Featured Post

Moving Domains

Hello All, Just a quick note to say that I haven't been blogging here for a while because Peter and I decided to get our own doma...

Blog Archive

Instagram @ajourneywelove

Archive for January 2012

[Review] The King's Rose by Alisa M Libby

Summary from Goodreads:

Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king's eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life - and her heart - threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn - sacrificed at the altar of family ambition?

Ahh, my first book read for 2012! It's such a stunning start since the main setting of this book is in England (ha ha)

This book is all about Catherine Howard, how she rose to be the queen of England (the fifth wife of Henry VIII) and her eventual death by beheading. Although the book is also targetted at a YA market, I don't really think it is super YA given some of the scenes that were described in the novel - sex, adultery, killing, and so forth. But it does give a good background to us about how it was like 400 years ago.

If you are an avid The Tudors fan, you'll find that this book seems to describe one of the few episodes in the TV Series! It was so easy for me to read because well, it was just like a novelization, in fact. Although, I do hate the fact that Thomas Culpepper didn't appear much in this book. It therefore lacks some of love story I had been expecting between the two of them.

On some parts of the novel, I really felt for Catherine - being too young, used by her relatives just to get ahead in politics which is really really sad. I think she was just used for their own political gain (and got her head chopped off for it). 

There's lack of originality in the book, but it is quite a good read for those wanting to know more about the Tudor times. 

Rating: 2.5/5
Published: 2009. 

England: Tower Bridge

Greetings guys ! I'm testing blogger for iPhone right now. What better way to create a test post than uploading a photo :)

This was taken at iconic Tower Bridge. It was first built in the 1800s and can be drawn up to allow ships to pass through. Oh, and it still works today!

To get there, just hop on a tube and go down at the Tower Hill stop. Its on the District line. The bridge is a short walk from the tube station and you'll also see the Tower of London!

For those looking for London Bridge, ita the next one over! It isn't as iconic or pretty as Tower Bridge though!

In My Mailbox # 27

It's been a while since I've made an IMM post!!

And oh my gosh, I can't believe I lost a draft version of this - I had a few dozen books I bought for 2011 and I've lost it in my blog :(

So, for this week, I got:

Need by Carrie Jones

The 39 Clues: The Black Book of Buried Secrets
Cahills vs Vespers 1: The Medusa Plot

That's about it - what did you get in your mailboxes :)

Tips for Saving for a Big Dream/Purchase

I'm a bit annoyed whenever someone tells me that I'm rich whenever I travel: either dreams of going to Europe, US, Australia, or whenever I book airline tickets both local and abroad.

Let me just clear this up: I am not rich. I am a working professional just like you. I earn money every month by working a 9-6 job, I blog for extra money (although I only earn enough just to pay for a lunch ever month), and I am not a daughter of some tycoon where I could ask for money whenever I feel like it.

Let me share to you some of my ideals on how to save money for what you really want. First off, a word of warning: its hard. Getting the discipline to actually save is really, really hard. It took me ages to get the self-discipline!

First off, my profile (for your comparison): I'm currently 20+, employed full time, single, and I don't have to support my parents (at the moment) - I can get to keep whatever I earn without providing x amount of money to my family. I don't like to eat out, and I don't like to watch movies in the cinema. And I abhore hotel buffets.

So, here's how I save money for my trips/books:

1. Less shopping.

I used to be a shopaholic. From 2006 to early 2007, I cannot leave the mall without carrying something out of a certain store. It's true. Case and point: I got addicted to Havaianas and ended up with around 30+ pairs. Talk about a waste. It took me a year and a half to get on the path of shopaholic rehab and stop buying these stuff that I don't need. I always ask myself now if I really need a certain thing before I buy it. And yes, even if its on sale, regardless how big of a percentage it is on sale, I keep asking myself that question again and again.

However, I do have my faults. Why I have the self-discipline to not buy clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, and gadgets, I have a weakness: books and notebooks. I keep buying books even though I have a few hundred more to read. But then again, I allow myself to keep buying books as a reward to myself (more about that later).

Always categorize a potential buy: Do you need it? Do you just want it? Or is it just an impulse buy? Chances are, if it is just an impulse buy, you'll end up forgetting about that certan thing when you wake up the next morning.

2. Pack food/drinks whenever possible.

As I said, I don't like to eat out. I tried computing how much it would take every single day to buy lunch and dinner and believe me, the amounts could add up. compare the cost of buying food from fast food chains/restaurants to cooking at home and you'll end up being surprised as well. You'll save a lot.

I also don't like buying softdrinks or mineral water from restaurants. They charge a lot more for drinks compared to buying stuff from the grocery store. What I normally do is pack a small 350ml container (which I bought from SM) and fill up with lukewarm water from the office or at home. It's enough to keep me hydrated while I'm out and keeps me from buying water outside.

I also don't like buying coffee from Starbucks or the other cafes. They're really overpriced as well. Imagine if you buy a latte everyday. You'll get to save around P4000 a month if you stop buying coffee and just drink coffee from the free coffee machines you would get at the office. Don't have a coffee machine in the office? Opt for cheaper coffee: buy your coffee from either 7-11 or buy a pack of instant coffee and make your own!

3. Find other means of income.

Get another job (I would say part time), buy and sell stuff, turn a hobby (ie baking) into a profitable mini business - the choices are endless. I choose to blog and to invest to earn additional income. Blogging may not be for everyone though - it takes a lot of hard work as well. I choose my other means of income to be a passive one.
(Nerdy talk: there are two types of income: Passive and Active. Passive income is your ability to make money without working or exerting effort for it. Active income is your ability to make money from your services or from your job). Blogging can be considered as a mixture of passive & active income. Active because you exert effort while you create your blogs, and passive when you get paid every month for advertising space.

Passive income is considred the best because you're making money without batting a finger! I have investments that make x amounts of moolah every month. It's not much, I definitely can't live off it, but at least I'm making a few extra. Do note that before you invest in anything, you'll need to understand what you're investing on and the probable risks involved (hence I am thankful for my banking background cos it gave me an advantage).

4. Sell/trade or re-gift your stuff.

One man's junk is another man's treasure, as they say. If you have something that you don't use anymore, you could try to sell it online (given that it's still in good condition)! I don't normally use this tip. Instead of selling my stuff, I normally just give it away to friends as presents for Christmas or other occassions. Case & point: books. As I said, I can't stop buying books. So, depending on how many books I've read and how many friends I have who love to read, I get a stash of presents for them, ready anytime ;) You could also re-gift stuff if you want to - ie if you get a gift from someone but you don't really like it or you won't need it, you could re-gift it to someone who may make better use of it than you would. Better than it accumulating dust in your closet.

5. Find discounts for your needs

Need something? Scout for deals online using group buying websites. You'll get to save x amount of money, but make sure you'll need it before you do buy it! Need clothes? Wait for sale season before getting anything. Need toiletries? In my personal opinion, the best place for getting cheap toiletries is Watsons. They have these racks of stuff that are buy one take one (if you are patient enough to scout the store looking for the if they have any). They normally don't advertise they have this specific deal so keep scouting ;) Think of it as a game.

Trivia: Whenever I buy toiletries (ie soap, shampoo, etc), I normally compute per oz/g/ml to get the best deal. Not all things in big packages are cheaper than the smaller packages (ie the biggest Cetaphil 427ml bottle is more expensive than 2 250ML Cetaphil).

So,, that's part one of my saving tips :) I don't really have a book review post up done yet or a travelogue done. Year end has been absolutely tiring for me and I have been resting and sleeping most weekends. *Sigh*

Hope this can be of help to you guys :)

[Review] Fallen by Lauren Kate

Summary from Goodreads: There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. 

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. 

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her. 

Luce was suddenly thrust in a reform school after an incident at her former school. There, she meets Daniel. And Cam. Oh boy. A love triangle right from the start. Ugh. 

Honestly, the book bored me - there wasn't anything interesting happening until uhh the last 100 pages of the book. Which pretty mch means that the first 350 pages of the book were pretty much rubbish and seems to cycle upon Luce pining for Daniel, only to be swayed by Cam, and meeting Arriane and Penn. That's pretty much it. I don't know where the scary factor is that the blurbs and the praises for this book come from, it isn't even scary - and the love story part definitely doesn't come until much later. 

I do like the setting though - a school in the middle of nowhere which has an ancient cemetery in the grounds, a lake with forests at the back, and a church that was turned into a gym. Awesome. I have always loved settings which have a historic feel to them or places which are based on real settings. 

The whole story itself is a bit used already - if you've read Twilight you'll actually get the story of this. Two boys fighting over one girl, one girl chooses a boy, the other ends up fighting other boy. Except, wait, there's a twist! They're not vampires and werewolves - they're angels! Okayyy. Pretty much everyone's writing YA love stories about etherial or immortal out of this world creatures now. Pfft. Maybe I should read much more on the realistic YA novels out there. 

Oh, a saving grace of the book - there was a part where Luce wanted to go to Brasil in her current life so badly and whenever someone asks her why she wants to go there, she can't give a proper reason why. It was just an urge for her. Turns out her past life had a memorable experience in Brasil. Can you believe it?? I feel the exact same way about England. Whenever someone asks me why I want to move to London, I always answer differently but the pull is there, exactly the same way Luce was feeling about Brasil. A past life of mine, maybe? Hmm... I was really happy when I read that line of the book. 

Would I read Torment? I don't know. I don't want to buy the second book full price for fear I might get disappointed again. I could use that money for travel, instead. Maybe I'll just wait until it comes out at a used bookstore near my place then I'll reconsider. 

I'll probably just give this book away as a pressie to a friend. Whoever you are who's gonna get this book, I hope you enjoy it because I haven't :( 

[Review] If You Could See Me Now - Cecelia Ahern

Summary from Goodreads: Elizabeth Egan’s life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It’s how she counteracts the chaos of her family -- an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother’s footsteps, leaving her own six-yearold son, Luke, in Elizabeth’s care. When Ivan, Luke’s mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesn’t know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth’s eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real?
If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart -- and just a touch of magic
I first came across Cecelia Ahern's books because she is the sister-in-law of Nicky from Westlife. As shallow as I may be, that is one of the main reasons why I was interested in this book. I bought PS I Love You but I never managed to finish reading it. Then a friend gave this book as a present to me and I thought it was just time for me to read it.

A bitter disappointment. The story has no real structure, and is very, very unrealistic and unbelievable. A girl falling in love with an imaginary friend? Puh-lease. Instead of me learning to hope or picking up some new things from this book, I felt like I had just wasted my time trying to read and finish this book. It has no concrete ending as well, which was a bitter disappointment. Kind of like Where Rainbows End (but more about this other book in a separate review).

I don't like the way the author keeps alternating how the story POV was written. It was written in the first person if Ivan was "speaking" and in the third person from the POV of Elizabeth. It's quite confusing that way!

Is this considered chick lit? Is it a love story? I believe, no and no. What I was happy about from the story though was the way that Elizabeth finally changes her beliefs and her attitude towards the end. From prissy, uptight girl to eventually a happy one. That's about it. Her mum and her sister didn't warrant a happy ending for her, and her lovelife was still a big mystery.

I hope that some of the other books I pick up from this author won't disappoint me any more.

Travel - The UK 2011 Diaries Part 1: Getting There

Facebook is being a pain and since I promised my friends to post photos and some brief narrative on what I did on my 3 1/2 month stint in the UK, here you go. A month and a half late. Or rather, a few months late.

One thing I ask though - I may not have any watermarks (because mainly I'm too lazy to do it) so please do not get any of my photos without my permission puh-lease!

Anyhoo, it all started with me moving on to a different team at work - and well, the chance to go to the UK for a few months was in the cards. I couldn't say no, I love the UK! :) So, last June, I embarked on a solo backpacking trip around Cebu and Bohol (more of that when I get more time to post) and on June 30th I find myself going to the airport to embark on this happy happy and exciting trip :)

I had a nightmare going through immigration - the immigration officer didn't know the visa I was holding and thought that I needed a POEA permit to continue! (Hello!!! I am not earning GBP and hence am not an OFW so why would I bloody need that stupid POEA permit??) - my head was literally steaming - good thing my friend and my boss helped out with the situation. Stupid, stupid, stupid - I'd rather not deal more about this subject because it would end up with a rant about the Philippines again.

Anyhoo, I checked in to the NAIA 1 Lounge for Business class passengers. Oh, I failed to mention - I flew via Etihad business class for this trip. Yaaaaayyyyyy. The lounge was okay - although it was a tiny place and it was like a maze. Not a fancy thing though - more like a place for you to rest and relax in before the flight (plus the food + beverage is free)

The photo above is a plane model in the business class lounge that's on the windowsill where you could see the planes parked in NAIA1, waiting for the passengers to board!

Back to the trip -I called up HSBC from the lounge. One thing when you're travelling out of the country - you need to call up your credit card company and let them know that you are going out of the country so they won't block any of your purchases when you charge something from abroad.

Then our flight was called - we are gonna board!! :)

So, this is what it looks like from the business class section of Etihad - I have my glass of champagne with a video of places to go to in Abu Dhabi on the screen. (where we're going to have a brief stopover before changing planes to get to London Heathrow). I have a flat bed and lots of leg space - only problem is its a bit of a tight squeeze width-wise. Anyway, I can't complain ;) I love that I also have a window seat. 

They gave away goody bags as well containing socks, eye blinders, Aigner lip balm & lotion and a toothbrush with toothpaste on it. Coolies.

Me looking fat on my seat before takeoff. Whee. Trying to prepare myself for a marathon 7/8 hour flight to Abu Dhabi. So, what did I do the whole time? Well, I just watched a few movies - I saw Rango, which is a cute children's movie, also saw Narnia: Prince Caspian. I never really got to watch these movies while I was in Manila - mainly because I was too much of a stingy head and refused to go out to movies unless they're really worth watching. 

I also read a book while the plane was taking off and landing.. and slept, a lot. I wanted to have all my strength when I land in the UK to get ready for a LOT of sightseeing and walking after I land. Whoopdeedoo. 

So, finally arriving in Abu Dhabi, we headed straight for their business class lounge. Hmmm.... Took loads of photos as the sun was rising. The airport was literally in the desert - all you could see are other planes, sand, and well, the sun. It was a huge terminal and there were also lots of branded stuff that were available on duty free. We also ate a lot of food while waiting for our plane from AUH to LHR. 

One thing I like about flying business class: you can board the plane either first or last. Amazing. So, once we got the Final Boarding Call for our flight, off we went to the plane and prepared for yet another long fight (and sleep) ahead! 

Think that's it for now - watch out for Part two where I will blog more about the Etihad Abu Dhabi Lounge and well, London Day One :) 

I think I'll blog about getting a UK visa too, that's informative as well!

- Copyright © Ruby Loves Adventure - Skyblue - Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -