Spotlight On: Sheet Masks

Hey, loves!

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! I spent yesterday Christmas shopping and catching up on my shows while Matthew went out with the boys for the afternoon, then we had a cosy evening enjoying a takeaway and watching a few more episodes of Making A Murderer! I’m so excited to spend today relaxing together, maybe going for a walk at the beach and definitely out for a Sunday roast! Tonight we’ll be snuggling in to watch I’m A Celebrity, I’m really excited to see how Holly and Dec’s dynamic will play out, I love her on This Morning and I’m sure she’ll be great! Are you going to be watching?

Today’s post is exciting because using a face mask is one of my favourite self care/skincare routines, it genuinely makes me happy! Real talk: Matthew and I love a pamper evening together, and around once per week after we dinner we quite enjoy throwing a face mask on and snuggling in to watch a show (or three) on Netflix. Matthew has pretty great skin all year round, and let’s be real he’s not too fussed on which masks we use, but I’ve finally found three masks I’d recommend over anything else and I’m sharing them with you today! If you fancy treating yourself to a little pre-Christmas night out pamper, or if you’re looking for stocking fillers I think these are a great purchase!

Garnier Skin Active Replumping Shot Sheet Mask

This is hands down my favourite sheet mask EVER, and actually the reasoning behind this post! First of all, it’s pretty much the perfect size for my face. One of my biggest pet hates about most all-in-one sheet masks is there is always so much extra material that either bunches up on your cheeks or hangs awkwardly around your neck… not cute.

The two masks in this range are the first DIY sheet mask on the market – high end or drugstore – and I just know over the next few months lots of other brands will release their own versions! The mask is separated in the packet – the sheet mask is dry when you purchase, and the serum to saturate the mask is in it’s own pocket in the bottom. To mix the two you fold along the lines on the back, and push the serum through into the dry sheet. I tend to shake the packet to make sure the serum is fully coating the mask, then open and put on my face. I probably made that sound way more complicated than it is, I promise it’s super easy and there’s step by step instructions on the back of the packet. There is 30ml of serum in this mask – THIRTY!! That’s the same as a whole bottle you’d use over X amount of months, but all in one go! The serum is Hyaluronic Acid which works miracles for my skin, it is so hydrating and moisturising. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after use, it’s the perfect pre date night mask and it’s a great product to add a little more hydration in the colder weather.

RRP: £4.00- buy it here.

Sanctuary Spa Charcoal Bubble Mask

Sanctuary Spa’s venture into the skincare world is so underrated in my opinion, I’ve tried a few products from their newest range – I love their bath and body produdcts already – and everything seems such high quality. This mask is great for drawing the impurities out of your skin, but I can’t tell you how weird the sensation is on first use! This mask is in two separate parts – I apply the first part to the top of my face first, then put the bottom half on. When you take the mask out of the packet it’s a dark grey colour (and smells divine!) then it gradually turns light grey/white as the mask begins to bubble. The bubbling sensation isn’t too noticeable after the first 30 seconds or so but you can definitely feel it happening, it’s quite a weird feeling! I love to use this mask in the bath as it’s a little messy, but it is such a fun concept. It’s not a gimmick product as it may sound, it really draws the crap out of my face! I’d advise if you are wanting to try this out to use it at least three days prior to an event or night out as it always leaves me with spots the next day, but then my skin looks/feels better than ever a few days later. I’ve not tried the Bubblemask from Glamglow, although I assume this is very similar and a great alternative!

RRP £5.00 – buy it here.

Garnier Moisture Bomb Eye Tissue Mask

This is the first under eye mask I’ve found to really make a difference, and I’m obsessed with it! I apply this under my eyes and leave on for around 10 to 15 minutes, usually whilst I’m pottering around, making Matt and I a cup of tea on a weekend morning! I really love using this mask on a weekend morning, as it means I can then massage the residue in after use and apply my skincare and makeup. If you’re a regular reader you probably already know I have dry, irritated skin under my eyes and this (along with my favourite eye cream – you can read about that in this post!) is making a huge difference. I find my makeup goes on SO much better after, it’s like it completely rejuvenates the skin under my eye. There is a note on the back of the packet to try putting the mask in the fridge prior to use, and I’m definitely going to try that next time!

RRP £3.00 – buy it here.

Thank you so much for reading! Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post? Do you have any favourite products containing hyaluronic acid that I should purchase?!

Also, I’ll be back on Thursday instead of Wednesday this week, any guesses why?! 

-G x

What Wellness Means To Me

Happy Sunday, loves!

Can you believe it’s November?! It’s blowing my mind that October has already been and gone, I feel like the year is going SO quickly! Michael Buble is officially my music of choice again, it’s pretty much Christmas, right? I hope you’re having a great weekend, we sure are! My post on Wednesday is going to be another weekend in my life so I’ll fill you in then, but it’s already been SUCH a great weekend, I don’t want it to end! What have you been up to? I hope yours is just as good! Today’s post is very special to me and it’s another personal one!

So, ‘wellness’ is a word we’re seeing everywhere in the media world recently, but what does it actually mean? Well, the dictionary definition is;

wellness
ˈwɛlnəs/
noun
wellness
  1. the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

…so, we’re clear then, yeah? It’s an ever-growing, ever-changing topic and, to be honest, I think we can all have our own perceptions of how it applies to us and our lifestyles individually. For me, wellbeing means I am happy and content in my life, and by taking time out to do things I love, practice self-care and spend time with my loved ones, I think I achieve that pretty well. It has a positive effect on my mental health, and I’d like to share with you a few things I think are more meaningful to me now, than ever.

I wrote a post all about how I unwind a few months ago, which you can read here if you missed it, and as much as this topic crosses over I think it definitely deserves it’s own post. I think wellness is a branch of self-care, and doing things that make you feel good in turn make you think good.

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Pampering mind and body.
My personal favourite way to unwind (other than cuddling the heck out of my boyfriend) is to indulge in a pamper night. I love to have a hot bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb or bubble bar ideally, use a face/hair mask, carry out an elaborate skincare routine etc. I usually get gel nails every two to three weeks, which is definitely an indulgence, but it’s something that makes me feel so good. (I just got them taken off last week for a ‘breather’ and my nails are ruined!!) For me, pamper nights are not all about the beauty products, it’s also about looking after your brain. I love to read blogs and books, I’ve included a list of all the books I’ve recently loved in this post, and I find it’s one of the best ways to clear my mind. I’m currently reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand and it’s SO good, I’d highly recommend picking it up! I also really enjoy watching reality shows like Botched and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which I’m not sure necessarily stimulates my brain, but they do make me happy!

Listening to Podcasts.
Okay, I hold my hands up and admit, I didn’t think I’d ever get on the podcast hype. I was SO wrong and now I am borderline obsessed! I’ve found they’re a great alternative to music or YouTube, which would be my usual go-to’s. I listen to podcasts getting ready in the morning, on my way to/from work, whilst tidying up, doing the dishes etc – all of the mundane, boring errands and tasks can be so much more fun when you’re distracted with a podcast. My favourite right now is Small Town Murder – each episode tells the story of a murder in a different small town (
no, really?!) but it’s all told in such a humorous way. The guys who run it, James and Jimmy, are HILARIOUS but they never make fun of the victims or their family. I’d highly recommend giving it a listen, and they also have another podcast called Crime In Sports that is just as good! I’m pretty sure Matt is sick of me going on and on about how good STM is, haha!

Voicing gratitude.
As I said in my afore-mentioned post, I started to make a point of writing down things every day that I was grateful for, and it’s been a great pick-me-up if I ever feel down. I’m a very grateful person and also a very expressive person; I tell Matthew approximately 250 times per day I love him and I’m so thankful for everything we have! I mean it so much, and I’m happy that he knows just how much he means to me. I used to laugh and joke that I told him too much, but realistically I don’t think that’s true – it’s important to voice how we feel – good or bad – and I’m happy I’m able to do this. I no longer write down something I’m grateful for every day, but I do as often as I can. I recently read my list back and had a giggle that 90% of it involves Matthew and/or food, I’m a simple gal!

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This photo always makes me giggle! He’s the cutest

Spend quality time with loved ones.
You’ll all be shocked to know that spending quality time with my boyfriend makes me the happiest girl on the planet, I’m sure. Whether it’s a fancy pants date night, a trip/holiday or just our typical evening routine I’m so grateful for everything we have, and I appreciate each minute more than the last. Waking up to him every morning, and snuggling in to sleep with him every night is the best feeling in the world, and it never gets old! We spend lots of time with our families, and I’m so blessed that his family are like my family too! My mam is (of course) one of my favourite ever people and I love spending time with her when we can – we’re both super buys and need to definitely set aside more time together. As we get older we have less free time, and I want to spend it with the people I love most; Matthew, our families and my best friends.

Cooking.
I’ve been banging on about cooking a lot recently, but I really am enjoying it so much. As I mentioned in this post, it took Matt and I so long to even broach the cooking world, but now we’re chef’ing it up on a daily basis and it brings me so much joy. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still partial to an M&S Dine in for Two or a Chinese takeaway now and then, but I definitely feel better on the nights we spend time cooking together. It’s the best feeling when we make something new and it works! The first time we made a BBQ Pineapple Chicken dish it went terribly (pink chicken, anyone?) but now we’re making new dishes most weeks and they’re turning out great. You can read how to make our favourite side dish this Autumn here – it’s so easy! 

Exercising.
I realise that ‘exercise makes you feel good’ is not exactly ground-breaking news, but it’s true! I really enjoy gentle exercises, like yoga and country walks/hikes when we have the time (which also means more quality time with Matthew, do you see a pattern?) but I’m thinking I may step it up a notch. I’d love to try a boxing or spin class or something different to my normal routine, I just need to get the courage to do it! For now, yoga has become something I adore, and I really look forward to spending twenty minutes to an hour when I can, just zen’ing the F out. Spoken like a true Geordie.

Appreciate alone time.
I think it’s extremely important to enjoy time alone; time to collect your thoughts, relax and just
be. For me, taking time for a pamper evening, reading my book or catching up on my favourite girly shows are the ways I enjoy spending time alone the most. Right now I’m all about re-runs of Gilmore Girls and the new series of Riverdale – I LOVE that show! I occasionally like a solo shopping trip or driving alone, as I can shop at my own pace. Spending time alone allows you to re-set in a different way, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying being by yourself for a few hours.

Blogging.
I am so glad I ventured into the blogging world, and every time I get another like, a new follower or, the best, a comment, I know I made the right decision. I’ve received lots of messages and love from people who read my blog, and it’s an indescribable feeling for someone to enjoy the content you put out. For a hobby, it’s a lot of work, but it’s something that brings me happiness, and I enjoy it more and more. I never struggle from writers block as I have so many ideas and as I only post twice a week (usually) I’m chomping at the bit to write my next post. Branching out into style content over the past few weeks – there’s some exciting things coming up! – has been extremely fun, and I genuinely think it’s making me a better person, as my passion is stronger than ever.

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know what wellness means to you? How do you nurture your mental health that little bit extra, to make it a priority?

-G x

Reading List // Autumn

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend? I am definitely enjoying the cooler weather now Autumn has arrived, and of course the extra snuggly, cosy nights with my boyfriend! (Any excuse, eh?) Matt and I have been spending all the quality time together and I feel very blessed and grateful for everything we have. Yesterday before he went to work we squeezed in a little breakfast date, and stumbled across the cutest farm shop, look at the pumpkins and gourds! You can keep up with our adventures via my Instagram Story, I probably post a load of rubbish, but who doesn’t?!

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Today I’m sharing with you a brief round-up of the books I’ve recently read, am currently reading or have in my stash to read in the coming weeks. I am a self-confessed bookworm and I read all different genres, although most of the time I stick to non-fiction, life-based or fiction girly books. I really prefer these kind of books as to be honest I like to escape from the real world and generally a light-hearted story I can lose myself in is my favourite way to do this. Sunday mornings are perfect for curling up with a good book, a cuppa, and maybe some chocolate… (this one’s my favourite!)

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As I mentioned in this post, I really want to focus on reading more as it’s something I love to do, and it makes me feel re-energized. I read mostly in the bath and on my lunch break; I used to spend my lunch break swiping through my socials and feel even more zapped of energy by the time I headed back to my desk. I find that I enjoy those 30 minutes away from the office so much more when I can read a few chapters of my current book, text Matthew to tell him I love him and I’m so excited to see him when we finish work (I’m a sap!) and grab an ice cold Diet coke. Obviously I eat a really nutritious, healthy lunch every day, too. Obviously.

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I am SO excited to read this book! You’ve almost definitely seen the trailers for the movie, Crazy Rich Asians, and I generally like to read the book before I watch the movie. The book is based on a couple, but I think it’s a little more than your typical boy meets girl story. It’s a best seller, and every review I read states it to be better than the last one did! This is apparently a hilarious read, and I’m so excited to get started – as soon as I’ve finished my current book I’ll definitely be reaching for this. 

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. I may have been living under a rock, but I hadn’t heard anything about Dolly Alderton until this book started appearing on my Instagram feed day in, day out. Curiosity got the better of me, and after a quick browse of the Amazon reviews, I purchased the book. I truly loved this book, and it’s something I wish I’d read when I was younger. I have to admit I couldn’t relate to her in lots of ways; Dolly tells the story of her life growing up and she is absolutely the extrovert to my introvert, however I did empathise with her, and found relatability in sections throughout her stories. As you can see, my copy is a little well loved (this really brings it home that I have my baths way too hot as this cover is ruined, oops!)

Feminist’s Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis. To say I’m excited for this to be released is an understatement! I’ve currently got this book on pre-order and it comes out on Thursday – I’m so excited. Written by Scarlett, but with lots of input from various social media influencers and celebrities, including Zoe Sugg, Emma Watson, Dolly Alderton and Jameela Jamil. Empowering women is something all of us ladies should feel very passionate about, and I’m so excited to read these ladies’ opinions.

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This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor by Adam Kay. This is my current read and I cannot recommend it highly enough! I’m just over half way through and it is brilliant. Adam is a former NHS Doctor, and since he no longer practices he decided to tell the story of his career, based on the diaries he kept during that time. The way Adam tells a story is so clever; he looks at most situations with humour, and brings a refreshing aspect to a fairly mundane, typical job. This book is equal parts heart-warming and heartbreaking, and I really think it’s one you have to read. It’s no secret our incredible NHS staff are woefully underpaid and overworked, and this book steers that point home even harder. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed out loud several times during his stories, it’s a book I genuinely struggle to put down. 

Places I Stopped On The Way Home by Meg Fee. This popped up as a recommendation in ‘Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed’ on Amazon, and after reading a few reviews I knew it would be right up my street. I’m yet to begin reading however I’m very excited about it; Meg is a blogger and this book tells of her finding herself in New York City. I’ve been obsessed with NYC since I can remember, and I’m so excited and intrigued to read her tales of life in the The Big Apple. 

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Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan. I originally bought this to take on holiday when Matt and I went to Kos back in June, however I may have lost it in the black hole of my wardrobe, and found it again during The Great Declutter of 2018. This book looks great; it’s a boy meets girl kind of story, but with a sci-fi element which is something very different for me. Again, the reviews are great and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Wilde About The Girl by Louise Pentland. This is Louise’s second book, and I actually think it was better than her first, Wilde Like Me. I enjoyed her first book a lot, and fell in love with the lead character, Robin Wilde. I personally a think a lot of Louise’s personality/life was apparent in her character in the first book, however during the second book it didn’t seem to be as prevalent. I laughed and cried throughout the day-to-day life of Robin Wilde, and I think it’s a very uplifting, girl-power read. I have to say though, I expected this would be an easy read-in-the-bath type book, however I was rushing off on my lunch breaks to carry on reading as I was so enthralled in the story.

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Cordially Invited by Zoe Sugg. I currently have this book on pre-order as it’s not released until next Wednesday, however I’m so excited to take ideas from this! From the pictures shown by Zoe, and available on Amazon, it’s full of beautiful imagery, and lots of tips and tricks on what to do in each season. I’m going to be baking up a storm over the coming weeks, I’m sure! I’m especially excited for the Halloween/Christmas section of this book as, like Zoe, it’s my favourite time of year and they’re my favourite holidays to celebrate. I’m sure Matt is going to like being roped into the DIY’s, decorating and baking…

Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes. I read this book when it was first released back in 2014, however during my afore mentioned declutter, I found it hidden under a pile of skirts. Classy. This book is essentially a beauty bible; Sali is a journalist and former magazine editor (among 100 other things) and to say she knows her stuff is quite the understatement. She talks through all aspects of beauty, and this is a book I wish I had back when I was 13! I’m currently re-reading a little bit here and there, and loving it even more the second time round. 

The Distance by Zoe Folbigg. This is Zoe’s second book, and I can’t quite tell you how much I adore both of her books, and her style of writing. The book is running between past and present, and the twists and turns throughout are told so well. A few chapters in I was already falling in love with the main characters; Cecilie sounds like the most incredible woman, and I was rooting for a happy ending. Filled with twists and turns, and sometimes slightly graphic aspects of real life, this is a modern day love story and is extremely entertaining. After reading, I passed this on to Matt’s mam (between Debbie, my mam and I we have a little book club running where we pass all our books to and from each other) and she loved it just as much as I did. I’m already anticipating her third book, please say there is one?!

I’ve also got the below books on my radar (okay, so they’re in my Amazon basket!):

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? Do you have any recommendations for what I should pick up next?

-G x

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

*photography by Matthew*

Welcome back, loves!

Today’s post is a little out of my comfort zone; it’s very personal and even for me (possibly the world’s biggest oversharer) it’s hard to admit to some of my feelings in this post. Grab yourself a cuppa and get cosy, it’s a long one…

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Recently I’ve just felt very off. I have felt anxious, stressed, really down/upset and just not myself. Nothing has happened to make me feel this way, in fact my life’s never been better, but every part of me has been struggling. When my mental health is low, my physical health takes a hit too – I don’t sleep well, I don’t eat as I should and I don’t have the same umph in me that’s usually there.

A stye appeared under my eye and I know it was because I’ve been feeling so stressed out and letting things get on top of me. It wasn’t until this stye appeared – well, I knew it was coming as I could feel the skin under my eye feeling dry/tight – that it clicked how crap I had been feeling. Mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more in some ways, yet it took a physical symptom for me to acknowledge what was going on.

This post is based on my thoughts and feelings, and a lot of that comes from my personal experience. I think as millennials, the topic of mental health is often talked about in the way we think it should be talked about, yet people don’t truly understand the ways in which it can affect a person. Generally speaking, we are understanding and inquisitive about the subject, but there still IS a taboo of talking about it. When something tragic happens everyone is quick to say they support people suffering with any form of mental illness, yet in reality friends dismiss your feelings and tire of hearing about what you’re going through. It’s very easy to feel like a burden, or like what you’re feeling doesn’t matter because someone has it worse. I feel like I need to say, categorically, mental health is not a competition. It does not matter if someone is going through something ‘worse’ – your feelings matter, your thoughts matter, you matter. I’m all for putting my own experiences out there – as scary as that is – on the off chance it may help someone else, and I hope that this post is received in the way it’s intended; with kindness.

As hard as it is to explain, I felt like for a few days I was me. Happy, giggly, too-loud me. Then, without warning, I suddenly felt like that ‘me’ is no longer there, and I start to worry about everything. The worrying then leads to feeling stressed out and like I have a lack of control. I know I can’t control everything – to be honest we can control very little in life – but I was unable to think rationally or see things from a different point of view. I felt very at a loss with myself, nothing was making me feel better for longer than a couple of hours. This is especially hard for me to understand because I am a worrier any way – I’ve said this before but my grandma always tells me not to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders – yet I do day in, day out. The feelings lasted on and off for about a week, but it really is so disheartening when you just can’t make sense of why you feel so down. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t down at every minute of the day. If, for example, I didn’t tell the girls at work they would have been none the wiser, but it really is so draining when you just can’t get out of a funk. It starts to affect your life in ways you may not see at the time, and something ridiculous like taking a shower becomes a chore.

It may sound silly or child-like, but the best way I can think to describe it is that a little dark cloud just kept following me around. Sometimes I had my raincoat and umbrella ready, and even though I knew that little cloud was there – down pouring – I could weather it. Then, other times, my raincoat and umbrella would be quickly taken from me and I’d be left with nothing to protect me from the storm. 

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I generally am a very happy person, and even when I’m feeling a little down or anxious I can hide it and just get on with things. Even when I’m in a bad mood – warranted or not – I’m very good at not letting it show. I’m not saying this is the right thing to do, it’s just pretty much my default setting. I really can’t hide it from my boyfriend though, he knows in a second if something isn’t right! I apologised to Matt at least once a day for the past week for not being my usual self, and every single time he told me he loved me and I had nothing to apologise for. Sometimes he needs to lean on me a little bit, and sometimes I need to lean on him a little bit, and I love that we have such a good balance. I know I’m so lucky to have such a great man that I can rely on when I need to, and I can’t stress how much I appreciate everything we have in our relationship. This has been something that makes this a whole lot easier – he is understanding and helpful and does everything he can to make me feel better, whatever that may be at that time. I really think it’s so important to lean on someone when you need to. I spent years hiding how I truly felt because, honestly, I didn’t think anyone would understand, then even if they did, I thought they wouldn’t care. 

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I love spending quality time with my boyfriend more than I can put into words, but I really bloody appreciated it this past week in particular! Falling asleep and waking up with him each day I knew that everything would be okay; that niggly feeling in the pit of my stomach felt lighter each time, I had a sense of comfort and slowly I started to feel better. I was trying so hard to find the good things in each day; to enjoy what I could because I knew I wasn’t feeling completely myself and at any moment I could start feeling down right miserable again. To be honest, I don’t know if this is a good or bad way to view it, but focusing on all the good in my life did seem to help. Let’s be honest, it really is the little things that mean the most anyway. Those little things I know I’m guilty of sometimes taking for granted; relaxing in a hot bubble bath, kissing and cuddling Matt each morning and night, eating a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (the best) on my lunch break, belting out Ariana Grande whilst driving. I’ve learned if you hold onto the good things, the bad things don’t seem so bad.

I sometimes find it very hard to speak to friends when I feel like this; when I should lean on them I push them away as I don’t want to put things on them – this is counter productive and doesn’t help anyone. Another thing I’ve noticed is getting and/or keeping in touch with people can be very hard for me, and I don’t understand why to be able to explain it. I don’t want to have conversations, and I shut myself off – completely unintentionally – from things I don’t have the energy to deal with. I feel like I can be on auto pilot; getting ready and going to work, coming home and feeling exhausted from putting on a (mostly) happy face all day. Matt and I are usually out all the time – going for dinner, exploring a new place, even just going shopping, and as my energy levels were at zero the things I usually love were the last things I wanted to do. Instead we’ve spent lots of time over the past week snuggling up watching Netflix, cooking and just enjoying being together in our little bubble – that was exactly what I needed and those kind of moments were when my raincoat and umbrella were firmly in place.

One thing that made me feel worse was social media, and the fact that everyone else seemed to be feeling, looking and doing great, when I couldn’t fit into that mindset. I’ve touched on this in previous posts, but I really feel like social media can have a negative impact on our mental health and it’s something we all need to be aware of, and take responsibility for. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles circulating the Internet on this topic. I feel like we all know the correlation between social media and poor mental health, yet we continue to allow ourselves to fall deeper into the hole. I am not a jealous person at all, and although I’ve definitely compared myself to others in the past it’s not something that would make me feel down on myself. This past week especially, I’ve felt jealous of silly, ridiculous things, like so-and-so having a perfect life and always seeming so happy. Nine times out of ten I don’t know enough about said person to know if that is true or not; and even if it was true I really shouldn’t be feeling jealous in the first place. I stopped scrolling through Instagram as much, I didn’t open Facebook for days (I mean, it’s pretty boring at the best of times) and I didn’t mindlessly read Twitter. Stepping back from all of the social media rubbish that sometimes fills our brains helped me so much, and I could truly live in the moment.

We’ve all heard the ‘people post their highlight reels’ spiel more than a few times, but it is key to remember this if you’re scrolling through feeling like everyone else has it so good compared to you. The reality is we all feel a little bit down or miserable, to different extents, on a regular basis. It’s okay to feel this way and it’s okay to talk about it. I know this probably seems a little ironic, given that I blog about surface level things generally speaking, but I’m human too, and I hope that this post shows life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, even if I often wish it was.

The funny thing is because everything that was making me feel down was essentially in my own head, I just suddenly felt better. Nothing happened to lift my little dark cloud I’d been carrying around with me, it just went. Things seemed less stressful, my heart wasn’t going 100mph, and when I let my mind wander throughout the day I no longer felt sad, overly worried or anxious. I still have super dry skin under my eye, caused by the stye right now (cute, right?) but that’s it – if I hadn’t confided in my boyfriend and our families I would have just sailed through it and came out the other side without anyone knowing. That’s mainly the reason for this post – I want everyone to be able to share their thoughts and opinions and feelings with whoever they feel able to, it’s so important to reach out and I’ve learned that so much recently. 

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I think it’s important to say to any ladies reading; we can get feelings similar to what I’ve mentioned above linked to hormones and/or our ‘time of the month’. I take a mini-pill, which means I don’t get periods but I absolutely do feel the effects of ‘PMS’. This highlights my point above that until a physical symptom prompted me to take some kind of action, I ignored the mental symptoms. Just because I don’t have periods doesn’t mean my body doesn’t go through hormonal changes – I know some people will wonder why I’m sharing this; it’s because I know this will be the same for other women. If this is you – please know you’re not alone and feel free to do whatever it takes to make you feel better. (Long hot bubble baths are always the best for an instant cheer up!) How I’ve felt this past week was nothing to do with this, but it’s important to acknowledge that we have so many things going on in our lives and I really want to reach out to other ladies feeling a bit crap. Sometimes PMS and associated feelings can last a day or sometimes it can last a few days – but I think it’s so important to realise that as women we have so many hormones making us feel ‘crazy’ – we’re absolutely not! We are strong and doing a damn good job, wherever we are in our lives.

I am always here if anyone reading this feels like they need to talk; you can find my contact details here, I’d be a friend if you ever needed one. My number one tip is to talk it out; to your partner, your friend, a parent, a colleague; anyone who you can trust. I’d also suggest to take time for yourself – this post highlights a few little ways I like to unwind and may give you some ideas.

However,  if you’re struggling in any way with your mental health and feel like you may need a little extra help, there are always professionals you can reach out to. Charities like Mind and the Samaritans are very well known and there are so many ways to get in touch if that is something you need.

Thank you so much for reading – I’d truly love to know your thoughts on this post. I hope that if you’re feeling anything like I have been recently you can feel the virtual love and hugs I’m sending your way.

Lastly, I’d just like to really thank my boyfriend, Matthew. He’s not only my boyfriend and best friend but he’s also my rock, and he makes life more fun every day. Matthew; I am grateful beyond words for everything you do, everything we are and everything we have. I love you baby.

-G x

The Women Who Inspire Me

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Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

Hi, loves!

I really want my blog to have a large focus on female empowerment – of building other women up, of showing off our friends/peers and their talents, and of supporting each other no matter what. I really feel it’s so important that we vocalise our support and love of the women around us; whether that is people we personally know or don’t. I have lots of ideas for content that will surround this topic – I’m so excited to share these with you!

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” – Michelle Obama

As you can probably tell from the title, this post is focused around some of my favourite ladies. I wanted to post this as I feel like often women are accused of pulling each other down, or not being as open and grateful for each other as we maybe should be. I truly believe that to change the stereotype of women being ‘bitchy’ and/or ‘mean girls’ etc, we have to start with ourselves. As I wrote about in my Friendship post, I’ve certainly been mean about other women before and other women have certainly been mean about me; but why? What on earth can we gain from tearing each other down? So many women are doing amazing things for themselves and for each other, and I’d like to celebrate that. This post focuses on actresses, bloggers, presenters and a few incredible women I know in real life – people who I genuinely look up to, admire, and would love to sit down with for a cuppa!

*I’d recommend you sat down with a cuppa too, it’s a long one!*

Stacey Dooley

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Okay, so I could write post after post about Stacey, so *fair warning* this bit is going to be pretty long! Is it possible to be head over heels in love with someone you’ve never met? Because I am. (Sorry, Matthew!) For real, I have been watching Stacey’s documentaries since I was in high school, and I’ve essentially grown up admiring her and being inspired by her. First off, she is absolutely beautiful – inside and out. She has a heart of gold and is so personable, one of the things that makes her a great presenter.

Stacey has created so many incredible documentaries, it’s too hard to pick a favourite. I have learned so many things from her documentaries; there are so many horrible things happening around the world and you really don’t realise how small our little bubble is. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t watched them, I’d highly recommend you watch every single one; the Stacey Dooley Investigates series is a bloody good one! She has been to some of the most dangerous places in the world and met all kinds of people, from families who have nothing, to feminists fighting for women’s rights, to people who have committed some of the worst, unthinkable crimes. You name it, she’s probably been right there in the centre of it!

One thing that astounds me in every interview she does, throughout every documentary, is how she shows respect and interest for everyone; no matter their background or her stance on the topic at hand. She is never rude but always tells it like it is and that is a quality I wish I had! As Stacey is an absolute Super Woman, she also wrote a book, called On The Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back and it is a fantastic read – if you haven’t already, I’d pick it up ASAP. She is an incredible story-teller, and she tells stories in writing the same way she does verbally, it’s very fresh and authentic. I’d also like to mention her interior design eye is amazing – I highly recommend a browse of her Instagram to see all the beautiful photos she shows of her house. While I’m at it, her fashion sense is second to none and I am forever wishing I could pull off her style! She is so madly in love with her boyfriend, Sam, and their dog, Bernie (I’m not quite sure who she loves more, to be honest!) it is very admirable. 

Stacey spends so much time traveling and working, and let’s keep in mind that she’s not exactly living the life travelling either – she has visited some of the most dangerous places in the world with her job. It must be so difficult but she does it month after month, year after year, and I’m so thankful that she does because the content she produces with the BBC is incredible. I love that her personality shines no matter what; she is cheeky, funny and so full of life. She has recently been awarded an MBE and hand on heart, I don’t think anyone could deserve it more. It’s weird to say but I genuinely feel proud of her – she has done so much for women around the world, myself included, and it’s an incredible honour. Congratulations, Stacey!

Emma Hill

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My favourite blogger ever! She is hands down the most relatable blogger/YouTuber I have ever come across and I can’t imagine that ever changing. One of the things that drew me to Emma initially was her take on life; she is never one to hide what she’s thinking (good job, because her facial expressions would give her away in an instant). She is so bloody funny, and even funnier because she doesn’t realise! Emma started YouTube just over a year ago and her vlogs are the best… they span over the week and involve lots of footage of her babies (the cutest doggos you’ll ever see), dreamy OOTD’s and a large part of her home life with her husband, Simon. Simon reminds me of Matt in lots of ways – namely his ‘fashion sense’ – if you know, you know!

As much as I love her YouTube channel, I fell in love with her blog first. She writes on all different topics and her photos are always incredibly well shot. (That’s Simon, too!) I think her personality is incredibly refreshing and I have a lot of love and admiration for her and what she has accomplished. Emma is very upfront and I’d love nothing more than to sit down over lunch – I mean, we both love food – and have a good natter. 

Emily Blunt

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My favourite actress and the best talk show guest ever, in my opinion! She could only be beaten on the latter by her husband, John Krasinski, but this is about the best ladies, right!? I, like I’m sure many of you, knew Emily originally from The Devil Wears Prada, and I just think she is one of the most amazing actresses of our generation. She adapts so well to each role – I realise that is the point, but watching her in one movie to the next it’s as if you’ve never seen her in anything else before. She is an amazing example to all women as a working mother, and she just seems like the kind of lady I’d love to go for a drink with, to be honest. Emily and John are my favourite celebrity couple, they are adorable; they clearly have so much love for each other and it radiates between them. They poke fun at themselves and each other, and I really think their relationship is part of their character – the love they have for each other is so beautiful. I especially love how she tells stories during her interviews – I’d love to pick her brains about the industry she’s in and just see how she stays so real about everything. 

Emily Weiss

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Emily is the founder of Glossier – one of my all time favorite brands and possibly the most high-profile Millennial beauty company right now. I have known of Emily for years due to my love of The Hills, she was a ‘Super Intern’ for Teen Vogue and quite clearly a boss back then too. It’s ironic really, because her drive and early success in the show made her an ‘enemy’ and essentially, put her down in contrast to the rest of the cast members. I don’t truly know how much of The Hills was staged, but it’s uncomfortable to think someone was so harshly put down simply for being good at what she did.

This clearly didn’t hold her back as she started her blog, Into The Gloss and the rest happened as a result of this. Emily created Glossier because there was a niche in the market missing – she didn’t like that the makeup and skin care world was so rule-based, so she changed it. Amazing. She is so humble and talks very openly in all of her interviews, another quality I admire! I find often when entrepreneurs are interviewed in magazines, or on YouTube etc, they seem to give very generic answers and almost seem bored – however she is so animated and you can really see the love she has for the brand she created. She also kills it in the fashion department – I’d just about die to raid her wardrobe!

Anna Newton

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The lady behind The Anna Edit, and one of the main reasons I started blogging. I have read Anna’s blog and watched her YouTube videos for years. She is also incredibly relatable and is a planner, just like me. She is extremely ‘normal’ though and I genuinely feel like I know her after all the years I’ve spent reading/watching her content. Anna’s wedding day involved a house party and Domino’s for goodness’ sake – could she be any more down to earth?! I love Anna’s approach to life; she is extremely organised, lives a fairly minimalist lifestyle (seriously – her capsule wardrobe is a thing of dreams, although I could never do it), and focuses her energy around the good things in life – like Glossier pouches and The Office… I love all of her content but my favourite by far is her vlogs, and I wish she would vlog more! Anna and her husband, Mark, are such a sweet couple and she shares lots of their home life and trips, something I find genuinely interesting. I am a huge fan of her podcast with one of her best friends, Lily Pebbles, and I love her attitude towards life. She is so deserving of all her success and I can’t wait to see what she has coming up next.

Family and Friends

Now, I couldn’t write this post without talking about the people closest to me who I admire and look up to every day. My mam; June, and Matt’s mam; Debbie are hands down my favourite ladies for everything. They are so strong and work so flipping hard; they’d do anything for anyone and they both add so much to my life. We can always have a giggle together but no topic is ever off limits; mam’s are just great for being so understanding and knowing what you’re thinking/feeling without you having to say it. My mam and I have always been so close; I feel very lucky to say she’s as much a best friend as she is a mother to me. When Matt and I first began dating, I really hoped we’d build a relationship, but I never expected I’d gain a whole other family! That’s exactly what happened, his family feel like my own and I’m grateful every day for that. Debbie is like a second mam to me, and I am so thankful for her. I adore you both and I’m so grateful for everything you do; for both Matt and I!

Jessy, my dearest Jessy. We go so long without seeing each other (yep, life gets in the way) but nothing ever changes between us. Every time we’re together it’s like no time has passed, and we always have so much fun. Jess and I are about as similar as chalk and cheese, yet we’re also 100% on the same wavelength at all times – weird, I know. She has a quality I don’t think I’ve ever seen in anybody else; she truly wants the best for everyone around her, and can remove herself from any situation to give a different perspective. She is strong, inspiring and smart and an absolute angel in every way. She has an infectious energy around her at all times; she is hilarious and can always spin things to be positive. I look up to Jessy (ironic, she’s about a foot shorter than me!) more than she knows, and I am so stinking grateful for everything she has done for me. When Matt was away recently I was feeling very sad *cringe*, and I genuinely can’t imagine how I would have felt better without her input! She can make me laugh when I don’t feel like it and can always make a bad situation better. Jess also taught me about The Worry Tree – I highly recommend a good google search of this if you’re a worrier when have a spare five minutes, it’s life changing! A good life long friendship is hard to come by, but I know that’s what we have. So much love for you JB, so much love!

Well there you have it; the women I look up to the most. I’d love to know which women inspire you, and for what reason? If it’s someone you know personally, why don’t you tell them? Let’s build each other up, together 🙂 

-G x

Gin with Gills: #1

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Welcome back, loves!

If you’re a little confused by the title, let me explain…

Since I started my blog I have been trying to work out how I can do a ‘series’. I finally came up with an idea, where each month I will talk about a topic (specifically, one word) and how it affects my life; and then in turn maybe give you a little ‘food for thought’ on how it may affect yours. As with everything on my blog it will be very personal and very much from my perspective. I think topics will vary a lot – I have a few ideas already but I’d love to know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to focus on, feel free to request anything via Instagram or Twitter. Right now the plan is for a new post in this series on the last Sunday of every month. This might be a completely terrible idea and you’ll never see another post like this – but let’s see!

So, as I sit down with a glass of gin (Edinburgh Raspberry gin with lemonade and lots of ice cubes is my tipple of choice) let’s delve in…

HAPPINESS

I really try to find joy in the little things in life. I was recently told by someone I once had a lot of love and time for, that I am a negative person, and it really knocked me for six. I do not believe that to be true, at all, and thankfully neither does anyone I’ve confided in about it. I really try to see the positive side of things even when it’s hard; this is something I have gotten much better at over the past year or so, as my boyfriend is so good at thinking like this! His positive attitude definitely rubs off on everyone around him, and I love that. 

I, as I admitted in this post, worry about everything and get myself upset over the most ridiculous things, but I don’t feel that is me being ‘negative’. I think showing natural emotions – worry, sadness, grief etc – does not necessarily take away from any happiness you have. We don’t have to be happy every second of every day to prove our happiness. We don’t have to prove our happiness at all – I really think this is a common misconception and we always have to be doing The Next Best Thing, just so people know how good we’ve got it. I really like sharing my life on social media, to be honest for nobody but myself; but I don’t hide the bad or showcase the good, I just show what I’m doing/feeling. I admit however, that if I’m having a down day or not feeling good about myself, I’m very unlikely to post that. It’s swings and roundabouts – but social media is definitely not everything in life!

As cheesy as it is, I can truly say right now I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life, and I’m beyond thankful for all of the people and things that make my life so good. I sometimes find it hard to believe how happy I really am – I get a horrible gut feeling that something is going to go wrong; almost like I don’t deserve to be this happy. Obviously, this is ridiculous and I totally believe everyone deserves all the happiness in the world, it’s just sometimes you sit back and really see how good everything is!

I know speaking from personal experience I can play a loop of ‘I’m so worried about X’ and ‘I can’t believe I did X’ over and over – yet I very rarely think ‘I really loved when X did X for me’ or ‘I appreciated X taking time out of his/her day to help with that’ over and over again. I think shifting focus to feel grateful can really make you feel happier; it helps you look at the positives and in turn, that becomes your focus. For example, some mornings I really don’t want to go to work (I mean, I’m sure everyone feels like this!) Instead of whinging that I’d rather be in bed snuggling Matthew – I mean, I always would rather be in bed snuggling Matthew – I try to think how lucky I am to have a job, how lucky I am to work with amazing people and how grateful I am for the life I’m able to have because of my job! Shifting my focus in any train of thought generally always makes me feel happier, and I’d highly recommend doing the same if this is something you struggle with.

So, I invite you to also make a list of 20 little things that make you incredibly happy – literally anything that makes you feel that little spark of joy from the pit of your stomach. 

As I obviously can’t expect you to do something I wouldn’t, I’d like to share with you my list;

  1. Falling asleep and waking up with Matthew – I’ll never take our goodnight/good morning kisses for granted
  2. Walking in fresh snow for the first time
  3. Cashiers at the supermarket saying ‘have a nice day’
  4. When every traffic light on my commute is green 
  5. Fresh gel nails
  6. The feeling of laying on a sun lounger and being so hot you think you might pass out, then a slight breeze just brushes over you and all is right with the world again
  7. That first sip of wine on date night
  8. Seeing a cute dog and going over to pet him/her
  9. Holding Matthew’s hand
  10. When the leaves start to turn to golden shades of yellow, orange and red
  11. Seeing twinkling Christmas lights when it’s super cold and dark
  12. The sound of rain hitting the window or wind whistling through the street when we’re falling asleep
  13. Getting into a hot bubble bath after a long day
  14. Having long chatty phone calls with my besties whilst driving
  15. When food and drink packaging suddenly has Santa Claus’ face all over it… my Christmas spirit is real!
  16. Undoing the top button on my high waisted jeans after I’ve eaten too much food 
  17. Having fresh flowers in my room (Matt recently sent me flowers when he was away and it was hands down the happiest I’d felt the whole time he was gone! Full disclosure: I cried a lot, as you might expect if you’ve read my blog for a while. Happy tears are okay, right?)
  18. Wearing a new pretty underwear set for the first time
  19. A cosy night in with my boyfriend. Ideally with Chinese food, wine, lots of candles and blankets
  20. Receiving lovely comments about a blog post that took a lot of time/effort. Seriously, I appreciate people reading so much, and even more when people take the time to message me and tell me what they liked/how they related – thank you!

So, that’s my list! Of course there are so many other things that make me feel happy, but those were the ones that first came to mind. I’d love for you to compile your own list; you don’t have to share it of course, but it’s a good feeling to look at all the things we sometimes take for granted or overlook. 

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts on the style of this post?

-G x

Self Care: How I Unwind

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Photo by Cori Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Hi, loves!

I think unwinding from a long day, a bad day, or even a good day is SO important. There are so many ways we can unwind and relax, but it’s not something we always take the time to do. I made a promise to myself at the start of this year that I was going to do more things for me (hence finally creating my blog) and self care has definitely become a priority for me.

To me, self care is looking after yourself and reflecting on your own wants and needs, then nurturing those to make you feel relaxed and, in turn, happier. Of course, there’s a lot more to this than whacking on a face mask and thinking your life is grand, but it’s a start, right?! We’re all so busy in the world of work, spending time with family and friends, running errands etc, I think it’s nice to just take time out for yourself. Of course this can be activities you do alone or with other people – lots of my downtime involves my boyfriend, and that makes me so happy! I’m so grateful for all the time we spend together; we love just relaxing and enjoying being together. I don’t necessarily have any advice or tips, I’d just like to share with you all the different ways I like to unwind. I do however hope this may give you some inspiration and remind you of how important taking time for yourself can be.

Pamper Nights

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One of my favourite things to do in life is to take a bath. I really enjoy treating myself to a Lush bath especially – my favourite bath products are The Comforter bubble bar, Avobath bath bomb and, most recently, the Turtle jelly bomb! I think it’s also nice to take a little time during or after your bath to pamper yourself. I really love using face masks and often rope Matt into it too, I promise he enjoys it! I usually buy ones from Simple or Garnier, typically whatever is on offer in Boots. They feel so good on the skin and there’s something about using a face mask that just makes you feel like your life is together, right?! I also like to take the time to go through my skincare routine fully, and use a nice body butter – this one is my current favourite, it really smells like a spa! 

Reading

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I like to read in the bath on a day-to-day basis, but this is especially good for me if I’m feeling a little worn out or tired. I say this because I can really escape into a good book and even if it’s just temporarily, I can forget whatever is going on around me. It’s so nice to lose yourself in a story, and as much as I love Netflix, I really enjoy reading a book. I recently read The Note by Zoe Folbigg and really enjoyed it; it’s a cheesy love story with a few funny turns, based on a real life story. I also just finished Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and that was such a good read! She talks through her life – all the ups and downs – and it’s a really insightful, interesting perspective on how we live our lives, and how past experiences shape you into the person you are. If you’re not into books (who isn’t?) magazines are a great alternative. I love Cosmopolitan magazine and have bought it every month since I was a teenager. I also like to catch up on blogs when I have downtime, but not in the bath! I never take my phone/laptop in bath with me as it’s the only time I’m fully disconnected from technology. 

Quality Time With My Boyfriend

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Being with Matt is just the best part of any day for me! If I’m having a bad day he’s the only person that can make me feel better in an instant, and I never take for granted all the time we spend together. He’s so good at making any situation positive, one of the things I admire most about him. Quality time can mean all kinds of things, but on a daily basis this is usually things like cooking and eating dinner together, snuggling up to watch a show or a movie, going to Costco (it’s literally our happy place) etc. Basically, we like to spend as much time together as we can, and we really like to make the most of it. This is definitely self care for me as nurturing our relationship is so important – spending time with my best friend is such a good feeling, and there’s nobody I’d rather be with! Cheesy but true; being curled up in his arms makes the world seem a much better place. 

Make A Beauty Appointment

Similarly to having a pamper night at home, it’s so lovely to make an appointment to go into a salon and, if you can’t get an appointment quickly, you then have that to look forward to. Whether your pick-me-up pamper of choice is a new hairstyle, a manicure or LVL lashes (my next treat to myself, I think!) it’s nice to just spend some time getting pampered professionally. I had an appointment booked to get my nails done today and I felt ten times better leaving the salon. I wasn’t really in a great mood after a long day, but there’s something about having fresh gels that just makes me feel so good! I love the look of them, they last so much longer than regular nail polish; and it’s a nice little treat every 2-3 weeks that I can look forward to. I also find it very calming and relaxing, I could have probably fell asleep today.

Make Future Plans

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One thing I really like to do, even more so when I’m needing a little ‘pick me up’, is look towards good things coming in the future. Whether that’s what’s for dinner tonight, plans for the upcoming weekend or planning our next trip, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. Matt and I are heading to Belfast this weekend so since we booked I’ve spent a little time researching that and finding things to do that aren’t the typical tourist stuff. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely will be doing the typical tourist stuff, but it’s nice to see things off the beaten track too, right? Although we haven’t got anything booked yet, we’re really hoping to plan a city break to Madrid for September, any tips or recommendations would be much appreciated! 

Go For A Drive

One of my favourite things to do to clear my head is to go for a drive. If I don’t have much time but still want to go for a drive I’ll go the long way home from work, or take a little detour and drive around my town instead of heading straight home. I don’t have any specific places I like to go to, I just really enjoy driving around and not really focusing on anything but the road. Ten minutes in one direction from where I live is the beach, and ten minutes in the other is the countryside; so there’s lovely views wherever I end up. Side note: I am really not the best driver but I tell everyone I drive better when I’m by myself… (anyone else?!)

Retail Therapy

I am the biggest advocate of the whole treat yo’self trend! Depending on where I am (and how far away pay-day is!) this could vary dramatically; sometimes an impulse treat might just be a treat for after dinner that night (I highly recommend M&S’ New York vanilla cheesecake – it’s Matt and I’s favourite!). If I’m waiting a little too impatiently for payday, I often browse my favourite shops online. (Topshop, Zara, & Other Stories, Brandy Melville and Feel Unique tend to be my go-to’s)! Sometimes just browsing is enough to lift my spirits and make me feel calm and relaxed. I am also a big fan of buying myself flowers, and I have no shame in saying that! I like to buy my mam and Matt’s mam flowers (it’s just so nice to receive them, isn’t it?) so why not buy them for myself? I’d personally recommend Aldi’s flowers over any other supermarket – they last so well and they always have so much choice. 

Call/See My Friends/Family

As you may have seen from my Friendships post, I have been having a hard time with friendships recently. That being said, a text or a call to my closest friends can really make a world of difference to my day! Whether you discuss each others’ days’, talk nonsense or just have a good ol’ catchup, it can be a very freeing feeling to chat with your girls. I don’t know about you, but it’s not very often my friends are available at short notice – we all have such busy lives it’s more than understandable – but if you can meet face to face for a bite to eat or a quick drink, that’s even better. My mam and Matt’s mam are always my fave ladies to turn to, they’re angels and always know what to say.

Tidy The Space Around Me

One of the best things I can do to make myself feel better is to spend ‘X’ amount of time cleaning and tidying. If my room or my car is a mess, my head feels equally as messy and I can’t think straight. Sometimes even the thought of doing this seems overwhelming and I feel like I don’t have the energy, so I’ll set a timer on my phone for a specific amount of time – how long depends on how much I need to clean/tidy. I’ll then try to get everything done within that timeframe, I’m kind of competitive so see this as a challenge against myself, LOL! Whilst cleaning and tidying I tend to listen to Spotify or catch up on vlogs, so my mind is doubly occupied, and I’m also being productive. I also apply this same theory at work – if my desk is overly cluttered (it usually is) I take 5 minutes to clear away everything I don’t need, reorganise paperwork etc, then I can start again with a fresh head.

Sleep

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We all know an early night is one of the best little treats, as you always feel much more prepared to take on the day after a good sleep. Matt and I have early nights on an embarrasingly regular basis – but we’re often up early for work so it’s nice to get an extra hour or two of sleep when we can. We always talk about our life when we’re ‘grey and old’ but we’re pretty much there, LOL. My favourite thing is to cuddle into him and just enjoy that nonsense talk before we finally fall asleep – you know when you’re not even making much sense but you’re just aware of each other’s presence? I feel so grateful every night he cuddles in (well, let’s be real, I’m spooning him 99% of the time) and it’s seriously the best feeling in the world. 

Catch Up On My Favourite TV Show

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Catching up on my favourite shows is a very good way to 1: occupy my time and 2: cheer me up. My guilty pleasure TV show is 100% Coronation Street (to be fair, Matt’s dad always watches it and I got hooked… I totally blame him for this one). Shows like Friends, Gilmore Girls, KUWTK, Gossip Girl etc are my favourites to re-watch, even though I’ve seen every episode a ridiculous amount of times. I love typical British comedy sitcoms; things like The Inbetweeners, Gavin & Stacey, Friday Night Dinner and Fresh Meat are right up my street. Matt and I are watching Fresh Meat from the beginning as he’d never seen it, and I seriously forgot how funny it was – we love Jack Whitehall’s character in it especially! Once we’ve finished Fresh Meat we’ll have to start a new series – any recommendations would be appreciated!? We recently watched Peaky Blinders and Narcos and loved them both, and we’re so excited for the new series’ starting soon. We both said we wish we could watch Narcos again from the beginning not knowing the storyline. The dialogue is mostly in Spanish, so it’s heavily subtitled, but it’s SUCH a good watch – we loved every minute! 

Well, that’s it! If you relate to any of the above I’d love to know! How do you spend your time unwinding and relaxing? Also, if you have any other tips or recommendations I’d love to hear them?

-G x

 

Five Things I Need To Stop Doing

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi, loves!

To begin with, I’d like to make one thing very clear; I am generally a very happy person and am so grateful for everything I have. My wonderful boyfriend Matt is my absolute rock; he is a little ray of sunshine in my life and I have an indescribable love for him. My family and friends are so supportive and loving, and I truly have a great life. However, as hard as this is to admit, sometimes I still feel a little bogged down and in a rut

Inspired by a post the lovely Niamh O’Sullivan at Cinnamon Soul (one of my favourite bloggers) wrote last year, I decided to look at things I want to actively stop doing to make my life a little easier and brighter. Warning: *it’s another personal one*  here’s five things I”m going to try to stop doing over the next few months;

Worrying

Okay, this is definitely easier said than done. My grandma used to say when I was a little girl I’d carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and honestly that has never changed. I fret over things I can change, things I can’t change and everything in-between. I often over think and over analyse to the point I’m in tears; then end up worrying because I’m worried. Exhausting, right?! I am so lucky that I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders; I talk to my boyfriend about anything and everything; yet I still stress myself out like you wouldn’t believe. I think sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head, I definitely am known to make a mountain out a mole hill and it’s not a positive trait. After an extensive Amazon search I decided to order You Do You by Sarah Knight, to see if I can maybe slightly retrain my thinking and learn that, even though deep down I do know, I cannot change anything by worrying, so why bother?! 

Planning Everything

Similarly to the whole worrying thing, I also try to plan my life to a T. Again, it’s getting exhausting! I have always liked routine and normality, and I definitely shy away from change, but over the past two to three years I feel I have taken planning to an extreme. I really would like to be more spontaneous and enjoy surprises. My poor boyfriend can’t even plan anything for us because I always end up begging to know what we’re doing (to be fair, he can’t keep secrets so this probably won’t change 🙊). I would love to be a little more carefree and go with the flow – I can’t remember ever having gone with the flow so this is going to be tricky! I’m going to try to strip back the ‘planner’ in me layer by layer, like cutting an onion. Hopefully minus the tears. I think having an idea of what I’m doing on any given day, but letting the day just run its course, could be a great start. (Not to be pessimistic, but I definitely think this is going to be the hardest one!)

Comparing Myself To Others

I think we are all a little guilty of this. Whether it’s a celebrity or a peer, sometimes other people’s lives seem to be all glitz and glam, leaving yours feeling a little bit boring and naff. Obviously, nine times out of ten, other people’s perfect lives are not-so-perfect, and there’s no need to compare. I think social media – especially Instagram – plays a huge part in this way of thinking; Instagram is often only highlight reels of peoples’ lives. I have to be completely honest and say I never find myself wishing I actually was someone else, or had what they have (I mean, the Kardashians’ handbag collection would definitely not be sniffed at, given the chance) but sometimes I do get a little down on me and what have. To combat this I have started to write a little list of things I’m grateful for in my Notes app every day. Although I like the idea of doing this every morning or night, I thought this would feel more genuine and true to myself if it was at any point in the day – when I genuinely feel grateful for something, not when I feel like I have to write something down. So far, so good!

Beating Myself Up

I find this quite hard to admit, but I am pretty damn hard on myself sometimes. I am the first to sing my loved ones’ praises, yet when it comes to myself I always feel I could have done more. I tend to tell myself that even when I’ve done something well, I could have done it better. Or, even worse, I don’t believe other people’s words and find it hard to believe they are proud of me. This way of thinking is definitely not healthy and I should be as proud of my achievements as I am of others. I didn’t quite realise how often I did this until I was talking about it with Matt one evening, half-laughing about being a perfectionist, when the penny dropped. If I make a mistake, or speak out of turn, or even do something silly like smile/wave at someone who wasn’t smiling/waving at me (yep, that happened) I rethink it over and over to the point it’s ingrained in my mind forever. I’m hoping the afore-mentioned gratitidue list may help with this a little bit, but if anyone has any tips I’d love to hear them?!

Not Living In The Moment

This is something I feel terrible guilt about and wish I could change with a click of my fingers. I have had so many amazing moments over the years that I have not fully appreciated because I was already thinking about the next thing (it’s the planner in me!) or trying to make sure everything was perfect at that very moment. Over the past year or so, I have realised that living in the moment is a lot more fun and I’m actively trying to work at this. I am so lucky that my life is so full of love and happiness, and I truly want to enjoy every moment. I really value quality time especially and am trying to make sure I enjoy every little second of it. If you follow my Instagram it’s no secret I love documenting my activities/thoughts/feelings via my Story, but I cherish all the moments that aren’t featured on there even more

Well, there you have it – baring my soul on the internet is a little more intimidating than I thought it would be! I’d love to know if you agree with any of my confessions above, and if you have anything you’d like to stop doing? My plan (yep, there I go again) is to update you in six months with (hopefully) good news on my progress!

Thank you so much for reading!

-G x

Friendship

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today’s post is a little different from my previous posts…

In my experience you have different kinds of friendships in different parts of your life. When you’re younger, friendship is usually more about circumstance than choice. If you sit next to the girl in class with french plaits, and you also wear french plaits, that’s pretty much bestie territory right there. When you’re a teenager, having a deep love of the same boyband is enough to bond with someone and be friends. It’s only when you become an adult that I think friendship gets a little harder. As a teenager in the 00’s, I came home from school and spent my nights watching shows like Friends and Will & Grace. I was naive and blissfully ignorant to think that as you changed and grew, so did your friendships. 

Now, I’ve always been very shy; I’ve always took a back seat in group situations and the thought of the attention being all on me makes me feel physically sick. When I was younger I was just happy to have a ‘friendship group’ – I was never the funniest, the smartest, the prettiest or the most popular, and that was more than okay. I was just happy to be part of something. I definitely went along with what the crowd thought and was always eager to be included in whatever was going on at the time. I think friendships as a teenager can be especially difficult – girls get a bad rep for being ‘bitchy’ or ‘mean’ but in my experience, this is true. I have been bitched about, and I have bitched about others. That is not something I’m proud of, by any means, but I do think it’s a part of growing up.

I am still very close with a few lovely girls I went to high school with, and I adore them! But, as I left school and started college, I made new friends too. This was when it finally it clicked. The right people will like you for you, not who you’re trying to be. If I could go back and tell my ten-year old self that I’m sure I would have found growing up a whole lot easier. I think when you’re a teenager you’re just trying to figure it all out – who your friends are and who you are. I’m grateful for meandering through my teenage years – copying my friends and my friends copying me – because that has shown me the kind of friend I want to be and strive to be every day. 

In my opinion, friendships should not be based on anything other than joy. You should want to be around your friends; to feel loved and nurtured and supported. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re being judged, or that your opinions don’t matter or that you can’t be yourself. Why is this so much easier to admit as an adult than it is as a teenager?! 

I don’t think in 2018 distance should matter to a friendship. Yes, you absolutely need face-to-face time together (and who doesn’t love catching up over drinks or food?!) but anyone in the world is literally a text or a FaceTime away. So why in a culture where we are so tuned into being social, are friendships still falling apart?

Don’t get me wrong, life does get busy. As we grow up, we have different interests, likes and dislikes. The reality is that often, face-to-face meetings turn to phone calls, phone calls turn to texts, and not seeing each other for a week turns into a month. As anyone who’s ever texted me will tell you, texting back is not my strong point. That being said, I love very hard – I have so much love and respect for all my friends, past and present, because they are who made me who I am today. I think as you get older one of the worst things about losing friendships is there is no break up moment. When you’re younger and ‘fall out’ with someone, it’s often more dramatic than a Shakespearean play. They ‘hate’ you, you ‘hate’ them, you point score and, if you two are part of a larger friendship group, sides are chosen. Suddenly a silly tiff is like the beginning of World War III. 

As adults there are no fall outs. There’s none of the shouting or crying or, for the most part, the bitching. I think losing friendships as an adult is something that usually happens over a long period of time; such a long time that you don’t realise until it’s happened. It’s a case of wanting to ask a friend to go for lunch but wondering what they even do on a Saturday afternoon these days. Or of seeing a Facebook post and realising someone you once knew so deeply, has created a whole life you know nothing about. That’s the really sad thing about growing up – it is so easy to drift apart when life gets busy. Whilst falling in love with your new lives, you fall out of love with each other. And that is heartbreaking. I admit that I have been, and maybe still am in some ways, a bad friend. I have learned, in the past year more than ever, that every part of a friendship needs to be worked at; people have different needs and it’s important to nurture those as well as your own.

– – –

Millennial friendships in a nutshell:

*sees old friend in Asda, doing her weekly shop*

“OMG hi! I haven’t seen you for ages!” *generic catching up* “we absolutely have to go for drinks, I’ll message you a few nights I’m free next week!”

– the week passes by with a generic text or two, no plans are made – 

*sees same old friend picking up a takeaway three weeks later*

“I’m so sorry I totally forgot to reply! We absolutely must meet up for drinks! Why don’t we try that new place in town?”

*and repeat over and over again until that friend moves away and you never have to awkwardly bump into them again*

– – –

I am not at all embarrassed to admit my boyfriend is my best friend, and he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. In fact, I’m so proud to say that. Our relationship started as a friendship; someone to laugh with till the early hours, to turn to when life was hard, to share funny stories with. Matt is the first person I tell any news to, happy or sad. We always agree on what/where to eat, we have never argued over who’s wearing who’s dress (he always lets me choose first 😉 ) and, for real, he’s never made me feel bad for being who I am. There’s never been an ounce of jealousy or rudeness between us, that’s an unconditional love that I don’t think comes around very often. We always say we love being part of our team, and it’s true. I know that the foundation of our relationship being so strong is a blessing, one I’m thankful for every day. Being in love with my best friend is the best thing I could ever ask for, I didn’t know a love like we have existed in the ‘real world’. You know when you watch movies and think couples can’t possibly be that in love? *cheesy moment* that’s how I feel every day, and I’m so grateful. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t live in each others pockets and we don’t spend every waking moment together (admittedly, sometimes I wish we did) but I know that everything will always be okay with him by my side. He makes me a better person in every possible way and if you’re reading this Matt, (I know you are 🙊) I love you unconditionally. 

All of the above is true in my experience, and probably in yours, but there are always people that life never becomes an issue for. People who can put you before themselves, and know that when it matters you’ll put them before yourself. I am so grateful that I have friends that I bloody love. The friend I’ve known since I was three, the crazy friend that I love dearly, the friend from school, the always-up-for-a-night-out friend, the friend from work, the friend I barely ever see but when you do it’s like no time has passed, etc… I am very lucky to have amazing people around me and I appreciate them more than they know. I feel as proud of their successes as I would of my own, and I am fiercely loyal to them, as they are to me. 

Real talk: I wish there was a Tinder for friendships. I don’t know about you, but I scroll through Instagram and Twitter almost every day thinking I relate so much to *insert name* and *insert name*. There’s some weird unwritten rule that you don’t just approach another girl and ask her out for coffee and a chat (I don’t drink coffee, but you get my point) and I wish as a society we could change that. Other than being super lucky and finding similar aged girls you love at work (very grateful that is my reality), making friends as an adult is very difficult, in my experience. When we’re drunk in the toilets of a night club we act as though we’ve known each other since birth and love each other unconditionally for those five minutes. (Or, even better, when you see your afore-mentioned bestie from the toilets in another bar later in the night, you act as though you’re long-lost sisters, finally reunited). Classic. Maybe if we all start being more friendly and outgoing towards each other, new friendships can be born and we can laugh about a time when this wasn’t accepted. 

Well… if you made it to the end of this post, I salute you! Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions? Also, if you ever want to grab a coffee (tea for me), I promise I’d never make it weird. 

“When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is in all of our hands” – Maria Shriver

-G x

50 Facts About Me

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hello!

With a lot of encouragement from my lovely boyfriend, Matt, and a large glass of wine it’s time to hit publish on my first post… 

To begin with I thought I’d ramble on with fifty facts about me;

– Mashed potato is my favourite food of all time, closely followed by Krispy Kreme donuts, pickled onion Monster Munch and mac & cheese. (Very aware I have the palette of a five-year-old)

– I am known for being cold all the time 

– Autumn is my favourite season of the year! I love the fashion, the weather, Halloween, pumpkin spice everything, the leaves changing colour, Bonfire night… the list goes on

– I’m an introvert but I wish I was an extrovert

– I was bit by a horse when I was six and to this day I’m still terrified of them

– Holding hands with Matthew makes me feel that little ‘spark’ of happiness every. single. time. Mushy, I know!

– I love hot chocolate and most types of tea but I really dislike coffee

– Ed Sheeran is my favourite artist ever. This past Friday I was lucky enough to see him live with Matt and our friends and it was one of the best nights of my life

– Ever since I was little I have done this weird thing where I stand on one leg with my other bent right up like a flamingo. However I do have really good balance…

– I am really excitable about anything and everything fun. Whether it’s a date night, a new pair of jeans, a holiday or just a nice bubble bath my excitement level is always 100

– I genuinely struggle to say the word ‘pelican’ – if I don’t think about it, it comes out ‘pecilan’

– I cry all the time. Happy, sad, tired, excited – you name it, I’m probably crying

– I love layering necklaces. My favourite brands right now are Missoma, Monica Vinader and an Etsy store called ShopHollyJ

– I have always been really shy and found it hard to talk to new people. Sometimes this makes me seem rude or stand-offish but I’m really not! I’m so much more comfortable and confident in myself so now I’m not as shy any more 

– I have wanted to create a blog for the past few years, but the fear of the unknown (and what people may think) has always stopped me

– I am fascinated by stars and the solar system. I love being able to see stars in every direction on a clear night. For Valentine’s Day this year I bought Matt and I a star next to each other in the constellation of Cetus (promise he loved it – the certificate is up on his wall!)

– I really enjoy doing yoga but I am too scared to join a class. I have followed Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube for years and she has taught me everything I know

– I am always taking photos (as demonstrated by my insta story… plug plug plug @gillianfinnx)

– The colour yellow makes me very happy

– I absolutely love living in Newcastle

– Learning to drive is one of the things I’m most proud of – I found it so difficult to enjoy lessons but I’m glad I persevered

– I am obsessed with scented candles, my favourite is Peony & Blush Suede by Jo Malone

– I really enjoy the whole process of shopping, even when it’s not for me

– Amsterdam, Berlin and Budapest are the three European cities I would love to visit most

– I am a very emotional person and take pretty much everything to heart. NOT my best trait

– I have never been stung by a bee or wasp and it’s one of my greatest fears

– I am a HUGE planner. This drives me crazy, I wish I could be more spontaneous and just ‘go with the flow’ 

– ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran are my favourite songs 

– My ideal pamper night consists of a face mask, a Lush bath, a glass of wine and a good book

– I am obsessed with all things Disney. My favourite Disney character is and always has been Belle

– I really want a dog! Matt and I are so excited to get ours (when we finally get our house) he’s already named Storm and doesn’t exist yet, I told you I was a planner

– The process of buying our first house and making it into a home makes me giddy. I also can’t wait to buy all the cute homeware bits and bobs I can find

– My dream holiday destinations are Dominican Republic, Cuba, and a road trip across the USA, preferably to states I’ve never visited

– I drink at least one can (more like three) of Diet Coke every day and I can’t remember a time I didn’t do this

– Pick’n’mix is my favourite treat ever

– I met The Rock in Los Angeles when I was 14 and I still tell new people I meet to this day

– When I was younger I was diagnosed with arthritis and I don’t remember what it’s like to not feel pain in my knees/hips/fingers 24/7

– I am TERRIBLE at telling stories. I ramble a lot, include every little detail and go on way too long… but I still do it anyway

– Buying new underwear makes me so happy

– I really dislike conflict and genuinely can’t remember the last time I had an argument

– I eat the ‘wrong way round’ with my fork in my right hand and knife in my left (so does Matt!) 

– I think making new friends as an adult is one of the most difficult things about growing up

– My hair is naturally curly on another level, think poodle at Crufts 

– I really enjoy going to football matches

– I always salute magpies when I see them and it makes me feel a little uneasy when other people don’t

– If I could meet any celebrity it would be Melissa McCarthy, I just love her

– I think I’m a pretty good driver but I am terrible at parking, especially parallel parking

– My favourite alcoholic drinks are gin, blackcurrant and lemonade and a good ol’ strawberry and lime Kopparberg

– It genuinely makes my day when the person serving me at a checkout says ‘have a nice day’ 

– I really dislike wearing high heels. Definitely more of a Vans or Converse girl

– My favourite perfumes are Peony & Blush Suede by Jo Malone, La Vie Est Belle by Lancome and Turquatic by MAC

Thank you so much for reading!

-G x