The Best Weekend Breakfast At Home

Happy Sunday, loves! One of the small things that’s been kinda difficult during lockdown for Matt and I has been choosing what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner at home every single day. I always meal plan each week and I love creating new meals, but knowing we HAVE to eat each meal at home that I’ve pre-planned gets kinda old. LOL! 

It has been a weird adjustment to not be able to just pop out to the grocery store whenever if we need something additional on the way to or from work. Obviously non-essential shopping is still being discouraged, and as I’ve been working from home for the past two and a half months I’m not passing grocery stores every day. It looks like I’ll be working at home for at least a couple more months (I’m so happy about this!) so I guess it’s good to really get used to doing a big weekly shop and then making do with what we have the rest of the week. It’s a much more simple way of life that I actually really enjoy for the most part. You guys already know but we LOVE our breakfast food, and breakfast dates are one of our very favourite parts of our weekends (pre-Corona). 

For our breakfasts at home we typically rotate between cinnamon rolls, bagels, pancakes, eggs, yogurt with granola and fruit or bacon sandwiches. We don’t really love cereal (although we do enjoy it more late at night… why does it taste better then?) These options are our go-to’s that are super quick and easy, but when we fancy something a little extra, like on Saturday’s or Sunday’s, we have been really enjoying these breakfast burritos! They are super filling and it’s the closest we’re going to get to any kind of Mexican style breakfast for a while. I totally get why, but it still makes me so sad that I have no idea when we’ll be able to go for breakfast dates again! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 x large sweet potato
  • 1 x bell pepper
  • 2 x eggs
  • 6 x chipolata sausages
  • 4 x slices of chipotle chilli cheese
  • 1/2 can of baked beans
  • 2 x wraps (I prefer wholemeal but they were out when I went grocery shopping on this week!)
  • olive oil
  • chipotle sauce, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic* to taste

*I’m aware garlic is probably not something most people would add to breakfast food (or any Mexican style dish) but I always use garlic in cooking and I like it to season the sausages. You could totally skip this ingredient!

Step by step: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Boil a pan of water, add the two eggs and a pinch of salt and boil for seven minutes. (For hard boiled eggs. This is just how I do it because I don’t really like eggs cooked any other way right now, I have no idea why because scrambled eggs used to be my favourite. If you want to fry, scramble or poach them you can do this step last before you assemble your burritos).
  3. Cut your sausages into small pieces, dice your pepper and place mixed together on a foil lined tray. Cover with olive oil, chipotle sauce and seasonings of your choice. Place in the oven.
  4. Chop up the sweet potato into small cubed pieces, place onto baking tray and cover with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. 
  5. I cook the sausages and peppers for approximately 22 minutes in total, and the sweet potatoes for around 15 minutes. This is why I put them in the oven in that order! 
  6. Peel your eggs, cut into small pieces and set to one side. 
  7. Cook half a can of beans as per the pack instructions. 
  8. Place tortilla wraps into your dish, line cheese along the bottom. Add in your cut eggs and baked beans.
  9. Remove sweet potatoes, sausages and bell peppers from the oven and add into the wraps. I typically add a little more cheese on top so the cheese covers most of the mixture and keeps the wrap tight.
  10. Fold in edges, wrap up tightly and place your dish in the oven for eight to ten minutes, until the tortilla has hardened and all your cheese is gooey and delicious.

That’s it! It definitely is not the quickest breakfast to throw together but it’s maybe one of the most delicious?! We genuinely look forward to the next time we’re going to eat it, I like that we’re creating fun traditions during lockdown even if they’re super small 🙂  

Thanks so much for reading! Are you going to try these burritos out? You could definitely swap any of the ingredients out easily or add in anything extra you may like. I hope you love them as much as we do!

-G x

The Slow Cooker Recipe You Need This Winter

Hi, loves! I’ve shared this recipe (well, similar) before but I figured it needed to be brought back to your attention this Winter season. Matt and I quite literally started our year with this; he was working New Year’s Day so I prepped everything in the morning ready for him coming home, and it was such a great way to start the day! Minimal prep for this meal means it’s so easy to prepare and leave cooking whilst you’re busy during the day. Coming home from work when it’s cold and icy to a A CrockPot meal ready and waiting is one of the simple joys in life, and this one is so delicious, healthy and filling! The recipe could not be more simple and I’d say it takes maximum 10 – 15 minutes to prepare and throw everything together.

Spanish Chicken Stew

*This recipe makes around six large dinner servings and is easily refrigerated/freezer safe*

Ingredients:
– 500g chicken breast, diced
– 2 x large peppers
– 1 x large onion
– 8 x celery stalks (approx)
– 15 x plum tomatoes (approx)
– Chicken Tonight Spanish sauce (to save time) OR 600g x passata, 2 x tbsp olive oil, 3 x small chilis – blended in Nutribullet to create sauce
– salt, pepper, oregano, turmeric, paprika, garlic seasoning to taste
– rice/potatoes/salad to serve

Step by step:
1. Chop peppers, onion, celery stalks and tomatoes into small chunks. We tend to keep the celery and tomato quite large as they shrink so much whilst cooking.
2. Add your chicken to the CrockPot, seasoning with whatever you prefer.
3. Stir in vegetables, mixing together everything as you go.
4. Add a little more seasoning, and stir in to ensure everything is coated.
5. Pour over pre-made Chicken Tonight sauce or homemade sauce, and stir in. You don’t need to add water as celery has a huge water content, and the rest of the veggies are super juicy.
6. Cook on medium heat for 6 – 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
7. Serve with whatever you’d like; we love to eat with salad, roasted sweet potatoes or whole-wheat rice!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this recipe inspired you to grab the ingredients during your next grocery shop and make this soon. Matt and I really want to step up our CrockPot meal game this year – thanks to a wonderful cookbook I got from Matt’s grandma this Christmas we have lots of inspiration! – so I’d love to share more CrockPot recipes with you, too. What’s your favourite easy CrockPot meal? Have you ever tried this recipe from my previous posts? Please let me know if you give it a whirl, and what you think!

-G x

Christmas Movie Night: Hot Chocolate & The Best Treats

Hi, loves! Christmas movies are my very favourite type of movie to watch, and honestly the cheesier the better! They just bring me so much joy, and I really want Matt and I to watch as many as we can possibly squeeze in over the rest of the holiday season. If you’re anything like us you’ll agree a movie night (Christmassy or otherwise) is not complete without delicious treats, and I thought it would be a fun idea to share our favourites with you all! If you’re as obsessed with chocolate as much as we are I then I’m sorry you’re going to want to eat all of this, and also… you’re welcome! Tis the season, after all 😊

Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying to eat all of these things together, nor do I recommend it. This is just a selection of Matt and I’s most favourite treats and there’s a very chocolatey theme. Which is the best kind of theme, right? They are treats for a reason… to be enjoyed in moderation. 

I wanted to share with you our two favourite snacks we make at this time of year; they’re super quick and easy and would also make for perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbours or co-workers! If you want to spread a little holiday cheer this season, homemade treats tied with a cute ribbon are a great way to go. 

Peppermint Bark

I shared this recipe on my blog last year, but I’m giving you the run down again in 2019! This bark easily refrigerates for a few days so you can make a huge batch in one go and store in Tupperware. Although in our house, this is eaten in literally minutes.

Shopping List:
Milk chocolate (Galaxy is the best to melt)
White chocolate (we like Milkybar!)
Coconut oil
Peppermint oil
Candy canes

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Place candy canes (we use around five per baking tray size slab of bark) into a zip loc bag, seal and break up lightly with a rolling pin. Make sure to break the bigger chunks down as much as possible so it is easier to eat!
  3. Melt milk chocolate in microwave or over boiling water on the hob – we just melt in the microwave as it’s so quick. I find microwaving on full power for 40 seconds, stirring then repeating until the chocolate is fully melted is the best way to do this.
  4. Add four to five drops of peppermint oil into melted chocolate, stir well and spread over the lined baking tray. It’s personal preference if you’d rather have this layer thick or thin, it just depends how much bark you want to make. 
  5. Melt white chocolate in the same way as before, then spread thickly over the top of the melted milk chocolate. Sometimes we drizzle it over to create a pattern, or we just smooth over to make a second layer. Again, this is just personal preference. 
  6. Scatter crushed pieces of candy cane over the top whilst the white chocolate is still melted and warm. 
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 
  8. Break up into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re based in the UK and don’t fancy making peppermint bark this year, you can finally buy it from Costco! Ghiradelli isn’t usually sold in Costco but for some reason this year they are stocking PLENTY and I am here for it. Ghiradelli is my favourite brand of chocolate and usually something I stock up on when I’m in the US (and beg my friends/family to do so, too!) so I was beyond excited to find it in store. *jumps in the car to buy all the bags*

*Image from Pinterest. I haven’t had time to make any to take photos, but I’ll definitely be making some this week which I’ll share in my Feelin’ It Friday post!

Pretzel Bites 

These take less than 20 minutes to make – including ‘cooking’ time – and they are truly little bites of heaven. I got this idea from a Bethany Mota YouTube video about six years ago and have made them ever since, they’re a Finn family favourite! I also think these bites would be so easy to make and have little children ‘help’ you. Matt and I LOVE sweet and salty flavours mixed together, and this treat combines both!

Shopping List:
Small salted pretzels
Chocolate of your choice – either a square if you’re using a bar, or buttons work really well
M&M’s

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place pretzels in rows on the tray. 
  3. Place one piece of chocolate/chocolate button in the centre of each pretzel, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fully melted. The chocolate will mould over the pretzel shape and will be gooey to touch. 
  4. Place an M&M in the centre of the chocolate and push down lightly. 
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate

…it wouldn’t be a Christmas movie night without a delicious hot chocolate, right? Hot chocolate is my go-to treat during the colder months (well honestly, all the months!) and I love experimenting with different flavours. My favourite ever hot chocolate is Swiss Miss (either original or with marshmallows – this pack has both!) and Matt loves Cadbury’s, but I really love to try new brands, and thankfully Matt is happy to drink whatever I buy/make! I found some Starbucks brand and Silly Cow Farms options in Homesense and they are both SO good, although definitely more of a treat as they’re not readily available here in the UK and are way more expensive.

Hot chocolate spoons are such a fun way to make hot chocolate, and they’re so aesthetically pleasing if you’re involving your friends and family too! Matt and I picked these up from Whittard’s to add as stocking fillers in a few gifts this year, and also got some for ourselves. The taste is so luxurious and rich, they’re just a very indulgent treat! Matt LOVES Bailey’s and adding a splash of Bailey’s to his hot chocolate in the evening is one of his very favourite things.

I don’t like coffee and tea isn’t really something you can ‘add’ to, so I really appreciate there are so many different flavours to change up your hot chocolates with. We always make our hot chocolates with either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk – honestly just whichever we have open, I tend to alternate each time I do our grocery shopping – and it makes the drink so creamy! Hot chocolate made with water just isn’t the same to me. Matt loves whipped cream and marshmallows, whereas I’m happy with a candy cane and maybe just a few marshmallows! (I definitely went WAY overboard on the marshmallows for the photo… #doitfortheblog LOL) I also really love adding candy canes to our hot chocolate because they give the best peppermint taste.

If you’re having friends or family round this holiday season setting up a DIY hot chocolate station is such a sweet idea. You could even make hot chocolate in the CrockPot, and then leave a range of items out so people can customise exactly how they want theirs to be. I’d definitely leave out candy canes, various sized/flavoured marshmallows, whipped cream, honeycomb, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter and of course festive mugs! I think this is an especially fun idea for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

So, now we have ALL of the treats prepared there’s just one more thing to decide… which movie should we choose?! I’ve listed below some of our favourites, and most of them are movies we go back to every. single. year. 

Elf
Miracle On 34th Street
Home Alone 1 & 2
The Santa Clause
Santa Claus 1 & 2
The Grinch
Christmas With The Kranks
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love Actually
Last Christmas – go see this for your Christmas date night, it’s SO good!
Deck The Halls
*ALL of the cheesy Hallmark movies*

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little chocolatey Christmassy inspiration for your next movie night! Let me know if you make any of the Christmas treats in this post, and if you do I hope you love them! Do you love all things chocolate as much as we do? What’s your favourite chocolatey treat? Also, please leave any movie recommendations below! 🙂

-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

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

My August Goals

Hi, loves! Happy (early) August! Can you believe how quick this year is going?! It’s almost Christmas! *rushes to make candy cane hot chocolates and turn Elf on, despite faint protests from Matt* As any regular readers will know, I really love setting goals and having something to work towards, and I also quite enjoy sharing my goals on the blog from time to time. It holds me accountable in a different way, as normally I’d write my goals in the Notes app on my phone and if I didn’t achieve something I wouldn’t be too disappointed, so this puts a little fire in my belly! I try to only set five goals at a time, as I feel like it can be really overwhelming if you set more, as in my experience they then become daunting and unachievable.

Clear out Matt and I’s wardrobes (and all of my beauty drawers)
We are HOARDERS, guys. And it’s kind of a problem. We don’t buy new clothes too often, but we did buy some new bits at the start of the Summer for our holiday to Croatia and we didn’t really clear anything out at the time we made new purchases. My dream closet would be one that looks just like Shay’s (hers is amazing!) but right now I’m super grateful for what I have and I want to make it work better for me. I’ve already started my clear out and to be fair I’m almost done, I’ve just got a few organisational bits left to do to make things look a little more pretty. I know there’s several pieces on my ‘to buy’ list for the upcoming Autumn months (I’m VERY excited for A/W fashion, it’s my favourite!) and Matt will be picking up some new pieces for the colder months too! I’m not looking forward to doing my beauty drawers, they are a MESS. If anyone has any great drawer organiser recommendations please let me know! It always feels very refreshing to have a good clear out, and I’m sure we’ll feel so much better when it’s all complete. I’ve already got tons of stuff to sell on Depop which I’ve never done before, so I need to make sure I take all of those photos and send parcels out quickly too!

Treat myself to self care time
I’m making August an unofficial Self Care Month for me, because I think I just need to be a little kinder to myself. Matt and I have had a busy few months and I’m excited to unwind, enjoy the last of Summer and prepare for all of the upcoming fun that we’re going to have in Autumn! I want to make the most of the warm weather, explore new places and rest instead of being 100 miles per hour all of the time. Matt and I have planned a few fun date days and we’re hoping to check off the rest of our Summer bucket list, I really hope we do! It’s going to be a month of unwinding, running, pampering myself, practicing yoga regularly, reading more often etc and I really can’t wait for it. Matt and I are also heading down South for a few nights to visit his family at the end of the month and we’re so excited! We’re hoping to spend our days there spending time with family, relaxing, eating good food and exploring, that’s the PERFECT way to unwind, right? We also get to go on a big old road trip to get there (and back) and you all know road trips are my jam. I can’t freaking wait!

Cut our grocery spending
This is always a goal, but this month I really want to see how much we can cut back. We always buy fresh fruit and vegetables so that will never be cut out, but I think we’re going to experiment a little more with vegetarian meals (which will be much cheaper because meat and Galaxy chocolate is the largest expense of our food shops!) I’m pretty concious about our meat consumption so we try to eat veggie when we can anyway, but this month it’s going to be more intentional. We also want to make lots of Summer recipes before we move back into the colder months, I’m thinking lots of pasta salads, fish dishes and all the tacos!

Be more present
I feel like this is something I’m always working on in one way or another, and I have to keep myself in check and remind myself to live in the moment a lot. I am so excitable about upcoming plans I kinda wish away the days which is something I don’t realise I’m even doing and then I look back and feel like I missed out on things by not being as present as I could be. I’m trying to be happy with what I have and we’re Matt and I are at right now, because I am SO fortunate and grateful for everything and everyone in my life. Also, we all know quality time with Matt is my favourite thing, and this month is packed full of it so I don’t want to miss a second!

Grow my blog
I know this sounds super vague but I just really want to make my blog the best it can possibly be. I talked about this a lot in this post, but my blog grows slowly and steadily rather than super quickly – which is fine, I’m so grateful it grows at all! – I’d just really like to continue putting so much effort in and see how it can grow further. I’ve really stepped up my game with creating new content and I actively like and comment more on blogs that I love, and I’m very grateful for others who always comment on my posts.

Thank you so much for reading! Do you set goals each week or month? Is there something you’re hoping to achieve this month? I love seeing what goals others are working towards, so if you’ve written any similar posts please leave your links below!

-G x

Meal Planning: The How’s And Why’s

Hi, loves!

Meal planning is a huge part of Matt and I’s week, and it’s something we now do every week without fail. I love routine, I love organisation and I love being able to do things in a quick and effective way. Matt isn’t as fussed, but what we’re having for dinner each night is something I had always made the decisions on, because Matt is super indecisive! Now, through changing our habits and meal planning, this makes it a joint decision for both of us. I’ve mentioned meal planning many times on the blog, and been asked lots of times for recipe ideas and why we do it. I’d love to share a week’s worth of dinner recipe ideas, so that will definitely be up in the blog in the next month or so. Today I’m focusing on the how’s and why’s of meal planning for us, and asking some of the questions I see popping up over and over again. Is it actually beneficial to our lives? Should you be doing it? What does it even mean?

What is meal planning?
It’s pretty self explanatory, but meal planning is literally to plan – usually for the week ahead – the meals you (and your partner/family) will be eating. Some people do this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, however Matt and I only really focus on breakfast for Matt (I generally eat at work), dinner for both of us with leftovers for lunch the following day and healthy snacks/desserts. I’m not really a baker at all, but I made this banana bread last week before I picked Matt up from a night out with the boys and it was so good! Also, no bake desserts are great, and they’re super quick and easy when your evenings are busy.

How do you do it?
On a Sunday, Matt and I sit down for twenty minutes to talk about what we want to make the following week, and plan our shopping list(s). We look at Matt’s shifts as this has an impact on what we make; on the days he works until 9pm I make dinner ready for him coming home, so we tend to go for meals that go in the oven and can be timed perfectly (for example, cod and roasted vegetables or a good ol’ pasta bake). I make a list in the Notes app on my phone of what meal we’ll make each evening, writing underneath all of the ingredients required to make the meal. I don’t include items like sauces or spices which we use in every meal as we already have those, although if I had to re-purchase something during my shop that week then I’d write them down too. Miscellaneous items like almond milk, protein bars and bread are bought every week, so I keep a generic shopping list I buy from too. I love that I can tick off the lists as I go through my shop, and have even started writing in the order that I’d walk around the shop, that’s dedication LOL. I grocery shop twice per week, sometimes a third time if we’ve ran out of anything, and I can get round the store in fifteen minutes or less every time.

Does it save you money and/or time?
YES. As we plan ahead and have a shopping list, I literally buy to the shopping list. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a sneaky bag of Haribo or Cadbury’s buttons will find their way into the trolley – I’ve no idea how – but most of the time I stick to our list. I tend to do almost all of our grocery shopping as it just works easier that way, and I enjoy buying based on a list as it saves so much time. It also cuts out any extra deliberations in store where I ring Matt and say “is X okay for dinner tonight? What do you fancy for tomorrow?” I also have the flexibility to go to more than one supermarket when I can, as I know what I need to get and we prefer certain items from certain places. Aldi and Lidl are great for freshly baked bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, and they also have great deals on pasta, spices and yoghurts. When it comes to chicken and meat, we always buy from Asda as I feel you get more for your money there, and we buy specific branded things like rice, almond milk, frozen goodies, and sauces there too. To be honest, I generally do most of our shopping at Asda as it’s nearby work, but I should get better at buying from various stores. However if we’re ever having a cheat night and eating rubbish, we love the Taste The Difference flatbread pizzas from Sainsbury’s (with a tub of Halo Top or Alpro ice cream thrown in, obviously)!

How do you get your ideas for recipes?
This has built up over a long time of trial and error of trying out new foods, as we now have our own little (mental) portfolio of go-to meals we love. We don’t eat much red meat and it’s something we’re actively trying to cut down on, and we generally favour chicken or fish dishes if we’re not eating vegetarian. When we’re not cooking a tried and tested favourite and want to try something new, I firstly look through our three favourite cookbooks. Our go-to’s are Pinch Of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, A Year Of Beautiful Eating by Madeleine Shaw and Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape by Gino D’Acampo. Whether we follow the exact ingredients and method, or take inspiration to create something else I can almost always find something that looks good. If nothing was to take our fancy from those cookbooks we’d then look online at BBC Good Food, Pinterest, Tesco Real Food and of course, social media.

Do you find it easy?
I really do, and I would advise anyone who is thinking about giving it a go, to just try it. It took us a long time to start cooking with fresh ingredients, and we were regulars at M&S Food Hall for their dine in for two offer (we ate those almost every night!) for our first year of being together, but now that’s definitely a treat and something we do on the nights we really have no time. We didn’t know how to cook at all prior to last Summer, so we’re self taught (well, with the help of Matt’s lovely mum). I hear people say all the time “I don’t know how to cook” but honestly you just have to give it a whirl and practice lots, it gets easier and now we love every aspect of it. After we got the methods down, it took us a little time to tweak how we do things each week, but after a little trial and error it works perfectly for us. We’ve also been eating way healthier since we took meal planning seriously, as it’s developed a new interest in creating new meals, and we’re forever trying new things. I’m very interested in eating more vegetarian meals, and Matt’s on board to try whatever I want to try too, which is great! We’re thinking of eating vegetarian only for a week, pretty much just to see if we can do it, and if we do I’ll definitely share my thoughts on it with you on the blog.

Does it work every week?
Yes, for us it really does. We look at the week ahead, so if we’re heading out for date night on Friday we know we don’t need to buy anything for that night, or if we have plans with friends on the Saturday we’ll more than likely grab something when we’re out. If Matt’s out for the evening with the boys I also take great pleasure in having a kid’s tea before I go pick him up (Quorn crispy nuggets, Strong Roots spinach bites and a whole lot of this amazing BBQ sauce, if you’re interested) and those are the kinds of food we always make sure to have in the freezer, and I replace without fail on an almost weekly basis (especially those spinach bites, we literally eat them with almost every meal HA). The best part of meal planning is that it works around your life and your schedule, and it’s very flexible as a result. You could definitely just do one shop per week but we buy so many fresh vegetables and fruit it means by the end of the week items are out of date or just not as good as they should be, so I’d rather not waste food and just go to the supermarket two or three times per week.

I hope this post was informative and helped in some way! I love seeing what people eat for dinner, and what must-have recipe they recommend to others. I can’t wait to share with you a week’s worth of dinners for Matt and I. If you’re wanting to get a start on meal planning, I’d really recommend the three cookbooks photographed/linked in this post! Do you meal plan? Do you have any extra tips that may help me or my readers?!

-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

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

Hey, loves!

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

Thursday, 14th February

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

Seriously… fit for a princess!

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

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

Friday, 15th February

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

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

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

Saturday, 16th February

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

before we added the chicken, seasoning and sauce!

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

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

bae

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 17th February

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

My Favourite Self Care Practices

Happy Sunday, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x