Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts



2023 has been the year of books for me. I have read 102 books which is the most I've ever read in one year. After reading so many books, I thought I'd share with you what I read, what I would recommend reading, and which books didn't quite live up to the hype for me.

Most of these books were read on my Kindle, but some were physical books, and some were audiobooks.

Books read in 2023

1. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

2. How Should One Read a Book? by Virginia Woolf

3. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

4. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-joo

5. Dark Across the Bay by Ania Ahlborn

6. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

7. The Panic Years by Nell Frizzell

8. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

9. Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney

10. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

11. Foe by Iain Reid

12. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

13. Twisted Love by Ana Huang

14. Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

15. The Housemaid by Frieda McFadden

16. The Housemaid's Secret by Frieda McFadden

17. The Inmate by Frieda McFadden

18. Run on Red by Noelle W. Ihli

19. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

20. Never Lie by Frieda McFadden

21. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

22. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

23. Verity by Colleen Hoover

24. Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry

25. The Chain by Adrian McKinty

26. The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry

27. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

28. How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

29. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

30. No One Saw a Thing by Andrea Mara

31. You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry

32. Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman

33. Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

34. Solitaire by Alice Oseman

35. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

36. Heartstopper Vol 2 by Alice Oseman

37. Heartstopper Vol 3 by Alice Oseman

38. Heartstopper Vol 4 by Alice Oseman

39. Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman

40. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

41. Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

42. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

43. It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover

44. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

45. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

46. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

47. This Winter by Alice Oseman

48. A Welcome Reunion by Lucinda Berry

49. Loveless by Alice Oseman

50. Icebreaker by Hannah Grace

51. Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

52. Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

53. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

54. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

55. Ward D by Frieda McFadden

56. Happy Place by Emily Henry

57. The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

58. Why Had Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith

59. Appetite for Innocence by Lucinda Berry

60. Spare by Prince Harry

61. The Good Samaritan

62. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

63. Fix the System, Not the Women by Laura Bates

64. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

65. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

66. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

67. Drowning by T.J. Newman

68. The Villa by Ruth Kelly

69. Sisters under the Rising Sun by Heather Morris

70. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

71. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

72. A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck

73. My Week with Him by Joya Goffney

74. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

75. Witches Get Stuff Done by Molly Harper

76. If You Read This by Kereen Getten

77. Eight Winter Nights by Liz Maverick

78. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

79. Pairs: The Memoir by Paris Hilton

80. The Only One Left by Riley Sager

81. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

82. One by One by Freida McFadden

83. Everything I Know about Love by Dolly Alderton

84. The List by Yomi Adegoke

85. A Winter in New York by Josie Silver

86. My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

87. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

88. I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

89. The Girlfriend by K. L. Slater

90. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

91. Under Her Care by Lucinda Berry

92. Five Survive by Holly Jackson

93. Maame by Jessica George

94. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

95. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

96. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

97. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

98. Keep it in the Family by John Marrs

99. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

100. Heartstopper Vol 5 by Alice Oseman

101. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

102. Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter

Books I rated 5 star that you should add to your reading list

  • Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
  • I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Housemaid by Frieda McFadden
  • What Lies Between Us by John Marrs
  • Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry (trigger warning this is the most upsetting and dark book I've ever read)
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • Heartstopper by Alice Oseman (all volumes)
  • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
  • Loveless by Alice Oseman
  • Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
  • Submarine by Joe Dunthorne
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  • Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith
  • Appetite for Innocence by Lucinda Berry
  • Fix the System, Not the Women by Laura Bates
  • The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
  • Paris: The Memoir by Paris Hilton
  • My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  • Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter

Books I expected to be better

  • The Housemaid's Secret by Frieda McFadden (sequel to The Housemaid)
  • Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
  • How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie
  • You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
  • Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
  • The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
  • Happy Place by Emily Henry
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My authors of the year

  • Freida McFadden
  • Joya Goffney
  • Alice Oseman
  • Lucinda Berry
  • Colleen Hoover
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid

Have you read any of the books mentioned? Let me know what you thought because I love talking about books with people!



It's time for my favourite blog post of the year - my yearly round-up, where I recap all of the things I've done over the year!

Let's get into it ...

Things ticked off my 30 things to do before I'm 30 list: 14

Countries visited: 4

Books read: 100


I always say it but January has always been my least favourite month, so I usually try to make nice plans to detract from the grey and nothingness it usually holds.

I got a new diary for the year ahead, which I customised with my own photos (I have to say it does look really cool!)

Staying with friends and booking trips

The first exciting plan I got to write in my new diary was going to visit my friends Maddie and Cormac at their flat in London. The visit was for a catch-up, but also to book our trip to Lisbon that we'd been planning with Joe for a while. A great start to the year!

There were rail strikes on this day so even though I was a bit nervous, I ended up driving to their flat in London. It was a little bit horrible driving around London, I won't lie, but after driving there it made me feel like I could drive anywhere.

We booked our trip to Lisbon (see March), had a lovely beef ragu cooked by Maddie, and played games - a wholesome evening for sure.

The following weekend, I had a night out in Bournemouth with my friends Jas and Ellie which threw me straight back to my uni days. None of that dry January nonsense - what else is there to do in January?

Cat Cafe

I went to a cat cafe for the very first time in January with my friend Vicky, which actually turned me into a cat lover. Don't get me wrong, I am 100% a dog person but that doesn't mean I can't like cats too! 

If you're looking for a cat cafe experience I'd really recommend Paws for Thought in Romsey

Pangina Heals Live in Southampton

If you don't know, Pangina Heals is the host of Drag Race Thailand, and was a fierce contestant on Drag Race: UK vs The World. I got Mum and me tickets to see her in Southampton as we loved her on UK vs The World.

I love going to drag shows so much, it's just always such a good time and the people there are so nice too. As expected, Pangina was amazing and in the warm-up act my mum got up on stage to compete in a lip sync battle against three other people. The crowd loved her!


A not so good month for me

February was kickstarted with a Galentines evening with me and my friends. What started out as a wholesome evening resulted in me going to A&E in the middle of the night due to a severe sprain to the ankle from tripping out of the back door. 

It was a good night but I was home-bound for a couple of weeks after that and it took quite a few months for my ankle to heal properly. I was made a get-well card from my nieces which helped!

Thinking my luck had turned, I won a free Valentine's Day Meal at a posh seafood restaurant in Bournemouth that will not be named. It was a five-course meal worth over £70 so I was really excited to win it and the food was good - at the time. Two days later I came down with food poisoning from eating mussels (while still having a big fat ankle). I think that must have been my worst illness ever and I have not touched a mussel since.

Now I'm thinking about it February was a pretty unlucky month for me, it ended nicely though as Joe and I had a lovely, non-food-poisoning-inducing, belated Valentine's Day Meal AND I managed to get tickets for Beyonce (see June).


The beginning of March is when my obsession with Vinted began, I ended up making £70 in my first month!

Good music and good times

Ellie and I went to see Circa Waves in Bournemouth in the first week of March, one of my favourite bands from when I was 17. It was only about £15 for a ticket so why not?

The following weekend, I went to a super cool cocktail bar in Kingston with Joe's family which had THE BEST chorizo small plate. That evening, we went to Maddie's again for her birthday party which was great fun.

Lisbon, Portugal

March ended on a high with a trip to the magical (and hilly) city of Lisbon! Lisbon is definitely one of my favourite cities now we had such a good time and ate some really spectacular food.

It's safe to say March was way better than February!


April is my birthday month and to celebrate turning 24, I invited some of my uni friends over to mine for a little birthday bash. Sangria was consumed and I had a fab time!

My birthday was on a Monday this year so I took the day off and went shopping with my mum down in Southampton, and had The Real Greek for lunch (another obsession that started in 2023).

Spongebob the Musical

Yes, I did just mention I turned 24 and yes I did go to see Spongebob the Musical a week later. It was actually one of the best and funniest shows I've been to.


May was possibly the best month of the year, the good times were ROLLING.

Liverpool trip

I went to watch my first ever Liverpool game at Anfield and we won which made it even better. After that, my family and I went on a night out in Liverpool that accidentally ended up in Pop World. That was after we'd been to a karaoke bar and me and my cousins impressed the people of Liverpool with Man I feel like a Woman by Shania Twain and One Kiss by Dua Lipa (or that's how we think it happened).

Harry Potter Studios

My mum actually got Joe and me tickets to Harry Potter studios for Christmas, but it was so busy and booked up that we ended up going in May. It was our first time here and we absolutely loved it. Once we'd gone round the whole thing I immediately wanted to go again.

Split, Croatia

One of the highlights of 2023 was definitely going on holiday for a week in Split, Croatia with my gal pals from uni. It was such an amazing holiday with some 10/10 food.

Polzeath, Cornwall

Another holiday? Yes, it was mine and Joe's 5-year anniversary on 1st June so we went to Polzeath in Cornwall for a couple of days on the May bank holiday weekend to celebrate. It was a very relaxing time compared to partying in Croatia.


Once again, June was a great month filled with good times and memories.

A month of music

As aforementioned, I got tickets to see Beyonce on 3rd June at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with my friend Kitty and it was like an out-of-body experience. We were right at the back, but Beyonce was amazing and it will go down in history as one of the best shows I've ever been to.

I also went to see Harry Styles AND ABBA Voyage in June which were both incredible. The fireworks during Sign of the Times at Harry Styles will probably be one of my favourite memories for a long time and ABBA Voyage was just insane I couldn't get my head around how real it looked.

My first murder mystery

PR INVITE - I was invited down to Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm near me to their summer murder mystery night which was so interesting. I'd never been to a murder mystery before so wasn't sure what to expect but it was so much fun. I didn't guess the murderer because I kept overthinking every scenario but maybe I'd get better the more I go to.

Skipping Challenge for Cancer Research

In June, I did the 100 skips a day challenge for Cancer Research and raised over £100! I managed to do either 100 every day, or double up when I had to miss a day for some reason so I was proud of myself because I never stick at anything.

Another series of unfortunate events

After a lovely weekend in Hastings seeing Joe and his family, my car decided to break down outside his mum's house. I had to get my car towed over 100 miles from Hastings back to home and after a series of miscommunications from the AA my car and myself, didn't get towed home until 24 hours after the breakdown had happened.

I'm glad I was at Joe's mum's and not on the side of the motorway, and the car is all sorted now and the issues with the AA have been sorted, but was not fun and cool to spend out on getting the car/towed and fixed meanwhile not knowing when I was going to get home.


The month of weddings

In July, we had two weddings within two weeks of each other which was really nice because I love a wedding! The first was my cousin Charlotte and her husband Bill's wedding, and the second wedding was for our friends Barney and Lucie, for which Joe was a groomsman.

I had an amazing time at both weddings and if you are my friend or family who has been with their partner for a while and are reading this, please get married soon so I can have another wedding lined up - I just bloody love them!

Fun in London

I went along with my friend Vicky to a boozy bingo at Dabbers Bingo in London which was great fun. Funnily enough, that's where my friend Cheyenne had chosen to go for her birthday a week later so I had two bingo weekends in a row, and still managed to win absolutely nothing haha. I still had a really good time at both though!


August was another pretty wholesome month filled with seeing friends and eating good food.

We celebrated Joe's birthday with a fun-filled day which included getting lunch at Camden Market, watching a comedy show at The Secret Comedy Club, and eating dinner at Le Garrick, a French Restaurant just off Picadilly Circus. We both tried snails for the first time and really enjoyed them!


September started off strong with a night out in Bournemouth with two of my best gal pals.

A few days later I went to the Busted 20th anniversary tour in Bournemouth which brought out my inner child.

The following week, I watched Wicked on the West End with Joe which was amazing! I also tried sushi for the first time which was another foodie first for me in the space of a couple months.


At the end of September, Joe and I went on a trip to Seville in Spain for a long weekend which we really enjoyed. We went to a 350-year-old tapas restaurant, attempted (and failed) rowing at the Plaza de Espana and discovered some of the Islamic history of Andalusia. It was hot hot hot but an amazing trip!


A heartbreaking goodbye

October started off very sadly. On 6th October we had to say goodbye to our amazing 15-year-old Shih Tzu, Hollie. I have grown up with Hollie, we got her as a puppy when I was 9 and she has been with me through school, college, university, break ups, and all the ups and downs of my teenage years and early 20s.

Hollie had been suffering with dementia towards the end and she had a peaceful end to her suffering in our home surrounded by her family who loved her. 

Everyone who met Hollie couldn't help but fall in love with her and she loved people too. We'll always miss her and I'm still getting used to her not being around anymore. I don't think there'll ever be a time when I won't think about her, but I'm so grateful for the 15 years we spent loving her and there is peace in knowing she had a wonderful life.

The Otley Run

On a more positive note, for my friend Ellie's birthday, we went up to Leeds to do the Otley Run, which is a massive pub crawl that everyone does in fancy dress. I dressed up as Spongebob and got so many compliments on my costume - best outfit I've ever worn.

It was the best night I'd had in ages and will go down in history as a legendary night out and really cheered me up from a rubbish couple of weeks. I wasn't even that hungover the next day on the drive back even after 17 or however many pubs there were - it truly was a miracle. AND we had cheesy chips and gravy at the end of the night, 100% banging!

Later on in the month we celebrated Mahli-Blu's first birthday (Joe's niece - and I can't believe she's one already!) I also went to Fright Night at Thorpe Park the weekend before Halloween.

Actual Halloween was my last day at my old job and I have since started a new one - see November!


New job, who dis?

On 1st November, I started my new job in marketing at a leading children's charity in the UK. This charity has been a big name to me ever since I started working in children's services so feels like a great step up in my career and I'm loving it so far!

Grandma turns 80

She is probably reading this and cringing because I'm telling you that she's 80, but we had a lovely afternoon tea-themed 80th birthday party for my grandma in early November.

Pottery class

Later on in November, we took part in a beginners pottery class for my friend Annie's birthday. I thought I was going to be so bad at it but ended up making a half-decent-looking pot for my first go. Note to self: be more confident in skills.

I got a tattoo!

At the end of November I ticked off yet another item on my 30 things to do before I’m 30 list - get a tattoo.

I was very brave!


Festive fun

December started off with festive fun with friends, which included a fabulous bottomless brunch at Cafe au Lait in Bath. One main brunch a course, a portion of pancakes (the best pancakes I've ever had no less!) and bottomless prosecco all for £35? Yes please!! (not an ad I just REALLY enjoyed it).

Cologne Christmas Markets

Just before Christmas a group of 9 of us went to Cologne for their Christmas markets and we had a very merry time. After going to Dortmund every year it was a welcome change and after having the flu on the market trip last year I was delighted to be well enough to eat, drink and be jolly this year.

If you're thinking about Christmas market trips for next year I'd recommend Cologne!

That's a wrap! It's been a whirlwind of a year with some great memories made along the way. There were some lows, as with any year, but overall 2023 was a good one.

Looking forward to next year

Here's a look at some of the exciting things I have planned so far for next year.

- Drag Con in January
- Strictly Live Tour in February
- Budapest in March
- Weymouth in April
- Declan McKenna in Brighton in April
- Las Vegas in August