My favourite books of the year so far

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Being a bookworm is a part of my personality. My love for books has never changed, it's simply evolved and over the past year, I've been trying to focus on reading as much as possible. There's always something new I want to read with so many books in the world!

I'm always up for reading new genres, however, my favourite genres include crime fiction, detective novels, murder mysteries, historical fiction and women's fiction. Recently, I've read some incredible books and wanted to share the books I'm loving at the minute.

My favourite books of the year so far

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I haven't read a Gillian Flynn book since Gone Girl a while back and when I started reading this, I remembered why I loved this author so much and her talent for crafting thriller novels. This novel follows reporter Camille Preaker after she's released from a psych hospital and given a troubling assignment, returning to her small hometown to cover the unsolved murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another.

Camille hasn't visited her hometown in a long time and hardly spoke to her neurotic mother and half-sister she barely knows. Visiting her hometown again, she finds herself unravelling a psychological puzzle of her own past and looking further into the people around her. This novel gripped me from the beginning and I couldn't put it down at times, with twists of new characters and various narratives happening all the time. I got an incline of what I thought would happen towards the end and to my surprise, I was correct. This novel was strange and thought-provoking and highlighted many scary issues happening in everyday life to young people.

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

I was recommended this book when I visited Bath in Mrs B's Emporium as I love crime stories, including true crime and this book was just that. This novel follows the disappearance of Zoe Nolan, a nineteen-year-old Manchester University student who went to a party one night in her shared accommodation and was never seen again. Seven years after the disappearance, a writer called Evelyn Mitchell is intrigued by the mystery and begins to investigate.

This book features plenty of interviews with Zoe's friends and family and Mitchell begins piecing together what happens to Zoe. Through investigation, many secrets are revealed of Zoe's life and Evelyn turns to crime writer Joesph Knox to make sense of the case. I loved this book as I could really feel the tragedy on every page and how heart-wrenching the narrative was. The interview style made the book fast-paced and intriguing with every page. I began reading thinking the book would end one way and then it flips with more leads and revealed secrets.

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

My heart broke the entire time I read this book and I read it in two sittings. This novel is set on an isolated farm in the UK where a woman is trapped by her abuser for seven years. It is a very exact novel, following the everyday motions of 'Jane' and the ordeal she goes through with this man and what happens if she doesn't obey him. He films her every move and when she discovers she's pregnant, she begins planning her escape, protecting her and her baby.

It's hard to put into words this book's tragedy as it's based on the facts of trafficking victims and the ordeal they experience every single day. I vouched for her safety and escape through the book, pushing me to read on with hope. It's realistic, heart-breaking and honest, an account I can imagine of someone dealing with the abuse of a kidnapper.

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

I love a thriller, especially a missing person's case. This book follows a young mum, Tallulah in 2017 where she heads on a date, leaving her baby with her mother, Kim. When the early hours come around, Kim awaits her return but she never comes home. Kim phones Tallulahs's friends who say the last place she was seen was a party in the Dark Place. Two years later, Sophie moved into the boarding school her boyfriend has a new job and sees a note fixed to a tree, so she begins to investigate.

This book was one of the first I read this year and I loved every minute. With every missing person's novel, I wondered about the direction it would go. This included all themes of wealthy people, dysfunctional relationships and how being a teenager is one of the biggest struggles of them all. I liked the perspective change in this book and how I could understand many people's views of the story. It had one of those endings that got even more shocking as I kept reading.

The Maid by Nita Prose

Not all murder mystery books are heavy and dark, some have a lighter tone and The Maid is just that. Following Molly The Maid who works for the Regency Grand Hotel, sees everything as she cleans rooms every day. Her honest and diligent approach to life makes her a brilliant maid, but she isn't so great at understanding social cues. When a famous guest dies and she finds his body, a police investigation is called and she's stuck in the middle.

I adored this book in many ways because it's incredibly honest, to the point and somewhat like a diary entry as she recalls every day as a maid. The book has a comedic aspect to it at times and features many characters who aren't nice to Molly at all but through her experience and understanding more of what it's like to be an adult, she realises who has her back all along.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Which books have you been reading at the minute?

Thank you for reading <3

How to improve your networking skills as a business owner

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As an introvert and someone who deals with social anxiety, networking is something I've struggled with since launching my own business. On the flip side, networking has been crucial in growing my business, building my confidence and connecting with others in the business world.

How to improve your networking skills as a business owner

If you're new to networking or trying to put yourself out there, here are my tips on how to be better at networking as a business owner.

Go to your first event

The first step to improving anything in life is simply doing it in the first place. You can't improve at networking until you make the move to go to your first networking event. I'd suggest choosing a smaller event initially to warm you up to networking events in a place you're comfortable with as it can ease you in. Getting the first one out of the way will give you the boost you need.

Bring someone along you're comfortable with

It may seem daunting to go to a networking event alone, especially if it's your first one. However, if you have another business friend or a partner, bringing them along can soothe your anxiety and give you the confidence to go. When with someone, it can be easier to walk up to someone new for a conversation.

Practice what you're going to say

I'm not saying you need to rehearse a whole speech, however, having a few opening lines can make walking up to someone and starting a conversation a lot easier and give you some confidence too. It can be anything, like asking them how they are, if it's their first networking event, where they're from or what industry they work in. 

Research and book in regular events

Having regular events booked in the calendar will push you to go to more events. I'd suggest creating a spreadsheet and listing all the networking events over the next few months, booking the most relevant and accessible ones for you. This will give you a regular schedule of events, improving your confidence. 

Do calming exercises before the event

If you're feeling overwhelmed about an event, mindfulness exercises can help calm you down. From breathing exercises, and yoga to meditation. These exercises can calm your body and mind, giving you the boost you need before going into a situation that can cause anxiety. Feeling calm can help you breeze through the networking.

Push yourself to speak to new people at events

Networking is all about meeting and connecting with others and that means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to speak with new people. Try your best to walk up to others and greet them. I'm not saying you need to speak with everyone in the room, but a couple of them can be beneficial to boost your confidence and build new connections.

Set a goal for every event you go to

Goals help you in every way, including networking events. Setting a goal for every event you go to, can encourage you to work towards it. For example, it could be to meet and chat with three new people or give your contact details to two people.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When did you start your business?

Thank you for reading <3

Planning a holiday with ease: my best tips

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Planning trips and thinking about where I'm going next on my travels is my favourite thing in the world. I love the process of planning where I'd like to go, researching about it, discovering the best sights, hidden gems, independent restaurants and reading about people's experiences. 

If you find booking holidays stressful or need help determining where to begin when planning the trip, here are my best tips to make the process a little easier.

Planning a holiday with ease: my best tips

Decide on your destination

We all have an idea of the places we'd like to visit, whether it's eating fresh pasta in Italy, roaming around the Big Apple or island hopping in Thailand. Whatever the destination, deciding where you want to go is the first step. Planning a city break is completely different to a week away relaxing in the sunshine. Planning involves booking excursions, variations in budget, the type of activities and which transport you're using to travel around.

Pick a timeframe and budget

With the destination ticked off the list, you'll need to decide how long you're planning to jet off for and the budget. From a long weekend to slow travelling around for a month, shorter trips are easier to map out and cheaper to afford. Picking a timeframe can help you choose a daily budget, and factor in flight costs, accommodation costs and any activities you'd like to do. Set a rough budget and then had a buffer onto it for any emergencies when away.

Read all the blogs about the destination

As a travel blogger and someone who adores to travel all the time, research is key to making your holiday everything you dream of. Read all the blogs on what you need to know before visiting that destination, the best sights and activities to see and do, where to eat and drink and how to get around a destination. The more research you do, the more prepared you can feel for the holiday. But, make sure you leave room for spontaneity. 

Decide how you're looking to get around the destination - this helps with finding suitable accommodation

Every destination is different and when you're travelling, you need to decide you're planning to get around the destination. If you're happy to walk around and want to be near the main sights and the city centre, booking accommodation central is key. But, if you're happy with getting public transport or taxis to see the sights and activities, booking accommodation further out can be suitable and save you some money. Knowing how close you want to stay to the centre or near other sights can minimise the radius of where you look for accommodation and hopefully help you make a decision easier.

Plan a rough agenda based on blogs and recommendations including timings

With all the main points of the holiday tick, it's time to use your research skills and put it to use. For all the blogs you've read, pick out the activities and sights which are a must and add them to an agenda throughout the time you're on holiday. This can help you plan out what you'd like to do on which days and roughly how long each activity will take. It can also help you coordinate your agenda, ensuring it all makes logical sense.

Leave from spontaneous ideas, roaming and relaxing

Spontaneous plans are the heart of all holidays and making memories. Even though an agenda helps you prepare, you don't want every minute of the trip to be organised. Leave room to roam around, try new places, meet people, go off the beaten path and enjoy the joys of a holiday.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where are you planning on going next?

Thank you for reading <3

1 year of full-time freelancing - everything I've learned

 Well hello to you my reader chums! It has been a year since I launched my freelance writing and social media business, The Violet Network. I feel incredibly lucky with the year I've had, the lessons I've learned, the connections I've made and the clients I've acquired. Despite the hard times, I've enjoyed the ride so far of being a business owner and can't wait to see what another year brings.

It's no doubt that freelancing is hard work - I didn't go into freelancing thinking it'll be easy but I didn't think it was going to be as hard as it was. Finding work, networking, building packages, doing my own marketing and getting the work-life balance right is challenging. Although the rewards are great, it takes a lot of courage and motivation to make it worthwhile.

If you're starting your freelance business or new to the business world, here are the lessons I learned in my first year of business.

1 year of full-time freelancing - everything I've learnt

Networking is key

I wouldn't be where I am without the people I've met along the way. From the creative community in my home town to other marketers and business owners. The local events have helped me build confidence, meet clients and learn the best ways to run my business. I've been lucky enough to get my best leads through people I know and word of mouth for those recommending me. The more people I meet, the more I learn and the more I can put myself out there with new faces.

Personal branding is essential 

Putting myself out there has helped me learn what I stand for and am passionate about, and help people get to know the real me. Creating a personal brand takes courage, consistency and good planning, and it's something I've thoroughly enjoyed. It has meant thinking of fun ideas and sharing my honest thoughts, experiences and opinions, which has helped many understand who I am and what my business is all about. Being consistent has helped me grow my following, gain some great connections and put my stance out there in the business world.

A work-life balance is crucial 

Finding the time to take breaks and switch off is difficult as a business owner because everything to do with freelancing is constantly on my mind. But, I've managed to get better at the work-life balance, creating boundaries, booking regular breaks, having an organised schedule and when I close my laptop, it means the end of the working day. Having that balance supports my mental health and makes me more productive.

Enjoy the rollercoaster 

Freelancing is a roller coaster and highs and lows are inevitable, it's either feast or famine with workload and enjoying the journey is all part of it. Granted during the low periods it's hard to enjoy the rollercoaster as it feels like the high periods will never come again. However, trying to enjoy the journey, trusting the process and putting in the work means you'll come out stronger, more knowledgeable and ready to take on anything.

Keep going 

Everything worthwhile in life requires hard work and freelancing is just like that. Despite this level of hard work to gain success in my freelancing business, I adore working with people I love; it's the most incredible feeling in the world.

Learning never stops 

Being a freelancer is all about learning, whether it's honing your craft or learning more about running a business. Each day is a life lesson and business lesson from mistakes you make to building professional skills. The more you learn, the more you can build on your success. After a year of learning it makes me even more excited to see what's to come.

I've made myself proud

This year has been full of doubts but when I look back at everything I've achieved this year, I'm incredibly proud of myself and grateful for those who took a chance to hire me or collaborated in some way. I've achieved many goals personally and professionally, from the projects I've completed and how I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone in many ways.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Are you new to freelancing?

Thank you for reading <3

11 years of my blog - my favourite things about blogging

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I cannot believe I'm writing a post to celebrate 11 years of my blog, Della Loves Nutella. That's over a decade of sharing my thoughts on my own corner of the internet from my experience of mental health, my travels, and book reviews to lessons I've learnt so far in my twenties.

11 years of my blog - my favourite things about blogging

I've loved every minute of using this blog as a creative outlet, an amazing tool to develop my writing, creativity and build on my digital marketing skills and be involved in the blogging community.

As an anniversary post, I thought I'd share all my favourite things about blogging over the years. I'm excited to see what happens with another 11 years of this blog. It's so amazing to me that I began this blog at 16 and now I'm nearer to 30, turning 28 in June. 

Every time I write an anniversary post, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful that I've got this space on the internet that is mine to share all my thoughts and experiences. 

If you're new to my blog or a loyal reader for years, here are my favourite things about blogging.

Writing about the things that make me happy

Writing is my biggest passion and I love how this blog has allowed me to write about anything my heart has desired. I've shared my mental health journey, my travels across the world, my self-love journey, books I've adored, memories I've shared with loved ones and topics I'm passionate about, such as confidence and budget travelling.

Writing is therapeutic to me and it can help me process thoughts and experiences, such as living with anxiety and overcoming insecurities. I love sharing any thoughts or topics that pop into my mind, and over the years, I've really seen how those interests and passions have evolved.

Documenting parts of my life 

One of the best things about social media is an online log of my life and one of the things I've loved about blogging. Most years, I've shared my goals, lessons I've learnt, where I've travelled and books I've loved. I've also shared mental health experiences, pictures of friends and family, and tips to navigate my twenties. My blog has kind of been like an online diary at times, especially when I first started writing on it as a teenager. I sometimes love going back to my 2013 posts and reading my blogs as I was so innocent and young.

Reflecting on life lessons through my writing

Growing and evolving is all part of being human and having a place online to write about those reflections has been gold. From lessons I've learnt from friendships, and relationships, loving myself and developing my confidence, I've written some amazing thought-provoking articles, processing my thoughts and experiences.

Working with brands I love

I don't work with brands anymore and mainly use this blog as a place to write my thoughts and experiences. However, over the 11 years, I've worked with some brands I've adored and been sent amazing PR packages from brands. I feel lucky that my little place on the internet was significant enough to receive such presents and that brands enjoyed what I have to say. 

Chatting and connecting with other bloggers

The blogging community is one of love and support and I'm grateful I've been a part of it for such a long time. Over the years, I've had the chance to connect and chat with many bloggers, collaborating with them, guest blogging and running competitors. I loved reading other blogs and receiving such lovely feedback from other bloggers. It gave me another motivation to continue blogging.

Improving my writing and digital marketing skills

Having a blog has been a great asset to my digital marketing career and building my freelance business. I ran this blog before I even got my first marketing position and it helped massively in building my creative writing and SEO skills and learning more about content marketing. It's also an asset that has helped me gain jobs as they saw it was a fab project to run on the side.

That I've gained a regular hobby 

Hobbies are incredibly important and I'm happy I've had a dedicated hobby for over a decade and committed to it for such a long period. I've loved how I've always had something to come back to every week.

I hope you enjoyed this post. How long have you been reading my blog?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Missing Pieces Of Me by Amelia Mandeville

Well hello to you my reader chums! I’ve been meaning to read Amelia Mandeville’s second book The Missing Pieces of Me for a while as I adored her first novel, Every Colour of You. I downloaded it on my travels and it’s safe to say I was hooked from page 1, I couldn’t put it down!

If you’re on the hunt for a page-turner, here’s my full book review of ‘The Missing Pieces of Me’ by Amelia Mandeville.

Book review: The Missing Pieces Of Me by Amelia Mandeville


The plot line follows Willow and Dustin, two people who fall head over heels in love and after having their baby, Dustin feels like his world is complete. To everyone around them, they are the perfect couple. This is why when Dustin comes home one day with a note from Willow and discovers she has disappeared, his world crumbles. He starts to question why and the more digging he does, the more answers he learns, discovering who Willow really is.

Characters and relationships

In this book, I loved the diversity of the characters, how different they all are, and how everyone had a different type of upbringing. The character Willow, I really related to them on many levels as her anxiety was a large theme throughout the novel and some of the scenes, when she was having panic attacks, were on point. I understood how she was feeling growing up, and that level of shyness, wanting to hide away from the world. My heart went out to her when I learnt more about her upbringing, feelings and how it affected her happiness. The way the author describes Willow’s feelings is insightful, raw and human, and helps bring the character to life more.

Dustin is the type of character I can see at every social event, the confident, loving guy who everyone is a fan of - and you can see that love for him, even when he faces struggles throughout the book and his own family disputes. He definitely has more layers than initially shown and I enjoyed learning more about who he was and the love he has to give.

Willow and Dustin’s relationship was the most bittersweet thing to read about as it was incredibly honest, innocent and true to wanting to make each other happen. And when things go wrong, they still want that, they still love each other. I love how the waves of the relationship are described in the novel, it felt real and beautiful. It shows that no relationship is perfect and it takes work to keep the same level of love.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I adored this book in every way! From the first page, I was hooked on finding out what happened to Willow and learning more about the layers of the plot unfolding. It’s one of those books where more happens than first meets the eye. I expected it to be a romance novel, but it was more than that, it had a deeper meaning with honest dialogue. The book discussed many crucial themes, including anxiety, panic attacks, post-natal depression, childhood trauma and grief. With all of these themes woven into a beautifully planned story, it made the book a memorable and insightful one for me.


The ending I won’t give away, however, what I will say is that although it’s not what I wanted to happen after learning about the relationship, the ending occurred realistically. It felt human and right and perfect for both characters’ growth.

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

Thank you for reading <3