Review: Estee Lauder Game Face Beauty Box

Happy Thursday, loves!

Thank goodness it’s nearly the weekend, I don’t know what it is about a bank holiday week that somehow makes a four day week feel so long?! Just me? Anyway, let’s get on with it…

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Estee Lauder own so many of the big beauty brands we all know and love – and they create amazing beauty boxes on a regular basis showcasing a few of the best selling products from these brands. I think this is done once per season (?) however I have missed out on the last few as they sell out so bloody quickly! One of my favourite bloggers/vloggers, Fleur (Fleur de Force) has mentioned these several times in her monthly New In: Beauty videos, which was how I found out about the release of this one.

The beauty box retails for £25, however the value is estimated at £69 (via Estee Lauder’s website) and is filled with generous sized samples; these sizes are perfect for weekends away – something you may know Matt and I bloody love to do! We are planning to go away next month, maybe for a staycation, to celebrate our anniversary (eek!) so I know some of these products will come in so handy. Spoiler alert: I was very impressed by this box!

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Products included:
Estee Lauder DayWear Moisturiser
Clinique 2-in-1 Cleansing Micellar Gel & Light Makeup Cleanser
Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask
MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream
Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Ruby
Bumble & Bumble Dryspun Finish Hairspray
Smashbox Super Fan Mascara
Glamglow Gravity Mud

Estee Lauder DayWear Moisturiser

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My skin and new skincare products are usually not a match made in heaven, however this product seems to work very well with my skin. I’ve only used it three times at the time of writing, but so far I’ve had no extra breakouts – always a bonus! I am currently in the process of changing up my skincare routine a little (spoiler: new post coming soon talking more about this) and this has been a very welcome addition to my routine over the past week. The full size is pretty pricey for a moisturiser, however I can totally see how beauty fanatics can be tempted to purchase, I think I already am! It’s creamy and luxurious, but sinks into the skin so easily and is a perfect base for makeup. For now I am going to keep this aside for travel purposes – it’s so hard to find smaller sizes of products you love and enjoy, so this will have a nice home in my drawer of travel sized minis.

Clinique 2-in-1 Cleansing Micellar Gel & Light Makeup Cleanser

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As you may know if you read this post, Clinique is one of my favourite skincare brands and has been since I got into the world of makeup and skincare. I think generally speaking their price points are reasonable, their products always work well with my skin and the quality is consistently really good. I had not tried this product before, but I have used it for the past few nights and enjoyed it a lot. I used it alongside my beloved Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm; so after taking my makeup off, pre shower/bath, I washed my face with this. It left my skin feeling clean, but not tight, and didn’t aggravate an exceptionally annoying dry patch I’ve currently got under my eye. It has a very typical Clinique scent, and I have to admit the millennial pink packaging is right up my street – another one for the travel minis drawer!

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask

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I was very excited to see this included! This is a product I’ve used over the past few years, more-so during the Autumn and Winter months. I finished up my previous tube earlier this year, and was planning to repurchase as the weather got colder. I’ll definitely still be picking up a full size tube, and putting this aside for trips, or just to keep in my skincare pouch I take back and forth to Matt’s house. This product is great for when your skin starts to feel a little dry and uncomfortable as the cold weather sets in, then over the past few years I used at least once per week throughout the colder months. I use this as an evening moisturiser rather than a mask you take off (I think that’s how it’s intended). After carrying out my skincare routine I’ll apply this all over my face; let it sink in, then leave it on until the next morning. It smells divine and it feels so luxurious on the skin; my skin always looks/feels better the next morning. 

MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream

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I’m pretty sure any makeup fan will have tried and loved this product – it’s definitely gained cult status among beauty bloggers/vloggers, and for good reason! I haven’t actually got a full size of this in my collection right now either, as I recently started a very big clear out and mine was way past it’s use by date *posts on this coming next month!* I have added this into my makeup bag and I know I’ll reach for it for Matt and I’s next date night – I don’t know why but this was/is never a product I reach(ed) for, for a day time makeup look. Possibly because my skin used to be super oily and anything glowy made me look like I’d rubbed oil all over my face! I use this as a primer, it provides such a nice base for your makeup. I may use this more in the Autumn/Winter as I think everyone’s skin tends to look a lot more dull in comparison to the Spring/Summer months. I’d highly recommend getting a sample next time you’re passing MAC if you haven’t tried it!

Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Ruby

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Dark lipsticks are really not my thing, but I do think this colour is so beautiful! It is a rich berry red, so dark it’s almost brown, and just looking at it makes me think of Christmas time – this would be a perfect lipstick for Christmas evenings with a nice little black sweater! I can’t believe I’m already thinking about Christmas (but I have been listening to Christmas songs since July, much to Matt’s annoyance…) I do really like the colour when swatched so I’ve added this into my makeup bag too; I hope I can pluck up the courage to wear it soon! I really want to branch out of my usual makeup boundaries this Autumn, so this may be a good place to start. 

Bumble & Bumble Dryspun Finish Hairspray

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I have never tried anything from Bumble & Bumble before this product, but it’s a brand I’ve always been very intrigued by! My hair was, quite honestly, a huge mess up until this past week. I had a crazy build up of product that I just couldn’t seem to wash out; turns out after a lengthy chat with my hairdresser it was my shampoo and conditioner causing the problem. Duh! (I was using OGX Extra Strength Coconut Miracle Oil products and I stopped immediately – Matt acquired them! I’m not sure why they were so bad for my hair, but the difference is insane). I picked up a sulphate free shampoo and a new conditioner, and so far so good. Anyway the point of that story, was that I’m trying to be very kind to my hair at the moment! I’ve used this a couple of times and I’m very impressed. It didn’t make my hair crunchy or hard, and it did keep flyaways in place perfectly. I also love the smell of this, it smells way less chemical-ly than the cheaper hairsprays I tend to pick up – I definitely will be adding this to my travel size beauty drawer!

Smashbox Super Fan Mascara

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Other than lip products, I think mascaras are my favourite beauty product. I don’t really know why, they are just something I tend to gravitate to – I am always excited about new releases from my favourite brands and I am always ‘just picking up’ another one for the make up drawer. I haven’t tried this yet, but the Smashbox Full Exposure mascara is one of my favourites, so my hopes are high! This brush is the best kind of mascara brush in my opinion; it’s long and spikey, and the mascara itself is jet black. I recently opened a new tube of my current favourite (Lancôme Monsieur Big) so I don’t want to use this just yet, however I am very excited to try it out – and I’m sure if it’s any good it’ll make an appearance on the blog some time soon. 

Glamglow Gravity Mud

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I don’t know who was more excited about this one… my boyfriend or me! Full disclosure: we love a face mask. We usually go for sheet masks as they’re way less messy, but we could definitely make an exception for this. I think this mask looks amazing – it’s silver and slightly holographic; we had so much fun trying it out last Saturday night. Yep, wild lives we lead. I’ve seen photos of this mask all over Instagram for months now, and I’ve been tempted to buy for a while – marketing at it’s finest, eh! I have used and loved Glamglow masks for years (the white one is my favourite); they all have different purposes and the range is growing so fast now. This mask is a firming treatment, and I have to say my skin did feel very good after using it. Matt enjoyed it too, he especially loved peeling it off my face! Here’s a picture of us: #SaturdayNightGoals

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PS – Gin with Gills #2 is back on Sunday, I changed the upload date because I was so excited to share this box with you! Thank you so much for reading, I would love to know your thoughts. Are you planning on picking up this box?! Does it include some of your favourites? 

-G x

What’s In My Makeup Bag

*disclaimer: I know the quality in some of these photos isn’t great – I took them on a cloudy Saturday afternoon and natural light was not my friend on this day!*

Welcome back, loves!

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Today I thought I’d take you through my daily makeup routine! Last month, I wrote all about my high end beauty favourites and in that post, I said I’d be doing a drugstore beauty favorites soon. However to be honest, I really don’t have enough products that I love from the drugstore right now. I’m trying out some new things and I will still definitely make the post in time – if you have any recommendations for products you love, please let me know!

I actually keep my daily makeup products in a makeup bag as living between my house and my boyfriends means I’m constantly on the go and don’t want to waste time packing and unpacking my makeup every other day. I sit my bags on the edge of my vanity table when we’re staying at home, it doesn’t look too pretty but it does the job! The makeup bag I’m currently using is from Elizabeth Scarlett and it’s perfect – it’s so roomy and looks beautiful. The Ted Baker bag is where I keep all my daily skincare products, and the Zoeva bag is the home of my most used daily makeup brushes. 

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I thought I’d share a little of my vanity table with you too – I am currently in the process of clearing out and organising all my beauty products; skincare, hair care, makeup and everything else! When I’m done I’m going to share the decluttering process with you – don’t worry I’m documenting everything as I go!

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Let’s take a peek inside…

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L’Oreal Infallible Pore Perfecting Primer – one of the newest additions to my makeup bag and already a firm favourite. I tend to change up my primer every time I finish the previous one as none seem to make much difference in my opinion. I already know I’m going to repurchase this one when it runs out! One pump is enough for my whole face, and the consistency is not at all runny; meaning no product is wasted. It makes my skin look smooth and is a great base to apply makeup on top of.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light – my favourite foundation. I’ve already raved about this product in this post (along with lots of other products featured in this post!) but I just love this stuff. I never thought I’d find a foundation that worked as well for me as the regular Double Wear, but this is ten times better. It applies beautifully, lasts all day, and doesn’t break me out. Over the past year I finally began to use foundation to even out my skin tone, not to cover any imperfections. That is what concealer is for! I use the tiniest amount of this so a tube lasts me forever.

Nars Soft Matte Concealer – I am obsessed with this stuff. I have used and loved the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer for years now, and after seeing so many people rave about this I finally ordered it during a late night Feel Unique shopping spree. I am so glad I did; I love this even more! It is, as the name suggests, matte and very full coverage – it covers blemishes/redness/pigmentation with no issue and doesn’t look at all cakey. Although the product is very soft in the tub (the only part I don’t love about this product is scooping it out with my finger) it lasts all day on the skin.

Kat Von D Loose Setting Powder – another product I’ve previously mentioned on the blog. This powder is great; it is the perfect setting powder and the best I’ve personally used. I used to use the Laura Mercier and honestly, this does the same thing for around half the price (I’d recommend if you’re going to buy to wait until Debenhams have 10% off  – they seem to ever other week!) I tap a little of this powder into the lid and swirl my brush in it; then pat into my skin rather than brush up/down – this doesn’t move any of the cream products underneath and helps my makeup to stay put all day.

Real Techniques Sponge – I always use a sponge to apply my foundation and concealer – either this one or a regular beauty blender. I did think a beauty blender did a better job but honestly I can’t tell the difference any more, so I just opt for the cheaper one! I always use mine damp, and try to clean it as often as I can. It does really annoy me though that once you use a sponge once they look permanently grubby!

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Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser – I think this is the best under eye concealer I’ve tried; it doesn’t crease, covers any darkness (all those late nights watching Netflix with Matthew are catching up!) and a tube also seems to last forever. The top of this product is so gross I almost didn’t take a photo, I probably could have cleaned the cap, oops. I use the ‘brightener’ shade and it really does brighten up my under eyes; mine are terribly dark!

Benefit Hoola Bronzer – an oldie but a goodie! This is the perfect contour shade for me (I know this is a bronzer, but makeup has no rules, right?!) It’s not too orange toned or too grey toned, and it never looks smudgey or harsh on the skin. I am very fair skinned and often contour shades are hard to blend and generally look uneven. I think this is probably going to be one of those products I always repurchase. 

MAC Blush in Peachykeen – a blush I always go back to in Spring/Summer. I always gravitate towards MAC and Nars blushes in general; they have extensive colour ranges and the products are such high quality. This has a very slight glittery shimmer running through it that leaves your cheeks looking slightly glowing and very healthy. I think this leans more towards pink than peach, and a quick sweep of the pan is enough for both cheeks. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a blush – they literally last forever.

Bare Minerals Invisible Glow in Fair to Light – this is my perfect day time highlight. I love this for adding a glow to my face without the added glitter; I definitely do not want to look like a disco ball (if that is your style then that’s totally fine)! This just gives a very subtle, light sheen across the skin and isn’t at all glittery – it blends like a dream. I use this on my cheekbones, brow bone, down my nose and on my cupids bow.

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MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre – the only eyeshadow base I use! I wear eyeshadow every day (usually just matte browns during the day unless I’m feeling ~fancy~ and add a little shimmer) and I always use a paint pot for the base. I never have issues with eyeshadow creasing or coming off throughout the day, no matter the brand, and I know it’s because this product is so good. It’s also great if you use loose glitter shadows (MAC Copper is a personal favourite) as it really keeps the glitter in place.

Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette – I picked this up on a whim, because Matt and I go on so many trips and I was sick of carting big palettes around with me. (I also had a Naked 2 palette break!) As I said earlier, I live between my house and my boyfriends, so minimising products makes it easier to transport them between houses! I love the colours in this for an every day look. I use Strike, the darkest shade, as an ‘eyeliner’ along my top lash line most days. I do wish the lightest shade was a shimmer as it’s the only thing I think this palette is missing but it’s still pretty much my perfect mini palette.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Palette – my new little baby. I purchased this palette a few weeks ago, and got to wear it the night I purchased for a double date with my babe, my bestie and her boyfriend. I was so excited to try out a new palette I used most of the colours (yes, it is possible) however I’ve experimented with this the past few weeks and I especially love Rustic, Sienna and Sultry. The eyeshadows are super pigmented and there is very little fallout – the brush that comes in this palette is also very good!

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Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara – okay, after reading so many blog posts raving about this mascara, I purchased this and was incredibly disappointed to begin with. I persevered and as the mascara started to dry out (within about a week) it became a much better product. It really bugs me so many mascaras have this issue! The formula is super black, and it doesn’t flake off throughout the day. The brush is so big I thought I would definitely get this all over when applying, but it’s very easy to use and doesn’t transfer onto the top lid – something that happens often because I have naturally long eyelashes. This gives lots of length and definition to my lashes, but I definitely think it becomes clumpy with more than two coats; I don’t like that look personally and usually one coat is enough for me.

Glossier Lash Slick Mascara – I use this as my bottom lash mascara. I was so excited when Glossier finally released a mascara, then I was gutted to find out I didn’t like it very much. It gives lots of length but very little volume; as I said, I do have pretty long eyelashes naturally, but I just felt it didn’t do much for my top lashes. I do however love it for my bottom lashes – it doesn’t smudge, but separates and lengthens perfectly. I also love this packaging – Glossier know how to make a pretty product! 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Brunette – this is probably my number one desert island beauty product, I love it! I’ve used the brow wiz for years and have repurchased so many times. My eyebrows are so sparse and this makes drawing hair-like strokes easy as pie. It lasts all day, the spoolie on the end if perfect for brushing the product through, and it’s so easy to use. I’m really thinking about getting HD brows but for some reason I’m scared to; anyone’s personal experience would be helpful?!

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown – another long time favourite of mine. To be honest, I really like brow gels I’ve tried from ABH and MAC just as much, but for some reason this is the one I tend to repurchase over and over. It adds dimension and gives the appearance of texture on my brows; making them look fuller and bolder. For minimal makeup days I can just brush this through my eyebrows without using my brow wiz and it does a great job.

L’Oreal Tattoo Signature Eyeliner in Black – if you know me, you’ll know I’m not really a liquid eyeliner kind of girl. I tend to keep my day-to-day makeup fresh and simple, and generally can’t be bothered with the faff or stress of doing anything tedious. That being said, recently I’ve been using liquid eyeliner for evening looks, or if I have a little more time to get ready at the weekend, and I’ve really enjoyed this one. The tip is flexible, the formula is very black and it doesn’t seem to dry out quickly. I’ve found this lasts all day/night on my lids, and never transfers above. I also find it much easier to do a wing with this eyeliner as the tip is very fine and sharp.

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Aquaphor Lip Repair – this lip balm is the best! I love my Glossier balm dot com too, but this is great for when my lips need a little extra hydration. It’s a thick texture, but not goopy or uncomfortable. I really think this lip balm is as good as the Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream, and comes in much smaller packaging – perfect for my handbag.

Chanel Lipstick in Mademoiselle – my favourite lipstick of all time, and one I’ve also talked about on the blog before. I’m not going to go into too much detail but this is my favourite ‘your lips but better’ colour; it’s slightly darker but the rosiness of the shade makes it so wearable. I often wear this for date night as it’s a little darker, yet doesn’t come off on straws (or on Matt’s lips, ha!) It’s my go-to lipstick all year round, but I know I especially love this in the Autumn months.

Glossier Balm Dot Com in Coconut – I prefer to wear this balm under my lip product of choice that day. It’s fairly matte once it’s on the lips, so doesn’t alter whatever product that you put on top of it. It smells divine; it’s such a holiday scent and will always remind me of Kos because I used this every evening whilst doing my makeup.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Kristen – my favourite lip gloss of the moment, and another favourite for date nights. This isn’t too sticky and is a similar ‘your lips but better’ shade. The applicator is perfect, you don’t get too much product and it’s so easy to apply.

Rimmel Lip Liner in East End Snob – another oldie but a goodie! This lip liner is such good quality for the price (it’s less than £4!) and it is the perfect shade of pink for my skin tone. I have worn this on and off for years – Amelia Liana used to rave about this product and that was what first got me into it. It’s currently replacing my Charlotte Tilbury lip cheat in Pillow Talk and I’m enjoying using it again.

Buxom Lip Gloss in Dolly – I love this lip gloss! The consistency is perfect; it’s not sticky and lasts very well for a lip gloss. It smells like Autumn (just kind of warm and spicy? I think it’s a cinnamon scent) and the slight shimmer/glitter throughout makes your lips look full and pouty. It’s one of those amazing lip products you can apply without a mirror and you’ll still look great!

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Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite products in your makeup bag right now?

-G x

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

*photography by Matthew*

Welcome back, loves!

Today’s post is a little out of my comfort zone; it’s very personal and even for me (possibly the world’s biggest oversharer) it’s hard to admit to some of my feelings in this post. Grab yourself a cuppa and get cosy, it’s a long one…

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Recently I’ve just felt very off. I have felt anxious, stressed, really down/upset and just not myself. Nothing has happened to make me feel this way, in fact my life’s never been better, but every part of me has been struggling. When my mental health is low, my physical health takes a hit too – I don’t sleep well, I don’t eat as I should and I don’t have the same umph in me that’s usually there.

A stye appeared under my eye and I know it was because I’ve been feeling so stressed out and letting things get on top of me. It wasn’t until this stye appeared – well, I knew it was coming as I could feel the skin under my eye feeling dry/tight – that it clicked how crap I had been feeling. Mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more in some ways, yet it took a physical symptom for me to acknowledge what was going on.

This post is based on my thoughts and feelings, and a lot of that comes from my personal experience. I think as millennials, the topic of mental health is often talked about in the way we think it should be talked about, yet people don’t truly understand the ways in which it can affect a person. Generally speaking, we are understanding and inquisitive about the subject, but there still IS a taboo of talking about it. When something tragic happens everyone is quick to say they support people suffering with any form of mental illness, yet in reality friends dismiss your feelings and tire of hearing about what you’re going through. It’s very easy to feel like a burden, or like what you’re feeling doesn’t matter because someone has it worse. I feel like I need to say, categorically, mental health is not a competition. It does not matter if someone is going through something ‘worse’ – your feelings matter, your thoughts matter, you matter. I’m all for putting my own experiences out there – as scary as that is – on the off chance it may help someone else, and I hope that this post is received in the way it’s intended; with kindness.

As hard as it is to explain, I felt like for a few days I was me. Happy, giggly, too-loud me. Then, without warning, I suddenly felt like that ‘me’ is no longer there, and I start to worry about everything. The worrying then leads to feeling stressed out and like I have a lack of control. I know I can’t control everything – to be honest we can control very little in life – but I was unable to think rationally or see things from a different point of view. I felt very at a loss with myself, nothing was making me feel better for longer than a couple of hours. This is especially hard for me to understand because I am a worrier any way – I’ve said this before but my grandma always tells me not to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders – yet I do day in, day out. The feelings lasted on and off for about a week, but it really is so disheartening when you just can’t make sense of why you feel so down. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t down at every minute of the day. If, for example, I didn’t tell the girls at work they would have been none the wiser, but it really is so draining when you just can’t get out of a funk. It starts to affect your life in ways you may not see at the time, and something ridiculous like taking a shower becomes a chore.

It may sound silly or child-like, but the best way I can think to describe it is that a little dark cloud just kept following me around. Sometimes I had my raincoat and umbrella ready, and even though I knew that little cloud was there – down pouring – I could weather it. Then, other times, my raincoat and umbrella would be quickly taken from me and I’d be left with nothing to protect me from the storm. 

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I generally am a very happy person, and even when I’m feeling a little down or anxious I can hide it and just get on with things. Even when I’m in a bad mood – warranted or not – I’m very good at not letting it show. I’m not saying this is the right thing to do, it’s just pretty much my default setting. I really can’t hide it from my boyfriend though, he knows in a second if something isn’t right! I apologised to Matt at least once a day for the past week for not being my usual self, and every single time he told me he loved me and I had nothing to apologise for. Sometimes he needs to lean on me a little bit, and sometimes I need to lean on him a little bit, and I love that we have such a good balance. I know I’m so lucky to have such a great man that I can rely on when I need to, and I can’t stress how much I appreciate everything we have in our relationship. This has been something that makes this a whole lot easier – he is understanding and helpful and does everything he can to make me feel better, whatever that may be at that time. I really think it’s so important to lean on someone when you need to. I spent years hiding how I truly felt because, honestly, I didn’t think anyone would understand, then even if they did, I thought they wouldn’t care. 

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I love spending quality time with my boyfriend more than I can put into words, but I really bloody appreciated it this past week in particular! Falling asleep and waking up with him each day I knew that everything would be okay; that niggly feeling in the pit of my stomach felt lighter each time, I had a sense of comfort and slowly I started to feel better. I was trying so hard to find the good things in each day; to enjoy what I could because I knew I wasn’t feeling completely myself and at any moment I could start feeling down right miserable again. To be honest, I don’t know if this is a good or bad way to view it, but focusing on all the good in my life did seem to help. Let’s be honest, it really is the little things that mean the most anyway. Those little things I know I’m guilty of sometimes taking for granted; relaxing in a hot bubble bath, kissing and cuddling Matt each morning and night, eating a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (the best) on my lunch break, belting out Ariana Grande whilst driving. I’ve learned if you hold onto the good things, the bad things don’t seem so bad.

I sometimes find it very hard to speak to friends when I feel like this; when I should lean on them I push them away as I don’t want to put things on them – this is counter productive and doesn’t help anyone. Another thing I’ve noticed is getting and/or keeping in touch with people can be very hard for me, and I don’t understand why to be able to explain it. I don’t want to have conversations, and I shut myself off – completely unintentionally – from things I don’t have the energy to deal with. I feel like I can be on auto pilot; getting ready and going to work, coming home and feeling exhausted from putting on a (mostly) happy face all day. Matt and I are usually out all the time – going for dinner, exploring a new place, even just going shopping, and as my energy levels were at zero the things I usually love were the last things I wanted to do. Instead we’ve spent lots of time over the past week snuggling up watching Netflix, cooking and just enjoying being together in our little bubble – that was exactly what I needed and those kind of moments were when my raincoat and umbrella were firmly in place.

One thing that made me feel worse was social media, and the fact that everyone else seemed to be feeling, looking and doing great, when I couldn’t fit into that mindset. I’ve touched on this in previous posts, but I really feel like social media can have a negative impact on our mental health and it’s something we all need to be aware of, and take responsibility for. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles circulating the Internet on this topic. I feel like we all know the correlation between social media and poor mental health, yet we continue to allow ourselves to fall deeper into the hole. I am not a jealous person at all, and although I’ve definitely compared myself to others in the past it’s not something that would make me feel down on myself. This past week especially, I’ve felt jealous of silly, ridiculous things, like so-and-so having a perfect life and always seeming so happy. Nine times out of ten I don’t know enough about said person to know if that is true or not; and even if it was true I really shouldn’t be feeling jealous in the first place. I stopped scrolling through Instagram as much, I didn’t open Facebook for days (I mean, it’s pretty boring at the best of times) and I didn’t mindlessly read Twitter. Stepping back from all of the social media rubbish that sometimes fills our brains helped me so much, and I could truly live in the moment.

We’ve all heard the ‘people post their highlight reels’ spiel more than a few times, but it is key to remember this if you’re scrolling through feeling like everyone else has it so good compared to you. The reality is we all feel a little bit down or miserable, to different extents, on a regular basis. It’s okay to feel this way and it’s okay to talk about it. I know this probably seems a little ironic, given that I blog about surface level things generally speaking, but I’m human too, and I hope that this post shows life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, even if I often wish it was.

The funny thing is because everything that was making me feel down was essentially in my own head, I just suddenly felt better. Nothing happened to lift my little dark cloud I’d been carrying around with me, it just went. Things seemed less stressful, my heart wasn’t going 100mph, and when I let my mind wander throughout the day I no longer felt sad, overly worried or anxious. I still have super dry skin under my eye, caused by the stye right now (cute, right?) but that’s it – if I hadn’t confided in my boyfriend and our families I would have just sailed through it and came out the other side without anyone knowing. That’s mainly the reason for this post – I want everyone to be able to share their thoughts and opinions and feelings with whoever they feel able to, it’s so important to reach out and I’ve learned that so much recently. 

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I think it’s important to say to any ladies reading; we can get feelings similar to what I’ve mentioned above linked to hormones and/or our ‘time of the month’. I take a mini-pill, which means I don’t get periods but I absolutely do feel the effects of ‘PMS’. This highlights my point above that until a physical symptom prompted me to take some kind of action, I ignored the mental symptoms. Just because I don’t have periods doesn’t mean my body doesn’t go through hormonal changes – I know some people will wonder why I’m sharing this; it’s because I know this will be the same for other women. If this is you – please know you’re not alone and feel free to do whatever it takes to make you feel better. (Long hot bubble baths are always the best for an instant cheer up!) How I’ve felt this past week was nothing to do with this, but it’s important to acknowledge that we have so many things going on in our lives and I really want to reach out to other ladies feeling a bit crap. Sometimes PMS and associated feelings can last a day or sometimes it can last a few days – but I think it’s so important to realise that as women we have so many hormones making us feel ‘crazy’ – we’re absolutely not! We are strong and doing a damn good job, wherever we are in our lives.

I am always here if anyone reading this feels like they need to talk; you can find my contact details here, I’d be a friend if you ever needed one. My number one tip is to talk it out; to your partner, your friend, a parent, a colleague; anyone who you can trust. I’d also suggest to take time for yourself – this post highlights a few little ways I like to unwind and may give you some ideas.

However,  if you’re struggling in any way with your mental health and feel like you may need a little extra help, there are always professionals you can reach out to. Charities like Mind and the Samaritans are very well known and there are so many ways to get in touch if that is something you need.

Thank you so much for reading – I’d truly love to know your thoughts on this post. I hope that if you’re feeling anything like I have been recently you can feel the virtual love and hugs I’m sending your way.

Lastly, I’d just like to really thank my boyfriend, Matthew. He’s not only my boyfriend and best friend but he’s also my rock, and he makes life more fun every day. Matthew; I am grateful beyond words for everything you do, everything we are and everything we have. I love you baby.

-G x

Bedside Beauty

Happy Sunday, loves!

I’m so happy it’s the weekend – Matt and I are having a cosy Sunday today and I can’t tell you how excited I am! We’re just going to potter around and go out for Sunday lunch, which is exactly what we need after a busy week. This is the kind of post I love to read – very personal, cosy, homey and good for anyone who likes to have a nosy into people’s private lives… let’s be honest, we all do. I hope you enjoy!

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My bedside table matches my built-in wardrobes and vanity table that I picked when I was 15, and as much as it’s not exactly cute or chic like all the ones you see on the Instagram Explore page, it does the job. I try to make it look somewhat pretty (although looking at these photos it might be mistaken for cluttered – oops!) and I like to keep it as tidy as possible as it’s somewhere I’m in and out of all the time. The top drawer is mainly filled with anything I might need close by late at night/early in the morning. The bottom drawer is actually Matt’s for all his small bits and bobs like toiletries and underwear – we’re together almost every night so there’s no point in him having to bring his stuff back and forth all the time! We also keep all the good stuff (eg chocolate and sweets) in this drawer – it’s not a secret most people keeps snacks in their bedside table… we’re guilty!

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I love these photos Matthew and I took when we went to Gino’s My Restaurant in Harrogate for my birthday back in May. I picked up the photo frame from George Home; I feel like Asda’s homeware range has grown so much over the past few years and they bring out really lovely pieces. 99% of the time I’m falling asleep with the real deal snuggled up next to me, but on the odd occasion my babe isn’t here I love to see his cute little face before I go to sleep! (He’s also in the photos on my phone backgrounds so this probably makes no sense). There’s a wristband on the corner of the frame from the Ed Sheeran concert we went to in May; one of my favourite nights of the year. I talked about this in lots of detail in my May monthly recap post – Matt unfortunately lost his band! I got my lamp from HomeSense at TK Maxx, it’s pretty old now and I’ve been looking for a new one for ages but just can’t find one I love. Matt bought me the Me To You bear for Valentine’s Day to go with my present and I love it – I’ve had a weird little obsession with Me To You since I can remember, everything is just so adorable.

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Bath & Body Works candles are my favourite as they have such a strong scent, and last a really long time. I jumped the gun (what’s new?) and picked up some Autumn scents early; this one is delicious! I have bought this scent the past few years and I have to admit I bloody love it. Matt normally isn’t a fan of the sickly sweet scents I go for, but he likes this one… not that he had much choice! I’m yet to burn it as I feel like that maybe is a little too eager – but I really can’t wait to. 

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I always have my current book sitting on my bedside table, right now I’m reading The Distance by Zoe Folbigg. This is her second book; I loved her first so much and I’m so excited to read more of this as I’m only a few chapters in. It’s actually very rare I’ll read in bed as Matt and I always watch a show before we go to sleep and then spend our time one-on-one together, but for some reason I always keep my book on my bedside table. I actually read the most in the bath – it’s so therapeutic! 

I really bloody love lip balms, and I have so many favourites I’d be here forever talking about them. Before I go to sleep I religiously apply either Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, or Aquaphor lip repair. My lips have been getting so chapped recently, I think this is probably because of the colder weather, so these have been a godsend. They are very thick in texture and feel so luxurious to apply; they sink in and leave my lips feeling hydrated and soft. The best thing about both of these products is they aren’t sticky; so I can give Matt all the kisses and cuddles after (you can bet I do, too!) and he doesn’t whinge about the product being transferred – win, win! Eight Hour Cream is generally such a good multi use product, and one every beauty fanatic needs in their collection. I also keep another Aquaphor lip repair in my bag at all times, it’s become a necessity over the past few months. 

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I was given this little trinket tray from Zoella’s lifestyle range as a present, and it’s so cute and handy! It’s pink, white and gold – of course I was going to love it. I usually take off my jewellery pretty much the second I walk through the door, and it goes straight in here. Pictured is my beloved Pandora bracelet and one of my Missoma necklaces; this one has a small lightning bolt charm. It was an extremely generous birthday gift from my lovely coworkers, it’s one of my favourite necklaces! 

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I am a huge fan of anything Kate Spade, and their mugs and travel cups are all perfect! I love this one; it’s the perfect shade of millennial pink and the quote is so cute. I don’t actually drink coffee, but I often have a chai tea or a regular old English Breakfast on my bedside table when I’m in the house. If not, I can guarantee there’ll be a can of Diet Coke there. Matt and I also litter my bedside table with water bottles – without fail, every night, we each take a bottle of water to bed, yet very rarely even touch them. I’m pretty sure we’ve been putting the same bottles in and out of the fridge for weeks at this point!

I tend to keep skincare essentials and a few extras in my drawer, basically anything I might need to grab in a pinch! I really try to keep things neat and organised. I’m currently mid clear out of all my skincare/makeup and working out where to put what – so this might change a little over the next few weeks. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I live between my house and my boyfriends so I have duplicates of most of my products for ease, and anything else I’ll just transport between the two houses. I am however the most forgetful person I know, so doing that means I’m often without my favourite products as I can guarantee I’ll leave them at the wrong house. This obviously will not be an issue when we buy our home so I’m trying to look on the positive side, and remember this is just temporary! 

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Please do not judge me, but yes, there are face wipes in this drawer. Almost daily I’ll remove my makeup with a cleansing balm pre bath/shower, but some nights we fall into bed so late (or I just can’t be bothered!) and I do grab a makeup wipe. I make sure to double cleanse the morning after, whilst praying to the skin Gods for forgiveness (and then just hope for the best). For real though, Simple are my favourite brand as their wipes are actually wet and remove makeup pretty well – some face wipes make me cringe because you may as well be using a dry tissue! 

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My new number one skincare product has to be The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Overnight Oil-In-Serum which I have recently become a little bit obsessed with. I have a post going up in the next few weeks talking about this in more detail so be sure to come back and find out more! I also have a mini Sunday Riley serum which I really want to try out; unfortunately I had a really bad reaction to a new moisturiser so I’m trying to stay away from trying new products until it clears up.

I have a mini of my favourite night moisturiser, the Clinique Moisture Surge, for the kind of nights mentioned above. I also have a mini Ole Henrikson night moisturiser in here to try – I always try miniature products before putting them in with my travel minis as I don’t want to have a bad reaction whilst on a trip; my skin is so sensitive. I of course have a Glossier balm dot com lying around in here; it’s one of my favourite products and I really do have them dotted everywhere. I keep bobby pins and an Invisibobble; the only kind of hair tie I use; to hand, as they are a necessity! I always have my hair tied back for bed, either in a low ponytail or a high messy bun, and I would be so irritated if I couldn’t find a hair tie. (So would Matthew!)

I keep my Geranium and Walnut hand cream from Jo Malone in here as well for when I really want to feel pampered before going to sleep; I got this as a gift from my mam and dad. It smells so beautiful and feels luxurious, like every product from Jo Malone. Other little bits I keep close by include my Bath & Body Works pillow mist, a mini Soap & Glory righteous butter and a spare pair of contact lenses. 

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In the back of the drawer I have the next book I’m planning to read; Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto. This had really good reviews on Amazon so I’m very excited about it! Tucked in the middle are mine and Matthew’s passports, for safe keeping. I am somehow the trusted one in our relationship that is in charge of all these kind of things – so I definitely don’t want to lose them! I also keep the supply of my pill (Cerelle) in here as it’s something else I obviously can’t misplace. For some reason I have one of my Missoma jewellery boxes in here, I’m not quite sure why. My dad used to work in Japan for years and years and he brought back so many presents from his trips. One random thing was a purple satin tag that that was blessed at a temple to bring the recipient good luck and good fortune, and I’ve kept it by my bed ever since he gave it to me. 

I keep two kinds of Ibuprofen in my drawer as I have arthritis and always need it to hand; my knees are worst affected by it and *warning: long, boring story* it seems to be getting worse. Over the past few months I’ve cried with pain during the middle of the night as it’s gotten so bad. It’s weird as it doesn’t actually wake me up; I wake Matt up (worst girlfriend ever) by crying then he wakes me up to help stop the pain. Luckily, my wonderful boyfriend knows exactly how to stretch/massage my leg to make it feel better and the pain subsides, but I’ve actually lost count of how many times it’s happened. Matt is so understanding which I’m so grateful for, but if anyone has any tips or tricks for dealing with arthritis pain, please share your knowledge with me!

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I’d love to know what you thought of this post – hopefully it was interesting for you, maybe it even made you want to reorganise your space? I’d love to know if you have any bedside beauty essentials I’m missing? 

Thank you so much for reading, I’m now so ready to dive into here!

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-G x

 

A Week In Finances

Happy Thursday, loves!

Today’s post is something a little different, but I’m hoping it’ll be somewhat interesting for you to read. If you’re anything like me you probably find yourself wondering where the heck your money actually goes…

I don’t spend beyond my means, but I really have been spending more than I ever have before – and honestly I don’t really know what that money is spent on (bar food)! Matt and I have been very aware over the past few months we’ve spent way more than we usually would (it has been a jam packed Summer!) but we’ve decided enough is enough. Over the next few months we’re really wanting to cut down on spending as much money and save more for our future – our house isn’t going to buy itself, after all.

I am going to take you through my week and share with you everything I spend during this time. I’ll probably give you a little round up of what I got up to through the day too. As Matt and I have not yet cut back on spending, I feel this is probably going to be a little eye opening and hopefully will give me a good indication of what I need to cut down on in the future.

One thing to bare in mind; this is just a regular week in my life. I work in Accounts & Purchasing in a regular Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm job. Matt is a Store Manager and his hours vary day by day, but this is a good week where we’re able to spend lots of quality time together – yay! Let’s dive in:

Sunday 5th August

love Sundays! As much as I’d have loved to go out for breakfast this morning, Matt and I had breakfast in bed; we tried overnight oats for the first time and were very pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately Matt was at work 9am-5pm (why is this never his shift on a week day!?) so I had the day to myself, and I went to run a few errands. I went to Lidl to get a few extra bits to go with our dinner that evening – I picked up chorizo, an onion, a red pepper and a bar of chocolate for my mam – which cost approx £4.00 – I lost the receipt, oops! I also popped into Aldi to get halloumi fries and spent £1.99, you really need to try these if you haven’t already. We had a cute night in the house when Matt finished work, cooking steaks and snuggling up together, the perfect way to spend a Sunday night!

Total spend: £5.99

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Monday 6th August

Matt and I really struggled to get up this morning, we were so sleepy. I grabbed breakfast at work for free, and took lunch so I didn’t spend a penny. Today was the Mondayest of Mondays – I was so happy to snuggle into Matt and go to sleep you’ve no idea! We had planned to have pasta with meatballs (which we’d already purchased) but Matt had to stay late at work – an extra three hours – so he didn’t get home until after 9pm and by then we couldn’t be bothered to cook. This resulted in a quick trip to the Indian takeaway and I spent £18.20 on our food – it was delicious though, and worth every penny!

Total spend: £18.20

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Tuesday 7th August

We had overnight oats again this morning, we’re making a start on planning ahead! After work today I went to M&S to get our dinner for tomorrow – I picked up chicken provencal, mash potato and a vegetable medley – then I got a tin of chicken and vegetable soup for my dinner tonight. Matt’s working late and it’s the only day of the week we’re not together (still sucks though)! I also grabbed a packet of tropical fish sweets, they’re only 50p and so good. I spent around £12.00 but I didn’t take the receipt; helping the environment and all, but blogging fail. On the way home I went to get petrol – one of the most tedious tasks – and spent £21.01 to fill up my tank, how annoying is that penny?! Side note: I prefer going to get petrol with Matthew because he gets out and does it for me, what a cutie!

Total spend: £33.01

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Wednesday 8th August

Today is pay day, hallelujah!! I transferred 20% of my pay straight into savings (the house fund is getting serious business) but I’m not going to share that amount with you, sorry! As Matt and I already have our dinner we don’t have to spend a penny on it today – it’s my first zero spend day of the week! We had a cosy night in with his parents, talking lots about our future house, funnily enough. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know we’re watching Fresh Meat on Netflix right now, we’re still not finished!

Total spend: £0.00

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Thursday 9th August

Matt started work at 7am this morning so we were both up super early. It was pretty chilly first thing which I secretly loved… Autumn is coming! *Spoiler: I’m so excited for all my Autumn posts coming up!* Anyway, as I was up early I popped to M&S again before work to pick up tonight’s dinner for us – I got salmon, new potatoes and layered vegetables. I also got a bottle of still cloudy lemonade (Matt’s fave), popcorn for our movie night and some chocolate covered peanuts for him, which cost £14.00. A browse of Amazon during my lunch break led to me ordering a book for £6.49 (Wilde About The Girl by Louise Pentland – her first book was really enjoyable)! Dinner was so good – we have it so often but we love it – and we spent the evening watching Central Intelligence which was hilarious, it’s on Netflix if you haven’t seen it! 

Total spend: £20.49

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Friday 10th August

I had to add an extra photo in today, to sum up our lovely little cosy morning! I feel so grateful every morning waking up with Matthew (even when I get up earlier to make us a cuppa and he leaves his… hehe)

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Okay so lunch on a Friday is kind of a thing at work – we do ‘Fat Friday’s’ and basically eat anything and everything unhealthy – however we did breakfasts instead of lunch today and I spent a grand total of £1.60. Tonight we went for a double date with my beautiful friend Jess and her boyfriend, Tom, at Ora in Tynemouth. The food was great and the company was even better – we split the bill 50/50 between the couples, which was £54.60 each, and it was my turn to pay between Matt and I. Dinner and drinks were so much fun; I loved tonight and I’m so grateful for nights like this! Matt paid for the rest of our drinks and the taxis so I didn’t spend anything else, what a sweetheart.

Total spend: £56.20

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Saturday 11th August

A chilled morning with Matt (still not going out for breakfast!) meant we didn’t spend a penny. I dropped Matthew and his friend off to watch the Newcastle match in town, and also transferred him £15 for a few pints on me – major girlfriend points. I then took my grandma some flowers from Matt and I, she’s just come out of hospital and it was so nice to see her looking back to her normal self. The flowers were only £3 – I definitely wasn’t being a cheap skate but her favourite flowers are sunflowers and they’re so cheap!

I headed to Lidl to get steaks, chorizo and vegetables for our meal that evening, fruit, Matthew’s lunch for Monday and some sweets for a cosy night in – I spent £13.12. I’d highly recommend Lidl (if you live locally, the new one in Forest Hall is the best) for groceries – it’s much cheaper than anywhere else and really good quality. I picked up a pack of Diet Coke and a bottle of red wine for Matt’s parents in Asda, which cost £10.50. I chilled at Matt’s for the afternoon, then I still had a few hours to kill before I had to go pick Matt up, so I went to the Metro Centre… oops! I got a cute new date night top from Zara for £15.99, a leopard print skirt and a jumper (my first of the A/W season!) from Primark for £20 and then I spent £7.80 in Boots on Simple micellar water and Ribena for Matt and I – we were planning on going to York on Sunday but it was so rainy we didn’t fancy the drive. Once I picked up Matt we went home for a cosy night; we spent the evening cooking and watching Michael McIntyre, which was bliss.

Total spend: £85.41

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That brings my grand total of spending during the week to £219.30 (!!!)

Wow! This really was so interesting for me, even if Matt and I are the only ones who benefitted, ha. I definitely spent more as we had a date night and I went shopping at the Metro Centre, but I am actually shocked at the amount I’ve spent. I am however very excited to see how I can start cutting my spending, and trying to plan my week in advance better, especially when it comes to food purchases throughout the week! I’d really like to do more posts centering around finances – money saving ideas, budget shopping trips etc – if this is something you’d be interested in?

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts!

-G x

Date Inspiration

Welcome back, loves!

I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday – I for one am very glad it’s the weekend!

If you’re anything like Matt and I, planning date days/nights to look forward to can really get you through a long week. This weekend we had a lovely double date with my bestie, Jessy and her boyfriend Tom, and we’re spending the rest of it just enjoying our time together. (Apart from the match – I was ditched for that 😉 ). We love to plan things for each other, and together. I’d love to share with you some of our favourite dates – some we do often, some we can’t do as much – but they’re all so fun!

Dinner & Drinks

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Going for dinner and drinks with your partner has to be one of the most well-loved dates, but also one of the best. Matt and I eat out a lot, especially for a couple saving up for their first home – oops! We do however eat out at all different price points, and we never go overboard by doing it too often, so it never gets boring. I realise price points are subjective to each couple, so please take this with a pinch of salt. Going out for dinner with Matt makes me so happy, we’re very much a cutesy hold-hands-across-the-table couple (I mean, are you really surprised?) and it’s nice to spend one-on-one time together. We are also adventurous with food options now which is something I’ve never really done before; we try new foods all the time, and 9 times out of 10 we love them!

Ever since Matt and I got together we’ve shared our date nights out evenly; Matt pays one time, I pay the next and so on. We’ve never been a split the bill 50/50 kind of couple; sometimes we get a few cheaper meals in a row, sometimes a few higher – it really doesn’t matter. Whatever you like to do is perfectly fine, although one of the best things about doing it the way we do is it’s much easier to plan date nights to surprise each other. We actually booked the same restaurant to ‘surprise’ each other one Friday night – luckily we can’t keep secrets so I excitedly told Matt about our plans and his face fell; thankfully because he’d done the same thing, not that he didn’t want to go!

There are so many amazing restaurants that are fairly inexpensive, and worth every penny anyway. One of our favourite relaxed places to eat is Lola Jean’s – there is one in Tynemouth and one in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre, and they’re both incredible. Without a doubt the best burgers in the North East, and they also do great cocktails! Our favourite local date night restaurants are hands down Branches, Ora, Fratelli’s and Babucho’s – great atmosphere, great food, great staff! There are so many places to go for drinks we really have too many to share. The few bars in Ponteland, Tynemouth and Grey St, Newcastle our favourite spots; it’s nice to go for chilled date night drinks and not have to yell at each other across a crowded bar. We also love going for a Sunday lunch, as you will see below!

Cosy Sunday

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The Badger, Ponteland

Sundays with Matthew are my favourite days ever. My ideal Sunday is as follows; waking up without an alarm and cuddling back in for another hour or so, leisurely getting ready (this involves Matt staying in bed snoozing while I shower/do my hair/makeup then jumping up as I say I’ll be done in 15 minutes), going for a walk in the country or at the beach followed by Sunday dinner, then spending the evening snuggled up on the sofa watching crap TV with his parents. We spend a lot of Sundays like this, and I am very grateful for that. This is clearly not the most strenuous of days but my god we don’t half sleep well on Sunday nights, it’s a wonder Matt doesn’t have to carry me upstairs to bed. That saying ‘A Sunday well spent brings a week of content’ could not be more true for us; cosy, lazy Sundays make me very happy!

Our Typical Evening

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Matching M&S dressing gowns… I hate us too

Not every date night has to be a planned-out special affair. My favourite kind of nights are the ones that are very minimal effort – our typical weeknights where we laze around the house and just enjoy quality time together are second to none. Any night can be a date night if you make it one; I think just spending time together one-on-one is a date in itself, to be honest. The kind of nights where we both can curl up together in our comfies; no makeup, messy hair, not a care in the world in that moment; that’s love!

Coming home from a long day at work to my boyfriend is, and always will be, the happiest feeling. We love to cook together or for each other, eat dinner and catch up on each other’s days. The way we spend the rest of our night differs day by day but I especially love the nights we spend just snuggling up watching Neflix! It’s really a case of it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, because we’re together. We appreciate our quality time so much – and I’m so thankful for that. The most exciting thing that might happen on these kind of nights is a spontaneous McFlurry run… I’d say we’re living the life!

Going To A Football Match

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Matt is a diehard NUFC fan, and now I’m following suit! I’ve grown up watching football – my mam and brother are football crazy – but they are huge Manchester United fans (my mam is from there so it’s acceptable, ha)! I’d never been to local games until Matt and I started dating. This is especially weird because I worked at St James’ Park for a few years when I was younger, so I did get a sneak peek now and then. The day we went to our first match together was actually the same day we became officially boyfriend and girlfriend – and ever since it’s been something we really love to do. 

My dad’s lovely friend arranged for us to meet some of the players at one of the last matches of the season (one we won 1-0 against Arsenal, yay!) and I don’t think any other match will beat that day. Seeing Matt’s face light up meeting the players was so sweet – like a child seeing their favourite character at Disney World, haha! I had to actually ask if my boyfriend could get a photo and an autograph as he was so shy, would you believe it?! He’s the cutest. We also like to go out for food before or after each match which makes it a really nice afternoon/evening out. I especially like going in the Winter – wrapping up in lots of layers (UGG’s are essential), enjoying a hot chocolate and snuggling in together. Then, going home to warm up and having a cosy night in – perfect!

Shopping

It seems so simple, but shopping dates really can be so much fun. Our favourite place for a shopping date is hands-down Costco! We enjoy our Costco trips a little too much; we spend too much money every time so it’s not exactly cheap but it’s definitely worth it. One of our favourite things is seeing how many samples we can get – the best time to go is always early on a Saturday evening; they have tons of samples still out and they usually give you two! Yes, this really is exciting for me… We really enjoy food shopping together too; it’s even better if we’re trying a new recipe and buying the ingredients for that. Clothes shopping dates are just as good – Matt is worse than me when it comes to buying clothes, and insists on trying everything on! We love a little wander around the Metro Centre, even more-so before we go on a trip or holiday.

A Staycation

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Hotel Du Vin, Quayside, Newcastle

This one is a special one, and definitely not something to take for granted! We love to go away for one or two nights to explore a new place, but you don’t always have to go far to have a good time.

Matt and I have been very lucky to have a lot of staycations already… and I’m very thankful for every one of them. We live just outside of Newcastle upon Tyne and have stayed in the city several times; our favorite hotels are Hotel du Vin and The Vermont Hotel. I’d highly recommend either; although Hotel du Vin is perfect if you’re after a more romantic weekend – there is a bath in the room and enjoying a bath together is quite obviously the best start to any date night. Every Hotel du Vin we’ve stayed in has been perfect, but the Newcastle one was our fave. We’re biased.

We also stayed at Ramside Hall, Durham a few months ago; this is slightly different as you can spend the whole night in those grounds without leaving – so you’re in the little bubble of the hotel for the night. We really enjoyed Ramside; this also had a bath in the room which was lovely. If this is something you’d fancy doing I’d highly recommend signing up to the hotels websites and using booking.com – you’re more likely to get early deals and discounts this way. Also, booking very late can be a good thing, we once booked a night at Hotel du Vin on a Saturday morning for a steal, then went that night! It’s fun and exciting and this is something we probably won’t ever do when we have our own house; so we definitely like to make the most of it while we can. 

The Beach

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We are very lucky to live right by the beach! In fact, we’re extra lucky because 10 minutes one way is the beach, and 10 minutes the other is the countryside. Going to the beach is such a nice way to spend an afternoon; regardless of the weather. To be honest, no matter how hot it is inland, the beaches in the North East seem to be consistently freezing. We really enjoy getting fish and chips at the beach – although my God the seagulls don’t half ruin the romantic vibes!

Sometimes the beach is an even better place in the Autumn/Winter months (can you tell I’m excited for the change of season?) – when it’s cold and fresh and your nose turns Rudolph red! I think being by the sea is very calming; we tend to just walk along the sea front hand in hand, chatting and enjoying the view. It’s a good way to reconnect and spend time together, as well as getting a little exercise. I know this will be ten times more fun when we finally get our little dog – if you have a dog please know I’m very jealous. We’ll also offer to dog walk any time you like, ha!

Well, there you have it – my favourite kind of dates with Matthew. We do so much more; it’s hard to summarise everything!

I’d love to know your thoughts on this post – maybe you have inspiration to take your boyfriend or girlfriend on a different date than you’ve done before? I’d love to know your favourite date ideas, and any date spots if you live in the North East of England! Matt and I are always on the look out for new places – it’s always fun to try new things. 

Thank you so much for reading! 

-G x

Weekend Trip Packing Tips

Hi, loves!

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One of the best trips to plan in my opinion, is a weekend trip! They can be pretty inexpensive if you plan them right, you get to see a large part of a new place in a short space of time and you have lots of travel options – I can guarantee there is a great place to visit one hour from you or ten hours from you! Matt and I have been very lucky to already have gone on so many weekend trips – from staycations to country breaks to city trips – and we have so many more we’d like to plan in. My tips are (as always) pretty personal, and centre around couples weekends away as that is what we like to do, however there is something for everyone in this post. I really have learned to love packing for short trips, and I’d love to share with you how I do it…

Packing for a weekend can be pretty stressful, especially if, like me, you are a serious over-packer! The weather (especially if this is a UK trip) is likely to change throughout a two/three day period, you need to have space to bring back any purchases and you also want to have options! I have started to look at packing for one or two nights away as a challenge to do a mini capsule wardrobe – I love the idea of having a capsule wardrobe IRL but honestly, I could never do it. Matt and I always take individual suitcases but generally share on toiletries like shampoo, shower gel, etc. 

I would really recommend in the weeks, especially the days, leading up to your trip you Tip #1 check the weather. The last thing you want is to be caught out without shorts when it’s boiling hot or an umbrella when it’s pouring rain every day. I am pretty sure if you look at a weather app every half an hour it will show a different forecast for the same place, but it is a good rough indication of what the weather will be like. To be honest, if you’re going anywhere in the UK, it’s probably always a good idea to bring an umbrella and a pac-a-mac. Note to self: buy a pac-a-mac. 

The kind of accomodation you book for your trip is completely dependant on what kind of trip you’re planning. Tip #2 book a hotel/air bnb that suits your needs for that specific trip. If Matt and I are going away for a romantic weekend or a staycation we are looking for something a little more luxurious as we’re likely to spend a little more time in the room. We really love Hotel du Vin hotels and have been fortunate enough to stay in several locations already. These hotels can be a lot more expensive, but we definitely feel that we pay for the quality here. When we’re exploring somewhere further from home or our schedule is jam-packed, a standard hotel will generally do the trick – and by saving money on your hotel you have more to spend during your trip!

One of the most exciting things about taking a romantic trip away with my boyfriend is planning what we’re going to do in the build up before we go. Tip #3 have at least an idea of things you’d both like to do, and options that fit with whatever weather you may face. Matt and I scour Trip Advisor and Instagram location tags a lot for ideas, as well as a good few Google searches. I love to find blogs/vlogs of people visiting cities as you can get a little inside knowledge before you get there. For one of his stocking fillers last Christmas, I bought Matt this book, and we’ve took lots of inspiration from here too – hopefully one day we can work our way through the whole book! It’s also often cheaper to book tickets for any museums/tours etc you’d like to do online before you go, and it saves time queuing when you arrive.

Tip #4 Make a packing list! One thing I cannot stress enough is the importance of writing down everything you need, then the actual packing process is already much easier. I love lists in general; I am such a planner and routine-based person that lists just help to get all the thoughts out of my head and I can then focus on the task at hand. I tend to make a packing list around a week before my trip, then I can add/remove items from it as and when required. For our last break to Belfast, Matt’s mam and I packed his bag literally a few hours before we left for the airport (he’s spoilt), and it’s so much harder to think on the spot of everything you’ll need. 

Obviously the essentials are going to be your clothes, shoes, toiletries and the important miscellaneous items – eg your phone charger! Tip #5 Do not forget your phone charger, or you will spend the first two hours of the trip on a wild goose chase for an Apple shop. Been there, done that. I’d highly recommend investing in a portable charger too, as long days out, excessive Google map usage and lots of photo taking (got to get them Insta’s, am I right?) is more than likely going to leave you with a dead battery. 

Your luggage situation depends on a) the length of your trip, b) the method of travel and c) how much can you (and/or your wonderful amazing boyfriend) physically carry? Enjoy this picture of Matthew hoisting our suitcases up 1000* steps on our first city trip together last September (it was to Edinburgh; one of our favourite cities to visit and somewhere we are hoping to go back to very soon). 

*possibly a slight exaggeration

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For real though, the amount of luggage you take with you is actually very important. Larger luggage bags/suitcases means more room to take crap you probably don’t need, and also means more to drag in/out of the car/plane/bus/taxi/spaceship. Tip #6 for any trip up to three nights/four days; one small cabin sized suitcase each, and a large tote bag is all you need. I have been guilty of taking all but the kitchen sink with me for one night, but seriously packing too many items is just unnecessary and I can guarantee you won’t use them anyway!

I always use a backpack or large tote bag as hand luggage on short haul flights as you can fit in all the necessities (Tip #7 a spare pair of pants is always a necessity!) but they’re not too big that you start sticking in items you really don’t need. You can check out my essentials – and non-essentials – for a flight in this post! Matt also tends to take a backpack if we are flying, or if we are driving/getting the train he’ll put anything he needs in my bag. Girlfriend perks, eh?!

I’d highly recommend Tip #8 packing a small cross body bag (the one linked in this post is my go-to!) and a canvas tote bag in your luggage as these two items can come in incredibly handy. I tend to use my cross body bag day and night on short trips; it goes with any outfit and it’s hands free (let’s be honest, I need my hands to be free for 1: holding Matthew’s hand, and 2: eating any and all of the delicious baked goods we find on our travels). Never has a sentence summed me up more. Canvas bags are great because they can double as a beach bag, a gym bag or a bag to put dirty clothes/shoes in for coming home, as well as many other things! Tip #9 is one I’m sure you’re all aware of: roll, don’t fold! Rolling your clothes means you can fit so much more in, and it’s also really good for ensuring your clothes stay as wrinkle-free as possible.

A sneaky Tip #10 would be if your hotel doesn’t have an iron (or you just can’t be bothered) ‘ironing’ your clothes with your straighteners works a treat! I’ve also hung dresses up in the bathroom after a hot shower which helps to let the wrinkles drop out – both effective methods and both very quick. Matt and I always tend to Tip #11 wear the bulkiest of our items to travel in, although if our journey time is any more than three hours I couldn’t wear jeans! I like to be comfy at all times and will opt for leggings. (Side note: people who sit around the house in jeans genuinely baffle me – how do you do this?!) Tip #12 is no matter the weather, take. a. scarf. They double up as a blanket or a pillow, they’re fashionable, they’ll keep you warm – and they always can jazz up an outfit! In the Autumn/Winter months I’d take a big ol’ thick scarf but in the Spring/Summer a thin one will do. I’d never travel without a scarf, to be honest. 

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Here is a very simple idea of what I would pack for a two night/three day city break:

  • Crossbody bag with all my handbag essentials eg purse, phone etc
  • 1 x coat/jacket (weather dependent)
  • 1 x hoodie/sweatshirt       
  • 1 x scarf
  • 1 x blue high waisted jeans (or possibly shorts)
  • 1 x black high waisted jeans 
  • 1 x comfy trousers 
  • 1 x black leggings – ideally Lululemon or Under Armour as they’re so comfy
  • 4 x t-shirts – it’s nice to have a little bit of an option, and they’re so small they squeeze in easily
  • 1 x shirt/blouse for the evening 
  • 1 x dress for dinner and drinks                  
  • 1 x pair of black heels that go with said dress and jeans
  • 1 x comfy shoes – either Vans or Converse
  • 1 x swimsuit – if you’re planning on going in a pool/hot tub, one is enough!
  • Underwear – and don’t forget socks! Also, been there and done that
  • Toiletries and makeup bag (remember if you’re flying all liquids/creams/gels must be under 100ml and packed in a small clear bag)
  • Comfy clothes/pj’s – I only will pack pj’s if the hotel we are staying at doesn’t have robes as I like to get ready in something comfy and still be warm
  • The miscellaneous: medication, straighteners, hair brush, chargers, laptop/iPad, sunglasses, umbrella etc

Toiletries are a category you can really save space on. Your 100 step skincare routine does not need to be included – you’ll be fine for a few days with just the basics. For me I find that my cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream and serum are more than enough. Tip #13 take mini sizes of everything you possibly can! Feel Unique do minis of a lot of products which is much better than hauling along your full sized everything. Save up any sample sizes you get, buy minis on offer in Boots/Asda etc, buy the Christmas limited edition mini sets of your favourite brands and take any samples you don’t use from hotel stays. Matt and I do stay at Hotel du Vin hotels often – I know we are very lucky to do so – and they always have tons of toiletries in the room, more than we’d need for a week! Their brand of choice is Ren; one of my favourites, and we always take what we don’t use whilst we’re there.

Also, if you’re staying somewhere like Hotel du Vin with a bath in the room (I highly recommend – taking a nice hot bath together is the ultimate start to a couples weekend) don’t forget bubble bath! Also a gift idea for your partner would be the Molton Brown minis set – I got Matthew one of these also as part of his stocking fillers last year and it’s come in so handy.

One thing I cannot stress enough is you need to Tip #14 leave some space in your suitcase. You will more than likely do some shopping, whether that’s souvenirs from your trip, some new clothes or as many of the fancy Haribo you can find (why is all the Haribo you can’t buy in the UK so much nicer?!) you’ll be thankful you didn’t bring that extra pair of trousers or the ski jacket just incase. To be honest, even if you don’t go shopping, there is some weird thing that happens when you’re packing your case to come home – everything seems to double in size and things that fitted perfectly fine before don’t seem to fit in the same space. 

Something I would highly recommend squeezing into your luggage, especially if you’re heading for a romantic weekend away, is a bottle of bubbly. Slightly frivolous, but #Tip 15 take champagne with you! Most hotel rooms have champagne flutes anyway (or you can request them), but why pay the ridiculous prices in the hotel?! When Matt and I are heading for a romantic weekend, eg booking a nicer hotel with a roll top bath, it’s a must-have for us. Priorities.

A bubble bath + champagne + my boyfriend = the happiest you’ll ever see me!

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I’m sure there’s loads more important things to remember when it comes to packing but those are definitely some of the most important from my experience. I hope you’ve found at least some of this post helpful and I’d love know if you have any tips for me?!

Where are you planning to go on your next trip?

Thanks so much for reading!

-G x

Belfast With Bae

Happy Sunday, loves!

Today’s post is a little travel diary from last weekend – Matt and I went for a spontaneous weekend away in Belfast, and we absolutely loved the city. Our favourite city break together so far had been Dublin, but we both liked Belfast even more – it’s such a great city and I highly recommend you add it to your travel bucket list.

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We flew from Newcastle at 7am on Saturday morning, and flew home at 5pm on Sunday evening – so we didn’t even have 48 hours there. We are already planning to go back as there is so much we didn’t get to do/see!

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My handsome boy and his fish

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Once we landed and dropped our bags off at the hotel we went straight out to explore. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side, and after weeks and weeks of warm, dry, sunny days, a month’s worth of rain fell on the Saturday. Great. (Sunday was a washout as well, but it didn’t ruin our trip at all). Our first stop was the Titanic Museum – a must-do if you’re planning a trip to Belfast! We spent about three hours here, and to be honest, we probably could have spent longer. It was very busy as we got there about 10am – there were school trips and coach trips everywhere – but it was so worth it. The museum is focused mainly on the building of the Titanic, as it brought so much work to Belfast. There is a Disney World-esque ride showing different jobs that the ship building entailed, and this was really interesting. Towards the end of the museum, there is an idea of what the inside of the ship looked like, first hand accounts of what was happening as the ship was sinking, and it got very emotional. One thing that really got me (I may have cried…) was the quotes from people on board, and the transcripts of the Captain from the Titanic talking to nearby ships, asking for help. The story is so well-known but seeing this first hand was very upsetting.

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Right outside of the museum, looking out over the harbour – Matt and I think the view from these flats would be incredible!

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Titanic Museum, Belfast

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There were little snippets of the background of lots of passengers throughout the museum
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A letter wrote by Dr John Simpson whilst on board the ship. He spoke about how good it was going to so far. Unfortunately, John did not survive
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The transcripts of the Titanic talking to other nearby ships really got me. Lots of the boards just said ‘CQ’ (Come Quick)

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Belfast city centre is very big, but everything is within walking distance – we wandered through the streets, popping into shops and looking at the sights (City Hall is beautiful) without the rain really bothering us. It was really cold though – the temperatures at home have been between 20 and 28 degrees, and in Belfast it was 15!! The Victoria Square shopping centre and the streets surrounding it is a really nice area, there was also a lot of shops we don’t have in Newcastle which were fun to look around. I was surprisingly restrained and didn’t actually buy anything whilst shopping except a replacement face powder. Matt is such a jammy bugger – he picked up a coat in Superdry (one he’d tried on/was going to purchase when it was full price) for 70% off!

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There are amazing murals almost everywhere you look in the city

We grabbed lunch then headed into Robinson’s Pub which was a very old fashioned, beautiful pub near our hotel. I took Matt to Dublin in March for his birthday, and ever since our trip he loves a Guinness – of course he got one! When in Ireland. Tim Horton’s was somewhere I really wanted to go as I’ve been to a few in the US – their donuts are incredible and the one in Belfast certainly didn’t disappoint. Matt got a Maple donut and I got a Boston Creme; Matt doesn’t really like donuts but I’m a little bit obsessed! *I know this post is about Belfast, but the best donuts we’ve ever had were from Off Beat in Dublin – I was gutted to learn there wasn’t a store in Belfast.* We were so tired by this point – the 4.30am wake up call really felt like a 4.30am wake up call, and we may have sneaked back to the hotel for a quick power nap before the night…

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Luckily the rain had finally let up after our nap. Once we were ready we headed for dinner, although this was not as straight forward as you may think… Matt booked our reservation and we turned up dot on 7.30pm – only to find out that he actually had booked a different restaurant! Luckily, the waiter was fantastic and managed to squeeze us in – an earlier booking hadn’t showed up – and I’m so thankful we got to eat here. Matt and I found the whole thing hilarious, it’s never happened to us before! We ate at Taylor & Clay, The Bullitt Hotel, and had amazing steaks. The atmosphere in the restaurant was perfect – it was definitely our kind of place. The kitchen was open behind the bar, so you could see the chefs cooking, and the general vibe was just very cosy and welcoming. It was very well priced; we actually found Belfast to be very similar pricing to Newcastle.

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This jumpsuit is so unflattering in photos!
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The love of my life x

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Taylor & Clay, Belfast
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I love you x

We spent a few hours at The Dirty Onion, which is undoubtedly one of the best bars I’ve ever been to. This was recommended to us before the trip and certainly didn’t disappoint – it’s located in the oldest building in Belfast; it’s a fairly small bar with a huge outdoor area. There were heat lamps outside so it wasn’t too cold, and an incredible live singer. The atmosphere was busy and bustling, but it wasn’t crowded – the bar was full of locals so you know it was a good spot! I tried Copeland Rhuberry gin with lemonade; a new favourite. I’ve never seen this brand/flavour before, but I definitely need to get a bottle. We ended the night in Grannie Annie’s – and it was the most quirky, fun little place. The music was amazing, they played so many old school songs, it reminded us of Flares in Newcastle (minus the sticky dance floor and cringey atmosphere we all know and love so much). Matt’s friend – a lovely girl he met on a family holiday around 10 years ago!! – is the manager here, and she was an absolute star. Also, a special thank you to my wonderful boyfriend for piggy-back’ing me through the streets of Belfast because my blisters had blisters. A guy shouted ‘perfect boyfriend’ as Matt was running through the street and I have to agree!!

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…hahaha this is just so funny. It was the gin?!

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On Sunday we had a fairly lazy morning considering we were in the city for less than 48 hours. We surprisingly didn’t have bad heads, and we drank way more than we usually would on a night out at home! It was absolutely pouring down again so we knew our choices of activities was pretty limited. After a quick breakfast, we headed for St George’s Market – an indoor market filled to the brim with Northern Irish heritage. I’d recommend going here even if you’re not hiding from the rain. There was something for everyone in the market; from candles, to paintings, to home-made fudge; you definitely had lots of choices. There was also so much choice of foods from all around the world, but we weren’t hungry enough to get anything. It’s a shame because the Nutella crepes smelt amazing – I’m sure I can get one next time!

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Cute little streets

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Hahaha how can he still look so handsome wearing this?!

We really wanted to visit the Botanical Gardens but there was no way this was possible with the weather, it’s definitely on the list for next time. One thing to note if you are planning a weekend visit, is on Sunday’s a lot of the shops don’t open, or if they do it’s very late – we were passing the Victoria Square shopping centre at around 12pm and it was empty! Northern Ireland are a very religious country and therefore church comes before work on a Sunday. Thank goodness Starbucks was open (I was enjoying that the cold, rainy weather as it was an excuse for a hot chocolate!) I also picked up a Starbucks Belfast mug – I really love buying mugs when we visit places as a little souvenir. Matt has the same addiction but with pint glasses – at this rate we’re going to need at least three cupboards in our house just for mugs/glasses!

It finally stopped raining for a few hours and we visited the Peace Walls which was honestly an indescribable experience. We had already seen images on TV/Instagram etc (my girl, Stacey Dooley, also has filmed a documentary on the DUP in which she visits the Peace Walls – a must-see). Seeing the murals in real life was quite honestly unreal – if you’re not familiar, the walls signify the divide between Catholics and Protestants – and is a very large part of history, and Northern Irish culture. The people living on one side the wall (the Protestant side) consider themselves to be British – the Union Jacks are flying high on most houses, and the murals reflect this feeling. The other side of the wall (the Catholic side) consider themselves Irish – the Irish flags are everywhere you look, and their murals reflect their feelings. Although much of what happened during The Troubles is still very relevant and on people’s’ minds today, there is a general peace between both sides of the wall (hence the name). The murals are very indicative of all the feelings relating to The Troubles, and it was very sombre and surreal to see first hand.

One thing that really shocked Matt and I was the gates along the walls – the walls are around three miles long, and there are several through roads along this stretch. However, all of these through roads/paths have gates in between; and these gates are still locked every single night. Each side of the wall has their own gates, so they each close the gates on either side. As we visited on a Sunday, a day of rest, some of the gates were already locked and we were advised by our taxi driver of where to go if the gates in front of us were locked by the time we were ready to leave. When we visit again we’d really like to do the Black Cab Tour as it is very highly recommended and we’d love to learn more about the walls. Unfortunately we just didn’t have time – we walked along a stretch of the murals instead and took in as much as we could. I think it’s very important to mention we did not feel unsafe or scared at any time being here; it was just a very remarkable place to visit and another one I’d highly recommend.

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As we walked back into the centre of town we talked a lot about the Peace Walls. I feel very grateful Matt and I could experience that together. We only had an hour or so left before we had to head to the airport so we went for a drink at The Crown – another opportunity for Matt to enjoy a Guinness! The Crown is the oldest bar in Belfast and it’s a very cool place – all of the seating areas are in enclosed spaces, with little doors to get in/out. We decided before we went back to the hotel we’d go to Boojum – a burrito bar local to Belfast, which I swear are the best burritos we’ve ever had! The vibe in the restaurant is so cool – there are wooden tables/benches and amazing artwork on the walls. We may have snuck for a Boojum burrito the day before too – oops! It was the perfect way to end our time in the city; eating good food together and talking about our trip.

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I love nothing more than exploring new places with my boyfriend, and I feel so lucky that we get to do this on a regular basis. We definitely value trips and holidays more than material things, so saving up to be able to do these kind of things is a really high priority for us. Matt is the best travel buddy (and hand-holder on flights – I hate flying!) and I’m so grateful for another lovely weekend away together. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’d love to record more travel diaries from our future trips if it’s something you’d like to see!

Matthew, thank you for being you, I love you!

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-G x

The Women Who Inspire Me

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Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

Hi, loves!

I really want my blog to have a large focus on female empowerment – of building other women up, of showing off our friends/peers and their talents, and of supporting each other no matter what. I really feel it’s so important that we vocalise our support and love of the women around us; whether that is people we personally know or don’t. I have lots of ideas for content that will surround this topic – I’m so excited to share these with you!

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” – Michelle Obama

As you can probably tell from the title, this post is focused around some of my favourite ladies. I wanted to post this as I feel like often women are accused of pulling each other down, or not being as open and grateful for each other as we maybe should be. I truly believe that to change the stereotype of women being ‘bitchy’ and/or ‘mean girls’ etc, we have to start with ourselves. As I wrote about in my Friendship post, I’ve certainly been mean about other women before and other women have certainly been mean about me; but why? What on earth can we gain from tearing each other down? So many women are doing amazing things for themselves and for each other, and I’d like to celebrate that. This post focuses on actresses, bloggers, presenters and a few incredible women I know in real life – people who I genuinely look up to, admire, and would love to sit down with for a cuppa!

*I’d recommend you sat down with a cuppa too, it’s a long one!*

Stacey Dooley

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Okay, so I could write post after post about Stacey, so *fair warning* this bit is going to be pretty long! Is it possible to be head over heels in love with someone you’ve never met? Because I am. (Sorry, Matthew!) For real, I have been watching Stacey’s documentaries since I was in high school, and I’ve essentially grown up admiring her and being inspired by her. First off, she is absolutely beautiful – inside and out. She has a heart of gold and is so personable, one of the things that makes her a great presenter.

Stacey has created so many incredible documentaries, it’s too hard to pick a favourite. I have learned so many things from her documentaries; there are so many horrible things happening around the world and you really don’t realise how small our little bubble is. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t watched them, I’d highly recommend you watch every single one; the Stacey Dooley Investigates series is a bloody good one! She has been to some of the most dangerous places in the world and met all kinds of people, from families who have nothing, to feminists fighting for women’s rights, to people who have committed some of the worst, unthinkable crimes. You name it, she’s probably been right there in the centre of it!

One thing that astounds me in every interview she does, throughout every documentary, is how she shows respect and interest for everyone; no matter their background or her stance on the topic at hand. She is never rude but always tells it like it is and that is a quality I wish I had! As Stacey is an absolute Super Woman, she also wrote a book, called On The Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back and it is a fantastic read – if you haven’t already, I’d pick it up ASAP. She is an incredible story-teller, and she tells stories in writing the same way she does verbally, it’s very fresh and authentic. I’d also like to mention her interior design eye is amazing – I highly recommend a browse of her Instagram to see all the beautiful photos she shows of her house. While I’m at it, her fashion sense is second to none and I am forever wishing I could pull off her style! She is so madly in love with her boyfriend, Sam, and their dog, Bernie (I’m not quite sure who she loves more, to be honest!) it is very admirable. 

Stacey spends so much time traveling and working, and let’s keep in mind that she’s not exactly living the life travelling either – she has visited some of the most dangerous places in the world with her job. It must be so difficult but she does it month after month, year after year, and I’m so thankful that she does because the content she produces with the BBC is incredible. I love that her personality shines no matter what; she is cheeky, funny and so full of life. She has recently been awarded an MBE and hand on heart, I don’t think anyone could deserve it more. It’s weird to say but I genuinely feel proud of her – she has done so much for women around the world, myself included, and it’s an incredible honour. Congratulations, Stacey!

Emma Hill

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My favourite blogger ever! She is hands down the most relatable blogger/YouTuber I have ever come across and I can’t imagine that ever changing. One of the things that drew me to Emma initially was her take on life; she is never one to hide what she’s thinking (good job, because her facial expressions would give her away in an instant). She is so bloody funny, and even funnier because she doesn’t realise! Emma started YouTube just over a year ago and her vlogs are the best… they span over the week and involve lots of footage of her babies (the cutest doggos you’ll ever see), dreamy OOTD’s and a large part of her home life with her husband, Simon. Simon reminds me of Matt in lots of ways – namely his ‘fashion sense’ – if you know, you know!

As much as I love her YouTube channel, I fell in love with her blog first. She writes on all different topics and her photos are always incredibly well shot. (That’s Simon, too!) I think her personality is incredibly refreshing and I have a lot of love and admiration for her and what she has accomplished. Emma is very upfront and I’d love nothing more than to sit down over lunch – I mean, we both love food – and have a good natter. 

Emily Blunt

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My favourite actress and the best talk show guest ever, in my opinion! She could only be beaten on the latter by her husband, John Krasinski, but this is about the best ladies, right!? I, like I’m sure many of you, knew Emily originally from The Devil Wears Prada, and I just think she is one of the most amazing actresses of our generation. She adapts so well to each role – I realise that is the point, but watching her in one movie to the next it’s as if you’ve never seen her in anything else before. She is an amazing example to all women as a working mother, and she just seems like the kind of lady I’d love to go for a drink with, to be honest. Emily and John are my favourite celebrity couple, they are adorable; they clearly have so much love for each other and it radiates between them. They poke fun at themselves and each other, and I really think their relationship is part of their character – the love they have for each other is so beautiful. I especially love how she tells stories during her interviews – I’d love to pick her brains about the industry she’s in and just see how she stays so real about everything. 

Emily Weiss

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Emily is the founder of Glossier – one of my all time favorite brands and possibly the most high-profile Millennial beauty company right now. I have known of Emily for years due to my love of The Hills, she was a ‘Super Intern’ for Teen Vogue and quite clearly a boss back then too. It’s ironic really, because her drive and early success in the show made her an ‘enemy’ and essentially, put her down in contrast to the rest of the cast members. I don’t truly know how much of The Hills was staged, but it’s uncomfortable to think someone was so harshly put down simply for being good at what she did.

This clearly didn’t hold her back as she started her blog, Into The Gloss and the rest happened as a result of this. Emily created Glossier because there was a niche in the market missing – she didn’t like that the makeup and skin care world was so rule-based, so she changed it. Amazing. She is so humble and talks very openly in all of her interviews, another quality I admire! I find often when entrepreneurs are interviewed in magazines, or on YouTube etc, they seem to give very generic answers and almost seem bored – however she is so animated and you can really see the love she has for the brand she created. She also kills it in the fashion department – I’d just about die to raid her wardrobe!

Anna Newton

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The lady behind The Anna Edit, and one of the main reasons I started blogging. I have read Anna’s blog and watched her YouTube videos for years. She is also incredibly relatable and is a planner, just like me. She is extremely ‘normal’ though and I genuinely feel like I know her after all the years I’ve spent reading/watching her content. Anna’s wedding day involved a house party and Domino’s for goodness’ sake – could she be any more down to earth?! I love Anna’s approach to life; she is extremely organised, lives a fairly minimalist lifestyle (seriously – her capsule wardrobe is a thing of dreams, although I could never do it), and focuses her energy around the good things in life – like Glossier pouches and The Office… I love all of her content but my favourite by far is her vlogs, and I wish she would vlog more! Anna and her husband, Mark, are such a sweet couple and she shares lots of their home life and trips, something I find genuinely interesting. I am a huge fan of her podcast with one of her best friends, Lily Pebbles, and I love her attitude towards life. She is so deserving of all her success and I can’t wait to see what she has coming up next.

Family and Friends

Now, I couldn’t write this post without talking about the people closest to me who I admire and look up to every day. My mam; June, and Matt’s mam; Debbie are hands down my favourite ladies for everything. They are so strong and work so flipping hard; they’d do anything for anyone and they both add so much to my life. We can always have a giggle together but no topic is ever off limits; mam’s are just great for being so understanding and knowing what you’re thinking/feeling without you having to say it. My mam and I have always been so close; I feel very lucky to say she’s as much a best friend as she is a mother to me. When Matt and I first began dating, I really hoped we’d build a relationship, but I never expected I’d gain a whole other family! That’s exactly what happened, his family feel like my own and I’m grateful every day for that. Debbie is like a second mam to me, and I am so thankful for her. I adore you both and I’m so grateful for everything you do; for both Matt and I!

Jessy, my dearest Jessy. We go so long without seeing each other (yep, life gets in the way) but nothing ever changes between us. Every time we’re together it’s like no time has passed, and we always have so much fun. Jess and I are about as similar as chalk and cheese, yet we’re also 100% on the same wavelength at all times – weird, I know. She has a quality I don’t think I’ve ever seen in anybody else; she truly wants the best for everyone around her, and can remove herself from any situation to give a different perspective. She is strong, inspiring and smart and an absolute angel in every way. She has an infectious energy around her at all times; she is hilarious and can always spin things to be positive. I look up to Jessy (ironic, she’s about a foot shorter than me!) more than she knows, and I am so stinking grateful for everything she has done for me. When Matt was away recently I was feeling very sad *cringe*, and I genuinely can’t imagine how I would have felt better without her input! She can make me laugh when I don’t feel like it and can always make a bad situation better. Jess also taught me about The Worry Tree – I highly recommend a good google search of this if you’re a worrier when have a spare five minutes, it’s life changing! A good life long friendship is hard to come by, but I know that’s what we have. So much love for you JB, so much love!

Well there you have it; the women I look up to the most. I’d love to know which women inspire you, and for what reason? If it’s someone you know personally, why don’t you tell them? Let’s build each other up, together 🙂 

-G x