What I Got For Christmas

Hi, loves!

Is anybody else in total disbelief that Christmas has been and gone?! I can’t believe how quickly it flew by, but I’ve had the best few days eating, drinking and celebrating with my favourite people in the world.

Christmas Day with my love!

Matt and I had the most chilled out, relaxed Christmas morning at my parents house opening presents and eating chocolate (oops!), then we went over to Matt’s for round two of the present opening! We had a few hours relaxing before heading out for Christmas Dinner with his parents and grandma. The food was delicious, and we literally laughed the whole time! We headed home for more food and a few drinks snuggled up in our pyjamas. We had a wonderful evening watching all the Christmas TV shows and chatting with Matt’s family. We were both SO spoilt by our families and we’re feeling so grateful! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and had the best time with your families and friends.

I’m so happy to be back blogging again after a few much needed days off. I LOVED posting every day for my #TwelveDaysOfChristmas posts, and I loved reading all of the amazing Blogmas posts that have been going up throughout December. Today I’m sharing with you a round up of some of my favourite presents I was so lucky to recieve for Christmas. I was thoroughly spoilt rotten (especially by Matt, he’s SO good to me!) but honestly the best present was spending uninterrupted, quality time the past few days with Matt and our friends and families. Seeing Matt so happy with the gifts I gave him, and our families so happy with what we gave them was the best feeling ever, my face hurt from smiling!

There’s a lot of stress involved in buying gifts for your loved ones at Christmas, but I think Matt and I gave a lot of well thought out gifts this year (if I do say so myself). We put in a lot of effort and time into making sure people had gifts they’d really enjoy, and I loved seeing the reactions on Christmas Day! I think my favourite gift we gave was Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede fragrance to Debbie, Matt’s mam. She was so happy and excited when she saw the Jo Malone bag I don’t think she cared what was in the other bags HAHA. What was the best gift you gave?

I’ve chosen just a few of my favourite presents to share with you, although I had so much I had to spend a whole day when Matt went back to work re-arranging and de-cluttering to find places to store everything! I received so many wonderful presents, gift cards and money, and I’m beyond thankful for everything. Now, without further ado, onto the reason you clicked this post…

*Disclaimer: this post is not to brag or show off, I’ve loved watching videos of what people got for Christmas on YouTube and reading blog posts for YEARS, I always find them so fun!*

Gifts shown in flatlay: Whitney Neil rhubarb & ginger gin, Pandora earrings, Yankee Candle cracker, Katie Loxton coasters – Matt; hand cream – Charlotte & Adam (Matt’s cousin & partner); Estee Lauder eye products – my aunt Georgia and uncle Ian; Molton Brown products – my parents

Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp
I knew I was getting this, because I ordered it on my Amazon Prime account… LOL! This was one of many lovely presents from my boyfriend, and I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with it. He went out on Boxing Day to see the boys for a few hours and by the time he came home it was all set up and giving the room a beautiful pink glow. He admitted it looks nice but I don’t think he’s as excited as me! I can’t see why! HAHA. This lamp has a dimmer switch so we can turn it right down when we’re snuggled up Netflix’ing (our nightly routine!) and I’m so in love with it. Also, I apologise in advance because I’m pretty sure it will feature in at least 80% of my blog photos HAHA.

Pixi Duo Skincare Set
I was so lucky to receive so many skincare items, my mam and dad know me way too well! My mam picked up lots of the skincare products I currently use so I have backups, and got me a few new things too. She did the same with makeup, they’re so good to me! I’ve used and loved Pixi Glow Tonic religiously for the past three months and I’m just about to run out of my current bottle, so this is going to be put to good use pretty quickly! I’m so excited to try the cleanser too, as I’ve not tried many products from Pixi. I’m sure if I’m a fan of the cleanser it’ll make an appearance on the blog in the next few months.

The North Face Jacket
Matt also gave this to me and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. He picked this on his own and I absolutely love it; it’s the perfect fit, a beautiful colour and it’s so warm and cosy. He really has such good taste and always buys the best presents! Matt and I love going for long walks and it’s something we want to do lots more of in the new year, so this will be perfect to throw on with my leggings and a pair of Nike’s! He also got me a gilet which I’m so excited to wear paired with this jacket. I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing this jacket to all of the football games we’re planning to go to this Winter too, as the stands of St James’ Park are FREEZING!

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Candle
This was such a fun surprise! Peony & Blush Suede is my favourite ever scent from Jo Malone, I wear the perfume for every special occasion (and sometimes just if I need a pick-me-up!) but I’ve never had the candle in this scent before. Matt knew how much I loved the fragrance and thought I’d love the candle just as much… he was so right. Whenever I receive a Jo Malone candle I have the hardest time burning it, they’re so beautiful and so expensive, I just can’t bring myself to! For now this is going to looks super pretty sitting on our bedside table, and Matt and I can admire the packaging every night before we go to bed… (or maybe just me!)

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid Perfume
I was very lucky to receive lots of beautiful perfumes, including a much needed back up of my Lancome La Vie Est Belle, but I was so shocked to open this from my brother. He picked such lovely presents for Matt and I (he gave Matt a Hugo Boss shirt which Matt’s talked about approximately 132 times since he opened it on Christmas morning HAHA)! He chose both of our gifts by himself, which meant so much to us both. I really needed a new Winter/night time scent, and this fits the bill perfectly! I can’t wait to wear this on NYE as I think it’s the perfect first time to wear it – I’m so obsessed with perfumes and different scents mean different things to me. He told me he picked this because I always say I love the smell of his favourite fragrance, Black Orchid. How sweet! And to think I wanted to put him in the bin when I found out my mam was having a boy…. I was four in my defense HAHA.

Amazon Echo Dot
This is my new favourite toy but I’m already sick of hearing myself say ‘Alexa’… HAHA. My mam and dad gave this to me, and I gave one to Matt so now we’re finally up to date with the times. I can’t really say much more as everyone knows all about them and just how great they are. We’re so late to the game, but it’s such a fun idea for a gift – I’d highly recommend if you have any birthdays to buy for in the new year! They are currently sold out everywhere and the waiting list is weeks long, but you can always pre-order for February birthdays!

Cath Kidston Travel Bag
Matt’s lovely parents spoilt me with gifts again this year, but I just had to share this! It was such a well thought out gift because, as any regular readers will know, Matt and I are currently saving to buy our home and we’re living between our parents’ houses. I literally use at least three bags taking my stuff to/from his house. This bag is HUGE and I can fit everything I need into it (and way more), I’ve already used it a few times and it’s perfect. I’m a huge fan of Cath Kidston, and so is Debbie so I’m pretty sure she picked this with that in mind! I love the colours and the pattern SO much. There’s a separate compartment on the bottom which is so handy, I really love when bags have separate compartments to organise! It’ll be great for when Matt and I go on weekend trips (travelling by car) and for cabin luggage when we go on holiday!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed! I’ll be back on Wednesday with a round up of my favourite beauty products from 2018. What did you get for Christmas? Let me know your favourite presents below! I hope you have an amazing and safe New Year’s Eve with your loved ones! I can’t wait to celebrate with Matt and our friends, and I’m super grateful to be starting another year with the love of my life 🙂

Happy New Year, loves!

-G x

Christmas Weekend Trip: Photo Diary

Happy Christmas Eve, loves!

I’m so sad this is my last post in the Twelve Days Of Christmas! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, but hopefully this is a fun post to end my mini series with! Last week, Matt and I headed on a road trip down to Manchester to visit the Christmas markets, do our final bis of Christmas shopping and squeeze in all the football activities possible. (Guess who’s idea the third part was, HAHA). I’ve wrote this post similarly to our weekend trip to Liverpool – you can catch that here if you missed it! We had such a great weekend, I’m incredibly thankful for all of the fun Matt and I have squeezed into this festive season despite how much he’s been working. Spending our Christmas together is the best gift I could ever ask for, I love and appreciate him so much!

Friday 14th December

Our weekend began on Friday evening when I got home from work. Matt had been off work all day and had spent the whole day relaxing, watching Netflix and playing his new Playstation game. He was literally in the same position as when I left for work that morning, curled up in bed HAHA. He ran a bath for me coming home (literally melts my heart when he does this!) and we had the best cosy evening together. He went to pick up our Indian takeaway, and we snuggled in front of the Christmas tree, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We had a pretty early night ahead of our early start the next day!

Saturday 15th December

We woke up around 6.30am and after a few minutes of snoozing too long (oops, we do this every morning!) we got ready to head down to Manchester. Matt wanted to be on the road early to avoid the traffic, and although we set off a little later than planned we still made really good time! The drive down was so quick and the roads were fairly empty which we were surprised about! I may have fell asleep for an hour… such good company.

It’s not a road trip without my car blanket ✌🏻

We headed straight to the Trafford Centre to finish our Christmas shopping. Matt got a lovely shirt from Ted Baker for Christmas Day (I’m sure I’ll be sharing a few photos from Christmas with you on the blog in the next few days, if not they’ll definitely be up on Instagram!) and we finally purchased our last presents. I’m never usually this unorganised for Christmas so I was so happy to be done! We went for breakfast at All Bar One, we haven’t eaten there since we were in Edinburgh last year and it was so good even if my serving was teeny tiny HAHA. We finished up our shopping, and I treated myself to a new pair of Topshop Jamie jeans (my fave!) then we headed to drop our bags off at the hotel.

Looking like a robber in a black hat, black oversized jumper and black skinnies!

After a super quick turnaround at the hotel, we got wrapped up and headed into Manchester city centre. We stayed in a cheap and cheerful hotel in MediaCityUK which was a lovely area – it’s a man-made metro city and it’s where lots of the TV studios are situated. We were right next to the Coronation Street set which I was way too excited about! It was pouring down ALL day so unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the markets. We went to the National Football Museum – obviously Matt’s idea – and had a lot of fun wandering around and learning! We spent our afternoon browsing Selfridges (a novelty to us because we don’t have one here!), eating Yorkshire pudding wraps and drinking Bailey’s hot chocolates. We had so much fun, I love our tradition of visiting a new Christmas market every year! We’re hoping to visit Bath next year (well, I am, Matt isn’t too keen but I’m sure he’ll come round to it when we’re booking up to go 😉).

Yorkshire pudding wraps were UNBELIEVABLE!
I love you 😍

After we’d spent hours in the freezing cold rain, sleet and snow, we made our way back to the hotel to warm up and get ready for the evening. We had reservations for a late dinner so we were able to take our time getting ready! We also may have watched the Strictly final and seen Stacey be announced the winner, just as we were leaving. I’m SO happy for her!! She deserved it so much. It was still pouring rain when we left the hotel, so we headed to grab a drink at the restaurant we were eating at, The Botanist. I was drinking Rhubarb gin and lemonade, one of my favourites, and Matt was of course drining Heineken. We had a lovely dinner (sorry, I totally forgot to take photos!) but Matt had fish and chips, and I had a chicken skewer with fries. We spent the evening laughing and joking together and enjoying each other’s company, and planning our next week in the build up to Christmas, and getting even more excited for everything coming up! We headed back after a few drinks and snuggled up for the evening.

Sunday 16th December

Sunday mornings are forever my favourite! Well, the ones that Matt isn’t at work for anyway HAHA. The weather had finally let up, and we got to see a beautiful sunrise from our high-rise hotel. We got ready, checked out and loaded up the car, then set off for a beautiful walk along the Quays outside our hotel.

It was super cold and fresh outside – the perfect weather to go exploring in! We stopped by Costa so I could grab a gingerbread hot chocolate, and Matt got a gingerbread man, he was obviously feeling the Christmas spirit! We walked along the Quays and towards Old Trafford, as we decided we’d do a stadium tour. My mam’s side of the family are huge Man U fans (they’re from Manchester so it’s okay!) and I’m sure I actually did a tour years ago, but I couldn’t remember anything. It was so so freezing but we had such a fun time on the tour, and we learned so much! I just love how much Matt loves football.

Doing his best Rafa!

We were freezing after the tour, and we’d spent best part of three hours in the museum/on the tour so were also super hungry. We grabbed Subway which wasn’t our first choice but it was the closest thing around, and actually was pretty good! Matt had a chicken and bacon ranch footlong with a donut, and I got a steak and cheese with salad with a Smartie’s cookie… I love knowing people’s fast food orders! We then made our way back to the car and began the journey home. We thought the traffic was going to be terrible as it was the second last weekend before Christmas, but we made such good time!

We visited my parents for a little while whilst I dropped off everything I didn’t need, and picked up my work stuff for the next day. We watched the end of the Man U game with them (unfortunately Man U lost – my family were not happy bunnies!) then we headed back to Matt’s for the evening, via the Chinese takeaway! We ate so badly through the weekend but every once in a while that’s okay, right?! We had quick showers to get into our comfies, then snuggled in to watch Elf with his parents, and had the perfect cosy night. We spent the rest of the evening laughing and chatting with Matt’s lovely parents (literally my second family!), and had an early night as we both had to be up early for work the next day!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed my last festive post of the year. Writing this and looking at our photos gave me all of the cosy festive vibes, I wish we could go back and do the wekend all over again right now! Today Matt and I get a little lie in before he heads to work, then I’m getting our final bits for Christmas organised. Fingers crossed before I know it it’ll be 6pm, he’ll be home and we’ll be off to the pub to begin the Christmas celebrations with his family!

I hope you have the best Christmas with your family and friends, I am giddy with excitement right now! I’m so excited to give my loved ones their gifts this year and spend the day with all of my favourite people.

Normal posts will resume from Sunday 30th December.

Merry Christmas, loves!

-G x

Boxing Day Shopping Tips

Hey, loves!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! Can you believe Christmas Eve is TOMORROW?! Me either, I’m so excited I almost can’t stand it. I’ve been randomly bursting into song (my current favourite is Mistletoe, apparently!) and I’m driving my poor boyfriend crazy. Good to know the Christmas spirit is still going strong, haha! 

Matt and I decided way back in October that we’d brave our local mall on Boxing Day, and now I’m super nervous at the thought! I know it’s going to be SO crowded, messy and hectic… but, all in the name of getting a few bargains, right?! I thought it would be fun (and hopefully helpful) to share with you a few Boxing Day shopping tips we’re going to be putting into practice this year.

Make a list
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, making a list will not be a surprise to you! I’ve already made a list of a few things I’d like to pick up (if I don’t get them for Christmas that is!) on the Notes app on my phone. I love that app SO MUCH, I use it every day! I know I might go off list a little depending on whatever deals we see, but having an idea of things I need/want makes it much easier to shop. 

Make a budget (and stick to it)
Similarly to making a list, lining out how much money you’re willing to spend is so important. I think when shopping, especially during the sales, our heart often overrules our head, and we’re picking up three things instead of one. Lots of us are lucky enough to receive money on Christmas, and for me I typically split it in half – half goes into my savings account, and the other half I’ll set aside for sale shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning on spending all of that money in one day, but if for whatever reason I do, it’s okay as it’s budgeted and ready to go.  

Know your prices
There’s something about a 20% off sign that makes us feel like we’re getting a GREAT deal, however that’s not always the case. Whilst we’re shopping, especially for branded or higher ticket priced items, we’ll definitely be pulling out our phones and checking other deals online – you can always order when you get home!

Wear comfortable clothing
Okay, so it’s the day after Christmas and you’ve spent at least the past three weeks eating and drinking everything in sight (just me?!) so comfy, stretchy leggings are a must in my book. If you’re planning on trying clothes on (I already know I really want to get at least two new sweaters!) it’s so much easier when you’re not wiggling out of skinny jeans or tops that need unbuttoned at the back. We’ll also be making a pit stop for food at some point, so I mean, comfort over anything… right!?

Accept the hustle and bustle
Shopping on one of the busiest shopping days of the year IS going to be super stressful and you’re going to have to deal with all of the people around you. There will be a fight or ridiculously long line to get a parking space, people will be walking very slowly (my biggest pet hate) and most stores will resemble a jumble sale. Take a deep breath, wait patiently in line and don’t complain! You chose to go shopping, and hopefully your post-Christmas haul will be all worth it at the end of your trip. We’re hoping to only be there a couple of hours, then come home for a snuggly afternoon and get re-ready because we’re out with our friends in the evening. Having a plan for the rest of the day kind of makes this better, as you know you’re going to be free from the chaos soon enough!

Thank you so much for reading! Are you planning on shopping the sales this Boxing Day? Let’s hope it’s not a repeat of Black Friday madness we had this year…

-G x

My Festive Makeup Routine

Hi, loves!

Over the past few months I’ve found products I really  love to use, and I feel like my A/W makeup has been so much better. Part of that is definitely down to having a skincare routine that works for me and I’m so excited to share that with you in more detail in the new year!

Today’s post is all about my makeup favourites right now, and the products I’ll be using to create my Christmas Day makeup look. I love getting ready in the mornings, however I usually don’t have much time to do my makeup (all about the extra snuggles in bed with Matt HAHA). This look can be done in 15 minutes or I can really take my time and take 45 minutes! I’ve gotten much more into makeup in recent months, I feel like it’s such a great way to express yourself and your mood. Does anyone else plan out what makeup routine they’re going to do days before an event?! *holds hand high* Here’s my step by step routine for the look I’m planning for Christmas Day, with a fresh face after applying my skincare products. Spoiler: updated skincare routine coming in the new year!

Step #1: I prime my eyes with the MAC paint pot in Soft Ochre. I like this product but I wouldn’t say it’s a must have for me. I really want to pick up the Nars eyeshadow primer again as I loved that, I just need to use this up first!

Step #2:  I LOVE my Chill Baby palette by Kylie Cosmetics! I absolutely adore the colours in this palette and the pigmentation is so incredible. All throughout December I’ve only used this palette and the Kat Von D Shade & Light Glitter palette, they’re both so beautiful! For my Christmas Day look, I’ll use the shade Make Magic, and deepen the colour with Wrap It Up. On my lid I’ll use Jingle Baby (probably with a little MAC Fix +), and deepen the corner with Home Alone. I love to use Plum Pudding as an eyeliner on my top lash line, then a little of Plum Pudding on the bottom lash line to make the colours pop a little more. 

Step #3: My go-to mascara is the Maybelline Lash Sensational in Very Black, and I apply that to my top lashes. (I go back in after doing my face makeup and apply to the bottom lashes!)

Step #4: I apply my primer through my t-zone and chin, and then blend out any extra product onto my cheeks.

Step #5: I really am loving the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop foundation in Vanilla, and it lasts so well on my skin. I use two pumps for my whole face, and apply the foundation using a damp beauty blender. I go in with my favourite base product ever, the Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Vanilla to cover any pigmentation/marks or redness showing through. Right now I have no active spots – the best feeling ever – although I’m sure by the time Christmas Day rolls around my skin will surprise me with one or two! I use the Laura Mercier flawless fusion concealer in N1 under my eyes, and I swear it is a miracle worker! I have a naturally dark under eye area and this product covers the blue tones without looking at all cakey, and it brightens my face up so much. To set everything, I use my Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in Translucent, which after re-purchasing on Black Friday has become a staple in my makeup routine again. It keeps my makeup in place all day, and it never makes my skin look cakey or powdery which makes me very happy!

Step #6: I contour using the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light; this was another Black Friday purchase and I swear this product is SO worth the hype (and the price tag, even at full price). My go-to blush of the past few months has been Madly by Nars, it’s just a beautiful colour and works so well with my fair skin tone. I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush when Matt and I go shopping after Christmas! To highlight, I apply Rose Quartz by Jouer Cosmetics, which is my favourite powder highlighter ever. It’s a beautiful pink/champagne shade, and when applied to the skin just makes my face look fresh and glowy. I sadly broke mine when Matt and I travelled down to Manchester 😦

Step #7: Eyebrows. Yes, I do my makeup in a weird order LOL. I go in with the Estee Lauder Micro Precision Brow Pencil in Brunette and I swear this product is life-changing. I mentioned in this post that I bought this after years of being kinda disappointed by the ABH Brow Wiz, and I so wish I’d bought it sooner! I fill in my brows with small, hair-like strokes and brush through with the spoolie. I then apply Glossier Boy Brow in Brown to set my eyebrows, and add a little more texture to make the hairs look real. This is when I’d go back in with my mascara on my bottom lashes too.

Step #8: I set my face with MAC Fix + which is my favourite part of my makeup routine! I now apply a little extra Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm (it always seems to come off during the time I do my makeup) and line my lips with the Pillowtalk Lip Cheat by Charlotte Tilbury. I apply Hot Toddy by Buxom to my lips, I love this because it looks so pretty, lasts well and it’s not too sticky (and Matt doesn’t get annoyed kissing me haha!) I also know I’m going to be eating and drinking a lot, so I definitely need to make sure I take this in my bag for when we go out for Christmas Lunch!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe got some inspiration for your holiday makeup look! (Also, if you get any money for Christmas I’d HIGHLY recommend the Kylie Cosmetics Chill Baby palette before it’s discontinued… it’s so beautiful).

-G x

Christmas Day Outfit Ideas

Hi, loves!

Happy last work day of 2018 to any of you that applies to today, it’s my last day and I’m SO happy about it! I’m so ready for quality time with my loved ones. Today’s post is a fun one, I love fashion and I think this is the best time of year to dress up for! I especially love dressing an outfit up, and for me Christmas Day is an excuse to get a little more dressy and have fun with my outfits. Glitter and sequins are a necessity, right?!

This Christmas, Matt and I are spending the morning at home with my parents, and we’ll definitely be in our Christmas pj’s whilst we give presents and eat brunch! (You can get a sneak peek of those if you head on over to this post). In the afternoon, we’re heading over to Matt’s and going out for Christmas Dinner with his parents and grandma, and spending the rest of the day with Matt’s parents. We’ll probably be back in our cosy pj’s by 5pm but it’s nice to dress up for at least part of the day (and to get some cute photos!)

Cosy & Casual

I bought this sweater for the festive season after seeing a promo shot of Niomi Smart wearing it in her Christmas edit with Oasis, and I LOVE it so much. This is the exact jumper and jeans I’ll be wearing on Christmas Day! I love outfits that I feel comfortable in (and pants that won’t suffocate me so I can eat LOL). Topshop’s Jamie jeans are my favourite as they are such a flattering fit, but they aren’t super tight around my waist unlike most skinny jeans. I found these boots whilst browsing Debenhams and I so badly want to pick them up, I’ve definitley got my eye on them for the Boxing Day sales!

Sparkly stripe sweater – Oasis
Black skinny jeans – Topshop
Heeled boots – Faith

Glitz & Glam

This is one of my favourite jumpers to wear and it’s SO inexpensive! It washes really well and doesn’t bobble up, and it looks so nice with jeans or a skirt. I really love wearing skirts/dresses, especially during the festive season! I feel like they make an outfit look so much nicer, and it just feels nice to swish about in a skirt. Just me!? This is such a cute combo, and I think it would also work so well as an option for a relaxed New Years Eve! I’d personally pair this outfit with black tights, but without would look so nice too!

Black thin sweater – New Look
Sequin tinsel skirt – Oasis
Black OTK boots – Principles

Festive & Fancy

This is such a beautiful glittery jumpsuit, I may have treated myself and picked it up for 40% off in one of Oasis’ recent sales! The wide leg style means it pairs perfectly with a simple court shoe, and I think adding a dainty necklace is the perfect compliment. My lovely co-workers bought this necklac for me for my birthdya and I absolutley love it! This would also work great for NYE if you’re struggling this year.

Glitter jumpsuit – Oasis
Black Mesh Court Shoes – Reiss
Lightning bolt silver necklace – Missoma

*Disclaimer this post is NOT sponsored by Oasis* HAHA I wish. I’m really a huge fan of the brand (even more so from seeing Niomi Smart’s edits) and find the quality is always great. It’s a slightly higher end store, but in my experience everything I’ve bought from there wears and washes so well. If you’re one of those people that stay in their pyjamas all day on Christmas Day (more power to you!) there’s so many cute options in my Christmas Pj’s Round Up post, so be sure to check that out for a little extra inspo!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got some inspiration for the big day!

-G x

Christmas Movies & Peppermint Bark

Hi loves!

Today’s post is all about one of my favourite topics in life, Christmas movies! I love nothing more than snuggling up with Matthew, a hot chocolate and homemade peppermint bark… that is my DREAM evening and that’s definitely what Matt and I have been doing lots recently! Today I’m sharing with you my favourite movies, and letting you know what we’ve already ticked off our list so far this year!

Home Alone – we’re hoping to watch this tomorrow!
Miracle on 34th Street
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – check! This was the first movie we watched this year, we loved it!
Elf – we watched this with Matt’s parents when we got home from Manchester on Sunday night 🙂
The Santa Clause
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Christmas with the Kranks – I’m going to watch this on Saturday evening before Matt comes home (he’s working until 12pm!), while I wrap presents!
A Christmas Detour – check! This is my favourite cheesy Hallmark movie
The Holiday
It’s A Wonderful Life

Now whilst you’re watching your movie, you have to eat this super easy snack. It’s not the most healthy , but it tastes so good and makes the perfect homemade gift for family and friends this Christmas too! I made this for Matt coming home earlier in the week and we’re already planning to make it again before Christmas Day (it’s really so good, and tastes better than store bought options, it’s also a lot more cost effective). It’s one of my favourite treats to make at Christmas, and it’s so flipping easy!

Ingredients to make Peppermint Bark:
-Galaxy Milk chocolate (it’s melts the best!)
-White chocolate (Milkybar is Matt’s favourite!)
-Coconut oil
-Candy canes
-Sprinkles (optional)

Step By Step:
1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil. I use both just to ensure the chocolate doesn’t melt through the paper!
2. Melt your milk chocolate and white chocolate in separate bowls, each with half a teaspoon of coconut oil (this just helps the chocolate to spread easier)
3. Whilst your chocolate is melting, place your candy canes into a zip-lock bag and crush into small pieces. I always leave a few larger pieces as I like the look of varied sizes on the finished product. I use a toffee hammer to break them up, but a rolling pin or even a spoon will work just fine
4. Spread one type of chocolate (I always use milk chocolate first) across your lined baking tray with a spatula
5. Swirl in the other chocolate – if you’re very artsy you can make a pretty pattern or even wording but I kind of just hope for the best HAHA
6. Sprinkle your candy cane pieces (and/or sprinkles) over the top
7. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least one hour, break into pieces and eat 🙂

I love these heart bowls, I picked them up way back in February for Valentine’s Day but we use them all the time!

I hope you have already watched so many Christmas movies this year and plan to squeeze in a few more before the big day comes! Matt and I unfortunately don’t have time for another movie tonight but we’re hoping to squeeze in a movie night tomorrow. Friday is my last work day of 2018 (YAY!) and we’re heading to our local Christmas markets when I finish work, fingers crossed for an early finish haha!

G x

Spreading The Love This Christmas

Hi, loves!

I was unsure whether or not to post about what I have personally done to give back this year, as people often feel that talking about anything you do for a charity (big or small) takes away from the act. In all honesty, I don’t believe that to be true, and I think we SHOULD talk about things we do to help both our local communities and those around the world who are less fortunate than us. It doesn’t make us a better person for donating, or a worse person for not, so why shouldn’t we share? Please know anything mentioned in this post is to raise awareness and encourage people’s giving spirits this year. There are SO many things you can do to spread the love, and as much as I love giving my boyfriend, family and friends presents every year, I feel a little more fulfilled donating to those in need, too.

Of course, we should give back all through the year and not just for Christmas, but it’s a time we all generally feel the need to do it a little more. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something I really want to be aware of more in 2019, and continue to do. Christmas is the season of giving, and here’s just a few ways you can give back this season…

Donating Gifts
I think one of the most popular ways we all like to give back is to donate gifts and presents for people and animals during Christmas time. So many stores are doing collections this year and there’s still a few days left to participate if you’d like to. Matt and I donated to Operation Christmas Child this year (the last day for donations was November 18th, so unfortunately that’s now closed for this year. There’s always next year, and you can find all the information you need here). We had so much fun filling our boxes and I really hope the children that receive them are SO happy on Christmas Day with the goodies inside. It hurts my heart to think that will be all they’ll get, but I hope they know we put lots of love into those boxes! We did include a few personal healthcare items and school supplies as they were recommended, however we made sure to include fun toys and yummy sweets to make their present seem a little more fun, and not all super practical. I know local children’s hospitals, care homes, animal shelters and women and children’s shelters can usually accept donations up until Christmas Eve (and of course, after Christmas) so I’d recommend enquiring there.

Finding Out The Needs of Your Local Homeless Shelter(s)
This is also something Matt and I did this year, and it was SO appreciated I can’t even tell you. There’s still a few days left in the build up to Christmas, and you know homeless shelters everywhere will take all of the donations they can possibly get. Instead of taking things you think they’ll need I’d recommend calling first, and speaking to someone to get an idea of what they need most. We didn’t have to spend lots of money to buy a few necessities, and hopefully we made a difference by giving to people who need items.

Donating Unwanted Items
Similarly to buying things people may need, homeless shelters and charity shops will always be open to receiving donations. I cleared out my wardrobes a few months ago and donated tons of stuff then, however I did go back through in the first week of December and donated a bunch more I hadn’t worn since my clear out. Matt and I are hoping to go through his wardrobes and drawers in the new year as he has tons of stuff to donate too. I would say only to donate clothing that is not damaged, too pilled or unwearable of course! You can also clear out unopened beauty products, bedding, pyjamas, the list is endless. This means you’ll make room for new items you’ll be lucky enough to get this Christmas, and in turn pay your current unused or unwanted items forward. 

Bake Treats
Baking is a fun way to spread a lot of love, people love food! Baking goodies to share with people will always go down well, and you can take them anywhere. A few ideas would be to take into work for your co-workers, to a local care home or shelter, or to a local family. Similarly, you could make a meal for people and it would be much appreciated too. It’s a super small and simple gesture and won’t take too much of your time, money or effort, yet you could really make someone’s day. Also, a super easy no-bake treat will be up on the blog for you! (Hint: it’s the photo above!)

Giving to Collections
You only have to set foot near a shop around this time of year and there will be people collecting for various charities. Often people rush past and while you absolutely do not have to give every time you pass (or at all, if you choose not to) it’s nice to be able to contribute on a small scale. The people collecting are often standing outside for hours in the freezing cold too, so I’m sure bringing them a hot drink would always be appreciated! Where I live, a lot of people campaign for Samaritans – give any change rattling around your pockets you have when you pass. A few pounds will likely not mean much to you, but those buckets add up so quickly, and every small donation can make a huge difference.

Spread Kindness
Something we can all do this Christmas (and well… forever!) is to be kind to those around us. Help your neighbour unload their car, tip the great service you received a little better than you normally would, truly thank the cashier checking out your groceries, or just SMILE at a stranger! All of these little things are so taken for granted, however during the holiday season there’s a huge emphasis on spreading love and kindness to those around us. Last week I was heading to Lidl before work to pick up fresh dinner ingredients for Matt and I that evening, and an old man stopped me outside to say good morning, and asked how I was. It was such a simple gesture but it really made my whole day! I think being openly kind and talkative to strangers is something we could all work on (myself included) all year round. It doesn’t cost a penny to be kind and gracious, and Heaven knows, if there’s one thing we need a little more of in the world it’s kindness!

Random Acts of Kindness
This is something I really love to do all year round, and I remember almost two years ago telling Matt a story that made him think I was actually bonkers! A few years back on YouTube there was a trend of RAOK videos; people leaving money in supermarkets, paying off people’s credit accounts in stores etc. One thing I seen (I think it was in an Ellie and Jared vlog, I know they definitely do this too!) was to pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. I feel quite awkward writing about this, but it’s such a rewarding feeling! People can’t actually thank you because you’re in the car infront of them, but seeing the shock on their face is so sweet. The people working at the drive thru kind of think you’re mad, but it’s a fun idea you can easily implement this Christmas! (Matt told his co-workers about this one time I’d done it, and said I had to stop doing it or people would be following me through the drive thru like the Pied Piper trying to get free food HAHA). Any small things can make a huge difference – extra tips, baking cookies etc are great RAOK that will go a long way to put a smile on someone’s face.

Thank you so much for reading. I’d love to know if you’ve done or are planning on doing any of the things mentioned in this post this holiday season? How do you spread the love on Christmas?

-G x

My Goals For 2019

Hi, loves!

It may seem a little early to already be thinking about my goals for the upcoming year when we’re in the midst of festive excitement and Christmas is just one week away (WHAT?!) but setting goals and working on making myself a better person has been on my mind since September. I wrote a post about my goals I’d like to work on over the last three months of the year, and I feel like for the most part I’ve done pretty well with those! I am someone who thrives on plans, routines and praise for doing well, so setting myself goals gives me a stronger sense of purpose. 

This was taken on one of Matt and I’s favourite local walks – around Jesmond Dene, Newcastle

Cook More
This is probably going to be my goal for the rest of my life! I love cooking and experimenting with new foods, and I’m so grateful that my boyfriend is equally as interested. We really enjoy cooking new dishes, creating recipes out of whatever groceries we’ve picked up, and also editing recipes we find online to make them our own. Matt is not only my boyfriend but my best friend, and I love any time we spend together, so cooking together is no exception! We begin most of our evenings by cooking a meal together, and it’s something I look forward to from the moment we get out of bed that morning! I really enjoy learning with him, and although sometimes dishes don’t work out it’s still fun because we enjoyed cooking together. Since the Summer, we’ve learned SO MUCH, but we of course still have a long way to go. Our goal for January is to prepare a whole Sunday lunch for our parents (Matt thinks this will be so easy but the timing issues of everything scares me the most)! I had no idea how much I’d enjoy cooking, and I’m so grateful Matt and I are learning together. 

Continue To Learn About Sustainability
I’m genuinely enjoying learning more about what it means to live sustainably, and putting things into practice in my everyday life. I wrote a post about the things I’m currently doing, or beginning to implement into my lifestyle to help with this here if you’d like to check it out. I’m learning so much so quickly, and right now the topic of living sustainably is EVERYWHERE. My current aim for the new year is to stop buying/using plastic straws. I just purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon (you can check those out here) and I’m going to get in the habit of using them both at my two homes and at work, and to take them out with me. I’m sure I’ll get some funny looks but hey, one planet-saving thing at at time, right?! (If you’re wondering why I don’t just stop using straws all together, my teeth are super sensitive to cold drinks!)

Make Yoga A Priority
This was something I touched on in my afore-mentioned post back in September, and to be honest it’s probably the goal I least paid attention to over the past three months. I really enjoy yoga, but I often find it difficult to actually get the motivation to do it. I know this makes very little sense, it confuses me too! I feel like it’s one of those things that whilst I’m doing it, I enjoy every second, it’s just sometimes hard to start. Due to my days being different every week (mainly because of Matt’s shifts and living between two houses) I can’t have a set schedule, but I’m going to actively make time to squeeze in a little session here and there. I’m also participating in Yoga With Adrienne’s Thirty Day Yoga this coming January – I have for the past two years – and although I may miss some days I can do two sessions in one!

Enjoy Every Day
I know a blanket approach to this goal isn’t realistic, as some days realistically aren’t going to be enjoyable. We all have bad days, and that’s okay. What I’m aiming to get across with this goal, is to just embrace life for what it is. I’m so grateful for what I have – my relationship, my family and friends, my blog, my job, my lifestyle, everything – yet I find myself often living in anticipation of the ‘next’ thing. Whether Matt and I have a trip coming up, a date night or even a new episode of my favourite show, I feel like I’m always thinking about the next thing, and forgetting sometimes to live in the moment. I am very good at putting my phone down when I’m with my loved ones, but I can’t seem to switch my mind off in the same way. I think this is going to be pretty hard as I’m such an excitable person and thrive off having things to look forward to, but it’s something I’m going to try to be concious of. Any tips on becoming more self-aware in this topic would be SO appreciated!

Eat Less Red Meat
I love the idea of veganism and vegetarianism, however I know it’s realistically not for me. I really admire people that can change up their lifestyle to new ways of living, and think it’s a great thing for any individual who chooses to do so. I have grown up eating red meat, as well as chicken and fish, and it’s been an everyday part of my diet.  I also really love eggs, chocolate and cheese, so going vegan is fully out of the window. I (right now) could not be a vegetarian for various personal reasons, but I’m very much open to eating less meat, and I’m hoping to start including some of Matt and I’s favourite recipes on the blog in 2019. We do partake in Meatless Mondays pretty much every week, so we can definitely cut down a little more where possible and help the planet in the process. We already eat so many vegetables, that won’t be an issue, it’s just taking that next step in changing up our food habits. I would like to generally eat better this coming year too, as I have the WORST sweet tooth!

Grow My Blog
I have been blogging for SIX months now, which is so crazy! I remember the day my first post went live, and as I let out the secret on Instagram and Twitter I felt physically sick. Matt and I were out for Sunday lunch and I struggled to eat I was so scared/excited/nervous. Fast forward to now, and I still feel so excited and nervous for every post! It blows my mind that people keep coming back to little old me, and that my stats are slowly growing day by day. I really put so much effort into my blog, and although I do see it as a hobby, (outside of my Twelve Days Of Christmas posts, I can only post twice per week as I work full time) it’s a very important hobby. I’ve made friends around the world from blogging, and I’d love to collaborate with some of those amazing people in the new year. I’m genuinely proud of what I’ve created so far, and I’m so excited to see what happens over the next twelve months.

Learn More About Natural Foods And Living
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, as I’m very intrigued in the whole concept. As I mentioned above, Matt and I eat well most of the time, and are always striving to make healthier dinners for the evening. I’m very interested in the benefits of Turmeric right now; I have arthritis and incorporating turmeric into your diet (so easy!) is supposedly a way of treating the pain and lessening the ache. I’ve only been adding it to our food over the past few weeks, so I’m excited to see if I start to feel any benefits from this. Also, Matt has bought me a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp for Christmas (you’ve no idea how excited I am about this and how NOT excited he is haha) and I can’t wait to see how much of a difference it makes to our day-to-day lives. I literally can’t wait to open it on Christmas Day! As a result of having the lamp switched on, it makes you sleep better, de-stress and unwind more and generally breathe better as it helps to purify the air, as well as many other benefits. It’s so pretty too, which is always a bonus. 

Stop Making Impulse Purchases
I’ve been writing lots over the past few months about mindful shopping and how bad consumerism is worldwide, but as of January 1st (technically now!) my mind will not just be on clothes, it will be on everything I buy. That new face wash raved about on YouTube? Those boots everyone is wearing? The new Kylie Cosmetics pallete? I don’t need it! I’m going to set myself a little challenge throughout the year, to put everything I ‘want’ into a list on the Notes app on my phone. I’ll put the date next to it, and as I’m for sure going to be adding things regularly, I’ll keep track of how long it’s been since I wanted that specific item. If a month has passed, and I still want that item badly I’ll work it into my budget to buy. I’m hoping this will stop me spending as much money (saving for Matt and I’s home is going HARD in the new year!) and limit the amount of stuff I have around me. I’m hoping to do an even bigger declutter this year, and take my mindful living to a whole new level. Also, that means less crap to take with me when Matt and I do buy our house!

Thank you so much for reading! Have you thought about your goals and/or resolutions for the new year yet? What are you hoping to work on?

-G x

Christmas Candle Edit

Hi, loves!

Today’s post is probably one of my favourites in my Twelve Days Of Christmas series, because I flipping love candles! I have always been obsessed with them since I can remember; ever since I was little I’ve loved helping my mam to choose scents for the house. My tastes have change a little in recent months, and as much as I love sickly sweet scents I definitely appreciate fresh scents a little more. This definitely pleases my boyfriend as he thinks some of the sweet bakery scents I love ‘smell like curry’… well, that’s that then.

I wrote a post similar to this back in September with my Autumn favourite candles – you can still pick up most of those scents right now if you’re interested in reading!

I tend to purchase most of my candles from DW Home at Homesense as I just think they’re such a great range; they burn evenly and smell amazing! I’ve bought lots this season, and I think they’re included in almost every Christmas gift Matt and I are giving this year. I didn’t buy as many candles as I usually would (and also didn’t photograph them all, sorry guys!) as I’m really starting to cut down on my spending and be less wasteful, so I thought this was a happy medium. 

Winter – The White Company (my fave!)
Peppermint – DW Home
Christmas Cookie – DW Home
Cinnamon – DW Home
Christmas Eve – Yankee Candle

Pine, Cedar & Eucalyptus – Next Home
Peppermint Bark – DW Home
Berry Trifle – Yankee Candle (Matt’s lovely mam Debbie surprised me with this a few weeks ago!)

Fresh Pine – DW Home
Snow Day – DW Home
(Matt’s favourite!)

Thank you so much for reading! Have you picked up any of the candles mentioned in this post? Do you have any must-have candles you think I need to purchase this holiday season?

-G x

Easy DIY Christmas Hamper

Hi, loves!

Today’s post is a fun, easy DIY that’s perfect for anyone in need of a last minute Christmas gift. I included this as an idea in the couples section of my gift guides posted at the end of November (you can check those out here and here if you missed them) and I received a few messages asking where people could buy bits and bobs to go in them, and what I’d include.

This is such a quick, easy present to put together, and can be tailored specifically to the people/person the gift is for. Matt and I (okay, so I did most of the work HAHA) bought joint gifts for all our parents, grandparents and my brother this year, however we’ve made variations of the hamper featured in this post to give to our aunts and uncles . Items in the hamper will of course vary per recipient, and as you’ll be able to tell by the alcohol, this gift is for a couple aged over 18 (only just, they don’t look a day over twenty-one…) HAHA.

My mam picked up the gift baskets we used from a local store, but there are so many options available you can find them anywhere! I lined them with tissue paper and added shredded paper on top to create a base layer, then filled the baskets with some fun Christmas items. This hamper includes;

Mini bottle of prosecco
Mini set of whiskeys
M&S biscuits cracker
Clotted cream fudge
M&S Belgian truffles
Gin & rhubarb marshmallows
Dark chocolate and peppermint cookies
M&S strawberry jam
Cranberry and clementine cookies
DW Home candle
Yorkshire tea teabags
Homemade chutney (my dad makes this, it’s so good!)
M&S Christmas pudding

*Not pictured as he hadn’t made the batch to go in here yet!

I arranged the items best I could inside of the basket with tissue paper as a filler in the bottom, and wrapped with a pretty red and white glittery ribbon. (I’ll probably try to get this neater before I wrap it HAHA). I picked up a few rolls of this beautiful ribbon from Costco two or three years ago and I still have so much left! To decorate, I added a tag, addressed to the recipients.

The best thing about this gift is just how customisable it is. Other ideas of things you could include are;

Mini bottles of gin/wine/vodka etc
Mini Christmas pudding/cake
Homemade cookies
Teapigs tea
Locally sourced honey
Hot chocolate mix
Chocolate bar(s)
Luxury coffee
Homemade peppermint bark (I show you the best way to make this in an upcoming post, it’s so easy and delicious !)
Mince pies
Chocolate coated almonds

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and if you make any hampers like this be sure to let me know. You could easily adapt this hamper for a gift at any time of the year, and make fun gifts for birthdays, weddings or anniversaries.

-G x