January Favourites

Hi, loves!

Boy am I glad January is OVER. Ringing in the new year with Matt and our friends seems like a lifetime ago! The weather has been so dark and miserable, and I’m already longing for warm Spring days when I can fill our bedroom with bunches of peonies and we can go outside without a coat. However, even though the weather hasn’t been on our side, Matt and I have had so much fun this month. We also booked our Summer holiday, we’re heading to the beautiful country of Croatia in June! I’m SO excited to explore and relax in the sun with my love, I literally check the TUI countdown app like my life depends on it.

So, I know what you’re thinking… January favourites? But you said you’d never have enough content to create monthly posts on the products you’ve been using? WELL, I hold my hands up can I can say I was wrong. I mean, I’m never wrong. But, on this one occasion, I was. HAHA. Okay so let me explain; I have loved watching monthly favourites videos on YouTube and reading monthly favourites blog posts for as long as I can remember. Nowhere near as many creators make them nowadays, but they’re OG YouTube/blogging, and I have to admit they’re such a guilty pleasure of mine. (Anna‘s are forever my favourite!) I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that as much as I love reading/watching this content, I don’t try enough new products each month to constantly be raving about new things. Then it hit me, it doesn’t have to be about new products!

I definitely have favourite products I use month to month, and I’d actually love to be able to look back over previous months and see which books/beauty products/TV shows/movies/clothing items etc were floating my boat then. When I wrote my 2018 beauty favourites, every item had been featured on my blog, most of them several times, and I got such a great response to that post it made me want to try out a monthly favourites series on my blog. Also, apologies these photos aren’t great – it’s been so dark I’ve not been able to take good quality photos with natural light! I promise my February favourites will be photographed much better. So, what are my favourites from the month of January?

All the date days/nights. As I mentioned above, Matt and I have had SO many fun date days and nights this month! We’ve been to four(!!) football games supporting our team, did a little shopping, gone for a few walks down by the beach, made so many new (and old) recipes, went for a few breakfast and dinner dates, squeezed in a double date with our lovely friends Jonny and Jo, and made the most of all the cosy nights in! We’ve spent so much of the month having fun and I’m beyond grateful that we always prioritise our time together.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer. Okay, quite a big claim, but this is hands down the best concealer I’ve used under my eyes! I picked this up on recommendation from Allie Glines, I love her and she always creates the best easy-to-wear looks. This concealer is lightweight, brightening and lasts all day/night. It doesn’t accentuate any dry patches under my eyes and it doesn’t crease, although I always set it with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder which I’m sure helps a lot. As the formula is so lightweight it never looks cakey on the skin, and it applies beautifully with a damp beauty blender. Laura Mercier is also cruelty free! (Side note: the Nars soft matte concealer that I love and use to cover redness/spots etc is running out so fast, and I can’t repurchase as it’s not cruelty free. Does anyone have any recommendations for an alternative? I think I may pick up the new Too Faced concealer!)

Prison documentaries on Netflix. It’s probably no surprise to any regular readers, but man do Matt and I love a documentary on Netflix. Our recent love has been anything prison related – Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons and Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail have been our ultimate favourites this month! It’s crazy seeing what goes on inside prisons/jails all over the world, it almost seems made up sometimes. If you have any recommendations for some more documentaries we need to watch, please let me know!

An Edited Life by Anna Newton. I’m the biggest fan girl of Anna, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. My blog inpsiration and ultimate girl crush has only gone and wrote a bloody book! I just finished reading and I’m excited to let you in on a little secret… it’s going to be featured on my blog in my first ever book review next month! Anna is the queen of organiation and de-cluttering, as well as being the most Monica-esque person there ever was, can you see why I love her? I genuinely aspire to be more like her everyday. I told you I was a fan girl! I feel like generally we’re so similar, from our love of Friends, right down to our colour co-ordinated budget spreadsheets. If you’re looking to get your life in order this year, this one’s for you!

Sukin Facial Cleanser. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this product as it’ll be featured in my skincare routine next month, but I’m seriously impressed with this! I’ve been using this cleanser every night and most mornings since November, and it works so well for my skin. Sukin is an eco-friendly, vegan brand, and all of their products are made with natural ingredients. This cleanser has been a huge help in keeping my skin clear, it doesn’t feel harsh or stripping and the product seems to last forever. I use a 5p sized amount each morning/evening, and I genuinely look forward to washing my face! This is big news because normally I find it the biggest chore ever, HAHA. I can’t wait to share more with you in my skincare routine!

Writing/posting in January. It’s no secret that I love to write for my blog, or else I wouldn’t be doing it! BUT, I loved writing more than ever this past month. My posts What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion? and Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together? got SO much traction which I wasn’t expecting, but was so pleasantly surprised. Both of the topics covered in these posts; sustainability and mental health, are so important to me, and I truly wrote from the heart, which I think comes across to readers. I love that I can engage with people all over the world and open up new conversations, it still blows my mind. Thank you so much to my new followers, and to anyone that has messaged me about either/both posts! If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?! They’re super long so I’d highly advise grabbing a cuppa and a Penguin biscuit (Matt and I’s favourite snack from the month… shhhhh).

Thank you so much for reading! I had so much fun writing my first monthly favourites post, I hope you enjoyed! Have you been a fan of any of the things featured in this post? What were your favourite products or things from this past month?

-G x

Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together?

Hi, loves!

Today I’m talking about something I think we all need to talk about more: anxiety and how it can affect those that struggle with it on a daily basis. I wrote a post similarly to this back in August, which you can read here. This may have all come out like #wordvomit (if you know, you know) but if this post can help even one person that makes me so pleased, please know you’re not alone and we’re all fighting our own battles!

I’d just like to preface this whole post by saying I know I have a bloody good life. I have a boyfriend I adore more than life itself, we have the most amazing families, I have a job, I have my own car, I have holidays and trips to look forward to, I have the luxury of snuggling up next to the person I love every night and I have a blog I enjoy writing, amongst many other amazing things.

I try so hard to focus on the positives in my life, and I know there are SO MANY to look at. Yet, every so often, I feel so down in the dumps and I don’t know how to get out of it. I talked about all of the things I’ve been doing to beat the January blues in this post which has been a huge help throughout the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety I generally feel is not an all-consuming, every minute of every day kind of feeling, but it’s there, niggling at the back of my mind. And it feels like it’s never going to go away. Usually, I begin to feel this way because I get a random bout of anxiety about something mundane. This time, it was the snow. Yep. To set the scene; Matt and I were having a lovely night, snuggled up watching Inside The World’s Toughest Prison’s on Netflix (highly recommend if you haven’t seen it, we’ve binge watched three seasons in just over a week!) after eating dinner, and I started uncontrollably crying. These are the kind of things you wouldn’t find featured on my Instagram story, but more about that later.

I feel anxious and apprehensive about the cold weather every year, and the thought of driving in it terrifies me to my core. I know that this specific topic is what was making me feel worried and sad; to the point I’d be wide awake at 3am, cuddling into Matt whilst he slept like a baby, but not being able to fall back to sleep myself. I’d spend way longer than necessary refreshing the Met Office pages each day, checking for updates on the likelihood of snow or ice, to the point it became a running joke with my co-workers (except for me, it wasn’t that funny). I’d be reading my book in the bath and suddenly feel a wave of worry wash over me, thinking about how I’d possibly make it to work tomorrow if it snowed overnight. This is all absolutely ridiculous, but hopefully it gives you a little back story into my pattern of thinking.

The stupidest thing is, I can drive in the snow and ice, and when I do it’s never as bad as I think it might be. If I really didn’t want to drive in the bad weather Matt would happily take me to work and pick me up, therefore eliminating the problem all together. I, now thinking rationally, can see that’s fine, and this issue doesn’t warrant worrying over any further. BUT, during the time of feeling generally panicked and anxious, that seems even worse – he’s putting himself in danger to take me somewhere, he’s taking time out of his day for me etc. It’s almost like my brain doesn’t want to provide a solution, and instead thinks of all the other things that could go wrong off the back of it.

Anyone who does or has suffer(ed) with anxiety will recognise what I’m saying above as being pretty standard. One little seed grows into a whole damn tree and the branches of worry get heavier as time goes on. Whether you suffer with anxiety or not, lots of us feel overwhelmed and uneasy from time to time. It’s silly really, most of us have feelings like this yet we don’t talk about it, and we don’t let people know how we feel. Then again, how could I really explain that I’m terrified about the prospect of snow, when the day before was 9 degrees and sunny.

The worry of bad weather in the past few weeks was just the start, and a familiar cycle began; I then started to worry about everything. Is my job safe? Will Matt and I save enough and find our future home by the end of the year? What if the restaurant we’ve made reservations for is too loud and I feel uncomfortable? These are, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant worries, yet in the moment they feel crushing and I’m stuck thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, is there is a huge difference between worries we can control and worries we cannot. Suddenly not having a job? No control, I’d have to just find another. (Also, it’s thankfully very unlikely that would happen!) Not finding a house to make our home this year? No control, but I know that it will happen when it happens and we’ve always got each other. Feeling uncomfortable on date night? We can always leave and go somewhere else. If I’m able to take a minute and think logically – especially if I can vocalise my thoughts – I can separate worries I can and can’t control. The things I can control generally have obvious solutions, and the things I can’t control just shouldn’t be taking up space in my brain. I’m so lucky that Matt is always so understanding and reassuring, and makes me feel so much better.

Something that now, in hindsight, makes me laugh is the things that probably *should cause me to feel anxious generally don’t. Whether that’s waiting in line for a long time when grocery shopping, being stuck in traffic, the hustle and bustle of a football game, those kinds of things are just ‘normal’ to me, and don’t leave me in a tizzy.
*NOT give me anxiety, just the normal human emotion of feeling anxious

One thing that does heighten my anxiety is social media. In a world where we’re so connected all the time, I see what my friend’s boyfriend’s auntie’s dog is up to, and quite honestly, I don’t care. I feel strongly about social media in that it’s a great place to document our lives. It’s a great place to connect and share our thoughts with others, and to potentially make new friends. It’s a great place to support small businesses. It’s a great place to raise awareness of topics or campaigns. However, it’s also a place where we compare ourselves to other people, whether it’s intentional or not.

I love to keep up with other people’s lives, in the same way I love to watch hours of mindless reality TV. (Four hour KUTWK sesh? Count me in!) I scroll through Instagram several times per day and when I’m in a good state of mind, it either doesn’t alter my mood or it makes me feel happy. I really enjoy scrolling to find inspiration on outfits, where to go for our next date night or what our future home will look like, and it’s all in one place! I’m happy for the people sharing their engagement news, promotions, new houses, gym progress and pregnancy announcements that I see on a regular basis. I love seeing people’s children achieve milestones and relating to them in a whole other way. I love when people share, and sometimes overshare, on social media, but when I’m having a *moment* as Matt & I like to call them, then everything seems to be taken out of context and I feel bad about myself in comparison to the success of others, which is something I’m so embarrassed to admit.

The thing is, I know so many of us have this feeling, whether it’s related to anxiety or just a bad day. I’m a big believer in unfollowing people who make you feel rubbish regularly, but I think at some point we have to take the responsibility for this back, and look at why we feel bad. Is someone looking super hot in a fancy pants outfit you’d never wear anyway, and you’re slobbing about in sweat pants with no make up on? Is someone sharing gleaming photos of how they’ve hinched their kitchen and you’re wishing it was yours? Is someone travelling around the most incredible island you’ve ever seen and you know it’s not on you radar any time soon? Whatever it is, other people’s actions are not a direct reflection of you or your life. No matter how many green smoothies, cute date night pictures, or amazing shopping sprees someone shares, that doesn’t mean they’re any happier than you. By the same token, it also doesn’t mean they’re miserable and trying to look happy for social media. There’s a weird notion that people who look like they’re happy obviously aren’t and it’s all pretend, but that’s not necessarily true either. I know I share lots of my life on social media, but I can admit that I share way more when I’m feeling good, which I’m sure is the same for most of us. Happiness isn’t measured by being more or less happy than somebody else and we don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives unless they personally tell us. The reality is everyone has their own struggles, and we should focus more on ourselves than on other people.

Anxiety is a weird thing, but it’s also kinda wonderful. I’m going to end this post by sharing with you a few points on why I’m grateful to be working my way through anxiety, one step at a time;

I set time aside to do what truly makes me happy. I feel like I need little nuggets of good in the day (and not just the Quorn kind) to make me feel revitalised and refreshed, and as a result I make those things a priority.
The little things mean the most to me and always have done. Taking even just 10 minutes out of my day to read a book, spending my evenings cooking and relaxing with Matt, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, fitting in yoga sessions, singing loudly in the car and other little things make me feel so much better. On the other side of this, I know when things make me feel nervous or uncomfortable and I’m able to remove myself from those situations.

I know how to plan. It may seem silly to some, but I generally have plans A, B and C for most situations, and this allows me to know my options, and to feel more comfortable in general. I talked a little bit about this in terms of social situations in this post if that’s something you’d like to know more about. A few more benefits of being a planner is that Matt and I will never miss a birthday or anniversary, can do our weekly shop pretty damn quickly, and we always have things to look forward to together.

I am more empathetic towards others. I think if I hadn’t struggled with anxiety on and off for years, I’d not be as empathetic as I am today. I genuinely feel others’ pain and struggles, and I’ll always go out of my way to help in any way I can. I am happy to talk through people’s problems and offer advice (when asked), hopefully helping people to feel a little better.

I hope by sharing this with you, you may have a little insight into my life you’d otherwise not know. I also hope that it may resonate with you, whether you feel similarly to me or whether it may help you see how someone in your life is feeling. Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts on this below! Also, in answer to the title, my opinion is no. None of us have our sh*t together, and that’s okay.

-G x

Podcasts You Need To Listen To

Hi, loves!

I hope you’re having a great week! I’m so happy it’s Wednesday, and after the longest Monday I’ve ever experienced, I actually think this week is flying by. I’ve had a really good week so far, although it feels like we’re living in the Artic as it’s so flipping cold. Matt’s off work all week (lucky bugger) so we’ve been making the most of our evenings the second I get home from work; all the cooking, snuggling and documentary watching has been happening because it’s TOO. DANG. COLD. to do anything else! I can’t wait for this weekend, we’ve got a double date with our sweet friends Jonny and Jo, a date day on Saturday, another NUFC game, and all of the relaxing at home, getting our Marie Kondo on. We may get a snow day on Sunday (if the weather forecast is right) so making snowmen could be on the agenda! Thank goodness I don’t have to drive LOL. (More about that in Sunday’s post). What are you looking forward to this weekend?

I’m so excited to be sharing my favourite podcasts with you today! I first started listening to podcasts around July/August last year, and I’m SO glad I did. It took me a little while to jump on the bandwagon but now I totally see what all the hype was about. I always listen through Spotify!

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE CLEANING/ORGANISING

At Home With… This podcast is ran by Anna and Lily and it’s the perfect cosy chats to listen and laugh along with whilst you’re getting your clean on. Anna and Lily are pro bloggers and vloggers, who I’ve admired for so many years. I feel a personal connection to both of them, and each episode of this series feels like I’m just sitting with a few good friends, having a chat. The premise behind this is each guest is interviewed in their own home, which means they open up more and you also get a feel for their personality. All of the interviewees are incredible, but the Lisa Eldridge episode is my favourite – she’s such an amazing lady! Warning: you may want to fully re-decorate your home after each episode.

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE LISTENING WITH SOMEONE ELSE

Small Town Murder. This might be my favourite podcast I’ve ever come across, and if you love true crime you’ll probably love it too! I’ve laughed and cried several times whilst listening to this, and I’m so shocked at each episode. Each episode is about a murder in a new small town (hence the name, LOL) and although they never make fun of the victim’s or their families, the stories are always told with a high dose of comedy. I got Matt into listening to this too, and we find it so fun, it sparks discussions and conversations we’d not usually have! James and Jimmy, who run the podcast, are SO funny and always make me laugh with their impressions and accents. Thanks for the rec, Savannah!

THE ONE WHEN YOU FEEL A BIT SH*T

Bryony Gordon’s Mad World. This is my favourite podcast related to mental health issues. It’s raw, honest and inspiring, and always makes me feel so much better when I feel a bit down. Bryony talks about her own issues with mental health so openly and it’s easy to see why guests open up so much to her. She is a great host, and I think each episode goes by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been meaning to order her book for so long, I’ve just ordered it after writing this post and added it to my reading pile!

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE ON THE WAY TO WORK

Happy Place. This podcast, hosted by Fearne Cotton, is such a feel-good, easy listen, it’s the equivalent of snuggling up and watching Friends on TV. I really love that Fearne adds her own personal experiences into each episode, and she always discusses from the heart. Each episode is a great mix of good quality humour with a little seriousness thrown in! Fearne is so friendly and chatty, and after growing up watching her on TV it again feels like I’m listening to or having a chat with two friends. The Emma Willis (series one) and Zoe Sugg (series two) episodes are my favourite! I love to listen whilst driving to work as each episode is so motivating, although I never want to get out the car when I arrive at work HAHA.

THE ONE WHEN YOU’RE UNWINDING

The High Low. I found out about this podcast via Anna, and I’m so grateful for her recommendation! This makes me laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh, and it’s a perfect me-time listen. I love to listen to this in the bath for evenings I can’t be bothered to play on my phone or delve into my current book, as it’s the perfect in-between activity. I always feel happier and kind of like a better person each time I listen, as weird as that may sound. Pandora and Dolly, the hosts, are such girl crushes, I flipping love them. They also always have great recommendations!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoy my recommendations if you’re looking for something new to listen to! What are your favourite podcasts? What do I need to listen to next?

-G x

Beating The January Blues

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Matt and I had the best day yesterday; we slept in and had a super lazy morning, then we went to watch NUFC vs Cardiff City. We won 3-0 and it was SUCH a good game! These are my favourite kind of days. It was so freezing cold (we’ve had snow this week!) but we had the best time. We headed to make dinner together, watch a little Netflix and squeeze in an early night. Bliss. Today we’re hoping to have another little lie in, then get wrapped up to head for breakfast and a long walk along the coast, it’s not going to get above 2 degrees but I’m so excited! Matt’s at a work event this evening so before I pick him up I’m going to have the pamper night of all pamper nights… meaning reading An Edited Life and lounging in the bath for approximately two hours. 

I’m so excited to be sharing with you the things I’m doing to keep myself in check this month, letting you in on the little things that make me feel happy and #blessed. But, for real. The January blues are a serious thing, and it’s a month where so many people generally feel low and miserable. It’s understandable; we’re all sad the festive season is over, there’s very little sunlight and it’s constantly freezing cold. I also have so much anxiety related to the bad weather – cue tears at the sight of a few snowflakes, knowing I have to drive in it. I wish I didn’t feel this way and any tips toget over it would be much appreciated? I hope this post may make you see January in a whole different light!

Making the most of quality time with my loved ones. It’ll be no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I treasure nothing more than quality time with my boyfriend. We make the most of being together every night and morning, and we’re extra grateful for the few ocassions per month when our work schedules alighn and we get to spend a whole day together! Planning date days and spending time with our friends and families help us feel refreshed, and as a bonus gives us things to look forward to, which is even more important in the never-ending month of January! I always look forward to coming home from work, getting my comfies on and snuggling up with Matt but I appreciate it during the cold weather more than ever. (It’s my favourite when he runs a bath for me coming home, the cutie!)

Eat foods that make me feel good. Matt and I love cooking SO much, it’s up there in my top three things to do in life. We’ve been learning and experimenting with different foods for a long time and we have our favourite, go-to recipes down. We’re professional meal planners now (probably going to talk about this in more detail at some point), and we’re still really enjoying trying new recipes. I think the Winter months are the best time to spend a little longer in the kitchen! We are big fans of #MeatlessMonday and I’m forever trying to find new vegetarian recipes – please let me know of any you love. I always feel so much better when we’re eating lots of veggies, and I’ve suddenly come to the realization that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. My grandma was right, after all! Also, I’m having a bit of a love affair with Quorn ‘chicken’ nuggets and southern fried bites right now. THEY. ARE. SO. GOOD.

Kos, June 2017. I can’t wait to experience beautiful sunsets in Croatia this year!

Make plans for the Summer. Speaking from experience, this is a great time of year to book your Summer holiday as during the never-ending dark days, Summer seems like it’s never going to come back again. There’s also often great deals in the January sales! Last year, Matt and I booked our holiday to Kos at the beginning of January, and it brightened up the dark days so much. I think when we first booked I checked our countdown on the TUI app approximately 432 times per day, but I was just so excited. We booked our holiday for this Summer last week and we’re are once again counting down the days! We’re heading to Croatia and staying in the most beautiful hotel, and we’re hoping to book up a mini break in Budapest soon too. I feel so lucky and grateful that we’re able to go on holiday! *Be right back, just checking my countdown on the TUI app…*

Don’t let the dark days be overwhelming. We all know during the Winter months when it’s dark in the morning and dark at night, it’s easy to feel miserable and sluggish. During this time of year, most of us go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, and unless you’re staring out of the office window (who’s got time for that?!) it’s easy to miss the small chunks of daylight we get all together. Matt and I always spend a little time cuddled up in the mornings, having a chat and a giggle together no matter how tired we feel or how miserable it is outside. Simple things like enjoying a cup of tea or glass of orange juice whilst we get ready for the day makes the day off to a better start. If the dark mornings are something that you really struggle with, you can purchase alarm clocks (like this one) that gradually wake you up in the morning with light, similar to daylight in the Spring/Summer months. I secretly like the really dark days when it’s pouring rain… just me?

Moving my body. Exercise is important all year round, but during the Winter months I think it’s even more important to make that extra effort to get the blood pumping around my body. As much as I’d love to be, I’m not a gym person and the thought of spending my evenings in the gym fills me with dread. Instead, I love yoga and how personal it is – I can practice at any time of day, anywhere I choose to (a few sun salutations on my lunch break isn’t weird, okay!) My favourite online instructor is the lovely Adrienne, and if yoga is something you’d like to get into this year I’d highly recommend checking her channel out. Matt and I are finally taking up swimming and we’re hoping to go at least twice per week. We’ve been saying this since we visited Kos back in June as we loved being in the water so much, so I’m proud of us for finally doing it! We love going on long walks and the Winter months are perfect for getting out and exploring; we have the beach on one side of our little town and the countryside on the other, we are SO lucky. I can’t wait to get wrapped up and get outside as much as possible!

Setting goals for the week/month/year ahead. I thrive off having goals and plans, and ticking things off a list is my idea of a good time. Lame, I know. If you are a goal orientated person, I’d highly recommend writing down the things you’d like to achieve this year, maybe the places you want to go and any personal things you’d like to work on. Even if this isn’t typically your style, give it a go! I wrote down all of the things I’d like to achieve this year back in December – I wrote a post including most of those here – and I’ve already put most things into practice. I also have set myself a few blog related goals that I’m hoping to achieve throughout the year. Goals can be anything you’d like to change, improve or work on, and there’s no harm in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Just make sure not to be too hard on yourself if a goal doesn’t work out, it’s another chance to give it time and start again!

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Enjoy indoor activities. I am such a homebody and I definitely feel a little bit excited to spend a few more cosy evenings in the house with Matt. That being said, I also love when the nights are bright, sunny and warm – it’s hard to explain HA! My ideal night in during the cold Winter months involves watching a movie or a few shows on Netflix, and eating a really good meal that we’ve cooked. Then of course, snuggling in together for an early night because we’re 24 going on 84. Use your extra time in the house to organise your space, declutter your wardrobes (you can read my experience on that here) and begin your Spring cleaning early. If you haven’t watched Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix – get on it! You’ll want to stay indoors for DAYS organising and de-cluttering. I know Matt and I will be spending the next few months finding new shows on Netflix, cooking some new dishes and wearing our dressing gowns like our lives depends on it! It’s a great time to pick up a new skill, and if you’re looking to learn how to cook I’d highly recommend beginning now. I’m posting a recipe for our favourite chilli in the next few weeks so be sure to come back and check that out!

Supplementing the lack of Vitamin D. It’s a pretty common fact that in the Winter months most of us Brits are Vitamin D deficient, as there really isn’t much daylight and we don’t see the sun for weeks at a time. It’s important to supplement the lack of Vitamin D as this can have a real impact on your general mood and well being, or at least I find it does. You can get Vitamin D from lots of foods, including eggs and fish, or you can supplement with tablets*. I picked up vitamin D tablets from Sainsbury’s and I’ve been taking them every day. Spending as much time as possible outside when you can during the daylight hours is so good for my health and I’d recommend that over any food/supplements! Whether it’s taking a quick walk on your lunch break or getting out of bed earlier than you’d like to on a Sunday morning, go outside and enjoy how beautiful and still everything is during the colder months!
*Speak to your doctor! NHS recommendations linked here.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and picked up a few ideas of things to implement in your life this January. Do you have any tips or ideas of things we can do to beat the January blues?

-G x

What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion?

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! This week Matt and I been cooking new recipes and spending our evening’s watching our new Netflix love, Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons. It’s such an interesting show, we’re genuinely shocked at 99% of each episode! I’m so excited for this weekend; Matt and I are spending it attending an NUFC game (our win yesterday made us very happy campers!), having dinner and drinks at our favourite restaurant in the city centre, and hopefully squeezing in a nice long walk down by the beach on Sunday! We’re hoping to KonMari our lives a little more too, it’s a never-ending task! Matt is at a work event on Sunday evening so I’m going to spend a few hours having a serious pamper night before I pick him up, I can’t wait! (Let’s hope the snow forecast is wrong… anyone else terrified at the thought of driving in it or getting stuck? Just me?!) What are you looking forward to this weekend?

*Vanilla chai lattes and vegan Biscoff donuts highly encouraged as the perfect snacks to get you through this post*

Please know I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, and I’m still learning every single day. This post is written based on opinion yet includes facts, all with good intentions, to inform and encourage people to research for themselves.

I have to begin this post by saying a huge thank you to Niomi Smart, Venetia Falconer, Stacey Dooley and Emma Hill for inspiring me to learn about fast fashion, and for setting an amazing example in their everyday lives. One of my favourite Instagram hashtags to search through is #OOOTD (Old Outfit Of The Day) which is something Venetia started to encourage people to shop their wardrobes, and to advocate slow fashion. I’ve shared an OOOTD in this post – Matt took this photo last weekend when we were on our way to brunch!

If you’re a regular reader here on my blog, you’ve definitely seen the words ‘fast fashion’ mentioned a fair few times in recent posts. Fast fashion is quite literal; it’s a term that means clothing pieces created – usually from Designer catwalk inspiration – to be made in large quantities, generally for very little money. On NYE I posted on my Instagram story that I was shopping my wardrobe not the high street for my outfit this year, and that’s a mindset I’m so happy to now have.

Fast fashion is all around us, and us millennials buy in our droves on a daily basis. We’re of course not the only ones to blame for the incredible rise in fast fashion brands’ popularity over the past few years, but we’re certainly not helping the situation. There has been a lot of controversy regarding fast fashion over the past year, which was only heightened by Stacey Dooley’s Fashion’s Dirty Secrets documentary that aired on BBC2 in September 2018. It’s currently unavailable on BBC iPlayer but if you can find it, it’s so worth a watch. As any regular readers will already know, I adore Stacey! She is brilliant at investigating varying topics around the world, and shedding light onto just how serious these topics are. I learned many things from the FDS documentary, and aside from the people directly affected by pollution one of the biggest shocks was that a whole sea in Kazakhstan has almost completely dried up due to the amount of waste produced by surrounding cotton mills. The documentary is eye opening and jaw dropping for us as consumers to watch, and I guarantee it will leave you shocked at your hand in this epidemic too.

So, what is the deal with fast fashion? Is epidemic too strong of a word? Why are we all boycotting it? Basically, it’s killing our planet. It has a detrimental affect on so many factors of life; human rights due to low wages and long hours, water systems due to dye being dumped into rivers and lakes, and the waste and pollution caused by it is getting larger by the day, among many other things. Not only is the process to make the clothes causing pollution on another scale, but the clothes are generally very cheaply made, and they don’t last very long, even if you take care of them. This means often once we are ‘finished’ with these clothing items, they are not able to be passed on – to friends, family or charity – and end up in landfill.

Many brands are now branching into sustainable materials and ethical trading, which includes being able to trace the origins of clothing items right back to where they first started. These companies ensure staff are paid fair wages, have better working conditions and are taking as many procedures as possible to reduce their pollution. Sounds like a great thing, right? Well it is, but those costs have to be passed onto the consumer, and the reality is for most of us we cannot afford to pay X amount of money for everyday items, such as a t-shirt. There’s a weird lull at the moment, in my opinion, as shops seem to be either steered towards fast fashion and the current trend(s) of the season with little to no care for the environment or it’s people, or they’re doing everything they can to be a more ethical brand, and therefore becoming slightly less accessible to customers with higher prices, and less stock available. 

I am a lover of retail therapy, an advocate even, so what am I supposed to do now shopping is considered ‘bad’ for the environment? Well, I can change the way I shop. I covered a lot of the reasons behind why I’m changing the way I shop in this post, but now I’m more determined than ever to be the change I want to see in the world. That’s how all of this starts, right? Some of these tips and ideas will possibly be repeated from previous posts, but they are so important, and if I can bring awareness to just one more person that makes me extremely happy. So, here’s a few things I’m doing, and you can do them too! This applies to all different budgets, and hey if you have the budget to shop only sustainable fashion brands, then more power to you! (And, are there any jobs going at your place?! HAHA).

#OOOTD (LOL posing for photos makes my toes curl, the only one I could include was one of me looking away from the camera, mid hair tuck!)

Donate and shop second hand. I’m very good at the donating part, but I’m yet to shop second hand. Buying from the likes of charity shops, eBay and Depop are a great start as you’re getting new (to you) clothing items at cheaper prices, and it prevents one more ‘new’ garment out finding it’s way out into the world. I sell mine and Matt’s unwanted/unused clothes on eBay fairly often, and since The Great Wardrobe Declutter of 2018 I’ve decluttered several more times. (Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show has encouraged Matt and I to re-assess not just our wardrobes but our whole lives LOL!) Another great alternative would be to gather a few friends and encourage them to go through their clothing, seeing what items they can pass on. Then, you could all get together and exchange a few pieces, giving them a new home and a whole new way to be worn. I’d love to do this!

Shop less, and always with a purpose. I’m embarrassed to admit I used to be that girl that bought a new outfit, or at least a new top, for every social occasion. I mean, I don’t go out that often, but I still purchased way more items than required for my lifestyle. I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed to for myself, but I did think other people would notice. The reality is nobody cares if you take photos wearing the same pieces, and my boyfriend certainly doesn’t take into account what top I’m wearing for date night! (Nine times out of ten he didn’t even know I was wearing a new top until I told him – “oh, but the black shirt you wore last time looks the same?”) Buying new clothes for each event you go to, whether it’s a wedding or a night down your local pub is unnecessary, and it can also be pretty hard on your bank account. Instead, I highly encourage you to buy (sometimes higher priced) sustainable clothing pieces that you can wear over and over again. The main aim of stopping fast fashion in it’s tracks is to simply buy less clothing, and love/wear what you have.

Buy items with minimal (or no) man-made fabric content. Have you ever been shopping and seen a fairly suspicious girl snooping through the rail of jumpers, reading the labels tucked inside? No? Well you haven’t seen me shopping! It may seem a little strange at first, but looking at clothing tags to see what an item is made of is so eye-opening, and I can guarantee you’ll be shocked at how many items are made out of 100% polyester. *More than 70 billion barrels of oil are used worldwide each year to manufacture polyester, which is then processed into low quality clothing items. Polyester clothing items are then not bio-degradable, and even washing these pieces causes huge pollution. It’s thought that items made with man-made fabrics, such as polyester and acrylic, are the biggest cause of microplastic pollution in our oceans today. That means it’s bigger than pollution caused by plastic bags, plastic packaging and plastic straws!
*Information from EcoCult – this article is a great read.

Aim to buy items of clothing that already go with items you own, and can be re-worn for years to come. I read (possibly in a magazine article, or another blog?) that we should be aiming to buy items we can wear at least thirty times, but I think we can do even better than that. Generally speaking we all have favourite items in our wardrobes – whether it’s a pair of jeans, a snuggly jumper or a silk slip dress – so we should be buying with intentions of working with what we already have. If you’re already shopping with a purpose like I mentioned above, this will begin to come naturally, and you start to keep yourself in check whilst you’re browsing the rails. Next time you feel the need to shop, I’d encourage you to analyse your wardrobe, and see what (if anything) you require to get more wear out of your favourite pieces. Everyone’s basics and essentials are different, so tailor this towards your own wardrobe and needs. Make time every now and then to try on different pieces together and create new outfits, I guarantee there are so many outfit options in your current wardrobe you’ve never even thought to put together before.

Take care of your clothing. Washing your clothes less frequently (especially anything made with man-made fabrics) reduces wastage going into oceans. I’m not saying you have to put the same stinky gym leggings on four days in a row, but hear me out. Lots of clothes do not require washing after just one wear; for example, jeans can be worn at least half a dozen times! This is something I have to admit was new to me last year, I would wear a t-shirt for an hour or so whilst doing our grocery shop, then put it straight into the laundry basket when I took it off. Being more eco-friendly does not compromise cleanliness! It’s also much more beneficial for the environment to hang your clothes (or lay flat) to dry, instead of using a tumble drier. I’d recommend investing in a cashmere comb – it may be the most boring yet best thing I’ve ever bought – as you can de-bobble your old jumpers in an instant. Fixing clothes that are damaged, eg sewing buttons back on or mending holes, is something I think we all need to be held more accountable for.

Research, research and research. Are you feeling intrigued and want to know more? To begin, I’d recommend reading articles, scouring Instagram, watching documentaries and looking at your own current habits. I unsubscribed from all fast fashion websites that were sending me daily emails, and I downloaded an app called Good On You, which has changed how I see brands! (It rates clothing and accessories companies on three areas – Labour, Environment and Animal. Matt and I check their information on brands whenever we’re shopping!) One thing that surprised me a little is that the more I’ve read, and the more people I’ve found who think similarly to me, my need for change has filtered through to beauty products and food. I’ve vowed to buy only makeup and skincare from cruelty-free brands moving forward, I’m beginning to explore natural and organic beauty products, and I’m enjoying experimenting with vegetarian/vegan food options more and more. I’m so excited to see where I can go on my journey to sustainability!

Thank you so much for reading, I’m so excited to hear your thoughts on this topic. Are you on your own journey to living more sustainably? Did you find this post helpful, or do you feel inspired to change? Who inspires you? I can’t wait to share some of my tips and opinions on being sustainable in all aspects of our lives over the next few weeks!

 -G x

How To Have A Better Night’s Sleep

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Yesterday Matt and I had such a fun date day. We went for brunch at the cutest cafe called Post Box in Ponteland, I had the best veggie breakfast I’ve ever had! We spent the rest of the day doing a little grocery shopping, football watching and cleaning out Matt’s wardrobe Marie Kondo style. (I’m OBSESSED with her new Netflix show! Have you watched it?!) Today Matt’s unfortunately back at work, so although we got a mini lie-in this morning, I’m home alone until 5pm! I am however hoping to declutter ALL of my skincare/makeup and maybe a few more clothes, and have dinner ready for Matt coming home… productive Sunday’s are my thing! What are you up to this weekend?

I think during the Winter months more than ever, I appreciate every single second I get to spend snuggled in bed! Matt and I have been lucky enough to squeeze in lots of early nights recently, and we have our evening routine perfected to suit us. Today I’m sharing with you a few things that have been helping Matt and I to have the best night’s sleep.

Unwind during the evening. From the minute Matt and I arrive home from work, we spend the evening relaxing and unwinding. Even if sometimes we have to take a few minutes to send that last email or complain to one another about a bad day at work, we then switch off from the work day and allow ourselves time to relax and enjoy being together. We don’t spend much time on our phones during the evening other than to reply to a few texts or post the odd photo to our Instagram story (guilty), but we really try to be fully present with each other. I am obsessed with scented candles, and Matt has finally agreed they make everything feel ten times more cosy! I love nothing more than lighting a few candles, turning on my Himalayan pink salt lamp and snuggling up with him under our huge Costco blankets (they’re hands down the best thing you can buy this Winter and they’re so inexpensive!) watching a movie.

Eat good food. One of the best feelings in the world is snuggling up in bed next to your loved one when you both have a full belly. It’s something I’ve often took for granted but I realise just how lucky I am for this to be my every day reality! Matt and I love to cook and although we have a few favourite go-to recipes, we’re currently trying new ones out and often making things up as we go along. Coming in from the cold to make a warming, filling meal after a long day is, in my opinion, the perfect way to begin the evening. One of our favourite things to make recently is a vegetable chilli, I can’t wait to share some recipes with you over the next few weeks. I’m also very into drinking hot chocolate at the moment and I love to make one before bed!

Read or listen to a podcast. I find that whenever I do either of these things I feel so calm and relaxed. Reading blogs is my favourite pastime day or night, and I’m forever playing catch up on my favourites. I love losing myself in a good book (this year I’ve challenged myself to read 20 books). I might be a little too confident. I love to read in the bath especially, and then curled up in my dressing gown post-bath. When Matt’s on a late finish (meaning he’s not home until after 9pm) I read for at least an hour, and wonder where the time has gone! I’ve also really got into podcasts over the past six months – Small Town Murder is forever my favourite – and I find they help me unwind too. It’s different to watching YouTube or Netflix, as I don’t have to concentrate as much, and I can also listen whilst doing other things, such as planning my week, changing our sheets or cleaning.

Invest in good quality pillows, duvet and bedding. I’m a sucker for a good smushy pillow and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I picked up some new ones just before Christmas, they are SO. COMFY. Matt and I are such cuddly sleepers (anyone else remembering that Friends episode where Rachel is a cuddly sleeper and Ross isn’t, well I promise we both are HAHA) that we generally snuggle in to go to sleep and after a few minutes we’re flat out! Soft, hotel-like pillows are my jam, and Matt thankfully loves them too. If you’re in the market for new ones, Dunelm have some great options for really affordable prices that you can feel in store, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

Take time for my skincare routine. Is it just me that feels SO incredibly good after spending a tad longer than usual carrying out my skincare routine? From cleansing to toning to moisturising, it just makes me feel relaxed and refreshed, and TBH, ready to snuggle up in bed! I love to use super moisturising products and oils at night time, as my skin always thanks me for it when morning rolls around. I can’t wait to share my current skincare favourites with you, my routine will be up on the blog next month!

Use pillow mist. I love the smell of essential oils, and I got a sample size of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray in a Look Fantastic monthly subscription box at the end of 2018. I’ve used this product in the past and honestly forgot all about it, but now I quite enjoy spraying it on our pillows before we go to sleep. Matt thought it would make no difference, but we’re sleeping better than ever, and waking up so much easier after a good night’s sleep, so it must be doing something right. The smell of essential oils is so calming and relaxing, and although it’s quite an extravagant product it’s such a fun one to use – maybe you could pick it up if you have a little Christmas money left over? I’m definitely going to invest in the full size once this is gone.

Have a relaxing bath. I could happily spend half my life in the bath! Tbh, I probably do. I love nothing more than settling in with a glass filled with Diet Coke and lots of ice and letting the minutes (cough hours cough) tick by. I shared my favourite bath products back in December which you can check out here, but any products that make you feel relaxed and pampered will do just the trick. I find that if I’ve had a bad day I tend to stress my whole drive home, then the second I’m preparing my bath I can literally feel any stresses or worries easing off. This also means by the time Matt gets home from work (most days I’m home first) I’m relaxed and feeling much happier, and we’re able to enjoy our night together. Using all my favourite pamper products will almost definitely make for a better sleep too, all products from Jo Malone or Sanctuary Spa are heaven to me!

Take ten minutes for a yoga sesh. Yoga? Again? SORRY I can’t stop! I’m more into it then ever, it makes me happy, relaxed and sometimes, quite sleepy. You can spend just a few minutes or an hour winding down, it’s totally up to you. Evenings where I can’t really be bothered to take time for yoga usually end up being my favourite sessions, I always feel like a weight’s been lifted when I’m finished. There are so many yoga practices you can find on YouTube or on apps if you don’t have your own 10 minute unwinding routine. This is my favourite routine for nights I just need a little more relaxation.

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? What do you do to ensure you have a good nights sleep? I can’t wait for Matt to come home tonight so we can fall asle-zzzzzzz

-G x


My Handbag Essentials This Winter

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I don’t know about all of you but it’s my first full week at work this year and I’m so over the week already. BUT, I’m hanging in and I can’t wait for date day on Saturday! It’s been a long week, including renovations (literally got our windows replaced and when I got home from work yesterday it looked like a tornado had passed through!) and I’m generally just exhausted. I picked Matt up late last night from a football game and felt so lucky we got a little lie in this morning. I’m feeling super grateful for all of the cosy evenings we get to spend together every night, and I’m excited for us to cook up a storm the next few nights! Matt’s had lots of late shifts so we’ve been living off pizzas and pasta bakes when he gets home (around 9pm) and we miss cooking together SO MUCH. We’re having chicken fajitas tonight, so I’m sure I’ll be feeling approximately 10,000 times happier HAHA. We’re also hoping to book our Summer 2019 holiday this week which is sure to put a smile on my face, I can’t wait for a week in the sun with my love!

Today I’m talking through my must-have handbag essentials, specifically during the Winter months. This is based on what I carry in my day-to-day work bag which is a large tote, as generally on the weekends I take my small Kate Spade crossbody out with me with just the (real) essentials. I wrote a What’s In My Bag post back in July (I can’t quite believe that was six months ago) which you can check out here if you missed it! I’m not going to go through everything I carry – it’s safe to say I will always have my purse/card holder, car keys and medication with me!

Mini Perfumes
I’m obsessed with perfumes! I take pride in my little collection and I’m forever wanting to add more. One of my favourites, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet comes in the cutest travel-sized rollerball and I always have it with me, it’s perfect for date nights! Recently I’ve been really into Glossier You, which comes in the cutest millennial pink packaging. This is a solid perfume, which was a little bit of a weird concept to me, but now I’m fully converted. It’s so flipping handy! I couldn’t resist picking it up during Glossier’s Black Friday sale – when it’s 20% off at Glossier you just have to, right? Also, both of these perfumes layer so well with anything I’ve already put on earlier in the day.

Re-Usable Metal Straws
I love my re-usable straws, and I always have at least three in my bag. I have some at work, my house and Matt’s, then anywhere else I have a drink I can use these! My teeth are super sensitive to cold drinks (and I love my drinks with tons of ice!) but I’ve sworn off using plastic straws forever. Did you know they take FIVE HUNDRED years to decompose?! My mind was blown, but I’m just not a fan of the paper straws given out in restaurants. I found these on Amazon and I love them so much, I bought three sets and I’m probably never going to have to buy a straw again!

An Umbrella
So, it’s England in January… the chances of me needing my umbrella at any given moment are incredibly high. I love this one so much, Matt bought it for me because I used to always buy cheap ones, and wonder why they’d break after two uses. The yellow handle makes me feel happy, and it’s nice to not have a boring black umbrella!

My 2019 Planner
I couldn’t live my life without my planner! I am so forgetful, I like to plan out my weeks, in writing, and then I can always refer back/add things in as and when required. Matt and I meal plan in here, I write any grocery shopping lists and I also plan out my blog posts week by week – from idea, to fully published post. The one I use is from BoxClever Press, you can pick it up here, and it’s perfect for my needs. A post about how I plan my week will be up in the next few weeks!

Emergency Chocolate Bar
Yep… emergency. I get very hangry, very quickly, so it’s better for all involved if I have a chocolate bar (and usually a granola bar too LOL) for those emergency times. I also have another chocolate bar in my car that is always replaced once eaten, although this Oreo one is not my first pick, Cadbury’s is forever my favourite! Matt and I crack open my emergency chocolate bars open in the car all of the time, every time we’re going somewhere further than a few minutes drive HAHA. So, yeah you could say healthy eating in the new year isn’t going too well..

A Bobble Hat & Gloves
If I’m not wearing my hat and/or gloves during the Winter, they for sure are in my bag! I am always cold, even in the Summer, so you can bet I try to do everything I can to stay warm and cosy. I picked up these gloves from Topshop a few years back, and the hat was a Christmas gift from Matt from The North Face (he’s the cutest ever). I live for bobble hats during the Autumn/Winter months; they add so much to an outfit, they look super cute and they’re great for hiding hair that may need washed HAHA.

Kate Spade Travel Mug
Since it began to get chilly at the beginning of October, I’ve been more obsessed than ever with cups of tea, chai tea lattes and hot chocolates! Most mornings Matt and I enjoy a cup of tea together before heading off to work, and I’m trying to get in the habit of taking one to work with me on the super cold mornings. I got this travel mug last Spring, and I just think it’s so cute! You really can’t go wrong with anything from Kate Spade, every piece they make is so beautiful. I keep a few Swiss Miss hot chocolate sachets and tea sachets in my bag too, so I can make my favourite drinks wherever I am.

Beauty essentials
I always carry a few more beauty products than are actually necessary, but my essentials include spare invisibobbles and bobby pins, MAC Next To Nothing powder, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lip cheat and lipstick, and of course a few lip balms. I always carry hand sanitizer and hand cream with me, which is essential during the cold months! I’m one of those weird people that uses hand sanitizer like my life depends on it, which Matt always makes fun of me for (BUT, he always asks to use it too)! These are the main things I often reach for throughout the day, and are transferred into any bag I use. Glossier pouches are my favourite for separating bits and bobs in my bag, I also use them when travelling and can’t recommend enough!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your handbag essentials during the Winter months? I’d love to know!

-G x



Winter Bucket List

Hi, loves!

As any regular readers will know, I am SUCH a planner, and I thrive off having things to look forward to. Matt laughs at me all the time because I’m constantly planning our week in advance – what we’re having for dinner, if we’re staying at my parents house or his, where we should go for date night… I can’t help it! On the plus side, I’m super organised and we’ll never miss a birthday or anniversary, or turn up late to an event, every cloud eh?

Matt and I love spending time together and we’re so lucky that no matter what hectic work schedule Matt’s dealing with that week, we’re able to spend at least every morning and night together. Matt gets two days off per week but they’re often during the week, whereas mine are always Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes our evenings consist of catching up on each other’s days over a super quick dinner and then we’re snuggled up in bed ready to do it all over again. We see each other more than lots of couples are able to and we’re super grateful for that, we just wish we got more quality time together! This is why we plan in date nights and trips together, it’s so much better when we know in X amount of days we get to do this or that.

This year I thought it would be fun to plan season by season of all the fun things we’d like to do rather than by month and also include three personal goals I want achieve myself! I hope this may give you guys some ideas of fun things to do with your partners and/or friends over the upcoming months! I can’t wait to tick these things off our list, and I’m planning to do an update in the Spring, letting you know what worked for us and what didn’t. Also, I’m borderline obsessed with watching planning/journalling videos and there’s just not enough blog posts on the subject! Let me know if you’d like me to share how I plan ahead for the week/month?

Go to as many NUFC games as we can
Get wrapped up and go for walks along the beach
Spend a whole day lounging in the house in our pyjamas, watching films and cooking an extravagant evening meal
Make a snowman
Declutter and clean out my drawers and wardrobes (again, Marie Kondo style!)
Declutter and clean out Matt’s drawers and wardrobe
Go bowling
Spend a relaxing afternoon at a spa
Take a day trip up North
Finally start watching Power on Netflix – we’ve been saying we’d start for about a year now
Squeeze in all of the date nights!
Go swimming regularly through the week
Take walks through the woods to explore new places
Visit Glasgow and stay overnight
Cook a Sunday roast for our parents
Finally decide where we want to go on holiday and book!
Make gingerbread men (baking is not our forte so this might be a struggle)
Have a game night with our parents
Make reservations at all our favourite restaurants; Tomahawk Steakhouse, Harry’s, Ora, Branches
Plan fun double dates with our friends
Make homemade hot chocolate
Complete a jigsaw puzzle together on a cold Wintery day
See a show at our local theatre

Personal goals this season:
Go to a yoga class
Drive in the snow – if it snows – without crying… LOL this is so serious
Go to a coffee shop to work on my blog

Thank you so much for reading! I’m not sure we’ll have enough time to do everything on our list before Spring rolls around but I’m sure we’ll have fun trying! What are some of the things you want to do over the Winter months? Are you looking forward to anything in particular?

-G x

My 2018 Beauty Favourites

Happy New Year, loves!

Welcome to my first blog post of 2019… wow that feels weird to say! I hope you had the most amazing NYE celebrating with your family and friends. Matt and I certainly had the best evening celebrating with each other and our friends! I hope you all started the year surrounded by amazing people, and fingers crossed 2019 will bring you some amazing things. Matt and I can’t wait to get back to cooking together! After indulging over the Christmas break, a little detox is much needed. I can’t believe all of the festivities are over for another year, however I’m so excited to be beginning another year with the love of my life; a year of travelling and exploring, saving for our house and all the extra fun things we’ll be up to!

Matt and I are super lucky to have had yesterday and today off work, spending some much needed quality time together! I’m feeling so happy and ready to take on the new year. Tonight we’re heading to our first NUFC game of the year, fingers crossed we beat Man U!

Today’s post is all about my favourite nine beauty products from 2018. Some of these products were new discoveries for me in the past year, and some I’ve loved for a very long time and realised just how much over the past twelve months. I struggled so hard to narrow this down to just nine products, but I feel like we’re thrown so many ‘must have’ products from blog posts, YouTube videos and magazines, and there’s some weird obligation I often feel to try everyone’s must-haves. I looked through my makeup and skincare stash, and had a little snoop around the bathroom and tried to think more in a sense of #holygrail products – anyone remember when everyone on YouTube used to use that phrase about pretty much every product they’d ever used?! Well this is more along the lines of your whole makeup and skincare collection got taken off you and what would you re-purchase first! Literally my worst nightmare HAHA, but that was my thinking behind picking up these products, I hope you enjoy!

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Cheat Pencil & Lipstick
I’ve used and loved this lip liner for the past few years (I’m pretty sure I discovered it through Amelia Liana’s vlogs!) and this year it’s become my number one go-to. I always buy myself a Christmas present every year – no shame – and this year I treated myself to a few Charlotte Tilbury goodies I’d had my eye on for a while. This lipstick is the perfect pinkish nude, and it’s lived in my handbag ever since I bought it. It’s a more dark nude shade on me as I have super fair skin! I wore it on Christmas Day too (I totally skipped Buxom Hot Toddy that I featured in my Festive Makeup Routine post in favour of my new lipstick love) and it lasted so well through eating, drinking, and of course kissing Matt! These are both my perfect your lips but better shade, and I can’t recommend them highly enough if you’re in the market for new high end lip products.

The Body Shop Bouncy Eye Mask
This is without a doubt my best skincare product of find of 2018, possibly ever! I have had issues with dry, irritated skin under my eyes for the past few years, especially during the colder Autumn/Winter months, and this product has completley fixed that. I use this every night and it leaves my skin feeling so smooth and soft, and my under eye area never feels dry or flaky like it used to. I find that after I do my morning skincare routine my under-eye area still feels so great and makeup sits so well on top.

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light
I only picked this up in November, but it’s already a holy grail must-have product for me! I was using Benefit Hoola as a contour product for the longest time, and admiring this from afar as Alana and Anna always rave about it in their videos! The colour is slightly grey toned and not at all muddy, it blends perfectly and the pan seemingly lasts forever (I’ve used this every day since I bought it and there isn’t even a slight dent on the powder). It’s by far the best contour product I’ve ever used, and is the perfect shade for my fair skin tone. I’ll definitely be picking up the medium shade when the Summer months roll around!

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
This truly is a skin-saver for me! I’m currently planning my skincare routine post featuring all of my favourite products that will be up in the next few weeks, but I can’t tell you how much difference this makes to my skin. It’s priced well – I’d say mid-ranged – and is often included in three for two offers in Boots and on Feel Unique and Look Fantastic. I use this every day and find it’s the perfect base for makeup; it doesn’t feel heavy or thick on my face but it definitely moisturises and creates a great barrier on my skin for makeup to lay on top of. It’s made a huge difference to my skin, and has been a huge help in healing scars and pigmentation, caused by previous acne. I couldn’t be without this! This is solely the product that allows me to feel comfortable on the odd no makeup day I have each month!

Radox Acai Berry Bath Salts
I discovered these late in the year, but I can’t tell you how great I feel when I use these in my bath! I sprinkle them in to every bath I take, along with bubble bath and sometimes a bath bomb, and they smell so so beautiful. They claim to ‘wash away stresses and clear your mind’ and I’d say I agree with that; I feel SO relaxed and calm after each bath, and I genuinely look forward to using them! I picked up the spearmint scented package for Matt and he’s a huge fan too, we’re both literally obsessed with baths HAHA.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder
I used this a ton at the beginning of the year, drifted off to various products in between, and now I’m firmly back on the Laura Mercier train. I can’t stress how beautiful this product is; it sets my makeup without it looking cakey, and doesn’t wear off throughout the day. I use this every day, as a powder to lightly bake under my eyes and under my contour, and to set the rest of my face with a big fluffy brush. It’s so finely milled and I swear a full size powder lasts FOREVER, even if you’re like me and end up with half of it over your boyfriends carpet on the daily! (Sorry, babe!)

Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Vanilla
I’ve talked about this so many times on the blog and recommended it personally to pretty much every makeup-wearing person I know! It’s the most perfect concealer to cover redness, blemishes and acne scarring. I had pretty bad acne scarring on my cheeks, that has gone down so much over the past year (thanks to Effaclar Duo!) but it’s still there, and visible through a light layer of foundation. I only use my foundation to even out my skin tone, then use my concealer to correct imperfections and redness; this means my face doesn’t look cakey and all of the makeup sits so well. I don’t use this under my eyes as it’s a little too thick, however as a secret extra favourite product I LOVE the Laura Mercier fusion concealer; I’ve not been using it long enough to class it as a 2018 beauty favourite, but I can’t imagine ever stopping using it!

Garnier Skin Active Sheet Masks
My love of sheet masks hit an all time high in 2018, and these are the ultimate best on the market for me. Matt and I often spend an evening relaxing watching Netflix and throwing on a sheet mask (he’s such a good sport HAHA). He prefers masks he can peel off, but even he comments on how good his skin looks every time we use these! We used them the night before Christmas Eve and our skin looked so healthy and glowing on Christmas Day. I wrote a whole post about these masks which you can check out here.

Estee Lauder Eight Hour Cream
I freaking LOVE this product! I keep it in my bag at all times as I just feel I can’t be without it. It’s a great multi tasking product, although I typically use it as a lip balm (religiously before bed I switch between this and Nuxe Reve De Miel – Matt isn’t a fan of ‘goopy’ lip balms when he kisses me HAHA) and a cuticle treatment. I think it’s because it’s Winter and my skin is feeling a little more dry in general, but I’ve had lots of dry skin around my fingernails and on my hands in general. This product has been a miracle worker and made my skin feel so soft and smooth! I know if I ever have dry or chapped lips, a night of wearing this ensures they’re good as new in the morning.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found my top nine beauty products from the year helpful, and maybe to add a few things into your beauty wishlist for the new year. What were your standout must-have products for the year?

-G x