Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

I was recently asked by basketball player and author Alex Owumi, if I wanted to review his audio book, The Man in Forest Hills. Alex has always been a great friend and has helped increase my blogging audience over the past couple of years. I admire him and his journey and wanted to review one of his books!

Book Review: The Man in Forest Hills

The Man in Forest Hills is set around the character Thomas Kent, a detective based in Boston. He wakes up from a coma after being shot to find out his family are gone. He thinks it’s something to do with one of the high profile cases he’s worked on in the past and starts trying to dig into the mystery further…

I don’t want to give away any more spoilers as there’s a lot that goes down in the book!

I really enjoyed actually listening to an audiobook and being able to do other things; it was also a really good book to start off with. It only took me two days to get through although I did have to pay close attention to all the characters!

What I really enjoyed about this book was the suspense. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, making you wonder who was behind the murder of Kent’s family. As a reader, you also struggle to determine whether Kent is playing good cop or bad cop by trying to avenge his family’s murder.

If he murders the people who have harmed them, is he then in the wrong? Or is he doing a good deed to make sure they don’t murder again? It’s a very moral oriented story. We have to pick whether we are backing Kent or we want him to go to jail.

As the chapters go on we also see flashbacks to before Kent’s family were murdered; we also see his time in the police academy and how his story has unraveled to leave us where he is now. By giving us this glimpse into Kent’s past, Owumi has let the reader into his world; these flashbacks intrigue us and we find ourselves wanting to know more.

Overall, I felt like the story line was well thought out and I can’t wait to read the rest of Owumi’s books!

You can purchase Alex’s books here.

You can also read Alex’s thoughts and tips on his blog.

Hope you enjoyed this review! Remember, if you have a book you want reviewed, email me at greenv745@gmail.com

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Last weekend we visited Frankfurt and its Christmas markets. We packed jumpers, coats, hats and scarves but the weather was just the same as the UK.

My aim was to have a Baileys hot chocolate, come back with a mug and have a pretzel the size of my face – which I did.

We arrived really late on Friday night and stayed at the Bristol Hotel next to the train station. After someone (Oliver’s dad) forgot the directions, we eventually made it to the hotel after 45 minutes but it should have taken 5 😂

We woke up, had breakfast and walked to where the Christmas markets are. We stopped in a store that reminded me of Flying Tiger before heading into the markets to grab hot chocolate with amaretto.

We stayed out for a few hours to take pictures, buy drinks and get some food. There were so many stalls, from food, drinks to hardware and Christmas ornaments. I’ve never seen a market so big. We also walked over a bridge the other side of the river where there were a few flea markets and we also went into a large church with a choir performing.

We went back to the room for a while and caught up on I’m a Celeb before going out again at 7pm to see the markets in the dark.

We ended up having a Maccy D’s. We always like to see the difference in food choices when we go away. You can make your own mcflurrys and get different types of burgers. In France you can even get seafood.

On Sunday we got up, had breakfast at the Bristol Hotel and headed off to the markets again. This is when I bought my pretzel (it only cost €3.50). I also managed to get myself a Baileys hot chocolate! First time I’ve ever tried Baileys and I definitely approve.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed attending my first European Christmas Market. It was so festive and I can’t wait to go to a new Christmas Market again.

A few tips for anyone thinking of going to a Christmas market:

  • If you buy a mulled wine or hot chocolate, you’ll pay more for the mug and get a token. If you take the mug back, you’ll get some money back. If you decide to keep it, just swap it for a clean mug.
  • Bring warm clothes such as a coat and hat but don’t worry about bringing gloves and scarves as it’s currently the same temperature as it is in the UK.
  • Check times of when markets open and close before you go and see if you can find any secret markets or indoor stalls.

Guest Post: Overwhelmed

Guest Post: Overwhelmed

I asked a fellow blogger if she would kindly help me write a blog post for mental health awareness and I can’t wait for you to see it!

That dreaded overwhelming feeling

Writing this blog post, I have had so many ideas that I have went back and forth between yet I felt like it was best to write about something that I am currently dealing with. I want to use this post to share tips, a story or two and a few of my favourite quotes.

Overwhelm
‘Have a strong emotional effect on’
‘Bury or drown beneath a high mass of something’

Feeling overwhelmed is not something that can be easily described, it’s a tightness in your chest, exhaustion and mood swings. It is something that is so similar to anxiety that it is difficult to see the difference between the two. I label my anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed ‘the two devils’.

As of lately I’ve been trying to mentally work out which I am feeling at each point in the day. Mostly at the minute it is a constant overwhelming feeling that seems to tick my anxiety off. I have recently just began my second year of journalism and I’m putting so much pressure on myself to get a first that I am overwhelming myself with so much extra work load that really isn’t necessary. This in turn then causes me to get that dreaded overwhelming feeling surrounding the workload of uni which then has a knock on effect that flicks my anxiety gauge to high. Once I begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed everything becomes a problem; the workload, grades, the degree itself, my future, failure, just absolutely everything.

That dreaded feeling is a combination of wanting to stay in bed but making yourself physically sick with how worried and anxious you are that you haven’t done anything. That dreaded feeling is best friends with your rocky mental health. That dreaded feeling wants to be in control. That dreaded feeling will get in the way of everything and everyone.

When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.

Now, if you ever feel yourself losing control and that dreaded feeling taking over these are the few times that help me most times!

Set boundaries – In my example I have used university as my example, however, that dreaded feeling can creep up over anything. It is important to set boundaries on what times and how long you are going to spend trying to focus on the particular thing that is causing that dreaded feeling.

Plan – use your time wisely yet don’t be too ambitions or disheartened. Mental health is unpredictable and some days you need to recover after a mentally draining day by recharging your batteries and not worrying about what needs to happen.

Talk – taking is one of the hardest yet most valuable thing when it comes to any form of mental health.

That’s it, just three times to help fight back at that dreaded feeling. You got this! I believe in you!

Links:

Blog

Instagram

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

Every year, on 10th October, it’s World Mental Heath Day. I believe we should be aware all year round, but to celebrate this day, I and a few guest bloggers will be writing about Mental health throughout the month. They will be sharing with you their advice, stories, tips and much more this month so keep a look out!

What Is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day is all about bringing awareness to the stigma surrounding mental health and making sure we’re there for our loved ones who suffer with these illnesses every day. It’s also a time for people to speak up about their work and what needs to be done to change the way we see mental health. You can read more about World Mental Health Day here.

What Can I Do To Help?

There are so many things you can do to help beat the mental health stigma and some of these include but are not limited to:

  • Fundraising
  • Talking about mental health openly
  • Researching to understand mental health illnesses better
  • Donate to mental health charities
  • Be there for friends/family who are struggling with their mental health

There are lots of ways to get involved and to have your voice heard!

Look out for my guest posts coming throughout the month…

Where I See Myself In Five Years

Where I See Myself In Five Years

Hi folks! I was on Twitter asking all of you what you think I should write about on the blog and the lovely Simon suggested I do a post about where I see myself in five years time. So here it goes…

In five years time I’ll be 25.Which is scaryyy. I’m not sure what will happen with my career, but I know I want to continue freelancing for now. I’d love to eventually work as an editor, and maybe even a staff writer.

fb_img_15472951072141038327781605810085.jpg

In terms of my blog, I hope it’s still going strong and that I haven’t given up on it! I hope to eventually move to my own domain so hopefully by five years time I won’t be too stingy with those dollars.

In terms of my personal life… I’m hoping to patch things up with my family, but if they don’t believe the truth, it’s going to be hard for us to get along.

I always said I was going to have kids at 25 and to me that doesn’t seem very far away and that scares me. The whole idea of childbirth and parenthood terrifies me.

fad2b-received_1174659675878790

I have no idea if me and Oli will be married by then, but whatever happens I know I want to be coming home to him at the end of the day. We have said we want to move to New York, but unless we win the lottery soon (which we won’t, we don’t play it), that won’t happen for a while. Maybe we will be over there by the time I’m 25. All I know is I don’t want to live in the UK forever. I’m starting to get stir crazy in this country!

New York Flat Iron Building.jpg

If we haven’t moved to America and I’m not a big shot editor working at the New York Times in five years time, then I can definitely see us having our own little flat somewhere near London and us still working hard to move oversees. And I can definitely see us traveling a lot. Hopefully in five years time I have ticked off the places I want to go to such as Italy and going to Africa on Safari.

I’m also hoping they’ll be some type of furbaby in the future…Probably not a dog though (insert crying face here). But definitely a hamster or rabbit. Possibly a cat.

IMG-20170604-WA0001

So… There’s my predictions(?) for 2024. Let’s see what happens…

How To Promote Your Blog

How To Promote Your Blog

As you may know, I switched over to WordPress early on in the year from Blogger. I gained over a 1000 views in my first month and a half. I’m really happy with how my blog has grown and that I’m still doing it. I’ve never had a “hobby” last so long. So here are my top tips on how to promote your blog.

Platforms

Promoting on social media is essential if you want to gain an audience. I primarily use Twitter and Facebook now, and get a few views here and there from Instagram. A lot of my views actually come from WordPress Reader now though. Which means my followers are reading and liking and commenting on my blog. So I urge you to try to grow your followers as much as possible, as well as giving your blog its own page on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has hundreds of blogging groups, from promotion ones, to niches such as book blogging or travel. Sharing your posts to these groups will help you immensely when wanting to gain views.

Community

If it wasn’t for all my blogging friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They all help me and vice versa to promote my blog posts. From one retweet to commenting on my blog, it all makes a difference.

Make sure to interact with the people who have been through this blogging journey with you from the start. They will always have your back so make sure you get into the blogging communities on Twitter.

Hashtags

Hashtags aren’t just useful for gaining likes on an Instagram pic. They’ve helped me get into free events and receive goodies from publishing companies. I use the #Bloggerswanted hashtag on Twitter to get free products, free events and more. These give you great exposure because not only will product reviews or gift guides get your blog views, but if the company who gifted you something, share it on their website or social media, you could gain more followers and clicks.

Guest Posts

Guest posts always help me promote my blog because they will usually link back to your blog and social media handles. It’s a great way of making friends in the community while also gaining exposure. It also helps to host guest bloggers on your site because chances are they’ll want their followers to read what they’ve written and share it.

I hope these tips are useful for you, whether you’re new to blogging or a pro!

Unique Things To Do In London

Unique Things To Do In London

If you’ve been to London before, you’ll obviously be going to all the touristy places such as the London Eye, Tower Bridge etc etc. But what about unique and quirky things to do in London as a tourist? Or even as a Londoner? Here’s my ultimate list of unique things to do in London.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe

Oliver and I went to Lady Dinah’s earlier in the year and we fell in love with all the cats. You can read about our experience here.

The cats are all rescue and sometimes they’re put up for adoption. Entry and a cuppa is only £10 per person so well worth it! You can read more about their prices and rules here.

The Cereal Killer Cafe

The Cereal Killer Cafe has become a really popular unique London experience with hundreds of people queuing to get inside. They have tons of stuff on their menu, from milkshakes to american cereal and more! It’s the perfect breakfast date for any tourist.

You can read more about the Cereal Killer Cafe here.

cereal
Picture from Cereal Killer Cafe’s Instagram

The Underground Supper Club

The Underground Supper Club is a unique experience to do in London, with talented chefs cooking delicious courses. Be part of a relaxed and quirky atmosphere here.

yes-3
Photo from the Basement’s gallery.

The Dinosaur Park at Crystal Palace

Oliver and I went to basketball ages ago and he said he wanted to go to the Dinosaur Park in Crystal Palace. Although it’s really run down, it’s a creepy and unique thing to do in London that you would never ever think of.

Dino

Word On The Water

Word On The Water is a river boat that is also a bookstore. How cool is that?! You can look around downstairs (although mind your head) and take amazing Insta worthy photos (if no one gets in the way).

Swingers

Swingers is a unique golf experience in London where you can chill with your friends, have some drinks and snacks and have a game of golf. You can read more about the 9 hole course here.

Swingers-9
Photo from Secret London’s website.

I hope you enjoyed this list! Tell me below some unique places you’ve found.

Vee x

How To Write A Blog Post When You Have No Motivation

How To Write A Blog Post When You Have No Motivation

We’ve all been there when it feels like we’ll never write another blog post again and we’ll go down as the worst blogger in the history of bloggers. Blogger’s get writer’s block too, not just authors! So here are my top tips on how to write a blog post when you have zero motivation to do so!

Take Your Time

Don’t rush because if you do, it means compromising your content. If you don’t feel like you can produce good content at the moment, take a step back, take a break and come back to it in a few hours. Stepping away from whatever project you’re working on may help you see it clearer than you would if you were sat right in front of it.

Find Your Inspiration

There are so many blog posts providing lists on what to write for your blog. You can find loads of these lists on Pinterest and by just googling. For instance, if you write fashion related content, google lists of what to write for that topic.

Another way of finding inspiration is from photos. I always find that a photo can make me think of something else and then the ball starts rolling into an idea for a blog post. Instagram can be a good way of finding that inspiration you desperately need.

Ask For Help

Ask your followers or friends what they’d love to see on your blog. Getting an outsider’s opinion might help you write a blog when you have no motivation to.  You may find that the topic they suggest could lead to other potential posts.

Brainstorm

If you don’t feel like you’re in the head space to write a full blown blog post, brainstorm all your ideas. It can be just words, phrases, quotes or even photos. Think of it like a mood board for your blog and creativity.

Keep A Journal

You might find that writing daily just about what you’ve been up to and how you’re feeling will give you ideas for blog posts. You’ll find your writer’s block slowly starts going away the more you write. Whether you bullet journal or write in your diary, whatever creative passion you have, pour your heart into it. No one has to read it if you don’t want them to – just get the ball rolling!

I hope this guide helped you with your lack of motivation!

Anxiety: A Poem

Anxiety: A Poem

Hey guys! This week I’m going to be sharing a poem about what anxiety feels like for me. I hope this can help make others feel a little less alone and maybe create a tiny bit more awareness for mental health in general.

Anxiety is more than just being shy around strangers and having panic attacks in shopping malls;
It’s looking up what you want online before you go to a restaurant
It’s having meltdowns in the middle of the night
It’s struggling to stand when you need to keep going
It’s feeling so alone even when you’re surrounded by people.

Late night panic attacks and crying fits are just the tip of the iceburg
You know nothing until you look into my dark, twisted mind.
The lies I tell myself creep in through the window
Consuming every waking moment.
Am I a failure?
Am I going to survive this episode?
You may think I’m a social butterfly
But wait until you see what’s really inside
There are thousands of butterflies screaming to be let out
There are times when the pain is too much to bare.
But you know what they don’t tell you about anxiety?
“You’ll survive.”

Let me know in the comments your thoughts and whether you have experienced similar feelings. This poem is quite raw and unpolished so I’d appreciate the feedback ❤ Until next time, love, Vee.

How to Stay Cool in the Heatwave

How to Stay Cool in the Heatwave

I know we all feel like we’re melting and all we want to do is cool off and for it to be Winter again but slow down peeps. I love Summer and I found a few “hacks” on how we can enjoy the heat without looking like a melted snowman.

151999

  • This may be a simple one but stay hydrated – if you don’t enjoy gulping down plain old water all day then buy some of your favourite squash to add some flavour
  • Make sure to buy yourself a fan – you can’t survive a heatwave without one
  • When you’re working in a sweaty office with no air con (like I was last year) make sure you bring your own little desk fan and some ice packs with your packed lunch – you never know when you might need them
  • Make sure you always have sun cream with you – you can get pocket sun cream to make it even easier to fit into your bag or glove compartment
  • Swap your duvet for a sheet: it’s way too hot for duvets so if you still feel like monsters are out to get you in the night, take the sheet off the duvet and sleep in that. Better yet, get yourself a fan and make a little wind tent

tent fan

  • Make sure you’ve got ice in the freezer!
  • Keep the house/flat cool by shutting all curtains and blinds so the sun doesn’t get in
  • Stay outside at night when it’s cooled down
  • Go swimming to cool off
  • Make sure you always have a water bottle handy when out and about – you don’t want to waste money or plastic
  • If you work from home or use a laptop at work then buy a fan for your laptop as well so it doesn’t overheat
  • Try to avoid hot or spicy food – now might be the time to start that salad diet!
  • It’s not just us humans that are getting hot though; think of your pets, they can’t tell you they’re too hot. Make sure not to walk your dogs in this heat, not to leave them in a car or in the garden. You can also put ice in their water bowl to cool down, dogs love licking ice. Make sure to leave water bowls outside for your dog/cat and maybe out the front of your house in case an animal needs it
  • It may sound awful but take a cold shower and let your hair dry on its own
  • It’s always time for ice lollies!
  • Make sure to wear sandals and flip flops as much as possible as well as having an umbrella or parasol because your feet and head are where all the heat gets trapped in
  • Don’t leave doors and windows open as once the warmth gets in your house will become a suntrap
  • Make sure to eat lots of fruit in order to keep hydrated e.g. watermelons, nectarines, grapes and peaches

That’s all for now folks! What are some tips/hacks you know of to keep cool in this heat? Let me know in the comments!