It’s been ages since I did a book post, so long in fact I can’t even really remember the last time. So I thought today I’d update you on all my recent reads, and whether or not I think you should give them a go too.

 

The Break- Marian Keyes- 3/5

This was quite a hefty book, and considering I haven’t read any of Marian’s books before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There were definitely times I was more hooked in the story than others, and by the end I was getting a little bored of it, but I did enjoy it overall. It’s about a woman who’s husband wants to go on a break from their marriage for a year, and the story follows from there.

 

Our House- Louise Candlish- 2.5/5

I’d seen quite a bit of this book on Instagram, so I picked it up from the local supermarket, and decided to give it a go. It’s not something I usually read, but the description sounded really interesting. In reality though, I ended up thinking it was a bit of a weird one, it didn’t seem to flow as smoothly as I’d like, although there was a good twist in it I didn’t expect. Some parts were gripping, but I feel like I’ve read better. The ending was a bit of a let-down too, so unfortunately I wouldn’t pass this one on.

 

One Day in December- Josie Silver- 4/5

Despite the title, I definitely wouldn’t class this as just a festive read, and I think you could enjoy it at any time of the year, so that’s why I’ve included it in this post. I loved this book, it was just up my street, all about love, relationships and general life-happenings that get in the way, it’s chick lit at its finest. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

 

The Power of Crystal Healing- Emma Lucy Knowles- 4.5/5

I got this from my mum for Christmas, and it was perfect timing because I’ve been meaning to increase my knowledge in crystals and learn more about the use of them, in particular which ones help which different areas in your life. This book is super super helpful and every chapter is a different category, such as how to store them, what ones to use for positive energy, or to have a peaceful evening sleep. The only slight downside (and why I didn’t give it top marks) is because it doesn’t have pictures of what every crystal mentioned looks like, but I googled them whilst reading instead which works fine. If crystals is something your interested in or want to know more about, definitely pick this book up! It’s one I’m going to store on my bedside table and I know it’s going to come in so handy.

 

What have you read recently?

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I’m all about self-improvement and setting myself small, achievable goals that I can do to be my best self. I’ve been thinking about some new habits I really want to create lately, and I wanted to share them on here with you too.

A calming night-time routine.

Over the past few weeks my sleeping pattern has been really messed up, and it definitely makes such a difference to my overall general mood and wellbeing. I really want to set an intentional bed time routine that means I’m going to sleep feeling as calm and relaxed as possible, and I’ve been trialling it the last few nights, it’s been working well! I’ve been making sure I’m off my phone for at least half an hour before bed, reading a book and spritzing some pillow spray, aswell as doing a short 5 minute meditation. Hopefully I can continue this and keep it going!

Less time on my phone.

I think we all want to spend less time on our phones, don’t we? I’ve had the Moment app for a few months now, and I’ve set my goal to less than 3 hours a day (which is still pretty big, but I’m trying to start small!). I’ve noticed I get a lot more headaches when I spend more time on my phone, so I’m making an effort to not pick it up as much as I can.

Putting less pressure on myself.

Again, something I think affects us all from time to time. I feel like I’ve widened my eyes lately and realised just how much pressure I put on myself, whether that’s making sure the house is clean and tidy every day, or whether I’m spending enough quality time with my loved ones, working hard enough and producing good content online. It’s just not possible to carry on like that. Every day I want to remember that I’m doing my best and it’s good enough.

Eating more varied fruit and vegetables.

I read in a Deliciously Ella podcast that we should aim for 30 different fruit or vegetables a week to ensure we’re getting all the right nutrients possible, and that’s really been on my mind the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to pick up different stuff in my supermarket shop and not rely on the same stuff I do week in, week out, and I’m really enjoying the variety.

Do you have any new habits you want to create?

 

It’s time for another behind the scenes look at my Instagram! And like last time, I’m showing you the before and afters too.

Lets get started…

The above photo is one of my favourite recent ones that I’ve done lately, and it honestly happened on such a whim! I wasn’t even thinking about picture ideas, I was just going on a walk on my work break when I saw a holly bush, and had the idea to take a picture for Kika’s hashtag, my found wings. I took my phone on something random at the park using the self-timer, and added the wings in afterwards. A pretty easy process and I love how it came out, although I did have to change the leaves a little in photoshop as one was broken!

 

 

While at Whitby, I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and get a shot for the grid, so I had the idea to come up with a funny, silly one with this stick of rock- which¬†only cost me 35p ;). Luckily there wasn’t too many people around while I stood there sticking my tongue out! (Dan happily obilgied to take this one, maybe he’s getting used to my crazy Instagram ideas after all?) I love how the light looks in this photo, and it added a bit of humour into my feed, which I really like. Plus, look at the colours of the cottages behind, beautiful!

 

When I was doing Sara’s Bloom & Grow last year, I loved using flowers as props in my pictures. It’s not something I’ve thought about for a while, but I want to carry that on this year, hopefully. I love the whimsical touch flowers give, and I’m obsessed with the idea of putting them somewhere a little different. I wish the light was a bit clearer in this photo but unfortunately that’s just what you get in winter and using your iPhone camera, never mind! Fun fact: I added a bit of kitchen roll in the bowl so I didn’t use as many petals ūüôā

 

Which ones your favourite? My Instagram is here if you’d like to follow me over there!

 

 

Investing in myself isn’t a concept I’d even thought of before until last year. I thought you could only invest in, say a business in monetary terms, or invest in a relationship by making long term plans together. When I realised that you could invest in yourself, by giving yourself time, space, and kindness, it was something I really wanted to have a go at.

Something I still struggle with at times is the notion that investing in ourselves is selfish, but it truly isn’t. We can only take the best care of others, when we’ve cared for ourselves, and it’s something that can really enhance our lives and well-being.

 

#1 SCHEDULE IN SELF-CARE

Self-care is something we can all let slip, especially in the busy periods when we actually need it the most. It’s totally different for everyone. For me, self-care is making time for yoga and meditation, hot baths with my favourite playlist, and making sure I’m eating good food and sleeping well. When those things happen, I feel balanced and ready to be my best self to the world.

#2 LOOK AFTER YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELL-BEING

Every few¬†months I like to treat myself to a full body massage, and I’ve recently had crystal therapy which I loved, and will be adding into my routine too. A full body massage looks after my physical body and makes sure it gets the love and attention it needs, and crystal therapy helps my mental well-being stay on top and connected. Sure, some people might think this is a bit extreme, but we’ve only got one life, and I want to live mine with all the positive energy I could possibly have.

#3 GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO LEARN

Whether that’s learning a new skill, or setting new boundaries, give yourself time to learn and process. Nothing needs to be done in one day, and having patience with yourself along the way is crucial. You’re doing the best you can. Even if today you slipped up, there’s always tomorrow.

#4 INVEST IN SOMETHING YOU’RE INTERESTED IN

That could be an Instagram course (I loved doing my first one last spring and it’s definitely something I’d do again), looking into night courses at your local college, or even buying yourself that new camera that you’ve been looking at for the last six months. The time is now! This little action could end up creating your future.

#5 PUT YOURSELF FIRST

A hard one to end on, right? But I’m going there! Now I don’t mean this in an arrogant, screw you to everyone kind of way, but more in sitting down and accessing your own needs, working out what things your happy with at the moment, and what you’d like to leave behind. I think it’s something so valuable and necessary for us all to do to end up being truly happy. It’s all in your hands, remember. You’re the only person who can look after you the best.

 

How do you invest in yourself? Is it something you’ve never thought about before?

 

Cosy up with a hot cup of tea, and settle down to read some Happy Things!

 

#1 Our little countryside retreat. After the New Year, we headed off to Whitby for a few days to stay in a lovely cottage, and it was perfect! Chilling out, walking by the beach and exploring the town was just how I wanted to spend the first days of 2019.

#2 Yoga with Adriene ‘Dedicate’.¬†It’s been just over a week since it started, and I’m absolutely loving it. I think my yoga journey is going to grow a lot more this year, so let me know if you’d like a blog post on it? I’m really trying to listen to my body throughout this yoga challenge, and modifying poses when they don’t feel good, to make sure I keep going and finish the full 30 days.

#3 Allowing myself to eat whatever I want.¬†Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been a lot kinder to myself, and not punishing myself when I want a chocolate bar, which is something I’ve done for years. A laid back approach and just eating what feels good has actually made me crave even more fruit and vegetables, so it’s a win win all around.

#4 Catching up on some great podcasts.¬†Because everything was so busy around this festive period, I didn’t get a chance to catch up on all the great podcasts on my phone. Luckily, everything is slowing down now so I’m making the most of it and devouring them all!

#5 Baths! Daytime baths were a massive thing for me around the Christmas period, and it was incredible. For some reason they feel just as good, if not better than the evening, so maybe I need to introduce some into my weekend and free days.

#6 A lot of good TV. Alllll the good TV programs are back on the box, and I’m very happy about it. I’ve just started watching Marie Kondo’s new Netflix program, and there’s a few another shows I need to get around to watching too.

#7 Bringing back my love of naps. I had 2 naps in 2 days this weekend, and it was amazing! I’ve forgotten how good they are because it’s been a few months since I had any. My work schedule has changed so I don’t really need them anymore, but they’re such a great way to boost my day when I’m flagging.

#8 Creating new ideas for Instagram. 
Like the above photo in this post, I really want to challenge myself this year with creating new ideas for Instagram. Even the ones that seem a bit quirky! I think it’s great to surprise people and try new things, and thankfully it seems to be going well so far and I’m getting good feedback, which feels fab.

#9 Trying new skincare. I was lucky enough to receive lots of new skincare for Christmas, and my skincare cupboards are looking pretty amazing, if I say so myself! I’m a massive skincare junkie, and I love pampering my skin and giving it what its craving. I’m really enjoying trying lots of different skincare, my skin is looking really good at the moment too.

#10 A clean and tidy home.¬†Over the past few weeks I did a lot of de-cluttering, and now the decorations are down, the house feels and looks so clean and tidy! I definitely work and live better when my surroundings aren’t messy, my mind always feels so much clearer.

 

 

What’s made you happy lately? I’d love to know!