Reading List // Autumn

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend? I am definitely enjoying the cooler weather now Autumn has arrived, and of course the extra snuggly, cosy nights with my boyfriend! (Any excuse, eh?) Matt and I have been spending all the quality time together and I feel very blessed and grateful for everything we have. Yesterday before he went to work we squeezed in a little breakfast date, and stumbled across the cutest farm shop, look at the pumpkins and gourds! You can keep up with our adventures via my Instagram Story, I probably post a load of rubbish, but who doesn’t?!

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Today I’m sharing with you a brief round-up of the books I’ve recently read, am currently reading or have in my stash to read in the coming weeks. I am a self-confessed bookworm and I read all different genres, although most of the time I stick to non-fiction, life-based or fiction girly books. I really prefer these kind of books as to be honest I like to escape from the real world and generally a light-hearted story I can lose myself in is my favourite way to do this. Sunday mornings are perfect for curling up with a good book, a cuppa, and maybe some chocolate… (this one’s my favourite!)

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As I mentioned in this post, I really want to focus on reading more as it’s something I love to do, and it makes me feel re-energized. I read mostly in the bath and on my lunch break; I used to spend my lunch break swiping through my socials and feel even more zapped of energy by the time I headed back to my desk. I find that I enjoy those 30 minutes away from the office so much more when I can read a few chapters of my current book, text Matthew to tell him I love him and I’m so excited to see him when we finish work (I’m a sap!) and grab an ice cold Diet coke. Obviously I eat a really nutritious, healthy lunch every day, too. Obviously.

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I am SO excited to read this book! You’ve almost definitely seen the trailers for the movie, Crazy Rich Asians, and I generally like to read the book before I watch the movie. The book is based on a couple, but I think it’s a little more than your typical boy meets girl story. It’s a best seller, and every review I read states it to be better than the last one did! This is apparently a hilarious read, and I’m so excited to get started – as soon as I’ve finished my current book I’ll definitely be reaching for this. 

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. I may have been living under a rock, but I hadn’t heard anything about Dolly Alderton until this book started appearing on my Instagram feed day in, day out. Curiosity got the better of me, and after a quick browse of the Amazon reviews, I purchased the book. I truly loved this book, and it’s something I wish I’d read when I was younger. I have to admit I couldn’t relate to her in lots of ways; Dolly tells the story of her life growing up and she is absolutely the extrovert to my introvert, however I did empathise with her, and found relatability in sections throughout her stories. As you can see, my copy is a little well loved (this really brings it home that I have my baths way too hot as this cover is ruined, oops!)

Feminist’s Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis. To say I’m excited for this to be released is an understatement! I’ve currently got this book on pre-order and it comes out on Thursday – I’m so excited. Written by Scarlett, but with lots of input from various social media influencers and celebrities, including Zoe Sugg, Emma Watson, Dolly Alderton and Jameela Jamil. Empowering women is something all of us ladies should feel very passionate about, and I’m so excited to read these ladies’ opinions.

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This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor by Adam Kay. This is my current read and I cannot recommend it highly enough! I’m just over half way through and it is brilliant. Adam is a former NHS Doctor, and since he no longer practices he decided to tell the story of his career, based on the diaries he kept during that time. The way Adam tells a story is so clever; he looks at most situations with humour, and brings a refreshing aspect to a fairly mundane, typical job. This book is equal parts heart-warming and heartbreaking, and I really think it’s one you have to read. It’s no secret our incredible NHS staff are woefully underpaid and overworked, and this book steers that point home even harder. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed out loud several times during his stories, it’s a book I genuinely struggle to put down. 

Places I Stopped On The Way Home by Meg Fee. This popped up as a recommendation in ‘Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed’ on Amazon, and after reading a few reviews I knew it would be right up my street. I’m yet to begin reading however I’m very excited about it; Meg is a blogger and this book tells of her finding herself in New York City. I’ve been obsessed with NYC since I can remember, and I’m so excited and intrigued to read her tales of life in the The Big Apple. 

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Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan. I originally bought this to take on holiday when Matt and I went to Kos back in June, however I may have lost it in the black hole of my wardrobe, and found it again during The Great Declutter of 2018. This book looks great; it’s a boy meets girl kind of story, but with a sci-fi element which is something very different for me. Again, the reviews are great and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Wilde About The Girl by Louise Pentland. This is Louise’s second book, and I actually think it was better than her first, Wilde Like Me. I enjoyed her first book a lot, and fell in love with the lead character, Robin Wilde. I personally a think a lot of Louise’s personality/life was apparent in her character in the first book, however during the second book it didn’t seem to be as prevalent. I laughed and cried throughout the day-to-day life of Robin Wilde, and I think it’s a very uplifting, girl-power read. I have to say though, I expected this would be an easy read-in-the-bath type book, however I was rushing off on my lunch breaks to carry on reading as I was so enthralled in the story.

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Cordially Invited by Zoe Sugg. I currently have this book on pre-order as it’s not released until next Wednesday, however I’m so excited to take ideas from this! From the pictures shown by Zoe, and available on Amazon, it’s full of beautiful imagery, and lots of tips and tricks on what to do in each season. I’m going to be baking up a storm over the coming weeks, I’m sure! I’m especially excited for the Halloween/Christmas section of this book as, like Zoe, it’s my favourite time of year and they’re my favourite holidays to celebrate. I’m sure Matt is going to like being roped into the DIY’s, decorating and baking…

Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes. I read this book when it was first released back in 2014, however during my afore mentioned declutter, I found it hidden under a pile of skirts. Classy. This book is essentially a beauty bible; Sali is a journalist and former magazine editor (among 100 other things) and to say she knows her stuff is quite the understatement. She talks through all aspects of beauty, and this is a book I wish I had back when I was 13! I’m currently re-reading a little bit here and there, and loving it even more the second time round. 

The Distance by Zoe Folbigg. This is Zoe’s second book, and I can’t quite tell you how much I adore both of her books, and her style of writing. The book is running between past and present, and the twists and turns throughout are told so well. A few chapters in I was already falling in love with the main characters; Cecilie sounds like the most incredible woman, and I was rooting for a happy ending. Filled with twists and turns, and sometimes slightly graphic aspects of real life, this is a modern day love story and is extremely entertaining. After reading, I passed this on to Matt’s mam (between Debbie, my mam and I we have a little book club running where we pass all our books to and from each other) and she loved it just as much as I did. I’m already anticipating her third book, please say there is one?!

I’ve also got the below books on my radar (okay, so they’re in my Amazon basket!):

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? Do you have any recommendations for what I should pick up next?

-G x

Wardrobe Declutter

Happy Wednesday, loves!

Today’s post is the first in my new schedule – how exciting! My schedule was previously 11am on a Sunday, and 6pm on a Thursday, although after a little rejig it’s now 6am on a Sunday and 6am on a Wednesday. Now, let’s get on with it…

I’m so excited to share today’s post with you – my inner Monica is beside herself with happiness! I designed my room when I was 15 and a whole wall of built in wardrobes seemed like the best idea ever at the time. It’s still a pretty good idea, but it meant that I had got accustomed to filling my wardrobes to the brim, and using them as a dumping ground for any old crap lying around my room. Didn’t have a place? Open a door and shove it in. We’ve all been there… right?! 

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love shopping, and I love buying new clothes. I watch haul videos on a weekly basis, and I order items online based on these videos. I go for a ‘browse’ around the Metro Centre and come back with items I don’t even need. I read blog posts and watch YouTube videos every day featuring beautiful clothes and I often order them. If I really like an item that’s out of my price range, I’ll scour ASOS until I find a cheaper alternative, then I’ll buy that too. I am a hoarder and I spend way too much money on clothes. < written by my former self, because this behaviour stops here. 

I bet at least 90% of people will have began reading and thought oh no – this is me! Well, I can promise you; hand on heart; decluttering is not as bad as you are thinking, and once you start the process it’s actually very therapeutic. I’m going to talk you through what I did, and hopefully inspire you to do the same if you’re also in dire need of a good clear out. I would advise watching lots of YouTube videos (declutter ones are especially helpful and motivational) and constant cups of tea if you’re embarking on this task, too! In fact I’d suggest you grab a cuppa and settle down for this post; there’s a lot of information and it’s a long one!

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Over the past three weeks I have been decluttering my wardrobes, and I mean really decluttering them. I’m sure you’re wondering why it took me so long to do this, but honestly I just really took my time. I took an hour or two here and there; on a lazy Saturday afternoon, if I had a little window before Matt came home from work, or sometimes late at night if I had a burst of energy to do a small section. Splitting a big, daunting task into lots of small manageable tasks gave me way more motivation, but I know some people would rather spend a whole day getting the job done in one. 

I don’t have before pictures to share with you, because I am quite honestly completely embarrassed at the absolute state my wardrobes were in. My dad took four bin bags to the tip which is just ridiculous (although I’m very glad he took them so I didn’t have to, he’s the best)! I had a further seven bags full of clothes to donate and sell, so you can imagine how cluttered my wardrobes were. I had been saying I was going to sort and declutter for literally the past twelve months, but every time I thought about starting the process I was filled with dread, and to be quite honest I just couldn’t. be. arsed. All for transparency over here, you know?

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Do One Task At A Time
I have to admit, the hardest part is knowing where to start. I first went through and put everything in it’s place. Well, a place. I hung up and folded every single thing – I had to steal coat hangers from my mam’s wardrobes as I didn’t have enough for all of the junk during this process. I have since bought lots of lovely velvet hangers and in time I’m going to have a wardrobe full of them so I can recycle all of my plastic hangers. I also decluttered everything that didn’t belong in there; boxes from parcels, receipts I’d pulled out of a handbag, the odd bobby pin lying around (how do they get everywhere?!) This in itself took a pretty long time – I’m not exaggerating, I was gross – but it gave me a chance to look over items as I was going, and gave me ideas going forward.

It was hard not to jump ahead and start putting items into donation piles from this point; I could already see masses of clothing I didn’t want/need, and would have a better place in another home. I actually felt the most frustrated during this step; I could see in-front of me everything I needed to do, and I wanted to start there and then. I also felt quite annoyed at myself for the amount of clothing I had; I’ve been reading lots recently on sustainability and fast fashion, and I was disgusted by how many items I’d accumulated. Granted, I still have lots of clothes after my clear out which I’m very grateful for!

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Take Out Every Single Item
Okay, so you’ve got everything looking somewhat neat and pretty, this is the tricky part. Take it off the hanger. Unfold it. Pile everything up on your bed until there’s no more daylight coming through your window. Full disclosure; it genuinely sickened me how many items of clothing I had in my wardrobes! I have been saying the words “I have nothing to wear” for so long it was like word vomit; I didn’t even think about it. I found items I’d once loved and forgotten about, items with tags still attached and even items I didn’t know I owned (this is ridiculous)! If you’re going to take on the wardrobe decluttering yourself, I guarantee you’ll be amazed at how much junk you have; some of which you probably don’t even like!

I took everything out in categories, just to make the process a little bit easier. I first took out all of my trousers, then separated into jeans, sweat pants/leggings, trousers. I then took out all of my outerwear and sweaters, then separated into coats/jackets, nice jumpers, lounge jumpers. Lastly for clothing, I took out all of my tops (in two rounds) and separated into long sleeves, t-shirts, camis, blouses and lounge tops. I did underwear and bikinis in one go, then pyjamas, bedding and towels in one go.

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Be Brutal
Seriously, brutal. I last cleared my wardrobe out around 18 months ago, and I thought I’d been pretty harsh on what I was keeping and what I wasn’t. Turns out I wasn’t, because I found things like preppy neon t-shirts I’d purchased years ago in Florida. This is the time to be accountable and fully take responsibility for what you have; do you really need twenty grey t-shirts? Or six pairs of the same colour jeans? I have to say an exception to this for me is anything striped; I love a good Breton top and I will forever continue to buy more!

You have to look at the bigger picture, and you really need to be honest with yourself during this part. It doesn’t matter if you spent £10 or £100 on an item of clothing; if you don’t wear it or even like it, there is no point in keeping hold of it. If it’s went bobbled or misshapen in the wash, isn’t currently something you’d reach for or it doesn’t fit you the same way any more get rid of it! I do however think sentimental items are completely subjective and I for one am not going to judge you if you keep a top you wore on your first date with your boyfriend even though you know now you’ll never wear the fugly thing again… *holds hand high*. 

One of my original aims of this declutter was to have items in my wardrobe fitting to the current season; so during the Autumn/Winter months my Spring/Summer items were out of sight and out of mind, and vice versa. Once I’d put all of my clothing items into categories I then went through each pile and made another two piles; Yes and No – keeping or removing from the black hole of my wardrobes. I then put everything from the Yes pile that would be suitable throughout Autumn/Winter into the wardrobe; in whatever space was best for me to get use out of it.

For an item to go into the Yes pile, it had to tick four boxes;

  • I have worn this more than once in the past six months (to a year – for seasonal items)
  • I just bought this item and will wear it regularly
  • This item goes with other items in my wardrobe and will last a while
  • This item makes me feel happy when I wear it

If an item didn’t fit into this bracket, and it wasn’t for my Spring/Summer storage or I wasn’t sentimentally attached, it went straight into the No pile. I later split this into Donate and Sell piles, as I go through in more detail below. 

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Clean As You Go
This one is probably very self explanatory, but if you’re going through the whole process of filling your wardrobe with items that bring you joy, you certainly don’t want them sitting on dusty rails or shelves. As my wardrobes are made of wood, I dusted, then cleaned with wipes (these ones from Aldi are fab, and they smell amazing). I polished the rails and fittings, and cleaned the mirrors fitted inside the doors.

It’s a good idea to keep your wardrobes clean on a day-to-day basis anyway, but I’m planning to do a deep clean inside every 2-3 months, and at the same time check what items I have in my wardrobes. I think this will be a really good way to keep an eye on what I’m buying, and will mean I hopefully don’t have to do such an in-depth declutter again.

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Organise In A Way That Suits You
Again, my inner Monica loves a chance to really organise! 

As I mentioned above, one thing I really would love is to have all of my clothes on thin, velvet coat hangers. They are pricey but in my opinion they’re a good investment; you can fit way more into each section, they look really good, and they hold clothes in place better than a typical coat hanger. I’m going to make a point of picking these up every time I pop into Homesense until I’ve completed this. 

I began this at the end of August, so as Summer was drawing to a close I made a point of putting all items I was keeping that were specifically Spring/Summer pieces to one side. I purchased two clear boxes and used these to store all the items I’m not going to need for the next six months. I also put my sandals and most of my swimwear in here; Matt and I are going to start going swimming through the week, and we have a few spa weekends coming up so I did keep a few options out. These boxes were then banished to the loft, and I’ll switch these out with my Autumn/Winter items around March next year (I’m clearly feeling optimistic, as it was still snowing in April this year).

I really like using storage boxes inside my wardrobe too; I picked up the ones pictured from Matalan and they’ve came in so handy. One thing I really couldn’t work out how to store was scarves, then my mam suggested to roll them in a storage box and it’s now so much easier to see what I have! It’s a much less messy way to store them, and it makes it so easy to pick which one I’d like to wear for the day.

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Donate and Sell
Now you’ve figured out which items you’re saying goodbye to; it’s very easy to separate your No pile into a further two categories – Donate and Sell. My general rule of thumb here is if an item is a) in good condition, b) worthy of selling – eg in fashion or brand name or c) still has tags on, I will more than likely post it on eBay. The saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is extremely true; people sell all sorts on eBay, and people buy it! There are so many ways to sell your clothes and accessories, but I have always used eBay and I’ve never had any issues. It may seem like a hassle to take photos, upload your items and post them out, but you shouldn’t miss out on a money making opportunity!

Anything else in the No pile that doesn’t meet the criteria will then go into the charity bags. Most charity shops also take bedding, soft furnishings and shoes, so be sure to include them too (after checking with your charity of choice).

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Nurture Your New Space
Now all of the hard work is done; the extra hard work begins – keeping it this way! Ensuring everything stays neat and putting away items as soon as they’re washed/ironed  seems like such a simple task but I know there will be days I just don’t want to bother hanging things up or folding things away. *Note to self: come back to this post and get a virtual kick up the butt!*

I think my wardrobe is missing a few key pieces for the upcoming season, which I’m very excited to add in, however once I’m happy with everything I have, I’m going to try implementing the one in, one out policy. I really want to become a more mindful shopper, and having to get rid of one thing to make way for another is a whole new way of thinking; and means I will be able to sell and donate on a regular basis. This also means that anything I buy will be an item I really love – not something I’ve seen in a haul or blog post and have to have in that moment; I’m taking control of my spending and hoarding. I’ll be delving into this topic in much more detail very soon!

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I got rid of so many items it actually feels like a weight has been lifted; even just getting dressed in the morning is much more fun as I’m not looking through piles left over rails, or trying to pick The Only Grey T Shirt I Wear out of the twenty in-front of me. Shopping your own wardrobe is exciting; it’s fun to mix and match with items you already have, and it makes it easier to buy new items going forward. As I’ve briefly mentioned above, I want to be more mindful of what I buy; I’m making a promise to myself now that my purchases will be sustainable, good for the environment and good for my wardrobe. Items that are timeless and good quality will always be a good addition. This will also make moving so much easier when Matt and I buy our house; at least I’ll be taking things I wear and love! I’ll definitely revisit this in a post over the coming months, and I have lots more fashion related posts planned/scheduled. I’d love to know if there’s anything you’d like to see in particular.

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His & hers dressing gowns – we’re cute

My next project is Matt’s wardrobe and chest of drawers; he has – no exaggeration – around 100 football tops and I cannot wait to begin the decluttering process! I’m expecting him to have put chains and padlocks on everything after reading this, but let’s see how well we can do. I’m so excited!

I hope you enjoyed reading, and I’d love to know if you are now inspired to have a big ol’ clear out and restructure of your wardrobes?! 

-G x

Get Ready With Me: Date Night

Happy Sunday, loves!

Today I’m sharing with you my pre-date night routine for when I have a little extra time to enjoy getting ready. This was before one of my favourite dates with Matthew, for our one year anniversary! I posted an open letter to Matthew on our anniversary in this post, in case you missed it! Warning: cheesier than a five cheese pizza *insert wink emoji here*

We always take the time to plan dates and spend time together, but as we’re saving for our house (and the Christmas build up is upon us!) we spend lots of our quality time in the house, cooking and relaxing. Date days/nights can be anywhere, any time, just most nights they don’t involve any of the dressing up or making as much of an effort! That being said, we love to go out for dinner and cocktails, so as an anniversary treat we booked Tomahawk Steakhouse at Newcastle Quayside.

So, picture the scene; it’s Saturday afternoon, Matthew is still at work and I’ve got a few hours to myself, so I’m about to have a good two(ish) hour bath because… well, because I bloody well can! I’ve got my new book, This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, a beautiful candle burning, a face mask on and a Diet Coke to hand, I’d say I feel pretty damn swish right now. 

I love to have a long, hot bubble bath before going out for the evening when I have the time to properly relax. I’m not kidding when I say a quick bath for me is around 45 minutes to an hour, it’s just the perfect space for a bit of ‘me time’ and somewhere to chill out in peace. I first prep the bath; putting all of the products I’m going to need along the back, and removing whatever isn’t mine. Sorry, mam. Lining everything up means there’s no need to get out the bath mid way through to fetch something I’ve forgotten (living between two houses can be difficult if you’re as forgetful as me!) and, well, it makes for a good blog photo, right?!

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I lit my candle of choice; Coconut Milk and Almond from DW Home, this is such a beautiful cosy scent, the whole bathroom smelt amazing! I also love the jar, it’s so cute and will definitely be repurposed when the candle is finished. As my bath is running I added a few products in; I used my Acai Berry bubble bath from Radox – it creates the best bubbles! It makes me physically cringe to think I used to buy Laura Mercier bubble bath when this is just as good for £1, oh how times have changed. I added one of my favourite bath bombs, Twilight, and began prepping my face. 

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Matt left for work at around 6.30am so I had the whole day to myself; I spent it decluttering, blogging, wrapping Matt’s anniversary presents and having a little browse* around Homesense. *By browse, I mean buying more pumpkin candles, oops. As my day was mainly running errands, I wasn’t wearing much makeup, but I took off what I was wearing with the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm (and double cleansed for good measure). With my face feeling clean and fresh, I slathered my favourite intensive lip balm from Elizabeth Arden onto my lips. The weather really isn’t too cold yet and I’m already suffering from dry lips and dry skin! I applied a new-to-me face mask; the Diamond Dust Refining Scrub Mask by Sanctuary Spa, risky before a date night but I was so impressed by this product! I left it on for around 15 to 20 minutes as I was in the bath (who really times these things?!) then washed off with a flannel; my skin felt and looked so clean and bright. It was a very gentle exfoliator as it didn’t leave my skin red or irritated, I’m excited to add this into my weekly product rotation. 

With my face mask off, I relaxed in the bath reading my book for quite a while – it’s made me cry and laugh and I’m only a quarter of the way through, I’d definitely recommend – and just feel so peaceful. I never take my phone or laptop in the bathroom when I take a bath, I used to make some kind of stand for my laptop and go to town catching up on vlogs or watching Netflix, but now I actually enjoy disconnecting from technology for a small part of my day. Spoiler: nothing bad will happen if you’re not glued to your phone!

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I finally put my book down, and busied myself with all of the preening possible. I generally use a Dove shower gel (or a Molton Brown mini, strictly reserved for nights away!) as most other shower gels seem to irritate my sensitive skin. This one leaves my skin so smooth and soft, and when used with a shower pouf is perfect to prep before shaving. Speaking of which, I shaved using my usual Gillette Venus Rollerball razor/Gillette Satin Care shaving foam combo.

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Whenever I have a bath and need to wash my hair, I take a quick shower afterwards. I realise this isn’t too great for water usage, but needs must… *grits teeth* I washed my hair with this sulphate free shampoo by L’Oreal; my hair has been needing a lot of TLC recently, and using this has helped lots. It’s a fuss-free, basic formula but it cleans my hair like no other, and ensures it’s shiny and soft after washing. I condition only the lengths of my hair, so from about mid-ear to the ends, with my L’Oreal Dream Lengths conditioner, another product that’s really impressed me. I adore the smell of this and can always smell it on my hair once it’s dried/straightened, which is a nice benefit! 

After a very long, relaxing bath (and shower) I finally get out and start on the fun part of getting ready. I first sit at my vanity table and go through my skincare routine. I take Garnier micellar water on a cotton pad across my face just to make sure my skin is totally clean. I apply my my eye cream from The Body Shop and my current favourite wear-under-makeup moisturiser, also from The Body Shop. I apply more Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream to my lips (it’s a god-send!) and begin prepping my hair. I always use my favourite leave-in conditioner from Bed He’d when I’ve washed my hair and I also use their heat protectant cream – they work so well and smell like sweets!

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I love to get ready in my dressing gown – I’m so excited to get a new one for this Autumn/Winter but I haven’t found the perfect one yet! I moisturised using my favourite Sanctuary Spa body butter, and set out my outfit for the evening whilst that sunk in. I dried and straightened my hair, and began on my makeup. On a usual day-to-day basis, doing my makeup takes a maximum of 20 minutes, however when I have the time I like to spend ages – including applying false eyelashes and perfecting my base; this makes my makeup look ten times better, and in turn makes me feel better. I love using the MAC Vanilla and Copper pigments to add an extra sparkle to an evening makeup look, they’re beautiful shimmering colours and catch the light so well!

As I’m getting ready, Matt arrived home from work and is able to unwind from the day and get ready himself, I love catching up on his day when he comes home from work! I kissed him goodbye only about eight hours ago, but I feel like I haven’t seen him in forever (this is a daily feeling, hah)! Tomahawk Steakhouse was incredible; the food and atmosphere was amazing, and it was (in our opinion) very well priced! We had the best night and enjoyed our anniversary on the Sunday with a little road trip to York followed by a cosy night in with a Chinese takeaway.

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know how your own pre date night routine compares? What are some of your must have products to get ready with?

-G x

Five Goals To Achieve Before 2019

Happy Thursday, loves!

Given that it’s mid-September it probably seems a little silly to be setting goals to achieve by the end of the year, but bear with me. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about things I want to improve on and things I want to do, but I have just been putting these off in the hope it’ll get done ‘at some point’. I decided to set myself a few goals and I’ve already put some of these into practice. 2018 has been such a good year, and I’m hoping 2019 will be even better, so I’m giving it the best chance possible with a little head start. I also encourage you to look at areas of your life you’d like to make better, in some form, and set yourself goals to achieve in the next few months!

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Focus on Hobbies

As lame as it probably sounds, I didn’t really have any actual hobbies until this year. Well, I didn’t set aside any time to enjoy them anyway. I started my blog in June because I wanted a creative space to talk about the things I love and enjoy, and to branch out into a world I’ve admired for so long. I watched from afar as people posted exciting content and I’m so excited to be finally part of that – assuming my content is somewhat exciting, that is! I love that the whole process is so enjoyable; having the idea for each post, writing and taking photos; and then I really appreciate that I get a good response in relation to each post. I’m so thankful that people are showing interest in my blog, it really means the world to me. I’ve said this before, but it has become an outlet I didn’t know I needed, and I want to nurture this space just as much, if not more over the coming months.

Since I was a child, I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm, but over the past two years I’ve really upped my reading game. Whenever I get the chance for a long relaxing bath I love to read my book, or on an early Saturday morning when I’ve seen Matt off to work I’ll spend half an hour cosied up with a cup of tea and my latest paperback. I’m now actively setting time aside each day to read, even if it’s just for ten minutes on my lunch break. Another hobby I’ve recently started taking more seriously is yoga; I have practiced on and off for around three years now (self taught, Yoga with Adriene is incredible) and I really want to commit to doing it at least three times per week. I make excuses so that I don’t have to, then I regret not taking 20 or 30 minutes out of my day to relax and enjoy it.

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Cooking More

Over the past few months, Matthew and I have started to branch into the world of cooking (yes, it took us 24 years)! We are trying lots of new foods, learning together and having so much fun in the process. Don’t get me wrong, we will always love an M&S Dine in for 2 deal, but making meals together is fun and exciting, and we get to pretend we’re on Hell’s Kitchen for an hour or so – what’s not to love?! Being serious, I really love cooking with him as we get to spend quality time together, whilst being productive and learning at the same time. We were both under the impression cooking anything other than pasta (which everyone can make, right?) was extremely difficult, however we were so wrong! We’re always on the hunt for new quick and easy recipes;,any recommendations would be much appreciated. Also, I’m planning to share a few of our go-to recipes with you – our potato and chorizo side-dish that I often post on my Instagram story has been requested several times and will be up soon!

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Limit Social Media Time

This is a hard one for me; generally speaking I love social media and really enjoy posting/seeing others’ posts. I especially love Instagram stories and I often browse through location tags of places on mine and Matt’s ‘to visit’ list! (We’re going to Liverpool next month and I’ve already got a few places I can’t wait to see IRL). However, I am so guilty of spending more time than necessary mindlessly flicking through my social apps, and I’m going to make a conscious effort to stop doing this in the evenings. I’m hoping this will filter through into the rest of the day in time. Each night, Matt and I spend our evenings winding down from the day; cooking, watching a show or a movie, running errands, catching up on our day etc, then we sit on our phones for at least 10 minutes before we get into bed. We read tweets out loud to each other, browse through Instagram posts and laugh at Facebook memes, but by the time we get into bed our minds are buzzing with the world of social media again and all of our unwinding is undone! I appreciate our quality time so much, and I want this to be to focus of our evenings, rather than Kylie Jenner’s latest makeup launch. I’m also hoping as mentioned in this post, this will have a positive effect on my mental health.

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Start to Live More Sustainably

I’ve already began to put this into practice, and I’m excited to see how well this comes along. I’m currently in the middle of a clear out of epic proportions; I have gone through all of my clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, and am currently mid-way through skincare, makeup and haircare. It’s a very big task and one I’ve been doing over several weeks to limit the mess and improve my success rate. Doing everything in one go would definitely leave me feeling exhausted and I know I’d have given up by now. Little wins seem better, right?! My goal for this is mainly to have what I love, and love what I have.

I had so much crap lying around, and most of it does not get the love or attention it deserves. Also, this will be a huge help for when Matt and I buy our house; I don’t know where I’d start with the moving process with all of the junk I used to own! I am selling and donating the items that no longer serve a purpose for me as there is no need to hold onto things that don’t benefit me. Going forward, I’m going to apply this mind-set to any clothing purchases I make; I want to buy things for a purpose, of good quality fabrics, and stop the hoarding nonsense I somehow became accustomed to. I also am going to stop buying items with a high polyester or acrylic count. I don’t have the budget to completely cut these fabrics out of my purchasing but minimal quantities are the best option right now. I’ll definitely be going into this in more detail in the coming weeks! I’m hoping this will filter through to all my spending in every category.

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Become a More Mindful Shopper

This follows on from my above point, and it makes me equal parts nervous and excited, and I’m not sure I can explain why! I’ve touched on my love of the idea of a capsule wardrobe previously, and as much as I’d love to give it a go, it’s just not for me. I am however going to become more mindful with all of my future purchases, not just clothing related, and I’m excited to see if I can meet the challenge. As I mentioned previously, I just had too. much. stuff. I have known this and joked about it for a very long time, but I feel like now enough is enough. I was buying new clothing, accessories, beauty products etc very regularly and during my clear outs I’ve been gobsmacked to find clothes I hadn’t worn with tags still attached, and items I’d forgot I’d even bought. I really love shopping and I know I’m going to struggle at first, but I think I’ll feel happier putting this into practice (my bank account will definitely benefit, too). My new mantra for all items – clothing, beauty and everything in between is quality, not quantity. *Spoiler: a post all about my wardrobe declutter will be up in the next week!* I’m currently writing a post about this in way more detail, and it’ll be up in the next few weeks.

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts; are you inspired to set a goal or two for the next few months? I’m going to write another post at the end of the year and revisit these goals; I hope this will help to hold me accountable and help me achieve these!

-G x

 

 

Look Fantastic: Beauty Box Review

Surprise! A new blog post on a Tuesday… say what?!

This box of goodies got delivered last Wednesday and I don’t have a gap in my scheduled/planned posts for three weeks – A+ for planning, but I couldn’t wait that long to share my thoughts with you! I also don’t want anyone to miss out on purchasing because *spoiler alert: this box is so good* I’m sorry the photos aren’t of fantastic quality as I took them in the evening with artificial light, I just wanted to get this post up ASAP!

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My post about the Estee Lauder beauty box went down so well, I figured I’d see what this monthly subscription world was all about these days. I’d purchased several in the past (I got my last one at least two years ago) and to be quite honest never thought they were worth the money. After an hour of Google searching and blog reading, I decided to go ahead and order September’s Look Fantastic beauty box, and boy am I glad I did…

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This month’s box is a birthday edition, celebrating four years of Look Fantastic. There’s very few websites I buy beauty bits from online, but Look Fantastic is always one of go-to’s! I’ve used them for years – I actually feel like it’s been forever, I can’t believe it’s only been four years – and they’re a doddle to shop with. There’s always discount codes floating around, they now stock MAC Cosmetics, and their delivery timings are spot on. I love the concept of their beauty boxes; there’s several to choose from and they often do collaborations with other brands. After reading great review after great review, I knew this was the box to go for. Let’s just remember, I’m a sucker for mini travel-sized products – they’re just so dang cute and handy!

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Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer
I feel like this is a cult product among the beauty community and blogging world, yet I’ve never tried it. I was very excited to see it in here as I vaguely remember the likes of Fleur De Force and Amelia Liana talking about their love for this years ago. I used this for the first time last week, it’s a ‘super conditioning pre-shampoo treatment’ and I whacked it on my hair for around half an hour whilst I relaxed in the bath. So eloquently put, I know. I washed it off, shampoo-ed and conditioned my hair as normal, and then used my usual products before styling. My hair felt and looked ten times better than it usually does; it was much more shiny and felt so soft, and I also found it easier to style. My flyaways and baby hairs were not at all an issue during styling, and they usually drive me crazy, so I’d say it definitely works! I’m going to add this into my (newly organised) haircare drawer and use once per week, then if I still love it as much I’ll definitely purchase the full size!
You can pick up a full size here for £18.50 (RRP).

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Omorovicza Gold Shimmer Oil
This is one of the most luxurious products I’ve ever used, and I have to say I had Beyonce levels of confidence applying this (until I looked in the mirror, of course!) This is the most amazing product if you like a bit of glitz and glow before a night out – I tried this for the first time before a cosy night in with my boyfriend, and it definitely wasn’t the right vibe. He did however love the smell which is a bonus; I used this post-shower all over my body instead of my usual moistursier. This sank into the skin so fast, and didn’t leave me feeling like I’d just had a dip in a McDonald’s deep fat fryer like I was worried it might! It smells beautiful, and is very sparkly and glittery in the bottle, but it leaves a subtle glow across your skin once it’s sank in; even on my fair skin. It’s definitely a must-have for the party season, which is almost upon us!
You can pick up a full size here for £52.00 (RRP).

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Lord & Berry Strobing Pencil
I’ve never tried anything from Lord & Berry before, but I feel like they’re a brand often featured in my favourite Instagrammer’s flat-lays. After a quick Internet search, I found out this pencil is actually to use on your face as a highlighter, not to stick in or around your eye area (duh). I haven’t tried this yet, but a little swatch shows it’s a beautiful champagne colour – and something I’ll be reserving strictly for evenings out on the town. It felt very creamy on my hand, and blended in easily leaving a subtle sheen. It is a pretty small sample size but I’m excited to give it a whirl, and if it’s something that gets added into my makeup rotation I’m sure you’ll see it featured on the blog!
The pencil is currently sold out on Look Fantastic, however when in stock it retails for £14.00 (RRP).

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Mane ‘n’ Tail Hand & Nail Therapy
To be honest, this brand has always intrigued me – it was originally created as products to use on horses, hence the name. After someone decided one day to use their hair care products on themselves, the word spread, and the rest is history. Despite moving into the beauty world, the branding is very off piste, which I guess is what makes it intriguing in the first place. I threw this in my work bag last week as I’m forever applying hand cream – it’s not even properly cold yet and my skin is so dry – and I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s a very basic scent, nothing to write home about, but it does a bloody good job at it’s true purpose – moisturising! It sinks in so quickly and there’s absolutely no sticky residue left behind, my work colleagues were equally as impressed. I’ve now put this firmly in it’s new home on my desk at work (I have a seasonally apt Vanilla Pumpkin hand cream in my bag) and after a few confused comments about why I had “something for horses” next to my computer, I’m very glad it’s there to hand! Ha, to hand.
You can pick this up here for £3.49 (RRP).

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Aromatherapy Associates Revive Bath & Shower Oil
This is just the dreamiest of products – I have to say I felt extra spoiled and pampered using this! I have tried various samples from Aromatherapy Associates over the years but I can’t really remember which ranges. A shower oil is a funny concept; the tiniest amount goes very far, and it is intensely moisturising for your skin. I am definitely getting into oils and oil based products more – I’m going to share my thoughts on this in a blog post in  the coming weeks. This is definitely a treat product; the kind of thing I’d use to really pamper myself before a special date night. I added a smidge of this into my bath one evening (despite this being marketed for a morning shower/bath) and it was just dreamy – I love to fully relax and chill out in the bath, reading my book –  I’ve just finished Wilde About The Girl by Louise Pentland which made me laugh and cry – I highly recommend. The scent made me feel like I was in a spa, and my skin felt so soft; it’s a very hydrating formula. Although, I would advise keeping away from your hair at all costs as getting oil out of your hair is as difficult as getting me out of Homesense!
The Revive Morning oil is currently sold out, however you can pick up a full size of the Revive Evening oil here for £49.00 (RRP).

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Eve Lom Cleanser
I’ve inadvertently saved the best for last, in my opinion. This has been on my wishlist for such a long time but I’ve just never been able to justify the price of the full size. I’ve used this cleanser the past three nights and I freaking love it – my beloved Clinique Take The Day Off hasn’t had a look in! It smells so beautiful; it’s a luxurious spa-like scent, and it feels incredible on the skin. This cleanser breaks down my makeup quickly and efficiently – including waterproof mascara – and doesn’t feel harsh or stripping. There was also a muslin cloth included, which I thought was a nice touch. If you’re a regular blog reader you’ll know my skin is super sensitive and new products are not always a great idea, however this didn’t aggravate my skin or cause breakouts – in fact my skin felt amazing! As much as it pains me I think I’m going to banish this to my travel minis drawer, as I know I can use it on trips (and it saves me decanting my Clinique cleanser, which is what I usually do). I definitely will be adding the full size of this to my Christmas list, if anyone’s feeling generous this year I’d love to open a full size of this on Christmas morning!
You can pick up the full size here for £55.00 (RRP).

As you can see from the photos, the box included Elle magazine – which retails for around £4 alone! There was also pack of Palma Violets inside the box which was a nice touch. Matt loves these so I put them into his work bag for a treat throughout his day *girlfriend points*. There was also a 20% voucher off the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar (RRP £75.00) which I was already considering buying – it’s one of the best value-for-money advent calendars I’ve seen from this years releases, and with 20% off it almost seems rude not to! If you’ve fell in love with the products in this box like I did, you can pick your box up here.

I’d love to know what you think of the products featured, have you tried and loved any of them? I hope you can get your hands on this before it sells out! Please let me know if you enjoy these monthly reviews, as I’m definitely going to keep this subscription, and I’d love to share each box with you! It’s so nice to get a little treat through the door, and for £15.00 per month you really can’t complain.

-G x

The Happiest Year

Hi, loves!

This blog post is very personal, and is essentially an open letter to my boyfriend. It might not be to everyone’s taste, and that’s okay. This whole post is from the heart and I hope is still enjoyable to read. Today is our one year anniversary, and I want him to know just how he loved he is!

*Warning: if you think I’ve been a little bit mushy and lovey-dovey in previous posts, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I’m a cheeseball and that’s okay!* 🙈

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Dear Matthew,

I love you. I love that your arms feel like home. I love your ambition in everything you do. I love how outgoing and friendly you are to everyone you meet. I love that you dream big and follow your passions. I love the way you always pull me so close. I love how determined you are to make our future the best it can be. I love the way your eyes light up when you smile or laugh. I love how quickly we find the perfect spooning position. I love how hard you make me laugh. I love cooking with you. I love the way my hand fits in yours. I love that you follow your dreams whole heartedly. I love your kisses and cuddles. I love how much joy you get from football and golf. I love learning to cook with you. I love travelling with you. I love that you’re as bad as me at telling stories. I love exploring and being silly with you. I love date days/nights with you. I love that my happy place is with you. I love our inside jokes. I love the way we know what each other is thinking all the time. I love that your sense of humour matches perfectly with mine. I love going to football matches with you. I love having dinner with you and catching up on our days every night. I love the feeling inside when we are reunited after a long day. I love falling asleep with you and waking up with you every day. I love the relationship we have built together. I love everything about you.

I count my lucky stars (*cough cough* in Cetus… if you know, you know) every day that we found each other! You came into my life at a time where I didn’t know how much I needed you; you made each day feel a little bit better. You made me laugh so hard. You shared your life with me, and I shared my life with you. You made me feel the strangest things; excitement and joy and even worry. I fell for you so hard and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me! I have never put myself ‘out there’ like I did with you, and I still can’t explain why I did that. All I know is I did it because it was the right thing to do, and as embarrassing as it was at the time, I’m proud of myself for badgering you until you finally asked me on a date. LOL!

Since day one you made me feel something I had never felt before. I knew from that first night that I wanted to be with you, and I couldn’t believe you felt the same. I wanted so badly to impress you; to want you to think I was good enough and to be the best version of myself. A year later I can definitely say you’ve seen every version of me – my normal self, happy, excited, upset, hungover, sick, tired, cold, sad, worried, and every other emotion/feeling possible, and you still treat me so perfectly. The funny thing is I never once had to try to be something I wasn’t; we clicked and we just worked. When we were ‘just dating’, everything seemed to flow so well, and I got nervously excited every time I thought about the future – would we be boyfriend and girlfriend?! It’s hilarious to me now because honestly, I can’t imagine anything else, and I never ever want to. For real, holding hands across the table in Harry’s, post NUFC match, was one of the best days! You were finally my boyfriend and to be honest I’ve never came back down to earth since that very moment – you make life amazing, Matthew, and *cheesy but true* it gets better every day. 

We’ve known of each other for over five years, but over the past year I have truly became a better person, all because of you. You are everything I could ever need or want, and I strive to be the girlfriend you deserve every day. I love our routines, and our ambitions and our goals, and I have no doubt that together we will do anything everything we set out to do. We always say we love being part of our team, but I can’t tell you how much I mean that. I know we always have each other’s best interest at heart; we look out for each other and we nurture each other. What more could I possibly ask for?

I am still thankful for how well we fit into each others lives, from the very beginning. We spend so much of our time together, and it’s never a chore or something we feel like we have to do. Well, at least I hope you don’t feel that, that would be awkward… ha! I love that your family feels like my family, and my family feels like yours. Our parents say we are family, and that means the world to me. That first night, I never dreamed we would become what we have, but gaining a whole other family has to be one of the best things that could have ever happened. I still remember the first time I met your parents like it was yesterday; I was terrified because we’d already got to know each other so well and I knew exactly how close you were with them. I also knew that if they didn’t like me it could be game over! Thankfully, somehow, they did like me (and now I’m pretty sure they prefer me to you… just saying!) 

You make me so excited for our future. I love that we talk about our future and make plans, and I genuinely cannot wait until we buy a house and make it our home. I can’t wait until we get our dog; I’m also very grateful you came round to the name Storm. Let’s be honest, I love that name so we were always going to go with that… hehe. I love that we already talk about him like he’s real, we’re a right pair!

You work so hard and I admire your determination and strength more than you know. I am so proud of you and everything you’ve achieved; before we knew each other and everything I’ve been by your side for since. I am your number one fan and I promise to support you through anything and everything that will come in the future. I look up to you, and I’m forever proud of how strong you are in your job. You are the most hard working man I know and I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to call you mine.

Thank you, Matthew, for showing me what love is. For showing me how good life can be – from our cosy weeknights in cooking dinner and watching Netflix, to our trips and holidays, to our date nights, to our road trips and Costco dates – every second I am with you will never be enough. The minute I kiss you goodbye in the morning I miss you, and the minute we reunite that evening I feel that little bit happier. Thank you for everything you do for me; your love and support makes me feel like I can conquer anything. Honestly, I know I can with you by my side! You bring so much love and happiness into my life and I don’t know I’ll ever repay that, but I promise to do my best to make you feel the same way, every day.

Thank you for making me the happiest I’ve ever been. Here’s to many more adventures, memories and wonderful years to come baby, happy anniversary! 

I love you so much!

All my love,

Gill xxx

Well, if you made it to the end, thank you!! We love to share snippets of our life on social media – particularly Instagram – but that can’t show even half of how much fun we have or how much love we have for each other. I know I am so blessed to have what I have with Matthew, and trust me I fully realise this, every day! I read books and watched movies growing up, wishing and hoping for a smidge of the kind of love talked about. I had no idea that one day I’d find something so much better; real and true and genuine! One year has flown by, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for us.

-G x 

Autumn Candle Edit

Hi, loves!

Today, as the title would suggest, I’m sharing with you my favourite Autumn candles. It’s officially Autumn from September 23rd (10 days to go, the countdown is on!), and I’m hoping this post may give you a little inspiration to jazz up your space for the upcoming season. In my opinion candles ‘make’ a room – they look good whether you’re burning them or using them as a decoration, and you can always upcycle any pretty jars once you’ve used them.

Let’s just be clear I am a candle obsessive, and I’ve been adding to this collection since the end of July – the excitement is real! I genuinely can’t wait to burn all of these new scents; Autumn and Winter candles are always my favourite. There aren’t many things better to me than snuggling up with Matthew for a cosy night in, and having a beautiful scented candle burning!

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I was originally planning to write about each candle individually but let’s be honest, how many ways can I possibly write ‘I love this! It smells like pumpkins!‘?! These candles are my favourites, so of course I love them. My favourite places to pick up candles for Autumn are Homesense @ TK Maxx – all of the American goodness you can imagine, Candles Direct – they always stock Yankee Candle at better prices than anywhere else and eBay for those hard-to-get Bath and Body Works must-haves. I also recently have become a huge advocate of Aldi’s newest range of candles; they’re 100% Diptyque knock-offs and not necessarily Autumnal, but I’m okay with that because they’re bloody brilliant. If you’re going to buy anything from this post I’d recommend the DW Home candles from Homesense over anything else – they burn so well, smell (and look) fantastic and they last for ages. They’re so inexpensive and the selection is huge – you really can’t go wrong.

I personally love sweet, bakery-like scents all year round, but even more-so at this time of year. I adore anything pumpkin, vanilla or cinnamon scented especially; and this seems to be the theme of my little (*rather large) collection. Leaves from Bath & Body Works is a huge exception to the rule; my family usually go to Florida during September/October – up until last year I always went with them – and this is a product I used to bring back by the suitcase load! (Well, I’d bring back a few, anyway). It is just Autumn in a jar to me, and probably my favourite candle of all time.

Matthew isn’t always a fan of the sweeter scents I go for but he actually likes all of these – not that he had much choice, hehe. I burn candles pretty much any time we’re in the house, especially during the colder months; during dinner, whilst in the bath, watching a movie – you name it, they’re burning. I picked up a few smaller candles for whilst I’m in the bath specifically as I just think they’re so cute! Apologies in advance, and fair warning, you’re probably going to see these in the backgrounds of most of my blog pictures over the next few months! I’ve linked below all of the candles I could find, and I’m sure I’ll probably add to my collection as the season goes on.

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Aldi Fig
Bath & Body Works Leaves
Bath & Body Works Vanilla Pumpkin
DW Home Apple Pumpkin
DW Home Be Grateful – Pumpkin & Marshmallow
DW Home Pumpkin Pie & Vanilla
DW Home Pumpkin Bourbon
DW Home White Pumpkin
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir – I really need to replace this soon!
Yankee Candle Luscious Pumpkin Trifle
Yankee Candle Spiced Cinnamon Apple
Yankee Candle Spiced Pumpkin *gift from my parents (bought in USA)

Thank you so much for reading, did you feel the cosy vibes seeping through the screen?! Apologies in advance for the urge you may feel to go shopping right now! I’d love to know your favourite candles for this time of year?

-G x

Skincare Must Haves: The Body Shop

Hi, loves!

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At the end of July I placed an order on The Body Shop’s website for a few new skincare items, and I was so pleased with everything I bought! I picked up eight items in total, and the below four have become staples in my routine. Several of my friends rave about skincare from The Body Shop so I was very excited to try a few new products. I’ve used several products from The Body Shop over the past few years – I really love the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter – but I didn’t realise how extensive their skincare range is. The price points are fantastic, and The Body Shop always have online and in store discount; 20% off here, 30% off here, what’s not to love?!

I’m so excited to share these new favourite products with you, and I’m definitely going to try out more from their skincare ranges in the near future. I posted my daily skincare routine back in June, but I have slightly changed things up since then – partly to include these products! To clarify, I have combination, acne-prone skin, and dealing with breakouts is seriously the bane of my life. My skin was always more oily than dry, but over the past few months it’s changed a lot. I think my skin’s probably about 50/50 right now, it’s very confusing! Luckily, the products below and a few of my old favourites have been helping a lot. I know changing up my routine has made a difference as Matt has even commented on how much better my skin looks – what a sweetheart! 

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Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil

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The world of serums is fairly new to me, and honestly I still don’t know very much! I use this almost every night – I still alternate between some of my favourites from The Ordinary – but it has absolutely become a staple in my routine. I always thought that as my skin tends to lean to being more oily than dry, I should stay away from oils and oil based products under any circumstances – however that is so not true!! Oils are good for all skin types, and actually necessary to balance your skin.

I love the consistency of this; I use three to four drops for my whole face before I apply my eye cream and moisturiser, and it sinks into the skin perfectly. It doesn’t look shiny or greasy on my face like some serums do, and it smells so lovely! It feels very luxurious on the skin, and it’s my favourite serum I’ve ever tried; I especially like this when my skin is feeling dry and in need of a little TLC. I also really like the packaging – it’s sturdy and I love the millennial pink colour. I live between my house and my boyfriend’s and we also travel as often as we can, so easy-to-travel-with packaging is always a bonus!

RRP £16.00 – you can pick this up here.

Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner

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This product has been a God-send for my acne-prone skin. I use this every evening after cleansing; I just wipe a small amount over my face with a cotton pad, and I think adding this step has helped my skin clear up a lot. Before using this, I really didn’t care for toners – every one I’ve tried (and I’ve tried lots!) made my skin feel irritated and red after use; and I also had never really seen a benefit from them. However, this toner makes my skin feel so soft and clean after using it, without feeling harsh or like it’s stripping the good out of my skin. As I mentioned above, I’m not sure my skin is as oily as it used to be, but this definitely seems to help keep oil at bay throughout the day. I always re-powder my face during the day as my T Zone does get oily, however I’ve noticed since using this (and possibly as the weather has got slightly cooler – thank God!) I’ve not had as much of an issue with looking or feeling shiny. 

RRP £6.50 – you can pick this up here.

Vitamin E Eye Serum

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As you will know if you read my skincare routine, I didn’t have an eye cream that I loved. I was using samples from Clinique and Kate Somerville, but when it came to purchasing a full sized one I didn’t think either were good enough to justify paying the price. This eye cream is amazing – it sinks into the skin easily but keeps my under eye area feeling smooth and soft all day – and also is a perfect base to apply concealer on top of. I actually think this eye cream helps my concealer to look better; I found before using this product that concealer settled into fine lines and looked a little cakey throughout the day, but I thought it was just my face! I use a tiny amount of this product morning and night; I apply with my ring fingers and pat around my eye socket – nothing ground-breaking here! I have used this every day since I got it and I already know when this runs out I will be repurchasing to use through the day. I have extremely dry skin under my right eye at the moment, and I think I’m going to pick this one up to use at night!

RRP £13.00 – you can pick this up here.  

Tea Tree Night Lotion

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I was pleasantly surprised by this product, I actually included it in my shop by accident but I’m so glad I did! I love the Clinique Moisture Surge Intense moisturiser for the evenings, but I’ve recently been alternating between both of these moisturisers and I think it’s benefited my skin a lot to switch things up. It’s lightweight and sinks straight into the skin, and leaves my skin feeling moisturised right through to the next morning. It does have a very strong tea tree scent when first applied, but this disappears really quickly and the product isn’t at all heavy on the skin like some lotions. This item also falls into the easy-to-travel-with category; it’s small and lightweight. It’s a great option for anyone on a budget (me with all this house saving!) and I would highly recommend.

RRP £10.00 – you can pick this up here.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed having a little peek into my new skincare routine. I’ll definitely be writing an updated routine in the Autumn/Winter as things change up slightly for the colder weather! What are your favourite products from The Body Shop? I’d love to know what else you think I should try!

-G x

A Cosy Sunday

Hi, loves!

You probably already know this, but I love Sunday’s – so much! It’s the one day of the week Matt and I are usually off together, and we really make the most of spending as much quality time as we can. I’m so thankful for all of the time we spend together, it’s just a shame that our evenings/mornings go so quick, and we’re back to work! Most of our Sunday’s are similar to this; we basically spend our day adventuring, eating and snuggling… perfect! This Sunday coming will be different as we’re supporting Matt’s cousin, Adam, in the Great North Run – I’ve never been before so I’m very excited, and actually a little bit nervous for Adam! Anyway, let’s recap our day…

We woke up around 8.30am (without an alarm, bliss)! It was so rainy and miserable outside, which is in my opinion the best kind of weather for a cosy day. We had gone to bed pretty early the night before; our Saturday evening consisted of face masks, cooking a delicious pasta, enjoying a bottle of wine and watching Hell’s Kitchen… it was perfect! We got ready early and headed to Tynemouth for breakfast, one of our favourite places for days out and date nights. Matt just got a new car – literally his pride and joy; he probably loves it more than he loves me haha – so it’s still exciting for us both right now. 

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We went to The View Longsands, which looks out over the bay. It was even more cloudy and miserable at the coast, as it usually is, but unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the view. As it was a chilly morning we both ordered hot chocolates; white for Matthew and vanilla for me; and they were delicious! Matt actually said “This is the best drink I’ve ever had!” – a testament to The View, I think?! Matt ordered a full English breakfast and I got a cheese and bacon omelette – they were both amazing, and huge! We were defeated by breakfast, which never happens.

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After we had eaten, we headed to the Metro Centre, one of my favourite places! It was a rainy bank holiday Sunday – the time when everyone heads out shopping – but surprisingly it was pretty empty. Matt got some new work trousers – adulting is fun! I was very restrained and didn’t buy anything, which happens about 1 in 100 visits the Metro Centre. I did however find a beautiful leopard print coat in Next that is definitely on my A/W wishlist, I can’t wait to start buying Autumn clothing! Seeing as we were right by it, we just had to pop to Costco; I swear we’re addicted to this shop. Again I didn’t buy anything (this literally never happens) and Matt picked up some beer. They had Heineken, his favourite, which is a very rare occasion so I guess he had to stock up, right?!

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We popped to see my grandma on the way home which was so nice; she really appreciates us going and as she doesn’t get to see many people it’s always a nice change for her. She recently came out of hospital and is still not 100% herself, but it’s still amazing to see her back in her own home. My mam and auntie were there too, so it was nice to all sit and chat together for a little while. Matt and I only stayed around half an hour as we had to get home for the Newcastle match. Unfortunately we were playing Man City so less we say on that subject, the better! We did however enjoy a few drinks (thanks, babe) and tried these Galaxy biscuits for the first time, they’re so good!

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Matt had some work to do in the evening, so whilst he made PowerPoints and spreadsheets (he’s such a little cutie) I caught up on Corrie – we’re literally like an old married couple, I love it! We ordered Indian food for dinner so this filled in the waiting time anyway; as we’d both had a few drinks we couldn’t collect like we usually would. Dinner was so good as always, we’ve never had a bad meal from our local takeaway! Matt always gets a Chicken Rogan, every time without fail. I usually have Chicken Dansak, but recently I’ve been getting a Chicken Chaat as a main meal and it’s my new favorite thing. (We also got chips and naan bread, and ate way too much food). Isn’t that what Sundays are for?

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Matt’s parents were away with friends for the weekend, so usually we would have spent a little time with them; chatting (and more than likely having a few more drinks)! Instead, we spent the rest of the evening snuggled up together watching Hell’s Kitchen – our current favourite show. We probably take it to the extreme as when we’re cooking dinner each evening we’re all “On your left, chef” or “Potatoes walking, chef!” – we like to think we’re funny! Matt had to be up at 6 for work (on bank holiday!!) so we had a super early night. It was the first night since around May we didn’t have the window open either – Autumn is definitely on it’s way and I’m so excited about it, as you may have guessed from my previous post. I was more grateful than ever that Matt is like a human hot water bottle when he’s asleep!

Thank you for reading – it’s fun to look back and re-live a day with my love! I’d love to do more posts like this; please let me know what you think? What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday?

-G x

Gin with Gills: #2

Happy Sunday, loves!

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As you may have seen from this post, I’ve had a bit of a tough few weeks so this months’ Gin with Gills post is going to be very light hearted and just for fun. Apologies it’s a little late, I just had so much content planned last month.

We’re finally into September and well into the final weeks of Summer! I’m sure you’re either one of two people at this point… either a) you are holding on to every last bit of the season and hoping for another heatwave to get that last wear out of your Birks, or b) you cannot wait for all things Autumnal and are already picking out your Halloween costume.

As if it needed saying, I fall into the latter category! I was talking with Matt the other evening about how damn excited I am for Autumn coming up, and he really just doesn’t get it. Men, eh!? I know there are a lot of people who would class Autumn as their favourite season, and it absolutely is mine! I thought I’d write a little list (my inner Monica is very excited) of all the things I’m looking forward to for the upcoming season…

AUTUMN

  • The leaves start to turn shades of yellow, orange and amber
  • Pumpkin spice flavour everything 
  • ALL of the cosy nights in
  • Buying a new coat (or two). I already have my eye on a few coats this year, and I cannot wait to treat myself
  • Lush brings out their Halloween and Christmas ranges – the best ones!
  • Wearing chunky knit jumpers with skinny jeans 
  • Drinking hot chocolate
  • Wearing berry toned lipsticks
  • More baths in the evenings 
  • It’s acceptable to be cold again. I am cold all of the time and people (my boyfriend) always make fun of me for it!
  • Leopard print is all over the A/W high street – yay!
  • Walking outside and feeling the crisp, cool air hit my face
  • The dark nights are just so cosy
  • Halloween – the perfect excuse to dress up and be silly
  • More excuses to snuggle up with Matthew (as if I need an excuse, ha)
  • Wearing a bobble hat and scarf
  • Having cups of tea from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to sleep is not only normal again, but necessary 
  • Matt will finally wear his dressing gown again for longer than five minutes. Did I mention I love a cosy night in?
  • Wearing oversized jumpers/cardigans 
  • More cosy nights in means Matt and I can start a new series on Netflix – I think we’re going to go for Power!
  • The build up to Christmas begins
  • Bonfire night, one of the best nights of the whole year. Last year Matt and I watched the display at our local beach and it was so cute, even if we couldn’t feel our fingers/toes afterwards
  • I regress to being a toddler and suddenly I’m dragging a blanket around everywhere I move (well, inside the house)
  • Autumn is the best season for fashion! I have already started buying Autumn pieces – a few jumpers and the cosiest, fluffiest pj bottoms – oops
  • Wearing boots and fluffy socks 
  • Autumn weather – cool enough you need a coat but sunny with lots of blue sky
  • Pumpkin/cinnamon/vanilla scented candles are my fave
  • It is the season of sparklers and fireworks 
  • Watching Hocus Pocus at least once per week is acceptable. Matt literally hates this film, but he loves me so…
  • Most of the food packaging has ghosts, ghouls and monsters all over it in the build up to Halloween
  • Pumpkin carving is fun whether you’re 4 or 24
  • Soup and a bread roll is an acceptable lunch/dinner for the foreseeable future
  • Burning scented candles all day/all night is just part of the ~cosy vibes~
  • The urge to spend chilly Saturday mornings baking delicious cakes/cookies/banana bread etc
  • It’s the best time of the year to go to football matches with my boy
  • Planning weekends away – everything is better in the Autumn
  • Rainy days are a regular occurrence 
  • Conkers. The 10 year old in me will always love seeing conkers lying on the ground and you can bet I’m going to pick them up and peel them
  • The smell of fires burning in our favourite Sunday afternoon pubs
  • I can finally start getting dark colours for my gel manicures
  • Halloween themed sweets are just better than regular sweets

Thank you so much for reading! I’m sure there are loads more fun things to look forward to; I’d love to know how you feel about the upcoming season? Are you wishing the end of Summer away as much as I am? (I realise this is probably unhealthy and is definitely not living in the moment, but I have no shame, it’s the best time of the year)!

-G x