Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: Strikes & A British Thanksgiving


After the whirlwind weekends of Paris and Edinburgh, it was nice to just have a chill week off. Still, there were plenty of things that happened. I visited Isaac's hometown again, I had a British Thanksgiving, and I started getting serious about final assessments.

The reason why we visited Basingstoke and I didn't go to any lectures was because lecturers across the UK were striking from November 25th-December 3rd. There were a variety of reasons as to why, but if you're interested in knowing more, check out this article



Monday
November 25, 2019

After getting into Basingstoke rather late on Sunday, we slept in pretty late before heading to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner and breakfast. On our way back, we stopped and got lunch to take back and eat while we watched some shows.

When we finished lunch, I got started on being productive on blog posts and whatnot while we watched shows on the couch. After a while, we started in on making dinner--steak! I love me some steak and potatoes. Once we finished eating, Isaac headed off to football while I continued being productive on blog and school work. 



Tuesday
November 26, 2019

Tuesday was another lazy day in. I made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and then we ate them while catching up I'm A Celeb and some more Psych for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, we ate dinner with Isaac's family before we all sat around playing games and eating candy. Not to brag or anything, but I totally kicked ass at Words with Friends. After games, Isaac and I watched a couple episodes of Psych before heading to bed. 

The other exciting thing that happened on Tuesday was that I hit 100,000 blog views! I've been doing this for so long and I can't believe that I finally hit 100k!



Wednesday
November 27, 2019

On Wednesday, in typical fashion, we slept in late and watched Psych all day before Isaac went off to play racquetball with his dad. After that, we ate dinner and packed up the rest of our stuff to head back to campus. On the way back, we stopped at ASDA to get groceries before finally getting back to Roehampton. 



Thursday
November 28, 2019

On Thursday we slept in and didn't really  have a productive day. I got jealous over seeing everyone's Thanksgiving meals on Snapchat and Instagram before I went to the one the college hosted with one of my friends.

It was a nice meal. The food was good and you could tell that the college really put a lot of thought into it. As a Thanksgiving meal it wasn't that great, but as a regular old dinner it was fantastic. I got  bacon-wrapped turkey, a bunch of veggies, and even mac n cheese. Afterwards, I went back to my room to watch Psych with Isaac and eat ice cream. 




Friday
November 29, 2019

We slept in on Friday again before going to lunch and then heading back to be productive. I made a day-by-day schedule of all the assignments and other things I had to get done before the end of the semester since I want to finish them before the 13th.

Isaac had to head to his first day at work so I stayed in the library until almost midnight working on various blog and homework things. It was almost midnight before I got back to the dorm where I continued working on things before I fell asleep waiting for Isaac to get back. 



Saturday
November 30, 2019

On Saturday we slept in before getting lunch. After that, I worked on homework and hung out with Isaac throughout the day until he had to go to work again. Instead of being productive, though, I watched Christmas movies and then started reading a book for review.

I stayed up reading and to let Isaac in after he got done with work. I ended up finishing the book a bit after Isaac got back. By the time we ended up falling asleep, it was about 5 am. 



Sunday
December 1, 2019

We obviously slept in on Sunday before spending the day  working on homework and studying. Afterwards, we went and got food for dinner before watching Psych before bed. 



It wasn't a particularly exciting week but I did enjoy every day of it. I know next week will be a bit stressful with how many assignments I have to do but I'm still going to try to make the most of it before I have to head back home to good ol' Illinois.

For past weekly diaries, check out my study abroad page here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

November 2019 Wrap-Up!


So November was a very eventful month in terms of traveling and exploring. I only managed to read three books, but I did enjoy 2 of them so I'd call it a win. I'm thinking that December will be a more productive month in terms of reading since I'll be on winter break back home and not really doing anything except spending time with my family and reading. But, anyway, let's just dive into November!



BOOKS READ
1.
Title: A Match Made in Mehendi 
Author: Nandini Bajpai
Rating: 4 // 5 stars 

2. 
Title: Mrs. Dalloway
Author: Virginia Woolf
Rating: n/a -- read for class
I ended up DNF'ing this partway through. I had to read this for a class presentation but, as I didn't have to focus on the novel as a whole and instead just on excerpts, I can DNF it and not feel any worry. I really wanted to get through the entire thing but I. just. couldn't. I get that there's an actual plot. I get there's social commentary and all that jazz. But I just don't care because it's so boring. I can understand it fine if I read closely and annotate in the margins but that takes so long. At this point, I've already spent almost three and a half hours on this book and not gotten even halfway? But because I spent so much time on it I'm damn well counting it towards my reading challenge. I could have read an entire novel I actually wanted to read in that amount of time. Overall, I just don't care enough at this stage of my life to even attempt to finish this. It's just...not good.

3.
Title: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars
Review



BLOG POSTS

October 2019 Wrap-Up
Studying Abroad in London: Mormons & A Welsh Adventure
Studying Abroad in London: A Very Harry Potter Week
Studying Abroad in London: A Parisian Adventure
End of the Year Book Tag: 2019 Edition
Thanksgiving Book Tag: 2019 Edition
Studying Abroad in London: Edinburgh Adventures



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link



Sunday, December 1, 2019

Book Review: "The Last Namsara" by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: "Iskari" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Date Started: November 30, 2019
Date Finished: November 30, 2019
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars
Goodreads

*I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

From the moment I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. My first encounter was all the way back in 2017 when it first came out and two things happened: I fell in love with the cover and the synopsis drew my attention immediately. For some reason, it took all these years for me to finally read it, so I want to thank HarperTeen for sending me a copy and finally pushing me into  reading it. I'm so glad I did.

This book was great. It had so many different elements that I loved individually and just all came together to form a wonderful story. From the characters to the magic and dragons to the political intrigue...it was great.

The magic and lore in this book is really interesting. The world the characters live in is not just their own--there are dragons with them. At the beginning of the novel, our main character is a dragon hunter--an Isakri. While out hunting, she tells old stories that have the power to draw dragons to her. The whole idea of a magic system revolving around old gods and dragons is just so unique to me.

Not only that, but the political intrigue and how society was structured in this book was very interesting. While you're reading, you're not really sure who you can trust and what's actually going on in this kingdom. We start off the novel thinking one thing and, by the end of it, have completely been bamboozled by the events.

The two main things that kept me engaged, though, were the characters and the stakes. What I liked about this book and the reason why I read it in one sitting was the fact that there were twists and turns that kept raising the stakes throughout the novel. It seemed like we'd just figure out how to deal with one thing when another curveball was thrown.

I really liked our main character, Asha, but I also loved all of the side characters. Our main character is in a really tough spot, mentally and physically. It doesn't ever really seem like anything can go well for her. Our side characters are also wonderfully written, which makes me excited since the next two books in the series are companion sequels following different side characters!

The one thing I will say was that I didn't feel like the romance was as strong as the rest of the components in the book, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed the romance but I would have also been completely okay if it wasn't there, so I'm not sure how much it really impacted the plot besides how it influenced the different characters' actions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am definitely excited to read the next two. I think that the author has created a unique and compelling world full of high stakes and interesting characters that will keep me coming back for more time after time. I highly recommend!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link



Friday, November 29, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: Edinburgh Adventures


Another week has gone by! This one was just as exciting as the last one and filled with some fun new adventures to a place I've been wanting to visit for years: Scotland! The week itself wasn't that exciting but at the end of the week we went to Edinburgh so I still count this week as a win. So, without further ado, let's go  ahead and jump on in!  



Monday
November 18, 2019

I was up every couple hours through the night leading into Monday because I was sick. I ended up spending the day in my room trying to recover from it and catch up on lecture things since I wasn't able to go that day.



Tuesday
November 19, 2019

I slept in a bit on Tuesday before pulling out the textbooks to begin work on a group presentation. I met up with my group that afternoon to run through our presentation for a bit before heading back to the flat to get dinner.  



Wednesday
November 20, 2019

I woke up feeling very nervous for both my presentation and an interview I had that day. When I got to class, my group decided to go first so we were able to get it out of the way pretty quickly. I feel like I did  pretty well but I won't get my grade for a while I don't think so we'll see. After my presentation ended, I went to a group interview that was stressing me out a lot. However, since there were 5 of us interviewing 1 staff member it really wasn't that bad. After that ended, I just went back to the flat to get lunch before chilling for the rest of the day. 



Thursday
November 21, 2019

On Thursday we slept in for a bit before chilling most of the day. I worked on some homework for a bit before we got an insanely big dinner from Pub Grub to eat while we watched I'm A Celeb. After  that, we started packing for Scotland before heading to bed at a more reasonable time than usual. 



Friday
November 22, 2019

Friday we woke up relatively early to finish the last minute packing for Scotland. We met up with Henning and Emily, two of our friends, and all four of  us left at a pretty good time and headed to the grocery store to get snacks for our road trip up. I took Dramamine so I ended up sleeping on and off most of the way up there.

When we arrived it was quite dark out but we were eventually able to find our AirBnB and get settled in. Instead of going out for dinner, we decided to go to the grocery store and just make food there. Admittedly, Isaac and I got too much food and were stuffed once we finished and were watching I'm A Celeb. Once we finished watching, we headed to bed since we were both pretty tired from the day. 




Saturday
November 23, 2019

We slept in a bit on Saturday before making a quiche for breakfast. It was fun getting to make food in a kitchen that we didn't share with 28 other people. After breakfast, we just got ready for the day before heading into Edinburgh city center.

We were able to find parking for pretty good price near the Christmas Market. It was a bit wet that day but I was completely fine without an umbrella as we walked through the market. It was so festive and fun. There were different stalls selling various handmade items and hot drinks and food. Isaac and I split a German sausage and it was, no joke, the best sausage I've ever had. Or maybe I was just super hungry? I also had a cup of the best Belgian hot chocolate I've ever had, too.

After we left the market, we drove about an hour away to an artisan ice cream shop that sells Strongbow Dark Fruit ice cream. Unfortunately, when we went, they didn't have a batch of it ready but I still got three different flavors to try. It was so lightweight and fluffy and yummy. When we left the ice cream, we headed back to the AirBnB to chill for a bit. Isaac and I caught up on The Apprentice UK and just rested before our dinner reservations at 9pm.

The restaurant we went to was an Italian place a few streets down from the Christmas Market, meaning we were able to park at the same place as earlier. It was a nice little place with really good food. I had bruschetta, a penne dish, and tiramisu for dessert. The dinner overall was really yummy and filled with carbs and sugar--just like I like  it. Afterwards, we just headed back to our AirBnB to head to bed before then next day.



Sunday
November 24, 2019

We slept in a bit on Sunday but not too late as we had to be checked out by 11 am. We made a small breakfast before cleaning up a bit and heading out to our first item on the agenda.

We drove down to a beach a little bit aways from our AirBnB. It was pretty and there were actually a  lot of people on it, including a bunch of cute dogs playing with their owners. I would have loved to actually swim if it wasn't so cold in November.

After we left the beach, we stopped off at the grocery store for more snacks for our way back. I slept  for a little bit at the start of the drive but was actually mostly awake for the rest of it. We stopped off a couple of times--once to get donuts and once to see an art installation called The Angel of the North. It was actually a pretty good day weather and traffic-wise until  we hit the fun London night traffic 7 hours later. It did take a bit to get to campus from then on.

Isaac and I dropped off our friends we'd gone with and then continued on to Isaac's town, Basingstoke, because our classes were cancelled the next week due to striking professors. It was nice, though, because we got to his house to meet up with his family and we all ordered Chinese food to eat while watching Ru Paul's Drag Race: UK before heading to bed.




And there you have it, another fun week in the UK. I was thrilled to finally get to visit Scotland after wanting to for years. I definitely want to go back, most likely in the summer months, and go out to the Highlands and maybe Inverness. However, I think London still has my heart.

For past weekly diaries, check out my study abroad page here.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Book Tag: 2019 Edition


It's that time of year again! The time where all us Americans gather around with our families and stuff our faces until we can barely move. I'm in London this year so I'm going to be having quite a different Thanksgiving experience from usual. One thing that won't change, though, is me laying around all day eating turkey and also doing this book tag! I'm limiting it to books I've read this year, though, just to make things interesting. Let's go ahead and just dive right in!



1. Bread - What book is purely fluff, and has no real plot line?

I feel like a lot of books can fall into this category but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're not good books. I myself need a fluffy book every once in a while. For this, I'm going to go with Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, but there  wasn't much to it beyond just messing around. It was definitely super cute and fluffy, though.



2. Turkey - What book made you want to fall asleep?

I have to say, any of the books I read for class this year made me want to fall asleep. Outside of those, Lord of Shadows really bored me for most of the book. There are a few others, but that one came to mind first. I will say that while it bored me, I still enjoyed it a little. It's definitely not my favorite Cassandra Clare book, though. You can find my review here



3. Gravy - What book makes the whole series worth reading?

Going off of the last question, Queen of Air and Darkness was a lot better than Lord of Shadows. I still think that Lady Midnight was the best of the series but this third one definitely restored my faith in the series and characters. From the beginning page it was already better than the second book. Plus, there was plenty of angst but also hope that really kept the book going. You can find my  full review here.



4. Stuffing - What book is stuffed full of action scenes?

I read a lot of high fantasy and other action-packed scenes. It was actually a bit difficult deciding what book to chose for this prompt. In the end, I've decided to go with The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young. There was action almost from page one and kept going throughout the book. Not only that, but I just really enjoyed this book. You can find my review here.



Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)5. Mashed Potatoes - What book looked good, and then wasn’t?

I didn't even have very high expectations going into Wicked Saints and yet it still majorly let me down. I thought it would be somewhat good but every time I look back on it I'm just reminded of how disappointing this book really was form me. Before I go off on a tangent, I'll just leave it with this book was not what I expected.



6. Cranberries - What book has the sweetest romance?

I obviously have to go with one of my favorite books of the year: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I'd been hearing a lot of hype about it leading up to the release and I knew that I had to read it. Everything about these characters was so sweet and pure and amazing. I already can't wait to reread this book in the future! You can find my full review here.



7. Corn - What’s the corniest book you’ve ever read?

I decided to go with Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey. I don't know if I would say that this is the corniest book I've ever read but it was approaching that feeling. This was kind of a stereotypical fluffy and steamy novel. However, it was really fun and enjoyable nonetheless.



8. Green beans - What book is too long and needs to be shortened?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor definitely fits this bill for me. It wasn't necessarily a bad book but it was over 500 pages and I could probably count how many big things happened on a single hand. It's a compelling story idea but the book was so long and unnecessarily so. You can find my review here.



9. Pumpkin Pie - What book do you read to get out of a reading slump?

The one series that never fails to get me out of a reading slump is The Veil Diaries by B.L. Brunnemer. These characters are some of my favorites and the writing is so easy to just fall into. I could read all 7 of the books that are out so far in a week if I let myself. I just love these books and they never fail to get me into a reading mood.



Image result for stuffing10. Dog/Cat - What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food that you would steal from the table?

It would have to be my grandma's stuffing for sure. She has her own secret recipe and it's my favorite food to eat at Thanksgiving meals. I always have about a million scoops of it because I just can't help  myself when it comes to how yummy it is.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

End of the Year Book Tag: 2019 Edition


Hello all! The year is almost at an end which means it's time for the End of the Year Book Tag! A tag  in which I reflect on how the year has gone so far and what I'm hoping to accomplish before it's over.  You can find the original tag here. So, without further ado, let's go ahead and dive right in!



1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Yes. Obviously I want to finish the one I am currently reading which is The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. I also would like to finish the audiobook of Queer Eye: Love Yourself Love Your Life by the amazing Fab 5 of Queer Eye. Other than that, I don't really have any others I've started that I'm aiming to finish before the end of the year outside of school reads.



2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

I don't really do transitional books it seems. Also, I haven't really been reading anything outside of school reads lately because I've been so busy.



3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Nope. Every new release I'm looking forward to but they're either coming out later in 2020 or got pushed back to early 2020.



4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

I  definitely want to read The Last Namsara, The Caged Queen, and The Sky Weaver as I have them queued for review but I'd also like to read a few other books for review. Outside of that, I really want to finally read The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I've had it on  my TBR for a while yet and since there's another book coming out  next year I figured the end of this year would be the perfect time to give the series a go.



5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Hmm, well I'm always hoping that I love every new book I read so it's entirely possible that one of the books I'm planning on reading before the end could potentially become a favorite. However, Serpent & Dove currently holds the top spot and it's going to be hard to beat that one.



6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Yep. I have review books scheduled through February and I have a few reading binges that I'm looking forward to starting while leading up to some of my anticipated releases. Other than that, I just have some general reading resolutions that I'm planning on making an entire post for later on in December!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: A Parisian Adventure



Another week gone, another exciting adventure to talk about!



Monday
November 11, 2019

I slept in since I was still feeling some of the drowsiness from taking Dramamine the night before. After that, I got lunch with Isaac before going to my lecture. Usually after that lecture I feel really anxious about the upcoming assignments but I was actually a lot better about them after that day. After lecture, Isaac and I went to grab dinner and brought it back to eat while we watched Psych amongst other things. 



Tuesday
November 12, 2019

Tuesday was a lie-in and productive day for me. I finished reading a book for review, wrote three blog posts, and made progress in reading two other books I needed to get through. Then I went to ASDA for groceries and cleaned my room before making dinner with Isaac. After that, we headed in to watch Psych before heading to bed. 



Wednesday
November 13, 2019

I went to my morning lecture and then went to watch Isaac do some acting in a friend's short film. After that, we got a super late lunch and messed around a bit before I had to leave with another flatmate of ours to go to a Jack the Ripper tour through East End.

It was an interesting tour. It was raining and a bit cold but I felt like that only added to the spooky feeling we got when visiting the different places and hearing about all the murders. I also enjoyed getting a tour of  it all because then I was able to get a bunch of new information that I didn't know before.

When I got back, Isaac made us a steak dinner and it was so freaking tasty. After dinner, we had some sweets and watched Psych before heading to bed. 



Thursday
November 14, 2019

I slept in pretty late on Thursday and then made bacon for breakfast. After that, we went into London to Borough Market to wander around a bit. I got some really yummy food: a salt beef sandwich with beef dripping chips and also a wild mushroom dish with parmesan and bread. I also bought some artisan bread and cheese as well as a fancy nut butter to bring back to campus.

Once back on campus, I met up with some friends to finalize plans for Paris before I watched Psych with Isaac while packing for the morning. We turned in early (or tried to). 



Friday
November 15, 2019

I woke up at 2:45 in the morning and met up with the other two girls I was going with so that we could leave for the airport. I got quite nauseous on the bus to the airport so I took some Dramamine that  knocked me out hard for the plane ride.

We landed in Paris and took the train into the central area and came out around the Notre Dame. It was rainy and cold but we were still having fun wandering about. On our first day we got some lunch, went to Shakespeare & Co Bookshop, and then wandered over to the Champs-Élysées.

We wandered up the Champs and saw the Arc de Triomphe and went into different stores and whatnot to have a wander around before heading into Ladurée to buy some macarons. I'd been waiting years to go back to Ladurée and I was in heaven. I actually ended up eating all 6 by the time we'd left the hotel the next morning because I couldn't control myself.

After shopping for a bit, we headed to our hotel so that we could drop our bags. We got checked in and then we all settled in to take a nap for a bit. We ended up sleeping for a couple hours since we were all really tired from waking up so early.

When we finished our naps, we headed back into central Paris to go to the Louvre. We were able to get free admission in since we were younger than 26 which was awesome. We spent quite a bit of time wandering around looking at different exhibits and taking silly photos.

After we left the Louvre, we went to dinner at a small cafe around the corner. It was pretty yummy and a nice little sit down after being up and about most of the day. When we finished, we just headed back to our hotel to shower and go to bed.



Saturday
November 16, 2019

Saturday we slept in a bit too late and went to lunch at a small cafe near the Catacombs before we were able to go in. It was a really cool tour of the catacombs and I definitely enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about the history behind it all.

After that, we went to a bakery and had some pastry before heading over to Montmartre area. We wandered around a bit going in different stores, looking at different views, and taking a lot of pictures. We hiked up to Sacre Coeur and saw the beautiful views from that high up of Paris.

When we left Sacre Coeur it was starting to get darker so we headed over to the Eiffel Tower area where we were able to catch the light show at the beginning of the hour which was super cool since I'd never been able to see it. After that we wandered around a bit waiting for our entry time. We went into a couple shops and wandered around the river for a bit.

We got cold and went into the Eiffel Tower area and got some hot chocolate which came with a free cup! Then we went up. The last time I did the Eiffel Tower it was the middle of the day in June and  we walked to the top. This time it was a bit colder and we were able to take the lift to the top at night, which was really cool to see. I loved getting to see it lit up at night.

After heading down, we went to a cafe across the river from the Eiffel Tower and ate some dinner and had a glass of wine. I had the most amazing caesar salad and it was so yummy. We sat around and chatted for a while before making our way back to our hotel for the night.



Sunday
November 17, 2019

We accidentally slept in too late again so we got out just a bit before check out. We finally left our hotel around 10:30 and went for lunch at a cafe near Notre Dame. I had a really yummy meal though I do think that the sickness I got Sunday night might have been from it.

After lunch, we wandered around the Notre Dame area since it finally got sunny before we hopped our train back to the airport. It took us a bit to find the check in area since it was so out of the way but after that it was smooth sailing back to London. From when we got on our plane to when I got back to campus it was less than two hours, which was pretty great.

That night, I just ate some curry for dinner with Isaac before heading to watch Psych before bed. Later on in the night, I ended up getting sick but more on that in the next post! 



Overall it was a really amazing week. I had a great time in Paris with a relaxing week leading up to it. We're getting closer to the end of the semester which is sad for two reasons, though. Number one is because I'm obviously leaving in a month and the second is that I have to focus more on studies instead of exploring in a couple of weeks. Still, I'm excited for what the rest of the semester will bring and I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to say goodbye.

For past weekly diaries, check out my study abroad page here.

(Pictures from Paris can be found on my Facebook for those who are interested)



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link



Thursday, November 14, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: A Very Harry Potter Week



After last week's adventures to another country, I spent reading week in London and Basingstoke. It was a busy week with a lot of different things going on but one thing that definitely dominated was the amount of Harry Potter things I managed to squeeze into the week. I honestly never wanted reading week to end as it was an amazing week but I know there's even more great weeks to come in November. Let's just dive in! 



Monday
November 4, 2019

I started off the week by sleeping in late. I was really tired after taking Dramamine for Wales and was still sleeping off those effects well into Monday morning. After waking up, I didn't really do much other than hang out with Isaac until it was time to head to the Harry Potter Studios.

I'm not able to put very many pictures in since I took probably hundreds and don't have enough space for all of those but the studio tour was one of the coolest things I've been able to do as a fan. I went with one of my flatmates, Liberty, and we had an afternoon slot. We got there and ended up exploring for a few hours just fangirling over everything we saw and taking pictures of everything. For those who are friends with me on Facebook, I'll be posting an entire photo dump of just Harry Potter Studios soon!


After that, we (and by we I mean me) shopped a bit in the souvenir shop where I got too much chocolate and some enamel pins. Then we caught the shuttle back to the train station. When we got there, the trains ended up being delayed due to a trespasser on the tracks. What would have been an hour commute all together ended up taking over two hours. Eventually we got home and then I just made dinner and went to bed. 



Tuesday
November 5, 2019

Tuesday was a day of being lazy. We slept in and then both worked on homework for a bit. That night, we binged Psych and went to bed. Just a super chill and lazy day.  



Wednesday
November 6, 2019

We slept in again on Wednesday and I pretty much just rolled out of bed and straight into my events for the day. I traveled into central London to see The Cursed Child on stage. It was amazing. I wasn't a huge fan of the play when it first came out (since I only read the printed play) but seeing it performed live changed my entire perspective on it. It was so cool seeing how they made it look like magic was happening right on stage. Not to mention the fact that I would absolutely die for Scorpius Malfoy. He's a smol bean who needs to be protected at all costs. Additionally, there were times when I was actually terrified during the show, which I wasn't expected but really enjoyed.

Between parts 1 and 2 I just went to a cheap cafe to get food and do a bit of reading for an assignment before heading to Foyles Bookshop. It was a really cool store that actually had a lot of American editions and other books I hadn't seen at other stores like Waterstones. I definitely want to go back if I'm in the area and have time to explore more.

After that, I just went back to campus and ate quiche with Isaac before staying up late watching Psych and talking. 



Thursday
November 7, 2019

On Thursday we woke up a bit earlier than the previous days so that we could go to the library and be a little productive. I got some stuff done but not as much as I would have liked, but I'll accept it as a semi-productive day.

Then we headed into central London to catch a train to Basingstoke, Isaac's hometown. I met the rest of Isaac's family and then we just hung out for a bit and ate pizza before pulling Uno out. Nothing brings people together or separates people more than a good round of Uno. 



Friday
November 8, 2019

Isaac and I slept in late again before spending the day being lazy while binging the UK Apprentice. I never really watched it in the US (because of a certain host) but I've really enjoyed watching the UK version.

After that, we made dinner before heading out for a night out in Basingstoke. We started out at one of Isaac's friend's houses playing a few different card games and having pre-drinks. Then we walked into town to a nightclub called Fever. We all danced and had some drinks for a bit before Isaac and I left to get kebabs to take back to the house.


We took a taxi back and then just climbed into bed to eat our food and watch some Psych while trying to warm up a little bit. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before the episode was over but I do remember the fact that Isaac's dog joined us and was like a space heater. 



Saturday
November 9, 2019

We slept in on Saturday, again, before we continued our binge of the Apprentice. We actually ended up getting fully caught up so now we have to wait until we're back at Christmas break to finish watching it.

That night we went to a hockey game at the local ice rink. It was pretty cool but I wish there'd been a fight. After that, Isaac skated for a bit before we headed back to the house and ordered Chinese. It was some of the best Chinese I've ever had and I'm really craving eating it again, though that may just be because I haven't had Chinese in so long. 



Sunday
November 10, 2019

It shouldn't come as any surprise that we slept in again on Sunday. We woke up and had a bit of a late breakfast before running to the store to get some ingredients for that day's meal. Isaac's family made a roast dinner and it was to die for. Everything tasted so good and I can feel myself start drooling just thinking about it.

After that, we just watched Psych and messed around the house a bit before packing up and heading back to campus, thus ending a relaxing reading week. 



As shown, this reading week was a busy time but also so very fun and great. It was one of the best weeks I've had this entire semester and I know I'm going to look back on it with fond memories for a long time to come.

For past weekly diaries, check out my study abroad page here.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Studying Abroad in London: Mormons & a Welsh Adventure


Another week gone by! This past week was packed with events and new travels. It was actually a pretty chill week, though, and it was quite nice to have this week kind of off before heading into the insanity that was reading week. However, I don't want to go into too much detail here so let's just jump in to the weekly wrap-up! 



Monday
October 28, 2019

On Monday I just had a lie-in cuddling and doing random stuff on my phone before heading to lunch with Isaac. After lunch I had a tutorial meeting (aka just a meeting with the professor) to discuss the upcoming essay for the class. I was a bit worried heading in but feel a lot better after the meeting and after spending some time figuring things out in relation to the essay. What really made it awesome was that at the end of the meeting I discovered that there wasn't class that day because we all had meetings and I was able to just head back to the flat.

I spent that time cleaning for a bit and reading a little while I waited for Isaac to get out of lecture. After that, we ordered food and did our laundry. We were still hungry after dinner so we made a trip to ASDA with another of our flatmates to get snacks to last a while. After getting back, we just watched Psych, which he's now obsessed with (cue maniacal laughter here).  



Tuesday
October 29, 2019

On Tuesday I didn't do much, which seems to be the theme with Tuesdays. I woke up and made breakfast before heading to the library for a bit to work on being productive. I did some stuff but not as much as I would have liked before heading back to the dorm and watching movies before bed. 



Wednesday
October 30, 2019

Wednesday was one of the busier days of the week and it didn't really start off well. At 4:20 AM the fire alarm went off and pulled me from a dead sleep. I had to get up and get dressed before going outside to stand in the freezing cold. It wasn't a planned fire drill so we had to stay out there while they checked it all out and turned it off. Then, just as they were gesturing us to go back inside, it went off again and we had to keep standing there in the cold. Eventually we were let back in and I fell back asleep pretty quickly. However, at 7:30 AM the alarm went off...AGAIN. And I was pulled from a dead sleep...AGAIN. I was able to fall back asleep but didn't get very much sleep before I had to wake up for the day.

I then went to Isaac's football game (soccer for all my American friends) and watched that for a bit. It was a sunny day with very few clouds so it was really beautiful over by the fields. The people I'd gone to watch with and I ended up taking some pictures with the fall colors. After that, I picked up food from ASDA on the way back to campus and cooked dinner so that we could eat right when Isaac got back.

That night we went to see The Book of Mormon at a theatre in Piccadilly Circus. I'd been wanting to see it for a while now and I was stoked to finally see it. It was absolutely hilarious. As much as I find the soundtrack funny, it was even funnier seeing it live with all the dances and acting. I would definitely recommend seeing it and I'm hoping that I'll get to see it again sometime.

After that, we headed back to campus and I just showered before falling asleep.



Thursday
October 31, 2019

Neither of us had any classes on Thursday so we slept in pretty late. I didn't end up being productive in any way until about 5 pm when we went to the library. We ended up staying almost 7 hours until just before it closed at midnight. I read the entirety of Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde while I was there but didn't do much else since we messed around a bit. After that, we ended up eating dinner at midnight and then finished up the last things on my to-do list before we went to bed at about 2:30 AM. 



Friday
November 1, 2019

I woke up at a reasonable time and went to my lecture. It was actually pretty interesting since we were discussing Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. After that, I just went to lunch with Isaac before heading back to clean a bit. Then I just read a little of my book before we made dinner.

After dinner, a few of us gathered for some drinking games before heading out dancing at the campus night. We danced for a bit before coming back to the flat and making pasta to eat while we watched Psych until falling asleep. 



Saturday
November 2, 2019

On Saturday I woke up relatively early so that I could catch the coach to Wales with one of my flatmates Sarah. I slept most of the way to the first destination which was at the Caerleon Roman Fortress--or rather, what remains of it. Unfortunately, the big amphitheater was closed but we were still able to explore the ruins of the barracks and the museum.

After that, we headed into Cardiff and walked around a bit (getting extremely wet) with the tour group before Sarah and I headed off to find lunch. We ended up going to this cute market and I got an amazing cup of homemade beef stew. After we were back on the coach, our tour guide gave us all the BEST Welsh cakes I've ever had. I mean, they're the only Welsh cakes I've ever had but they were amazing.

Then we headed to Caerphilly Castle to explore a bit. It was rainy but I feel as if that added a bit of magical feeling to the whole adventure. We don't have castles in the US so any chance to explore a castle is great for me.

After that we went to the hotel where Sarah and I ordered take out and watched movies while trying to warm up after a day of being cold and wet. Then we headed to bed but ended up talking for a bit before bed. 



Sunday
November 3, 2019

On Sunday we woke up early and then I had the best hotel breakfast I've ever had. It was a classic buffet style but they had all of the fixings for a proper British breakfast. Then we headed straight to our first big event of the day at Big Pit National Coal Museum.

We actually got to go down into the mine for a tour--but we weren't allowed to bring anything electronic so I didn't get any pictures. However, it was so cool getting to tour them from a person who actually worked in them and getting to hear the histories behind it all. After that, we were able to explore the rest of the area a bit and got some beautiful views before we headed off.

Sunday was sunny and beautiful so we actually got to see a lot of beautiful scenery on our drive to where we ate lunch. We stopped in a small town and Sarah and I just got a few meats, cheeses, and crackers to eat alongside the river since it was such a nice day. We ate pretty quickly and then just walked along the river and bridge taking pictures with the beautiful fall colors.

After that, we headed to Tintern Abbey, an old abbey for monks that is now in half-ruins. It was actually really fun getting to explore and imagine how the different rooms looked when it was still fully standing. Also, the abbey was located in this valley surrounded by trees and forests that were all turning fall colors so it was absolutely stunning.

Upon leaving Tintern Abbey, we headed back to London and actually ended up getting back to campus on time for once. Then I just watched some movies before bed with Isaac and relaxed. 



Overall, it was a great week with an excellent start to reading week. I'm excited to add another country to my "traveled to" list. Wales was beautiful and I'm so excited to be able to say I'm adding Scotland to that list in a few weeks. I'm wondering which will end up being prettier...

For past weekly diaries, check out my study abroad page here.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

To get more awesome content like this post, click the follow button to the right!

I am a "BookishTextDesign" Influencer! Use my code LAUREN10 for a discount off your bookmark purchases! Check out the shop here

Get free worldwide shipping with Book Depository using my affiliate link