As we know, I’ve not been the most proactive when it comes to updating this blog, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t always on my mind; I forever find myself thinking “Ah I have to write/tell people about this!”
Those things can be anything from books I’ve read, programmes or films I’ve watched, something I’ve eaten, somewhere I’ve been, or products I’ve been using, but I don’t always feel able to put together a whole post exclusively about them, either through time constraints or not feeling like I’m knowledgeable enough to give a proper, well-rounded and informative full review (this is especially true in the case of some beauty product – I aint no Zoella as I think you can all tell!)
So, I thought to myself, why not write a monthly post about all the things I’ve been loving? That way I can share my thoughts and recommendations without having to get too in-depth or making myself look stupid by trying to write about a topic I really have no expert know-hows on.
I imagine some months might be busier than others depending on what I’ve been up to, but for now, here are the things I’ve been loving recently…
Ok, I’ll hold my hands up here and admit, when Instagram first brought Stories out I wasn’t on board and I wasn’t the only one, with so many of us asking why they were trying to be Snapchat. Yet here I am now, absolutely loving it as it’s such a great way to keep up to date with friends, bloggers I follow, brands etc. I decided that I was going to try and InstaStory every day in December as I have really struggled to get on board with actually uploading content on there myself – in part because I’m awkward, but also because I think people would find what I get up to pretty boring (wake up, go to work, go home, eat dinner, go to bed, wake up, go to work, go home… you get the picture). However, I’m giving it a go this month and will see how I get on – come and find me if you don’t follow me on there already; I’m @apenny_for_them.
Being a Brit, I’m a big fan of a roast dinner, and now the winter is here they’re a staple every single weekend in our house (plus a couple of midweek ones when I’ve had the time!) Roast potatoes are one of my most favourite things in the world and after years and years of practice and process-tweaking (I take potatoes very seriously) I’ve now got them nailed and my roast spuds are something to behold, even if I do say so myself!
Guys, guys, guys, guys, guyssssssss! I have been banging on about LOTD on Twitter and Instagram and featured them in my Christmas Party Outfits Under £30 post a few days ago, but they’re honestly my new favourite retailer. Being in my 30s and a little on the chubby side (cheers to my metabolism-freezing medication for that!) I often find when I’m searching online shops that there isn’t a lot for me – everything is cropped and tight – however, LOTD has such a huge range, including lots of bits and pieces that are comfortable, not-too-dressy and don’t leave me feeling like mutton dressed as lamb when I’m wearing it. As well as having a great selection of styles to suit pretty much everyone, their prices are also really good and when they put items into their sale, they do it properly and reduce the prices right down! They’re definitely my new go-to for when I get a shopping itch that needs to be scratched and I 100% recommend you check them out!
Having realised in recent weeks that I’m actully thirty two years old, that time flies by, and that in just 8 years I’m going to be forty (!!) it dawned on me that I probably need to step up my skincare routine. I’ve always been fairly lucky with my skin (despite the cancer, obvs) and so I’ve never really paid too much attention to skincare. I’ve always made sure I wash my make-up off before bed, I cleanse and moisturise etc, but it’s always just been a bit low-key and I’ve never really invested any time, effort or money into it. However, I’ve stocked up the bathroom and now have a full arsenal at my disposal to try and keep those sneaky little signs of ageing at bay. One of the new products I’m loving right now is the Procoal charcoal face mask, a blend of three clays that helps to clear the pores and remove toxins from your skin – definitely something I need working in London every day! I’ve used this a few times and I absolutely love it, it goes on smoothly, smells amazing and leaves my skin looking fresh and feeling soft afterwards. This has quickly found itself a regular spot in my skincare routine, being used at least once a week.
As a serial nail biter my entire life, I have tried everything possible to stop me doing it (including hypnotherapy) and nothing has worked. For about 10-years I had acrylic nails done at a local salon, but they caused so much damage to my natural nails that I realised the whole process was counter-productive and if the day ever came that I did manage to stop biting, my nails would be so badly damaged they wouldn’t be able to grow anyway. With that, I stopped having acrylics put on and swapped to shop-bought false nails. I think, over the course of the past few years, I’ve probably tried every single stick-on nail brand out there and, by a long stretch, Kiss are my favourite. Their nails look great, are a natural thickness so they don’t look fake, and the glue that comes with them holds strong without causing damage to your own nails. Having become a bit of an old pro in this department, I can now get a set to last me 2-weeks if I’m careful and stop my clumsy hands from banging in to everything, and they’re super quick to put on and take off, meaning I can change up my look for a night out or special occasion without too much hassle. Perfect! Currently I’m sporting pillarbox red, but they have a pretty good selection available and I’ve already purchased something a little sparkly for Christmas!
Sometimes it seems like there’s nothing decent on TV and other times we’re completely spoilt with loads of amazing programmes, and the latter has definitely been true of the past few months! Here are my top picks and recommendations if you’re looking for some new viewing to get stuck in to – there’s some good’uns!
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Whenever I come across somebody who says they haven’t watched Stranger Things I find myself staring at them, aghast, before telling them they HAVE TO WATCH IT BECAUSE IT’S SO BLOODY GOOD. I was so excited for the second season and it didn’t disappoint. Anyone else want their own Chief Hopper for giant hugs and dad dancing in the living room?
The Exorcist (Fox)
Sometimes I feel like we might be the only ones watching this series because nobody I speak to has seen it, but it’s brilliant! Following a priest and an ex-priest, we see them dealing with demons as they take over people’s bodies and lives. It has so many little stories within it that it makes really good watching and we both absolutely love it.
The Sinner (Netflix)
I’d seen a few reviews raving about this Netflix drama so I thought I’d give it a go, but not being a big fan of anything being hyped up too much, I wasn’t sure if it was really going to be as good as they said, but I was wrong – it’s brilliant. It’s gripping, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you try and work out what has happened and what drove a seemingly run-of-the-mill wife and mother to spontaneously stab and kill a man during a family day out at the beach.
American Horror Story: Cult (Fox)
I loved AHS when it first started back in 2011 but having got rid of my Sky subscription for a while to save the pennies, I didn’t watch it again until the new season, Cult, started earlier this year and I was instantly hooked again! It’s pretty dark and has references to real-life serial killers, plus a heavy focus on the recent political climate in America, plus hate crimes and phobias. It’s such a cleverly written series, with side stories and historical accounts intertwined with the main narrative, and the acting was spot on. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what the creators have in store for next season!
Leah Remini: Scientology The Aftermath (Crime and Investigation)
Fascinating, shocking and sad, the second season of this programme has been even more hard-hitting than the first. I’m not about to get into a discussion on the topic of the show itself as but I wholeheartedly recommend people watch it and make up their owns minds. For the record, I also really want to be best friends with Leah.
Impractical Jokers (Comedy Central)
Anyone that knows me will know how much I love this programme; it literally has tears of laughter running down my face every single time I watch it! For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, it follows four men who have been friends for over 20-years as they basically try their hardest to embarrass each other. It sounds fairly basic as a premise, and I guess it is, but it just works so well and I’m so glad to see them getting the recognition they deserve these days, with sell-out stadium tours every time they go on the road. 10/10 want to hang out with them.
Blue Planet (BBC One)
I don’t even know what to say about this programme other than: if you haven’t watched it yet, you have to! It’s honestly one of the best shows on TV, teaching us so much about this incredible planet of ours and the animals on it. Every single week I watch this, eyes wide open and my jaw on the floor at the sheer beauty of what I’m seeing. It’s also broken my heart a few times as I’ve seen the impact humans are having on not only Earth itself, but the creatures that live here and are suffering as a result of our selfishness. I’ve always considered myself to live a fairly ethical life, but this has definitely made me much more aware of what I do and don’t do and how I can decrease the footprint I leave.
I’m aware this is perhaps a little geeky of me, but Google Docs and Google Sheets are literally my saviours. Having my important stuff accessible at home, at work and on my phone – so basically 24/7 – means I can keep on top of stuff like my finances, Christmas shopping (yeah, I have a spreadsheet for that) and my blogging. Granted, it’s perhaps a little much to say I’m ‘on top’ of my blogging, but I’m much more organised than I used to be, so that’s something!
Excitement For 2018
I am absolutely buzzing for 2018 and all it has to bring. I have so many plans and, for the first time in such a long time, it feels like the air is full of magic again and, I’ll be honest, I am loving it!
What have you been loving recently?
* In Association with Brand *