.

I arrived in Ibiza at 10:30am, with no accommodation and no transfer to Sant Antoni de Portmany. Luckily I had met a lovely couple on the plane, and we shared a taxi. In retrospect, I should have just stuck to my original plan and got the bus, as the bus was €4 and the taxi was €10(for each of us). When I finally got to Sant Antoni de Portmany, the first thing I did was get a sangria whilst I waited for my friend. We ended up walking around from hostel to hostel looking for rooms, as someone told us they would be more affordable if we cut out the middle man (i.e. Booking online).

Accommodation wise over 7 days, we stayed at 3 different hostels: Hostal Rosalia, Hostal Adelino and Hotel Apartamentos Central City. They were all 1 or 2 star, but we hardly spent any time in the room so we didn't mind. One thing that we do regret is getting a room with air conditioning. Yes Spain is hot, and the AC was free, but on the 2nd day with AC - we got a horrible cold. I have had plenty of colds but this one was something else, and a local told us that people get ill because of going out in the sun then using the AC.

Sant Antoni de Portmany Beach Bay

Cafe Koppas Amazing Tex Mex


Our days consisted of pretty much what everyone does in San Antonio. Our days began with having some wonderful Spanish food by the beach. There were some really nice eateries on the sea front, as well as within the town. Then we would chill out on the beach or go sight seeing or go on boat trips. The boat trips ranged from €9 to €80+ but the more expensive they got the more incentive there was to go on them. For instance we went on a €50 cruise a few times and you got free fruit, unlimited free bar and a chance to go diving for those wanted to. These trips tended to be on smaller boats with the capacity of 40 people. The more expensive boats tended to be for either you book for the day or your typical booze cruise. I am really glad we didn't go on any boozes cruise as I feel as though my friend, and I would be out of place with the 18yr olds. So our days were pretty chill.


Sant Antoni de Portmany Water Fountain

Us Leaving The Beach on the Boat


Our evenings consisted of working for 4 hours selling shots at various bars and some clubs (not the super clubs), then we'd go out and spend our wages (which were a basic rate of €25 + unlimited commission). There was always after parties and I was amazed at we survived on 4-5hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to go to the super clubs that you see on the TV, due to the fact my shift was always at 10pm to 2am. Nonetheless, the strip and the after parties were perfect enough for me.

This working holiday was so fun, as we got to generate our wages once we got our NIEs. Additionally as workers, we got workers wrist bands which had many benefits, including but not limited to: offers on food; discounts on drinks; free entry to venues; and a multitude of other worker friends. Therefore I am really hoping that I will be go back in September.

I have been meaning to write this post for sometime now, however life has been getting in the way.


A few essentials I got before the trip.




8/01/2016

Hello August: Happiness

First photo I took in Sant Antoni de Portmany, just out the local meeting place, the Ship Inn.

Hello August, may you be a wonderful chilled month. This month my main goals are to be happy, chilled and positive. This is because last month was fun, stressful, tearful, self-loathing, rushed and exhilarating, due to my short notice trip to Ibiza. I am yet to write a post about my experience, but it will one worth reading... Nonetheless! the theme of the month is positivity and I hope everyone has a wonderful month too.


7/31/2016

Currently Reading #1


I am excited to be currently reading Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris, which is the first part of a trilogy from my understanding. The book is about a small town in Texas called Midnight whose inhabitants may include vampires, psychics, witches etc.. So far it is good (I am at chapter 15, p119), though it is slow which is alright for the first book.  I absolutely loved Charlaine Harris' 13 Sookie Stackhouse books, so I am hoping this will get pretty interesting soon. Rumour is that like the Stackhouse books which got made into the famous True Blood, this book series may also be turned into a show.



7/14/2016

Weekend of Indulgence

Thought this view of the Hyatt lobby looked rather nice.

FRIDAY

The weekend just been I was treated to a wonderful spa weekend full of indulgence. My mother thought I needed a weekend away from being a poor MSc student, so we met at grand central in Birmingham. We had a wonderful lunch at Pho! Vietnamese street food and it was really delicious. Then we went to our hotel and checked in. The Hyatt Regency Hotel was so lush, as we were on the 24th floor we had access to the regency club where there were free drinks, snacks (biscuits and sweets), alcohol and canapés. In the evening we decided to walk to the canal and get some cocktails from Aluna, which were really great but pricy cocktails.

SATURDAY

The next day, we had two breakfasts the first was downstairs with the other hotel guests and the second was with other regency club members. The food was both amazing up and down stairs - they really do know how to entertain guests. In the afternoon we went to the Alma Hotel spa and had head,neck and back massages. They were so relaxing and great. However, my mom got upset because she booked me in for a full body, and the spa didn't tell her that they can't do a full body massage on a busy Saturday. Personally I think that was a crap excuse. Come to think of it the customer service was less than acceptable - if only I had a Yelp to review that part of it.

So after the spa we checked out, and went to the bullring where we had full make overs from MAC. I didn't like my make over it was too er, rushed. Though my mom loved hers, she's been representing MAC for 16 years she says - I wonder if they have been around that long.

Before we left we had a late lunch at the all bar one or all one bar - I can never remember the order of the name haha. They had the best peri peri chicken I have ever tasted, and I'm not even a fan of peri peri chicken in general. They also had some wonderful tempura prawns, mezze board, and calamari tapas. It was a wonderful meal though the music in the restaurant was way too loud.

SUNDAY

On Sunday I was home, but in the evening a couple of friends and I went to the pub to watch the football. For some reason we thought that was a good idea even though we don't really even like football or beer. Instead we had 3 bottles of wine 🙈 and ended up at another pub which had free roast with gravy (so random). We ended going home with 5 extra people which was so strange for a Sunday.

All in all it was a really nice weekend and really do wish I took some wonderful pictures of it all. It was just so nice of my mother to take me out on Friday and Saturday. I couldn't say thank you enough.








7/01/2016

Hello July: IBIZA


July has always been a wonderful month and I have been looking forward to it. However, this year is going to be a bit different as there are a number of things I need to complete this month which are new experiences for me. these include working on the final version of my dissertation, finding my first postgraduate job, and lastly going on a working holiday in Ibiza.  I am really excited about the latter as for the longest time I have wanted to visit Ibiza, but as I got older I realised how expensive it is. So a friend and I found a compromise. we decided to work as shot girls for some nights and chill during the day and most nights. So I am looking forward to it, but I am a bit nervous because the agency provides the accommodation and we wont be able to see it until we get there.

Nevertheless, I hope everyone has a wonderful July.





6/30/2016

Currently Reading

As part of my summer reading I have began reading this wonderful new book The Confessions by Tiffany Reisz, which has only been out since march. I liked the last two books (The Saint and The King) by Tiffany, so I was excited to get started on this one. The book focuses of the confessions of the main characters within Tiffany Reiszs' Orignial sinners book series.

Hope everyone gets a chance to at least enjoy one book this summer.


6/01/2016

June Goals


Hi all, so for the past 8 months I have been doing my masters full time, hence the lack of posts until recently. Anyways! I would like to get back to the swing of things by first making a list (I love making lists) ...a list of things goals!

Finish a partial first draft of my dissertation 
I think this one is pretty self explanatory, though my dissertation isn't due in till November, I would like to get the first draft finished as soon as possible. So that I have some time to make all the necessary improvements etc..  

Have some me time
So as I have mentioned, in the last 9 months I have been completing the taught part of the masters. I literally had a deadline every Tuesday throughout the second semester. So, I pretty much started getting physical symptoms of stress (pain killer resistant headaches, sleeping issues and anxiety), and my GP told me to make some time for myself to reflex, read a book or something. I don't think she remembers what it was like being a student. Nonetheless, I shall stick to doctors orders and take breaks from my dissertation time, to time.


Read a book
I love reading novels and I always aim to read a few books during the summer. Therefore, I have compiled a reading list which  I shall post soon. Once I purchase the first one.

BLOG!
and again, this is one is pretty self explanatory.


So any of you have anything you would like to achieve this June?



Latest Instagrams

© Cherie xox. Design by Fearne.