What’s What!

Hello my loves!

Guess who’s back?! Back again, ‘gain, ‘gain…

It has been SO long since I sat down and wrote to you all and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you guys and my blog. It’s actually exactly one month today since I posted saying I’d be taking some time away which is unintentional, but it feels right to bring my blog back now. Things are going to look a little different around here, but I am officially back in the blogging world and I’m so excited. I hope you’re all well and have had a fabulous month since we last spoke! Grab a cup of tea and settle in, in true www.gillianfinn.com style, we’ve got a long old post… 🙂

We love an awkward car selfie 🙂

What things are going to be looking like on the blog:
I took a break from blogging for several reasons; 1) I just needed a little time to adapt to our ‘new normal’ as things were opening back up again, 2) I felt like I was taking so much time up with taking photos, planning content, writing etc that it was not  becoming enjoyable and 3) I really wanted to just relax a little more as I’d been feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I still don’t feel 100%, but I do feel much better than I did at the end of July. 

I really love my blog and I’m so freaking proud of it! I knew I was only going to take a short break, but having that time away has made me realise that I don’t want to stress myself out about getting 2 – 3 posts up per week. I work full time, I am trying to get back into a social life (thank you, ‘Rona) and I need to make sure I prioritise my self care time too. I’m going to be uploading once per week for now, although as and when I can I’m really hoping to upload ‘bonus’ posts!

What I’m loving:
As you may have noticed from the photo above, I got my hair dyed this month! My roots look a little darker in that photo than they are now as this was taken the day after I got it dyed, they’ve lightened up just a tad after I’ve washed it 🙂 I had a not-so-great salon experience in July and was desperate to get it fixed. Going to a new salon is always scary! I can’t believe how much better I feel since I got my hair done, I really feel like a new person and I’m just so happy with it. I’ve not been this blonde for years and I kinda feel like I’m wearing a wig – LOL! – but it’s just so fun to try something new. Also, I already have a few things, but if you have any must-have products you use to keep your blonde hair healthy and happy, please let me know!

What I’m buying:
Well… Matt and I accidentally fell into Homesense the other day and their Autumn candles are already out! I was very reserved and only picked up two, but really I could have bought twelve. How flipping cute is that lid?! I had a huge wardrobe clear out a couple weeks ago so I’m really excited to see the A/W clothing slowly filter through into stores websites. I don’t really buy many clothes and I try to #shopsecondhand as much as I can, but there’s a couple of gaps I need to fill in my wardrobe ahead of the colder weather coming. I really need some new basic sweaters that I can dress up or down, and I’d love to grab a couple pretty shirts/blouses to wear for evenings out. I’d also love one or two more midi dresses as I wear the few I have all the time and it would be nice to switch things up a little!

What I’m watching:
All the shows! Matt and I have finally gotten back into a routine of watching shows almost every evening and I’m so happy about it. It’s so nice to unwind and relax after work. I’m still working from home for the foreseeable future so making sure to disconnect from work whilst in the same space is something I think is really important. I binge watched season three of Selling Sunset – it fills a void since the Laguna Beach & The Hills days! – and I already can’t wait for season four. Chrishell is just my favourite, I love her! We’re watching The Office (duh) and Friends reruns, we flew through Down To Earth with Zac Efron and now we’re watching season three of World’s Toughest Prisons. We really enjoy this show and watched the first two seasons around a year ago – some of the things that happen in these places is literally mind-blowing! 

This photo was taken at Eden Locke Hotel in Edinburgh at the start of August. I wish I’d had lighter hair then!

What I’m reading:
I just started a new book this past weekend; Hello Again by Isabelle Broom. So far I’m really enjoying it, I’m 24% of the way through and I’m already obsessed with the characters and making assumptions on what will happen next. I haven’t been reading as much recently just because I haven’t been making the time for it but since lockdown began back in March I’ve read tons of books. My stand out favourite was by far The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Friends, this was my favorite book I’ve read ALL YEAR! I had no idea what to expect; almost every time I guessed what the next part of the story would be I was so wrong. I laughed, I cried, I just loved it. I highly recommend!

What I’m excited about:
For me, August bank holiday marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. I can’t really explain it but I feel like September 1st is a fresh start in the way most people see January 1st! I’m taking my mum out for a treat, Matt and I have dinner plans with our friends, the most exciting/scary/nerve-wracking appointment of our lives and we’re hiking Thrunton Woods too. I might just record a Weekend In My Life because it’s going to be FUN! I know technically we have warm (ish) weather in September and sometimes through to mid-October, but I cannot wait for all things cold weather. I am so excited for pumpkin spice drinks, layering clothes, wearings scarves, coats & boots, dark gel nails… the list goes on! 

What skincare product I’m obsessed with:
I am SO happy with my skincare routine I’ve used religiously for a few months, but wearing a mask just here and there throughout the week is making my cheeks/jaw break out. Maskne is real, people. I realise so many people have to wear masks for literally 12 hours per day (you’re all amazing and I truly don’t know how you do it!) but just literally a couple hours per week means I’ve had to really focus on products that prevent breakouts and acne. I’m super acne prone so this isn’t really shocking, honestly. The one treatment I’ve been using per week has helped so. freaking. much. I’m talking about The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution, this works so well! This past Sunday my mum, Matt and I all enjoyed a little facial (courtesy of me, obvs!) and they really love the effects too. I’m going to be talking about how/when I use this in next week’s post, but if you pick this up please read full instructions on how to use the product and introduce it slowly; this is a chemical peel and if you use it like many people show on TikTok you’re at risk of chemical burns!

What I’m planning:
It’s Matt and I’s third anniversary in September and we’re really hoping to squeeze in a weekend away to celebrate! We would love to go to a spa hotel with a good area to hike/explore around there, but we’re a little reluctant to book somewhere until a little closer to the time as local lockdowns can happen with no notice. We are also looking for the best deal possible, too! It seems our Covid cases are creeping back up again so I’m not sure we want to travel very far, if we’ll even be able to. We’re leaning towards The Lake District or Yorkshire, so if you have any hotel/cabin recommendations please let me know!

What I’m burning:
Before I take a deep dive into my Autumn candles, Matt and I have been burning Somewhere Far Away by Our Lovely Goods this past week. I think the packaging is just so minimalistic and beautiful, I love how it looks sitting on my vanity table whether it’s lit or not. The amber glass jars are just so pretty and unique! All their candles burn so evenly which is really important to me, it bugs me so much when candles tunnel down the middle and you’re left with tons of wasted wax at the end. I also have word from the lovely couple behind OLG that they are launching Autumn scents on September 1st, I cannot wait to pick ten one up! Supporting small businesses is so important – now more than ever. I wrote this post a couple of months ago sharing how you can help if you’re wanting to do more.

What else is new:
Honestly, not much! At the beginning of August Matt and I had a little staycation in Scotland, we stayed in South Queensferry for one night and then spent one night in Edinburgh; we had the most amazing time. We just love everything about Edinburgh, it’s my favourite city ever and I’m so grateful we live close enough that we can visit often. I think I mentioned this a little while ago but I’m having really random stomach issues (that may be gluten related – I really hope not) so fingers crossed I can get that figured out soon. Other than that, I am so happy we’re able to go out to eat again! We’ve got two double dates scheduled in for next week with some amazing friends and we’re going on a date night just the two of us – we never eat out three times in a week but we’re making the most of it while we can and I can’t wait. I’m also really excited that our beauty services are back up and running in the UK, I absolutely love having gel nails again. They make me feel so happy and it’s the best self care treat to myself every couple weeks. I can’t recommend my lovely friend Emma enough; if you’re in the southern Northumberland area go check her out!

Well…. I told you it was a long ‘un! How are you all?! I hope you’ve had a great Summer so far, even though this is hands down the weirdest year we’ve ever experienced. It really teaches you to make the most of the little things, right? See you next week my friends! 🙂 

-G x

What’s What! #1

Happy Wednesday my loves! I hope you’re all having a great week and staying warm because it’s SO freaking cold outside.

Today’s post might seem a little out of the blue, because it’s a new (kinda) series here on my blog. I posted Feelin’ It Friday posts every week for a long time and I LOVED writing them, but I just felt like they were a little too structured. I felt a lot of pressure to have new things to talk about every single week and sometimes I wouldn’t be happy with what I’d written but felt like I had to post them because it was Friday. I always got messages from people saying they loved those posts and they tried X, Y or Z because of them, but I never wanted them to become too repetitive or boring and so I stopped writing them. This kind of post is pretty much the same format, the only thing that’s changing is my What’s What posts will be posted completely randomly (either on a Wednesday or Sunday because they’re my uploading days). I hope you enjoy the new format and I’m so excited to get into it!

What I’m obsessing over:
Matt and I have had a mini makeover with our bedding and I’m SO happy with how it turned out. I just wanted to insert a little colour as honestly our bedroom was looking super dark and kinda boring, so I wanted to add in a little pink (of course). I got our beautiful throw from Homesense – sorry I can’t find it online at TK Maxx but they had so many pretty ones in store! – and the quirky face pillow at Matalan. The colours in the throw just make me SO happy, and make me want Spring/Summer to be here immediately. I also added another pink cushion since this photo was taken on Sunday but we haven’t had hardly any day light to take photos. I just want one more big cream cushion to complete it! I also really love our fuzzy cream blanket (underneath the throw) that we got around two years at Costco. We have a few of these in different colours and we snuggle up in them every single night to watch TV, and in the Summer we use them as our duvet when it’s really hot out!

What I’m buying:
So in light of last week’s life update, I have just started purchasing new clothes for my new job! Guys I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED to wear cute clothes to work! I can’t wait to dress up a little and feel good about what I’m wearing. I truly believe when you look good you feel good! I’ve only purchased a few pairs of trousers and a couple of tops/blouses so far, but I have a list written out of all the things I’d like to pick up before I start the job, then I’ll add to my work wardrobe each month. I really need some cute ballet flats and maybe I’ll also get a pair of nude loafers that will go with everything! Where do you buy cute work clothes? An old coworker told me to she buys lots of her work clothing from Tesco so I looked the other day whilst grocery shopping… their stuff is so cute! I picked up a pair of grey checked slim fit trousers that I’m so excited to wear. I also really need to get a new work bag and I’m torn between a few from Katie Loxton. I’m stuck between this tote bag, this super cute bucket bag or this slouch bag. Is it wrong to buy them all…? I’m leaning towards the tote bag for work (although I think realistically black is a more practical colour) and the pink bucket bag for… a treat? Just because? Help a gal out!

What I’m burning:
So I have a new love for wax melts! My co-worker has told me how good they are for such a long time but I’ve always been a candle girl and hadn’t really bought into the hype of them. I was grocery shopping after work last week and picked up this cut out heart shaped wax burner, a bunch of tea lights and some Spring/Summer scents from the Scentsationals brand. I started burning Cotton Candy Cloud immediately and wow oh wow, the scent payoff is incredible! It fills our whole bedroom in minutes, and unlike a candle I feel like it keeps it’s same strength the whole time. Now, don’t get me wrong I still love my candles and I’m always going to burn them, but wax melts are such a fun change for me! I can’t wait to try more scents/brands. Do you have any specific ones you’d recommend?!

What I’m reading:
SO MANY BOOKS. I recently read and loved So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter, The Flat Share by Beth Leary, The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy,
Right now I’m reading One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom and guys I’m so invested in the story. I love love love the main character and the sentiment behind the storyline is so sweet, I can’t wait to see what happens and I’m prepared to cry all the ugly tears! Next on my reading list is Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid; I’ve only heard/seen good things so I have super high hopes. I’m so excited to share my Spring Reading List with you all soon because my list of recommendations is HUGE! I got a message from my sweet blogging friend Chloe this week saying I’d inspired her to buy a Kindle and I genuinely felt like a proud mum. Hahahaha. Feeling like you want to be enabled to buy one too? Read my review rave here.

What I’m wearing:
I cannot stop wearing oversized sweatshirts. I’ve purchased tons of vintage sweaters in the past few months and I’m so happy with my little collection. I normally go for vintage Disney or US colleges / national parks / sports teams etc. That’s kind of my new vibe and I love it! I got this Walt Disney World sweatshirt I’m wearing in the photo above from eBay; it’s a men’s size medium so it’s pretty dang big on me but I LOVE that look. I wear it with mom jeans all the time! It was brand new with the tags still attached and I got it for so cheap, I really love buying second hand. I’m putting together a whole blog post about my tips for shopping second hand which will be up in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to share it with you! Also… the vintage Disney sweaters are so cute, I want them all!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I are watching season two of Narcos: Mexico and so far (three episodes in) it’s absolutely as good as the first season! We always get so addicted to the shows and binge watch them too fast though which kinda makes me sad. We’re still watching The Office, we laugh our heads off at every episode and it’s just the perfect feel good show after a long day! And guys… can we talk about the Friends reunion?!? I could pee my pants I’m so excited!!! What do we think will be the plot line? Do we think it’ll be just as funny? I’m pretty sure Ross and Rachel would have gotten married and had more children, and I just can’t wait to find out. Also, I really want to watch Dumplin’ this weekend, have you seen it? Would you recommend for a chilled evening in?! Matt’s heading up to Edinburgh to visit one of his best friends who recently moved there so I’m flying solo on Saturday night! I also have A Cinderella Story on my to watch list because I just found out it’s on Netflix and it’s one of my favourite movies! Is it so sad I’m already excited to pick him up from the train station on Sunday afternoon? He hasn’t even gone yet hahaha.

What beauty product I’m recommending:
An oldie but a goodie, I just can’t tell you how much I love this product. Do I actually think it helps me get a better nights sleep? No. Because my sleeping pattern is terrible and I spend at least two hours in the middle of every night staring at the ceiling whilst Matt snoozes happily cuddled into me. I swear I have insomnia on some level! BUT, I do bloody love this product. My favourite ever evening moisturiser that I only use once or twice a week is Sleepy from Lush; it’s a vanilla/lavender scent but it’s not at all overpowering, and it’s so dang moisturising! I really would love to use it every evening but it’s a lil’ spenny y’know?! The scent does make me feel really calm and relaxed and it’s just really comforting to me, I don’t think anyone would regret buying this for a little luxury in their evening routine!

What I’m looking forward to:
I just am so excited for Spring! Spring means lighter days, warmer weather and new beginnings… like my new job! I really am so terrified/nervous but I’m pushing past it to focus on all the exciting things that come with a big change like this. I really am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and I just want to do #allthethings that make me happy. I’m genuinely so excited for warm weather, I cannot wait until I can leave the house without my huge parka coat! I’m really an Autumn kinda gal but this year something in me is so excited about all things Spring and Summer.

Thank you so much for reading friends! What has been going on in your life? What are you loving right now? Also, please help me with the bag options… which would you pick?!

-G x

Christmas Movie Night: Hot Chocolate & The Best Treats

Hi, loves! Christmas movies are my very favourite type of movie to watch, and honestly the cheesier the better! They just bring me so much joy, and I really want Matt and I to watch as many as we can possibly squeeze in over the rest of the holiday season. If you’re anything like us you’ll agree a movie night (Christmassy or otherwise) is not complete without delicious treats, and I thought it would be a fun idea to share our favourites with you all! If you’re as obsessed with chocolate as much as we are I then I’m sorry you’re going to want to eat all of this, and also… you’re welcome! Tis the season, after all 😊

Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying to eat all of these things together, nor do I recommend it. This is just a selection of Matt and I’s most favourite treats and there’s a very chocolatey theme. Which is the best kind of theme, right? They are treats for a reason… to be enjoyed in moderation. 

I wanted to share with you our two favourite snacks we make at this time of year; they’re super quick and easy and would also make for perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbours or co-workers! If you want to spread a little holiday cheer this season, homemade treats tied with a cute ribbon are a great way to go. 

Peppermint Bark

I shared this recipe on my blog last year, but I’m giving you the run down again in 2019! This bark easily refrigerates for a few days so you can make a huge batch in one go and store in Tupperware. Although in our house, this is eaten in literally minutes.

Shopping List:
Milk chocolate (Galaxy is the best to melt)
White chocolate (we like Milkybar!)
Coconut oil
Peppermint oil
Candy canes

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Place candy canes (we use around five per baking tray size slab of bark) into a zip loc bag, seal and break up lightly with a rolling pin. Make sure to break the bigger chunks down as much as possible so it is easier to eat!
  3. Melt milk chocolate in microwave or over boiling water on the hob – we just melt in the microwave as it’s so quick. I find microwaving on full power for 40 seconds, stirring then repeating until the chocolate is fully melted is the best way to do this.
  4. Add four to five drops of peppermint oil into melted chocolate, stir well and spread over the lined baking tray. It’s personal preference if you’d rather have this layer thick or thin, it just depends how much bark you want to make. 
  5. Melt white chocolate in the same way as before, then spread thickly over the top of the melted milk chocolate. Sometimes we drizzle it over to create a pattern, or we just smooth over to make a second layer. Again, this is just personal preference. 
  6. Scatter crushed pieces of candy cane over the top whilst the white chocolate is still melted and warm. 
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 
  8. Break up into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re based in the UK and don’t fancy making peppermint bark this year, you can finally buy it from Costco! Ghiradelli isn’t usually sold in Costco but for some reason this year they are stocking PLENTY and I am here for it. Ghiradelli is my favourite brand of chocolate and usually something I stock up on when I’m in the US (and beg my friends/family to do so, too!) so I was beyond excited to find it in store. *jumps in the car to buy all the bags*

*Image from Pinterest. I haven’t had time to make any to take photos, but I’ll definitely be making some this week which I’ll share in my Feelin’ It Friday post!

Pretzel Bites 

These take less than 20 minutes to make – including ‘cooking’ time – and they are truly little bites of heaven. I got this idea from a Bethany Mota YouTube video about six years ago and have made them ever since, they’re a Finn family favourite! I also think these bites would be so easy to make and have little children ‘help’ you. Matt and I LOVE sweet and salty flavours mixed together, and this treat combines both!

Shopping List:
Small salted pretzels
Chocolate of your choice – either a square if you’re using a bar, or buttons work really well
M&M’s

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place pretzels in rows on the tray. 
  3. Place one piece of chocolate/chocolate button in the centre of each pretzel, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fully melted. The chocolate will mould over the pretzel shape and will be gooey to touch. 
  4. Place an M&M in the centre of the chocolate and push down lightly. 
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate

…it wouldn’t be a Christmas movie night without a delicious hot chocolate, right? Hot chocolate is my go-to treat during the colder months (well honestly, all the months!) and I love experimenting with different flavours. My favourite ever hot chocolate is Swiss Miss (either original or with marshmallows – this pack has both!) and Matt loves Cadbury’s, but I really love to try new brands, and thankfully Matt is happy to drink whatever I buy/make! I found some Starbucks brand and Silly Cow Farms options in Homesense and they are both SO good, although definitely more of a treat as they’re not readily available here in the UK and are way more expensive.

Hot chocolate spoons are such a fun way to make hot chocolate, and they’re so aesthetically pleasing if you’re involving your friends and family too! Matt and I picked these up from Whittard’s to add as stocking fillers in a few gifts this year, and also got some for ourselves. The taste is so luxurious and rich, they’re just a very indulgent treat! Matt LOVES Bailey’s and adding a splash of Bailey’s to his hot chocolate in the evening is one of his very favourite things.

I don’t like coffee and tea isn’t really something you can ‘add’ to, so I really appreciate there are so many different flavours to change up your hot chocolates with. We always make our hot chocolates with either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk – honestly just whichever we have open, I tend to alternate each time I do our grocery shopping – and it makes the drink so creamy! Hot chocolate made with water just isn’t the same to me. Matt loves whipped cream and marshmallows, whereas I’m happy with a candy cane and maybe just a few marshmallows! (I definitely went WAY overboard on the marshmallows for the photo… #doitfortheblog LOL) I also really love adding candy canes to our hot chocolate because they give the best peppermint taste.

If you’re having friends or family round this holiday season setting up a DIY hot chocolate station is such a sweet idea. You could even make hot chocolate in the CrockPot, and then leave a range of items out so people can customise exactly how they want theirs to be. I’d definitely leave out candy canes, various sized/flavoured marshmallows, whipped cream, honeycomb, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter and of course festive mugs! I think this is an especially fun idea for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

So, now we have ALL of the treats prepared there’s just one more thing to decide… which movie should we choose?! I’ve listed below some of our favourites, and most of them are movies we go back to every. single. year. 

Elf
Miracle On 34th Street
Home Alone 1 & 2
The Santa Clause
Santa Claus 1 & 2
The Grinch
Christmas With The Kranks
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love Actually
Last Christmas – go see this for your Christmas date night, it’s SO good!
Deck The Halls
*ALL of the cheesy Hallmark movies*

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little chocolatey Christmassy inspiration for your next movie night! Let me know if you make any of the Christmas treats in this post, and if you do I hope you love them! Do you love all things chocolate as much as we do? What’s your favourite chocolatey treat? Also, please leave any movie recommendations below! 🙂

-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