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

Spring Reading List

Hi, my loves! I hope everyone is safe right now more than ever, and learning to live in our ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable. I’ve been quite undecided whether or not I should carry on blogging as if the world isn’t THE most terrifying place right now, and after a lot of debating I thought it best to carry on, and hopefully spread a little much needed positivity. I didn’t post last week as my Spring Bucket List was due to go up but as we’re not allowed to leave our houses (except for grocery shopping or medical attention!) it really wasn’t the right time to post it. The way things are looking right now we might just have to wait for a Summer Bucket List… but we all know this is going to be the most amazing Summer once all of this is over right?! *crosses fingers*

I don’t want anyone to think I’m feeling particularly happy and upbeat right now because honestly, each day is so different. I’m scared and I hate the unknown more than anything, but I am really trying to have a PMA* (*Positive Mental Attitude). I think the only thing we have to hold onto right now is positivity and hope! I think I might record a Week In My Life next week, which seems strange as my days are only just working from home, watching Netflix and not much else, but I think a little bit of solidarity could be extra helpful right now! Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing 🙂 

I’ve seen LOTS of bloggers online talking about now that they have ~so~ much more time on their hands they’re picking up hobbies, working out more etc but honestly, I feel like if anything I have less time? I’m extremely fortunate to be able to work from home which I’m so grateful for (I started my new job two weeks ago, then took pretty much my whole desk home on my second day to work from home for the foreseeable, pretty crazy right?!) I guess I technically have more time as I’m not getting ready the same as I would for work and I don’t have a commute anymore. Unless you count walking the 20 steps from my bed to the dining room AKA my unofficial home office but I’ve been filling that time with other happy things. Real talk: I really miss getting in my car and driving to the office, I never knew how much I enjoyed my commute!

I’m not getting fully ready most days (I think I’m going to change this from next week because honestly I love doing my makeup – and sometimes my hair – so maybe this will make me feel more ‘normal’). But… I’m SO DRAINED. Does anyone else agree with me on this?! I’m only reading the news once or twice per day as honestly I’m finding the whole thing terrifying, and it’s really hard to mentally cope with. I’m so grateful that Matt and I are safe and healthy, and so are our families. We’re staying permanently with my family until this is all over and we are missing Matt’s parents so so much! We miss our grandma’s, our friends, and I haven’t even met most of my new co-workers yet. It’s a crazy time and for me personally starting to learn a new hobby just isn’t something I can do right now. Instead I’m working really hard and trying to learn as much as I can with my new job, sleep well, eat well and enjoy all my favourite downtime/self-care activities. I especially love taking baths, spending extra time on my skincare routine, watching my favourite vloggers, Matt and I look forward to walks more than your average Labrador and I LOVE reading! My Kindle is packed with fun books to read and I’m so excited to be sharing some of those with you, as well as a bunch of books that I really loved and recommend you get immediately! 

My To Read List:

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This was recommended to me on Amazon and the synopsis and reviews made me download it immediately! This book is a love story of a couple based in New York (I mean that alone had me sold) who have their life planned out. Dannie, the main character, falls asleep one night and wakes up five years in the future, with a completely different life to the one she currently has planned out. I was really careful not to read too many reviews – someone always spoils it! – but this is the next book I’ll be delving into because I’m so excited about it.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I’m currently reading this now, I’m about half way through and I am really enjoying it. I loved Josie’s first book (more about that below) so I had high expectations! I admit I found it a little slow at the beginning and I wasn’t as excited about it as I was her first one, but now I’m wrapped up in the story and can’t wait to see what happens. Lydia is married to Freddie, who dies suddenly in an accident and her whole world is turned upside down. She soon realises that when she sleeps life in her dreams is just the same as it always has been…

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
I have had this on my ‘to read’ list for a long time but there’s just always been other books I’ve been more excited about, although after how much I loved So Lucky (again, more on that below!) I am really excited to get stuck in. The story is based on three women who are all united in their views, if nothing else, and I have a feeling it will be very much based on the way society is nowadays. By her own admission, Dawn likes to talk about reality in her books and show that different perspectives can work together, I hope it’s as witty and off-the-cuff as So Lucky!

Dear Lily by Drew Davis
Anyone else hear the name ‘Lily’ and immediately hear ‘where’s the dog, Lily?’ in their head? Just Me? Okay… Again this was recommended to me on Amazon and I’m really looking forward to reading it; the story is about Joy moving away from her family home – and her sister, Lily – and sounds like the perfect escapism girly read. Joy communicates via letter and I’m assuming goes through things from her childhood/past as it appears to be very emotional based on the reviews.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Shay talked about this in her March book review this past week and I immediately downloaded it. I love pretty much all of her recommended books, and if I’m ever feeling at a loss looking through Amazon I head over there for inspiration (and check the comments section too)! This book is about a mum and son who live in Mexico, and have to escape to the US away from the Cartel. From Shay’s review and the Amazon reviews it seems to be a very suspenseful, tragic, heartwarming read, and I’m kind of obsessed with all things about the drug cartels in Mexico! Matt and I watched Narcos: Mexico and LOVED it, and I think that’s what got me into that kind of storyline. This book is fictional but wanting to cross the border for a better life is an everyday thought for so many people, I’m so excited to read this… I just need a few more happy, easy books before I delve in!

No We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald
Okay so I adore Sophie’s books and I’m so excited to read this! This books seems like a typical girly, romantic comedy that I really bloody love… Sloane is looking for The One and she’s pretty sure she’s found him, until she finds out Myles is hiding a huge secret from her and everything falls apart, as it always does in a rom-com! This feels like a perfect chilled read, especially when the world is so topsy turvsy.

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher 
I really like Giovanna’s books because they’re generally very light hearted, easy-to-read and something you can pick up and put down without being too gripped. I mean that as a good thing! This story follows Lizzy, who thinks after being with her boyfriend for ten years there’s a proposal on the horizon, however that doesn’t exactly work out. Gi’s books are super down-to-earth and I always fall in love with the main character, who I’m assuming is going to be heartbroken and on a journey to find herself throughout the book…

Books I loved and recommend:

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
I’ve bought this book for so many people! This is a great read that would be such a welcome distraction for someone during this crap time. Dolly recounts SO many memories throughout this book, and so many of them are things that our teenage selves will relate to! She covers heartbreaking times in her life, funny times, learning experiences and everything in-between. I really feel like Dolly comes across in a big sister kinda way throughout this book, and it’s a bloody fun trip down memory lane as I guarantee you’ll remember certain things/people/times whilst reading her story. I think every woman should read this, I’ve actually read it twice and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! Literally laugh-out-loud funny and not the predictable storyline I was expecting a few chapters in. Tiffy, the main character, is the most lovable, friendly girl and I think that’s partly why I loved this book so much. I found it so funny, I always wanted to know what was happening next and I was jumping to conclusions of what would happen next all the way through. It also really shows how people can get to know each other without knowing each other, and that’s something that happens more and more in the world we live in. Imagine how many couples will be saying in a few years ‘oh we talked every day during quarantine!’ hahaha.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
I’ve talked about this book several times on my blog and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it’s so worth a mention for anyone new reading! Let me just be clear: this is NOT a light read. It’s a very moving, heartbreaking, touching story and my heart physically hurt reading this. But, it’s still so amazing! Elsie, the main character, is living in a happy little bubble when the most distressing thing happens; her husband is killed in an accident. The writing is phenomenal; Elsie’s personality shone through in this book even in the midst of horrific grief and all the way through I just wanted to pop round and give her a hug. I also really cuddled Matt tight each night when I put this down, it brings a whole other level of appreciation to your loved ones! To be honest all of Taylor’s books are incredible, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce
This is a very fun, light and easy read, which is perfect if you’re struggling with everything going on in the world right now. I read this in two or three days a few weeks back and I just loved the storyline. Rebecca is a pushover who works for a horribly mean boss (we’ve all been there!), and she thinks she needs to be more like her in order to do better in life. She quickly learns that being a bitch is not the best way to go through life and the way she learns it is SO funny. I also would love to see if the house in this book was based on one in real life, and if so I want to move in!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I read this last December, assuming by the title it was a Christmas themed book. It’s not! I loved this book from start to finish and read it SO quickly, I wish I could go back and re-read it for the first time! Laurie and her best friend Sarah both unexpectedly fall in love with the same guy, but it’s not a typical love triangle story at all. The book moves through years pretty quickly and you really get to know the characters so well, I was rooting for different people at different times in this book but overall I loved the ending and I so want a second book to see what happens with the characters! Also there is some really sad moments in this book, so just bear that in mind if you’re struggling a little right now.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This was such a heart-warming read, I truly adored the storyline and the characters! A twenty-something girl who was adopted as a baby goes to find her birth mother on the other side of the world in New Zealand, and as you can imagine it’s not straight forward. She’s led there by a tragedy, and the truth behind her adoption is told throughout the book. I literally gasped at parts of this, again I was thinking I knew what was going to happen but I was so off. This is an easy read and I was so happy with the ending (even though I felt it was a little rushed). Also, it really made me want to visit New Zealand, it sounds like such a beautiful place and the way of life seems very similar to the UK!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
I’ve also talked about this on the blog a few times recently but oh my goodness I just LOVED this book! This is the perfect quarantine read because I promise you’ll not want to put it down. Caitlin is a professional matchmaker running her own agency, with the most perfect cookie cutter husband and life, or so her followers think. This is a great story that shows what you see on social media is not always as it seems, and although some parts are completely heartbreaking overall the book is beautiful and heartwarming. I love that the reader doesn’t know exactly what’s going on right away, and you are led to make your own assumptions before being told the truth. Such a great read, and another book that makes you feel especially lucky for your life right now.

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter 
I saw this book all over Instagram and I downloaded it because I just had to see what all the hype was about. Around three chapters in I was feeling like this book was not for me, but boy was I WRONG! I did find it a little hard to get into, but it is so worth sticking with. This book is relatable, hilarious, thought-provoking and it also covers some really hard parts of life. The story is based on three very different women whose paths overlap and it’s a really great testament to the power of female friendship. Warning: it gets… graphic(?) pretty quick!

Have you read any of these books? Which is your favourite?! Please share all of your recommendations below, I love hearing what books people would recommend and why! Sending you all positive thoughts and love in this horrible time, we’re all in this together friends 🙂 (and that reminds me, Matt and I have got a date with HSM this afternoon… yay for Disney+!) 

-G x

Ten Things I No Longer Buy | Minimalism

Happy Sunday, my loves! Something I’ve realised over the past year or so is that I actually really enjoy having less. Let me just be super clear and say that I am NOT a minimalist. My skincare bag for an overnight trip is probably more items than some people would pick up in an entire year, but that’s okay! 

*I wrote the majority of this post before all of the social distancing / self isolating / quarantining began, but this could definitely be helpful to people at this time! If you’re struggling in any way with what’s happening my heart is with you, please know you’re not alone. We will get through this together! You can check out my last post for some self care inspiration that is probably very much needed at this time.*

I have learned to live a little more minimally in a way that makes sense to me, and I’m really finding comfort in that. When I have too much stuff I don’t get enough use or wear out of what I have, I find it difficult to make choices and the physical clutter somehow clutters my brain too! I also have found I’ve saved so much money by stopping buying the things I talk about in this post; even a few pounds here and there mounts up so quickly and I really think twice about what I spend my money on nowadays. *Obviously there are no right or wrong answers! I do not judge anyone who still buys any of these things, that’s totally okay. This post is just for fun!*  

  1. Cheap jewellery

I LOVE jewellery, and I wear a bunch of staple pieces every single day. I have two pairs of earrings that I pretty much never switch up (and four other ear piercings I can’t even change myself!), I wear the same one or two necklaces every day, I have three rings I never take off and I always wear my Pandora bracelet and watch. All of those pieces are pretty minimal in themselves and neutral; every piece goes with every clothing item I wear and I really don’t feel the need to have hundreds of jewellery options when I get dressed in the morning. Jewellery is one of my favourite ways to accessorize an outfit, and I think it’s really important to invest in good pieces that will last a lifetime! My favourite jewellery brands are Missoma, Daniel Wellington and Pandora as they have tons of options and many are classic, timeless items. The only thing I think I’m missing in my jewellery staples is maybe a pair of silver hoops and a silver choker (I LOVE this one) so maybe I’ll purchase those in time. 

  1. Flowers

I really adore fresh flowers, and I got into a habit where I was picking up a bunch almost every week whilst grocery shopping. They brighten up Matt and I’s space so much, they’re so pretty to look at and (when needed) they can be a great photo prop for my blog. However, buying flowers that frequently is not only an unnecessary expense it’s also kind of a waste of money and definitely not an ‘essential’, especially on a weekly basis! I love being gifted flowers (sometimes Matt treats me to a beautiful bunch which is the sweetest!) and that’s so much more special than just buying them every week for no particular reason.

  1. Excess beauty products

Beauty has been my thing since before I can remember. I used to borrow steal my mum’s makeup, perfume and skincare when I was younger and began to hoard any beauty products I could get my hands on (like, starting with Lip Smackers lip balms!) from a young age. As I moved into my teens, I started experimenting with new products and brands, and found so much joy in buying all the products I could. This carried on to my early twenties but over the past year or so I’ve really started to find joy in the simplicity of a (somewhat) simple routine. I love to use the same products day-to-day, and also have a few extras that I use for pamper evenings which makes them feel even more special! My skin reacts SO easily to new products and sometimes I would wish I’d never tried X, Y or Z. Finding products that I really love and only trying new things on a necessity basis (like if I unexpectedly react to something I use, which can happen no matter how long you’ve used a product, or running out of a current product) has made much more sense to me, and my bank account definitely prefers it too!

  1. ‘Trendy’ clothing pieces

I stopped purchasing fast fashion items for the most part over a long time ago, as I really didn’t see why I should carry on purchasing stuff I didn’t need. The fast fashion impact on our economy and the environment was really brought home to me by Stacey Dooley’s Fashion’s Dirty Secrets documentary (a MUST watch!) and ever since I’ve been much more intentional with my clothing purchases. I do still buy from high street stores now and then but I purchase SO much less clothing than ever before, and when I do buy I really try to purchase items that are made with good – or at least ‘better’ – quality fabrics, minimal patterns and things that I’ll wear for years to come. This takes a little bit of time to find what works best for you, but it’s so worth thinking about and changing how you purchase! 

  1. Manicures/pedicures

I know many girls who adore getting their nails done and honestly I love having mine done too, but it’s just not a huge priority for me at this time in life. It’s a lot of money to justify getting my nails done every two weeks, and I’m really trying to save money to put towards things that are more important to me, like travelling and date nights! It’s something that I like to do for a treat here and there throughout the year so I tend to save getting my nails done only for special occasions like birthdays, trips or holidays. I generally paint my own toe nails (especially in the Summer when I’m wearing sandals all the time!) and I actually really enjoy the process of doing that too.

  1. Bottled water

I stopped purchasing small bottles of water (well let’s be real, usually it was Diet Coke) a few years back as it’s just SO terrible for the environment and generally not necessary. Of course there are exceptions; if I’m out shopping and I’m not going to be home for a while but need a drink I’ll obviously one but I do try to pick up a can instead of a bottle if possible. One of the best ways I’ve found to get around this has been to take my Chilly’s bottle out with me if I know I’m going to be out for a while. I take my bottle to work every day and out with me if I’m going out for a long time, it makes such a difference and helps me drink more water too!

  1. Movies

Anyone else kinda miss the run-to-Blockbuster days? Me too! These days between Netflix, Sky and Amazon Prime, Matt and I have absolutely no reason to purchase movies anymore. We do enjoy date nights at the movies at least once per month but that’s more the experience of going out for a date (and eating all the good food) not just the movie! I am however SO FREAKING GIDDY for Disney+ to come out in the UK… two more days to wait, friends! I’d rather pay for subscription services and have thousands of options instead of paying one time for one DVD or rental movie.

  1. Items just because they’re on sale

As a lover of reading blogs and watching Youtube vloggers I sometimes feel inundated with people showing me what they’re buying or what they’ve been given, and giving discount codes/sharing sales with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sale as much as anyone, but I really try not to purchase anything that I’m not already looking for. I actually started a list in my Notes app (that has over forty things in it right now, hahaha) of items I’d like to buy at some point; some of these are pretty specific like tan sandals for the Summer, some are just ‘one of those things’ like sweat pants if I see a pair that I like as I need to replace a few pairs of mine. I really do think bloggers as a whole sometimes unintentionally encourage consumerism, just yesterday I seen one of my favourite YouTuber’s sharing her brightly coloured leggings that were on sale for ‘less than $100!’ …they were $98. If something is on sale that you never had any intention of buying but now you ‘want’ it, you’re not saving any money whatsoever!

  1. Weekly magazines

I used to purchase SO MANY magazines, I probably bought at least three per week! I know for sure I didn’t read all of those magazines and some of them may have never even been opened. Not only is that so wasteful it’s really costly, magazines are expensive guys! I still purchase one monthly magazine (I’ve bought Cosmopolitan ever since I can remember and I actually really enjoy lounging in the tub reading it one night per month) but I have no desire to pick up magazines anymore. You can find all of the content and so much more online via blogs or websites, and reading online is also a much more sustainable way to consume that information. 

  1. Subscription boxes

As a beauty lover, I found subscription boxes were such a fun way for me to try new products. I was subscribed to Birchbox and Glossybox for years and whilst I do think it’s a great way to try new things, it’s also a way to over consume products. I started to get products mounting up and many brands/products weren’t things I enjoyed or liked therefore it really became a waste. I think the products also get quite repetitive, if there was a way to somewhat customise what you got in these boxes I think they’d make more sense to purchase.

I hope this post was fun for you guys to read, and maybe stirred up a few questions if you should still be buying X, Y or Z too? What are some things you used to purchase but no longer do? I’m really enjoy learning more about minimalism and I’m very grateful for the impact it’s had on my life already. Please share anything you no longer buy in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions on this topic! 

-G x

Self Care For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With The Current Pandemic

Hi, loves. I hope you’re all well and enjoying your weekend despite the current world problems! I thought it was really important to change up my blogging schedule a little and write today’s post, and hopefully spread a little positivity which is so needed right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment with the pandemic happening; coronavirus is something completely new to all of us and we’re all trying to navigate it the best way we can, so looking after ourselves is more important than ever.

People all over the world are experiencing a lot of stress, heartache and worry which unfortunately there isn’t much we can do to change right now. I am obviously not a healthcare professional but I would advise following all instructions given (which, in the UK is don’t be in large crowds, practice social distancing and wash/sanitize your hands more often than usual). We’re all praying for a miracle guys! Any regular readers will know I’m a pretty anxious person normally, however in the midst of a worldwide pandemic I’m actually not in the big panic I expected I would be. I do find some comfort in the fact we’re being told the virus seems to be similar to the common cold or maybe an extremely mild flu for most people. It does however make me worried for the people who will not experience it to be ‘like a cold’, but you have to take the positives where you can, right?

I am feeling a little anxious which I think is only normal, but I’m also feeling hopeful and I’m praying for everyone to stay safe and healthy. For me personally I’m most concerned about mine or Matt’s grandparents falling ill (as the elderly are more susceptible to COVID19 and potential further issues), Matt’s upcoming trip to Budapest which looks like it will be cancelled and kinda selfishly that I’m starting my new job in one week. Not the best timing in light of what’s going on so I have everything crossed I start next Monday and things go well with that. Obviously I’m generally worried about any of my family/friends – or really, anyone I know – getting the virus, but I cannot physically carry all of the worries on my shoulders so I’m just trying to take it one day at a time like everyone else. That is very hard for someone as Type A as me, but we’re all in this together. It’s funny because writing down my worries somehow makes me feel a little bit more at ease. How are you holding up? What are your worries specifically centred around the pandemic?

As I’m writing this schools are not closed here and for the most part England is very much ‘business as usual’, but large gatherings are going to be banned in the next week. There’s a lot of tension and uncertainty lingering because nobody knows what will happen, and many people feel like their lives are a little bit on hold. To be honest, personally I think if that has to happen for a few weeks to stop the spread of the virus we should all be adhering to it! I know the reality and the preventative measures taking place are different for every country and we’re all suffering in some way. In England, shelves of supermarkets nationwide are bare, people are working from home where possible and almost all of our sports have been postponed/cancelled – which has very much upset my sport-loving boyfriend! However in the midst of the panic communities are coming together, people are being kinder and we’re learning as we go. The scaremongering is NOT helping anyone and it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves and each other, and I hope this post brings you a little self care inspiration over the coming weeks. Looking after yourself is the best form of self care!

Spend quality time with your loved ones and enjoying being home
There is a slight possibility we’re all going to be actually stuck indoors for a little while with government imposed bans, but even if that doesn’t happen we’re more than likely going to be spending more time indoors than usual. Disney+ can’t arrive in the UK soon enough. Take this extra time to enjoy family movie nights, do puzzles, get cosy in your most comfortable clothes, bake and/or cook new foods, play board games, take long baths, read books, catch up on your favourite shows and just enjoy being around your partner and/or your family! Matt and I are prepared with all the extra snacks (I may have stocked up on Doritos and Haribo… just incase) and I’m excited for an excuse to watch all the movies! It’s also a fun time to be creative; Matt will be working a little more on his venture NUFC Vintage and I’m going to be spending more time creating blog content. Our hobbies are really important to us so I’m definitely feeling grateful for those right now!

Drink lots of water
It’s something we’re told to do for one hundred and one reasons, but there really is so many benefits to drinking water! As a self-confessed Diet Coke addict, I really need to up my daily intake of water ASAP. Water is good for your skin, your joints (I have arthritis so this alone should be enough of a reason for me to drink more!), helps you feel less bloated, regulates body temperature, delivers oxygen to your body and can prevent headaches, and there’s tons more benefits on top of that. I love my Chilly’s bottle so much, having a cute water bottle is a really good way to encourage drinking more water and remember to take it with you on the go!

Stick to your exercise routine (or create one!)
Exercise is so important for us to look and feel our best. Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending an hour at the gym, but I love easy at home workouts and there are so many great free options. Yoga is my favourite and I can’t recommend Yoga with Adrienne or Alo Yoga videos enough if you’re looking for somewhere to start! If you’re looking for a HIIT workout or something a little more strenuous I love The Body Coach and Blogilates. For most of these workouts you don’t need any props or even weights, and they’re all super easy to do from the comfort of your lounge! Also there’s no bans on being outside and we should all be going for walks as much as possible, fresh air is SO GOOD for us. Matt and I bloody love a beach walk, and we’ll for sure be making the most of those like always!

Clean, declutter and re-organise
I am happiest when our bedroom is clean, tidy and organised. I really love decluttering and I find an excuse to do it pretty often, just because it helps me to a) not have too much stuff, b) use what I have and c) sell things I no longer need or use. Annoyingly, I just fully cleared out and re-organised my wardrobe this past weekend, or I would have for sure been doing that this weekend when I’ve spent pretty much the whole time at home. Clear out your beauty products, find things to donate, clean out your car (I do this every week or so anyway and it feels SO good to drive a clean car!), list a few items you’ve been meaning to on eBay, wash your makeup brushes and maybe even re-organise your space. Could the couch be placed differently? Should you put your bed under the window for a change? Can you switch up your shelves or vanity table? Also, if you’ve avoided all Marie Kondo hype until now… this could be the best time to get invested in her Netflix show and book!

Carry out your full skincare routine morning and night
It wouldn’t be self care tips from me without a little mention of skincare now, would it? Seriously though, during times that we’re a little more stressed out than usual it’s extra important to be consistent with your skincare! My skin reacts very quickly to changes with my diet or a lack of routine, so I’m for sure going to be keeping on top of that. Remember to clean your hands thoroughly prior to removing your makeup, and for the love of God stop touching your face. Has anyone noticed over the past few weeks just how much you touch your face?! ME TOO. That’s a huge way the virus can be transmitted so please be cautious of this! Encourage your partner and family to stick to their skincare routine too, and hey getting everyone involved in a little multi-masking party sounds like a fun way to pass the time!

Meal plan and eat lots of fruits and veggies
I’m so grateful Matt and I meal plan because it takes away all of the ‘what are we having for dinner?’ conversations and also saves us a heck of a lot of time! We grocery shop once per week – usually on a Sunday – then we may pop into one or two stores during the week to grab a few extras, usually more fresh fruit or veggies. As panic buying is going a little crazy right now I’d really encourage to write down your meal plan; literally each day what are you having for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What do you currently have in your cupboards/fridge/freezer and what else do you need to buy? Then make your shopping list from there and keep your fingers crossed you can grab everything you need! The government are telling us there are plenty of plans in place to keep supermarkets stocked no matter what happens over the next few weeks so just don’t go too crazy and please leave things for others. Opt for a few more frozen and tinned items than you usually would and try to buy products with long use by dates. Also be prepared to switch up your shopping list/meal plan whilst you’re actually in the supermarket! You can read all about how we meal plan (in normal circumstances) for some extra tips.

Be mindful of how others are feeling
People are feeling very mixed emotions right now; some are not at all fussed by what is happening, and some are beside themselves with worry. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, and honestly I think we just have to let everything run it’s course (which is the only thing we can do) and try to stay calm for ourselves and each other. Check in on elderly relatives or neighbours who may not be able or willing to go shopping, avoid overexposure to news, don’t buy into the scaremongering and try to live your life as normal, whilst still adhering to government advice!

Listen to podcasts/music instead of the radio whilst driving
I started doing this a long long long time ago and I can’t recommend it enough. There’s something to be said for being in your own little world whilst driving, especially as most of us are in the car for a long time each day! Whether I’m singing my heart out to Disney songs or having a giggle at my fave duo (Rosie and Chris Ramsey, obviously) I can’t tell you how much happier I feel not listening to the radio. The songs are repeated hundreds of times and the news bulletins every five minutes are filled with doom and gloom, especially at the moment. You’re mostly in control of what you consume, so open up Spotify and choose something that makes you happy! In addition I’d really recommend not watching or reading the news 24/7, and instead point you in the direction of this Reddit thread for all the happy feels.

Ensure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep per night
It is SO very important for our health that we sleep as we well as we can. I’m going to be posting in a few weeks about things I’m doing to enjoy Matt and I’s evening routine more and sleep better! I really do love pillow sprays because they help me to relax and feel calm – Matt loves them too! – and I’m a huge fan of a cosy bubble bath before bed. Try to turn Netflix off a little earlier the next few weeks, keep bedding clean by washing your sheets regularly, and make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Sleep is also great if you’re feeling under the weather or run down – which is extremely common this time of year without the ongoing world issues – as your body fights infection even harder when you’re sleeping and rested.

Read, read and read some more
Oh you mean we may have to stay in the house for an unknown amount of time? You’ll find me snuggled under a blanket, drinking a cup of tea and reading my Kindle for the foreseeable! #suchagrandma Matt has never understood how I can love reading so much but I swear since he bought me my Kindle Paperwhite my love has got even deeper. I downloaded a few new books this weekend; including two I’m very excited about; The Two Lives Of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle; and I’m so excited to get stuck in! If you don’t have a Kindle or Amazon Prime, you get free delivery on any orders over £10, or you could pick up some books when you’re next grocery shopping! There are great deals in places like Asda and Tesco for books, sometimes even cheaper than Amazon. Be sure to shop your stash too, I bet you’ve got a few books stashed away for a rainy day… today is that rainy day! Reading is good for the soul, and I’d personally recommend fiction books for an escape.

Stay healthy, spend more time indoors, eat good foods, look after yourself and your family/friends/neighbours, don’t panic and hopefully the pandemic will blow over as quickly as it arrived! This post will be my one and only post regarding the COVID 19 outbreak as I really want to post happy and positive content going forward. I already mentioned this on Twitter, but I’m only going to be posting once per week over the next few weeks/months as life is super busy right now (nothing to do with the outbreak, more with preparing to start a new job!)

-G x

March Goals

Hi, loves! I love setting goals for myself as I find it really helps to keep me accountable and motivate me to tick off things during the day/week. I am sometimes really hard on myself over things I can’t control but I like to create happy goals that are personal and also challenging. I don’t like to set too many goals as then they feel overwhelming and unachievable, but little things that improve my happiness are always great!

March is going to be a very big month for me, because I’m leaving a job I’ve been in for six years and starting somewhere completely new. I’m equal parts terrified and excited about this, but I just generally feel very anxious and stressed out right now! I’m pretty sure that’s just the norm for me these days, haha. March also brings Matthew’s birthday, Mother’s Day and the beginning of Spring, so overall it should be a very happy month.

Practice yoga every day
Ah… yoga always comes up in these monthly goals posts doesn’t it?! Here’s the thing. I love yoga. But I also love sleeping in a little longer in the mornings and going to bed a little earlier. I love lounging in a bubble bath for an extra twenty minutes. I love reading. I love cooking meals from scratch. I love snuggling up and watching Netflix with Matt. Somehow, especially over the past six months, all of those things have come before yoga during my typical day, and I only actively make time to practice when I have *nothing* else to do! If Matt is working late or starting super early I usually force myself to practice, and even though I feel so good afterwards it’s just not been a big enough priority for me to practice the next day. I’ve just gotten used to making excuses and that needs to change, so I’m committing to practicing some form of yoga every single day. Some days may be one hour sessions and some days may be five minute stretches, but I need to push myself to fall back into a workout that I really actually do enjoy! Yoga is also amazing for an anxious mind and I know it will help me to feel more at ease over the next few months.

Have a No Spend Month for beauty products
Honestly, this should be pretty easy and it’ll probably continue into April. I don’t need any skincare products right now; my skincare routine is the most consistent it’s been for a long time and I’m so over trying hundreds of new products. I really am SO happy with my routine; it’s been pretty much the same for six months now and my skin appears to be thanking me for it. I’m stocked up on toiletries (I always buy in bulk/on half price to save money on toiletries!) and I don’t think any of my makeup is near running out. Except maybe my brow pencil… they always run out with no warning don’t they?! As I’m changing jobs I really want to be mindful with what I spend money on and how much I spend – during March and April more than ever – and buying beauty products is not a priority for me this month! Do you ever partake in No Spend months? It’s such a kick up the butt to shop your stash. Would you like me to share with you which products I re-discover this month/April? I guarantee I’ll find things I forgot I owned/loved in the next two months!

Record a Week In My Life post
I love love love reading Weekend/Week In My Life blog posts, and I miss sharing more of my ‘real’ life stuff on my blog. I am pretty sure I’m going to record this the week I start my new job (w/c 23.03) because I think that will be interesting for others to see and SO fun to look back on for me, too! I really don’t share too much on my blog that’s super personal anymore and I want to change that, but I also need to find a good balance between sharing/oversharing. I’d love to share in the format of a brief recap of my day – probably throughout the day with time stamps? Maybe? – along with photos of what I’m wearing, what we made for dinner that night, and anything else I happen to get up to in that week.

Eat vegetarian dinners at least three times per week
It’ll not be surprising to any regular readers that I flipping love eating veggie meals. Matt and I eat veggie when we can (we stared off with Meatless Monday and just expanded from there!) but I really want to be intentional with eating less meat. I’m definitely more on board with this than Matt is, but we’re working on it! I personally feel better when we eat more veggies, my skin looks better and meals without meat are much less expensive to create which is a huge bonus. Most of our veggie meals centre around pasta, pasta bakes or chillis, so I’m hoping we can branch out and try some completely new things this month. I’d love to try to create the perfect veggie omelettes – because we love breakfast for dinner – and test our cooking skills with recipes we’ve never tried before.

Do you try to be intentional with your time to set goals and make them happen? What kind of goals do you regularly set yourself? It feels so good to have things to work towards, and it really helps to keep my motivation up throughout the week! Also… today’s post is my TWO HUNDREDTH guys! What the actual heck?!

-G x

The Ultimate Festive Pamper Evening

Happy Sunday, loves! I’m so excited about today’s post because I just LOVE a pamper evening and I know lots of you do, too! I love nothing more than taking an hour or two on a Sunday evening (pre Strictly results show, of course) relaxing in a nice hot bath with all my favourite pamper treats. I take the time to treat my skin and my hair to a little bit more TLC than they get for the rest of the week and I always feel so good after! Matt sometimes joins in with my face mask sesh pre-bath and he really loves it too. All of the products in this post would make for amazing Christmas gifts, and I promise this post is not sponsored by The Body Shop (I wish!)

First things first, I like to set the mood. I feel the most relaxed with minimal lighting. Candles and lamps – particularly our Himalayan pink salt lamp Matt bought me for Christmas last year – make me feel so cosy and happy! I love to burn candles all year round, but at Christmas time I really appreciate a festive candle. My two favourites every year are Winter by The White Company and Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle, and this year I’m also obsessed with Bath & Body Works Pink Fairy Gum Drop. It’s just so pink and beautiful!

Once I’ve lit one or two of my favourite candles, it’s time to run my bubble bath. I tend to save my Lush products for weekends and days I’m feeling a little bit cr*p as I appreciate them even more then! My go-to bath bomb this Christmas is Snow Fairy as it smells incredible and creates the most picture perfect pink baths! A few of my other favourites for the season are the Polar Bear Plunge bubble bar, Luxury Lush Put bath bomb, Yog Nog bubble bar and Butterbear bath bomb… although Matt tends to steal all of the Butterbear’s we buy! I also love love love Dr Teal’s Lavender foaming bath which I’ve been using more and more as my regular bubble bath, the lavender scent is just so lovely and relaxing in the evening.

Whilst my bath is running, I take off my makeup with Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm and my flannel, then double cleanse with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser. I love double cleansing!

By now my bath is ran, I have a can of Diet Coke (a must for any bath, I’m obsessed!) and it’s time to apply my face mask. The face mask I use totally depends on how my skin is on that day, so I don’t necessarily always use the same ones. My favourite go-to’s are the Pixi Glow sheet mask or The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow mask; both are incredible and are masks I’ve used for so long!

Post-face mask I wash my hair and apply The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing hair mask *gifted which I leave on my hair for at least thirty minutes. (I do this mask every other time I wash my hair and leave it on for around five minutes on a regular day when I don’t have tons of time!) This soaks into my hair and leaves it feeling so soft, tangle free and looking shiny as ever. It also smells amazing, kind of like banana milkshake, and I wish we had some kind of technology so you could smell it through my photo. Every single time I use this Matt compliments me on how good my hair smells, so it’s a boyfriend pleaser too!

Now it’s time to R E L A X and for me, that means opening up my current book and getting lost in another world. It’s my happy place! I just recently read Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay, which is the sequel to one of my very favourite books I read this year. It was so funny and well written, I’d definitely stick it on your list for Father Christmas this year. I love long baths but I love even more having uninterrupted reading time. Matt has very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas which I am SO excited about because it’s going to make my reading experience one hundred times better! He’s the best 🙂

My favourite shower gels of the moment are The Body Shop’s Juicy Pear *gifted by my lovely friend Shannen; more information here and Lush’s Yog Nog, I love them both so much I alternate pretty much every night! Festive scents are always my favourite, they are so fun to use and inject a little fun into my typical routine. I exfoliate using my beautiful The Body Shop Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupuaçu scrub-in-oil, before using my regular old Gillette Venus Platinum razor and shaving gel. I only exfoliate before shaving every other time (or every other, other time) but I always feels SO much better when I do. You really get a closer shave and it just makes my skin feels so incredible!

Post bath I take my time to go through my full skincare routine, run a little Morrocanoil Treatment Light through my hair and spray my Aussie Leave-In conditioner before wrapping my hair up in my hair towel wrap to dry and stay out of my face. I moisturise using my Hawaiian Kukui cream from The Body Shop which is so luxurious, although I think I really need something a little more moisturising to help my dry skin during the colder months. I love nothing more than getting cosy in my pj’s, my favourite fluffy dressing gown and Ugg slippers. Matt and I spend the rest of our evening snuggled up watching TV (which would ideally be a Christmas movie at this time of year but if football is on I can guarantee that’s what we’ll be watching!), cooking our dinner and just enjoying each others company. At some point I’ll quickly blow dry my hair – which after around an hour in the wrap is almost fully dry – and run my straighteners through it so it’s much easier to manage in the morning.

Thank you so much for reading! I apologise for the lack of photos but I totally forgot to take the rest I had planned. It’s been a week, haha. I do however hope this gave you all of the cosy, festive vibes and maybe a little inspiration for your next pamper night. I think they are especially important with all of the events we have this time of year – make sure to check out this post to stop you feeling overwhelmed! Sunday is the perfect evening to take a little pamper time, so take this as your reminder to treat yourself tonight! What are your favourite pamper products? Do you switch things up to include festive scents and products, too?

-G x

My Current Skincare Routine: Winter Edition

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m so excited about because I really just wanted to talk about all the products I’m loving right now. I should start by saying that my skin is combination, and like most people’s it leans way more to the dry side during the Winter months. My skin is also dehydrated, and that’s something I’m really trying to treat. Overall I’m pretty happy with my skin right now, and I’ve learned it’s never going to be ‘perfect’ which is fine! I recently talked about the things I’ve learned from my experience with acne, and I think it’s so important that we stop being so hard on ourselves for not having perfect skin. Nobody has perfect skin, and that’s okay! Also I’m sure this may seem like a lot of products to some (and possibly very little to others) but this is just what works for me 🙂

AM

I cleanse my face every morning with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser which I absolutely love! This cleanser leaves my face feeling clean and is the perfect first step in the morning as it’s not at all harsh or stripping. It removes all of the skincare product residue from the night before easily and gently, and it has a really pleasant, light scent which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of highly fragranced cleansers. I really look forward to washing my face with this every morning!

Depending on how my skin is, I tone with Pixi Glow Tonic but I tend to only use this on the days my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have an active breakout/cystic acne. This is without a doubt my favourite toner as it is packed with glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin. I really think this makes a huge difference to the pores on my cheeks too, it definitely reduces the appearance of them and overall helps my skin look so much brighter. It literally makes you glow!

Whether I have or haven’t used my toner, my next step is always Hydraluron serum. As soon as the weather gets cold, my skin gets dry and dehydrated and this serum works to boost moisture levels in the skin, and hold on to all of the moisture from your moisturiser. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (a huge tell tale sign is your makeup breaking up/not lasting throughout the day) you should give this a go as it makes all the difference! It’s not a miracle worker and my skin is definitely still dehydrated, but it has improved so much since I started using this serum. I only use a pea sized amount across my whole face; it absorbs straight in and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all. Also, just an FYI, Caroline Hirons swears by this product so much it’s been coined Hironsluron by her loyal readers/viewers!

I’m not usually too fussed on which eye cream I use as I’ve never found a day time eye cream that makes much difference to me, but that all changed when I picked up La Roche Posay Hydraphase eye cream. I’ve been using this around two months and it feels so nice, absorbs into my under eye area quickly and is cooling which is lovely if your eyes can be a little puffy in the morning! My concealer always sits well on top of this which is also a bonus as I’ve tried several eye creams that pill under makeup and cause texture.

For my moisturiser I like to combine two products; I take a smidge of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and mix it with a bigger smidge of Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. So technical, I know! If I have a bad breakout I apply a little Effaclar Duo directly over the area, but most days I mix them together with my fingertips and apply all over my face. Effaclar Duo has been a staple in my skincare routine for years and it’s something I’ve always kept in my collection, but with consistent use it’s made such a difference to my skin. I love love love Lait Crème Concentré – which is one of the best selling French pharmacy skincare products ever – as it’s very hydrating, but sinks into the skin so well and is a perfect base under makeup. Makeup artists worldwide swear by this as a must have product in their kit, it also doubles as a primer which is great for travelling!

My favourite ever lip balm is hands down Nuxe Reve de Miel – made by another fantastic French pharmacy brand – I just cannot say enough good things about this! It’s creamy, moisturising, non-sticky and keeps my lips moisturised for hours. I use this morning and night, and I also keep my Nuxe Reve de Miel stick in my bag which I re-apply several times throughout the day. Matt is a huge fan of these lip balms too!

PM

My favourite time of the day apart from snuggling up in bed with Matt is taking my makeup (and bra) off. As soon as I’m home for the evening I like to take off my makeup, get showered/bathed and throw my pj’s on, and then I’m cosy for the night! Over the past few weeks I’ve been reaching only for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is an old favourite of mine. This balm takes off every. single. scrap. of makeup on your face and doesn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin. I apply to my dry face, and massage in to start to break down my makeup. I then wet my fingers and carry on massaging in the balm, which turns to an oil-like consistency when water is added. I take my flannel soaked with warm water to remove everything. It literally takes less than a minute! I’m also a huge fan of these flannels from M&S; they’re inexpensive, wash so well and make the world of difference to my cleansing routine.

I always always always double cleanse – because Caroline Hirons told me to – and nine times out of ten I reach for my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser that I use each morning. I just love this stuff! It’s also very boyfriend friendly; I’m forever trying to get Matt into a set skincare routine and this is one of the few products he actually enjoys using.

Each night I tone my face with either Pixi Glow Tonic or Pixi Retinol Tonic on a cotton round. I choose which one to use based on my skin that day; if I’m suffering with an acne flare up or a bad breakout I reach for Glow tonic, and if I’m having a good skin day I reach for Retinol tonic. This is such a low dose of Retinol that it is safe to use every day, so I often use this several nights in a row, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

My next step is to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum which is fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin! I personally prefer Hydraluron for during the day, but I love love love this product for the evening. I find this is a lot more runny in consistency and you have to be careful not to pump too much out, but it is such a bargain and really has made a difference to my skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated, and is the perfect product to be sandwiched between cleansing and applying the rest of my skincare products.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know I am obsessed with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask and nothing will ever replace this for me! I’ve used this product for around two to three years and it is just so hydrating. I especially love that this eye cream is cooling on application and as it’s a gel-like texture it sinks straight in. I really love this eye cream and it’s a product several people have told me they tried because I rave about it so much… it’s so worth the hype, I promise!

Before I apply my my moisturiser, I use Pixi Glow Tonic serum followed by Botanics Restoring Overnight facial oil which is my perfect evening combination. The Pixi serum is just beautiful! I apply two to three drops across my whole face and it helps to exfoliate (like the toner) and hydrate. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after application, and if I ever skip this step I feel like my skin really pays for it the next day. The Botanics facial oil was something I picked up on a whim in Boots – we’ve all done it, right? – and it is the most luxurious facial oil I’ve ever used! I love the scent so much, it’s packed full of essential oils and is really calming. I am so impressed with the quality of the oil and I’d really advise anyone wanting a little luxury in their skincare routine to pick it up! One thing to note is that I don’t apply the oil to any areas affected with an active breakout!

My holy grail skincare product this time of year is Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, it’s truly the best hydrating moisturiser I’ve ever tried! I feel like it just layers so well on top of my serums and oil, and makes my skin feel so soft and plump. I love that it’s such a light texture but a little really does go a long way, and it is a great product if you have combination skin. It definitely doesn’t make my face feel or look oily, but it concentrates on any dry patches and just makes things so much more hydrated!

Just like I do in the mornings, I always finish off my evening skincare routine with my Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. I generally tend to do my skincare routine early in the evening so I often apply several times more before I go to sleep, and I always put it on just before Matt and I get into bed.

I of course use various treatments – sheet masks are a personal fave – throughout the week/month, and I just see how my skin is doing and what it needs at that time. You can read all about my favourite treatment products here, I still use and love all of those products, I just have a few extra faves now too! I love trying new beauty products but these days I’m slightly more hesitant to try new skincare products as I’m really happy with the ones I’m currently using! I would love to try more from the Botanics range though, and the Clinique Moisture Surge hydrating water gel has been on my ‘to try’ list forever! What are your go-to skincare products for the colder months? Have you tried anything I talked about in this post, or are you adding them to your Christmas list?

-G x

Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x