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While I've been sharing quite a few book recommendations recently - cosy book picks and books based on your zodiac signs - I haven't shared so much of my more recent reads as well as what I've been watching. I've also discovered some great new albums that I've been eager to share. Now's the time! 

Books I've been reading

Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan 

This was actually my sister's book and I was intrigued when I saw it on the shelf. She had "Book One" which is the first 12(ish) volumes of this comic. It's about a group of girls who all deliver the local newspaper. When they're on their morning paper run, all sorts of abnormal activity ensures. Aliens, time travel, clones. It's so fast-paced! You're thrown straight into the story and it gets going immediately with every episode or volume ending in a cliffhanger. I definitely enjoyed the fact there was more than one volume in this book otherwise, even with the cliffhangers, I don't think I would stick with it. Paper Girls was a nice break from my usual reads and one I'd definitely recommend to sci-fi, graphic novel fans. 

The Life of a Banana by P.P Wong

This was a fairly quick read for me. It follows Xing Li, she is what some Chinese refer to as a "Banana" - yellow on the outside, white on the inside. She lives in London with her mum and brother but after her mum sadly dies, she moves in with her strict, traditional grandma, wannabe actress auntie, and aloof, troubles uncle. As she's both adjusting to this new home, she's also trying to fit in at her new school - full of rich, white, kids who can't get past how she looks. Xing Li feels like she doesn't belong anywhere. It's such a heartbreaking story that is also funny in places. I personally loved the dynamic between her and her brother as well as the blossoming friendship with her new and only friend, Jay. 

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

Ahh yes - the book everyone and their mum's have read and is talking about it. I mentioned this in my Cosy book recommendations so I'll keep this one short. Tiffy and Leon share a flat but they work completely different hours and never actually meet. It was such a warm, uplifting and funny read. If you're looking for a nice, easy read to devour in a day or two, this is perfect! 

Keep up with all my reading on goodreads!


Shows I've been watching

Doctor Who 

I used to be such a big Doctor Who fans back in the days of Cristopher Eccelston and David Tennant but as the years went on, I've watched it less and less. When I discovered all the 10 recent seasons had made its way to Netflix I said: "Challenge Accepted!" It's actually been so nice rewatching after all these years as so many episodes have forgotten, I can relive some faves and also I feel like I actually understand the storylines a lot more than my 12-year-old self hiding behind the pillow on a Saturday night ever did. 

Goggle Box

I'm sure if you're from the UK, you are aware of this show that is pure TV gold. Watching people watch TV - sounds ridiculous but it's the only time I seem to watch actual TV. It never fails to make me laugh. The families are all so funny and even if you're bored, the old episodes still stand the test of time and are great if you need an extra giggle. 

Albums I've been listening to 

Manic // Halsey 

I am so annoyed it took me this long to full sit down and listen to this whole album in its entirety. I now cannot stop listening to it. I've not always been a big Halsey fan but this album is so well put together with some really great tracks that are different from any of her earlier music I've head. My favourite tracks are you should be sad, 3am and killing boys. 

~ how i'm feeling // LAUV

Now, this one I made sure I listened to on the day of release. I loved LAUV's last album which I mentioned previously in "Albums I Can't Stop Listening To" and this album is no different. There's some really great tracks for every mood. This album is always in heavy rotation on Spotify and I'm more than ok with that. My favourite track has to be Modern Loneliness but also Tattoos Together, Who, Sweatpants and... can I just list the whole album?!

I hope you liked this pretty laid back post.  Leave any book, music or Tv recommendations for me to check - I always love your recommendations! 

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 


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Today, I thought I'd do something a little fun and recommend some books to you but with a bit of a different twist. Instead of a specific genre or theme in mind, today I'm sharing book recommendations based on zodiac signs. With a bit of help from my sister and my friend Holly (follow her bookstagram!), I've compiled some recommendations. They may be a genre completely alien to you, it might even be a book you already hate but, you never know. Whether it's high fantasy, historical fiction or a YA book recommendation based on your zodiac sign, it might push you to try something new and maybe even discover a new five-star fave! 

Aries: The Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

To appeal to the competitive nature of an Aries, The Endgame is the perfect dystopian read. Twelve teens have spent their whole lives preparing to take part in this life-or-death game. This book is the Hunger Games on steroids - alliance making, high stakes game and a fast-paced read perfect for an Aries.

I actually received an Arc of the Endgame many years ago so feel free to head to my review to read more about this book as well as my thoughts. 

Taurus: To all the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

to appeal to the romantic side of a Taurus, Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky's relationship is definitely one to follow along with. If you are yet to discover this book, we see Lara jean coming to terms with her situation after 5 love letters she wrote as a child, mysteriously are sent out to the recipients, something she never considered happening. If you're on the hunt for teen romance, this is one you'll love. Why not even devote yourself to completing the trilogy

Gemini: Bunny by Mona Awad

Bunny is the perfect book for any Gemini with a curious, open mind and looking for a book that is definitely far from boring and maybe even on the weirder side. Samantha joins Warren University on a scholarship where she particularly despised a group of girls in her fictional writing class that call each other "Bunny". That is until she's invited to their "smut salon" and thrown down the proverbial rabbit hole. Bunny is weird, unsettling and an experience you're unlikely to forget.

Honourable mentions: Papergirls by Brian K. Vaughan

Cancer: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

This highly imaginative but emotional, sympathetic group opens Cancer up to an abundance of different readers from an array of different genres and perspectives. The hobbit is the perfect fantasy classic to appeal to their imaginative side. Full of adventure and friendships, Bilbo Baggins, a quiet little Hobbit, does not intend on having any adventures. This is until a group of Dwarves show up at his door with takes of dragons, gold and a lonely mountain, how can Bilbo resist the call of family and adventure just beyond his doorstep?

Leo: The Martian by Andy Weir

A book with a strong lead will definitely appeal to a Leo. With humour, creativity as well as being warm-hearted - these are all characteristics a Leo is seen to have. With that, The Martian is a perfect choice; full of humour, creative thinking and a great main character of Mark Watney. He's left stranded on Mars and has to navigate through everyday life while also trying to work out a way back home. 

Virgo: The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak by Brian Katcher

The was a tough one - having an analytical, practical mind yet seen to love romance as well as animals, it's a tricky combination. However, The Improbable Theory might be the perfect mix of some of these traits in a book. It brings together Ana and Zack as they chase down Ana's brother Clayton who ditched school to attend a sci-fi convention. 

Libra: The Giver by Lowry Lois

With their dislike for violence by love for harmony and diplomacy, a dystopian read seems worth the time of a Libra. In The Giver, 12-year-old Jonas is seen to live in the perfect world but it's only when he's assigned his lifetime role of the Receive does he release it's not as perfect as he always thought. A great quick-read to question whether a world can ever be perfect and if the ideal, perfect world is the same for everyone. 

Scorpio: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Unlike Libra, Scorpions tend to be more passionate and determined, wanting to fight for the injustices but, at the same time, the books they'd both like may overlap. The Hate U Give is the perfect read for a Scorpion. We follow 16-year-old Starr and her fight for justice for the death of her friend Khalil who was killed, unarmed, by police. Starr is a brave, passionate and determined character that many Scorpions will relate to, while also being a book that everyone should pick up. 

Honourable mentions: The Binding by Bridget Collins

Sagittarius: Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

Sagittarius' tend to be idealistic, adventure-loving travellers, extroverted and optimistic. That's why Wild is a great recommendation. After her mother's death, a broken marriage and with no close family, Cheryl makes the impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail which stretches more than a thousand miles - with no training and all alone. This book follows Cheryl as she tried to reflect on these life events and tries to heal.

Capricorn: How to Fail by Elizabeth Day.

Lovers of family, tradition and music, Capricorns are also a group that learn from their mistakes and continually evolve as people. This book highlights the honest and true power of making mistakes - something I'm sure many Capricorns will be able to relate to and understand. This was inspired by Elizabeth's podcast so that might also be a great recommendation for you too! 

Aquarius: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Independent, aloof, shy are all words that come up for Aquarius as well as being lovers of intellectual conversation and abilities to problem solve. They also run with emotional expression. Eleanor Oliphant is a crowd favourite by should be a particular hit among Aquarius. We see Eleanor - someone who struggles with social skills and avoids all unnecessary human contact - go through this. This is the norm for Eleanor until she meets Raymond, The IT guy from her office who, when together, save an elderly man named Sammy who has fallen. This is such a warm, uplifting read of finding friendship. 

Pisces: The Muse by Jessie Burton

This artistic, musical bunch also love a romance, so a graphic novel seems like the perfect choice for a Pisces. However, for a larger read, The Muse has a perfect artistic backdrop for a Pisces to appreciate. July 1967 - Odelle enters the Skelton gallery, London where she's offered a job as Marjorie Quick's typist. Quick unlocks potential in Odelle she didn't know existed and uncovers her secrets, just like the secret history of a painting that is delivered to the gallery. We also, therefore, follow the story of this mysterious painting. 


This was such a fun post to put together and I can't wait to hear what was recommended to you! What do you think of your recommendations? 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x
I don't know about you but, while it's great being productive, it can be very exhausting. But, it doesn't have to be. Being productive doesn't have to mean writing a novel, learning a completely new language, master HTML in a weekend, sometimes the small moments of productivity like making your bed, reading a chapter of a book can be just as rewarding and motivating. Doing a few small productive acts can really set you on a productivity streak! Today, I thought I'd compile a list of little ways to feel a bit more productive, just a bit at a time. 

Cleaning & Organising

  • Declutter your wardrobe. Goodbye holey tees and socks from when I was 12. 
  • Tidy up your bookshelves. Hello, rainbow-ordered shelves! 
  • Organise your stationery. Finally, time to get rid of that pen that's not worked for years. 
  • Change your bedsheets. You can't argue with me here. Having new sheets is the best feeling. 
  • Clear out your email inbox. Unsubscribe to all those annoying newsletters. 
  • Pay your bills. Booooring but we kinda have to, right?
  • Write out your plans for next week. 


Learning

  • Write a new TBR. Any books you missed out? Any new releases to add?
  • Learn a new word in a new language. A bit at a time - Rome wasn't built in a day!  
  • Sign-up to an online workshop.
  • Take a virtual tour. Visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam then head to the History Museum in London. 
  • Watch a documentary. Any day is better with Louis Theroux in it. 

Blogging

  • Think of some new ideas
  • Update your media kit. Add new stats, info and sponsors. 
  • Re-share your latest blogpost or why not promote an oldy but a goody! 
  • Bulk some blog photos. 
  • Get inspired and read other blogs. You might even discover a new fave. 
  • Make some new pins for Pinterest. 
  • Write you're next post!


Hobbies

  • Listen to an album you've been meaning to listen to for ages. 
  • Create a new productive playlist
  • Bake something new. Banana bread, cheesecake, focaccia!
  • Get crafty! Scrapbooking, drawing, sewing, knitting. 
  • Read a chapter or two of your book. 


Health & Wellbeing

  • Do a workout from home...
  • ... or maybe yoga? 
  • Listen to a mindful podcast
  • Complete your skincare routine
  • Just, breathe. 
  • Plan your meals for the week or even prep some weekly meals
  • Have a bath/shower
  • Take time for self-care. It's as productive as anything else, you know. 

We can get very caught up in feeling we have to accomplish a lot in a short space of time but doing just one or two small acts of productivity can really help. Just looking after yourself, doing something you enjoy for a little while or taking some time to get orgaised is enough! 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 


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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 macramé 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