Not Just Pretty Pictures: Coffee Table Books You Need in Your Life

We’re slipping into the time of year where I find staying at home an increasingly attractive option, despite the fact that I’m generally the type of person who prefers to be out and about. Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy creating a fun home space that I can both work and relax in – so it’s not exactly a bad thing that I want to spend more time here.

Coffee table books are a particular indulgence of mine – and Gary’s – and we’ve accumulated quite a collection since we started living together! And during the chillier, greyer Sundays, escaping into one of these big, beautiful books with a mug of something hot is one of my favourite ways to spend an hour.

Sometimes coffee table books can be all style and no substance though and, as much as I can appreciate that, I do still like to read something while I’m leafing through them!

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite titles that deliver both, in case you’re looking for something new to reach for on your next cosy day at home…

What I Love About Movies by Little White Lies is a collective celebration of films by some of the best in the business. From Ryan Gosling, to Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola and more, each answering the simple question (“What do you love about movies?”) in their own unique style alongside some gorgeous illustrations.

Did someone say Wes Anderson? The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz is a comprehensive guide to one of Anderson’s most popular productions, filled with interviews, costume designs, research notes, a critical essay and much more. This pastel pink beauty is always sitting in our living room, ready to whisk us away to Wes’ world.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost is what you might expect from a book about one of TV’s most curious cult classics: it is not what it seems. This oversized, hardback title is actually a mystery novel in the format of a coffee table book – with the reader taking on the role of an FBI agent. The pages are peppered with photographs, transcripts and other evidence to digest. A must-have for any fan of the show!

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Finally, Places to Go, People to See by Kate Spade is one of my most recent additions and covers a topic close to my heart: travel! The vintage glamour of the jet-set meets inspirational quotes, travel tips (like what to buy if you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires and the BEST room service midnight snacks!) and oodles of vibrant photos. Warning: wanderlust is pretty much guaranteed with this one…

For me, these coffee table books tick all of the boxes: they look stylish when I display them around the flat, they’re filled with amazing content and have lush, eye-catching images to get lost in.

coffee table books

What are YOUR favourite coffee table books? And other things to do while spending a day at home?

How To Banish the Cold Weather Blues

cold weather blues

This morning I was queuing for coffee and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation going on between the two women standing behind me. “This is it”, one gal said. “I got up and left the house in the dark, and later I’ll go home and it’ll be dark then too”. The other agreed, “it’s going to be like this for the next few months…I just want to hide in bed and wait for March”.

Their words have been rolling round in my head for most of the day. It’s true that this might be a pretty common discussion at this time of year – heck, you might even have had it yourself in the last week or so – and hey, I get it. I totally agree that it IS more difficult to maintain the same feeling of va-va-voom during the chillier, darker months, and the temptation to hibernate for a while is pretty strong!

However, I’m determined that we can still stay motivated and enjoy every moment. If we don’t, we’ll end up wishing four months of every year away – and that adds up to quite a lot of time when you think about it!

But how exactly DO we keep the sunny vibes alive during the winter months? To give us a head start, I’m sharing a few ways to banish the cold weather blues…

  1. Get regular rest – at this time of year, your body clock might be all over the place (I blame it on waking up in the dark!) and you might be putting extra stresses on yourself as Christmas starts to get closer and closer. Take time to care for yourself and recharge those batteries!
  2. Go outside during your day off – so it’s your only free day and all you really want to do is stay at home in your pyjamas…the struggle is real! Try to head outside in the middle of the day, even for an hour. Get some fresh air, bask in the daylight and be reminded how pretty a bright winter’s day is (don’t forget to bundle up!).
  3. Try something new – I always think switching things up is a good way to keep things interesting, and at this time of year we need it more than ever. If you’ve ever wanted to get bangs cut in, or cook some of those recipes you’ve been pinning, now’s the time.
  4. Make a list – think about all of the things you’ve done this year so far and write them down, you might surprise yourself. Make a list of the little things that you’ve discovered lately that you love, or make a motivational playlist for your morning commute. There’s only one rule – the list has to be something that will make you smile when you look at it.
  5. Spend time with your favourite people – call up your posse and plan a day out or a cosy night in. You’ll quickly forget about how dark or cold it is, trust me!

Sure, shorter days and plummeting temperatures might not quite have the same razzle-dazzle as those sundrenched summer months, but it’s still a huge part of our time and it’s what we decide to do with it that makes a difference.

Who’s with me?

Here’s to a wonderful winter,

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My Winter Skincare Saviour

IMG_8200 Oh, winter! With your hot chocolate, crisp weekend walks and cosy mittens – there’s so much that I love about this time of year. But my skin? Not so much! It doesn’t take a dermatologist to guess that several months of bracing winds, jacked-up indoor heating and lack of sunlight can leave my face feeling dull and dry. I wish that the only effect of the cold weather on my cheeks was a rosy glow (a girl can dream)!

Last year, I talked a little about upping my game when it came to skincare, and ever since the temperature started to plummet, I’ve found that it has been even more important to keep a reasonable routine – starting with a good facial moisturiser. My skin is already very dry at the best of times (thanks a LOT childhood psoriasis!), and I have always have had a few problem areas on my face that need extra attention.

IMG_8199 Keeping my face feeling plump and hydrated at this time of year has therefore been a bit of a challenge. The driest parts of my face seemed to absorb the moisturisers at a rate so fast it once made a lady giving me a facial exclaim that she’d ‘never seen that before’ (I almost felt like something out of a comic book – except what kind of superhero wants flaky, dehydrated skin to be their ‘thing’?). I went through a LOT of products to try and quench my thirsty skin, and most of them haven’t worked out – in a real, skincare-themed “it’s not you, it’s me” scenario!

I needed a winter skincare saviour and I needed one fast.

IMG_8201 This all changed when I started using Ultra Facial Cream from Kiehl’s, which was about six months ago on a complete whim. Working it into my skincare routine, and using it alone on very lazy/ busy days when I didn’t quite manage to do all of the other steps (hey, I’m just being honest!), I started seeing the benefit almost immediately. Instead of disappearing right away, the light-textured cream left my skin feeling soft and comfortable, giving me the hydration I was after and acting as a great kick-start before I applied my make up.

As you can probably guess by now, my skin can be a little bit difficult to handle, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that as the months got colder, my face has stayed looking and feeling well-balanced. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream first got my attention when I heard about its reputation for protecting skin in harsh weather conditions – even managing to keep the skin of the team embarking on the ‘Greenland First Ascent’ expedition protected and moisturised! Now THAT’s a product review I can get behind…

As the unique formula ensures that moisture is replenished throughout the day, I only need to apply this cream once in the morning and I’m good to go!

IMG_8202 Kiehl’s UK have teamed up with the MTV: Staying Alive Foundation to release a limited-edition of my favourite Ultra Facial Cream, with the packaging designed by the charity’s ambassador, Tinie Tempah. £2 from each purchase of the moisturiser will be donated to MTV Staying Alive Foundation, and help to support the fight against HIV & AIDS.

Even though Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream has been my true winter skincare saviour, you can bet that I’ll still be using it year-round to keep my skin feeling smooth and hydrated. And with proceeds from this product currently supporting such an important cause, there’s never been a better time to pick up a pot (available in-store and online). Be sure to use #tiniexkiehls to share your support on social media!

Do you have a winter skincare saviour to share? If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Here’s to giving flaky faces the boot,

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Kiehl’s work to fight HIV & AIDS has been ongoing since the 1980’s and today, AIDS is still the #2 cause of adolescent death globally. To further support this campaign , you can text HIV1 to 70660 to donate £5 to the MTV Staying Alive Foundation.