Friday, 20 October 2017

A Season of New... ǀ Little Loves

I have to admit that I haven't managed to get up a  Little Loves post for the last three weeks because life has been so crazy busy.  We have had lots of new things going on which has thrown us all for a loop but in a good way, if that makes any sense at all?!

Of course I will go into all that in much more detail as I cover the things I have been loving this week (with a few bits stolen from the last three weeks as well!)

Read
I finally finished Mad Ship by Robin Hobb in September and immediately picked up The Host by Stephanie Meyer which I was really looking forward to, having heard such great things and being such a fan of Twilight.  Unfortunately it threw me into something of a reading slump and took me an absolute age to get through.  I was in this strange situation where when I was reading it, I was really enjoying it, but as soon as I put it down I felt no inclination to pick it back up again.  So...the part that I LOVED is that I managed to finish it this week and despite all my feelings I actually cried at the end!  So I guess it redeemed itself.  Sort of.


Watched
When we had the house rewired a couple of weeks ago we stayed with some friends and were introduced to some fab new series' on Netflix including The Good Place which stars Ted Danson and Kirsten Bell.  I think we managed to binge-watch around 5 or 6 episodes in one day!  Alongside this we've also been watching Timewasters which is just the most ridiculous show but has really made us laugh out loud and we found time to watch Wonder Woman as well which I enjoyed.

Made
I have recently started a new part-time job which has meant being out of the house a lot more than I used to whilst I learn the ropes.  The kids have been in after-school club for four evenings a week since I began so I wanted to make them a treat on my day off and got some baking done.  I have this really nostalgic memory of the days my mum wasn't working, walking through the door and being able to smell that she had baked and I wanted to do something similar for Meg and Eli, particularly as it has been a tough adjustment for them.  The cakes went down extremely well with all four members of the family if I do say so myself!


Wore
I am still loving the black pleather jacket I mentioned in my recent Lookbook vlog.  As long as it isn't chucking it down it goes with just about anything and is so comfortable to wear.

Heard
I've been really enjoying the Mellow Pop playlist on Spotify this week.  Something about it has just seemed perfect for the truly autumnal weather we've been having and I've enjoyed not only working with it on in the background but also curling up with my book and listening to it quietly playing on.  I've found some new songs too such as Silhouette by Aquilo and Hoping by X Ambassadors which I've had on repeat a few times.

And Lastly...
We are in a real season of adjustment at the moment with the new house, new school (although I'm not sure I can keep saying that any more!) and now a new job.  It feels like we are constantly on our toes and although I am exhausted come the evening of every single day, I am also really loving it.  We are making progress with the house and Meg and Eli's rooms should be done in the next week or two (we have a date for the carpets to be fitted so are working to a deadline!), we have some time booked away as a family in half term, and we are really just doing our best to embrace this season of new things!


*Affiliate links included in this post

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

5 Books For A Rainy Day ǀ Books & Reading

Although I am a particular fan of lazy days spent reading in the sun, I also think there is nothing greater than curling up under a blanket and losing myself in a good book, preferably with a cup of tea in hand and the sound of the rain hitting the windows outside.  Living in the North West of England means that throughout autumn (and also spring, summer and winter) there is no shortage of grey and rainy days to enjoy reading.

I had planned to pull out some of my favourite reads to show off but as my books are still mostly packed away *sob* you will have to make do with copies of the covers instead!  One day really, really, really soon I will get all my books out and displayed once again.

The main criteria for the perfect rainy day read for me is that it has to be a book I can get swept up in.  Although with the kids I don't often get the chance to sit and read for hours on end, I still crave the possibility that I could find the time to read a book from cover to end in an entire day.

The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult
No surprises here that a Jodi Picoult book is my first suggestion but if you haven't yet picked up The Storyteller then you need to sort it out!  I am a big Picoult fan anyway but this is hands-down my favourite book.  A dual timeline, a World War Two mystery, the usual conflict and grey areas all mixed together with a love interest which ticks along gently in the background but complements the rest of the story perfectly...this is a book which will have you drawn in and turning the pages to find out what happens next.


The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
If atmospheric, family-sagas with a strong focus on book lovers are your jam then you will love The Thirteenth Tale.  This is one of my favourite reads of the year so far and I have recommended it countless times since I put it down.  Again it's a dual timeline story with an historic mystery and a present day setting but I LOVED.THIS.BOOK.

Harry Potter - J.K.Rowling
I feel as though you could pick up any of the seven Harry Potter books and devour them on a rainy day.  If you can get some HP common room music going in the background as well then you will really be onto a winner.  Adult or child alike, these books are just so so good and you can easily find yourself caught up in the story; imagining the rain hitting the window pane as you curl up in front of the fire in Hogwarts and not in your living room.


Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
Fantasy is one of my all-time favourite genres when autumn comes around as I love the idea of diving into another world, preferably one with a kick-ass magical system.  I ummed and ahhed over which fantasy series I would recommend as there are so many I could have chosen other than Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows duology; the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, the Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead, the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb...but this series just pipped the others to the post.  Morally grey characters, an impossible heist, an interesting backdrop and a clever magic system...if you haven't yet read Six of Crows then I would highly recommend you do this autumn.

Station Eleven - Emily St.John Mandel
Station Eleven may seem like an odd choice because it happens to be one of the bleakest books I've ever read but it is because of the writing style and the setting that this is the perfect book to read on a grey and cloudy day.  Of course, I should probably also mention that this post-apocalyptic story is laced with hope and humanity, and although there are dark moments there are also plenty of moments which fill your heart as well.

What are your recommendations for books to read on a rainy day?

Don't forget you can purchase any of the books mentioned here using my affiliate links (it won't cost you anything extra and it helps support my book buying habits!!):-

Book Depository
Amazon

Happy Reading!

Currently reading:- Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon


*This post contains affiliate links

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Turning of the Season...

I absolutely love autumn; it is by far my favourite season of the year and I think perhaps the thing I love the most is when the season first starts to turn from summer; when you begin to get the gradual changing of the colour of the leaves, the weather becomes noticeably cooler (offering lots of opportunity to bring out those boots and skinny jeans!) and it feels like the perfect time for fresh starts.
 

I don’t think you get such a clear transition between seasons at any other time of year which is partly what makes it my favourite!

With the kids starting a new school year it just feels natural to make space for out with the old and in with the new and although it is usually the time of year when we have a big clear out, we’ve made bigger changes to our family life this year. Not only did we move house and the kids change school but I also started a new part-time job.  It has been a big adjustment for all of us, one that we still haven't quite got a handle on yet if I'm honest.


Despite the changes that have taken place, it is also a really exciting time of year for us with lots of things going on.  We've been making the most of the slightly milder weather with trips to the park after school and time spent in the garden...it won't be long before we can't go out without being wrapped up to the nines so we'll wring time outdoors for all its worth over the next few weeks.


I am hoping for some down-time in between now and Christmas but who really knows whether that will happen?!  Every time I think we are ready for a quiet period, something else happens which has us running around again.

I also have lots of ideas of blog posts I want to write which are all autumn related, vlogs I want to film and things I want to share but finding the time is proving a little trickier than I thought so I hope you will bear with me through it all! 



Coats for the Winter Season ǀ Fashion

Now that the nights are drawing in, it is time to go out and buy everyone a new coat. Without a good jacket getting out and continuing to enjoy yourselves is impossible. So, I thought a quick coat fashion piece would be a good idea.

Men’s coats and jackets for 2017
First I am going to start with coats and jackets for men. This year, it looks like the parka is well and truly back in fashion. Parkas look good and are very practical coats. They always have a sturdy hood, so are ideal for wearing to sporting events and for drizzly days. This year, they are available in a big range of different colours and patterns, so there really is no need to buy a boring old green or grey one.

For those men, who are not that keen on parkas, a bomber or Harrington jacket could be a good option. It has been a while since this style of coat was last in fashion, but both these traditional cuts suit most men. This time around the colours are brighter and it is quite easy to buy padded versions that will keep you warm on an autumn day. For the colder months, it will probably be necessary to buy something longer, like an overcoat.

Gilets and fleeces are also worth buying because they are very versatile items of clothing. In the mornings, when it is really cold they can easily be worn under another coat. At lunchtime, when it is warmer, they are ideal for wearing when you slip out of the office to buy a sandwich or run a short errand.

Women´s coats for 2017
Parkas, bombers and Harringtons are also available for women, as well as plenty of more feminine cuts. Military style coats are set to be especially popular. They look just as good with jeans as they do when worn over the top of a suit or dress. Plus, they are usually made from wool, which means that they are extremely warm. 

In addition, padded jackets are still widely available. These are particularly good for wearing on the weekends, to walk the dog or go to the park with your children.

Kid´s coats for 2017As usual, most of the kid´s coats that are available are really just scaled down versions of the ones that are available for the adults. However, there are also a few coat trends that relate almost exclusively to the kid´s coat market. For example, packable jackets are widely available in children´s sizes, but quite hard to find for adults. These versatile jackets are ideal for sticking in the boot of the car, so you have them to hand if the weather suddenly turns nasty. Most of them are waterproof, despite being extremely lightweight.

As you can see, there is plenty of choice. So, kitting everyone out with winter coats and jackets that they like should not be hard. If you want more advice about what to look for when buying a winter coat, all you need to do is to click this link.

*This is a collaborative post

Monday, 2 October 2017

A Little of Life Lately ǀ September

Isn't it strange that the last time I sat down to write a round-up for the month was following a family wedding and here I am again!  I think the fact that in between one wedding and the next we had a whole heap of house stuff to deal with is the main reason why I was missing updates for July and August but I didn't want to let the ball drop completely so hopefully I'll be ready for the three remaining months of 2017 (and isn't THAT a scary thought!)


September was a season of new things for us.  Meg and Eli started not only new school years but also a completely new school and I have been so proud of the way they have settled in.  It hasn't been easy but they've both taken it in their stride with only a few kick-backs here and there.

I also got to enjoy a new experience myself with my first ever trip to the States.  I flew entirely solo to Chicago and I won't harp on about it too much, as you can read my full update here but suffice to say I had a blast and I wish I could go back soon.  Maybe even take James and the kids with me this time.



Just before I flew to Chicago we enjoyed a wonderful family day; naturally I vlogged about it which you can find here but it's been absolutely ages since we spent the whole day with just the four of us and no responsibilties and it was such a wonderful time.  Both James and I walked away saying we need to make sure we carve out time like that more often for sure.

I am also on the precipice of starting a new job.  It's an admin and social media role, covering maternity leave so not necessarily permanent but it will give us a boost in income which is very much needed now we have had to re-wire the whole house and will need to get round and redecorate much faster than we had originally planned.  There are holes in pretty much every room in the house so giving ourselves a couple of years just isn't going to be as practical as we first thought.


The biggest thing which happened in September however was the wedding of my sister.  She got married on the 29th, so just squeezing into September and it was such a gorgeous day.  I wish I could share all of the photos and videos I took with you but suffice to say that she was stunning, the venue was beautiful and it was so great to see family and friends and dance the night away.  That's really the last big family event we have for a while now and although I'm looking forward to a quieter month or two, it has also been nice to stay so busy and I'll probably miss the action!

We literally have zero plans for October at the moment however which I have to say, sounds quite nice as it will give us the chance to really start making our new house a home.  We are planning to try and get away to Scotland for a few days in half term but that now falls in November (which seems crazy late) so doesn't really count for this month although we will probably have to invest in all kinds of thermals so we don't freeze over the coming weeks.

And that is it for the round-up.  I'll see you next month!