January Favourites

Hi, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion?

Happy Wednesday, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 -G x

What I Got For Christmas

Hi, loves!

Is anybody else in total disbelief that Christmas has been and gone?! I can’t believe how quickly it flew by, but I’ve had the best few days eating, drinking and celebrating with my favourite people in the world.

Christmas Day with my love!

Matt and I had the most chilled out, relaxed Christmas morning at my parents house opening presents and eating chocolate (oops!), then we went over to Matt’s for round two of the present opening! We had a few hours relaxing before heading out for Christmas Dinner with his parents and grandma. The food was delicious, and we literally laughed the whole time! We headed home for more food and a few drinks snuggled up in our pyjamas. We had a wonderful evening watching all the Christmas TV shows and chatting with Matt’s family. We were both SO spoilt by our families and we’re feeling so grateful! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and had the best time with your families and friends.

I’m so happy to be back blogging again after a few much needed days off. I LOVED posting every day for my #TwelveDaysOfChristmas posts, and I loved reading all of the amazing Blogmas posts that have been going up throughout December. Today I’m sharing with you a round up of some of my favourite presents I was so lucky to recieve for Christmas. I was thoroughly spoilt rotten (especially by Matt, he’s SO good to me!) but honestly the best present was spending uninterrupted, quality time the past few days with Matt and our friends and families. Seeing Matt so happy with the gifts I gave him, and our families so happy with what we gave them was the best feeling ever, my face hurt from smiling!

There’s a lot of stress involved in buying gifts for your loved ones at Christmas, but I think Matt and I gave a lot of well thought out gifts this year (if I do say so myself). We put in a lot of effort and time into making sure people had gifts they’d really enjoy, and I loved seeing the reactions on Christmas Day! I think my favourite gift we gave was Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede fragrance to Debbie, Matt’s mam. She was so happy and excited when she saw the Jo Malone bag I don’t think she cared what was in the other bags HAHA. What was the best gift you gave?

I’ve chosen just a few of my favourite presents to share with you, although I had so much I had to spend a whole day when Matt went back to work re-arranging and de-cluttering to find places to store everything! I received so many wonderful presents, gift cards and money, and I’m beyond thankful for everything. Now, without further ado, onto the reason you clicked this post…

*Disclaimer: this post is not to brag or show off, I’ve loved watching videos of what people got for Christmas on YouTube and reading blog posts for YEARS, I always find them so fun!*

Gifts shown in flatlay: Whitney Neil rhubarb & ginger gin, Pandora earrings, Yankee Candle cracker, Katie Loxton coasters – Matt; hand cream – Charlotte & Adam (Matt’s cousin & partner); Estee Lauder eye products – my aunt Georgia and uncle Ian; Molton Brown products – my parents

Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp
I knew I was getting this, because I ordered it on my Amazon Prime account… LOL! This was one of many lovely presents from my boyfriend, and I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with it. He went out on Boxing Day to see the boys for a few hours and by the time he came home it was all set up and giving the room a beautiful pink glow. He admitted it looks nice but I don’t think he’s as excited as me! I can’t see why! HAHA. This lamp has a dimmer switch so we can turn it right down when we’re snuggled up Netflix’ing (our nightly routine!) and I’m so in love with it. Also, I apologise in advance because I’m pretty sure it will feature in at least 80% of my blog photos HAHA.

Pixi Duo Skincare Set
I was so lucky to receive so many skincare items, my mam and dad know me way too well! My mam picked up lots of the skincare products I currently use so I have backups, and got me a few new things too. She did the same with makeup, they’re so good to me! I’ve used and loved Pixi Glow Tonic religiously for the past three months and I’m just about to run out of my current bottle, so this is going to be put to good use pretty quickly! I’m so excited to try the cleanser too, as I’ve not tried many products from Pixi. I’m sure if I’m a fan of the cleanser it’ll make an appearance on the blog in the next few months.

The North Face Jacket
Matt also gave this to me and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. He picked this on his own and I absolutely love it; it’s the perfect fit, a beautiful colour and it’s so warm and cosy. He really has such good taste and always buys the best presents! Matt and I love going for long walks and it’s something we want to do lots more of in the new year, so this will be perfect to throw on with my leggings and a pair of Nike’s! He also got me a gilet which I’m so excited to wear paired with this jacket. I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing this jacket to all of the football games we’re planning to go to this Winter too, as the stands of St James’ Park are FREEZING!

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Candle
This was such a fun surprise! Peony & Blush Suede is my favourite ever scent from Jo Malone, I wear the perfume for every special occasion (and sometimes just if I need a pick-me-up!) but I’ve never had the candle in this scent before. Matt knew how much I loved the fragrance and thought I’d love the candle just as much… he was so right. Whenever I receive a Jo Malone candle I have the hardest time burning it, they’re so beautiful and so expensive, I just can’t bring myself to! For now this is going to looks super pretty sitting on our bedside table, and Matt and I can admire the packaging every night before we go to bed… (or maybe just me!)

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid Perfume
I was very lucky to receive lots of beautiful perfumes, including a much needed back up of my Lancome La Vie Est Belle, but I was so shocked to open this from my brother. He picked such lovely presents for Matt and I (he gave Matt a Hugo Boss shirt which Matt’s talked about approximately 132 times since he opened it on Christmas morning HAHA)! He chose both of our gifts by himself, which meant so much to us both. I really needed a new Winter/night time scent, and this fits the bill perfectly! I can’t wait to wear this on NYE as I think it’s the perfect first time to wear it – I’m so obsessed with perfumes and different scents mean different things to me. He told me he picked this because I always say I love the smell of his favourite fragrance, Black Orchid. How sweet! And to think I wanted to put him in the bin when I found out my mam was having a boy…. I was four in my defense HAHA.

Amazon Echo Dot
This is my new favourite toy but I’m already sick of hearing myself say ‘Alexa’… HAHA. My mam and dad gave this to me, and I gave one to Matt so now we’re finally up to date with the times. I can’t really say much more as everyone knows all about them and just how great they are. We’re so late to the game, but it’s such a fun idea for a gift – I’d highly recommend if you have any birthdays to buy for in the new year! They are currently sold out everywhere and the waiting list is weeks long, but you can always pre-order for February birthdays!

Cath Kidston Travel Bag
Matt’s lovely parents spoilt me with gifts again this year, but I just had to share this! It was such a well thought out gift because, as any regular readers will know, Matt and I are currently saving to buy our home and we’re living between our parents’ houses. I literally use at least three bags taking my stuff to/from his house. This bag is HUGE and I can fit everything I need into it (and way more), I’ve already used it a few times and it’s perfect. I’m a huge fan of Cath Kidston, and so is Debbie so I’m pretty sure she picked this with that in mind! I love the colours and the pattern SO much. There’s a separate compartment on the bottom which is so handy, I really love when bags have separate compartments to organise! It’ll be great for when Matt and I go on weekend trips (travelling by car) and for cabin luggage when we go on holiday!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed! I’ll be back on Wednesday with a round up of my favourite beauty products from 2018. What did you get for Christmas? Let me know your favourite presents below! I hope you have an amazing and safe New Year’s Eve with your loved ones! I can’t wait to celebrate with Matt and our friends, and I’m super grateful to be starting another year with the love of my life 🙂

Happy New Year, loves!

-G x

Boxing Day Shopping Tips

Hey, loves!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! Can you believe Christmas Eve is TOMORROW?! Me either, I’m so excited I almost can’t stand it. I’ve been randomly bursting into song (my current favourite is Mistletoe, apparently!) and I’m driving my poor boyfriend crazy. Good to know the Christmas spirit is still going strong, haha! 

Matt and I decided way back in October that we’d brave our local mall on Boxing Day, and now I’m super nervous at the thought! I know it’s going to be SO crowded, messy and hectic… but, all in the name of getting a few bargains, right?! I thought it would be fun (and hopefully helpful) to share with you a few Boxing Day shopping tips we’re going to be putting into practice this year.

Make a list
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, making a list will not be a surprise to you! I’ve already made a list of a few things I’d like to pick up (if I don’t get them for Christmas that is!) on the Notes app on my phone. I love that app SO MUCH, I use it every day! I know I might go off list a little depending on whatever deals we see, but having an idea of things I need/want makes it much easier to shop. 

Make a budget (and stick to it)
Similarly to making a list, lining out how much money you’re willing to spend is so important. I think when shopping, especially during the sales, our heart often overrules our head, and we’re picking up three things instead of one. Lots of us are lucky enough to receive money on Christmas, and for me I typically split it in half – half goes into my savings account, and the other half I’ll set aside for sale shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning on spending all of that money in one day, but if for whatever reason I do, it’s okay as it’s budgeted and ready to go.  

Know your prices
There’s something about a 20% off sign that makes us feel like we’re getting a GREAT deal, however that’s not always the case. Whilst we’re shopping, especially for branded or higher ticket priced items, we’ll definitely be pulling out our phones and checking other deals online – you can always order when you get home!

Wear comfortable clothing
Okay, so it’s the day after Christmas and you’ve spent at least the past three weeks eating and drinking everything in sight (just me?!) so comfy, stretchy leggings are a must in my book. If you’re planning on trying clothes on (I already know I really want to get at least two new sweaters!) it’s so much easier when you’re not wiggling out of skinny jeans or tops that need unbuttoned at the back. We’ll also be making a pit stop for food at some point, so I mean, comfort over anything… right!?

Accept the hustle and bustle
Shopping on one of the busiest shopping days of the year IS going to be super stressful and you’re going to have to deal with all of the people around you. There will be a fight or ridiculously long line to get a parking space, people will be walking very slowly (my biggest pet hate) and most stores will resemble a jumble sale. Take a deep breath, wait patiently in line and don’t complain! You chose to go shopping, and hopefully your post-Christmas haul will be all worth it at the end of your trip. We’re hoping to only be there a couple of hours, then come home for a snuggly afternoon and get re-ready because we’re out with our friends in the evening. Having a plan for the rest of the day kind of makes this better, as you know you’re going to be free from the chaos soon enough!

Thank you so much for reading! Are you planning on shopping the sales this Boxing Day? Let’s hope it’s not a repeat of Black Friday madness we had this year…

-G x

Christmas Day Outfit Ideas

Hi, loves!

Happy last work day of 2018 to any of you that applies to today, it’s my last day and I’m SO happy about it! I’m so ready for quality time with my loved ones. Today’s post is a fun one, I love fashion and I think this is the best time of year to dress up for! I especially love dressing an outfit up, and for me Christmas Day is an excuse to get a little more dressy and have fun with my outfits. Glitter and sequins are a necessity, right?!

This Christmas, Matt and I are spending the morning at home with my parents, and we’ll definitely be in our Christmas pj’s whilst we give presents and eat brunch! (You can get a sneak peek of those if you head on over to this post). In the afternoon, we’re heading over to Matt’s and going out for Christmas Dinner with his parents and grandma, and spending the rest of the day with Matt’s parents. We’ll probably be back in our cosy pj’s by 5pm but it’s nice to dress up for at least part of the day (and to get some cute photos!)

Cosy & Casual

I bought this sweater for the festive season after seeing a promo shot of Niomi Smart wearing it in her Christmas edit with Oasis, and I LOVE it so much. This is the exact jumper and jeans I’ll be wearing on Christmas Day! I love outfits that I feel comfortable in (and pants that won’t suffocate me so I can eat LOL). Topshop’s Jamie jeans are my favourite as they are such a flattering fit, but they aren’t super tight around my waist unlike most skinny jeans. I found these boots whilst browsing Debenhams and I so badly want to pick them up, I’ve definitley got my eye on them for the Boxing Day sales!

Sparkly stripe sweater – Oasis
Black skinny jeans – Topshop
Heeled boots – Faith

Glitz & Glam

This is one of my favourite jumpers to wear and it’s SO inexpensive! It washes really well and doesn’t bobble up, and it looks so nice with jeans or a skirt. I really love wearing skirts/dresses, especially during the festive season! I feel like they make an outfit look so much nicer, and it just feels nice to swish about in a skirt. Just me!? This is such a cute combo, and I think it would also work so well as an option for a relaxed New Years Eve! I’d personally pair this outfit with black tights, but without would look so nice too!

Black thin sweater – New Look
Sequin tinsel skirt – Oasis
Black OTK boots – Principles

Festive & Fancy

This is such a beautiful glittery jumpsuit, I may have treated myself and picked it up for 40% off in one of Oasis’ recent sales! The wide leg style means it pairs perfectly with a simple court shoe, and I think adding a dainty necklace is the perfect compliment. My lovely co-workers bought this necklac for me for my birthdya and I absolutley love it! This would also work great for NYE if you’re struggling this year.

Glitter jumpsuit – Oasis
Black Mesh Court Shoes – Reiss
Lightning bolt silver necklace – Missoma

*Disclaimer this post is NOT sponsored by Oasis* HAHA I wish. I’m really a huge fan of the brand (even more so from seeing Niomi Smart’s edits) and find the quality is always great. It’s a slightly higher end store, but in my experience everything I’ve bought from there wears and washes so well. If you’re one of those people that stay in their pyjamas all day on Christmas Day (more power to you!) there’s so many cute options in my Christmas Pj’s Round Up post, so be sure to check that out for a little extra inspo!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got some inspiration for the big day!

-G x

Spreading The Love This Christmas

Hi, loves!

I was unsure whether or not to post about what I have personally done to give back this year, as people often feel that talking about anything you do for a charity (big or small) takes away from the act. In all honesty, I don’t believe that to be true, and I think we SHOULD talk about things we do to help both our local communities and those around the world who are less fortunate than us. It doesn’t make us a better person for donating, or a worse person for not, so why shouldn’t we share? Please know anything mentioned in this post is to raise awareness and encourage people’s giving spirits this year. There are SO many things you can do to spread the love, and as much as I love giving my boyfriend, family and friends presents every year, I feel a little more fulfilled donating to those in need, too.

Of course, we should give back all through the year and not just for Christmas, but it’s a time we all generally feel the need to do it a little more. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something I really want to be aware of more in 2019, and continue to do. Christmas is the season of giving, and here’s just a few ways you can give back this season…

Donating Gifts
I think one of the most popular ways we all like to give back is to donate gifts and presents for people and animals during Christmas time. So many stores are doing collections this year and there’s still a few days left to participate if you’d like to. Matt and I donated to Operation Christmas Child this year (the last day for donations was November 18th, so unfortunately that’s now closed for this year. There’s always next year, and you can find all the information you need here). We had so much fun filling our boxes and I really hope the children that receive them are SO happy on Christmas Day with the goodies inside. It hurts my heart to think that will be all they’ll get, but I hope they know we put lots of love into those boxes! We did include a few personal healthcare items and school supplies as they were recommended, however we made sure to include fun toys and yummy sweets to make their present seem a little more fun, and not all super practical. I know local children’s hospitals, care homes, animal shelters and women and children’s shelters can usually accept donations up until Christmas Eve (and of course, after Christmas) so I’d recommend enquiring there.

Finding Out The Needs of Your Local Homeless Shelter(s)
This is also something Matt and I did this year, and it was SO appreciated I can’t even tell you. There’s still a few days left in the build up to Christmas, and you know homeless shelters everywhere will take all of the donations they can possibly get. Instead of taking things you think they’ll need I’d recommend calling first, and speaking to someone to get an idea of what they need most. We didn’t have to spend lots of money to buy a few necessities, and hopefully we made a difference by giving to people who need items.

Donating Unwanted Items
Similarly to buying things people may need, homeless shelters and charity shops will always be open to receiving donations. I cleared out my wardrobes a few months ago and donated tons of stuff then, however I did go back through in the first week of December and donated a bunch more I hadn’t worn since my clear out. Matt and I are hoping to go through his wardrobes and drawers in the new year as he has tons of stuff to donate too. I would say only to donate clothing that is not damaged, too pilled or unwearable of course! You can also clear out unopened beauty products, bedding, pyjamas, the list is endless. This means you’ll make room for new items you’ll be lucky enough to get this Christmas, and in turn pay your current unused or unwanted items forward. 

Bake Treats
Baking is a fun way to spread a lot of love, people love food! Baking goodies to share with people will always go down well, and you can take them anywhere. A few ideas would be to take into work for your co-workers, to a local care home or shelter, or to a local family. Similarly, you could make a meal for people and it would be much appreciated too. It’s a super small and simple gesture and won’t take too much of your time, money or effort, yet you could really make someone’s day. Also, a super easy no-bake treat will be up on the blog for you! (Hint: it’s the photo above!)

Giving to Collections
You only have to set foot near a shop around this time of year and there will be people collecting for various charities. Often people rush past and while you absolutely do not have to give every time you pass (or at all, if you choose not to) it’s nice to be able to contribute on a small scale. The people collecting are often standing outside for hours in the freezing cold too, so I’m sure bringing them a hot drink would always be appreciated! Where I live, a lot of people campaign for Samaritans – give any change rattling around your pockets you have when you pass. A few pounds will likely not mean much to you, but those buckets add up so quickly, and every small donation can make a huge difference.

Spread Kindness
Something we can all do this Christmas (and well… forever!) is to be kind to those around us. Help your neighbour unload their car, tip the great service you received a little better than you normally would, truly thank the cashier checking out your groceries, or just SMILE at a stranger! All of these little things are so taken for granted, however during the holiday season there’s a huge emphasis on spreading love and kindness to those around us. Last week I was heading to Lidl before work to pick up fresh dinner ingredients for Matt and I that evening, and an old man stopped me outside to say good morning, and asked how I was. It was such a simple gesture but it really made my whole day! I think being openly kind and talkative to strangers is something we could all work on (myself included) all year round. It doesn’t cost a penny to be kind and gracious, and Heaven knows, if there’s one thing we need a little more of in the world it’s kindness!

Random Acts of Kindness
This is something I really love to do all year round, and I remember almost two years ago telling Matt a story that made him think I was actually bonkers! A few years back on YouTube there was a trend of RAOK videos; people leaving money in supermarkets, paying off people’s credit accounts in stores etc. One thing I seen (I think it was in an Ellie and Jared vlog, I know they definitely do this too!) was to pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. I feel quite awkward writing about this, but it’s such a rewarding feeling! People can’t actually thank you because you’re in the car infront of them, but seeing the shock on their face is so sweet. The people working at the drive thru kind of think you’re mad, but it’s a fun idea you can easily implement this Christmas! (Matt told his co-workers about this one time I’d done it, and said I had to stop doing it or people would be following me through the drive thru like the Pied Piper trying to get free food HAHA). Any small things can make a huge difference – extra tips, baking cookies etc are great RAOK that will go a long way to put a smile on someone’s face.

Thank you so much for reading. I’d love to know if you’ve done or are planning on doing any of the things mentioned in this post this holiday season? How do you spread the love on Christmas?

-G x

Christmas PJ’s Round Up

Hi, loves!

This morning, Matt and I are heading to Manchester for a weekend of Christmas filled fun and I’m so excited! It is forecast to snow throughout the weekend though which is making me a little nervous because we’re driving down, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and squeeze in a little quality time with your loved ones!

One of my favourite holiday traditions is buying new pyjamas for Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning. I’ve bought the cutest pyjamas for Matt and I to wear this year, they’re super Christmassy and I’m so excited to settle in for the evening on Christmas Eve wearing them, then open our presents in them on Christmas morning! I know so many people love buying new pyjamas for Christmas Eve, so I’ve put together a little post for the last minute shoppers among us, filled with some of my favourite picks.

Ladies first…

Boux Avenue Skiing Bear Pj’s In A Bag – I really wanted these but picked up a Christmassy red plaid version instead! I got matching ones for my mam too 🙂

Victoria’s Secret Thermal PJ’s

ASOS Sprout Pyjama Set

M&S Llama Print Pyjama Set

Sainsbury’s Christmas Grey Pyjama Set

H&M Beary Xmas PJ Top & Shorts

And for the men…

ASOS Brave Soul Dinosaur Lounge Pants

Next Plum Check PJ Set

River Island Grinch PJ Set

Sainsbury’s Black & Red Plaid Stag PJ Set

Next Tree Rex Pyjama Set – these are the PJ’s I picked up for Matt this year! We have an inside joke about t-rex’s too, so they’re even funnier to us.

M&S Brushed Cotton Plaid PJ Set

Thank you so much for reading! Incase you’re looking for a way to present your pyjamas this Christmas, I picked up a cute Christmas Eve box for everyone in my family this year from Asda! I’m filling them with their pyjamas, each person’s favourite chocolates and something fun from Lush. I hope you found this post helpful, and maybe found some cute PJ’s for a loved one (or yourself!) 

-G x

The Christmas Tag

Happy Friday, loves!

I’m so excited for 5pm to roll round and for the weekend to begin. I can’t wait to spend a whole weekend with my love, enjoying a weekend away visiting the Christmas markets and drinking all of the Bailey’s hot chocolates!

Today’s post is a fun one, I created a Christmas Tag! I really enjoyed filling out The Autumn Tag back in October – you can check that out here if you missed it – I thought it would be fun to make my own. I have to point out my co-worker Laura helped me think of a few questions (there you go Laura, blog famous, HAHA!)

What is your favourite Christmas candle?
I love Christmas Eve from Yankee Candle, and Sugar Cookie from DW Home. My favourite is Winter by The White Company, I buy it every year!

What is your favourite Christmas song?
Step Into Christmas by Elton John. It makes me so happy! I also really love Holly Jolly Christmas by Michael Buble, Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande and Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson. (And also pretty much every other Christmas song ever made…)

Do you stay in pyjamas all day or dress up on Christmas Day?
In the morning to open presents I wear pyjamas (Matt and I have super cute festive ones this year and I’m SO excited about them!) then I definitely dress up for Christmas Day, ideally in something glittery. My Christmas Day Outfit Ideas post will be up in just a few days if you’re struggling!

What are your plans for the holidays this year?
Christmas Eve: lots of baking, finishing up any last minute wrapping (literally every year), watching Christmas movies and then drinks with Matt’s family in our local pub for the evening, then head home to get snuggled up with our Christmas pj’s on!
Christmas Day: Matt and I are spending Christmas morning with my family to exchange presents and have a festive brunch, then we’re going to his family’s house for the afternoon and night. We’re also going out for Christmas Dinner with his parents and grandma – we’re all so excited! I really feel so lucky to have two families I love so much 🙂

What is your favourite Christmas movie?
I have so many, there’ll be a post up including my favourites in the next few days! I think my number one spot will always be tied between Home Alone and Elf. I really love a cheesy Hallmark movie though, they’re so cliche but so cute.

Do you love or loathe tacky Christmas sweaters?
LOVE! The tackier the better, haha. Matt and I got matching sweaters last year and I freaking love them. Here’s us wearing them on Christmas Eve 2017:

Who will you be kissing underneath the mistletoe this year?
My wonderful boyfriend, Matthew, of course 🙂

What are you excited for in the build up to Christmas?
This weekend! Matt and I are heading to Manchester for the weekend to visit the Christmas markets and spend alllll of the QT together! He’s been working so much recently, and even though we spend as much time as we can together every morning and night, I’m so excited for us to disconnect from ‘real life’ and just relax. I’m so excited to treat him to date night whilst we’re there.

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
I love that we have pancakes for breakfast every Christmas Eve, and I love Matt and I’s tradition of spending as much time as possible over the whole festive period with each other’s families. My brother and I also always get a new decoration for the tree every year, so I have 24 to take with me when Matt and I buy our house… most of mine are from Disney World, they’re so cute!

What is the number one item on your Christmas wishlist this year?
For part of my present, Matt has bought me a pink Himalayan salt lamp and I’m SO excited about it – I was going to buy it for myself but he was so sweet and offered 🙂 I literally can’t wait to set it up on Christmas Day hahaha. I know I’ll love anything from my loved ones because they picked it. But anything from Jo Malone or Victoria’s Secret would be great HAHA!

What is your favourite Christmas food?
Mashed potato, stuffing and of course, pigs in blankets!

Do you shop the Boxing Day sales?
Only from the comfort of my bed or the couch 🙂 …well, usually. Matt isn’t working this year (YAY) so we’ve decided to brave it and head in, I’m already nervous but I do have a few tips coming up in a post that will hopefully help both me and you this year!

Do you prefer to give or receive presents?
ALWAYS to give! I love putting in so much time and effort to buy things my boyfriend, family and friends will love. It makes me so happy seeing them happy on Christmas morning, and it’s worth every single bit of the stress in the build up!

What is your favourite sweet treat for the holidays?
I love sugar cookies, gingerbread and peppermint bark!

Do you have a favourite Christmas drink?
Alcoholic: almond Bailey’s or mimosa’s. Non-alcoholic: gingerbread hot chocolate from Costa. (It’s really good, but not as good as the Bonfire Spice from the Autumn!)

Which Advent Calendar do you have this year? Do you remember to open it each day?
I have two! Debbie (Matt’s lovely mam) bought us a Cadbury’s Heroes one each, and Matt bought me a Galaxy one. (Okay, tecnically I bought it for myself when I picked him one up HAHA. Gotta do what you gotta do…) I definitely remember to open it each day and I always remind Matt, I’m all about chocolate in the morning!

What is your favourite holiday scent?
Real Christmas trees, gingerbread cookies baking in the oven and my favourite Christmas candles!

Are you one of those people that wish for a White Christmas each year?
Honestly, yes! I am not a fan of snow any other time of the year except from Christmas (even the thought of driving in it makes me feel sick). Having said that, snow on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day would be BEAUTIFUL and makes everywhere look postcard pretty.

What makes the holidays most special to you?
Spending completely uninterrupted quality time with the people I love most in the world, and getting to spoil them a little more than I usually do. Also, the food/alcohol combo is pretty great, and I really love that everywhere you look is a sea of fairy lights!

What has been your highlight of 2018?
I have SO many. All of the weekend trips Matt and I have taken (especially a few to Ireland), seeing Ed Sheeran live with our friends, our Summer holiday to Kos, Matt getting his well deserved promotion, starting my blog, my skin finally looking better, spending another Christmas season with my love and our families, and generally feeling so happy throughout the year. A post on my highlights of the year will be up in the new year, but to summarise I feel very lucky to have had such a great year, and I’m feeling very excited and optimistic about what 2019 holds for Matt and I!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the post and found it fun to read, I really enjoyed making it. The inner 14 year old in me who watched and loved every YouTube tag video back in the day will always love these kind of posts, haha! I tag all of my wonderful fellow bloggers, but I’d really love to see Savannah and  Abbie complete this!.

-G x

Secret Santa Gifting

Happy Thursday, loves!

Today’s post is the first in the Twelve Days of Christmas series on my blog, I’m so excited!

I posted my gift guides for her and for him at the end of November, and got the BEST response to both posts. I was so pleasantly surprised by how well received my posts were, thank you so much for reading, I hope they helped with any shopping stress!

After I posted those gift guides, I received a message asking if I could please make a Secret Santa gift guide, so I set to work to include it in my Twelve Days of Christmas posts. I’ve rounded up the best Secret Santa gifts that are not your typical box of Celebrations and a bottle of wine (not that there’s anything wrong with those!) that I think would be perfect for co-workers, family and friends.

Most Secret Santa gifts are capped at somewhere between £10 and £20 in my experience so I’ve got 10 for you under £10, and 10 under £20. You can always add some sweets or chocolate to make the present up to full value, that’s what I would do!

Ten Gifts Under £10
1. Escape Room Game
2. This Works Dream Team Sleep Set
3. Wine Bottle Glass
4. Happy Socks Gingerbread Man Socks
5. Bird & Blend Tea Co Snowball Tea
6. Spider Catcher
7. Mobile Phone Jail Cell
8. Foodie City Breaks of Europe Book
9. Citrus Bottle Opener
10. Desktop Golf

Ten Gifts Under £20
1. Anthropologie Plant Pot
2. Nanoblock Space Shuttle & Launch Tower
3. Pink Pantone Mug
4. Belgian Waffle Maker
5. Mens Superdry Gloves
6. Tiger Eye Mask
7. Monki Fluffy Slippers
8. Christmas Eve Yankee Candle
9. Friends Central Perk Cookie Jar
10. Bear Post-It Note Dispenser

Thank you so much for reading, I hope this post helped if you’re looking any last minute gifts (they’d also make great stocking fillers if there wasn’t enough options in my previous gift guides!)

Did you give or receive a great Secret Santa gift one year? What was it?!

-G x

Twelve Days of Christmas

Hey, loves!

Today’s post is very short but (hopefully) sweet… 

There will unfortunately be no new post today, but there will be one post per day starting from tomorrow, because… *drum roll please* I’m doing Twelve Days of Christmas here on my blog! There will be a post up every day, from tomorrow through to Christmas Eve and I am SO excited! I’ve put so much work and effort into these posts, I hope you love them!

Seeing as I’m such a planner, I thought I’d share with you my schedule for what will be going up each day at 6am:

Thursday 13th December – Secret Santa Gifting

Friday 14th December – The Christmas Tag

Saturday 15th December – Christmas PJ’s Round Up

Sunday 16th December Easy DIY Christmas Hamper

Monday 17th December Christmas Candle Edit

Tuesday 18th December – My Goals For 2019

Wednesday 19th December – Spreading The Love This Christmas

Thursday 20th December – The BEST Holiday Treat

Friday 21st December – Christmas Day Outfit Ideas

Saturday 22nd December – Festive Makeup Routine

Sunday 23rd December – Boxing Day Shopping Tips

Monday 24th December – Christmas Weekend Trip: Photo Diary

If you were hoping for a longer read, I’d recommend heading right over to my gift guides! There’s one here for the ladies in your life, and one here for the men! I put a ton of time and effort into them, and I’m so pleased with the response I received to them both.

See you tomorrow!

-G x