February Favourites

Hi, loves!

I said this last month, but wow I can’t believe how quickly this month has passed. It seems like I blinked and the month was over, but Matt and I have had such a fun month, filled with so much love and happiness, which is what February is all about! I’m not too excited for March because Matt is going away on a work trip (just for one night, which still feels like forever haha) and for a weekend with the boys in Berlin! I’m so excited for him to make amazing memories but I’m already dreading how much I’m going to miss him! BUT there’s so many things to look forward to also! It’s Matt’s 25th birthday, Spring begins, we’re planning a spa day, and hopefully the weather will be warming up even more. It’s been so warm for February in the UK, I’m not convinced it’s a good thing although the sunny days have got me so excited for Spring, I literally can’t wait. I’ve got lots of favourites from this month, so let’s dive right in…

*All beauty products recommended are cruelty free*

Valentine’s Dinner at Tomahawk Steakhouse
Matt and I had the best early Valentine’s date at our favourite restaurant; we had the most amazing steaks and ate SO much food we were full until lunch time the next day. We always go to this restaurant for special ocassions and it’s such a happy place for us both; the food is amazing, the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are lovely. We get different sides and share them between us, but the mac n cheese is to die for – Matt isn’t a huge fan generally and even he loves this one! If you’re in Newcastle I’d highly recommend this restaurant for any special ocassion, it’s worth every penny. We also had such a fun Valentine’s weekend together, which I shared with you in this post, it was absolutely a highlight of the month.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte)
This is my new holy-grail foundation, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to purchase! I used the original formula a few years back (I picked it up in Florida well before it was available in the UK) but then when I ran out I couldn’t re-purchase and I forgot all about it. I’ve tried so many foundations over the years but I’m never fully happy with some aspect of it, except this one ticks every box for me. It’s lightweight on the skin, covers all redness/imperfections (although I do always use concealer over the top of any spots or redness) and it lasts all day. I always set with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder and I never have issues with it coming off through the day.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte) in Fair – £31.50

Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo and Conditioner
GUYS. I’m always so honest with you on my blog and I only talk about products I truly love and believe in. But wow, I really bloody love these! I bought this shampoo and conditioner when I ran out of what I was using, and all I wanted was to buy a good quality, cruelty free option (without spending a fortune). Shampoo and conditioner are those type of products I always thought you could buy along with your grocery shop and not think much more about it, but my hair was SO damaged and cheap formulas were just not doing it. After doing a ton of research, I picked up these and I’m so shocked at how much the quality of my hair has changed in just a few weeks. My hair looks so much better after washing, lasts longer without looking/feeling greasy between washes and these products smell SO GOOD. I also think my hair styles much better since using these, and I’ve noticed that my hair doesn’t break anywhere near as much as it used to. If you’re in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner I’d highly recommend picking these up!
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo – £7.00
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Conditioner – £7.00

Leopard Print Everything
I flipping love leopard print, and I’ve been wearing tons of leopard print items over the past month! From scarves to shirts to sock boots, I’ve wore it constantly, and I’m not complaining. Much to Matt’s dismay my eye is automatically drawn to anything leopard print, and I definitely want to pick up some makes-my-heart-sing leopard print pieces for the Spring/Summer months. I’ve talked so much about how I no longer want to be an active part of the fast fashion industry, so any items I buy will be things I can definitley wear for years to come. I realise it’s only the end of February but this warm weather has me so excited to buy things for Summer! I’m especially excited to buy things for our holiday to Croatia, and I’m on the lookout for a leopard print pool cover up!
Boots – New Look (old)

Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess
This was a lovely and super generous Valentine’s gift from Matt (isn’t he just the cutest) that I’d wanted for so long! This lipstick is even better than I hoped it would be; it’s the perfect tea-rose shade, and wearable day or night. The formula is creamy and hydrating, and it lasts so well on the lips! This shade was made for Kate Middleton, and just knowing that makes me feel like a princess when I wear it. As always with anything from Charlotte Tilbury, the packaging is beautiful; it’s in a weighty, rose gold tube that makes me want to re-apply at any given moment, just to look at it!
Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess – £24.00

Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter
This product is the definition of an oldie but a goodie to me, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog for a while I’m sure you would have seen it featured many times. I use this (almost – I’m not perfect, okay!?) every night when I get out of the bath or shower, and it is hands-down my favourite body butter for when my skin’s feeling dry, or just for a little luxury. I love the smell so much and it dries in so quickly, which is something I always look for in a good moisturiser.
Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter – £12.50

Soph Hearts Blog
I’ve read Sophie’s blog for a while, but I just think she is smashing it more and more with her content and deserves a little extra recognition. I recently followed her on social media (a goal this year was to interact more with the bloggers behind blogs I read and love) and I’m so glad I did. Sophie is such a sweetheart, she takes amazing photos and I love how honest she is with anything she’s sharing. My favourite post from February was this one, about the importance of self-love. I did that thing where you fall into a blog hole, and went back to re-read her Summer posts from last year – her outfits were so cute and gave me major inspo for things I’d like to buy/wear in SS19. If you don’t already follow Sophie or read her blog, please go give her some love!
www.sophhearts.com

Berry Trifle Yankee Candle
I’ve actually got a few favourite candles from this month, but this one pips the others to the top of the list as it’s the one we’ve burned the most. Matt’s lovely mam bought me this ‘just because’ back in November, and I’d been saving it to burn after my Christmas candles ran out. Matt and I have candles burning literally every night; they make our evenings so cosy and relaxed, and just generally make me feel happy. This candle smells incredible, without being too strong, and fills the room. It’s a beautiful warming scent, but thankfully doesn’t give you the urge to go grab some baked goods like most candles in the food category!
Berry Trifle Yankee Candle – £25.00

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products/things from this month? I’m crossing my fingers for warm, Spring weather in March!

-G x

My Smear Test Experience, And Why You Shouldn’t Fear Yours

Happy Sunday, loves!

As you may have guessed by the title, today’s post is very personal but also very important. If you’re due a smear test, or you are expecting to get a letter through the door any day now to book your first appointment, DON’T WORRY! Are you feeling a little apprehensive? Nervous about a nurse having a good ol’ nosy at your downstairs? Well, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re one of the elite who don’t care about this kind of thing and just get on with it like the adult you are, I salute you! You may get a good laugh at my expense in this post, though.

A smear test (also known as a cervical screening test) is designed to check for abnormalities to cells on your cervix. It does NOT test for cancer, although the test is able to prevent cancer in patients as any abnormalities found can be treated, therefore preventing possible cancer in the future.

I received my letter to book my smear test around six months before my 25th birthday. It was the end of November/beginning of December when I opened my letter, and after telling Matt how nervous I was at the thought of it, I put the letter in a drawer, mentally putting off booking my appointment until after Christmas. I was very nervous and worried about the concept of a smear test, and even more about waiting for the results afterwards. January rolled around and to be honest, I was still putting off booking my appointment. The #10yearchallenge trended for a few weeks in January, and apart from cringeworthy throwbacks, something I seen all over social media was photographs of Jade Goody, who sadly passed away from cervical cancer aged 27, ten years ago. Her story was being re-discussed, and an encouragement on ladies attending their smear test was brought up again.

I’m sure Jade Goody’s name will be familiar to everyone based in the UK, as there have been so many campaigns to lower the age for smear tests after her incredibly sad and untimely death. Currently in the UK, smear tests are free for all women from six months before their 25th birthday, and recurring tests (if all is well) are carried out every three years, until the age of 49, when it changes to every five years. These test times can vary based on your results, and we’re very well looked after by our NHS. That being said, it’s currently thought that at least one in three women do not attend appointments for their smear test, often due to embarrassment of the test. As the testing process is so frequent, it’s going to be a regular part of any woman’s life, and it’s 100% for our benefit. As I mentioned above, I was very nervous at the thought of the test process and I see why people are put off, although after having my test I really feel there’s no need to be! It is completely normal to feel nervous and apprehensive about something you’ve never done before, but a simple test that takes less than five minutes could literally save your life. And it’s free, us Brits love a bargain or freebie, right?

My Experience

So, after seeing all of the #10yearchallenge posts (which were to raise awareness, and for me it clearly worked) I knew I had to book my appointment. The night before I booked it, Matt and I were lying in bed talking before we fell asleep, and he told me he’d also seen the #10yearchallenge posts, and thought it was really important I booked in soon. I relayed how terrified I was, and after talking out my concerns with him I felt so much better. The next morning, I plucked up all of the courage I could muster to book my appointment and was told I couldn’t as I wasn’t yet 25. What? I explained that I’d received a letter to arrange my appointment, but was told by the receptionist that as I wasn’t yet 25 she couldn’t book me in. I reluctantly booked just a pill check (as I wanted to do both appointments at the same time) and hung up the phone.

I was at work when this happened, so after relaying the story to my co-workers and having a quick read of the NHS website, I knew what I’d been told was incorrect and that I should be able to have my test any time from six months before I turned 25. I called back and was told that actually yes, I could book my smear test and that I’d been given incorrect information. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but as I was already so nervous to book my test I could have trusted her word and put it off for a further four months. This could have been the difference, literally between life and death, if something is found to be wrong. It makes me terrified to think that if someone else was told this, they would have accepted it to be true and potentially not booked their smear test. Please note, I do not blame the receptionist for this! I just think more training should be provided to anyone giving any kind of medical advice on behalf of the NHS.

Less than a week before my scheduled appointment, my test was put back a further week and a half, with little explanation. This really didn’t help my anxiety and worry over the upcoming test, as it meant the time between booking my appointment and the day of my appointment was just over three weeks. Matt had promised we could get a Chinese takeaway that night (on a Wednesday! Takeaways for us are strictly reserved for weekends only LOL) so I had something to look forward to afterwards, the cutie. A few days before, I tried to read every source of information I could find for background on what to do and expect, and I talked through my concerns and worries with Matt, my mam and my co-workers. Nothing’s off limits with the girls you work with, right?!

My test was booked for 9am, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit I spent the whole night before mulling over it, and not sleeping very well. I woke up a few times during the night and was so jealous Matt was sleeping like a baby snuggled into me! When it was finally time to get up, Matt was so good to me, he knew I was super nervous so was making me laugh all morning and trying to help me relax. I got ready – spending a little extra time doing my makeup because that always makes you feel better, right? – kissed Matt goodbye (doing my best Ross I’m fine impression) and drove to the surgery.

The GP surgery was pretty much empty due to having an early appointment, and I was called in before my appointment time. This turned out to be the biggest shock of the day, I didn’t know that ever happened! After a very awkward moment of trying to find the examination room I was supposed to be in, the nurse welcomed me in, called me ‘lovey’ and I instantly felt ten times more comfortable. We chatted a little about the day – very little traffic, lovely sunny morning after it rained through the night. You know, the typical British conversations you have with a stranger. We quickly ran through my pill check and sorted out my repeat prescription for another year, then it was time to have my smear test. I’d already told the nurse I was very nervous and hadn’t slept well, and whilst explaining the method and purpose of the test she was so kind and calm. She had a great way of being informative and reassuring at the same time. All practice nurses I’ve met have been this way, and it’s truly a testament to how good they are at their jobs.

I was asked to step behind the curtain and remove my clothes from the waist down (I wish I’d thought about this earlier and wore a skirt or dress, but I digress) and sit on the bed. All I could think about was how my downstairs looked at this point, my focus wasn’t even on the test! I was given a sheet of paper to cover what dignity I had left, and instructed to lay back, putting the soles of my feet together and my knees out wide. And to relax. Turns out, it’s not the most relaxing environment or position infront of a stranger, and as much as I was trying to pretend I was mid-yoga session, my knees were firmly locked. The nurse was chatting throughout this whole time and without even realising I’d totally relaxed. She told me the speculum* was in place and now she was going to take the sample of cells from my cervix. She inserted a small brush to take the sample, and warned me there may be mild discomfort caused by this. Personally, I barely felt anything, just a slight twinge for literally a second or two. She then told me the test was over and I could get re-dressed, just like that!
*a plastic tool inserted into the vagina to open the area and provide easy access for the test

From taking my clothes off to putting them back on was less than five minutes. That’s less than five minutes of feeling slightly awkward and uncomfortable, that could save my life! The actual test process was, I guess, less than two minutes. The nurse told me the letter with the results would be sent out in two to three weeks, and that everything looked healthy from what she could see. That made me feel so reassured, and also pretty damn stupid that I’d been so unnecessarily worried for months. I texted my boyfriend and my mam with an update (and to tell them I didn’t cry LOL) then went to work as normal to get on with my day, eagerly waiting for Matt to finish work and bring home the Chinese takeaway I’d been promised! Spoiler: it was delicious.

My smear test was carried out almost a week ago, so I’m currently waiting for a letter to see if everything is okay or if further testing is required. Further testing does not necessarily mean something is wrong; sometimes results are inconclusive, and a second round of testing may be required to rule out potential abnormalities. Other outcomes could be that low grade or high grade abnormal changes are detected, or HPV is found, therefore further testing may be needed. A colposcopy is the next round of testing, if a second smear isn’t required, then further information can be given based on those results. I’m not as worried about the results as I expected to be, and it’s not really crossed my mind too much post-test. One thing I have thought about a lot is how I’m incredibly grateful to live in the UK where the testing process is free, and encouraged, and that this simple procedure saves so many lives every year.

My Tips

DO book your test as soon as possible. It could literally save your life.

DO talk about how you’re feeling with your partner, family and/or close friends. Whoever you feel most comfortable with is the person(s) you should go to. Also, tell your nurse any concerns/worries on the day.

DO your own research. Being prepared is the best advice for any situation, and knowing what to expect takes the worry out of the situation, even if that’s just a little.

DO plan something for afterwards to look forward to, even if it sounds a little daft. Takeaway and snuggles all night with your boyfriend highly recommended.

DON’T stress about your upcoming test, try to think about it as little as possible.

DON’T worry about the nurse seeing your hoo-haa. She’s seen hundreds, if not thousands, and I guarantee she couldn’t care less what yours looks like.

DON’T back out of your test then re-book for a later date. I had a wobble a few days before and almost did this, but it would have made re-booking even harder.

DON’T tense up during your test. As hard as it is to chill out, try to forget what’s going on down there and let yourself relax.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and that it provided a little bit of a relief (and maybe a laugh at my expense). Please, please, please book your smear tests in girls, and encourage your family members, friends and co-workers to do the same. If they’re feeling a little worried, you can always direct them to this post!

-G x

Weekend In My Life: Valentine’s, Exploring Northumberland & The Best Donuts

Hey, loves!

I haven’t wrote a Weekend In My Life post since December, I’m so happy to be back with another! Matt and I had such a great Valentine’s weekend, and I love to be able to 1) share snippets of my life with you, and 2) to look back on these posts! Yep, I sneak back to read my own blog posts from time to time. You may have noticed I’ve stopped rounding up our weeks/weekends at the beginning of each post, which was a decicision I made as I feel like we’re always up to the same things, and how many ways can I possibly phrase ‘cosy night in’ or ‘breakfast date’ LOL!? (Also, I’m sure 99% of people couldn’t care less!) I hope you enjoy this post, I’ll definitely be sharing more weekends in our life over the coming months as we have tons of fun plans for the Summer!

Thursday, 14th February

I usually begin these posts from Friday, but as this was Valentine’s Day I wanted to include it. We woke up slightly earlier than usual to exchange gifts and spend a little longer snuggled up (whilst I was pretending I didn’t have to go to work). As I mentioned in this post, we don’t really exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we both waivered our own rule this year! Matt was SO sweet and bought me cute presents he really didn’t need to. My favourite was a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick (!!) in the shade The Duchess, which is a shade I’ve had my eye on for so long. It was, as the name would suggest, made for Kate Middleton and it’s the most beautiful rosy nude, I’ve wore it non-stop since I opened it LOL! I bought Matt a scratch map (just for fun as he’s been to so many amazing places; and it’s something he can put in his man cave when we buy our house in the next year!) and a CrockPot, which was something we’d been thinking about buying. Of course I filled a gift bag with sweets and chocolates, which is just part of the fun of Valentine’s Day! We had such a cute morning and it was the perfect way to start the day.

Seriously… fit for a princess!

After we exchanged gifts I unfortunately had to get ready and head to work, and I swear I was wishing the hours away before I even got there. Thankfully my day went by pretty quickly, although I thought it was Friday all day! One of the managers bought us girls in the office donuts which was so sweet of him. I think Valentine’s is so special because it’s about sharing and spreading love, and Heaven knows the world needs a little more love!

When 5pm rolled around I headed home, listening to Ariana Grande’s new album of course. (I love it! I think NASA is my fave song, although I can’t relate as I never want to be apart from Matt hahaha). Matt got home just after me, by then I had showered, cosied up in my dressing gown and carried out my skincare routine. We lit candles, turned on all of our cosy lamps and started to prepare dinner. We made one of our favourite dinners; steak, potatoes, tenderstem brocolli and green beans (super simple but SO good) and then set up a mini fondue/ice cream bar for dessert later in the night. We spent the evening watching our new favourite show, Ambulance: Australia – nothing says romance like paramedics attending poorly patients – and had the best cosy, chilled night in. We snuggled in for a pretty early night, and we fell asleep feeling so happy and grateful for our little life. I love him so much and I literally feel so thankful as we cuddle in to sleep every night!

Friday, 15th February

As it always seems to happen during the week, the morning rolled round way too quickly and it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Friday’s are so bittersweet; it’s almost the weekend, we usually have a fun lunch at work BUT there’s still a whole eight hours between me and the weekend. Matt was off work again (he’s so lucky!) so he got to spend the whole day relaxing and playing on the PlayStation. My day was super long for a Friday but I did go grocery shopping for the weekend over my lunch break which made me feel a little productive.

At 5pm I headed home for a cosy night in with Matt before a busy weekend together. He had ran a bubble bath for me coming home – the below picture is exactly what I walked into, he’s so cute – so after a relaxing soak I got into my pj’s and we spent our evening relaxing. Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so it was just us at home. We had some of our favourite flatbread pizzas for a super easy dinner and snuggled in to watch Life Of The Party (it was so funny, we LOVE Melissa McCarthy). It was the perfect way to start our weekend! These kind of nights are my favourite because we get to totally switch off from everything, and have so much fun in our little bubble.

the sky was so beautiful when I got home from work! I LOVE that it’s light in the evenings for a little longer now

Saturday, 16th February

We had gone to bed pretty early the night before, so were feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day when our alarm went off. I did a super quick yoga practice for twenty minutes (this was the video I followed, Adrienne is the best!) and felt so good for fitting it into my day. We already had plans to head to one of our favourite breakfast places called Post Box in Ponteland. Matt had a bath which meant I could spend a little longer on my makeup, and sneak in catching up on some of my YouTube subs! I quickly prepped our dinner for later in the evening, and threw everything in the CrockPot. We were super excited to be making use of Matt’s gift (maybe it was for me too) HAHA.

before we added the chicken, seasoning and sauce!

By the time we left home it was around 11.30am so our breakfast was more like brunch, but as always it was delicious. It’s such a small cafe and it’s usually quite difficult to get a table but we lucked out and got one right away. Matt had a full English, and I got a veggie breakfast (but swapped out the mushrooms for avocado). I wish all Saturday’s consisted of breakfast dates! Matt works lots of Saturday’s so when we have the opportunity to go for one, we take it! After, we jumped back in the car to head to Bolam Lake, which is a beautiful country park that we’ve been meaning to go to for so long. There’s a gorgeous lake (obviously) in the middle, and the walk was beautiful. It was pretty cold as we were further North but typically of me, I didn’t wear the right clothing and was FREEZING. We spent a little time walking around, working off our breakfasts, then we decided to go on a little inpromptu tour of Northumberland! We went up towards Jedburgh and had so much fun playing tourists in our own area, it’s literally one of our favourite things to do. We’re planning to go up to the Scottish borders a few times in the next few months, hopefully starting when it’s a little warmer!

After our little road trip around the countryside, we headed back to the other side of town and popped into the Metro Centre (to buy bath bombs LOL) and then to Costco. We LOVE Costco, there is just so much to look at (and buy) so we spent about an hour there. There were tons of good free samples which is obviously the best part about it, and I got the cutest pink blanket for our bed! I already have two different colours, but we sleep with these blankets most nights because sleeping under a quilt just gets so dang hot. I’m pretty sure it’s because Matt is like a human radiator but every night we have to open the window, even in the Winter! Please tell me it’s not just us?!

bae

On the way home from Costco we popped in to see Matt’s lovely grandma and drop in some bottled water for her. I love going to see her, she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and we always have such a giggle when we’re there. We stayed for around an hour, then headed home to see if 1) the house was still standing (spoiler: it was!) and 2) if our food was edible. Turns out this CrockPot malarkey is so easy, our food was so good we literally didn’t want to stop eating. I can’t wait to try out more recipes! We left it in for around six and a half hours, then served it with spicy rice and salad and it was SO good, and sorry I didn’t get a photograph we were so hungry! I totally made up the recipe, but here’s a quick list of the ingredients if you’d like to try it:

-6 x stalks of celery
-(approx) 10 x cherry tomatoes
-2 x peppers
-1 x onion

-(approx) 500g chicken strips (browned before adding)
-Spanish chicken sauce

-salt, pepper, paprika & Shwarz Season All for flavour!
-Tilda Firecracker rice and salad to serve

After dinner I had a quick shower and washed/dried my hair whilst Matt cleaned up (he’s the best) and we got settled for the evening to watch TV. We had a few glasses of prosecco and I caught up on the episodes of Coronation Street I missed from Friday, HAHA I’m so old. After, Matt got to choose what we watched so he picked a Bear Grylls show we hadn’t seen with Gareth Southgate. I randomly had a really bad headache and felt so unwell so we didn’t finish the show and headed to bed. I never feel poorly out of the blue like that but since having the flu a few weeks ago I seem to have never got properly better!

Sunday 17th February

We woke up on Sunday morning early as we wanted to be out of the house and into Newcastle city centre as early as possible. We got ready quickly, and below is a little snippet of the makeup I used for you! This is my go-to daily makeup, I’m really loving Charlotte Tilbury products right now, and I’m getting tons of use out of my favourites. I really don’t feel the need to buy new makeup just for the fun of it anymore, but these past few weeks I’ve had to re-purchase a few items that ran out! I’ve put myself on a ‘no spend’ for beauty products (unless anything runs out) until my birthday, so let’s see how that goes HAHA.

we were so excited to try this new Fanta but we really weren’t big fans HAHA

We headed to one of our favourite weekend spots, the Quayside market. We love it because there are so many small businesses there, and everyone is so lovely and friendly. There’s also always lots of cute doggos, hehe. It was a beautiful day, although the wind was super cold I just really want it to be Spring! We had a very unhealthy breakfast; Matt got a sausage sandwich from Geordie Bangers (his favourite stall LOL) and I grabbed a grilled cheese from Meltdown. I’m sorry but we were so hungry I didn’t even get photos! We also shared a Maltesers brownie that was amazing, and I did get a photo of that before we ate it.

I also picked up a beautiful candle that had been upcycled from an old champagne bottle, it was quite pricey at £20 but I think supporting small local businesses is so important, and it looks/smells so good! Matt and I love this champagne, and the bright label is so fun to spruce up our bedroom too. I bought it from the Upcycle Jewellery Company, if you’d like to take a look at their products. We spent around an hour wandering and taking in the view – the Quayside is one of our favourite places in the North East – then stopped by Hoult’s Yard to visit Proven Goods Co. Sundays are cheat days. I’ve talked about this company so much on my blog, but we really do love them and they deserve recognition! Their customer service is fantastic and their donuts are even better, what’s not to love?! Matt got a Biscoff (which is also vegan-friendly) and I got a vanilla custard, although I was a little sad there were no Homer’s left, they’re my faves.

When we got home from town, Matt quickly got sorted to go and watch a local football team play with his dad. He was gone around two hours, and I spent the time relaxing at home with his lovely mam. We caught up on our weekends as they had just got back from their trip down South, and we talked literally the whole time they were gone HAHA.

The boys got home and we spent the rest of the afternoon with Matt’s parents, watching the football and chatting. Oh, and of course eating our donuts! Matt and I were super tired so we literally lay on the sofa snuggled up for about an hour, I so could have done with a nap! After I showered and got into my pj’s (the best time of day, right?!) we made dinner which was a super easy meatball pasta with salad. I’m all about easy, cosy recipes on a Sunday evening! We snuggled in after dinner to watch a few more episodes of Ambulance: Australia, we literally NEED to go to Australia at some point in our lives! I love all of the staff featured in this show, they’re so sweet. We went to bed around 10.30pm which is actually pretty late for us HAHA, but we were both at work the next day and needed our beauty sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! This was one of my favourite weekends in a long time, we had SO much fun and I’m forever grateful for all of the time we get to spend together. What did you get up to this past weekend?

-G x

How I’m Changing The Way I Spend Money

Happy Sunday, loves!

Today I’m sharing with you a few of the little changes I’ve made to my spending habits, mostly since the beginning of 2019. We’re only halfway through the second month of the year, but I already feel so much better since implementing a few simple changes. I thought I’d share with you the changes I’ve made, in the hope it may help or inspire you if you’re looking to hold tighter on the reigns of your finances. Aren’t we all…

Matt and I are currently saving for our future home (we’re going to start looking by the end of the year and I’m SO excited at the prospect of this I can barely stand it)! As we’re buckling down on saving more and spending less, whilst still trying to have a life, we’ve been looking at all the things we can do to improve our ability to save.

Budget by category, and track your spending
In my opinion, it’s so important to know how much you get paid, and to categorise your spending in categories at the beginning of the month. I can’t believe some people don’t know their take home pay each month! If that is you, this is a no judgement zone. BUT, please make a budget! I’m begging you! I track my spending loosely on a spreadsheet I made a few years back (it’s colour coded and very pleasing to the eye LOL. I’m so Type A), but as a result I always know how much I have to set aside for bills and fixed monthly expenses. My fixed monthly expenses include things like my phone contract, house fund savings, my car payment and insurance, then my variable monthly expenses include things like holiday savings (to pay off our Summer holiday to Croatia and begin savings for a mini-break to Budapest, I’m so excited!), ‘fun money’, petrol and groceries. I split my money into twelve categories overall, but it’s all down to what works best for you. I personally think it’s really important to have a ‘fun money’ category; whatever amount works for you in your budget; for treating yourself to a few new beauty bits during the month or spending a little extra on date night.

Spending with cash only in shops/supermarkets
I literally never used cash. Ever. I tapped my contactless debit card or Apple pay like it was my job, and rarely carried a full sized purse as I just didn’t need it. My card holder is now strictly reserved for when I carry a small crossbody bag (usually just on the weekend), and day-to-day I now carry my purse with me. Using cash at first felt so strange, it was like being on holiday and trying to work out which coin was which. Yes, really. I felt so awkward the first few times I didn’t pay using just notes as I was scrabbling through my coins, mortified I was holding up the queue. How British of me. Spending with physical cash keeps me accountable in a whole different way, as I think when I use a debit card it often doesn’t feel like real money. I’m not sure if it’s mind over matter, but whenever Matt and I go out for date night and pay in cash rather than on our debit cards we always spend less. If you find yourself overspending on your budget, or just are generally confused where your money is going, I’d highly recommend trying to use just cash only, it puts things into a whole new perspective!

Meal planning
Matt and I started to do this during the last few months of 2018, and by now we nail it every week. Our evening routines vary due to Matt’s shift pattern, but we know what that will be at least a few weeks in advance. As a result, we plan which nights we’re going to cook with fresh ingredients, and which nights we might grab a Sainsbury’s flat bread pizza (the BEST – you need to try the chorizo one!) or an M&S ‘throw it in the oven and wait thirty minutes’ meal. This all depends on what time Matt finishes work, for example on the nights he comes home between 9pm and 9.30pm we quite honestly can’t be bothered to cook and we want something quick and easy so we can catch up on our days and fall into bed! I’d love to write a whole post, detailing our meals for a week – including recipes – if that’s something you’d like to see?

Limiting online shopping
I’m not completely opposed to online shopping, but I no longer feel the need to mindlessly scroll through websites and buy things just for the buzz of buying. Before re-training the way I think about money, I shopped online way more than I’d like to admit, and often once I’d opened the package, at least half of the novelty had already worn off. I prefer to shop in stores anyway; to feel, smell and look at things properly. I have a few online loves – such as Feel Unique – that I know I’ll purchase from for years to come, but I feel less of an obligation to purchase online. I’d also really recommend taking twenty minutes out of your day to unsubscribe from all of the mailing lists you’ve signed up to over the years, this will definitley ease any extra temptation! One thing I will never get tired of buying online is books; as much as I love browsing Waterstone’s, I can’t justify paying full price when I know (usually) Amazon will be way cheaper! My Amazon ‘Save For Later’ list is brimming with books to order over the coming months.

Opening separate savings accounts
This is one of the best things I’ve done to get into a better habit of saving money! I have a regular old ‘Emergency Fund’ then I also have a ‘House Fund’ and a ‘Holiday Fund’. Matt and I are so excited to buy our first home together and it’s something we talk about all the time, but it’s also something that we don’t need to put added pressure onto ourselves for. We are so blessed to spend every day/night together and we have two houses right now – so we feel very lucky and grateful for that. Having a holiday fund allows me to set aside money each money to pay off our upcoming holidays – I’m so excited! – then when that’s paid off, I can carry on adding money to it as we’re planning a city break to Budapest later in the year. My ‘Emergency Fund’ is a personal fund, which is to take money from as/when needed for genuine emergencies. Sadly, a Mulberry purse doesn’t count as an emergency. I have direct debits set up which automatically add money into these accounts throughout the month, then if I have anything left over at the end of the month I’ll add extra into a specific account (right now any extra pennies are reserved for our holiday fund).

Implement the thirty day rule on any splurge/impulse purchases
This is SUCH a great tip that I read/heard somewhere ages ago, and it works so well for me. I really struggled with this at the beginning of January, but I’m now set in a new habit and it’s begining to feel second nature. I use space in my planner, or sometimes in the Notes app on my phone, to write down any of the things I’m lusting over, whether it’s a new beauty product or a clothing item. In the past, if I saw something I’d quite like to buy, I’d open up my laptop and purchase without thinking about it. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid, so writing things down as a decoy to not buy them was a totally different concept to me. The whole point is to then wait (at least) thirty days before purchasing, as if after the thirty days you still want that item it’s not a silly purchase. I was making so many frivolous purchases in 2018, and I’m quite shocked that I haven’t bought one thing on my list that has passed the thirty day term. So, it really was something I lusted after in the moment, and I don’t regret not buying at all!

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of my points helpful, or did they reasonate with you as something you’d like to introduce into your life? What is your best tip for managing your money better?

-G x

Six Ways Marie Kondo Changed My Life

Hi, loves!

Marie Kondo is an author and organising consultant who is probably one of the most influential people around right now! Her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up, is a best-seller, as is her follow up book, Spark Joy, and now she’s the star of her own TV show on Netflix, all based on her own method (named KonMari) of tidying and organising. So, what is the KonMari method? Well, there’s a lot to it, and I haven’t gone into too much detail on her what’s and why’s in this post. I’d advise reading her book(s) and watching her Netflix show for more details.

I read her book at least a year ago, and although I made small changes to my lifestyle off the back of it, I wasn’t overly fussed on what I’d read. Then, I binge-watched season one of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and totally got the KonMari bug. Literally right away I began overhauling Matt and I’s wardrobes, and then, our lives! I think she’s the sweetest lady, and I love how passionate she is about her hobby-turned-job. I’ve learned so much from Marie, and I really think her teachings have genuinely changed my life in many ways that span beyond cleaning. Today I’m sharing a few things I’ve learned and benefited from since following her teachings, and I hope it encourages you to learn more too!

#1 I’m grateful for everything I own. This is absolutley my favourite thing I’ve learned from Marie, and it was a shock for me to realise I hadn’t previously thought this way. Marie teaches that you should only keep items that spark joy, therefore you love what you own and you own what you love. Since I began clearing out everything I own and seeing everything I’d accumulated right infront of me, it was a bit of a shock to donate or throw out so much stuff. I have very rarely had an emotional attachment to the things I buy before, but now I am truly grateful for the things that made the cut, and I absolutely love/use them more, which is what the lifestyle is all about. I get SO much more use out of my beauty products now! Matt was already so good at wearing most of his clothes, but we both found several items we’d completely forgotten about, and now it’s like we have a whole new wardrobe!

#2 I’m more mindful of what I purchase. I have already been actively trying to be more mindful of what I buy in general in relation to my sustainability journey, but this stepped things up a notch. Since having such big clear outs I don’t want to be in a position where I need to do that again, therefore everything I buy and bring home is intentional. I buy things that I truly love, and I’m way less inclined to make silly impulse purchases. My blog post on Sunday will go into even more detail on this! (Except for candles, we always need more candles for those ~cosy vibes~)

#3 I’m enjoying living more minimalistically than I have before. Okay, so minimalism on the whole scares the heck out of me. I enjoy lots of aspects of the thought process behind living in a minimalistic way, but it’s just never been something I thought I could adhere to, because it seems so strict and regimented. That being said, I definitley had way too many items, from clothing to beauty to miscellaneous, and I no longer feel the need to have so many options of the same item. Does anyone need fourteen blushes? No. Who do I think I am, Jaclyn Hill?! Matt has always purchased items in the sense of quality over quantity, and over the past few months I’ve totally re-trained my thinking to this way too. I wish I’d picked up on Matt’s habits ages ago, I’ve been missing out this whole time and we’d definitley have saved more for our future home. HAHA.

#4 I genuinely enjoy tidying up and organising. I mean, this isn’t necessarily anything new to me, but I have a super love for it now! Matt is more than happy to play a game on the PS4 whilst I happily re-fold everything in his drawers for twenty minutes. #girlfriendgoals, right?! If I have a spare thirty minutes before Matt gets home from work I’m more than happy to blast a little John Mayer and get my (cleaning) groove on, and it definitely makes our evenings feel more relaxed. I think having a clean and tidy living space can make such a difference to your mental health, it just makes the space (and you!) feel light and refreshed. My favourite eco-friendly cleaning brand is Method, all of their products smell SO GOOD. I can’t wait to put this into practice in every room when we buy our home in the next year!

#5 I save so much time getting ready. This one shocked me as I really didn’t realise how much time I’d wasted for years before. Especially since clearing out my beauty products – literally everything; makeup, skincare, bodycare, shower stuff, haircare, toiletry minis – I’ve really seen which products I love as I’m using things up before opening new ones, and an added bonus is I’m saving so much money by not buying crap I don’t need. I’ve definitely had go-to products in the past, but now I easily can reach for my favourite products, and I no longer waste half an hour trying to find that mauve lipstick. I keep my everyday skincare and makeup products in their own pouches, as we’re living between my parents house and Matt’s, and I realised how little I switch things out. Streamlining my beauty products has been one of the best parts of this process for me! I’d love to share an updated What’s In My Makeup Bag with you if you’d like to see it?

#6 *Everything has a home. *Well, almost everything. We’re still not completely finished our tidying journey, but we’re so close! I love that I know where to find what I’m looking for without trying four different spots to see where I shoved it back after the last time I’d used it. Marie’s folding method is so simple, yet also revolutionary, I love it! Rifling through all my products is a thing of the past and it makes cleaning, packing or unpacking SO MUCH EASIER. It’s also great that Matt isn’t constantly asking me where certain clothing items are, because he knows everything has a place. Every cloud, and that!

Thank you so much for reading! Are you as big of a fan girl as I am? Do you love the KonMari method as much as I do? If you’re still yet to get invovled in the whirlwind of cleaning and tidying along with everyone else, what are you waiting for?! Snuggle up and stick Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on, you won’t regret it! (But make sure to clear your schedule for the foreseeable future!)

-G x

My Favourite Self Care Practices

Happy Sunday, loves!

I’ve talked about my love of practicing self care on my blog several times, and there’s so much more to it than beauty regimes, (although that is one of my personal favourite ways to look after myself). There’s so many things I do that make me feel good, relaxed and ready to take on the world. I think we all sometimes need an extra spoon of self care, and we need to be better at knowing when it’s time to give ourselves a break. It’s so important to look after yourself, and nurture that feeling inside that sometimes is just screaming for a little ‘me time’!

Breakfast dates. Waking up early and heading for breakfast with Matt is hands down one of my favourite weekend activities. We never get chance to do this during the week due to my work schedule, so every opportunity we get we make the most of it. There’s something so fun to me about being up early; there’s less people around, you’re way more likely to get a table, and breakfast food is the best food. I mentioned a few of our favourite local spots in this post. (Well, I’m obviously biased but all of our dates make me so happy – good food and good company is forever the best combination!)

Being outside. Whether it’s after breakfast or mid-afternoon, another weekend favourite of ours is going for a long walk. We love to go down by the coast or through the countryside, there’s so many beautiful views all around. In this weather, it may involve wearing twelve layers, but it’s SO worth it. We are so lucky with where we live; we have so many beautiful places right on our doorstep. If we travel ten minutes one way, we’re at the beach, and ten minutes the other way we’re in the countryside. I think fresh air does so much for your mind; it’s freeing and wonderful!

Reading a book. Lounging in the bath reading a book is my ultimate unwinding place. I mean, I’d love to be reading and laying by the pool with Matt in Croatia, but it’s not June yet. I find reading to be my perfect escape for a few moments of peace and quiet, to allow myself to re-charge my batteries and relax. Also, I mentioned this in my January favourites post, but if you missed that you may not know… my favourite social media babe has only gone and wrote a bloody book! An Edited Life is your one stop shop for all things organisation and planning and I’m so sad I finished it. I’ve just started reading Normal People by Sally Rooney (my fourth book of the year, I think I’ll definitely hit my goal to read 20 books this year at this rate!) and I’m really enjoying that too. I have a few more books in my stash to read, but please leave any recommendations below!

Cooking. Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before… LOL. Cooking is one of my favourite activities, and I’m so grateful it’s something Matt and I get to do together almost every night. The occasional night we’re so tired (or recently, so unwell! We’re thankfully feeling so much better now after being poorly for over a week) we throw in a few flatbread pizzas and call it a night. When it comes to cooking, we’re learning as we go, and having so much fun doing it. We generally get ideas from recipe books/blogs then over time we adapt to make things the way we prefer, I can’t wait to share some with you on the blog in the coming weeks! My favourite things to make in the Winter are warm dishes, filled to the brim with veggies (and usually served with garlic bread, we’re obsessed guys!)

Exercising. I realise this isn’t exactly ground-breaking , but moving my body and working up a sweat makes me feel so dang good. I love yoga and HIIT workouts, and I alternate my workouts depending on how I feel that day. I don’t work out every day, unfortunately, but I’ve stepped my game up so much already this year! Working out is good for my body and mind, and makes me feel so much happier in my day-to-day life. I also keep thinking about the fact I’ll be living in a bikini for a week at the end of June and I’d rather not resemble a marshmallow.

Listening To Podcasts. I got into podcasts towards the end of last year, thanks to the lovely Savannah. She talks about Small Town Murder a lot on her blog, and I was so intrigued I went onto Spotify and started listening, now I’m hooked! Matt enjoys the stories too, James and Jimmy are so funny and I’ve learned so much from them. I wrote a post about some of my favourite podcasts which you can read here, and as I mentioned in that post, Bryony Gordon’s Mad World is so good if you’re needing a big ol’ tablespoon of self care.

Organising/Cleaning/Tidying. LOL, this really does make me feel good. I hate when things are unorganised and not as they should be, so taking a little time out of my day to make things more streamlined helps immensely. Something as little as making our bed every morning is an important one to me, or keeping my makeup bag clean with just the important bits in, or taking out all of the crap that somehow accumulates in my work tote regularly. I also love cleaning my makeup brushes as then when it comes to doing my makeup the next day I enjoy it even more! The next post you’ll see from me on Wednesday may have something to do with this…

A Pamper Night. So, as I mentioned above self care doesn’t solely revolve around beauty, but I really do feel good after a hot bath, exfoliating, shaving and moisturising my whole body, washing my hair and really going in on my skincare routine. I’m a bit of a loser and have products I use for ‘special occasions’ which basically means before a date night or if I feel a bit naff. My ideal pamper night also includes eating a really naughty dessert wihlst snuggled up in bed… Matt and I are always sneaking off to grab a McFlurry, oops!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite self care practices? What makes you feel your best?

-G x

Luxury Loving: Charlotte Tilbury

Hi, loves!

Today I’m talking about my favourite luxury makeup brand of all time, Charlotte Tilbury! The brand is cruelty-free and many products are made with 100% vegan ingredients (you can see those products here). I always look forward to using my Charlotte Tilbury products every morning when I’m getting ready, and taking one of her lipsticks out of my bag to re-apply during the day makes me giddy. I guess that means I really love her products!? I haven’t tried a whole lot from her collection, but today I’m sharing five of my ultimate favourite, must-have products! My wishlist is never ending, and I’m so excited to add more into my collection someday.

Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk
This was my first ever product from Charlotte Tilbury, and I’ve been repurchasing for over four years now! I know I’ll never be without it in my makeup stash; it’s the perfect your-lips-but-better shade, and it pairs beautifully well with tons of lipsticks and lipglosses, whether you’re overlining your natural lip line or not. It lasts for so long on the lips, and I find the actual pencil lasts forever too. The only issue I have with it is that I wish it was retractable instead of needing to be sharpened as that’s a little bit of a faff. However, I now actually carry a sharperner with me in my bag, just incase!

Brow Lift in Brooke S
I purchased this in January as my then favourite brow pencil had ran out, yet I couldn’t repurchase as that was made by a non cruelty-free brand. After a litte time perusing Google and reading blog posts/online magazine articles, I decided to pick this up and I’m so pleased with it! It’s a bigger pencil than I was used to, so it took a few days to see how best to work with it, but now I’m sold. My natural eyebrows are so sparse but you’d never know when I’ve used this! The product looks natural on my brows and lasts all day, it’s a perfect high-end eyebrow pencil and I already know I’ll re-purchase when it runs out.

Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
This is hands down the most beautiful lipstick I own. It’s everything you need from a matte lipstick; it’s not drying, feels creamy and doesn’t show texture on the lips. I always apply lip balm and Pillow Talk lip liner first, and this lipstick lasts for SO LONG on the lips. If you’re wanting to buy just one thing from Charlotte Tilbury I’d say this is a perfect product to start with, as it can be worn without the lip liner and look just as beautiful. I love that this doesn’t smudge or wear off throughout the evening, and it’s great that Matt doesn’t complain about any sticky-ness when he kisses me! The packaging is so beautiful; it’s rose gold and looks so elegant, it’s my number one lipstick.

Eyelash Curler
Yep… a must-have really is my eyelash curler! I used a Tarte eyelash curler for around three years, then it broke and I didn’t re-purchase a new one. I thought it wouldn’t make much difference to my makeup, however my natural lashes are pretty long and straight, so mascara alone isn’t enough to hold a curl. I tried my mam’s Shiseido eyelash curlers (the ones everyone raves about) and didn’t really see much difference. I decided to buy these on a whim but I’m so glad I did. These eyelash curlers curl my eyelashes in such a beautiful way, the curl holds all day and they never pull out lashes (sometimes that happened with my Tarte ones). They are pretty pricey, but they’re such a wonderful treat, and I think they’d be a great gift for any beauty lovers in your life.

Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love
This blush is such a beautiful colour, and always looks so nice on the skin. It’s pink, but not too in-your-face, and always stays put throughout the day (sometimes with other brands I find blush disappears from my face!) I’m quite fickle with blushes and am often swapping them out, however since buying this in December I’ve not used any other blush. The packaging is so sleek and very sturdy and paired with the fact it’s got a good size mirror I think it’s a great product to travel with.

Thank you so much for reading! Have you tried any of the products I talked about in this post? What are your favourite Charlotte Tilbury products? What’s on your wishlist? I think I’m going to pick up KISSING lipstick in The Duchess next as it’s the most beautiful tea-rose shade, (it was made for Kate Middleton, who wouldn’t love to feel like a princess!?)

-G x

Valentine’s Date Ideas

Happy, happy Sunday, loves!

It’s officially the month of loooove and I am so excited about it! I feel like so often the real meaning of Valentine’s Day (which is, in my opinion, to show your love and appreciation for the special someone in your life) is taken away by an obsession to buy the biggest and best gifts. I know that when the 14th rolls around my social media pages will be flooded with photos of flowers, chocolates and probably a few extravagant gifts. If that’s what you and your partner like to do for each other, that’s great and you can bet I’ll be liking all of those photos! Matt and I do give gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we opt for smaller, thoughtful ones that mean something (and of course lots of chocolate). Instead of spending lots of money on material gifts, we prefer to spend a little extra on a fun date night!

This year, we’re celebrating the weekend before Valentine’s Day. I made reservations at our favourite steakhouse for this Friday, and I’m so excited! On Valentine’s Day we’re going to spend the evening cooking our favourite meal and enjoying a special dessert (you’ll see what that is in this post). Today I’m sharing with you some of Matt and I’s favourite dates, at all different price points, to give you a little inspiration if you’re stuck for something to do with your loved one this year. Remember; date days/nights don’t have to cost the earth AT ALL, it’s all about spending time with the person you love more than anything! I’ve added our local recommendations where applicable and linked websites for all the places that have them 🙂

Brunch date
Early morning dates are my favourite! Matt and I go for breakfast or brunch together as much as we can and we try to squeeze in these dates at least twice per month when he has weekend days off work. We’re always trying new places but we generally order the same thing – Matt’s favourite is a full English, and mine is a full veggie breakfast! (The veggie sausage at Post Box are THE BEST!)
Local recommendations: Post Box, Ponteland; The View, Tynemouth; The Butterfly Cabinet, Heaton

Mini golf
This was one of my favourite spontaneous dates we’ve had! Matt plays golf for real so he totally kicked my butt, which is fine because we had SO much fun. He definitely gave me more goes that allowed, and it was fun to get a little competitive against each other. There’s something to be said for getting to be kids together for a little while and forget all of the #adulting we have to do in real life!
Local recommendations: Mr Mulligan’s Space Golf; Dinosaur Encounter, Heighly Gate Garden Centre

At home movie night
This is perfect if you and/or your partner have hectic schedule(s) or children and can’t commit to a few hours outside of the home, but want to take a little time out together. Grab all your favourite snacks, pick a few Netflix faves (or newbies!) and snuggle up together for a night of cuddles and chilling. We try to to do this at least once per week, and it’s always one of my favourite evenings!

Book a staycation
Staying at a luxury hotel not too far from where you live is the best of both worlds; you get to experience a little luxury but you don’t have to travel for miles to find it. For us, it’s a welcome change to get out of our little home bubble for a night, enjoy a nice bath, wear comfy hotel robes (the best!) and go for dinner a stone’s throw away from our bed. Tip: take champagne for an extra special night!
Local recommendations: Hotel du Vin, Newcastle; Ramside Hall, Durham; Vermont Hotel, Newcastle

Dinner and drinks
It’s a classic for a reason, and you just can’t beat it. It’s our ultimate favourite date night and we try to fit this in as much as we can. It’s so fun to get dressed up and have fun with your partner, and to enjoy a nice meal out! We love to go for a few post-dinner cocktails when we can too, Matt loves a mojito and I love anything with gin! (All lemonade, no tonic!)
Local recommendations: (dinner) Tomahawk Steakhouse, Newcastle; Branches, Ponteland; Ora, Tynemouth; (drinks) Tiger Hornsby, Newcastle; Pleased To Meet You, Newcastle; YOLO, Ponteland

Play tourist in your hometown
Matt and I will be doing this until the day we die, I’m pretty sure! We love to spend a chilled day exploring new places and re-visiting old favourites, and it’s such a nice way to spend time together. You can also pop in to small bakeries or cafes for a bite to eat, and watch the world go by infront of you! If you’re in Newcastle, you have to make the trip just outside of the centre to Hoult’s Yard for Proven Goods Co. donuts; you won’t regret it!
Local recommendations: Quayside Market, Newcastle; Tynemouth Market, Tynemouth; Beamish Museum, Durham

Valentine’s Day 2017 🙂

Fondue for two
Due to Matt’s work schedule, this was how we spent our Valentine’s Day evening last year, and we’re doing it all over again this year (but with a mini version of this)! I melted our favourite kinds of chocolates, and added marshmallows, strawberries, Biscoff biscuits and bananas to dip in. We had a mini bottle of champange (the ones where you get literally one glass each, he had to be up at 5am!) and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. We had a cute, cosy night in that was so special to us.

Head on a road trip
Okay we’re a little biased here, we LOVE road trips! Whether it’s along the coast, down to the middle of the country or into the nearby countryside, we’re always up for spending a day exploring together. Stumbling across places we’ve never even heard of is the best, there’s always cute cosy pubs to find. We actually did this on our very first date on the way home from York! Make sure to take some yummy snacks for the car, and comfy clothes for the long journey home! (I always bring a blanket too, like the 4 year old I am at heart, HAHA).

Take a walk at the beach/in the country
Date days don’t have to cost the earth, but they can be about seeing what the earth has to offer. Corny enough for you?! I’ve said so many times that we’re super lucky with where we live because 10 minutes one way is the beach and 10 minutes the other is sprawling countryside. February in the North is freezing cold, so throw on all the layers and get your heart pumping on a long walk!
Local recommendations: Tynemouth beach; Cragside; Bamburgh Castle

If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, don’t let that get you down! Instead, have a party for one, or invite all of your girls round on the 13th to celebrate #GalentinesDay. Pick a few of your favourite movies, all your favourite snacks and snuggle up in your pj’s for a movie marathon. There’s some amazing gin cocktails you can make from the comfort of your own home linked here, I think it would be so much fun to make some cute drinks. Maybe throw on a face mask and order your favourite takeaway too, why not?! Valentine’s Day is for loving yourself too!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little inspiration if you’re feeling stuck for plans in the next few weeks. How are you planning to celebrate this year? Also, bookmark this page and you can easily find your way back to this post for any future date inspiration. Whether it’s for an anniversary or just a regular date without an ocassion, there’s something for everyone! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

-G x