Weekend Reads: 10 things I’m loving this week

I’ve spent most of my weekend in wellies this week. Kicking up leaves, splashing in puddles, searching for conkers, making dens and squishing through mud. It’s been the best and I’m loving that my boys are at this age (2 and 3) where going for a simple walk can be so much fun.

After such a gorgeous summer, I was really looking forward to winter and I went into winter hibernation mode a bit soon. I found myself snuggled inside with the heating on and a blanket across my lap while I tucked into homemade comfort food and endless cups of tea and, unsurprisingly, I was starting to feel a bit crap.

So I made a real effort this weekend to get out and get some exercise and fresh air. Thankfully, this isn’t too difficult when you live on the border of Wales and you’ve got two little boys to tire out each day. I decided to stop making excuses (it’s too wet, it’s too cold, it’s too windy, we’re too tired, there’s too much to do, I don’t want the dog to get too dirty) and just bundle everyone up in waterproofs and wellies and get outside and I felt so good for it!

It was my birthday on Monday (thank you for all the lovely birthday messages!) so I think this whole ‘get outside and exercise’ mentality comes with being another year older. I just want to be happy and healthy and getting out for long daily walks ticks both of those boxes so I need to make more of an effort to do it.

I also had my hair cut this week. I always forget how much better I feel after a good chop – it works wonders to lift your spirits!

I haven’t written a post like this in ages but here goes, here’s some things I’m loving right now!

I usually stick to things I’m reading or watching in my Weekend Reads posts but I’ve gone a bit off piste here and it’s just some things I’m enjoying.

Some things I’m watching, some things I’m reading or listening to and some things that have nothing to do with watching or reading, they’re just things I like!

Speaking of things I like….do you like the new layout for The Travel Hack? I’d got a bit bored of the old look of the site and there were a few techy glitches with the theme I was using so I’m hoping they’ll improve now. There are still a few changes I want to make to improve navigation on the site. There are well over 1,000 blog posts here but, unless you know what you’re looking for, it’s not always easy to find them! Let me know what you think!

 

#1. Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets

If you haven’t seen this yet then make yourself a cuppa, sit down and watch it. It’s so interesting. It’s basically about the environmental impact fast fashion is having on the world and it’s shocking. Terrifyingly shocking.

Fast fashion and this world we live in where there’s just so much waste has been on my mind a lot recently. It started off with people going plastic free and that seems to be so mainstream now and I think this concept is moving into other areas of our lives.

I’m so guilty of buying cheap clothes that are almost disposable. I’ll wear something for a season (which is sometimes only a few weeks depending on the weather) and then that item will then sit in my cupboard for about a year before I have a clear out and send it to the charity shop. It’s crazy. Particularly because no one gives a damn about what I’m wearing. Literally, I don’t think there’s a single person, other than me, who actually cares about what clothes I’ve got on.

I’m going to be delving a little deeper with this and blogging about it more because it’s a subject that’s really touched a nerve and this documentary has opened up a can of worms for me!

^The documentary inspired me to sort out my clothes and I’ve had a massive clear out. I’ve put about 80% of my clothes into suitcases and stored them in the attic so I now have a nice, simple capsule wardrobe ready for winter.

 

#2. The True Cost on Netflix

After watching Stacey Dooley’s show, Elle Croft suggested watching The True Cost which is a very similar documentary, but focuses on the people behind fast fashion as well as the environmental impact of clothes manufacturing.

When you realise that fast fashion harms people AND our world you start to really question why on earth we’d put our two most valuable resources in danger for the sake of a cheap new top.

 

#3. The Clinique sonic cleansing brush

I’m so lazy when it comes to beauty routines but my skin has been awful recently so I knew I needed to up my beauty game. I’ve tried lots of different fancy products over the years but I’ve never found something that really seems to make any difference, until now! I’ve was gifted the Clinique facial brush years ago but I never really used it – simply because I didn’t like the idea of having the charge SO MANY THINGS! I feel like every night when I go to bed I put about 8 trillion devices on charge! But actually, this brush seems to last about 2-3 weeks on one charge so it isn’t too bad.

I’ve been using the Clinique facial brush for a while and my skin is so much clearer and brighter than it has been for ages. I’ve just been using it with a standard cleanser (Garnier micellar gel cleanser) but the brush gently cleans your skin without making your skin all dry. I love it and I think over time it’ll actually save me money because I don’t feel the need to buy any fancy cleansers or exfoliators.

I usually link to products on Amazon but I’ve had a look at this is way more expensive on Amazon or other retailers but if you shop directly through Clinique there’s currently one for £56.67.

 

#4. This Ikea trolley

I love this trolley so much we’re going to get another one. I’m currently using it for plants in my conservatory and it’s great because I can wheel it outside to water everything then bring it back in once everything stops dripping.

We’re going to get a second to use as a drinks trolley. I’m just waiting for Joseph to be a little older as I still don’t trust him not to pick up all the pretty gin bottles!

 

#5. The iPhone XS Max

I don’t normally get that excited over new phones. I’ve been an iPhone girl forever and they’re all pretty much the same but I upgraded from the iPhone 7 so the XS Max and it is a game changer!

That massive screen and amazing camera are fab and I’m loving it. I’m finding myself watching way more YouTube videos because they look so good on the big screen!

 

#6. The East London Hotel

I stayed at The East London Hotel last week while I was in London for an event and I just absolutely loved it. It’s not super fancy or anything like that, it’s just everything you need it to be. It’s a great location, lovely staff, gorgeous decor, nice food, a lovely cafe/bar area, a nice communal workspace vibe, good coffee in the rooms, lovely bathrooms with nice toiletries, fluffy towels and comfy beds. And – even better – a great price too. It’s not all bells and whistles, it’s just everything you want it to be and I have the feeling someone who really ‘gets it’ designed this hotel.

 

#7.Feedback on my suitcase

Argh, people are buying my suitcase and they love it!

It’s so hard for me to see the Travel Hack Pro Cabin Case objectively. It’s like my baby and I love it unconditionally but it’s amazing to see real people love it too!

 

#8. Skillshare

Have you ever used Skillshare? It’s a site for online classes in creative classes like design and tech – and basically all the skills you need as a blogger. There are loads for writing, photography, editing, videography as well as business things like accounting and marketing. And all the lessons are presented with high quality videos that are really engaging. There’s also a really great app so you can watch all these films on your phone.

I recently upgraded to a premium account (£10 a month) so I can watch as many of the lessons as I’d like. If you’re interested, you can get 2 months for free using this link.

 

#9. In Praise of Mediocrity

I saw this on Twitter after Beverley Reinemann shared it and it really struck a chord. It’s about how we’re all striving for perfection, which isn’t always a bad thing, but we’re even aiming for perfection in things that don’t matter. Many people no longer have hobbies and the author believes this is because we’re so scared of failing or just being a bit shit at it. But when did this whole thing start where we feel like we need to be really good at our hobbies? Whatever happened to just doing something for the love of it? We need hobbies to help us relax and take our minds off the stresses of everyday life – but when we all try to be perfect at our hobbies they can become a whole new stress.

I took up knitting a few years ago and I really enjoyed the mundane relaxation and feeling of satisfaction when knitting a scarf. Admittedly, a pretty shit scarf. But I stopped knitting when I realised I was never going to be very good at it. Why did I do this? Why did I want to be good? Anyway, I like this praise of mediocrity and recommend giving it a read!

 

#10. This podcast from Lucy Lucraft

I very much enjoyed listening to The Highs and Lows of Blogging with Charlotte Jacklin from Betty Magazine. I actually love every episode of this podcast as Lucy has this amazing way of digging out such useful nuggets of information from people.

And an extra reason I love it is because I’m sponsoring this season of the podcast for The Blogger Course so I’m getting a lovely little shoutout for most episodes!

 

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Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel.Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.