Trip to Budapest: Visiting Frida Kahlo exhibition, exploring the city and eating delicious food #FridaKahlo #Budapest #Travelling #Food

This October me and my colleague and a friend Monika spent a weekend in the magical city called Budapest.
This is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and to me it is the most beautiful city I have ever visited.

Our main reason for this trip was Frida Kahlo exhibition (which was impressive to say the least), but we also wanted to explore the city, eat some Hungarian food and just have good time.

Most pictures from this post were taken by Monika Hranj.

Day 1

We travelled with an agency, and took us less then 5 hours with bus to reach Budapest.
First thing we visited was Citadella. You can see the whole city from there (and the first pic from this post is taken there, and it was taken by me so excuse my lack of talent).
Everything we saw there was so mind blowing.

  

After that we went to explore the city and their main street called Vaci.
I remember it being my favorite part of Budapest, back when I visited this place for the very first time. Since I was there the first time around Christmas time, the whole street smelled of food and mulled wine, but this time around that wasn’t the case.
It was still beautiful, and while exploring we stumbled upon Starbucks (that was located in some other street that I don’t know the name of).
It was a big deal for us since we don’t have Starbucks in Zagreb.
For the first time ever I tried Pumpkin Spice Latte (it was my desire to try it for the longest time), and I ate the most delicious apple pie ever.

In the evening, after some relaxation in our 4 stars hotel, we took a cruise trip on the Danube river.
It was nice and relaxing and some buildings and views took my breath away.
We drank champange, because that is the ritual.

 

After the cruise trip we went to have a dinner.
We located one beautiful magyar restaurant with authentic food.
Hungarian food is pretty similar to croatian, and we were pretty satisfied with taste and portions.

 

After the dinner, we decided to walk through the city and then went into our hotel.

 

Day 2

Day two was the day of the exhibition, but before that, we went to Heroe’s Square.
I don’t think pictures can ever prepare you for the magnificentness of that place and sculptures that are there.

 

We had some free time before the exhibition so we decided to try magyar cremeschnitte. There was no place to sit in the cake-shop, so we ate it from the paper plates.
Magyar cremeschnitte is unique and (allegedly) different from every cremeschnitte all over the world.

As we walked to Hungarian National Gallery, where the exhibition took place, Monika took this photo. We named it “Looking in the eyes of death”:

The exhibition was stunning. It was so spectacular, impressive and breathtaking.
Frida had a hard life, and she transferred her pain into her work. We noticed it all and the feeling I had while I was there is hard to describe with simple words.
All I’ll say is that I will remember it for a long, long time.

 

 

After the exhibition, it was time to go home.
On our way back to Zagreb, we had a quick excursion to Balaton Lake where we also ate dinner.
Sadly, because we were too tired or too hungry, we forgot to take a picture of the main course, but only took a picture of the soup, which was mouth-watering.

 

 

Overall,

I loved being in Budapest. I love that city. I could easily imagine myself living there, but the main problem in reaching that goal would be to learn the language.
But hey, you never know where life can take you, and what you are capable of doing, until you are there.

I think visiting Budapest this year was one of the best decisions I made. I liked hanging out with Monika and I think this trip brought us closer.

It also sparked my passion for travel and reminded me how good it is just to get away from your routine and explore something new.

If you’ve never visited Budapest I highly encourage you to do so, because it is one breath-taking place to see.

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October Reading Wrap Up #bookbloggers #booklovers #reading

OmG guys, it’s already November!
I have no idea how the times passed by so quickly, but at least I had some fun reading books while the days went…

In October I read 7 books, and I am really happy about it.
I didn’t push myself too hard, but I do plan to push myself in November, because there will be HoHOHo readathon and since we only have 2 months until the end of 2018, I want to end this year with as many finished books as possible, especially now when I am in a such a reading mood.

Anyway, these are the books that I read in October:

      

My favorite book of the month: 

 

That is it!

Tell me what awesome books have your read this month?

Trip to Albania: Where I went, what I did and what I ate in Albania

This summer me and my boyfriend spent our summer vacation in Albania.
We decided to go there because his friend was there last summer, and loved it so much that he decided to go back this year.
My boyfriend was really intrigued since he loves travelling, so we booked 8 nights via Booking app, packed our bags and went for an adventure.

 

Sarande

Our main destination was Sarande. It is the tourist based city with lots of programs to offer. You can go on boat trips (there are organized trips to Corfu Island, Greece daily), you can enjoy yourself clubbing and hanging out with young people. They also have rich street program, you can try your luck in the small amusement park, get a tattoo, let the artist draw your portrait, or enjoy the music played by a young boy with violin (he played only popular songs, and he was amazing).
Of course, there are lost of restaurants and coffee shops with the most amazing and serviceable staff.

As it goes when you’re on vacation, most of our days we spent chilling on the beach, and taking walks in the evening.

I finished four books while there, and I am happy to say that all of them were good.

Blue Eye

If you go to Albania, you have to visit Blue Eye. It is one of the most beautiful places in the Europe. It is a water spring and natural phenomen in which people actually do swim. It is so beautiful, you could stare into it all day long.
There you can also visit one of the caffee shops or restaurants, and enjoy yourself by the river, surrounded with beautiful nature sounds.

   

Ksamil

Ksamil is one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania, and it was my favorite place.
We spent there one day, whole day, just chilling and relaxing. The color of the sea is so blue and beautiful because of the white sand. The sand makes it so easy to walk into the water, and it is so easy to swim. So many people play with ball or toys there, even the older ones, but of course, this place is like a heaven for children.

 

Borsh

My boyfriend’s favorite place in Albania was Borsh. It is a village with 7 km long beach, and it is so beautiful. It’s a perfect place for relaxation, because it is pretty quiet there.
This place is THE PLACE for bookworms, because you have ideal conditions for reading. So many people read on that beach, that I couldn’t believe. It felt like every third person had a book in their hands, and what is even more amazing, you can buy books there on the spot, in case you forgot or already read yours.
You can also order drinks or coffee there and enjoy yourself without moving from your deck chair.

  

 

Food

We had breakfast in our hostel (we stayed in a hostel called Gjika and I can’t say enough good things about them. Staff are the most amazing and likeable, always ready to help and always asking if everything was okay, and the housing itself was nice and always clean).

Breakfast would usually be composed of an egg, frankfurter, leafy cheese-pie, vegetable casserole and fruit.
The best thing – it all tasted surprisingly well.

During the day we would usually take something from the bakery (the have really good bureque with cheese, meat, onion or spinach) and drink it with one dairy product that is not available my country, so we were all into it.
It’s structure and taste is like milk with splash of yoghurt.

Dinner we would always eat in the restaurants. We were very pleased with all the food and how work-hard but still very friendly and polite staff are.
Prices are very affordable too.

     

Albanian Ice Cream is one of the best ice creams I have ate in my whole life.
They have so many tastes and it has one spectacular note in every taste, that is what makes it special.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take the picture of it.

 

Cons

As it goes in life, everything has it’s pros and cons, including Albania.
As I already stated everything that I liked there, here I will briefly mention what I was not a fan of.

There are many stray dogs and cats just walking the streets. It is really hard to see them so close to the road because unfortunately, great number of them lose their lives there.
I came home with disturbing images of dead cats and dogs that will hunt me for a very long time.

What is really sad but also hopeful is that this problem can be solved with spreading awareness of importance of sterilization.
If people cared more for animals, their towns would become more beautiful and animals would be happy, therefore people would also be more happy.

The traffic could also be improved.

Poor people asking for money.
Poverty is one of the problems of Albania. Many people just don’t have enough money to survive so they ask for help.
I don’t know how the politics in Albania works and what is the reason for poverty, nor could it be solved easily (probably not), but I know that those kids (I even saw few months old baby sleeping with poor mum) need hope and a chance to build their future, and right now, I don’t think they have it.

Now you have it – my impressions Albania, so if you’ll ever think about visiting that country, you can see how I spent my time while there.
Overall I liked it, and I see myself going back there one day, in a hope that some of it’s problems will be reduced.

 

Let me know what you think and would you ever want to visit Albania?

Book Review: This Love by Dani Atkins

Title: This Love
Author: Dani Atkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: March 23rd, 2017
Pages: 466
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for a review

Review:

If you’re looking for a damsel in distress story done right, look no further!

This Love is the story about Sophie Winter who finds herself in a hard situation in which she can’t cope without someone’s help.

The story starts with drama. Sophie’s flat is on fire and she’s trying to get out before the fire swallows her too.
She managed to save her little cat Fred by letting him go out of the window (I really loved that cat, it was my mission the whole time to know that Fred is save), but for her it is a bit harder to get out.
That’s where Ben, our knight in shining armor plays his part.
He gives her directions what to do to get out of that flat alive.

Ben’s kindness doesn’t stop right there. Oh, no! He helps her find her cat Fred, and even (because of some circumstances) offers her the place to stay.

I know stories about ladies who need to be saved are not in fashion anymore, but as I already stated, This Love is done right. Sophie didn’t want to find herself in the role she played, but her entire home burned and she was in a really bad situation. She had no choice but to accept other people’s help.

At first I really liked Ben. He is that type of character women all over the world dream about. He has a good heart, always knows what to say and is kind, plus he looks really, really hot.
He is way too perfect to be real, and that is where my adoration for him fall back. 
I wished he had at least one flaw (actually, in my had I started plotting a story in which he was really a psychopath with great acting skills).

The writing style is really good. Dani Atkins pulls you in with her voice and makes you forget about the rest of the world. I was thinking about the book even when I was not reading.
It is written in third person.

This Love is a perfect title for this novel because you can feel and see the love in so many shapes through the story.
It is no wonder that it received RNA award in category “Romantic Novel of the year”.

I enjoyed reading This Love, and I feel like I gained a lot as a reader from this book, but it is my duty to mention that this story also reminded me of two very popular novels: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker.
I’m not saying it is a reap off of those two novels by any mean, I’m just saying it has some of the same elements as those two.

Overall, This Love is a perfect book for romance lovers and for those who want to read a good book about damsel in distress.

The Marriage Pact Experiment (blog tour) – book by Michelle Richmond

 

The Marriage Pact is a thriller by Michelle Richmond. In an honor of it’s paperback release, lovely people from Penguin Random House decided to do an experimental blog tour in which bloggers won’t post a book review, but will stick to the rules that were given (for at least 2 weeks) and later will let everyone know how that experiment impacted their lives.

I want to thank Jenny Plat for invitation to be part of this experimental blog tour.

This is my story…

When I got the invitation and read the rules, I have to admit although I was pretty excited, some rules I didn’t like at first (like giving my boyfriend all of my passwords).
However, I wanted to do it and see if there will be some kind of big change in my boyfriend’s and my lives since we pretty much already stick for the most of the rules (spoiler alert: there wasn’t).

So… without further ado, these are the rules:

1. Always answer when your partner calls
2. Exchange at least two thoughtful gifts every month
3. Cook your partner dinner twice a week
4. Unfollow your ex on social media
5. Never spend more than two nights apart
6. Tell your partner all your passwords
7. Only wear clothes your partner deems attractive or
appropriate
8. Enable the ‘find my phone’ feature so your partner
always knows where you are
9. Have no secrets from each other
10. Don’t even think about trying
to escape

 

As I already stressed out, the rules we stick to (my boyfriend and me) are already pretty much similar to these ones. I personaly don’t see them as rules, I just think it’s the way our relationship functions.
However, some rules were new and some we had to adapt since they were imposibble to stick to because of higher force (read: work).

There was never a question whether I’d always answer his calls, because that what I always did, so that rule wasn’t hard to follow.

When it came to rule no 2, that was a funny story. I decided to buy him a pullover (it’s his favorite type of clothes and looks pretty good on him) pre Valentine’s Day and he loved it! But, he thought I bought it to him since there were final sales at the stores, so he didn’t even think about the rules.

The rule no 3  we kinda skipped or adjusted. The thing is, I always cook lunch, almost never dinner. It’s practically the same, only we eat earlier in the day. It’s because I work the way I work, and with his job, it’s just easier to cook lunch.
I love cooking so that one wasn’t hard to follow. I actually cook at least 4 times per week (I don’t only when I don’t have time or when there are leftovers from the day before), so to be honest, this rule passed unnoticed.

Deleting exes wasn’t a problem because I don’t have a contact with any of mine, and my boyfriend is not on any social media, so he didn’t have anyone to delete either!

The rule no 5 we just had to skip. It’s because of his job. Sometimes he has night shifts and we just couldn’t stick to that rule 100%. However, since we live together, we spent every other night together, so I am counting this rule as checked!

Tell you partner all your passwords – well, here is where I cheated. To be honest, I thought this rule was kinda stupid, so I just left open all of my passwords on my computer. If he wanted, he could have visited everything and read everything, but he didn’t, because he’s not nosy and he knows I have no secrets.

The rule no 7 was the hardest to follow. I would wear an attractive clothes for a day, then I would forget, or would feel stupid waring certain clothes. So this one was adjuted as well.
If it was up to my boyfriend, I would wear lacy body all the time, but that’s not how you can function 24/7.
But I tried, I really tried!

The rule no 8 we also skipped because trust it or not, I don’t even have that option on my phone (or maybe I just couldn’t/didn’t know how to find it).

I can safely say that I have no secrets from him, so rule no 9 wasn’t hard to follow. 
It was even sad that there wasn’t that “I have to tell you something” moment that I usually read about in my books.
If nothing, this rule showed my how boring my life actually is.

And as for rule no 10 – I didn’t even cross my mind to escape. I love being in a relationship with him and I would only move forward with him, not without him! 

 

About the book:

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Follow the tour:

Book Review: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart by Ilana Fox

Title: The Glittering Art of Falling Apart
Author: Ilana Fox
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Date: February 4th, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 1980s Soho is electric. For Eliza, the heady pull of its nightclubs and free-spirited people leads her into the life she has craved – all glamour, late nights and excitement. But it comes at a heavy cost.

Cassie is fascinated by her family’s history and the abandoned Beaufont Hall. Why won’t her mother talk about it? Offered the chance to restore Beaufont to its former glory, Cassie jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her past.

Separated by a generation, but linked by a forgotten diary, these two women have more in common than they know . . .

Review:

Do you know what I usually do when I’m about to review a perfect book? I postpone it, and pospone it, and pospone it…
Because, sometimes it is hard to find the words to describe how much, and why, I liked the book so much.
There’s sometimes that self-doubt that I just wouldn’t do it justice.

This is what happened in this case. I started writing my review 6 days ago, and here I am now, still not sure if I’m going to finish it this time around.

I guess you can already guess that I loved this book. I did, I loved it so much! It is the best book I have read this year so far, and it was my first 5 stars read of 2018.

I heard about this book two years ago when it appeared in many women’s fiction bloggers lists of favorite books.
The story sounded promising and let’s face it: The cover is really appealing (and I always judge books by their covers, I can’t help it!).

The story follows two women in two different times: Cassie in nowadays and Eliza in 1980s.

Cassie was always fascinated with Beaufont Hall, a house that belonged to her family for years and years.
Unfortunately, because of  poor financial situation, Cassie’s family can’t afford to have Beaufond Hall anymore, and they are about to sell it.
For the last time, Cassie goes to Beaufond House to sort things out, say her last goodbye to the home she always wanted to live in and spends some time going through all the belongings in a hope she’ll find something valuable and figure out how to save the house.

There, in Beaufond Hall, she finds diaries of a forgotten family member called Eliza. Forgotten is maybe a wrong word in this case, because Eliza and her mother were subjects no one ever talked about, a tabu-theme of the family.

Eliza is a young girl who’s story is placed in 1980s in Soho. She was bored with her every day life so she moved there to work and have fun. We follow her around and see her dreams being shattered, her friends falling apart and herself trying her best but still chasing the tail of the creature called better life.

Both stories are told in third person, and intertwined into a whole.
I assumed how the story might have ended, and to be honest, I can’t tell you if the reason for that was it’s predictability, of the writer in me recognized the way she would have wrapped this novel.
It doesn’t really matter, because one thing I can tell you: I wouldn’t want it any other way.
In my opinion, the completion of the story was perfect.

If I had to choose, I’d say I liked Eliza’s story better. It was more interesting, more emotional and more lush.
At some points, I could have imagine scenes from her parts so well, it was like watching a movie in my mind.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel.
Even if it belongs to women’s fiction genre, I think men would also enjoy reading it.
After all, it doesn’t talk about women’s problems, but about life in general, and all it’s obstacles, highs and lows.

 

IMPORTANT: 

If you haven’t, you can still ented a giveaway I’m hosting on Twitter, in which you can win this book and some croatian chocolate: ENTER HERE

Book Review: The Love Shack by Jane Costello

Title: The Love Shack
Author: Jane Costello
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Date: April 23rd, 2015
Pages: 484
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Life’s great when you’re 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they’ll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan’s mum.

It’s a desperate solution, but it’s only for six months. And Gemma’s determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan’s mum’s kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and – worst of all – her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not.

Then, as they’re trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma’s past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

 

Review:

Ohh, Jane Costello! Seems like I can’t get enough of her books. They always make my day a bit better no matter in what stage my life is.
If you follow me for a while, you probably know she is my favorite author, and there’s a reason for that. Read this, or any other of her books, and you’ll understand.

The Love Shack follows a couple, Dan and Gemma who have been together for four years and they are in a process of buying a house.
They find a perfect one, but in order to be able to afford it, they have to live under the same roof with Dan’s mother for 6 months.
It’s not an easy choice but Gemma and Dan will do their best to secure the best possible future for themselves.

Reading this novel was such a delight. I got lost in Gemma and Dan’s story, had my LOL moments and was just having fun. It was everything that I wanted from a book at that time (that’s why I picked it in the first place, because I can always count on Costello to bright the mood).

Even tough it is a typical chick-lit (it has all the elements but the only difference is that in this story we follow the couple that are together from the very beginning of the story), I would say that this book is also very realistic.

Buying a house comes with lots and lots of paper works and compromise, and this book shows that (Just to stress out, it won’t bore you with those legal things that are not funny to read anyway).
Also, problems that our main characters had in this novel are ones everyone could come across now and then (especially Gemma’s).

The novel is written in fist person, following two POVs: Dan’s and Gemma’s.
I think that the author did a very good job because character’s voices sounded similar, but yet different.

I liked the imperfection of the characters.
I didn’t approve Gemma’s acts and couldn’t understand Dan’s principles, but still I liked them both very much.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed reading The Love Shack. I know this is one of those books I can always come back to.
Would I recommend? Defintely!
If you still haven’t read anything of Costello’s work, do yourself a favour and give her books a chance. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

P.S. In April Jane Costello will release her new book You Me Everything under a pseudonym Catherine Isaac. Movie rights have already been sold, as well as rights for translation to (I think) 15 different countires. I can’t wait to read that one!