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The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins {Book Review}

After around a year of owning this book I've finally got round to reading it and I just have to do a review on it! I haven't written a book-related post in a while, so it feels so good to finally be writing something. Don't worry, this review won't contain any spoilers! 


The Girl On The Train is a thrilling murder-mystery; Rachel gets the same train every single morning and passes the same houses every day. One couple in particular catch her eye each time, and she believes they are the perfect couple, until one day she sees the woman (Megan) kissing another man, who isn't her husband. Then Megan goes missing, and Rachel very quickly becomes involved with the case.

This book had so many plot twists and in my eyes, unpredictable. I think if you read thrillers a lot it would be much easier to guess who the killer is (as I've read from other reviews), but I genuinely had no idea and was so shocked when I pieced it all together! This novel reminded me of Before I Go To Sleep (I did a review of this book in this post), because Rachel is an alcoholic who can't remember vital details from the night Megan went missing. This makes her very unreliable and is almost frustrating as a reader. In fact, this applies to all the narrators. Paula cleverly wrote it from three different women's perspectives, but none of them can be trusted, adding to the tension even more. 

Each character has a 'fatal flaw'; alcoholism (Rachel), a liar and a cheat (Megan) and paranoid (Anna). They are all arguably unlikeable characters, which could make it hard for the reader to relate to them, but then again these characteristics add to the plot and make it interesting. I found the sympathy also shifted as I learnt more about each character; at first I felt sympathy for Rachel because her husband left her, but then I felt sympathy for Anna because of what Rachel had put her through in the past (no spoilers here), and then Megan because of her inner feelings, and so on. 

I did find the plot hard to follow at first due to the differing narrators, but I've found this with many novels. I also found the plot slow at first, and I have to admit it took me a couple of attempts to start the book because it didn't necessarily draw me in. However, once I got used to the narrators I found I enjoyed it, especially considering the dramatic irony was incredibly used by Paula; I couldn't bear the tension! The plot picked up the pace around the middle of the book, and from that point on I could barely put it down. 

From a feminist point of view (yes, I take English Literature A-Level so I have to add this in somewhere!), I found it interesting how there was nothing from a male perspective, and it made all of the men in the novel a suspect for Megan's disappearance. Something else I noticed was how all of the women seemed dependent on the men and how their self worth seemed to come from them entirely, but I do think this is vital to the ending (still no spoilers).

Conclusion:
This book was a great read and covered so many issues, such as cheating, heartbreak, mental illness and alcohol abuse. I would highly recommend this!

~

Have you ever read The Girl On The Train? If so, what were your thoughts? 
-Charlotte x

The Future Of My Blog

As you may or may not know, I've been blogging on and off for around 6 years. That is a loooong time. I've had multiple blogs, but this one is the one I've kept the longest, despite it having around 4 name changes.


I had a 2 year (slightly unintentional) break from blogging, because life got busy and as awful as it sounds, blogging slipped my mind and was not a priority. I've now been back blogging since the very beginning of 2018 (31/12/17 to be precise) and I have fallen back in love with it in every way - I've realised how much I enjoy writing, photography and connecting with other bloggers. I see myself in this for the long run now.

So, now what?

I'm taking my blog a lot more seriously now - not too seriously, because unfortunately I still have A-Levels and my part time job to focus on, but seriously enough to see it potentially going somewhere. 

I'm not sure this would ever become a career for me (as much as I would love it to be) and I'm okay with that, but it will always be my 'side hustle'. Here is what I want to make happen in the next year or so on my blog...

Buy a domain and transfer over to Wordpress
This would be a huge step for me, and it's something I've been wanting to do for a while. I would love to own a domain, because then it would feel as though I truly own my blog. I've also been using blogger for the entire time I've been blogging, but transferring over to Wordpress is something I would like to do because I've heard that there is so much more flexibility. 

Collaborate with brands/bloggers
This is something I aspire to do, with brands and bloggers I love, because it would be stepping out of my comfort zone! Of course, I wouldn't be working with brand just for the money, it would just be a nice bonus :)

Add new 'topics'
My blog is currently based around lifestyle, books and beauty - I want to add more topics, one being mental health (I've already posted a few on this) as it is something I'm so passionate about, and the other travel! Travelling is something I want to do so desperately, so when I start (hopefully in my gap year) I will be sure to post about it and share my journey with you guys. I can't wait!

~

What are your plans for the future of your blog? 
See you next week!!
-Charlotte x

My Experience On The Combined Pill - (Almost) One Year On

Hi guys!
In this post I'm going to share my experience on the pill after one year, the positives and the negatives. Please note that my personal experience may not be the same as someone elses experience, as every human body is unique, and what may work for some may not work for others!

Read my full disclaimer here.

 I started taking the combined pill (Cilest) on January 1st 2018 (it was a Monday, so it fell perfectly!). If you would like to know how the combined pill works, check out the NHS website - it has all the information!

A bit of background information regarding why I decided to take the combined pill:
My period gave me super bad cramps and each time they seemed to get worse - to the point where on the first day of my period, I would be crying in pain and rocking back and forth, trying to distract myself. I wish I was exaggerating.
I went to my doctor and at first he put me on 'period pain' tablets (I can't remember the name at all), however I didn't get on with them too well, so he suggested the pill. I've heard a lot of bad experiences with the pill, both in person and online, so I was slightly sceptical but nevertheless willing to give it a try. The combined pill is known for reducing period pain, plus at the time I had severe acne, which in some cases it helps, and I was in a relationship (and still am) - so really, it seemed like a win-win-win! 

The Positives

Lets start with period pains...

The first period I had was slightly less painful, but not massively, however with each period the pain reduced more and more. Now, a year on, my periods are hardly painful at all, to the point where I can hardly feel the cramps! It has also made my periods lighter and shorter, so in terms of menstruation Cilest has been very effective.

My skin...

In the first few months I noticed no change with my skin and was very disappointed. In February I made the decision to come off the antibiotics I was taking for my skin, and from then on my skin improved majorly. I found I got less oily throughout the day, and my skin was pretty much clear by July which was incredible for me as I had severe acne for a number of years. Of course, my clear skin was probably down to a few other factors such as my skincare routine and the summer, but I do believe that the pill contributed the most.

Being in a long term relationship, the combined pill is helpful because it can be used as a contraceptive method too.

The Negatives

Taking it every day
I can be quite forgetful to say the least, so remembering to take the pill every day (especially at the same time!) can be difficult, however the app Clue gives daily reminders, and I also have a note on my wall to remind me! 

My mood
I noticed that when I started taking the pill, my moods got worse and my mood swings can be very sudden, something I'd never really experienced before. Of course, it's probably due to the extra hormones, which makes sense, but it is a big negative for me. I know other people have had problems with their mood whilst on the pill, so it comforts me to know I'm not the only one. My mental health hasn't always been great anyway (more on that another time), so I know there will be other factors contributing, but I also believe the pill has had a negative effect.

~

So, that's my experience so far! It's had a mixture of positive and negative aspects, like I imagined it would.

Are you/have you been on the pill? If so, what were your experiences like? Comment below!
- Charlotte x

Blackpool Trip 2018 - A Photo Diary

Hi guys! 
The last photo diary I did was my Brighton Trip one back in August, which I absolutely loved making and is one of my favourite posts, so I've decided to do one for my Blackpool trip! 


I went to Blackpool on the 25th October and returned on the 28th October. Going to Blackpool is a family tradition and so we go every October. This year I went with my mum, dad, brother, cousin, my cousin's girlfriend and my boyfriend. Blackpool has a special place in my heart because it was always a place we went to with my Grandad, who adored it, but sadly he passed away this April. I have so many fond memories of my childhood holidays to Blackpool, and this trip brought them all back which was so nice for all of us.

This trip was made even better because a few days before we went I got a new camera!! I got the Canon EOS 4000d DSLR and I am so in love with it, so be prepared for lots of pictures in this post! 

Thursday 25th - Day 1 

We arrived around 6pm after a long 5 hour journey (!!), checked into our hotel and went for a meal in Velvet Coaster (Wetherspoons).


We then went for a walk down the South Pier and along the coast, looking at the famous Blackpool Illuminations.

South Pier, Blackpool





Friday 26th - Day 2

Friday was such a busy and fun day! 
We took a long walk to the Blackpool Tower and my cousin, his girlfriend, boyfriend and I went to the top whilst my mum, dad and brother went to the ballroom. Before doing this we went shopping (I didn't buy anything - I know, I was surprised too) and took a walk through the Winter Gardens.

View from our hotel window (kind of edgy, right?)


such a beautiful day...






The views at the top were incredible and although the height took a bit of getting used to, I loved looking at the scenery.


me pretending to look through a telescope 



it was so windy!!!



the comedy carpet


my brother James 

yes, I did take a photo of my doughnut (sorry not sorry)


Go Karting! I came last haha

James posing again


After Go Karting we went back to the hotel to rest for a while, before going to Pizza Hut. We then took the tram down to the lights at the very end, which include boards as well. Unfortunately this was very short lived as it was so cold (honestly, it felt like icicles were on my face) so here are the few photos I managed to take. 




We then went to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, and... wow. I was truly mesmerised by how beautiful it is! My Grandad loved dance, like me, and he used to love coming in here.



'Charlotte, you look like a French tourist!'



We then took another walk down the Central Pier.


.... and after a brilliant but exhausting day, we returned back to our hotel. I fell asleep very quickly!

Saturday 27th - Day 3

This was possibly my favourite day because we went to the Pleasure Beach! 


As you can see, the weather was lovely all day. We arrived at around 11am. 









The Big One rollercoaster is the tallest in Europe at 205 ft, and has always been one of my favourites. We waited for a long 2 hours, but it was so worth it (and extremely windy). The G-force is insane!


I'm so happy we got to ride the new ride, Icon. We bought fast track passes because the queue was so long. The ride is so cleverly designed with so many loops, and I love the way at the beginning it shoots off without any warning. 






We stayed until 9:30 PM but missed the fireworks as it was freezing and we wanted to get in the warmth as quick as possible. I really enjoyed this day!

Day 4 - Sunday 28th 

Sunday was the day we returned home, but we went out in the morning for a walk along the front, where I managed to practise my photography skills. We also went Go-Karting, and I came second!! (much to my cousins dismay haha) 
My super comfy faux-fur coat from New Look
















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Our trip to Blackpool was, as always, truly enjoyable and I'm so glad I had the chance to use my new camera!
Have you ever been to Blackpool? Comment down below!

See you next week :)
-Charlotte x