Successes and achievements in 2023

 Well hello to you my reader chums! 2023 has been one of the best years yet and I'm grateful for all the incredible experiences, achievements and life lessons I've learnt across the way. It started out with the trip of a lifetime backpacking again, launching my business, settling into home life and many moments in between.

As the year ends, I'm in reflection mode and want to share my successes and achievements in 2023.

Successes and achievements in 2023

Backpacking across Asia for 3 months

I've been dreaming of returning to the backpacking way of life and Asia since 2019 and the dream come true this year for a longer time, across 3 months and the blessing of visiting 7 countries. I had the best ever time roaming around Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. I still can't believe all the sights I witnessed, the food I ate, the people I met and the memories I made with my partner. It's a dream I think about regularly and wish to relive every single moment.

Falling in love with my new home town

I moved away from home a few months before travelling but didn't get the chance to settle in properly until I returned home from backpacking. Since that point, I've been welcomed with a warm feel by the wonderful local community. My seaside town has plenty going on, from the beach, the sights, the creative community to the calm in the air.

Kickstarting my full-time business

I finally made my dream come true this year by launching my freelancing business, The Violet Network. I'm now a full-time freelance copywriter and social media specialist and I've spent 2023 learning many business lessons and the realities of freelancing life. I've enjoyed every minute, even the harder times of building up the business and the opportunities it has brought me. I can't wait to see what the next year or so brings.

Started writing my 6th book

I'm still trying to figure out how I've already written 5 books and this year, I've started my 6th. I've always wanted to write a book with a twin potline as I have a twin sister and wanted to share my experience through a fictional tale. I've loved working on it and can't wait to develop it further. 

My first public speaking gig

Public speaking was always something that terrified me and I really wanted to finally do it, and this year I had the chance. I joined a writing club and part of it was reading out our work in progress - and I did it, I read a book I've written in front of a room of people.

Building a community around me

Moving to a new town, I dealt with a lot of adjustments getting used to my new surroundings and meeting new people. However, I've managed to attract the most amazing community of people in my town, made loads of new friends and adapted my relationships with home friends which are still thriving.

Living with my partner

I moved in with my partner a couple months before we went backpacking together and I didn't get to fully embrace how much I loved it. This year when we returned home, I fell in love with having our own place, living in each other's pockets and doing life with each other - and I'm forever grateful for that.

What a year! There have been a million other successes and achievements over the past year that I'm grateful for. From the travels, the lessons, the friendships, and my family to wholesome moments, it has been a brilliant, insightful and loving year.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your achievements this year?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: My Policeman by Bethan Roberts

Well hello to you my reader chums! I’ve seen the book ‘My Policeman’ everywhere especially as it was made into a film last year and I wanted to see what the hype was about.

If you’re looking for a book about forbidden love, here’s my full review of My Policeman by Bethan Roberts.

Book review: My Policeman by Bethan Roberts


Set in 1950s Brighton, the plot follows Marion when she first meets Tom and is completely smitten, convinced their love will be enough for both of them. A few years later, Patrick meets Tom and is in awe of him straight away. Tom is their policeman and in the time of the 1950s, it’s safer for Tom to marry Marion. The two lovers have to share him until someone breaks and their lives are destroyed.

Characters and relationships

The plot is told from Marion's and Patrick’s perspectives, flipping between the two helping you understand their true feelings.

Marion is a strong-willed woman with set opinions and an intelligent mind, and I love her attitude. Working as a school teacher and with the ambition to thrive in her career, she’s already defying the odds of what a woman should be like in the 1950s. Her love for Tom is precious, endearing and obsessive. She falls in love with him from the first minute she sees him and it grows with time as she develops into a woman. I enjoyed how Marion describes her everyday life including her relationship with honesty, making her more relatable and likeable as a character.

Patrick is a unique character with a sophisticated flare and an obsessive attitude toward love. He’s an artist and has that stereotypical personality of a creative, liking the finer things in life, and being cultured in the way of art, opera, literature and music. His prestigious personality is intriguing with the need and wants to understand him better. Patrick is also brave, sticking to being who he is in a time when such things are forbidden.

Tom as a character is misunderstood, and weighed down by caring more for others' opinions than living a life he knows he truly wants, even if it’s forbidden. He’s loyal with a hard-working attitude and needs to impress those around him. My heart went out to Tom as I could see how much he would have loved to live his truth and couldn’t.

The relationships in this book are intense for different reasons. Marion and Tom’s because essentially, it’s a lie. Marion’s love carries that relationship and she adores every inch of him that her desperation hides Tom’s true feelings. Patrick and Tom’s relationship, on the other hand, are mutually passionate and obsessive, however, Patrick more than Tom in a sense, is more open to the risky side of their being together. Patrick and Marion’s relationship grows to be intense once she understands what’s really going on.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I liked this book and can see why it’s raved about by many. Initially, it took me a while to get into it and understand whose perspective was being told. However, once I was hooked on the characters and their story, I was intrigued and also saddened. It’s heartbreaking reading a story of forbidden love due to societal views in what seems to be a modern time.

The book overall is eye-opening, heartbreaking and insightful of what love can mean in a time when it isn’t allowed to be expressed.


As the book went on, I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to end, there weren’t any hints or expectations. However, the ending to the book was a content one, with a heartbreaking feel like the rest of the novel.

I hope you enjoyed this review. What are you currently reading?

Thank you for reading <3

Boosting your mood in the winter months - my best tips

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Cold season has arrived which means darker nights, shorter days and the lead-up to Christmas. I'm going to admit, I struggle immensely during this time of year with the freezing mornings and dreary atmosphere. I'm a summer baby and thrive in hot weather, with blue skies and a peppy atmosphere.

If you're someone who struggles with seasonal depression or low mood in the cold weather, here are my best tips to boost your mood in the winter months.

Boosting your mood in the winter months - my best tips

Get outside for a walk a day

With limited daylight hours, it's more important than ever to make the most of the daylight when it's there. Whether that's just popping outside for ten minutes or an hour, going for a walk a day will do you wonders. I prefer this either first thing in the morning or during my afternoon slump to give me the boost I need for the rest of the day.

Stay social with friends and families

It's incredibly easy to go into hibernation mode in the winter months, especially if you're an introvert like me. Due to this, staying social is key to helping you feel part of the community. Try and make plans with friends and family, whether that's popping around someone's house for dinner, planning a games night or a day out somewhere. Whatever the plan, implementing social situations can boost your mood as you can bounce off people's energy.

Keep to your usual routine

I know it's hard to stick to a routine when it's dreary outside, however, I find a usual routine keeps me feeling much better. Even if you wake up later, keep to that morning routine and night routine. For me, it's waking up and reading a chapter or two of my book and then doing some form of exercise before breakfast. It really helps to start my day on a high.

Treat yourself with kindness

Beating yourself up is a lot easier when you're feeling glum or down due to the weather. This is why something like a positivity log is helpful, using affirmations or treating yourself to something that makes you happy, will boost you up. You can also set boundaries, talk kinder to yourself and give yourself more breaks to help with this.

Eat nutritionally-heavy food 

Diet and what you eat really can change how you feel. I'm not going to advise you on what to eat, however, what I would say is to eat the foods which make your mind and body feel good. Whatever these foods are, introduce more into your diet for this period.

Doing something you love every day 

Filling your day with positivity and joy can help boost your mood immensely and doing something you love every day helps. Whether it's reading a book, baking a cake, doing a yoga class or having a film night, whatever the activity, ensure it's something that makes you happy. 

Ensure you're getting enough vitamin D intake

The problem with the winter months is the lack of sunlight and therefore, the lack of vitamin D. During this time, ensuring you get enough vitamin D is crucial. This could be by getting sunlight where possible, taking quality vitamin D supplements or eating more foods rich in the vitamin.

Find a form of exercise that works for you

Exercise does wonders for my mental health, especially during the winter months. Every person likes different types of exercise to boost their mood. For example, I like to go running (weather dependent), pilates, yoga and walks. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Mai Chau, Vietnam: everything to know before visiting

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I fell in love with Mai Chau as soon as I arrived. It's a quaint village located in northern Vietnam, renowned for endless rice fields and a wholesome, nature appeal. There isn't much going on but that's the beauty of it, an opportunity for peace. 

If you're planning a trip to Mai Chau, here's my guide to everything you should know about visiting Mai Chau in Vietnam.

Mai Chau, Vietnam: everything to know before visiting

It's completely residential

Mai Chau is a village that is mainly filled with locals. You're essentially staying in a residential hub of those who work on the rice fields and because of that, don't expect an over 'tourist' appeal. The village is gorgeous and the perfect opportunity to switch off and just be. As it is pretty rural, don't expect attractions everywhere, just pure wonders of natural rice fields.

Restaurant options are limited

I'm not sure if it's the time we visited or what, but the restaurant scene wasn't massive. I'm talking a handful of restaurants around to choose from and that's why I ended up dining in the homestay, my partner and I were staying at. 

Enjoy homestay living

Speaking of homestays, expect those in the bucket load here as it's the main form of accommodation with many to choose from. And, a chance to enjoy countryside views and live with the locals, learning more about them and their culture. I loved my Mai Chau homestay, it was a quaint cabin with a balcony, overlooking the rice fields.

Rice fields change throughout the year

The rice fields change depending on the season and the weather. In springtime (March to May) and autumn (September to November), the rice fields turn a golden-yellow colour before harvesting. Whilst, for the classic green rice fields, February and August is the optimum time to witness this. I visited in February and was blessed with gorgeous green rice fields - a sight I'm still not over.

Hiring a bicycle is the best way to get around

Cycling around picturesque green rice fields on a bike is an experience like no other. If you want to explore the village and beyond, hiring a bike is key and what most visitors do to see the natural sights and get a taste of village life.

Spring and autumn have the best weather

The weather changes and can influence when you'd like to visit. The spring and autumn months have the best weather as it's mild and warm. The summer season is monsoon/rainy season and floods are known to create havoc on the roads. Wintertime is pleasant enough in terms of temperatures but gets cooler at night so it's important to bring layers.

You can reach Mai Chau by bus from Hanoi

Mai Chau is easily reachable from Hanoi and buses are pretty regular. As it only takes around three and a bit hours, you can leave early morning and arrive by lunchtime.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning to visit?

Thank you for reading <3

How to Choose an Adventurous New Hobby | AD

Well hello to you my reader chums! Adventure is my top priority in life and I love exploring the unknown.

How to Choose an Adventurous New Hobby

AD - This is a paid content placement 

Remember that old saying about all work and no play making Jack and Jill dull? While a lot of work might not make you dull or less sharp at your job, a lack of downtime does not encourage a healthy work-life balance. This is why you should always have hobbies that you love and are ready to jump into at any given time.

By taking the time to enjoy recreational activities you are actually setting yourself up for more success in your freelancing adventures, business journey, or just as an employee. If you like a bit of adventure in your downtime then here are some hobbies you need to try.

Get On Your High Horse

One of the first things that you need to try out is polo. Maybe you have never heard of this sport before or maybe you have but have never thought that this could be for you.

Climbing up on horseback may be something that you find yourself gravitating towards after you have tried it.

This sport is called the Sport of Kings in part for its gallantry. Get an excellent horseback ride and learn some equestrian skills while you chase after a ball. Polo is also a uniform sport so if you get on a team you will have gorgeous Polo team shirts given to you.

If adventure is your middle name then you can't afford to miss this one.

Jump About With Parkour

Parkour is one of those heart-pounding sports that is rated Grade A for adventure. You'll be vaulting, leaping, and flipping on the landscape with this sport.

If you like a lot of physical activity then this is definitely something that you should consider.

Getting around obstacles becomes an art form for those who love this sport. You can blend athleticism with horses.

Trampoline Dodgeball

If you've never heard of this unusual adventure then you are not alone. Many people haven't. However, it's worth it for you to take a deep dive into this unique world of us sporting and hobbying.

You're going to be placed in a room full of trampolines, after which you will start bouncing and dodging balls to your opponent's throw at you.

Underwater Hockey

Get your feet wet with underwater hockey. You're going to get quite a rush when you try out this sport. Of course, since humans are not fish you're going to need some equipment to go underwater.

Masks and snorkels as well as a small stick should help you navigate your way around the underwater with this sport. This is all you need to get going and you are sure to enjoy all the time when you are practicing this sport.

If you're ready to take on a brand new hobby that is going to see you tackling adventures and having something to talk with your friends about, then any of the three hobbies that have been described here may be just what you are looking for. Always do your research into each of them before you select one you think is right for you.

Thank you for reading <3

Lessons I've learned about growing a business as a freelancer

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I love being a freelancer; it has its pros and cons but it's exciting and the best decision I've ever made. I went full-time freelance this year in April and within these 8 months, I've learnt a lot about how to build a business, develop my craft and made many mistakes along the way.

Freelancing is hard graft, it's challenging like any other business, however, it has taught me resilience, confidence and assurance that I can do it. If you're new to freelancing, here are the lessons I've learned about growing a business as a freelancer.

Lessons I've learned about growing a business as a freelancer

Networking is key

It's always about who you know, not what you do and networking is a great example of that. To build clientele, learn who is in the industry and gain confidence with others, networking truly is key. I've loved how I've put myself out there with networking as the thought of it did terrify me. However, the more I did it, the more I began to enjoy it and reap the rewards. 

Networking, whether it's virtually or in person, meeting new people benefits you when finding new work and can build up your referrals. It also helps with learning from others and you can ask for help with any business issues you have from like-minded individuals.

Freelancing is hard work

I knew starting a business would be hard and building up clientele. However, I didn't quite grasp the graft that freelancing takes. If I'm not looking for work, I'm doing the client work. Then there's also the admin aspect, marketing, networking and constantly following up to create and retain business. It can be hard to switch off but the benefits and rewards outweigh the work you put in.

High and low periods are normal

I had an idea about how up and down freelancing would be before I started but I realised it when I launched. Some months, I can be very busy and other months, things can be the complete opposite - and that's normal. It's all about embracing the waves, planning accordingly and enjoying the process. In the high periods, I'm exceptionally organised and thrive on my work, whilst during the quiet, I work on my marketing, admin and networking.

Failure is normal

Failure is all part of the learning process. If you don't fail, how will you succeed? With business, you need to make mistakes and take risks, otherwise, you're not going to thrive or make waves in what you do. If you fail, it doesn't mean you should give up. It means you should try again but try it differently. Accept failure and take it in your strive. It doesn't mean your business won't do well. 

Learning is a positive thing

The best thing you can do as a business owner is learn. Learning should never stop, whether it's online training or meeting other people, you will always be learning. Ensure as a business owner, you embrace the learning as much as you can and know, it's never a waste of time or resources.

Marketing is crucial to business growth

I've worked in marketing all my adult life and it's what I specialise in as a freelance copywriter and social media specialist. With that in mind, I know the power of marketing and doing it effectively. Don't miss out on investing time and money in marketing as it'll help your business stand out and build your brand awareness.

Running my own business is everything I ever wanted

I've dreamed of being my own boss for as long as I can remember. Now, I'm my own boss, I can live my life on my terms, choosing my schedule and picking who I want to work with. I can align my life with my values and overall dreams.

A support system is everything

As freelancing is hard, having a support system around me has done wonders when I'm struggling with the quiet periods. I'm forever grateful to my family, friends and partner for their encouragement, love and support.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What lessons have you learned if you're a freelancer?

Thank you for reading <3

First-time advice for backpackers in South East Asia - my tips and tricks

 Well hello to my reader chums! Backpacking has my heart. I've backpacked on two occasions, once in 2019 and again, earlier this year. During those periods, I travelled for two months and three months and each trip taught me loads about myself, how I travel and what I love about the world.

If you're considering going backpacking for the first time or planning your trip, here's my guide to first-time advice for backpackers.

First time advice for backpackers in South East Asia - my tips and tricks

Don't overpack

You'll be carrying your backpack around the entire duration of your trip and the last thing you'll want is something to weigh you down too much. I always say, pack what you think you need and then half it. When it comes to clothes and toiletries, you can buy more when you're out there. Plus, the weather is incredibly hot, so you won't need to wear a lot. Backpacking isn't a fashion show, you don't need fancy clothes, and you should pack lightweight layers, which are practical and easy to wear for every occasion, and weather. Trust me, a lot of your clothes will get ruined!

Always overcompensate with budget - and have a safety net

South East Asia is cheap, that's why it attracts a large amount of backpackers every single year. Although, despite the cheap price of everything, you want to overprepare just in case. Whether you find an expensive excursion when you're roaming around, you see a souvenir you fall in love or you want to treat yourself to a posher restaurant. On the flip side, you never know what expenses will show up, such as getting in an accident, losing money or getting scammed. You can't plan for the unexpected and that's why it's good to overcompensate so you'll have the budget to cover it.

Buy travel insurance

Similar to overcompensating with money, you want to be prepared for the unexpected and that's where travel insurance comes in. Travel insurance is essential for medical needs abroad and anything else you need to be covered, such as cancellation of the trip or any outdoor activities you are thinking of going on. Travel insurance will help cover you for any instances or things that don't go to plan, saving you loads of money to shell out at that moment.

Have cash on you always 

South East Asia is renowned for using cash for all payments, such as restaurants, cafes, transport and souvenirs. Due to this, don't expect to show up and pay for everything with a card. Always have cash on hand, or load all your money on a travel card/bank card and take it out in one of the local ATMS. 

Research the 'dos' and 'dont's' of your destination's culture

Every destination has different rules and cultural norms and it's important to be respectful when you jet off somewhere new. Do all the necessary research when it comes to societal norms to ensure you're respectful of the location and the people. This could be covering up in temples or not breaking any laws of the land.

Prepare for the weather seasons

The seasons are wildly different, from dry to wet and it's important to prepare for both. Dry seasons mean it's hotter and you need to be packed and prepped for that. Whilst wetter seasons, you'll likely experience more dangerous weather situations and a lot more rain. This means packing waterproofs and layers and being mentally prepared for not having picture-perfect weather every day. Also, different countries in South East Asia have different seasons so also be aware of that.

Learn the scams of the land

As backpacking is incredibly common across South East Asia, scams are rife for tourists. Common scams are widely written about online and you should spend time researching what could happen where you're going. For instance, if you don't set a price at the beginning of a tuk-tuk ride, the driver may charge you a lot more.

Get used to haggling 

Haggling is key to getting the most out of your money in Southeast Asia and why you need to learn how to do it best. You'll be haggling when it comes to markets and tuk-tuk rides and sometimes in souvenir shops too - be alert and be the way to get the best price.

Book the appropriate vaccines

Your health is the most important thing, especially when you're travelling as it's that level of health which will keep you going. Before you travel long-term, speak to your doctors about the appropriate vaccines you need. Depending on where you live and your doctors, some vaccines may be free whilst others you may have to pay for. On my first trip, my vaccines were free but on the second trip, I paid around £400 for vaccines as I went to more rural destinations.

Go with an open mind

The beautiful part of backpacking around South East Asia is everything you'll learn along the way, the unique experiences, delicious food and welcoming people. It's probably one of the best experiences you can have and the perfect opportunity to be open-minded. You never know who you'll meet or what you'll experience along the way.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning this trip?

Thank you for reading <3

Dealing with the quieter periods as a freelancer

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Freelancing is HARD. It's an up-and-down road for sure and getting used to that wave is all part of being a freelancer. I have to admit, this wave is something I struggle with, especially the quieter periods. 

If you're new to freelancing or struggling with your mental health, here is my advice on dealing with the quieter periods as a freelancer

Dealing with the quieter periods as a freelancer

Focus on the admin side of your business

Freelancing is a blessing and a curse as it's forever either busy or quiet. With that in mind, in busy periods, it can be harder to deal with the admin side of your business. Whether that's emailing, following up on invoices, updating your website or organising your calendar, these tasks are tedious but great to do during quieter periods.

Work on your website/update your portfolio

Your website and portfolio showcase who you are, what you offer and the quality of your work. For all prospective clients, they want to know this information and why it's crucial to ensure it's up to date. This means adding all new projects to your portfolio and keeping your website updated with relevant prices and information.

Delve into passion projects

I love a passion project as it really helps boost my creativity and spark my imagination, which in turn, benefits my work. Passion projects can be whatever you want them to be and a focus which will take you away from work but also give you a focus when things are quiet. My passion projects include this blog and my novels. 

Work on the marketing for your business

Marketing is key to helping build your personal brand and grow your online presence. In the quieter periods, this is the time to work on your marketing. Whether that's setting up an email marketing newsletter, mapping out your monthly social media content or writing blog posts. Whatever your marketing strategy is utilise this time to enforce working on it.

Pitch/search for new clients and work

Looking for work is difficult and tedious especially when a project comes to a close unexpectedly. Utilise this time to search for new clients and work. This could be pitching for a company you love, reaching out on LinkedIn or searching on freelancer-type websites. 

Go to networking events

Networking I found is one of the best ways to meet new potential clients, learn who is in your industry and grow your skills. Plan more networking events during the quieter times as you'll have more time and energy to focus on speaking with others.

Revisit and update your positivity log

In the quieter periods, for me, self-doubt hits like a tonne of bricks. At this time, you should (if you haven't already) create a positivity log and revisit it this time. This log should include any feedback you've had from a personal and professional perspective.

I hope you enjoy this post. What else would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Write Way To Die by Jo Bavington-Jones

 Well hello you my reader chums! I'm a big murder mystery nerd and especially love it when a book is set somewhere local. My partner got me this book and I was very intrigued by the title and how it was about a writing group, and from an author I hadn't heard before.

If you're a fan of dark humour, and honesty and are a writer yourself, you will love The Write Way To Die by Jo Bavington-Jones - and here is my full review.

Book review: The Write Way To Die by Jo Bavington-Jones


The plot is about Amy who leaves her job at the vets to pursue her writing career. When one of the customers, Jenny comes in one day and mentions she's a writer too, she invites Amy to join her writing group. There she meets many like-minded writers and every week they have the opportunity to share ideas with each other. When the pandemic happens, their weekly meetings are moved virtually and they begin exchanging their murder stories, for everyone to enjoy and critique. Each story has a different tone to it and when it gets to Robert's story, his story is the darkest of them all, with the aim to make a killer nickname for himself.

Characters and relationships

The protagonist Amy is a brilliantly written character of a truly honest woman, who is unapologetically herself - and that's why she was really great to read about. I love how she dared to walk away from her job and pursue her writing dream, even if she struggled in the process. Her obsession with chocolate oranges made me laugh as she was even more relatable. She was typically British in every way and the perfect protagonist for a novel like this. 

Amy's best friend Cameron had to be one of my favourite characters because he seemed like someone who always knew how to have fun and bring joy. I loved their relationship as it was real and honest, and how every good friendship should be. It's one of those friendships that shows you can meet a good friend at work and continue that friendship.

My favourite friendship though had to be between Amy and Jenny because as the plot goes on, you see how it blooms along the way and gets stronger. Whereas with Amy and Cameron, their friendship had already been built if that makes sense. I love that they shared their passion for writing and were essentially the leaders of the writing group.

Overall thoughts 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and its concept. Initially, when I began reading it, I wasn't sure what to make of it as it seemed quite slow-paced and focused more on the character development side of things. However, as the book continued and the different stories were shared of all the fiction murders, I was hooked, reading all the different perspectives. It's one of those books where you need to sink into it for a while and learn the context before you can fully appreciate it - and then you will love it! 

I loved the writing style of the author and how it was honest, simple and as if the protagonist was just sharing her thoughts. Also, I enjoyed how she was able to change perspectives based on whose story she was telling - a very clever addition to the novel.


The book gets darker and darker in a comical sense from the middle to the end and I wasn't sure how it was going to end. Sometimes with a book, you get an inkling of how it would end and even though I had an idea of what would happen, I didn't think that would be the ending of the book. It ended in such a dramatic way and completely threw me off guard but that's what I love about this novel, it was very unexpected in many parts of the plot.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What book are you currently reading?

Thank you for reading <3

How to deal with the pressure in your late twenties

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Turning 27 this year, I definitely felt the weight of that pressure that I'm now in my late twenties and the comparison of everyone's lives. It's weird how much everything changes from your early twenties to mid-twenties and late twenties, regarding people's expectations, your own expectations and the pressure to have it all.

There have been many moments this year where I've had the '27 panic'. I'm not entirely sure if it's a common thing but I've heard that 27 is a make-or-break year and I can see why. If you're in your late twenties and feeling like you're not where you're meant to be, here is how to deal with the pressure in your late twenties.

How to deal with the pressure in your late twenties

Focus on what you have achieved

In times of self-loathing and picking all the negative things about yourself, you need to refocus on the positive things. These include your personal achievements, who you are what you've achieved. We all have different achievements and you should be proud of what yours are. When I look back, I'm shocked about everything I've done in my twenties; the endless travelling, running two businesses, writing five books, building a marketing career, and a lot of personal growth - it has been a wild road.

Remind yourself that everyone has different priorities and goals

Nobody is the same, that's the beautiful thing about life and the human race. We were born to be different and lead unique lives from each other, that's how we all gain perspective. With that in mind, everyone is different when it comes to achieving goals and reaching the typical milestones society tells us to do in our twenties. You don't need to have achieved everything by this moment and for those who have bought a house or had kids, you've still got time to do that, focus on what you've done and know, they're on a different timeline.

Know that your twenties are incredibly young

I keep having to remind myself that being in your twenties is YOUNG. Why does society tell us we need to do everything in our twenties? Whether that's travel, getting married, having kids or investing. Your twenties is the decade to start figuring out who you are and what adulting is. The decision-making part in your brain doesn't form until you're 25 so why should you need to make any big life-altering decisions before then?

Avoid the social media doom scroll

Social media is toxic in so many ways but especially for comparison. I'm easily swayed when I see someone else doing all these amazing things and almost forget social media is a highlight reel. It's only showing the finished products of achievements, not all the sacrifices and the hard work that went into it.

Know, you don't need to rush - everything comes with time

Stop rushing. Take a step back and enjoy the moment, enjoy the process for that matter. The best things come in time and so should the goals you want to achieve. It feels a little more accomplished knowing you waited and worked hard, rather than rushing everything and feeling stressed. The final product is great but the journeys are what the stories are for - don't forget about the journey as you're too focused on the end goal.

Set attainable goals

The pressure can lead you to think up goals you're unlikely to achieve, creating even more pressure and stress. It's important to set attainable goals for where you are at in life, your income and for what you actually want to achieve (not what society tells you).

Stop comparing yourself to your parents and grandparents

The generations before us used to do everything at a much younger age but that's because times were different, expectations were different, ambitions were different and the economy was different. There's no point in comparing as circumstances were different and you can only work as necessary to achieve your goals in this timeline, not the past.

Your twenties are your first years of adulthood

I saw this video recently which said, age 18 is your year one at adulthood which means in your twenties, you're only a couple of years old in your adult years and it's true. You're living the adult world for the first time, away from the comfort of your parent's direction, earning adult money for the first time and having responsibilities. You're not meant to get this right, you're meant to fail, learn and pick yourself up again.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

2-week itinerary to Vietnam

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm obsessed with Vietnam; I've been twice and I'm completely and utterly in love with the country. I dream of going back all the time as it's such a wonderful place, packed with the BEST food, gorgeous sights, lovely people and a friendly feel.

You can travel to Vietnam for a shorter or longer period, however, 2 weeks gives you enough time to immerse in the culture and explore some of the country's best sights. If you're planning a visit to Vietnam, here is my 2-week itinerary to Vietnam.

2-week itinerary to Vietnam

3 days in Hanoi

As the capital city, Hanoi is a bustling environment everyone should experience. I love the buzz of Hanoi; the endless traffic, crowds of people, cool coffee shop scene and historic sights are everything to get a glimpse of city life in Hanoi. The famous sights include the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Train Street, Hoa Lo Prison and Hoan Kiem Lake, as well as trying a classic Egg Coffee.

1 night in Mai Chau

Escape the taste of city air and head to the quaint, rural village of Mai Chau. Many visitors want to see the rice fields in Vietnam and you should too. Most travellers opt for Sapa Valley, however, during my time, it was too early in the season to see the Valley which is why I went to Mai Chau. And, I'm super happy I did. This village is traditional and rural, ideal for a night away in the country air. I booked a cabin which overlooked the rice fields and it was a dream to see and spend the day cycling around the village.

2 days in Ninh Binh 

Ninh Binh is another destination which is growing in popularity and features the most gorgeous nature scene with caves, nature reserves and endless seas of greenery. Over two days, you can spend your time visiting the ancient capital of Hoa Lu and exploring the attractions in Tam Coc, from the pagodas, and rugged limestone cliffs to boat rides on the river.

2 days in Cat Ba Island - and a day trip to Ha Long Bay

Coastal life is calling your name on Cat Ba Island and the perfect spot to take a day trip to Ha Long Bay. You can do the day trip from Hanoi, however, it takes a lot more travelling within the space of a day than is necessary. Whereas in Cat Ba Island, you can experience the beach scene of the actual island and book your trip to Ha Long Bay.

2 days in Da Nang

Da Nang is another beautiful and modern city with plenty of attractions to fill your two days with. From strolling along the stunning My Khe Beach to a theme park day at SunWorld Resort in Ba Na Hills, seeing the Golden Hands Bridge and the Marble Mountains.

3/4 days in Hoi An

The last stop on your list is the charming Hoi An. I adored Hoi An; the endless bicycles, the ancient look and the quirky cafes, restaurants and shops. Plus the art scene and wonderful lanterns across the river are a vision to witness. Hoi An isn't massive, however, it's a great base to roam around, take things slowly and book any excursions, such as a cooking class.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning to visit?

Thank you for reading <3

The things nobody tells you about being a freelancer

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been wanting to be a freelance writer since I was in my teens; the thought of doing my favourite thing of writing, and working on my accord sounded like a dream to me. I've been freelancing since April this year and I love being my own boss, searching for clients I like and taking on projects which I'm passionate about.

However, freelancing is anything but easy and I've learnt a lot since starting out - many things I didn't know and other things I wasn't aware fully of.

If you're planning to start freelancing or in the early stages, here are the things nobody tells you about being a freelancer. 

The things nobody tells you about being a freelancer

It's either really busy or quiet - there's no in-between

This wave of work is something I'm getting used to as both being really busy and quiet have their cons - and it's about learning how to cope with both of these. Each month for me is either having too much work or being so quiet, I'm worried work will come in. I find the busy months are easy to cope with by organising my calendar and booking breaks, whilst the quiet times I use for working on my own business growth and building new connections.

Lots of admin is involved

The admin is real. If you've ever worked in an admin role, you'd know the types of tasks which are involved for a business. As a freelancer, you'll need to do this yourself (unless you hire an employee). This admin can involve sending invoices, emailing, website updates, organising business meetings and managing workloads.

Invoice chasing is real

Sending invoices is all part of being a freelancer to get paid for your products and services. However, what I've noticed is how for freelancers, many businesses won't take the invoices as seriously as employees' wages and sometimes, they're delayed. This means you'll likely be chasing invoices in one way or another. The best thing to do is to have a contract in place, especially if it's a retainer client as then they'll know which day payment is due.

Freelancing isn't as shiny as LinkedIn makes it sound

Scrolling on LinkedIn is a blessing and a curse as there are plenty of posts which gloat about how they've made millions of pounds as a freelancer. However, in reality, the majority of freelancers don't earn big cheques of money like that. It's possible to be successful and make an exceptional living after years in the business, and committing to it, but not overnight. Don't compare yourself to the people on LinkedIn as like any other social media platform, it's a showreel of people's lives and a form of pushing sales for courses.

Building a client base takes work and time

This leads me to this: for any substantial business, it takes time to build it up and it's the same with freelancing. It takes time to make connections and build up a client base of retainer clients, project-based clients and those who are going to refer you. This isn't going to happen overnight so don't try and rush the process or expect success a week in, because that's very unlikely. 

You're HR, marketing, CEO and everything in between

Typically as a freelancer, it's just you running the whole gig, from being the CEO to all the other teams. You'll be your own HR, booking in holidays, and sick days and your own marketing team, learning to promote yourself and build your personal brand on different channels. Likewise, you'll be in the accounts team, sorting your invoicing, income and tax. Unless you outsource for other essential roles in a business, you'll be doing this all yourself and need to make the time for that or do the training. 

Time management and communication skills are crucial

Freelancing takes many skills, however, two of the most important ones I've learned are time management and communication. As you're your own boss, you'll need to get used to learning how long it takes you to do a certain task, work on a project and spend in meetings - as it can help you map out your income projection and the total time everything takes you. Whilst with communication, it's how you present yourself to potential clients, current clients and past clients, as well as other business professionals you'll meet along the way. Communicating effectively will help with better results, in person and virtually.

It's constant grafting and showing your worth

Freelancing is tough. It means constantly grafting and working at building those connections and pitching for work. New business should always be in your mind. Constant grafting means showing your worth as many people may want to lower your rates or don't understand why you charge as much as you do for your business.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What else would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

How to spend 3 days in Koh Lipe, Thailand

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Koh Lipe is like a small taste of paradise with clear waters, bright blue skies, hot weather and golden soft sands. I miss the joy of the island already with its holiday vibe and the chance to fully unwind in the sunshine.

As it's a small island, you don't need a long time to explore the wonders of Koh Lipe. However, you can easily spend as much time there fully embracing island life and its wonders. For the ultimate experience, here is my 3-day guide to Koh Lipe in Thailand.

3 day guide to Koh Lipe, Thailand

Day 1: Get a feel for the island

Explore Walking Street

Koh Lipe isn't a massive island and has one main centre, which is Walking Street. This street is packed with restaurants, bars, ice cream shops, cafes and shops - and the perfect hub to explore, and well, eat. Whether you're looking for a spot for breakfast, to grab a souvenir or to find a bar to dance the night away, this is the street for you.

Relax on Pattaya Beach 

Pattaya Beach is the main beach in Koh Lipe as it's where you get off the boat from any other island. This beach isn't my favourite as it's one of the busiest, however, it does have gorgeous views, soft sands and a cool, holiday vibe to it.

Enjoy dinner and the bar life

After getting a sense of the island's main hub and soaking up the sunshine on the main beach, it's time to eat your weight in food. Restaurants vary on this island from classic Thai places, and seafood to gorgeous Italian grub, you can find a place to take your fancy and go for a drink afterwards. I loved the bar scene here as you can pick somewhere with great music of a chill vibe, with board games.

Day 2: Explore the wonders of Koh Lipe

Watch the sunrise on Sunrise Beach

Watching the sunrise on the beach is everything and Thailand is renowned for the best sunrises and sunsets. The island has beaches titled 'Sunrise Beach' and 'Sunset Beach' because they're both perfect for views of these events. Sunrise Beach is one of my favourites and the view of the sunrise was everything - the best way to kick start your second day on the stunning island.

Have brunch at Benny's on the Beach

I love a solid brunch to start off island mode. Benny's on the Beach is located on Sunrise Beach and is a dream spot to eat. The restaurant has that complete island feel in a hut with beach seating. I loved this place as it meant eating breakfast in the morning sunshine - and plus their brunch options are amazing, including delicious smoothie bowls.

Hire a kayak and explore nearby islands

The sea off of Kop Lipe is crystal clear and looks like a postcard - ideal for exploring beyond the island's edge. I'd recommend hiring a kayak and paddling off to the tiny islands nearby as here, you can also snorkel to find the wildlife. The islands including Koh Usen and Kla Island are very close to the main stretch of Koh Lipe and very easy to reach - and make great spots for snorkelling.

Watch the sunset at Sunset Beach

After a beautiful day of kayaking, snorkelling and sun-soaking, watching a sunset is a lovely activity. Sunset Beach does get very busy, however, it's a wonderful location to witness the sun go down and the sky lighting up with lots of colours.

Day 3: Soak up the last sights in Koh Lipe

Go snorkelling on Northpoint Beach

As I mentioned the waters in Koh Lipe are a dream and my favourite beach for snorkelling was the Northpoint Beach. Here, I discovered many colourful fishes and other sea life swimming around the corals. Its pretty underwater scenery is everything and will leave you wanting more. I'm missing the freedom of snorkelling at this beach.

Find your favourite spot and relax

Koh Lipe is key for relaxation and when you've ticked off all the activities, the best thing to do is relax on the beaches. It's the perfect opportunity to sunbathe, grab an ice cream and read a book. I would love to be in the sunshine and enjoy island life again.

Favourite places to eat in Koh Lipe

Papaya Mom restaurant

For a traditional Thai food restaurant, this is a solid choice, offering up all the classic meals, from Thai curries, pad Thai and more. It's an old-school, beach restaurant setting with plenty of options to suit your palette.

Benny's on the Beach

As I previously mentioned, Benny's on the Beach is a lovely, beach brunch place offering all types of breakfasts and brunch to kick start your day. I love the smoothie bowls here and the view of Sunrise Beach, plus the swing is a great addition.

Banana Tree

This isn't one of those fancy places but a simple restaurant, offering up all the Thai food must-haves for inexpensive prices. Whether you're craving a curry, noodle dish or rice meal, this restaurant has got variety to choose from.


I'm not over the breakfast here, it was that yummy! As a modernised restaurant setting, it looks like a typical, Instagram brunch spot. And, the breakfast was chef's kiss and super mooreish. They have a specific breakfast menu from pancakes and yoghurt dishes to cakes - you'll find something you'll adore.


This is a favourite restaurant for many tourists and has a menu crafted for that with a combination of Western dishes and cakes. I enjoyed a dose of carb heaven here with a delicious grilled cheese and chips. The Western options are endless and you can really enjoy anything that you fancy.

Bungroon restaurant

Back to a traditional Thai place, Bungoon is a busy place packed with crowds and a range of Thai dishes you'll love to try. I like the classic and homely appeal of this place with simplistic dishes and various options - and some live music. They had various locals singing which is a wonderful sight to see and a great vibe to enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed this Thailand post. What other recommendations do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

My favourite books of 2023

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've fallen back in love with reading this year and have been prioritising reading as part of my routine, ensuring I get through my to-be-read pile. Backpacking really helped amplify that prioritisation as I read a lot when travelling to new destinations on buses, planes and trains.

I've had the pleasure of reading some incredible novels, some I've fallen in love with, some I've been rather curious about and a few I didn't like as much. Over the course of the year, I've collected a list of many books and here are my favourite books of 2023.

My favourite books of 2023

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley is one of my favourite crime, murder-mystery thriller authors and her books are GENIUS. One of the first books I read this year and one of the best is The Guest List. It's a book that honestly blew my mind with the amount of twists and turns and the intelligent crafting which went into making such a solid novel. The Guest List I've raved about again and again as it sparked my curiosity throughout the entire plot. When it ended, I was gutted as it was so brilliant.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Another brilliant novel by Lucy Foley is The Paris Apartment. Although I preferred the characters and overall storyline of The Guest List, The Paris Apartment was completely brilliant with the plot. Like The Guest List, it's a book with a clever plot with unexpected twists and turns, figuring out who the murderer was and what happened. I loved the setting of The Paris Apartment as it's all set in one building about one family and all of their secrets.

The No-Show by Beth O'Leary

Beth O'Leary is also one of my favourite authors as I've loved every one of her books. She has this beautiful way of crafting realistic and likeable characters with her romantic and fast-paced storylines. I particularly loved The No-Show because it focuses on three different women and their lives and how they're connected in one way. I loved getting to learn more about the characters and becoming invested in their lives.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Now a TV show on Apple TV, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave is a thriller I absolutely adored. Following the disappearance of a father, his daughter and wife are left completely clueless about his whereabouts, and the novel follows them as they try and figure out what happened. As the book unfolds, more layers and secrets are involved - and I love how genius it all is.

Found by Erin Kinsley

I came across Found by Erin Kinsley unexpectedly and it surprised me about how great it was. I love how it was a thriller but flipped as the tragedy was solved before the story was answered if that makes sense. A child goes missing and he's found, however, he is silent and won't say what has happened to him. However, the plot unveils what happened to him, with the aim of helping other children from potential danger. 

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins is an iconic author and I hadn't read her novels for a few years until I picked this one up recently, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins. The plot follows three women as they're all connected to a brutal crime, the death of Daniel Sutherland. It's a novel packed with secrets, resentment, lies and dark history and how all of their lives link in some way, providing the answer to the murder.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

As a classic film and storyline read by many, I never had the chance to read The Book Thief until this year and I absolutely loved it. I'm a big history nerd and I enjoyed the pace of this book and how honest the plot follows real-life events. My favourite part of the book was how it was narrated by death because it gave an interesting perspective to the overall plotline.

Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

I loved this book as it was based in a bookstore and had such a focus on books, especially try crime. It's such a modern book with very realistic characters and a quick pace to it which I adored (as well as short chapters). The book follows Roach and Laura, both booksellers who work together. Laura dislikes Roach whereas Roach is obsessed with Laura and all things true crime. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What has been your favourite book this year?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Found by Erin Kinsley

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Don't you love when you read a book and become obsessed with what's going to happen? That's how I felt about this plot, Found. I'm a big fan of mystery books and crime fiction and this had a brilliant combination of both with twists and turns throughout it. 

If you're looking for a new crime thriller, here is my full book review of Found by Erin Kinsley.

Book review: Found by Erin Kinsley


The plot follows a missing child story, however with a twist: he is found. 11-year old Evan goes missing without a trace and there's no answer from the police, plunging his parents to live their worst nightmare. A few months later, he is found, terrified and refusing to speak about what happened to him. His family soon realise he's not going to be the same Evan he was before the abduction and that his life may be altered forever. 

DI Naylor is aware that unless they find who abducted Evan, other children may be in danger and it's a race against time to find those responsible before the inevitable happens.

Characters and relationships

The characters in this book were incredibly diverse and I loved how their relationships shaped the honesty and humanity of the story. It really amplified the importance and love of a family unit and how you should never give up.

The parents, Claire and Matt are your typical couple and loving parents, with a great bond that breaks slowly with the news of Evan. It's sad to read they fall apart and lose sight of who they are and their love for each other. Evan is a character you don't learn much about until after the incident where he opens up and learns a new way of his life with his grandad. Evan and his grandad's bond has to be my favourite as it's so precious and shows how turning to nature and having a focus can do wonders for your mental health.

I especially loved how the book doesn't just focus on what the plotline is about and finding out the mystery but sheds light on the relationships of the police force. With the heavy plotline, learning about Naylor's love life and her every day really added a human element to the plot.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I absolutely adored this book and couldn't put it down. The novel had an amazing amount of layers adding twists and turns in every chapter. The author had this wonderful way of talking about the present in the case and then moving to the now of the characters, and describing it in a chronological way that read clearly, and beautifully. I loved how despite the heaviness and sadness of the novel, there was light and positivity throughout and an endless feeling of love.

My favourite thing was the family unit in the novel, the mum, dad, grandparents and Evan himself and the love they had for each other. It made the plot even more heartbreaking at times because the sadness of what the family went through, especially Evan is traumatic. 


I won't give away the ending like in all my reviews, however, it was a brilliant one. I love when a novel comes together and all the snippets of information described throughout add up - and that's exactly what happened in this book.

I hope you enjoyed this review. What are you reading at the minute?

Thank you for reading <3

8 days in Thailand: An Itinerary for a Relaxing Trip

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I am obsessed with Thailand, I've been to the country twice and I could happily visit over and over again. Thailand has a gorgeous ease to it, that homely feeling with welcoming locals, delicious food, breathtaking beaches and historic sights. I love every inch of Thailand and despite visiting many areas, there are plenty of other places I'd love to venture to.

If you're planning a short visit to Thailand and want a taste of the relaxed beach life with a dash of city appeal, here is my eight-day itinerary to Thailand.

8 days in Thailand itinerary for a relaxing trip

2 days in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is an incredible city and having visited two times, I know there are many gorgeous experiences and attractions to witness plus the great bliss of roaming around. For this itinerary, you can start the week in the city or finish the trip that way, it's down to you. 

Chiang Mai features endless historic temples within the Old City, as well as the dreamy night market bazaar and shops to visit. There are also unique experiences such as the elephant sanctuary, cooking classes and tuk-tuk rides.

3 days in Koh Lipe

Moving away from city air, it's time to hit up Thailans's island. I am obsessed with the Thai Islands and everything they bring. The stunning, clear waters, dreamy soft sands, cute beach bars and endless snorkelling opportunities. They're honestly heaven. Scenes of sunny weather, clear blue skies and a peaceful atmosphere in the air.

Koh Lipe is a rather small island with not a very long list of things to do, however, that's the beauty of it. It's an island for relaxation and taking time out. Whether you love to snorkel, take a swim or chill on the beaches; this is the place to do it. It's the ultimate holiday destination with a gorgeous street of restaurants, bars and quaint shops, adding to the holiday mode.

3 days in Koh Lanta 

Koh Lanta is the opposite of Koh Lipe as it's much larger with plenty more sights to see and beaches to explore. I've visited Koh Lanta twice and it's certainly one of my favourite places in Thailand - and I'd give anything to be back in the waters there. The sea is like a breathtaking, warm bath. With an array of beaches, it isn't crowded most of the time and you have the chance to make the island you're own.

Koh Lanta features the iconic Long Beach as well as many other secluded beaches such as Katiang Bay and Bamboo Beach. You can hire a motorbike and explore more of the island, the nature scene and the Old Town. I love Koh Lanta as it has more than meets the eye and leaves you wanting more. Three days is enough time to explore the island and relax on many of the beautiful beaches.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you thinking of visiting Thailand?

Thank you for reading <3

The best sights in Kuala Lumpur

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I fell in love with Malaysia; I enjoyed the diverse vibe, the sights, the food and every experience I encountered. The capital city of Kuala Lumpur surprised me with a modern and sleek appeal, boasting a combination of sights, experiences and food markets. 

If you're new to Kuala Lumpur, here is my guide to the best sights in Malaysia's capital city.

The best sights in Kuala Lumpur

Petaling Street

For the ultimate bustling market experience, this street is for you. This is a long street packed with various market stalls, from food to souvenirs and homemade items. You can spend a while here mooching, browsing and sampling the best foods. Don't forget to haggle for any item you like.


From Petaling Street, make your way through to Chinatown and explore the wonders of the Chinese culture, including many delicious restaurants, temples and other sights to admire. One of the temples I visited was the Guan Di Temple, centred in the middle of the town.

KL Forest Eco Park

For a taste of nature in the bustling and loud city, the Eco Park is a breath of fresh air. Surrounded by trees and greenery, the park is full of canopy bridges to roam around and enjoy gorgeous views of the city as well. 

Bukit Bintang

Known as a shopping and entertainment district of the city, Buki Bintang is worth a mooch around to discover quirky shops, bold street art, malls and fashion boutiques. If you want any shopping done, this is the district for it.

Jalan Alor Night Market

Southeast Asia is famous for their electric and colourful night food market and Kuala Lumpur is no different. One of their most famous food markets is Jalan Alor Night Market, a street full of unique food stalls and drink options. Whether you're looking for a classic Malaysian dish, Thai food or some refreshing coconut ice cream, this market has it all. 

Central market

A quieter, indoor market to visit is the Central Market, which has a more modern and characteristic feel to it. This market features local businesses selling their handmade goods, souvenir shops, clothing stores and much more to browse.

Petronas Twin Towers

As the most iconic sight of Kuala Lumpur, the Twin Towers are a must-visit. Whether you go see the towers from the outside and admire them from every angle to get the dreamy photo for the gram. You can also climb up the Twin Towers and see the city turn from day to night. I loved seeing the towers at night glowing under the night sky.

KL Tower

For another perspective of the city from a high point, the KL Tower is a lovely opportunity to see all of Kuala Lumpur. 

Batu Caves

I have to admit this was probably one of my favourite activities I did in the city and worth the visit for something more unique and monumental. The Batu Caves are cave temples, located up gorgeous and colourful steps. The day I visited, it was an annual religious festival and an amazing thing to witness and see how many locals near and far travel to celebrate a Hindu festival.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other sights would you have?

Thank you for reading <3