Nine Happy Things From October

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m really excited about, because it was so lovely re-living the good things from this month and enjoying them all over again. I’ve talked a few times recently about the fact my anxiety has been pretty bad, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be getting any better right now. Instead of dwelling on it and making myself feel even worse, I’ve been trying extra hard to focus on the good, and boy has there been a lot of good things in the past month!

Spontaneous Getaway With Matthew
Matt and I had THE most fun trip to York and Harrogate in October; it was just a little (less than) 48 hour getaway that was so needed for both of us. We’ve been working so hard and had very full schedules the past few months, which to be honest will carry on for the rest of the year. We make the most of all our time together every single day, but it’s extra special to go on a trip with your loved one, right? Also, Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and I love even the super simple things like the changing colours of the leaves and wearing jumpers/coats, it’s my favourite time to travel!

Practicing Yoga
Yoga and I have a very on/off relationship, it’s literally a love/hate kinda thing. I love how it makes me feel, but I hate having to specifically make time for it when I have other things to do too. Over the past month I’ve been more intentional with my time in all areas of my life, and this means yoga has nicely slotted into my day-to-day life as I’ve made it a priority. I’ve always appreciated the feeling I have when I step off the mat, but recently I’m enjoying my sessions more and more! It really helps to clear my mind and make me happy.

Bonfire Spice Hot Chocolates
Costa hit it out of the park with their seasonal drinks year after year, and after becoming slightly obsessed addicted to bonfire spice hot chocolates in 2018, I was so freaking happy they were back this year. I’ve definitely not had as many as I’d have liked to because y’know… they’re pricey, but they’re so bloody worth it. There’s a Costa drive thru not too far from home and I just think it’s the best invention ever. I also can’t stop treating myself to their millionaire’s shortbread whenever I pop in, they are SO GOOD.

Visiting A Pumpkin Patch
I was super lucky to grow up holidaying to Florida pretty much every year, and let’s just say the bar was set HIGH… Pumpkin patches in the US are a dream; they look like Pinterest in real life, and involve all sorts of fun things that ours just don’t have. I was still so excited to visit a pumpkin patch here in the UK, and the one Matt and I went to was extra special because we got a little private tour! You can read all about that in my photo diary from our trip, I still feel so bad for just turning up, hahaha.

Strictly Come Dancing Saturday’s (and Sunday’s)
It’s my favourite time of year for one hundred and one reasons, but I have to say the TV schedule is pretty high up there. Strictly is something I look forward to all year, and I can’t tell you how much I love this season! Matt and I have been enjoying all of the Saturday nights in snuggled up watching (he loves it too… secretly) and it just makes for the perfect cosy weekend. I have so many favourites, I just get so excited for Saturday nights every single week!

Leaves Changing Colour
It seriously makes me so. dang. happy. I love love love the leaves turning from yellow to orange to red, and standing on crunchy leaves is one of life’s biggest joys! I’m a child at heart, what can I say? This Fall has felt super cold already, and I’m loving wrapping up and just enjoying the outdoors. Matt and I are going on a hike next week and I’m so excited; we love being outdoors so much! Also, it’s even better when we can go for a Sunday roast afterwards… right?

Lazy Sunday’s
Breakfast dates are hands down Matt and I’s favourite way to spend a Sunday morning, and this month we’ve squeezed in two which has made my heart so happy. Our favourite local breakfast spot is Post Box in Ponteland, we try to go once per month and literally every meal is better than the last! I love getting up early, seeing the beginning of the day and getting to chat with Matt about our upcoming week. We enjoy getting out for a wander after our breakfast too; it’s just such a nice feeling to be out and about when people are still just getting up and starting their day.

Snuggly Afternoons Reading
One of my favourite things about this time of year is that a lot of time is spent at home. I’m a homebody, and I love nothing more than a cosy evening taking a nice hot bubble bath, cooking with Matt and snuggling in under forty blankets for the rest of the night. Although Matt and I watch a ton of TV, I’ve always made time to read, and often during weekends when he’s watching the football I get so excited to curl up with my book! I shared my reading list with you a few weeks back, go check it out if you’re looking for some reading inspiration.

Wearing Cosy Sweaters
When I have actually gotten dressed and not been wearing my most amazing dressing gown I have loved wearing sweaters again! There’s a few areas in which I’m lacking in my wardrobe, and I’m super excited to pick up just a few more to wear throughout the next few months. My favourite places to shop for sweaters and oversized jumpers are Zara, & Other Stories and Topshop. I’m also thinking I might treat myself with Christmas money to an M&S cashmere jumper, because Emma Hill RAVES about how good they are!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and felt like it was fun and inspiring! What were your highlights from the month of October? Did you have a good month? If this is something you’d like to see each month I’d love to share again in November. I hope your month is filled with all of the love, fun and fireworks!

-G x

My October Goals

Hi, loves! Happy OCTOBER. Seriously, where the heck has this year gone?! I’m sorry this post isn’t going live on the 1st, but my schedule is Sunday’s and Wednesday’s… and I like schedules. #TypeA. Snapple fact: the featured image of this blog post is one of my favourite ever quotes. I truly am SO GLAD to live in a world where there are October’s! This month I’m setting myself five goals to accomplish, and as always I’m sharing them with my lovely readers. Sharing my goals helps to keep me motivated, holds me accountable throughout the month and maybe it will even inspire someone to create their own goals?

Be kinder to myself and unwind
I am always hard on myself, but over the past few weeks/months I’ve been so harsh and unkind to myself, especially about my blog. I have such high standards and hopes for what I want my online space to be, but I really need to stop stressing so much about it! I don’t ever give myself a break but I need to, and this month is the time for it. I LOVE October. It’s the beginning of my favourite time of year (which is the last three months of the year, they bring so much joy!) and I’m determined to relax a little to enjoy it. Matt is sadly at work every weekend in October but we’re making the most of the month anyway; we’re going to have fun date nights, spend cosy mornings eating breakfast in bed and we also have a mid-week date day visiting a pumpkin patch… I’m so excited! I want to put quality time and effort into my blog; I work full time Monday to Friday, then I spend any ‘free’ time I have (after Matt and I’s time of course) to create blog content. This month I’m going to be more intentional with my ‘free’ time and take a little back just for me.

Practice yoga at least three times per week
Any regular readers will probably have guessed this would be up here, it seems to feature any time I talk about my goals for that month. I have a confession guys: I’ve barely practiced yoga over the past two months. How bad is that? I generally feel so much better when I’m consistent with practicing yoga, so I really want to get back into some kind of routine and just have fun with it. My favourite online yoga teacher is of course Yoga With Adrienne, I always enjoy her practices and she’s so flipping funny. There’s a practice for every mood or feeling, and I really feel refreshed and happier at the end of every session. I already practiced yoga twice this week and it’s only Wednesday, so I’m super happy about that!

Wear red lipstick
This probably sounds crazy to so many of you, but I just do not feel comfortable wearing red lipstick! I haven’t even owned a red lipstick for around three years because I didn’t get any wear out of the ones I had, so this month I’m going to treat myself and I’m going to wear red lips for date night. I’ve really been trying to work on my confidence lately, and this is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I hope this makes sense, it probably sounds so silly! I remember Rimmel’s red lipsticks used to get so much hype online (which I’m pretty sure was solely because of Zoe Sugg) but to any of my red lipstick wearers out there, is that still the case?! Which brand/shade should I go for? I’m going to buy a drugstore one just incase I can’t get used to it!

Create new Fall outfits with clothing I already own / Only purchase clothing items from my list
Okay so this is a two-in-one goal. I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I kept during my decluttering process which I’ve not worn before and probably should have gotten rid of, but I promised myself I’d wear this Autumn. If I don’t, they’ll find themselves on eBay for someone else to love! My intention is to make outfits from clothes that I wouldn’t usually pair together; I really just want to give my clothes the love they deserve and experiment a little. I’m slowly figuring out my style so this Autumn I want to embrace change and try to create fun outfits that are a little different from my norm! I’ve also made a list with a few essentials I’m lacking in my wardrobe since my de-clutter (a good black coat, turtle neck jumper(s), a grey cardigan, long sleeve t-shirts, a fancy midi skirt and leather look jeans) which I’m now on the lookout for. Something that’s not officially on the list but I probably will buy is the E.T sweater from this post because it’s just so flipping cute. You’re allowed a frivolous purchase now and then if it makes your heart sing, right?!

Cook at least one new dinner recipe each week
Cooking is something Matt and I found a love of together, and I so appreciate that we’ve found a hobby we can share. We literally had no idea how to cook even the most basic things when we first got together, so now the fact we cook together/for each other every night is crazy to me. Matt often likes to make meals we know and love, but I really like to try new recipes. We’ve had such busy weeks recently that we’ve not pushed ourselves to try something new very often, but this month we’re going to try new things! I shared with you how I meal plan a few months ago, and nothing has changed since. Matt is always happy to eat whatever I have planned for that night, so this one lies on me guys. I’ve already been searching up a storm on the Mix And Match Mama blog (Shay has the BEST recipes, especially if you want specific seasonal recipes) and I’m so excited to create new meals for us to eat. New on the menu this week is Shay’s chicken fajita soup which I’m going to adapt slightly to cook in the CrockPot, then next week we’re attempting this pumpkin and chipotle pasta. I literally can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my monthly goals for this October. Do you create monthly goals? Do you track how you’re doing with them week to week? I love to set goals because it gives you the best sense of achievement when you complete them! Also, if you don’t complete them it just makes you work harder the next month, right? 🙂 I challenge you to set yourself five goals for the month of October, we can hold each other accountable!

-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

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

Hey, loves! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’ve really had one of those weeks. I’ve felt a bit crap, and as a result I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways I try to carve out a little self care time each day, and focus on the things that keep me feeling good even on those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Name that movie. As I mentioned in a recent post I’ve made August an unofficial self-care month for me, and I’d love for you to join in too! Let’s get used to taking a little extra time for ourselves, no matter how busy we are. Today I’m sharing with you the things I try to do most days (or at least several times per week) to practice self care.

Practice yoga (or at least stretch)
It’s not realistic to assume we all have a spare hour or even half an hour each day to prioritise yoga, or whichever exercise you prefer. However, ten minutes is something we should all able to achieve – whether it means turning the TV off ten minutes before bed or getting up ten minutes earlier – it feels so good to stretch out your body. My favourite morning stretch routine for when I don’t have much time is this practice from Yoga With Adrienne, it always makes me feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

Eat food that’s good for you
When you’re eating healthy food your body feels refreshed, and so does your mind. Matt and I eat healthy veggie filled dinners most nights, and we try to eat healthy when possible. We definitely don’t restrict ourselves; if we want to eat something we’ll definitely enjoy it, it’s just about creating a balance. Getting our five a day is so important, and although there’s way less emphasis on it in the media now, I think we could all use a reminder!

Enjoy at least ten minutes of peace and quiet each day
Having a little time alone just to be is good for the soul. I’m an introvert, and until Matt and I got together two years ago, I’d have opted to spend time alone than with others any day of the week. Now, of course I’d rather spend every possible second with Matt, but it’s still important to appreciate time alone too. Whether it’s relaxing in a hot bath during the evening or whilst I’m doing my makeup before work, I just enjoy being with only my thoughts for a little while.

Keep the space around you clean, tidy and clutter-free
I am the kind of person that needs the space around me to be clean and tidy anyway, but it truly makes you feel so much more calm and relaxed when everything is in order and put away in it’s place. I like to de-clutter Matt and I’s space pretty often, and it’s freeing to not hold on to rubbish you don’t need! Our bedroom is always smelling fresh and looking tidy, and coming home each night to our own little sanctuary is so calming and refreshing. I’m also the same with my car, I can’t bare it being dirty or cluttered inside, I just very rarely clean the outside.

Treat yourself to regular pamper sessions
Whether it’s getting your gels refreshed or visiting your favourite salon for a fresh colour and cut, set aside time (and money) to enjoy it. I love days where I’m getting my hair or nails done SO much, it just makes me feel happier. Of course you don’t have to go to salons to treat yourself, because at-home spa and pamper evenings can be just as wonderful. Indulge in a bubble bath and throw a face mask on, and never let yourself feel guilty for doing so. It’s important to unwind and relax, and it’s very true that when you look good, you feel good on the inside too. Matt and I love a pamper night!

Make gratitude lists
Feeling grateful is one thing, but writing down what you’re grateful for changes your perspective on everything. It’s so easy to get bogged down with mundane life stuff, but just acknowledging the good things in your life can make you see everything so differently. I’ve wrote three posts this year, logging things I’m grateful for each day – you can catch up here, here and here – and I couldn’t recommend that enough. Whether you’re a blogger looking for a content idea or you just want to list what you’re grateful for privately, it’s amazing to see your blessings right in front of you. I keep a list in the Notes app in my phone, and man does it help me to keep positive.

Live in the moment
I admit that I am SO bad for not enjoying the day/hour/second right there and then, because I’m thinking about what’s coming up. Whether I’m stressing about something happening or I’m super excited for something fun, I find I’m always counting down to the Next Thing. I’m actively trying to enjoy where I’m at in the moment, and it’s making life so much more fun! …but it’s okay to have things to look forward to. Matt and I always have a trip planned, whether it’s a holiday or a weekend getaway, because we love travelling SO much and that’s where we want to put our energy. We just love getting away and exploring somewhere new! Similarly, date nights keep us sane and get us through long work weeks, and we always plan those in advance. Get plans in your diary to catch up with your friends too, they may need it more than you do!

Be active, and enjoy nature while you’re at it
Matt and I are SO LUCKY to live where we do; there’s beautiful beaches, rolling countryside and our favourite city, Newcastle upon Tyne, all just twenty minutes drive from us. We are always trying to get outside more and enjoy whatever is around us, and we’re also very lucky that we experience all four seasons here too! Well, Summer is questionable LOL.

Unwind in a way that makes you happy
Getting cosy under a fluffy blanket with our favourite candles flickering, snuggling up with Matt to watch Netflix is without a doubt my favourite pastime. We do this in some aspect every evening, even if it’s only to watch one quick episode of our favourite show (Brooklyn 99 is life, you guys!) and it feels so good to relax at home. Being curled up with Matt makes me so happy, and it’s something I look forward to from the minute we get out of bed each morning! I also love to blog, binge watch reality shows (The *original* Hills and KUTWK are always my go-to shows), online shop/browse, cook, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, read books, take bubble baths… whatever it is for you; do more of it.

Don’t beat yourself up
The best self care tip of all is to not be too hard on yourself, because everyone is doing the best they can. You don’t need to compare yourself to others, or what you think you should have/want in life. Being happy within yourself is so important, and nurturing your close relationships is super important too. Matt and I are very good at giving each other pep talks and cheering each other up if we ever have a bad day, and that support network is so vital!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and maybe feel inspired to take a little more time for yourself. How do you take time for self care each day? What’s one thing that always makes you feel good? Except for cuddling with Matt, one other thing specifically comes to mind for me. Blogging. It always makes me feel good and is there for me like a safety net; I love to write SO MUCH, and I had no idea how much joy blogging would bring to my life! Matt encouraged me to start and has (literally) held my hand every step of the way so far; I’m so grateful for him and that he pushed me to do it; it’s a dream come true to run my own blog. Thank you so much to everyone who takes time to read, comment, like, share etc – it means the world to me, and I really feel so lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.

-G x