I hope your week is going well, I’m literally counting down to the weekend! This has been a LONG (pretty crappy) week for me so far, but I hope Friday is here before we know it. I’m so excited because Matt is off work all weekend (yay!) and we have so many fun things planned, I’m feeling very grateful for lots of quality time together after such a busy few weeks. Recently it feels like times flying, every night it feels like we get home from work, eat and go to bed then we’re up again to start the next day! However, even though it still feels a little early, my Christmas spirit has well and truly kicked in and I’m feeling more festive by the day! Can you believe it’s only 27 sleeps until Santa comes, guys!?
Today’s post is the long-awaited and much anticipated (HA, who am I kidding!) gift guide for all of the wonderful men in your life. There’s great picks in here for boyfriends, dads, father-in-law’s, brothers, nephews, uncles, the lot! I posted my Gift Guide for Her on Sunday, you can check that out here if you missed it, and there’s also a section for couples gift ideas included in there too. As I said in that post, there is so much more to Christmas than gifts, but how good does it feel to watch someone open a gift you carefully selected for them, knowing they’d love it? THE BEST.
There’s tons of ideas for all different budgets and personalities in both gift guides! I hope you enjoy!
I am SO happy to have the weekend off, I’m ready for Christmas break already. Matt is unfortunately working all weekend, so we made the most of a Friday night in watching I’m A Celebrity. I was also very grateful for a cosy morning together yesterday before he went to work! I spent the afternoon doing a little more Christmas shopping, blogging and caught up on my shows, then when he got home we had a late night pizza party. Today I’m going to have a ‘running errands’ and blogging day while Matt’s at work, then tonight we’re getting a takeaway, yay! The dark mornings and nights are throwing me off to the extreme, I just feel like the days are never-ending! It’s also gotten SO cold here, it really feels like Winter now. Matt and I have however been loving all of the cute nights in, snuggled up with Christmas candles burning and watching I’m A Celebrity, it’s bliss! I hope your weekend involves lots of fun?
This is my first official Christmas post on my blog and I’m so excited about it! I have spent the past few weeks finding lots of ideas for beautiful presents at all different price points. Of course Christmas is about so much more than presents – it’s about being with the people you love most in the world, and celebrating the reason for the Season together. I do however LOVE giving gifts and I find so much joy in seeing people’s reactions to things you’ve carefully picked out for them.
I’ve curated a list of present ideas, by category, for all of the lovely ladies in your life. There’s something for girlfriends, mums, mother-in-laws, grandmas, aunts, cousins, neices and your best friends, as well as anybody else you might have on your list! I have to admit lots of the items listed in this post are gifts I’d love to recieve, or would love to give (I am!) but that’s the whole point, right? I’ve also added a section in here for couples gift ideas, they always seem so much harder to find, right?!
My gift guide for the wonderful men in your lives will be up on Wednesday, so make sure to come back and check that out too! I hope you enjoy and get some inspiration to get those final presents on your list.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you found this helpful! Have you bought anything in this list for any of the special ladies in your life? Do you have any other must-have gifts on your to buy or to recieve lists?! Happy shopping!
Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! Thanksgiving is an American holiday, dating back to the Pilgrims giving thanks for their first Autumn Harvest. It’s a day that families gather to voice thanks for what they have, spend time together, watch football, and of course, eat tons of yummy food! I could seriously get on board with this holiday just for the food, that’s for sure. It’s pretty much a pre-Christmas warm up, and hey, I’m down for it.
Over the past few years us Brits have stolen Black Friday from the other side of the pond, so maybe we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in a few years! Also, did you guess why this post was going up on Thursday instead of Wednesday? I’m sorry, I wasn’t being a bad blogger!
In light of the holiday, I thought I’d share with you 20 things I’m feeling super grateful for right now! Some of these are ‘just for fun’ and some are serious and heartfelt. I’m of course thankful for these things every day, but I thought it would be nice to share with you today as I’m feeling the holiday spirit! Also, I apologise in advance if this post looks a little different than usual, this is the first post I’ve done a final edit on using the new WordPress software and I hate change, I’m struggling to get used to it! (I can’t decide if I like it or not yet ha).
My incredible boyfriend. Matthew is seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to me. We literally laugh ALL the time, we spend most of our free time together and it’s not enough, he looks after me and makes me so happy, and of course he’s the most handsome man I ever did see! He also gives the best kisses and cuddles, and he’s like a human radiator which is even more appreciated in this super cold weather, haha. I love him so much, and I make sure to tell him every single day how much I love and appreciate him!
Cosy evenings. Speaking of my human radiator boyfriend, we have been loving all of the cosy nights in recently, even more now I’m A Celebrity has started again. I’m extremely thankful that since he got his promotion back in July we’ve been able to be together every night and morning, yay for better shifts! We can’t wait to buy our home (hopefully this time next year we’ll be well into the process, how exciting!) but for now we make do and we know we’re very lucky to have two homes. We love to cook, binge watch our shows and snuggle up on the couch, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy day at work.
Learning to cook. Matt and I have stepped up our cooking game ten fold over the past couple of months, and we’ve been making some amazing food! (If I do say so myself, HA). We’ve perfected a few dishes, but our favourites to make are always chilli, steak, chili salmon, chicken stir fry and various pasta dishes.
Our families and friends. I’m seriously the luckiest girl to have two families who I absolutely adore and I know they want nothing but the best for Matt and I. We’re super close to both of our families, and it’s one of the best things ever! We’re also blessed to have a great friendship group, and I’m so excited to spend more time with everyone over the festive season! Also, a bonus thing I’m thankful for is Friday night wine night with the Scotney’s, it’s forever my jam.
The build up to Christmas. I am SO excited for Christmas this year, I can’t stand it! I just ordered Matthew and I the cutest Christmas Eve pyjamas, which is totally going to make opening presents together on Christmas morning even more adorable! (I doubt he’ll think that HAHA). I love that stores everywhere have their decorations up, fairy lights seem to be appearing by the minute and we’ll be decorating the tree next weekend! I can already taste the pigs in blankets! There may also be a special something happening on the blog… hint: I’m celebrating twelve days of Christmas with you!
Crisp, cool, weather. It’s the best time of the year, y’all! I’m loving wearing my coats, scarves and hats, and it’s SO nice to come in from the cold and grab a hot chocolate. (Swiss Miss Marshmallow FOR LIFE). It’s a little frosty in the mornings and evenings now, so if the snow could just not ever appear that would be great. Also, can you be addicted to hot chocolate? Asking for a friend…
My blog. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my blog is an outlet I didn’t know I needed and I truly feel proud of myself for the little haven I’m creating day by day. I enjoy posting SO much – from taking and editing photos, to writing, to editing, to posting and interacting with readers and fellow bloggers. It’s an amazing community to be a part of, and I’d seriously encourage anyone that wants to write a blog to just do it. I have SO much content planned over the festive period, I can’t wait!
My job. One that may seem very obvious, but I’m seriously thankful that I have a job I enjoy and am (kind of) good at… I know what I’m doing at least 80% of the time, that’s a start, right? I know not everyone has that privilege, so even on a bad day I need to remember to be thankful and appreciate having a job to complain about.
Blueberry muffins for breakfast. Sometimes it’s the little things, right? (Costco muffins are the best, my dad picks them up all the time and I’m so grateful, even if I can’t ever finish one HAHA).
Candles and snuggly blankets. Kind of hand in hand with the cosy nights in, but I just love anything that makes me feel cosy and snuggly. I’ve already broken out the Christmas candles, and I’m seriously loving Snowflake Cookie from Yankee Candle and Peppermint from DW Home right now.
Lush Snow Fairy shower gel and body conditioner. If you haven’t already picked up the best products Lush make, what are you waiting for?! Every year I love the shower gel, and this year I’m equally as obsessed with the body conditioner. I’ve used and liked the Ro’s Argan option before, but this is approximately ten thousand times better… seriously! The smell literally just makes me happy, and I can’t tell you how much I love it. Lush, please make it an all round thing?!
Sundays with Matthew. It’s our favourite day of the week because we almost always get to spend it together! We love spending every night together even when sometimes it’s literally eating dinner and going to bed, and of course, any Saturdays we get to spend together are just as great but I really love the cosy, laid back vibe of a Sunday. We run errands, we watch football, we grocery shop, we go for long walks or road trips, and we eat tons of good food. We spend our evenings (like most other nights) snuggled up watching Netflix shows or a movie, and it’s just the best. The old saying “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content” could not be more true.
My car. This one probably seems a little strange, but especially as the weather gets colder and it’s raining every day, I really appreciate being able to drive myself wherever I need to be. (Candle runs to Homesense are a need, right?) For real, I’m so thankful I’m able to get to work, from my house to Matthew’s and back, and just wherever else I need to be in-between. It’s such a huge privilege and I don’t ever want to take it for granted.
Our NHS & Emergency Services. Around the holidays a lot of time and attention seems to be put into our ES departments, although it should be that way all year round. It seriously blows my mind that some countries have to pay for healthcare, and if they can’t pay they literally go without. We are SO lucky in the UK to not have that concern. Matt and I have been watching Ambulance with his family all month (it’s the most amazing show, I cry at every episode!) and it really highlights the reality of modern day society. The paramedics in this show work SO. DAMN. HARD as do paramedics all over the country, and they do it with such love and determination. I’d love a new insider show on the police and/or fire department, that would be so interesting! BBC, are you reading?!
Laughing every day. No matter how bad a day can be, there’s always joy and laughter in it. Matthew makes me DIE laughing, literally tears rolling down my face all the time! My friends, coworkers and our families are also people who love to laugh (who isn’t?) and it’s one of the things I love most. One of the best feelings in the world is laughing so hard you can’t breathe or talk, and my boyfriend and I laugh like that on the daily!
Small Town Murder. I seriously LOVE this podcast, it’s literally the stories of murders in small towns, mainly in the US but told in such a fun way. James & Jimmy are so good at telling stories, although they never make fun of the victim or the victim’s family. I literally laugh out loud throughout each episode, and right now I’m loving listening on my way to/from work! Matthew’s even getting on board a little bit, and it’s so interesting learning about new towns and the stories that happen there. If you have an hour car journey coming up, I really think you should give them a go – I listen on Spotify!
Victoria’s Secret finally opening in our local mall. Could I be any more #basic?! I have loved VS since I was around 12, and when I heard we were finally getting a store I was SO excited! Our closest one before was two and a half hours away, do you feel my pain?! When ours opened last week they had some really good deals, so me and my underwear drawer are very happy.
The places I’ve been to this year. I’m very lucky in the fact that I’ve been to lots of cities/countries in my life, and this year was no exception. Matt and I have visited York, Dublin, Kos, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester and we’ve explored our hometown and surrounding area a ton! We’re also going to Edinburgh in a few weeks time for the Christmas markets and I can’t wait, it’s one of our favourite cities as that was the first city break we ever went on together! I’m already anticipating all of the new places we’re hoping to explore next year, and I’m so excited to book our Summer 2019 holiday! We’re pretty sure we’re heading to Jamaica… (I’m literally giddy at the thought of booking, I CAN’T WAIT!)
Learning to live better with arthritic pain. I have mentioned this a few times on the blog, but if you don’t already know, I have arthritis and it mainly affects my knees, hips and fingers. I constantly deal with pains and aches, and I don’t remember being young enough for it to not be super bad. I literally feel like an 80 year old sometimes HA! Since around August when the weather started to change and get cooler, I’ve been waking up in the night crying from pain in my knees (they lock if I’m in the same position for too long, and the colder nights makes it worse). Matthew is the best about it and jumps up without thinking to massage my knee(s) until it/they feels better. Sometimes I must still be asleep as I don’t remember waking up until the next morning when he tells me! He picked me up some Ibuprofen gel that I apply each morning and night and that has been such a huge help. I have hot bubble baths most nights and that also makes a really noticable difference, I’ve been loving the Radox bath salts recently too!
Black Friday. …your girl is hoping to finish her Christmas shopping TOMORROW! Well, aside from all of the chocolates and wine gifts because I can never pick those for everyone and always leave it until the last minute, haha. Matt and I have our lists ready and I’m really hoping we can get everything else we need.
Thank you so much for reading! What are you feeling most thankful for recently? If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today I hope you have the most wonderful day with your families, please eat all of the mac n cheese and stuffing for me! I’m SO jealous!!
I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! I spent yesterday Christmas shopping and catching up on my shows while Matthew went out with the boys for the afternoon, then we had a cosy evening enjoying a takeaway and watching a few more episodes of Making A Murderer! I’m so excited to spend today relaxing together, maybe going for a walk at the beach and definitely out for a Sunday roast! Tonight we’ll be snuggling in to watch I’m A Celebrity, I’m really excited to see how Holly and Dec’s dynamic will play out, I love her on This Morning and I’m sure she’ll be great! Are you going to be watching?
Today’s post is exciting because using a face mask is one of my favourite self care/skincare routines, it genuinely makes me happy! Real talk: Matthew and I love a pamper evening together, and around once per week after we dinner we quite enjoy throwing a face mask on and snuggling in to watch a show (or three) on Netflix. Matthew has pretty great skin all year round, and let’s be real he’s not too fussed on which masks we use, but I’ve finally found three masks I’d recommend over anything else and I’m sharing them with you today! If you fancy treating yourself to a little pre-Christmas night out pamper, or if you’re looking for stocking fillers I think these are a great purchase!
Garnier Skin Active Replumping Shot Sheet Mask
This is hands down my favourite sheet mask EVER, and actually the reasoning behind this post! First of all, it’s pretty much the perfect size for my face. One of my biggest pet hates about most all-in-one sheet masks is there is always so much extra material that either bunches up on your cheeks or hangs awkwardly around your neck… not cute.
The two masks in this range are the first DIY sheet mask on the market – high end or drugstore – and I just know over the next few months lots of other brands will release their own versions! The mask is separated in the packet – the sheet mask is dry when you purchase, and the serum to saturate the mask is in it’s own pocket in the bottom. To mix the two you fold along the lines on the back, and push the serum through into the dry sheet. I tend to shake the packet to make sure the serum is fully coating the mask, then open and put on my face. I probably made that sound way more complicated than it is, I promise it’s super easy and there’s step by step instructions on the back of the packet. There is 30ml of serum in this mask – THIRTY!! That’s the same as a whole bottle you’d use over X amount of months, but all in one go! The serum is Hyaluronic Acid which works miracles for my skin, it is so hydrating and moisturising. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after use, it’s the perfect pre date night mask and it’s a great product to add a little more hydration in the colder weather.
Sanctuary Spa’s venture into the skincare world is so underrated in my opinion, I’ve tried a few products from their newest range – I love their bath and body produdcts already – and everything seems such high quality. This mask is great for drawing the impurities out of your skin, but I can’t tell you how weird the sensation is on first use! This mask is in two separate parts – I apply the first part to the top of my face first, then put the bottom half on. When you take the mask out of the packet it’s a dark grey colour (and smells divine!) then it gradually turns light grey/white as the mask begins to bubble. The bubbling sensation isn’t too noticeable after the first 30 seconds or so but you can definitely feel it happening, it’s quite a weird feeling! I love to use this mask in the bath as it’s a little messy, but it is such a fun concept. It’s not a gimmick product as it may sound, it really draws the crap out of my face! I’d advise if you are wanting to try this out to use it at least three days prior to an event or night out as it always leaves me with spots the next day, but then my skin looks/feels better than ever a few days later. I’ve not tried the Bubblemask from Glamglow, although I assume this is very similar and a great alternative!
This is the first under eye mask I’ve found to really make a difference, and I’m obsessed with it! I apply this under my eyes and leave on for around 10 to 15 minutes, usually whilst I’m pottering around, making Matt and I a cup of tea on a weekend morning! I really love using this mask on a weekend morning, as it means I can then massage the residue in after use and apply my skincare and makeup. If you’re a regular reader you probably already know I have dry, irritated skin under my eyes and this (along with my favourite eye cream – you can read about that in this post!) is making a huge difference. I find my makeup goes on SO much better after, it’s like it completely rejuvenates the skin under my eye. There is a note on the back of the packet to try putting the mask in the fridge prior to use, and I’m definitely going to try that next time!
I hope you’re all having a great week, I sure am and I can’t wait for this weekend! I’m planning to spend it doing a little Christmas shopping, a date night with Matthew, and a whole lot of cosy QT with him too. Also, Victoria’s Secret opens in our local mall today and I’m giddy about it, I can’t wait to go browse (and probably buy lots as I just had a huge clear out) at the weekend!
Today’s post is one that’s very close to my heart, and something I’ve already touched on a few times in recent posts. Living sustainably is something, in my opinion, we should all strive to be doing, and it’s a complete minefield of a topic. For me, I’m trying to implement lots of little ways in which I can live a more sustainable lifestyle, and I’m excited to share these things with you too. Some of the things in this post I already do, and some I’m slowly introducing and trying to be better at. We’re not perfect and we’re certainly going to make slip ups and mistakes, but that’s okay! Being knowledgeable about this topic is the first step in taking action, and you’d be surprised at how teeny little changes in your day-to-day life can make such a huge difference to the world we live in.
Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources.
Buying re-usable bags
…and using them! In my opinion, one of the easiest things we can do is buy canvas bags or bags for life and use them every time we go shopping. Matt and I keep several in the boots of our cars, so they’re out of the way and we never have an excuse to not use them. I love the M&S ones especially – they keep food cold for ages! They also zip up so nothing gets wet when you’re taking your items back to the car in the rain, and let’s be real it’s always raining in England! Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda etc all have so many options, and the Christmas themed ones out right now are super cute. The UK implemented charges, starting at 5p per plastic one-use carrier bag, a few years ago, and that alone has reduced our waste from the UK massively.
Limiting one-use plastic purchasing Following on from the above, one-use plastic is a huge contributing factor to the problems we’re facing with our planet right now. Real talk, my job is based in Accounts, but in the plastics industry, and I’m so tired of hearing how we must all hate plastic. Plastic is the worst material for us to use/purchase. Plastic is killing our planet. No, no and no! This is not true, and after that Blue Planet documentary, the UK has gone crazy in a ‘war’ against plastic. In reality, plastic is a great material and is a necessity in our lives nowadays. The issue is how we dispose of plastic, and the fact that so much waste was being sent abroad and literally being thrown into rivers. Obviously, this meant the plastic packaging eventually ended up in our oceans, and as a result is killing all of our marine life. Small things like buying cans instead of bottles of fizzy pop, not buying the afore-mentioned cheaper plastic bags and not using plastic straws can make a world of difference.
Recycle household waste
I’m pretty sure this is a very obvious suggestion, but it baffles me that some people still don’t separate cardboard, plastic, glass etc at home! Every council will be different, but as far as I’m aware all councils provide a standard bin and a recycling bin, check with your local council to see what should go into each. You can also take extra waste to bottle banks and cardboard recycling units, it’s easy and a small change that can make a big difference. The other issue with this is when items go to recycling plants, most materials end up in landfill and as great as it is for manufacturers that plastic is long-lasting, unfortunately those long-lasting effects mean they’re stuck in landfill sites for YEARS. This is a whole other issue that we cannot personally help with, but at least separating our waste is a start.
Shop more sustainably
I already wrote a whole post on this, and it’s a topic with many layers. You can read that post here for lots more detail. I personally am trying to purchase from ethical, sustainable brands where possible, Selected Femme, Matt & Nat and Patagonia are great options that sell fairly affordable products. The issue is that when you shop sustainably, the items cost more because the production costs are higher, making this less possible for everyone to adhere to. Other things you can do to shop sustainably on a budget, is to buy clothes that you know will last you a long time, for seasons to come instead of just the current one. You can swap with friends or hey, if you’re crafty you could even make your own!
Shop more sensibly This is slightly different than shopping sustainably, as what I mean by this is to shop in a way that suits you and your lifestyle, but in a sensible manner. You don’t need to buy a new outfit every time you go out, and buying items that will last you for a long time is sensible as you’ll re-use items, and they’ll stand frequent washing and wearing. My number one tip that I’m now trying to stick to whole-heartedly, is to buy better quality items, and to shop less in general. Buying better quality items of course means they will last longer, and in turn means you have less of a ‘need’ to shop, so this covers both bases. I touched on this in my Wardrobe Declutter post and I’m going to have a whole post up about shopping sustainably on a budget in the new year!
Carrying a re-usable cup This past week I’ve just put my favourite Starbucks re-usable cup in my car, so I don’t have an excuse when I’m out and about to get a paper cup. Let’s hope I remember to put it back in the car after each use! Another bonus of using a re-usable cup in a coffee shop is you get a discount, which I know is 25p at Starbucks and that’s a pretty good saving. The whole issue with takeaway coffee cups is inside the lining of them is a thin polyethylene lining that cannot be easily removed from the cardboard, therefore making it unrecyclable. Or of course, the best option would be just to make your own hot chocolates, teas and coffees at home more often!
Try ‘naked’ toiletries
A range of products I’m excited to explore is Lush’s ‘naked’ range; essentially the product acts as the packaging too, and it eliminates the need for a container, which would generally be made of plastic. It’s a great idea and a road I think many other companies will venture down in time, as it reduces their carbon footprint also, and entices the customer more. They make shampoo bars, shower gels etc which follow this concept, and it’s something I can’t wait to try. I am a Lush fanatic – their bath bombs, regular shower gels and bubble bars are my jam! I’ve even got Matthew into them, he loves a bath bomb HAHA.
Buy from ethical and/or cruelty free beauty brands
This is a topic that many people feel strongly about, and it’s a huge part of saving our planet. Many brands still test on animals, even some brands I have purchased from, although I’m really going to be more mindful of this going forward. There are SO many beauty brands that get the ethical stamp of approval, and unlike clothing this category does not necessarily mean higher priced products. Some of my favourite ethical, cruelty free brands include; The Body Shop, Lush, Pixi, Liz Earle, Clean, Drunk Elephant, Hourglass, It Cosmetics, Real Techniques, The Ordinary, Kat Von D and Too Faced.
Donate items you no longer require
Donating items is a win-win situation; you clear out items cluttering up your space, and someone can receive those items for free via a charity, or buy them second hand for a much better price. This applies to pretty much everything you may want to clear out – clothes, shoes, bedding, electrical appliances, even extra toiletries as charities and shelters always have a demand for such items. If you’d like to donate toiletries please ensure they’re fully sealed and have not been used!
Drink tap water
It may sound silly, but again it cuts down usage of plastic bottles, and it’s free! I really do think water tastes different, and my family buy water bottles all the time from Costco, but Matt and I are at leas doing our part by drinking tap water most of the time. Similarly to taking a re-usable coffee cup in the car, a re-usable water bottle is also a great idea! There may be occasions when you’re out and about and purchase a bottle of water, but that’s few and far between. Also, I seen on Instagram a company has just recently released canned water, with a nifty resealable lid, so maybe items like that will become more popular too.
Don’t be so quick to turn the heating on Another obvious one, but before you stick the heating on, throw another jumper on or your dressing gown! I live for my dressing gowns (and Matthew’s!) and pretty much any time we’re in the house I’m wearing one anyway, even over clothes. Yep, I’m that person! Having your heating on a timer – maybe for an hour just before/as you’re getting up in the morning, and an hour before you come home in the evening is often enough to warm the house through. Of course, once it’s icy or snowy every day this might not be possible but it’s something worth thinking about.
Save water I’m the biggest advocate of a bath (or cuddles from my boyfriend) being the number one way to de-stress and chill out after a long day, but of course taking showers is much better for the environment. I probably take a bath two to three nights per week, and the other nights/mornings I will take a shower. I know three baths per week may still be excessive to some, but it’s definitely a lot less than what I was doing! Modern toilets are designed to help save water too with the dual flush option, and most new shower heads are designed to use as less water as possible.
Buy loose fruit and vegetables, and don’t put them in plastic bags
A simple way to make a change is to buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible, and just put them in your trolley/basket as they are. They don’t need to be housed in a thin plastic bag to go from the supermarket to our houses either – whether that bag is free or not – as it doesn’t really make much difference. It’s generally cheaper to buy by the kg, and you’re almost definitely going to have less waste as you’ll buy what you need and not need to throw other products away after. If you have a farmers shop or something similar close by that is better than shopping at a supermarket too, but unfortunately that’s not something we have easy access to.
Another way to cut your food waste is to meal plan. Matthew and I roughly plan out our meals for the week on a Sunday, and then I’ll go and buy as many of the ingredients as possible in one go. We go through fresh produce like vegetables quickly, and it’s items like peppers or potatoes we need to pick up through the week. Meal planning is a simple way to save money as well as help the environment, and we love to try to new recipes! We’re setting ourselves a goal in the new year to have at least one day a week where we don’t eat meat (probably Monday, because #MeatlessMonday is a thing for a reason) so I’m hoping we can stick to that.
Change up your cleaning products I’m sure you’re all fully aware who Mrs Hinch is (if not, what?! Have you been living under a rock? Please go check out her Instagram RIGHT NOW @mrshinchome) and as a result, sales in cleaning products is through the roof! Minkeh’s sold out and were going for literally £20 on eBay, it was a crazy time! (If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, I can guarantee you have a busier life than me HAHA). Sophie talks about so many products during her Instagram stories, although not all of them are good for the environment. Brands like Method are environmentally friendly, and although they tend to cost a little more they are a safer product to use. Do your research and change out a few products accordingly, but I’d highly recommend anything from Method when you’re Hinching – they all smell divine!
Carpool or walk more
Driving is of course the most convenient way to get around, but it’s not breaking news that it’s not very good for the environment. Where I live, public transport is not accessible (and in my opinion, the whole point of driving and having a car is to use it!) however where possible you can carpool with friends, family or co-workers. Something that may help in a small way is on a weekend, when Matthew is off, we only use one car instead of two, so we’re slightly reducing our carbon footprint.
Thank you so much for reading! Do you try to do any of the things mentioned above, or are you wanting to put any of these ideas in place? Do you have any extra tips to share with me and my readers?
I hope you are all having a great weekend, I sure am! I took Matthew for a little surprise date night on Friday, we went to one of our favourite Italian restaurants and we had such a fun evening! We definitely went home early to snuggle up and watch Making a Murderer HAHA, we just started this week but we’re already obsessed. He started work late yesterday so we had a super chilled morning, (if you’re a regular reader, yes we DID have bacon sandwiches!) and I spent the afternoon doing a little work on the blog, running errands and ticking a few more Christmas presents off my list at our local mall! I also found out yesterday that my sweet friend Eilish got engaged to her lovely boyfriend (now fiancee!!) Alan, and I couldn’t be happier for them both! I feel like Matt and I heard so much bad news recently it feels ten times better to hear something happy! Matthew’s off work today so as this blog post goes up we’ll be snoozing up a storm, yay for Sunday lie ins! Also, it’s Remembrance Sunday today, I’m thankful for our servicemen today and every day and appreciate all they do for us to live the lives we do. Matt and I are going to spend the day running errands, doing more Christmas shopping and hopefully going for a Sunday roast in a local pub. That sounds like a pretty dreamy Sunday to me. What are you guys up to?!
Today’s post is all about my current beauty must-haves, from bath and body products, to makeup and skincare, and I’m so excited to share them with you! I decided to talk about these products in more detail because I feel like everyone NEEDS to know about them, it’s a good feeling when you truly love a product and it should be shared, right? As I mentioned in this post, I really love reading monthly favourites posts, and although I don’t use enough new products day by day to write my own, I like to share with you as and when I have specific products to talk about.
Bath & Body
Dior Blooming Bouquet Rollerball Perfume. I have a confession. I love perfume! I really have too many favourites to count but this one, Lancome La Vie Est Belle & Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede will always be my top three. Recently, I’ve been reaching for this on an almost daily basis. It’s a very light, girly scent and it’s one that I never tire of; it can be worn day or night, and even though it’s probably more suited for Spring/Summer I’ve worn it all Autumn! I love that this is a rollerball as it makes it easy to carry around day-to-day and to travel with. Finding rollerball perfumes in the UK is so difficult and I don’t know why, because in the US they’re so readily available. I’m running low and definitely need to repurchase soon, I’m hoping to get it for a steal in the Black Friday sales this year! (Anything’s better than full price, right?)
Lush Cheery Christmas Bath Bomb. I have a new favourite bath bomb this year and if you haven’t tried it you’re seriously missing out! This is amazing, it creates the most beautiful pink princess bath and the whole bathroom smells incredible. I am a sucker for bath bombs and Lush’s Christmas range always knock it out of the park, I love the pretty snowflake design. This smells like blackcurrant (it’s a similar scent to another favourite product, The Comforter bubble bar) but it’s not overpowering at all. I’ve used so many of these already this season, I may as well give Lush all my money at this point! Side note: I also love Golden Wonder (obviously), Snow Fairy Jelly Bomb, and Matt and I both love the Butterbear!
Lush Snow Fairy Body Conditioner. Okay, I am a sucker for anything Snow Fairy related. The shower gel is a go-to every year and I definitely stockpile, but my goodness this product is amazing. I’ve used the Ro’s Argan body conditioner before which is great, but it doesn’t smell like Snow Fairy… This product is such a clever concept, basically you apply before you get out of the shower and rinse off (I use shower gel, wash my hair, shave then apply this!) and it acts as a moisturiser on your skin. I’ve already used one tub and I have two back ups, I may have already asked Santa if he can leave one in my stocking! It leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturised, and it’s so handy at this time of year when if you’re standing around naked after a shower, waiting for a lotion to sink in, you’re freezing cold! I do sometimes still use a body lotion after (this is my favourite) but if I don’t want to, I definitely don’t have to.
Estee Lauder Micro Precision Brow Pencil in Brunette. I was so pleasantly surprised when I got this product a few weeks ago, and I was so excited to tell you all about it! I have been a loyal lover of ABH Brow Wiz for years and years, and I’ve always stuck with the brand no matter what. My last three pencils have snapped several times (I never have them wound out too far) and to be honest I was a little fed up of spending money on a product that didn’t really come through anymore. A few weeks ago on my lunch break, I browsed blogs and various websites for a different brand and I happened to find this one by chance! I’m a firm believer in Estee Lauder’s products and of course this was another great buy. My eyebrows fill in so much easier with this product, it’s soft and easy to apply, but doesn’t snap or smudge on my face. The spoolie is a little more dense than the ABH option, and I find it brushes the product through lots better too. It lasts SO good throughout the day, and creating hair-like strokes is so easy!
Nars Blush in Madly. For me this is the perfect blush colour! I never thought I’d love a shade as much as I love Nars Orgasm, but this is even better in my opinion. In the pan it’s a fairly boring beigey nude (? great description) and to be honest, it doesn’t look anything special. However, once applied to the apples of my cheeks it just makes my face look put together, it’s a simple colour and can be worn with any makeup look. It has a super fine shimmer running through it but I don’t think it’s visible when applied. The shade will definitely appeal more to those of us with fair to medium skin tones, and for any of fair skinned girls out there it will never look muddy or cakey! I also really like shades like this in the Autumn/Winter, as if I wear a pink blush my cheeks look SO flushed when I come in for the cold, it’s not a good look!
Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Primer. I’ve used and enjoyed this product on and off for at least two years, but after repurchasing on a whim in October (Matt and I went to Liverpool for the weekend and I forgot my primer) I’ve realised just how much I love it! I use this through my T-Zone day-to-day, or all over my face if I’m going out on a date night and want my makeup to look it’s best for a long period. It’s a thick formula but it sinks straight into the skin when applied, which means foundation and concealer lay so much better on top of it. It’s super affordable and just as good if not better than any high end primer I’ve tried.
The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Night Cream. I’ve been using this product for the past few months, alternating with my Clinique Moisture Surge. I actually picked this up because I feel like I go through my Clinique one so quickly, and as much as I love it I can’t justify buying a new one every 6 weeks! (I never used to purchase that often, so I’m not sure why I suddenly do, but I mentioned this to a lady on one of the Clinique counters and she said she believes it’s been reformulated and that may be why, as it’s a thinner product now). I wanted a more affordable option, and one that was a little easier to take between houses – if you don’t know by now, come on! – and I was so pleasantly surprised with this. I’ve just repurchased a new tub, so I feel like I can fully tell you about it now. It’s a fairly lightweight moisturiser but so hydrating, and a great balance for my combination skin. It sorts out dry patches over night, but never makes my skin look or feel more oily. The Body Shop skincare is SO good!
Pixi Glow Tonic. This is the most recent addition to my skincare routine, and it’s making my skin better by the day. It’s formulated with Glycolic Acid, which is great for removing impurities and any dead skin – which of course you do not want lingering on your face! I’ve played around with using this just at night, or morning and night, and now my skin can definitely handle it being used twice per day. I apply to a cotton round, and wipe it over my face. Since I began using this I’ve definitely seen a decrease in blackheads and my pores seem smaller and smoother, it’s a great product. I know it’s working wonders because even Matthew has noticed my skin is looking so much better! I do have pretty sensitive skin and I think the first few times I had a little reaction – nothing too bad, just redness – but now I can use it twice daily without issue. I’d used a trial size sample years ago and couldn’t remember how my skin reacted to it, so just bought a mini to try although I’m definitely going to purchase the larger size next time I’m in Boots!
The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask. Again?! I know, I’ve already raved about this product here and here, but I can’t stop telling people about it! I have talked about it on my blog, and I’ve recommended it to my friends, coworkers and anyone that views my Instagram story! I just LOVE it. Along with the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil, this is my (joint) number one product from The Body Shop and it’s made such a difference to the skin under my eyes. For the past few years my under eye area has been super irritated and dry, and I’m very prone to styes which makes it worse. Since using this product I’ve noticed a huge difference; my skin feels much more soft and supple, and my concealer/powder applies better than ever.
I’m being super sneaky and holding back another skincare range that is blowing my MIND at the moment, as I have a whole post dedicated to the product(s) coming in the next week! Trust me, you’re going to want to know all about it, and they’re so inexpensive!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday! Do you use or have you tried any of the products in this post? What products are you currently loving right now? I always love to get recommendations!
Today’s post is a little round up of what Matt and I got up to this past weekend, and I’m so excited to share with you. Since I got such a good response to my photo diary of Matt and I’s spa weekend and my last Week In My Life post, I figured I’d follow the same format. Spoiler: our weekend involves a lot of eating and so much fun! Is it bad that it’s only Wednesday and I’m counting down to this weekend too? It’s been a week, guys!
Friday 2nd November
Waking up on Friday morning is always exciting; there’s an eight hour work day between me and the weekend, and I’m ready for it! This morning Matt and I were lucky enough to have a little lie in because he’s off all day (alright for some!) and we spent the morning snuggled up in bed, pretending I didn’t have to go to work.
We stayed curled up for as long as we possibly could, before I went to make us cups of tea. I really love our morning cuppa together, it’s such a great start to the day and lets us spend a little quality time together. I got ready whilst Matthew snoozed, I was so jealous he could stay in bed because it was so cold and icy out, I was already counting down to snuggling back up in bed in the evening!
My morning at work went pretty quickly and I got so much work done in a short amount of time, which always seems that little bit harder on a Friday. It was of course Takeaway Friday and today’s choice was Greggs, a little bit boring but I was so happy because it’s been a LONG time since we got lunch from there. The day flew by, as Friday’s usually do, and before I knew it, it was 5pm, and time for the weekend to officially begin.
I headed back home (home being my second home, at Matthew’s house!) to get ready for the evening as Matthew and I were going into town. We had plans to go to Stack and I was so excited because we’ve never been, and some of our friends were joining us too! Stack is a huge outside bar, filled with heaters, fires, and lots of food and drink places – it’s such a cool concept, and sorry my photo doesn’t do it justice! My lovely friend Laura came with us, then we were joined by Keith, Nathan and Jordan (they love to joke around about my blog but they were adamant they got a named mention, HAHA). Matt, Laura & I shared pizzas from Eatalia, they were so good and I’d definitely recommend if you find yourself in Stack anytime soon. We were wrapped up in all the layers and enjoyed a few drinks with our friends, it was such a fun night!
Saturday 3rd November
We had a relaxed Saturday morning, and lounged in bed with cups of tea before getting ready for the day. Again it was SO cold outside, it may still technically be Autumn but it sure feels like Winter! Matt was a little worse for wear, so we definitely chilled for longer than necessary, but I wasn’t complaining!
Today we had super fun plans, we were heading to watch the football at St James’ Park. We LOVE going to the games together, and we wish we were able to squeeze more in but due to work commitments it’s not possible. It’s also exciting to me to get wrapped up (ALL the layers were required!) and spend lots of QT with my favourite person, so I was happy as Larry.
Matt drove into town and we grabbed McDonald’s on the way in because (as per usual) we were running late, but surprisingly there was almost no traffic and we made it to the stadium an hour before the game. We had so much fun (and we won 1-0, YAY!) Matt jokes I’m his good luck charm because every time we go together we never lose! I’d managed to arrange with my dad’s friend for Matthew to meet the players again, I so badly wish I could have kept it a secret to surprise him but I told him as soon as I found out last weekend! We did this back in April, and Matt was literally as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Last time he was a little shy, which is not at all his personality, but he wasn’t this time because he knew what to expect, and it was even better! I was so glad I managed to pull it off because seeing him so happy made me so happy, he’s just so cute I can’t take it! We also got to see DeAndre Yedlin again (he’s literally the nicest person ever, and definitely the sweetest player we’ve met!) and that was so fun.
We stayed in the players lounge for an hour or so, then we were in a serious rush to make it to the beach in time to watch the firework display! We were going to watch Bonfire Night fireworks in a nearby town, and I can’t actually believe it’s been a whole year since we last did this. I love Bonfire Night and all of the celebrations it involves, even if it is always absolutely freezing. I was however very excited to wear Ugg’s for the first time of the season HAHA!
We made it to the beach with minutes to spare, and the firework display was amazing, even better than last year. We loved spending the evening watching them together, and it’s so fun to continue traditions! (Sorry guys, getting photos of fireworks on an iPhone is so damn hard!) When the display finished, we picked up Chinese food and headed home for a cosy Netflix night. This was such a perfect day and definitely one of my favourite days of the whole year! We snuggled in to eat our food, drink strawberry and lime cider (it’s our fave) and watch Michael McIntyre followed by MOTD. We both went to sleep with our hearts so full and feeling so happy!
Sunday 4th November
After a few hectic weeks/weekends and a busy day yesterday, we were super lucky to not have many plans for the day, other than spending most of it together, so we decided to have a lazy morning before getting ready for the day. We snuggled for a while, Matthew did a little work before this evening (he had to head into work for a meeting and a team night out) and I caught up on a few YouTube subscriptions. I was so excited that a new package of Swiss Miss arrived I couldn’t wait to have one – it’s the best hot chocolate ever and you can’t buy it in the UK! I always order off eBay and it’s so worth the inflated price.
Probably the best part of our day was heading out on a little venture to Home Bargains to find goodies for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. This is such a worthwhile charity and if you’re looking to give back this Christmas season it’s a great way to do so. You can find out all of the information here, but you’ll have to be quick as the deadline to hand shoeboxes in is November 18th! Matt packed a box for a boy aged 5 to 9, and I packed a box for a girl aged 5 to 9. It was such a joy to do this and I really hope the children that receive these boxes enjoy them, and feel all the love we put into them! We’re including photos and a little note about ourselves in our boxes too, so the children that receive them know a little bit about where they came from.
I posted about this on my Instagram story on the day we went and I was a little nervous to do so, as some people think if you discuss or share giving to charity you’re doing it for the wrong reasons – I completely disagree and think it’s something we should share more often, and encourage others to give too! We also picked up new Christmas stockings for each other (these ones, they’re so cute!!) I can’t WAIT until we have our house and the can hang on the fireplace. *insert all of the cosy, mushy feelings here* LOL.
We headed home and ate bacon sandwiches (I really do make a good bacon sandwich!) and Matt did a little more work, then unfortunately he had to go into work for a little while. When he left I worked on the blog for a few hours, then spent the rest of my evening catching up on Riverdale, Coronation Street and KUTWK. I put fresh bedding on for us, which always makes life seem ten times better, right?! I also squeezed in a Lush bath as I still had a little time, my arthritis is really playing up (I’m pretty sure it’s because of the cold weather but I feel like an eighty year old) and my knees are especially affected, a hot bath helps SO much!
After I got out the bath and dried my hair, I snuggled up to catch up on a few of my YouTube subscriptions and eat Tarka Dahl soup (Matt was going for Indian food as part of his night out – we never eat dinner apart so this was so weird HAHA). I only managed to watch a few Ellie & Jared vlogs before Matt arrived home, so now we’re about to snuggle in to watch a show on Netflix and eat some treats. My dad bought us a box of Celebrations chocolates, and opening them feels like cheating because it’s not Christmas! Snuggling in to watch a show is one of my favourite ways to end the night, it really is the little things that count the most. We’re probably going to have an early night as Matthew starts work at 7am tomorrow! I already can’t wait for a snuggly Monday evening…
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you had a great weekend too? I had so much fun this weekend and I wish I could go back to Friday night and do it all over again so bad. What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend? I think this will be my last ‘In My Life’ post for a little while as I have so much content planned in this month and next, but if you’d like to see another, please let me know and I’ll try to squeeze it in!
Can you believe it’s November?! It’s blowing my mind that October has already been and gone, I feel like the year is going SO quickly! Michael Buble is officially my music of choice again, it’s pretty much Christmas, right? I hope you’re having a great weekend, we sure are! My post on Wednesday is going to be another weekend in my life so I’ll fill you in then, but it’s already been SUCH a great weekend, I don’t want it to end! What have you been up to? I hope yours is just as good! Today’s post is very special to me and it’s another personal one!
So, ‘wellness’ is a word we’re seeing everywhere in the media world recently, but what does it actually mean? Well, the dictionary definition is;
the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.
…so, we’re clear then, yeah? It’s an ever-growing, ever-changing topic and, to be honest, I think we can all have our own perceptions of how it applies to us and our lifestyles individually. For me, wellbeing means I am happy and content in my life, and by taking time out to do things I love, practice self-care and spend time with my loved ones, I think I achieve that pretty well. It has a positive effect on my mental health, and I’d like to share with you a few things I think are more meaningful to me now, than ever.
I wrote a post all about how I unwind a few months ago, which you can read here if you missed it, and as much as this topic crosses over I think it definitely deserves it’s own post. I think wellness is a branch of self-care, and doing things that make you feel good in turn make you think good.
Pampering mind and body. My personal favourite way to unwind (other than cuddling the heck out of my boyfriend) is to indulge in a pamper night. I love to have a hot bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb or bubble bar ideally, use a face/hair mask, carry out an elaborate skincare routine etc. I usually get gel nails every two to three weeks, which is definitely an indulgence, but it’s something that makes me feel so good. (I just got them taken off last week for a ‘breather’ and my nails are ruined!!) For me, pamper nights are not all about the beauty products, it’s also about looking after your brain. I love to read blogs and books, I’ve included a list of all the books I’ve recently loved in this post, and I find it’s one of the best ways to clear my mind. I’m currently reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand and it’s SO good, I’d highly recommend picking it up! I also really enjoy watching reality shows like Botched and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which I’m not sure necessarily stimulates my brain, but they do make me happy!
Listening to Podcasts.
Okay, I hold my hands up and admit, I didn’t think I’d ever get on the podcast hype. I was SO wrong and now I am borderline obsessed! I’ve found they’re a great alternative to music or YouTube, which would be my usual go-to’s. I listen to podcasts getting ready in the morning, on my way to/from work, whilst tidying up, doing the dishes etc – all of the mundane, boring errands and tasks can be so much more fun when you’re distracted with a podcast. My favourite right now is Small Town Murder – each episode tells the story of a murder in a different small town (no, really?!) but it’s all told in such a humorous way. The guys who run it, James and Jimmy, are HILARIOUS but they never make fun of the victims or their family. I’d highly recommend giving it a listen, and they also have another podcast called Crime In Sports that is just as good! I’m pretty sure Matt is sick of me going on and on about how good STM is, haha!
Voicing gratitude. As I said in my afore-mentioned post, I started to make a point of writing down things every day that I was grateful for, and it’s been a great pick-me-up if I ever feel down. I’m a very grateful person and also a very expressive person; I tell Matthew approximately 250 times per day I love him and I’m so thankful for everything we have! I mean it so much, and I’m happy that he knows just how much he means to me. I used to laugh and joke that I told him too much, but realistically I don’t think that’s true – it’s important to voice how we feel – good or bad – and I’m happy I’m able to do this. I no longer write down something I’m grateful for every day, but I do as often as I can. I recently read my list back and had a giggle that 90% of it involves Matthew and/or food, I’m a simple gal!
Spend quality time with loved ones. You’ll all be shocked to know that spending quality time with my boyfriend makes me the happiest girl on the planet, I’m sure. Whether it’s a fancy pants date night, a trip/holiday or just our typical evening routine I’m so grateful for everything we have, and I appreciate each minute more than the last. Waking up to him every morning, and snuggling in to sleep with him every night is the best feeling in the world, and it never gets old! We spend lots of time with our families, and I’m so blessed that his family are like my family too! My mam is (of course) one of my favourite ever people and I love spending time with her when we can – we’re both super buys and need to definitely set aside more time together. As we get older we have less free time, and I want to spend it with the people I love most; Matthew, our families and my best friends.
Cooking. I’ve been banging on about cooking a lot recently, but I really am enjoying it so much. As I mentioned in this post, it took Matt and I so long to even broach the cooking world, but now we’re chef’ing it up on a daily basis and it brings me so much joy. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still partial to an M&S Dine in for Two or a Chinese takeaway now and then, but I definitely feel better on the nights we spend time cooking together. It’s the best feeling when we make something new and it works! The first time we made a BBQ Pineapple Chicken dish it went terribly (pink chicken, anyone?) but now we’re making new dishes most weeks and they’re turning out great. You can read how to make our favourite side dish this Autumn here – it’s so easy!
Exercising. I realise that ‘exercise makes you feel good’ is not exactly ground-breaking news, but it’s true! I really enjoy gentle exercises, like yoga and country walks/hikes when we have the time (which also means more quality time with Matthew, do you see a pattern?) but I’m thinking I may step it up a notch. I’d love to try a boxing or spin class or something different to my normal routine, I just need to get the courage to do it! For now, yoga has become something I adore, and I really look forward to spending twenty minutes to an hour when I can, just zen’ing the F out. Spoken like a true Geordie.
Appreciate alone time.
I think it’s extremely important to enjoy time alone; time to collect your thoughts, relax and just be. For me, taking time for a pamper evening, reading my book or catching up on my favourite girly shows are the ways I enjoy spending time alone the most. Right now I’m all about re-runs of Gilmore Girls and the new series of Riverdale – I LOVE that show! I occasionally like a solo shopping trip or driving alone, as I can shop at my own pace. Spending time alone allows you to re-set in a different way, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying being by yourself for a few hours.
Blogging. I am so glad I ventured into the blogging world, and every time I get another like, a new follower or, the best, a comment, I know I made the right decision. I’ve received lots of messages and love from people who read my blog, and it’s an indescribable feeling for someone to enjoy the content you put out. For a hobby, it’s a lot of work, but it’s something that brings me happiness, and I enjoy it more and more. I never struggle from writers block as I have so many ideas and as I only post twice a week (usually) I’m chomping at the bit to write my next post. Branching out into style content over the past few weeks – there’s some exciting things coming up! – has been extremely fun, and I genuinely think it’s making me a better person, as my passion is stronger than ever.
Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know what wellness means to you? How do you nurture your mental health that little bit extra, to make it a priority?