My Post-Lockdown Travel Wishlist!

Hello! We’re now well into week three of lockdown and with no end-date in sight, this is how life is going to be for the foreseeable future. I have been dreaming about what to do when this is over and we can start travelling again, as I’m sure many others have been too!

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Road Trip Around Scotland

One thing I would love to do this Summer is have a road trip around Scotland. I’ve lived in Scotland my whole life, but there are so many places and things I’ve not seen. I’d really like to spend some time around the West Coast, which has some of the most beautiful places in the country. Number one on the list is the Isle of Skye to see the fairy pools!

How beautiful does this look!

Lithuania

My boyfriend is from Lithuania, and we had been planning a small trip in May which has had to be postponed, but I’d still really like to make it there at some point this year. I don’t know too much about the place and honestly, it’s not somewhere that was ever on my bucket list to visit, but I’m excited to find out more, and I’ll have an excellent tour guide in the shape of my boyf!

Greece

As well as Lithuania, we were thinking of a trip somewhere a bit sunnier! Neither of us have ever been to Greece, and it’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for a while (mostly to live out my fantasy of living like Donna from Mamma Mia for a week). At the moment nothing sounds better to me than lying on a beach on a Greek island, soaking up the sun and sipping on cocktails…

Want to be here so bad!

Who else can’t wait for this to all be over so travel plans can start again? And where are you planning to go when lockdown is finally over? Let me know in the comments!

Books to read when you’re bored

Hello! I hope everyone is having a good weekend and you’ve all been eating lots of chocolate this Easter Sunday!

If you’re like me, you’ve maybe been finding a bit more time for reading recently, or want to start. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next read (including some of those books you’ve told people you’ve read but you totally haven’t) here are some of my suggestions!

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Series

  1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. A Song of Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones), George R.R. Martin
  3. His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass), Philip Pullman
  4. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
  5. Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

Young Adult

  1. The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
  2. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  3. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time , Mark Haddon
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Thriller

  1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  2. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
  3. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
  4. The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
  5. Rebecca , Daphne du Maurier
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Long Reads

  1. A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
  2. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
  3. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  4. Middlemarch, George Eliot
  5. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Classics

  1. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
  2. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  4. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  5. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

Those Books you should probably have read by now… (and if you have, read them again!)

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  2. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  3. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  5. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

I hope you give some of these a go! What are some of your favourite book suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Feel-Good Films to watch on Netflix Right Now

Happy Wednesday! As we’re still in the middle of lockdown and unable to do much, a lot of people maybe aren’t feeling their best at the moment. Sometimes all we want to do is cosy up on the couch and have a good Netflix marathon. So here are some of my favourite feel-good movies available on Netflix UK right now, for those days when you want nothing more than some mindless entertainment!

Spy

Photo by 20th Century Fox – © 20th Century Fox

Who doesn’t love Melissa McCarthy?! She is brilliant in this comedy as a CIA analyst who is thrust into a field role when her partner is killed. Expect the usual laughs that come with pretty much anything Melissa is featured in. (Also includes Jude Law and Jason Statham for some eye candy).

Classic quote: “I look like someone’s homophobic aunt!”

When Harry Met Sally

An oldie but a goodie! The ultimate rom-com starring Billy Crystal and rom-com queen Meg Ryan about two friends and their will-they, won’t-they romance, this movie is full of laughs and made men everywhere question their skills in the bedroom with that famous diner scene.

© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Classic quote: “I’ll have what she’s having!”

Legally Blonde

This is one of my absolute favourites to watch when I’m feeling down and need a bit of cheering up. Reece Witherspoon as Elle Woods is an ultimate girl-power icon and proves that you should never judge a book by its cover.

© 2001 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Classic quote: “You got into Harvard Law?” “What, like its hard?”

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I’m a big fan of the original 90s Jumanji with Robin Williams, so I have to admit I was a bit sceptical about this reboot. But I was pleasantly surprised and this is actually a really funny movie! And anything with The Rock in it is worth watching tbh.

© 2016 CTMG.

Classic quote: “I’m an overweight, middle-aged man!”

Shrek

When in doubt, go for Shrek. Great for the kids but also with enough over-their-head jokes to keep adults entertained too, I have to say that Shrek is one of my all-time favourite feel-good films. I honestly couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen it and it still makes me laugh from start to finish every time.

Classic quote: There are so many, but I have to go for “Do you think he’s compensating for something?”

© 2011 – Dreamworks/Paramount Pictures

What are your favourite feel-good films? Is there anything you’ve watched on Netflix recently you would recommend? I’d love to know, please leave some comments!

April Goals

Hello! It’s been a while since my last post (over a year, oops), but not that I’ve got a bit more time on my hands I thought I would try to get back into posting more regularly.

So, it’s the beginning of a new month and usually the time when a lot of people think about what they would like to achieve over the coming weeks and set some goals for themselves.

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Originally this post was going to be about my goals for the month. But as we all know, April isn’t going to be a normal month as most of us are under full lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and are only able to leave the house for essentials. I, like many others, have been furloughed, which means I am unable to work from home and so will not be working for the foreseeable future.

A few days ago I sat down to think about what I want to achieve this month. I wrote a list of all the things I thought I could do now that I have a lot more time on my hands. I was feeling optimistic and looking forward to a month of self-improvement, just like I’ve seen so many others document on social media.

The next day I woke up and felt like total crap. All I wanted to do that day, and for the following few days too, was lie in bed. I was in a real slump. One of the things that was getting me down even more was thinking about all the goals I had set for myself, and only a couple of days into the month I was already failing.

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So I’ve decided not to make this post about setting goals this month. Sure, it’s good to have some ideas of things you might want to do during this time, but at the end of the day we are living in a totally unprecedented situation. Many of us are stuck at home without any work to do. Some are classed as high risk and have been advised not to leave their home for 12 weeks. Some people are completely alone. Some days will be harder than others. There will be times we feel productive, and will get up, do some yoga, bake cookies and clean the whole house. But there will be other days when we want to do nothing but watch Netflix. And there will be some days when we won’t want to get out of bed at all. And that’s okay. We all need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

Instead of worrying about the things I feel like I ‘should’ be doing during this time, I’m going to try to take it one day at a time, and not get stressed about achievements and goals.

I saw this post from Matt Haig on Instagram the other day, which perfectly sums it up.

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Being is doing.

A post shared by Matt Haig (@mattzhaig) on

So let’s all try to be a bit kinder to ourselves!

Wardrobe Declutter

Hello! It’s definitely a thing that January feels like the longest month of the year, right? We’re only two weeks in to 2019 but it feels like two months!

Last week I decided to give my wardrobe a serious and well overdue clear out. I really should get in to the habit of doing this more often, instead of waiting until it literally looks like the trash planet from Thor: Ragnarok.

This photo doesn’t really make it look that bad, but, trust me, it was!

Who else finds clearing out clothes really difficult?! I start out with good intentions, but find myself getting a bit overwhelmed and just convince myself that I still need everything and get rid of nothing.

So I started by taking absolutely everything out of my wardrobe and just chucked it all in a big ol’ pile. I went through every single item and split them into four piles – definitely keep; maybe keep; donate; chuck.

Usually I’m too easy on myself and only get rid of one or two items, but I was quite brutal this time. Anything that I hadn’t worn in the last year was straight into the charity bag pile – I’m ashamed to admit that quite a few of these things still had labels on them! (Side note: this year I’m definitely going be more mindful when buying clothes, and if it’s something I’m realistically not going to wear, I’m not going to buy it).

Anything that didn’t fit me properly also went in the throwing out or charity pile, and anything that I have used but just didn’t particularly like anymore went into the maybe pile to come back to the next day.

…this year I’m definitely going to be more mindful when buying clothes…

Finally, the things that I wear on a regular basis, or know I will when the weather gets a bit better, went into the keep pile, and straight back into my wardrobe.

I was really surprised at how much stuff I managed to get rid of. I’m glad that most of it I was able to donate to charity. I know that a lot of people like to sell their old clothes, and it’s definitely a good option if you want to make some extra cash, but personally I prefer to donate things (P.S. if you earn enough money to pay income tax, remember you can sign up for gift aid so the charity can claim tax back!). I also took some old and worn out pairs of shoes down to the shoe recycling bank near my house, instead of just chucking them in the bin.

And et voila! My wardrobe is looking soooo much better, and way more organised! It feels good not having to rake about for things, and being able to open the doors and find exactly what I’m looking for right away.

If nothing else, my shoes look a lot happier!

How do you like to declutter your wardrobe? Is it something you keep on top of, or are you like me and always wait till it reaches breaking point! Let me know your tips and tricks for wardrobe organisation!

Self Care Season

Hello!

Can you believe we are over a week into 2019 already!? I’ve had quite a slow start to the year as I’ve been off work since the 2nd January, but unfortunately I’m back to work today!

Today I’m going to share with you some of my self care tips. January is one of the most important times to cut yourself some slack and take time out to look after yourself. It can be easy to get burned out during this month. Between being drained (mentally and financially) from the festive period and getting back into the swing of things at work, January can be a bit of a struggle. So here are five of my ways to make yourself feel better!

Bath Time!

One of my favourite ways to chill out is by having a nice long bath. If, like me, you’ve been inundated with bath products this Christmas, not only is this a good way to start using them up, but it’s also super relaxing. Go all out, light some candles, play some music or put on your favourite podcast. If you don’t have a bath, even just taking the time to have a nice long shower can be really relaxing, especially since you’re not rushing around trying to make sure you leave the house on time!

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At home pamper sesh

Think face masks, doing your nails, slathering yourself in moisturiser. I love nothing more than taking a night in to do all of the above. Nothing better.

Read a good book

For me, there is nothing better than curling up with one of my favourite books. And as much as I love discovering new books and authors, there’s something so nice about re-reading an old faithful! Personally, I love re-reading the Harry Potter books at this time of year. Add a mug of tea or hot chocolate for maximum cosiness.

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Eat some food you love

Whether you enjoy cooking a proper healthy meal from scratch or prefer Dominos bringing a large pepperoni plus dough balls straight to your door (drools), having your favourite food is a great way to feel better if you’ve been a bit down. So go on, have that bit of leftover Christmas chocolate you’ve been trying to ignore!

Yoga

So me and exercise don’t exactly go hand-in-hand (last time I went to the gym I spent approximately 5 minutes doing actual exercise and 45 minutes watching the university rowing team who arrived just after I did). BUT, I have recently started doing some at-home yoga practice and I’m loving it! If you’ve never tried yoga before, I would really recommend heading over to Youtube and searching for Yoga with Adriene. This woman is a godsend! She has a range of practices for different levels of experience, and her videos can last from 10 minutes to over an hour, so you can always find something suitable. I sometimes find following youtube videos really difficult but Adriene makes it easy, especially if you’re new to yoga.

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So, just because it’s back to reality this month, don’t forget to take some time to chill out and look after yourself!

What are your self care tips?

To resolution, or not to resolution?

Happy New Year!

A friend once wished me a happy new year and said that she hoped the year brought me everything I wished for, which is a really lovely thought and is something that has stuck with me.  So, to everyone who reads this, I hope 2019 brings you everything you wish for!

selective focus photography of spark
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This time of year brings with it the usual onslaught of ‘New Year’s Resolution’ posts all over social media.  These usually revolve around making big changes in your life, such as dieting, getting a new job, etc.  This is fine if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do for a while anyway, but is it really worth making a resolution just because you feel you should?

In the past, I’ve made resolutions myself, including things like working out every day and learning a new language.  I have yet to succeed in a single one.

The problem with making a New Year’s Resolution is that we put too much pressure on ourselves to have instant success, when in fact life so often gets in the way and prevents us from achieving this.  How can you start a no-sugar diet when your house is still full of Christmas chocolate?  Going to the gym every day is fine, but what about those days when you just don’t want to leave the house?  And when we do inevitably eat that Lindt teddy bear we had stashed at the back of the cupboard, or choose to stay in bed for an extra half hour instead of working out, a wave of guilt follows.  After the first ‘failure’, it’s more difficult to get back on plan, and soon your resolution is cast aside.

note notebook notes page
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But we shouldn’t feel guilty for these ‘lapses’.  Because that’s just life!  You can plan out your day to the very minute, but something will always crop up that throws you off schedule, and you need to allow for adjustments.

So instead of making a fixed resolution, maybe it would be more realistic to have a series of smaller monthly, or weekly goals, which can eventually get you to where you want to be.  One of my aims for this year is to cut down on meat consumption, but I know that I wouldn’t be able to just stop eating cold turkey , so I’m going to try gradually introducing more vegetarian meals to my diet until I can (hopefully) cut out meat altogether.

Don’t get me wrong, different things work for different people, and for some it may be necessary to have a strict regime.  But don’t feel bad if this doesn’t work for you, and don’t give up on a goal just because you haven’t achieved it within a month or two, or because you see someone else’s ‘success’ on Instagram.

hand pen writing plant
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After all, we all work at our own pace and have our own ways of defining success.  So maybe don’t worry too much about making a New Year’s Resolution, but instead think about the areas you may want to improve on in your life, and take small steps to try to get there.

What do you think about New Year’s Resolutions? Do they work for you, or do you think they’re complete rubbish?  I’d love to hear some other opinions on this, so please leave some comments!