View of the forest in Costa Rica

Costa Rica in Central America is the ideal country to visit if you want beaches and stunning wildlife. If you are thinking about booking a trip or are lucky enough to have already booked a trip to the country of Pura Vida read on.


Image of the Tortuguero Evergreen Lodge Waterways

Tortuguero, located in the Limon Province and on the Caribbean side of the country, is a National Park about a hour and a half from the mainland which you can only get to by boat. Tortuguero is known best for its turtles however I went out of season so didn’t see any. I stayed at the Evergreen Lodge and we had a boat tour around the waterways where we saw camen, sloths, white faced monkeys and howler monkeys which sounded like hogs.

Trees Tortuguero Costa Rica

At Evergreen Lodge you get to stay in your own cabin, which doesn’t have any glass windows (they are just covered by mosquito mesh!) to allow you to have an even more authentic experience as you can hear all of the wildlife. The Howler Monkeys in the morning sounded like hogs! You will also visit the village of Tortuguero, the village was tiny- it was essentially a street. It is the perfect opportunity to buy souvenirs and have a smoothie or ice cream.

Tortuguero Costa Rica view of a beach with black sands

Tips for Tortuguero:

  • Buy lots of mosquito spray, you will need it in the middle of the rainforest!
  • There will be lots of time on a boat, so if you are prone to being travel sick buying tablets is a must.
  • It can get quite cold at night so bring some warm clothes (and a torch if you go on a night walk!).

Image of a sloth on the tree in Tortuguero Costa Rica


View of the Arenal Volcano Costa Rica

Home of the Arenal volcano the La Fortuna region is a popular location for tourists. When I was there I visited the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges. It is popular because the bridges allow you to see the forest from above. There are 15 bridges and 6 of them are hanging, you can walk through the park yourself or you can hire a tour guide. I 100% recommend the tour guide unless you know the wildlife in Costa Rica very well you wouldn’t see not even half the animals that you can see. The guides are very knowledgable about the park and show you wildlife through the telescope. There are other activities you can do such as zorbing, rappelling and night tours.

Macaw Parrott Proyecto Asis

Proyecto Asis is a wildlife centre that I visited. The main aim of Proyecto Asis is to rehabilitate animals that have either been hit by transport or rescued from owners or in some cases hotels. The guide was very helpful, he knew the animals very well. It was interesting to learn that the parrot hybrids that were being bred and selling for up to 20,000 dollars were being let out into the wild and destroying the natural Scarlett and Great Green macaw’s. There was this toucan that had a broken beak and it was lovely to hear that a prosthetic beak was being made for it.There were lots of white faced and howler monkeys that were going to be released back into the wild. I chose the package so I could feed them which was lovely.

There are many natural hot springs around La Fortuna due to the volcano. I visited Ecotermales in Fortuna and it was amazing! There was about 5 pools all of varying temperatures and a cold pool as well. There are two time slots a day that you can book onto, to stop the spa being filled with people. I went late in the evening and the lighting was so pretty, it was all low level yellow light so it doesn’t feel clinical.

Tips for Alajuela:

  • Make sure visit one of the many springs, there are so many and you can book last minute.
  • You will find amenities more spaced out in this area and the roads are very thin so you will find you will need to travel by taxi a lot more.


Image of Rebecca Merchant in Monteverde

Monteverde is home to the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest and Reserve situated in the Puntarenas Province. The Cloud reserve was voted one of 7 natural wonders of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is well known for its eco-tourism (more on this later) and the Cloud Forest and Reserve only allow 250 visitors a day. So to guarantee entry you are best off going in the morning. The Cloud Forest consists of paths so you don’t need to bring your walking boots and you can either take a guided tour or walk by yourself. I recommend a guided tour as you will be able to spot all sorts of animals and learn about the history of the area.

Hummingbirds feeding on the feeder

Just outside the Cloud Forest and Reserve there is a cafe called Cafe Colibri, colibri means hummingbird and the cafe attracted lots of hummingbirds! These birds are gorgeous and are quite tame so you can get up to them quite close.

View of the inside of Cafe Colibri Monteverde

Due to Monteverde’s location in the mountains, the weather continuously changes. It would literally rain, be extremely windy and then have the sun beating down all in one hour! So you do find yourself pulling off all the layers you have put on.

View of the rainforest from the Rainbow Valley Lodge

St Elena is where the majority of tourist and food shops were located, it is a very small town but has everything you could need for your stay.

Tips for Monteverde:

  • It can get very cold and wet so bring layers! I remember sitting in the hotel bed with all of my layers on being absolutely frozen and not being able to put the heating on because there wasn’t any central heating!
  • I stayed at the Rainbow Valley Lodge, which I really recommend. My room was the double room with mountain view and I loved it, I felt so lucky just to look outside my bed and see the forest and parrots flying above.
  • Costa Rica was the first country in the world to pioneer zip lines. I went to the 100% Aventura Adventure Park in Monteverde which is home to the longest zip line in Latin America. You could go superman style on the zip line or the usual sitting style. Unfortunately the day I went it was so cloudy that I couldn’t see much at all but for the thrill seekers amongst you, you have to do it.


Bahia del Sol Hotel Guanacaste Costa Rica view of the beach and a blue and brown outdoor chair set

This was the last place I visited on my stay at Costa Rica. I stayed in Playa Potrero which is home to essentially warm sandy beaches, fishing and water sports. For myself and my partner this was the relaxing part of the holiday so we really didn’t do much other than lounge around the hotel and eat at various restaurants.

View of the beach and birds in Guanacaste Costa Rica

Tips for Guanacaste:

  • Perlas restaurant is a great American themed bar. They have lots of live music and great Costa Rican and American food.
  • Another good restaurant is The Beach House selling traditional Costa Rican food, cocktails and again live music.
  • If pizza takes your fancy The Restaurant at the Sailing Centre (yes that it’s name) had great pizza.

San Jose

San Jose is the capital and the largest city in Costa Rica. I spent an afternoon there on my last full day before I flew home. There are a lot of places to go shopping, if you are looking for a bit of culture you could visit the National Theatre of Costa Rica, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica and the Costa Rican Centre of Science and Culture.

Tips for San Jose

  • There is no such thing as the highway code in San Jose but Costa Rica in general, be really careful when you are crossing the road or driving in Costa Rica.

Getting around Costa Rica

Guanacaste Playa Portero Costa Rica

Travelling around Costa Rica is fairly straight forward, the two main bus companies used was Interbus and Gray Line. Booking an Uber is cheaper than using taxi’s in San Jose.

Image of a Christmas Tree made out of plastic bottles in Tortuguero Costa Rica

Overall Costa Rica provided me with such a variety of experiences from the urban to the natural side. Costa Rica is very popular for its eco tourism and is miles ahead in terms of protecting the environment and take pride in this. I saw Christmas trees made out of bottles, Ecotermals had an integrated waste disposal system allowing 100% of its waste to be processed and shops allowing you to take back bottles for a price. The locals are so friendly and will go out of their way to help you.



Image of the book Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

As mental health is quite rightly getting the air time it deserves, Bryony Gordon a journalist with The Telegraph and mental health campaigner tells us her story with Mad Girl with candid honesty about mental illness from when she was thirteen the day after going to a Smash Hits Polls Winner Party to the present day and how she has deals with alopecia, bulimia and drug dependency.

I feel that so many people will be able to relate to Bryony’s experiences from dropping out of university to not understanding why she is feeling the way she is when nothing has happened at home. I remember clearly when Bryony talked about the first time she went to the Doctor to get help and the Doctor telling her to book another appointment when it gets worse, her Mum and Bryony get into the car talk about it and go back in that day and book an appointment. Her astonishing accounts of OCD, (I remember reading that she brought her iron into work as she couldn’t convince herself that it was switched off), are really interesting. Bryony goes into great depth about her OCD and recalls some experiences that I could imagine other suffers wouldn’t want people (especially in a book that anyone could read!) to know.

Mad Girl isn’t preachy and Bryony doesn’t write in a way which she wants sympathy from the reader, it is just true honesty. From the back of this Bryony hosts a podcast called Mad World with The Telegraph and also created Mental Health Mates which a regular meet-up in parks for those with mental health issues.

According to Mind every year 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem. This means where ever you are in the workplace or classroom it is very likely that there will be someone you know has a mental health problem. If you want to understand more about mental health issues Mad Girl is a great starter.




Image of the book One by One by Chris Carter

*contains spoilers*

I love reading but I am not a massive fan of thriller books, until I read One by One by the Sunday Times number one bestseller Chris Carter.

One by One tells the story of Robert Hunter who is a detective with the LAPD. One day he receives a phone call at his office from a mysterious man who makes Robert choose how an innocent man is murdered. The killings continue and with the murderer seemingly always one step ahead, how many more people are going to die before Robert catches him. 

I read this book whilst I was on holiday, I had ran out of books so borrowed my partner’s. The blurb looked good so I gave it a go. I had to admit I was hooked from the first chapter it was very well interlinked with the murder, use of the internet to advertise the killings and psychology. The book also contains two very strong female characters- one is Robert’s boss and the other Michelle White is a talented female hacker in the FBI. What was really good was that there was no romance in the book, as soon as Michelle was introduced as a character I was thinking ‘oh no I bet Robert and her will end up becoming an item’ and take the book down a different route, but it didn’t. This was because I didn’t want the female to be the love interest.

At no point did I think that the story had gone on for too long, the chapters were short (the book is 500 pages long) and the writing focuses less on description but more on explaining the scene and moving on. The crimes (there is more than one) are explained in quite specific detail and demonstrates very well the ugly side of human nature. Overall I really would recommend the book if you want to have a story that keeps you guessing with lots of action. 

Image of the book Everyday Sexism, Girl Up, The Equality Illusion and Strong Woman

I have accumulated a lot of really inspiring and interesting books by feminists in the past three years and today’s post I share my favourites.

Feminist Fight Club – Jessica Bennett

I heard about this book in Cosmo magazine. Feminist Fight details situations in which women find themselves struggling in, in their working lives and how to work though them. Feminist Fight Club details situations such as the good old mansplaining, saying yes to everything and feeling overburdened and the wage gap. The book came about because the author was part of a club where women in professional roles would meet up and speak about what they would struggle with in the workplace. The book doesn’t come across as preachy, it is an easy read, the advice is useful and realistic. The only thing I disliked about the book was that it try’s too hard at times to be ‘cool’ by using words such as ‘femulate’ having rules and a starter kit for the fight club. It really isn’t needed and doesn’t make sense.

What I told my daughter – Nina Tassler

This book contains mini life stories from successful women and what they would pass to their daughters. It covers topics as diverse as the glass ceiling, resilience and courage. This book is easy to read and you can dip in and out of it at any point.

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. In her first books writes about the everyday sexism that exists in everyday situations, including education, media, motherhood, politics and more. A very informative book full of facts and real life experiences from the Everyday Sexism site.

Girl Up – Laura Bates

What I would describe as the the younger sister to Everyday Sexism. Girl Up is meant to be a guide aimed at teenager women. This no bullsh**t book tackles issues head on that the majority of teen women unfortunately may encounter such as dealing with social media, cat calling and mental health.

Although a good read – I am out of the target audience this book is aimed at so I didn’t get anything out of it myself but I would recommend any teenage girl to read.

The Equality Illusion – Kat Banyard

The Equality Illusion is where Kat Banyard explodes the myths that women have never been in a more equal society. Like Everyday Sexism and Girl Up each chapter is covers a topic from education to reproduction to the sex industry. To be honest I found this book to be very similar to Everyday Sexism and Everyday Sexism was more thorougher.

Strong Woman – Karren Brady

I had to include this book because this autobiography covers the career of Karren Brady from starting out at Saatchi and Saatchi at 18, being managing director at Birmingham City football club at 23 and her opinions on working hard and how she balances being a working mother. Karren comes across as a really lovely person that isn’t afraid of hard work and gives some really good advice.

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Last but certainly not least! We should all be feminists is based on the famous Tedx talk of the same name. Chimamanda explores what it is like to be a woman today from her own experience. The book is far, far too short and powerfully explores the importance of equality without it becoming preachy. I recieved this book at an NUS Woman in Leadership conference

What are your favourite feminist books? Have you read on the list and if so what did you think?

Image of the book

Recently I brought a load of books to keep me occupied over the Christmas period. One of them was this beauty of a book by Adelle Stripe. Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile tells the story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. Andrea Dunbar grew up in extreme poverty on the Buttershaw Estate an estate in Bradford, Yorkshire. The book is interesting because it is a fictional story based on Andrea’s life events. I had to admit after reading the book I googled to find out more information as it wasn’t clear to me if Andrea had been a real writer or not. Looking back at the book for writing this review it does say that it is a work of fiction and ‘an alternative version of historic events’.

The story is gritty, Andrea had gone through some real hardship, falling pregnant young and then miscarrying, living with an abusive partner and then moving to a safe house, her unhealthy relationship with alcohol and poverty. her playwriting comes in when her teacher at school picks up the fact that she has a talent for writing. This leads to her writing The Arbor which was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1980. Rita, Sue and Bob too is the play which is she is well known for, debuted in 1982 tells the story of two women who have an affair with a married man. Her final play Shirley is about Shirley and her family and friends in an working class estate in Bradford in the 1980’s.

The book keeps you gripped throughout, at times the book makes you want to throttle Andrea as it seems that she is passing over opportunities at almost an act of self-sabotage.

I hadn’t heard of Andrea Dunbar before the book and I hadn’t heard of her screenplays before (it was in the 1980’s so before my time!) but I certainly want to read them. An extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman who managed to achieve her dream against every worse scenario possible.