Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here
Hi, loves! Today is the last installment in my Christmas Gift Guide series for this year and if I do say so myself, I think I’ve saved the best for last! Stocking fillers are some of my favourite gifts to give and receive; there’s so many incredible options. I love to give one or two ‘big’ gifts then pad out my loved ones presents with smaller items, and everything in this gift guide would be perfect for that, too. I also think there’s something in here for any Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges you may be participating in this holiday season.
Also, I’m only sharing a few at the end of this post because there’s SO much choice, but it’s not a good stocking without ALL of the sweets and chocolate… right? 🙂 also – gift cards are my favourite gift to give/receive in stockings! I highly recommend placing a £10 or £20 gift card for the recipient’s favourite store in the bottom, it’ll be the best surprise.
This may be the last in my Christmas Gift Guide series for 2019, but I’m talking in detail about a few of my current favourite budget beauty products in my next Feelin’ It Friday post (coming to you next Friday, November 29th!) which will also make wonderful stocking filler or Secret Santa gifts so make sure to check back for that too!
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!
*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!*
Today’s post is shorter than most, but that’s okay, because the little things make the biggest difference. See what I did there? I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps recently, and I’ve had to work extra hard to see the good in each day. (Please see this post for a little more perspective, it happens to the best of us, right?!) For over a week I felt like the second I got out of bed in the morning I was already on a countdown to getting back into it that night. Now, of course being snuggled with Matt is always going to be my ultimate happy place and heading off to work isn’t going to be the happiest part of my day, but it’s so draining to have no energy, and to feel like each day is a struggle in itself.
I just had a lot of those days, nothing was specifically wrong, but I set myself a task to make note of random things through the day that made me smile. Some of these are generic things that happen every day and some are random and uncommon. I’m a big believer in voicing gratitude and showing appreciation, and I hope this post helps to remind others there’s always good in each day. Here’s a little summary of the little things that made me smile last week – there obviously were tons of little things, I just tried to focus on things that people may find relatable (minus the Dwayne Johnson story)…
M O N D A Y
-Matt and I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual and spent the morning snuggling and chatting -It was super sunny and warm -Every traffic light on the way to work was green (that’s EIGHT of them) -I got the cutest phone call from Matthew -We spent a fun night with my second family, and made the best enchiladas for dinner -I was having a good skin day -Matt took some blog photos for me and we had such a giggle -I found a new app to edit the photos and was SO happy with the results, I’m probably going to use it for most posts from now on -Forehead kisses. ‘Nuff said -Brendan from Coach Trip just being a little sweetie
T U E S D A Y
-By the time I’d got to work (like ten minutes after leaving him) Matt sent me the cutest text that made me so happy I cried -One of my co-workers did something really sweet for another co-worker -I drove home from work through the most beautiful, vibrant sunset that reminded me of being in Kos with my love -I had a bubble bath and read my current book (Still Me by Jojo Moyes, I’m OBSESSED) -The smell of my DW Home Tulip Takeover candle -I sent Jessy a cute little quote to make her smile -I timed dinner perfectly for Matt coming home from work, and was just about to serve as he walked through the door -We snuggled up to watch more Coach Trip and it made us SO EXCITED for Summer
W E D N E S D A Y
-I showed Matt the Southwest flight attendant video this morning (he’s been living under a rock, clearly) and felt all the warm fuzzy’s at how funny and sweet the lady is -I ate an iced split from Gregg’s for the first time in years -I squeezed in an hour’s yoga before a long hot bubble bath and I’m not sure which felt better -My post-yoga messy bun looked better than one I’d tried to make look good for twenty minutes (okay, this is bittersweet) -I managed to grab the bits I wanted from the Zoella X Colourpop collaboration (more on that on the blog once it arrives!), plus a highlighter and lipgloss I’ve been eyeing up for ages -Matt brought me home a new MacBook charger because mine was completely broken. The £80.00 price tag didn’t make me so happy LOL -We had picky tea, which meant minimal effort and very full tummies before we fell into bed
T H U R S D A Y
-Matt and I had time to have a cup of tea together -I nailed the rap from You’re Welcome on the way to work. Dwayne Johnson would have been PROUD… side note I met Dwayne Johnson. Everyone I’ve ever met for three seconds or less has probably heard this story, but we were in LA and he was at his movie premier and, yeah, we’re basically besties ~so casual~ ~so relatable~ -I ate Special K with Alpro Almond Coconut milk (which is my current breakfast of choice at work – highly recommend), but I was so hungry it tasted better than ever -I was coming up to traffic on my way home from work, so I put my hazards on to warn the car behind me and then he put his hazards on to warn the car behind him. I love when this happens, weirdest feeling of accomplishment ever HAHA -I went to my second home straight from work and was so happy to catch up with Matt’s parents, I hadn’t seen them for two days which felt like forever -Matt and I made our plans for the weekend which always makes me super excited -We also made the best pasta together and I want to eat it RIGHT NOW
F R I D A Y
-We woke up to the sound of birds chirping -The smell of my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer made me feel like I was on holiday -I had the weekend feeling driving to work, knowing I’d be heading home for a fun weekend in eight hours -It was my company’s year-end, so we all had lunch together and our MD gave a little speech in the boardroom about us all doing a great job -Anna’s new series, Everyday March, started on her Youtube Channel -Matt and I went to Nando’s for dinner for the first time in so long -At Nando’s, we bumped into my lovely friend Grace and her boyfriend. We only seen them for a short time as they were meeting friends but she was so smiley and sweet it literally made my day -Matt and I snuggled up when we got home with glasses of our fave Whitney Neill gin (rhubarb and ginger, obvs) and lemonade -Cry laughing with bae
S A T U R D A Y
-We got to have a lie in (!!!) -The smell of my new Spring candle burning whilst we got ready -We went for a breakfast date at a new place – our favourite thing to do on a weekend morning – it was SO good -I had a crepe filled with bananas and Nutella. No explanation needed on why this made me happy. NUTELLA -I popped into Blue Lotus (the only place I’d go for piercings) to see if they could squeeze me in but they were fully booked, however I got a new earring and we got to see Nici for the first time in ages – the sweetest lady who works there. She’s such a breath of fresh air -The beautiful flowers outside Fenwick’s -I finally got some extra ideas on what else to buy Matt for his birthday (he’s so hard to buy for because he buys whatever he wants for himself!) -We had a super chilled evening watching our shows and eating Domino’s. Perfect
S U N D A Y
-Matt was so full of energy dancing around from the second he got out of bed, which gave me a burst of energy (and a giggle at his expense, he’s so cute) -He went to play golf with the boys for the morning, so I spent a little time beginning to write up this post, with my candles burning and Himalayan pink salt lamp on, feeling like I really had my life together. I don’t, lol -I totally zoned out and enjoyed my yoga session so much -I had a Lush bath at 11am on a Sunday morning, just because -Matt and I went for a late dinner at one of our fave local pubs -After I’d showered we did face masks together and it’s literally one of my favourite things -I received an overwhelming amount of love about today’s post My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine (thank you so much!) -My new Sleepy moisturiser from Lush -It was raining so hard when we went to bed, all the cosy feels
I hope you guys enjoyed this personal, almost Dear Diary style post – it’s certainly something different than what I’d usually post. Do you need to remind yourself to see the little things sometimes? What were the little things that made you smile today?