For the Rebel With a Cause: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

October 31, 2019

For the Rebel With a Cause, a book review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton| Read it on

I was hooked from the very first paragraph,

"They said the only folks who belonged in Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good. I wasn't up to no good. Then again, I wasn't exactly up to no bad neither." 

*Rubs hands together excitedly* 
*Sips tea* 
*Tightens ponytail*

With an intro like that, it has got to be good!

The first line of Rebel of the Sands literally sucks you right into the story. From the get-go, you can tell that the main character is a BOSS (emphasis on the B, O, S, and S). And from that first paragraph onwards, a fantastic rough and tumble, action-packed, magic-filled adventure ensues. This is the tale of the birth of a legend and how an oppressed group of people are slowly regaining their strength. Of how one girl went from focusing on her own survival to being the key to her people's salvation, in a society where speaking up for yourself (especially as a female) can prove fatal.

Amani is a desert girl who has learned how to shoot before she could walk. A useful skill when people around are mean and the landscape is even tougher to navigate, for the desert is home to mystical creatures and beings who are quite deadly. But something is stirring in both Amani and her beloved country and her search for freedom rises just as her people begin to search for their own.
As Amani works her way to freedom, twists and turns along the way reveal the true secret about her past that will help her to unlock her country's future.

Honestly, I am a sucker for a book about anywhere warm, a heroine with spunk and bite, and a good old fashioned revolution, and this one by far takes the cake. In this book, we're taken on a cross-country journey through treacherous territory and amid death-defying feats, all the while untangling a sticky web of secrets and lies that reveal just enough to spark the beginning of the revolution and kickstart the first installment in the series. Amani is quick-witted, severely honest and incredibly brave, and smart. It makes her a heroine worth following anywhere. I can't wait to read the next book.

For the Rebel With a Cause, a book review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton| Read it on
Like it? Pin it! Share it!

Discovering the 1000 Islands

October 18, 2019
Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

Since I was a little kid, I dreamed of getting my driver's license, putting the pedal to the metal (figuratively of course) and going on a road trip with my friends. Our journey would have all the makings of the typical girls trip road trip. There would be plenty of singing, story-telling, laughter, and roadside pitstops and burgers. At the time, I envisioned that we would have a big map sprawled out on the dashboard, and yes, we would get lost a few times, but each twist and turn would make the stories we would share with our grandkids all the funnier. So, I waited to turn 16 with great anticipation. Then my 16th birthday came and went. No license, no car, no road trip. Then my 17th birthday came and went. Then my 18th, my 19th…you get the picture.

Finally, this summer (at the age of 21) my dream came true. Friends? Check. License? In my purse. Music? Already organized into a long playlist. Car? Fueled and ready to go. Destination? The second star to the right and straight on till morning. (No, I kid, it's Mallorytown).

So, one summer morning, my friends and I piled in my Jeep (the perfect road tripping car, honestly, especially if going semi-all terrain like we did) with our belongings and a stash of food and cool tunes and we headed towards Mallorytown, the doorway to the aptly-named 1000 Islands. With me at the wheel, and a full tank of gas our adventure began as we drove towards our destination: a lovely AirBnB hosted by the equally lovely Ruth.

Honestly, while Mallorytown itself is quite dull, but if you bring a car — and I would highly suggest you do so you can head to neighbouring towns (like Brockville and Gananoque) and discover the thrills and delights that each place has in store, on top of exploring what the region's 1000 Islands have in store for you. One thing to note about the 1000 Islands, is that the islands are actually split between the US and Canada. Therefore, if you plan to do any island hopping (even if it's via canoe or something), make sure to have your passport on hand.

Day 1: Mallorytown

Despite being completely wiped out from our drive down, we were determined to make the most of our stay. The scenery in Mallorytown is beautiful, especially the waterfront. So we decided to spend the afternoon after our drive on the beach. We walked a good 40 minutes to get there (because we could not stand being in a car any longer) and enjoyed a very relaxing time in the cool blue water. Then we kicked off our first night with good old fashioned pizza (the epitome of girl's trip cuisine) at Brockville's Boston Pizza.

Day 2:  Gordon's Island 

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

There was no time to waste. So after a lovely breakfast provided by our host, we headed out in search of adventure. After some searching, we found a canoe rental place with our name all over it. We drove to Gananoque (another gateway to the 1000 Islands) to rent a canoe to go visit some of the islands. In the end, we only ended up exploring one, but only because a) canoeing was harder than we remembered it being and b) we encountered plenty of surprises that day, that made us stay at our chosen location even longer. Thus, we spent the day at the neighbouring Gordon Island, where we met a lovely and diverse group of experienced sailors and houseboat renters who quite literally showed us the ropes. We learned how to tie a boat to the dock, they gave us a tour of their houseboat, and they provided us with floaties and a ladder to get in and out of the lake. They were so kind! We ate food, swam around, played games, explored the island, and then we canoed home.

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer
Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

Day 2: The Brockville Tunnel

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

That evening we headed to Brockville, to witness the famed Brockville Tunnel. The tunnel is essentially a decommissioned railway tunnel that runs through a good portion of the underground of the town. The highlight by far is the changing colours, lighting, and music that makes the walk more interesting and allows for some pretty fun photo opportunities.

Day 3: Home?

Since it was our last day together, so we squeezed in as much fun as we possibly could. After a yummy breakfast provided by Ruth—she makes some great muffins—we drove to the nearby National Park and did two hikes. (Note: Make sure to bring bug spray, because mosquitoes and flies up there do not mess around). Then we began our equally adventurous journey back home.

Pit Stop 1: Reid's Dairy Parlour, Belleville, Ontario 

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

My friends insisted that we stop here, for this ice cream parlour is famed for their high-quality dairy and their enormous portions of ice cream offered at super low prices. I will be the first to admit that it was well worth the stop. We got sooooo much ice cream for like $3. I am still in shock and am looking forward to stopping by again to try the other myriad of unique flavours available.

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

Pit Stop 2: Sandbanks Dunes Beach (aka The Dunes), Prince Edward County, Ontario

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer

The waiter at the Brockville Boston Pizza had recommended that we check out The Dunes. According to him, it was a beach in Prince Edward County that was known for its Caribbean-like waters and sand that made you forget that you were just somewhere in the middle of Ontario. We could not pass up this opportunity and so we decided to see for ourselves if The Dunes were all that it was cracked up to be. It was. The sand was lovely and the water was great apparently, but I was way too tired to get wet again (but it gets two thumbs up from Myriam and Printsessa on my behalf). (P.S. Printsessa is also a Youtuber! So make sure to check her videos out for more fun content)

Pit Stop 3: Toronto (finally!)

We got home in safe, sound, and exhausted, but excited for all of the adventures next summer has in store for us.

Discovering the 1000 Islands | Read it on #Travel #Roadtrip #Canada #Adventure #Explore #Globetrotter #Summer
Like it? Pin it! Share it!

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes

October 01, 2019

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes. Read it on #Travel #Food #Lubumbashi #DemocraticRepublicofCongo

I was in Lubumbashi (a major city in the Democratic Republic of Congo) this summer where I got a great chance to get back to my roots. It was a trip full of firsts! It was my first time meeting my grandmother and many, many of my beloved cousins. It was my first time having a dog (well, three to be exact). And it was my first time going anywhere in Africa. We stayed for a little over a month, and throughout our stay, we had a variety of big and small adventures, that both taught me a lot about life, and myself.

Our stay in Lubumbashi taught me a lot about patience, creativity, and improvisation. Coincidentally, those are the very same characteristics required for baking. The city is probably the antonym of the term "reliable electricity", in fact, it is essentially synonymous with "power cuts". But no matter where I am, the baking bug cannot be squashed. I was determined to make the best of it, and so I have learned how to bake on-the-fly, by trusting my instincts, using a little scientific logic, having an adventurous spirit (and an empty stomach) determined to create whatever the desired food happened to be. 

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes. Read it on #Travel #Food #Lubumbashi #DemocraticRepublicofCongo

A few days after arrival, my desired food turned out to be crêpes. And so, one morning, I woke up completely determined to make them. The electricity woke up to and decided that it was going to take a day, and so, lo and behold we were out of power. The solution was simple. I would have to rely on the old school method of pure fire, an old school charcoal grill (Makala in Swahili), and my own stamina (I was pretty hungry at that point, and refused to eat anything but crêpes) to make them. I am sure that both the grill masters and crêpes legends of yesteryear, were rolling around in their graves as I poured the first bit of batter in the pan. But who cares. They were great! It took forever (so long in fact that I never did end up having breakfast, we ended up eating them for late lunch, but nevertheless, mission accomplished), but they were very good. Overall, it was a lot of fun too because I learned a new skill, and I finally got to bake for my grandma and family--I know that they enjoyed them very much (although they did hope that I would be a bit faster next time, oops).

Here is a short list of other things I baked with substitutions:
  • Sugar cookies without eggs
    • We had run out of eggs, and I really wanted cookies right then and there, and I so I used mayonnaise instead. Listen, it sounds awful, but it works!
  • Pound cake without any leavening...just a lot of intensely beaten eggs
    • It's needless to say that my hands were exhausted after that
  • Pizza dough and pizza, without electricity (sort of)
    • Thankfully, there were no substitutions, but there was also no power at one point. Sigh. So, the pizza crust was not as crunchy as it should have been, but it was still pretty good.
  • Pancakes without light
    • Well, the lightbulb burst, in the kitchen of all places. But I really wanted pancakes, so by the light my solar lamp and iPhone, I made a batch of pancakes for our guests.

By the way, the recipe I used is my all-time favourite one from Ricardo's cuisine: Thin Breakfast Crêpes

For the Sweet Tooth: Old School Crêpes. Read it on #Travel #Food #Lubumbashi #DemocraticRepublicofCongo
Like it? Pin it! Share it!