24 Hours without a Phone

Over the last 24 hours I have been in a situation where I was without my phone. Now this was definitely not by choice and honestly I did not enjoy it.

I definitely learnt a thing or 2 about my self and how much I not only rely on technology but how much I rely on my phone.

Firstly, probably the most important of everything was that I felt unsafe. I don’t know if this is just more or if its something that happens to all the ladies out there or its just something that everyone feels. I felt more unsafe mostly because I had no means to contact someone if something were to come up or if there was an issue. I felt as though this particularly made me uneasy as I was catching the train and bus home later than usual last night and I use public transport to get into work as well. It really increased my anxiety of being out in the world.

Secondly, I definitely overuse my phone for mindless activities. I scroll through social media as just something to do, not really taking in what I’m even looking at. There are games that I play when I’m watching things on my computer or the TV and overall kind of use it to be unproductive. I really didn’t think I wasted to much time on my phone!

Finally, all all in one feature if great for when your technology is working BUT when it isn’t its a real hassle. I get up a lot earlier than my significant other (lucky me) and relying on his phone for an alarm this morning really put his routine out of whack. I want to say it has something to do with different alarm tones and when your brain hears your alarm tone it becomes more alert because that’s definitely what happened this morning. I also rely on my phone as a torch so I don’t need to turn on the bedroom light to get around the room or find things. I was lucky in that his phone has a torch but it is definitely way brighter than mine and I had no idea how to dim it.

Overall not having a phone had more of an impact on my 24 hours that I thought it would. I rely on it for so much. To keep me safe, to check the weather, to get up in the morning and to mindlessly waste my time. I feel as though this experience has been a good learning one for me. I do hope that I can use my phone in a more productive way now that we are reunited!

How do you feel about your phone? Do you have an suggestions about more productive ways I can use mine?

Review: ‘Yes, Please’ By Amy Poehler

Yes please

‘Yes Please’
By Amy Poehler

Publisher: Dey St.
Publish Date: 2014
Pages: 329
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Non-Fiction
Genre: Autobiography
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

 

“Shame makes people abandon their families and drink themselves to death”

Synopsis

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

 

“Treat your career like a bad boyfriend”

Thoughts

I think I might be biased. This is a book that I have read multiple times. Maybe its the fact that the Audible version is narrated by Amy Poehler, I don’t know, but none the less I have listened to Amy tell her story multiple times. Every time I love it.

There are so many quotable moments from ‘Yes Please’ but the two I’ve popped into this post are the ones that stick with me every time. Like little reminders that I need to keep close to remember for myself and my own life.

Amy’s book really has a great mix of humour and heart. She is really able to seamlessly mix the two in nearly everything that she does, however it is particularly well done in her writing style.

If you are looking for a light hearted and humorous read. Look no further, this is what you should pick up.

RatingEase of reading: 9/10
Layout Development: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Stars:  5/5

 

Review: ‘The Burning Maze’ By Rick Riordan

Burning Maze

‘The Burning Maze’
By Rick Riordan
Book #3 in the Trials of Apollo Series

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 2018
Pages: 419
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Middle GradeFantasy
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

 

“Then humans destroyed most of the wilderness, and Pan faded into nothing. You humans. You’re why we gods can’t have nice things.”

Synopsis

The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.

With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon.

‘She gave me a wry smile. “That’s nice. I like that. You’re sure you’re not the god of wisdom?”
“I applied for the job,” I said, “But they gave it to someone else, something about inventing olives.” I rolled my eyes.’

Thoughts

‘The Burning Maze’ is the third instalment in the Trials of Apollo series. We continue to follow Apollo as he attempts to reclaim the five Oracles from three very crazy, murderous Roman Emperors. So far we have explored oracles Dordona and Trophonius and now Apollo is set to free Erythaea. We are yet to reclaim the Sibylline Books written by Cumae or Delphi

As in the first two books Apollo is joined by heroes from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. In ‘The Burning Maze’ we follow up with Grover, Coach Hedge, Jason, Piper and Leo with mentions of both Percy and Annabeth along the way. This is one of the things I have been loving about Rick Riordan’s books, the connection between the series and the characters is one that really engages me as a reader. You never know when a character that you loved from a different series is going to pop up again.

‘The Burning Maze’ was definitely more fast paced than ‘The Dark Prophecy’  (book two is the Trials of Apollo Series) we jumped right into the action, or so it felt. We learn what Piper, Jason and Hedge have been doing since our last encounters with them and we begin to learn more about just how much power these Emperors hold.

Most of this instalment is set in Palm Springs, which is a location that holds an immense amount of history for one of our characters whom we begin to learn more and more about (yay for character development and backstory, I love it) as well as exploring the reach of this world that Rick Riordan has created and introducing us to different Dryads and exploring their importance in the world.

‘The Burning Maze’ acts as any third instalment does and builds us up for the end of the series – there are 2 more books to be released in this series as far as I am aware –  with no real resolutions to the overall problem of the series. However this book is emotional! You have been warned! We also see Apollo develop some more human emotions than he has shown is previous books, which again is great character development.

Overall this was a great read. I got really into it near the end and could not put it down.

‘I give you my heart
I mean metaphorically 
Put away the knife’

Rating

 

Plot: 8/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 10/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Stars:  5/5

Review: ‘The House of Hades’ By Rick Riodan

house

The House of Hades 
By Rick Riordan
Book #4 in the Heroes of Olympus Series

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: October 2013
Pages: 583
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

 

Synopsis

Hazel stands at a crossroads. She and the remaining crew of the Argo II could return home with the Athena Parthenos statue and try to stop Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter from going to war. Or they could continue their quest to find the House of Hades, where they might be able to open the Doors of Death, rescue their friends Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus, and prevent monsters from being reincarnated in the mortal world. Whichever road they decide to take, they have to hurry, because time is running out. Gaea, the bloodthirsty Earth Mother, has set the date of August 1 for her rise to power.

Annabeth and Percy are overwhelmed. How will the two of them make it through Tartarus? Starving, thirsty, and in pain, they are barely able to stumble on in the dark and poisonous landscape that holds new horrors at every turn. They have no way of locating the Doors of Death. Even if they did, a legion of Gaea’s strongest monsters guards the Doors on the Tartarus side. Annabeth and Percy can’t exactly launch a frontal assault.

Despite the terrible odds, Hazel, Annabeth, Percy, and the other demigods of the prophecy know that there is only one choice: to attempt the impossible. Not just for themselves, but for everyone they love. Even though love can be the riskiest choice of all.

 

Thoughts

First of this book is LONG. It took me 17 days to read! But I was not disappointed! We left of the Mark of Athena with the seven main demigods divided. What a cliffhanger! Annabeth and Percy were in Tartarus and Hazel, Frank, Jason, Piper and Leo were in Rome. Honestly as soon as I finished Mark of Athena I knew I needed to pick up House of Hades. I needed to know was happened!

This book was action packed to say the least. There are monsters everywhere! We also have the reappearance of Bob the titan, who I have to say I loved as a character. He added some much needed humour to the situation. We also meet Calypso again and she’s another one I just love. I can’t even begin to tell you.

This book has everything the 4th book in a series (with quiet long books) needs. It kept me engaged as a reader – so much so that I was devastated when I accidentally left without my book yesterday and couldn’t read any! – as well as moving the story along, edging readers closer to its concluding stage, coming in the 5th and final book in the series Blood of Olympus.

Each book in this series has felt necessary for the progression of this adventure. I’ll be honest when I started the Son of Neptune I was worried that the books would get repetitive and I would DNF the series, BOY WAS I WRONG.

This series is great for any age reader – or maybe I’m just saying that because I’m really loving it and one of my 9 year old students is utterly obsessed – and will have you on the edge on your seat!

 

Rating

Plot: 9/10
Ease of reading: 7/10
Character Development: 7.5/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 9/10
Stars:  4.5/5

August Goal Update

The time has come once away to see how my goals are fairing for 2018. I’m going to be honest, I’m on struggle street at the moment with most of my goals. I don’t know if it was the gloominess of August or if I’m just being a lazy bones. But with that in mind, lets get into the goals!

  1. Complete the A to Z reading Challenge. 
    I haven’t actually added any books yet. I read both ‘The Son of Neptune’ and ‘The Mark of Athena’ however I already have ‘S’ and ‘M’ books listed. So for this month I would have to say I failed at this goal. But I will be adding a ‘H’ book in September so YAY, for that.
  2. Post at least 3 times a week
    I am still crushing this one – If I don’t say so myself- I’ve been consistent with posting 3 times a week on Harper-Grae, and I’m starting to get better at posting daily on my Harper-Grae Instagram. Win!
  3.  Exercise 3 days a week. 
    I have definitely been better at this. I’ve definitely been able to reach 3 days per week, which is a win, but lately I have been aiming for 5 days a week, allowing for 2 rest days, usually Fridays and one other day. Still working on that!
  4. Read 30 books in 2018
    This has been a great goal to have, I’ve really been able to see my progress.
    Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 11.17.51 am
  5. Try a new recipe each week
    We’ve actually been so busy this month that we haven’t really had a chance to try any new recipes! This one is a fail for this month, but one that I am going to put a conscious effort into in September.
  6. Practice positivity and optimism.
    This has been a constant struggle through out 2018. Honestly, I haven’t wanted to be negative however a feel increasingly stressed out and anxious and it just becomes tremendously more difficult to stay in a positive frame of mind. I know excuses, I am going to put my best foot forward in September and have this as my main goal for the month! Fail for August though.
  7. Less Technology and more reading before bed. 
    Honestly I feel like this goal is pointless at this point in the year, I’ve failed to achieve any progress this year. I have the best intentions but I always turn the light off before I am ready to sleep so automatically gravitate to my phone. Lets see if I can make any progress, at all, in September. Fail.
  8. Focus on what I am putting in my body and work towards positively maintaining being Gluten and Dairy Free. 
    This is a new goal and its one that I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with. My main focus is the Gluten Free aspect, as that is what I have the strongest intolerance too. However I have at a few moments of weakness where I’ve ended up snacking on peanut M & M’s and ever single time I feel sick, but every single time I do it again.
    Lets hope for a more positive change in September.

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How are your 2018 Goals coming along?

Greece Tavel Diary #6: Thira, Santorini

Santorini was hands down the most touristy place we visited, the island was full of tourists. We stayed in Thira which is the capital of Santorini and definitely a hot spot.

map of santorini

Personally I enjoyed Thira, but it was super crowded. I am not someone who manages well in crowded places so it wasn’t me favourite. We stayed and Kamares Apartments in Thira and it was me absolute favourite place we stayed. We had an amazing view of the Caldera, and fun fact I love volcanos so I was having an amazing time.

We mostly relaxed and stayed around Thira in Santorini, although there are so many places to go throughout the island, we decided to be less busy and just enjoy where we were. We wandered the streets and explored and got massages in our room, relaxed and enjoyed the view.

We did do one day trip out to Oia. A town not far from Thira, the local bus stop was super close to our accommodation so we walked down and hopped on the bus which cost us about €1.30 each pay, per person. Oia is just as stunning as Thira and is known for its amazing sunsets (although it doesn’t have a view of the volcano) If I hadn’t stayed in Thira I would of stayed in Oia.

Overall Santorini was amazing and its somewhere I’ll never forget going. Our whole trip was filled with incredible memories and just positive happy vibes.

– Useful Links – 

Thira, Santorini
Oia, Santorini 
Atlantis Books
Kamares Apartments

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Greece Travel Diary #2: Mainland Tour (Day 2)

On the second day of our jam packed tour we rose early – around 6:30am – with a wake up call from reception. After packing up our suitcases and leaving them outside our doors to be loaded onto the bus we headed into a Buffet breakfast with the rest of the tour group – Which I feel like I should point out now were AMAZING and we met some really fantastic people- We headed out at about 7:30am to drive out to Olympia, our first stop of the day.

Straight up, these are the reasons I love Olympia
1. My fiancee’s dad’s side if from just outside Olympia
2. Its the site of the Ancient olympics (incredible)
3. there are some crazy old buildings there
4. Alexander the Great build himself a temple there with his father
5. there are remains of both a temple to Zeus and a temple to Hera ( I could not be loving this more)

The weather wasn’t fantastic, putting it nicely, when we went to Olympia and that did impact our experience, but hey what can you do? we were able to do a walking tour in the rain around the ruins – NOTE: even if you go in summer, pack a rain coat – seeing remains of the training stadium, the temples to Hera and Zeus and maybe the most incredible we were able to walk where the athletes would of walk thousands of years ago in the ancient olympic stadium.

When you go, it doesn’t look like much, the earth has reclaimed most of it, but you can really get a feel for what it would of been like.

When the rain got too heavy, and let me tell you, the heavens opened and it POURED. We headed to the Olympia museum where we were doing a walking tour with Dimitra. There were so many sculptures and statues from the Classical Period in Greece (a lot of the Greek Gods stuff) pretty much it filled the whole museum and it was AMAZING! (I am probably going to say that a lot)

We then boarded the bus and drove where quiet a while to reach our Amalia Hotel for the night in Delphi!

– Useful links – 

Tour
Olympia
Delphi Amalia Hotel

 

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Review: ‘Percy Jackson & the Last Olympian’ By Rick Riordan

percy

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian
By Rick Riordan
(Book #5 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series) 

Publisher: Puffin Random House
Publish Date: 2009
Pages: 361
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book #5); Camp Half-Blood Chronicles (Book #5)
Fiction/Non-Fiction:  Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Book Depository Booktopia Audible Amazon & Kindle Dymocks QBD

Synopsis

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.
In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilisation rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

My Thoughts

I ended up taking a small break from the Percy Jackson series after demolishing the first 4 books one after the other. I had picked up more books and was excited to get into some of them. At the start of June I decided to jump back on the Percy Jackson train in preparation for my trip to Greece at the end of this month.

I am so glad that I read this book. It was incredible. I never wanted to put it down. It was action from the get go. This story – as you know if you’ve read the synopsis or heard of any Percy Jackson book – follows Percy as he works with his fellow demigods to prevent Kronos from reclaiming Olympus. I mean based only on that information you can tell that the story is going to be INSANE!

The development of the characters throughout the series has been well written and realistic. I’m not a fan of when a character does a complete 360 in their personality by the end of the book or series. The characters in this series age and develop fantastically and are still the same relate able, lovable characters they were at the beginning, with new experiences and stronger back stories.

Rick Riordan’s writing is as always fantastic. The world’s he builds are amazingly accurate in their mythology as well as being utterly engaging. I have a great interesting in mythology – particularly Greek mythology – and love how these stories are adapted to this series. I am excited to continue the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles and have already purchased the books in the Trials of Apollo Series, all of which I am keen to start.

I could not recommend this series more! This is a series I will continue to go back too.

Rating

Plot: 9.5/10
Ease of reading: 7/10
Character Development: 9/10
World Building: 10/10
Quality of Writing: 9.5/10
Stars:  5/5

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Thoughts on this series?