Team Zoella’s All-Time Favourite Books

You may have noticed, we're a fan of curling up with a good book over here. Give us a cup of brew and a cosy corner to get stuck into a fresh paperback and we'll be at it for hours.

If you’re an avid bookworm, you’ll understand the joy of losing yourself in a novel too, which is why we’ve compiled a reading list of our all-time favourite fiction. Our very own literary canon, if you will!

From modern giants to the must-read classics and a certain scar-bearing wizard, these are the books that have stayed with us way past the acknowledgements.

– Maddie –

Pride and Prejudice

Probably my all-time favourite book if I had to pick one. When Jane Austen created Elizabeth Bennet she may not have known at the time but she was creating the feminist protagonist we all still need in our lives to this day. She’s fearless, determined, witty and honest but most of all she didn’t let her position as a woman of “little means” and of the horrifyingly old age of 21 dictate her future happiness. I think even 200 years later we could all stand to be a little bit more like her.

Harry Potter

I have read and reread these books time after time and I think that I could never grow tired of them, I simply couldn’t not include them in this list. They’re wonderful escapism at it’s best with incredible detail, interesting characters and plot twists. There’s love, friendship and of course all the magic, what’s not to love! I think secretly we all wish we could be witches or wizards and go to Hogwarts, don’t we?

The Song of Achilles

This was a stand out favourite book of the more recent years for me. I am obsessed with Greek mythology so I always knew the subject matter would make it a page-turner but it was so much more than I expected. The love story that grows between the two main male characters who are so complexly different is so beautifully written I was weeping by the end. It’s an incredible retelling of a story I thought I already knew and just thinking about it makes me want to pick it up again.

– Danielle –

One Day

This book was just simply magnificent when I first read it. It revisits the same two characters who met at their Uni graduation on the same day every year. I love everything about it, the premise, the way it was written, the characters and all the hilarious and heartbreaking bits. I physically cannot put the movie on as it hurts my soul, I won’t give away why in case it’s a big fat spoiler but if you haven’t read this book PLEASE give it a go!

The Night Circus

Such a beautiful read from start to finish I ate this up time and time again and I’d still grab it out and dust it off for a holiday now. It keeps you guessing in a universe that isn’t much like our own and I guarantee you it’ the perfect escape!

Chelsea Handler’s Collection

I’m not 100% certain how I started reading Chelsea Handler’s books, I think I may have picked one up in an airport when I was about 19 coming home alone from Miami. Generally, her books are made up of stories from her life and they are absolutely hilarious, laugh out loud funny. She is so unapologetically herself at all times, and if reading them doesn’t make you give fewer F***s I don’t know what will.

Rupi Kaur – Milk and Honey

As this is a poetry book you can pick it up whenever you fancy and remind yourself of some of the most gorgeous yet genius poems you’ll ever set your eyes on. I adore Rupi’s words, they make me think and cry and generally stick with me for such a long time. Follow her on Instagram if you want a little taste!

– Zoë –

Anne Franks Diary

I first read this when I was in primary school and it had such a huge effect on me that I have read it more times than I can count. I love that it’s such a momentous piece of history and it’s something I will also encourage my children to read too!

The “I Heart…” Series by Lindsay Kelk

This was one of my first introductions to women’s ‘chick-lit’ and I was obsessed. I adore Lindsay’s writing style and instantly fell in love with Angela and all her escapades. I could read these over and over!

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

This book completely engulfed me and it was fabulous. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as fast as this one. It’s really fast-paced and a great thriller. After finishing this I needed to talk about it with someone immediately. Always a sign of a book you’ll never forget!

All The Bright Places

Jennifer Niven – I read this a few years ago and couldn’t stop recommending it to people (it was also a book in my Zoella book club with WHSmith). It’s one of those stories that hooks you in and makes you feel all the feels. Adore Jennifers writing, characters and the storyline is perfect.

– Lareese –

Grief Is A Thing With Feathers

Part sound-poem, part lyrical memoir and metaphor – this book will stay with me forever. It’s not something I’d usually read but I’m very interested in the grief narrative as it’s such a human experience. This story centres around a dad, a crow and his two young sons as they try to navigate life without their mum. It’s beautifully written, sad, confusing, hopeful and unconventional in the best way. It’s hard to unpack and impossible to articulate – much like grief itself – because it deserves a genre all on its own.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre was a secondary school classic! I remember reading the opening chapters aloud in class and just falling in love with the way it was written. The pathetic fallacy, the unusually spunky and headstrong heroine, the flawed romance – it’s a remarkable novel.

– Charlotte –

The Book Thief

My all-time number one! I’ve always been a history junkie so any books set in the First or Second World War immediately have my attention. Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, the story follows 9-year-old protagonist Liesel and her love affair with books, as she starts a journey in stealing them from libraries and even Nazi book burnings. Things become dangerous after Liesel’s foster father hides a Jewish man in their basement, and the story of love, loss, innocence, and hate leaves you gripped throughout.

Confessions of a Shopaholic series

Something a little lighter! I first read these books when I was far too young to be hearing about the ins and outs of the saucy encounters of Rebecca Bloomwood, but nonetheless they’ve remained high on my list of romcom faves. The series follows Becky’s ups and downs as she battles to manage her career, love life, and the mishaps that come with her quirky personality, all whilst her uncontrollable shopping habits lead her astray time and time again …

The Rosie Project series

I’m not usually one for a male protagonist but this series bucks the trend! Written from the perspective of Don Tillman- an Australian genetics professor- the story follows his unusual personality (think Eleanor Oliphant vibes) as he sets out on ‘project wife’ and his mission to find ‘the one’ based on a perfectly constructed questionnaire. But when Don meets Rosie, his perfectly orchestrated plan goes out the window, and you’re left to wonder if spontaneity, ditching routine and straying from what you know is all part of the process in finding your perfect someone.

– Darcey –

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

This is a bit of an unconventional one, but this book really helped me change my mindset while I was at university. It teaches you to remember that bad stuff will happen, that it’s just how life works, but to remember that achieving anything in life comes with a struggle. It taught me to remember that not everything can always come easy.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

I studied this book at college, and I loved it so much. This was a book written before its time, Bronte challenged victorian ideals, like religion and social class, which I found so fascinating. This book made me think a lot about feminism within literature too and I ended up writing my A-Level coursework on Emily and Charlotte Brontes feminist literature!

The Fault in Our Stars

I mean I think this book is probably in a lot of people’s top books, I have never cried so much reading this book. In fact, I think this is the only book I’ve ever cried at while reading. I loved the film to of course, but for me the book won, I prefer how the story is played out.

– Lauren –

Eat Pray Love

I read the book after watching the film, and of course, I loved it more, and it’s kept a special place in my heart ever since. The fact Liz Gilbert took this huge step to change her life and put her happiness first, learning skills, being open to the universe and life, and being able to experience so much of the world is truly inspiring. This book is what sparked my obsession with Italy and learning Italian, and it’s one I re-read yearly.

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What are some of your all-time favourite books?


13 Questions With Abigail Bergstrom

The amazing Abi Bergstrom is head of publishing at Gleam Titles and is a self-professed book obsessive. This year Abi is working on lots of amazing book including Zoe Sugg's and Amy McCulloch's - The Magpie Society.

What is your role at Gleam futures and what does it entail?

I’m Head of Publishing at Gleam Titles, the literary arm at Gleam. I work as an agent and represent the books and look after the careers of writers. So it’s my job to talent spot and discover authors, I help secure them publishing deals and work alongside them throughout the process of writing and publishing their books.

How long have you worked with Zoe?

I have worked with Zoe for more than four years now! I’ve loved watching her move from her Girl Online fiction series into non-fiction, and then onto this big fiction series, The Magpie Society, which we’re so excited about. It’s going to be EPIC.

What are some of the best parts of your job?

The people. One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with people who are doing amazing things in the world, like changing laws, facilitating award-winning activism and helping others with the skills and platforms they have. I also love words – being close to the text, an idea, and helping turn that into a book that people will spend time with.

What are you currently working on?

A lot of the things I’m working on now I can’t discuss as the deals haven’t been announced. But this month we’ve had Sunday Times bestsellers with Where’s My Happy Ending? and the one and only Mrs Hinch. Liv Purvis’ The Insecure Girl’s Club and Chidera Eggerue’s How To Get Over a Boy have published – they are both fantastic books offering pearls of wisdom and nuggets of truth.

What did you study at school/uni to help with your career?

I studied English Literature and it definitely laid the foundation for my work. I think the psychoanalytic theory I studied was very informative in terms of the books I work on now – it’s where I discovered feminism and the idea of gender as a social construct.

What are some of your all-time favourite books?

That’s the impossible question I get asked time and time again. I love to read literary fiction: Deborah Levy, Angela Carter, Miranda July, Sally Rooney etc. I’d recommend everything and anything they’ve written. I also love more surreal and quirky books that suspend your reality, such as Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends are Superheroes and The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Ariel by Sylvia Plath is one of my favourite poetry collections. The Son by Philipp Meyer is the best western I’ve ever read.

What are you looking forward to reading this year?

There is so much great stuff coming this year! Excluding my own authors from this list, I’m excited to read Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan Pandora’s Sykes collection of essays How We Know We’re Doing It RightThe Panic Years by Nelle Frizzle, Marian Keyes’ new novel Grown Ups and Explaining Humans by Camilla Pang.

Who are some of your favourite new authors?

Han Kang, Naoise Dolan and Marina Keegan, who sadly passed away at a very young age but her debut collection of essays and stories The Opposite of Loneliness was published posthumously, and it is one of the most brilliant and affecting collections I’ve read.

What do you like most about working in London?

The access it gives you to so many other worlds and perspectives, inspiring art in galleries around the corner, the height of new fashion on your doorstop and incredible food to sample on your lunch hour. London is a giver.

If you had any advice for aspiring writers what would it be?

Write what you’re afraid to write. Read as much work as you can by the writers you aspire to be like. Write, write, and write.

What do you always carry with you?

Poo bags. (I have an Italian Greyhound).

What would your last meal be?

My answer was always seafood, I adore seafood. But I just got struck down with food poisoning from a handful of cruel oysters, so now I’m really not sure…

What are you looking forward to most in 2020?

All of the incredible books I have coming from some amazingly talented people – Laura Bates, Sam Baker, Emma Gannon, Florence Given, Sophie Hinch, Louise Pentland, Penny Wincer and of course Zoe! It’s going to be one hell of a year for Gleam Titles.

Shop Abigail’s book picks

Follow Abi on Instagram here.


Random Acts Of Kindness Day: Notes In The City

What if your only intention today was to make someone else's day a better one?

To celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day, we’re aiming to do just that by spreading a little piece of joy, one note at a time.

Inspired by London-based artist Andy Leek and his kindness project, ‘Notes to Strangers’, we thought we’d take a leaf out of his book and help spread life-affirming message across our fair city too. Because unexpected kindness is never wasted!

What random act of kindness are you going to carry out today?


Weekly Wants: Shelf Styling

This time around, we're dedicating our Weekly Wants to interior décor and shelf styling.

You can inject a lot of personality into a space simply by displaying some of your favourite items together in your home. So, whether you want to create a minimal arrangement with a neutral colour scheme to match, or you’d rather go all out maximalist – styling your shelves with the things you love is bound to make you feel right at home.

From vases and art prints to book stacks and candles, check out the decorative bits and bobs we want to see sitting pretty on our shelfie!

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*This post contains ad – affiliate links.


Between You And Me – Answering Your Problems

Our 'Between You & Me' write-in is a regular series dedicated to answering your personal problems in our best Oprah voice.

When times are pretty sh*tty, we’ll wade in and give you our best pearls of wisdom, without the unsolicited advice – all in the hope that you’ll feel a little less alone in whatever you’re going through. Bottom line: Yes, you’re normal, no you’re not the only one, yes it’s ok to have problems and HELL YES it’s ok to ask for help.

Whether it’s friendship woes, marital struggles, grief, loneliness, body hang-ups, overbearing in-laws, problem-skin, stress or heartbreak, we all know a problem shared is a problem halved and we hope this space is somewhere you can show up, be open and honest and get the emotional back-up you need. Like a cracking pair of pants – we are here to hold you together, so lament and vent away!

So, let’s kick things off with our first BYAM dilemmas…

Keep sending your problems to [email protected] as we’ll be answering more next month!


How To Spend Valentine’s Day Alone

Let’s get one thing straight right from the off, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. Sure, you might be flying the single flag but what of it?

This is 2020, people! Being unattached is not a reason to lock yourself in a lofty tower for the whole of February. There is heart-shaped chocolate to be had and masturdates – that’s ‘going out on your own’ for anyone scratching their heads, or any other region for that matter.

Valentine’s Day is about love of in ALL its forms, starting with the glorious romance you have with *drumroll please* yourself.

So, let’s paddle through the commercial BS and make room for some good ol’ fashioned self-lovin’ shall we?

Shower yourself with affection simply because you can, buy yourself some chocolate and flowers or weep into a bottle of tequila if you prefer.

This is our guide to navigating Valentine’s Day as a singleton – no S.O. necessary!

Just ignore it…

If you don’t feel like commemorating the day of love, just… don’t! You don’t need permission to pie it off altogether.

Like a red card from DPD, just leave Valentine’s Day at the door with a, ‘sorry we missed you note’. It’s but another day on the calendar after all.

Call your friends

Nurture the 10/10 relationships you already have in your life. Host a dinner with your fellow fluent-in-Tinder-BS gal pals and compare hideous dating stories. Laughter is the best medicine.

Hang out with yourself

There’s this weird expectation that if you’re alone, you must be f*cking devastated and showering with your dog but riddle me this, what’s so crushing about having your wicked way with the thermostat? There’s nothing more fulfilling than realising you’re more than comfortable with your own company. Being single is a choice, not a burden.

Go shopping to get what YOU want

Sure, lacy lingerie is great but have you tried new PJs?

Make yourself a nice dinner

“Hey, what do you fancy for dinner?”

“I’m easy. What do you fancy?”

“I don’t know, what are you thinking?”

“You choose”

“Don’t test me, Michael. Start naming food groups” 

The riveting daily dinner chat doesn’t exist in your world – eat what you want, when you want without the hangry debate, you lucky thing.

Stay in and binge Netflix

If we don’t make any sudden moves maybe Valentine’s Day won’t see us. *Cue five uninterrupted hours on the sofa*

Plus, you’d be doing yourself a massive disservice if you didn’t use this holiday to pay Ryan Gosling the heed he deserves.

Pamper yourself

Run a bath, finish that book, do a face mask, leave the leg shave for another day. Take advantage of the perks of living life on your own terms and not having to share your physical and mental space with anyone else. Guilt-free decisions with zero compromise! High. Five. To. That.

Unplug from social

Couples, couples everywhere. You can practically smell the PDA before you see it. Come off social media for the night and enjoy some well-deserved solitude!

Take a trip

Get away from the V-Day hype and fall in love with a new city instead. Paris is always a good idea and you don’t need a plus one to prove it.  

Touch yourself

Seriously, just masturbate, it’s what Aphrodite would want.

Single this Valentine’s Day? Let us know how you’ll be celebrating self-love!


City Breaks We’ve Tried And Loved

Who doesn't love putting that out of office message on and hot-footing it to another country for a few days? See ya!

A mini-break is short and sweet but that’s the beauty of it.

It might be a fleeting visit but there’s still plenty of opportunity.

It might be a fleeting visit but there’s still plenty of opportunity to see the sights and discover hidden gems, charming architecture and restaurants off the beaten track, all without eating into your precious annual leave allowance.

From a whistle-stop tour of Paris to a long weekend in Lisbon, these are the city breaks we’ve tried and loved.

Lareese | Porto

I live for a city break me! I find it really hard to sit still on holiday, so a city break is my idea of a perfect trip since there’s so much to do but you can also enjoy a bit of downtime too. It’s the best of both worlds.

I went to Porto & Lisbon last September with my boyfriend for a few days and loved it. I’d never been to Portugal before so doing two cities was a great way to get a feel for it. From the fresh Pasteis de Nata to the charming old tram and laundry-lined back streets, it really is a wonderfully unique and vibrant city.

The LX Factory is a must when you’re in Lisbon. It’s full of independent boutiques, food stalls, trendy coffee shops and book shops. There’s a nice outdoor bar area for you to chill in the sun with a beer after you’re done mooching around or stop for a quick coffee and a sweet treat in WISH. It’s a slow coffee house in the LX Factory.

When it comes to good grub, Lisbon didn’t disappoint. We went to a lovely restaurant called BouBou’s for some contemporary Portuguese food – the gambas were amazing. I still think about them now! The Time Out market is also a foodie’s dream. We’d go there for our daily pastel de nata fix – they make them fresh in front of you so they’re warm from the oven. It’s dribble worthy stuff.

We also took a short trip across the river to Almada for the day. The pace is a lot slower there and it has some beautiful views of the famous 25 de Abril Bridge. We walked around and stumbled across a great seafood restaurant right on the water called Restaurante Ponto Final. The scenery is just beautiful!. I very much recommend soaking up a few hours sat here with a glass of wine.

If you’re a sucker for a beautiful building, Casa de Serralves is a must-see. It’s a pastel pink art deco mansion and it looks like something straight out of a Wes Anderson film.

Danielle | Boston

My City Break recommendation is Boston! I know it seems a bit long-haul but I thought I’d mix it up from cities in Europe and talk to you about one that doesn’t get as much love. I went to Boston with my partner and another couple in Feb 19′ and it was SO GOOD, cold but not absolutely baltic so we could do lots of walking, which is exactly what you want from a city break.

We hit so many bars including the infamous ‘Cheers’ barDanielle

We hit so many bars including the infamous ‘Cheers’ bar, speakeasy-style bars like ‘Wink & Nod’ and Yvonne’s, and lots of sports bars like Beer works and The Harp. There were just as many great restaurants with tons of lobster, an Irish quarter and an Italian quarter. We loved The Paramount for breakfast! Honourable mention goes out to Mikes Pastry for the most ridiculous amount desserts that were all freshly made and mouth-wateringly good.

For activities, we did the Freedom Trail in the city centre which has so many historical bits and is super easy to follow. We visited Harvard for a day which was just like the movies, I did my best Legally Blonde quotes on campus. We headed over to Salem for a day and headed to one of the witch museums it was SO interesting, we had an amazing lunch at Sea Level. For sports went to see a Celtics basketball game at TD Garden which was great fun and as the baseball season wasn’t on we went for a tour at Fenway Park but couldn’t catch a Baseball game – which is my fave sport to see in the states! We were also there for the Super Bowl which was incredible, so great to see it with so many Patriots fans and as they won they had a parade the next day with all the players.

Boston is generally pretty ‘grammable one of the prettiest places was Acorn street but every road we walked down was BEAUTIFUL.

Zoe | New York

I chose New York City as my ultimate city break, and although a little further to go from here in the UK (you’d definitely want to make it at least a four day weekend Friday-Monday if you were a bit more limited for time, anything less than that I wouldn’t recommend as there is so much to see and do) it’s somewhere that has completely stolen my heart! I first visited NYC in 2014 but it was extremely fleeting and it was for work so I didn’t get to explore! In 2018, I went back for my birthday for a week with friends and family and we had the best time. As someone who doesn’t love the hustle and bustle of big cities (London and I have a very love-hate relationship), I was half expecting to find NYC very overwhelming and daunting, but because of the street grid system they have, you can always find your bearings and I find I never get lost!

The city has so much to offer, cute little shops and cafe’s if you head a little more south-west, Central Park in midtown which I could spend a whole day in and the traditional tourist spots you see in movies and all over everyone’s Instagram! I went recently in December and spent some time in Brooklyn and absolutely fell in love with it, so would highly recommend a night or two across the river! Williamsburg is full of quirky shops and independent cafes and is a little less busy.

One thing I would highly recommend is booking restaurants in advance for dinner, if you spot somewhere you really want to eat, chances are others will have the same idea, and you could end up in a very long queue. So research is key when it comes to planning a city break to NYC. Places you should visit include: Central Park, Greenwich Village, East Village, The Highline, Williamsburg, Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge, Top of the Rock at sunset, Times Square & Broadway. Places to Eat: Milk for the tastiest ice cream, Joes Pizza, Jacks Wife Freida, Beauty & Essex, The Flour shop for the best cake bites you’ll ever eat, Sunday in Brooklyn for EPIC pancakes, Memoria for delicious pasta, Buddakan for a fancy meal and edamame dumplings that I think about on the daily.

New York is just one of those cities that I instantly fell in love with and felt completely at ease in! I find something else each time we go that makes me want to plan my next trip on the flight home!

Also wanted to give a little nod to Amsterdam as this is also a city I fell in love with! We already have another trip planned for this spring. I love the atmosphere of Amsterdam and the little cobbled streets with so many independent shops and food places! The canals are so beautiful and calming and there is so much to see and do!

Maddie | Paris

Paris is a bit of a home away from home for me but I love it so much and always pine to go back if it’s been too long.

My favourite time to visit is for my birthday in JuneMaddie

It’s a city that’s beautiful all year round but my favourite time to visit is for my birthday in June. The city is in full bloom and the parks and streets are covered in flowers that it makes an already stunning scene that much more.

I love to wander around my favourite quarter le Marais, drink a cafe in Les Places de Vosges, stroll around Les Jardin des Plantes, explore the many cobbled streets of Montmartre and stop by Trocadero at sunset to see the Iron lady in all her glory.

Charlotte | Rome

Rome was my most recent city break but by far my favourite! I’ve been on plenty of trips where vegan food is somewhat … lacking (to put it nicely) but I was pleasantly surprised by the options in Rome- I’m actually considering another trip purely so I can relive the IN-CREDIBLE dairy-free carbonara and tiramisu I had at Rifugio Romano!

I’ve been on plenty of trips where vegan food is somewhat…lackingCharlotte

Most of the main attractions and hotspots were within walking distance of each other (I’m talking the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps) which made ticking off the must-see places doable in a short trip.

The Metro system was easy to fathom and made further out spots like The Vatican City accessible too. I visited at the end of May and the weather was perfect for walking around without the threat of sweating through a grey tee, whilst being warm enough for shorts or a summer dress in the day. Do I sound like I’m getting commission from the Italian tourist board yet?! In all seriousness, a 10/10 trip!

Lauren | Sicily

I really want to go on more city breaks as I’m so interested in the various styles of architecture across Europe, especially Italy as it’s one of my favourite places!

You can really get a feel for the city in a few daysLauren

Last year I went to Sicily, which may not seem like a traditional city break but the capital of Taormina has lots of culture on offer in such a small space that you can really get a feel for the city in a few days.

The city has breathtaking views of the ocean and Mount Etna, and because it’s been invaded so many times throughout history, the range of culture and architecture you find around each corner is amazing. Obviously the range of food available is incredible, and there are so many places to see including the amphitheatre and Isola Bella Island – make sure to try the Granite at Bam Bar!

Holly | Budapest

I LOVE a city break. Catch me exploring well-known cities over a beach holiday ANY DAY. One of my favourite cities I’ve been to is Budapest, Hungary. I went in February with 2 of my best friends for 3 days and we had much fun. There were so many things to do and see so I’m going to bullet point for you here or I won’t be able to stop.

My first tip is to buy one of the 72 hour Budapest Travel Cards. The trams are so easy to use and so handy when some of the top spots are pretty far away from each other. With a magnitude of history and museums, I was in my element. We decided on the ‘House of Terror’ and it was so insightful. Quite eerie when you’re in there but worth it if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

We went to the Outdoor Thermal Baths which were lovely to relax in but I would recommend not planning a whole day around it. I get a bit fidgetty and it is pretty much just sitting in an outdoor bath. If you’re going to Budapest, chances are you’ll go to the ruin bars. Szimpla Kert was unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. Every room is completely different. Very difficult to get a table but the atmosphere is electric and there are different ruin bars all over the city so if you’re like me, you can go on a Bar Crawl and get ‘Ruined’ – Get it?

One last thing that you absolutely have to do in Budapest is to walk to the castle on top of the hill. The views on the way up and at the top are insane. I think this was one of my favourite parts and it’s super interesting to see the divide between Buda and Pest. If I’m honest the last thing I’ll say on the subject is if you go with good people, you’re gonna have a blast.

Darcey | Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great place to go for a short city break, with so much to do and everything is fairly close to each other! There’s a lot of fun things to do in Amsterdam, I went on a boat trip down the canals which was really nice and gave you a chance to explore more of the city. We, of course, went to the sex museum (which I didn’t actually rate much, but I think it’s a must when you are visiting).

The Heineken experience is super cool, and you get a lot of free beer which is always a plus! There are so many food options too that you can have a different cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You get a lot of free beer which is always a plus!Darcey

I, unfortunately, couldn’t visit the Anne Frank Museum as it was fully booked (so if you are planning on going, book in advance!).

What’s great about Amsterdam is that there are cultural things to do, but also many fun things as well! If you are a fan of the nightlife, the clubs are pretty good there too, but quite expensive!

Where are you heading on your next city break?


50 Simple Acts Of Kindness

What better way to mark Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th of February than by sharing some of the ways we can make the world a brighter place!

From helping someone with their luggage to complimenting a stranger – often it’s the smallest and simplest of gestures that can mean the most.

One cup of coffee, one smile, one conversation – that’s all it takes to transform someone’s day.

To help lift others up and project those good vibes out into the universe, here’s 50 ideas to inspire kindness not just today but every day.

1 Read stories to school children

2 Donate blood

3 Bake something nice to bring into work

4 Leave positive notes in random places

5 Give chocolate to delivery drivers

6 Help someone with their bags or buggy

7 Buy someone in the queue a coffee

8 Volunteer at a homeless shelter

9 Cook an elderly neighbour a roast dinner or invite them round for a cup of tea

10 Go litter picking in your local park

11 Buy a cinema ticket for the person behind you

12 Leave your waiter a generous tip

13 Lend a friend your favourite book

14 Smile at a stranger

15 Call your grandparents to tell them you love them

16 Donate clothes and toys to charity

17 Give a stranger a compliment and mean it

18 Organise a fundraiser and raffle

19 Buy someone a lottery ticket or scratch card

20 Write someone a card to tell them how awesome they are

21 Send someone some surprise flowers. No reason necessary!

22 Comment something positive on Instagram

23 Leave some change in a car park machine for the next person

24 Teach someone to cook a delicious recipe

25 Pay for someone’s shopping

26 Drop some flowers round at your friend’s house

27 Write a little message for your work colleagues and drop them off on their desks before they come into work

28 Offer a friend a lift

29 Offer some words of encouragement to a colleague

30 Sign up to be an organ donor

31 Offer to take a photo of a group of friends or a couple

32 Leave a positive review for a local business

33 Give your seat up on the bus

34 Do a friend’s laundry

35 Start a piggy bank for a good cause

36 Donate to someone’s Just Giving fund

37 Give a friend a non-appearance based compliment

38 Send someone you know a cute self-care package

39 Offer to babysit for free

40 Give someone a big ol’ hug

41 Tell a new mum she’s doing a great job

42 Write a nice comment on a blog post you’ve enjoyed

43 Surprise your parents with a spontaneous visit

44 Text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while to arrange a catch-up

45 Let someone go in front of you in the traffic

46 Write a positive review of a book you loved

47 Let someone go before you in the queue

48 Volunteer at an animal shelter

49 Post thank you cards to your local hospital to let the staff know they are appreciated

50 Post a small gift through your neighbour’s letterbox

Do you have any random of acts of kindness that have inspired you? Share your kindness story with us!


13 Questions With The Little Blog Of Vegan

Spend 5 minutes on Holly's blog and you'll be running to the shops for ingredients to start baking. Nothing inspires us more than her wonderful creations and they're all vegan!

What was one of your first amazing recipes?
It would have to be my No-Bake biscoff cheesecake. It’s one of my most popular and most re-created! It’s absolutely delicious!

How long have you been Vegan for and why did you go vegan?
I’ve been vegan for over 5 years now and it’s been amazing!

I started veganism at a time when I was struggling at school with physical and mental health issues. I was put on a FODMAP diet (which is an exclusion diet) so it was on a very bland and limited for quite a while.

I was also spending a lot of time at home with my cat and he became so important to me. That’s where my love of animals came from! How could I love him so much and eat a different animal?

I started to watch vegan documentaries like ‘Cowspiracy’ etc and my passion to help and care for animals grew from there.

Has food always been a passion of yours?
Yes!! I actually have a photo of me in the kitchen, aged 4 making a mess- haha! I love being creative and making something for people to enjoy!

When did you start The Little Blog of Vegan and why?
I started my blog which has now developed into my full-time business around 4-5 years ago. I was at home having left school, with no job prospects, feeling depressed and didn’t know what to do. It was my sister who said ‘why don’t you start a blog?’.

I didn’t know how it would turn out but at the time it helped my mental health and my transition into being vegan. I started to write about what new cruelty-free and vegan products were on the market and I also began to create vegan recipes. It’s only been in the last few years that my passion for baking and creating vegan desserts have taken off.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from the many lovely and inspiring food bloggers and YouTubers on the internet alongside Pinterest.

What is the process like for creating a new recipe?
First thing I do is do research online. I love Pinterest to get inspiration and youtube videos for cake decorating tutorials.

Sometimes ideas just come to me and ill draw them out on a piece of paper or on my phone. I often ask my followers what they would like me to do. I also like to hold poll’s on my Instagram stories to get some ideas too.

Most of my recipes work first time but some need a bit of tweaking to get it perfect.

What’s some of your career highlights?
There are so many!!! Winning Food blogger of the year 2017 was a major achievement for me!

I was invited to feature on The Great British Bake Off- An Extra Slice which was incredible. Stacy Soloman and James Acaster loved my cake which was amazing-haha!

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing and high profile companies including Tesla Cars, BBC, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Nokia, Kitchenaid, Smeg etc.

I’ve been the front cover of many magazines including Vegan Food and Living, Vegan Cookbook and Simply Vegan.

Meeting one of my favourite Harry Potter stars Evanna Lynch who is a vegan activist and now regards me as a friend which is amazing.

What’s been the hardest part of your career so far?
I’m lucky to say I haven’t really gone through anything really tough in my career.

The only thing I would say is working on social media can be hard when things like Instagram or Facebook stop working as this is where a large audience of mine are based.

How do you stay motivated when you’re the one in charge?
I stay motivated because I love what I do. It can be hard to get up early in the morning to get in the kitchen as I often work late responding to emails etc. But once I’m up and make a start, I am fine.

I often have deadlines to meet with companies that I’m doing work for and so I like to keep up with my work and not let myself get behind.

Do you have any role models?
Big role models to me are obviously my family, and in the baking scene people like Mary Berry and fellow food bloggers like Vegan Yack Attack and Deliciously Ella.

What do you always carry in your handbag?
What don’t I carry!? I swear my bag is like Hermione Granger’s bag from Harry Potter- it never ends!! My iPhone and purse are number one. I don’t go anywhere without my iPhone as its the tool of my business. Its never far away…..ever!!

Also, I have long hair so a hairbrush is a must. I also like to carry around a reusable straw and coffee cup.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
I’m a sucker for anything Mexican. Refried beans with rice, fresh guacamole, salsa and tortillas sound perfect to me! I’d have to add a coffee with it though lol.

What are you most looking forward to this year?
I am in the process of writing my first baking book which is super exciting. It will be out spring 2021.

I can’t wait to create lots more content and grow my audience, and show people that veganism can be fun with lots of very delicious food!

Aside from my work, I am interested in music. I play the guitar, bass and the drums. I have tickets for various concerts so I am really looking forward to like Aerosmith, Greenday, MCR. I’m a rocker at heart!

Find The Little Blog of Vegan website here

and Holly’s amazing Instagram here.


Team Zoella’s Holy Grail Highlighters

Does your skin feel as dull and beige as a stale baguette right now? Same, hun. But fear not, we're on the case.

To help combat Winter face and bestow a healthy glow, we’re relying on these hard-working highlighters to fake a dewy complexion.

If you’re in the market for an intense shimmer and mega-watt shine – bring your sunnies, we’ve got just the thing.

From the barely-there to the super moon bright formulas

And, if serious shine doesn’t speak to your soul and you favour that lit-from-within glow across your brow and upon thy cheeks instead, take a seat. We’ll introduce you to a radiant line-up.

From the barely-there to the super moon bright formulas, meet the holy grail highlighters lighting up our cheekbones and our lives


I’ll keep it real, I have a lot of makeup products that all do pretty much the same thing and deliver the same results but highlighters are a product where you can easily justify having more than 1 or 3 or 5. Depending on whether you’re looking for that all over holiday glow or just a dusting of light at the tops of your cheekbones. Basically, you’re going to need options.

A good all-rounder/beginner option is Benefit Dandelion twinkle, I’ve had this for years and it’s failsafe. It has more pay off that the original Dandelion but it’s buildable and very pretty.

If I’m going all out “night out highlight” then the best I’ve tried is Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand in the shade Spotlight. Its easy applicator makes it really simple to pop it on the areas you want to highlight without going overboard and it’s really pretty used as an inner corner too.

My everyday look is a bit of a hybrid highlighter product. Hourglass ambient powder in diffused light is so so gorgeous and worth every penny.

It gives a really subtle soft lift Maddie

Rather than leaving any kind of glitter or sparkle which you might not want for just a day in the office, it instead gives a really subtle soft lift and all over lightness to the areas you apply.

My desert island ultimate hero pick would be the MAC cream colour base in HUSH and I have Nic Chapman to blame for my addiction with this product. It’s a bit of a hybrid between a highlight and a cream blush and is the perfect last step to achieving that really fresh faced dewy look. Basically it’s youth in a pot!


I absolutely don’t feel like my makeup is complete without that sheen on my more-than-likely-non-existent cheekbones. I’m also almost certainly a “the more the merrier” kind of girl too and tend to just keep going until I feel like a human disco ball.

I keep going until I feel like a human disco ballZoe

I’ve used a fair few highlighters over the years, and am usually drawn to something that also has a bit of colour to it. I love a bronzey highlight and also very accustomed to a pinky one too, I feel like it’s doing two jobs at once which saves time and generally looks a bit more natural.

An Oldie but a Goldie – Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in “Soft and Gentle”, this is probably my longest used highlighter and one of the first in my collection but it’s perfect for a subtle pretty glow.

Next up is the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder Gelee which is a must-have for summer or if you’re away on holiday. It gives you that perfect golden glow!

A go-to everyday staple for me is also the Charlotte Tilbury highlighter in the Filmstar Bronze and & Glow palette. I also love the contour colour in this palette too, in fact, the whole palette is fabulous but the highlight is super pretty.

Stila has a gorgeously velvety highlighter in their super popular shade “kitten” and this looks really glowy on the skin. It has a subtle peachy pink tint to it!

Hourglass has such an amazing range of highlighters (their lighting edit palette is perfect for having that perfect shade range) that can also be used as powders, giving you a bit more of a subtle finish. I love using these during the winter months to bring my skin to life a bit.

A highlighter I featured in my 2020 beauty heroes post is the Pat Mcgrath LABS ChromaLuxe Hi-Lite Cream in pale gold! If you prefer more of a cream/liquid highlighter this is EPIC!


I have tried and tested A LOTDarcey

I have been a highlighter advocate for many years now, I have tried and tested A LOT and believe I have now found my top three.

In third place is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow Kit, this was majorly hyped up a few years back, but it is genuinely so good! It has a mixture of icy, caramel and pink-toned highlighters, so it’s really versatile.

In second place is the Mac Hyper Real Glow Palette, this is very similar to the Glow Kit, in the sense it has a mixture of highlighter shades. But, the pigment is arguably better, with more of a stronger shimmer.

In first place is the one and only, Fenty Beauty Killawatt Highlighter, I use the colour duo ‘Lightning Dust and Fire Crystal’. This is the best highlighter I have ever tried, how it reflects under light and especially in the sun is unbelievable, almost brought a tear to my eye the first time I used it. Happy, highlighter induced tears.


The Pixi Beauty Layers Highlighting palette is great for giving your skin a natural glow. As you can probably tell, the ‘Lace’ shade is my favourite – it’s great for giving tired skin a radiance boost.

The great thing about this palette is there’s something for everyoneLareese

Layer it with the other shades for a highlight that’s tailored to your skin tone or wear alone for a subtle shine by day. I sweep it across my cheekbones, inner corner of my eyes and down the nose (sparingly).

The great thing about this palette is there’s something for everyone in there from bronze sun-kissed shades for deeper skin tones to the pinky and pearlescent. Take your pick! ZIPPER & TEE are great across the lids, too.


A lot of people swear by this and it’s obvious whyDanielle

Look, I’ve been through MANY highlighters in my time and I’ve loved every single one, so really my faves are just the ones I’m currently using that I keep picking up.

If I’m going for a powder that packs a punch it has to be Becca Champagne Pop, a lot of people swear by this and it’s obvious why because a little goes a long way and it’s a real classic shade that suits me no matter what tan I’ve got going on.

If I’m going for a liquid highlight on for a ‘less makeup’ ‘dewy’ day I’ll go wild for the Glossier Play in the shade pale pearl. It’s much more natural and a lovely finish but I find it hard to use this on top of full coverage foundation and powder. Honourable mentions go out to the Charlotte Tilbury highlight and sculpt powder and the Zoella X ColourPop one that sits so nicely on top of blush!


It’s only in the past 6 months or so that my love affair with highlighters began- as an oily skinned gal I was always a bit afraid of adding more glow to my already shiny complexion. But! There is a difference between an oily glisten (TMI) and a (faux) lit from within glow, and this Wet n Wild Megaglo has helped me nail the latter!


theBalm Highlighters have been my go-to ever since discovering them. Mary Lou is a classic and great all year round for a nice shimmer, but Bonnie- Lou is my favourite; it’s a lot warmer and has a gorgeous bronze tone which is perfect in summer, but I tend to wear it in winter too as it adds a nice colour to my cheeks and makes minimal makeup days feel fancier than they are.

They are quite spenny but they last AGES Lauren

They are quite spenny but they last AGES so you really get your money’s worth and a little goes a long way too.


As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not overly enthusiastic about buying new makeup so I am still using the Zoella x Colourpop highlight.

If my highlights a poppin, I ain’t stoppin.Holly

But he’s really running low now so I’m getting the alternatives going and I have found some bangers.

The Cover FV Glitter drops in mirage is POPPING. Full-on glitter but in an acceptable way all over my face. I’ve also got some leftover MAC Dazzle Highlighter in Sparkling Rose Gold for the more everyday look which still makes me look somewhat alive. I may not be a frequent buyer but if my highlights a poppin, I ain’t stoppin.

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