What’s What! #2

Happy, happy Sunday loves! Can you believe another week in lockdown has passed? Me neither! The UK government announced a lockdown extension of three weeks on Thursday – I called it! – so this is our reality until at least May 7th. I’m actually okay with that, I felt so much better watching the press conference the other evening and hearing the new official lockdown date. I know it sounds kinda weird but just knowing the next date to focus on lifted my anxiety SO MUCH, and even if it’s not the final date (I very much doubt it is, tbh) then I’m okay with that. I just need something to focus on! 

I’ve somehow gone straight back to the format/style of my old Feelin’ It Friday posts this week, but who cares. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?! Grab a cuppa and settle in for a loooong chatty post… 

What beauty product I’m recommending:
I very briefly mentioned this cleansing cream in my Day In My Life: WFH post but I need to talk to you about it properly! I’ve been using this every single morning for around four weeks now and I can’t tell you how much I love it. Before I was using a cleanser that was a little too harsh for my skin, but this is so gentle and hydrating. It feels so nice on my skin whilst I clean my face, and then when I wash it off my skin does not feel at all tight or irritated. I’ve been having a really hard time with my skin since the beginning of the year but it finally seems to be looking good again. Side note: I just recently got my prescription treatment from Dermatica and whilst I’m aware I’ll probably see peaks and troughs as my skin gets used to it, I’m already SO obsessed. I can’t wait to see what that does for my skin over time.

What I’m listening to:
One of my favourite parts of the #wfh life is that most afternoons I listen to a podcast, play a show on Netflix/Disney+ or catch up on my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m getting work done. But, this past week I have also been playing music too and it’s been such a fun change. Everyone knows your girl loves a Disney song, something you may not know is my favourite driving music is actually by Kasey Musgraves! I feel like I’m out in the middle of Texas driving down pretty roads listening to her (I have no idea why either…) and although I’m missing driving to/from work A TON I found a way to incorporate her into my wfh day too. I’m so looking forward to carefree Summer days, and that’s exactly what her music makes me think of!

What I’m eating:
It’s no secret that Matt and I LOVE cooking, so we’ve really been trying to create new dishes during this season of #stayinghome. We are really fortunate that we’re able to eat (pretty much) the same as we did before lockdown started, but we have had some questionable use-everything-up meals on the days before we had to go grocery shopping again! (I miss meal planning and grocery shopping as we normally would, and I can’t believe how much I miss being able to just pop to the store to pick up whatever, whenever. I’m kind of nervous about going grocery shopping right now which is so wild; I went yesterday and it was okay but I felt so stressed out by the time I was leaving). I made our favourite BLT pasta dish one night this week it was so. freaking. good. I can’t tell you how much we love this for a quick and easy dinner recipe! I got quite a lot of DM’s on Instagram about this too so I think I’ll share the recipe soon, we adapted this one from Shay. We paired it with our favourite wine and enjoyed the best little date night at home! 

What I’m reading:
ALL of the books! And blogs! And my Cosmopolitan magazine! I’ve really been making the most of the things that make me happy during lockdown (for y’know, my own sanity) and I just love reading so much. I’ve read two books this week – thanks to cosy late night baths and Matt’s new Football Manager obsession – and I’ve just started reading In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. This has such good reviews and so far I’m only 18% in (I love that I can see that on my Kindle) but I’m already really enjoying it. I wrote this post talking about tons of my favourite books and some of the books I’ve got on my reading list right now if you missed it! 

What I’m wearing:
I’m really NOT mad about all of the comfy clothes I’ve been living in the past few weeks. I truly am happiest wearing huge oversized sweatshirt (I kinda collect vintage USA/Disney sweatshirts, it’s my thing!) and I’ve been so enjoying getting cosy in them recently. I also have been wearing leggings or sweatpants on repeat. Part of me does miss wearing ‘real’ clothes but I’m happy that whenever the lockdown is lifted it will (hopefully) be warmer, and I’ll get to wear cute midi skirts and dresses! I just ordered a few more cosy vintage sweatshirts from Depop this past week because I got them for a steal and they’re literally all I’m wearing right now. I actually want to write a blog post about my collection because people often ask where I get them from/how I buy etc, but I don’t know if that would be interesting to read or helpful as because they’re vintage you couldn’t get the same ones. That being said, Matt just ordered this incredible HUGE New York sweatshirt for me – it’s for my birthday which is next month! – and if you’re in the market for something super cosy I can’t recommend Brandy Melville enough. These kind sell out super quick so be fast if you want one!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I have been loving the new season of Brooklyn 99, I’m so sad we’ve almost finished! We binge watched Tiger King a few weeks ago and were completely blindsided/dumbfounded/shocked/confused/every other emotion possible. Literally every 10 minutes it got weirder, and I can’t really decide if that’s a good thing or not? It was good TV and Carole totally killed her husband but would I recommend it? I don’t know! Hahaha. I’ve been making the most of Disney+ especially when Matt’s been at work and watching some of my old favourites like Lizzie McGuire… oh the memories! Matt and I are also watching The Imagineering Story. Oh my gosh I just love that show. I have always been fascinated with the imagineering side of Disney since I was a little girl. We’ve just started Ozark and I don’t really have an opinion on it yet, but I know people love it. I’m excited to see what we think! 

What I’m reminiscing about:
I totally understand why, but I’m bummed that we’re more than likely not going to get a holiday this year. Right now, we’re 99.9% sure our family trip to Florida in October is not a good idea, but Matt and I are holding onto the hope that we might get to go to an all inclusive in Portugal or somewhere for a week later in the year! Matt and I really hoped we’d go to Lisbon and Krakow on city breaks this year but that seems super unlikely, and that’s okay because I’d much rather be safe than on holiday! That hasn’t stopped me from looking back at our photos from Croatia last year at least… thirty thousand times?! We both have said so many times (to anyone that will listen, lol) that it was our favourite ever holiday and it really was. We were on the side of a mountain, right on the most beautiful, quiet beach we’ve ever seen, in 40 degree sunshine with each other and endless fun cocktails… literally what else could we have wanted?! We’ll definitely visit again one day!

What I’m thankful for:
Everything. Ha! I feel like I’ve really reflected a lot over the past few weeks and I’m just very grateful for my life and all of the positive things that are in it. I’m so very thankful for the big things; good health, Matthew, our families and friends, our jobs, the ability to work from home, being back into my regular blogging schedule. But, the little things mean just as much to me. Waking up early, sunny days, afternoon walks, long texts from my friends, taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup, driving to grab groceries whilst listening to my favourite podcast, spraying perfume in the mornings. The teeny little every day things that normally I wouldn’t give too much attention have just been highlighted to me SO much! I know lots of people think like this right now, and I really hope it’s something we carry forward after lockdown ends.

What I’m obsessed with:
Drinking tea! I’m still drinking an unhealthy amount of Diet Coke – you can’t judge me, we’re in a pandemic y’know! – but working from home has got me wandering to the kettle like it’s part of my job. I drink Twining’s English Breakfast every morning (I really hate coffee. I’ve tried to get myself to like it and I just can’t) but during the day I’ve been alternating between my English Breakfast and this vanilla tea from Tick Tock. I found it at Tesco way before the pandemic started so I’ve no idea if it’s easily available right now, but if you’re able to pick it up on your next grocery run I highly recommend!  

What else is new:
Not much. I did get stung by a wasp the other day for the first time in my life. It’s getting WILD over here, folks. For real it hurt like a MF and I thought my finger was going to fall off. #dramatic. I’m dying for a McDonald’s Fanta. Oh and I rode a bike for the first time since I was maybeee…twelve? I totally thought I was going to fall flat on my face and screamed at Matt to hold on (hahaha) but turns out it’s true what they say, you really don’t forget how to ride a bike! 

Thank you so much for reading, friends! What’s going on in your world right now? How are you coping with the lockdown? I’m only a DM away if you ever fancy a chat! What things have been making you happy this week? I’ll see you on Wednesday with a little chit-chat/review of the £13.00 most amazing moisturiser you need in your life. No, seriously… 

-G x

Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Skincare Saviours

Hi, loves! I am such a huge lover of skincare, it’s my favourite part of my beauty routine and I really enjoy trying new brands and products. That being said, I definitely have my favourites that I come back to time and time again that I couldn’t imagine being without. I talked through my skincare routine in this post back in March and I still love and use all of those products! I have added some new products into my routine over the past few months, but I’ll save those to share with you in an updated skincare routine during the Autumn months. Today I’m talking about my must haves that I like to use randomly during the week, and that are also reserved for those crappy skin days when my regular routine just won’t cut it.

My skin is firmly in the ‘combination’ category; it’s super oily in my T Zone, especially during the Summer months, but I also have dry skin that needs lots of moisture and hydration. I seem to have eczema (or something similar) under my right eye that appears out of nowhere, it’s there right now and it drives me crazy! I am so strict with my skincare routine and I never miss a morning or night; it’s so therapeutic to me and I’m really happy with the products I’m using right now. I am however very intrigued by the new Pixi Vitamin C range and I’m planning on picking up some of those products next time I’m shopping, please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried anything yet and what you think so far!

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
This is my absolute holy grail mask, and I’ve spoken about it A LOT on my blog! I use this once per week, usually on a Sunday evening, and my skin loves it. Matt almost always joins in with my little pamper evenings when I use this mask, because it just makes your skin look incredible. The ‘glow’ part is so true – my skin feels light and glowy, and my makeup always applies better the next day. As I mentioned in this post, I always apply with The Body Shop’s face mask brush which ensures it goes on evenly without clumping, and is not at all messy. It is slightly tingly when applied but that subsides pretty quickly, and although I leave the mask on for around 10 – 15 minutes (pretty much just until it hardens) it never leaves my skin red or puffy. I also swear by all of the sheet masks from The Body Shop as they always leave my skin looking and feeling great! When Matt and I are travelling I always pack a few sheet masks as they’re so travel friendly, and really quick to use! Also, they’re biodegradable and environmentally friendly, doesn’t it just feel good to be in David Attenborough’s good books?

Pixi Glow Tonic
It’s a cult product for a reason, right? A must have in my routine, a product I always travel with and one I recommend to anyone and everyone who will listen, but I have stopped using this every day. Shocking, right? I now use this roughly four to five times per week; I’ve experimented with using it when I felt like my skin ‘needed’ it, every day use, and eventually settled somewhere in-between that. I take this toner on a reusable cotton pad, wipe over my t-zone and take whatever is left on the rest of my face, then once my skin is dry I apply my serum(s), eye cream and moisturiser. I never use this during the morning but I always notice the following day how glowy my skin looks, it’s a genuine miracle worker. It has reduced hyper pigmentation and acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw line SO much, and I love how my makeup applies the next day. Also, I really feel like this isn’t talked about enough when it comes to Glow Tonic; but you MUST use SPF religiously if you use this product, especially during the Summer months.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion *gifted
This product hasn’t been in rotation in my routine very long, but oh my gosh I just love it! It was very kindly sent to me by The Body Shop and I’ve been using this exfoliator two to three times per week since I received it. This is another product Matt ‘borrows’ from me – he’s obsessed with this and how much it clears the blackheads from his nose! I don’t find it harsh on my skin as the exfoliating pieces are so fine and not abrasive, and it never leaves my sensitive skin red or feeling sore. My skin always looks and feels so much brighter in the evenings I use this, and it works very well on acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, it seems to fade/lighten the scars which is amazing. This exfoliator works so well on dry patches, and I know this will be a staple going into the Autumn and Winter months when my skin needs all the TLC it can get. It smells gorgeous and is such a treat to use in the evening, I really look forward to it. I always make sure to use a nourishing serum afterwards – my favourite is of course the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop – which helps to hydrate my skin.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
I bought this product for the first time way before I heard any hype about it, and I feel like it was one of the very rare times I was ahead of the ‘trend’! I ordered this on a whim back in 2016, and after trying so many products for persistent acne I have to admit I didn’t have high hopes. By this point I’d been prescribed various creams by the doctors and even they hadn’t worked, but I was still willing to give anything a shot. I applied this as I’d read online; dipping a cotton bud into the bottom of the bottle without shaking the mixture; and went to sleep. Fast forward to the following morning and the horrible under-the-skin spot that was taking over my chin had almost gone, I literally couldn’t believe it! I’ve always gotten on well with the formula, and I’ve re-purchased several bottles over the years. I only use this now when I have a particularly bad spot and it still works a treat. I apply onto a spot before bed (Matt’s a lucky guy!) and the next morning the spot is always way less red, reduced in size and less painful.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful, I loved sharing this with you because skincare is just my thing. When I was younger I definitely was more interested in makeup products, but the more I learn about skincare the more I love it! What are your skincare saviours that you reach for throughout the week or turn to when you’re having a bad skin day? Have you tried any of the products in this post?

-G x