Our Bedroom Refresh (On A Budget!)

Hi, loves! 

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I accidentally scheduled this post for 8pm instead of 8am. I’ve had a super busy work day and didn’t even realise that it hadn’t gone live, I completely forgot. Also, we’ve had several grey days in a row so the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos. Never mind 🙂

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet, and I really hope it inspires you if you’re looking to freshen up your bedroom too. I love simple, minimal decor and I was a little over everything we had going on in our room. There was a lot of blues and deep greens that I wanted to switch out, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

You probably already know Matt and I are planning to buy our own house next year and we live with my parents currently. We’re so lucky we all get along so well and are really grateful for this time with them! I wanted to update our space on a small budget, and a lot of the changes I made using things we already had. So, what did I change!?

The change I’m most excited about is a set of fresh bed linen. We already had a nice white set from Next that I purchased probably at least five years ago, but we didn’t have another neutral set to be able to switch out with. So, after a TON of searching I picked up new sheets – the set we got is linked here – and I absolutely love them. They are SO soft, comfy, and have the prettiest minimal detailing. I don’t really like garish patterns on bed linen, but I love that this is so simple and delicate. They duvet/pillows are not a bright white either and look a little muted, so it makes the room feel extra cosy and homey. 

We already had the majority of the other things you can see here; the cream blanket is from Costco and we actually sleep with this instead of our duvet when it’s super hot out. We have the same blanket in three colours and they’re a staple for us all year round! We also had the big cushion at the back which is from Costco too, the beigey/grey (…griege?) one and the two light grey ones in the centre. These were all from Tesco; they have such pretty cushions that are incredibly inexpensive and last so well! I’m pretty sure these are some of their basics that they have consistently throughout the year.

I did pick up the two fluffy beige cushions (I can’t find them anymore online, sorry!) in front from Dunelm, they’re super soft and I love the added texture to the bed. Then, my favorite find that tied all of our new bedding together is the amazing throw draped over the bottom corner. This is actually DKNY brand and has a very high RRP, but I picked it up for £16.99 at Homesense! They have the best throws in pretty much any colour you can imagine. Side note: these were the first “non-essential” stores Matt and I visited since the pandemic began and I hated the shopping experience so much. I’ll be sticking to my weekly grocery runs for a long time, I have zero desire to shop in stores right now.

I removed the majority of items from our windowsill and left it pretty minimal with only a jug/vase (I sometimes have pretty flowers in there!), a Diptyque candle, an Our Lovely Goods candle and our Amazon Echo Dot. I really like the window space to be open and airy! We use our Echo Dot every single night so I like it to be close to our bed; we play sleep sounds and I swear it improves the quality of our sleep so much. Our favourites are Thunderstorm and Wave Sounds! Our curtains are just a super simple, plain grey design that we’ve also had for years. They work perfectly and they keep the sun out in the mornings which is great. Oh… and that plant in the corner is dying and I’m refusing to believe it. I literally cannot keep succulents alive!!!

My bedside table makes me happy. I like it to look full but not cluttered – a very fine line – and honestly the old lamp we had was awful! It leaned to one side and just didn’t give off much light. You know, the point of a lamp… I found this beautiful grey and cream lamp at Matalan for a steal, it looks SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than it was. Seriously, this looks like something you’d get at West Elm for like, a bazillion pounds. I love the slightly distressed design on the base, it’s just perfect to tie in the minimal decor and is really pretty neutral colours. My Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede candle Matt bought me almost two years ago and it’s more of a decoration than anything now, I LOVE it so much don’t want to burn it. I know that’s super silly! My most favourite thing here is my cute little oil diffuser that was a really thoughtful gift from my sweet friend, Grace. We’ve been diffusing lavender essential oil she bought us every night recently and it’s helping us sleep so much better! As you can see I kept just a few of the muted blue tones in the room.

I shared all about my vanity table with you a couple weeks ago, but I did give it a little refresh too! I moved my orchid to the other side, added my Himalayan pink salt lamp from the other side of the room- a must-have for cosy evenings watching TV! – and added a few more candles. Our Lovely Goods is my favourite small business candle brand, and they’re a black owned company who would LOVE your additional support right now. We have ‘Coast’ on the window sill, and ‘Somewhere Far Away’ on my vanity table. I talked about pretty much everything else in my other post, but my rotating skincare organiser and my perfume tray filled with my everyday perfumes are my very favourite things! 

We have a full wall of built-in wardrobes that I designed almost ten years ago, and our TV is inside there. I hate hate hate having a TV on display in a bedroom (I don’t know why, I just think it looks a little garish) but we love to watch TV in bed. We also have two full length mirrors, one free standing and one on the wall, which you’ve probably seen me take selfies in before! We have a good amount of floor space – I like to practice yoga upstairs and there’s tons of room for that too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was fun for you guys, and gave you a little inspo if you want to switch a couple things up in your bedroom too! Are you more of a natural, neutral tones person, or do you like lots of colour? Over the past couple years I’ve really appreciated neutral tones more than bright, especially with my clothing. Speaking of, I’m going to be sharing a few of my clothing must-haves on the blog next week! 🙂 

-G x

My Weekly Pamper Routine: At Home Spa Night

*This post contains gifted items*

Happy Sunday, loves! Is anyone else trying to take all the extra self care time they can right now? ME TOO! I know that self care is certainly not all about beauty; there are so many elements that create a good self care routine, but it’s very personal. For me, a good beauty routine is a huge part of how I feel good about myself and keep myself feeling happy and rested, which is more important than ever right now. I find so much joy in spending an hour or two each week indulging in a little pamper sesh, and I can’t recommend it enough! In fact, take this post as a little kick-up-the-bum reminder that you should must enjoy a pamper evening tonight 🙂

Of course, you don’t need to use any of the products I’m talking about to have your own pamper evening! I’m just using what I have especially after splurging on Caroline Hirons’ Spring Kit! I’m now on a No Buy for the foreseeable but it was so worth it. More on that soon!

I sometimes go to get my nails done as a little treat, but honestly I’m not all that fussed about it. I love how gel nails look and I like to get them done for a special occasion or when Matt and I go on holiday but it’s not something I get joy out of spending my money on, y’know? As it doesn’t matter too much to me, I see very little point in painting my nails at home. The polish chips so easily and I don’t have the patience to sit still long enough for it to dry in the first place! But, painting my toes is a different story… I paint my toes year round and change up my polish almost every week; my go-to brand is Essie. I especially love their gel polishes, they really don’t chip (although, does nail polish ever chip on your toes?) I also think it’s so nice to have your toes painted when you’re wearing sandals, and we’re thankfully so close to sandal season!

A bubble bath is my ultimate self care treat. I love to light a candle – I’ve recently been burning Coast from Our Lovely Goods and The Ritual of Sakura candle from Rituals – whenever Matt or I take a bath. We have just used a whole Rituals candle up and are about to start burning my backup; I love these candles so freaking much! Rituals of Sakura smells like cherry blossom and vanilla, and it’s the most perfect spa-like scent. Mixed with the scent from my Dr Teal’s Soothe & Sleep Foaming Bath and Radox Sleep Aromatherapy Bath Salts, I feel like I could be IN a spa. All that’s missing is the gross cucumber water that everyone pretends to enjoy! LOL.

I grab my Kindle, a Diet Coke and I’m set for a while, this is literally my idea of heaven. #introvertlife Anyone who knows me knows I really dislike body hair (on me. This is a no judgement zone!) so during a pamper evening I like to REALLY exfoliate before shaving! Not just using my shower gel, I bring out the big guns… my beloved Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupacu Scrub-In-Oil from The Body Shop. This scrub is incredible, it leaves my skin silky smooth and smells like Summer to me. I also like to do a hair mask, and really make the most of the fact I’m spending at least an hour in the tub. I’ve been loving Garnier’s Coconut & Macadamia Hair Mask for a while now – I wrote a whole post about this which you can check out here if you missed it.

My favourite ‘I don’t have much time but want to spend a little self care time’ task is applying a face mask. If you don’t have time for a whole pamper evening you can apply on and still go about your day. Perks of not being able to leave the house, eh?! You can be productive, you can feel the magic working, and they immediately make your skin look better. I really enjoy a sheet mask – any/all of these from The Body Shop are my absolute favourites, and they’re biodegradable – for ease. They feel so cooling on the skin, are quick to clean up and just make my face a little happier. My favourite ever face mask, that I’ve re-purchased so many times I honestly can’t remember, is the Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask, also from The Body Shop. It’s delightful! Whether my skin is breaking out, stressed, red, dehydrated, just looks a bit sh*t, this makes it SO much better. I also adore the smell of this, it’s very subtle but feels so comforting!

Of course, my skincare routine is a perfect little snippet of self care time every day. Since I can remember, I have set time aside every morning and night to do my skincare routine! I love to try new things (that I know will not irritate my skin; fragrance free, suitable for sensitive and acne prone skin etc) here and there, too. I have a very fun skincare related post going up in the next week or so, then at the end of the month I’ll be sharing my everyday skincare routine. I feel like skincare is one of those things you love or you don’t, and I really flipping love it. It’s up there with my favourite things to talk about, ha!

I’m pretty proud to say that after EVERY shower and EVERY bath I moisturise my body. That’s commitment, guys! I have super dry skin (that somehow seems to get worse when it’s warmer, not when it’s cold? Anyone else?!) and last year I promised myself I was going to be better at moisturising. It always seemed like such a chore but honestly, it’s really not. Once you get into the routine of it, it’s something you look forward to, and it takes two minutes! At least three times per week, I dry brush from my toes up to my neck. I love how this makes my skin feel and it’s actually a really enjoyable beauty ‘task’. I get carried away and spend so long dry brushing because it’s incredibly relaxing; you can literally feel your skin tingle! On a pamper evening I love to moisturise with The Ritual of Jing body cream from Rituals; this was so kindly gifted to me and I definitely will be repurchasing. This is a spa in a pot; it’s luxurious, it sinks in so nicely, and it’s the perfect pick-me-up product that just makes you feel good. Matt always compliments me when I use this too, he loves the smell!

Are you just desperate to break out your favourite face mask and jump in the bath right now?! Me too! I’m very happy that today is Sunday, because Sunday just screams pamper day doesn’t it! It’s like I planned this post like that… 😉 what’s your favourite pamper products to use that just make you feel good? How do you like to treat yourself at home?

-G x

My Post Lockdown Bucket List

Hi loves, happy Wednesday! Today’s post is a little light hearted and just-for-fun, but I also REALLY need to have things to look forward to for my own sanity too. My Spring bucket list should have gone live a few weeks ago but due to everything going on in the world it just didn’t seem right to post it, knowing that we (and you!) wouldn’t be able to do anything on the list. We are still completely unaware of how long the lockdown will last for – in the UK our lockdown is expected to be extended tomorrow – but I think we all know we’re in this for the long haul. I keep reminding myself every day that passes is a day closer to this all being over, but I really like having things to look forward to. If you’re an essential key worker who is working through this terrible time in potentially dangers and definitely stressful environments please know how much you mean to all of us! We’ll never be able to repay you for all you’ve done so far and will do in the future, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m so grateful that me, Matt, our families, friends and community are safe and healthy, and although lockdown is NOT fun, it’s so necessary.

From probably day three of lockdown Matt and I have been talking about all of the fun things we’ll do when Boris says we’re allowed out again, and it’s crazy how much we (unknowingly) took for granted! So many people are upset about holidays being cancelled which is understandable but looking at the bigger picture is so much more important. We’re being realistic and we’re pretty sure our family trip to Florida won’t be happening in October – it would have been Matt’s first visit and it was to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday 😦 – which we’re all devastated about, but in the grand scheme of things it is NOT a big deal. We can re-book our trip when it’s safe to do so, and it’s really a small price to pay! Matt and I were hoping to squeeze in city breaks to Lisbon and Krakow this year but honestly I’m not sure how long it’ll be before flights are running normally and we feel comfortable with international travel again. Everything in this list is things we can do in the UK, and some are really quite silly… if you told me I’d be so excited about walking around Tesco or Costco a month ago I’d think you were crazy! 

  • Spend time with Matt’s parents and our grandparents! This is what we’re most excited for, we miss them all SO much! 
  • Go to the movies 
  • Enjoy the biggest family meal with Matt and I’s families at our favourite restaurant, Lollo Rosso
  • Walk around ‘Big’ Tesco for like… hours 
  • Spend an afternoon (and probably night) in the beer garden with our friends
  • Celebrate Matt’s birthday, his new job and my birthday! We’ve already missed two of these and my birthday (May 17th) looks like it will be spent under lockdown too
  • Go for all of the Saturday morning breakfast dates at Postbox Coffee
  • Enjoy all the beach walks we possibly can
  • Go for a long drive. I miss driving SO MUCH
  • Have a picnic at Linhope Spout
  • Go makeup shopping and enjoy using all of the testers. Anybody else missing “non-essential” shopping?! 
  • Visit Bolam Lake
  • Host a BBQ
  • Walk around Costco aimlessly, buying stuff we definitely do not need just because we can 
  • Head for the Costa drive thru
  • Book a staycation at our favourite hotel (hence the feature photo! I’d do anything for a cosy night away in our favourite place)
  • Enjoy our late night McFlurry runs again
  • Re-schedule our getaway to Harrogate
  • Enjoy ALL of the date nights
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Shop local!! 
  • Spend the day at The Alnwick Garden and eat lunch in the treehouse 
  • Drive up to the Scottish Borders and just find a B&B to stay at for the night
  • Get back on track with weekly grocery shopping and meal planning. I’m so excited about this!! 
  • Go beer tasting at our local brewery
  • Spend a weekend in the Lake District
  • Drive to pretty spots to watch the sunset 
  • Enjoy a couples spa day 
  • Go for early morning hikes
  • Buy candles at Homesense. I wish I was joking but I’m running LOW! Hahaha
  • Go for more double dates with our friends
  • Take walks in the countryside (it sure beats walking around our estate, that’s pretty much as far as we’re allowed to go right now!) 
  • Eat at Wagamama’s, it’s definitely our favourite chain restaurant! 
  • Visit Beamish
  • Spend Sunday mornings at Tynemouth Market
  • Go outlet shopping in York
  • Enjoy a girls night
  • Go out for Sunday lunch at our favourite countryside pubs

I hope this made you smile and gave you a few ideas of things you can also look forward to when lockdown ends! What is the first things you’ll be doing/planning when lockdown is over? What do you miss the most right now?! 

-G x

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

Christmas Movie Night: Hot Chocolate & The Best Treats

Hi, loves! Christmas movies are my very favourite type of movie to watch, and honestly the cheesier the better! They just bring me so much joy, and I really want Matt and I to watch as many as we can possibly squeeze in over the rest of the holiday season. If you’re anything like us you’ll agree a movie night (Christmassy or otherwise) is not complete without delicious treats, and I thought it would be a fun idea to share our favourites with you all! If you’re as obsessed with chocolate as much as we are I then I’m sorry you’re going to want to eat all of this, and also… you’re welcome! Tis the season, after all 😊

Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying to eat all of these things together, nor do I recommend it. This is just a selection of Matt and I’s most favourite treats and there’s a very chocolatey theme. Which is the best kind of theme, right? They are treats for a reason… to be enjoyed in moderation. 

I wanted to share with you our two favourite snacks we make at this time of year; they’re super quick and easy and would also make for perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbours or co-workers! If you want to spread a little holiday cheer this season, homemade treats tied with a cute ribbon are a great way to go. 

Peppermint Bark

I shared this recipe on my blog last year, but I’m giving you the run down again in 2019! This bark easily refrigerates for a few days so you can make a huge batch in one go and store in Tupperware. Although in our house, this is eaten in literally minutes.

Shopping List:
Milk chocolate (Galaxy is the best to melt)
White chocolate (we like Milkybar!)
Coconut oil
Peppermint oil
Candy canes

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Place candy canes (we use around five per baking tray size slab of bark) into a zip loc bag, seal and break up lightly with a rolling pin. Make sure to break the bigger chunks down as much as possible so it is easier to eat!
  3. Melt milk chocolate in microwave or over boiling water on the hob – we just melt in the microwave as it’s so quick. I find microwaving on full power for 40 seconds, stirring then repeating until the chocolate is fully melted is the best way to do this.
  4. Add four to five drops of peppermint oil into melted chocolate, stir well and spread over the lined baking tray. It’s personal preference if you’d rather have this layer thick or thin, it just depends how much bark you want to make. 
  5. Melt white chocolate in the same way as before, then spread thickly over the top of the melted milk chocolate. Sometimes we drizzle it over to create a pattern, or we just smooth over to make a second layer. Again, this is just personal preference. 
  6. Scatter crushed pieces of candy cane over the top whilst the white chocolate is still melted and warm. 
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 
  8. Break up into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re based in the UK and don’t fancy making peppermint bark this year, you can finally buy it from Costco! Ghiradelli isn’t usually sold in Costco but for some reason this year they are stocking PLENTY and I am here for it. Ghiradelli is my favourite brand of chocolate and usually something I stock up on when I’m in the US (and beg my friends/family to do so, too!) so I was beyond excited to find it in store. *jumps in the car to buy all the bags*

*Image from Pinterest. I haven’t had time to make any to take photos, but I’ll definitely be making some this week which I’ll share in my Feelin’ It Friday post!

Pretzel Bites 

These take less than 20 minutes to make – including ‘cooking’ time – and they are truly little bites of heaven. I got this idea from a Bethany Mota YouTube video about six years ago and have made them ever since, they’re a Finn family favourite! I also think these bites would be so easy to make and have little children ‘help’ you. Matt and I LOVE sweet and salty flavours mixed together, and this treat combines both!

Shopping List:
Small salted pretzels
Chocolate of your choice – either a square if you’re using a bar, or buttons work really well
M&M’s

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place pretzels in rows on the tray. 
  3. Place one piece of chocolate/chocolate button in the centre of each pretzel, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fully melted. The chocolate will mould over the pretzel shape and will be gooey to touch. 
  4. Place an M&M in the centre of the chocolate and push down lightly. 
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate

…it wouldn’t be a Christmas movie night without a delicious hot chocolate, right? Hot chocolate is my go-to treat during the colder months (well honestly, all the months!) and I love experimenting with different flavours. My favourite ever hot chocolate is Swiss Miss (either original or with marshmallows – this pack has both!) and Matt loves Cadbury’s, but I really love to try new brands, and thankfully Matt is happy to drink whatever I buy/make! I found some Starbucks brand and Silly Cow Farms options in Homesense and they are both SO good, although definitely more of a treat as they’re not readily available here in the UK and are way more expensive.

Hot chocolate spoons are such a fun way to make hot chocolate, and they’re so aesthetically pleasing if you’re involving your friends and family too! Matt and I picked these up from Whittard’s to add as stocking fillers in a few gifts this year, and also got some for ourselves. The taste is so luxurious and rich, they’re just a very indulgent treat! Matt LOVES Bailey’s and adding a splash of Bailey’s to his hot chocolate in the evening is one of his very favourite things.

I don’t like coffee and tea isn’t really something you can ‘add’ to, so I really appreciate there are so many different flavours to change up your hot chocolates with. We always make our hot chocolates with either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk – honestly just whichever we have open, I tend to alternate each time I do our grocery shopping – and it makes the drink so creamy! Hot chocolate made with water just isn’t the same to me. Matt loves whipped cream and marshmallows, whereas I’m happy with a candy cane and maybe just a few marshmallows! (I definitely went WAY overboard on the marshmallows for the photo… #doitfortheblog LOL) I also really love adding candy canes to our hot chocolate because they give the best peppermint taste.

If you’re having friends or family round this holiday season setting up a DIY hot chocolate station is such a sweet idea. You could even make hot chocolate in the CrockPot, and then leave a range of items out so people can customise exactly how they want theirs to be. I’d definitely leave out candy canes, various sized/flavoured marshmallows, whipped cream, honeycomb, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter and of course festive mugs! I think this is an especially fun idea for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

So, now we have ALL of the treats prepared there’s just one more thing to decide… which movie should we choose?! I’ve listed below some of our favourites, and most of them are movies we go back to every. single. year. 

Elf
Miracle On 34th Street
Home Alone 1 & 2
The Santa Clause
Santa Claus 1 & 2
The Grinch
Christmas With The Kranks
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love Actually
Last Christmas – go see this for your Christmas date night, it’s SO good!
Deck The Halls
*ALL of the cheesy Hallmark movies*

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little chocolatey Christmassy inspiration for your next movie night! Let me know if you make any of the Christmas treats in this post, and if you do I hope you love them! Do you love all things chocolate as much as we do? What’s your favourite chocolatey treat? Also, please leave any movie recommendations below! 🙂

-G x

Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

Hi, loves! I’ve talked several times about my journey with acne on my blog, and today I want to talk about what I’ve learned from the experience. I first thought about writing this post months ago but I wanted to wait until my skin was ‘good’ so I was able to discuss it in more detail. Honestly, my skin has good days and bad days; I’m still experiencing acne and if I want to talk about what I’ve learned so far in my journey there’s not ever going to be a specific right time. It’s scary and I feel super vulnerable putting this post out there but I’m hoping if it can bring others comfort and reassurance it’s worth it, right?!

Here’s a little background for those of you who aren’t familiar: as a teenager I had near perfect skin, and it wasn’t until I turned 19 that I began getting any spots at all. As I moved into my early twenties I began to experience cystic acne that felt overwhelming and horrendous; I hated it with every part of me, and honestly hated the way I looked for YEARS. My skin became something I worried about all day every day and I’ve carried that with me for so long it’s probably always going to be part of me. I was very emotional about my skin, and I unfortunately still am. When someone mentions a breakout or really bad spot – even if they mean well – my defense mechanism is to ignore the conversation because it makes me feel SO uncomfortable. Honestly it’s so rude to point out something ‘wrong’ with someone else’s skin and I’ve no idea why people think it’s okay to do so.

I feel very very lucky that my skin has calmed down a lot over the years and the acne I experience now is much more manageable in terms of treatment and also pain level. I’ve no idea if that is down to a change in hormones, finally settling into a tried and tested skincare routine, a bit of both or something else entirely but I’m so grateful to have clearer skin. I no longer suffer from consistent acne, although I do have breakouts pretty much every week that sometimes can be cystic there’s a huge difference. At one point my cheeks and jaw line were covered in breakouts, and they were so bad I couldn’t hide them with makeup which made them seem even worse to me. Every time one breakout began to clear up another would appear and it was a constant cycle I couldn’t do anything about. Now I’m thankful that I generally have one or two small (by comparison to what I used to experience) breakouts at a time, which is easier to manage and doesn’t cause me as much anxiety or stress.

I think other than the ocassional cystic acne, the most irritating breakouts I get now are those under-the-skin-bumps that feel like my whole face is pulsing as they last for days or sometimes a week. The really frustrating thing is that there isn’t a way to draw them out or help them heal quicker which stresses me out a little. I don’t mean to sound negative about having acne, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, I just really want to be transparent and help you to get the full perspective on how my skin has been (and still is). Don’t get me wrong; there are MUCH worse things in the world than having acne! But when it’s something that you deal with day to day and you can’t get a break from it can feel so overwhelming and almost debilitating at times. I lost so much confidence when I first started experiencing acne a few years back and I’m so grateful that I now feel so much better about myself. Matt tells me I’m beautiful every single day – even when I most definitely DO NOT look beautiful, hah! – and little things like that truly mean the world to me.

I’m sure I’ve got so much more to learn regarding acne but today I’m so excited to share a few things I’ve learned so far from my acne journey with you all. If you have suffered or are still suffering with acne of any form please know that I get how you feel, so many people experience varying forms of acne and it’s something I really think we should talk about more openly.

There is no such thing as a miracle cure. Oh how I wish there was. I’ve lost count of how many creams, oils, serums etc I’ve tried over the years – lots of them even on prescription or doctors’ recommendations – and not one of them has magically cleared my acne. Funny, huh?! I think in the beginning I was very naive and just assumed that one product would come along and make my skin smooth, even and acne free. I definitely assumed that expensive meant better when it came to skincare (and makeup, haircare, body care etc) but that is categorically not true. Some of my most used, very favourite products are from the drugstore – albeit some at slightly more premium prices – but you do NOT need to use an £80.00 serum to see results!

Something that is so important however is finding a good skincare routine for morning and night that helps your skin. This can be a frustrating and costly experiment, because not every product you try will work for your skin, your skin may change and something that worked for a while may not any more and you may have other skin concerns that you want to address along the way. I love skincare and I’m so invested in learning about it so for the most part I quite enjoy the trial and error of finding new products, but I’m so happy that right now I truly enjoy every single part of my skincare routine. I have introduced two new products fairly recently and after I’ve used them for a few more weeks I’ll for sure share my current AM and PM skincare routines with you!

One thing I’d like to mention as it’s something I’ve experienced several times is that people – especially those who don’t have any specific skin concerns themselves – may criticize the products (or amount of products) you use. Take this with a pinch of salt; once you find the products that work for you, you’ll be so pleased you took time to figure it out! What happened to “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” anyway?! Following a curated skincare routine is essential and any dermatologist or aesthetician will tell you that it is vital. Obviously, there are some things that products cannot help with too much; for example I have some pretty bad acne scarring that would need laser treatment to minimize, but that’s okay with me and I’ve just gotten used to it. Caroline Hirons is a wealth of knowledge for all types of skin concerns, and if you’re feeling a little lost for what to do to help yourself I would really advise checking out her blog and YouTube channel.

Hormones plays a huge part in how your skin looks/feels. I was put on the pill by my doctor at a very young age – I had just barely turned thirteen – because I had horrendously painful periods. Side note: I’m experiencing them again right now at the age of 25 after changing my pill not so long ago… I just love being a girl. :). HAH. As my hormones were altered by a tablet from such a young age, I’m not sure if this might have changed the way my skin was or not, but it’s so normal to experience more spots or actual acne because of hormonal changes.

It’s very common around the time of your period to break out, pregnancy and breastfeeding throws off your hormones and causes all kinds of skin issues, and sometimes just generally if you’re feeling tired, anxious, stressed or just a bit run down your skin often has a reaction too. If you know you’re breaking out due to hormonal reasons there is still so many options of treatments for this, I’d really recommend speaking to your doctor. One tip I’d love to share with you regarding hormonal acne; from my experience these spots are usually angry, red, raised, and not always ones that have a whitehead. If this is the case and you’re looking for immediate relief, take an anti-histamine! Breakouts are literally an inflammation, so anti-histamines help to lessen the redness and swelling, and makes day-to-day life with spots just that little bit easier. I wish I knew this YEARS ago!

Your skin is nothing to be embarrassed about. How many times have you told your partner or friend that you just can’t believe the size of the spot on your chin? Maybe you’re calling it your ‘second head’? And how many times have you been met with the response “where?! I can’t even see it?” … we can all relate, right?! I truly believe that your skin looks and feels worse to you because it’s often a very personal and emotional thing, but like with most areas of life being kind to yourself is such an important factor in helping things to be easier. When he was a teenager Matt also suffered from cystic acne and I’m so grateful he understands exactly how I feel when I have a particularly bad breakout now – whether it’s cystic or not. I think it’s often really hard for people with ‘good’ skin to understand just how much skin issues can affect others, but just by being honest and opening the conversation up it helps to break down the taboo.

In my early twenties I spent countless social occasions making my excuses for why I couldn’t go and literally hiding away because I was so embarrassed of my skin, and it’s really sad because I never should have felt that way. I definitely think my acne linked to my anxiety, as when my skin was especially bad my anxiety was most definitely heightened. Even now when I have a particularly ‘bad’ breakout (I realise this is subjective) I still feel like I don’t want to be social, how silly is that? It’s something I can’t explain to people who don’t ‘get it’ but I’m working on changing my thought process slowly but surely. We’ve all heard this before but plastering foundations and concealers over any bout of acne, spots or blemishes is not necessarily the answer, we just need to find comfort in embracing our skin! *Makes note to self*

Thank you so much from reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and if acne is something that still affects you on a daily basis I hope you found a little comfort in it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a time in my life where my skin is completely breakout free but I hope I do, one day! Have you dealt with acne as a teenager or adult? What have you learned from your experience?

-G x

Four Lipsticks For Fall

Happy Wednesday, loves! If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know by now that lipstick is hands down my favourite beauty product. Each time I apply my lipstick I feel a little more confident, and just a little more like me. I’ve always thought that when I’m getting ready – whether it’s for date night, work or just to run errands – until I’ve spritzed my perfume and applied my lipstick I don’t feel ready to take on the day. I talked about how desperately I want to try (and love) red lipstick in this post, but today I’m sharing with you four of my current favourites for this season, and there’s something for everyone.

Clinique Bare Pop
This is my favourite lipstick of the moment, I literally cannot stop wearing it! Matt and I were shopping a few weeks ago and I popped into Boots to browse the lipsticks; I had lots of points to spend and just wanted to treat myself. I spotted this shade from afar and was immediately drawn to it; Bare Pop is the most gorgeous warm pink, and it’s only a few shades darker than my natural lip colour making it the perfect ‘your lips but better’ shade. I love the formula; it lasts really well without lip liner, and Matt compliments me on it all the time! It’s not crazy pigmented but it’s great for work and running errands as it’s so wearable, and it doesn’t feel drying on the lips which is a huge bonus, especially as we move in to the colder months of the year. I already have my eye on a few shades from their new Pop Lipsticks release; Shay raved about Cute Pop recently so you know it’s on my radar, because if Shay recommends, I buy!

NARS Bound
I wore this lipstick for pretty much every date night Matt and I had last Fall and Winter, and I was so excited to pull it back out now that we’re back in October. I can’t quite describe the texture of this; it applies like a lip gloss but the finish is more like that of a liquid lipstick, without being matte. Although it is described as a ‘soft rose pink’ on the website I feel like the shade deepens a little on application to a perfect mauve-toned dark pink on my fair complexion. This baby stays on through drinking and eating – which really does make it perfect for date night with your love because it lasts through those kisses too! – and it is just so stinking pretty. It’s dark without being too daring, and I am always telling people they need this lip product in their life.

MAC Jubilee
My favourite lipstick finish ever is the Lustre from MAC (it’s where my love of Syrup was born, which is my most worn lipstick for almost six years now, I re-purchase it over and over and over!) so when I seen this beautiful nude shade was part of the Lustre collection, I knew I’d love it. Another recent addition to my makeup collection, I’ve worn this so much the past few weeks. Pretty much each day I haven’t been wearing Bare Pop, I’ve been wearing this. This lipstick is a peach toned neutral, like a ‘pumpkin spice for your lips’ vibe (how on brand is that with the season?!) and it’s the most perfect ‘light’ nude shade I’ve ever found. This is a perfect day-to-night shade as I think with a slightly smokey eye it’s perfect for dinner and drinks right after the office.

Bobbi Brown Cali Rose
So this lipstick is a little ‘out there’ compared to the other three as it’s way more bright and colorful, but that’s why I love it so much! It’s the best lipstick to wear on those days you feel like you need a little ‘pick me up’ from boring day-to-day life, and I just think it’s the prettiest berry shade. I love to wear this when my makeup is super minimal for an extra little pop of colour, and it’s one that will transition so perfectly into the holiday season. It applies evenly although you need to make sure your lips are moisturised and exfoliated (I use Lush’s pumpkin spice lip scrub every morning and evening to keep my lips super soft!) otherwise you will definitely see different tones of the colour on your lips. I’d love to find a lip liner to match this but I haven’t yet – I thought MAC Soar was going to work perfectly but it’s a teeny bit too dark – if anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Thank you so much for reading; I hope you found a little inspiration for a new lipstick to pick up this Fall if you’re in the market for one. Have you already got any of these lipsticks? Do you give them the love they deserve demand?! What is your favourite lipstick(s) for Fall? I swear nude, mauve and berry tones are just perfect for all skin tones and all seasons, you really can’t go wrong! I still haven’t purchased a red lipstick yet, please let me know if you have any specific ones you’d recommend!

-G x

Autumn Bucket List

Happy, happy Sunday loves! I can’t lie to you… I started planning for this blog post back in July because I’ve been so dang excited. Tomorrow is, in my opinion, one of the best days of the whole year. Beat only by Matt and I’s birthdays, our anniversary and of course Christmas. It’s the first day of Autumn! Matt and I have so many fun things planned and I can’t wait to share some of them with you. Matt is Jim. I am Dwight. #allthepumpkins

Image result for halloween gif the office

As any regular readers will know, Autumn is my jam. I live for crisp, Fall days, leaves turning read, Halloween, pumpkin spiced everything and all of the cosy vibes that the Autumn brings. Matt is a huge fan of Summer, so we really tried this year to pack in as many fun things as possible to make the most of it! I feel like I often wish away Summer and just don’t enjoy it, but the past two years we’ve made amazing memories and even though I was super excited for Autumn, I hadn’t wished away the time for it to be here (well, not too much).

– Make time for all of the breakfast dates
– Carve pumpkins
– Drink lots of bonfire spice hot chocolates from Costa
– Take a hike when the leaves are changing
– Attend a pumpkin FESTIVAL. I’m so dang excited for this!
– Celebrate our anniversary with a weekend getaway (we couldn’t go in September on our actual anniversary or October due to Matt’s work schedule so we’re hoping to go in November!)
– Go beer tasting at a local brewery
– Drink hot apple cider
– Bake pumpkin cookies/muffins/bread
– Wrap up for crisp morning beach walks
– Enjoy all of the cosy nights with pumpkin candles burning
– Visit Edinburgh & Glasgow
– Spend Sunday afternoons out for dinner in cute, cozy pubs
– Have a bonfire
– Eat s’mores over the bonfire
– Watch all of the Halloween movies (sorry, Matthew!)
– Watch the Harry Potter movies. Matt and I have been clearly living under a rock and have only seen the first few, but don’t really remember them. Prepping for our Florida trip next year, we’re watching all of the movies back to back this Autumn!
– Visit a haunted house/haunted maze
– Dress up for Halloween. Couples costume ideas appreciated?!
– Visit a pumpkin patch, we’ve found an amazing one in York and I can’t wait to see it!
– Spend a morning at a local farmer’s market
– Create my first Fall DIY (#fortheblog)
– Celebrate Bonfire Night
– Begin our Christmas shopping
– Experiment with more CrockPot recipes
– Build my Autumn wardrobe

This was so fun to write! I just love everything about Autumn, I’m sooo happy it’s here and I’m genuinely so excited for all of the things we’re hoping to squeeze in to the season! The build up to Christmas has officially started and the last three months of the year really are the best. What are you excited for this season? Do you have any fun plans? Is there anything going on in North East England we should make time for?

-G x

My Morning Routine

Good morning, loves! I am so excited to share my morning routine with you all, because this is the kind of blog post I never thought I’d write! I recorded this based on a regular Saturday morning, so I had way more time than I would on a week day; Matt and I enjoyed a lay in and got ready at a leisurely pace for date day. I wish my week day mornings were chilled like this too, they’re much different and I don’t have a very set routine as Matt’s shifts are so different day to day. Sometimes we’re up at 6am and Matt’s rushing out the door whilst I write for the blog and get ready for work, other times we’re up around 8am and I’m the one rushing out the door whilst he gets to snooze in bed for a later start at work. I’d love to share my ‘typical’ week day routine with you too if that’s something you’d be interested in?

When Matt is off work at the weekend, we really try to enjoy a little lay in. Most days our alarm goes off at 6am so even laying in until 9am is a real treat! We like to wake up slowly by chatting and cuddling for a little while, and then I’ll jump out of bed to dash for a wee and brush my teeth. We always have candles lit when we’re in the house, especially in the colder months, and this one from Homesense is so beautiful! It’s such a calming, peaceful scent and fills the room so quickly. I have just started to break out all of our pumpkin scented candles during the evenings, and I’m SO happy about it. Matt really couldn’t care less, hah!

Once we’ve relaxed for a little while, I always go to make us a hot drink which is either a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and right now I’m fully embracing the fact it’s almost pumpkin spice season! Galaxy hot chocolate isn’t our favourite (we really love Cadbury’s) but any kind of hot chocolate paired with this pumpkin and caramel syrup is great!

Whilst we enjoy our drinks we sometimes will watch an episode of The Office or grab our laptops to get on with a little bit of blogging work for me, or real work for Matt. I am usually a nighttime shower person so most weekends I just head to the bathroom to wash my face with my morning cleanser, then do my skincare routine and my makeup. I am LOVING using Estee Lauder Double Wear again now that the seasons are changing, it just works so well with my skin, and I just adore the Bobbi Brown lipstick I talked about in this post. I am switching up my daytime moisturiser each day; I’m currently using up the seaweed oil-control gel cream pictured, and I’ve gone back to my trusty Effaclar Duo from La Roche Posay as my skin has been a little crazy recently. I straighten or curl my hair every day because my natural hair is super frizzy, and I love how the Moroccanoil Treatment Light makes my hair look!

Skincare / Haircare / Fragrance:
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo | Glossier Balm Dot Com in Coconut | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream | Morocanoil Treatment Light | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | NYX Micro Brow Pencil | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara | The Body Shop Honey Bronzing Powder | Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Pillowtalk | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose

I love to catch up on my YouTube subscriptions whilst I do my hair and makeup in the morning, it’s just the best time to zone out and see what my favourite content creators are up to! On this morning I was watching Anna from The Anna Edit packing for her trip (which are some of my favourite videos to watch) but this past week I’ve been watching Zoe Sugg’s Vlogmas videos from last year… and no I’m not joking. HAH! During this time Matt is either working, showering/bathing or getting ready himself, and we’ve got our timings down to a tee now to be ready for the same time. My favourite part of getting ready is choosing my outfit – which is so much easier now because my wardrobes are super organised! Once I’ve picked my outfit, I just need to grab my bag and spray on my perfume and I’m ready to head out of the door. On this day we were heading for a date day in our city, which is our favourite thing to do on a Sunday!

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was so fun to do something completely new! What does your morning routine look like? Do you like to spend your mornings relaxing and getting slowly ready for the day too? I just wish my weekday mornings looked the same! I’d love to record a weekday morning routine, maybe in a few months time? Let me know if you’d like to see an evening routine too (because Matt and I’s cosy evenings are my favourite!)

-G x

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’ve teased on the blog for a little while, and I’m so happy to be writing about BOOKS. *Warning: it’s a long one, and perfect if you want to carve out a little self care time this bank holiday weekend. I’d recommend you grab a cuppa and settle in!* I love love love reading and it’s something I really wish more people were passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I know lots of people love to read, but I really don’t know that many people who do! I have loved reading since I was a child; my parents and grandparents always read to me whenever they had time to, and I learned to read so quickly myself. I read my beloved Jacqueline Wilson books so many times I swear I knew the stories off by heart! When I was around 10 or 11, I was helping my granddad clear out a bunch of stuff, and discovered all of my mum and auntie’s old books by Enid Blyton. He kindly gave them to me, and I spent the rest of my summer engrossed in those books! The Secret Seven and Famous Five series ignited a serious love of reading (and dogs – I wanted my own Timmy SO BAD) and I’m forever grateful. I literally spent so many nights in my lilac groovy chick themed bedroom, curled up with a blanket and a book thinking I was so grown up. Ha!

In the years since then, I’ve never lost the joy in browsing book stores, talking about books and of course, reading them. I literally can’t walk past a bookstore without dragging Matt in ‘for a look’ – although, if you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) have a perusal in store and check the prices on Amazon whilst you’re there; I can pretty much guarantee you’ll always get a better deal on Amazon! No, this post isn’t sponsored by Amazon, I just really love it.

Whenever I talk about my love of reading I am often met with “I wish I had time to read”. News flash: everyone has time to read. Let’s be honest; if Michelle Obama can find time to read, so can you. I have time to read so often because I literally set time aside to do so; making reading a priority is really important to me and it makes the world of difference to my mental health. It’s the perfect self care treat for me (along with a pamper evening and a cuddle from Matt, of course) and it truly opens your mind to SO much you may otherwise not know. Books can cover all different topics, issues and situations, and it’s crazy how much you can learn from a book. My mum and Matt’s mum share my love of reading, and we’re always swapping our current reads, like an unofficial book club! So, how do I find time to read? What are my top tips to help you make reading a priority?

Keep your book on your bedside table
Possibly the most obvious tip, but it makes sense guys. I always keep my current book on our bedside table, and take a little time to read most evenings/mornings. Matt often has to send a few work emails just before we settle in for the night so I take those twenty or so minutes to read a few chapters and get my reading fix. Similarly, he starts work early several times per week (which means a 6am alarm for us both) and I also take a little time once he’s left for work, before I blog or get ready for my work day, to read too. It’s a lovely way to begin or end your day, and if you’re struggling to fit reading time in, this will make a huge difference.

Set goals
Like with anything else, setting goals to read X amount each day/week, will make you hold yourself accountable, and make reading a priority. I love to set goals and have things to work towards, so of course this is no exception! I really think being able to tick a goal off a list helps to visualise it; of course this is a very niche goal but if you want to read more you need to treat it seriously. Maybe you could set out a week Monday to Sunday in the Notes app on your phone, using the bullet point system you can tick off, and then you can see how many days out of seven you read each week. Doing this week by week until it becomes a habit (which it should within two months, as scientists say on average it takes 66 days to create a habit) means that within a really short space of time reading would just become part of your everyday life!

Incorporate reading into your day-to-day life
Similarly to reading before bed or first thing in the morning, it’s amazing where you can fit time in to read. If you spend hours scrolling mindlessly on social media (your phone literally tells you how much time you spend now so you can’t avoid it) you could easily spend at least some of that with a book in your hand instead. I love to read in the bath, I seriously take super long baths just to be able to read for longer, and it’s the ultimate self care time for me. Matt sometimes spends a little time in the evenings working or playing on the playstation, which gives me a good chunk of time to read and not feel guilty about it! I also will spend a little time reading whilst sitting in the garden when it’s warm, or on a cold day I love to curl up with a cuppa and a book. I really should take my lunch break at work away from my desk, as that would be the perfect time to rack up some reading time.

Read digitally on your iPad/Kindle/phone
If you find reading a struggle or would just like to switch things up, I’d really recommend downloading a book onto your tablet or phone. I have been really enjoying reading on the Kindle app on my iPad recently; it’s so convenient as I always have my iPad with me anyway, and it’s very accessible no matter where I am. Downloading books onto a tablet is so handy when travelling too; it limits the weight/bulkiness of books (although I do think you can’t beat a ‘real’ book!) and it allows you to take several options, not to mention ebooks are way less money than a physical book. I am still so mad at myself for not picking up a Kindle Paperwhite during the Prime Day(s) sale, and it’s very high on my wishlist right now.

Carry a book with you day-to-day
If reading on a tablet is not for you I totally get that, but you need to carry your book with you if you want to make the most of reading time as and when you can. If you take public transport to work I’d really recommend making the most of your journey time and lose yourself in a book (just make sure not to miss your stop). Side note: I drive to work each day, and spend lots of time during the week in my car; I’m tempted to try Audible but it’s just not something that’s crossed my mind before. Please let me know if you would recommend! If you’re going somewhere where you may be waiting around, hospital appointments spring to mind right away, pack a book and the wait definitely won’t seem so bad.

Find authors and genres you find interesting
Another thing people tell me, is that they have the time to read, but they can never find a book they actually want to read. This is a little trial and error, but if you put the effort in to finding what makes your heart sing, you’ll see the benefit of it. Personally, I love fiction stories that feel like you’re right in with the characters but as you’ll see from my current picks below, I do like varied content. I really want to read more mystery books as I’ve borrowed a few from my mum that I’ve enjoyed, so that’s something I need to explore more in the coming months. It’s the best feeling finding an author you love, as you are drawn to their writing style and therefore can find so many books. Amazon’s ‘Recommended for you’ section pretty much always brings up amazing options, and I’ve found so many books I love that way!

My current favourite author is hands down Taylor Jenkins Reid. Two books I’ve read (and loved) recently are Forever, Interrupted and After I Do; both books are filled with love, heartbreak, sadness and happiness, and you truly feel like you’re experiencing the emotions of the lead characters. Zoe Folbigg is an amazing author and I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve read! I just finished The Postcard, which was the sequel to The Note, and it left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Two books that changed my life (in different ways) are Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan. I’ve read both several times; they’re incredible and would make for brilliant presents for the gals in your life!

Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a must read for everyone, everywhere; she is, in my opinion, the most inspirational woman of our generation and I’m so happy she shared her story. The best non-fiction book I’ve ever read was This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay; I don’t know anyone who disliked this book, it’s filled with so much emotion – I’d literally be laughing one page and sobbing the next – it’s a must read. If you like books that let you escape from every day life, I’d suggest anything by Elin Hilderband. She writes about Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) in so much depth I feel like I’ve been there myself; it’s a book that takes you on holiday from real life, and her stories are always so enticing. My favourite book of hers is hands down The Identicals. I’ve just downloaded a new Elin Hilderbrand book called The Perfect Couple (and One Minute Later by Susan Lewis) onto my Kindle app for literally 99p each! Order while you can! Shoutout to the lovely Savannah for originally recommending Elin Hilderbrand books to me!

Some of my current ‘to read’ list include the last in a wonderful series by Louise Pentland; Wilde Women. Louise is someone I’ve loved and admired for years, from way back to her Sprinkle of Glitter days, and I’m so happy that she’s began to write. She writes from the heart, her characters are lovable and I’m so excited to see what is happening with Robin, Lyla and Kath in the final installment! Queenie is a book I saw in Anna‘s reading pile and immediately purchased (the girl just knows her books, and also wrote a cracking book herself, An Edited Life) and I’m so excited to read; the book talks all about love, life and race issues and has rave reviews. Another author I’m very interested in is Jane Fallon, I often see her books featured on Instagram and I need to order one soon!

Thank you so so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips and tricks helpful in some way. Can you believe my boyfriend (who is perfect in every other way, if I do say so myself) doesn’t like to read?! He’s literally been ‘reading’ the same book since Christmas 2017… maybe you take a few pointers from this post, Matthew?! Ha. So, are you a bookworm like me? Where’s your favourite way to make time to read? I’d love to share my favourite books every few months if that’s something you’d be interested in? Please leave me all your book recommendations below, I love to hear what other people are reading!

-G x