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

Happy, happy Friday my little love bugs! I’m writing to you this morning at 6.15am, from my snuggly bed… Matt is just getting ready to leave for work and our room is FREEZING! We sleep with the window open no matter the weather (literally even when it’s snowing) because we love the room to be cold when we’re super warm under our duvet and blankets. However it’s not as fun when I’m trying to type up a blog post and it feels like Alaska in here… Anyway, I’ve got lots to talk about, so let’s get into it!

What I’m obsessed with:
So, like I often do, I copied Shay. Again. I seriously love everything I try on her recommendation, so I’m happy to try out new products based just on her reviews! I’d been eyeing up the Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt bubble bath for the longest time but it’s pretty pricey and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. A while back I read Amazon reviews, searched for blog posts talking about it and asked my family/friends if they’d tried it, and then kinda forgot all about it. Then, last week I was re-reading lots of Shay’s Fall blog posts from last year (Autumn. is. on. the. brain.) and I seen this mentioned a couple of times, which prompted me to purchase it. Guys, I’m so happy I did because it’s SO GOOD. I love it! I have arthritis which is much worse in my knees/hips, and I’ve heard lots of good things about this helping aches and pains. To be honest, hot baths in general help me so I’m really intrigued to see if this makes a big difference when it starts to get a little cooler over the next few weeks.

What I’m reading:
I’m currently reading The Postcard by Zoe Folbigg, which is the sequel to The Note (one of my favourite books). I always love a book series, and I can’t get enough of this one! Zoe is such an incredible writer; her books feel like you’re right in with the characters, like you know everyone personally. I have read about two thirds of the book so far, and I’m going to be so sad when I finish it, I love love love Maya (the main character) so much, and Nena (her best friend) melts my heart. I am just finishing up a post this week about all the ways I find time to read regularly, which is something I asked if you guys might be intersested in SO long ago. It’ll be up in a few weeks and if you’re struggling with finding the time to read I really hope it helps you!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I started watching The Office! Well, we actually tried Parks and Rec but we just couldn’t get into it, we might go back to it in after The Office. We’re so late to the party, but we needed a funny, easy-to-watch show as we’ve now finished up to season five of Brooklyn 99. I’m still crying about it and I can’t wait for season six to be on Netflix! So far we are loving The Office, it’s so funny and the dry humour is exactly our style, we actually really look forward to watching a few more episodes every night. Baby John Krasinski melts my heart (I’m kinda obsessed with him and Emily Blunt, literally the best celeb couple!)

What I’m buying:
Okay so I kinda teased this last week, but I’m already looking for what I need to add to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I’m missing a few very obvious essentials in my wardrobes which was highlighted when I cleared them all out a few weeks ago, so I already have a pretty good list. One of the things on there is a good sweater/fleece that I can wear with jeans or leggings for just any casual weekend, and I found THIS baby. I’m not sure on the colour way I’m going to buy yet, but I already know how much I’ll love it and how much I’ll wear it. Patagonia have brilliant ethics which I fully support, and even though it’s extortionately expensive I’m hoping praying for a 20% discount to be available very soon! I also really wanted a mid-length cosy cardigan that will see me through the last of the Summer and into the Autumn, so I ordered this one, it’s a steal and it looks perfect, I’m excited for it to arrive! I can’t wait to start buying a few staple jumpers, long sleeved tees and I really need some black leather boots sooner rather than later because we have been getting SO much rain!

What I’m happy about:
Last week I had to send my iPad away to be fixed, because the battery ‘swelled’. Like, who knew that was even a thing?! It turns out they couldn’t actually fix the problem so instead they replaced my iPad with a pretty little new one! I was super nervous sending it away to be fixed because I really wanted it back before bank holiday weekend, but it literally took TWO days from when they received it to my new one arriving… Apple’s customer service is SO GOOD. I had just started using my iPad way more because I forgot how easy it is to carry it with me most days, and I can use it to blog on the go! I ordered this cute new case in anticipation of my new one arriving and I’m really happy with it!

What I’m thinking about:
Next week I’m getting my hair done again, and I’m completely undecided on what to do! I’m so torn between going for a darker, brunette balayage or going a little bit lighter with my current blondey balayage. I really just want a low maintenance, easy-to-manage colour as I feel like I get my hair dyed all the time which is pretty costly, not to mention so damaging! I’ve finally figured out how to curl my hair (well, kinda, I’m so bad at doing anything with my hair haha) but I LOVE how curls look in darker hair. I’m confused on what to do; should I go darker for Autumn or go a shade or two lighter? Someone please help me! I’d love for my hair to grow longer and I’m pretty sure the more I bleach it the less it’s likely to grow out.

What I’m working on:
I’ve planned so much new content for my blog, I feel like I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and trying to fit them into my posting schedule. Writing the posts is the easy part; I literally sit down at my laptop and the words just come out (for the most part, anyway) but having time to take photos isn’t always easy, and I hate to feel rushed or put up sub-standard photos. This weekend, Matt and I are taking photos for my first morning routine post, I really hope it all comes together how I picture it in my head, I’m nervous and excited about it!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Tonight we’re cooking, relaxing and snuggling in to watch Stacey Dooley’s new documentary. #Stace4evs. Matt is at work tomorrow on an early shift, so I’m taking the morning to run errands, grocery shop for the week ahead, maybe pop to Homesense and work a little a lot on my blog. He’ll be home around 3.30pm, so we’re spending our evening watching football, grabbing a Chinese takeaway and having the most chilled night, which is our favourite way to spend a Saturday! On Sunday we’re having a chilled morning (and also taking photos as I mentioned above), then heading for date day in town. I’m taking Matt for a breakfast date, we’re visiting the Quayside Market, getting donuts from The Best Place In The North East, browsing the shops and just having a fun little day together, before coming home to probably watch more football. ‘Tis the season! We’re spending our evening snuggled up on the couch with a good dinner, watching a movie before a hectic week.

Our favourite meals from the week:
I decided to start a new segment in my #feelinitfriday posts! I am asked SO often – especially in response to my almost nightly Instagram stories – to share recipe ideas on the blog, and I really want to do it; I’m just not great at taking photos of food. It’s hard because we obviously want to eat when our food is hot, but cooled down food photographs way better (weird, I know). Also, presentation is not our strong point; we literally throw it all together and all we care about is eating it! I’m not sharing recipes (unless I’ve followed someone else’s in which case I’ll link them) but maybe it will give you a little inspiration of things to make for the upcoming week. As I talked about in last week’s post, I was pumped to make this BLT pasta, and it turned out so. dang. good. I tweaked the recipe a little (we didn’t use stock) and we already know it’s going to be something we make all the time; it’s delicious, so easy and pretty healthy, what’s not to love? Another night we made pizza pasta bake which was also very good. Last night I made the easiest, most simple chicken fajita recipe for Matt coming home from work and we loved it. You literally throw it all in the oven for forty minutes on a baking tray, add rice, guac, salsa, sour cream etc and throw it all into a wrap. We had them with garlic potatoes, and we’re so happy the peri peri rice we LOVE is back in stores!

…and that wraps up today’s post, thank you so much for reading! These posts always get the most views on the day they go live, and I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re all nosy and love to know the behind-the-scenes of other people’s lives… just me? 🙂 I’m not sure if you’ll be getting a #feelinitfriday from me next week as Matt and I are going on a trip across the bank holiday weekend (I’m SO excited), we’ll just have to see how busy life is next week! Have the most wonderful weekend!

-G x