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

My August Goals

Hi, loves! Happy (early) August! Can you believe how quick this year is going?! It’s almost Christmas! *rushes to make candy cane hot chocolates and turn Elf on, despite faint protests from Matt* As any regular readers will know, I really love setting goals and having something to work towards, and I also quite enjoy sharing my goals on the blog from time to time. It holds me accountable in a different way, as normally I’d write my goals in the Notes app on my phone and if I didn’t achieve something I wouldn’t be too disappointed, so this puts a little fire in my belly! I try to only set five goals at a time, as I feel like it can be really overwhelming if you set more, as in my experience they then become daunting and unachievable.

Clear out Matt and I’s wardrobes (and all of my beauty drawers)
We are HOARDERS, guys. And it’s kind of a problem. We don’t buy new clothes too often, but we did buy some new bits at the start of the Summer for our holiday to Croatia and we didn’t really clear anything out at the time we made new purchases. My dream closet would be one that looks just like Shay’s (hers is amazing!) but right now I’m super grateful for what I have and I want to make it work better for me. I’ve already started my clear out and to be fair I’m almost done, I’ve just got a few organisational bits left to do to make things look a little more pretty. I know there’s several pieces on my ‘to buy’ list for the upcoming Autumn months (I’m VERY excited for A/W fashion, it’s my favourite!) and Matt will be picking up some new pieces for the colder months too! I’m not looking forward to doing my beauty drawers, they are a MESS. If anyone has any great drawer organiser recommendations please let me know! It always feels very refreshing to have a good clear out, and I’m sure we’ll feel so much better when it’s all complete. I’ve already got tons of stuff to sell on Depop which I’ve never done before, so I need to make sure I take all of those photos and send parcels out quickly too!

Treat myself to self care time
I’m making August an unofficial Self Care Month for me, because I think I just need to be a little kinder to myself. Matt and I have had a busy few months and I’m excited to unwind, enjoy the last of Summer and prepare for all of the upcoming fun that we’re going to have in Autumn! I want to make the most of the warm weather, explore new places and rest instead of being 100 miles per hour all of the time. Matt and I have planned a few fun date days and we’re hoping to check off the rest of our Summer bucket list, I really hope we do! It’s going to be a month of unwinding, running, pampering myself, practicing yoga regularly, reading more often etc and I really can’t wait for it. Matt and I are also heading down South for a few nights to visit his family at the end of the month and we’re so excited! We’re hoping to spend our days there spending time with family, relaxing, eating good food and exploring, that’s the PERFECT way to unwind, right? We also get to go on a big old road trip to get there (and back) and you all know road trips are my jam. I can’t freaking wait!

Cut our grocery spending
This is always a goal, but this month I really want to see how much we can cut back. We always buy fresh fruit and vegetables so that will never be cut out, but I think we’re going to experiment a little more with vegetarian meals (which will be much cheaper because meat and Galaxy chocolate is the largest expense of our food shops!) I’m pretty concious about our meat consumption so we try to eat veggie when we can anyway, but this month it’s going to be more intentional. We also want to make lots of Summer recipes before we move back into the colder months, I’m thinking lots of pasta salads, fish dishes and all the tacos!

Be more present
I feel like this is something I’m always working on in one way or another, and I have to keep myself in check and remind myself to live in the moment a lot. I am so excitable about upcoming plans I kinda wish away the days which is something I don’t realise I’m even doing and then I look back and feel like I missed out on things by not being as present as I could be. I’m trying to be happy with what I have and we’re Matt and I are at right now, because I am SO fortunate and grateful for everything and everyone in my life. Also, we all know quality time with Matt is my favourite thing, and this month is packed full of it so I don’t want to miss a second!

Grow my blog
I know this sounds super vague but I just really want to make my blog the best it can possibly be. I talked about this a lot in this post, but my blog grows slowly and steadily rather than super quickly – which is fine, I’m so grateful it grows at all! – I’d just really like to continue putting so much effort in and see how it can grow further. I’ve really stepped up my game with creating new content and I actively like and comment more on blogs that I love, and I’m very grateful for others who always comment on my posts.

Thank you so much for reading! Do you set goals each week or month? Is there something you’re hoping to achieve this month? I love seeing what goals others are working towards, so if you’ve written any similar posts please leave your links below!

-G x