Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Book Review | The Key To It All By Joanna Rees

 Reading is one of my favourite things to do ever. I love being transported into a different world through the pages of a really good book, and as a result of my love for reading, I get quite a few books as gifts for my birthday and Christmas - which is amazing! Dan's mum kindly got me a book I had actually spied a few weeks earlier; The Key To It All by Joanna Rees. I was so excited to get stuck in, and as soon as I did  was hooked! I was actually texting my friend back after finishing the book and she was so surprised at how late I was up for me, and I blame this book...

 The novel is about five people, chosen to receive a key that will give them whatever they require. None of them know how they got the key, or who it was from, which adds mystery to the story. It's set out so that each chapter is about one of the five people, and in places they intertwine the characters which I liked. There are also flash backs, which are about another man. The story is very clever in its links, and I liked that about it. Some of the links were more obvious than others, but some of them were surprising, and I did like that element - there's nothing worse than predicting it all from the start!

 I found this book addictive, I just wanted to know what was going to happen, and where they got the keys from. I was also interested in the moral side of it all; who was actually going to use their key for the good? I definitely had my favourite characters, and I do think they were the ones you were supposed to like. Out of the 5 chosen, I only liked three of the characters, and the book was much better this way. If you were supposed to like or dislike all of them, I think it would have made the book monotonous.

 One of the greatest things about this book was that each of the different people brought something completely unique to the book. One of them was a banker, the other a teacher. There was sushi factory worker, a doctor and an actress which are obviously all very different careers. I liked this variety because it meant that they were all at different stages of their lives. They chose to do very different things with their gift of the key, and it got me thinking about what I'd ask for if I were to recieve one. It was definitely a very interesting read!

Unfortunately though, the ending wasn't as dramatic or in depth as I would have hoped. I'd have liked to learnt a bit more about the characters after the realisation of who had given them the key and why. I wanted to know what they had done with their lives a bit more. It was a shame that the book did end quite ubruptly.

Have you ever read The Key To It All?

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

#BreakFree from Worrying

 For my birthday Dan got me a magazine subscription for Marie Claire. I was SO excited when the first issue finally arrived this weekend, and it definitely didn't disappoint. One of my favourite pieces in the magazine was about their campaign for 2016. The #breakfree campaign, which is all about woman speaking out about the things that they want to break free from this year, and in the future, in order to feel like we are fulfilling our full potentials. They had some incredible ambassadors wanting to break free from issues facing women all across the UK, and the world.

 This campaign really got me thinking. What do I want to break free from? What is holding me back? I've decided. I want to #breakfree from worrying. It's something I've always struggled with, in my relationships, friendships and work. 2016 is the time to stop worrying, because it's truly holding me back. Despite improving recently, I've got a long way to go and this campaign has inspired me to do so. Worrying has held me back for far too long, and it's time for change.

 In my work, I'm constantly worrying about messing up, that I constantly question what I am doing. Worrying knocks my confidence in my performance, and this is something that needs to change. I am capable of writing an essay and getting a decent grade. I have a degree to show for this. I am capable of going into work, and making no mistakes, or very minor ones if I do. With friends, and family, I'm always worrying that I've said the right thing. If I drink, I have the worst day the next day constantly worrying what I've said or done to embarrass myself, when 99% of the time I've just had fun. I've had enough of worrying, and this year is my year to combat it, with a little inspiration from Marie Claire.

I'm so pleased that I read the article about the campaign. I'm officially starting 2016 on a fantastic, and positive note. My first piece of action is definitely going to be a worry journal. If I can write down my worries, I've had a release of them, I'm hoping this will help me to leave my worries in my book, and go out and do the things I want to achieve. Worrying makes me doubt and question my abilities, and I'm fed up. I'm ready to push my worries aside!

What do you want to break free from in 2016? Have you read the Marie Claire article? If not, you can read more here.

Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 Goals

 HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2016 is a fantastic one for all of you, and I wish you health, wealth and happiness for the coming year.

One of the things about the new year that I like doing is focusing on the things I want to happen in the year. It helps me to look at what I am doing, and where I need to be. I am an organised person, and like to know things are under control so it helps me to feel better about my life and gives me a purpose. Life is much easier for me when I feel like I have a goal to work towards!

This year I'd like to...

  • double what I currently have in my savings account at the moment. This should help me and Dan finally feel we are in a good position to take the leap and buy our own house. I've been reading a couple of blog posts about buying a house recently and it's opened my eyes to how much saving we're going to have to do - I hadn't even thought about solicitors fees! 
  • work out a decent budget which will help with the saving. I want to be more focused on where my money is going so that I can save more efficiently. It will be a lot easier to save when I know exactly what I need for necessities, and what I am just wasting mindlessly at the moment. 
  • explore new places. One of my regrets from 2015 was that I didn't travel more, both in and out of the UK. There is just so much to see out there, and I love learning about the cultures, traditions and history of new places. It would be great if we could beat our record of 5 trips in a year, but as we are saving we will have to see if this is achievable!
My 2016 blog goals...
  • I'd like to be braver in my content on here. I want to post things I've previously been too scared to post - perhaps an outfit post, or a piece that digs a little deeper than I've ever been on Suitcase and Sandals before. I've always wanted to do some of these but have been too nervous,. Hopefully in 2016 I'll give it a good go!
  • Over the course of the year, I'd like to reach 350 bloglovin followers, 1000 twitter followers and 500 instagram followers. I hope these are achievable but only time will tell! I'm especially enjoying instagram at the moment so to reach 500 followers would be great.
  • Learn more about SEO. I started learning a little bit about this recently and wrote a post about how much I love learning. I love writing this blog, but would like to know a lot more about the professional side of things as such. As part of this goal, I'd like to up my DA as well, hopefully reaching a score of 20 this year.

Here's to 2016 bringing us all success in our goals, and most importantly happiness. I think there's a general good feeling about this year so fingers crossed it lives up to everyone's expectations. On a serious side note though, I'm still in shock after realising that it is the year of the Olympics again....

Do you have any goals for 2016? Please let me know in the comments, I love reading these posts!
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