Where’d you go,Bernadette by Maria Semple – book review

Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.com

Synopsis

Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown.

And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

Plot summary

When I heard that “Where’d you go Bernadette” was being made into a film (released in March 2019) I knew I had to read it. The book is focused primarily on Bee, a young fifteen-year-old girl who happens to be very intelligent for her age. There is also Bee’s relationship with her mother Bernadette, an agoraphobic who was once a thriving architect.

As mentioned in the synopsis, Bee gets straight A’s in her exams so she suggests that the family take a trip to Antarctica. Bee, dad and Bernadette begin to prepare for the trip as a serious of events occur throwing the whole Branch household upside down.

Opinion

I would first like to mention that the synopsis is a little misleading. You expect Bernadette to disappear fairly early on right? Wrong! She doesn’t disappear until part 5 which is about half way through the book.

The author mentioned an internet security storyline in the beginning which I liked. She emphasised the dangers of the internet, hackers and the types of information hackers can easily get a hold of. It’s scary stuff indeed.

I flew through the first half of the book. It was mostly composed of emails and letters so it was easy to read. After part 5, the book became a bit complicated. I didn’t really feel anything towards the characters and I began to lose interest in the storyline.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t say this was “one of the year’s best books”. It was okay but it wasn’t great. While I enjoyed up until part 5, the book went a bit bland after that. All in all, I would give “Where’d you go Bernadette” 2.5 stars.

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How I stay organised as a college student

I’ve always been quite an organised person. I usually get assignments done quickly and handed in a few days before the due date. So I thought I’d share a few tips with you on how I stay organised in college…

Quit Procrastinating

When you get you’re assignment and you understand what you’re being asked to do, brainstorm what to write about first, or if you’re like me, dive straight in. Either way, start the assignment the day you get it so you can keep on track and keep procrastination at bay.

Stationary

Make good use of your notebooks, highlighters, folders etc. For example, I have several envelope folders for different things (1 folder only for assignments). Envelope folders are light and hold plenty of sheets. They’re cheap too. I got these ones for like €1 in a local bookshop.

Use free classes wisely

There is often a day when a teacher is out, there’s a meeting or the class has been cancelled. While some students use their free classes for a lengthy chat about the weekend, free classes could still be put to better use.

Take advantage of free classes by going to the library to study or finish an assignment. If it’s a nice day, you can also go outside and study in the fresh air.

Jot down important dates

Get yourself a notebook/make a bullet journal and jot down all upcoming assignment due dates and exams.

Stay hydrated

Water is really important. I drink 100ml water in college (2 small 500ml water bottles). It helps me stay focused and hydrated throughout the day.

Catch up on those Zzzzs

Sleep is important in staying focused throughout the college day. I’ll admit I’m definitely not a morning person (more of a night owl) but I still need enough sleep because I’m constantly busy in college. If I’m really tired after I get home, I’ll go for a nap. Later on I usually go to bed around 11 but the time I go to bed depends on how tired I am.

So there’s my tips on staying organised as a college student. I hope you guys liked this post and thanks for reading x

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Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald – book review

Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.

Set on the French Riviera in the 1920s, Tender is the Night charts the captivating lives of American Dick Diver and his wife Nicole. The pair are the epitome of chic, living a glamorous lifestyle and entertaining friends at their villa.

Young film star Rosemary Hoyt arrives in France and becomes entranced by the couple. It is not long before she is attracted to the enigmatic Dick, but he and his wife hold dark secrets and, as their marriage becomes more fractured, Fitzgerald laments the failure of idealism and the carefully constructed trappings of high society in the Roaring Twenties.

There are three books (parts) within ”Tender is the Night”. Book 1 of “Tender is the Night” was nicely written. In the beginning, we are introduced to young film star Rosemary Hoyt as she arrives in France accompanied by her mother. Rosemary has only been a celebrity the past 6 months but people already recognise her. Rosemary meets Dick Diver for the first time in chapter 2.

Dick’s wife, Nicole Diver, is described later on in chapter 4 just as Rosemary becomes infatuated with Dick Diver.

I enjoyed reading book 1 but sadly, the story went quickly downhill as book 2 began. There were several times where I found myself wanting to skip pages and to try and figure out where the remainder of the book was headed.

The final parts of the book seemed like an attempt by Fitzgerald to finish the 315 + page novel but in doing so, gradually let the plot slip through his fingers. However, I think the ending was a good and well-structured end to the novel.

Conclusion

I was looking forward to reading “Tender is the Night” after reading Fitzgerald’s most successful novel” The Great Gatsby” which I loved. However, if you are looking to compare the two novels, then I am afraid you may be disappointed.

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Hello Spring!

“No Winter lasts forever, No Spring skips it’s turn” – Hal Borland

It’s officially the start of Spring 2019! Winter clothes are either thrown out, donated or put out of sight while your wardrobe gets a spring makeover. 

Spring is a wonderful time of year. Not only flowers bloom but trees grow once again. There are several other reasons why we should embrace Spring and here are a few…

·       Spring fashion                         

Colourful clothing replaces big winter coats and winter warmers. For instance, cool colours such as a light blue or dark colours such as black or even grey are no longer used as bold, warm and clothing rich in colour like yellow, green and purple are added to our wardrobe.

·       Longer days

During Winter, it usually gets dark around 5 o’clock but in Spring it’s still bright outside until around 9.

·       Mood changes

According to https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/seasonal-affective-disorder-1-in-3-people-suffer-from-sad-9814164.html , research commissioned by The Weather Channel and YouGov, showed that 29 per cent of adults experience symptoms of SAD in Winter ranging from low energy levels, to low self-esteem and anxiety.

Spring can dramatically change people’s mood. Due to more sunshine, people tend to feel happier.

·       Flowers, flowers, flowers

They bloom and begin to take over dreary landscapes therefore returning them to their pre-winter beauty.

·       Warm weather

I don’t know about you guys but I hate the cold weather. In the Winter, I practically live in leggings, tights and knee high boots so it’s nice to change things up and wear more light, colourful clothing.

I hope you liked this post and thanks for reading x 

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Oh my God, What a complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen – book review

*review may contain spoilers

Aisling is 28, and she’s a complete Aisling.

Living ‘Down Home’ with Mammy and Daddy, she commutes to her good pensionable job in Dublin and stays two nights a week with her boyfriend of seven years, John.

But Aisling wants more. She wants the ring on her finger. She wants the hen with the willy straws. She wants the grand big house with the utility room of her dreams.

When a week in Tenerife doesn’t result in a proposal, Aisling decides she’s had enough. It’s time for a change.

A new start, a love triangle (well, more of a square) and some home truths force Aisling out of her comfort zone and into a life she never imagined. 

I saw this book in various bookshops and famous Irish authors saying it was “hilarious “and “moving”. So since the character Aisling was nicknamed the Irish Bridget Jones, I thought I’d find out for myself what all the hype was about. Needless to say, I was very disappointed.

This was a highly overrated book. There’s a ton of Irish phrases on nearly every page but the thing about these Irish phrases, nobody says them anymore. Even my father is from the country and he doesn’t say half of the stuff Aisling was on about. It seemed like an attempt to fill up the entire 272 page book.

If you ask me it seems like Aisling doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. She doesn’t know what she wants in life or who she wants to be with. First she wants to get married and then later on she doesn’t know if it’s for her or not. Aisling is very indecisive.

Aisling breaks up with her boyfriend of 7 years but proceeds to want to know his every move. Who he’s with and what he’s doing at all times. (Bit stalkerish to be honest).

The repetitive mention of the GAA really made me consider closing the book there and then. It was so annoying. Not every Irish person is involved in the GAA.

There wasn’t really any love triangle/square in this. It was just Aisling deciding who she liked and then comparing that person to her ex John.

There was no character development. Characters such as Piotr, Aisling’s brother and Donna seemed to be thrown in for the sake of it. I didn’t really like Aisling’s character. Aisling was overly emotional, indecisive and did I mention a low key stalker as well? The book was full of Irish clichés. (Oh the cringe). Overall, I’m disappointed with how the book played out.

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OkCupid – app review

  screenshot from app

OkCupid is an American-based, internationally operating online dating, friendship, and social networking website that features multiple-choice questions in order to match members. It is free to download from google play. Signing up is easy by using either your email or Facebook.

When you first open the app you are asked a series of questions (answer as many as you can as the matches you get are based on how you answered). Enter your gender, orientation and relationship. You can also enter your height and body type. Enter details about yourself E.g. Do you drink/smoke? Enter what you are looking for e.g. looking for men, within 100 miles, ages 18-26 for long-term dating.

Example of the compatibility of you and a match based on how you both answered questions

On the bottom of the screen there are five icons, double take, discovery, likes, conversations and profile. Like Tinder, swipe left if you’re not interested and swipe right if you are interested. If you like someone before you’ve matched you can also send an intro.

  • Double take – On this page your potential matches are shown. The percentage in the corner means compatibility (how you both answered questions). Age, name, where they are from and picture(s) are also shown. To view their profile, tap their picture. 
  • Discovery – search potential matches
  • Likes – who you like. (To view who likes you, you must upgrade to premium (A – List).
  • Conversations – shows matches across the top and messages underneath
  • Profile – shows your profile
  • Topics – personalize matches

From your profile, you can upgrade to boost by (Get Boost Option). On your profile you can view or update (my profile, my ideal person and account settings)

To sign out, tap account settings, scroll down and tap sign out. (Your name will be shown next to it).

On your profile, you have the option of writing a self-summary. You can also write about your aspirations (to choose a prompt tap the arrow at the side), talent, traits, needs, hobbies, moments, secrets and dating.

  prompt section

To get the most out of your Okcupid account I recommend the following:

  • Pick 2-3 photos
  • No group photos
  • Upload clear photos
  • Be yourself

Is the upgrade worth it?

I tried out A-List for about two weeks and it doesn’t make much of a difference. You are still seeing the same amount of people. If you are trying to increase your chances of getting a date by upgrading, it would most likely be a waste of time. Continue scrolling left or right and keep your money in your account.

In a month, I matched with only 8 people on OkCupid but in saying that 44 people liked me. Out of the 8 matches, 5 guys never messaged and 3 guys did message me. That’s 3 conversations in the whole month. All of the guys stated that they were looking for relationships.

Overall review

OkCupid is a smart, easy to use app however it can seem quite old- fashioned compared to other dating apps. The fact that you are only shown very few people a day is a little frustrating. There are a few fake profiles present but very little. OkCupid doesn’t have the whole “hook-up culture” thing going on. In fact, it has hardly anyone on the app looking for casual relationships or hook-ups. Many of the people on OkCupid are genuinely looking for a relationship. All in all, OkCupid is a good app to try considering that it’s free, easy to use and focuses on matching people for love not lust.

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My Favourite Golden Globes 2019 Looks

No copyright infringement is intended

The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg was recently broadcast on TV. While it was a good night for several series and movies taking home a golden globe, the highlight was the fashion. Here are some of my favourite outfits from this year’s Golden Globe Awards…

  1. Lupita Nyong’o

The actress looked fabulous in this purple beaded gown complete with silver statement earrings.

2. Regina King

The A Cinderella Story (2004) actress stunned in this pink sequin Alberta Ferretti dress.

3. Isla Fisher

The red head beauty from Confessions of a Shopaholic wore Monique Lhuillier.

Isla Fisher arrives at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

https://www.dailynews.com/2019/01/06/golden-globes-2019-red-carpet-fashion-see-photos-of-the-stars-best-and-worst-looks/


4. Thandie Newton

The actress stunned in this Michael Kors dress.

5. Penelope Cruz

The Assassination of Gianni Versace actress looked beautiful in this dress designed by Ralph & Russo Couture.

6. Janet Mock

Mock wore this stylish dress designed by fashion company Off-White

7. Kiki Layne

The star of 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk wore Custom Dior.

8. Amy Poehler

The Parks and Recreation star wore Viktor and Rolf.

9.Alyssa Milano

The activist looked amazing in this Cristina Ottaviano gown complete with Yeprem jewellery.

10. Holly Taylor

The Canadian beauty wore a red satin Ines Di Santo gown with accessories also from Ines Di Santo.

11. Jeannie Mai

Mai wore a green gown for this year’s golden globes.

12. Giuliana Rancic

The E! News Co-Anchor looked stunning in a white Gucci gown.

13.Isan Elba

The golden globes 2019 Ambassador and daughter of actor Idris Elba wore this dress designed by Elie Saab.

14. Camilla Belle

The star of when a stranger calls (2006) wore a royal blue gown by Jason Wu.

15. Jamie Lee Curtis

The star of the hit horror movie Halloween looked stunning in a white dress with a glittering accent.

Let’s not forget about the suits…

16. Ryan Seacrest

Seacrest looked smart in a custom Ryan Seacrest Distinction Collection suit and Givenchy shoes.

17. John Krasinski

One half of this year’s golden globes most adorable couple, Krasinski looked charming in a blue Brunello Cucinelli tux.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 06: John Krasinski attends the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-golden-globes-red-carpet-best-dressed-men-1173632/item/james-van-der-beek-best-dressed-men-golden-globes-2019-1173673


18. Rami Malek

The bohemian rhapsody nominee wore a custom black Givenchy tux.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 06: Rami Malek attends the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-golden-globes-red-carpet-best-dressed-men-1173632/item/james-van-der-beek-best-dressed-men-golden-globes-2019-1173673


So those are my favourite looks from this year’s Golden Globe Awards.  I hope you liked this post and thank you for reading x

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Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond – book review

Some spoilers may be present in this review

Ellie thinks she’s in love. But then, she doesn’t know Jack…

Ellie Somerset loves her career – obsessed boyfriend Sam and she loves her job as an advertising copywriter. But Sam is always at work and her fresh ideas keep being overlooked.

Her life gets more complicated when new boss Jack Wolfe – Heathcliff in a suit – arrives at the agency. With his brooding good looks, trademark scowl and plans for a change, he challenges Ellie to smarten up and prove herself.

To Ellie’s horror, she finds herself both repelled and attracted to the sexy and dangerous Jack. But this particular wolf has an awful lot to hide…

Who’s afraid of Mr Wolfe? Not Ellie. Not until it’s far too late.

I spotted this book in Dealz for about €2.  This book was originally €7.77 in stores. The cover was just so sparkly and pretty. I read the synopsis and thought well, this sounds good.

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Ellie Somerset. She’s coming up with an idea involving singing knickers for a campaign which is quite bizarre.

Her co-worker Lesley (also her best friend) is mentioned in the introduction along with other co-workers such as Hugo. The co-workers discover they have a new boss named Jack Wolfe who Hugo has mentioned he’s afraid of.

Ellie works as an advertising copywriter and is hoping to get a promotion for her hard work. Alongside her friend Lesley, they come up with a song for their knickers campaign. Some of the board members think it’s absolutely ridiculous but Jack Wolfe quite likes their idea.

Jack begins to challenge Ellie which nearly almost ends in the pair bickering and Jack being the arrogant boss with a mysterious past. We learn fairly early on that Jack likes to sleep around.

He charms women and sex is always the end goal. But this time something is different, he is very attracted to Ellie but as her boss there’s nothing he can do as his feelings grow progressively.

Ellie can’t stand him always taking a dig at her but later on she seems to grow more and more attracted to the enigmatic Jack. The spark between them is undeniable and the two eventually reveal their lust for one another.

The first half of the book was very well – written. Ellie is a feisty, determined character and is not afraid to speak her mind. The chemistry between Jack and Ellie was enjoyable to read as well.

Reading how the constant bickering plays out reminded of a somewhat old married couple but in this case, the two characters would eventually need to give in to their feelings for one another.

The second half of the book was an utter disappointment. The once determined heroine was now an overly emotional, desperate woman who felt she needed Jack to love her.

Jack continued to sleep with other women and frankly, treated Ellie like shit. And the most annoying part, Ellie let him treat her badly. She was so desperate to be loved by Jack even when he continued to manipulate and insult her that it was difficult to finish the novel without skipping pages.

 Overall, this book had a lot of potential but sadly the second half of the book was disappointing.

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Bumble – dating app review

  Image cropped from Bumble app

While there are three modes in the bumble app, the one I will be reviewing in this post is bumble date. I may review the other modes at a later stage.

Wikipedia describe Bumble as a location-based social and dating application that facilitates communication between interested users but with one key difference, women message first.

Bumble is free to download from the google play store. You can create an account using Facebook or your phone number.  For the purpose of this review, I signed up using Facebook.

Bumble have three modes in the one app, bumble date (for dating obvs), bumble bff (for finding new friends) and bumble Bizz (grow a network/business with local people)

bumble date
bumble bff
bumble bizz

Creating a profile is easy, just add a few photos of yourself, enter if you’re active, your star sign, if you drink, what you are looking for etc. Your profile picture and your age will automatically be taken from Facebook. Your location will also be used to suggest matches nearby.

On the main page, your first match will appear. Their picture(s), name, age, and location will also be shown. Swipe left (not interested), swipe right (interested).

The person icon in the left corner takes you to your profile. Your picture, edit profile, contact and FAQ and bumble coins are shown on this page. The gear icon on the left takes you to the setting page. Here you can use snooze mode, set advanced date filters, who you are interested in, age and edit notification settings. At the bottom of this page, you can log out.

Go back to main page. Click the message icon in the corner and you are taken to the match and conversation page. Your matches are shown at the top. To see who likes you in the match queue, you must upgrade to bumble boost.  Conversations are shown underneath.

match queue and conversations page

If you match with someone, you (female) have 24 hours to message first. After you make the first move, the recipient then has 24 hours to respond or the match disappears. In a same- sex relationship, either person can message first and the recipient must again respond or the match disappears.

My review of Bumble date

I was unable to upgrade to boost due to the fact it had an offer of €20 euro but when I went to pay they wanted to charge me nearly €80! Anyway I continued to use the free version and here is how I got on…

In a month, I had gotten approximately 15 matches. 13 answered so the other matches disappeared after 24 hours. I unmatched with two guys due to one guy being inappropriate and the other just wanted snapchat names. So out of 11 guys…

27% wanted my snapchat

22% conversations out of a possible 50 matches

36% were students

19% continued conversation after day 1

81% did not continue conversation after day 1

27% were looking for a relationship

27% didn’t state what they were looking for

18% wanted something casual

27% said they didn’t know what they were looking for yet

I did not meet up with anyone from this app. No dates were arranged.

Pros

  • The app is well – designed. It gives the appearance of a beehive which I liked. The use of colours white and yellow in the app was really cool.
  • I like how the woman has to message first. I’m usually shy to text and in a way this app boosted my confidence in making a move and saying hey.
  • It’s easy to text and you can like a message using the heart icon in the corner.
  • I like how you can send gifs in the conversations.
  • It’s easy to set up and create a profile.
  • Bumble have a great support team and they get back to you fairly quickly.

Cons

  • The location was a big no for me. I hated how it showed my exact town instead of the district like Cork etc. It made me feel uneasy at times. When I contacted them about it they said there was nothing they could do and it goes by your phones location.
  • The payment for bumble boost seriously needs to be sorted out. I was lucky I spotted the €80 at the bottom of the screen before I entered my credit card…
  • There should be a filter for the location. I live in Munster and it was showing me potential matches from Dundalk and Dublin.

Conclusion

Bumble is a well- designed app that challenges society and it’s stereotypes. The fact that women text first is a nice modern idea. The majority of people on the app want something casual or they don’t know. There were very few on the app who were looking for a relationship.

For a while, I enjoyed using the app but it soon seemed like just another dating app in the market. It seems that the app may be headed into the hook-up culture reputation. The idea of the name bumble and the beehive appearance is really well done. The biggest problem with the app was the location. I think that if the location was fixed then it would much better. For now, the location problem is bothersome.

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My New Year Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. Gym memberships, throwing out all the selection boxes and trying to perfect the task of writing 2019 instead of 2018. A new year resolution is something that many people do come first of January but what exactly is a new year resolution? According to Wikipedia, a New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

I have a few things I’d like to accomplish/change in 2019 so without further ado, here are a few of my 2019 new year resolutions:

  • Become healthier – During Christmas my diet just went out the window so I plan to go back on it for the new year
  • Exercise – Get my fitness routine back on track
  • Grow and post more on Instagram
  • Blog – To write more blog posts and engage more on my social media platforms
  • Dating – I’m going to try and wait for the right person to come along while in the meantime being more productive and keeping busy by focusing on college and my blog.
  • Travel somewhere new in Ireland
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