Friday, 18 January 2019

Completing your reading goals in 2019

how to complete goodreads challenge

Since late December, my twitter feed has been filled with Goodreads reading challenge announcements, my own included! Reading X amount of books seems to be trending as far as goals and resolutions go this year, is it on your 2019 bucket list too? I read 30 books in 2018, most of which in the last 3 months of the year! 30 is nothing compared to some people’s page turning accomplishments, and I’m aiming for 52 completed reads in 2019! If you’ve got a book related goal in mind, I’ve found just a couple of ways to get a few more pages in each and every day - and who knows, they might push me past that 52 book goal!

Ditch the distractions 

One of the biggest book closing distractions that I face, is my phone. Hands down, I get to the bottom of the page, I check my phone. I finish a chapter - check my phone. My phone lights up, down goes my book. No matter how good a book is, you can guarantee my phone knows how and when to pull me away. I know, I know, I frustrate myself. SO, in order to ditch the digital distraction I’ve started putting my phone on the other side of the room. Before I do, I switch it on to do not disturb mode (I’ve got a Samsung, but I’m pretty sure iPhone has a similar option). This means no matter what apps send me notifications, my phone doesn’t even twitch. No lights, no sounds, no distractions. The only calls that can get through are those on my emergency contacts list. And because it means effort to get up and cross the room to look at it, I just don’t, yes, I can be that lazy!

The moments in between

Making a brew? I take my current read into the kitchen and read a page or two whilst the kettle boils and the tea steeps. Bath running? I take my book with me and read whilst the tub fills. Tv show on an ad break? You can see where I’m going with this can’t you? In all the little random moments of downtime, I’d usually scroll aimlessly through my phone, but we’re ditching that distraction in 2019 aren’t we? So I pick up my book instead. My spot on the couch always has two things next to it, my book and a brew. So as soon as I find myself with a random few minutes, I reach for tea or text, over my phone. You’ll be amazed at how many random little moments you can find in your day to squeeze a page or three in. As the bread toasts, as the veg boils, whilst you’re waiting at the bus stop, whilst you’re waiting for friends to arrive for a coffee. Think of how many times a day you pick up your phone - now replace that with picking up a book and those pages will soon add up!

how to complete goodreads challenge

Getting over the guilt

A friend recently asked me how I read so much of an evening when the Mr is about the house. She said she felt guilty for picking up a book after her and her husband had spent all day at work. She felt like that time at home should be spent together, and didn’t want him to think she was being ignorant by sticking her nose behind a book. The Mr knows how much I love to read, he’s forever buying me books and continuing to fuel my passion for the pages. We both have very separate interests that we both love to spend time on. So let’s say a typical evening after work. We’ll come home, have tea and watch an episode or two of whatever show we’re currently binging on. After that, we go our separate ways in the house, pursuing our own pleasures for a couple of hours. For me, this could be blogging, reading, having a chat with my parents, or watching some of the shows I love and he loathes. An hour or so before bed we tend to pop the kettle on and watch something together. He also loves to watch something as he falls asleep, which just isn’t my cup of tea at all, so I tend to read in bed next to him, as that’s what helps me to fall asleep. Every relationship is different, but we’ve found something that works really well for the both of us. If you’re feeling guilty about picking up a book over staring into the eyes of your partner, talk to them. Tell them you’re reading a great book right now and can’t wait to dive back in and see what happens, tell them about the book. Chances are they’ll encourage you to go pick it up and heck, they might be struggling with the guilt just as much for wanting to go and spend time on a passion project of their own!

Audiobooks DO count

I’ve seen this argument doing the rounds on Twitter lately amongst the bookish community and honestly, I don’t see how anyone can say audiobooks don’t count towards your goal. Of course they do! And they’re perfect for racking up a few more completions. Personally, I can’t read very well on public transport anymore, it makes me feel ridiculously nauseous! But sometimes I’m on the bus or train for over an hour, and there’s a whole lotta reading I could get through in that time if only my breakfast would stay down! Travelling, cleaning, cooking, whatever’s filling your hands, you can fill your head with the words of the latest crime thriller or YA fantasy - and I swear, it makes some of the seriously more mundane tasks, like folding all your clothes the Kon-Marie way, much more fun

how to complete goodreads challenge

Double up

This isn’t for everyone, but this works really well for me. I always have two books on the go at once. I have a book I’m happy to leave the house with, and a book that never leaves the house. The books I take to work tend to be library books or books on my Kindle. The books that stay at home are the ones it would break my back to carry around all day, or ones that are so dear to me I don’t want to risk bent corners and scratched covers. I’m slowly building a collection of specially bound hardback classics - these never leave the house! I find it very easy to flit between books, I think it’s the years of practice through University that gave me this CV worthy skill. 

Have you set yourself a reading target this year? Let me know in the comments what it is and how you plan on achieving it! 

Until next time, 

Header image: @nbb_photos
2nd Image: @freestocks
3rd Image: @priscilladupreez

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

*Love it or List it? The home improvements that could make me STAY?

easy home improvements

I’ve been telling every man and his dog that I want to finally move out of our city centre flat and into a more traditional, family home out in the ‘burbs this year. With that being said, if I was in the position to make a fair few upgrades and changes to our current home, could I be swayed to stay a little longer? What home improvements could be make to reconsider moving home in 2019?

Our flat is like a trial run house in itself, it’s a 2 bedroom, 2 up - 2 down job in the heart of the city centre. It’s been the perfect starter home for us, and a huge learning curve for me! I’ve loved living here, but to go on living here, a fair few things would have to change! So let’s start with the biggest problem we have - our windows!

Oh, what I wouldn’t give for some replacement windows. Our building is pretty old, and even though the windows are doubled glazed, the framework is wooden and really old. There’s actual gaps in the framework that you can hear the wind howling through in the winter. I’ve tried draft excluders, I’ve tried really thick tape, but still, it gets pretty chilly in the winter! The heating helps, but it goes cold pretty quickly after your turn the radiators off! 

Living room improvements

easy home improvements

Our living room could really do with some serious love, the furniture actually makes me sad. Our apartment came furnished, which was great at the time, but with nothing actually being ours, the place has never truly felt ours. I would love to get rid of the current sofas and replace them with a really comfortable L shaped couch! With extra large throw pillows and blankets to level up the hygge! 

A creative space in the home

If the spare bedroom didn’t have a bed in it, I would totally turn it into a proper home office / creative space. Right now, I’m set up on a desk in the living room, which is functional, but 1, not super practical if anyone else is in the living room, and 2, way too close to the kitchen for my waistlines liking! I love the idea of having my own little space to escape to! 

Kitchen expansion

easy home improvements

Speaking of the kitchen….oh someone get me a mallet! We have a downstairs loo and I would hands down knock it down in order to open up the kitchen, it’s the bane of my existence in this house, second to the windows! We have zero storage space in the kitchen and even less counter space, so I can’t even think about cooking for more than 2 people. Unless I want to learn how to plate up with the plates balanced on my head. It gets so frustrating, even just trying to plate up a Sunday roast, with plates and dishes piling up all over the show. I would knock the downstairs loo right out and get some sort of counter space come breakfast bar situation in place. With a breakfast bar, we could scrap the dining table and put in counter top space on that side too - and oh the storm I could cook up in that much space!

Are there any improvements you could make around your current home that would entice you to stay?

Until next time, 

Header Image: @rawpixel
2nd Image: @nathanfertig
3rd Image: @heftiba

*This post is in collaboration with Three Counties. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy.

Monday, 17 December 2018

A date night in Liverpool - Everyman Cinema, The Metquarter

everyman cinema liverpool metquarter

Opening this week is Liverpools newest date night offering, the Everyman Cinema, located in Liverpools swankiest of venues, the Met Quarter, Whitechapel. Old Hollywood glamour meets high end swank as the boutique venue boasts 4 screens and offers guests something no other cinema in the city does; a dine in theatre experience.

Upon arriving, you step into a bar area that just screams Saturday night drinks, but the ever comforting smell of freshly popped popcorn fills the room. The Everyman Cinema is a cinema with a difference. It doesn’t have the pick n mix of The Odeon, or the arts vibe of The Fact, nor the nostalgia of the Woolton Picture House, but it has something that really does set it apart. It’s biggest selling point, aside from some cracking cocktails, is it’s dine in experience. You can order food to eat in the bar area, there’s an array of booths and tables available, or, you can have it delivered to your theatre seats prior to the film starting (same goes for your drinks!). 

everyman cinema liverpool metquarter

Before entering the theatre, we put our orders in at the bar, the speciality Spielburgers caught my eye, so I ordered the Halloumi burger (£10.50); deep fried halloumi, roasted pepper, aubergine, and harissa mayo with a side of sweet potato fries (£3.50). All burgers comes with hand cut skin on fries as standard. I grabbed my Everyman G&T (£7.95); Langleys gin, Fever Tree, basil & grapefruit, and headed into Screen 1 for my first Everyman cinema experience.

The first thing that hits you is the theatre itself! Gone are your typical cinema seats with their plastic cupholders and skinny armrests, oh no, the Everyman theatres are much cosier than that. The room is filled with single and two seater couches, complete with cushions, a lot of leg room and a side table for your drinks and snacks. 

everyman cinema liverpool metquarter

Don’t get me wrong, this is about as cosy as you can get, the couches are lovely, and you can really kick your shoes off and curl up for the film but logistically, this causes some complications. For starters, the side table is great for your drink, but if the person on the couch next to you is a stranger, fumbling in the dark for whose drink is who leads to all kinds of confusion and inevitable spillages. If they don’t move their empties to the small shelf on the couch in front, things really start to pile up quickly. Then, there’s the food.

I’ve only ever experience one dine in theatre before, in America. The seats were the usual cinema style, but the backs of the chairs in front had proper tables attached to them, with condiments and utensils every other seat, and a call button (remember this, this is important). At the Everyman Cinema, your lap is your table. I’m not trying to be all snooty patooty here, I eat off my lap every single night at home, but thats at home. Where I can put a light on, or it doesn’t matter if I unknowingly drip harissa mayo down my chin. Again, I’m looking at this as a potential date venue, and it’s a giggle at first, stuffing your face in the dark, but the novelty soon wares off when you’re fumbling for the ketchup or you’ve no idea were you just dropped that fry! 

everyman cinema liverpool metquarter

I’m one of those people who once I’m in my cinema seat, I don’t move until the credits roll, not even for the loo or a refill on my popcorn. I really thought that when they said you could eat and drink throughout the film, there would be a way to get those extra drinks without having to leave your seat. With several other cinemas in the city, the Everyman needs more than couches and cocktails to set it apart for me. The idea of hitting an aeroplane style call button for another g&t as the film really starts to ramp up would be a massive selling point and would sway me to choose seeing the latest blockbuster there over another cinema. They did say we could wave over an usher if we needed anything but in a pitch black theatre, the users had no chance of noticing us. I saw people leave the screen for more drinks and come back 20-25 minutes later. That’s more film than I’m willing to sacrifice just to get another drink! 

everyman cinema liverpool metquarter

As a venue, it’s well worth checking out, it has such a fancy, fabulous vibe and I will be making a point of going back - but as for the food and drink situation, I’d be tempted to head in early and chill in the bar prior to the film, eat there, where there’s a table, then take another drink into the film, like I would in any other cinema. For me, this is much more of a Sunday chill, curling up on those couches with the Mr or my friends, after catching up over brunch kinda place, over an evening out! But each to their own remember! 

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Everyman Cinema, Liverpool - what film will you be heading to check out first?

everyman cinema liverpool metquarter

Until next time,