Happy Friday, everyone! I hope the week was good to you and you’re staying safe and healthy wherever you are! It’s time for another edition of Friday Five, and I have to say, I was really excited to put this one together because you guys picked some fun topics! Let’s dive in!
Five Foods I Miss From the States
This is completely a first world “problem”, and it’s not that there aren’t good options here in the UK or that I”m dying without these things, but … hey, when you live somewhere for 30+ years of your life … there are bound to be food items you just MISS if it’s not readily available wherever you end up. You guys ask me about this from time to time and, since I’ve been in the UK for over eight months at this point, I feel like it’s time I share what I cannot wait to sink my teeth into next year when I finally make a trip back [Covid and baby willing!].
Five words: spicy chicken sandwich with ranch.
Trader Joe’s will always hold a special place in my heart. It was like a little adventure every time I went grocery shopping there because I never knew what I was going to stumble across. A few items I especially miss include cauliflower gnocchi, kale pesto, jalapeño chicken sausage, and the autumn harvest spaghetti sauce. Oh, and their apple cider donuts! Oh my gosh … my mouth is literally watering!!
Ruffles original potato chips
There are potato chips here in the UK, hah, but I’m telling you, nothing beats Ruffles original potato chips! These have been a long-time love of mine. I’ve always preferred salty over sweet treats and this is my all-time favorite! I can literally eat a whole bag by myself. [Probably shouldn’t admit that!]
Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
These are another long-time love. My mom made these for us growing up, occasionally on weekends but always around the holidays. They are a classic, especially this time of year! As much as I’ve enjoyed baking things from scratch lately, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls are just so easy to pop in the oven on one of those mornings where you just need a little bit of down home comfort. If you know of a delicious and easy cinnamon roll recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below [prefer not to receive it via DM because it’s so much easier to refer back to comments here on the blog when I’m ready to refer to the recipe].
Mexican Food / Tex-Mex
The US just knows how to do good Mexican / Tex-Mex food! Tacos just aren’t the same here. Queso can be found at ONE place [owned by Texans] in the Chiswick area of London and we can’t wait for lockdown to life for us to go and support them! They also have amazing quesadillas and fajitas! But, I just really miss those Mexican restaurants I know and love from the Jacksonville Beach & Atlantic Beach areas like Taco Lu and Cantina Louie.
Five Festive Clothing Items That I’d Snag Now
Christmas is by far my favorite holiday/time of year so I love all the festive pajamas, flannels and scarves! These are items that typically sell out every year, especially pajamas like this, so if you’re eyeing them, I’d definitely snag them now! I also shared a few quick lists of festive finds here and here if you’re like me and need all the seasonal cozies!
I got this henley jumpsuit a few seasons ago and I love that they keep bringing it back. It’s so festive and comfortable – perfect for cozy mornings at home during this time of year and of course great for Christmas morning! I also shared this plaid pajama set [bottoms here] I wore last weekend that is also available now but might not be for long! Sizes always go fast once influencers start sharing them so I tried to get options out to you early this year. I got John these plaid pajama pants and he wears these even when it isn’t the holiday season, ha! Abercrombie is running an additional 15% off sleepwear this weekend so be sure to check out their festive options!
Red Plaid Blanket Scarf
Big fan of scarves over here and can never turn down a festive plaid option. I’m especially loving this blanket scarf from Abercrombie right now!
Buffalo Check Flannel Pajama Set [or anything flannel/buffalo check]
These items tend to be super seasonal and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Retailers might restock them the following year, but it’s always hard to know! Because of this, I’d recommend snagging any buffalo check/flannel items now that have caught your eye. For example, these pajamas are calling my name and this is the cutest flannel button-down that you can wear solo or layer under a sweater [comes in tons of different color options]! This buffalo check family set [dad, mom, baby] of slippers is something I came across recently and am so obsessed with! Definitely pick these up sooner rather than later.
You girls know I’m a neutral lover but I also love having a more festive coat or two in my closet when it comes to the holidays. J.Crew always has great options and this red Italian wool day coat [currently on sale!] is stunning. It also comes in a really beautiful vintage white that is very chic and elevated. Either option would be gorgeous layered over any holiday look.
This shouldn’t be surprising as I just wrote a post all about my favorite fall and winter hat options. Personally, I love adding a hat to any outfit and frequently reach for a knit beanie with a pom this time of year.
Five Things On My Personal Wishlist
I honestly feel so lucky that John and I have both been able to maintain our jobs and our health this year. So I feel like I’ve already been afforded such a gift in that being that there are so many that haven’t due to Covid. Baby boy is growing strong and healthy as well so we truly need for nothing. 2020 put a lot of things in perspective, that’s for sure, and I’d be just fine if all I got for Christmas was time with John feeling baby boy moving around inside my belly. But, since you guys asked, here are a few things I wouldn’t mind if the opportunity arose!
I just want to put a challenge out there to you if you live in America. Buy some drying racks and hang dry ALL of your clothes for two weeks and let me know what it does to your feelings toward your dryer, hah! I never realized what a blessing a dryer was. It’s something I think many of us are just used to having. [There are always exceptions to the rule so, if that’s not you, then … that’s fine, hah! To each their own!] It was a shock to the system to have to air dry all of my clothes after moving to the UK. It was fine at first but the busier life became and, especially with working from home, you’re constantly trying to get around the clothing racks and you feel like your house is never really put together and tidy. It kiiiind offfff drives me nuts, hah!
You might be thinking … just tuck it all away somewhere where you can’t see it but we don’t really have ‘extra’ space for it to go, which is quite common. Having a utility room or a laundry in a home here, especially a rental space, is very rare. It’d be helpful to have a laundry room and hopefully one day we will. But, for now, we don’t so a tumble dryer is high on my list.
John’s mom actually mentioned that she has an extra one from a few years ago that we are welcome to so we asked her if we could pick up once lockdown lifts. She said ‘of course’ and then texted John a little later and said ‘by the way, I don’t want you to have that dryer breaking down next year so I went ahead and ordered you guys one that would be great in your shed’.
So, Santa came early! Haha! Too funny … this was literally in the last couple of days that we had asked her and it JUST got delivered today, ha! We are so excited!! This will be so helpful when baby comes!
My body aches y’all and I know it’s only going to get harder and harder to feel comfortable. I’m going to try my best to work more yoga into my weekly exercise routine but … I also need all the pregnancy massages, haha! John is so sweet and will rub my back for me but if he treated me to a spa day … I’d be freaking pumped!
Some Sort Of Travel Experience
If you have followed me for a long time, you know that I would travel quite frequently throughout the year – especially the last three or four years. I was constantly scratching my wanderlust itch so, this year has obviously been very different. Even after having moved to the UK, I expected to go back to the States a few times and me and John had a trip to Jamaica planned. At the end of the day, we are happy to do what is best for the general public and adhere to government guidelines but, when you yearn and love to travel, you do get sad that you can’t scratch that itch even a little bit sometimes. Our weekend away in the Cotswolds was such a breathe of fresh air for me. I absolutely love meandering streets I don’t know, trying new restaurants and just exploring. So, I’d love a week or weekend away like that again. I’m not sure it’ll happen. Our future here is so uncertain with our lockdown in place. It’s supposed to be over on December 2nd but, I can see it lasting longer. For now, I’m just trying to focus on what I can control so, if it doesn’t happen, fine … but, if we travel a lot next year with this little nugget … I don’t want any judgement for you, ladies!! Momma has gotta stay sane and travel is a part of that for me, I’ve learned. Plus, when they’re little … it’s probably the easiest time to travel with them.
USA Care Package
This would be such a lovely gift for anyone you know that might be living somewhere outside of the States. Get a bunch of your friends together and all of you chip in like $25 to grab a few things that person might be missing. I can’t tell you how much that would mean to me if I received a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, some replacement razor heads for my Billie razor, and other American goodies I can’t currently snag here. This isn’t a hint to anyone by the way, hah! I was just thinking of what would be something I’d appreciate and love to receive this year after being away from home for so long.
Lockdown Restrictions Ease
I literally can’t think of anything else that is tangible that I’d like. I would really just like for our infection rate numbers and death numbers to go down over here so that lockdown restrictions ease. I hate what this virus is doing to our world – it’s taking loved ones from us and crippling businesses. We have to keep in mind that it’s forcing us all to slow down and take an inventory list for what truly matters in life, which we all need sometimes. But, I’d be lying if I said I really hope 2021 sees a different reality where we can hug our loved ones again [can’t get to mine at the moment due to Covid.. well, and pregnancy] and make some plans.
Five Cozy Sweaters Under $50
Mock Neck Fine Knit Sweater
The best resource for budget-friendly sweaters is H&M by far. They have tons of affordable options that come in under $50. I really love this mock neck sweater as it’s not super form-fitting but not too oversized either.
Cable-knit pointelle sweater with popcorn flowers
This is a J.Crew find that’s usually $128 but is currently 61% off!! Such a steal! I’ve really gravitated toward cable knit sweaters this year, so I highly recommend picking this one up! You can also check out my recent post all about my favorite cable knit sweaters this year.
Knit Turtleneck Sweater
There’s nothing cozier than an oversized turtleneck this time of year. This is another H&M find that comes in at just $20! It comes in three great neutral colors too, so maybe you can snag more than one!
Chenille Oversized Sweater
Chenille is so incredibly soft and makes for the perfect cozy and comfy sweater. I’ve been seeing this one shared quite a bit on IG, so I’m guessing it’s really good! Lots of color options and sizes available!
Puff Sleeve Sweater
I love the puff sleeve trend and really adore this sweater for that detail. Coming in at just under $30, this would be so cute with jeans or a midi skirt this season! I rounded up a few different options for each style I spoke about above.
Five Small Businesses I’m Supporting This Holiday Season
Peapod & Nate
My friend Lindsey owns this shop and it’s got to be one of the most adorable corners of the internet. If you have a little one, you’ve got to check out the cute dresses, onesies and crib sheets she sells!
Victoria Metaxas’s Etsy shop
You might recognize Victoria’s name from my IG as she’s my photographer and one of my best friends! She’s so artistic and talented and sells holiday cards, calendars and so much more in her Etsy shop.
White Elephant Design
I’ve always loved taking a look at what White Elephant Designs has to offer when I need a personalized gift for someone, whether it’s a bedside catch-all or cosmetic pouch set but, I’ve recently been attracted to their adorable baby options! If you’re in the States and looking for baby gifts for yourself or a friend or something personalized, be sure to take look here!
Victoria actually introduced me to Nightire, a small business created by a lovely little lady here in London, Nina, who wanted to create sleepwear that is cute, has some personality, and promotes healthy sleep. All of the pajamas are made for 100% organic bamboo, which is moisture-wicking, a non-irritant, and environmentally friendly! I have a pair on order and can’t wait to review them for you guys!
A local photographer in your area
With lockdowns and restrictions on weddings, many photographers have seen big hits to their businesses, many of which are quite small businesses. In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family is photos to look back on one day. So, within the safety parameters in your area, go have a sunset shoot with the fam! It’ll support the photographer and give you a lifetime of smiles when you look back on the images!
Alright, that does it for this edition of the Friday Five! Hope you enjoyed it! Would love to go ahead and start getting an idea what you’d like to see for Decembers’ Friday Five so leave any suggestions below in the comments!