Four Things I Do Every Week To Be Productive

Hi, loves! There’s a few things I do each and every week that helps make me feel like I’m being the best version of me. I often feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once because running a blog whilst having a full time job, still making time for my social life and being able to run errands and other mundane things can sometimes feel like a lot. If I need to take time out to just relax and recharge, I’m (slowly) becoming okay with not completing my to-do list if I’m just not in the headspace to do it.

My default downtime/self care regime is often just a night in with Matthew bugging him to do a face mask with me, eat pick n mix and watch a few episodes of The Office, but I really wanted to share a few little things I do throughout each week to help me feel more productive, fulfilled and happy. Being able to do these things (among others, of course) really allows me to be productive when I have to be; downtime is so important and honestly being ‘busy’ all the time is not something I want to aim for.

Enjoy downtime in the mornings and evenings
I adore having a chilled morning or evening, especially when I can take my time over the mundane everyday things too. I try to wake up at least twenty to thirty minutes before I actually need to every day, whether it’s a work day or not, and this means I’m able to take my time a little more. Matt and I try to take an extra five minutes in bed together once our alarms have gone off, then we have a cup of tea every morning. I sometimes will a candle on my vanity table whilst I get ready, and I try to take my time doing my hair and makeup. One of my favourite parts of a weekend morning is picking my outfit for the day; I love to be able to pick clothing based on my mood that day! Is that weird?! I much prefer evenings where I have time to take a bath as showering just isn’t as relaxing to me, and I also take time to blog or read as much as I can too. I also LOVE to cook in the evenings it’s one of my favourite times of day.

Take time out to plan healthy meals
Cooking is a huge part of my night routine; whether Matt’s working late or he’s home before me it’s always a priority that we eat something hearty and healthy! I’m that weirdo that really enjoys meal planning and grocery shopping (genuinely, it’s my favourite errand to run… hahaha) and I find it really helps how I feel mentally to eat good foods. I’ve always ate lots of fruit and veggies but now more than ever Matt and I are trying to pack as many as we can into our daily meals, and cut out some of the rubbish. This year I was determined to take lunch to work with me everyday (and for Matt to do this, too!) because we were constantly eating food that made us feel crap and cost a fortune. I know we’re only two weeks into the work year but we’ve both really enjoyed eating a healthy lunch during the day, it just helps you to feel more energetic and productive. I also try to drink water as often as possible, but I’ll forever be obsessed with Diet Coke!

Read
I have no idea how people can not read books, honestly! Reading a good book is something I intentionally make time for each day, and I can’t tell you how much I love to get lost in a fictional world. I recently started to read during my lunch breaks at work which has quickly become one of my favourite times to read, I just find it the best way to escape the work environment for half an hour. In the evenings I take a bath I read in there, and I try to take at least twenty minutes before bed if I can too. Of course every day is so different; sometimes Matt and I watch TV (we’re currently obsessed with Jack Ryan!) right up until we go to sleep, and others we have a little more time to do our own thing. I’m sharing my current reading list on Wednesday, there’s so many good books in there!

Listen to motivational podcasts whilst driving
Driving is something that makes me so happy, and funnily enough I get so many blogging ideas whilst driving too. I really enjoy my alone time (I’m sure my regular readers will be quite surprised to hear that, actually) but being alone is how I re-charge. I’m an introvert and I really feel rested and relaxed after spending a little time alone each day; the only constant in this alone time during the week is my drives to and from work. I love to listen to podcasts and I find that this a perfect time to really indulge in the stories and conversations. My ultimate favourite podcast is Shagged, Married, Annoyed by my most favourite couple, Rosie & Chris Ramsey. BUT, when I want to feel inspired, motivated or just enjoy a chilled conversation, my go-to’s are How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton and The Estee Lalonde Show. It’s so interesting especially when I’m feeling a little bit unmotivated to hear another perspective (even on completely different situations) and it always helps me to count my blessings a little more.

Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate it more than you know. If you’re struggling with feeling unproductive or unmotivated right now, please know you have all my love and support, you’ve got this! What do you do day-to-day that makes you feel productive and prepared for your to-do list? Do you do any of the things I do, too? I’d love to know of other things I should incorporate into my life to make being productive feel that little bit easier!

-G x

Fall Reading List

Hi, loves! A few months ago I shared with you my tips for finding time to read, and in that post I asked if you’d like me to talk more about books in the future. I received so many responses saying that YES, you loved books too! Reading is one of my favourite hobbies, and it’s something I specifically (try to) make time for each day, no matter how busy Matt and I may be. I love snuggling up with a cup of tea, a book – or more recently, my iPad – and getting lost in another world. In my opinion the cold, rainy Fall days are literally made for cosying up with a book, so today I’m sharing with you all of the books on my reading list this season.

I’m always looking for new books, and I feel it’s sometimes a little overwhelming to choose because there’s so much choice. I’m currently reading one of these books and the others are on my to read list; I have a few paperback copies and the rest are downloaded and ready on my Kindle app. I really can’t tell you how much I love reading on my iPad mini now, I just find it SO easy and convenient. I get to read so much more because Kindle books are (generally) way cheaper and I don’t need to carry around bulky books in my bag, although I can’t lie I still do love the feeling of a ‘real’ book sometimes!

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
This book has been so highly talked about recently, possibly because it’s part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club which I have seen SO much hype over. I have heard only great things so I’m very excited to read this. It’s a little different than my usual read; this focuses on a law firm where the women stick together against a new male boss who has been surrounded by whispers regarding how he treats women. It’s dubbed to be a ‘thriller’ so I’m very excited to see what I think of this, I just hope there’s not tons of legal jargon that would make it harder to read!

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay
Any long time readers of my blog may remember how much I LOVED Adam’s first book, The Secret Diaries of A Junior Doctor, and I was so excited when I found out he was releasing a second! I can’t recommend Adam’s first book enough; he talks through his time as a Junior Doctor and it’s raw, it’s honest, it’s heart warming and heartbreaking all at the same time. I’m confident this book will be just as good! I LOVE Adam’s story-telling style because it’s just like chatting with a friend and feels so personal. I know Matt’s mum Debbie will love this book too as she was also a huge fan of the first one. I’ve heard rumours his first book is being made into a TV series, so you know it’s good!

The Witch Of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
Okay, so just this past week I was reading Caitlin’s blog (she’s one of my favourite ever bloggers!) and was so excited to see there was a book review post to catch up on. Her review on this book was SO good I opened up my Amazon app right away and purchased it; I actually bought the paper copy instead of the Kindle version because it was on offer! The Amazon reviews of this book were just as glowing as Caitlin’s, so I’ve no idea how I’ve never heard about this book before. It’s equal parts spooky and romantic which sounds like the perfect October read to me! I enjoy scary/spooky books but I have to admit I do get a little bit scared sometimes and don’t like reading them before bed too much. Matt has to cuddle me extra tight HA, I’m such a baby! This is super high on my to-read list and I’m going to start as soon as I’ve finished The Wives (see below!) because I want to read it whilst we’re still in #spookyszn.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Taylor Jenkins-Reid is one of my very favourite authors, and I’ve never read a book of hers I didn’t love with all of me! Her books are generally sad but happy, raw and emotional, dark yet moving, and I’m sure this will be no exception. This was the book that essentially gave Taylor her household name, yet I read all of her previous books first. This one has seriously been on my reading list for so long so I MUST read it soon! I know Fearne Cotton raved about this one, as did Anna Newton, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it. The story centres around the rise and fall of a 70’s rock band and their own individual stories in an interview-style format. I also seen it has been snapped up by Amazon Prime Video to make into a series, so you know it’s got to be good! I (almost) always prefer the book to the movie/TV show, so I need to read the book before Matt and I watch the show.

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This book has been dubbed ‘the new Me Before You’ (part of a series by Jojo Moyes which I loved so much!) so you know I had to pick it up. It’s your typical chick-lit style; a man and woman share a flat, and a bed, yet due to their hectic work schedules they never are in the flat (or the bed) together. The book follows their separate lives and how they will eventually intertwine with each others; I’m assuming they’ll end up falling madly in love and get together in the end, but hey… I just LOVE a rom-com. Matt and I were purchasing a few books in Waterstones a couple of weeks ago and the guy serving us asked if I’d read this yet; when I said no he looked genuinely offended (hahaha!) and said I needed to buy it immediately. I literally downloaded it to my Kindle app that evening, but I’ve still not got round to reading it.

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger
This is my current read, I’ve only got around a quarter of the book left and I am LOVING it. This book is by the author of Devil Wears Prada, so I had a pretty strong feeling it would be good. It’s actually marketed as part three of the DWP series but I really don’t think it needs that background, it’s a really great book on it’s own. You could definitely read it without reading the first two books, although they’re really great too. The background to this book is that it’s based on perfect people, living their perfect lives in a perfect town, but obviously that’s not really the case. There’s lies and secrets that are being revealed, and I am SO ENTHRALLED in the story, I don’t want to put it down! I love the three main characters in this book so much, even without the DWP connection. Something to note, this book was released in the US as When Life Gives You LuluLemons, so I’m not sure if the whole story is the same and they just changed the name?

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle
Okay so my friend read this book and said I needed to read it ASAP, but to be prepared because I would definitely cry throughout it! For those of you who don’t know I’m super emotional – I seriously cry about everything; happy, sad, tired, nostalgic, you name it and I’m crying LOL – so I have no doubt she’s right. This story follows two adults who live very different lives but have one thing in common; they were both adopted as children. Their paths then cross in adulthood but that’s pretty much all I know; I don’t want to read the reviews on this because I have my assumptions from the description. I think this will be the next book I reach for after The Witch Of Willow Hall!

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell
Another chick-lit book that definitely is my typical go-to genre, this sounds just like my ideal bath tub read! I love Jill Mansell books; they’re easy to read, generally pretty light-hearted and always leave you feeling happy in the end. This looks like a twist on your typical boy meets girl story; they both have their own lives, and it weaves through different periods of time where they’re unable to figure it out. Again I don’t know too much about this story but I have my assumptions and I’m so excited to dive in, I’ve never met a Jill Mansell book I didn’t like!

Have you read any of the books in this post? Or have you added them to your reading list for this season too? I am so excited for cosy afternoons at home, snuggled under a blanket reading whilst Matt watches the football! That’s how we spend so many of our afternoons at home on the weekends during this time of year, it’s truly the best of both worlds for us. Have you read any great books recently? Do you have any recommendations for me or my readers? Let me know in the comments!

-G x

*Special thank you to my lovely boyfriend Matt, who is always happy to be my photographer, even when we’re away for a special date night. I love you honey!*

Podcasts You Need To Listen To

Hi, loves!

I hope you’re having a great week! I’m so happy it’s Wednesday, and after the longest Monday I’ve ever experienced, I actually think this week is flying by. I’ve had a really good week so far, although it feels like we’re living in the Artic as it’s so flipping cold. Matt’s off work all week (lucky bugger) so we’ve been making the most of our evenings the second I get home from work; all the cooking, snuggling and documentary watching has been happening because it’s TOO. DANG. COLD. to do anything else! I can’t wait for this weekend, we’ve got a double date with our sweet friends Jonny and Jo, a date day on Saturday, another NUFC game, and all of the relaxing at home, getting our Marie Kondo on. We may get a snow day on Sunday (if the weather forecast is right) so making snowmen could be on the agenda! Thank goodness I don’t have to drive LOL. (More about that in Sunday’s post). What are you looking forward to this weekend?

I’m so excited to be sharing my favourite podcasts with you today! I first started listening to podcasts around July/August last year, and I’m SO glad I did. It took me a little while to jump on the bandwagon but now I totally see what all the hype was about. I always listen through Spotify!

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE CLEANING/ORGANISING

At Home With… This podcast is ran by Anna and Lily and it’s the perfect cosy chats to listen and laugh along with whilst you’re getting your clean on. Anna and Lily are pro bloggers and vloggers, who I’ve admired for so many years. I feel a personal connection to both of them, and each episode of this series feels like I’m just sitting with a few good friends, having a chat. The premise behind this is each guest is interviewed in their own home, which means they open up more and you also get a feel for their personality. All of the interviewees are incredible, but the Lisa Eldridge episode is my favourite – she’s such an amazing lady! Warning: you may want to fully re-decorate your home after each episode.

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE LISTENING WITH SOMEONE ELSE

Small Town Murder. This might be my favourite podcast I’ve ever come across, and if you love true crime you’ll probably love it too! I’ve laughed and cried several times whilst listening to this, and I’m so shocked at each episode. Each episode is about a murder in a new small town (hence the name, LOL) and although they never make fun of the victim’s or their families, the stories are always told with a high dose of comedy. I got Matt into listening to this too, and we find it so fun, it sparks discussions and conversations we’d not usually have! James and Jimmy, who run the podcast, are SO funny and always make me laugh with their impressions and accents. Thanks for the rec, Savannah!

THE ONE WHEN YOU FEEL A BIT SH*T

Bryony Gordon’s Mad World. This is my favourite podcast related to mental health issues. It’s raw, honest and inspiring, and always makes me feel so much better when I feel a bit down. Bryony talks about her own issues with mental health so openly and it’s easy to see why guests open up so much to her. She is a great host, and I think each episode goes by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been meaning to order her book for so long, I’ve just ordered it after writing this post and added it to my reading pile!

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE ON THE WAY TO WORK

Happy Place. This podcast, hosted by Fearne Cotton, is such a feel-good, easy listen, it’s the equivalent of snuggling up and watching Friends on TV. I really love that Fearne adds her own personal experiences into each episode, and she always discusses from the heart. Each episode is a great mix of good quality humour with a little seriousness thrown in! Fearne is so friendly and chatty, and after growing up watching her on TV it again feels like I’m listening to or having a chat with two friends. The Emma Willis (series one) and Zoe Sugg (series two) episodes are my favourite! I love to listen whilst driving to work as each episode is so motivating, although I never want to get out the car when I arrive at work HAHA.

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE UNWINDING

The High Low. I found out about this podcast via Anna, and I’m so grateful for her recommendation! This makes me laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh, and it’s a perfect me-time listen. I love to listen to this in the bath for evenings I can’t be bothered to play on my phone or delve into my current book, as it’s the perfect in-between activity. I always feel happier and kind of like a better person each time I listen, as weird as that may sound. Pandora and Dolly, the hosts, are such girl crushes, I flipping love them. They also always have great recommendations!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoy my recommendations if you’re looking for something new to listen to! What are your favourite podcasts? What do I need to listen to next?

-G x