Posted in blog, books

Why I’m not doing the Goodreads reading challenge this year

A brief note this, just to introduce my approach to reading this year, which really is all coming from my approach to life in 2018 in general.

After smashing my 2017 Goodreads challenge by reading 43 books against a target of 35. I realised that I had begun to see reading as a numbers game, rather than the relaxing hobby it should be. I wasn’t re-reading favourite books as I couldn’t count them towards my totals, and I was beating myself up when I hadn’t read for a week or so.

Basically, it was getting in the way of my enjoyment of my favourite hobby. Not cool. I’m trying to be a lot more chill in 2018, reducing the pressure I put on myself, particularly around things that are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things!

This isn’t an attack on Goodreads, or people that enjoy the reading challenge at all. If it works for you – great! For years, I personally enjoyed it, and I will continue to use Goodreads to chart what I read, when, and find recommendations – it is a great site. I just don’t want to challenge myself to read when I read for pleasure regularly anyway. I’m shaking of the (self imposed!) shackles of the challenge, that’s all.

So book chat is going nowhere. In fact, I plan to include more book reviews, recommendations and updates this year than ever before! I’ve read so many great books whilst I’ve been afk, and can’t wait to share those with you.

Happy reading!

E x

Posted in blog

I’m back! …and where I’ve been

Oh hello, it’s me. Remember me? I used to blog nonsense about beauty and books and life? Well that life is going on, but I’ve been a bit quiet about it. Well I’m back now, and normal service is set to resume. But first, a little apology for the radio silence and an explanation as to my disappearance.

 So the last time I wrote, I was talking a lot about my impending honeymoon. I’m very happy to say that it went perfectly, and we both had an incredible time, seeing fantastic places, doing cool stuff, and making memories that will last a lifetime (and one night of fuzzy memories thanks to Las Vegas’ margarita happy hours). Well that was all great. So great. Then I came home and promptly lost my job. I can’t go into it all too much due to confidentiality, but I will say that I wasn’t fired (!) but it was a bit of a shock.

I haven’t mentioned it on the blog before I don’t think, but I have a few problems with anxiety and unsurprisingly this caused it to flare up in a big way. I went from being on a huge post holiday high to not sleeping, having no appetite and crying (a lot). I didn’t want to see people, or speak to people. I felt ashamed that I was no longer self-sufficient, and embarrassed that I’d been excitedly telling close friends about plans to buy a house. I stopped watching any youtube as I couldn’t cope with seeing vlogs of perfect lives with people spending money on cool stuff. I hid from pinterest because I couldn’t bear to see the house ideas I had eagerly pinned before leaving on holiday. I retreated. And yes, I know – it was a huge overreaction.

Luckily, I have the most incredible husband, family and friends anyone could ever wish for. They didn’t let me wallow or listen to my “I’m unemployable” nonsense. They sensibly reminded me I have a good qualification and years of experience. They looked after me, kept me busy and made sure I was being proactive. I honestly couldn’t be a richer person for the people I have in my life, what I have done to deserve them I just don’t know… I’m tearing up writing this. I 100% do not know how I could have gotten through those weeks without the amazing people in my life. My husband deserves a medal (but he got a giant steak instead!).

Into my self-dug pit of misery came honestly the nicest recruitment consultant I’ve ever worked with. Not only did she throw opportunities my way, she built my confidence up in a way only a stranger can do – yes, she would get commission for getting me a job, but hearing that I was employable was a huge boost. I went away for a long weekend to Iceland (I’ll update on that soon!) and came back to multiple interviews for a new role. In short, after only 6 weeks out of work (which I definitely didn’t make the most of!) I had a new job lined up – now I’m in and I’m loving it. PHEW. I really think this all is going to work out for the best.

With hindsight, yeah I could have chilled out more, I should have been more confident in finding a new job, I should have enjoyed some time off… but that is so hard to see when you are frightened and worried about the future. Maybe if I’d blogged during that time rather than wallowing I would have taken stock of all the wonderful things in my life rather than focusing on the (temporary) bad.

Overall, I just want to say here I am. Back in the world of the living, ready to write about honeymoons and holidays and some great books I’ve been reading. Oh, and did I mention that we bought that house after all?! Yeah… I’m doing great, everything has turned around and I’m positive for the future. But I couldn’t have done any of it without the wonderful people in my life. I truly am one lucky lady.

Posted in blog, fashion, food

A Cosy Chat – 7/04/17

This time next week I will be in Las Vegas! I can’t believe that our honeymoon is finally here, 5 months after our wedding. I’m really pleased we have had the extra time to enjoy being married and to have time we can dedicate solely to planning and saving for an incredible holiday, rather than trying to juggle that alongside wedding prep. I am so ready for a break, we are going to one of my favourite places in the entire world to begin with and then onto a load of new sights and locations… and we get to sleep on a train! It is going to be an incredible trip, and I feel very lucky that we are in a position to be able to take it – thanks in huge part to our incredibly generous friends and family who contributed to our honeymoon gift registry. I intend to make the very most of our good fortune and not waste a second of the experience (ok, maybe waste an hour being in a food coma after our Caesar’s Palace buffet experience, but afterwards, enjoying every minute).

I decided that I needed a pink hoodie to go with my jeans for holiday (always good to have something to throw on when it gets chilly at night) and I found this after determining that all the usual high street and online suspects were “not the right pink” (or only in a size 4, thanks Primark). I’ve bought one pair of boots on Amazon before and decided to risk this. The reviews helpfully said that it was true to size, too big and too small all at once, so I went with my actual size and hoped for the best. Size is fine. The colour on the other hand… well I love it but when it says neon, it means neon. I took it out of the packaging and it lit up the kitchen. It hurts the eyes! At least there is no risk of Mr Cosy losing me in a crowd. I’m not sending it back, I wanted bright pink and I got it… maybe a few washes will tone it down just a little bit.


Last week Mr Cosy and I celebrated 4 years together, which has both flown by and feels much longer in a “can’t imagine life any other way” type way. Soppy. We celebrated with a gorgeous bottle of champagne gifted to us by some good friends all the way over in Bermuda, and I cooked up an Asian “fakeaway” feast. I made pork and chive dumplings, spring onion pancakes, crab summer rolls (yummy but such a faff to make when you aren’t super dextrous!) and the piece de resistance, grilled prawn toast (recipe here). We both love a Chinese takeaway, but it isn’t the healthiest, and deep fried prawn toasts are as bad for you as they are delicious! Finding out how to make these has been awesome, and they taste even better than the fried versions because the prawn flavour comes through much more. The prawn topping (or “glop” as Mr Cosy calls it) looks super gross, but it is definitely worth trying out! I will admit that I take a shortcut and blend the mix rather than finely chopping as suggested in the recipe, it is so much easier! I love a long potter about in the kitchen, and I really enjoyed making all this food. The most difficult thing is the timing when you are working on a few dishes at once, so I probably wouldn’t recommend trying anything like this for more than say 6 people – unless you are a less stress-headed host than I am (not hard)!

BUM WATCH UPDATE (awful). It is just about better! Had a mini pain-relapse this week, but I plan on taking a warm bath tonight and treating myself to some pamper time. I think I’ll get through the flight without too much difficulty, I just need to keep my general fidgetiness in check. I have learned my lesson and now slippers with proper grips are worn on the stairs at all times. Goodness, I hope when we buy a house we get one with a less steep staircase!

Speaking of buying a house, that is hopefully on the agenda for this Summer. One of the key things we want is off-road parking. Where we currently live, the parking situation is all on-street and a permit-less free for all. Most of the time we get parked without much of a problem, but there simply aren’t enough spaces on the street for all the cars that belong to the people that live there. Being the highly strung person that I am, I do sometimes find the struggle for a space a bit aggravating, but not anywhere close to the level that other people seem to have hit this week! One car apparently outstayed it’s welcome and ended up with a rather curtly worded note (laminated!) stuck to the windscreen. I will admit that I am a sucker for a bit of passive-aggressive drama, but only when I get to be an observer. If that was my car I’d be mortified… and I certainly wouldn’t ever dare put a note on someone else’s car! Roll on a house with a driveway – and some chill neighbours I hope!

Finally, my goodness have you seen the Easter eggs in M&S? They are all amazing looking but if you only get one thing may I be so bold as to recommend the salted caramel and chocolate ganache eggs? You get a pack of 4 and when you pick it up you know they are going to be amazing because the pack weighs a ton! They. Are. Delicious. Seriously. Delicious on a scale of I-wish-I’d-never-found-out-that-these-exist. Lucky that we go away soon so I can’t get through any more. Yum.

So that’s me, eating chocolate while I wait for on-street drama to unfold, classy as ever. I hope you have all had a week as yummy as those eggs, and I can’t wait to send my next update from the USA! Roll on Thursday…

Have a lovely weekend,

E x


Posted in blog

A Cosy Chat – 31/03/17

Is Spring finally here? As I sit writing this I can see bright sunlight shining through the window – but the goosebumps on my arms say otherwise! I’m more than ready for a change in weather and wardrobe, which I’m going to get in 2 weeks whether the UK climate decides to comply or not!

Yes, the <1 month countdown to our honeymoon has begun, and I’ve been spending most of my week researching, list writing and shopping to get myself ready for our wonderful trip. I managed to find my dedicated honeymoon notebook which had been lost for weeks (it was inside my D&D kit, of course) and my itinerary spreadsheet is now colour coded and fully filled in – it even has a new page, solely dedicated to the happy hours of Las Vegas. I love holiday planning for two reasons. One, it helps me get excited – seeing all the places I want to visit, learning traveller tips for the area and planning meals and nights out. Two, it helps calm me down – the more organised I am beforehand the more I can relax on holiday. I don’t need to plan every minute of every day, but if I know that I have a full list of all accommodation, booking references and timings for the points where we have to be at a certain place at a certain time I am 100% happier when I get to the airport.

Yeah that’s a multicoloured planning spreadsheet…

So, what else has been going on – it has been ages since I last wrote a blog post and that is largely because I’ve not had a lot to write about! Work has picked up to being super busy, and with a big holiday coming up I’ve been saving money where I can. I’ve undertaken more long drives by myself and the confidence of being a “new” driver rather than a “learner” driver is coming to me. I’m slowly but surely getting over feeling like “I can’t do this!!” and becoming happier behind the wheel. My parallel parking is still appalling though!

I’ve been reading during most down-time, as I made the mistake of reserving too many books at the library – which of course all came in at once. Now I’m working through the stack I picked up a week ago, and am trying to exercise restraint when it comes to my current reserve list. March reads is looking like it’ll be a bumper edition! There are some great recommendations coming with it though, so watch this space.

If anyone has been following the sad tale of my sad tail-bone, good news! It is just about healed. It went from 5 weeks of agony to basically mended over the course of three or so days, and now I largely don’t notice it  unless I’ve been sat for a while – watching a film or something. I’m so relieved, it truly was a painful experience. Now I can get back to running, the plane journey will be merely boring rather than miserable and I no longer wince every time I stand up. Things are good!

Expect a number of makeup posts in the coming fortnight, I’ve been trying out a number of new products ready for the brighter, warmer weather and I have some duds and some successes to report on. A PSA for you high street brand fans – Max Factor have a really good quality free gift if you spend over £15 at the moment. Well worth it for the mascara alone, which is one of my all time favourites.

The weekend brings more holiday and life admin. It is time for the semi-annual wardrobe swap. I’m getting my spring/summer clothes out of hibernation and swapping out the most wintery of my winter stuff. I always use this as an opportunity to have a clear out, and to identify any gaps (ie where the hell are all my plain t-shirts?) – this time around I really need to get into gear and check I have what I need for 16 days in a variety of climates. I might even be really organised and throw some stuff on eBay. I want to run a relaxing bath and grab my book just at the thought of doing all this!

Finally, my dress down Friday. This week I am wearing (I promise, but it was still dark when I left this morning!):

  • Jeggings -I live in these, they are the flippin’ comfiest
  • Harbour Top – Joules make amazing tops. They’re more expensive, but great fit and quality. Plus, bees!
  • White Nikes (the joys of fitting kids sizes!) – breaking these in for holiday

Love this outfit, simple, comfy and still manages to look like I at least thought about it this morning!

Have a great weekend everyone,

E x


Posted in blog

A Cosy Chat – 24/02/17

This week has, at times, been a trial. And it’s all my own fault! Thanks to carelessness, socks and a very steep staircase, I’ve gone and given my tailbone a thumping which is incredibly painful and means that sitting down (erm, one of my favourite things to do) is very uncomfortable. It’s healing, and I’m getting better everyday, but there is something so demoralising about not being able to get comfy at all that grinds you down after a few days. I had a little weep, made a cup of tea, picked myself up and enjoyed the rest of the week. Some fun stuff has gone on so let’s concentrate on that!

First up it has been a week (and a bit) of birthdays. My mother and grandmother-in-law both have celebrated, and we are going over to Yorkshire this weekend for an 80th birthday party! I’m ridiculously lucky in that when I married Mr Cosy, I married into the most amazing family. They have all made me feel so welcomed and such a part of the family – it is lovely, and I know not everyone manages that with in-laws so I certainly don’t take it for granted. As such, I’m genuinely excited to see everyone that is going to be there, all the cousins (we are all really close in age which is great) and hopefully the newest family member who is 6 months old and gorgeous! I want my cuddle time dammit.

Not that I’d ever buy affection with baking, but I have knocked this beauty out to take over to my mother-in-laws tonight. It’s a gluten free orange cake made with polenta and ground almonds. It is the easiest cake in the world (recipe here) and is so moist and beautiful and versatile that it has quickly become a go-to recipe for me. You can enjoy it with a hot drink in the afternoon, or easily turn it into a dessert with some Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey or orange blossom water. If you were feeling fancy a sprinkling of gorgeous pomegranate seeds or unsalted pistachios would look and taste fantastic. Really though, we end up “neatening” the edges once it has been cut into and by the end of the weekend it’ll have been demolished in a series of ever-increasing slices.

It was also a good friend’s birthday this week which, by happy coincidence, coincided with one of our favourite bands playing live in Manchester. We booked the tickets months ago and come Wednesday night we were at the Royal National College of Music to enjoy 90 mins with The Handsome Family.

I was introduced to this band around 5 years ago by my now-husband, and instantly loved their almost country-esq sound. Please bear with me when I’m trying to describe music – I’m enthusiastic but no music journalist or scholar and I’m sure someone could be a lot more eloquent than I am! They’re a husband and wife duo from New Mexico who have released 10 albums of gorgeous music. Their songs tell stories – usually sad ones – and I really love the slice of Americana that their lyrics give you. A few years back they also had a song of theirs used as the theme to season 1 of True Detective ( – it’s a cracker, check it out).

I’ve seen them before but this time around was even better, they had a really amazing guitarist playing with them and had rearranged some of their songs into awesome new versions. I also got to hear my favourite of their songs – – which is about a bottomless pit someone finds in their backyard. I’d really recommend checking them out, they are on Spotify and Apple Music. There are curated playlists on both platforms so you can get  a bit of a “best of” compilation to introduce yourself. A lovely evening, a great band, and fantastic company – what more could you want?

A distinctly un-cosy storm hit us on Thursday. Fortunately Storm Doris (what a fantastic name) didn’t cause any property damage around our area, just played havoc with the wheelie bins! I made the mistake of venturing out, and ended up frozen to the bone after 5 minutes outside. I definitely should have stayed in with a blanket and enjoyed the sound of the wind. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that allows home working, so I didn’t risk the public transport in case of getting stranded and instead stayed at home bundled up, running around shutting windows once all the doors started slamming upstairs – lucky I  was home really.

All in all, a quiet-ish week, but a nice one (if you exclude how grumpy the result of last night’s Pottery Throwdown made me). I can’t believe how quickly February has gone, Spring is just around the corner bringing the promise of more time spent outside enjoying camping, walks and bike rides (when my broken bum is fixed!!).

Have a lovely weekend everyone, 

E x 

Posted in blog

A Cosy Chat – 17/02/17

Another week has gone by, and what a lovely one it has been. Although Mr Cosy and I don’t really go in for the faff and expense of Valentines Day, this year was particularly special as our first one as a married couple. Not only that, but on Valentines Day morning, Mr C found out that he had gotten the new job he had applied for internally (and had really wanted) – so we had double the celebration… but with the usual amount of pizza.

This year we settled ourselves down in front of a movie – Wet Hot American Summer (very funny and streaming on Netflix), snuggled under a blanket and just enjoyed a quiet night in in each others company. Not really different to any other night but its the way we like to spend it (and a night in in pyjamas is infinitely more cosy than being glammed up and at a fancy restaurant).

Also this week, we joined some friends in making a team for a Harry Potter themed quiz night at a pub in town. It has been a great excuse for me to re-read the books, even if I only made it to 3/4 of the way through Order of the Phoenix before quiz time was upon us. We watched the first couple of movies as well, I enjoy them but they just aren’t a patch on the books for me. I’ve been a Harry Potter fan for a long time, and taking part in a quiz was something I couldn’t turn down! Our team of 6 (Yer a Quizzard Harry) came a respectable 2nd with 43/50. I’ll take it! Of course you always want to win but I really enjoyed testing my knowledge and a midweek night out with some friends was a real treat.

This weekend is going to be spent recovering from various injuries that have been sustained in the Cosy house this week. We’ve been in the wars and a lot of hot baths, comfy nests on the sofa and early nights are needed. Hopefully, we will be back up and running by next weekend which is gearing up to be busy. Sadly, we are also missing out on a nice walk we had planned which is a real shame, hopefully we will have lots of chances to make up for it once the weather starts to pick up.

On that note, I never thought I’d say this in my life being a sworn winter bunny, but I am beginning to look forward to Spring. The bitter cold seems to have crept into my bones and lodged itself there; I can’t remember the last time I was properly warm. As much as I love my jumpers, boots, scarves and coats I do think that I’m ready for the weather to start warming up. If it isn’t going to snow properly, then what is the point of putting up with it? I’ll link back to this post when I’m complaining about melting in the heat come July, just you watch me.

This week I finally replaced my trusty (very) old Cath Kidston wallet with a shiny new one. It was £80 from Ted Baker which I think is very reasonable as it is real leather. The soft grey and rose gold detailing is just my thing and I fancied a long flat wallet to replace my bulky square old one that was looking rather tatty. To try and combat the sheer bulk of store and loyalty cards I have amassed I’ve bought myself a separate card holder (£7.49 – Amazon) which is going to live in my bag ready for when I need it. It might seem like more faff, but the amount of time I spend currently going through each pocket of my wallet which has a stack of cards in is no better! At least this way I can see what I’m doing.

Finally, the countdown to our USA honeymoon has begun. Under 8 weeks and all the core organisation has been done, our accoms and travel booked and paid for. Now that is done, we are able to concentrate on the fun stuff – finding the restaurants, attractions and trips we want to take in. Obviously, I plan on hitting as many Sephora branches as I see, all in the name of research of course! We have some wonderful plans and it promises to be a once in a lifetime trip, I can’t wait to share it with my best friend.

Have a lovely weekend everyone,

E x

Posted in blog

A Cosy Chat – 3/2/17

Ahh, blog time. A little chatty update about what’s been happening over at PCHQ (aka a little end-terrace in Manchester).

Well, to start off with amazing, awesome, incredible news I can reveal that at the ripe old age of 32 I passed my driving test! (only 15 years too late, eh?) It was the second attempt due to a serious brain-fart moment back in November where I drove just fine but the knowledge of how to reverse around a corner simply fell out of my nervous head. This time around I kept my cool just-about and passed with only 3 minors, which I’m very happy with. Broom broom, time to get on the road!

Because of that, and because of who I am, I’ve also spent half the week in a mad worry/panic cycle, struggling to sleep, to concentrate and to keep calm. Before my test my breathing was somewhat erratic and I was physically shaking. My nails were bitten to nothing. I am not the most calm person, and I need to work on my own anxiety to try and take life a little less seriously and stop worrying about the things I can’t control. And to stop biting my nails, that’s gross!


I got myself a little acrylic treat to reward my hard driving work, and cover up the biting damage!

This week has otherwise flown by. I can’t believe it is Friday already and it feels great. I’ve got a long weekend ahead, having taken Monday off to recover from a late night watching the Superbowl this Sunday. I’m watching over at a friend’s house and am still to decide on what snacks to take – you have to have snacks with the Superbowl. Saturday night is going to be at the pub, enjoying a few g&ts and the conversation of good friends. All in all, a blissful weekend is planned. Relaxing, driving our car for the first time, playing some games and catching up with some mates. Everything a weekend should be.

One thing I did do this week was to finally watch The Godfather pt I and II (according to Mr Cosy, pt III is not worth watching!). I enjoyed them more than I thought I would, although I will admit I got a little distracted by Pinterest during pt II and struggled to follow what was going on, who was double crossing who, and who was alive or dead! I’m desperate for a cannoli now too, don’t forget the cannolis.

On the beauty front, a little PSA for all you thrifty makeup fans out there! Primark have £1 mini beauty spatulas in right now, a dupe for a £9.95 product on Amazon. I’ve picked one up, and it’s going to be great for when I start hitting the bottom of my Estee Lauder doublewear – glass bottles look pretty but are so impractical in other ways. I’m going to go back and pick up a second for skincare, nobody wants to waste precious drops of those expensive serums do they?

I also did a huge makeup brush clean this week – feels great when it’s done, but I doubt I’m the only person out there who thinks it is one of the worst jobs you have to do. Foundation brushes are my particular bugbear, I can never seem to get the centre all cleaned out – if anyone has any tips to help me, please please let me know!

Finally, my dress down Friday outfit of the day:


The jeans (ASOS but about 3 years old) make my legs look so short, but I love them! The jumper was another Primark purchase – £12 and currently in stores. I can’t see it washing amazingly well, but it is so soft right now. Converse in urgent need of replacement after travelling everywhere with me, and topped off with my favourite grey coat from M&S (£60 and I think still available). I really like the mix of the smart coat with the casual jeans and trainers, and I think the cute jumper works well with the way I’ve thrown my hair up. It’s such a comfy outfit, but I’ve tried to style it in a way that still looks like I’ve made a bit of effort. I initially tried this with some heeled ankle boots this morning, but a combination of a crisis of confidence and not being bothered to traipse about in heels all day sent me running back upstairs for my Converse!

I hope you have all had a wonderful week and that your weekends are lovely and cosy!

Have a lovely day,

E x