It's been a while since I've shared some of my favourites. I have shared some beauty favourites not too long ago as well as some great TV, book and music picks. Today, I wanted to share some more miscellaneous staples that I've been using and loving day-to-day. 

Iced Coffee

It may be nearing the end of summer and, honestly, I'm ready to embrace the cosy cold weather, but that hasn't stopped me loving iced coffee or I guess my more 'bootleg', a homemade concoction that I like to call an iced coffee. I mean, hey, it still tastes like a Starbucks to me! If I'm reading, I make one. Blogging, yes I'll have one. Cleaning? Another one, please! I think I've become extremely basic for loving this and I guess my Starbucks glass does not help the cause but for how good it tastes, I'm not mad about it. 

If you're interested in making your own at-home iced coffee, be sure to check my COFFEE Insta story highlight for a lil' tutorial - no fancy espresso machine is needed! 

M&S Cotton Straight Jeans

I really owe this love to Becc4 after she shared this fab pick over on Instagram. I never thought I'd be someone who went in for light white or cream jeans as well as something in this super straight style, but here I am! I loved the fact that they were responsibly sourced cotton, not bank-breaking at £19.50 and also came in short, regular and long fits - of course, 5ft 4 (ok, 5ft 3) me got the short fit. 

For a style like this, you can find similar in Urban Outfitters and Topshop for £40+ so why not go for cheaper, more sustainable and just fabulous looking jeans? I never thought M&S would be a place I'd find my favourite jeans but I'm so glad I found these. While I don't think they will, if M&S did decide to expand their colour range to include a light pink pair, I'll be waiting at the shop doors ready to pay!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This year in reading hasn't been the best for me - so many books that leave me feeling unsatisfied, so when I read this book, my faith in reading was restored instantly! I was so tempted to do a full review of this book like I used to but that's just encouraging me to ramble on about this book in a likely incohesive manner so, let me try and summarise. I had already read Mr Salary (a short story by Sally Rooney) so I knew her writing style was one I could get behind and enjoy. Not just the writing style but the story was one I was fully engrossed in; it follows two teenagers from opposite backgrounds that become connected in high school and onto college. This isn't the young adult book I may have made it sound, but a story you think has been done 1000x before in such a different way.

You know how a book can feel warm and fuzzy but something happens to leave you crying at the end? This is the complete opposite - it gives a dull heartwrenching feeling throughout the whole book. You're rooting for the characters while simultaneously having your heart broken slowly. I devoured this book and I think you will too. I am already excited to read her other book Conversations with Friends very soon.

Sony Headphones

When my last pair of earphones broke, it was time to say goodbye to the love of Happy Plugs and I  switch it up with some headphones. I bought my dad the same headphones for Christmas a few years ago and he loves them, so I thought I'd pick the same up for myself. They're nothing groundbreaking - no Bluetooth, volume control, noise cancellation - but for me, they do the job. They are actually the perfect headphones for my commute and I love that they fold down really compact to make them the perfect size to fit in my bag. 

Brent by Jeremy Zucker & Chelsea Cutler

"What have you been using your new headphones to listen to, Sarah?" I hear you ask. Well, not long ago I discovered Jeremy Zucker who I have already shared my love of in a previous post. When this new EP with Chelsea Cutler appeared on my Spotify I had to give it a listen. They have such a melancholic sound with these slow songs that are easy to listen to. I've found it the perfect soundtrack while I'm reading as well as in the evening when I'm settling down. If you're looking for some new tracks to add to your chill, easy-listen playlist, I'd check this out. 

So there are a few more lifestyle favourites I've been loving lately. I find myself reaching for these every day and so I had to share them! 

What have you been loving lately? I'd love to hear any and all recommendations! 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah  x 
Working from home tips to improve productivity
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It's been a while since I worked from home, but whenever I do there are a few things I bear in mind. Here, I share some more general tips for you freelancers, students and bloggers who struggle to keep productive when working at home.

1. Get dressed & ready

I for sure have had those days working from home when I've opted to stay in my pjs because who wants to get out of those comfy clothes?! However, I hate to be a pyjama party pooper but I always found I feel sluggish during the day if I do this - my motivation to work just isn't as it would be if I got myself up and dressed. When I realised that having a morning routine like that of going out of the house for work made me more productive, I found my productivity, especially in the morning, increased. 

2. Create work-life boundaries

This is one of the main things I touched on in my post about creating a productive workspace - having boundaries from where you work and where you don't is one of my keys to keeping productive. Create an office space - a desk is probably best but if you don't have that then create an area that is just for working. Whether it's a seat at your kitchen counter or a specific spot on your sofa that you dedicate to working. This just makes you feel like when you're in that spot, you're working. 

Working from home comes with its perks; being in close proximity to the fridge, being able to do laundry in between emails. But, I also think it's useful to try and treat it like you are actually in an office. I tried to work the hours 9-5 to help split up my time and not tempt me from working from my bed too often or working later into the evening when I should be switching off. 

By having these boundaries, I found not only could I switch off more easily in the evening but I was productive during my working hours as I knew that I could only work during these hours and so needed to get as much done as possible. 

3. Know when you're most productive

This is a slight contradiction on my last point of having hours similar to office hours but, if you have more control over the time you have to work when you're at home, then knowing when you are most productive can really help schedule around this. 

I find I'm most productive first thing in the morning, so I try and it's now that I  tackle my bigger tasks. Then, mid-morning I tend to hit a lull. Here, I decide to do the more mindless tasks that don't require too much concentration. I also try and plan my lunchtime around my productive times. If I know I tend to flag around 12:30, I'll try and have my lunch then before starting again later when I know I'm more productive again in the afternoon. 

4. Don't be overly ambitious

This was something I always failed to do. Even though I didn't even finish my to-do list that day, I would somehow think that tomorrow I'd be able to double that - not going to happen! Instead, having a priority list of maybe 3-5 big tasks that need to get done every day (depending on how big they were) and a few extras that if I get round to them, then great! 

I find this helps not only stop me from becoming demotivated when I don't achieve all my daily goals but also stop me from working into the evening to try and get the rest of my to-dos done. 


5. Have a killer playlist

Some people choose to work in silence but, even now when I work in an office, having background music just helps me to get into the rhythm of working. I find it especially helpful to keep me productive when tackling the smaller jobs like replying to emails, filling in spreadsheets etc. 

If you're looking for some good work recommendations to help motivate you while not being too distracting, check out my new COFFEE playlist on Spotify. 

6. Try to leave the house each day

I think this is super important to be able to take a real break away from the stress of sitting and working all day. Maybe take some time to meet your friends for a coffee take a walk or just nip to the shop. 

I found when I worked from home, spending days on end inside when I had a lot of work actually left me feeling unhappy with myself as well as in my work. So, I can definitely vouch for the positives on your happiness and productivity for taking some time to get out of the house to switch off from your work for a little while. 

Is there anything I missed? Leave how you stay motivated to work in the comments! 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x


self care essentials - book, music, nice drink
I recently shared my sunday routine where I wrote about how I make the most of my Sunday. I loved reading the comments on that post; it was so nice to read how everyone chooses to spend the last day of the week. One thing people said was how productive my Sundays are, when a lot of people tend to take the day to relax and 'do nothing'. I wanted to share that, like many of you, I too have days where I will sit and 'do nothing'. Maybe read a book, watch Netflix, probably not leave the house or really get ready but that's OK because I don't think that's being unproductive- I'm still doing something I need to do and that's looking after myself; giving myself some chill time and some needed self-care. 

Focussing on you should be a priority

Many people don't prioritise self-care. We tend to forget to give ourselves a much-needed break from work, life stress and just sit and do something for ourselves. It's hard to comprehend that sitting and doing something for yourself is as productive as writing a blog post, going to work, doing the jobs around the house. But, just like being productive in these aspects, self-care is beneficial in ways you may not realise. 

You may feel guilty or even selfish for taking time for you but don't. We all need that time! I get it though; I always feel like I should be ticking off those to-dos, meeting with friends but I know that's not what I need and I should be prioritising what I do need. And, what I need is self-care!  

Neglect can lead to burnout

Simple- if you don't take time for yourself, it's going to bite you on the bum in the future. Whether it's constantly overworking and not taking time to process other parts of your life, it's easy to become overwhelmed, which can affect not just your mental health but actual health as well. 

During uni, I was always pushing myself to work. I'd think the more I focussed the quicker the work would be done and the quicker I could relax. However, the workload seemed neverending at points and I just kept trying to push through but, in the end, I was tired, sad and still as stressed as before.  It was when I would take a night off to do something with friends, ring my parents or just sit and watch a film, that I felt a lot happier and less burnt out when I returned to work.

I'm actually going to share a post all about student self-care, so look out for that soon!

Clearing your head can actually help
We've all been there. It's a busy week, we're on autopilot. Trying to get through those long stressful days and just pushing through. But, not giving ourselves some time to switch off can actually stop us from performing well at work and even feeling happy with our social lives. It's so much more beneficial to stop and take a break from it all. Whether you cook a nice meal, watch a film you've been wanting to watch, going for a walk or anything else to just ease your mind and focus on something completely separate from what causes you stress. 

When I'm taking time for myself, it's here when the pressure has eased that inspiration hits most. By clearing my head I can solve that problem I've been trying so hard to work out, I can think of a better way to do something at work, I think of a new blog post idea. From taking some time I always find it to actually help me be more productive. Whether it's from meditation or mindlessly watching some crap TV, or watching some youtube vlogs (my personal favourite), it is beneficial and is productive in the long run. 

While you might not feel it as being very productive, it will probably help you to be even more productive in the future. As you take some time to switch off auto and be in the moment, you can finally be more aware of everything that is going on around you. 

A self-care schedule does not exist

People may disagree with me on this one so I'd like to hear your opinions! When I share my productive posts, one thing I always say is how important a schedule is but for self-care, I don't think this is so applicable. While it's good to block out a night a week purely for yourself, I find it better to just listen to yourself. You know yourself best and so you will know when you should take some time to stop and look after yourself first. I find trying to do one small act of self-care a day the most beneficial for me but everyone is different! 

As you're starting to include more self-care into your routine, it's always hard to find the time so that's when scheduling some time in is good. But, later down the line, the best way is to just listen to yourself. 


Self-care is such a subjective thing as to how much time one needs for self-care and how they choose to do this, but it can positively impact everyone's mental health and wellbeing and I know how much better and productive I feel after taking some time to switch off. 

Do you agree? Do you feel you take enough time for self-care at the moment? 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x
2019 diary to help be productive
I feel every day has its purpose. While Mondays are for getting started and Saturdays are for having some fun, I'd say Sundays are the time I try and get my life in order and get myself prepped for the Monday. Whether you're working full time, a student, a freelancer, if you have Sundays off, it gives you the perfect opportunity to make the following week go smoothly. This post is acting a little follow to my "Ways to Love Mondays" post as I mentioned there how important the Sunday is. 

Sunday is the perfect day to find time for yourself. While I try to make sure I'm doing on Saturday, Sunday is my down day- my prep day, my self-care day. And, while I'd love to just spend it in bed and relax, I can still have a chilled Sunday while keeping productive. Here I share a little Sunday routine that allows me to get the most out of the day while still enjoying it. 


THE MORNING 

A lie-in
OK, so I already said no lounging around but there is nothing wrong with a few extra hours in bed. While so many people are for the early mornings to make the most out of the day, I get it, but me making the most out of my Sunday is staying in bed. I've probably not enjoyed sleeping and really appreciated my chance to sleep so Sunday is the best time to treat myself to 20 minutes or an hour(or two) extra in bed. If I want to sleep longer, my body obviously needs it- a late start isn't necessarily a bad one. 

Enjoy your breakfast 
I love a Sunday roast as much as the next person; it's such a hearty meal that I've probably craved after a week of rushed meals after work. But, for me, I've actually found myself loving a bigger and more of a treat breakfast on a Sunday. I've probably been shoving the same breakfast in my mouth before flying out the door the whole week so, making time to try something new or an old breakfast favourite is the best thing to do on a Sunday morning. Homemade pancakes, waffles, poached egg on toast as all some of my favourites. Something like this makes the best start to my Sunday and will keep me full for a while so I can get on with everything else I want to.



Clean
No one wants to do it. But, you'll thank yourself later. It doesn't have to take hours but just getting the house in order and clean really makes me feel better and can help me settle down in the afternoon. I've probably neglected a lot of my space throughout the week so fluffing the cushions, vacuuming the floors and a quick polish can work wonders. I always love this time to listen to some music; whether it's a new playlist or some old-time favourites, it makes a change to my usual commuter playlist. If you want to see what I'm listening too, check out my Spotify. 

THE AFTERNOON

The Big To-Dos
Cleaning done, coffee brewed, I now find somewhere to sit comfortably (usually the sofa) and go through my diary. Are there any events in the next week? Any jobs I haven't got round to yet that I can finish today? Anything I have missed completing during the week, I try to prioritise them to start on Monday. One thing I try not to do is stress myself on Sunday. While it may show me I have a lot of to-dos, Sunday is to help me get it in order so I can manage it better tomorrow. 

Schedules & Plans
It's time to check when I'm free. If there's anything I need to do during the week, I can slot it in when I'm free. Not just putting in social plans but when to blog, when I want to be in the office by during the week. Even if a rough plan, it can help create some sort of routine through the week so I am nowt forgetting anything important or worried I can't fit everything in (which is never the case usually- I'm not much of a social butterfly!). 

Meal Prep & Planning
Checking what I have in the fridge and my cupboards, what needs using up and what I need to buy can help me effectively plan my meals so that I am not wasting any food leftover or buying too much. Sunday is usually the day I actually go and do my shopping (if I didn't on Monday). This is so I can start prepping any large meals. I tend to cook something on the Sunday in bulk that I'll have again on Monday and another night later that week or that I will freeze. It just helps if I get too tired or just can't be bothered later in the week so I'm not struggling to find something to eat. 

I also find cooking quite therapeutic so, to me, meal planning and prepping is not a chore but almost self-care.  Do you enjoy cooking or are you an avoid-at-all-costs kind of person? 

THE EVENING

People call it 'self-care Sunday' for a reason; it makes sense to end the week relaxed and prepared for the following one. Everyone's way of winding down differs. For me, taking some time to catch up on TV, read a book and even blogging can help me focus my attention away from work, life- anything that might have me a little stressed. 

A Goodnight's Sleep
I'm planning a whole post on my PM routine to show how I have created a routine that allows me to switch off and sleep well. Sunday is the perfect time to get your body clock adjusted and create a healthy sleep pattern. I make sure I don't stay up too late so I resent the Monday morning commute but still making sure that I have some time to myself to wind down slowly. 


So there's a look at my typical Sunday routine to help make the most of this chilled day and getting ready for the week to come. 

What does your typical Sunday look like? I'd love to hear about what you get up to!
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x
If you read my previous post "THINGS ARE HAPPENING" where I rambled a little about finishing university, you will have read that I have moved to London after living in York for three years while at university. Throughout my three years in York, I feel I have definitely become well acquainted with the area. With this, I thought it's time I shared with you my favourite spots in York that, if you're visiting are definitely worth a gander. These picks are also suitable if you're already a local but maybe want to know about a few of my recommendations of things to do in the area.

The Shambles Food Market 

If you're already planning a trip to York, you will no doubt be heading down The Shambles at some point. Known as the place that inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books, The Shambles is a hit with the tourists. However, apart from just visiting the cobbled streets filled with shops, I recommend taking some time to explore the small but great market, specifically the small food court. When I first came to York, this was just a couple of stalls but it has since expanded to have stalls of different cuisines to please all. My friend and I are massive fans of the Thai stand that do a great sweet chilli chicken and pad thai.


If you are a local and working in the centre, this is a great alternative to your regular meal deal at lunchtime. They offer some great filling options for reasonable prices while you are also supporting some local restaurants and businesses.


The York Art Gallery 

This is a place I wish I went to sooner than I did as well as more often to fully appreciate the different exhibitions the gallery had on. From the handful of times I visited, the staff were extremely friendly and were up for a chat about the art and different exhibitions. In the past, they've had a Quentin Blake exhibition, which was great for the kids, as well as Aesthetic Magazine exhibition which I really enjoyed and allowed me to discover some new artists that I now love and follow their work.


It's not a big gallery but for a small city, it's a great addition. It's worth keeping up to date with the exhibitions on when visiting and dropping in during your stay. For those living and studying in York, you are able to get discounted, if not free, entry into the gallery along with other museums across the city. It's definitely worth looking into and you can find more out about this here.

The Waterstones Cafe

I know what you're thinking. "This is a weird recommendation. Isn't it just a Costa?". The cafe in the York Waterstones is much nicer than other Waterstones that do just have a Costa. It's a lovely coffee shop on the upper floor of the shop that is the perfect location for a drink and cake with a great view of the main shopping street of York below.

I spent many a day hear during my degree. If was wanting a to get out of the house for a change of scenery or if I had some time to kill before a shift at my part-time job, I always ended up here either with my laptop working or my head in a book. The coffee also isn't badly priced at all so it was great to grab a drink then head to peruse the thousands of books while resisting the urge to buy any more.

I also want to add an honorary mention to Spring Espresso which is a coffee shop I spoke about in "THE BEST PANCAKES IN YORK". This is another great location for a coffee; in my opinion, they do the best, iced mocha I've ever had.

Rowntree Park 

This is the perfect place to spend a summers day in York. With a park and play area for the kids to explore and enjoy, lovely gardens to walk through as well as a walk along the canal to get here by foot, it's the perfect open space to enjoy in the sun.


My friends and I have been there for a picnic in the past as well as a game or two of frisbee when it's been warmer as well as a visit to the reading cafe that's within the park when it's a little chillier or we just want to grab a drink.

The museum gardens are the usual place tourists chose to visit in the centre to soak up a few rays but, if you don't mind a short walk, I highly recommend going here to enjoy your picnic. It tends to be a lot quieter while being a lot bigger and, in my opinion, a little nicer to be just a bit out of the city.

Have you ever been to York? 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x