Winter Reading List

Happy Wednesday, loves! One of the things I really want to include more of in my blog this year is my love of reading. I read at least twenty minutes per day, but I really try to read for around an hour if I can. Honestly this totally depends on my day; if I have spare time in the morning like when Matt leaves for work, or if I’m taking a long bath in the evening I often read for longer than hour. I’ve set myself a target to read twenty six books this year but I’ve just finished book #5 of 2020, so I’m pretty sure I’ll surpass that goal quickly!

If you’ve missed me talking about it approximately 400 times on the blog, Matthew very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I am absolutely in love with it (full first impressions/review will be coming in the next few weeks) and I’m so so grateful he gifted it to me! I’ve only read books on my Kindle since Christmas Day, and I honestly haven’t missed having a ‘real’ book at all, which was something I was a little worried about. I decided to mix this review up with a few books I’ve read and a few books I’m planning on reading; let me know if you’d like to see more review-style lists on what I’ve already read, rather than what I’m planning to!

The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth
Real talk: I’ve never met a Sally Hepworth book I didn’t like. Ha! I first found Sally through Shay and I loved her writing style from the very beginning. I always feel like her characters are very well written and have that real feeling to them that makes connecting to their story so effortless. I love the mystery linked in to this book; the plot surrounds Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, being found dead, next to a suicide note that makes no sense. All of the family have something to hide, and the book is a whodunnit style which I’m sure will have me gripped based on the reviews I’ve read. Fun fact: after girly ‘rom com’ style of book, whodunnit is my second favourite kind of book to read! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This was the fifth book I read this year, and it’s definitely my favourite of the bunch so far! I LOVED it so much. The story is told by the two main characters – Tiffy and Leon – in a diary-like format, although I have to admit when I first started reading I didn’t know if I’d like that. After a few chapters I really enjoyed this way of story telling; it was interesting to hear both points of view and still have my own opinion/thoughts as the reader. Right from the very beginning I just adored Tiffy; she’s found with nowhere to live and her only option is to live in Leon’s flat (and bed!) when he’s not there. Sounds strange doesn’t it? It is, but it’s wonderful. This is just a lovely story of two personalities intertwining and it’s definitely not your typical boy-meets-girl. It’s also laugh out loud funny. This should be next on your ‘to read’ list for sure!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I ordered this book as it was recommended to me on Amazon back in December and I am SO glad I did! I read it within a few days and I loved every. single. second. The story follows two best friends, and a boy they are both in love with. The new characters that are introduced fit in so well, and the story has so many twists and turns it’s not the predictable easy read I assumed it was. I really felt like I couldn’t put this down and would recommend to everyone; also the title is a little misleading as I thought this was a Christmas themed book but it’s definitely not, you could read this any time of year. This was hands down my favourite book of 2019! I can’t wait to read more from Josie, her new book comes out in March and I’m very excited to get my hands on it!

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like this book is EVERYWHERE at the moment. I have to say, I love the cover so much I almost bought the paperback instead of downloading the Kindle version, ha! I just started reading this and I’m really enjoying it. The book is told (so far) from the perspective of two women, and also features an influencer’s social media posts, obviously showing off her perfect life. I have a feeling there are a lot of cracks that will show soon! So far none of the women have met but I can see how their lives are about to intertwine. I love Beth already, her character is SO funny and I’ve laughed out loud several times in her parts of the book! I’ve seen from reviews there’s a less in here regarding not believing things as you see them on social media, and I think that’s a lesson we could all do with being told over and over again. I’m really excited to see what happens (and why Ruby is the way she is…)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
I have wanted to read this book for SO long; I know it’s very loved and it’s a best-seller, but I’ve kinda put it off because I know it’s going to be a hard read. Matt and I love to watch movies set during wartime but every time I read a book set around the war I can’t finish it, I have no idea how but to me reading is so much more powerful than a TV show/movie and my heart hurts so much I can’t take it! This story centres around two people on very different sides of the camp falling in love, and I just know it’s going to be a heartbreaking read! It’s a bestseller and so many people have told me to read it, so I really need to get to it.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
I read this book super quickly, and I’d definitely recommend for an easy read that actually covers some very hard life events. Warning: it can get a little raunchy! Ha! I did not know that when I picked it up, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. Caitlin, the main character, is so lovable and someone you’re immediately connected to and rooting for from the beginning. I love when I immediately like or can relate to the main character as I think that is a huge part of how much I enjoy books. She is a super successful lawyer and when her ex-nemesis from college is needing a favour from her, she seems to find a whole new side of herself. I also LOVE Emme’s character! I can’t say much more without spoiling it, just add it to your reading list ASAP!

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life And Strange Times In Television
Matt bought me Louis’ book for Christmas which was so sweet because he knew I was planning on buying it. Something you may not know about us is that we LOVE Louis Theroux! His documentaries are some of our favourites (Queen Stace gets the top spot, obvs) and we binge watch his old ones all the time. I especially love Louis’ interviewing style; he’s never afraid to say what he thinks and he has met some of the most controversial people! I really am so excited to delve into this to see a behind-the-scenes aspect.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This book was also recommended to me by Amazon after reading One Day In December, so I have pretty high hopes. The story is based on a girl figuring out her own grief and finding her biological mother in the process, and these kind of heart wrenching stories make for some of my favourites! It’s also set in New Zealand and I love when a book is set somewhere I’ve never been before. I really enjoy a family based drama within a book, and this book is described as moving and emotional, which we all know means I’ll be crying my way through it!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
This was the first book I read in 2020, and I loved it so much I wish I could unread it and read it again! The story was not at all what I thought and I think that’s actually a really good thing; I love when a book takes you by surprise and has lots more to offer than it appears on the surface. The Matchmaker covers some very hard circumstances you’d never want to experience in your own life, but it also is funny. Caitlin, the main character, is someone I immediately liked, and thought it was so interesting that she runs her own matchmaking agency. I don’t want to spoil for you why she’s against sharing her perfect life with her perfect husband – after all, it’s been the selling point of her agency for a very long time – but I just need you to buy it! Warning: I sobbed several times reading this book. You know those big, fat tears that just don’t stop? Buy tissues!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this inspired you to grab your book (or Kindle) and snuggle in to read for a few hours this afternoon. I just get so much joy from reading, I want everyone else to enjoy it just as much as I do! I’m still trying to convince Matthew to pick up a book… Have you read any of the books I talk about in this post? Do you have any recommendations for me of what I should order next?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday! In fact, happy (almost) Christmas! I’m posting my Feelin’ It Friday a little early this month as I really wanted to share it with you before Christmas rolls around. Next week is going to be reserved for quality time with my loved ones – once I’m finished work for the year – and honestly I didn’t want to worry about rushing to get a blog post up! There’s a lot going on in this month’s post so let’s dive right in…

What candle I’m burning:
I am burning all of the FESTIVE scents! My favourites every year are Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle and Winter by The White Company, although this year I am obsessed with my Bath & Body Works candles, too. Matt and I’s sweet friends Nathan and David were recently on holiday in the US (not jealous at all…) and they so kindly picked up a few candles and wallflowers for us! Matt and I are both obsessed with ‘Tis The Season so we’ve been burning that most evenings, and we have the wall plug in our room right now too. It’s literally the smell of CHRISTMAS! I have just started burning Pink Fairy Gumdrop which is super sweet and the scent makes me happy. I love love love the pink, glittery packaging and if I could ever be a candle, it would be this one! 

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are addicted to Ghirardelli Peppermint bark. Seriously, addicted! My family has always stocked up on this chocolate when we’re in Florida, so I can’t tell you how excited we were to find it in Costco this year! We’ve bought literally five bags and already eaten two (I mean, it’s a family effort…) it’s just SO GOOD. I love love love chocolate, and I love candy canes. Mixing the two together? Genius. I also have made our own peppermint bark a few times this season and I know it’ll be on rotation throughout the next few weeks!

What I’m watching:
Every Vlogmas video I can possibly keep up with! Matt has been working more late shifts than usual in the run up to Christmas, so I’ve been blogging/editing, watching Vlogmas videos and drinking all the cups of tea before he comes home. I love Niomi Smart’s Vlogmas videos the most again this year! I really enjoy her content year round, but I feel like Vlogmas is the most exciting time because we see so much of her life. She is the sweetest person, and I truly get so much joy from watching her videos. She lives such an incredible life – she’s moving to India with her partner, Joe in January – and I’m so excited to be along for the journey via YouTube! They also just got engaged and it was the most pure, wholesome content I ever did see. Also, I can’t get into how sad I (still) am that Chris didn’t make the Strictly final. I was seriously SO gutted, although Kelvin & Oti are very worthy winners and I am so happy for them both!

What I’m reading:
I just started reading One Day In December by Josie Silver last week, although I really haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like. I love nothing more than a long soak in the bath with a good book, and I am so into this story and the characters! This is my last physical book I’ve got left to read (my sweet boyfriend has bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, I can’t tell you how excited I am to read all of my books on it!) so I’m really making the most of that, too. I’m sure I’ll still read the odd paperback, especially because my mum and Matt’s mum are always sharing books with me that they’ve enjoyed, too. I’m definitely going to be talking a lot more about reading on the blog in the new year, I love it SO much and I see how much you guys love my book related posts! They’re always posts that are searched for and re-read tons of times. (Thanks, you cuties!) I’m not sure if it’ll be a monthly thing or just a here-and-there thing, but I’m excited about it. I really want to review books I’ve read, to be honest, but I’m not sure how that would be! How many ways is there to say “I love this book” or “I didn’t love this book so much”? HAHA, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

This cute bauble was a little gift I gave Matt last year of all the places we’d travelled to in 2018! I ordered him a different personalised one for 2019 that hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m pretty sure it won’t be here in time for Christmas 😦

What I’m excited about:
Christmas and all of the fun things coming up. Spending so much time with Matt and our families, eating delicious food, the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special (low key sad we have to wait until 8.30pm to watch it!!), being off work for almost two weeks, having so much time to create blog content and brainstorm where I want to take my blog in the new year. I’m going to spend my Christmas break doing all of the things that bring me joy! I am SO HAPPY Matt and I have so much time off work together I can’t even tell you. We literally never have time for a ‘lazy day’ so we are going to make the most of it.

What I’m listening to:
Christmas music! I have been SO loving an excuse to listen to Christmas music when it’s socially acceptable. Matt hates when I play it in like… July. I’ve no idea why. Hahaha. I’ve had Michael Buble pretty much on repeat since October. His voice just makes me happy!

What I’m wearing:
Okay so I know I promised you a post on things to look for in your perfect Winter coat, and I promise that’s coming in the new year. Here’s a little sneak peak! I am OBSESSED with my Winter coat; it’s made with recycled down feathers so it’s super warm, snuggly and cosy, and perfect for this super cold weather. I love that it’s a little longer to cover my hips/bum, and it has the biggest hood you’ve ever seen! I feel like I’ve finally found a coat my mum would be proud of… anyone else spend years of their life refusing to wear a proper coat? Just me…?

What is going on in my life:
A few weeks ago I found a lump in my right breast. Obviously, I went into panic mode – I’m pretty sure this is just the normal reaction – and bearing in mind I’ve already been more anxious than usual the past few weeks, it really wasn’t a fun time. This is a huge part of the reason my posts have been a little spotty recently, I’m so sorry. Matt has been an absolute star and let me feel my worries, but also not let me dwell on something we didn’t know about. This week I had a doctor’s appointment and I’ve been referred for further testing; to take a biopsy, an ultrasound, an x-ray etc. I feel okay and I’m surprisingly not a wreck right now! It does not necessarily mean the C word, but there were a few things my GP was concerned about. I’m trying to stay upbeat and positive because right now, no news is good news! Regardless if there is something wrong or not, I’m so grateful for our NHS and the quick, high quality treatment they are able to give. I’m only telling you all of this now – without any real answers – because it’s what’s going on in my life right now, and life is not all sunshine and rainbows! Also, this is your reminder to check your boobs, ladies. Coppafeel have so much information I’m linking here in case you’re confused on where to start. If you pray, I’d really appreciate your prayers for good news right now! I’ll be talking about everything in more detail once I have answers and results, but right now it is a season of waiting. I hate waiting!

What is making me feel festive:
So I know it’s partly because of being worried about what I mentioned above, but I’ve been having a really hard time feeling festive this year. I mentioned in my last Feelin’ It Friday post that I think I may have been suffering a little with SAD and I’m 99% positive I am as I just feel so unmotivated and not like myself. Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I can’t tell you how crap this makes me feel! However, Matt and I just had the most wonderful Christmassy day in Edinburgh and it picked up my spirits SO MUCH. We had the most amazing time, and I took all the photos to share with you lovely lot! You can see our festive day here, if you missed it.

What lipstick I’ve been wearing:
So you may remember this post from a few months ago, where I said I really wanted to try wearing red lipstick. I did it! I kinda love it! I’m definitely not going to be reaching for red lipstick on a day to day basis but I’m really enjoying being a little bit brave here and there and enjoy wearing it. I have however been wearing Clinique’s Bare Pop lipstick almost every. single. day. for the past three months! It’s the most perfect shade; it works for every ocassion and never clashes with clothes or anything, it’s so versatile and I can’t recommend it enough. I love the formula too, it lasts all day or night.

What I’m up to this weekend:
It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and I have so many things to do! Tomorrow Matt starts work at 7am so I’ll be up early with him, then I’m maybe going to get my nails done as a little festive treat. I’ll be spending the rest of the day running last minute errands, cleaning, organising, blogging, baking cookies and wrapping SO MANY Christmas presents whilst watching Christmas movies before he comes home. I can’t believe how many gifts I have left to wrap, it’s kind of freaking me out! He’ll be home mid-afternoon so we’re just going to chill at home for a little while (and eat cookies!) then I’ve planned a surprise Christmas date night for us both. I’m so excited! Our plan for Sunday is to have a relaxed morning, probably definitely drinking lots of hot chocolate and snoozing in bed then we’re heading into town to see the Christmas markets one last time before Christmas. I love our city so much, and at Christmas time it’s seriously the most beautiful! Later in the day Matt’s going out with his friends for a few hours and I’m going to treat myself to a pamper night, and probably finish up more wrapping before I go pick him up. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for all of your wonderful support over the past year. I am so thankful that you – yes, you! – read my blog, and you’ve no idea how much it means to me. I’m so sad this is the las Feelin’ It Friday of 2019! What are your plans for this weekend? I hope you all have the most perfect, Christmassy weekend with your loved ones! It’s five days until CHRISTMAS DAY! See you on Sunday, my loves.

-G x