Happy Friday and welcome to December’s Friday Five, friends! We’re officially one week out until Christmas so it only felt right to incorporate a bit of the holiday spirit into the post, so keep an eye out for that. This is also my second to last blog post until after the year as I’m taking some serious time off this year to just soak everything in and be present for my first Christmas living with John and officially being a London resident. Don’t worry though I’ve got lots of fun things planned for January!
Alright, time to dive in and Merry Christmas, ladies!
Five Habits to Start in the New Year
Set work / life boundaries
This habit is twofold because, on one hand, I like to think if I have better boundaries for work, I’ll have less screen time, which is something I’ve been trying to reduce for the last few years. The second part of it is not working simply because the work exists and is there waiting for me and I’m “not busy” so I might as well just do it. Or knowing when to turn things off for the night. I think that can be especially difficult for people who work from home [and in 2020, that’s probably the majority of us]. Basically, in 2021, I’d like to have a few more evenings that aren’t filled with me opening my laptop at 10 pm [although I think baby boy is going to force that change on me and I will happily embrace it]. I want less screen time [phone / tv] and more looking in the eyes of my boys, having meaningful or fun conversations, and reading more books!
Make a few easy swaps to more natural products
Whether it’s cleaning products or makeup or skincare products, this is something easy you can do to start the new year off right. For me, personally, I’m currently looking into more eco-friendly diapers [is that a thing?] and seriously considering using silicone bottles for baby boy and making some clean makeup swaps! I’ve heard great things about the new clean beauty brand called Saie. Have you tried it? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts! [UK gals – they have it at Cult Beauty]
Speak kindly to yourself
I wish this wasn’t something we all had to be intentional about and that we all lived in these bubbles of positivity and self-love [and maybe you do, but it’s definitely something I struggle with]. A great way to start the year, and something I’ve done in years past, is to start writing personal affirmations. You can do pen and paper and tuck them into places around your house like by the bathroom mirror, on your bedside table, etc., or what I do is start an affirmations note in my phone and, at the end of the week, I take a screenshot and make it the background on my phone. This way whenever I need a pick me up, I always have my affirmations on my phone and it changes every week so I am constantly telling myself new affirmations!
Go on walks more frequently to get fresh air and connect with family / friends
I’ve been making such an effort to do these things the last few months [not counting lockdown] and definitely want to continue prioritizing it as 2021 starts. There’s nothing my heart loves more than walking around my favorite city all day and then meeting up with friends for dinner – checks off both of these at the same time! I feel like life is going to start normalizing in the Spring just as I’m becoming a new Mom and figuring out a new normal. As much as I know that is just a part of the upcoming season, I definitely want to challenge myself to get out and have family walks with baby boy and John to get some fresh air and not feel so couped up!
Limit ready meals
I’ve never been the health and fitness girl, but I do try to be mindful and aware of when I’m eating a bit too much takeaway or ready meals that you just have to heat up or throw in the microwave. John has actually helped me with this a lot as he cooks almost everything from scratch; we rarely ever get heat-up meals. If I didn’t have John to rely on for cooking [or if I’m just trying to pull my weight a bit], I might try to meal prep a few things and plan out some crockpot meals for the week. Crockpot meals were definitely my friend when I lived along in Florida since they’re a set and forget it type of meal.
Five Gifts You Got This Year that Money Can’t Buy
An appreciation for life unfolding differently than was ‘planned’
This year has taught me over and over again that life has a way of unfolding in a different way than you expect it will sometimes and, instead of fighting it, it’s best to embrace it and own your own unique story.
A deeper love for John
This might be cheesy but the man deserves a medal, or an award of some kind, for putting up with me this year! I have been given endless amount of love and patience from him this year as I’ve grappled with so much NEWness in my life and so much encouragement and support as I’ve walked through the fear of pregnancy. We do not have a perfect relationship. In a year like 2020, it’s inevitable to have some stressy moments and for you to show less-than-ideal sides of yourself to your significant other. So, please don’t take this as we have it all. But, he loves me well and I’m so grateful.
Gratitude for answered prayers
Gosh, y’all. This year has been tough in so many ways since I’ve gotten here but HOLY. CRAP. I LIVE IN LONDON!!!! Something that felt so out of reach for so long is now my reality and I cannot be happier and more thankful that it happened just before sh** hit the fan with Covid and I could be here with John. It wasn’t ideal to be away from the boys as long as I was but managing to get them here, even in the thick of it all, was always a huge blessing. So, I’m leaving 2020 with so much gratitude for the two biggest pieces of my heart finally being in one place with me.
The Ability To Start A Family
I was completely shocked at the sight of a positive pregnancy test and, while I felt so many different feelings before excitement, it was absolutely not lost on me how many women yearn to see those two lines each month as they try to start a family. I know that there were women who watched my story unfold as there’s continued to be a struggle and thought ‘gosh, isn’t that one of life’s cruelties?’. The girl who wasn’t trying got pregnant and here I am over here trying every month with no luck? Gosh, it breaks my heart. I truly understand how hard that must be even though I haven’t sat in that particular position. We are all wishing we had something someone else gets to relish in. For me, it’s the ability to call my Mom and have her in my life to celebrate life’s little and big victories with and run to when life gets tough. I hate that she won’t be at my wedding. She’ll never know John. Baby boy will never understand what a beautiful person she was because he won’t get to meet her.
Life is going to get us down. So, it’s when life goes right for each of us – in whatever way that presents itself, whether it’s getting pregnant easily or having your parents around to help you raise your kids – that you really have to sit in that glow and acknowledge the beauty of the blessing. This baby in my belly is going to be fiercely loved and I am thankful for the ability to start a family with John, whether it was in our ‘plan’ or not. It was in God’s and we are so excited!
It goes without saying, especially this year, how precious it is to have your health and your loved ones to have theirs. There’s really not much else to say about it. It truly is a gift. Now, I’m just hoping it stays that way so my Dad and stepmom can come visit when baby boy gets here and that way I can give birth to him with absolutely no issues. Fingers crossed!
Five Household Organization Items You’ve Recently Bought and Loved
You guys know from Instagram that I’ve been trying to get our flat organized. It’s been an uphill battle to say the least but nevertheless, I persist [for the most part, hah].
Baskets are my current home organization obsession. Of course the ones I really love aren’t available in the UK [the Hyacinth baskets from The Container Store in large and small], and when I did track something similar down on Amazon, they were sold out. So, I am currently in the market for all the baskets! If anyone has any recs in the UK, I’d love to hear from you!
This tray has become John and I’s favorite for keeping the remotes on in the living room. If we’re not sure where they are, we look at the tray, and 9/10 there they are! It’s also great for keeping all the bits and bobs you need in your living room all together like coasters and a candle. Or, you could set it on your bathroom counter to organize all your canisters with ear swabs, cotton pads, etc in them. As you can tell it’s super versatile!
Divided Lazy Susan
If you have a bathroom or kitchen cabinet in need of some organization, this divided lazy susan will be a gamechanger for you. I had them in my bathroom in Florida and want to add them to a few cupboards in our flat here. It really helps you be able to see everything you have, which we all know is key when organizing any space.
Acrylic Wall Calendar
OK, so this isn’t anything new necessarily and it’s more for organizing my mind than my home, but I will preach about this acrylic wall calendar until I’m blue in the face because it’s so great. It’d be great in a home office space [where I had mine when I lived in Florida] or if you have a mudroom it’d be perfect for tracking your kids’ activities. I absolutely love it and you can’t go wrong!
When you live in a big city or just an apartment or home that has very limited storage, you have to get creative, so I’ve been snagging any storage bin / container that I think will work for our space [and looks pretty if it’s in sight]. These long basket storage baskets have been one of the best solutions so far and we’ve been able to tuck them away in a few different places like on top of our wardrobe [I put my off-season clothes in them] and then also under the counter in our bathroom for extra towels. I love that they’re whitewashed and more in line with my style than just a clear tub.
Five Things for Us to Do During Christmas in London Next Year
While there are so many great experiences to enjoy, I’d say I definitely recommend:
Ice skating at one of the ice skating rinks
The Natural History Museum, Tower of London, and Somerset House all usually have ice-skating rinks up for people to enjoy. This year is another story but, in the years to come, I’m sure they’ll be back. You usually book in a time slot [30 minutes, I think] and can rent skates for a small fee. The Natural History Museum is a very popular one but I love that Somerset House offers a few shops and cafe’s in and around the ice-skating rink to enjoy once you’re done. It’s also a little more closed-in and away from the hustle and bustle of the streets so it feels a little more tucked away with more to enjoy.
Enjoy a festive dining experience
Honestly, there are so many lovely dining experiences to enjoy during the holiday season like afternoon tea at the Ritz, an alpine dinner experience at The Berkeley, lunch or dinner in the ever-so-festive 34Mayfair, or dinner in an igloo at Coppa Club whilst enjoying a view of Tower Bridge. I’d suggest picking one of these and then taking a walk around the area afterward to work it off a little. The Ritz, The Berkeley and 34 Mayfair are all in dreamy locations in Central London that will be dressed in all the lights. If Coppa Club is where you end up, I’d suggest walking across the bridge afterward, and then walk along the Southbank toward The London Eye, where there’s usually a massive Christmas market and you can enjoy a beautiful view of Big Ben. It’s quite a walk so wear comfy shoes but I promise, it’ll be worth it!
Lights walk at Kew Gardens
This is something I actually haven’t done, and was desperate to do this year, but I’m learning you have to book WAY in advance … and Brits are REALLY good at this so they’ll definitely make it hard for your to get a ticket, ha! First, Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage site in London that boats beautiful gardens with over 50,000 living plants within them. During the holidays, they put up gorgeous Christmas lights and displays that fall along a path you can walk to enjoy it all. I’ve heard it’s amazing and a great activity for families to do at night. It’s somewhat on the outskirts of London, not-so-much in Central, so be sure to read about how to get there, take a look at maps ahead of time, and plan your route with the Citymapper app prior to leaving.
Pick a neighborhood and get lost
Whether it’s South Kensington, Chelsea, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Covent Garden, Marylebone, Soho, Carnaby, or somewhere else … you’re bound to find some cute and festive displays to ‘oohhh’ and ‘ahhh’ at! Just pick one and get to walkin’!
Go see either Love Actually Instrumental or The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House
One of these has to tickle your fancy and would be such a fun way to spend an evening during your holiday stay here in London. John got me tickets to The Nutcracker last year [for this year] and, sadly, we aren’t able to enjoy it but I’ve heard amazing things and hope that we can manage it in an upcoming year! The girls and I were also able to snag tickets to Love Actually Instrumental, where they play the movie and have a live orchestra play all the music [I’m not crying, you’re crying!!], and were planning on going this Friday but … sadly, that is now canceled, as well. Both seem like amazing experiences and ones I look forward to enjoying in the future, as well, so maybe I’ll see you there! 😉
Again, this is just scratching the surface of all you could do! I wrote a blog post a few years back with more ideas if you’re interested!
Five Most Worn Items in My Wardrobe in 2020
Given how 2020 played out between the pandemic and my pregnancy, my most worn items of the year mainly consists of comfort clothes. [I truly hope 2021 is a more exciting list like 2019’s, hah!] I had a brief moment in the spring where I got really into midi skirts and dresses [hence why that category made this list], but mostly I’ve worn joggers, basic tee’s and sweatshirts, ha! I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but I can confidently say my loungewear and pajama game is definitely on point.
Golden Goose Sneakers
You all know I’m a really big fan of Golden Goose sneakers. These sneakers were one of the most popular styles amongst you ladies, which I love seeing! It’s always fun when one of my favorites translates over to you guys’ style. Plus I think Golden Goose sneakers are a good classic white sneaker – they’re incredibly versatile and can be worn throughout most of the year making them worth the investment in my opinion. I will say, though, as the Summer progressed, I did find myself wearing these Veja velcro sneakers more and more so these could actually rival the GG’s but it is a close call!
As I mentioned, joggers have become a larger staple in my wardrobe than I ever thought possible, but I’m completely ok with that! I have to say, most of my jogger/sweats collection is from Abercrombie – a brand I’ve really come to love in the last year or so. Their joggers are so comfortable yet chic, which is why I always go back to them and recommend them so much to you girls. I feel like my collection started with this ruffle pair during the first lockdown and has since grown to include these and these [my newest pair that almost pass as dress pants when styled appropriately in my opinion] as well. All of which I love!!
Cozy sweaters and pullovers
I might have to start purging my collection of oversized sweaters and cozy pullovers soon because it’s grown exponentially in the last few months. They’re just so easy to throw on with joggers or leggings, especially during lockdown and with my growing bump. A few favorites include this J.Crew turtleneck, this cashmere sweater option and of course this sherpa pullover that’s everywhere right now.
White Long-Sleeve Henley Tops
This Splendid waffle-knit henley HAS to be my most-worn item of 2020. Well, actually no … there was a similar Aerie one I snagged just before moving that I probably wore more. I wish it was still in stock but I will absolutely keep an eye out for similar ones that come out at the start of the year. But, the Splendid one did get TONS of wear, as well. These two were the perfect top to go with all the joggers I wore. Since I spent so much time inside during lockdowns and am pretty cold-natured, it was just what I was the most comfortable in. They’re a great basic so highly recommend snagging one if you don’t have one already! Here are some henley options for ya:
For the bit of Fall that I was able to enjoy and experience, combat boots really became one of my go-to shoes. I wore this pair several times, which you can see here, here and here. It was kind of a step outside my comfort zone because my style typically is more girly vs edgy, but they really grew on me and ended up being one of my favorite trends this fall!
Alright, that does it for our last Friday Five of 2020! Are you guys still liking this series? Would you like to see it in 2021? They are a labor of love and I do enjoy putting them together but only if you guys want me to! Happy to change it up in the new year with some new series’ if that is of interest. Any ideas? Leave them in the comments below! We have two more blog posts that are set to hit the blog before Christmas and then I’ll be off until the start of January! Thanks so much for stopping by today! xo.