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

What I Got For Christmas 2019

Hi, loves! I hope you have all had the best Christmas season with your family and friends, and are still super stuffed and super happy. I feel like the past week has been a blur of giving presents, receiving presents and drinking and eating more than any human ever should. Seriously, I don’t think I really need to eat again for at least three weeks!

Matt and I really had the most fun Christmas Day; we spent the morning with my parents and brother, gift giving and enjoying family time before getting ready and heading over to see Matt’s parents and grandma. We gave more gifts and opened so many lovely presents ourselves, then headed for Christmas Dinner at The Brandling Arms in Gosforth. We went there last year too and it was just the best day! The food is beautiful and the setting was so perfect; it was super chilled and relaxed, and we were all just so happy to spend our day together. When we finished up at the pub, Matt and I went back to my parents house to see all of my extended family, and give/receive even more presents. We ended the day back at Matt’s parents with his godparents too, drinking gin and laughing our heads off at the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special. There has to be a new series, right?! We had the best Christmas and I feel so very lucky and loved.

Disclaimer: of course I’m not trying to brag or show off by sharing these items with you. What I Got For Christmas blog posts and YouTube videos are some of my very favourites to read/watch, because I’m so nosey! Ha, I just really like seeing what other people got for Christmas, and it’s also fun to get gift inspiration for others too. I was spoiled rotten with gift cards, chocolates – including a beautiful tin of chocolates from Brugge from Matt’s cousin and partner, money, perfume, so much ‘lovely bath shit’ (Gavin and Stacey reference, obvs!), jewellery, experience tickets and so much more, but I’ve just picked a handful to show you! Also, I almost put off posting this today because the listing has been SO TERRIBLE and my photos kinda suck. But… life isn’t perfect right?! I hope they’re okay enough!

My ultimate wish list item this year was a Kindle Paperwhite. I really love a real book – the feel, the smell, the ability to pass it on to a family member/friend once I’ve read it – but for so long I’ve wished for a Kindle! I have almost bought myself one a few times but kept stopping myself as it was so expensive, then Matt suggested a few months ago he get me one for Christmas. Knowing he’s had it for literally two months has killed me, I wanted it so bad, ha! I’m hoping to write a first impressions/review post once I’ve had a little more use out of it, but I’ve really been enjoying using it the past few days. It’s beyond convenient to have all of my books in one teeny little device, and it’s so portable! It’s also a huge bonus that Kindle books are way cheaper than paperbacks, and they download instantly. This may spoil any future review post, but I love love love my Kindle! I also got my cute little Universal Studios E.T mug for Christmas too 🙂

A few months ago, my brother went to Canada with his friends. I had mentioned how much I wanted something from the brand Roots, and asked if he saw a store could he please pick me up a t-shirt and I’d give him the money. He fibbed that he didn’t see one store (although a swift Google search showed they were on pretty much EVERY street in Toronto…) and I accepted I’d never own anything. Fast forward to Christmas Day… he’d only gone and bought me a hoodie! This hoodie is so soft and cosy, I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s better than I thought it would be, to be honest! Anything warm, soft, or cosy is a winner for me, and this ticks all of those boxes. I’ve pretty much lived in it since Christmas! Also, I love having things that other people don’t or haven’t heard of, and Roots is not at all well known here in the UK. I’ve already looked to buy online but the shipping rates are so expensive to get it here. Guess Matt and I will just have to book that trip to Canada we’re dreaming of…

I am obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I have them burning every single moment I’m in the house, and Matt is actually becoming a huge fan too. He loves The White Company candles as much as I do, and so kindly bought me the scent Winter, which is one of my favourites. He totally bought it for himself, I’m sure of it! 😉 Matt’s cousin gifted me this sweet little gold, frankinsence and myrrh candle that truly smells like Christmas, and Matt’s parents picked up this Woodwick candle for me. This smells like Summer and I’m determined not to burn it until the weather gets a little brighter and warmer! Last but certainly not least, my aunt and uncle recently went on holiday to Florida and knowing how much I love Bath & Body Works, they treated me to two of their candles! Champagne Toast is one of my favourite ever scents, and Mahogany Teakwood is 100% Matt’s (it really is so beautiful!) so these were such a perfect gift. My uncle also spotted the beautiful glittery snowflake candle holder and thought I’d love it, which I do! I’m like a magpie for all things sparkly, I just can’t help myself.

Matt totally surprised me with a new pair of GHD’s and they are so amazing! My old ones broke a little while ago (after six or seven years) and I bought an alternative brand that really just wasn’t cutting it. I had been planning to use any money I got for Christmas to purchase a new pair but he was so sweet to buy them for me for Christmas, I have loved doing my hair the past few days with these! I forgot just how good GHD’s are; my hair feels/looks so sleek and shiny, and I am obsessed with the scent of their heat protectant spray, something he also gifted to me.

I love jewellery, and my vibe is anything dainty, silver, or Disney. Literally! Matt’s lovely parents spoiled me rotten again this year, and one of my very favourite gifts was a pair of silver daisy earrings from the brand Daisy. I have seen so much about this brand on Instagram but I’ve never purchased before, however these are seriously the cutest. I love the small gold detail in the centre and they’re so comfortable to wear; I really like simple, light earrings that don’t irritate my ears. Among many other lovely gifts Matt surprised me with a Disney Pandora charm – it’s the cutest Dumbo charm, which is one of my favorite ever Disney characters. My Pandora bracelet is now full! I also ordered myself the Missoma Amazonite necklace a few days before Christmas as a little treat to myself. Missoma is my favourite jewellery brand for thin, delicate necklaces, and this layers perfectly with my everyday necklace or looks gorgeous on it’s own.

If I had to describe my favourite feeling in one word it would be cosy. I love anything soft, warm, snuggly… that’s my heaven! I actually have no idea how many pairs of cosy socks I got but it was a lot. Matt’s parents gave me the softest blanket as they know if I’m at home I’m always snuggled under a blanket or three. Matt never used to understand this but now he loves it as much as I do, he’s so into all things cosy and warm too! I love the colour, it’s a dusky lilac and funnily enough goes perfectly with my new dressing gown from my parents. They are both from M&S but they’re not an exact match! M&S dressing gowns are my jam, and I seriously get SO MUCH wear out of my dressing gowns. Matt and I love to wear them round the house in the mornings/evenings, we are such oldies haha. I donated all of my old ones not too long ago and I now have four super good quality ones – that may seem excessive but I probably wear my dressing gown(s) more than I wear real clothes! One of my very favourite presents this year was a new pair of Ugg slippers, they are dreamy. Two years ago for Christmas, Matt bought me a pair of Ugg slippers that I’ve worn every single day since, and I’ve literally worn through them. It feels SO GOOD to have a new pair, I forgot just how fluffy and cosy they are! In my opinion they are 100% worth the money and if you have a little Christmas money for sales shopping I’d definitely recommend picking up a pair!

An oil diffuser is something I’ve wanted for a very long time, partly because Shay talks so highly of them! I read several posts of hers talking about the benefits and how well they work for her and her family, and I was so excited my mum and dad got me one. I actually ordered it for them from Amazon; I just got a basic one to see how I like it to begin with, but Matt and I have used it every night since Christmas and so far we’re really happy with it. I’ve been using a blend of Eucalyptus and Lavender oils each evening which is a perfect sleepy scent, I’d love to talk about this more in a future post once we’ve used it for a lot longer if that’s something you’re interested in. Matt and I have a very specific nighttime routine – Sleep Sounds, pillow spray, dark room etc – so we’re all about adding things in for a great nights sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, did you receive lots of fun gifts? What was your favourite present(s) this Christmas? More importantly, what was your favourite present you gave and who to?! I loved everything I gave to Matt; he really wasn’t expecting most of the gifts and genuinely seemed so happy/surprised, but my favourite was that we gave a pair of Ugg slippers to my mum and Matt’s mum, Debbie. That was their main gift and they both had no idea, I love giving people practical gifts that are something they’d love, but would never buy for themselves. That’s the best kind of gift to receive, right?!

-G x

Weekend In My Life

Happy Sunday, loves! Today’s post is another Weekend In My Life; something I’ve had so many requests to do! As I started doing more of a photo diary style weekend recap instead, it’s been a long time since my last one (you can catch that here if you missed it) but I’m so happy to be writing another. Last weekend was one of Matt and I’s favourite weekends of the whole year; Great North Run weekend! During it we went to a rugby game (my very first!), had so much fun with family and seen Matt’s cousin complete another half marathon. It was packed full and we were SO tired over the following week, but it was definitely worth it. Let’s rewind back to Friday…

Friday 6th September

I had set our alarm for a little earlier than usual as I had to write my Feelin’ It Friday post. I had cheated a little bit and wrote lots of it the night before as Matt was out with work and didn’t get home until around 8pm, which was the perfect blog writing time for me! I let Matt sleep in, made a little ‘soft office’ in bed, grabbed my iPad and finished up writing my post. Matt was super cute and sleepy so I snuggled back in for a cuddle, then had to rush to get ready for work. I swear this happens every day, hah!

I headed to work for what turned out to be a good day. It went super quickly and we had a very chilled day in the office, which is always appreciated on a Friday! My coworker Laura and I made a Costa run during our lunch break for our first Bonfire Spice drinks of the season… we were SO HAPPY! I also picked up mac n cheese for lunch which is quite possibly my favourite ever food, it was delish! This Friday was also pay day which made the day even better, it’s the little things isn’t it 🙂 before I knew it, it was 5pm and I was leaving to rush home to get ready for the evening! I listened to the new Shagged, Married, Annoyed podcast (obviously) on the drive to/from work – it’s literally laugh out loud funny EVERY week! I wish they would come out with daily episodes, I just love Rosie Ramsey so. dang. much.

I took off my makeup, had a super quick shower and began to get re-ready for the evening. Matt had spent the day at home and seeing his cousins and their partners who had just drove up for the weekend, so he got home just as I was finishing up getting ready. I’m always so happy to be back together at the end of the day! We had tickets for a rugby game at St James’ park; England were playing Italy and we were SUPER excited! It’s the first time England have played outside of Twickenham in a very long time and also our first rugby game together. We made it to town with plenty of time to spare, so popped to Zapatista for a burrito before the game. I feel like Zapatista is so underrated, we always enjoy our visits there and the food is SO GOOD!

Look at that sky… 😍

I love you so much Matthew! (Here’s two blurry selfies from the game. Because one isn’t enough!)

How dang pretty is that sunset?!?! The game was so much fun (well the second half – the first half was a little boring), and so very different to the football games we’re used to! Rugby is very posh compared to football, it made me laugh so much when the signs came up saying ‘great kick’ when we scored…. football fans, can you imagine that during a match?! England won 37 – 0 and we had the best time watching; the atmosphere was so different and it was packed full! I especially loved the Mexican wave hahaha, pretty much the whole stadium participated… that’s more than 50,000 people! Matt’s godparents were sitting really close to us so it was especially nice to see them, and we could drink alcohol inside the stadium which was weird. If you’re not familiar with UK football stadiums, you’re not allowed to drink alcohol inside the stadium, only inside the corridors at half time. Snapple fact: I worked at St James’ Park for around three years, and I loved my time there so much! We headed into the city for a few drinks with Matt’s godparents after the game before heading home. As soon as I’d took my makeup off, we turned on thunderstorm sounds via Alexa and drifted off to sleep!

Saturday 7th September

Saturday morning we were up pretty early to head over to Matt’s parents to meet with the family and go out for the day. I washed my hair in preparation for a busy weekend (the best feeling, right?! side note: looking at this photo I’m even more happy I just got my hair back dark this week!), did my makeup and got dressed. I wore my new favourite cardigan from ASOS and I love it so much, I really want to get the grey one too. Matt got to laze in bed whilst I got ready and I so wished I could have too, we were so tired after such a busy work week! It’s not too often we get full weekends together due to Matt’s work schedule, so I just felt really grateful for our time together.

We got to Matt’s parents just after they got home – they stayed with Debbie’s mum whilst the family were up! – and it was so nice to see everyone, (even though we had just seen them in Stamford a few weeks before). We caught up for a little then all headed into Newcastle for the day. We went to the Quayside, which is one of Matt and I’s favourite ever places, but it was so crazy busy! The children’s Great North Run was being held around the Quayside, so the crowds were huge – which is never great for my anxiety! – but we still had such a good day. We loved all the cute kiddos running with their parents, it was so sweet to see how excited they were. We cheered them on for a little before heading across the river to grab lunch and drinks at By The River Brewing Co. It’s essentially a mini village made out of used shipping containers, selling food and brewing their own beer, as well as serving typical well know brands. I was freezing (what’s new?) so I was super glad to be snuggled under the heat lamps, and the food was amazing! Almost everyone got Greek food but Matt and I totally missed out on that memo, dang it. We did get really good food (pizza fries for me, pizza for Matthew so we could have a little of each others) and I already can’t wait to go back in a few weeks time. We picked up a salted caramel brownie to take home and guys. It was the best thing we’ve ever tasted!!!

I mean… 😍😍😍 he’s just so handsome! Also, I’m so sad the below photo is blurred!

After spending most of the day in town, we all headed back to shower and get re-ready for the evening, as we were heading to dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants, Fratelli’s in Ponteland. We’ve been coming to Fratelli’s since we were dating, before it was ‘official’ and it’s such a special place to us! I got out of the shower to find Matt flat out, snuggled in under our blanket and his dressing gown. My heart can’t take it!

Matt’s parents picked us up a little while later – we discussed our Christmas plans in the car! In September! Hah, we’ve since booked up for Christmas Dinner at the same pub we went to last year and we already can’t wait! We settled into a great table, ordered drinks, apps and mains and had the most lovely night. As always, the food was great and everyone enjoyed it so much. Matt and I shared our usual starter (potato skins) and we always tend to get the same meals here. Matt got the spicy sausage pasta he always gets but I tried their carbonara for the first time and I can’t even tell you how delicious it was, I’ll definitely be ordering it again! We all headed for a cocktail at YOLO before we headed home – I had a Candy Pants which was amazing, and Matt got a Long Island Iced Tea that was SO STRONG, haha, but tasted exactly like the drinks in Croatia. I loved this evening and I’m so grateful to Matt’s parents, we really are so lucky to have them 🙂

…the best photo we got all night #sophotogenic

Sunday 8th September

A 7.30am alarm on a Sunday morning isn’t usually something I’d be too happy about, but it was GNR day!! I jumped out of bed to shower and get ready whilst Matt did a few work emails, then we headed back to his parents house to pick everyone up and make our way to South Shields. It was super cold and I stayed snuggled under my car blanket… I swear I’m like a child! Although, it did make me very excited for #sweaterweather. Lots of the roads are closed for the run which means traffic can be CRAZY, so we like to get there early; Matt and I took Adam and Charlotte whilst his parents followed with Laura (they had to drop Adam – yep, two Adam’s! It’s confusing! – off at the start) and we all met up near the finish line. After it was MY fault the sat nav took us to the wrong place. Thanks, Matt. 😂 We grabbed drinks and browsed the stalls for a little while, but as we were there so early not much was really set up. We were gutted because we realllllly wanted free Wagamama’s!

We found a great spot near the finish line, and settled in for a few hours to watch the competitors coming in! David Weir was first through as he won the wheelchair race for the eight time in a row, the crowd was already so excitable when he crossed the finish line. Bridgid Kosgei won the women’s race and broke a freaking world record for the fastest half marathon ran by a woman, ever! We were right there when she broke it and it was crazy to be part of that. She was INCREDIBLE! She also looked like she’d been for maybe a brisk walk at worst… hahaha. Mo Farrah came through for the men’s race (of course) and won for the sixth time in a row; the crowd went CRAZY for him as always, we experienced it last year too and it was even more electric this time round. He came back for his little lap of honour right in front of us and gave everyone high fives, he’s so teeny tiny in person, just a little dot! Not too far behind Mo was the man we were actually there for, Adam ran the half marathon in one hour, thirty five minutes! That’s crazy to me, he did so well and everyone was so proud!

After the run Adam wanted to get home quickly, so we all drove home for snacks and to relax. Unfortunately the family needed to get moving pretty quickly to make their way back home, a long drive on a Sunday is nobody’s idea of fun! We were sad to say goodbye as it felt like the weekend had only just begun, but Matt and I are hoping to visit again before Christmas so I’m sure we’ll see them very soon. After everyone had left, Matt nipped out to see his friend for his birthday and drop his birthday cards in, then we headed to pick my brother up. He had just flown home from Canada overnight on Saturday and landed in Manchester in the morning, then had to get two trains up to Newcastle. A VERY long travel day! We were so happy to see him as it had been almost a week since we had, and he also brought us some delicious snacks home. Mountain Dew is my favourite drink in the whole wide world (okay. So is Diet Coke.) but we can’t get Mountain Dew here. There is a UK version which is naff and tastes nothing like the US/Canadian version, but theirs is literally banned in the EU. I’ve no idea why because it is DELICIOUS!

We caught up with Robert for a little while about his trip, before heading back to Matt’s parents for the night. We relaxed for a little before going to pick up a Chinese takeaway – guys, it was SO GOOD. Sundays are just made for takeaways, right?! Matt’s godparents came round to visit and we spent the evening with them and his parents, which we always love to do! Family filled weekends are some of our favourite, and this one was just perfect. I didn’t shower until super late, but we still had little time to enjoy a few drinks with Matt’s mum and dad. We stayed up until almost midnight which is so not like us, especially on a Sunday! we are early sleepers!!

I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you so much for reading! Would you like to see more Weekend In My Life posts? Matt and I have some really fun weekends coming up and I’d love to share with you! What have your weekends looked like recently? Have you ever ran a half marathon? I can’t tell you how good the atmosphere is at the GNR (I’m biased, I love my hometown so much) but I’m sure that would be a super fun one to do!

-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