books

Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur

The first time I wrote about Milk & Honey was in the first ever edition of my Wishlist series, which you can read by clicking here. There was much hype surrounding the book, the implications and meanings of the poetry and almost every female within a 30 mile radius had this book in hand. Shortly after writing my wishlist post, I actually went on to buy the book. I’ve had it for a few months now, and read and re-read it I would say over ten times. I have completely fallen in love with Kaur’s prose, but I didn’t want to write a post on the book until I felt completely compelled to: until I understood the meanings and intentions behind her work, and until I felt like I could do the book justice. I think the time has come!

Firstly, I want to comment on the appearance of the book, how beautiful is the cover? I suppose it’s arguable that the book itself doesn’t affect the content: ‘do not judge a book by it’s cover’ etc, but it just looks so super pretty on my bookshelf. It had a matte black cover which feels so luxurious, and the monochrome colour scheme with a hint of honey-gold is both appropriate and gorgeous. I know it doesn’t affect the skill of Kaur’s words and the effect they have on the reader, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as a beautiful, well constructed book.

While on the topic of appearance, I’d also like to comment on the illustrations of the book. They aren’t the epitome of art; they aren’t super detailed, but they are functional, simple, and through this, become skilful and almost beautiful. The way in which the images seem to be hand-drawn almost with a ballpoint pen, makes the words even more relatable to everyday life, makes the pages adaptable to your own personal situations. Much like her words, the images are so simple that they take on their own beauty.

But now for the actual book itself: the ‘poetry.’ I quote the word ‘poetry’ because I’m not sure how far to argue that Kaur’s words do classify in this genre. Of course, the words themselves are not a novel, they do not progress into a storyline of such, but they do not seem to follow a metric, they do not form a conventional form of poetry. I’ve read much critique of Kaur’s work because of this, but isn’t this what makes the book unique, beautiful? The simplicity of her words and the uncomplicated nature of the structure, for me, is what makes the book so special. She is unapologetically brutal, she doesn’t miss a beat, and she talks of her themes with the utmost candour. For this, I have the utmost respect for Rupi Kaur. Anyone who is planning on reading this book should be aware of triggering topics such as sexual abuse and rape, topics of which she is very frank about. Her frankness and openness about such topics, are what make her a bold and incredible writer.

The book is split into four parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking and The Healing. It becomes almost a process; a cycle that I’m sure every woman has experienced or will experience at least once in her life. I love every part just as much as each other but I would say that The Healing is my favourite, it’s both empowering and reassuring. Below I have left some of my favourite quotes from each section. I fully recommend purchasing this book and giving it a read, you won’t be disappointed.

The Hurting

‘A daughter should not have to beg her father for a relationship’ (28)

‘I was made heavy: half blade and half silk, difficult to forget and not easy for the mind to follow’ (30)

‘the thing about having an alcoholic parent is an alcoholic parent doesn’t exist, simply an alcoholic who could not stay sober long enough to raise their kids’ (39)

‘you tell me quiet down cause my opinions make me less beautiful, but I was not made with a fire in my belly so I could be put out’ (30)

The Loving

‘I want to be so complete I could light a whole city and then I want to have you cause the two of us combined could set it on fire’ (59)

‘You might not have been my first love but you were the love that made all the other loves irrelevant’ (63)

‘you look like you smell of honey and no pain, let me have a taste of that’ (66)

‘how do you turn a forest fire like me so soft I turn into running water’ (65)

The Breaking

‘don’t mistake salt for sugar: if he wants to be with you he will, it’s that simple’ (85)

‘I didn’t leave because I stopped loving you, I left because the longer I stayed the less I loved myself’ (95)

‘I am a museum full of art but you had your eyes shut’ (100)

‘I had to leave, I was tired of allowing you to make me feel anything less than whole’ (107)

‘You cannot leave me and have me too, I cannot exist in two places at once – when you ask if we can still be friends’ (136)

The Healing

‘Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself’ (153)

‘If you were born with the weakness to fall, you were born with the strength to rise’ (156)

‘fall in love with your solitude’ (161)

‘your body is a museum of natural disasters, can you grasp how stunning that is?’ (173)

‘the world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it – there is nothing purer than that’ (185)

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travel

The Barcelona Diaries | Part Five: Park Güell

Today I post the fifth and final part of The Barcelona Diaries, and I’m even a little sad that they are over! I had the greatest time in Barcelona, even though at this point in June, my holiday to Barcelona was a little under 3 months ago! I have definitely saved the best for last, as this place was not only my favourite place that I visited in Barcelona, but possibly in the world. The beauty of Park Güell is as undeniable as the beauty of La Sagrada Família: Gaudí is a genius. I absolutely fell in love with his architecture at this point, and his style and technique was consistent with the artistic elements of La Sagrada Família.

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If you are planning on going to Park Güell, you should note that the nature reserve part of the park is open, and free to the public, but should you want to enter the central reservation of the park which contains Gaudí‘s architecture, you need to buy a ticket. You should book them in advance, online as it is quicker and easier, and much like the Sagrada Família, it saves a lot of waiting time. The ticket cost around €7 per person, and if you show your email confirmation when you arrived you will be permitted entrance. It should be noted that only 400 people are permitted into the park at a time, and so with each ticket you are given a half an hour window to enter the park (the timings are your choice).

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travel

The Barcelona Diaries | Part Four: Sunset

Part Four of the Barcelona Diaries surrounds a time of day, rather than a place, because I’ve never seen more beautiful sunsets than I did there. The sky was almost a milky-lilac colour and I loved it, and as the sun was just about to drop it turned the deepest of blue. I generally watched the sun set on Barceloneta beach or at Port Vell: two amazing places for anyone who is planning on going to the city. There is not much else to say for this entry, I shall let the photographs speak for themselves!

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travel

The Barcelona Diaries | Part Three: El Barrio Gótico

Being that we were staying in the Gothic Quarter, it was the first place we explored in Barcelona, and so with part three of The Barcelona Diaries comes my photographs of the gorgeous medieval streets of El Barrio Gótico. It was an absolutely gorgeous place to stay, and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who is planning on going to Barcelona. Aside from the gorgeous, stony alley ways of the barrio and the high stone walls of the cathedral, the Gothic Quarter has many authentic tapas, cocktail and wine bars to offer. You can find small trinket shops selling banal souvenirs, but also edgier places such as vegan deli cafes and juice bars. It’s one of the areas of Barcelona with the most character, and hopefully my photographs convey this.

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travel

The Barcelona Diaries | Part Two: La Basílica de la Sagrada Família

Here is the second instalment of my series: The Barcelona Diaries and today I bring to you La Sagrada Família. Possibly the most famous tourist attraction in Barcelona? You can definitely tell why, Gaudí’s work is absolutely stunning. Even though the building still isn’t finished, it doesn’t take away from the absolutely breathtaking exterior. When doing a tour of the city, the narration on the bus told us that Gaudí wasn’t concerned about the finish date of his Basílica de la Sagrada Família, because his ‘client is in no hurry’ as God has all the time in the world. The quote really stuck with me, as I think it shows his passion and patience for what he loves.

 

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I visited La Basílica de la Sagrada Família when I was 10 years old with my grandparents, and I loved it. It brought back a lot of nostalgia for me, and it is definitely a place I hold close to my heart. We actually bought a ticket to enter the building, which cost €18. I would say that if you are planning on visiting La Sagrada Família, you should book your tickets to enter the building online. We waited until we got there, and when you buy the ticket, you have to wait for the entry time. It makes for a lot of waiting around, so I would definitely book online. Also, we booked only the basic ticket, which gives you access to the ground floor only, but should you want to go into the towers or visit other areas, you will need to get an advanced ticket.

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travel

The Barcelona Diaries | Part One: Montjuïc

As promised in my previous travel post, today marks the first post in my ‘Barcelona Diaries’ series, and I’m starting with a beautiful area of the city: Montjuïc. We took a tourist bus around the city to make a list of all of the places we wanted to visit and explore, and Montjuïc was definitely at the top of my list. The viewpoints seemed to be absolutely gorgeous, and I was dying to reach the top and look back down on the entirety of Barcelona. After doing some googling, we soon learnt that it’s possible to take a cable car to the peak of the mountain, in total there are three stops, and the view from each stop was absolutely stunning.

From googling the cable car itself, we found that if you book your tickets online, you receive 10% discount, and after doing this our tickets were approximately €11 each (from the bottom to the top of Montjuïc and back again). You should be aware though, that if you book your tickets online, you need to print off the confirmation to hand in at the cable car station, otherwise the attendants won’t give you your tickets. There are ‘printing points’ around the city, which they will give you information about in the email. Alternatively, you can visit an internet cafe, which is what we did: there are many scattered around the city.

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There are two types of cable cars that you can take in the city: the one which takes you to the peak of Montjuïc (the one that I took), and another which takes you over Port Vell. I wish that we’d have had time to do this one, too, as Port Vell is a gorgeous place. Once reaching the peak of Montjuïc, we didn’t realise but there was the Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Castle). The lighting wasn’t cooperating as it was late afternoon and the sun was behind the castle, and so photographs didn’t seem to be possible, but it was a lovely surprise. There is also a lovely nature trail/pathway at the top, which you can walk round and have a stunning view over the port, and of course over the city in general: definitely worth it!

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travel

Segovia, Spain

Another travel post, and this time we took a 30 minute train from Madrid Chamartín to Segovia Guiomar! It seems kind of silly that it took this long for me to go to Segovia, as it seems to be the closest place to Madrid that was worth visiting. It definitely didn’t disappoint, and in a way it reminded me of Toledo, that is, quintessentially Spanish. Everything made of stone, the smell of tapas filling the streets and aged men drinking shots of coffee and smoking a cigar in small cafe bars. Being that Segovia is relatively small, we managed to see the main attractions in just a few short hours – the Aqueduct, the Cathedral and the Alcázar. We did a guided tour of the Cathedral itself, and reached the top of the tower which gave us gorgeous views of Segovia and it’s snowy mountains. We wandered through the Jewish Quarter, and through the narrow cobbled alley ways with hidden tapas bars and souvenir shops. We bought postcards and newspapers in the Plaza Mayor and also had a jug of Sangria while people-watching. And, as recommended to us by so many of our Spanish colleagues at work, we tried el cochinillo (the suckling pig): a Segovian speciality, and it was delicious! For anyone looking to do day trips from Madrid, Segovia is definitely the best choice.

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travel

Barcelona, Spain

Today’s post is another travel post, this time from the beautiful city of Barcelona, one of my favourite cities in the world! Barcelona is a city that brings so much nostalgia for me, as it is the first major European city I visited with my grandparents. Barcelona is a city which I liken to Porto in Portugal: it has the best of everything, it has a bustling city centre which is packed full of people, but it also has Port Vell and the beach, and so it has something for everyone’s taste. I spent 5 days and 4 nights in the city, and we stayed in El Barrio Gótico (The Gothic Quarter), which was a great location for anyone interested in visiting Barcelona. Barcelona is easy to walk through, everything seems to be well connected, but we bought a 10 trip metro ticket that lasted us the full 5 days and cost only around €10, so thats another great tip for anyone visiting the city soon! We ate churros by the Port, wandered down Passeig de Lluís Companys and under the Arc de Triomf and we took a tour of Camp Nou Stadium. The star of the show truly was Antoni Gaudí: we passed by the Casa Milà and the Casa Batlló, we visited the Basílica de la Sagrada Família and even went inside and saw the beauty of the interior, and we visited the most beautiful attraction, and arguably my favourite place in Barcelona: Park Güell. We had a night out at Jamboree (a great R&B/hip hop club for anyone interested), we wandered down La Rambla and we watched the sun set at the beach. Another gorgeous place that we visited was Montjuïc, we took a cable car to the peak and visited the castle. In all, Barcelona did not disappoint: it was everything I remembered, everything I expected and even more, and will forever be one of my all time favourite cities!

Before I let you move on and see the photographs I took of the city, I have decided that I took so many photographs, and treasure Barcelona so much, that I’m going to use those photographs to start a series of posts: The Barcelona Diaries. It will be a five part series, and I will be writing individually about my favourite places in Barcelona. So keep a look out for upcoming posts! 

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travel

La Catedral de Salamanca

As I’ve previously written, I visited the city of Salamanca in Spain (around 2 hours away from Madrid on a high speed Renfe train), and whilst I was there, I visited the cathedral. I was going to briefly write about this in my travel post, but I decided that the cathedral was just too beautiful to brush over in a general post. So this post is dedicated to the stained glass windows, the gold plated chapels and the intricate details of the dome. No flash photography is allowed inside the cathedral, but photos without flash are permitted and so below I have included some that I took during my visit. I haven’t visited many cathedrals or churches, but I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was! The ticket was around €4, discounts for retirees, students and young children are available, and I was given a handset which explained each area of cathedral in detail, in English (many languages are available). I don’t believe that my photographs capture the true beauty of the cathedral, so if you ever happen to find yourself in Salamanca or nearby, you should definitely pay a visit.

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