What’s What!

Hello my loves!

Guess who’s back?! Back again, ‘gain, ‘gain…

It has been SO long since I sat down and wrote to you all and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you guys and my blog. It’s actually exactly one month today since I posted saying I’d be taking some time away which is unintentional, but it feels right to bring my blog back now. Things are going to look a little different around here, but I am officially back in the blogging world and I’m so excited. I hope you’re all well and have had a fabulous month since we last spoke! Grab a cup of tea and settle in, in true www.gillianfinn.com style, we’ve got a long old post… 🙂

We love an awkward car selfie 🙂

What things are going to be looking like on the blog:
I took a break from blogging for several reasons; 1) I just needed a little time to adapt to our ‘new normal’ as things were opening back up again, 2) I felt like I was taking so much time up with taking photos, planning content, writing etc that it was not  becoming enjoyable and 3) I really wanted to just relax a little more as I’d been feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I still don’t feel 100%, but I do feel much better than I did at the end of July. 

I really love my blog and I’m so freaking proud of it! I knew I was only going to take a short break, but having that time away has made me realise that I don’t want to stress myself out about getting 2 – 3 posts up per week. I work full time, I am trying to get back into a social life (thank you, ‘Rona) and I need to make sure I prioritise my self care time too. I’m going to be uploading once per week for now, although as and when I can I’m really hoping to upload ‘bonus’ posts!

What I’m loving:
As you may have noticed from the photo above, I got my hair dyed this month! My roots look a little darker in that photo than they are now as this was taken the day after I got it dyed, they’ve lightened up just a tad after I’ve washed it 🙂 I had a not-so-great salon experience in July and was desperate to get it fixed. Going to a new salon is always scary! I can’t believe how much better I feel since I got my hair done, I really feel like a new person and I’m just so happy with it. I’ve not been this blonde for years and I kinda feel like I’m wearing a wig – LOL! – but it’s just so fun to try something new. Also, I already have a few things, but if you have any must-have products you use to keep your blonde hair healthy and happy, please let me know!

What I’m buying:
Well… Matt and I accidentally fell into Homesense the other day and their Autumn candles are already out! I was very reserved and only picked up two, but really I could have bought twelve. How flipping cute is that lid?! I had a huge wardrobe clear out a couple weeks ago so I’m really excited to see the A/W clothing slowly filter through into stores websites. I don’t really buy many clothes and I try to #shopsecondhand as much as I can, but there’s a couple of gaps I need to fill in my wardrobe ahead of the colder weather coming. I really need some new basic sweaters that I can dress up or down, and I’d love to grab a couple pretty shirts/blouses to wear for evenings out. I’d also love one or two more midi dresses as I wear the few I have all the time and it would be nice to switch things up a little!

What I’m watching:
All the shows! Matt and I have finally gotten back into a routine of watching shows almost every evening and I’m so happy about it. It’s so nice to unwind and relax after work. I’m still working from home for the foreseeable future so making sure to disconnect from work whilst in the same space is something I think is really important. I binge watched season three of Selling Sunset – it fills a void since the Laguna Beach & The Hills days! – and I already can’t wait for season four. Chrishell is just my favourite, I love her! We’re watching The Office (duh) and Friends reruns, we flew through Down To Earth with Zac Efron and now we’re watching season three of World’s Toughest Prisons. We really enjoy this show and watched the first two seasons around a year ago – some of the things that happen in these places is literally mind-blowing! 

This photo was taken at Eden Locke Hotel in Edinburgh at the start of August. I wish I’d had lighter hair then!

What I’m reading:
I just started a new book this past weekend; Hello Again by Isabelle Broom. So far I’m really enjoying it, I’m 24% of the way through and I’m already obsessed with the characters and making assumptions on what will happen next. I haven’t been reading as much recently just because I haven’t been making the time for it but since lockdown began back in March I’ve read tons of books. My stand out favourite was by far The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Friends, this was my favorite book I’ve read ALL YEAR! I had no idea what to expect; almost every time I guessed what the next part of the story would be I was so wrong. I laughed, I cried, I just loved it. I highly recommend!

What I’m excited about:
For me, August bank holiday marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. I can’t really explain it but I feel like September 1st is a fresh start in the way most people see January 1st! I’m taking my mum out for a treat, Matt and I have dinner plans with our friends, the most exciting/scary/nerve-wracking appointment of our lives and we’re hiking Thrunton Woods too. I might just record a Weekend In My Life because it’s going to be FUN! I know technically we have warm (ish) weather in September and sometimes through to mid-October, but I cannot wait for all things cold weather. I am so excited for pumpkin spice drinks, layering clothes, wearings scarves, coats & boots, dark gel nails… the list goes on! 

What skincare product I’m obsessed with:
I am SO happy with my skincare routine I’ve used religiously for a few months, but wearing a mask just here and there throughout the week is making my cheeks/jaw break out. Maskne is real, people. I realise so many people have to wear masks for literally 12 hours per day (you’re all amazing and I truly don’t know how you do it!) but just literally a couple hours per week means I’ve had to really focus on products that prevent breakouts and acne. I’m super acne prone so this isn’t really shocking, honestly. The one treatment I’ve been using per week has helped so. freaking. much. I’m talking about The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution, this works so well! This past Sunday my mum, Matt and I all enjoyed a little facial (courtesy of me, obvs!) and they really love the effects too. I’m going to be talking about how/when I use this in next week’s post, but if you pick this up please read full instructions on how to use the product and introduce it slowly; this is a chemical peel and if you use it like many people show on TikTok you’re at risk of chemical burns!

What I’m planning:
It’s Matt and I’s third anniversary in September and we’re really hoping to squeeze in a weekend away to celebrate! We would love to go to a spa hotel with a good area to hike/explore around there, but we’re a little reluctant to book somewhere until a little closer to the time as local lockdowns can happen with no notice. We are also looking for the best deal possible, too! It seems our Covid cases are creeping back up again so I’m not sure we want to travel very far, if we’ll even be able to. We’re leaning towards The Lake District or Yorkshire, so if you have any hotel/cabin recommendations please let me know!

What I’m burning:
Before I take a deep dive into my Autumn candles, Matt and I have been burning Somewhere Far Away by Our Lovely Goods this past week. I think the packaging is just so minimalistic and beautiful, I love how it looks sitting on my vanity table whether it’s lit or not. The amber glass jars are just so pretty and unique! All their candles burn so evenly which is really important to me, it bugs me so much when candles tunnel down the middle and you’re left with tons of wasted wax at the end. I also have word from the lovely couple behind OLG that they are launching Autumn scents on September 1st, I cannot wait to pick ten one up! Supporting small businesses is so important – now more than ever. I wrote this post a couple of months ago sharing how you can help if you’re wanting to do more.

What else is new:
Honestly, not much! At the beginning of August Matt and I had a little staycation in Scotland, we stayed in South Queensferry for one night and then spent one night in Edinburgh; we had the most amazing time. We just love everything about Edinburgh, it’s my favourite city ever and I’m so grateful we live close enough that we can visit often. I think I mentioned this a little while ago but I’m having really random stomach issues (that may be gluten related – I really hope not) so fingers crossed I can get that figured out soon. Other than that, I am so happy we’re able to go out to eat again! We’ve got two double dates scheduled in for next week with some amazing friends and we’re going on a date night just the two of us – we never eat out three times in a week but we’re making the most of it while we can and I can’t wait. I’m also really excited that our beauty services are back up and running in the UK, I absolutely love having gel nails again. They make me feel so happy and it’s the best self care treat to myself every couple weeks. I can’t recommend my lovely friend Emma enough; if you’re in the southern Northumberland area go check her out!

Well…. I told you it was a long ‘un! How are you all?! I hope you’ve had a great Summer so far, even though this is hands down the weirdest year we’ve ever experienced. It really teaches you to make the most of the little things, right? See you next week my friends! 🙂 

-G x

Not A Goodbye, But A ‘See You Later’

Hi, my loves.

I didn’t want to just disappear and not say anything, but I’m taking a little time away from my blog. 

I have kinda fell out of love with this space recently and I don’t ever want to put half hearted content out. I’m taking time away to focus on work, time with our families and friends, self care, and to try to get used to the ‘new normal’ we’re living in right now. I find it so weird and I’m really struggling to get used to it all tbh! I can’t wait to get dressed up for a fun date night, have family meals and go for dinners with our friends but I also couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting in a restaurant right now. Work that one out?!

I don’t know when I’ll be back but I will be one day, hopefully pretty soon! I love Instagram and I’m active on my stories every day if you want to keep up with what Matt and I are up to 🙂

Thank you all so much for reading and following along over the past two years, I appreciate it more than you know.

Gillian. Xx

Review: Grant’s Bakery, Corbridge

Hey, loves!

Okay so I was originally planning to share a Weekend In My Life from this past weekend today, but I just forgot to take many photos and it would have been way too ‘wordy’… oops. We actually did tons this weekend so it would have been so fun to re-cap but maybe I’ll record next weekend instead?!

One thing we did do was visit Corbridge; this has been on our list of places to go for SO long but we just always had other things that we’d like to do more. We drove up late Saturday morning and it was so lovely, even if it was freezing. I’m not sure if North East England has got the memo that it’s July yet but seriously… where is the hot Summer weather!? We explored the quaint streets, admired the beautiful views along the river, visited the cutest antique shops and of course ate at Grant’s bakery! We LOVE a good bakery and a croissant is usually my go-to order; if a bakery makes a good croissant I know it’s my kinda place. Unfortunately they were out (it was around 1pm when we got there) but there was SO many other fun things to try!

Also… Matt and I learned a long time ago that we can try more food at new places if we split what we get. This seems like a ton of food but we did split it all, and ate some later that night! This is just a mini review but if you like these kind of posts for food places in the North East I’d love to share more… eating out is one of our favourite things to do and we’re so happy we can go grab takeaway food from our favourite places 🙂

Sausage Roll | Steak Pie

Starting with the savory foods we picked up, they were both incredible! The pastry was fluffy, flakey and the perfect golden brown, we literally had no complaints. Matt’s review of the sausage roll was “like Greggs, but better” LOL. Seriously, the sausage roll was FULL; I’m not too sure how to best explain this but you know sometimes if you bite into a sausage roll it’s half sausage meat half pastry? This was equal measures of both, and delicious. It also wasn’t at all greasy which I loved! The steak pie was filled with huge pieces of steak and thick gravy, and again not greasy. We highly recommend both of these! We also wanted to pick up the pork pie as Matt loves those, but we though that might be a little much.

Mars Bar Krispy Cake | Carrot Cake | Chocolate Brownie

Honestly… we struggled to pick a favourite. ALL of these were so good! The Mars Bar krispy cake was super syrupy and chocolatey; although it might have been 500 calories per bite we couldn’t get enough. The chocolate on the top was pretty thin but it was SUPER sweet! My auntie makes a bloody good Mars Bar cake, but I’m sorry to say this might have just beat it. Matt chose the carrot cake as he thinks it’s a good all-rounder that everyone likes, although honestly I’m not the biggest fan of carrot cake. This one might have changed my mind. It tasted gingery and almost like pumpkin, it was so moist and indulgent! The cream cheese icing was hands down the best I’ve ever tasted in my life, I could have literally ate it by the spoonful out of a tub. We ate this late evening when we got home and it still tasted amazing! Last but certainly not least… just look at that chocolate brownie. This was actually the first treat we ate and we both rated this 10/10 after our first bite, it was the best brownie we’ve ever eaten! I shared it on my Instagram stories and got a bunch of messages from people telling me they thought they were amazing too. The brownie was HUGE – I don’t think the size comes across quite so clearly in photos but you really get what you pay for. Next time I want to try the peach melba and maybe a strawberry filled cream cake!

It’s safe to say that we were HUGE fans of everything we tried. The smell coming out of the bakery was the most buttery, sweet, vanilla-y, delicious smell you can imagine and just thinking about it now has me wanting to grab Matt, jump in my car and drive back! We always try to support small and local businesses, and right now they need that support more than ever.

Also, in the post-Covid world that we now live in, I’m sure you’re wondering what the social distancing was like. Honestly, it was great! We waited in line for a good 20 – 25 minutes to get into the bakery as only two people were allowed in at the same time. As you can probably tell from my review, the food was worth the wait. The staff were so kind and sweet, there was plenty of baked goods to choose from and it felt really safe. Oh and I also found out after we visited that they deliver all across the North East… we’ll definitely have to order for a treat some time! Have you visited Corbridge before? What’s your go-to bakery food to try?

-G x

What’s What! I Almost Quit Blogging…

Hey, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 there’s a lot to catch you guys up on, so I’m just going to jump right into it…

We celebrated Matt’s sweet grandma’s 80th birthday this weekend!

Where I’ve been:
Okay so I’ve only missed two upload dates, but behind the scenes I’ve been very close to quitting blogging. I’m not even sure why but I had a real crisis of confidence that spilled over into my blog and I just felt like the content I was creating wasn’t worth uploading. I figured people were getting bored of what I was writing and I doubted myself a ton. I wrote a blog post essentially saying goodbye to my blog and thank you to everyone who’s read here over the past two years, but when it came to Tuesday (the day I was going to upload it) I just couldn’t. I deleted the draft and in that moment I knew I wanted to continue. I love my blog and although I don’t think it’s anything amazing I am truly so proud of it. I don’t ever want to lose sight of that!

I started this blog two years ago, I was super shy, introverted and looking for a creative outlet. I found it! My happy little corner of the internet. But, like so many of us do I started playing the comparison game and feeling a little bit ‘meh’ about everything. Thankfully I picked myself up, and I’ve got a bunch of blog posts in the works. I really want to create blog posts that I love to write, and you guys enjoy reading. I feel a little like I’ve ‘lost’ myself recently, so I’m really hoping this will help me to ‘find’ myself again. If you’re still sticking around here with me, I’m so grateful for that!

What Content I’m Planning:
I really love sharing the ‘real life’ stuff with you because that’s what I like to read from other people. I love skincare, slow fashion, makeup, beauty products, cooking, exploring the North East with my boyfriend, self care, yoga and just writing like I’m talking to a friend. You might have already noticed but I’m changing how my blog looks too, www.gillianfinn.com is getting a mini makeover 🙂 

What new habit I’m trying to create:
Despite the fact I make Matt’s breakfast every morning, I got into a really bad routine of skipping breakfast and snacking on junk food until lunch time during the work week. The past month or so I’ve been trying to eat things like overnight oats, porridge, cereal or yogurt with granola and berries each day, just simple and super quick options! It has made SUCH a difference. I don’t snack anywhere near as much as I used to, and I feel like I have tons more energy through the day. I also started drinking Actimel shots each morning and I love them! Matt is debating if he should get on board with this habit, and I really think he should. These Actimel shots support normal function of the immune system, and contain vitamins D and B6. I’ve had random health issues (hopefully nothing serious, I’m waiting for tests!) for a while that have got worse the past couple months, and I’m really hoping even small changes to look after myself will make a huge difference.  

What I’m reading:
I just finished Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson last week and I highly recommend, it’s so funny! There were a few raunchy (…? does anyone use that word?) parts so just be warned if that’s not your thing! Yesterday I just finished reading The Spare Bedroom by Elizabeth Neep and I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s laugh out loud funny, heartbreaking, made me cry like three times and involves a once very loved up couple being reunited, with a storyline you’d not expect. This is one of the best books I’ve read recently, I’d love to watch a movie of this! I’m starting a new book this morning but I have SO MANY books on my ‘to read’ list I don’t actually know what I’m going to pick. I am going to be sharing a bunch of these with you in a couple weeks time so keep an eye out, alllll the book recommendations are coming your way!

What I’m buying:
I got new glasses! I mean, it’s not exactly the most fun purchase ever but there’s always something exciting about it as you only get new glasses every few years. And, they cost me a small large fortune so I’m showing them off! LOL! I knew my prescription needed updating as I couldn’t see as well anymore (turns out it had actually changed MUCH more than I expected!) so I was very grateful my opticians had opened back up. I picked up my new glasses this week and I’m so excited about them, I really love the shape of the frames and I can see sooo much better. My new contacts just arrived too… I swear everything looks like you just changed the settings on YouTube from 360p to 1080p…. 

What I’m looking forward to:
This weekend! Matt and I don’t really have any plans except to eat pastries, explore the countryside and visit with my godparents. Honestly, the weekends we don’t have too many plans always turn out to be some of our favourite! We had a great time last weekend celebrating Matt’s grandma turning 80, but I was poorly from thurssay night through to Monday morning so kinda felt like I missed out on those #weekendvibes. Today though, I’m feeling GREAT! I’m also going to be sharing a Weekend In My Life with you on Monday 🙂 I love taking you along on our weekends! 

What I’m obsessing over:
I am sooo happy with the immediate results I see every time I use the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal mask from Ren, it is just incredible. I have combination skin that is super sensitive so I have to be careful with what I use on my skin. These days I’m much more careful of which brands/ingredients I purchase, and Ren is always a winner for me. This mask literally leaves my skin soft as a baby’s butt! As my skin type is combination I deal with both dry and oily patches, and this somehow helps to even that out. My dry patches are non-existent the next morning, and my skin is way less oily under makeup. This is a very gentle exfoliator – those scrubby cleansers with ‘exfoliating beads’ etc are NOT good, it makes my face hurt at just the thought – but it really leaves beautiful fresh skin. I sometimes follow up with The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask (why do they give face mask such LONG names?) and those together are my ultimate pamper night duo! 

What I’m watching:
I finally watched season two of Selling Sunset and thought it was better than the first. I just love crappy ‘reality’ TV, and their makeup/hair/outfits are a world away from anything I ever wear, but are just to die for! Crishelle is my favourite. I just started Sweet Magnolias so I’m excited to see what I think about that 🙂 Matt and I are boring AF and are watching… The Office. We like what we like, guys! But… tonight we are finally watching Hamilton on Disney+! I’m giddy with excitement! We have been meaning to watch it every evening since it came out but y’know… #lifegotintheway. I’m soooo excited. We have popcorn, we have European Haribo (they get all the best flavours) and we are going to have the BEST movie night!

Phew! What a post. So, to summarize… I nearly left blogging for good, my immune system needs all the help it can get and I’m hoping yogurt drinks will cure it, and I’m dreaming of a life being a realtor in LA. LOL! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, see you Monday! I pinky promise 😉 

-G x

Our Bedroom Refresh (On A Budget!)

Hi, loves! 

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I accidentally scheduled this post for 8pm instead of 8am. I’ve had a super busy work day and didn’t even realise that it hadn’t gone live, I completely forgot. Also, we’ve had several grey days in a row so the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos. Never mind 🙂

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet, and I really hope it inspires you if you’re looking to freshen up your bedroom too. I love simple, minimal decor and I was a little over everything we had going on in our room. There was a lot of blues and deep greens that I wanted to switch out, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

You probably already know Matt and I are planning to buy our own house next year and we live with my parents currently. We’re so lucky we all get along so well and are really grateful for this time with them! I wanted to update our space on a small budget, and a lot of the changes I made using things we already had. So, what did I change!?

The change I’m most excited about is a set of fresh bed linen. We already had a nice white set from Next that I purchased probably at least five years ago, but we didn’t have another neutral set to be able to switch out with. So, after a TON of searching I picked up new sheets – the set we got is linked here – and I absolutely love them. They are SO soft, comfy, and have the prettiest minimal detailing. I don’t really like garish patterns on bed linen, but I love that this is so simple and delicate. They duvet/pillows are not a bright white either and look a little muted, so it makes the room feel extra cosy and homey. 

We already had the majority of the other things you can see here; the cream blanket is from Costco and we actually sleep with this instead of our duvet when it’s super hot out. We have the same blanket in three colours and they’re a staple for us all year round! We also had the big cushion at the back which is from Costco too, the beigey/grey (…griege?) one and the two light grey ones in the centre. These were all from Tesco; they have such pretty cushions that are incredibly inexpensive and last so well! I’m pretty sure these are some of their basics that they have consistently throughout the year.

I did pick up the two fluffy beige cushions (I can’t find them anymore online, sorry!) in front from Dunelm, they’re super soft and I love the added texture to the bed. Then, my favorite find that tied all of our new bedding together is the amazing throw draped over the bottom corner. This is actually DKNY brand and has a very high RRP, but I picked it up for £16.99 at Homesense! They have the best throws in pretty much any colour you can imagine. Side note: these were the first “non-essential” stores Matt and I visited since the pandemic began and I hated the shopping experience so much. I’ll be sticking to my weekly grocery runs for a long time, I have zero desire to shop in stores right now.

I removed the majority of items from our windowsill and left it pretty minimal with only a jug/vase (I sometimes have pretty flowers in there!), a Diptyque candle, an Our Lovely Goods candle and our Amazon Echo Dot. I really like the window space to be open and airy! We use our Echo Dot every single night so I like it to be close to our bed; we play sleep sounds and I swear it improves the quality of our sleep so much. Our favourites are Thunderstorm and Wave Sounds! Our curtains are just a super simple, plain grey design that we’ve also had for years. They work perfectly and they keep the sun out in the mornings which is great. Oh… and that plant in the corner is dying and I’m refusing to believe it. I literally cannot keep succulents alive!!!

My bedside table makes me happy. I like it to look full but not cluttered – a very fine line – and honestly the old lamp we had was awful! It leaned to one side and just didn’t give off much light. You know, the point of a lamp… I found this beautiful grey and cream lamp at Matalan for a steal, it looks SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than it was. Seriously, this looks like something you’d get at West Elm for like, a bazillion pounds. I love the slightly distressed design on the base, it’s just perfect to tie in the minimal decor and is really pretty neutral colours. My Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede candle Matt bought me almost two years ago and it’s more of a decoration than anything now, I LOVE it so much don’t want to burn it. I know that’s super silly! My most favourite thing here is my cute little oil diffuser that was a really thoughtful gift from my sweet friend, Grace. We’ve been diffusing lavender essential oil she bought us every night recently and it’s helping us sleep so much better! As you can see I kept just a few of the muted blue tones in the room.

I shared all about my vanity table with you a couple weeks ago, but I did give it a little refresh too! I moved my orchid to the other side, added my Himalayan pink salt lamp from the other side of the room- a must-have for cosy evenings watching TV! – and added a few more candles. Our Lovely Goods is my favourite small business candle brand, and they’re a black owned company who would LOVE your additional support right now. We have ‘Coast’ on the window sill, and ‘Somewhere Far Away’ on my vanity table. I talked about pretty much everything else in my other post, but my rotating skincare organiser and my perfume tray filled with my everyday perfumes are my very favourite things! 

We have a full wall of built-in wardrobes that I designed almost ten years ago, and our TV is inside there. I hate hate hate having a TV on display in a bedroom (I don’t know why, I just think it looks a little garish) but we love to watch TV in bed. We also have two full length mirrors, one free standing and one on the wall, which you’ve probably seen me take selfies in before! We have a good amount of floor space – I like to practice yoga upstairs and there’s tons of room for that too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was fun for you guys, and gave you a little inspo if you want to switch a couple things up in your bedroom too! Are you more of a natural, neutral tones person, or do you like lots of colour? Over the past couple years I’ve really appreciated neutral tones more than bright, especially with my clothing. Speaking of, I’m going to be sharing a few of my clothing must-haves on the blog next week! 🙂 

-G x

Summer Bucket List

Hey, loves! This past Saturday was the very first day of Summer 2020, and apparently the memo made it to Northern England because we’ve actually had some super hot, sunny weather! You can read all about what Matt and I got up to on the first weekend of Summer right here

So… my bucket list posts are some of my very favourite to write, to work through, and to check back up on. They’re some of your favourite too because people always tell me they got ideas from them, and I see you guys going back and looking them up throughout the season! I kinda wrote off a bucket list for Spring and instead posted a Post Lockdown Bucket List in jest… little did I know when Summer rolled around we’d still be in some form of lockdown!

This year, Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside down, and we know for sure we’re not going to have a normal Summer this year. While all of our grand plans can go on hold for 2021, I really still want to make the most of the season. I spend every Summer wishing away the days, desperate for the Autumn air to creep in and for pumpkin flavoured/scented everything to start appearing. This year, I was going to make the MOST of Summer. Meh! Global pandemic 1 – 0 Gillian. Great… 

Bearing in mind travelling is still being discouraged, there’s no chance of us taking a holiday or city break and we probably can’t even visit our family down South this Summer, the one thing we really can do is make the most of all things local. We are SO LUCKY to live in up North; we have beautiful beaches, countryside and the best city in the world (it’s a fact) on our doorstep, so I really hope we can have just as much fun exploring nearby.

Obviously we will be continuing to social distance; real talk, I’m kinda nervous to ever be in a crowded/busy/small space with lots of people ever again. Haha! I really find it difficult to imagine going to somewhere like a football match (one of Matt and I’s favourite date day activities) or even eating in a restaurant or being in the office. It’s going to take a lot of adjusting, and it’s super weird that something we never cared about before; being close to people; is literally terrifying to me now!

Enjoy ice cream AT LEAST one per week! Our very favourite local ice cream place, Arrighi’s in Seaton Delaval, is our go-to Summer spot. I always feel like after every Summer passes we could have gone at least a couple more times! Their ice cream is a family recipe passed down for generations, and it’s such a staple for a Summer day. Also, we LOVE a late night McFlurry run. All year round, every season. Now that McDonald’s has opened back up you can bet we’ll be making the most of that! 

Become a bookworm. Okay, so I’m already a bookworm. I love reading and I’ve been sitting in the sun with my Kindle at any opportunity I get! I’m currently reading Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson (it’s laugh out loud funny, I totally recommend it) and I really want to make my way through alllll the books this year. Laura Jane Williams’ new book, The Love Square, comes out next month and I’m so excited, her first book Our Stop was one of my favourite ever easy reads.

Spend the day at the beach! The beach is my favourite place, no matter the weather Matt and I LOVE a beach day. I firmly believe some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are right on our doorstep! We love to grab breakfast at one of our many favourite local cafes/restaurants, although it will have to be to go this Summer. There’s so many beaches to explore, we’ve made a little list of the ones we want to spend the day at this season:

  • Cresswell
  • Tynemouth (our very favourite)
  • Druridge Bay
  • Bamburgh
  • Alnmouth
  • Seahouses
  • Saltburn 
  • Holy Island
  • Sandsend 

Go outlet shopping. Matt, his parents and I really love a little road trip to York Designer Outlet (they have sooo many good things there, we even love the food court LOL!) and Matt really wants to make a trip there to grab some great bargains. Shopping in Summer means you get really good deals on Autumn/Winter clothing, and we both need new coats. Last time we were there The North Face store was like 40% off?! I’m hoping I’ll feel comfortable to go shopping before the end of Summer so we can visit.

Explore our new favourite trail. We found the sweetest place around 45 minutes from where live, and we cannot wait to explore more of the area. There’s cute villages all around (cute village = cute family ran bakeries, do you see what I’m saying…? ALL the pastries!) The trail itself is really fun with gorgeous views, and it’s literally the most picture perfect place. We also want to do tons of hikes this Summer!

Make s’mores. I feel like this is a Summer tradition for so many people and I’d love to make it one for us too! Matt is OBSESSED with the fire pit, and I think spending evenings in the garden with my parents is going to be such a fun thing to enjoy this Summer.

Take the office outside. One of the biggest benefits Matt and I have experienced from the global pandemic (a sentence I never thought I’d write…) is the ability to work from home. Matt works from home once or twice per week and I’ve worked from home exclusively since March 24th. I found out yesterday that we’re not going to be back in the office until September at the earliest, and I fully intend to make the most of working from home until then! Countless no makeup days, all the comfy clothes and the ability to have a 20 step commute are HUGE blessings. I’ve not took it for granted one bit, and I’m so grateful to still have my job during this crazy time. Working outside has been one of the biggest blessings, we love our garden set up and hope to make lots of use out of it!

Cook new foods. One thing that I’m excited about is trying new meals and learning how to incorporate new ingredients into our meals. I love cooking, and Matt loves eating (LOL) so I’m always trying to create new dinners that we can enjoy. Every season I love to add in seasonal ingredients and this Summer I want to include lots of strawberries, asparagus, cabbage, raspberries and courgettes! Not in the same dish obviously…

Take a road trip to the Lake District for the day. So this has been on our Summer bucket list for TWO YEARS and we’ve still not been! Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay over (I don’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel at all right now), but it would be so good to leave home around 7am and get there super early, to spend the whole day exploring and adventuring. I’m hoping we can take a little family trip with my mum and dad, I know my brother will not come with us ha!

Catch a thunderstorm. How many times do you know there’s a thunderstorm happening but life is so busy you just can’t enjoy it? Well, this is the Summer to enjoy every storm… it’s the least busy you’ll ever be! We are set for big storms today and tomorrow, and I LOVE a storm when I’m cosy and safe at home.

Pack a picnic and find a spot in the countryside. There is so much beautiful countryside around us, we’re honestly a little spoilt for choice. We LOVE all of the spots in Northumberland; and the further you go up towards Scotland the more beautiful places you’ll stumble across. It’s picture perfect everywhere you look, and I really can’t wait to make the most of it. Also, we freaking love a picnic! 

Get back into yoga. I love yoga, I really do. BUT I really find it hard to stay consistent with it. I think it’s because I’ve always got 100 things going on and it’s not something I always prioritise, but then after every yoga practice I wish I prioritised it more. I really want to get into a routine and stick to it! I’ve practiced yoga five times this week already so maybe this is the start of a routine…

Go fruit picking. Last year Matt and I visited Brockbushes Farm and came back with the most delicious, juicy strawberries you can imagine! They were quite literally perfect. I’m not sure what the rules will be on fruit picking this year (?) but it’s super easy to social distance in their huge fields, so I really hope we can go again. Also I miss my balayage. I can’t wait until I feel safe to go back to see Erin at Rein & Co (the best salon in the North East!) to get my hair done!

Enjoy a waterfall. We have so many beautiful waterfalls here in the North! I mean, the water is freezing and I’m 99% sure you might catch Frostbite if you went for a dip, but they’re stinking pretty to look at.

Find the prettiest pebbles/seashells at the beach. Does anyone else challenge whoever they’re at the beach with to find the prettiest pebbles or seashells?! I’ve done that ever since I was a kid and it still makes me happy. You can’t tell so much in the photo but these ones had pink running through them that looked like rose quartz. Matt and I’s favourite game though? Find the largest piece of seaglass, extra points if it’s blue. He beats me every time. I always seem to let him win that one… 😉

Enjoy the Summer beers and wines. Now that we can finally move on from FaceTime calls and see our friends IRL – socially distanced, of course – which feels like the biggest treat, we’re going to make the most of it. Matt loves the German Summer beers the most, he’s always trying new ones. There are SO many great wines too, although my favourite option is always going to be a pinot blush!

TBT to Summer 2019, on the most beautiful beach in Croatia

Catch a beautiful sunset at least once per week. I mean, they’re never going to beat the sunsets we experienced in Croatia last year, but we do have beautiful sunsets here at home, too. I’m actually having a little cry right now editing this post – Matt and I looked back at my Croatia blog post; this very week last year was when we were there. I would do anything for Matt and I to be back there right now. Best holiday EVER ❤️ We went for a sunset beach walk on Wednesday evening and it was so lovely, we’ll definitely be doing it often!

Enjoy BBQ’s with your loved ones. We’re all so grateful we can see family and friends again, I really hope we can make the most of that and spend afternoons/evenings chilling in our gardens. I’m super excited for a family BBQ coming up next weekend to celebrate Matt’s grandma’s 80th birthday, I’ll make sure to record a Weekend In My Life to share that! 

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you got some fun ideas for what you can do this Summer whilst staying close to home. Of course you can adapt pretty much everything in here no matter where you live, but the North really is the best place to be 😉 have a great weekend my friends!

-G x

Weekend In My Life: WFH, First Weekend Of Summer, Exploring In The North

Happy MONDAY, my loves! 

Matt and I had a heck of a week last week, Matt’s auntie Hilary sadly lost her battle with cancer. We spent the week grieving and reminiscing on happy memories. It was pretty unexpected, but we are grateful she is out of pain and at peace. If you pray, we’d so appreciate if you kept Matt’s family in your prayers 🙂 

We picked ourselves up and packed so much fun, love and joy into this weekend. We were super grateful for a little sunshine and warm weather, and we’re so excited the next week is going to be filled with sunny days, we’re going to make the most of those after work! Let’s throw it back to Friday…

Friday

Friday’s are my favourite days of the week 🙂 I love the anticipation of the weekend coming and I 100% believe the weekend starts on Friday. Matt and I slept in a little and didn’t wake up until around 7.30am which was great! I start late and finish early on Friday’s, and on this particular day Matt had a breakfast meeting (via Zoom) so wasn’t in a hurry to get ready and head into work.

I made us breakfast and cups of tea, showered and got ready for the day. I love sitting at my vanity table each morning! I watched a couple of Bonnie Hoellein’s old vlogs whilst I got ready – I can’t stop re-watching old vlogs from my favorite YouTuber’s – and got ready to head out to M&S. We’re super happy the Dine in for £10 pizza deal is back so I had gone to grab those for dinner that evening. If you go, make sure to get the loaded potato skins, they’re one of our fave things M&S makes! Also, this mug makes me so happy, Disney + yellow = happiness.

I was in and out of M&S within twenty minutes and I was so happy to get a bunch of our favourite things. Strange thing: I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this recently but I cannot find nice strawberries ANYWHERE. Matt doesn’t like strawberries but I love them and could happily eat a whole packet per day. Half the time when I do our weekly grocery run I can’t get them, and when I have been able to get them they’re super sour and gooey inside. If you’re having this problem… head to Marks & Spencer. They’re the same price as any other supermarket but they’re the only ones I’ve found that taste really good right now. Matt had headed out whilst I was shopping for an in-person meeting – I can’t remember what they feel like! – so I put away our groceries, changed into sweats and sat down to start my work day. I was half way through our office quiz when he got back home (yep, best job ever) so he set up his little work station in our office at the dining table and we worked for a few hours together.

One of my most favourite things about at-home work days is that Matt works from home once or twice per week too and we get to enjoy our lunch breaks together! A mid-week lunch date? We’re so lucky. We had soup (Tarka Dahl is THE BEST, even if the photo below doesn’t do it justice) with fresh sourdough and it was the perfect lunch. We had planned to eat outside but it suddenly got super dark and windy – I swear we’re experiencing all four seasons in one day recently. We got back to work for a few more hours…

Sneaking a peek at this handsome chap between my monitors… 🙂

…ate an afternoon snack and before we knew it 4.30pm had rolled around, our work day was done! Matt popped out to the post office whilst I finished up a couple things, and then we had an accidental nap. We literally lay down to watch a little TV to unwind then woke up 45 minutes later. OOPS! Matt had been whinging at asking me to cut his hair again for a couple of days so we grabbed ten minutes before the rain started and I played barber. I see girls so excited about cutting their partner’s hair and I don’t get it. I hate cutting Matt’s hair! I find it really stressful and I know that I’m really not good (lol) so I can’t freaking wait until his barber is back at work. I really need my hair done but I know I won’t feel comfortable heading to the salon for a long time yet. I think it’s going to take me a very long time to feel comfortable doing ‘normal’ life things again! Does anyone else feel like that or am I crazy?!

Check out that post-nap hair. I also slept with MAKEUP ON! Euuurggghh! I would never sleep with makeup on (even for 45 minutes) so I felt extra gross when we woke up!

Post hair cut, we showered up and spent the majority of our evening relaxing, eating dinner, and watching football. Man U were playing (my family are HUGE Man U supporters) so we watched the game with the fam and it was so nice, even if they didn’t win! Also… have you tried honey on a pepperoni pizza? It’s literally the only way I can eat pepperoni pizza now, I swear it’s the most delicious thing ever! We ended our evening snuggled in bed watching The Office, which is truly our happiest place.

Saturday

Saturday morning rolled around a little too quickly for my liking… I was EXHAUSTED. We wanted something quick and easy to eat, and cinnamon rolls are our go-to weekend breakfast so I made a beeline to the kitchen to bake them. I always use the Jus Rol pack and they’re soooo delicious. I never use the icing they provide though, we get this one in bulk at Costco. Pro tip!

We ate breakfast together, drank huge cups of tea, got ready and headed out to our very favourite place…

…the beach! We loveeee the beach so much. I have been feeling kinda down, on edge and anxious recently (probably because things are opening back up/people are completely ignoring social distancing rules and it’s making me very nervous) but literally an hour by the sea and I felt like a whole new person. I just feel so relaxed and happy there; we go at least once per week but we decided during Summer we really want to go more often. This week we’re going to go late one evening to watch the sunset, I’m so excited!

I love you so much 🙂
pure happiness ❤️

We walked along the coast for a little while – it was pretty busy but it’s a big enough space that you never really felt ‘too’ close to people. I think if the weather had been a little better I would have hated how busy it was, tbh. We walked back to the car and headed back home, via the Number One Ice Cream Spot in the North East*. Seriously though for us, nothing beats Arrighi’s ice cream. NOTHING! We always get vanilla/original flavour because it’s the best. If you live here I would guess you’re as big a fan as we are, but if you’re ever visiting Up North you need to try it! We sat in the sun and ate our ice cream, it was a truly perfect, serene ten minutes 🙂

*not official information 😉

We were only out for a little while as Matt had golf booked in with the boys at 3pm. He had to get sorted for that and drive to the golf course around 45 minutes away, so we didn’t want to be pushed for time. He headed out to golf (and had the best time!) whilst I jumped in my car and went grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure some people might think I well and truly drew the short straw here, but I really enjoy grocery shopping (I mean, I like it much more pre-COVID but y’know). I love planning our meals out for the week and picking up everything we need. I also love putting in my headphones and listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed and laughing my way through the store!

Matt was out for a good four/five hours so when I got back I cleaned, changed our bed sheets and did a yoga workout. I really really really want to get back into a good routine with yoga, I used to be so good with practicing at least four times per week but now it’s once or twice, and even then I have to push myself. I only set out to do this practice, but I enjoyed it so much I also did this one. Adrienne is by far my favourite virtual teacher! I had a new hair treatment to use from Aussie – spoiler: I really enjoyed it – so I was super excited for a nice long bath. There’s nothing quite like a post yoga bubble bath; I grabbed a Diet Coke and started a new book on my Kindle, it was the perfect start to my evening.

Matt arrived home from golf with Chinese food and I cannot tell you how excited I was, we were so hungry! Sorry that so many of the photos in this post are food… LOL! This was the best takeaway we’ve had in a really long time, we ate sooo much and had no regrets. Matt took a long bath, I watched a bunch of my favourite YouTube subscriptions and then we ended the night watching… The Office. Obviously!

Sunday

We both woke up much later than planned, we didn’t get out of bed until after 9am which is just not like us! I jumped out of bed to shower, do my makeup, clean up our room and get dressed. Matt usually takes longer than me to get ready (he’ll totally dispute this) but he got ready pretty quickly and popped out to get petrol whilst I packed us a picnic for later in the day. I love picnics so much, they’re my favourite! He got back just as I was finishing up so we left my dad’s Father’s Day gifts for him to open when he woke up, packed up the car and headed to our new favourite countryside location… Stocksfield!

We found the most incredible place a few weeks back that we’ve decided is going to be our Summer spot. We typically spend so much time at the beach but with all the social distancing guidelines sunny weekend days at the beach will be few and far between. We do have tons of places we want to spend time at this Summer (there may be a Summer bucket list coming up very soon with lots of fun ideas…) but there are so many beautiful countryside spots around this area and we just can’t wait to explore more. We went on a small easy hike and enjoyed a couple hours out in the countryside.

We played ‘hide from the rain under the big trees’ at least four times, but the sun even came out a couple times too! It was mostly grey and cloudy but that was perfect, some of those hills are really steep so we appreciated it being a little cooler.

We saw so many squirrels! 🙂
Checking if Matt liked butter… he does. I know this because I’ve made approx 99% of his food for the past (almost!) three years, but it was good to have it confirmed. LOL! Did anyone else do this as a kid?!

One thing we really need to get is hiking gear. We’ve been thinking about it for a couple weeks but we need to really need to get some bits soon. I’d like a couple pairs of new leggings to rotate through, a pair of shorts and a few ‘workout’ tops. Matt wants some nice shorts and a few t-shirts that he can wear too. We also both desperately need hiking shoes/boots as we have so many hikes and adventures we want to do this Summer and really don’t have the appropriate footwear. Omg we’re 70 years old I swear. I’ve found a couple brands that look really good but if you have any suggestions please let me know?!

We followed a bunch of trails and ended up on the other side of the valley from where we parked. All of the country lanes look so alike it’s really hard to differentiate from where you are, so I had dropped a pin on Google maps in case we got lost and needed to find our way back. Great thinking, right?! Not so much, once we got out of the woods (on the other side) we had zero service. You can’t easily walk back through the woods because there’s so many tracks this way and that, and who knows which turns we took?!

Matt somehow managed to get us back to where we parked the car pretty quickly, even though we were nowhere near where we started! I have no idea how he does it but he has this incredible internal geography. Like, we’ll visit somewhere one time, or even just drive through it, and then we’ll be there again maybe even years later and he knows exactly where to go. I however barely know my left from right. Thank God opposites attract or we’d still be out there looking for our car! We made it back to the car for a picnic whilst sitting on the edge of the boot, we were so hungry as we’d not even ate breakfast. There’s something about picnics that will always remind me of reading Famous Five books when I was a kid, I so wanted to be part of the gang. I wanted my own Timmy!

We headed to visit with Matt’s parents in their garden and give Matt’s dad his Father’s Day presents. He is the best person to give gifts to, he is always so excited it melts my heart 🙂 after we went home to chill out, work on a couple things and of course… to watch the game! Newcastle United were playing, Matt is SO EXCITED football is back and I kinda am too, we’re both really missing going to the games. We snuggled up on the couch and it was so nice to win, the final score was 3-0! It’s really weird that there’s no fans in the stadium but they’re playing the sound effects of a crowd. We popped out at half time to the Co-Op to pick up a few things and Matt grabbed custard donuts (one of my favourite things). He also go me a Milky Way (another of my favourite things) and I’m already thinking about how good it will be to eat it during my work day one day this week…

We finally got to spend a little time with my dad, then I got roped into fixing Matt’s hair (it needed a little more blending from Friday), Matt watched his Formula 1 show on Netflix that he’s become obsessed with, and I worked on planning more blog content. It’s super hard to plan everything in advance but I feel much happier when I know what I need to write/take photos of etc. I have so many fun things planned and I really am so excited to share more of the beautiful North of England with you this Summer 🙂 we also had a freak Summer rainstorm that was so peaceful and calming, I love the rain. We could see the most beautiful rainbow right from our window!

I picked up this candle from Sainsbury’s and I need you all to know how gorgeous it is! It was only five pounds and is the best dupe I’ve ever smelled for Jo Malone’s Peony & Blush Suede. It’s almost 10pm as I’m writing this, we’ve had it burning for over three hours now and it’s barely gone down at all. I don’t like dupes of things that are direct rip offs off high end brands – Peony & Blush Suede is my favourite Jo Malone scent (I always have the perfume in my collection and I have the candle on my bedside table that Matt bought me almost two years ago and I don’t want to burn because it’s so expensive – but this is marketed in it’s own way and smells so incredible. Our whole room smells incredible!

I made us a late dinner; we had a chicken & veggie dish with rice, I just made it up as I went which tends to be how we find our favourite meals! Whilst I was cooking I watched Kristin & Marcus’ video all about their accident. I’ve watched Kristin on YouTube for years and I was so shocked/saddened by their horrendous accident last month, you can watch it here if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I cried watching the video but I’m SO GLAD they’re okay. We washed up, we’ve been watching The Office for a couple hours since dinner, and now I’m writing up this post. For real, I know I talk about The Office so much but it’s seriously the best show ever, we love it and it makes us so happy!

Oversized t-shirts are my favourite thing to wear!

Thank you so much for coming along on our weekend 🙂 how was your weekend? Have the best Monday!

-G x

What’s What!

Hi, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 normal posts are resuming again here on my blog, but I’ve really enjoyed taking the past week to read, listen, learn and grow. I shared this post with a bunch of information on Black Lives Matter and links in that you can check out if you want to know a little more and find out how to help.

How are you doing right now? The weight of everything happening in the world is a little heavy and I’ve been limiting my social media time over the past few days because of it. I’m also very… nervous… about life returning to normal. Well, whatever normal looks like now. Here in the UK our ‘non-essential stores’ are opening again this coming week and I just don’t understand why that’s a priority when we’re still at risk level 4. I certainly won’t be rushing to go shopping! On top of that I’ve felt super headachey and just off all week. I swear this week feels like it’s lasted 40 days. Anyone else?! This week lockdown life has got me like:

BUT. It’s Friday! It’s the weekend! Matt is just getting ready to leave for work, I’m snuggled under my blanket with a cup of vanilla chai feeling so cosy. Let’s get into a little what’s what in my life! 

What I’m Eating:

So it may not be Summer weather right now (seriously, where has the sun and heat gone?!) but Matt and I are eating all of the Summer dinners and I couldn’t be happier about it. Most evenings we’re enjoying a variation of subs, fajitas, tacos, pasta salads, burgers or fish. We love salmon A LOT – I typically serve with roast potatoes, rice and a feta salad – but I’ve been switching up how I make it recently. I made a honey chilli glaze the other week that was so delicious we’ve had it three times since. My mum even liked it and she is a super picker eater! I’ll share a ‘recipe’ on the blog soon. It’s so easy I don’t know if it can be classed as a recipe, but it’s delicious and you need to try it! 

What I’m Disappointed About:

My No Buy Month is going very well, so well I’m making money back! I ordered a couple things at the end of May that arrived this past week and were not what I expected. First off I got a ‘vintage’ Levi’s denim jacket from Depop that was just disgusting and not at all what I was told. The seller was super rude and anyone who knows me IRL knows that me and confrontation do not mix. It was my first (and hopefully last) bad experience using Depop and I was horrified. Thankfully PayPal stepped up with a refund to fix it! I had also ordered a pair of Veja trainers after lusting after them for over a year – I went for the Campo style – and I was SO BUMMED with the quality. They’re a sustainable, ethical brand and I swear I’d only heard good things about them. I don’t know if I somehow got a ‘bad’ pair but the leather looked unfinished and the laces were marked. I had been so excited but I’ve sent them back to Office 😦 I still really want a pair of Nike Air Force Ones (I know everyone has a pair, but they’re just so cute) so maybe at the end of the month I’ll purchase those instead! 

What I’m Excited About:

Matt and I found the CUTEST spot around 45 minutes away from where we live and I can’t wait to spend hot, sunny weekends exploring everything around there! If the sun ever comes back, that is. I’m in a really good routine working from home – if I haven’t already mentioned enough, I really love it – and Matt has been working from home a couple days out of the week too, so we’re spending the most time together we ever have. Matt got a new job a couple months ago and he (for the first time ever) has weekends off now! We used to pack everything possible into the random weekend days Matt got off work but now we’re able to do whatever, whenever and I’m so thankful for it. It’s a shame we can’t go too far this Summer but we’ve decided we’re going to explore as much of the North East as we can, especially this cute new spot, and we have a HUGE bucket list of things to do and places to see. The best part is, they’re right on our doorstep!

What I’m LOL’ing At:

Okay so I know I talk about this podcast all. the. time. but it’s for good reason! Shagged, Married, Annoyed seriously makes me CRY with laughter every single week, and I swear the episodes get funnier each week! The podcast is hosted by Chris & Rosie Ramsey; one is a professional comedian and one is married to her. Ha! (For anyone confused, Chris is the professional comedian. But Rosie is funnier. I said what I said). A new episode is released each Friday but I save them for my weekly grocery shop on a Saturday morning. I wear my AirPods (I’m obsessed) and giggle my way round the store, anything to make me forget how stressful getting groceries is right now is a good thing. Rosie posts the funniest Insta stories too! She & Chris have the most adorable son named Robin (my dad’s name!) who just melts my heart and is always on her stories. If you need a little light and laughter in your life, pull up SMA on your Spotify. I promise you won’t regret it! I’m even listening to the old episodes (again…) some afternoons whilst I work.

Looking super cute with my frizzy bed hair there from laying down, it’s a LOOK!  Yes we’re eating cream cakes and also yes, we have basically the same glasses. They’re Ted Baker and I’d just like to point out I had mine for almost two years before Matt copied me…

What I’m Watching:

This week Matt and I started a new show… Space Force! It’s laugh out loud funny, kinda silly and Steve Carrell is the main character. I mean what’s not to love?! We love The Office SO MUCH and honestly anything with Steve in is just good TV. I’m also still re-watching all of Modern Family, I’m on season 8 and not ready to be on season 9. I really think it’s one of the best modern shows ever made, I just love every single character and it brings me so much joy! As always, Matt and I’s go-to shows for the evenings we don’t have much time is Friends or The Office reruns. Duh! We’ve also watched a ton of Ted Talks educating us on the Black Lives Matter movement over the past two weeks, there are sooo many amazing ones you can check out here.

What I’m Excited About:
Everything I’ve been planning and working on for the blog! I’ve got lots of beauty and fashion content coming up and I think I’m going to delve into the topic of no buy’s/low buy’s a little too. I’ve become a much more conscious clothes shopper over the past few years – you can read more in this post and this post – and I really want to share my favorite finds, tips, experiences etc on creating a wardrobe full of things you love. Be sure to subscribe to my blog (> you can fill in your email, the box is right over there!) so my posts get delivered right to your email inbox. Oh and also… I’m giddy McDonald’s reopened! We grabbed Quarter Pounder meals for dinner last night and I’m so excited we can start going for weekly late night McFlurry runs again (our fave tradition pre COVID-19).

What I’m Reading:

I started reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo last week and I flew through it in four days. Considering I’m still working full time, working on my blog, trying to enjoy down time with Matt and you know, sleep, that’s veryyy quick for me to read a book! I truly think this book should be a requirement to read in high school as it covered everything! It made me so aware of myself and the people around me, and fuelled my passion to always be an ally for the Black community even more. Like many, I really want to educate myself more on Black Lives Matter and I think that was a really good starting point, if you haven’t already you need to read this book! I have just started reading Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson which was a recommendation from Shay last month. I literally only started last night but I already know it’s my perfect kind of book! Tbh, I love everything Shay recommends 🙂 I actually have tons of books I’m excited to read downloaded onto my Kindle right now and I really love that feeling, it makes me more motivated to read because I have so many options afterwards. Also I’m still crazy obsessed with my Kindle… if you’re on the fence about getting one, don’t be! They’re the best things EVER 🙂 

What I’m Looking Forward To:
Autumn. I know, I know. It’s JUNE. But it’s been super cold this past week and I’ve been pulling out my oversized sweatshirts, cosy cardigans, my favourite leggings and even fluffy socks. I’m ready for it to be September… Every year I count down to the beginning of September and Matt thinks I’m crazy but I love everything about that time of year. It feels like more of a fresh start for me than January does, I can’t wait to eat/drink/smell all things pumpkin and of course #fallfashion is my favourite. Also it’s kinda the beginning of the build up to Christmas (okay I know, I’m actually crazy) but this year has been so weird, let’s just skip to Christmas mode now!  

I’m off to slowly get ready and run a few errands before my work day starts in a couple hours. I might even stop by the drive thru at Costa for a little Friday treat, I still have tons of gift cards from Christmas! 🙂 Friday’s make me so happy. I’m also having a work night IN with my coworkers tonight – we’re doing a CSI Mystery Escape Room on Zoom and I’m so excited!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 

-G x

Black Lives Matter

Hi, loves. 

It didn’t feel right to post ‘normal’ content this week. My heart is breaking for the world we’re living in. Instead I’d love for you to check out the below links (everything in bold, pink letters). Please donate if you’re in a position to do so, but if you’re not there are so many other things you can do too. 

Read. Listen. Share. Read again. Listen again. Share again. Never stop reading, listening or sharing. 

I know that I will never fully understand, but I stand with the Black community. 

DONATIONS/PETITIONS

To bring justice for George Floyd

To bring justice for Ahmaud Arbery

To fund the movement

To support #RunWithMaud

To defund the Police

To support Black Visions Collective, a Minnesota based organisation

To bail out peaceful protestors across the US who were wrongly arrested

To support homeless Black Trans women across the US

UK SPECIFIC

To bring justice for Belly Mujinga

To donate to the Stephen Lawrence trust

To Stand Up To Racism

To Show Racism the Red Card

READ

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olou

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

How To Argue With A Racist by Adam Rutherford 

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

WATCH

An Interview With The Founders of Black Lives Matter, Ted Talk

The Uncomfortable Truth, Amazon Prime

Dear White People, Netflix

When They See Us, Netflix

Color Blind or Color Brave?, Ted Talk

Black, White & Us, Amazon Prime

I encourage you to take the rest of the week, like Matt and I are, to educate yourself and others. And after the week is over, let’s never stop.

Sending you all love, prayers and peace right now.

Gillian. Xx

Weekend In My Life: Celebrating My 26th Birthday In Lockdown

Hi, loves! I’m so excited to have taken a bunch of photos to document my 26th birthday by, because it’s my first (and hopefully last) lockdown birthday! What a weird season of life, right? We couldn’t celebrate in our usual way; Matt and I normally go on a trip – we’d actually hoped earlier in the year to visit Krakow around my birthday weekend, we’d celebrate with family dinner and we’d go out for drinks with friends. But, I still had such an amazing birthday weekend, and I’m so grateful to Matt and my family for making my birthday so special 🙂

F R I D A Y

I LOVE Friday’s. It’s the start of the weekend, I work a much shorter day (I start late and finish early, what could be better!?) and I have the Friday feeling from the second I open my eyes that morning. Matt had to start at 8am (sucks to be him, hehe) so I got up with him to make his breakfast and finish up my blog post. I enjoyed a cup of tea, made my post live and got ready for the day. I’ve really took the extra time I have in the mornings on a Friday to get ready slowly; I spend way more time on my skincare routine and my makeup and it just makes me so happy.

How flipping cute is my tie dye tee?! I am actually obsessed with it and have an urge to try tie-dying myself but I know I won’t make anything as cute as this. I had to run a few errands; I went grocery shopping, picked up a parcel and sent some of Matt and I’s returns back to the post office. We’ve been online shopping kinda often recently, although I’ve decided throughout June I’m going to have a No Spend month because there’s honestly nothing I need (or really even want) right now. I always get so excited to hop in my car and drive these days, it actually feels like a treat because I’m getting so used to spending my days inside. I turned the AC up, played Shagged, Married, Annoyed on Spotify and totally enjoyed driving around running errands.

…does anyone else always catch 11:11? It makes me smile every time 🙂 also those little marks aren’t dust. I’m SO Type A and dust my car interior down every time I get in with a microfibre cloth. I used a new one and it shedded. Yes this is very important to know…

My usual Friday work day is 12pm – 5.30pm (when we’re in the office living a normal life!) but working from home I’ve been working 11am – 4.30pm most weeks. I didn’t get home until around 11.30am so I put all our groceries away, quickly picked up and tidied our bedroom (I didn’t have time before I left) then headed to the dining room to start work at 12pm. Around 1.30pm I was flagging and needed a little pick me up (my sleeping pattern is still SO out of sorts. I truly have insomnia, I can be awake up to three hours during the night) so I grabbed a red bull and some lunch. I don’t drink them often but oh my goodness I really love them! I had a really great work day, I felt productive and I was able to get so many things ticked off my to do list for the day. Before I knew it, it was 5.30pm. I turned off my computer, made my to-do list for Monday (HIGHLY recommend doing this, especially if you’re working from home. All of the tasks and things to follow up are fresh in your mind at the end of your work day, makes it so much easier to remember everything when you next sit down) and then my dad told me a delivery had arrived for me…

Surprisingly, I hadn’t ordered anything this day. Haha! The parcel was the best surprise from Matt’s family; Adam & Laura are seriously the sweetest, most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. I was so shocked, they sent the most beautiful bouquet filled with roses, wildflowers and, my very favourite, peonies! I had a blast arranging the flowers – Bloom & Wild send a card that directs you how to make your bouquet look pretty – and I think I’ve changed it around maybe four times since, LOL. I took a nice hot shower, did my skincare routine, got cosy in my pj’s and lit this cute candle. It’s from a small business Dole Wicks Candle Co. (they used to be called Tiki Candle Company hence the label)… Disney and candles? Come on, that’s two of my very favourite things in the whole world! I’d been saving it for this weekend and it smelled so good.

Matt arrived home from work just in time for me prepping dinner. It was Burger Night! We’ve been trying to have ‘fun’ dinners on Friday’s because typically we’d either go out or grab a takeaway on these nights, and we are actually really missing fast food. I am so excited for McDonald’s to re-open, it’s been two months and I’m not exaggerating when I say I need a Big Mac. NEED! That being said, I make a pretty good burger 🙂 I always use brioche buns (duh, they’re the best) and we put spicy cheese inside. Add a little tomato, lettuce and a ton of ketchup, and it’s delish. I washed my makeup brushes and re-organised my skincare (I’m sharing all about my cute little vanity soon!) whilst Matt took a bath. We spent the rest of our evening chilling, watching The Office US in bed and I read a little on my Kindle. I don’t know if it’s me but the weeks fly by in lockdown. I couldn’t believe it was already…

S A T U R D A Y

Have you ever in your life seen anything so cute?! I got up for literally a minute and came back to him cuddling the pillow (very tightly). Hahahaha. So cute!

I woke up super early on Saturday, around 7am, and laid reading my Kindle for almost an hour. I typed up a few blog ideas on my phone, caught up on all the social media I’d ‘missed’ overnight, and Matt still was fast asleep. I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em… I cuddled back in, fell asleep and we didn’t wake up until after 10.30am. I kinda felt lazy but I also kinda loved it. Can I use the birthday weekend excuse? We had the laziest morning in bed watching Amazon Prime and just enjoying the fact we didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. I think the one thing I’m really learning to appreciate most in lockdown is the slower pace of life, I want to write about this in a whole post!

Matt got cosy watching TV whilst I made breakfast lunch burritos! I add sweet potato, sausage, a bell pepper, beans and two eggs to ours. It’s kind of a long process because you have to cook everything separately then add it all together and put it back in the oven, but oh my goodness it’s worth it. This is one of our favourite breakfasts because it’s so filling and it’s the closest we’re going to get to a Mexican breakfast for a little while. We lazed around a little more (…still not feeling guilty!) and Matt watched football whilst I got ready. The German Bundesliga had just come back for the first time since the pandemic and you’ve no idea how GIDDY he was about it, the boy loves sport. I took a shower and got ready, which was even better with freshly cleaned makeup brushes. I have so many makeup brushes but these are the ones I use the most, although usually I’d use a few other eye brushes if I was making an effort with my makeup… like when we were able to socialize!

I love this oversize shirt from Zara. I thrifted it (from Depop, for a grand total of £3.50. Yay for #shoppingsecondhand) and I love how it looks tied at the front with mom jeans. I totally thought I’d get to wear it as a swimsuit coverup this Summer too, but unless I decide to throw on a bikini in the garden I have a feeling that will not be happening. Matt came with me to go back to the post office (again… we had MORE returns!) and whilst he went in I changed from country music to a little bit of Disney. It’s good for the soul. I also popped into Aldi as there was a couple of things I couldn’t get grocery shopping the day before. For the first time since lockdown started I got to go straight into a grocery store without waiting in a huge line outside. It was actually kinda weird!?

We stopped by Matt’s parents to see them through the window (literally the strangest thing, I can’t wait until we can see them properly) and pick up my birthday presents. They’re so sweet to me and always spoil me so so much! We came home to eat Krispy Kreme donuts and get cosy watching TV for a little while. Matt took a bath and I made dinner – chicken and leek pasta bake. It was a total ‘wing it’ dinner and oh wow it might be the best thing we’ve made in a long time. I’ll share it on the blog sometime soon because you need to make it!

Matt had a FaceTime date with the boys and I ended the night drinking a glass of wine in the bath (*cough* two glasses *cough*, Matt may have brought me a refill…), watching Modern Family and having the best little pamper evening. We went to bed pretty late but somehow didn’t struggle to get up the next day!

S U N D A Y

Because it was my birthday! 🙂 we started the day with cups of tea in bed. Matt and I have a tradition of opening our birthday presents and Christmas stockings in bed, it’s one of my favourite things. Matt is literally the most amazing boyfriend ever and I felt so very lucky with all the gifts he got me. He always goes above and beyond, but the best gift I could ask for was spending my birthday with him.

I mean… come on! I am so thankful! (Also Giorgio Armani Si is one of the most beautiful perfumes and has become one of my favorites this year, I highly recommend if you’re looking for something new!)

After we opened presents we went downstairs to open everything from our families. I received so many lovely cards, gifts and money which I am so thankful for. Matt and I’s families are the best 🙂 my mum and dad are crazy (in the best possible way) and bought me AirPods!! I have wanted a pair for so long and I already think they’re the best thing ever. I’d been stealing borrowing Matthew’s for a while so I’m so glad to have my own. I had no idea they’d got them for me, I love them so much. (Jumping in, in real time to say I’m wearing (using?) them right now whilst I type up this post and literally had to just take a five minute break because I was cry laughing at SMA. I frigging love Rosie Ramsey). We had bacon sandwiches, relaxed on the couch and then I took a little extra time to shower, get dressed and ready for the day. I was sooo excited to use my new lipstick, it’s so flipping pretty.

The weather was kinda rubbish – warm but super grey and rainy – but I wanted to wear my pretty new dress so that’s what I did. If you can’t wear a cute dress on your birthday, when can you?! Just as we were getting ready to leave my sweet godmother and her daughter stopped by with my card and gift. We talked out on the driveway for half an hour and it was SO good to see them! Like everyone else, Matt and I miss seeing family and friends so much, but it’s already so apparent how much more we’ll appreciate those times post-lockdown.

We picked up another super generous birthday gift from my aunt and uncle, and headed for the beach! We were planning to go for a little walk along the beach (my happiest place) but once we got closer it was very clearly not safe to get out. Since lockdown has been ever so slightly lifted in the UK people are free to go to the beach, but it was like it was the Summer holidays with no lockdown in place. I was kinda sad because I’ve been looking forward to going back to the beach since lockdown started, but I’d much rather be safe. From what we saw driving along the coast there was very little social distancing happening; people were in big groups, pretty much all of the food places were open and the lines outside were huge. It was so lovely to drive along the coast even just for half an hour though, it lifted our spirits so much and it was nice to see somewhere a little different.

So grey but still oh so pretty!
Two of my very favourite products for double cleansing!

…unfortunately, I got car sick. LOL. I don’t know why this happens but if I’m not driving I’ve started to get really bad car sickness. I had a headache and Matt said I was ‘green’ …delightful. I changed into comfy clothes, got cosy under a blanket and took a twenty minute nap. I woke up feeling so much better and spent a few hours just enjoying time with Matt, my mum and my brother. I also got my birthday present off my brother (he was still asleep when we left because he’d been up until God knows when watching UFC!). He bought me a bottle of Dior Joy, which is another of my favourite perfumes. My perfume collection is now fully stocked again and I’m so happy 🙂 I actually just picked up the cutest mirrored perfume tray that I’m completely obsessed with, I love displaying my perfumes out on my vanity! I took an extra long time to do my evening skincare, shower and then my dad arrived home from work with our favourite takeout…

DELISH!

We literally love our local Indian takeaway! It was as always, so good. I spent a little time with my dad after not seeing him all day, Matt took a bath, I caught up on my YouTube subscriptions for an hour which is one of my favourite things to do, we drank Dole Whip’s (with Malibu in, it was a great choice, I highly recommend!) and got super cosy for the night watching… you guessed it… The Office. We love a lil bit of Michael Scott. We also may have stuffed our faced with my birthday cake (red velvet cake is literally the best thing in the whole world to me) 🙂

Thank you so much for reliving my birthday weekend with me!

-G x