March Favourites

Happy Sunday, loves!

March was a bit of a rollercoaster month for me, and as always it went by in the blink of an eye. I had lots of high highs and unfortunately a very low low this month (it’s not something I can share on the blog unfortunately, but thanks to Matt and our families everything is okay now). I’ve also been so poorly over the past week, and I feel so grateful I now feel a little better. I’m so looking forward to April; lots of warm days, more sunshine, fun plans with Matthew, and another month closer to my birthday. In March we cooked new recipes, obsessed over watching Jack Ryan, celebrated Matthew’s 25th birthday (and he went to Berlin with the boys!) and we seen my aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Alaska for the first time in five years. I’ve also officially started Spring cleaning and I’m now sitting on our bed, admiring how beautiful everything looks, smells and feels. I went to town with my favourite all purpose cleaner (Method Wild Rhubarb) and the smell has filled the whole house, it’s beautiful!

Matt’s Birthday Weekend
My love celebrated his golden birthday, and turned 25 on March 25th, we had so much fun celebrating! We began the celebrations early on Saturday, spending the evening having dinner and drinks with his parents and godparents in Gosforth. We ate at San Lorenzo and the food was so good, we had such a lovely night! On Sunday afternoon we headed into Newcastle for a staycation at our favourite hotel, Hotel du Vin. We had the best evening; enjoying a bubble bath, drinking champagne and relaxing together, before going for dinner and drinks in the city centre. We ate amazing food, I embarrassed Matt by having the restaurant bring out a birthday dessert (always makes me giggle!) and we fell into bed way too early for a couple in their mid-twenties. Old and we know it. His actual birthday on Monday was so much fun; we woke up early so he could open presents in bed, and had a lovely breakfast at the hotel. We did a little window shopping in town, before spending the afternoon and evening with family, and spending quality time together. It was one of the best weekends we’ve had so far this year!

Glossier Milky Oil
I mentioned in my updated skincare routine that I was currently trying this makeup remover out, and that at the time I liked it but I hadn’t used it enough to recommend it. I’ve used it every evening since I received it, and I LOVE it! It removes all of my makeup, including mascara, over two cotton rounds, and it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. I do always cleanse after (using my beloved Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser) which removes the slight oily residue left behind, and the two have become a dream combo for me. This product never caused me to breakout, which is always a bonus, and it’s just leaves my skin feeling so soft and clean. I love the packaging and the fact that the bottle is so small makes it super travel friendly, also like everything from Glossier it’s very photogenic!

Zoella X Colourpop Brunch Date Palette
This palette is so dang pretty! I love the shades, and find it’s a super wearable and versatile palette, I’ve reached for this every day since it arrived. I even took it on our overnight trip for Matt’s birthday instead of my usual travel palette (Kat Von D Shade & Light Glitter) so you know it’s good. On a daily basis I use Maple Syrup across the lid as a blending shade, Champagne Toast on the lid/inner corner and Skinny Latte in the outer corner to deepen the eye a little, it’s so a quick and easy, and looks so pretty. I love Pancakes Please as a quick all-over-the-lid shade when I’m getting ready in a rush, and I’m experimenting with the other shades now and then. I think the criticism of this palette was unjust and unfair, it’s truly so wearable, and perfect for those of us that aren’t pro make-up artists!

Love Beauty & Planet Coconut & Ylang Ylang Hair Masque
Along with a few other products (more on that in the next few weeks), I really think mask is saving my hair. Not to be dramatic, but boy is it in need of a little help! Years of dying, over straightening and tying in super tight buns have took their toll, and I’m finally giving my hair the love it needs. I mentioned in this post how damaged my hair was feeling/looking at the moment, but it’s already looking ten times better than it was at the start of the month. I use this mask every other time I wash hair in place of a conditioner, so sometimes I leave it on just for the approximate two minutes recommended, and sometimes I use it as a mask from when I first get in the bath; anything up to an hour. This is the first product I’ve purchased from this brand and I’m so excited to try more soon! The brand pride themselves on being cruelty free and vegan friendly, and I think the quality is great.

Lush Hunny Bear Massage Bar
I picked this up on a whim whilst stocking up on some of my must-haves, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve never used a massage bar before, and I was a little skeptical if I’d get on with it well, but I absolutely love it, and I need to re-purchase ASAP as it’s a limited edition product. It smells buttery and comforting, with strong hints of vanilla and almond, which are two of my favourite scents/ingredients for body care products. This product is vegan, and doesn’t contain honey at all, despite the name and branding. It’s creamy and moisturising, and Matt and I both commented on how good my skin felt after I used this for the first time! I’m excited to try out more massage bars from Lush and see which others I enjoy (hopefully ones in the main collection)!

Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp
This is nothing new to any regular readers, I’m obsessed with this lamp! LOL, I know that sounds so strange. Matt bought me this for Christmas and it’s absolutely one of my favourite things in our bedroom. I have it lit any time we’re at home, and I love the pink glow that comes from it, it just makes me happy! There are many benefits to having a Himalayan pink salt lamp in your home; they cleanse and deodorise the air, increase energy levels, improve your mood and help you sleep better, among lots of other things. They also look so dang pretty, and set the ~cosy evening~ mood perfectly. I’ve moved it round a few times and I love having it on the windowsill right now!

Clean Reserve Rain Perfume
I first bought this perfume a few years ago in Florida, and I loved it, used it and forgot about it. Recently I was browsing Space NK (I had a few points to spend) and seen it, remembered how much I loved it and added it straight to my basket. The scent is fresh and light, and it’s perfect day or night; it’s one of those scents that can easily be layered or worn alone. I’ve worn this perfume so much this month and it’s been one of two I’ve reached for, the other being my beloved Spring/Summer fragrance, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I got the small travel size (20ml) to make sure I definitely still liked it, but it’s actually so handy and perfect to take in your bag or when travelling. My taste in perfumes has changed so much over the past year, I’d love to write a post about my favourite perfumes, if that’s something you’d be interested in?

Livia’s Raw Cookie Dough Nugglets
I haven’t got a close up photograph of these, but I love them and had to give them a little mention! I bought these on a whim, mid-shopping trip a few weeks back, and I’ve bought so many packs since! They’re vegan friendly and gluten free, and you can really taste the dates in there. I love cookie dough, and these are a fun way to have a naughty treat that isn’t at all naughty.

Shop my favourites:

Glossier Milky Oil Cleanser / Zoella X Colourpop Brunch Date Palette / Love Beauty & Planet Ylang Ylang Hair Masque / Lush Hunny Bear Massage Bar / Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp / Clean Reserve Rain Perfume / Livia’s Raw Cookie Dough Nugglets

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products from the month? Have you tried anything I mentioned above? Please share your Monthly Favourites blog posts in the comments below, I’d love to have a read!

-G x

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hi, loves!

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, 31st March, and today I’m sharing with you a few gift ideas as I know sometimes it can be hard to find that little bit of inspiration. Don’t worry, there’s still a few days left before Sunday, which means there’s plenty of time to go grab any last minute gifts!

Gifting is very personal, and I’m aware it’s also not something that everyone participates in; some people are happy to buy/receive a card and that’s absolutely fine. I personally always enjoy spoiling my mum a little on Mother’s Day, it’s the one day of the year I think I get to really show how much I appreciate and love her, and although I definitely agree it’s not about how much you spend, it’s just nice to be able to treat her. I’m sure most of us can relate to this meme that is recycled every Mother’s Day:

But, let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of things how much you spend doesn’t matter at all, and as with all gifts it’s truly the thought that counts. Matt and I have picked up the same presents for both of our mum’s this year (from both of us, and my brother’s in on the present to our mum) but they may read this so I can’t share what we’ve bought! That being said, I think there are some great options in here for all different budgets and different personalities, and these ideas can easily be tweaked to work best for your mum.

Pricing Key:
£ – £20 or under
££ – £20 – £50
£££ – £50+

Beauty Gift Sets
Price Point: £ – ££

There are some beautiful gift sets available all year round, but of course brands release sets especially for Mother’s Day too. I think there are so many amazing brands you could look at for this, personal favourites include this cute one from Sanctuary Spa, this duo from The White Company (in my favourite scent, Seychelles!) and this amazing set created by Fleur for L’Occitane. You could also buy several smaller items or sets and make a little bundle from various brands if you couldn’t just pick one, and create your own gift set.

Jewellery
Price Point: ££ – £££

One of my favourite presents to give (and receive!) is jewellery. There are so many options, whether you pick up some chic, on trend pieces in Topshop or H&M, or opt for something a little more high end like a new addition to your mum’s Pandora charm bracelet, there’s something for every budget. I love this Mum In A Million charm from Pandora, and I think it would be such a sweet gift to give, that will be treasured for years to come. My favourite ever jewellery brand, Missoma, have wonderful pieces for any personality, although you just can’t go wrong with these gorgeous star and moon mis-matched studs – and they come in gold too if that’s more up your mum’s street!

Pyjamas
Price Point: ££

I’m probably a little bias to recommend pj’s, as if I was a mum and could pick anything I’d like to recieve, I’d probably go for a snazzy new pair of pyjamas. I love cosy loungewear, and I think they’re a great present for any homebody. I know my mum loves to have a bath and unwind from her work day as soon as she’s able to, and I’m sure a new pyjama set would brighten up her usual routine. You can buy cute pj’s from almost anywhere, but I really love this gorgeous set if you’re looking for something a little more fancy. *adds to ASOS basket for myself*

Her Favourite Tipple
Price Point: ££

My mum only drinks lager – when she has a drink, lol – but Debbie (Matt’s mum) is a huge fan of this flavoured gin, and so are Matt and I! Whatever your mum likes to drink, a nice shiny new bottle (or box) of her favourite alcohol would be such a lovely gift. Why not go all out and pick up a shiny new glass to go with it? I received a beautiful gin glass with hand painted flowers on it as a gift from Matt’s parents two Christmas’ ago, and I absolutely love to use it whenever we have a drink at home. There are lots of gin gift sets available in supermarkets year round, this one is a great deal that comes with a glass, and would be a beautiful present.

Flowers
Price Point: £ – ££

I’m sure almost every mum in the world would love a bouqet of fresh flowers for Mother’s Day (or any day), and they do not have to cost a fortune, it’s totally down to the buyer’s preference. I buy flowers all the time from Aldi and Asda, and both stores offer such good quality; they last at least 7 – 10 days, whilst still looking so fresh and vibrant! Another great option for flowers that can be delivered to your door is Bloom & Wild, a brand I’ve seen many people talk about. They are a little more pricey but there is always a discount code floating around, and I believe they offer next day delivery which is great for any last minute buyers. They also offer subscription services, if you’d like a gift that keeps on giving for months to come.

Lush Make-Your-Own Mini Hamper
Price Point: £

I am a huge advocate of Lush, and I love almost everything I’ve tried from the brand! I wrote a post recently about all of my favourite must-have products if you’re looking for a little inspiration on what to pick up. You could buy three to four items and create a lovely little mini hamper ready for your mum’s next pamper evening which I’m sure it would go down a treat. A new-to-me product that I’ve been loving, and isn’t featured in the afore-mentioned post is the Hunny Bear massage bar, and it definitely won’t break the bank at under £6! Lush have a whole section in store and online for Mother’s Day gifting, I really love this cute Chamomile Flower bath bomb that includes a little scroll you can write a note on for her to find in the bath!

Afternoon Tea
Price Point: ££

If your mum enjoys going out for food and trying new places, why not think about treating her (and include your partner, siblings, dad – whoever!) to a lovely afternoon tea? A few hours of time together, delicious sandwiches, pies and cakes… I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon! Matt and I are heading to Spanish City next week for afternoon tea and I’m so excited! My sweet friend Grace and her boyfriend have an Instagram page showing the best places to eat in the North East, and she summed up their experience in this post – doesn’t it just make you want to go immediately?! Also be sure to give them a follow whilst you’re on their page, they are always going to amazing places. There are so many options of where you could go for afternoon tea, although if you’re local to Northumberland I’d highly recommend The Parlour @ Blagdon and The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth.

Scented Candle
Price Point: £ – ££

As a self confessed candle fanatic, I can’t recommend gifting a candle highly enough! I love love love candles, and so does my mum and Debbie. We all prefer scented candles, and of course there are great picks from brands such as DW Home and Yankee Candle that may already be your mum’s favourites. I recently purchased a candle made from a recycled champagne bottle (such a cool idea, that also helps the planet), I absolutely love it and would highly recommend to buy for a gift. I bought mine from Upcycled Jewellery Co. at Newcastle’s Quayside Market, they also have a store in Ponteland and luckily for anyone that isn’t local, the store has a Facebook page if you’d like to place an order.

Cook Breakfast In Bed
Price Point: £

If you still live at home with your mum (or you can easily sneak round) a simple breakfast in bed with a nice card would be the perfect way to start her day. Think a bowl full of berries and greek yogurt, avocado toast or maybe an omelette, whatever your mum’s favourite foods are make it look pretty on a tray and take it on up to her! Also you could make her a fancy coffee, tea or hot chocolate, or why not make her a homemade smoothie? You can go all out and make a breakfast that suits your mum best.

I hope the above was helpful, and I have just a few other ideas you could consider: a bottle of her favourite perfume (Jo Malone highly recommended), a gift card to her favourite store, new gardening tools, a few new books for her to get stuck into, a massage at a local spa, her favourite chocolates/sweets, new slippers, a voucher to the cinema, am at-home foot bath, a movie night at home for just the two of you, more plants for the garden or a new appliance that will make her baking/cooking time even more fun. There’s so many possibilities, and as I mentioned above it really isn’t about the money you spend, it’s the thought behind the gift.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this gift guide helpful, and maybe got a little inspiration for some things to pick up if you’re a last minute shopper. I love wrapping up the gifts and putting them in a cute bag, I think sometimes the presentation makes the gifts seem even better! I need to wrap the gifts we’ve bought for our mums, pick up two bunches of fresh flowers and then we’re ready to go! What have you bought for your mum? Do you have any extra ideas of gifts I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

As this post goes live, we will be on our way to enjoy a staycation at one of our favourite hotels, Hotel du Vin at Newcastle Quayside. It’s a birthday treat for Matthew as he turns 25 tomorrow, and we’re making the most of it! We’re planning on doing very little; maybe a chilled walk along the Quayside, a bubble bath, dinner, drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing with yours truly. What more could he want, eh?!

Packing is my thing and I love reading packing related blog posts or watching ‘pack with me’ videos on YouTube, some of these incredible people fit enough clothes for three weeks in a carry on suitcase! Mind = blown. I am borderline obsessed with the whole process and find it so exciting, as soon as we have a trip booked I find myself beginning to plan my outfits, search through my stash of travel sized minis and find the Insta-worthy hotspots usually reserved for the locals. As much as I enjoy that kind of packing, there’s something real nice about heading for a staycation, less than thirty minutes from home. You already know the best places to go! Driving means no luggage restrictions! Full sized beauty products! The ability to pop home if you forget your favourite shoes… Also, it means I don’t have to hide Matt’s birthday presents as I can easily sneak them in the boot.

Really, the chances of me forgetting something on a staycation trip are pretty slim, as I tend to go with the ‘if you might need it, take it’ method of packing when there’s no weight restriction. Slippers? Our favourite blanket? Ski goggles? You name it, I’ve probably packed it. I feel I’m being a tad hard on myself as I’ve definitely honed it down from previous trips, but I’m still not the most minimalistic or streamlined packer, and for a one or two night trip close to home, I’m okay with that. Also, the best thing about travelling anywhere with your boyfriend? He takes literally the essentials. (By ‘he’ I mean me, because of course I end up packing for him HAHA). I’m sure all girls have read between the lines here and know where I’m going with this… extra space for our stuff, YAY!

*I’ve linked all of the items you can still purchase to save you having to find them!*

The Beauty Bits

My favourite part of packing is always my skincare, makeup and toiletries. As I mentioned above, I do love a travel sized mini, but there is something a little bit special about being able to take your old faithfuls without having to find a mini or decant them. Although I often take full sized beauty products on staycation trips, or really anywhere we travel to by car, I tend to take less products overall, and just take the things I actually need. Sort of. I definitely minimize my skincare and makeup routine, and don’t take all of the extra ‘just incase’ bits I usually keep in my skincare stash. I’m so happy with my daily skincare routine so I’m definitely taking all my must-haves for morning and night, even though it may seem like a lot to some. I talked about my current skincare routine in this post so please check that out if you’d like to know my thoughts on the products pictured, in more detail!

I also try to pack as little as possible in the category of ‘body care’ (I feel like there needs to be an actual name for this stuff?!) because A) it’s just a one night trip and I won’t be doing a full on pamper sesh and B) Hotel du Vin have Ren products in all of their rooms anyway, which is an amazing cruelty free brand that I love. Matt and I always share whichever shampoo and conditioner I pack, and we’ll use one of our own mini Molton Brown shower gels, then I need my shaving products, moisturiser and hair products to style my hair before I blow dry it. We very rarely use the mini toiletries provided in the room when we’re there as I (not so) secretly love to take them for future trips that may not provide them. That’s why they’re there, right?!

If this is your first time reading my blog you may not know that my aim for 2019 is to go fully cruelty free on my beauty products. I’m already there on my everyday skincare and makeup items, but body care is proving a little more tricky – I’m yet to find a razor that works as well as my beloved Gillette Swirl, and any other shaving gel apart from Gillette leaves my skin dry and/or irritated. I wanted so badly to love the Lush D’Fluff as it smelled glorious, but it really wasn’t right for my skin, and never gave me a close enough shave. My beloved Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a must-have, I use this almost every day and I love it; it reminds me of so many wonderful memories.

Skincare: Glossier Milky Oil / Boots Botanics Micellar Water / Cotton Rounds / Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser / Pixi Glow Tonic / The Body Shop Serum-in-Oil / The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask / Neals’ Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser / Glossier Balm Dot Com / Facetheory Eye Cream / Facetheory SuperGel Moisturiser

Makeup: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer / Colourpop X Zoella Eyeshadow Palette / Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette / Too Faced Better Than Sex & Diamonds Mascara / It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte in Fair / Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Concealer in 2 / Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder / Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love / Colourpop Highlighter in Flexitarian / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in The Duchess / NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu / Minimal amount of makeup brushes & my beauty blender

Hair & Body Care: Ren Oat & Bay Shampoo (mini) / Love Beauty & Planet Magic Masque / Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser / Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo / Tangle Teezer Brush / Straighteners / Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt / Dove Deodorant / Lush Sleepy Moisturiser / Gillette Shaving Gel (mini) / Gillette Swirl Razor / Molton Brown Shower Gel (mini) / Contact Lenses / Medication

Clothing & Accessories

I love planning my outfits in general, and I find this the easiest category to pack for, even though I do like to have some kind of option, just in case. I’ll use the same bag both day and night – my Kate Spade crossbody is my go-to – and my trusty Vans will go with any day time outfit. I tend to be pretty hard on just taking one evening outfit for an overnight stay, as I know exactly what we’ll be doing – in this case, dinner at The Botanist and drinks on Grey St – but packing for the next day is a little trickier. We know our morning consists of Matt opening his presents (I’m so excited for that!) and us going for breakfast, but then we have the whole day to explore our favourite city and spend time with family, which is what birthdays are for.

I keep it minimal with my jewellery day-to-day, and I’ll be wearing my good ol’ faithfuls. My Missoma initial G necklace and mis-matched star and moon studs, my Pandora bracelet and various rings, and the rest of my earrings are silver, purchased from various stores. I very rarely change up my earrings as I love how they look, although it’s something I really want be more adventurous with this Spring/Summer! I’m also determined to try hoop earrings and to love them, other girls look SO good wearing hoops.

The weather is still very odd right now up North as we’re finally moving into Spring. Some days it’s warm, sunny and bright, and others it’s dark, rainy and freezing cold. This is my justification for taking two day outfit options, if you hadn’t already guessed what was coming. Also, we don’t take pyjamas as we never sleep in them, and we know from experience that Hotel du Vin robes are the bomb. I love to wear my hotel robe whilst I get ready for the evening and the following morning, so other than my two three outfits, there’s nothing else I need here! Except for a few spare pairs of pants and an extra bralette that I know I won’t wear. I can’t help it, it’s the overpacker in me. (Side note: VS thongs are the only underwear I buy, but I’m always looking for new options, and more sustainable brands would be great – if you have any tried and trusted recommendations please let me know in the comments!)

Evening: Underwear / Zara Animal Print Skirt / Black Camisole (similar) / Heeled Teal Boots / Kate Spade Crossbody
(YAY for ‘no bra’ outfits! #freethenipple)

Day: Underwear & Bra / Black Leather Jacket / Scarf / Black Old Skool Vans / Kate Spade Crossbody
Option 1 – Colourblock Jumper / Topshop Black Jamie Jeans
Option 2 – Black V Neck T-Shirt / Topshop Blue Jamie Jeans

The Bits I Actually Need (And Definitely Do Not Need But Will Take Anyway)

Like I said, I’m not perfect when it comes to packing (or anything, ha) and I knowingly pack more than I need. I always make sure to pack our phone chargers and also squeeze in snacks for the room because we love to have our home comforts for the evening. We’ve got our favourite sweets to snack on, and we’ll also have a box of our favourite donuts thanks to the amazing guys at Proven Goods Co. Matt won’t know this until we get there, and I’m so excited to surprise him! The only thing better than birthday cake is birthday donuts, right?! We always make sure to take a few bottles of water and cans of Diet Coke to stick in the fridge in the room, because we’re cheap and can’t justify paying the mini bar prices LOL. For special staycation trips like this one, we like to take a bottle of champagne, because that’s half the fun of the amazing roll top bath, right?! Also, it’s my love’s birthday, and if he wants champagne then that’s what he’ll get!

We’ll be throwing an extra coat in the car and I’ve already packed an umbrella ‘just incase’ but with good reason; in Newcastle it’s not uncommon to experience every weather possible in the space of 24 hours! Ironically, I’ll definitely be taking my sunglasses as the optimist in me will be praying for a sunny day so we can take a nice morning walk along the Quayside; it’s one of our favourite places in Newcastle and it’s just so beautiful.

We’d never take our iPads or laptops on an overnight trip like this as we absolutely will not need them, so there’s no need to worry about fitting those in to our luggage. I would normally take a book with me, but I know I’ll have no time to read so I wouldn’t bother lugging it around. (Even though this makes me a little sad as I’m obsessed with my current book, Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto, it’s the eighth book I’ve read so far this year and I hate putting it down!) I do always throw a tote bag into our luggage no matter where we’re going as they take up no space and come in so handy for tons of reasons. I mean, how else would I take all the miniature Ren toiletries home? I have to add, Poo Pourri comes in so handy on trips, I bought it originally as a joke when Matt and I went on our first weekend away together, but it’s actually a great idea (and still funny). Also, I think it’s a brilliant ‘gag gift’ for someone who’d laugh about it! Now, if only I could get him to use it at home…

I’m SO excited to relax and spoil my favourite person in the world, he deserves it so much. I hope you liked having a peek inside my suitcase, and if you haven’t already, you can check out my previous packing-related posts here and here. They’re the kind of posts you can come back to at any point for a little extra inspiration or motivation to pack! I’ll definitely be writing an updated What’s In My Carry On post when we go on our Summer holiday to Croatia later in the year, and we have a few city breaks in the pipeline too, I’m so excited to share more travel-related content.

What are your must-have items to pack for an overnight stay? Are you way more minimalist than me? I bet you are. Also, HOW do you do it? Please leave me all the tips and tricks in the comments, it would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much for reading!

-G x


Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of Spring, beautiful people!

I am so excited for the new season, and to finally say goodbye to Winter! It’s weird, we definitely didn’t have a super cold Winter like we have in past years, but it seemed to last so long, I feel like I’ve been anticipating Spring since January. Although most of our Winter was pretty warm, this past weekend we woke up to snow, I was not impressed haha.

Spring is a season of new beginnings, blossoming flowers and warmer weather, and I think this year it’s going to be one of my favourite seasons. Matt and I already have so much planned and it’s the best feeling to have exciting things to look forward to. I’ve been feeling very reflective over the past few days, and after having something unfortunate happen I’ve been truly counting my blessings more than ever. I feel so lucky for what I have; an amazing boyfriend that I love more than life itself, a solid family and friend network, a job that I enjoy, my blog, car and so much more. I’m feeling happy and ready for a fresh new season to bring a little more joy!

I shared Matt and I’s Winter Bucket List in this post, and we ticked off so many of our items despite being super busy, and had so much fun throughout Winter! I recieved messages from people saying they enjoyed seeing what we had planned and took some ideas from what we wanted to do, so I’ve decided this will definitely be a post that is updated for every season this year. Unfortunately we didn’t get to squeeze in a weekend getaway to Glasgow – we’re hoping to this season instead – but we did book our Summer holiday and we’re heading to Croatia in June, we’re so excited! We also went to five NUFC games (and we won most of them), took a few day trips up North, explored Northumberland and Newcastle SO MUCH, and we went for lots of breakfast dates and beach walks. We had lots of fun date nights – some with our friends, and just spent lots of quality time together. We also got to see my family who live in Alaska for the first time in almost five years, it’s so much better to see each other in person instead of FaceTime-ing. We went for dinner with them this week and had such a lovely evening! A few of the things we didn’t get round to in the Winter may have made their way into things we hope to do this Spring…

Explore more of Northumberland during day trips
Spring-clean our wardrobes/lives (again) Marie Kondo style
Enjoy a staycation at Hotel du Vin in Newcastle
Go for more breakfast or brunch dates
Make s’mores on a chilly Spring evening
Go to a drive-in movie
Spend a weekend away in Glasgow
Celebrate bank holidays the way we always do – date night at one of our favourite restaurants!
Start my new blog series. It’s been a while in the making but I’m so excited
Enjoy a picnic in the sun
Use up beauty products before I buy anything new to replace it. I’m officially on a ‘Beauty No Buy’ for Spring… UHOH
Go to Alwnick Gardens during cherry blossom season
Make/create new recipes together for warmer weather
Buy fresh vegetables from a farmers market for the week
Spend as many weekend mornings as possible walking along the beach
Shoot a Spring fashion blog post (super nervous about this one!)
Go to the Lake District
Squeeze in all of the date nights – this will be listed for every season!
Book a city break to Lisbon
Feel comfortable wearing shorts in England as it gets warmer. Matt has no problem with this one, he’s been wearing shorts since February HAHA
Celebrate Matt and I’s birthdays – we both turn 25 this season!
Go to more NUFC games
Buy all the bunches of beautiful peonies – prepare to see them in every blog photo
Change up my hair colour/style a little (I’m thinking coppery, rich brown tones)
Play mini-golf
Spend an afternoon at The Garage Spa
Write more ‘think pieces’ for my blog
Pick fresh fruits at a nearby farm
Begin shopping for our holiday to Croatia
Plant new flowers in my grandma’s garden for her
Take a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before

Thank you so much for reading! What are you hoping to do this season? Are you as excited as I am for Spring?

-G x

My Favourite Lush Products

Happy Sunday, loves!

There’s not too many brands I would consider a ‘favourite’. Of course I have lots of favourite products from varying brands, but it’s not often I love so many products from one brand. One of the very few exceptions to this, is of course Lush. I’ve shopped in Lush since I was 13 and spent my Saturday’s in town with my friends, stretching £20.00 as far as it would go. Like many, my first foray into the world of Lush was bath bombs and bubble bars, and I still use them often now, over ten years later. I’m not as into the gimmicky products (although damn it I want that cute little Easter lamb!) but it still brings me so much joy to use bath bombs and bubble bars. Over the years I’ve turned my boyfriend and mum into self-confessed fans too, and I feel like I’m always recommending products to my friends.

As I’ve got older, I’ve enjoyed seeing what else Lush have to offer other than pretty coloured baths, and I’m slowly working my way through trying a bit of everything. There have been some products that didn’t work for me unfortunately, but for the most part I’ve found amazing products that I love to incorporate into my beauty routine and will re-purchase for years to come. I love the Christmas collections and Snow Fairy is my favourite scent of all time (but, I’m not into the gimmicky things. Remember?) although throughout the year they release so many new, innovative products. I’m currently trying out a few new-to-me items that I haven’t been using long enough to list as a favourite (although I do really love the H’Suan Wen Hua hair mask so far and I’m obsessed with the Sleepy shower gel – thanks to a recommendation from my friend Laura). I’m sure you’ll see them featured on the blog at some point!

Lush have been way ahead of most brands for years, and they are proudly a cruelty-free, vegetarian friendly and environmentally friendly company. They also use ethically sourced, organic ingredients and promote recycling and giving back. Basically, they’re awesome. If you buy products in the black tubs, please please please remember to save your empty tubs! Once you have accumulated five, you can return them to the store to be recycled and/or re-used, and as a bonus you get a free fresh face mask just for being a good egg and helping the environment. That sounds like a win-win to me! Lush employees are so passionate about their jobs and the products they sell, and I always find them to be very informative and helpful. I love shopping in store at Lush so much that I very rarely order online, it’s just such a fun in-store experience!

Sleepy
Body Moisturiser

This is my most recent new-to-me purchase from Lush, and it’s already right up there as one of my ultimate favourite beauty products. I remember when this was first released I smelled it in store, it smelled very strongly of lavender so I wrote it off as being a product that wasn’t for me. Fast forward around a year, Matt and I were browsing in Lush and I decided to test it again, this time I loved the scent and it felt amazing on my hand. It does have lavender flower in there, but as someone who doesn’t really like the smell of lavender, I would say this is very muted and not at all overpowering. It’s also infused with tonka and oatmeal, and is the most delicious, calming scent (that even Matt loves, which says something because he thinks most of my moisturisers are too strongly scented). I’ve used this every night since I purchased, and it’s a very comforting, lovely smell. The moisturiser sinks into my skin and isn’t at all tacky, but keeps my skin soft and moisturised through to the next day.

Rosy Cheeks
Fresh Face Mask

This product has gained cult status within the beauty industry, and it’s not hard to see why. A millenial pink coloured face mask, that smells like roses in a fresh and feminine way and works a treat on sensitive skin. Sold. I use this mask around once per week until I use up a tub, then I always forget to pick up another for a few weeks before dragging Matt back into town for the sole purpose of re-purchasing this. This is a fresh face mask, which means it needs to be stored in the fridge, so it always feels cooling and relaxing when applied to the skin. It works pretty quickly, and I tend to take it off with warm water and a flannel after around 5 – 10 minutes when the mask begins to harden/crack. This mask calms any redness or spots I have and thankfully it doesn’t cause me to have breakouts, which is very rare from a face mask as my skin is super sensitive.

Goddess/Avobath/Butterball
Bath Bomb

I still love bath bombs as much as I did when I was 13 (almost twelve years ago, wow) and I always feel like it’s a real treat to use them. I pick at least one up every time I’m in Lush, although I do try not to use them too often, as I think they’re pretty expensive for a one-use product. I always tend to reach for bath bombs on days I feel a little rubbish and need a pick-me-up, or before a date night when I want to feel a little bit special, and sometimes just because. I always take baths in the evening (people who shower/bath in the morning baffle me – surely those extra minutes are much better spent snoozing and snuggling in bed) and I find it’s a perfect way to unwind ready for the evening. As I mentioned above, I’m not super into the gimmicky products any more, but you can’t beat that feeling of joy seeing pretty colours and glitter swirls fill your bath. My skin always feels softer and smoother post-bath, and I love the varying scents in each option; they’re filled with essential oils. Goddess is my ultimate ‘feel-good’ bath bomb right now, and Avobath and Butterball are go-to’s year round. Matt also loves Butterball, although the first time I bought it for him he said he was ‘disappointed there’s no colour’. Bless.

R&B
Hair Moisturiser

This is an oldie but a goodie, and a product I’ve rediscovered in the past few weeks. Real talk: my hair is in dire need of help; years of bleaching, dying, straightening and too much dry shampoo have finally taken their toll, and I’m a little bit at a loss as to what to do to with it. I’ve been a big fan of piling on hair masks recently and I’ve also enlisted any other product that might make any difference to my dry and frazzled locks. R&B is absolutely a miracle in a pot, and I’m mad at myself for ever stopping using it! I take the smallest amount and rub between my fingers then applying to towel dried hair. I’m trying not to blow dry my hair every day, but my natural hair dries super curly frizzy so it’s like an internal battle every evening. All I want to do post-shower/bath is make dinner and get snuggled up in my comfies with Matthew, without worrying about my hair! I have to admit this product does make my hair much less frizzy (it’s a miracle worker I tell you!) whether it dries naturally or I blow dry it, and my hair looks/feels so much more sleek and smooth. It smells glorious, and it’s one of those scents that lingers in your hair until your next wash.

Rub, Rub, Rub
Body Scrub

If I remember correctly, this was my first non-bath-bomb-or-bubble-bar purchase from Lush a few years back, and I’ve loved it ever since. This scrub is made with sea salt and isn’t harsh on the skin, but I find it does an excellent job of exfoliating and keeping my skin soft. In the warmer months I use this daily, although normally I reach for this around three to four times per week and I always feel so much cleaner when I’ve used it. It makes shaving a breeze, and then after I apply my body moisturiser post-shower my skin is silky smooth! This scrub smells very fresh and citrus-y, it’s always a scent that reminds me of Summer. No other scrub I’ve tried comes close to this, and I know I’ll continue to re-purchase for years to come. This product is multi-use and can also be used in your hair; I use it as a pre-shampoo treatment around once per week and my hair always feels so clean and fresh afterwards. If you try just one new thing from this post, make it this! (And pick up a new bath bomb whilst you’re at it, because well, we all deserve a treat!)

Mask Of Magnaminty
Self-Preserving Mask

I bloody love this mask. I love the consistency, I love that it’s self-preserving (which means it doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge), I love the results it gives and I love the smell! Matt is a huge fan too, and on our pamper evening each week – usually a Sunday if you’re interested. We are such losers, I know – we often reach for this mask. This is great for oily/combination skin, and it works wonders when I’m having a bad skin day. It’s a little thicker than the fresh version, which I was told by a Lush employee is down to having more honey in the formula, but it works just as well, if not better, in my opinion. I find this balances my skin really well, and my skin always feels less oily the first few days after using this. Sometimes I multi-mask between this and Rosy Cheeks, and it’s definitely holy-grail status in my beauty regime. If I can ever feel one of those horrible under-the-skin spots coming on, I reach for this to use as a spot treatment on that area and by the next day things always look and feel so much better. This product is also multi-use and can be used to treat spots on your body.

The Comforter/Creamy Candy
Bubble Bar

Like bath bombs, bubble bars have been a favourite product for 10+ years, yet I always tend to re-purchase my tried and tested favourites. I’m less intrigued by new launches with the bubble bars, as I know I love the smell of these two so much I usually have little desire to try anything new. The exception to this is of course the Christmas themed products, but day-to-day these are the ones I reach for. I always break these up into multiple pieces (way more for your bang for your buck than the bath bombs!) and I get around four to five baths from The Comforter, and two to three from Creamy Candy. PSA: if you’ve never tried a bubble bar before, the way to use these is to crumble a section of the bar under the tap as your bath is running! I’ve seen so many people on Instagram complain about how rubbish the bubble bars are because they threw them in the water, but that’s not how they’re supposed to be used. Matt and I always take a bubble bar with us the few times a year we treat each other to a stay at a fancy shmancy hotel, because surely a gorgeous hotel room with a roll top bath is the best setting for a Lush bath!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite products from Lush? Do you have any must-have items you always re-purchase? Let me know in the comments for my next shopping spree!

-G x

How I Plan My Week

Hi, loves!

Way back in my Winter Bucket List post I asked if you would like to see how I plan my week, and received tons of responses saying yes, please! A little background… I thrive off routine, plans and things being in order. I can’t quite explain why, but knowing what my week is going to look like brings me so much joy, and also helps my anxious mind to rest a little. I fret about everything I can possibly think of (it’s SO MUCH FUN) so taking control of things that I can makes me calmer. I’m sure for some people I probably plan a little too much and with too much detail, but you can easily adapt anything in this post to work better for you. It’s really trial and error, and I hope my post gives you a little inspiration and insight into how I plan. (Also, it’s so not too late to buy a 2019 planner – you’ve still got best part of 9 months to use it)! Any excuse for new stationery.

Write down the important things. If you work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, chances are that’s not something you’re likely to forget and it doesn’t need to be recorded every day. I generally write very little to do with work in my planner as I use notepads and my work calendar whilst I’m at my desk for anything important, like a meeting or deadline. If your hours change, or you are self employed and have a little more flexibility in your days, then this would be the kind of thing I would include. Matt works various shifts throughout the week, so I write his hours down – this also helps as we’re currently living between our parents houses (whilst saving for our first home) and we can plan where is easier to be that night, based on his shifts. I always plan my blog posts in my planner, which helps me SO much to make sure everything is ready to go. Personal appointments, date nights, errands and plans with our friends are things I always like to write down, including the time and place, so I don’t have to check back through texts or rely on my brain to remember everything.

Stick to the ‘rule of threes’ with your to-do list. I learned this from many years of reading Anna‘s blog posts and watching her YouTube videos, and it works so well for me. If I set myself a daily to-do list of 20 things, I’d literally do none of them. Breaking everything down, into the three most important tasks, helps me to prioritise and not feel overwhelmed. I tend to number tasks from 1 to 3 in order of importance, and I always tick them off once complete – sometimes if I’m having one of those days I will include unimportant things, like changing our sheets and doing a deep clean. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Set weekly and/or monthly goals and review them regularly. If you’re a regular reader, it’ll be no surprise that setting goals is my kinda thing. I love to have something to work towards, and it’s the best way I find to motivate myself. I thrive off working towards goals, especially with my blog and it helps a lot when I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a rut. I think it’s a great way to track progress and keep yourself accountable, and you can always change your goals as and when you need to. Setting monthly goals works best for me, and if I can’t/don’t achieve something in the month I’d like to, I can always look at my objectives and re-schedule for the next month. It’s important to only use your goals as a guide, not as a checklist for what you must do in a specific timeframe, life doesn’t work that way!

Use your space to write notes, make lists, check finances and plan your meals. I love writing lists and I love checking things off even more! I definitely benefit from having things written down infront of me instead of floating about in my head, and as I check my planner (almost) every day it’s a good reminder to do things. I meal plan in my planner every week and since doing so we have no waste, we enjoy our meals more because they’re never just thrown together, and we are never stuck for ideas. We rotate the same approximate twenty recipes, and when we feel like making something new I ususally browse Pinterest, Instagram and Tesco’s online recipe book. I also write our shopping list out each week to make sure we have what we need for each night, and we buy food two to three times per week as we always need fresh ingredients! I’m hoping to write a post in the next few weeks detailing our meals for a week as I’ve had a few comments saying people would like to see that.

Make adjustments as and when required. The one downside of writing in pen, is that making ammendments sometimes looks a little messy. I do however have no shame in using my Tippex mouse (life changing, I promise you!) to change anything I need to, and I always try to make those changes as soon as possible so I don’t forget. Usually it’s things like times or dates of an appointment or Matt’s shifts (which also sometimes changes our meal plan(s) for the day/week). Life is always going to change around you and your plans are often not going to be exactly as you first thought, and that’s okay!

Make your planner work for you. Apologies if that sounds like the beginning of a bad speech at a multi-level marketing seminar. But, hear me out. The whole point of planning out your week/month/year is that it gives you an idea of what your schedule looks like, and also makes sure you don’t miss anything important. If birthdays and anniversaries are something you’re likely to forget I’d highly recommend setting up your planner for half an hour and adding in any important dates. Once it’s done it’s done for a whole year! I also strongly advise writing down any quotes that stick with you, or things you can record to motivate yourself if you’re having one of those days/weeks. I love to re-read pages from The Secret any time I need a little boost, and I’d advise anyone who wants a little more positivity in their lives to pick it up too! For anyone in that situation right now, my sweet friend Grace sent the below illustration to me when I was feeling down a little while ago, and it made me smile so much. Isn’t it so cute?! (Except, on one of those days a Lush bath is the BEST thing to boost my mood, followed by cuddles with Matthew, obvs!)

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know if you found any of my tips helpful? Do you have any tips for how you plan? Please let me know, I love learning from other people!

-G x

How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x

Proving To Myself That The Little Things Make A Big Difference

Hi loves, happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is shorter than most, but that’s okay, because the little things make the biggest difference. See what I did there? I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps recently, and I’ve had to work extra hard to see the good in each day. (Please see this post for a little more perspective, it happens to the best of us, right?!) For over a week I felt like the second I got out of bed in the morning I was already on a countdown to getting back into it that night. Now, of course being snuggled with Matt is always going to be my ultimate happy place and heading off to work isn’t going to be the happiest part of my day, but it’s so draining to have no energy, and to feel like each day is a struggle in itself.

I just had a lot of those days, nothing was specifically wrong, but I set myself a task to make note of random things through the day that made me smile. Some of these are generic things that happen every day and some are random and uncommon. I’m a big believer in voicing gratitude and showing appreciation, and I hope this post helps to remind others there’s always good in each day. Here’s a little summary of the little things that made me smile last week – there obviously were tons of little things, I just tried to focus on things that people may find relatable (minus the Dwayne Johnson story)…

M O N D A Y

-Matt and I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual and spent the morning snuggling and chatting
-It was super sunny and warm
-Every traffic light on the way to work was green (that’s EIGHT of them)
-I got the cutest phone call from Matthew
-We spent a fun night with my second family, and made the best enchiladas for dinner
-I was having a good skin day
-Matt took some blog photos for me and we had such a giggle
-I found a new app to edit the photos and was SO happy with the results, I’m probably going to use it for most posts from now on
-Forehead kisses. ‘Nuff said
-Brendan from Coach Trip just being a little sweetie

T U E S D A Y

-By the time I’d got to work (like ten minutes after leaving him) Matt sent me the cutest text that made me so happy I cried
-One of my co-workers did something really sweet for another co-worker
-I drove home from work through the most beautiful, vibrant sunset that reminded me of being in Kos with my love
-I had a bubble bath and read my current book (Still Me by Jojo Moyes, I’m OBSESSED)
-The smell of my DW Home Tulip Takeover candle
-I sent Jessy a cute little quote to make her smile
-I timed dinner perfectly for Matt coming home from work, and was just about to serve as he walked through the door
-We snuggled up to watch more Coach Trip and it made us SO EXCITED for Summer

W E D N E S D A Y

-I showed Matt the Southwest flight attendant video this morning (he’s been living under a rock, clearly) and felt all the warm fuzzy’s at how funny and sweet the lady is
-I ate an iced split from Gregg’s for the first time in years
-I squeezed in an hour’s yoga before a long hot bubble bath and I’m not sure which felt better
-My post-yoga messy bun looked better than one I’d tried to make look good for twenty minutes (okay, this is bittersweet)
-I managed to grab the bits I wanted from the Zoella X Colourpop collaboration (more on that on the blog once it arrives!), plus a highlighter and lipgloss I’ve been eyeing up for ages
-Matt brought me home a new MacBook charger because mine was completely broken. The £80.00 price tag didn’t make me so happy LOL
-We had picky tea, which meant minimal effort and very full tummies before we fell into bed

He makes me so happy 🙂

T H U R S D A Y

-Matt and I had time to have a cup of tea together
-I nailed the rap from You’re Welcome on the way to work. Dwayne Johnson would have been PROUD… side note I met Dwayne Johnson. Everyone I’ve ever met for three seconds or less has probably heard this story, but we were in LA and he was at his movie premier and, yeah, we’re basically besties ~so casual~ ~so relatable~
-I ate Special K with Alpro Almond Coconut milk (which is my current breakfast of choice at work – highly recommend), but I was so hungry it tasted better than ever
-I was coming up to traffic on my way home from work, so I put my hazards on to warn the car behind me and then he put his hazards on to warn the car behind him. I love when this happens, weirdest feeling of accomplishment ever HAHA
-I went to my second home straight from work and was so happy to catch up with Matt’s parents, I hadn’t seen them for two days which felt like forever
-Matt and I made our plans for the weekend which always makes me super excited
-We also made the best pasta together and I want to eat it RIGHT NOW

F R I D A Y

-We woke up to the sound of birds chirping
-The smell of my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer made me feel like I was on holiday
-I had the weekend feeling driving to work, knowing I’d be heading home for a fun weekend in eight hours
-It was my company’s year-end, so we all had lunch together and our MD gave a little speech in the boardroom about us all doing a great job
-Anna’s new series, Everyday March, started on her Youtube Channel
-Matt and I went to Nando’s for dinner for the first time in so long
-At Nando’s, we bumped into my lovely friend Grace and her boyfriend. We only seen them for a short time as they were meeting friends but she was so smiley and sweet it literally made my day
-Matt and I snuggled up when we got home with glasses of our fave Whitney Neill gin (rhubarb and ginger, obvs) and lemonade
-Cry laughing with bae

S A T U R D A Y

-We got to have a lie in (!!!)
-The smell of my new Spring candle burning whilst we got ready
-We went for a breakfast date at a new place – our favourite thing to do on a weekend morning – it was SO good
-I had a crepe filled with bananas and Nutella. No explanation needed on why this made me happy. NUTELLA
-I popped into Blue Lotus (the only place I’d go for piercings) to see if they could squeeze me in but they were fully booked, however I got a new earring and we got to see Nici for the first time in ages – the sweetest lady who works there. She’s such a breath of fresh air
-The beautiful flowers outside Fenwick’s
-I finally got some extra ideas on what else to buy Matt for his birthday (he’s so hard to buy for because he buys whatever he wants for himself!)
-We had a super chilled evening watching our shows and eating Domino’s. Perfect

S U N D A Y

-Matt was so full of energy dancing around from the second he got out of bed, which gave me a burst of energy (and a giggle at his expense, he’s so cute)
-He went to play golf with the boys for the morning, so I spent a little time beginning to write up this post, with my candles burning and Himalayan pink salt lamp on, feeling like I really had my life together. I don’t, lol
-I totally zoned out and enjoyed my yoga session so much
-I had a Lush bath at 11am on a Sunday morning, just because
-Matt and I went for a late dinner at one of our fave local pubs
-After I’d showered we did face masks together and it’s literally one of my favourite things
-I received an overwhelming amount of love about today’s post My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine (thank you so much!)
-My new Sleepy moisturiser from Lush
-It was raining so hard when we went to bed, all the cosy feels

I hope you guys enjoyed this personal, almost Dear Diary style post – it’s certainly something different than what I’d usually post. Do you need to remind yourself to see the little things sometimes? What were the little things that made you smile today?

-G x

My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine

Hi, loves!

I’m so excited to share my updated skincare routine with you because I’ve finally found a routine that works for me. My last skincare routine was posted way back in July, but I have switched things up a lot since then. I’ve been really intrigued to try more natural, organic skincare brands and products, and I’m so happy with everything I’m currently using. My skin type is combination but leans more towards the oily side, I get dry patches under my eyes from time to time, and for the past few years I’ve been prone to breakouts and redness. I have acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw dating back to when I was a teenager, but it has improved SO much over the past six months.

You may have seen from previous blog posts that I’ve committed to only buy from cruelty free brands going forward, and my skincare routine is fully cruelty free. My everyday makeup routine is almost there too, although right now I’m using up products that I had already bought but will not be re-purchasing. I really am so happy with my skincare products, and my skin is really good right now. *prays to the skin Gods that it stays that way after making such a statement* I switched my contraceptive around June 2018, and I think that has also had a huge impact – girls, if you’re on the pill and suffer with acne, change it up! I’d recommend speaking to your doctor to see what will be the best option for you, but I really think this needs to be discussed more openly.

I’ve stripped back my skincare routine a lot, and I no longer feel the need to try out hundreds of products, constantly buying the next must-have item. I used to be such a skincare junkie, and as much as I like to admire dreamy Instagram #shelfies and other bloggers’ or vloggers’ skincare routines from afar, I just don’t have the interest (or room in my budget) to continuously try out new products. There are however a few brands I’d love to explore more – Sukin, Facetheory and Neal’s Yard Remedies I’m looking at you! – over the coming months as and when I finish current products. Also, I probably do a few steps in the ‘wrong’ order, but that’s okay!

MORNING ROUTINE

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – I flipping love this cleanser. Sukin are a 100% natural and organic brand, this is the first product I’ve tried from them and I can’t wait to try more in time. This cleanser is the perfect way to prepare my face for my skincare routine and makeup, and I’m trying to use this every morning and every night. This foams up slightly but it isn’t irritating and never leaves my skin feeling dry or tight. I apply one pump to a wet face (either in the shower or over the sink), and massage in for a few minutes. I use Facetheory exfoliating muslin cloths every other evening and they’re great at exfoliating without being too harsh. The cleanser smells very spa-like, due to the natural ingredients, and it’s a perfect pick-me-up in the mornings or evenings.

Pixi Glow Tonic – I don’t use this every morning, it totally depends on how my skin is that specific day; if my skin is clear and not aggravated I stay. away. However, if I have a breakout, or my skin is a little red (this often happens the day after I’ve used a face mask) then I apply a little across my face with a cotton round. I often use this in the evenings too, again depending on how my skin is on that day. This is the only toner I have re-purchased several times, and I really don’t think any other toner I’ve tried compares to this. It is a cult favourite, but for good reason! In my opinion it’s 100% worth the hype.

Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – I’ve been using this eye cream since just before Christmas as this product was my first foray into the brand, and it’s one of my absolute favourite skincare products. I actually stumbled across this brand as it was featured in an Instagram post, and at the time I’d never heard of it, but I’m so glad I found it! I use the smallest amount for both eyes (a pea-sized amount as the pros would say), I’ve been using this every day for almost three months now and there’s heaps left. This eye cream is lightweight and my makeup applies so nicely on top, which is an added bonus as lots of inexpensive eye creams I’ve tried tended to ball up under makeup.

Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – I’ve only been using this for around four to five weeks, as I purchased it when my moisturiser (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo) ran out. I almost bent my purchasing cruelty-free products only rule to re-purchase Effaclar Duo as I really think it helped my skin SO much. However, as I loved the Facetheory eye cream I decided to try out their moisturiser for oily skin and I love it. My skin generally doesn’t react well to new products so I was prepared for a few crappy skin days/weeks, but that never happened which was pretty impressive. It’s a lightweight formula and sinks into my skin within a few minutes, making the perfect base for foundation. As I mentioned, it hasn’t broke me out at all, and I think my skin has been less oilier throughout the day over the past few weeks. One thing to warn you if you’d like to purchase; as it’s a gel formula it’s such a thin liquid (almost serum-like) it went everywhere the first time I used it!

Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm / Glossier Balm Dot Com – these two are level at the top spot in my never-ending crusade to find the perfect lip balm. (I have a problem, guys!) Both products work so well under lip liner or lipstick to protect and soothe my lips, and any regular readers will know I carry a balm dot com lip balm in every bag!

Shop my AM skincare (all prices RRP)
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Facetheory Exfoliating Muslin Cloths (3 pack) – £4.99
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18
Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – £15.99
Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – £12.99
Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm – £6.95

Glossier Balm Dot Com (Original) – £10.00

EVENING ROUTINE

Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water / Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser / The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – I change this up day to day, and generally use whichever product I fancy on that day. If I’m having a pamper night I will always go for a good wash-at-the-sink makeup remover, but if I’m feeling tired or just super lazy it’s going to be micellar water on cotton rounds (I buy these organic ones). I tend to go through stages with my cleansers, as some weeks I love the Glossier one and other weeks I reach for my cleansing butter from The Body Shop every night. All three of these are so gentle on my skin and never cause me to break out! Very occasionally I reach for makeup wipes (Burt’s Bee’s Micellar Cleansing Towelettes are the ones I buy, made from repurposed cotton) but I know everyone thinks that’s the cardinal skincare sin! I’m currently trying out Glossier’s new micellar water too, and so far I really love it – as with everything from Glossier it’s simple and effective, and it hasn’t made my skin break out which is always a bonus.

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – see above.

Pixi Glow Tonic – see above.

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – so, you may have heard me talk about this before… LOL. I’ve declared my love for this product 101 times on my blog, but it’s really that good. This eye cream is so moisturising, does not irritate my sensitive under-eye area, and it’s damn good for the recurring dry patches that keeps appearing under my right eye. Each morning my under-eye area still feels moisturised, which I’ve never found from an overnight eye cream before. The texture is so different than anything I’ve used before, and it always feels cool when applied to my skin. If you’re looking for a new night eye cream, look no further. You can thank me later!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 / The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Serum-in-Oil – I change my serums up based on my skin that day; if my skin is feeling a little dry or irritated I reach for the Hyaluronic Acid, and if it’s pretty normal I reach for the Vitamin E, although more often than not I use both. I do have various serums from The Ordinary that I used to alternate between, but I really see no benefit in piling them all on my face and I very rarely reach for anything else. When my current Hyaluronic Acid serum runs out I think I’ll repurchase Glossier Super Bounce as I feel that did a little more for my skin, but The Ordinary one is such a great budget friendly option.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – this is the best overnight moisturiser I’ve ever used, and I totally found it by accident. This was the first skincare product I’ve bought from Neal’s Yard Remedies and the bar is set so high for future purchases. It’s made with natural ingredients, so it feels and smells like I’ve been transported to the most beautiful spa every night. When morning rolls around, my skin still feels and looks moisturised, and plump in the best way! Yarrow, one of the main ingredients, is great for helping oily skin as it controls sebum production, and it also helps to reduce acne scarring. As I mentioned above, I had horrendous acne scarring on my cheeks/jaw which has improved so much, I wish I had a before and after picture! This moisturiser isn’t sticky, it never breaks me out, and I’m really seeing the benefits of less oil production. This is truly a holy grail product for me and I know I’ll be repurchasing for years to come, with no need to try out alternatives. Also, Matt keeps telling me every morning and night how good my skin looks, and you know a product is working miracles when your boyfriend notices!

Glossier Balm Dot Com – during the Winter months I tend to need a thicker, heavier lip balm overnight, but as we’ve had such mild weather my favourite Glossier balm is doing the trick. Matt uses this too, and we absolutely love it! I really would like to try out the Evolve Lip Treat at some point, though.

Shop my PM skincare (all prices RRP)
Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water – £6.99
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15.00
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – £10.00
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18.00

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – £18.00
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – £5.90
The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil – £16.00
Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – £22.00
Glossier Balm Dot Com – £10.00

THE EXTRAS

Face masks – I’m the biggest advocate of face masks, I just love them. Throwing a face mask on is self care, okay?! Sheet masks are the no-fuss way to do it, and my favourites were from the Garnier Moisture range but I’m unable to purchase those now as Garnier are not cruelty free. I’m hoping and praying Garnier will change their processes in 2019! However, a few cruelty free sheet masks I love and have re-purchased several times are Burt’s Bees Hydrating, Sanctuary Spa Charcoal Bubble and Starskin Pink Clay Purifying, they all work so well for my skin and help to settle my skin without causing breakouts. My favourite face masks are the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Lush Mask Of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving) and Lush Rosy Cheeks. The one aspect of skincare I can get Matt excited about is face masks, we love to do them together and try to make time to as often as we can – it’s my favourite part of our Sunday evenings!

Jade roller – if you don’t have one of these, get on it! I treated myself to this one from Amazon to cheer myself up when I was having a crappy week, as I’d been debating on buying one for a long time. It works fine but it is clearly cheaply made and I’m hoping to purchase this one from Herbivore in the near future. Face rollers are a firm favourite in many people’s beauty routines, and it’s easy to see why. My face is often a little puffy in the morning, especially around my eyes, and this magic tool fixes that in an instant. I don’t use this every day as it honestly depends on *how much time I have (*basically, I spend too much time snoozing my alarm and snuggling my boyfriend), but I always make sure to use it when I can. I use this in the evening most nights after applying my serum, and I really love to roll my face after using a face mask.

Spot treatment – I always reach for Mario Badescu Drying Lotion if I have any active breakouts, and I swear by this product. I apply using a cotton bud, and dab onto the affected area. (I buy cotton buds from Sainsbury’s, which are the most affordable organic ones I can find, but they come in plastic packaging which drives me crazy!) This product is genuinely a miracle worker, by morning my spots are gone or at least well on their way to healing, and the redness around the area is non-existant. I wish I knew about this product when I suffered with terrible acne! I’ve been meaning to purchase the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches for so long as they’re apparently incredible, so I really need to do that. I hope Glossier’s Zit Stick will be available in the UK soon too – I literally check on the daily – as I’ve heard SO many good things about that product (although reviews are mixed online).

Drinking more water, eating less dairy and eating more veggies. It’s not groundbreaking information that what we put into our bodies has a huge effect on how it looks on the outside. I’ve always found it so difficult to drink lots of water, but recently I’ve upped my game and drink way more than I used to. Matt and I cook dinner together every night and we always pile the vegetables into our recipes, and try to participate in meatless Monday most weeks. I think eating cleaner in general (less meat, little dairy) has had a huge impact on my skin; since I stopped drinking cow’s milk I noticed a huge decrease in the amount of breakouts I was having. Matt and I are never going to give up our late night McFlurry runs, but it’s all about balance right?! Of course, just because this helped me does not necessarily mean it would work for you, but I’d definitely encourage you to switch up things in your diet and see what works best for your skin/body.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite skincare products? Do you have any you go back to over and over again?

-G x