A Day in Berlin, more like Brrlin || A Semester Abroad

After partying it up in Amsterdam over New Years, Messy and I continued our travels to Berlin. At first, I found Berlin to be a little harsh and chilling. This was partly due to the to the bleak winter weather, but also the abruptness of the cities architecture. It was very jarring, especially in comparison to the gezelligheid of Amsterdam. (Gezelligheid is a Dutch word that encompasses the feeling of a cozy and friendly atmosphere). But now I look back and revere Berlin.

My most distinct memory of Berlin was the eclectic mixture of architecture. There were many different styles of buildings, and they were all shoved on top of each other. This meant that the city had a very different feel from what I’m used to, there was so much going on. There were these impressive modern buildings, so it felt like a business city.

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When Messy and I first arrived in Berlin we were met with awe. Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station) left me speechless. I had never seen such a humongous and extensive train system. There were never ending platforms above and below us, everywhere we looked lead to more trains. You’d look over the edge of a platform and you’d see a labyrinth of more platforms set out beneath you. I ended up seeing a number of central stations through Europe, but none of them compared to the set up of Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof.

On top of this modern feeling, Berlin had the normal historical sites of any European city. You could find the old historical buildings, churches and palaces, which gave Berlin that quintessential European charm. In the picture below it’s the Oberbaumbrücke, a double decker bridge.

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But then shoved among the modern and old were these old houses that were still in a state of disrepair. You could see where the buildings had been bombed and ruined. It felt like you could see the scars of the city.

At times this could be a little chilling. However, I quite liked that the buildings were kept the way they were. It showed the history of the place which gave Berlin a certain rawness. I saw buildings with bullet holes in them that still haven’t been covered up.

Then, littered through the city you could see parts of the Berlin Wall. Sometimes the Wall was left bare, others like the East Side Gallery were covered in art.

I believe it was the history that made me feel a chill towards Berlin at first. Prior to here, I hadn’t been to any places that were obviously touched by war. It surprised me by how much I was confronted by seeing the Berlin Wall. It was surprising how thin it was. We spent some time at the Berlin Wall Memorial to better understand the Cold War, so I found it to be one of the more affecting and haunting time of the overall trip.

All of these different styles through out the city made Berlin a really unique place. It felt like you could walk through Berlin for years and still find something you never noticed before. I think that’s what I most respect about Berlin, it is rich historically, but has lots of cool underground things going on.

Messy and I did not spend much time in Berlin yet we still found some amazing places.  We found a coffee shop that was serving a delicious German breakfast. They bought out platters of meats, cheeses, fruits, breads, jams and spreads for us to share. I love sharing food, and German breakfasts, so the combination made me a very happy Jacqui. It was delicious. I’m also quite a fan of outdoor markets we were lucky enough to go to the Flohmarkt am Mauerparkt. We spent a morning perusing the stores and sipping at Gluhwein to keep us warm.

The city had a very distinct feeling, one that I had never experienced before, and have yet to experience again. I’m very excited to return to Berlin and see what more this city has to offer.

 

 

 

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A Semester Abroad || Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam was a city that truly impressed me. We arrived in Amsterdam by train from Frankfurt. During the train ride, we met a lady, Silke, who we spoke to the entire train ride. We bonded over yoga and she tried to teach me some Dutch. She also showed us how to get out of the train station, Centraal. My first impression of Amsterdam was one of my favourites. We walked out of the relative calm of Centraal and into an explosion of the senses. The sun was setting over the canals and the Christmas Lights were out and twinkling. Then the cold air hit us, as had the noise and commotion from the traffic. There were bikes, trams, cars and people all intertwining, lights were flashing and horns were beeping. Tourists were everywhere, all speaking rapidly in different languages. It was overwhelming to first walk into the chaos. Especially since I was still not used to right-hand traffic. I couldn’t remember which way to look, or who to give way to.

Once we had navigated our way to our hotel we unpacked and got ourselves comfortable. We went back right into the mayhem to find some dinner, we chose pancakes. We spent five nights in Amsterdam and quickly fell into a pattern. I would eat croissants for breakfast, we would walk to the city and wander all day and eat pancakes.

It was a nice rhythm, we would walk throughout Amsterdam taking in all its uniqueness and beauty. I really enjoyed the way that Matt and I travelled together. We would pick a place or two that we wanted to visit and walk in that general direction. If and when we saw something interesting we would make a detour. It meant that we had purpose in our wanderings and would see something we wanted to, but enough flexibility that we could stumble across some cool places. I liked walking up to intersections and going whichever way looked the most interesting.

On our first full day in Amsterdam, our goal was to figure out the general layout of Amsterdam and see some of the main sights. I had wanted to see the I Amsterdam letters, apart from the canals they were quintessential Amsterdam to me. I had not done my research, but luckily we stumbled across them when we went to check out the museum’s.

I am quite a fan of climbing, and will generally climb on most things. That was one of the reasons why I was looking forward to those letters. I love that these letters were built to be interacted with. So, of course, I had to climb them. This will be a general theme within these blog posts, me climbing to the top of things.

As I previously mentioned, we would wander to our hearts content. One of the downsides of this is that you don’t know where you’ll end up, and you can’t always find your way back. We had come across some winter markets. We stopped and had a few drinks and tried these delicious cheesy fingers. They were spring rolls filled with cheese that you dipped in sweet chilli sauce. They were delicious. One day we caught up with some Australian’s that I had met back at Splendour in the Grass. We had raved on and on about these cheesy sticks, that we had to find them again to show them.

We all explored Vondelpark together and again climbed the I Amsterdam letters. We spent all day keeping our eyes out for these markets, and as soon as we gave up we stumbled upon them. It was like finding Narnia. We all ate and swapped stories. I am really glad that we had caught up with Elise, Beau and their friend Abbey. I had not seen them for 2 years and travelling had brought us back together.

New Years was the big day. We knew the layout of Amsterdam and we were determined to get a good spot. We decided on one of the main canals. It was flooded with people, to the point that people were standing on the tops of bus stops. Fireworks were a constant, coming from every direction. Bursts of colour twisting through the air. The sizzling and crackles echoed through your body. It gave a feeling of connectedness and warmness within the crowd, despite the cold mask over everyone. I had never experienced a New Years celebration like it, the fireworks were endless. When we were leaving Amsterdam two days later, explosions would set off once or twice every hour.

Amsterdam was the city that I was the most reflective. It was one of the cities that we spent the most time in, so we took it at a slower pace. By this time of the trip, it had hit me that I had left home and that all the trip was ahead of me. Not only was I overcome with excitement at all the possibilities, I realised that parts of this trip will be difficult. This exchange trip had been a dream of mine for over a year, and it was finally coming to life. It was no longer in the future, it was finally happening. It was a bit of shock as I had expected to be distracted all the time. I associated travelling with constantly having new things to do, new things to explore. Whilst this was true to a certain extent, it was not as often as I was expecting. To fill my time I started drawing, something I had not done for a few years. I also spent quite a bit of time determining my ten songs that summarised 2015 for me.

A Semester Abroad || Frankfurt, Germany

My travels abroad began on Christmas Day. Matthew, a friend of mine, and I left Brisbane airport at 3am and proceeded to spend the next 27 hours of our Christmas in transit. We arrived weary eyed but excited in Frankfurt, Germany. We caught a cab to our hotel when I tried to speak German to the driver. I say tried, I mean failed. I had only been in the country for a few minutes and I was already destroying the language. My German teacher would be so proud. The cab driver and I had a little giggle about it, and he drove us to our hotel.

Despite sleeping for the majority of the flight, I was wrecked. The moment I stepped foot into our room I got into bed and had a nap. We had a few hours spare before my friend Kaity met us at the hotel. When she arrived, she walked into this tiny little room and could only see Matt sitting on one of the beds. She had never met Matt before so she was a little confused until Matt pointed to me stirring awake. After a catch up we realised that we were running a little late to our Christmas dinner booking. We rushed through the cold to the train station and hurried through buying a ticket. In our frantic search for the platform, we walked down one of the disused staircases. We were met with the smell of urine and a man shooting up on heroin. Welcome to Frankfurt. We dodged the puddles and got down to the platform. We arrived at our dinner reservation 15 minutes late. The waiter was quite scandalized that we considred 15 minutes late to be acceptable. I forgot how punctual the Germans are. The three of us then enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner, waddled back to the hotel, with our tummies filled.

Day two in Frankfurt. I awoke quite early to find that Kaity was not in her bed. I found her in the bathroom, sleeping on towels. My snoring had kept her up all night and she could only escape it by sleeping in the bathroom. Whoops, I never realised I was that bad. We then went to explore Frankfurt in the day. It was Boxing Day, so I expected there to be people around. I’m used shopping centres being busy because of Boxing Day sales. However, it was also a Sunday, and apparently nothing is open on Sundays in Germany. It was surreal walking through a deserted city. We found the most beautiful and quaint part of Frankfurt, the old town square.

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We quickly realised that we had explored all that Frankfurt had to offer and took a train to Heidelberg, just a casual hour train ride away. Heidelberg was fantastic. We explored the old castle that had views over the town.

 

We strolled down by the river as the sun set, it was a picturesque German village, exactly what I envisioned Germany to be like.

Day Three started with the three of us getting up early and training out to Lorsbach. By now we were quite confident with the Frankfurt S-bahn (train system). Perhaps a little too confident. We got ticketed on the train out to Lorsbach. When we presented out day pass the ticket man responds with ‘Das ist Falsche’. The last words you want to hear in a foreign country, ‘that is false’. Kaity’s German was quite good, I could get by on mine, and Matthew’s was nonexistant. Turns out we had bought the wrong day pass for Lorsbach, that wiped the confident smiles off our faces. They were going to fine us all 60 euro each (equivalent to 90AUD) but they let us off lightly and only fined us 60 euro all up. After that excitement we were happy to arrive in Lorsbach. We were heading to der Baha’i Haus der Andact. To get there on our now considerably smaller budget we had to walk up through the Taunus Mountains. So, we started walking up this path that lead us into a forest.

As we were walking we realised that we could no longer see the path. All I was thinking was ‘if we were tourists in Australia we would die, there would be snakes everywhere and the locals would laugh at us for being so naive’. We had some reception to show us the way, so we hoped it was correct. We came across these wooden structures, which of course I had to climb (you’ll soon notice a climbing theme in these stories). I think they are used for hunting.

We made our way up to der Baha’i Haus der Andact, which is a place of worship for the Baha’i faith.

 

I was quite impressed with the architecture. At first Matt, Kaity and I had all joked that it looked like a giant nipple. However, when we got there was an air of tranquility and peacfulness that I was not expecting. The ceiling was astounding from the inside, and it was surrounded by lush gardens. Another aspect that I really liked was that it had 9 points of entrance. This was to signify the other 9 big religions, and it meanss that anyone can enter in worship and prayer. I liked the significance of bringing everyone together, no matter the religion, race etc.

That afternoon, we caught a train back in the direction of Frankfurt, and said that if we liked the look of a station/town we would get off for lunch. This lead us to the town of Hofheim. We explored the Altstadt (Old Town) where Kaity found a London Telephone Box. It was restored as a bookcase, where you take a book if you leave a book. The hipster side of me really likes that sort of thing.

 

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‘If only I could actually read a German book’

 

We lunched in a resteraunt in a tower. The special that day was goulash with dumplings, it was almost as good as my Grandfathers. Sitting next to us was this German family, and their daughter would have been 5 years old speaking rapid German. I turned to Kaity and joked ‘a five year old is better than me’, she wisely responded with ‘yes, but she’s been speaking it for years longer than you have’. I really hadn’t considered that. That night we trained up to Geissen. Somehow, Geissen was just as boring as Frankfirt. We had gone up to visit Kaity’s old school friend, Johannes. He took us out to dinner and highly recommended a certain burger. I love listening to people’s recommendations, but also was feeling a schnitzel. So in the wise words of the tacos advertisement

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And I had myself a burger with a schnitzel added on it. Johannes’ face was priceless. I have never seen food envy so strong, it was beautiful.

Day four was our first travel day. Kaity was heading back to Australia, and we were continuing onto Amsterdam. Matt and I were lost little puppies, we had no idea how the Eurail system worked. Luckily, Kaity helped us out and told us how to authorise our tickets and reserve seats. We then had a few hours spare before our train, so we went ultimate Australian tourist and went and bought a beer. It was such a novelty, walking around the city with a beer. Matt and I then explored Frankfurt with a beer in one hand and our suitcases in another.

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We had made our way back to the station with plenty of time. I was determined that it would be the one train I wouldn’t have to rush to. Eager us had our tickets out and ready to be checked, determined to do it right. It all went smoothly and we left to Amsterdam.

Ich lerne Deutsch || Jacqui is learning German

I’ve been studying German for 9 months. I started studying it on a whim. My friend had told me she was thinking about studying it, I joked that I would do it with her. Three days later we went to our first class together. For my most German recent exam we had to write a letter to a friend explaining our dream job. I am sure it is littered with mistakes, but it’s here for me to see how I’ve come.

Hallo meine Freundin,
Ich habe eine gute Nachricht. Ich habe mein Traumjob gefunden. Ich bin ein Büchenbildner. Ich bin verantwortlich für die Gestaltung der Szene. Manchmal habe ich zu helfen Design der Beleuchtung, Ton und Kostüme. Die Arbeit ist hart und anstregend aber sehr interessant. Meine Kollegen sind sehr kreativ. Ich mag die Arbeit mit kreativen menschen. Inspirieren sie mich zu mehr Kreativitat. Die Arbeitszeiten sing lang. Letzte Woche habe ich zweiundsiebzig Stunden gearbeitet. Ich bin neu deshalb die Bezahlung ist schlecht. Sie wird besser als ich besser. Mit deisem Job bekomme ich auch zu reisen. Nächsten Monat gehe ich nach Deutschland. Hoffentlich kann ich die Welt mit mein Job reisen.
Liebe, Jacqui

Translation:

Hello friend,
I have good news. I have found my dream job. I am a set designer. I am responsible for designing the scene.  Sometimes I have to help design the lighting, sound and costumes. The work is hard and stressful, but very interesting. My colleagues are very creative. I like to work with creative people. They inspire me to be more creative. The work hours are long. Last week I worked seventy-two hours. I am new therefore the pay is bad. It will get better as I get better. With this job, I get to travel. Next month I am going to Germany. Hopefully, I can travel the world with my job.
Love, Jacqui

Kings of Suburbia by Tokio Hotel

Tokio Hotel are back #theboysareback. After a five year hiatus they have returned with their fifth studio album, Kings of Suburbia. However, this is not the album that many of their fans were expecting. During a 5 year hiatus the band changed, most notably is the sound and lyrics of their new record, and I love it.

Tokio Hotel formed back in 2001 under the name Devilish. Bill Kaulitz and his twin brother Tom Kaulitz, Gustav Schäfer and Georg Listing formed as singer, guitarist, drummer and bassist respectively. In 2005 they released a studio album Schrei as Tokio Hotel, which was performed solely in German.

In 2007 they released their second German album Zimmer 483 and their first English album Scream. The songs on the Scream were all English translations of their other songs, like Monsoon (Durch Den Monsun), Don’t Jump (Spring Nicht), and 1000 Oceans (1000 Meere). Then in 2009 they released Humanoid, their first album to be released in both German and English. This album was a lot more electronic than the previous ones, but still kept to the bands rock image.

Then Tokio Hotel fell off the edge of the world until now with Kings of Suburbia. I have a number of fans being really upset with this album, and that is because it is electronic and experimental, whereas in the past the albums were pop rock. I started listening to Tokio Hotel 7 years ago (which makes me feel really old). Back in 2008 I was 12 going on 13, so naturally I have changed quite a bit since then. Well, I hope so. Back then Scream had been out for a year, and that was when they were in the height of the pop rock sound. I loved it. But now, 7 years on from then I’m really glad that they tried something new. In this album they have been drawing influences from the LA nightlife, where Bill and Tom Kaulitz currently reside. It’s refreshing for them, and for me. And If I want to listen to pop rock songs I’ll go back to those albums, it’s not that difficult.

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Yes, I did buy these albums

The album kicks off with Feel It All with the line strobe lights flashing out of your eyes paired with a very upbeat chorus. It instantly takes me to a scene of a crowd bopping up and down with flashes of lights, which is what they were probably going for. I really liked this as a start to this album because it really separates them from everything they have done before. It’s clear that they want this album to be different and they’re upfront about it.

One of the heavier songs on the album is Stormy Weather. It starts off very mysterious and a little darker than usual with lyrics such as The end of our zone, undetected, unknown. Sometime at night I see people cry their goodbyes into hypnotical skies’. The lyrics really intrigued me and I was excited to hear what was going to happen. However, the chorus was quite repetitive and irritating. I had high expectations for this song, the start was so strong and the chorus just lost me. It is a song that I really want to enjoy but I don’t, which is a shame.

The song Run, Run, Run is a beautiful contrast to the rest of the album. As a ballad it was really simple with just piano and vocals, but the simplicity makes it melodious. Love Who Loves You Back is the lead single of this album, and it’s easy to see why. It’s such an easy but interesting song to listen to. The lyrics are quite sexual but that’s the point of the song. The vocals are beautiful, and when paired with the chilled electronic music and giggling in the background it makes it a very interesting song.

My favourite song on the album Covered in Gold. It is one of their more experimental songs. There are lots of things going on and every time I listen to the song I hear a new layer of it and I fall more and more in love with it. Even just listening to the vocals, some parts are quite odd but then it’s coupled with something melodious and it’s really catchy. Girl Got A Gun is a very similar experience, however a completely different song. It is easily their weirdest song on the album but I think it’s great. It can become a little bit repetitive (and annoying when it’s stuck in your head at work for hours). The video is also quite shocking and left of center which is probably what they were going for. I thought it was quite amusing (especially reading the comments of people who just don’t get it).

This album was quite an interesting experience, definitely different to what they have made previously. I don’t want to overload you with information on all the songs (there are 15 and I’ll probably end up repeating myself) and I’d also like you to experience the music by yourself as well. You don’t need me telling you what every song is like when you can listen to it yourself, I just wanted to give you a little taste. The songs I’d recommend are Covered in Gold, Feel It All, and We Found Us.

Lush lush lush || The Rosie Gift

In case you guys didn’t realise, one of my favourite beauty stores (or stores in general) is Lush. I think you may be starting to figure this out, as all of my beauty reviews have been solely about Lush. I received quite a few products for Christmas and I want to share my experience with these. The products themselves are quite expensive so I understand the need to know what you’re getting. One of my presents was the Rosie Gift Box at $35.65 (AUD).

First up is the Tisty Tosty Ballistic

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I wasn’t expecting much from this bath ballistic. It is quite pretty, but really simple.  By the time I used it (2 months after receiving it) the rosebuds had started to wilt which is why the colour has changed slightly in the left photo above. In hindsight it was pretty obvious that would happen (no shit Jacqui roses die when you leave them in your bathroom for two months). When I did eventually pop it in my bath it started fizzing away the instant it touched the water.

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As the ballistic broke down the (wilting) rosebuds started swirling around the bathtub. Despite looking a bit tired they still did the job, a subtle scent of roses filled the air. I was also lucky and got more than the usual 7 rosebuds, sweet! Once the ballistic finished fizzling the only trace it left was the scent and the rosebuds, there was no lingering colour or cool tricks. It was quite a simple ballistic and for $6.75AUD I would want a bit more. The scent did not last very long and you are literally just bathing with rosebuds in your bath. However, when I exited the bath I found that my skin felt much softer, which is a bonus. I didn’t have the moisturise! But I can get the same result by dropping a few rosebuds from my tea in my bathwater for a much cheaper price.

Next up is the Rose Queen Ballistic

This one even looks much more exciting than the last and it is actually a bit cheaper at $5.50AUD. From the moment I popped it into the bathtub it was much more fun. The ballistic fizzled away, spurting out a vibrant pink with petals of lavender, marigold and hibiscus.

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Once it stopped fizzling the bathwater was more of an amber colour. The scent also lingered for my entire bath (which was very long, and relaxing).

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However, I was not looking forward to cleaning out bathtub afterwards. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, most of the petals drained away and it only needed a splash or two of water to get rid of the excess, no scrubbing involved! This is probably one of my favourite bath ballistics, and I probably would have never chosen it on my own. I’m not for bath products that need cleaning and I’m not a big fan of rose, but this surprised me on both accounts.

Now it is time for the Amandopondo bubble bar.

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Again, I made the same mistake where I left the bubble bar sitting too long and the little rosebud started to wilt, whoops. I didn’t know what to expect with this one, infact I didn’t realise it was a bubble bar until I put it in the bath (only because I hadn’t read the little tag saying what the products were in about 2 months). So I was a little confused when it wasn’t fizzing and jumping around the bathtub. Instead  a massive amount of bubbles was forming and I was over the moon, I adore bubble bars. The scent it released was of subtle rose with a kick of lemon and orange which made it really refreshing.

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I am still extremely surprised by the amount of bubbles that this bubble bar made. I was playing with them all throughout my bath, so I didn’t get any reading done that night. Whilst this bubble bar did not have the really vibrant colours like others do, I did really enjoy it. The scent was beautiful and the bubbles were relaxing, when I wasn’t playing with them. However, the rosebud was a bit of a waste as you have on rosebud in amidst all these bubbles. I completely forgot about it until I had to fish it out after my bath.

I might repurchase this product. Whilst it was a lot of fun there are other bubble bars that I do prefer, the Brightside and the Comforter. But this one is quite a cheap alternative at $7.95AUD which is good value if you get 2-3 uses out of it.

Now is the Rose Jam Showergel

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The Rose Jam shower gel smells like Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner, just with more of a fruity kick. It had a rose base but with a hint of lemon and vanilla. I personally adore the scent as I like really sweet and powerful scents. I have read that a few people find it too pot pourri for their liking. When I am purchasing shower gels for myself I always make sure that I smell it in store, you don’t want a shower gel you can’t stand. So if the scent doesn’t work for you, don’t buy it.

As it came in a 100mL bottle I was afraid that I would use it too quickly. Especially since it’s a limited edition item I want to hold onto it for quite a while. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily it lathers and it can go really far, I have only used a third of the bottle in 2 months. I would consider repurchasing this item, if it were available. It would depend on the price, if it were too expensive I always have Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner anyway. .

And now it is Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

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This product is a body conditioner. Not going to lie, I was a little confused as to what that was when I first got it. Turns out it’s meant to be used after a shower lotion or gel and rinsed off, in place of a moisturiser. Once I realised this I got excited, this would be perfect in winter when it’s too cold to moisturise after you have gotten out of the warmth of the shower! However, it’s the middle of summer so I still have to wait a while to test this.

After using this I found that it left my skin feeling really smooth. Turns out it is actually perfect for my skin in summer. When I moisturise in summer my skin gets really gluggy and itchy so I spend hours scratching at my legs. With this I found that it is light enough so that my skin can still breathe, but it moisturises it. Another plus is that I really enjoy the scent. I have seen a few complaints of this products scent not lasting long enough but it works well for me. I have paired it with Lush soaps of a similar scent or the Rose Jam Shower gel and that makes the scent linger longer, however I don’t to do it too often as I’m scared it will be overpowering.

I am considering buying myself a large pot of this, but it is exceptionally expensive at $32.50AUD so we’ll see.. Actually I think the next gift box I’m going to review came with a tub of this as well so we’ll find out then.

To read or not to read? Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but what else are you meant to judge it by when there are so many to choose from? I’m here to help you with that (hopefully). I have read a book or two in my time and I really like to talk on and on about things I enjoy. So I’m going to tell you about some books I have read, with minimal spoilers, to help you out if you are looking for something to read, or not read.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Novel aimed at a young adult audience
Pages: 344
Genre: Romance and Drama

Here I am, a female, writing about a book on the internet. Said book is about a female who writes on the internet. Said book is written by a girl who writes on the internet for a living. Does that make any sense? Basically, huge internet celebrity Zoe Sugg released a book, and I have read it and want to talk about it. I presume some of you internet dwellers (? can I call you that?) would have at least heard about it. If not, are you serious? The book broke the record for the highest sales for a debut author in a week of release. There are rumours of a ghostwriter being involved and some people are a little too pissed off.

To start I am going to address the elephant in the room, the conjecture of the book being written by a ghostwriter. Some people are pissed off that a book was written by a ghostwriter to be sold to the masses using Zoe’s fame, or that the ghostwriter has not been given due credit. Some believe that Zoe only had help from an editorial team to help bring it to life. And I think everyone else does not give an actual shit.  I don’t know how I feel about this because it is all speculation. I differ between feelings, if she just had a little help, all good. If someone wrote this for her, I’m pissed. But since I don’t know, I’m just going to focus on the book as a book and if I enjoyed it or not.

Brief teaser: Girl Online revolves around Penny, a 15 year old girl with a blog (who has more followers than I could ever dream of at 5432, just another 5400 to go!). She blogs about school, boys, friends and her feelings of anxiety. After an embarrassing incident at school goes viral her anxiety develops into panic attacks. She escapes to America with her parents over Christmas and meets a boy, Noah. After a perfect Christmas she returns home where her secret blog and Noah’s secret threatens to ruin everything.

I’d recommend it to a younger age group than myself, for preteens. Fans of Zoella (Zoe Sugg) should enjoy it as it is just as sweet and sugary and all things nice as Zoella. It is a short and easy read, and fun if you enjoy that kind of stuff.

SPOILERS ONWARDS || SPOILERS ONWARDS || SPOILERS ONWARDS

I’m going to say this now, I found it very difficult to enjoy this book. I think that I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Here are my reasons why.

Firstly, the characters were way too predictable for my liking. They were the stock standard Young Adult fiction book characters.You have the perfect main character, Penny, with no personality flaws and zero negative character traits. The only thing wrong in her life is her panic attacks and anxiety which is out of her control. Then you the hilarious side kick starring as Elliot, the stereotypical gay best friend. Then you have her awesome parents, who are immensely clueless but their hearts are in the right place. And lastly there are the idiots she goes to school with. Her really shallow crush who is cute but quite the arsehole, and her bitchy ex best friend. The characters were either really nice and therefore on her side, or they were really bitchy to her for no good reason. It felt like a children’s book where all good guys wear white, and all baddies in black.

Secondly, the romance portrayed in the book was completely unrealistic. I realise that this is a big call to make from someone that who reads Dramione fanfiction (if you don’t know what it is, keep it that way), but this was one of the most unfeasible love stories I’ve ever read. Penny and Noah, at ages 15 and 19 respectively, fell in love within a few hours of meeting each other. I’m going to ignore just how creepy that is, instead focusing on how that just doesn’t happen. They were telling each other secrets and personal family traditions really really quickly. And somehow her parents were completely ok with their 15 daughter running around a foreign country with a 19 year old. Despite much of the creepiness it was still quite cute to read.

And the last element that really annoyed me was that everything was so convenient and perfectly timed. Elliot was just able to come along to America, with everything paid for? Too easy. Anytime Noah and Penny needed alone time for the story the best friend Elliot just happened to be doing something else. I don’t enjoy books where the story changes everything. Penny didn’t have some fault that ruined something, everyone else’s faults affected her life.

However, one aspect I really appreciated was the inclusion of panic attacks and anxiety. I have read few books with this even alluded to so it was very refreshing to have it included as an integral part of the book. It is a cause that is very important to the author and that was made apparent whilst reading.

As much as I nitpicked at this book, that’s not to say it was a bad read. The story line and characters were very predictable, but I’m sure there are many readers out there where this is new.  It was a very sugary read, a little too sweet and sickening for my taste, but hey I might of really enjoyed it when I was younger. If you go in expecting something fun, light and short, you’ll be happy.