Tips For Staying Safe On Tinder

Hi, my name’s Chanelle and I use Tinder. People will make jokes about others who use it and yes at one point I was embarrassed to admit I use it for that reason but I’m not ashamed to say I’ve put myself out there and would like to meet someone new.

Honestly, I’ve never gone into using Tinder with expectations and whether or not a friendship or relationship comes from it, I don’t mind either way. I use it simply because the world has become so digital. As well as potentially looking to meet someone day to day, it’s not doing any harm looking online too.

I’ve talked briefly before about not wanting to use Tinder for casual hookups (there are people who do use it for that, which is fine – I’m not going to shame somebody for wanting a bit of fun) but I’m the type of girl who prefers to be exclusive and focus on giving my all to one person. I also think using the app makes me feel more confident and I’m not afraid to message guys first and initiate conversation. Dating is surprisingly one thing that I don’t stress about a lot, I’ve got quite a relaxed attitude towards it. The dates I’ve been on have never ended with animosity or made me feel like I was in danger – they just haven’t worked out and that’s okay.

I’m lucky that the dates I have been on have always made me feel safe and I don’t associate negative feelings with meeting a guy for the first time. There are horror stories out there, not everyone is trustworthy and things do go wrong but if you take precautions to keep yourself safe the positive experiences outweigh the negative ones. I like to think I’m a sensible girl and I make logical decisions. I wanted to impart some of my Tinder dating wisdom to ensure other people like me who are looking to meet someone genuine do stay safe.

TIps:

Tip #1: Don’t Meet Straight Away (I.E. the day of the first message)

You’ll know by having a few conversations with a person over the course of a week or two whether you do actually want to meet them. You’re able to ask questions and gauge their responses and if they disappear for days on end or different things they say don’t add up you haven’t rushed into meeting them. If someone really wants to meet you they won’t mind waiting until you’re both ready.

Tip #2: Don’t Reveal Personal details on your profile

I don’t share the location of where I work or any links to social media on my Tinder profile. If I’m messaging someone and they ask what I do for work I will say but it relates to Tip #1, you’re able to gauge the conversation and decide who you let know where you work. Workplaces are an obvious location for stalking to start and for people you haven’t matched with to be able to see that information makes you more readily available to them.

There is an option to link your Instagram account so Tinder can show recent photos but I don’t want my pictures getting taken and I don’t want everyone to follow me on Instagram. Instagram usernames aren’t included on Tinder profiles and if I’m talking to someone, we get along and Instagram comes up as a topic, I can decide whether to give it out or not.

Tip #3: Always Let Someone KNOW if YOU Plan To MEET up With a Tinder Match

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE I want you to take from this post! Every date I have ever been on my mum has known about. It doesn’t have to be a parent but telling a friend, family member or a co-worker where you’re going ensures if anything goes wrong they have an idea where you are or where you’ve been.

Tip #4: Meet In a Public Place

I don’t like to meet someone for the first time in a secluded area or a quiet part of town where no one is around. Usually I will be the one to suggest where to meet and generally always pick somewhere to eat where there’s guaranteed to be other people and witnesses around. I haven’t had to do this but if you’re in a cafe or restaurant and you do feel unsafe you can make an excuse to head up to the counter and let a staff member know what’s going on. You could even arrange with a friend before the date to casually ‘bump into them’ where you’re meeting so they know you’re okay and help you get out of the situation if you don’t feel right about it.

Tip #5: Arrange Your Own Transportation

I have been offered to be picked up on dates before but I have never accepted for the simple fact of getting into a car with a stranger. If you make your own way there via bus or driving yourself and the date doesn’t turn up you know the person’s intentions weren’t true and you are still safe and you can turn around and go home. I have let a few dates drop me home as I’ve spent a couple of hours with them to know I don’t feel uneasy in their presence. My mum always offers to pick me up or tells me to call her if I need anything and I know I can rely on her.

Tip #6: You Don’t Have To Give Out Your Phone Number

This relates to Tip #2 – if you don’t feel comfortable giving someone your phone number, don’t! If someone tries to question you, be honest and upfront and explain you only give out your number to close friends and family members. If someone wants to keep talking and getting to know you, it won’t matter and they won’t make you feel guilty. In time you can decide to change your mind.


I hope you found this post interesting! There are plenty of other safety tips out there like carrying a whistle or pepper spray or downloading an app that tracks the location of your phone so friends and family can see where you are. The ones I talked about are personally things I do and I would love to know if you have any tips of your own – leave them in the comments!

Happy dating!

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What I’ve Been Reading – Autumn

I am three quarters of the way through my challenge to read 50 books by the beginning of September 2018. At the end of my previous update I was feeling a little disheartened because I should have been halfway through my target of 50 books and I wasn’t. I have picked things up and have made significant progress the past three months and I may be back on track to meet the target!

NB: Items marked with * are ebooks so I wasn’t able to photograph the cover images myself.

#1. Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

I do subscribe to Zoe on YouTube and was curious to see what her books are like. I commend Zoe for knowing her audience and what would be an appropriate book. The topics in this story are very relatable, even to me at age 23 despite the book being a little thin on plot. The social media aspects are relevant and the book confronts trolling and online hate. I don’t feel the need to read the other two books in the series. I don’t feel I’m missing out by not reading them.

#2. Taken At the Flood – Agatha Christie

This was the least action packed Poirot mystery of the ones I have read so far but the last 40 pages were really exciting and the ending surprised me. The way Agatha Christie writes is simple but she creates twists and turns that the reader doesn’t often expect until you think back over everything and realise it all makes sense. I love reading these mysteries and I’m looking forward to my next one!

#3. A Whole Lot of History – Kimberley Walsh

I haven’t read a musical biography in the longest time and this book reminded me why I love them so much. Not only do you learn about the people behind the songs and their personal stories you are told anecdotes about the songs themselves and given a small insight into the music industry. This book showed how lovely Kimberley is and I learnt more about different aspects of her personality. She was frank and honest but never in a nasty, judgemental way.

#4. The F Word – Lily Pebbles

First of all I want to defend Lily and stick up for her. Some of the reviews on GoodReads state that this book is like a diary and isn’t well written. The cover does say “A personal exploration of modern female friendship” so of course Lily is going to talk about herself and her friendships. I like that she gives examples of things that have gone well and haven’t gone so well in friendships. I did get a sense of Lily reading this book, it feels like you’re having a catch up with her and everything comes across naturally. One of my favourite parts was trying to identify which friend type I am, for example,  the older sister friend, the realist or the work wife, to name a few. The main lesson I took away from this book is to look carefully at myself as a friend and analyse how I can be a better friend.

#5. The Mysterious Affair At Styles* – Agatha Christie

This is the very first novel in which Hercule Poirot is introduced. Out of the Agatha Christie books I’ve read this is one of my favourites. The story is gripping, simple and classic. Death by poisioning, check. Whole host of suspects staying in a fancy manor house, check. Adulterous affairs, check. I finished it in two days. I like how the story is told from Hastings’ viewpoint, it really sets up the relationship between him and Poirot for future novels.

#6. A Talent For Murder – Andrew Wilson

It wasn’t until I picked up this book that I notice I don’t read as many books written by male authors as female. There’s no reason behind that and I really enjoyed this book. The plot centres around the real-life disappearance of Agatha Christie in December 1926. The author comes up with a fictional scenario as to what happened (the sentence on the cover gives you a good idea) as the mystery has never been solved. A good read and I am looking forward to the follow up called ‘A Different Kind of Evil.’

#7. Murder On the Orient Express* – Agatha Christie

This is without a doubt one of Agatha’s most famous stories and a few movies and TV specials have been made based on this story. I have seen the 2017 film, the 2010 Poirot episode and now read the book so I know the story well. I found the book the most enjoyable and the least confusing, if you know the ending you might understand why but I won’t spoil it if you don’t.  I’ve got yet more Poirot mysteries lined up to read – I really love them!

#8. Peril At End House* – Agatha Christie

This is one of Agatha Christie’s earlier Poirot novels, #8 in the series. This mystery is also told from Hastings’ point of view. I found this particular Poirot story very clever in the way it played out. I realised what was happening at the end and it really reinforces how talented Agatha Christie is with deception. I have been reading most of the Poirot stories in this seasonal update as ebooks and it’s really convenient, I have the books on my phone and my iPad so I can read wherever I am.

#9. Finding Your Path – A Guide To Life & Happiness After School – Amba Brown

I am thankful this book was only 100 pages. I didn’t find it useful and even though I’m not a recent school leaver I thought I could get something from it. I did like the graphic illustrations and the quotes!

#10. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd* – Agatha Christie

This is one of Agatha Christie’s most popular novels which I think is because of the ending and how Poirot solves the case. In 2013, The British Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever. I have seen the television adaptation of this novel which I recall I found more exciting than the novel. This isn’t one of my favourite Agatha Christie books if I’m being honest. I’m not sure if knowing the ending before reading skewed my perception of the story. I had seen Murder On the Orient Express before reading it and I enjoyed reading that as much as watching it. Despite that, the ending of Roger Ackroyd  is really clever even if you know the story.

#11. And Then There Were None* – Agatha Christie

This is Agatha Christie’s bestselling novel and one of the world’s bestselling mysteries and books of all time. I remember the television adaption of this story and it is written so well and keeps the reader guessing right until the very end. The story is not predictable and there is even an epilogue which explains how all the murders were done. If you like mystery stories and haven’t read this one, I highly recommend it.

#12. Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex – Hannah Witton

I don’t remember how I stumbled across Hannah on YouTube but I have watched a small number of her videos and have always found her content to be helpful and informative. When I saw Angela (The Life of Angela) talk about this book on her blog I knew I wanted to read it too. I don’t know what I was expecting but I thought there would be more of Hannah’s personal stories. Yes, she probably shares those on YouTube but if you aren’t aware she makes videos you won’t get that information. Not a bad read but not groundbreaking.

#13. Afternoon Tea At the Sunflower Cafe – Milly Johnson

I started reading this book, I got a third of the way through and I put it down and came back to it. I did try to implement my 100 page rule; if I don’t like a book, move on to the next one but the fact I got to page 210 urged me to pick it back up and keep going. When I did pick up the book again I hadn’t forgotten the story and it was refreshing to read something lighthearted after a number of mysteries and a few non-fiction offerings. I’m glad I went back to this book, the story was slow to start but I was satisfied with the ending and I may look into other books from this author.

#14. Letters From Lighthouse Cottage – Ali McNamara

I love the cover of this book so much and the story was just as good! The story takes place over the course of 30 years and is split into parts. Grace (the main character) helped her parents with their antiques business and found a typewriter one day which she keeps. The typewriter adds a whimsical element to the story as it writes her letters and gives her advice throughout stages of her life. Grace goes off to university, travels and gets married but begins to realise that home is where the heart is.

#15. Break-ups & Breakthroughs – Lisa Messenger

This book only took me a day to read and the imagery inside is beautiful, the pages are full of cute designs and inspirational quotes. Lisa shares 50 tips to help people going through a breakup and I found myself identifying with some of the things she was saying and one of the biggest lessons I took from this book is that it’s ok to be sad for a while. You will start to feel better in time and feel like finding love again.

#16. Appointment With Death – Agatha Christie

This mystery started off a little slow but in true Agatha Christie form kept me guessing all the way through. I didn’t have any idea who the murderer was until that person was revealed by Poirot. Not one of my favourite Poirot mysteries but still not a bad read.

Unfinished:

There were no unfinished books this season. Each one I started I finished!


Books finished in autumn = 16.

Total number of books read = 32.

Other posts in the series:


Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post?

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30 By 30

Ever since my 23rd birthday in January I have had this post in the back of my mind and finally committed to writing it up and making myself accountable for these goals. Some people write bucket lists and come up with things they want to do before they die but I wanted to be a little different and share 30 things I want to do before turning 30. I am giving myself seven years so let’s see how many of these I can achieve!

1. Own an item of makeup from Chanel

2. Hold my full driver’s license

3. Travel outside of New Zealand

4. Write a book(doesn’t have to be published, right?!)

5. Find my perfect foundation

6. Watch all of the Harry Potter movies

7. Take a hot air balloon ride

8. Add a lock to the Love Lock Bridge in Paris

9. Go skinny dipping

10. Learn how to curl my lashes with an eyelash curler

11. Stay in a hotel and have a romantic weekend away

12. Learn how to do French/Dutch braids

13. Get married (this doesn’t have to happen before 30 but it seems these days a lot of people marry before 30).

14. Have a spa day with a massage and manicure

15. Send a postcard

16. Solve a Rubik’s Cube

17. Go to the races and bet money on a horse

18. Watch every episode of Poirot (the TV series running from 1989 to 2013 starring David Suchet)

19. Play pool (billiards)

20. Get invited to a hen party (I don’t have many friends so this could be a challenge and I wouldn’t know what to expect but they seem like fun).

21. Meet someone famous

22. Ride on a double decker bus in London

23. Go for a bra fitting and get properly measured

24. Expand my cooking knowledge

25. Explore my own city

26. Attempt to make homemade pizza dough(I always get bases from the supermarket and add my own toppings so I’d like to try making my own dough at least once).

27. Finish a book series 

28. See snow – (I have seen snow in New Zealand but we don’t get much and I’d like to experience proper snowfall).

29. Visit a castle

30. Go on a picnic – (I probably went on one when I was little but it would be nice to go on one as an adult and make the most of the weather and the day out).


Do you have a bucket list or something similar? Let me know one thing you’d like to achieve within the next year in the comments below!

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What I’ve Been Reading – Summer

It is time for the second seasonal round up and it means I am halfway through my challenge of trying to read 50 books in 12 months. I started the challenge in September 2017.

At the start of summer I was zooming along, meeting my aim of one book a week. I picked up a few duds along the way and tried to persist with them but they slowed me down. Ideally I would have read 25 books by now but that is not the case. All hits and misses are outlined below.

#1. About Last Night – Catherine Alliott

I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while and sadly I was underwhelmed. I didn’t find it funny or irresistible as the cover suggests. This book took me longer than some of the previous ones I’ve read in this challenge as it wasn’t keeping me interested. The story is kind of dull and there’s not a lot going on. Molly has swapped London for rural Herefordshire and when a relative of her late husband’s leaves a London townhouse in her possession she has to decide whether she will go back to her London lifestyle or make a go of her country life. Along the way the reader meets three potential suitors for Molly and one of the things that kept me reading was to see which one she chooses. The story is long winded but if you’re a fan of this author you’ll probably like it.

#2. After the Funeral – Agatha Christie

I read my first Agatha Christie mystery in the Spring roundup and instantly knew I wanted to read more. As someone who watched the stories on TV before reading them I didn’t realise how quick and easy the books are to read. The stories are well thought out and explained and all loose ends are tied up. I briefly remember this episode of Poirot and was almost certain I knew who the culprit was – I was correct.

#3. The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah

I have been on a real Agatha Christie murder mystery kick lately and I discovered Sophie Hannah has written two ‘new’ Hercule Poirot mysteries (I’m hoping for more). The character of Hercule Poirot is captured beautifully and Sophie Hannah does a brilliant job with him. Poirot has a new sidekick, Edward Catchpool who works at Scotland Yard, and the books are told from his point of view. This mystery was exciting, gripping and had plenty of twists and turns. Sophie Hannah’s books are longer than Agatha Christie’s but the story doesn’t feel drawn out. If you’re a Poirot fan, you’ll love them!

#4. The Anxiety Toolkit – Alice Boyes

This book was a quick, easy read but personally I didn’t find it called out to my anxiety. The quizzes at the start of each chapter were useful as it gave you an idea how much each chapter would relate to you and what you might like to take away from that section. I thought the book would include more tips on how to cope with different types of anxiety but it seemed to generalise rather than give specific examples. It didn’t teach me anything about anxiety, for example how many people suffer from it or the common types.

#5. Closed Casket – Sophie Hannah

This is the second ‘new’ Hercule Poirot novel. The story is typical Poirot, the mystery takes place at a grand, upper class house and there is a whole host of suspects. The story is simple and revolves around figuring out whodunnit. Catchpool returns as Poirot’s sidekick and together they find the culprit. I really, really hope Sophie Hannah writes more Poirot mysteries!

#6. How To Find Love In a Bookshop – Veronica Henry

This book was an easy, enjoyable read. The story centres around Emilia who takes over Nightingale Books after her father passes away. Emilia battles trying to keep the shop open with her personal life and we meet some of the bookshop’s customers along the way and learn the books they all cherish. The story felt very real and believable and I will look into other books by Veronica Henry as a result.

#7. Billy & Me – Giovanna Fletcher

I read this book in four days. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the way the delicate moments and emotional conversations are written. Sophie May is the lead character who works in the local tea shop, lives with her mum and doesn’t have a lot of friends. When actor Billy Buskin comes to town and sweeps Sophie off her feet, her quiet life starts to turn around. Sophie has to cope with media scrutiny, actor life with Billy as well as her own insecurities. Part of the reason I liked this story so much is because I can relate to some of Sophie’s insecurities. As a reader you’re rooting for Sophie and you want her to be happy. I won’t spoil the book for you but the ending doesn’t disappoint.

Unfinished:

(Any unfinished books will not be included in the total yearly count).

#1. A Is For Arsenic – Kathryn Harkup

I have been enjoying Agatha Christie’s books lately and I thought this non-fiction offering would be just as interesting. Agatha Christie was famous for using various poisons in her stories and this book talks about how they work and references the Agatha Christie stories the poisons are used in. When I borrowed the book I didn’t realise it would be so science based. I find the asterisks and all the footnotes hard to follow, there are multiple on each page. I got 50 pages in before deciding not to continue. Life’s too short to read books that don’t interest you. If you like science you would find this interesting but I’m more into creative stories.

#2. Highland Fling – Katie Fforde

Katie Fforde is an author whose name I’ve seen pop up a lot but I’d never actually read any of her work. I briefly browsed through a list of her books and what they are about and settled on Highland Fling. The story sounds right up my street but this book doesn’t have any action and I almost felt like as I was reading it I didn’t know what was happening. I made it two thirds of the way through before realising I’ve been reading this book for almost a month, (usually I can finish a book in a week) and I’m not enjoying it so I should move onto something else. How long it takes me to read a book is a sign of whether I like it or not.


Books finished in summer = 7.

Total number of books read = 16.

Other posts in the series:


Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post?

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Seventeen of ’17

Previously I have written Sixteen of ’16 and Fifteen of ’15 so it only seemed right to continue this theme! There have been some extremely special moments throughout 2017 and also moments that have been difficult but this post focuses on the positives and sees me discuss what defined my year.


#1. Steps reform + release new album

Steps are my favourite band and on January 1st 2017 they announced they were back. The band originally split up in 2001 and got back together briefly in 2012 for a #1 Greatest Hits album, a Christmas album and two tours. In March 2017 the band announced new music and their long awaited fourth studio album Tears On the Dancefloor was released the following month. The album was re-released in October. I have had the album on repeat since April and it is my favourite album of 2017!

#2. My 22nd birthday!

22 isn’t a milestone birthday but it was special for me as I got to celebrate my first birthday with my boyfriend. I had a massage in the morning as a gift from my mum and in the afternoon my boyfriend picked me up and we went for a walk. We ate pizza for dinner down at the lakefront before he took me on a drive. It was a lovely, relaxing day.

Related post: My 22nd Birthday!

#3. Winning Stash Matters giveaway

I was over the moon when I saw I had won this giveaway! There were so many brands and products I had never tried before and I still use lots of the products on a daily/weekly basis. (I will admit I haven’t tried the eyelash curlers yet though, sorry Stashy!)

Related post: Stashy’s Giveaway Prize + First Impressions

#4. First Valentines Day

This was another super special day as it was the first Valentines Day with my boyfriend and the first time I’ve ever had a valentine. We gave each other soft toys as presents – great minds think alike – and the card he gave me was so sweet. We went for another walk, this time around a lake and I can still remember how beautiful the sky was afterwards.

#5. Winning a polaroid signed by Vanessa White

Vanessa White is one fifth of British girlband The Saturdays (my favourite band after Steps) and on Valentines Day she held a Twitter competition where she was giving away signed polaroid pictures. I was lucky enough to win one of 40 I think it was. A signed Post It also arrived with the picture.

#6. Fit Bit Zip in Magenta

I found my Fit Bit on sale for $29 in March and I have been wearing it most days since it arrived. It is interesting to see how many steps I walk each day and how that equates into distance and calories. My Fit Bit is basic and doesn’t have a sleep tracker or heart rate monitor but I like that I can clip it on and don’t have to wear it like a watch. I’ve heard so many stories about the bands snapping and having to be replaced. The battery life is good too, I’ve replaced the battery once in nine months.

#7. Going to the cinema

Up until this year I hadn’t been to the cinema since about 2007. It got expensive and most movies end up on TV anyway. I have been twice this year and I really enjoyed the experience both times; I saw Logan and IT. Maybe I should go more often?

#8. Saying ‘I love you’ for the first time

I was the one to say ‘I love you’ first and I felt so brave when I did it. Technically it was written not said aloud but I meant it. I didn’t know if my feelings were those of love as I had never felt that way before but I have said those three words countless times since!

#9. 3 years of blogging

In June I celebrated my third blogging anniversary. Three is my favourite number so it felt even more legendary.

Related post: My Three Year Blogversary!

#10. Trip to the MAC counter

I don’t have a MAC counter in my city but ended up at one unexpectedly in July. I got two items, a lipstick in the shade Show Orchid and a travel sized Studio Moisture Cream. I actually didn’t end up paying a cent as I had gift cards and my boyfriend paid for the rest.

#11. Buying a DSLR

Also in July I took the plunge and purchased a DSLR camera. I settled on the Canon 700D as it has a flip out screen so if I ever wanted to try videos or use the screen for difficult, hard to reach angles I can. I love practicing with the settings and using my camera when I can. I’d love to snap some festive, Christmas photos and share them after December 25th.

#12. Essie Glow Your Own Way

This nail polish is one of the most photogenic products I have worked with. I bought it on a whim back in August and it is subtle and glamorous at the same time. It’s easy to apply (a pain to remove) but that doesn’t detract from how nice it looks on. Essie polishes are some of my favourites!

Related post: Essie Nail Polish in Glow Your Own Way

#13. Job at the library

In August I changed jobs. I’ve loved reading and going to the library since I was a child so it’s nice that I am able to work in a place that makes me happy. I am part of the customer services team and believe or not the majority of my days are not spent putting books away. Since I started this job I have been in a much more positive place.

#14. One year anniversary with my boyfriend

Quite a few of these highlights are about me and my boyfriend but they are truly some of my most memorable and happy moments of 2017. At the beginning of September it was one year since we first met in person. We didn’t spend the day together but I did receive a cute text message.

#15. Boyfriend’s 25th birthday

I think I was more excited about my boyfriend’s birthday than my own! I jokingly thought about doing 25 presents as he turned 25 and then as I began coming up with gifts I realised it wasn’t actually a stupid idea. He didn’t know what I had planned and I had a lot of fun buying all the gifts, wrapping them and revealing the surprise.

Related post: Boyfriend’s Birthday Surprise!

#16. NYX Cosmic Metals – Fuchsia Fusion

Hands down this is the prettiest lip colour I own! I have a few fuchsias but this takes the crown. Pink – check, sparkles – check. This is so sparkly and pretty without looking unnatural. The formula is not sticky and comfortable to wear. The pigment is outstanding!

I love this photo and it shows the colour/sparkle.

#17. Music

2017 has been a whole lot better for me music wise than 2016. There were some musical comebacks from 90s artists: Steps, Martine McCutcheon and Shania Twain as well as great original material from Una Healy, Dua Lipa and Vanessa White. The majority of artists I listen to are female but a special mention goes to Shane Filan who released his third album in 2017. His voice is beautiful and so easy to listen to.


What have been your favourite moments of 2017?

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What I’ve Been Reading – Spring

At the beginning of September I announced a new blog series, What I’ve Been Reading. At the end of each season I will be rounding up the books I have read during that three month period and discussing them. My goal is to read 50 books throughout the duration of the year, which roughly equates to one a week.

Here’s the first roundup:

#1: The Singles Game – Lauren Weisberger

Anyone for tennis? First off, I’m a huge fan of the cover of this book. It’s girly and the camera doesn’t pick it up but the gold bits are reflective. Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author (The Devil Wears Prada, Revenge Wears Prada) gives us a dishy tell-all about a tennis prodigy who changes coaches and begins making headlines on and off the court. Charlie fires her coach following a devastating loss and injury and becomes Todd Feltner’s first ever female player. He has strict rules and a game plan to turn Charlie into a ruthless competitor. Charlie travels the globe, plays charity matches, models in photo shoots and walks the red carpet, all with sexy Spaniard, Marco Vallejo at her side. Can the illusion last or will Charlie turn her back on Todd and her new lifestyle? The detail and knowledge about the tennis tournaments is well written but the plot didn’t seem realistic. The ending wasn’t predictable though and it was nice to stay hooked until the end. Not a bad read but nothing particularly memorable.

#2: A Walk In the Park – Jill Mansell

Lara Carson returns to Bath after eighteen years. Her best friend Evie is getting married and Lara’s ex-boyfriend, Flynn, turns up at the wedding which doesn’t end up going ahead. It’s not long before Flynn discovers the reason Lara left all those years ago, she was pregnant with his child. Lara has to juggle sharing her daughter with Flynn, looking after Evie and coming to terms with her feelings for Flynn – could there be a spark after all that time? The storyline is well written but I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. It was predictable and left me wanting more, it didn’t feel complete. I did enjoy the book overall and I will consider other books by Jill Mansell.

#3: What I Did On My Holidays – Chrissie Manby

I absolutely loved this book! It was laugh out loud funny and a really easy book to read. The plot wasn’t one I’d read before and the storyline was succinct but still well developed. The book follows Sophie Sturgeon and her upcoming trip to Majorca. The night before she’s set to leave, her boyfriend and meant to be holiday companion, Callum, dumps her. Sophie decides to hide in her London flat with her sister and recreate the ultimate fake break. The results are hilarious and prove things don’t always go as planned, much like real life. Sophie is a lovable character who wants the best for everyone and a character who by the end of the book is not afraid to act in her best interests.

#4: It Started With Paris – Cathy Kelly

This is one of my favourite books on the list! The cover is really cute and you can tell straight away there’s going to be romance running through it. At the beginning you’re introduced to a lot of characters but as the story goes on it makes sense and you see how they tie in together. The book begins with a young man proposing to his girlfriend at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Things don’t only begin to change for the happy couple, but for their friends and family back in Ireland too. The tales of all characters are weaved in together and it gave me a sense of a small town where everyone knows everybody else, in a good way. The core love theme is really sweet and while it’s not always smooth sailing it’s a very real part of life. The ending wasn’t predictable and left me feeling happy. Matters were resolved and I wasn’t left with any questions. I highly recommend this book – it is lengthy but certainly wasn’t boring, there was always something happening to hold my attention.

#5: The Beginner’s Photography Guide – Chris Gatcum

The first non-fiction offering! As you may know I purchased a Canon 700D DSLR camera in July and I try to get my camera out as much as possible. I know the basics and do use manual mode but I thought this book would have some great tips and tricks. I flicked through it in one afternoon and in all honesty didn’t find it that useful. There were sections that only apply if you have multiple lenses and camera accessories and equipment and I thought if you are a true beginner, chances are you’re not going to have those. The book was an easy read and I did learn a few things but it’s not essential if you’re a DSLR user.

#6: Dead Man’s Folly – Agatha Christie

I have watched many an episode of Poirot in my time but this is the first of Agatha Christie’s stories I have read. David Suchet does such a magnificent job playing Hercule Poirot, he plays the part beautifully and he was what I could picture as I read the book. I enjoy mystery stories and I really liked this one because it was short and didn’t get confusing. I can see why a lot of people are fans of Agatha Christie. I would love to read more of her Poirot mysteries, they’re easy to read and it’s nice to throw mystery in amongst what I normally read.

#7: Poirot and Me – David Suchet

This book was so sweet. I read it immediately after Dead Man’s Folly and it tells of such a happy, momentous period of David Suchet’s life. He played Poirot on screen for 25 years and got to fulfill his dream of bringing all 70 stories to television. The book focuses on Suchet’s Poirot years but he also talks of other acting opportunities, funny moments and small snippets of his family life. Throughout the book you can feel the joy he felt playing Poirot and on many occasions describes Poirot as his friend. If you are a fan of David Suchet or Poirot you won’t regret reading this!

#8: Beautiful Messy Love – Tess Woods

I didn’t enjoy this book. The story is broken down into chapters each featuring one of four main characters. The connection between the characters, essentially two couples is established early on. I did like reading the viewpoints/perspectives of each character and that there wasn’t repetitive content and the same story told four times. I didn’t find the humour funny and I found some of the ‘nitty gritty’ immature. The sexual moments were very blatant, I’m no prude but there was nothing left to the imagination. The title gives off this sweet, love story vibe and the plot doesn’t represent that. My least favourite of the finished fiction books.

#9: The Love of a Lifetime – Melissa Hill

I saw this book in a store earlier in 2017 and knew instantly I wanted to read it. It is a classic love story and follows main character Beth and her passion for Hollywood movies. Beth and her boyfriend Danny have been together for seven years but has their initial romance settled into something more predictable? Following an anonymous coffee delivery at work Beth is led on a treasure hunt using clues from rom-com movies. The big question is, is it Danny or new work colleague Ryan? The book did keep me guessing all the way through although I did have an inkling who the mysterious man turned out to be, the ending was not what I expected. The ending plays an important role to a key part of the story and is very clever. Loved this book!

Unfinished:

#1. Better Together – Sheila O’Flanagan

This book will not be included in the count for Spring as I didn’t finish it. I started reading the book but straight away I couldn’t get into it. I did feel sympathy for the main character, Sheridan, unlike a few reviews I read on Good Reads and didn’t find her annoying as some readers did. I got about 200 pages into the book (large print edition) before giving up and deciding not to carry on reading it. The storyline was slow, nothing seemed to happen and the sports journalism element of the story wasn’t appealing to me. I don’t know if the book would have had more romance if I had continued reading but I wanted romance to be prominent from the start. This is one of the first books in a long time I haven’t finished and stopped reading part way through because it didn’t pique my interest. I would be interested to hear whether any of you have read this book and what your thoughts are.


Total number of books read = 9.


I got off to a slow start but was making better progress by the end of September. I am in a routine with my job now and try to make time for reading everyday. At this stage it’s too early to tell if I’ll reach my goal of 50 books but it’ll be fun trying!

Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? Do you want to?

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Boyfriend’s Birthday Surprise!

This past weekend it was my boyfriend’s 25th birthday! I was super excited to celebrate and spend the entire day with him. I had plans for his birthday for a long time (that he didn’t know about) and I finally got to put them in place. A few times I mentioned a secret project on the blog and his birthday surprise was it. As he was turning 25 the first idea that came to mind was to give him 25 presents. I combined sentimental handmade gifts, with humorous ones as well as some of his favourite sweet treats. The gifts are unique and not what you’d automatically think to buy. I had so much fun buying all of these gifts and putting everything together and I wanted to share how things turned out!

Each present was numbered from 1 – 25 and given a sticker. There was no particular order apart from a few presents; #1 was a birthday card and #25 was a list of ’25 Reasons You’re Amazing’.

I blew up 25 silver balloons and tied them into bunches of 5. They were present #2.

Most of the presents are in this collage. The consumable presents hadn’t been purchased yet. They included Skittles, chocolate and fizzy drink.

All wrapped and boxed up!

I wrote a list of reasons why I chose each present which was the final thing I gifted to my boyfriend after he opened the presents.

The presents all unwrapped and my boyfriend opening a gift from his parents.

My outfit and makeup of the day.

Outfit Details:

  • Jacket – Postie
  • Top – Glassons
  • Jeans – Dannii For Target

Makeup Products Used:

  • Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser
  • Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 002 Hazel
  • Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation in 101 Ivory Beige
  • Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – 1 Fair
  • Maybelline ‘The Nudes’
  • Max Factor Excess Shimmer – Copper
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex Mascara
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector – Opal
  • MAC – Show Orchid

We went for an outing to Orakei Korako which is a geothermal area roughly an hour from where we live. There is a short boat ride which takes you to the guided path area where you can walk around the geysers and hot springs. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. The temperature was warm without being too hot and it was also the first time I’d been on a boat. I only wish the boat ride had been longer.

After the trip we drove back and I had fish and chips for lunch – they were delicious! My boyfriend had Subway using the gift card I got him as one of his presents. After lunch I had a nap and we chilled for the rest of the evening.

It was such a lovely day and my boyfriend was very grateful for all the effort I had gone to to surprise him. I almost made him cry after reading the card and that was only present #1!


What did you buy your significant other for their last birthday?

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5 Important Relationship Lessons

It’s not a coincidence I’m sharing this post today. One year ago on September 7, 2016 my boyfriend and I met for the first time. To celebrate our one year anniversary I wanted to share what being in a relationship has taught me and advice my younger self would appreciate.

Let me briefly recap my relationship for those of you who aren’t aware. This is my first ever relationship, I hadn’t had experience with boys before. My focus was school and boys weren’t a priority. I knew I liked boys but I didn’t have male friends and wasn’t in situations to talk to and meet boys. Fast forward a few years to August 2016, I was in a good place, I was happy, recently landed a new job and felt brave enough to take the plunge and try this dating thing. Like lots of people my age, I joined Tinder. My experience was positive, I am a good judge of character and didn’t do anything I regret. After a couple of weeks my boyfriend and I met and we are as happy now as we were in the beginning. 

I am quite private when it comes to our relationship, people know it exists but I don’t talk too much about it.

 So, what has the relationship taught me?

1. Be Yourself

This one is a cliche but it’s true! I can truly say I am an individual and I do things my way and don’t follow everyone else. When I was on Tinder I didn’t feel like I had to act a certain way to get attention or say funny things to make conversation. I’m not afraid to be honest and say what I think. When you act naturally you feel comfortable and the other person picks up on that.

2. Don’t Overthink

Prior to my relationship I was worried I wouldn’t know what I was doing and worried about how I was supposed to act and how relationships work. I stopped that very quickly and actually feel like I’m a natural now. Don’t rush into anything, take your time – whether it’s working up to meeting someone, flirting or dating. Don’t commit to something if it doesn’t feel right and never give in to peer pressure. Know your mind and what you want and you won’t go wrong.

3. Respect One Another

I tend to think about things in a different way to other people. I don’t judge and when I ask questions it’s genuinely because I’m interested in what a person is saying. Listening to what people have to say, taking in that information and processing it is one of the greatest ways to show respect for someone. You feel valued and it makes you more open and willing to share if you know you’re going to be heard. Trust goes hand in hand with respect for me, if trust is not there you’re not going to feel respected and want to show respect. Respect feelings, respect choices but most of all respect what makes someone happy – who are we to judge people’s happiness?

4. True Happiness

Being in love feels wonderful and beautiful and makes you feel in ways you didn’t know you could. Happiness has been difficult for me in the past. Good things would happen but something would go wrong and leave me worrying about the bad rather than focusing on what’s good. Ever since I met my boyfriend I see things in a different way and focus more on simplicity and being happy in the present, happiness is a journey not a destination and all that. I’m grateful whenever we spend time together, we don’t have to do anything in particular, I just enjoy being with him. I’m grateful to have met someone who has become my best friend and I admire the sense of calm he possesses. 

5. Communication Is Key

From day one the communication between my boyfriend and I has always been strong. I don’t think a day has gone by where we haven’t communicated in some form. I’d like to think we have similar mindsets and we always make each other a priority. We always send good morning and good night messages, it literally is the ‘first thought in the morning and last thought at night’ thing. We’re cute if I do say so myself! Never have I been let down or felt I couldn’t rely on him. 


What have you learned from relationships – good or bad?

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50 More Things That Make Me Happy

I try to keep my blog a happy place and today’s post is the perfect example of that; a list of things that make me happy! In March 2016 I wrote the original 50 Things That Make Me Happy after seeing it on other blogs. I absolutely adore reading these posts and seeing what other people include in their lists!

  1. My boyfriend!
  2. Making monthly playlists on Spotify
  3. Watching fireworks
  4. Pizza
  5. Anything pink 💗
  6. Fluffy jumpers
  7. Completing everything on a to do list
  8. Curly hair
  9. Wearing my headband with cat ears
  10. Balloons
  11. New music from my favourite singers/bands
  12. Hot chocolates being made for me at work
  13. Pointless Blog’s vlogs
  14. Applying makeup
  15. My Instax camera
  16. kikki.K
  17. My ability to learn and retain song lyrics
  18. Watching Pretty Little Liars
  19. Traveling to places I’ve never been before
  20. Learning
  21. When people compliment my handwriting
  22. Sour Skittles
  23. Jigsaw puzzles
  24. Good morning text messages
  25. Cute mugs
  26. Having a name badge for my job
  27. Cuddles and hugs
  28. Getting told you smell nice
  29. Wrapping presents
  30. Curling up with a blanket when it’s cold
  31. Holding hands
  32. Ellie Goulding’s voice – raspy and angelic at the same time
  33. Skechers; stylish and comfortable
  34. Swing seats
  35. Viva la Juicy by Juicy Couture – my favourite perfume
  36. Playing board games
  37. Feeling the sun on my face
  38. The smell of MAC lipsticks
  39. Receiving roses
  40. Being looked after when you don’t feel well
  41. Taste testing baking
  42. Kisses
  43. Cinnamon donuts
  44. Being creative
  45. Freshly mowed lawns
  46. Instagram 📷
  47. Fish and chips with crispy batter
  48. Massages
  49. Watching sunsets
  50. Little signs of affection

 Leave a comment and share something that makes you happy!

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8 Date Ideas For Couples

I think I’ve always been a romantic at heart due to my soft, caring nature. Since meeting my boyfriend we don’t go on dates as such but we still do things together. I don’t mind at all because I enjoy spending time with him, it doesn’t matter what we do. We have done a couple of things mentioned in this post and I’m hoping we’ll get to some of the others too. Depending on the type of relationship you have can determine the dates you have. Some couples might be real foodies and enjoy going to dinner (we’re not) or they might prefer to stay in and chill (which is us). I hope you find this post useful and feel free share to date ideas/traditions of your own in the comments!

1. Playground – Who isn’t a big kid at heart? Playgrounds evoke childhood memories of running around being careless and free. Have competitions; who can swing the highest, who can slide down the slide the fastest or keep things relaxed with chat and laughter. This date would be especially fun on balmy summer nights when it stays lighter for longer and the playground is less likely to be busy.

2. Entertainment centre – This is ideal for any weather, if it is raining outside and you still want to be active you won’t need to cancel your plans. Places like this usually have a range of activities and can include mystery escape rooms, trampolines, laser tag and bowling. There are normally day passes or deals available to save costs. A centre like this opened near where I live late last year and my boyfriend and I are planning to go when I take time off work in June. 

3. Go for a walk – I do like the simplicity of walking. It’s a chance to put down phones, take a break from technology and enjoy the fresh air. You don’t have to walk very far but it’s nice to be in each other’s company and hold hands and talk. I speak from experience when I say wear appropriate footwear. I went on a Valentines Day walk and I ended up with blisters – luckily they were gone the next morning. 

4. Mini Golf – I have never played proper golf or mini golf before but I really want to try it. I feel like I’d either be decent and take it seriously or get frustrated if I wasn’t very good. Physical activities let that competitive streak out. You could even turn it into a wager and whoever loses has to buy dinner or do a forfeit.

5. Couples bucket list – You could discuss small things you want to do together or talk about the future. This is basically anything you want to do/try as a couple and is a good way to get inside the other person’s mind. The list could be as suggestive as you like! 😉

6. Hot air balloon ride – I have always thought hot air balloons look so magical floating through the sky. The balloons are always brightly coloured and beautiful. A picnic inside the balloon would be even more magical.

7. Board game evening – I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to board games, jigsaws and puzzles. Trivial Pursuit is a favourite, I like showcasing my general knowledge and useless facts that aren’t so useless. Pizza to accompany the playing of games would be perfect!

8. Movie night – This is a classic that never goes out of fashion! You can stay in and get cosy or head out to the cinema and catch one of the latest flicks. Create a fort with blankets and pillows for added comfort or in case one/both of you falls asleep. 


Do you have any favourite date ideas? Have you tried any of the ones mentioned here?

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