Nine Things You Must Do Before Summer Ends

Hi, loves! If you’re anything like me, you probably have grand plans every season to do X, Y and Z, and before you know it the season has disappeared in front of you and you’re left wondering how the heck time went so fast! Matt and I make seasonal bucket lists that I started sharing on the blog this year – you can catch our Summer bucket list here – and we’ve found that writing activities and date ideas down meant we ticked off most of our things, and always had something planned to look forward to. When Summer consists of work, work and more work, it’s so important to schedule FUN in too!

It’s no surprise to any regular readers that I’m just not a big fan of Summer. This year I was determined not to wish it away like I usually do, and actually embrace it. I’ve done a pretty good job of trying to live in the moment and I really have had such a fun Summer! I’m very excited for the things Matt and I have planned fort the rest of the month, but I’m even more excited that we’re almost in Autumn. *watches Hocus Pocus on repeat, much to Matt’s annoyance* Today I’m sharing with you some of our favourite things to do each Summer, and also some of the things we want to do this year before Autumn rolls around. It’s essentially your reminder to enjoy the rest of Summer!

Catch a sunset at the beach
The beach is our favourite place to watch sunsets, although I’m not sure any will come close to the sunsets we seen each night in Croatia. Each one was more beautiful than the last, they made us so happy! We love watching the sunset, it’s one of my very favourite things to do with Matt, and although it’s not quite the Adriatic coast, we live by some very beautiful beaches. It’s less than a ten minute drive for us to be at the beach, and although it’s usually somewhere we go for breakfast date we are trying to get there to catch a sunset more often!

Eat your favourite ice cream with your favourite person
Ice cream is our favourite treat! Whether you’re eating Halo Top on the couch whilst watching a movie, making late night McFlurry runs in your pj’s or sitting in the sun with the best ice cream in the North East, it’s SO fun to enjoy an ice cream date. We obviously eat ice cream all year round, but it’s a little more justifiable in the Summer, right?

Play tourist in your own city
One of our go-to date days is always to explore Newcastle; there’s so much to see and do, and we are those people that think there’s nowhere better than their hometown. Because there isn’t. We love walking along the Quayside, shopping from Eldon Square to Monument and having drinks on Grey’s Street, wherever you end up it’s always lively and we have the best time. Look up restaurants nearby that you’ve never been to, explore the back streets you’ve never been to and really embrace how beautiful your city is!

Go fruit picking at a local farm
This was such a random thing I wanted to do, but we both had so much fun! We spent an hour at Brockbushes Farm a few weekends ago picking strawberries and raspberries; it was such a hot, sunny day so we loved being outside, and bonus: we got a ton of fresh fruit! We gave some to our parents, some to my grandma and I ate A LOT, they were so sweet and juicy and the perfect pairing with breakfast. (Matt doesn’t like berries at all, so he literally did this for me!)

Star gaze late at night
Snapple fact: I’m obsessed with the stars and moon. I’m fascinated by space in general, and I love love love clear Summer nights when as far as the eye can see you’re under a blanket of stars. Of course, everyone knows the best place to see the stars is out in the countryside or at the beach as there’s no street lights around. We really need to go for a late night beach drive before Summer ends! If you can’t make it to the coast or country to watch, lay out in your back garden; grab a cosy blanket (or five) and your favourite snacks and try to spot those shooting stars! If you look long enough, you’ll see lots!

Host a BBQ
I’m pretty sure it’s an unwritten law in England that if it’s over 12 degrees at least six people per street need to light up their BBQ. We love cooking on the stove, but BBQ food is some of the very best! Burgers, sausages, kebabs, grilled peppers, potato salad, corn on the cob, chips and dip, fresh fruit, s’mores… the list goes on and it makes me hungry. Spending time with your loved ones is another great thing about BBQ’s – they’re a great way to catch up with friends or family! One thing I’m super excited about is when Matt and I get our own house in the next year or so we’ll be able to host our own BBQ’s in our own back garden! Yay!

Go on a road trip
We love road trips. Packing our suitcases, jumping in the car and heading South is just one of our favourite things to do. (We’re yet to road trip to Scotland, we always get the train when we venture North!) In a few weeks we’re heading to Stamford for a long weekend and I’m SO excited – like, ‘already planning outfits’ excited. I wrote a post including all of our road trip essentials here, and if you can squeeze a road trip in with your boyfriend/girlfriend/parents/best friend(s) before Summer ends, you’ll not regret it! Our motto: the longer the road trip, the more snacks you can eat. Okay, we don’t have a motto, but if we did it would be that. Probably.

Snuggle up on a chilly/rainy evening to enjoy a movie night
It is Summer in England, after all. Rainy evenings in the Summer are the best; it’s warm enough that the rain has that fresh smell, it’s super relaxing when you’re at home and it’s the perfect excuse to be lazy and watch a movie. There are SO MANY movies on Netflix, Sky and Amazon Prime; we’re always spoilt for choice and I swear we spend longer choosing a movie than we do actually watching it. Grab a bowl of popcorn (this flavour is our favourite) and your favourite pop, dim the lights and get cosy under lots of blankets!

Read a great book
What could be better than relaxing in the sun with a good book and not a worry in the world? I love that reading transports you to another place, to the point you’re able to completely forget what’s going on around you. I read a lot all year round, but there is something extra special about laying out, enjoying the warm weather. If only we had a pool to jump in to after…

Thank you so much for reading, guys! Have you done any of the things I mentioned so far this Summer? What are you hoping to squeeze in before Summer ends?

-G x

The Importance Of Being Kind In An Unkind World

Hi, loves! Happy Sunday!

I feel like the world we live in is constantly throwing out negative thing after negative thing; topics such as climate change, natural disasters, illness and pollution are inescapable to anyone who pays attention to the news or even social media. Add in other horrible headlines that we see on a near-daily basis; murders, animal cruelty, sexism and poverty, and it’s no wonder the world struggles to be kind and positive. Now, this blog post is not at all to put a downer on your Sunday, but it’s to show you that in my opinion, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and each other is to be kind.

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I have been thinking a lot recently about the way I act towards others, and the way others act towards me. I really wanted to write a somewhat chatty blog post about this as it’s something I think we can all struggle with sometimes. I know personally if I was having a bad day, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought about how my mood can affect others, but that’s something I’ve really been working on the past few months. I find that my mood is often brought down if someone else is taking their bad mood out on me; if someone is snappy or rude, I feel like it’s contagious and it makes me feel miserable too. However, when someone is kind and friendly towards you, this also has a contagious effect and the smallest thing can make my whole day.

Another thing that has got me thinking about kindness, is After Life, a Netflix show created by Ricky Gervais, who is also the lead character. Matt and I are only five episodes in and I’ve cried seven times already, it’s moving, incredibly sad, witty, and so emotional. The story is based around a man called Tony, who recently lost his wife Lisa to breast cancer, and how this affects him and everyone around him who just want to help. He’s struggling to deal with all of the emotions he feels since her death, and contemplated taking his own life as a result. There are funny parts in there too, and without giving too much away it is a perfect example of the fact you don’t know what other people are going through. Kindness is sometimes the only thing we have, and it’s truly important to spread and share with everyone you meet.

Being kind is honestly one of the best traits in a person in my opinion, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many kind-hearted people. I know I talk about my boyfriend approximately 24 hours a day (sorry not sorry), but he’s really just the best thing in my life. He is without a doubt the most hard-working, generous and kind man I’ve ever met, and he makes me so proud. His kindness is endearing; he always wants to help, he makes other people feel good about themselves, and he is such a happy person. He genuinely inspires me to be a better person every day! My mum and dad are so loving and kind; they help anyone in any way they possibly can, and they never expect anything in return for that. My family and close friends are a great bunch of kind-hearted people, and I know how lucky I am to have this kind of inner circle.

This past week I was in Asda picking up our dinner ingredients, and an elderly lady was struggling to reach something on a lower shelf so I grabbed it for her. I didn’t think about it, and I’m sure this is a pretty natural reaction for anyone, of course we’re going to help people when we can, but she was so grateful and happy that I’d done such a simple thing. She stopped to chat for a little while, and explained she had lots of problems with her hip and could no longer do everyday tasks the same way. We spoke for only a few minutes, and when we said goodbye she thanked me for being so kind to her, which naturally made my eyes fill with tears. (I’m a crier, lol). I’d had a long day at work, was feeling a little stressed out and was wishing away the hours until Matt finished work so I could curl up with him. It was a great reminder of how much our actions can directly affect those around us, even people we don’t know, and why being kind should not depend on your mood. I felt so happy to have this little exchange with the lady, and it gave me all the warm fuzzies to see how happy she was from stopping for a quick chat.

Being kind is not exclusive to people of wealth or people without, it’s something inclusive to all and I think it should be a higher priority for people, myself included. Organise your day or week, and make sure to take time out each day to carry out small acts of kindness. Kindness may not always be the most important thing in our lives, we all have different priorities at different times, but I truly think if we all focus a little more on it, the world would be a much better place.

As I said above, kindness can be contagious and that is one of the best things about it in my opinion. How many times have you seen a stranger smile at you, smiled back and instantly felt happier? Or recieved a hug at the end of a long day that just felt like heaven? Or given a gift and seen the joy on someone else’s face? Being kind can be a truly selfless act, of course, but it’s lovely that it has a boomerang-like effect; we get a buzz from making others feel good, and I think that’s pretty special.

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Fifteen Easy Things You Can Do Today To Be More Kind:
Smile. It’s really such a small thing, but how good do you feel when a stranger smiles at you randomly? Or you’re being checked out at the grocery store by a smiley cashier? Be generous with your smiles, they’re free!
Make dinner for your partner. Cooking together is always our preference, but Matt loves when I make dinner for him coming home from work. He sees it as such a nice gesture and I love to do it for him. He repays the favour on his days off when I’m at work and makes dinner for me coming home, I appreciate it so much too.
Donate to a charity. As little as £1 can make a huge differnce to those in need, you don’t have to think big to donate. Whether you’d like to give money, old items you no longer benefit from, canned foods (always needed at the homeless shelters!) or your time, give generously.
Pay for someone’s drink in the line behind you. I love to do this for someone from time to time. It’s so apparent how out-of-the-blue it is, and how flipping happy they are at the prospect of a free drink! You can also try this out at the drive thru, which Matt told me I need to stop doing or people will be following me through like I’m the Pied Piper. LOL.
Look for the best in situations. Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, and watering your (metaphorical) little garden to help it grow and flourish, is up to you. Don’t get bogged down with whatever is going on in the world whether it’s personal or in general; embrace it, and find the positives. If you look really hard you’ll find some!
Visit with family. They love to see you, and they want to hear about all the stuff you’ve been up to. Matt and I try to visit with our grandmas as much as possible, and we know how much they appreciate that. We see both our families so much and we love it, we’re super family orientated and thrive off quality time spent with them.
Make someone a cuppa. Whether it’s your partner in the morning, your co-workers throughout the day or whilst visiting your mum in the evening, making someone a hot drink is one of the sweetest things you can do. And, very British.
Text a friend and ask how they are. It’s so important to check in with your friends, and it’s something I’m really working on doing more often. I’ve never been great at replying to messages (sorry!) but I’m trying to be intentionally quicker and better at replying, and planning in catch ups.
Let the person behind you with less groceries cut infront. I’ve been allowed to do this so many times as I’m forever popping into Aldi for just a packet of bacon and brioche bread buns (Matt’s fave for a weekend morning, LOL) when people are doing their weekly food shop. I always feel a little awkward pushing in, but it’s a sweet gesture that always makes me smile.
Be thoughtful. Did your boyfriend have a bad day? Does your mum feel poorly? Has your friend been going through something rough? Run them a bath, bring them their favourite treats, or spend a little extra time with them.
Tip good service generously. Matt and I always tip when we receive good service in a restaurant, and I think it’s so important to show gratitude for this. In England it’s a little different than in other countries, as waiters and waitresses get paid a fair wage (generally speaking) so do not ‘rely’ on tips the same way as they do in, for example, the US. It’s not expected here per se, and it’s a lovely treat for someone’s hard work.
Hold the door for the person behind you. One of the most simple gestures you can do for someone but I can’t tell you how much this one can be appreciated.
Leave nice comments on social media. Whether it’s on your friend’s Facebook status or an accquaintance’s Instagram photo, share the love! It takes literally seconds from your day, and it’s always so nice to receive lovely comments. I love receiving blog comments SO much and I’m actively trying to comment more on the blogs I read and love.
Watch whatever your boyfriend wants to watch on TV (without complaining). Who cares if you’ve watched every televised football game for the past three weeks? Who cares if you still have no idea what’s going on in Corrie and you’re hiding from seeing any spoilers? Making sacrifices, as small as watching the football, is so appreciated by your partner, just make sure you get to watch your show next time!
Compliment a stranger. If you like someone’s top, hair cut or just the way they acted towards you (or someone else), tell them!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts on kindness in the comments below. What was the last ‘random act of kindness’ someone did for you? Or what did you do for someone else? Do you have to sometimes make a conscious effort to be kind too?

-G x

Luxury Loving: Charlotte Tilbury

Hi, loves!

Today I’m talking about my favourite luxury makeup brand of all time, Charlotte Tilbury! The brand is cruelty-free and many products are made with 100% vegan ingredients (you can see those products here). I always look forward to using my Charlotte Tilbury products every morning when I’m getting ready, and taking one of her lipsticks out of my bag to re-apply during the day makes me giddy. I guess that means I really love her products!? I haven’t tried a whole lot from her collection, but today I’m sharing five of my ultimate favourite, must-have products! My wishlist is never ending, and I’m so excited to add more into my collection someday.

Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk
This was my first ever product from Charlotte Tilbury, and I’ve been repurchasing for over four years now! I know I’ll never be without it in my makeup stash; it’s the perfect your-lips-but-better shade, and it pairs beautifully well with tons of lipsticks and lipglosses, whether you’re overlining your natural lip line or not. It lasts for so long on the lips, and I find the actual pencil lasts forever too. The only issue I have with it is that I wish it was retractable instead of needing to be sharpened as that’s a little bit of a faff. However, I now actually carry a sharperner with me in my bag, just incase!

Brow Lift in Brooke S
I purchased this in January as my then favourite brow pencil had ran out, yet I couldn’t repurchase as that was made by a non cruelty-free brand. After a litte time perusing Google and reading blog posts/online magazine articles, I decided to pick this up and I’m so pleased with it! It’s a bigger pencil than I was used to, so it took a few days to see how best to work with it, but now I’m sold. My natural eyebrows are so sparse but you’d never know when I’ve used this! The product looks natural on my brows and lasts all day, it’s a perfect high-end eyebrow pencil and I already know I’ll re-purchase when it runs out.

Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
This is hands down the most beautiful lipstick I own. It’s everything you need from a matte lipstick; it’s not drying, feels creamy and doesn’t show texture on the lips. I always apply lip balm and Pillow Talk lip liner first, and this lipstick lasts for SO LONG on the lips. If you’re wanting to buy just one thing from Charlotte Tilbury I’d say this is a perfect product to start with, as it can be worn without the lip liner and look just as beautiful. I love that this doesn’t smudge or wear off throughout the evening, and it’s great that Matt doesn’t complain about any sticky-ness when he kisses me! The packaging is so beautiful; it’s rose gold and looks so elegant, it’s my number one lipstick.

Eyelash Curler
Yep… a must-have really is my eyelash curler! I used a Tarte eyelash curler for around three years, then it broke and I didn’t re-purchase a new one. I thought it wouldn’t make much difference to my makeup, however my natural lashes are pretty long and straight, so mascara alone isn’t enough to hold a curl. I tried my mam’s Shiseido eyelash curlers (the ones everyone raves about) and didn’t really see much difference. I decided to buy these on a whim but I’m so glad I did. These eyelash curlers curl my eyelashes in such a beautiful way, the curl holds all day and they never pull out lashes (sometimes that happened with my Tarte ones). They are pretty pricey, but they’re such a wonderful treat, and I think they’d be a great gift for any beauty lovers in your life.

Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love
This blush is such a beautiful colour, and always looks so nice on the skin. It’s pink, but not too in-your-face, and always stays put throughout the day (sometimes with other brands I find blush disappears from my face!) I’m quite fickle with blushes and am often swapping them out, however since buying this in December I’ve not used any other blush. The packaging is so sleek and very sturdy and paired with the fact it’s got a good size mirror I think it’s a great product to travel with.

Thank you so much for reading! Have you tried any of the products I talked about in this post? What are your favourite Charlotte Tilbury products? What’s on your wishlist? I think I’m going to pick up KISSING lipstick in The Duchess next as it’s the most beautiful tea-rose shade, (it was made for Kate Middleton, who wouldn’t love to feel like a princess!?)

-G x