Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

Hi, loves! I’ve talked several times about my journey with acne on my blog, and today I want to talk about what I’ve learned from the experience. I first thought about writing this post months ago but I wanted to wait until my skin was ‘good’ so I was able to discuss it in more detail. Honestly, my skin has good days and bad days; I’m still experiencing acne and if I want to talk about what I’ve learned so far in my journey there’s not ever going to be a specific right time. It’s scary and I feel super vulnerable putting this post out there but I’m hoping if it can bring others comfort and reassurance it’s worth it, right?!

Here’s a little background for those of you who aren’t familiar: as a teenager I had near perfect skin, and it wasn’t until I turned 19 that I began getting any spots at all. As I moved into my early twenties I began to experience cystic acne that felt overwhelming and horrendous; I hated it with every part of me, and honestly hated the way I looked for YEARS. My skin became something I worried about all day every day and I’ve carried that with me for so long it’s probably always going to be part of me. I was very emotional about my skin, and I unfortunately still am. When someone mentions a breakout or really bad spot – even if they mean well – my defense mechanism is to ignore the conversation because it makes me feel SO uncomfortable. Honestly it’s so rude to point out something ‘wrong’ with someone else’s skin and I’ve no idea why people think it’s okay to do so.

I feel very very lucky that my skin has calmed down a lot over the years and the acne I experience now is much more manageable in terms of treatment and also pain level. I’ve no idea if that is down to a change in hormones, finally settling into a tried and tested skincare routine, a bit of both or something else entirely but I’m so grateful to have clearer skin. I no longer suffer from consistent acne, although I do have breakouts pretty much every week that sometimes can be cystic there’s a huge difference. At one point my cheeks and jaw line were covered in breakouts, and they were so bad I couldn’t hide them with makeup which made them seem even worse to me. Every time one breakout began to clear up another would appear and it was a constant cycle I couldn’t do anything about. Now I’m thankful that I generally have one or two small (by comparison to what I used to experience) breakouts at a time, which is easier to manage and doesn’t cause me as much anxiety or stress.

I think other than the ocassional cystic acne, the most irritating breakouts I get now are those under-the-skin-bumps that feel like my whole face is pulsing as they last for days or sometimes a week. The really frustrating thing is that there isn’t a way to draw them out or help them heal quicker which stresses me out a little. I don’t mean to sound negative about having acne, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, I just really want to be transparent and help you to get the full perspective on how my skin has been (and still is). Don’t get me wrong; there are MUCH worse things in the world than having acne! But when it’s something that you deal with day to day and you can’t get a break from it can feel so overwhelming and almost debilitating at times. I lost so much confidence when I first started experiencing acne a few years back and I’m so grateful that I now feel so much better about myself. Matt tells me I’m beautiful every single day – even when I most definitely DO NOT look beautiful, hah! – and little things like that truly mean the world to me.

I’m sure I’ve got so much more to learn regarding acne but today I’m so excited to share a few things I’ve learned so far from my acne journey with you all. If you have suffered or are still suffering with acne of any form please know that I get how you feel, so many people experience varying forms of acne and it’s something I really think we should talk about more openly.

There is no such thing as a miracle cure. Oh how I wish there was. I’ve lost count of how many creams, oils, serums etc I’ve tried over the years – lots of them even on prescription or doctors’ recommendations – and not one of them has magically cleared my acne. Funny, huh?! I think in the beginning I was very naive and just assumed that one product would come along and make my skin smooth, even and acne free. I definitely assumed that expensive meant better when it came to skincare (and makeup, haircare, body care etc) but that is categorically not true. Some of my most used, very favourite products are from the drugstore – albeit some at slightly more premium prices – but you do NOT need to use an £80.00 serum to see results!

Something that is so important however is finding a good skincare routine for morning and night that helps your skin. This can be a frustrating and costly experiment, because not every product you try will work for your skin, your skin may change and something that worked for a while may not any more and you may have other skin concerns that you want to address along the way. I love skincare and I’m so invested in learning about it so for the most part I quite enjoy the trial and error of finding new products, but I’m so happy that right now I truly enjoy every single part of my skincare routine. I have introduced two new products fairly recently and after I’ve used them for a few more weeks I’ll for sure share my current AM and PM skincare routines with you!

One thing I’d like to mention as it’s something I’ve experienced several times is that people – especially those who don’t have any specific skin concerns themselves – may criticize the products (or amount of products) you use. Take this with a pinch of salt; once you find the products that work for you, you’ll be so pleased you took time to figure it out! What happened to “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” anyway?! Following a curated skincare routine is essential and any dermatologist or aesthetician will tell you that it is vital. Obviously, there are some things that products cannot help with too much; for example I have some pretty bad acne scarring that would need laser treatment to minimize, but that’s okay with me and I’ve just gotten used to it. Caroline Hirons is a wealth of knowledge for all types of skin concerns, and if you’re feeling a little lost for what to do to help yourself I would really advise checking out her blog and YouTube channel.

Hormones plays a huge part in how your skin looks/feels. I was put on the pill by my doctor at a very young age – I had just barely turned thirteen – because I had horrendously painful periods. Side note: I’m experiencing them again right now at the age of 25 after changing my pill not so long ago… I just love being a girl. :). HAH. As my hormones were altered by a tablet from such a young age, I’m not sure if this might have changed the way my skin was or not, but it’s so normal to experience more spots or actual acne because of hormonal changes.

It’s very common around the time of your period to break out, pregnancy and breastfeeding throws off your hormones and causes all kinds of skin issues, and sometimes just generally if you’re feeling tired, anxious, stressed or just a bit run down your skin often has a reaction too. If you know you’re breaking out due to hormonal reasons there is still so many options of treatments for this, I’d really recommend speaking to your doctor. One tip I’d love to share with you regarding hormonal acne; from my experience these spots are usually angry, red, raised, and not always ones that have a whitehead. If this is the case and you’re looking for immediate relief, take an anti-histamine! Breakouts are literally an inflammation, so anti-histamines help to lessen the redness and swelling, and makes day-to-day life with spots just that little bit easier. I wish I knew this YEARS ago!

Your skin is nothing to be embarrassed about. How many times have you told your partner or friend that you just can’t believe the size of the spot on your chin? Maybe you’re calling it your ‘second head’? And how many times have you been met with the response “where?! I can’t even see it?” … we can all relate, right?! I truly believe that your skin looks and feels worse to you because it’s often a very personal and emotional thing, but like with most areas of life being kind to yourself is such an important factor in helping things to be easier. When he was a teenager Matt also suffered from cystic acne and I’m so grateful he understands exactly how I feel when I have a particularly bad breakout now – whether it’s cystic or not. I think it’s often really hard for people with ‘good’ skin to understand just how much skin issues can affect others, but just by being honest and opening the conversation up it helps to break down the taboo.

In my early twenties I spent countless social occasions making my excuses for why I couldn’t go and literally hiding away because I was so embarrassed of my skin, and it’s really sad because I never should have felt that way. I definitely think my acne linked to my anxiety, as when my skin was especially bad my anxiety was most definitely heightened. Even now when I have a particularly ‘bad’ breakout (I realise this is subjective) I still feel like I don’t want to be social, how silly is that? It’s something I can’t explain to people who don’t ‘get it’ but I’m working on changing my thought process slowly but surely. We’ve all heard this before but plastering foundations and concealers over any bout of acne, spots or blemishes is not necessarily the answer, we just need to find comfort in embracing our skin! *Makes note to self*

Thank you so much from reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and if acne is something that still affects you on a daily basis I hope you found a little comfort in it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a time in my life where my skin is completely breakout free but I hope I do, one day! Have you dealt with acne as a teenager or adult? What have you learned from your experience?

-G x

The Sam & Nic Edit: A Beauty Box You Need In Your Life

Hi, loves! Beauty boxes are one of my favourite things; they’re an opportunity to try various brands and products without committing to a full size product, they’re often very good value for money and you could find a new holy grail product! When I found out that Sam and Nic had launched their own beauty box with Estee Lauder I immediately ordered! Aside from the fact I love Sam and Nic, the box truly is such good value for money, and filled with so many brands/products I already know and love. There are NINE products in this box, which is crazy!

I have watched Sam and Nic on Youtube for so many years, and truly have admired them not just as incredible makeup artists but as entrepreneurs, mums, and quite literally, #girlbosses. They paved the way for so many content creators through the years, and were truly the first ‘beauty gurus’ I ever came across on YouTube. Having said that, you’d think I’d be a hell of a lot better at doing my own makeup from watching them… hah! I also wanted to note this box is cruelty free, which makes it even more of a winner and inclusive to everyone. I’m sharing a mini review and first impressions on each of the products in the box, spoiler alert… it’s amazing.

Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover
An oldie but a goodie, I’m such a huge fan of Clinique’s Take The Day Off range. The cleansing balm is an OG favourite of mine (and many, many others) but this product is fantastic especially for removing eye makeup, even if I’ve gone a little heavy on that particular day. I love this for travelling as one swipe removes almost all of my eye makeup, and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes at all. The packaging is very chic and cute, and it looks so pretty in your skincare bag or on your vanity table!

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Rebel Length and Lift Mascara
A new addition to Estee Lauder’s makeup range, I was so excited to see this included in the box. I love love love Estee Lauder mascaras, although I don’t buy them very often as let’s be real, drugstore mascaras are a fraction of the price and generally just as good. I’ve used this for a few days now and I really love how long it makes my lashes. I’ve not found it to be clumpy and it’s super black – one of my biggest pet hates is mascara that leaves your lashes with a grey tinge!

MAC Strobe Cream
This is a product I have used on and off since I first properly got into makeup and I really really love it. I received a sample last year during a time I did not have a full sized product in my collection, then I re-purchased when the sample ran out and have used it ever since. I like to use this on days I’m doing my makeup ‘properly’ as it adds a beautiful glow that doesn’t make my face look like a greaseball* and leaves my makeup looking fresh and glowy. Strobe cream is a makeup artist favourite and for good reason, it’s so versatile! Speaking of which… have you seen Sam doing her makeup in this video? The applications of strobe cream? That looks so easy and effortless? How the F does she do that? WOW.
*My skin has changed a lot in recent years and it’s nowhere near as oily as it used to be. Super oily skins might not love this all over the face!

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Ruby
I love love love Bobbi Brown’s crushed lip colours! I recently talked about Cali Rose which is my favourite shade; it’s just such a beautiful formula. One of my favourite things about these lipsticks is that they can be worn super sheer which looks effortless and more daytime appropriate, or you can apply to be super opaque. I have previously owned Ruby and I loved it then, but I never re-purchased for some reason. I wore this yesterday and I really liked how it looked on, and Matt also complimented me… I always know it’s a good product when my boyfriend notices!

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light
On first look I thought this seemed a little too dark for my fair skin tone, but after using it a few times it’s not, and I love love love this bronzer! I’ve never tried a bronzing powder from Bobbi Brown before, and honestly I’ve been on the lookout for something new for a while. Benefit Hoola lost it’s appeal to me, I’m kinda bored of The Body Shop Honey Bronzer and as much as I love Physician’s Formula’s Butter Bronzer, I can’t bare the cheap childish packaging. This bronzer is also my perfect ‘all over the lid’ eyeshadow colour on days I don’t have much time, or it would be great as a blending shade for travel. It’s so rare for me to find a makeup product I love immediately (except for lipsticks/lip glosses) but holy smokes, this is incredible. I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying the full size!

Smashbox Cover Shot Eyeshadow Palette in Ablaze
Confession time: this baby was the product I was most excited for, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. I trust Sam and Nic’s opinion and judgement, and I knew if they were including this in their beauty box it was because it was a fantastic product, and it is! Warm, earthy eyeshadows speak to my soul and this is a palette that’s been on my radar for a while. I really like these tones because I have greenish blue eyes and they make my eyes pop! Every shade is usable and something I’d opt for on an everyday basis, whether I was heading to work, running errands or getting a little bit glam for date night. The pigmentation is amazing, there’s not a lot of fall out from the shadows at all and I really appreciate having larger sizes for the base/blending shades as those are the shades in a palette I always use up first. Bravo choice girls, bravo!

Real Techniques Rebel Edge Fine Brush
Okay, so setting aside my admiration for Sam and Nic for a second, I am a HUGE fan of Real Techniques brushes. I use several every day; they apply your makeup incredibly easily, they don’t hold too much product in the brush, they wash very well and I have had some for well over five years that are in immaculate condition. This brush makes what I do almost every day SO freaking easy – I was using a Zoeva 322 (which is technically for eyebrows) to run a darker eyeshadow along my lash line to create a faux eyeliner look, but it is a little fiddly. This brush literally does the work for me! I have hooded eyes and I’ve never been able to flick out eyeshadow or eyeliner and make it look even both sides, but with this I did it in seconds.

Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Texture Spray
A tried and tested favourite… I really like this texture spray. Bumble and Bumble products are so highly loved in the blogging world, and for very good reason. I have a full size of this product that I’m using right now so will be keeping this to one side for travelling. I use this every time I curl my hair, or when I’m going for a big messy bun as it adds so much texture but doesn’t leave residue or colour in my hair. Other texture sprays I’ve used leave a weird residue so I was super happy to find this didn’t on first application, and that’s what made me stick with it.

Glamglow Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Mask
I’m SO very excited to use this mask. Glamglow is a brand I used to use A LOT – literally every week when I had really bad skin I would use their Supermud Clearing Treatment which worked wonders for me – but it’s a brand in which I kinda stick to what I know. I’m less likely to pick up new products on a whim these days, so trying out this mask as part of the box is so good for me! I’ve seen all of the promo for this product since it was released and it looks so interesting. I can’t wait to stick it on and surprise Matt when he’s least expecting it, HA!

Disclaimer: I paid for this box with my own money and I’m so happy to see 10% of sales from every box purchased are being split between two charities; Look Good Feel Better and Breast Cancer Haven. This box would make a wonderful treat for yourself or any beauty loving lady in your life, I couldn’t recommend it enough! It would also be a great Christmas present, although I believe it’s only available for a limited time only so don’t be shy about purchasing if it’s something you want.

Thank you so much for reading! I’m so happy with the contents of this box and I’m really enjoying using the products I hadn’t tried before. My favourites are Smashbox eyeshadow palette in Ablaze, MAC’s strobe cream and I really love the Real Techniques brush! Will you be picking up this limited edition box? Or maybe you already have…? What’s your favourite product from the selection?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy FRIDAY! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be writing a new Feelin’ It Friday post. I really have missed writing them each week, but I’ve been so grateful to have a little extra time for Matt and I and taking a *little* bit of time back from my blog. I’m so happy it’s (almost) the weekend as Matt and I get a little more time together this weekend than we have the past few weeks! Something to note; I’ve switched up the format of this post and made it a little more photo heavy, I hope that makes it more fun?

As I’m finishing up this post Matt has just left for work and it’s super dark out; I’m snuggled in bed with a pumpkin spice bagel, a cup of tea and Friends playing in the background. I love early mornings so much! Let’s get into it…

What I’m watching:
SO MANY TV SHOWS. Matt and I are still watching The Office throughout the week, I’m watching Friends and Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time (so is Matt by default, oops), and Graham Norton is back with another season of his show which makes me so happy! The main show I’m obviously most excited about right now is Strictly. Chris liked my tweet above and it went a little crazy hahaha, it’s so true though. I love Rosie (and Chris)! Caroline Hirons also liked another tweet and I mean, the fangirl’ing has been REAL this week.

I really think this is my favourite season of Strictly yet; most of the celebrities are SO GOOD and the competition is a little crazy. I’m still super pissed that Diane & Dev left two weeks ago as I really thought they’d be in the final, but the competition is so fun and I truly look forward to Saturday evenings so much. Matt has been watching along with me and although it’s far from his favourite show on TV, he’s actually been enjoying it too! My favourites are Chris & Karen (#TeamChris), Kelvin & Oti, Catherine & Johannes, Saffron & AJ and Karim & Amy. So you know, pretty much half of the contestants, hahaha. I also really love Motsi as a judge this year, she is SO FUN and just what the show needed!

What I’m reminiscing about:
Matt and I made the most of a super hectic, busy month (which doesn’t look to be slowing down into November either) and we squeezed in a fun Fall getaway! I just posted our photo diary this week from our trip which you can catch here if you missed it. I can’t tell you how fun it was to just unwind and relax together! We went for dinner, did a little shopping, explored some of our favourite places and just had SO MUCH FUN together. Matthew, I love you so much! Thank you for being the most amazing man 🙂

What I’m eating:
I am so happy about all of the Autumn/Halloween flavoured and themed products this year! I always enjoy seasonal goods, and this time of year is the start of the very best. I’ve been LOVING these pumpkin spiced bagels for breakfast from New York Bakery Co, they are just so delicious and hearty for the colder mornings. My mum also really enjoys them, and of course you just have to eat them toasted and smothered in butter. I’m actually eating one right now as I finish up writing and editing this post, I’m going to be so sad when they’re discontinued in the next few weeks!

What beauty product I’m obsessed with:
I’m not going to say TOO much on my Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre because it’s going to be featured in my upcoming Autumn skincare routine with a full review, but just know this is my favourite moisturiser I’ve ever used! EVER. It works so well under makeup or applied more thickly as an evening moisturiser, I’m just so happy with it. French pharmacy skincare products are so hyped up but for good reason, I can’t tell you how lovely it makes my skin look/feel. I can’t wait to share all of my thoughts in a post very soon! Also, the link I’ve shared with you to Feel Unique currently has 25% off…

What I’m burning:
All the Fall scents! My favourites are of course from Bath & Body Works and DW Home which I’ve been burning all month. I love pumpkin scents SO much, I’m not ready to jump into Christmas scents for a few more weeks yet. I got the sweetest surprise present from Matt and I’s friend Nathan; he went to America with his partner and they picked me up a Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow candle!! I’m so grateful; it’s a beautiful candle with the most comforting, cosy scent. It smells like freshly baked pumpkin muffins, which hey… I’m all about that.

What I’m showering with:
Hahaha I know that sounds SO WEIRD! Guys. I’m obsessed with Lush right now! I always buy way more during Autumn and Winter because that’s when all of the best stuff (in my opinion) comes out. My mum and I went shopping earlier in the month and as well as picking up a few birthday presents for her, I grabbed a bottle of the Yog Nog shower gel for myself. Lush’s website describes Yog Nog as a scent that’s reminiscent of caramel and custard and that is the great way to describe it. To me it smells kinda like cinder toffee and takes me right back to the old sweet shop in Beamish; it’s very reminiscent of my childhood in a strange way! I just LOVE it, and Matt has been stealing this to use almost every day too. Seriously… go to the store. Smell it. Buy it. Thank me later.

What I’m wearing:
The weather is getting pretty cold here in the North now, and it’s most definitely #sweaterweather. I have been wearing lots of cute and cosy sweaters that I’ll share on the blog sometime soon, but when I’ve been snuggled at home I’ve been wearing my new beautiful M&S dressing gown. I can’t tell you how soft it is, and I am obsessed with the colour! It’s the most beautiful baby blue that just makes me happy. Matt and I love M&S dressing gowns – I have another that I’ve had for literally three years and it’s still in perfect condition – and we spend most of our evenings super cosy in our robes! Confession time: I spent most of last weekend wearing my robe… I felt a little poorly so whilst Matt was at work I blogged, cleaned and tidied, but felt no need to get properly ready. I just kept showering or taking a bath and putting clean pj’s on, it was delightful!

What I’m reading:
I have a new blog love! I talk about my favourite blogs all the time – Mix and Match Mama, The Anna Edit and Savannah Said It are my go to’s every single day – but guys… I found Lauren via Instagram’s explore page and oh my gosh I just love her and her blog. The Lovely Lo Down is primarily fashion focused and Lauren wears the most sweet, darling outfits that I will now be forever trying to re-create! She also shares a little lifestyle content, and I’d love to see more of that from her as that’s always my favourite content to read. I have a question for you guys though… what is your favourite kind of content to read? Do you prefer fashion posts and outfit ideas? Or photo diaries? Or beauty favourites? Or wellness/self care related content? Please let me know!

What I’m working on:
Trying to relax and chill the F out. I’m really trying to live in the moment a little more, and I am trying to just enjoy each day as it is, without putting pressure on myself about other things. I can’t really stop feeling anxious or super stressed out, but I feel like being kind to myself during this phase is the best way to go about it, right? Sending all of my love to anyone else struggling a little right now.

What I’m looking forward to:
It’s almost bonfire night! The photo above is from last year’s celebrations, apologies it’s a little crap but it’s just so hard to take good photos of fireworks on an iPhone haha. I’m actually going to be recording a Weekend In My Life for the weekend before bonfire night, as Matt and I are celebrating a little early with our go-to firework display at Blyth Beach. This will be our third year in a row going to this display, it’s our very favourite! We have a fun weekend planned overall so it will be super fun to share with you guys 🙂 we’re also going to a mid-week display on bonfire night itself, I love fireworks!

What I’m excited about:
Next Sunday I’m sharing a new type of post with you, and it may be something I make into a monthly thing, if you like it of course! I’m sharing nine happy things from the month of October, and I’ve been recording things that could feature throughout the month. I have literally over thirty happy things to pick from so far, and we’ve still got almost a week left of October! It’s made me feel so grateful even though I’ve felt pretty down and anxious, and made my perspective completely flip. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Thank you so much for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, it felt so refreshing to write a #feelinitfriday again. I am planning to stick to monthly FIF’s for the next few months then maybe I’ll write every two weeks instead of once per month in 2020. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, see you on Sunday!

-G x

A Spontaneous Fall Trip: Photo Diary

Hi, loves! I am SO excited to share today’s post with you; a little recap in a photo diary style from Matt and I’s trip last week. Any regular readers may remember I’ve spoken a few times about the fact we were trying to plan a night away for our anniversary (which was back in September) and due to both of our work schedules we just couldn’t make it work in that month. Then, we hoped to book a weekend getaway in October but Matt’s work schedule was even more busy and it seemed it would be impossible to make it work. We decided we’d just go away around December time, but then Matt managed to get TWO week days off work, and I was so grateful to get the same days… hence our spontaneous trip!

Snapple fact: I’m literally the least spontaneous person EVER. I need structure and routine and planning, but we booked our hotel late on Friday night, then travelled early Tuesday morning. I know it’s only a one night trip and this is probably so normal to most people, but this was such a big deal for me! We decided to split our two days between York and Harrogate because we love both of those places and it’s been a hot minute since we last visited. York is a super special place to us as it’s where we went on our first date. Yep, we drove two and a half hours away from home on our very first date… thank God it went well, hahaha. Matt was obviously feeling confident because it was his suggestion! We also really love Harrogate; we stayed there for my birthday last year and it is just such a beautiful town. We unfortunately didn’t get to see very much of Harrogate at all as it was SO rainy and cold!

We set off bright dark and early so we could spend most of our day exploring and enjoying York, not stuck in the car. The roads were pretty clear which we were thankful for, and we had our favourite car snacks too! We sang along to our favourite songs and talked the whole way there, which is one of my very favourite things about road trips with Matt. It was a very grey day which is pretty common here from October through to March (!) but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all, we were so excited to get to our first stop; the pumpkin patch!

…so very excited that I didn’t even check it was open mid-week. And guess what? IT WAS CLOSED. Hahaha. We pulled up to what was clearly a working farm with not another car in sight (just tractors and farm equipment) and the sweet farmer headed over right away to see us. We pretty quickly knew it wasn’t open, so explained we hadn’t checked before coming and before we could say any more he told us to park the car out of the mud and he’d meet us up at the top of the courtyard. Guys, he was SO NICE and let us explore anyway! He gave us a little private tour, showing us the barn and the Halloween activities that had been set up for the next few weeks. He then showed us around his land a little, and left us to explore his pumpkin patch and land for as long as we wanted to! There were chickens everywhere which was so fun to see. We were so grateful to get to visit because we had been so excited to see the pumpkin patch (okay, I was way more excited than Matt!) and I can’t believe I didn’t think to check if it was open. The farm was called Cundall Lodge Farm, and it’s also a B&B which looks so beautiful! Matt and I want to go back and stay here soon, the farmer was seriously so nice and the grounds are amazing.

Side note: I was SO FREAKING GLAD we had taken wellies with us, it was very very muddy! My wellies look like chelsea boots and are from J Crew, but I can’t find a link. Sorry! My colourblock sweater is linked here, I got a size Small and it’s pretty oversized but I love it.

He is just the most handsome man I ever did see! I LOVED this look on him!
A Barbour jacket + wellies = 😍😍😍

I actually really like that shot of me opening the car door, it’s a genuine candid Matt took that we didn’t plan ha! Thanks babe. We left the pumpkin patch covered in mud (seriously, our jeans somehow had mud EVERYWHERE) and headed into York city centre. We come to York pretty often but we very rarely go into the centre so I was super excited to wander around. We did a little shopping – I picked up this Disney tee in Zara and I’m obsessed with it! Matt so badly wants one of those coats pictured below but he can never quite decide on which. We also went to Expressions Clothing which is a vintage store selling lots of American brands and sportswear. I treated Matt to a rugby shirt for SUCH a good price, and I picked up an oversized Broncos tee that still had the tags on. I’m super excited to wear it with mom jeans and Vans!

After looking round a few more shops we headed for lunch at Lucky Days cafe – we first went here in December 2017 and ordered soup because we were so freezing. We remembered how amazing the food was so specifically went back for their soup, and it was just as good! Matt got thai green chicken and I went for broccoli and cheddar, and we split a red velvet cake. A perk of being an adult? You can eat dessert before your main course. Which we did… oops!

We spent another hour or so exploring York; venturing around the shambles and just enjoying being in a new city before making a quick visit to York Designer Outlet. We love the outlets, and I swear Matt snaps up every great deal there is! He got a new Ted Baker shirt, a Paul Smith shirt (sadly not the one I found below which was perfect for #spookyszn) and a Fred Perry polo shirt. I got a cute slogan t-shirt from Tommy Hilfiger which I love – it will be perfect with jeans/leggings and an oversized cardigan – and we of course made a visit to the Cadbury store and the Haribo store!

The outlets were SO EMPTY – we’d definitely recommend going mid-week instead of during the weekend if you can. Sometimes when we’ve been it’s been so busy you can barely look around the stores! We finished up our shopping and made our way to Harrogate to get cosy in our hotel. We stayed at the new Doubletree by Hilton, which we didn’t know had only become a Hilton three weeks before! The hotel was undergoing renovations but when it’s finished it is going to be SO BEAUTIFUL. We had a huge room that had just been done out (I really didn’t take many photos, sorry guys!) and had no complaints. As we booked pretty last minute we didn’t check TripAdvisor, but when I looked a day or two before I was slightly worried, the reviews were AWFUL. We had no need to be worried though, we had a great stay and the staff were really friendly. One thing I really love about Hilton hotels is that you get a warm chocolate chip cookie on arrival, that’s great service!

We took a few blog photos for this post (I swear Matt is the best boyfriend ever!!) and then got ready for our evening enjoying a few glasses of wine. We ate at one of our favourite restaurants, Gino’s, and the food as always was AMAZING. I love that they have a photo booth up on the top level of the restaurant, and a heated outside bar. We of course took photo booth photos as that’s another little tradition of ours, we’ve got tons! As it was a Tuesday night there wasn’t too much going on in the centre, so we headed back to our hotel for drinks in the beautiful lobby. We then took a few drinks upstairs and snuggled in bed to watch Chaos In The Cockpit… we always watch shows like this. No wonder I’m so scared of flying!! Also yes, date night and we prefer to spend it in bed. We’re 25 going on 85 HAH.

Oh hey there, you can see me in the mirror!

Okay so I took this photo because I need your guys’ advice/help!! After a full day of wearing makeup (which is almost every day because y’know… I love my makeup) my skin is SO RED. It is almost rash-like and so so hot to touch, and covers my cheeks, chin and nose. Has anyone else ever experienced this? My skin is looking and feeling SO good right now (except for acne scars and the odd spot), but this random redness – it almost looks like a rash? – is kinda freaking me out. Please help me!

Date night with you is my favourite. I love you, Matthew!

Any restaurant/bar that provides blankets is my kind of place!

The next morning we slept in a little, and enjoyed not having to rush around getting ready. We literally snuggled in bed for like, half an hour! It was perfect. I read a little whilst Matt caught up on a few e-mails, and we slowly got ready for our day! I am borderline obsessed with my Zara x Disney t-shirt, it is just soooo cute. I’m really going to miss wearing slogan/cute t-shirts as the weather gets colder and I have to wear a sweater every day! In the photo below Matt was totally stuffing his face with our Haribo pick n mix. Hahaha.

We were planning on going for breakfast in Harrogate but it was pouring rain and we really weren’t dressed for the weather so we decided to just head back up North early. We went into Newcastle city centre for a wander, browse of the shops and lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants; The Botanist. The food is always amazing and their cocktails are out of this world, although sadly we didn’t get any as it was 2pm on a Tuesday. #sigh #life (although, if you go… get a blueberry martini! I don’t even like a regular martini but wow, these are AMAZING and my ‘treat’ every time we go. Thank me later!)

We had the best afternoon wandering around our hometown, but we were so freaking tired. We headed home, unpacked the car and… took a nap. At 4pm on a week day. It was FANTASTIC! We highly recommend, guys. Toddlers are so lucky! I can’t even tell you how much we needed that nap; we woke up around 5.30pm, I took a shower and we headed over to Matt’s parents, where we just managed to stay awake past 10pm, hahaha. We had a lovely night visiting with them, watching football and eating dinner. I feel like all we did those two days was eat, but hey you have to enjoy yourself right?! We sadly had to be back at work the next day, but this was such a special trip for us and we had so much fun! Thank you for being my favourite travel partner, I love you Matthew 🙂

And thank YOU so much for reading and following along on our little Fall getaway! I hope you enjoyed this post, how beautiful is that pumpkin patch?! I feel so grateful and lucky we got to have a mini anniversary celebration after all, and I’m so thankful to be able to share it with you guys. Thank you for your continued support; you have no idea how much it means to me that you read my blog and I am so excited for all of the fun, festive content planned for the next few months 🙂 have you visited York or Harrogate before? Where’s your favourite road trip place?!

-G x

Fall Reading List

Hi, loves! A few months ago I shared with you my tips for finding time to read, and in that post I asked if you’d like me to talk more about books in the future. I received so many responses saying that YES, you loved books too! Reading is one of my favourite hobbies, and it’s something I specifically (try to) make time for each day, no matter how busy Matt and I may be. I love snuggling up with a cup of tea, a book – or more recently, my iPad – and getting lost in another world. In my opinion the cold, rainy Fall days are literally made for cosying up with a book, so today I’m sharing with you all of the books on my reading list this season.

I’m always looking for new books, and I feel it’s sometimes a little overwhelming to choose because there’s so much choice. I’m currently reading one of these books and the others are on my to read list; I have a few paperback copies and the rest are downloaded and ready on my Kindle app. I really can’t tell you how much I love reading on my iPad mini now, I just find it SO easy and convenient. I get to read so much more because Kindle books are (generally) way cheaper and I don’t need to carry around bulky books in my bag, although I can’t lie I still do love the feeling of a ‘real’ book sometimes!

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
This book has been so highly talked about recently, possibly because it’s part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club which I have seen SO much hype over. I have heard only great things so I’m very excited to read this. It’s a little different than my usual read; this focuses on a law firm where the women stick together against a new male boss who has been surrounded by whispers regarding how he treats women. It’s dubbed to be a ‘thriller’ so I’m very excited to see what I think of this, I just hope there’s not tons of legal jargon that would make it harder to read!

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay
Any long time readers of my blog may remember how much I LOVED Adam’s first book, The Secret Diaries of A Junior Doctor, and I was so excited when I found out he was releasing a second! I can’t recommend Adam’s first book enough; he talks through his time as a Junior Doctor and it’s raw, it’s honest, it’s heart warming and heartbreaking all at the same time. I’m confident this book will be just as good! I LOVE Adam’s story-telling style because it’s just like chatting with a friend and feels so personal. I know Matt’s mum Debbie will love this book too as she was also a huge fan of the first one. I’ve heard rumours his first book is being made into a TV series, so you know it’s good!

The Witch Of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
Okay, so just this past week I was reading Caitlin’s blog (she’s one of my favourite ever bloggers!) and was so excited to see there was a book review post to catch up on. Her review on this book was SO good I opened up my Amazon app right away and purchased it; I actually bought the paper copy instead of the Kindle version because it was on offer! The Amazon reviews of this book were just as glowing as Caitlin’s, so I’ve no idea how I’ve never heard about this book before. It’s equal parts spooky and romantic which sounds like the perfect October read to me! I enjoy scary/spooky books but I have to admit I do get a little bit scared sometimes and don’t like reading them before bed too much. Matt has to cuddle me extra tight HA, I’m such a baby! This is super high on my to-read list and I’m going to start as soon as I’ve finished The Wives (see below!) because I want to read it whilst we’re still in #spookyszn.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Taylor Jenkins-Reid is one of my very favourite authors, and I’ve never read a book of hers I didn’t love with all of me! Her books are generally sad but happy, raw and emotional, dark yet moving, and I’m sure this will be no exception. This was the book that essentially gave Taylor her household name, yet I read all of her previous books first. This one has seriously been on my reading list for so long so I MUST read it soon! I know Fearne Cotton raved about this one, as did Anna Newton, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it. The story centres around the rise and fall of a 70’s rock band and their own individual stories in an interview-style format. I also seen it has been snapped up by Amazon Prime Video to make into a series, so you know it’s got to be good! I (almost) always prefer the book to the movie/TV show, so I need to read the book before Matt and I watch the show.

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This book has been dubbed ‘the new Me Before You’ (part of a series by Jojo Moyes which I loved so much!) so you know I had to pick it up. It’s your typical chick-lit style; a man and woman share a flat, and a bed, yet due to their hectic work schedules they never are in the flat (or the bed) together. The book follows their separate lives and how they will eventually intertwine with each others; I’m assuming they’ll end up falling madly in love and get together in the end, but hey… I just LOVE a rom-com. Matt and I were purchasing a few books in Waterstones a couple of weeks ago and the guy serving us asked if I’d read this yet; when I said no he looked genuinely offended (hahaha!) and said I needed to buy it immediately. I literally downloaded it to my Kindle app that evening, but I’ve still not got round to reading it.

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger
This is my current read, I’ve only got around a quarter of the book left and I am LOVING it. This book is by the author of Devil Wears Prada, so I had a pretty strong feeling it would be good. It’s actually marketed as part three of the DWP series but I really don’t think it needs that background, it’s a really great book on it’s own. You could definitely read it without reading the first two books, although they’re really great too. The background to this book is that it’s based on perfect people, living their perfect lives in a perfect town, but obviously that’s not really the case. There’s lies and secrets that are being revealed, and I am SO ENTHRALLED in the story, I don’t want to put it down! I love the three main characters in this book so much, even without the DWP connection. Something to note, this book was released in the US as When Life Gives You LuluLemons, so I’m not sure if the whole story is the same and they just changed the name?

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle
Okay so my friend read this book and said I needed to read it ASAP, but to be prepared because I would definitely cry throughout it! For those of you who don’t know I’m super emotional – I seriously cry about everything; happy, sad, tired, nostalgic, you name it and I’m crying LOL – so I have no doubt she’s right. This story follows two adults who live very different lives but have one thing in common; they were both adopted as children. Their paths then cross in adulthood but that’s pretty much all I know; I don’t want to read the reviews on this because I have my assumptions from the description. I think this will be the next book I reach for after The Witch Of Willow Hall!

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell
Another chick-lit book that definitely is my typical go-to genre, this sounds just like my ideal bath tub read! I love Jill Mansell books; they’re easy to read, generally pretty light-hearted and always leave you feeling happy in the end. This looks like a twist on your typical boy meets girl story; they both have their own lives, and it weaves through different periods of time where they’re unable to figure it out. Again I don’t know too much about this story but I have my assumptions and I’m so excited to dive in, I’ve never met a Jill Mansell book I didn’t like!

Have you read any of the books in this post? Or have you added them to your reading list for this season too? I am so excited for cosy afternoons at home, snuggled under a blanket reading whilst Matt watches the football! That’s how we spend so many of our afternoons at home on the weekends during this time of year, it’s truly the best of both worlds for us. Have you read any great books recently? Do you have any recommendations for me or my readers? Let me know in the comments!

-G x

*Special thank you to my lovely boyfriend Matt, who is always happy to be my photographer, even when we’re away for a special date night. I love you honey!*

Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Hey loves! Today’s post is a much requested and anticipated post as I share SO many of Matt and I’s meals with you over on my Instagram stories and am always asked what the heck we’re cooking. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to do this, cooking is something I’ve talked about several times on my blog but I don’t often share recipes because photographing food is so difficult. I know it’s a trick of the trade with cookbooks etc that cold food photographs so much better, but obviously we want to eat out food whilst it’s hot. Please bare with me for the photos in this post – I know they’re so bad – and I’ll figure out the photos for future posts, somehow! I really want to share recipes with you on a more regular basis as we rarely make anything difficul and we just love hearty meals that fill us up and help us unwind from our busy work days. Also, at this time of year a hot meal is the best to come home to; it’s something we look forward to from the moment we get out of our warm cosy bed each morning, ha!

On weekends Matt and I experiment a lot more with dinner recipes, and you may have seen I’m planning to make at least one new recipe per week this October. However, on weeknights we generally like to make quick and easy dinners that we know and love! We rotate between around twenty ‘standard’ meals, but the odd time we’ll throw in a curve ball to change things up a little. Every time we try a new recipe we love we just add them into our rotation of weeknight meals, and this has been the best way to learn and enjoy cooking. I shared how we meal plan and where we often get our ideas from in this post a few months ago, so be sure to check that out if you’re unsure where to start.

All three of the recipes are based on dinner for two people so if you want to make more just double or triple accordingly!

Cod With Roasted Veggies & Mash

This is probably the most popular recipe for us of the three, and one we kinda cheat on. Snapple fact: mash potato is my favourite food. Ever. When we first started dating, Matt wasn’t a huge fan of mash potato but now he loves it just as much as I do, and I hate to say it but the store-bought pre-made options are so much better than homemade. I’m sorry! We also serve with baby potatoes (as above) but if you want to make your own mash potato go right ahead. This is perfect for nights Matt is home late and I’m preparing dinner for him coming home, because timings are SO easy to get right on this and it’s minimum effort for maximum reward.

Ingredients:
2 x cod fillets
(approx) 4 x large carrots
(approx) 160g x broccoli
(approx) half a courgette
400g x mash potato / baby potatoes
(approx) two tablespoons of chilli olive oil
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to (approx) 200 degrees.
2. Place cod on tin foil lined baking tray, and cover with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Place a second sheet of tin foil over the fish, tucking in any corners so the juices don’t spill out, and place in oven.
3. Whilst the fish begins to cook, chop the ends off carrots, roughly peel and cut into batons. Cut courgette into small pieces.
4. Cut broccoli stems down and peel off any remaining leaves.
5. Place carrot batons, courgette and broccoli onto another baking tray, separating out vegetables so they’re not overlapping too much. Take a pinch of salt and pepper over vegetables, sprinkle Italian seasoning over then drizzle chilli olive oil, mostly distributing through the centre as it will run during cooking. You could just switch out to regular olive oil if you don’t like heat!
6. Place into the oven approx five to ten minutes after you’ve put in your fish (ideally underneath the fish) and cook for approx 20 – 25 minutes. This really depends on how soft you like your fish/veggies to be.
7. Microwave potato side of choice, or make your own during the time that your fish and veggies cooking!

Seriously, how quick and simple is that?! Roasted veggies are our favourite, they taste great with any meat or as a side dish to a vegetable tagine!

Matt’s pepper in the background looks a little drunk… hahaha!

(Beer) Chilli Stuffed Peppers

This was a take on one of our already favourite meals (just regular chilli – with or without beer) but we loved this variation so much it’s become a staple. We usually pair with homemade salt and pepper chilli chips – super easy, too! – and it’s such a hearty dinner. Stuffed peppers are another of my favourite foods and again Matt has kinda learned to love them. LOL, I promise he really enjoys these meals too! We have an ongoing private joke because I throw peppers into pretty much anything we cook. He’s like “can you please make me porridge for breakfast? Oh wait do you want to put peppers in that too?!” Hahaha. They’re just delicious, okay?! There’s also an option to add a little beer in here if you fancy it. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe for kids as the alcohol burns off! Also, yes I made this festive for #spookyszn. Because why not?!

Ingredients:
250g x lean beef mince
1 x large onion
2 x stalks of celery
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x chilli peppers
1 x large pepper
(to dice)
2 x large peppers (I’d recommend orange for Halloween dinners!)
400g x chopped tomatoes
(approx) 200ml x light beer (optional)
(approx) 100g x tomato puree
(approx) 200g x mixed beans
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Tilda peri peri rice
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Chop all veggies into small diced shapes, except for two peppers. You only want to cut off the tops, take out the core and de-seed. I recommend going over the inner surface with a tablespoon to make sure you’ve got plenty of room for your mixture! If you don’t like a lot of spice make sure to de-seed your chillis.
3. Brown mince in pan with onion and garlic cloves. Drain any excess fat. If you’re adding beer to your recipe, this is where you’d add it! It adds a great depth to your chilli, although we don’t do this too often as Matt generally prefers the recipe without it. Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?!
4. Add in all of your diced vegetables and tomato puree, and brown.
5. If you’re serving with chips, put them in the oven now!
6. After around seven minutes, add in mixed beans and chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer for approx ten minutes. Place large de-seeded peppers on a lined baking tray.
7. Pour chilli mixture into large peppers, add as much grated cheese as you’d like on top and pop in the oven for approx fifteen minutes (just keep checking to see how the cheese is melting/peppers are softening).
8. Just before you take out your peppers, microwave rice. You can use this as a ‘bed’ for your peppers or serve it on the side!

I mean seriously… could this be any more simple? How freaking cute do our Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers look?! They’re perfect for this time of year, and I know if you have littles they’ll appreciate this too. Matt and I always add a little extra cheese once cooked too which makes them a little less healthy, sshhh!

Hunter’s Chicken

This is a recipe we just LOVE to make, and it’s so crazy easy; you literally prepare everything in five minutes or less, throw it in the oven and leave it for half an hour to cook. It’s kind of become a go-to for us because of how quick and easy it is, and it’s a meal we really enjoy each time. You could serve with rice, veggies, chips, mash potato, the possiblities are endless! We switch our side up pretty much every time we have this meal, it’s super versatile which makes it feel like something new each time. I also made BBQ chicken baked tacos for the first time last week which Matt LOVED – I’d be happy to share that recipe soon?!

Ingredients:
2 x chicken breasts

4 x rashers of unsmoked bacon
(approx) 200g x French’s BBQ sauce
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Salt, pepper and peri peri seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Wrap chicken breasts in bacon; add a little salt and pepper (and peri peri seasoning if you like a little heat) and place in the oven for thirty five minutes.
2. After the time is up, take out your dish and add BBQ sauce; we really roughly use around 200g, but basically just make sure all of your bacon and chicken is covered. Add grated cheese and put back in the oven for seven minutes.

…Yep, that’s IT! I really love eating this with mash potato because it’s filling and hearty, but not TOO filling and means we have an excuse for a McFlurry run later 🙂 hahaha we’ve definitely got our priorities right!

I hope this post was somewhat helpful and gave you a little inspiration for what you and your partner or family can cook this week! I would love to share more, maybe every month I’ll share three of our favourite dinner recipes with you? We LOVE our Crockpot and make so many meals in there that are super easy! We also cook vegetarian dinners now and then (we’re trying to partake in #MeatlessMondays much more often than we do) but we have so many options of things to share. Please let me know what kind of meals you’d like to see! Are you planning on making any of these dinners this week? What is your favourite easy (and kinda healthy) dinner recipe?!

-G x

Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

Happy Sunday, loves! Self care is something that is discussed in great detail, but it’s often linked directly to beauty treatments and pampering yourself. That’s not to say I don’t love a pamper night because – let’s be real, I DO! – and that’s something I make sure to incorporate into my life at least once per week, but I think there’s so many other ways you can hit that self care button and relax at the same time.

We live in a world where we’re so connected via iMessage and social media, and it’s really become difficult to let ourselves and our minds unwind. Most of us spend at least forty hours per week at work, and during that time our minds can be so wired and frantic with everything we need to get done we don’t allow ourselves time to stop. My blog is something I do in my ‘free’ time, but as I talked about in my October goals post, I was losing the barrier between ‘free’ time and any time I wasn’t at work. I felt like I needed to be constantly working on my blog whether it was writing posts, taking photos, editing photos, reading other blogs, trawling social media or just brainstorming ideas and it became so hard to let my mind escape and just enjoy being at home. I’ve been feeling extremely anxious over the past few months and it’s something I’m really struggling with right now. As a result, I’ve been trying to find all of the things that make me feel less anxious and focus on those, rather than trying to identify why I feel anxious in the first place!

Something Matt and I have prioritized more and more recently is unwinding each evening/weekend we aren’t at work. I often take a little time whilst he’s at work (either early morning, after I get home during the week or whilst he’s in on a weekend) to do all of my blog work, and I’m feeling way happier and less stressed out by giving myself some ‘me’ time back. I made a promise to both Matt and myself a long time ago that I’d not work on my blog whilst we were having chill time at home, and it’s really important to me that I stick to that.

I’m such a homebody at heart but Matt would often rather be out; we compromise on this by usually spending a little more time at home during the week, and a little more time out of the house doing fun things at the weekend. Being a homebody means I relish in all things cosy; candles, fuzzy blankets, comfy pj’s and dressing gowns are up there with my all time favourite items ever, and I just love every opportunity Matt and I get for a cosy night at home. Also, you don’t need to have a ton of time to enjoy the cosiness of being at home; often by the time we get home from work, cook and eat dinner, shower/bathe etc it could easily be 8pm! It’s about being intentional with the time you do have, and being able to roll your to-do list over to the next day.

Here’s a few little things I suggest doing at least a few times per week to help you unwind, relax and enjoy being at home.

Clean your space. I can’t really explain how or why, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on this one: when my space is clean, I feel happier. This is the same for my home and my car; I just need my environment to be welcoming and as clutter free as possible. I pick up our room several times per week which takes all of five minutes in the mornings, then I fully deep clean once per week. Putting on fresh sheets, hanging clothes away, vacuuming, dusting etc just makes the whole room feel more cosy and inviting, and it always makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment. We’re big believers in the fact a bedroom needs to be a happy, comforting space; it’s so important to allow yourself to fully rest at home!

Light a candle. Okay so I’m sure so many of you will already know this, but I’m obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I love love love the cosy pumpkin scents for Fall right now, and I’m genuinely concerned at how often I think about purchasing another. Ha! I feel so calm and at peace with candles burning and our pink Himalayan rock salt lamp on; it gives our bedroom the most beautiful warm pink glow and makes my heart happy.

Put down your phone. One of the best things you can do to unwind from work, friends, peers, a bad day etc is to just put down your phone. Leave it charging in another room or preferably another floor of the house and be in the moment. Matt and I always try to do this when we’re out for dinner too; so many times on date night you’ll see the couple more interested in their phones than each other. Other than maybe taking a quick snap of our food we don’t put the focus on our phones. We’re really working on not having our phones in bed at all; every night we were brushing our teeth, getting cosy in bed, then sitting on our phones for at least ten minutes just scrolling through our socials. It’s gross how attached we all our to our phones; as much as I love technology, I sometimes really despise it too!

Listen to music or a podcast. Our Amazon Echo Dots are some of our most favourite ever items we own, and we make use of them every single day! We sleep with Alexa Sleep Sounds on every night (we alternate between Matt’s favourite, ocean sounds, and my favourite, thunderstorm sounds) and it’s truly made a difference to how we sleep. We sometimes play music whilst we tidy up or get ready in the mornings, and it’s just a fun way to occupy ourselves that doesn’t involve being on our phones. I also listen to podcasts almost every time I’m driving (it’s either a podcast or Disney music, there’s no in-between!) and I find them such a fun addition to my day.

Head for a breakfast/dinner date. Going for breakfast is hands down one of Matt and I’s favourite hobbies. Breakfast food is our favourite, it’s generally way less crowded, and we still have the whole rest of our day to get a bunch of things done. We also love dinner dates because getting dressed up together, having a few glasses of wine and making the most of date night is such a treat to us! I think it’s so important to take time for food dates with your partner, your friends and your family – both Matt and I’s families love to go out for meals and it’s something I really am grateful for.

Take a hot bath. The ultimate self care treat for me personally is a hot bubble bath. Pile in your favourite Lush products, light an aromatherapy candle and allow yourself to disconnect from the world for thirty minutes at least an hour. A bubble bath can seriously make up for any crap work day, and you’ll never regret taking time out of your day for that. I’ll be sharing my favourite self care Sunday pamper routine on the blog in a few weeks!

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and your book. Ah, a book and a cuppa… that is my idea of bliss. If we’re having a lazy weekend morning in bed Matt likes to watch various football shows on Amazon Prime (he’s currently watching Sergio Ramos documentary which is all in Spanish… I mean…) and I’m so happy to curl up with my iPad and read before we get ready for the day. I also am a huge fan of sleepy time teas before bed; they really do make you feel a little more relaxed and ready for sleep, and reading a book is a great way to unwind before bed. Matt is not a reader at all which hurts my heart a little bit, but I just keep telling hime he hasn’t found the right books yet!

Watch your favourite shows. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your love and watching the series you’re both invested in? No, there is not! Matt and I often watch several shows at a time, and then incorporate the odd movie or documentary into that too. Strictly Come Dancing is my thing, so by default Matt is often stuck watching it too. He is a huge football fan, so that’s his vice and another thing we watch SO much. We love comedy shows; Brooklyn 99 was our favourite, we’ve seen Friends one hundred times and right now The Office is our ‘easy watch’ obsession. We love love love documentaries (Stacey Dooley’s are a personal favourite, obvs) and shows like Ambulance: Australia make us very happy. We change things up pretty much every evening, but it’s such a nice time to chill and chat with each other too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to unwind a little more this coming week. Do you make unwinding a priority right now? Or are you always go go go, ticking things off that to-do list? I challenge you this week to take at least an hour each night for yourself or you and your partner, it will totally change your week I promise you!

-G x

Four Lipsticks For Fall

Happy Wednesday, loves! If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know by now that lipstick is hands down my favourite beauty product. Each time I apply my lipstick I feel a little more confident, and just a little more like me. I’ve always thought that when I’m getting ready – whether it’s for date night, work or just to run errands – until I’ve spritzed my perfume and applied my lipstick I don’t feel ready to take on the day. I talked about how desperately I want to try (and love) red lipstick in this post, but today I’m sharing with you four of my current favourites for this season, and there’s something for everyone.

Clinique Bare Pop
This is my favourite lipstick of the moment, I literally cannot stop wearing it! Matt and I were shopping a few weeks ago and I popped into Boots to browse the lipsticks; I had lots of points to spend and just wanted to treat myself. I spotted this shade from afar and was immediately drawn to it; Bare Pop is the most gorgeous warm pink, and it’s only a few shades darker than my natural lip colour making it the perfect ‘your lips but better’ shade. I love the formula; it lasts really well without lip liner, and Matt compliments me on it all the time! It’s not crazy pigmented but it’s great for work and running errands as it’s so wearable, and it doesn’t feel drying on the lips which is a huge bonus, especially as we move in to the colder months of the year. I already have my eye on a few shades from their new Pop Lipsticks release; Shay raved about Cute Pop recently so you know it’s on my radar, because if Shay recommends, I buy!

NARS Bound
I wore this lipstick for pretty much every date night Matt and I had last Fall and Winter, and I was so excited to pull it back out now that we’re back in October. I can’t quite describe the texture of this; it applies like a lip gloss but the finish is more like that of a liquid lipstick, without being matte. Although it is described as a ‘soft rose pink’ on the website I feel like the shade deepens a little on application to a perfect mauve-toned dark pink on my fair complexion. This baby stays on through drinking and eating – which really does make it perfect for date night with your love because it lasts through those kisses too! – and it is just so stinking pretty. It’s dark without being too daring, and I am always telling people they need this lip product in their life.

MAC Jubilee
My favourite lipstick finish ever is the Lustre from MAC (it’s where my love of Syrup was born, which is my most worn lipstick for almost six years now, I re-purchase it over and over and over!) so when I seen this beautiful nude shade was part of the Lustre collection, I knew I’d love it. Another recent addition to my makeup collection, I’ve worn this so much the past few weeks. Pretty much each day I haven’t been wearing Bare Pop, I’ve been wearing this. This lipstick is a peach toned neutral, like a ‘pumpkin spice for your lips’ vibe (how on brand is that with the season?!) and it’s the most perfect ‘light’ nude shade I’ve ever found. This is a perfect day-to-night shade as I think with a slightly smokey eye it’s perfect for dinner and drinks right after the office.

Bobbi Brown Cali Rose
So this lipstick is a little ‘out there’ compared to the other three as it’s way more bright and colorful, but that’s why I love it so much! It’s the best lipstick to wear on those days you feel like you need a little ‘pick me up’ from boring day-to-day life, and I just think it’s the prettiest berry shade. I love to wear this when my makeup is super minimal for an extra little pop of colour, and it’s one that will transition so perfectly into the holiday season. It applies evenly although you need to make sure your lips are moisturised and exfoliated (I use Lush’s pumpkin spice lip scrub every morning and evening to keep my lips super soft!) otherwise you will definitely see different tones of the colour on your lips. I’d love to find a lip liner to match this but I haven’t yet – I thought MAC Soar was going to work perfectly but it’s a teeny bit too dark – if anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Thank you so much for reading; I hope you found a little inspiration for a new lipstick to pick up this Fall if you’re in the market for one. Have you already got any of these lipsticks? Do you give them the love they deserve demand?! What is your favourite lipstick(s) for Fall? I swear nude, mauve and berry tones are just perfect for all skin tones and all seasons, you really can’t go wrong! I still haven’t purchased a red lipstick yet, please let me know if you have any specific ones you’d recommend!

-G x

Sweater Weather

Happy, happy Sunday my little lovebugs!

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet… I just HAD to share this sweater with you. And I decided it’s so flipping cute that it deserves it’s own post. You may remember a few weeks back I included this Patagonia sweater in a Feelin’ It Friday post as one of my top ‘wishlist items’ for my Autumn wardrobe, but guys… I’ve found something just as pretty, just as cosy and it’s literally £75 CHEAPER!! Seventy. freaking. five.

A cosy, snuggly sweater is a must have for most of us especially during Fall and Winter, and I feel like finding the ‘perfect’ one is so dang hard. I love chic, fashionable jumpers which I wear ALL the time during the colder months, but I really struggle to find a more casual sweater. The main thing I’m usually looking for is that it’s fleece because that makes it super warm, but I still want it to be cute and something I want to wear outside. I always try to buy clothing items that will last for years, and this one sure will! I also really want clothing pieces to be budget friendly if possible, because let’s be real… the less I spend on my A/W wardrobe, the more money I can justify spending on bonfire spice hot chocolates. I’ve got my priorities straight, I swear! HA. I was browsing ASOS one evening whilst ordering Matt a pair of pants, and seen this baby in the New In section. Matt encouraged me to place the order and no joke, from the moment I opened the package I’ve been obsessed with this sweater!! I went for the cream and grey colourway, but there’s a also a two toned grey with hot pink detail sweater which I also love and might pick up through the season too.

This sweater is a steal at £35, although be sure to check for discount codes because there’s always 20% off deals on ASOS. I actually only paid £28 because I searched for a code on Twitter! I know it’s not quite cold enough right now to be wearing this sweater, but you can bet as soon as the temperature dips a tiny bit more it is going to be my go to for those cosy, relaxed days! Although I dressed it down in this post with my favourite black leggings and Nike sneakers (which are no longer available, similar pair linked here), you could easily dress it up with a pair of skinny jeans and riding boots. So you look cute and chic but it feels kinda like you’re walking around in a fuzzy blanket. Literally, what could be better?! Matt thinks my obsession with all things cosy and soft is so funny, but I don’t understand why… maybe it’s a girl thing?

Do you feel like you need this in your life too?! If it’s something you want I’d definitely recommend ordering before it’s out of stock, as I feel like often when things go out of stock on ASOS they’re never seen again! What’s the best fashion dupe you’ve found recently? Please share it with me in the comments below!

-G x

My October Goals

Hi, loves! Happy OCTOBER. Seriously, where the heck has this year gone?! I’m sorry this post isn’t going live on the 1st, but my schedule is Sunday’s and Wednesday’s… and I like schedules. #TypeA. Snapple fact: the featured image of this blog post is one of my favourite ever quotes. I truly am SO GLAD to live in a world where there are October’s! This month I’m setting myself five goals to accomplish, and as always I’m sharing them with my lovely readers. Sharing my goals helps to keep me motivated, holds me accountable throughout the month and maybe it will even inspire someone to create their own goals?

Be kinder to myself and unwind
I am always hard on myself, but over the past few weeks/months I’ve been so harsh and unkind to myself, especially about my blog. I have such high standards and hopes for what I want my online space to be, but I really need to stop stressing so much about it! I don’t ever give myself a break but I need to, and this month is the time for it. I LOVE October. It’s the beginning of my favourite time of year (which is the last three months of the year, they bring so much joy!) and I’m determined to relax a little to enjoy it. Matt is sadly at work every weekend in October but we’re making the most of the month anyway; we’re going to have fun date nights, spend cosy mornings eating breakfast in bed and we also have a mid-week date day visiting a pumpkin patch… I’m so excited! I want to put quality time and effort into my blog; I work full time Monday to Friday, then I spend any ‘free’ time I have (after Matt and I’s time of course) to create blog content. This month I’m going to be more intentional with my ‘free’ time and take a little back just for me.

Practice yoga at least three times per week
Any regular readers will probably have guessed this would be up here, it seems to feature any time I talk about my goals for that month. I have a confession guys: I’ve barely practiced yoga over the past two months. How bad is that? I generally feel so much better when I’m consistent with practicing yoga, so I really want to get back into some kind of routine and just have fun with it. My favourite online yoga teacher is of course Yoga With Adrienne, I always enjoy her practices and she’s so flipping funny. There’s a practice for every mood or feeling, and I really feel refreshed and happier at the end of every session. I already practiced yoga twice this week and it’s only Wednesday, so I’m super happy about that!

Wear red lipstick
This probably sounds crazy to so many of you, but I just do not feel comfortable wearing red lipstick! I haven’t even owned a red lipstick for around three years because I didn’t get any wear out of the ones I had, so this month I’m going to treat myself and I’m going to wear red lips for date night. I’ve really been trying to work on my confidence lately, and this is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I hope this makes sense, it probably sounds so silly! I remember Rimmel’s red lipsticks used to get so much hype online (which I’m pretty sure was solely because of Zoe Sugg) but to any of my red lipstick wearers out there, is that still the case?! Which brand/shade should I go for? I’m going to buy a drugstore one just incase I can’t get used to it!

Create new Fall outfits with clothing I already own / Only purchase clothing items from my list
Okay so this is a two-in-one goal. I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I kept during my decluttering process which I’ve not worn before and probably should have gotten rid of, but I promised myself I’d wear this Autumn. If I don’t, they’ll find themselves on eBay for someone else to love! My intention is to make outfits from clothes that I wouldn’t usually pair together; I really just want to give my clothes the love they deserve and experiment a little. I’m slowly figuring out my style so this Autumn I want to embrace change and try to create fun outfits that are a little different from my norm! I’ve also made a list with a few essentials I’m lacking in my wardrobe since my de-clutter (a good black coat, turtle neck jumper(s), a grey cardigan, long sleeve t-shirts, a fancy midi skirt and leather look jeans) which I’m now on the lookout for. Something that’s not officially on the list but I probably will buy is the E.T sweater from this post because it’s just so flipping cute. You’re allowed a frivolous purchase now and then if it makes your heart sing, right?!

Cook at least one new dinner recipe each week
Cooking is something Matt and I found a love of together, and I so appreciate that we’ve found a hobby we can share. We literally had no idea how to cook even the most basic things when we first got together, so now the fact we cook together/for each other every night is crazy to me. Matt often likes to make meals we know and love, but I really like to try new recipes. We’ve had such busy weeks recently that we’ve not pushed ourselves to try something new very often, but this month we’re going to try new things! I shared with you how I meal plan a few months ago, and nothing has changed since. Matt is always happy to eat whatever I have planned for that night, so this one lies on me guys. I’ve already been searching up a storm on the Mix And Match Mama blog (Shay has the BEST recipes, especially if you want specific seasonal recipes) and I’m so excited to create new meals for us to eat. New on the menu this week is Shay’s chicken fajita soup which I’m going to adapt slightly to cook in the CrockPot, then next week we’re attempting this pumpkin and chipotle pasta. I literally can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my monthly goals for this October. Do you create monthly goals? Do you track how you’re doing with them week to week? I love to set goals because it gives you the best sense of achievement when you complete them! Also, if you don’t complete them it just makes you work harder the next month, right? 🙂 I challenge you to set yourself five goals for the month of October, we can hold each other accountable!

-G x