Happy New Year! Yes, still, even though we’re well into year by now and frankly no one wants to reminded, am I right?
Not me, I still love the feeling of a fresh slate and I am going to milk it for all it’s worth!
January is not the easiest of months, I can’t lie about that, I can’t kid myself. January is never particularly kind to me either for some reason, it the one month I find myself feeling the sickest- I can steam through the rest of the year without so much as a cough or a sneeze, and come January- I am floored. This January, I had a good 10 days in bed with the worst bout of (actual) flu I’ve possibly ever had.
Shockingly, I’ve had a good month. I know, I don’t understand it either!
And this month has also been full of my monthly loves, things I really want to share with you, and can’t wait to get out on the blog!
So here it is: my first favorites of the year (I love favorites posts, no matter what anyone says!), and all the things I’ve been loving, from my bed, and out in the real world.
Instagram Stories (what?)
Bear with me a moment.
No I am not a granny who is incredibly late to the bandwagon and is shocked that Instagram is now speaking at me. I know what Instagram Stories are. I had just… really gone off them. Like really really gone off them. Like my finger got really good at doing that tap tap tap thing and speeding through stories with no clue what I was looking at before wondering what I was doing and why I was doing it at all.
Whilst terribly sick, tired, and groany with the flu, I literally had no option but to lie in bed and keep myself amused, which when you’re beyond exhausted and can’t fathom holding a book up for more than five minutes, or even opening up your laptop because its far too much effort… your phone becomes your savior.
I finally unmuted my Stories and started watching them because I literally did not know what else to do with my time (when I needed a break from YouTube and Netflix of course).
And wow. I was surprised. Stories are actually… really, really fun. Like really fun. Like I never scroll through Instagram at all anymore, just watch Stories in a riveted, these are my besties kind of way. I’ve watched a lot of try on sprees at this point, trust me. And I am so here for more!
I go through a lot of reading phases. Sometimes I’m not reading at all. Sometimes I’m reading tons, a ridiculous amount, about four books on the go at once, which is probably not the best way to really enjoy a book, but that’s how into reading I get sometimes. One simply isn’t enough.
And sometimes I’m reading exclusively non-fiction, sometimes its non stop ‘chick lit’, and sometimes it’s throwback young adult books that really remind me of being a teenager with less book choices, savoring every single page.
And sometimes, more often than not, its historical fiction, saga style but not quite, thick tomes that take me to far flung corners of the world in decades gone by, and are honestly just absolutely delicious to read. I love them. No shame at all.
This month I managed about three novels, although I’m still working my way through them- and they’e taken me from Malaysia to a British enclave in Argentina to an Irish castle. Win win. I’ve been reading a lot of the classics by Santa Montefiore and Dinah Jeffries and I can’t wait to keep this trend up throughout the year, alongside more contemporary reads, because I’m always, always glad when I go back and get my hands on a good women’s historical novel. They’re a forever favorite, no doubt, just give me more.
Podcast: Practical Positivity and Anna + Bianca
This year I’ve really fallen in love with podcasts. I can’t get enough and it’s a bit of problem because I only have two ears and 24 hours. And that’s not enough for the number of podcasts I’m obsessed with, trust me. But I am trying. Boy am I trying to get through them! All the time. All day. Every day. I am trying.
Two new podcasts I’ve been obsessed with have been Practical Positivity by Sophie Cliff and the super fun Anna and Bianca #GirlTalkMondays podcast. Both podcasts are presented by lovely social media and blogger personalities, who really know their stuff, are warm, welcoming and like good girlfriends just having a chat with you during the week.
They’re awesome, they’re great, just have a listen. There’s nothing else I need to say- listening will convince you.
YouTube: Vlogs, Mommy Vlogs and Cleaning Videos (Surprise, surprise!)
I am majorly into YouTube.
It is shameful how much I am into YouTube. I spend a lot of my life trying to hide from people just how into YouTube I actually am. And I still fail at it- that’s how bad the problem is.
My tastes vary but really they’re just every thing. I follow so many people I sometimes see their videos come up in my Subscription box and can’t remember who they are.
It’s not healthy.
But anyway, we can’t be healthy all the time can we? This month I’ve been enjoying videos that are a little different from my usual fare (still being enjoying my usual fare too of course!), and that stretched to… mommy vlogs? And cleaning videos? I always watch mommy vloggers and cleaning videos (Louise Pentland’s weekly are literally unmissable content for me), but this month I found them even more engaging and relaxing than usual. Who were my new favorites? The inevitable Brummy Mummy of course, and a new favorite Alex Gladwin.
An Edited Life
Is there anyone out there in the blogging world who hasn’t heard of this book? Or rather, pre-ordered a copy?!
An Edited Life has by far been my most awaited ‘YouTuber book’, and to be honest, it deserves so much more than that title! Anna Newton’s book well deserves to stand on it’s own, apart from the influencer hype and the trend of YouTuber’s releasing books (which I have nothing against, Louise Pentland’s series is actually one of my favorites and I can’t wait for the next installment!). This book is simple, straightforward, and funny! All the things I love about Anna’s blog in fact.
I’m a big fan of Anna’s blog and I always find myself wishing she has more content on there (re-reading helps but more please!), and so an entire book to work through with her trademark voice and humor, is a total treat! I’m a big fan of organizing and even though I felt like I had literally learnt every thing there is to learn, I still found myself taking photos of paragraphs throughout the book, to take away and implement in my own life.
I am totally using my calendar again now- thanks Anna!
Okay are we seeing a trend here then? Don’t blame me, it’s January!
Whilst sick in bed with the flu to end all flus, I totally binge watched Tidying Up. Yes, me and every other blogger out there, I know.
I am not generally a binge watcher, but watching people clean up their sometimes incredibly cluttered homes, is definitely so satisfying. There’s nothing I can say that would add to the already saturated conversation out there around this show, except that I loved it too- and I binge watched it, guilty as charged.
Oh yes and I do get rid of my books. Totally with you on that one Marie.
M+S Honeycomb Crispy Bars + Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bars
I’m a healthy one aren’t I?!
After subsisting on chicken soup and bland meals for a couple of weeks this month, the flu having completely destroyed my appetite and my tastebuds it seemed, I found myself coming out of it craving only two things: the random M+S bars that it seems literally only I ever buy and eat (how?! They are delicious!), and a really solid classic that I have NEVER liked until now.
I used to literally hate the taste of Cadbury’s chocolate. I don’t know if it’s age or the fact that too much quinoa and beans have irrevocably altered my pallet, but I now find myself… enjoying the slightly less grotesquely sweet flavor of Cadbury’s chocolate?
Must be age.
Either way, I love absolutely love these two. Chilled in the fridge and then doled out throughout the course of the day so I don’t go overboard.
Who am I kidding? I totally go overboard. I literally bought out Dubai’s supply of the Honeycomb Crispy that brought it to Iraq with me. It’s taken up a solid shelf of my fridge and I do not mind at all.
This is nothing new for me. If you know my husband you’ll know that he’s the long suffering victim of my insatiable desire to ‘go on a walk.’ I can literally go on a walk any time of day, night, health, sickness- I need no excuse to go on a walk.
And a walk in the cold? Let me at my sneakers!
I love nothing more than a nice long walk in temperates other people hide in their homes for. So as the temperate drops, you can bet my desire to go shoots up!
Iraq’s got nice and chilly this time of year, so I am donning my puffer jacket and heading out every evening. Sorry not sorry.
Sorry to the husband. But you know, not sorry as well.
Toffee Nut Lattes + Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate
So these loves were sadly ones I had to say goodbye to the in the first week of January, but believe me, they have left an impression!
I am a long term Toffee Nut obsessive, and I wait all year for the re release and the infamous red and green cups. I know some people find it sickly sweet, but I usually take mine without the whipped cream, and that does tone it down and make it feel just a little less decadent.
Just a little.
I am always sad to see the back of Toffee Nut season and everything it represents. Oh well, till mid-November then.
This year however I discovered another seasonal favorite. I’ve never been one to try seasonal hot chocolates- hot chocolate is sweet enough thank you! Whilst in England with my husband to visit him family for Christmas (more updates on this coming soon), we went down to Waterstones, one of my favorite places on earth, to get a drink and I was way out of my depth.
Just a fun fact: I totally hate the taste of Costa’s coffee. It tastes too much like… coffee. If you know you know.
So I decided to be wild and try out the Hazelnut and Praline seasonal hot chocolate. Let me just say- I’m looking forward to two drinks next winter. It was that good.
Bumble BFF (Love/Hate)
So my next favorite is a bit of a love hate one? Does that count? Can you have a love hate in a favorites post? Let’s just roll with it.
This favorite needs a bit of a background. I met one of my best friends on Bumble BFF in 2016. It was super random. I had had a long and tough summer so I had thought that meeting up with new girls and just random socializing might be a good coping mechanism, and intrigued by an Instagram ad I saw for the new iteration of Bumble, I was like: right, I’m on this!
I did not expect to actually meet any girls. I wanted to, but I was being realistic, my expectations were pretty low. What did end up happening was that the one of the only girls I actually ended up meeting for a coffee… I spent the ENTIRE DAY chatting to! It was pretty much the perfect first friend date, and we’ve been solid ever since.
So my expectations this time around were sky high. Why was I on there in the first place? There’s a post on that coming up, don’t you worry! But I digress. My expectations were super high, and I know it’s a great way to meet new girls, I know from experience, but this time around… I’ve not been so lucky.
There isn’t a single girl I’ve connected with whose replied consistently, or tried to make any real effort conversation wise. Is this how everyone feels on dating apps? Probably. If so, it sucks. It really, really sucks. So whilst I hate my current experience on it, I have hope- and that’s why it’s on this list.
Magazines (esp. Interiors)
I always love magazines. If you’ve read through my blog at all, or ever been to my house, you already know this.
It’s like where half my monthly budget goes, again, sorry not sorry.
But this month I’ve been super into interiors magazines, something I got into when we were designing this apartment. And whilst this apartment is totally done and we really won’t be changing it too much, I’m already itching to do up another place! But I can’t- hence I’m living vicariously through Ideal Home and the like. Not the worst vice right?
And that’s it- my favorites from January! Some new, some not so new, but just things that got me through the flu of all flus and tons of time in bed!
What have you been loving this month?