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

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy Friday my loves! Surprise… you weren’t expecting this were you?! I’m changing things up a little on the blog, and at least twice per month (maybe more often, I might even do this every week!) you’ll be getting a #feelinitfriday from me. These posts are essentially going to be a recap of my week; what I’ve been doing, what I’m loving and everything in between. I’m so excited to inject a little something new into my blog, and this means some weeks you’ll be getting three posts from me! My regular upload schedule is remaining the same at 6pm on Wednesdays and 12pm on Sundays. Also, can you believe my blog turns one on Monday, June 10th?! Me either! It literally seems five minutes ago since I hit publish on my first post. Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog, it means the world to me!

I was super inspired to write this style of post by Savannah over at Savannah Said It. She writes What Up Wednesday’s most weeks, originally inspired by Shay at Mix and Match Mama who writes What’s Up Wednesday posts every month, I love the personal feel to those posts! (They’re also two of my favourite bloggers, if you’re looking for some reading recommendations!) I really miss writing about all the things going on in my life as that’s something that doesn’t seem to feature too often on my blog now. As I mentioned in this post, I used to write at least one paragraph at the beginning of every post talking about Matt and I’s week/weekend, but I found it was taking away from whatever the topic was, so I stopped. However, any of my personal posts (weekends in my life, trips etc) get SO many views, and they’re the posts that are re-read a ton.

I’m a little bit sad to say this will also mean I’ll no longer be posting monthly favourites posts, which I just started writing in January this year. I did love writing them, but honestly I’d sometimes struggle to find things to talk about and I felt like I was repeating myself a lot. Most people talk about new launches in those posts, and I don’t try enough new products regularly enough to be able to do that. As many of you already know, Matt and I are saving for our house and buying things I don’t need (or, you know, really really want) is just not a priority anymore. I talk about beauty products I love all of the time in my ‘main’ posts anyway, and if I try something new that is really awesome you’ll see it in a #feelinitfriday. SO, let’s get on with it!

Fair warning: this is probably not the best week to begin a fun new series because I have been MISERABLE. Haha, Matt is out of town on an amazing trip with the boys. I’m so happy he’s having the best time, but I literally can’t tell you how much I’m missing him. I promise every post won’t be this boring (read: whingey). LOL!

What I’m loving:
SO many products from The Body Shop! As I said above, I don’t really buy new products unless it’s something I need (or want real bad) and as a result I’ve started to really appreciate the products I already own and use so often. I’ve loved The Body Shop since I was really young, and I think it’s just so underrated. I posted a round up of my most favourite products this past Wednesday, which you can read here if you missed it! If you’re looking to purchase something new I’d recommend everything in that post, but if you buy just one thing please make it the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, you won’t regret it!

What I’m thinking about:
Sunday. Sunday. Sunday. I can barely wait to pick my love up from the airport on Sunday morning!!! It’s what has been getting me through this crazy long week, kissing him goodbye last Sunday morning when he left for the airport literally feels a lifetime ago. I’m so grateful we’re able to keep in touch all day (technology is great, isn’t it?!) but I just want to kiss him and squeeze him SO BAD! I’m also thinking about the blueberry muffins downstairs in the kitchen and willing myself not to grab one before work…

What I’m excited for:
Sunday! LOL, I’m aware I sound like a broken record. I’m also very excited for a good night’s sleep, I’ve slept so bad all week! I really hate sleeping without Matt and I’m very thankful it’s so rare we’re apart at night (literally only if he’s on a trip or away with work). I know he’s super tired too and I have a feeling we’ll be passed out way too early on Sunday! No complaints about that though 🙂 we’re #oldies at heart.

I promise there’s granola under all that yogurt, lol! #terryLOVESyogurt (if you know, you know)

What I’m eating:
I’ve not really been cooking this week as it’s just been me. I have however ate a ton of Quorn nuggs, spinach bites and rice! I’ve really been enjoying granola, Onken vanilla yogurt and berries most mornings, and I’m trying to eat better before we go on holiday so I’ve not really snacked much. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things next week. I also found some new recipes I know Matt and I will love, and I can’t wait to make them with him!

What I’m watching:
Lots and lots and lots of my YouTube subscriptions. Some weeks are so busy I can barely keep up with my favourite YouTubers (The Anna Edit, Rebecca Lamb, Allie Glines and Ellie & Jared, if you’re wondering) but with all of the extra time I’ve had this week I’ve watched way more videos! I also caught up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, watched lots of reruns of Friends and I’m binge watching a show called Instant Hotel on Netflix, it’s kinda bitchy and really funny! I can’t wait to watch lots of Brooklyn 99 when Matt comes home, we’re mid-way through season three and it’s getting JUICY! (I love Amy and Jake being together so much!)

What I’m listening to:
Rosie & Chris’ podcast, Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed. Is anyone surprised?! I love this podcast, it’s the funniest one I’ve ever listened to and 100% my favourite! There’s a new one out today which I’m going to listen on my way to/from work, I genuinely get so excited for Friday’s to hear the new episode! I cry laugh on my drive to work every Friday morning *not necessarily recommended* – those two are so hilarious and relatable! Also, if you don’t follow Rosie on Instagram, you really should. Her stories make my day and I’m always making Matt watch them too!

What I’m buying:
ALL of the last minute holiday bits! Over the next few weeks I need to pick up new bikinis, a few more clothing pieces to wear in the evenings, a pair of pretty sandals and a cute beach cover up. I still need to grab all of our sun lotions, a few makeup items and our toiletries! Matt just got me these adorable headbands last week from Primark, how flipping cute are they?! I kinda feel like a five year old but I’m super excited to wear them all Summer, I think they’ll be especially cute around the pool!

What I’m wearing:
Honestly this past week, I’ve not really worn anything except my work uniform and loungewear. It’s been pretty dark and and a little bit rainy this past week (definitely matched my mood, haha) and I’ve been loving curling up in oversized sweaters and sweatpants. Not the cutest look, but who doesn’t love comfy clothes?!

What I’m reading:
As well as watching a ton of TV/Youtube, I’ve also read lots! I love reading and always try to make it a priority, usually when I have a little extra time to soak in the tub in the evenings. I finished Paige Toon’s latest book, If You Could Go Anywhere on Tuesday night, which I really enjoyed and was kinda shocked by how the story turned out. I’d definitely recommend picking it up! I’ve just started another book which I really like so far, it’s laugh-out-loud funny and I’m already hooked. I’ll share my thoughts on it with you in the next #feelinitfriday!

I love this photo because it’s genuinely candid! My brother took it a few weeks ago whilst we were all in Manchester. I love how happy Matt looks 🙂 he’s so handsome and I just feel so. dang. lucky.

What I’ve been up to:
Work has been busy this week, which has been a pretty good distraction. The days have felt so long and it’s been so weird not being with Matt, I really feel like my right arm has been cut off! I’ve spent so much time working on my blog, and I’m really happy with my content for the next few weeks. I’ve cleared out lots of my clothes and started to set things aside ready for our holiday (anyone else make piles of things you’ll need to pack way before you need to, but end up causing yourself more hassle in the long run? Me too.) I’ve done a little yoga everyday too, and I’m hoping by some miracle it will make me feel good in a bikini in a few weeks! Probably not.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Erm… I may have mentioned Matt COMES HOME?! I’m giddy at the thought, and thankfully I don’t feel near as upset anymore because I’m so excited. Tomorrow I’m heading to the Metro Centre to (hopefully) finish my holiday shopping and have breakfast with my sweetest friend, Jessy. Afterwards, I’m going to run all of my errands so everything is ready for Matt coming home, and I want to finish up on Sunday’s post. Sunday morning I’ll be up bright and early because I’m heading to the airport to pick Matt up first thing *insert all of the heart eyes emojis right here*. We’re planning on spending our day snuggling, watching the football and eating Chinese food. Heaven.

What else is new:
One last thing I really wanted to mention, have you guys heard of Amazon Smile?! NOT an advertisement (as if Amazon need little old me to advertise, lol) but it’s an amazing addition to the Amazon website we all know and love. I’m not sure if it’s only available for Prime members, but if you shop through http://www.smile.amazon.co.uk a percentage of every item you buy will be donated to a charity of your choice. It’s super small at 0.5% of the cost, but when you consider how many people purchase items on Amazon every day, I imagine that adds up like crazy! I chose Make A Wish UK, and you’re able to change your charity of choice whenever you like. I’m not sure when this was released as I only found out at the end of May, but I just wanted you all to know anything I link via Amazon will be linked through Amazon Smile! Also, it doesn’t affect any prices, so you don’t need to worry about that.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the beginning of my new blogging series, I’m so excited to inject a little spontaneity into my blog. I promise they won’t all be this long, or this whingey! It is a little scary to me to do something without a specific, set plan, but I’m trying so hard to not let it get to me and #gowiththeflow. LOL I’m so not a go with the flow person. AT ALL. Anyway, what have you been up to this week? What have you been loving?! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I know we will! I’ll see you on Sunday with a new post!

-G x