AD | What’s In My Bag?

AD – this post contains gifted content sent to me to feature on my blog. Please read my full disclaimer here for more information

Happy, happy Sunday loves! I am so very excited to share today’s post with you because these kind of posts are some of my favourite to write, and I also love to read them from others. I’ve watched What’s In My Bag videos on YouTube since I can remember, and it’s something I genuinely feel SO INVESTED in. I last shared what’s in my bag back in January, and although it’s not changed up too much I thought it was about time I shared my current must-haves with you. I love to see what other people carry with them on a day-to-day basis, maybe I’m just super nosy?! Whatever it is, it scratches an itch I can’t explain and I just find it so fascinating to see what people class as their must-have items.

I’ve spoken about my love of backpacks, particularly when travelling, before on my blog, and they’re so handy in everyday life too. First of all, they are super practical; you have both hands free! This means holding hands with your partner, carrying your drink (the new Starbucks’ toasted marshmallow hot chocolate for the holidays is a game changer!) or browsing rails whilst shopping is so easy. Secondly they are so spacious and adaptable to any outfit or ocassion. Thirdly… my backpack is so. dang. pretty.

I was able to choose the beautiful Parlän backpack in black *gifted from the lovely guys over at Gaston Luga and I can’t tell you how much I love it! Gaston Luga are a Swedish brand, based in Stockholm, manufacturing backpacks for both men and women. I truly love their designs; they are very chic yet classic and timeless, which makes them the perfect accessory that never goes out of style. I am so happy and grateful Gaston Luga wanted to collaborate with me! I know by now you’ve swooned over the photos, clicked on the link and are dying to purchase your own… just wait, because I have the PERFECT discount code for you to get money off your order!

I really want to share my thoughts on my favourite features of the Parlän backpack. First of all; the two outside pockets are super handy for items you need to grab easily like lip balm or car keys. There’s a slip pocket on the back of the bag that fits a passport or card holder which is so practical, especially for travelling. How often do you worry about losing things like that in busy airports?! I am obsessed with the red fabric interior of the bag; it has the Gaston Luga logo printed all over which is a gorgeous touch. Inside, the backpack is SO roomy! You can easily fit more than I have inside right now, which makes it perfect for travel or long days out of the house, but also a brilliant option for work or running errands. There’s even a pocket at the back with a magnetic closure that fits my iPad mini just perfectly. One more thing… the buckle closure on the top of the bag is for show! It does actually open like a regular buckle, but there’s a secret little press stud underneath which makes it very convenient to open.

…So, what’s inside?!

I of course always have my purse in my bag, which is a must! Right now I’m using this Kate Spade purse (that I actually stole from my mum about a year ago and still haven’t gave back… sorry mum!) which is the perfect size. It fits all my cards, cash and coins with ease. I also always keep my pill in there so I know where it is and it’s easily accessible as I take it every day. I loved my old YSL card holder so much but after four years it’s really looking worn and kinda gross. I’m planning on treating myself to a new card holder in the Black Friday sale as I generally prefer using a card holder instead of a purse. I’m not sure if I’m going to go for this one from Aspinal or this one from Mulberry… please help me!

I generally keep my car & house keys on the top of my bag or in the front pockets as I’m always in and out of my car. The only time I don’t take my keys with me is the rare weekend day Matt is off work and we’re out for the whole day, because he’s always the driver! I love to keep my keys on a lanyard for two reasons; it makes my keys super easy to find, and it also makes them easier to carry around. I really love this leopard print one, it’s the cutest!

One of my favourite things in my bag is my iPad Mini; I keep this with me because it makes blogging on the go really convienent, and I love to watch my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m cooking dinner. Whether we’re at home or Matt’s parents in the evening, it just means I always have it with me! I also currently read books on my iPad Mini so I always want to make sure it’s accessible to read on my lunch break or during the evenings. Matt is gifting me an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite this Christmas and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it, I can’t WAIT!

I of course keep super boring things in my bag each day too; including an iPhone wall charger and a portable charger – you know, just so I’m really covered, my pink Stojo collapsible cup (it’s literally the best invention EVER), an emergency Cadbury’s bar because your girl gets hangry and my Tangle Teezer. I’ve had this one for so long it’s seriously time to replace it! One of my favourite things in my bag is my worry stone, Matt has one too and it just brings me a lot of comfort when I’m feeling anxious. I also sometimes keep my umbrella in my bag but it generally lives in the side of my car door for easy access. Which always seems like a great idea until I’m going to the car in the rain!

I like to keep things organised inside pouches so things don’t roll loosely around my bag and this beautiful Oliver Bonas makeup bag is my newest purchase that I’m so happy with. It’s just the cutest dang colour, and the small bee design makes my heart so happy! I’m scared of bees in real life (just because I’ve never been stung before and I don’t want to be) but I think they’re so cute in design. Weird, I know! This pouch easily fits in my beauty essentials – and some non-essentials) that I like to have on hand whilst out and about during the day or at work.

I am obsessed with anything from Bath & Body Works, and as we don’t have one here in the UK I buy via a Facebook selling page. The prices are generally quite reasonable, albeit more expensive than in the US, but the products are just so. dang. good. I’m finishing up the last of my Fall hand cream in the scent Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, and my hand sanitizer in -. I can’t wait to purchase some festive scents in the next few weeks!

I love fragrances, so I like to carry two with me just in case. My most used rollerball perfume is without a doubt MAC Turquatic, I replace this every couple of months because I go through it so fast! It’s perfect for any occasion and I always get compliments on it, I’ve worn it since I was a teenager! I also really love Dior’s Blooming Bouquet roller pearl which is ideal for evenings or weekends; it’s another of my favourite scents. I don’t carry many makeup bits with me these days but I do always have my MAC Next To Nothing compact (sadly discontinued) with me, along with my eyebrow pencil and concealer.

Lip balm is a must for me at all times of the year, but right now it’s even more important to carry! My go-to is Nuxe Reve de Miel, although it’s not unusual for me to carry at least three with me at any time. To be fair, Matt is always borrowing my lip balm, too! My current favourite lipsticks are always on hand; MAC Jubilee, Clinique Bare Pop and Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. I always carry Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillowtalk lip liner too as it goes with pretty much all of my lipsticks – it’s seriously such a good buy.

Then I have all of the random ‘bits and bobs’ in my pouch. I carry my MoonCup (because I know some people will be wondering… it’s very new to me. The jury is still out on what I think – although I’m genuinely considering writing a blog post about my experience with it so far. Is that TMI? Or is that helpful?!), tampons – just in case as like I said the MoonCup is very new to me, bobby pins, a few pairs of contact lenses, extra invisibobbles, ibuprofen and my favourite scrunchie from Topshop. Sometimes, especially at the end of a long work day, all I want to do is get my hair out of my face and I love scrunchies because you literally can’t feel them in your hair! I tend to wear my glasses most work days, and make the most of my contact lenses at the weekends. If I’m not wearing my glasses they need to be in my bag, just incase! My glasses are from Ted Baker and I just love so much, they’re so cute. Matt totally copied and got the mens version of my style, hah!

Are you in love with this backpack too?! Or are you wanting to buy it as a Christmas gift for your favourite lady this year? I’ve got you covered! You can use my discount code GF15 for 15% off across the whole website. Also, if you order between now and November 13th (that’s this Wednesday, guys!) they are having a sale for Singles Day. This means you get 25% discount automatically applied at checkout, then you can use my code GF15 for a further 15% off. What a bargain!

Thank you for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, isn’t it so fun having a nosy inside other people’s bags?! I know I carry an awful lot but… I like to be prepared. For dry lips and phones losing power. HA! What are your must-haves in your bag every day? Also, have you ever seen a cuter backpack?! Thank you so much to Gaston Luga… and happy shopping!

-G x

Blogging Q&A

Hey, loves! A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked on my Instagram stories if you had any blogging related questions you’d like me to answer. I was super scared nobody would ask questions (LOL) but I thankfully got quite a good response, although some people asked the same or similar questions which I’ve just mixed together. I love reading posts like this because as a blogger – and as an aspiring blogger before I created my own blog – I love to know other people’s behind-the-scenes! I talk a lot about my real life on here, and I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, one of those bloggers with an incredibly professional set up. I admire the beautiful photogenic blogs SO much, but it’s just not me. I take my photos on my iPhone X, I will never do a professional photo shoot for blog content (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing) and I’m happy in my own little world over here. So, let’s A some of your Q’s…

Why did you start writing your blog?
It was a dream I thought would never come true. I’d read blogs for so many years, and felt so connected and inspired by the people running them. Many of the girls I followed moved from blogging to vlogging and I felt like I knew them even more; I genuinely talk about Anna and Emma as if they’re my high school besties, which Matt finds hilarious! I loved the connection I felt as a reader, and I always hoped one day I’d find the courage to create my own. Fast forward four years of loving everything about blogs, and I’d poured my heart out to Matt about how I’d always thought one day I’d do it myself, but I just never had and now it was too late. Like the amazing man he is, he encouraged me to start right there and then, and I did. I bought my blog domain at the end of May 2018, and just began writing. I had NO IDEA what to expect, how any of it worked, or how it would be received, but I did it anyway. The day my first post went live (10th June, 2018) I was a nervous wreck in case people were mean. Matt and I went out for Sunday dinner at our favourite local pub and I could barely eat because I was so nervous. Over the past year I’ve found my routine, and now I love every aspect of running and owning my blog, I’m so proud of it!

What is your favourite thing about writing? / How do you make time to write?
It is very freeing, and it just feels good to get lost in my own little world. I think we spend SO MUCH TIME worrying about others, pleasing others and doing what others want to do, and it’s important to actually take a step back and be a little selfish sometimes. My number one priorites are always going to be my relationship, our family and friends and work, but when I can just sit and blog, I love to totally switch off from the world. When I’m writing I always get super comfy under a blanket, and usually have a cup of tea or hot chocolate. By ‘a cup’ I mean at least three, because I write for so long! I usually listen to podcasts, watch old YouTube vlogs (Jade Billington‘s are my favourite!) or play Your Favourite Coffeehouse playlist on Spotify although sometimes I just write in silence. I think making writing time an enjoyable experience makes it something I look forward to, and not something I stress about having to get done, even though I’m working to deadlines. Editing usually looks very different; I tend to do that whenever/wherever I can squeeze it in, often whilst we’re in the car or when I’m in the bath I’ll be proof-reading or editing on my phone.

How do you grow your audience?
I’m struggling a little to answer this, as although my blog is growing, it’s very slowly and steadily, not super quick. I think having a schedule and posting consistently is a huge factor in people coming back to my blog over and over, but I’m not really sure how people find my little corner of the internet. I find self-promoting my blog a little weird and awkward, so I try to only do that when it comes to new posts going live. I interact with other bloggers whose blogs I adore, and building those relationships is a great way to interest other people in your posts. I don’t have the most professional set up or look, but I think that can give my blog a cosy ~homey~ vibe, which hopefully people enjoy.

Do you ever get stuck for ideas?
Not really, because I plan my posts so far in advance! I don’t write my post there and then; I have the original idea so I’ll write my title, make any notes – usually this is points I want to make in the post, products I want to talk about, photo ideas etc and then I ‘schedule’ that for a date in a few weeks time and save the draft. Then, when it comes to writing the post, most of the ground work is done and I’m able to just start writing. I find it hard to make things concise though sometimes LOL, but it’s okay because I waffle on in real life just as much. The only posts I do write not long before they go live is my Feelin’ It Friday’s as they’re quick and about the week we’re currently in. I usually prep those on the Thursday night, then edit/update on Friday morning before it goes live.

Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
I get my inspiration from just whatever is going on in my life. If we’re going on a road trip, I want to share our essentials, if I’m really obsessed with a brand, I want to tell you the things I’d recommend most, if Matt and I are having a fun weekend, I take photos throughout the days and round it up for you. I also listen to comments I get, side note: people are always asking me to share dinner recipes so that post will be coming in a few weeks! I’m of course inspired by other bloggers and by YouTube content creators, and I think I’ve carved a path for my blog that means I can write about pretty much anything I want to. I never intended on sharing so much of Matt and I’s life, but I love doing it in the way I do; it’s like an extension of Instagram, where it’s real and honest, yet never staged or ‘for the blog’.

Do you feel guilty being sent products for free?
I’m not really sure how to answer this question because I don’t understand what there is to feel guilty about. Is it absolutely insane? YES. Is it surreal? YES. Is it amazing? YES. I wouldn’t say I feel ‘guilty’ because I truly put so much time and effort into my blog, which I don’t think is something that people outside of my close circle or the blogging world will realise. I only accept products that fit with me and my blog, as I’ve had some emails which just don’t work for me so I’ve politely declined. I’d never recommend something I wouldn’t purchase myself, and I’ll always be very honest if a product doesn’t work for me. My disclaimer is linked here, if you’d like a little more clarification. I truly am so grateful for every product I’ve been sent and every PR agency or brand that wants to work with me, it’s mind-blowing that my little blog is even capable of this!

Where do you see your blog in one years time?
My blog will be two years old by then, and I’m hoping it would have continued to grow with me, but I’ll definitely be creating the same kind of content. I really do want to become more comfortable in front of the camera, and Matt is always trying to encourage me to take photos when we’re out and about, which is making me slightly warm up to the idea. I know I’m not photogenic as it is, but then when I’m specifically ‘posing’ for a photo, I truly just go to pot HAHA. I would love to figure out my photography style a little more too, as I’m learning more and more about how I like to take photos and I’m hoping as a result my blog looks more streamlined and pretty.

Have you ever been recognised in public from your blog?
Haha, no I have not! I have had a weird moment in The Body Shop (I mean, where else?) where I was restocking on a few products and a girl who went to my school – she was a few years below me and we knew of each other, but didn’t know each other, if that makes sense – asked what I’d recommend she buy. She said she read my blog and purchased the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil because of my review and loved it, which was seriously like an out of body experience.

Does blogging take up lots of your time?
Yes and no. It does take a lot of time and effort, but I try to set aside specific time to write, edit, take photos etc, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. As I always try to plan ahead I don’t feel like it ‘takes up lots of time’ necessarily, because that time is specifically for blogging. I work a real 9-5 job, and blogging is my hobby so it’s something I like to do. Sometimes I really feel like I should spend an hour or two writing and editing during an evening, but I’m always going to opt for snuggling in with Matt to watch Netflix instead! I talked a lot about this in this post, and covered the ins and outs of how I find the time to blog here, too!

Do you feel weird about people you know in real life reading your blog?
I used to find it SO weird, but now I don’t really think about it too much. I know some people who know of me may read to pick flaws or to laugh at me (I had an experience with that when I first started out blogging) but I’m 25 years old, and not in high school. Although, my co-workers love to read on their lunch breaks and tell me as they’re reading, that is kinda weird haha. I know that people I know read it, and I’m truly very grateful for the views I get. I hope that people who like to read my blog tell their friends who will then tell their friends, that would be amazing! One thing I will always find strange is that I sometimes will talk about something on my blog – especially now in my Feelin’ It Friday posts – and people will see me and say things like “did you and Matt love that movie you went to see last weekend?!” or “I seen you were at Wagamama’s again!” The weirdest thing is when someone tells me they’ve bought something because of what I said about it. I never imagined that but I’ve had so many messages from people telling me!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you asked a question thank you SO much, I hope I answered it well enough! I hope you feel like you know me a little more as a blogger, I really try to be so open and honest with everything I post. Fellow bloggers, how do you feel about this platform? Do you relate to anything I’ve said? I’d love to do more Q&A style posts, and I’m hoping to maybe rope Matt into taking part in a little post on the blog… we’ll see!

-G x

Summer Beauty Edit / AD*

*This post contains gifted items I was sent for review, to share my honest opinion about. All words and photographs are my own.

Hi, loves! This coming Thursday is the official first day of Summer, and I’m hoping that means an abrupt end to all of this awful weather we’ve had! Endless days of torrential rain, wind and flooding have caused misery across the North (and to be honest, I think all around the UK) and as much as I love feeling cosy in the house when it’s cold and rainy outside, I’m more than ready for hot Summer days! I’m not the biggest fan of Summer fashion, as I talked about way more in this post, but one thing I really do love about Summer style is the beauty products. Shimmery highlights, bronzed tones and coconut scented everything? Yes please! I’m not going to be sharing everything I’m packing for Matt and I’s upcoming holiday to Croatia, but I wanted to share with you a few items that I couldn’t think about leaving without!

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Okay so let’s get this out of the way: anything from Too Faced’s cocoa-infused chocolate range is a winner in my book, because why wouldn’t I want my makeup to smell like chocolate?! I first picked this bronzer up – in the original Chocolate shade – around four years ago, and it’s a product I’ve re-purchased over and over again since. I love that this bronzer looks natural whether I’m slightly sun-kissed with a little bit of a tan or even in the colder months when I’m very fair. I use this as a contour/bronzer day and night, because who really has the time (or patience) to use both?! It never looks harsh or muddy like so many bronzers easily can, and it blends so easily. The mirror in this compact is also perfect for when you’re on holiday, if the vanity table is not great – which is quite often the case – you can definitely use this to get ready easily!

Eylure Eye Lashes *gifted
I’ve used and loved Eylure eyelashes since I was a teenager, and when False Eyelashes reached out and asked if I’d like to feature some on my blog I was beyond excited! Eylure lashes are so. flipping. easy. to apply, and that is coming from the clumsiest person ever! I love that the band fits to your eye shape perfectly, the glue dries in no time and they look amazing every time! The 117 are my go-to date night lash because they’re thick and fluffy, and they’re perfect for adding a little extra to an otherwise simple makeup look. I really love the style of the 070’s; these will be perfect for a BBQ or a Summer day out, and for the night time on holiday! I love wearing lashes during our holiday evenings because it makes your face look so much more put together; a little lip gloss, brows, bronzer and highlight, topped off with a set of natural eyelashes? Yes, please! I wore the 031’s last night for date night (we literally went to the movies, but it’s nice to look good for your partner, right?! I was super excited about this package, haha) and I loved them, I need to pick up some more before we fly!

The Body Shop Brazillian Cupacu Scrub-in-Oil
This is hands down the best scrub I’ve ever used, and I am so excited to have it in my beauty collection. A super generous birthday gift from my lovely boyfriend, I use this at least twice per week, and I love how amazing my skin feels afterwards. In the Summer I’m wearing lots of short sleeved tops, cropped jeans/trousers and even skirts or shorts, so I’m definitely baring lots more skin and I want it to look/feel good! The oil makes the scrub feel so luxurious, and it’s the perfect pre-shave treatment. It also smells incredible, I literally feel like I’m in a spa each time I use this, which is amazing! I wish this came in a travel size as I’m a little wary to decant it to take away with us, and the tub is so huge it’s definitely not travel friendly.

NYX Bare With Me BB Cream in Vanilla Nude
Right now, this is seriously floating my boat! I have been testing this BB cream out over the past few weeks and I have to say it’s giving my favourite drugstore foundation a run for it’s money. It feels super lightweight yet gives incredible coverage which was something I never expected from a BB cream. It hasn’t once made me break out, it leaves my skin looking so good (like, your skin but better. You know?), and lasts all day without sliding off my face. Over the past few years I’ve moved away from the heavy foundations I used to love (I lived in Estee Lauder Double Wear which is so dang thick!) and now I always opt for a thin, light base. I use concealer to cover up any blemishes, scarring or hyper-pigmentation and I think this made such a difference. I’ve also picked this BB cream up in a darker shade in the hope that I get a little tan on holiday, and I’ll be able to mix the two shades for those in-between days!

MAC Turquatic Rollerball
I recently talked about this rollerball a lot in this post, and it’s so good I’m featuring it again! Turquatic is my all-time favourite rollerball year round, but it’s seriously perfect for hot, sunny Summer days. Matt really loves when I wear this too, which makes me love it even more! It reminds me of the beach and family trips to Florida when I was younger, the scent just makes me so dang happy. I really love that you can easily throw this in your bag or carry on to top up throughout the day, and it’s perfect to use on a plane because it’s not a spray that may irritate other people around you!

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Exotic Coconut
After sun is a must have for holidays and hot Summer days in the UK (although seriously, it feels like they’re never coming right now…) and nobody does it better than Hawaiian Tropic. This after sun is my absolute favourite because it smells like coconuts, which just screams Summer to me, and it’s so. freaking. moisturising. Matt and I share our after sun on holiday, and he also thinks it smells amazing! I tend to layer my after sun on pretty thick after my shower, then sit out on the balcony to do my makeup whilst it soaks in. Also, whilst you’re on holiday make sure you leave your after sun in the fridge! It stays super cold which feels amazing putting on to warm skin when you get out of the shower each evening.

NYX Butter Gloss in Madeleine
I love wearing lipgloss in the Summer months, it’s just so much more light and fresh, and I feel like it tones down my makeup just a tad! This is my perfect nude, it’s a little darker than I used to always go for, and kinda reminds me of the nineties, in a good way. I do still reach for my favourite Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks – The Duchess and Pillow Talk – for date night or sometimes if I want to feel a little more put together, but on a day-to-day basis, lipgloss is my go-to. This formula is super opaque and you don’t need a lip liner underneath, although it is a little tacky so if it’s windy I can guarantee my hair will get caught!

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Lotion
A fairly new discovery for me, and a product I’ve only been trying out for a few weeks, hence why it wasn’t included in my Best Of: The Body Shop post. This moisturiser is super lightweight and refreshing, and it smells of oranges which is a lovely scent to wake you up in the morning! Makeup sits on top of this really well for me, although I do always set my makeup with a setting spray! I’ve found that even though this moisturiser contains SPF 30 – so important, especially in the Summer – it doesn’t leave a white cast on your face or flashback in photos. It’s a super small tube at only 50ml, but despite near constant use the past few weeks I don’t think I’ve used much at all! My skin is left literally glowy after each application, and I am so excited to use this more throughout the Summer. I did however purchase this from Hawaiian Tropic to use on holiday when we’re staying at the resort, as that is a specific sun lotion and I think a little better for sitting in the sun all day!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got a little inspiration if you’re looking for Summer beauty products. What are your must-haves for Summer and holiday season? Have you got any recommendations of things I need to pick up?

-G x