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Recently, all I've been wanting are books that I can cuddle up under a blanket with and get lost in. Whether it's a fluffy romance, a story of families or a beautiful friendship. So, I thought I'd share the perfect books that paired with pjs, blankets and hot chocolates you'll be able to get cosy and read! 

The Flatshare by Beth O'Reilly

This book follows Tiggy and Leon. While Tiffy is an assistant editor looking for a new place to stay, Leon works nights and is in need of some cash. While Leon only has a one-bed flat, their jobs mean they wouldn't be crossing paths - it will be Tiffy's during the evenings and weekends and Leon's during the day when he comes back from work. The perfect plan for flatmates who will never meet -right? 
As Tiffy muddles through a break-up and she uncovers more about Leon through post-its notes, we experience a lovely heart-warming story that doesn't go without substance. Friendships, breakups and, of course, romance, this will definitely have you swooning and laughing throughout.

 The Heart Stopper Series by Alice Oseman

I've already spoken about this in a favourites post, but it definitely has its place here. Charlie and Nick may go to the same school but it's only when they have a reshuffle of classes do they meet and immediately hit it off. 

It follows their relationship throughout the books drawing upon sexuality, discrimination and mental illness. A graphic novel that is way more than just pictures and you will be sure to devour in a short time. I can't wait to keep following the series! Beautiful illustrations and a lovely story to go alongside. 

The Proposal (The Wedding Date Series) by Jasmine Guillory

Another I've already featured in my 2019 favourites and slump-busting books. While this is the second book in the series, I didn't know this going into it and I don't think it took away from my reading experience and how much I enjoyed this book;  it can definitely be considered a stand-alone. 

Nikole heads to a Dodgers game with actor boyfriend of 5 months who she keeps thinking she should dump. It's here that she appears on the jumbo screen and he's down o one knee. At the same game are Carlos and his sister who see Nik in a crowd of disappointed fans and decide to help her out. As the proposal video goes viral, doctor Carlos seems to be helping Nik through the embarrassment which leads to Nik thinking maybe there's more between her and Carlos. 

This book had me laughing out loud and loving all the friendships, family dynamics and relationships mentions. Definitely a great poolside read but also one that curled up in bed you'll read and love in no time. 

Wonder by R.J Palacio

It's been years since I read this book but it's definitely one to stand the test of time. It's such a great family read that is so heartbreaking yet so uplifting all in one (and also has a great film adaptation which I watch continuously!). August Pullman was born with a facial difference that meant he didn't go to school until 5th grade. Now, in his first days at a new school, he just wants to be treated like everyone else but the school kids don't seem to have got the memo. We switch between perspectives of Auggies, his sister, his classmates as they tell the store of Auggie's time adjusting to school life. 

A book that anyone of any age will look and can learn from. With pure friendships and loving families, it's really worth the read. 

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Something a little different but still a heart-warming short read by Mitch Albom. Mitch always looked to his college professor Morrie Schwartz for support and guidance during his student. 20 years on, he tracks down his old professor after learning he was dying with the more neuron disease - ALS. He revisits the old professor like they did all those years ago, ever Tuesday for a new lesson on life and how to truly live. 

In all the Albom books I read, they always pull at my heartstrings; so heart-warming yet so heartbreaking. Such a unique way of telling you all about life that you should learn. 

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alir Saenz

I reviewed this way back int he day when that was a thing I did more often so definitely check out my full review from 2016(!?). To sum up, this book follows Aristotle and Dante who meet while at the local swimming pool one summer. They might be pretty different but both lonely boys, they start to spend more and more time with each other. It's a lovely story of friendship that I'm dying to now reread! 

Have you read any of these? Please share your own recommendations in the comments! 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

I had vowed to myself that my blog would be a COVID free zone. However, one of the negatives to come out of the pandemic is the effect on small businesses and their owners. However, today I wanted to share some small businesses still open for business online and taking orders.

If you're a small business owner, a blogger with a side hustle or know a small business needing a shoutout, be sure to drop me a comment! I'm going to try my best to update this post over the coming weeks with new hops looking for order than you can support and receive some incredible products from!

Mysa Skincare

I previously was gifted some of the amazing Mysa Skincare products from the lovely Jess which made it onto an old favourites post. While Jess also has a beauty salon that has sadly had to shut, for now, it's definitely worth checking out her amazing skincare range she's made herself - targetting at hand and nail care. I can say with my whole chest that Jess' products are so worth it! With all this hand washing, the hand cream is amazing and it's definitely worth the investment. I'm so annoyed that I actually left my bottle back in the office and think I'll have to pick up another bottle myself soon! 

Everything's all restocked and she has even just released a new product so head to the site - the perfect place to spend some payday money! 

The Design Palette

After receiving a lovely message from Komal, I'm in love with the products they are offering at the Design Palette - perfect for all your stationery needs. If you're looking to reconnect with old pen pals or send a little "thinking of you" note, there are some great options here. They are shipping in batches of twice a week to keep social distancing as much as possible while still making you sure your orders get to you as soon as they can! 

Komal has also recently released some new colouring sheets, perfect to keep the kids occupied at the moment! 

Yorkshire Artist Shop 

I've been following Leia over on instagram for a few months now @positive.pal and I've loved some of the free printables she's sharing. She also has a great Etsy store where she's selling positively gorgeous wall art designs as well as custom-made prints! However, due to etsy's fees on purchases for sellers, she's also taking orders directly over on instagrma: @yorkshire.illustrator - I'd definitely recommend checking them out. 

Felt Fancy

Eleanor is a such a lovely blogger I've been following for a while and I'm obsessed with the earrings she's selling over on Depop. If you're looking for some unique and fun jewellery to spice up your outfits and show off on your next conference call, these are definitely a shout! 

Zoe Ware

Zoe's such a creative person. With so many handmade trinkets to pick up in her shop, you're sure to find the perfect gift for a friend or even yourself. I personally love the macramĂ© plant holders she's selling. 

The Printable Boutique

Another great one to keep the kids busy, The Printable Boutique has some great mindful colouring packs as well as some precious gratitude packs and journal sheets. Why not have a browse? 

Say it with Champers

If you've got a birthday or celebration coming up and can't get out to the shops to pick something out yourself. How about getting a nice bottle of bubbly delivered straight to their door? You can even add some nice personalisation to keep it extra special! 

Salt Dog Cycling

Even in Lockdown, you can still be active and if you're a cyclist, you might taking an hour each day to do a circuit of your local area. If you're looking for some more cycling gear, Salt Dog Cycling are still taking and delivering orders so why not support a small business today! 


There are so many more businesses I want to give a spotlight so be sure to check back for more updates soon. 

Hope you're safe and doing great, 
Sarah x 



AD | This post gifted items courtesy of Photowall. All opinions remain my own. 

Since moving out of my family home for uni and now more permanently, I've always struggled to create a space that I feel comfortable in that feels as cosy, familiar and homely as I do when I'm back home in my childhood bedroom. I kind of got that while moving around the house to house for uni accommodation but now I'll be staying in my current flat for at least another year, I thought it's really time to make it my own and add those homey, familiar little touches that will make me feel so much comfortable. I thought I'd share a few ways I've been doing this. 

The perfect prints

I'd love to fill my walls with art and my trusty Pink Floyd poster is the only wall art that has stayed with me through every mood and I don't think I want ot ever part with it! Recently I've added a few more prints to my collection. I've been loving the more minimal classic prints and Photowall has been great for they. They kindly let me pick out a print and I went for this Two Faced black and white illustration - as I'm still not set on my colour and aesthetics for my room, it's the perfect choice that is bound to go with anything. 

Photowall have so many great options that I spend a good hour deciding which to go with. I personally love the framed prints and I always prefer a classic black frame which works great for this print especially. 

Wanting to grab a print yourself? Get 25% off your order with the code saraheliza25 - just add it at checkout!  The code is valid until April 23. 


Cosy cushions & blankets

Cosy throws are such a staple! I'm always wrapped up on the sofa in a blanket whether I'm reading or watching TV. H&M always has a great selection of blankets, cushions and cushion covers that won't break the bank and many made from sustainably sourced cotton which is such a bonus! 

Pretty sheets

I'm such a sucker for a new set of bedsheets! I'm quite proud that I haven't indulged more into new sheets since moving to London. However, the other week I picked up the prettiest, zestiest set from M&S - the dainty lemon print I am obsessed with and is such a simple design but works really well with my room. I felt it's almost like something you'd pick up in Urban Outfitters but for half the price! Definitely worth checking out the rest of M&S' selection. 

Plants galore!

My succulent selection is definitely a work in progress. I have the trusty aloe vera that I bought back in uni as well as some adorable cacti a friend got me for my birthday - the perfect windowsill additions! Flowers as well! There's something so lovely about a fresh bunch of flowers. They bring some lovely colour and life to my lounge and they don't have to break the bank. Daffodils are great to pick up coming into spring - always cheap and such a gorgeous flower to brighten up space. 

Bring on the personal touches

Whether it's framed photos of friends and family, vinyl records lining the shelves or stacks of books, of course, being surrounded by your favourite thing always makes me feel more comfortable. Really personalising my space and adding these little touches has really helped me settle in and have the house feel like a home! 

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah

You're never too old for a new hobby! 

Author's Note: Hey, future Sarah here to quickly cut in! This post was written prior to the news of COVID-19 and the heartbreaking effect it is having globally. This point of this article is in no way to profit off the misfortune of others in self-isolation. I still wanted to post this in case it does inspire someone to pick up a new hobby as a form of distraction during self-isolation. I'm currently still in London and working from home for the foreseeable future. I hope you're all staying safe where possible. If you suffer from ill mental health and/or are struggling to adapt to the self-isolation life, this resource from Mind is worth the read. Sending you all lots of love. đź’–

I don't know about you but whenever I was asked to introduce myself as a kid, it went a little something like this: "Hi I'm Sarah, I like fish fingers and my hobbies are reading and shopping". As a kid, I racked my brain is trying to work out what my hobbies were. Now, as I'm older, I think the meaning of a hobby has kind of changed. Many outgrow those childhood hobbies, they might even people part of your job or daily life that it's no longer seen as an enjoyable extra. as I've left uni and have more time to try other things, I've picked up a few things I maybe I tried once when I was younger and forgotten about or just picked up a new skill or hobby for the fun of it! It's never too late to try something new and this might give you some inspiration for what new hobby to pick up next. 

Knitting

My mum taught me to knit when I was a lot younger but I quickly got bored and forgot about it. Only recently I've picked it up again with some help from friends and family and I've got the hang of it again pretty quickly! It's been such a great form of self-care for me as, once you've picked up the basics, it can be quite mindless and meditative. It's also a great way to put down that phone - instead of having my phone distract me, I'm knitting instead and it's so much less distracting. I've stuck with simple scarves and hats for now but I think I'll be trying a jumper next - wish me luck! 


Reading

This isn't exactly a revelation considering the number of bookshops I've visited and my other recent book-related post: Slump-busting books. I still wanted to mention this as I've spoken to many friends who became demotivated to read during uni and so did I! I couldn't think of anything worse than finishing lecture reading to pick up another book. But, after a reading break, I now can't put my books down and I'm flying through my reading challenge for the year. I now know what genres I love, the best time to read and I love discussing them with friends. 


Learning Korean

This is a very recent addition. After learning French on Duolingo, I'd grown quite bored and it was no longer part of my daily routine to pick it up and learn. I fancied trying something completely different and as I've watched more and more Korean shows on Netflix over the years, it seems like a really interesting language to learn. I've been using the book Talk To Me in Korean* - they're not the cheapest but highly-recommended and I'm really loving using it. They also have some great free resources on their website as well. 

I've been trying to do a lesson a day, every morning when I get into work I grab a coffee and sit and complete a lesson but unfortunately, it doesn't always happen but I'm trying. I'm already annoying my friends by repeating random Korean words and phrases so I thank them for putting up with me!

Writing

My friend recently set up a writing group - kind of like a book club but a place to share ideas, writing problems, read each other's drafts and it has really inspired me to dust off my notebook and pick up the pen again. While a cohesive idea is yet to form, I'm not rushing myself as it's been so long. It's been really nice to just write out some nonsense and give this writing thing another go. 

Sewing

Another hobby for the creative kind, sewing was something I did intermittently throughout my summer holidays are a teenager but as much as I wish I took my sewing machine to uni with me, that didn't happen. Now in London, I'm surrounded by so many other makes at work and so many great fabric stores at the weekend, this is a hobby I always go back to when I want to great creative with. Now I have my sewing machine with me, I'll be sure to be making and more as we head into summer. 

What are some of your hobbies? Are they the same ones you had as a child or have they changed over time? 

I hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x
Covent Garden streets, soho area pink and blue bright buildings in London

Since living in London, I've spoken about my struggles with adapting to a new life in a new, much busier city than I've ever been used to. I've never been a big fan of crowds, or noise or general busy-ness. Since I moved here 7 months ago, I've definitely begun to adapt to the chaotic life of London weaving in and out of people, bunching up on the tube. But, I've also managed to find some peace in the hidden gems of the big city - the side streets, the quiet hours to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy city, but also still enjoying everything that London has to offer. 

Avoiding rush hour

I have really become a morning person (something I never thought I'd say) but getting out the house that little bit earlier for work puts my mind at ease that the commute will be a lot less hectic. Even on weekends, I'm so used to waking up early that if I have plans with myself or friends, I leave earlier than the usual weekend goer. It gives me a few hours in the morning where London is waking up that I can enjoy the quieter streets. 

Mid-week breaks

Some of the best days I've had have been when I've taken a random morning or day in the middle of the week. I have a lie-in (missing those morning rush hours) and head out to somewhere that usually might be full of families or tourists on the weekend. This is my favourite time to go to the busier galleries and exhibitions - I really feel like I can take my time, be independent and not feel panicked by having so many people surrounding me. 

Find 'your spot'

When I lived at home as well as uni, I always had those cafĂ©s I'd got to when I wanted some time to myself - that I know won't be too busy and I won't be worried about the usual unnecessary worries I have in busy places. It's harder in London but there are definitely a few places I know to go when I want a bit more familiarity. They may get busy but once I'm there and settled, I feel so much better for being out of the house and surrounding by people but in a place, I feel I know. 

Spend time with a friend

Even on the weekends, the louder London days, I've had some of the best days with my friends because I have someone with me to navigate through the crowds and instead of focussing on the people, I'm having such a great time, I don't even note the busy-ness. It's always great to explore with a friend - it's taken me to new places that I wouldn't have gone to otherwise and it's really helped me to even start going to these places on my own (but one step at a time).  

Explore the 'hidden city'

When I say hidden, nothing really is in London but the places that are at least that little bit quieter or feel at least a little more peaceful especially not in hours. Instead of going to the places everyone goes to go shopping, I head to somewhere a little different and quieter; it's one of the joys of there being 3 of the shame shop within a mile radius in London. 

Parks

There are so many parks in London! Even around my office in central London, there are so many parks to explore and take a seat for just a bit of space. Even Hyde Park, one of the busiest places in London at the weekend especially in summer. But, early on a Sunday morning, it feels so peaceful and open and so lovely to walk around and enjoy. 

Galleries

Like I say, there can be so much better on weekdays but, still, for ticketed exhibitions, I know I'm going to be able to enjoy my time in the gallery, not feel rushed and feel content. I've always found the Tate Britain to be a great quieter option even with it being one of the most well-known in London. 

Coffee Shops

If I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the weekend but still want to get out, I head to a cafĂ© - either a fail-safe old favourite or even a quiet, new one (if I'm feeling confident enough). I take my laptop and sit, enjoy the coffee and type away - exactly what I'm doing right now! And, sometimes I even forget I'm sta in the middle of such a busy, fast-paced city! 

Are you like me? Do you enjoy the quieter times or are you someone who revels in the busy atmosphere? 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x