Monday, 30 January 2012

Has anyone seen January?

Ok, so just looked at the date and its the 30th January already! I think because it's so hot here, it has made me completely lose track of time, we have had no winter so it still feels like July!

We have had quite a quiet January, which was planned because Christmas was crazy and we have visitors coming out in February so we have had a bit of a detox. Well, the detox which started on January 2nd (1st doesn't count) on the 5th, we went out for dinner and ended up getting home at 6am..somehow we ended up at a club!! 

But, apart from that January has been quiet. I also had that horrific heat rash which lasted about  a week, so whilst I had that I spent all of my time lay in my underwear under the air-con - until a friend of mine suggested natural yoghurt! It was an epiphany - ok, I looked a bit mental lay smothered in natural yoghurt, but it really worked! I am always going to make sure we have a stash of it in the fridge for emergencies from now on!!! 

We went white water rafting too, which was so much fun! Here are some pictures...

This was the mid-way break..we were allowed beer!! 
The rules on H&S are a lot leaner here than in the UK! 
Here you get to see just how much of a midget I am!! 

During the second half, it started to really hammer down and 
the rapids got faster..we couldn't see a thing the rain was that heavy! 
At one point, the guide pointed to a level on a rock, 
and said if the water gets to there and you fall - you die!  
This was really what we wanted to hear lol! 

This was the 4 metre drop at the end. We had to lie down in the raft, 
it was so much fun, definately the highlight of the day!

Gemma xx

Book Review: Agent 6

I have just finished reading this book by Tom Rob Smith. It is the third and final installment of the Leo Demidov series.

I have read both of the other books in the series, Child 44 & Secret Speech. Child 44 was excellent, but Secret Speech I didn't enjoy so much, as it seemed to turn the character into a super human type figure, but this made up for that!

In this book, it starts off in 1950 when Leo was sill a secret agent in the KGB, it describes one of his missions and also how he met his wife, Raisa. I really liked this, because in the books before it touches on their relationship, but not in detail so I enjoyed this part of the story. 

Fifteen years later, Leo's family all travel to New York on a 'Peace Tour' but because he is no longer in the secret service and refused any dealings with them, he cannot go with them. During the tour, a 'tragic murder destroys everything he loves' Leo is distraught and then goes about finding out exactly what happened, and embarks on a mission to find out who is Agent 6?

One thing I loved about this book, was that you really get to understand Leo, and what he lives for. Which I didn't get from the other books, especially Secret Speech. The book keeps you gripped from the beginning and  I liked the ending too.

I do like Tom Rob Smith's writing style, the way he formats chapters and also doesn't use speech marks, the speech is in itallics and inverted, I have not seen this style before. 

I would recommend this book, and if you haven't read the other two, you definately should...although, you could get away with reading this one on it's own.

The others in the series 

Gemma xx

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Wind, Rain & Snakes..

I have not blogged half as much as I have wanted to the past week or so, this week we have had pretty much a piece of every extreme weather imaginable, which has played havoc with our Internet connection! 

First of all, we knew it would be rainy in January it is after all rainy season, but nothing could have prepared us for quite how much rain we would see! It is literally like someone is holding a bucket up in the sky and pouring it down, never seen rain like it! The good thing is though, that we don't really get whole days of rain, we've had a couple but it usually just rains in the evening, or late in the afternoon..
Then came the wind! So strong, it pushed us along when we we're outside, quite scary driving around as there are so many trees and we saw loads blown down - not to mention one falling on an electricity cable just as we we're driving past it! 
Last night we had the extreme thunder & lightening - lightening bolts that last for around 30 seconds each lighting up the whole sky, which is obviously followed by the, the thunder! I am not really a fan of thunder, I am getting used to it more now, it sounds like the sky is ripping apart and even shakes the house! Last night, there was a huge clap and I found myself doing an involuntary hop across the room to get away from it! I guess, when it shakes the house it kind of feels like an earthquake - or at least the sound does, anyway! 

We had an earthquake here our first week, it was 6.1 on the Richter scale but luckily very deep, but it was such a strange sensation, and although it didn't have a sound, it sounded like thunder, like a rumble before everything else started to shake! It being our first week, I did the complete wrong thing in panic and ran, when actually as our apartment was in a Rice field, I was perfectly safe where I was (George was out at the bank and didn't feel it because the roads are so bad!) After that, I found myself in a bit of a worrying state, late at night if I heard an aeroplane going over, I'd think it was another earthquake, every time we went to the beach I'd be planning my escape - I am a lot calmer now though, and it is not at the forefront of my mind...

No, that has been taken over by the thought of snakes!! It is my own fault, I watched a stupid programme about the deadliest animals in the south east Asia pacific region - and, yep - most deadly snakes can be found here in Bali! I now find myself looking at every pile of leaves, every tree, even shouting at the floor when I get out of the car in case any are underneath!! This is what I do though, I have an obsession and it stays with me for a while and it's all I can think about! I even had an idea yesterday of some night vision goggles, that didn't act on heat they somehow pick up snakes - I have no idea how, but I think it would be a winner! I think this would definately be a good one to take on Dragon's Den! George didn't agree, he said it was stupid - easy to say for a snake lover!! (Weirdo!) 

Speaking of deadly snakes, it has reminded me of a night over Christmas. We went to the Gili Islands, which are a group of three islands off Lombok, absolutely beautiful! One evening we were all sat around the bar there were a couple of locals with guitars entertaining us, it was a really nice chilled out night. Anyway, our friend, a South African diving instructor called Darren, shouted out "there is a snake on the bar" so, naturally I ran (not very far, I ended up standing on a table next to the bar, because here I was safe!?) The local man, had a baby cobra in a bottle and was teasing it, making him stand to attention as cobra's do, bearing in mind, we we're on a desert island, nearest hospital minimum 2-3 hours away and this would kill you in an hour! It turned out, he hunts the old fashioned way, with poison arrows - he had this snake for his darts! We all sat back down, pleased he had put the Cobra away - then, he bought out a sea snake!! This would kill you in 20 minutes! It really was one of the most surreal experiences of my life! Fascinating though, to think that people actually still hunt this way - we thought after, that having those snakes on the bar, was actually the same as him holding a loaded gun, crazy!!

Wow, I have really rambled! Here is a picture of the Gili islands, we stayed on Gili Meno, which is the middle island, there are no cars or bikes - only horse & carriage, walk, or cycle! Can't wait to go back there.

Our favourite place for lunch, looking out through the mangrove trees


Gemma xxx

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Surely I'm not the only one..!?

Ok, so before I do anything else each morning, I reach for the laptop and check the, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, you know the drill. But why is it, each morning I find myself reading a ridiculous new story which tells me easy ways to Lose up to a stone in a month without the dieting? I can't help myself, even though I know the contents of each any every article I will ever read on this subject!

Some examples of  a few this week - 

  1. The six secrets of the most successful slimmers
  2. Six Fat loss questions you need to know the answers to..
  3. Lose a stone in a month without dieting!!

On today's , my personal favourite tip was this;
Get fussy with fats
Avoid all high fat foods such as cream, chocolate, take outs, crisps, chips, puddings, cakes, biscuits and cheese

WHAT!? Give me strength!!

Each and every article says the same thing, but in different words when really I know the only way to lose weight is to Eat less, and move more! Couldn't be simpler...but why do we (I know it's not just me) make this the most difficult thing in the world?

I am not overweight, I do have to watch my weight - but I can't help but read these ridiculous miracle cure articles! I blame society, obviously :)

I wonder if there is a rehab for the giving up reading these ridiculous articles, I might need to check myself in..anyone want to join me?

Gemma xx

Monday, 23 January 2012

Book Review: Operation Mincemeat

I can't get this book out of my head, it was absolutely brilliant...

First of all, I'll start by telling you why I read this book - I had run out of things to read! My brother gave George this book amongst others to read while we were away, George read it in I think our first week here and loved it. i didn't fancy it at all, i thought it was a 'boys' book about the war, fighting and spies etc. But I was completely wrong..

One overcast April morning in 1943, a fisherman notices a corpse floating in the sea off the coast of Spain. When the body is brought ashore, it is identified as British Soldier, Major William Martin of the Royal Marines. A leather attache case, secured to his belt reveals an intelligence gold mine: top secret allied invasion plans.

But Major William Martin never existed. The body is that of a dead Welsh tramp and every single documetn is fake. Operation Mincemeat is the tru story of the most extraordinary deception plan ever planned by Churchill's spies - an outrageous lie that travelled from a Whitehall basement, all the way to Hitlers desk. 

The plot reveals the whole story, but the book goes much deeper. It tells the story of each character involved, detailing their background, what their part was in the operation and why they were chosen for their particular part. Which took this story away from my first perception of a 'boys' book, and turned it into one of the best books I have ever read. 

The plan doesn't always run smoothly, and although from the synopsis you know the Operation is a success, it keeps you right on the edge of your seat and you go through the emotions with the men and understand how they must have been feeling at each stage, the nerves, the suspense, the elation! 

The book is well written, well researched and easy to follow. My copy had a postscript at the back too where the author talks about letters he received, following the release of the book which I found interesting.

I had no idea really that spies did this kind of work - I thought a spy simply got into the enemies camp and fed information back, but no, that is just one small part. 

It reminded me of when I went to the Imperial War Museum in London a few years ago. I really didn't appreciate the museum as much as I would now being a little older. I think I was 18, I had been out the night before and had to borrow some of my cousins clothes which didn't fit as I hadn't packed appropriately, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a museum! One of the main memories of the museum, was in the submarine section; you could lie on one of the beds which showed you just how small and cramped it was for the men. I lay on a bed, and when I moved a man jumped out of his skin thinking I was part of the exhibition...although that story still makes me laugh, I think it shows that I need to re-visit the museum. I remember rushing through the spy section, that was too boring! I wanted to get to the part where they simulated an air raid! But, that could also be partly blamed on School - we were only really taught about the home front, rashions etc..

I have digressed slightly, but this book will definately stay with me for a while and has encouraged me to read & learn more about WW2, and i definately want to visit the Imperial War Museum again!!

Highly recommended, to anyone really. Those with an interest in WW2, or even those who don't, as I think this could change your mind - it has changed mine. 

Gemma xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Wet Weather Day...

Believe it or not, here in Paradise it's rainy season at the moment, with January being the wettest month! But, to be honest sometimes it is a nice break from the pulsing heat. 

I have a really bad vile heat rash all over my arms, legs, stomach and neck at the moment...I want to rip off my skin - I have cream, but it's rubbish - just have to ride it out, but urgh it is so hard! I struggle to stay out of the sun, feeling guilty for wasting a sunny day - but, as George keeps reminding me "we live here, there are loads of sunny days" I know, and I hate to admit it he is, I was extra glad for the rain yesterday! 

We decided, that rather than sitting in all day we would have a drive out to the cinema. We checked the listings and we're really pleased to find out that Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows was showing. So, we took a trip to the cinema.

It's great here, the tickets are only 40,000Rph which is about £3 - makes a huge difference to the whopping great prices in the UK! The only trouble is, people in Asia are very loud in the cinema - something we learnt when I dragged George along to see Breaking Dawn! They come in late and stand chatting in the ailse, rustle bags loudly, talk...and at one point, the girl next to me was even chatting on her phone! This is just one of the many cultural differences we have noticed..

Anyway, so the film..we loved the first Sherlock Holmes and this one did not disappoint! Robert Downy Jr plays an excellent Sherlock, a bit of an eccentric, extremely clever, but also very funny! (and also I might add, quite handsome for an older man). In fact all of the characters are really good Jude Law (who, for some reason I always get mixed up with Ewan McGregor) plays Dr Watson. Stephen Fry also made an appearance as Sherlock's brother, when I saw him I thought oh no, because I really can't stand him but actually he was good, and played a pretty convincing part. 

I really liked the fact that during the film when they find a clue they sum things up so you are able to follow the plot all the way through it doesn't just leave it until the end to try and figure everything out all at once. The 'baddie' in the film is almost as clever as Holmes, so it is touch and go a few times whether they will solve the mystery.....

It's hard to review a film without giving anything away, so I will sum up by saying I really recommend this film, it was action packed without being a 'boys' film, funny, exciting and leaves you wanting more..(with a little bit of eye candy thrown in) 

Gemma xxxx

Friday, 20 January 2012

Beautiful Bali Sunsets...

I am sat on our balcony looking out at the sun setting over the sea and the Rice fields, and thought that actually, one of my most favourite things about Bali, are the beautiful sunsets we get to see every day.

Here are two of my favourite sunset pictures..

Very short blog post today, it's Friday night so we are going to sit out on our balcony with a few bottles of Bintang (the local beer) and completely chill out for the evening, listen to music, chat and read our books! Wow in England I would never dream of spending my Friday night this way - long week at work; home, changed and straight to the pub!

That's one of the things about Bali, it is literally impossible to get stressed even when we have worked all week! How can you possibly feel stressed when watching sunsets like these!

I don't think so far I have seen an angry Balinese person.....nope, I really don't think I have - I'll have to check with George but I'm pretty sure we haven't! 

This one of me was taken on Kuta beach, every night 100's of people gather on the beach it is one of my favourite places to be at sunset! 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

My first exciting!!

Hey! I'm Gemma, I have always thought about starting a blog but didn't really have anything interesting enough to say...but, at the moment my life is pretty fun (well, to me anyway) so, here I am! 

The reason for this new found fun is, me and my boyfriend George are living in Bali..the paradise island of the Gods (according to the Indonesian Embassy) but seriously, apart from the God part they're right, it really is paradise! 

I think a good place to start with 'Gem Gem's dreamworld' is to tell you a little bit about me...I am 20-4,5,6...ok, I'm 27! ..this is a running joke between my friends in that I won't ever admit my real age. They, and I have actually forgot what the real number is - but, hey I'm fine with that! 

I have a boyfriend, George - he's a little younger so maybe that's where the age issue comes in, he's, yes I have a toyboy!

I love Reading, in fact I have a book obsession! Here in Bali we have to rely on book swaps, which is ok - but also hit and miss and they really tank the prices up!! But, so excited because my Nan has bought me a kindle, can't wait to receive it!! I will use the blog to review some of the books I read too...I am a member on Good Reads, which is slowly becoming a bit of an obsession...

That's another about me - I get obsessed with things quickly, like when I read Twilight it took over my life, next came Harry get where I'm going with this....

I am not really a fan of TV unless it's America's Next Top Model, I watch it religiously..!

My biggest fear in the world is bones - especially spines! Let me explain that, it's the look of them and the feel - I'm actually squirming as I type - to play leap frog, the person I was 'leaping' had to be wearing a very thick jumper!! My second worst fear is snakes - can't stop thinking about them (obsessive nature) now we're here in Bali...there are lots, venomous too :( 

My friends, and George call me the Queen of Random...I have a lot of random thoughts, which I just have to share with everyone, that could be another thing i blog, hence the name Gem Gem's Dreamworld...I'm in my Dream World a lot of the time!

That's it for now I think...I will be blogging Mainly Bali, Books & My Randomness, hope you enjoy!!