Book Club – Mid Year Catch Up!

One of my 2018 Goals was to spend some more time doing “nothing”. I like to call this very special time of the day “Zone Out” time. It means so much to me because it is time that I truly dedicate to me and letting my very over active brain switch off for a while.

There are times in the week where I pair this “Zone Out” time with the time that I get my body moving. This sounds very odd, but over the years I have developed the knack of walking and reading at the same time….so reading and walking on the treadmill or cycling on the gym bikes is no different.

This very odd skill has allowed me to fit in more reading (one book a month…yay), and more cardio….so it is a win-win situation.

So…what have I read so far this year?

January: ‘A is for Alibi’ by Sue Grafton

I do love a crime novel and this one didn’t disappoint! It is the first in the series written by this author that follows a female insurance investigator/private investigator. I won’t reveal too much but basically it is a page turner and not for the faint of heart. There was one point where I was reading on the bike, someone wanted my attention in the gym and I nearly fell off! Slightly embarrassing to say the least!

Totally recommend as an any point in the year read, so pick up a copy before you head on your holidays!

February: ‘High Fidelity’ by Nick Hornby

A classic! I think I have read this book and watched the movie upwards of 50 times over the years. I like to think of this as the coming of age story that keeps on giving. It’s the story of a guy going through a breakup….and a quarter life crisis…and working on a struggling business with 2 oddballs he hired for ‘2 days a week and just starting turning up every day’.

It has an amazing soundtrack (check out Spotify for some amazing playlists) and it always gets me in the mood for a trip down memory lane! It also inspired me to write this blog. I am the queen of the top 5….and it’s this books fault!

March: ‘Expo 58’ by Jonathan Coe

This book is AWFUL! I was hoping this would be a beautiful post-war story of a time where the world was hopeful and full of spies. In the end it was slow to start and even half way through it hadn’t gotten anywhere!

I abandoned it at page 100 of 263 so I can’t even comment on the ending.

April: ‘The F Word’ by Lily Pebbles

I can say nothing but good things about this amazing book written by one of my favourite bloggers of all time.

This is a social commentary on Female Friendship. It prompted me to reflect on my own friendships and how much I really do value the ladies in my life!

If you are having a bad time, or feel like you need a positive read…I would 100% recommend it! I may have purchased a couple of copies to give to these girlfriends so they can share in the joy!

May: ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeymann

An overall ‘meh’ read! It was great in places, and covers the very sad topics of loneliness, loss and mental health but it was another slow one for me.

I picked it up in Winchester on a trip to see one of my besties with another bestie so it will always hold a place for me in my heart, but i don’t think it is one I will be pick up up again.

If you want a good cry, pick it up.

June: ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins

I started watching this amazing women on YouTube and I very quickly became obsessed!

Mel basically teaches you how to get your life in order, how to stop your brain from screwing you over, and how to be more productive!

She shows you how to use that 5 second window between when you decide to do something and your brain being out to your advantage and move forward on something. It has also been helping me with my anxiety which has been amazing!

If you want a book on productivity and anxiety treatment that actually works: pick this up and watch it change your life!!

So, that is what I have been reading this year! I hope you pick some of these up and you let me know what you think!!!

Have I missed anything that I should be trying??

Hugs and love xXx Have a great weekend xXx

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Story Time: 5 Objects That Make Me ‘Me’

For the first time in a long time I sat and read a magazine. I was in a waiting room and it was probably 4 years out of date, and I can’t remember which magazine it was, but still….

During my flip through I found this cool article where someone famous listed 5 objects that made up their life story or their journey to the top. This inspired me to reflect on things that I have with me all day every day, things that I love from when I was little and even things I accumulated on the way and measure how important they are to me.

So here are the 5 Objects That Make Me ‘Me’:

Snoopy:

He has to be my very first and best friend. I know he may look old and a bit beaten up, but to be fair he isn’t too bad for a 40 year old bear.

My Dad gave him to my Mum when they were dating…..to say that was a while before I came along was an understatement!

The story I was told is that he fell into my cot and we have been friends ever since. There is a complementary story that goes with that where my Dadums had to drive all the way back to Centre Parcs in Nottingham where I accidentally left him behind! Snoopy knows my darkest secrets and he has seen me through some very shitty times.

As an adult (sort of) I would love to say I no longer have him in my bed with me, but when times get tough and I need my oldest friend, he’s always there!

My Fountain Pen:

Junior school was a little bit difficult for me. School had been my escape for such a long time, and to all of a sudden have a teacher who was not the most understanding of the dyslexic bunch was really difficult. She told us we were not allowed to have fountain pens yet because ‘we weren’t smart enough to use them’.

At the end of that year, after many complaints about this particular teacher, she left the school and my parents treated me to this beautiful pen as a treat for really sticking it out. My Nan even sat with me to teach me how to write with it. It’s an art form in itself and I have never stopped using it. I wrote my A-Levels with it, my final university exams and even my wedding vows.

I even use it to write all my greetings cards and I like to think it passes on a little love and good luck along its way.

Charlotte:

When I was Christened, my Great Aunty Pat and Great Aunty Gill brought me a very tiny nameplate necklace. Every time there was a special occasion I had it round my neck until one day it just wouldn’t go around me any more.

When I was 19 my Mama and Dadums brought me a replacement and I have worn it no fewer than twice a week ever since. When people in my age group where getting into “Sex in the City” and Carrie’s name necklace, I had been wearing mine for years!

I feel like it’s another of my lucky charm, no matter what occasion I need it for. It even feels like my Mama and Dadums are giving me a hug when I need it the most.

Bangle:

Another piece of jewellery, but with a different little story. I haven’t taken this off since the summer before I went to university.

A distant but very dear friend gave this to me just before he went off to spend a year in the circus. I was always very close to by Brother Friend (as I always called him) and his school friends, they all wore these bangles and to be given one was a big deal….particularly for a girl who hung around with the boys school crowed.

Since then I have never take it off. I even wore it on our wedding day…..much to my Grandmothers horror!

Something Very Special:

Once Upon a Time, in a land not too far away a Boy gave a Girl a ring that was just a Birthday gift. They had only been dating about 8 months and it was something she picked out herself…….11 years later they got engaged, got married and they lived happily ever after.

So, this little ring was the first birthday gift The Boy ever gave me. It was my 20th and I had a £20 budget to spend (the joys of being a student and skint all the time). This little guy cost around £15 so there was some changed left over for a little cake as well. The day after he brought it for me we had ‘Faux Birthday’ as I was going home for the actual day, so I could wear it straight away. From that day up until the day we got engaged it resided on my left hand on my middle finger. Now it sits at the top of my wedding ring and engagement ring stack. This ring is nothing expensive, and looks unimportant to most, but it means everything to me. It represents the first time The Boy said ‘I love you’ and the moment that we both realised we would be together…..’Always’.

So those are 5 things that make me ‘me’ I guess.

What items are special to you? Do you have anything that you usually overlook that you might see differently now?

Hugs and love xXx Have a wonderful weekend xXx

June Favorites

Happy End of June everyone!!

We have reached that magical time of year where the days start to get a little shorter but they get exponentially hotter!

You all know I am not very good with the heat, but this summer I am actually kind of excited to get a bit of a tan and spend some time in the sunshine!!

This month, as all of them, has gone passed in a flash and I feel like I have spent it chasing my tail!

At one point we had no hot water (thank you Dadums for fixing it), the house has had a deep clean and the food processor went bang! To top it all, the 9-5 has been giving me a crazy amount of anxiety, so I have been doing my best to keep it all together and work on my trigger points (but that is a story for another time).

Let’s let that all go to one side, and get into the things that I have loved this month!!

In the Kitchen:

With the temperature rising and air condition being turned up to the max, I feel like I am turning into the seasonal prune! To keep hydrated from the inside out, I have been doing my best to drink at least one of these when I get home in the few hours before I go to bed.

I love this bottle so so much for its size, and message! We should all be reminded to be in the moment and not distracted so much!

Side note: I keep a full one of these by my bed so I can grab it in the morning and drink it before I head out the door. This sounds so lazy, but if my water is not in one place and ready for me to drink I just wont drink it.

In the Bathroom:

A french skin care item in my favourites should be no shock to anyone! I have a very real obsession with it…..and to be honest I do not see it going anywhere any time soon! They are just the best!!

I have been applying this cream underneath my SPF to give that added hydration. There is an added bonus with this little guy as it is formulated to reduce redness. I so much as have to think about being warm or sunburnt to go bright red, so this has been helping out loads!

In the Bedroom:

I had to add this favourite in, but I couldn’t find a space…so I thought: “My other earrings live in the bedroom, so I will just bung them here!”

Over the last 9 months I have been slowly finishing off my curated ear. This sounds so poncy but this is the only way I can describe it.

During the piercing stage I have been feeling so miffed that the rest of my ear looks so boring….so I added these little beauties to my ear to give it a bit of flair! These are all from SeolGold on Etsy so please go check them out! Super affordable and AMAZING quality!

In The House of Lotz Spa and Retreat (aka the Living Room):

For the last year or two I have been using the poof that came with our sofa as my desk…..which has been killing me back! Hunching over is not a good look for me!

The final straw came in the form of my back spasming so badly I had to take a bath….and muscle relaxant….and apply muscle gel!

After this The Boy made me look at desk options for the living room!

This little guy is from Home Sense and it is meant to be a garden table, but it really suits our living room perfectly!

In the Portable House of Lotz (aka In My Handbag):

Once upon a time, way back when I was at Senior School, there was a teacher that I just adored! Everything about her was amazing and all I wanted to do was be like her! From her hair, nail polish and shoes, I just loved her! She reminded me a little of Charlotte from Sex and the City….so if any of my lovely readers went to my old school around the same time as me this will be a massive give away!

In her stationery arsenal she had a full set of Parker pens. The fountain pen, ballpoint and the pencil. Over the years I have collected the fountain pen and ballpoint, but the pencil has always just that little bit out of reach!

This year I decided it has to be mine, so I now have a full set!! I have been using it non-stop….so my 12 year old self would be so proud!

So that is what has been keeping me going this month!

What have you all been loving? Is there anything I should be trying next month?

Have a great weekend xXx Hugs and love xXx

Mid Year Check In – Has everything gone to plan?

I say this so often, but I feel like years move so quickly that I can’t keep up. This year is no exception, it felt like I made my New Years Goal list a few weeks ago….yet the mid year pop up started flashing at me this week.

As soon as this pop up flashed, I realised that I had to go through everything I set out to achieve and be accountable….yuck!

This sounds so dramatic, but over the years I have done this I come to my mid year or end of year check in and I hate it! I hate it at the 9-5 and I hate it in my personal life.

As you can probably tell, I am not very good at disappointing people. That is one of my biggest fears in life. (Insert childhood/school related stuff here!)

Anyway, back to my point: this year I decided to create a smaller list that was a little more open and achievable!

So…..what was the plan? How on track am I?

Home Improvements:

This year we wanted to update some areas of our home. Just a few little things like redecorating the living room and getting rid of a few things.

So far, the living room has been redecorated, clothes and homeware has been tracked and replaced….there is even an ongoing Garden Project the my Dadums and Uncle are undertaking for us! The Boy and I have no idea what we are doing with that areas, so having responsible adults around to help us is AMAZING!! We are so so grateful!

Next stop: new sofa and maybe windows!!!

Spending more time with you guys:

I wanted to create more content for you guys!! Creating more blog posts, more Instagram pictures and even some Instagram Stories!

To be fair, I am up there on the blog posts, but I am slacking on the Instagram stuff! I have looked at my posts and dabbled in with the stories, but this is something I need to keep working on! It doesn’t help that The Boy and I have a no phone rule when we go out for a bite to eat, but I will find my way!!

Keep on the healthy train:

Staying on this train was something I wanted to keep going after our wedding! I feel like so many people fall off after their big day and they don’t need too! It is something that is so easy to keep in your routine!!

To be fair, this one I have become a bit obsessed with! I had a health scare which really hit me hard, so I fell down the health well and not come back out.

This year I gave up bovine products, started doing something I call “Double Cardio” (basically 30 mins treadmill followed by 30 mins freestanding cycle) and dropped down to 1 coffee a day.

This is something I will be working on for the rest of the year, so let’s see what’s going to happen!

So that’s what made the cut this year and what I have been working on!

How are you doing with your 2018 goals? Let me know in the comments so we can cheer each other on!

Have a wonderful weekend xXx hugs and love xXx

Wedding 101: Gifts

This is probably a very awkward post to put up, but I feel like asking for gifts is up there in the wedding taboo list. It’s right up there with saying that you don’t want a family member in your bridal party or not wanting kids at your wedding.

I know it is a funny post to shove in the middle of this series, but it is super important that you work this out before you order or write your wedding stationary! It’s a little bit rude to send out a wedding invitation addendum saying that you want cash over gifts a week before the due date!

Anyway…..let’s get into talking about wedding gifts!

Talk To Your Fiancé:

I feel like a broken record but this is something you need to talk to your fiancé about before you start looking at things. Have you just moved house and need a load of kitchenware? Have you lived together a while and just want cash for other things or to spend on your honeymoon?

Either way, it’s time to sit and work it out……and don’t feel guilty about it!

The Big Guilt:

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when we sat down to have this discussion I had this massive pang of guilt about listing what we wanted as wedding gifts.

In typical The Boy fashion, he settled my mind by saying: “It’s like someone asking what you want for your birthday….we just have to put it out there and home for the best”

To be fair, most of our guests kept to what we asked for, and it really has helped us out. We asked for money for our honeymoon and people interpreted this in different ways. Some gave us US Dollars, some gave us Sterling so we were able to spend money on our honeymoon and then treat ourselves to some little home bits that we needed.

Clean and Clear:

When you are writing your invitations, you need to be clear with what you want as gifts. If you are asking for money, there are very sweet ways to ask (Two of my dear friends used poems which where just wonderful), we on the other hand where a bit blunt. We basically said “The biggest gift for us is having you there on our big day, but if you would like to donate to our honeymoon fund we would not say no”.

If you are registering for gifts don’t forget to say where and what the name on the list is. Otherwise you will have your guests going to every department store known to man asking if you are registered there on the off chance.

Be Clearer Than a Nuns Mind:

Make sure you are clear that people should not be obligated to get you a gift. Wedding presents are not a given, they are something that is a lovely gesture so don’t be angry if someone doesn’t opt to give you that last over priced thing that is left on your list.

Don’t Push It:

If you are doing a wedding registry, please keep in mind that your guests are already coming to your big day with all the expenses that come with it. You may want the Hermes china and the crystal, but in reality are you going to use it? Keep in mind that you won’t use these things and they will be kept for best, so are you really going to enjoy them as much as registering for 6 classic plates that you will use on repeat every day?

So that’s the gifts covered….now we have done that, stationary is up next!

Have a great weekend lovelies xXx hugs and love xXx

Perfect Summer Pedicure: It’s all about the polish!

Happy Sandel Weather Everyone!!!! OK….so the sun coming out doesn’t mark the start of sandel season for me (or my Dadums for that matter) but for everyone else I hope you are all getting you toes out!

With this season change comes a new stock of polish colours to help brighten those toes that have been hidden away since the end of September!

Here are my top 5 polish colours to brighten those post pedicure feet and complement any sandel:

Corporate Nude:

Some workplaces have some unwritten rule about what colour polish is acceptable for a corporate environment. I wish I was kidding but no….I have had many a sandal wearing friend shop my stash for a good nude!

Sephora Formula X “Impeccable”

This one in a go to for me! It’s nude enough to not break dress code, but purple enough to give a bit of colour.

Berry Bright:

I love a berry tone for most of the year to be honest, but in the summer I like to go for something a bit brighter!

Revlon “Cherries in the Snow”

This beautiful colour is bright enough to cause a stir, but not too bright to be neon. The blue undertones bring some life to your poor pale feet!

Not So Berry Bright:

Ok, so this colour is basically the same as the last one, but it is a few shades darker. You can still make a beautiful statement, but it’s not so “wow” as the very berry bright!

O.P.I “Popular Vote”

You can just about get away with wearing this one in the office without too much fuss (both as a pedicure and manicure shade!)

Fancy Feet:

Metallic tones are a must for summer!! If you are attending any type of fancy event where your toes will be out, a metallic is that strange neutral that complements everything, but is still brings a little something something.

Sally Hansen “Pennies for Heaven”

One down side though: it’s a bit of a pain to get off, but too too pretty to not wear!

Deep Love for a Deep Red:

Blue toned reds are one of my go to colours all year round, but it’s not just the colour that I love about this bottle of joy.

Essie Gel Couture “Bubbles Only”

I know I gave this a bad review last year, but I think I just picked up a duff shade. This darker shade is perfect, and will last a good week or 2 on your toes……so perfect for your summer vacation!

So those are my top pedicure shades that I will have in rotation this summer!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend xXx Hugs and love xXx

Relaxing Evening Routine Tips

The post is dedicated to my Beautiful Friend Cazzy:

Switching off and getting rest can be so so difficult! We all live our lives at a million miles an hour. Our days go by in a blur of waking, working and all of a sudden we are waking again. It feels like we never stop.

But why is that?

Why do we feel this way?

I really think that it’s because we do not switch off at night. We get home and just keep going! Cooking, laundry, personal calls, personal projects and then trying to spend some time with our loved ones. This is even extended to the weekend where it feel just like one long workday evening.

Last year I was very guiltily of this! Planning a wedding is like having a second job, no matter how much help you have.

To try and turn my mind off and get some rest I turned to my evening routine and it became my haven! Here is my 5 step night time routine that will guarantee you a restful evening (and hopefully a good night’s sleep):

Tea Time:

The Boy drinks a lot of tea, so there is no surprise that after dinner is free from such a beverage! Mint tea is the perfect way to finish of the day; it helps with digestion and the warmth is so relaxing. There is nothing quite like sitting with your favourite mug at the end of the day.

We also take this time to catch up on our TV shows and spend some much needed time together.

Good Night Phone:

I love my phone. There is no hiding it. As soon as my 9 to 5 is done, I am all about checking my emails and Instagram! The problem with that is that I would check it use before bed and moan about not getting any sleep. There is a blue tone to the light that apparently disturbs your sleeping pattern.

After another episode of dropping my phone on my face in bad, I came to the conclusion that something had to be done! My phone now has a very strict 10pm bedtime Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday it is 30 minutes before whatever time I decide to go to bed. This way my eyes get and I can complete my oil based skincare without making a mess!

Bed Prep:

Before the next step in my routine, I like to make sure my bed is ready for me to snuggle up and drift off to sleep. This involves a liberal spraying of the “This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray” all over my pillow and sleeping mask! This blocks out any sneaky light that may come from outside, and really helps as the nights get lighter!

Hot Steamy Showers:

I’m an evening showered, mainly because I spend such a long time in there that doing it in the morning means I would be late to work every day! I also find it a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day.

This is the start of my “Me Time” where I steam and exfoliate my face, spend some time with my body brush and use all the fancy shower products I can find!

This little bit of luxury (and phone free time) really lets the mind start to slow down and become more peaceful!

Daily Mini-Facial:

After a my very steamy shower all my pores are open and ready for some skincare!

As I am already relaxed, there is no harm in spending a little time relaxing my mind with a facial massage. Yes I do this every day, and yes it is worth it!

I pop my night oil on my hands, warm it up and go to town with stimulating upward strokes. Sometimes I will even go in with my jade roller and give my lymph nodes a little something to work with, but this is usually after a really heavy week, or having eaten a lot of salt!

After all that i am super sleepy and off for a nice long nap!

How you are all having a wonderful weekend xXx

Hugs and Love xXx