Feelin’ It Friday

Hi my little lovebugs! Happy FRIDAY! I’m so pumped that it’s October on Tuesday, even if I can’t quite believe it. This year has gone so. freaking. fast. (like, too fast. I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing but I’m not dwelling on it! I just want to enjoy the last few months of 2019 and start fresh in January). October, November and December are my favourite months of the year; it’s Autumn, the build up to Christmas begins, our Sky planner is filled with great TV shows, Matt and I are eating all of the fun foods and the activities this time of year are our favourite! We have so many fun plans for Autumn which I shared with you in my bucket list this past Sunday, I just can’t wait to get stuck in!

What I’m loving:
I have been enjoying so many Lush baths! I posted a little haul a few weeks ago (you can catch that post here if you missed it) and I’ve been so enjoying trying out new products and re-discovering old favourites! Lord Of Misrule will always be my favourite Halloween bath bomb, it’s just so perfect to me. I’m also really enjoying the Pumpkin Spice lip scrub each evening. Have you guys picked anything up from the Halloween range yet?! The Christmas range just came out this week – literally three months before Christmas Day – and I’m already swooning over it all. But I want to enjoy the Halloween collections for a little while so I’ll not be buying anything until at least the end of October. Famous last words.

What I’m thinking about:
I truly cannot believe the response I got to Wednesday’s post. I had butterflies I was so nervous about uploading it, but after getting Matt and my mum to proof-read it (several times) I felt a tiny bit better. I wrote the post because I was truly so inspired by the Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out documentary, and also because I thought sharing my story might help others to feel better about their story too. I received so many sweet messages and I just want to say thank you SO much to everyone that took the time to share their thoughts with me! Some of my oldest dearest friends even messaged saying they were moved by it and had no idea how I’d felt when I was younger or even now; opening up is so important and body struggles is one of those things so many of us (sadly) have experience with. You can read it here if you missed it, please message me if you have any questions or would like to share your story too!

What I’m happy about:
FALL!!! Guys, it’s officially the best season of the year and after banging on about it for maybe the past two months it’s finally here! It’s been dark, rainy and cold the past week here in the North East and I can’t lie, I’ve loved every second of it. Matt and I have spent our mornings before work snuggled, drinking cups of tea in bed, and we’ve been enjoying the beginning of Autumn recipes creeping back into our lives. Hearty soups, pasta bakes and pie & mash are on the menu this week, it’s just making me feel so happy! Tonight I’m making this recipe – how good does beer cheese chilli sound?! Matt’s at work until 9pm and I know he’ll be so happy to come home to this! 

What I’m reading:
I’ve finally started reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and so far I am LOVING it. I’ve only read around 40 pages as life has been busy this week, but I’m excited to read a little more tonight whilst having a nice hot bath! I don’t have too many books left in my ‘to read’ pile right now, please let me know if there’s any you’ve read recently that I should pick up? I’ve heard Cathy Glass books are very good, have any of you read her books? Which should I get first?!

What’s different on the blog:
I changed my upload times again! You may have noticed my Sunday posts are back to 12pm and Wednesday posts are now going up at 8am instead of 6pm. I changed the Wednesday post timings because I seriously get so many views early in the day when my Friday posts go live. Speaking of which… I’m sad to say that my Feelin’ It Friday’s are going to be posted once per month, on the last Friday of the month, for the foreseeable future. When I first started these posts back in June I wasn’t sure how it would work; I thought it would be maybe one a month (if that) if people enjoyed them but they became a weekly thing. I am just feeling a little bit anxious and stressed out right now, and I really don’t want to put up sub-standard posts. Instead I’m putting more of my energy into my Sunday and Wednesday posts, and really trying to be a little more creative in those. I hope you guys understand!

What I’m watching:
Strictly Come Dancing! I’m SO HAPPY it’s back, and I really love so many of the contestants this year. I’m rooting for Chris (obviously), Saffron, Dev, Catherine and Kelvin. So basically half of the celebs, hahaha. I really hope they all do well, and I know we’re only one episode in but it seems like there’s so many good dancers in this year! I didn’t get to watch on Saturday night as Matt and I were out for dinner with his family (spoiler: a Weekend In My Life from this past weekend will be up on Sunday!) but I loved catching up on Sunday evening. Matt and I are going out for dinner with my family this Saturday for my dads birthday – we’re so excited! – but we’ll definitely catch up when we get home. My prediction right now is that Kelvin will win, but I’m still rooting for Chris the most! We’ve also been watching Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over (if you’re new here, hi. I’m obsessed with Stacey Dooley 🙂 also, welcome!) and it is SO interesting. The people she’s been meeting are all a little crazy in their own way and it’s just very good TV. I really recommend you catch up if you haven’t already watched! I also wish Stacey would come sleep at our house, I’d be in my literal element.

What I’m burning:
I’ve officially broken out all of my favourite Autumn candles! Matt and I LOVE the cosy pumpkin scents, the comforting apple baking scents and the fresh leaves-just-fallen-on-the-ground-after-a-heavy-rainfall scents. I know, I’m so good at describing scents, LOL. I really think Autumnal candles are the best to burn when we’re snuggled in for the evening watching Netflix and eating dinner. If someone asked you to describe exactly what Autumn smells like… this candle is it. 

What I’m baking:
Guys. I don’t know what is wrong with me but all I can think about is baking some delicious treats! This is SO not like me because, Snapple fact: baking is not my strong point. I cannot bake to save my life. Seriously, I can cook actually really well *toots own horn* but baking? It’s just so. dang. hard. for me. Matt’s at work on Saturday until mid-afternoon so I’m going to bake brownies and maybe cookies too before he arrives home, and I also ordered some pumpkin pie spice and cans of pumpkin to be able to make these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins next weekend! Seriously, how good do they look?! Mix And Match Mama recipes never fail me, Shay always makes the most delicous food so I know they’ll be incredible. I hope by the time Matt comes home from work he’ll be met with a delicious home baked treat! Or, I’ll nip to Tesco and buy something. 🙂 it’s the thought that counts, right?!

What I really want (but am not buying):
I can’t stop thinking about this kinda ugly but still cute sweater!! Something you may not know about me is that I LOVE the movie E.T. I used to be seriously obsessed with it when I was a kid and watched it all. the. time. My mum also loves the movie, and the E.T. ride at Universal is our favourite! I think this sweater would be perfect for when Matt and I have cosy-at-home days this Fall/Winter, and I’d probably size up to a Medium for a super cosy fit. I really do need more comfy clothes; pj’s, sweats and loungewear is an area I’m really lacking in my wardrobe, especially after my last wardrobe declutter. Maybe I’ll treat myself in a few weeks if it’s still on my radar!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, I truly appreciate you reading SO much. What’s been going on in your life the past few weeks? Have you read or wrote any fun blog posts I should read? Please comment below with the links! Also, don’t forget to leave me all the book recommendations 🙂

-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