SUMMER READ: Introduction and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’


Every summer I need to read at least one light hearted book, something that helps me escape to a foreign country or romantic city- something exciting. If you are going on holiday, or more importantly if you are not, you need to buy a least book this summer- you can buy them really cheaply from Amazon.  If you are stuck for a choice, then I’d like to help you, look out for more posts with my recommendations and reviews. My first recommendation is…

Eat, Pray, Love– Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is perfect for anyone who feels like they are stuck in a rut, but just as well matched for someone who only wants to be transported to a pizzeria in Italy. Gilbert writes in such a natural way, you feel as though you are having a chat over coffee with a friend. Liz has realized that she is unhappy, despite being surrounded by what should feel like success- a husband, a nice car, a very handsome income. She writes her journey from the decision to end her marriage, through a terrible divorce, and then on to the year she spent travelling. You may have seen the film, but in a lot of ways it doesn’t do the book justice; there isn’t the necessity for a happy ending or a lovers tiff, the book is raw and honest. Perhaps the biggest thing missing from the film is that Gilbert shows the people she loves, as they really are, which is flawed, it’s difficult to do that in film without making that person ‘the baddie’. Gilbert’s story is refreshing, she doesn’t write about a fairytale gap year where everyone she meets changes her life, and is the nicest, most interesting person ever. The reviews of this book, mine included, all agree that this book is inspiring, no matter how dissimilar your life is from Liz’s, you cannot help but ask the questions she does, about yourself. The book is split into 108 miniature stories, which means the book is easy to pick up and put down without feeling lost.

A holiday even you can afford!


In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I had been on holiday.

Outside St.David's cathedral- they always pose like that

When I told people I was going on holiday, they assumed I must be going abroad, but I didn’t, I went to a costal county of Wales called Pembrokeshire. More specifically I went to a little town called Broad Haven. Since the recession, magazines and newspapers inform me that staycations are becoming more and more popular. It’s a cheaper holiday, arguably ethical (helping the local economy), but it is also a lot of fun. My experience taught me that you can have a great holiday without spending a lot of money.

My friends and I stayed in a self-catering lodge which had a beautiful scenic view and a veranda, a lake for fishing, a child’s play area (my boyfriend loves rope swings)  and big open grassy space to play in. The boys went fishing a lot, we had a bbq and sunbathed on the veranda, we had rugby golf on the common land, played murder mystery in our lodge, and each night we took it in turns to make very nice dinners. We managed to do all of this for no extra cost to our accommodation. As we went out of peak time we had the lodge for a very cheap price, but even if we had gone during the school holidays it still would have been an absolute steal. Having a self-catering lodge meant that we didn’t have to spend lots of money on eating out, and as we each only cooked one night, everyone made a big effort, it was like having a dinner party every evening, and much cheaper than having dinner in a restaurant. Lodges, B+Bs, and family run hotels are sometimes not much more expensive than camping or caravanning so it’s worth looking around, especially if you are not the sort of person who appreciates living in the great outdoors.

This sunset was free

Once you pay for accommodation then you don’t need to spend loads of money on day trips, you can go to the beach, to parks, go on costal or countryside walks, all for free. A lot of the attractions (museums especially) in Wales are free so we didn’t have to pay many entry fees, we might even have spent less while we were away than we would have in a usual week. If you have a family (entry fees get pretty expensive when you’re paying for four) or are really strapped for cash then visiting these attractions would be perfect.

One evening we played murder mystery

We were pretty lucky with the weather but on a rainy day we went to Pemberton Chocolate Farm because it was indoors, the tour would have been £4.50 but we skipped that and paid 50p to design our own chocolate and then looked around the free museum and cinema. Other rainy days we stayed in doors to play games (Twister was lots of fun) and watch movies, so weather shouldn’t put you off of holidaying in the UK. Don’t underestimate how relaxing it can be not to have to work through your to-do list every day, you can just read a novel or magazine without having to worry what you should be doing around the house or running errands.

We might have bought a treat in the chocolate shop...

We did take a day trip to St.David’s, the cathedral didn’t charge to go in but just took donations. It was a really sunny day so we got chips and ate out in the sun, but for a cheaper alternative you could take your own picnic, especially as you won’t feel bad buying an ice cream then! Just looking around the city and visiting the galleries was a fun day, you don’t always need to go shopping. My boyfriend and I collect postcards and fridge magnets where ever we go, it’s a cheap way to buy souvenirs that will mean we remember our holidays. Instead of spending a lot of money on buying gifts for every man and his dog, it’s much more personal to pick out postcards you think the each person will like and send them a little message while you’re away.

If you were feeling crappy that you’re not going to have a holiday this summer, I hope this post inspires you to do a bit of research to see if you can change that. If you really can’t afford to go away though, I am also going to attempt being a tourist in my own city so watch out for posts about that. And, of course, I would love to hear all about the staycations you have planned or have been on. Happy holidaying!