Our Bedroom Refresh (On A Budget!)

Hi, loves! 

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I accidentally scheduled this post for 8pm instead of 8am. I’ve had a super busy work day and didn’t even realise that it hadn’t gone live, I completely forgot. Also, we’ve had several grey days in a row so the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos. Never mind 🙂

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet, and I really hope it inspires you if you’re looking to freshen up your bedroom too. I love simple, minimal decor and I was a little over everything we had going on in our room. There was a lot of blues and deep greens that I wanted to switch out, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

You probably already know Matt and I are planning to buy our own house next year and we live with my parents currently. We’re so lucky we all get along so well and are really grateful for this time with them! I wanted to update our space on a small budget, and a lot of the changes I made using things we already had. So, what did I change!?

The change I’m most excited about is a set of fresh bed linen. We already had a nice white set from Next that I purchased probably at least five years ago, but we didn’t have another neutral set to be able to switch out with. So, after a TON of searching I picked up new sheets – the set we got is linked here – and I absolutely love them. They are SO soft, comfy, and have the prettiest minimal detailing. I don’t really like garish patterns on bed linen, but I love that this is so simple and delicate. They duvet/pillows are not a bright white either and look a little muted, so it makes the room feel extra cosy and homey. 

We already had the majority of the other things you can see here; the cream blanket is from Costco and we actually sleep with this instead of our duvet when it’s super hot out. We have the same blanket in three colours and they’re a staple for us all year round! We also had the big cushion at the back which is from Costco too, the beigey/grey (…griege?) one and the two light grey ones in the centre. These were all from Tesco; they have such pretty cushions that are incredibly inexpensive and last so well! I’m pretty sure these are some of their basics that they have consistently throughout the year.

I did pick up the two fluffy beige cushions (I can’t find them anymore online, sorry!) in front from Dunelm, they’re super soft and I love the added texture to the bed. Then, my favorite find that tied all of our new bedding together is the amazing throw draped over the bottom corner. This is actually DKNY brand and has a very high RRP, but I picked it up for £16.99 at Homesense! They have the best throws in pretty much any colour you can imagine. Side note: these were the first “non-essential” stores Matt and I visited since the pandemic began and I hated the shopping experience so much. I’ll be sticking to my weekly grocery runs for a long time, I have zero desire to shop in stores right now.

I removed the majority of items from our windowsill and left it pretty minimal with only a jug/vase (I sometimes have pretty flowers in there!), a Diptyque candle, an Our Lovely Goods candle and our Amazon Echo Dot. I really like the window space to be open and airy! We use our Echo Dot every single night so I like it to be close to our bed; we play sleep sounds and I swear it improves the quality of our sleep so much. Our favourites are Thunderstorm and Wave Sounds! Our curtains are just a super simple, plain grey design that we’ve also had for years. They work perfectly and they keep the sun out in the mornings which is great. Oh… and that plant in the corner is dying and I’m refusing to believe it. I literally cannot keep succulents alive!!!

My bedside table makes me happy. I like it to look full but not cluttered – a very fine line – and honestly the old lamp we had was awful! It leaned to one side and just didn’t give off much light. You know, the point of a lamp… I found this beautiful grey and cream lamp at Matalan for a steal, it looks SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than it was. Seriously, this looks like something you’d get at West Elm for like, a bazillion pounds. I love the slightly distressed design on the base, it’s just perfect to tie in the minimal decor and is really pretty neutral colours. My Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede candle Matt bought me almost two years ago and it’s more of a decoration than anything now, I LOVE it so much don’t want to burn it. I know that’s super silly! My most favourite thing here is my cute little oil diffuser that was a really thoughtful gift from my sweet friend, Grace. We’ve been diffusing lavender essential oil she bought us every night recently and it’s helping us sleep so much better! As you can see I kept just a few of the muted blue tones in the room.

I shared all about my vanity table with you a couple weeks ago, but I did give it a little refresh too! I moved my orchid to the other side, added my Himalayan pink salt lamp from the other side of the room- a must-have for cosy evenings watching TV! – and added a few more candles. Our Lovely Goods is my favourite small business candle brand, and they’re a black owned company who would LOVE your additional support right now. We have ‘Coast’ on the window sill, and ‘Somewhere Far Away’ on my vanity table. I talked about pretty much everything else in my other post, but my rotating skincare organiser and my perfume tray filled with my everyday perfumes are my very favourite things! 

We have a full wall of built-in wardrobes that I designed almost ten years ago, and our TV is inside there. I hate hate hate having a TV on display in a bedroom (I don’t know why, I just think it looks a little garish) but we love to watch TV in bed. We also have two full length mirrors, one free standing and one on the wall, which you’ve probably seen me take selfies in before! We have a good amount of floor space – I like to practice yoga upstairs and there’s tons of room for that too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was fun for you guys, and gave you a little inspo if you want to switch a couple things up in your bedroom too! Are you more of a natural, neutral tones person, or do you like lots of colour? Over the past couple years I’ve really appreciated neutral tones more than bright, especially with my clothing. Speaking of, I’m going to be sharing a few of my clothing must-haves on the blog next week! 🙂 

-G x

Beauty Spotlight: Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Mask Treatment

Hi, loves! I decided this year that I want to share more beauty related posts with you, because that has been my favourite blog ‘niche’ to read since I first discovered blogs. Every time I find a product that really blows me away, I’m going to share with you by shedding a little Beauty Spotlight on it! I really only try products nowadays that are things I think I’ll love, whether that’s based on blog reviews, YouTube videos, chatting with a salesperson in store or friends/family telling me they enjoy the product. I still try the odd new thing here and there without doing my research – especially if one of my favourite tried and tested brands has a new release! – so I think this will be so fun to share with you all the new things I find. So, the first product that blew me away this year is…

…the Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Coconut Oil 3-in-1 Frizzy Hair Mask Treatment. Phew, what a title! I picked this up somewhat on a whim, as I’d heard lots of good things about their banana hair mask since it’s release but hadn’t purchased as I wasn’t looking for another hair mask. I was browsing in Boots, as you do, and after smelling this product and reading the claims on the packaging I couldn’t put it back down. I had to have it! My hair is dry, but it’s also extremely frizzy and quite honestly has a mind of it’s own. My hair is naturally curly but it’s not the kind of curl I can do much with as it’s so messy and wild! I truly relate to Monica in Barbados.

Seriously, hahahaha. I’ve straightened my hair since I was around 12 or 13, which is actually funny because before that I was SO AGAINST the idea of straightening my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love my curly hair either, but the idea of literally ironing my hair was just so weird to me. Just before I was given my first pair of GHD’s, my mum took me to the hairdressers and told the stylist to straighten my hair after drying it. I didn’t know this and freaked out – I’ve no idea why I thought it was such a bad thing – but literally fifteen minutes later when it was finished I loved how it looked. *Cue a life of over straightening my hair*

As I use so much heat on my hair, literally on a daily basis, my hair could always use a little extra TLC. I’m religious with washing my hair every two to three days, and try to stretch it out between washes by using dry shampoo and opting for a messy bun when I can no longer stand it! Washing my hair less has really helped with how dry/frizzy it can feel, but overall that’s just my hair type and there’s always going to be a natural element that I can’t control.

I’ve been looking for the ‘perfect’ hair mask for a really long time, and although I’ve had a favourite in the past this one truly blows it out of the water. First of all, this treatment smells incredible. I love the smell of coconut in general, but this is like Summer in a tub, which just makes me so happy! Secondly, the formula is 100% vegan/cruelty free and 98% biodegradable, which is seriously incredible for a drugstore brand. As you may know I’ve been opting for vegan and cruelty free products where possible, and I’m really thinking about where my beauty products come from. Being conscious of what you’re putting on/in your body is something I think we’re all experiencing more and more, so knowing that a product is ethical makes me want to try it more.

There’s three options on the back of the tub for how to use this treatment, and I’ve tried all three ways. I’ve used it in place of my regular conditioner, as a quick mask on wet hair for three probably more like ten minutes and as a leave in treatment during a particularly long bath! I love all three ways as I saw great results each time, but my favourite way is to use it as a mini mask treatment, for around ten minutes. I like to do this as I first wash my hair in the shower, then apply the mask and exfoliate, shave, in-shower tan etc whilst the treatment is working it’s magic.

I let my hair air dry for a little post-shower, whilst I do my skincare and apply my moisturiser/gradual tan (just depending on the day), then I blow dry to leave it with a smooth-as-possible finish. The first time I dried my hair after using this mask I was truly blown away at how silky and smooth my hair felt. It felt nourished like I’d just been to the salon! On the nights I wash my hair, I always straighten it before I go to bed as then I find it much easier to tame in the morning. I couldn’t believe how soft it felt post drying, and that made it super easy/quick to straighten. I felt like my GHD’s glided through the hair and even Matt commented that my hair looked really nice!

One of my biggest concerns when using hair masks it that by day two of my hair washing schedule I can already feel it’s a bit more greasy and heavy than normal, although I’ve never experienced that with this product. The difference has been noticeable in the days following washing too; my hair seems to stay straighter for longer, my flyaways are less visible and I love that my hair looks so healthy! The scent lingers in my hair even after using my hair oil and leave-in conditioner which I personally really love. I think the price point is amazing; as a drugstore brand it’s already inexpensive, but right now there is an introductory offer where all of the masks are being sold at half price.

I’m so excited to pick up the banana mask too as based on reviews/what I think of this one, I’m pretty sure that will be just as incredible! Have you tried the new hair mask treatment range? Are you as blown away as I am?! If you haven’t I’d definitely recommend picking up next time you’re browsing haircare, and be sure to let me know what you think!

-G x

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: An Honest Review

Hey, loves! I am SO FREAKING EXCITED about today’s blog post, because I really am so in love with my Kindle. Oh, that was kind of a spoiler wasn’t it? As I’m sure you already know because I haven’t shut up about it, Matthew very kindly bought me a Kindle for Christmas and it’s quite literally become my pride and joy. I had tried the Kindle concept a little in the past as I had dabbled with reading on my iPad, although I really didn’t love that and still favoured a paperback or hardback instead.

I have to admit, prior to my first time reading on my Kindle, I was really apprehensive if I would enjoy it because I love books. I could – and still do – lose hours walking around a book shop, I love the feel of a ‘real’ book and I also really like that you can pass them on to friends and family once you’re done with them. Books also have a very nostalgic, beautiful smell to me which I know some people may think is bonkers, ha! I’ve been a bookworm since before I can remember, although when I was younger I definitely wouldn’t have shouted it from the roof tops because I was so consumed by what people may think. That’s crazy to me now, I couldn’t be more proud to be a book nerd!

I made little notes in the Notes app on my phone so I could remember my thoughts and feelings to share with you guys on the blog at some point. The very first thing I wrote down was that my Kindle was so small and light. I hadn’t even held a Kindle before so really I had no reference but I expected it to be a lot heavier, and I just couldn’t believe how teeny tiny it was. This for me is definitely a positive thing; so many books are released in hardback first and the paperback version doesn’t come out for up to a year after that, so I’d lost count of how many times I’d struggled to hold up heavy books for long periods of time. I should probably go to the gym LOL. I love that the device is very compact which makes it easy to carry on-the-go and perfect for travel; one of my (only) pet hates about books is the they’re so bulky and annoying to travel with! I did buy a case (this one, if you’re interested) and I love it, it works perfectly.

Buying books has become a completely new experience for me, which wasn’t something I’d thought about. I was used to logging into Amazon, ordering whatever took my fancy and thanks to the Prime Gods, new books would turn up at my door the following day. I thought that was SO fast. Now, I download my chosen book(s) through the Amazon Kindle Store and they sync straight to my Kindle in seconds. Wi-Fi is just the best technology ever, right?!

Prior to having my Kindle I had no real reference of how inexpensive Kindle copies are in comparison to the paperback/hardback copy, as I’d only read a few books on my iPad’s Kindle app. Almost every single book you purchase through the Kindle Store is a fraction of the price in comparison; when I first started loading up my Kindle I spent £12.99 … but if I’d bought paper copies of those books it would have cost me £62.49. That is NUTS! This is already proving to be huge cost saving for me, because I read books pretty quickly (I’m currently reading book #8 of 2020… I think I’m going to have to write the most epic round up of all the books I’ve read at the end of the year if I cary on reading like this) and that’s a great bonus I hadn’t anticipated. Not to mention, e-books are way more sustainable than paper books!

I really enjoy the whole reading experience on my Kindle. The text is super clear and easy to read, and you can also make changes if necessary to suit your needs better. I personally kept everything as it came because that works really well for me. One of my very favourite things about reading on the device is that there is a small percentage marker at the bottom of the screen, which shows how far you are through the book. You can also swipe to see how far you are away from finishing that specific chapter, which is great if you’re like me and can’t stop mid-chapter. I also find it really motivating to see how far I’ve read in X amount of time, because I am #TypeA.

I always try to intentionally make time to read each day. My bed has always been one of my favourite places to read as I love to read for at least twenty minutes before I go to sleep, but if Matt was super tired I felt bad having our bedside lamp on so often didn’t bother. I often wake up in the middle of the night (that’s a whole other post) and I always thought it would be a great time to read until I could fall back to sleep, but putting the lamp on then isn’t really an option either. Now that I have my Kindle this hasn’t been an issue at all! The screen has a built in light which makes reading convenient anywhere, and I know this will also be great for airplanes when I don’t want to disturb any sleeping neighbours by using the overhead lights. If you do have a light above you when you’re reading, the screen is glare free guys, they’ve covered everything. There is also no blue light emitted from the Kindle Paperwhite, which helps to reduce eye strain and eye pain!

Another of my favourite places to read is in the tub. I love my baths filled with bubbles and bath salts, and I like my bath water hot. Like, if I’m not bright pink when I get out it wasn’t a good bath, LOL. I figured reading in the bath would be a little tricky with a Kindle but no… it’s fully waterproof. W A T E R P R O O F. This was the realisation that made me really fall in love with it I think! If you’ve ever used your phone in a bath, hot tub or sauna you’ll know what I mean by saying it makes the phone screen wet and almost cloudy. A phone screen cannot cope with the heat, water or steam and it’s just easier to not bother using your phone. However, the Kindle is completely oblivious to the Satan level heat being emitted around my bath, and it works perfectly! There’s no pesky fingerprint marks, no trouble with the screen not picking up where I’m tapping, and absolutely no need to throw it out of the bath and grab a paperback instead. I know this means it would be great for a spa day or by the pool on holiday – no matter how hot the weather may be – and that my friends is why I’m going to say this is the BEST technology I’ve ever owned. My inner nerd is psyched!

The last thing I wanted to mention is that the battery life is fantastic. I use my Kindle every single day, for anywhere from twenty minutes to over an hour, and I’ve barely had to charge the device since Christmas. Maybe four times?! Unlike my phone – which I’m pretty sure I sometimes just look at and my battery goes down by 10% – this is a great feature, and I hope it continues to last as well once I’ve used it for years!

So… are you on Amazon ordering yourself a Kindle Paperwhite yet?! Apologies for any enabling that may be caused by this post, they’re really just the best things ever. Do you love to read as much as I do? Have you already invested in a Kindle? What’s your favourite thing about it?! Be sure to check out my reading list I shared last month, there’s so many great books in there!

-G x

Winter Reading List

Happy Wednesday, loves! One of the things I really want to include more of in my blog this year is my love of reading. I read at least twenty minutes per day, but I really try to read for around an hour if I can. Honestly this totally depends on my day; if I have spare time in the morning like when Matt leaves for work, or if I’m taking a long bath in the evening I often read for longer than hour. I’ve set myself a target to read twenty six books this year but I’ve just finished book #5 of 2020, so I’m pretty sure I’ll surpass that goal quickly!

If you’ve missed me talking about it approximately 400 times on the blog, Matthew very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I am absolutely in love with it (full first impressions/review will be coming in the next few weeks) and I’m so so grateful he gifted it to me! I’ve only read books on my Kindle since Christmas Day, and I honestly haven’t missed having a ‘real’ book at all, which was something I was a little worried about. I decided to mix this review up with a few books I’ve read and a few books I’m planning on reading; let me know if you’d like to see more review-style lists on what I’ve already read, rather than what I’m planning to!

The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth
Real talk: I’ve never met a Sally Hepworth book I didn’t like. Ha! I first found Sally through Shay and I loved her writing style from the very beginning. I always feel like her characters are very well written and have that real feeling to them that makes connecting to their story so effortless. I love the mystery linked in to this book; the plot surrounds Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, being found dead, next to a suicide note that makes no sense. All of the family have something to hide, and the book is a whodunnit style which I’m sure will have me gripped based on the reviews I’ve read. Fun fact: after girly ‘rom com’ style of book, whodunnit is my second favourite kind of book to read! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This was the fifth book I read this year, and it’s definitely my favourite of the bunch so far! I LOVED it so much. The story is told by the two main characters – Tiffy and Leon – in a diary-like format, although I have to admit when I first started reading I didn’t know if I’d like that. After a few chapters I really enjoyed this way of story telling; it was interesting to hear both points of view and still have my own opinion/thoughts as the reader. Right from the very beginning I just adored Tiffy; she’s found with nowhere to live and her only option is to live in Leon’s flat (and bed!) when he’s not there. Sounds strange doesn’t it? It is, but it’s wonderful. This is just a lovely story of two personalities intertwining and it’s definitely not your typical boy-meets-girl. It’s also laugh out loud funny. This should be next on your ‘to read’ list for sure!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I ordered this book as it was recommended to me on Amazon back in December and I am SO glad I did! I read it within a few days and I loved every. single. second. The story follows two best friends, and a boy they are both in love with. The new characters that are introduced fit in so well, and the story has so many twists and turns it’s not the predictable easy read I assumed it was. I really felt like I couldn’t put this down and would recommend to everyone; also the title is a little misleading as I thought this was a Christmas themed book but it’s definitely not, you could read this any time of year. This was hands down my favourite book of 2019! I can’t wait to read more from Josie, her new book comes out in March and I’m very excited to get my hands on it!

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like this book is EVERYWHERE at the moment. I have to say, I love the cover so much I almost bought the paperback instead of downloading the Kindle version, ha! I just started reading this and I’m really enjoying it. The book is told (so far) from the perspective of two women, and also features an influencer’s social media posts, obviously showing off her perfect life. I have a feeling there are a lot of cracks that will show soon! So far none of the women have met but I can see how their lives are about to intertwine. I love Beth already, her character is SO funny and I’ve laughed out loud several times in her parts of the book! I’ve seen from reviews there’s a less in here regarding not believing things as you see them on social media, and I think that’s a lesson we could all do with being told over and over again. I’m really excited to see what happens (and why Ruby is the way she is…)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
I have wanted to read this book for SO long; I know it’s very loved and it’s a best-seller, but I’ve kinda put it off because I know it’s going to be a hard read. Matt and I love to watch movies set during wartime but every time I read a book set around the war I can’t finish it, I have no idea how but to me reading is so much more powerful than a TV show/movie and my heart hurts so much I can’t take it! This story centres around two people on very different sides of the camp falling in love, and I just know it’s going to be a heartbreaking read! It’s a bestseller and so many people have told me to read it, so I really need to get to it.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
I read this book super quickly, and I’d definitely recommend for an easy read that actually covers some very hard life events. Warning: it can get a little raunchy! Ha! I did not know that when I picked it up, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. Caitlin, the main character, is so lovable and someone you’re immediately connected to and rooting for from the beginning. I love when I immediately like or can relate to the main character as I think that is a huge part of how much I enjoy books. She is a super successful lawyer and when her ex-nemesis from college is needing a favour from her, she seems to find a whole new side of herself. I also LOVE Emme’s character! I can’t say much more without spoiling it, just add it to your reading list ASAP!

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life And Strange Times In Television
Matt bought me Louis’ book for Christmas which was so sweet because he knew I was planning on buying it. Something you may not know about us is that we LOVE Louis Theroux! His documentaries are some of our favourites (Queen Stace gets the top spot, obvs) and we binge watch his old ones all the time. I especially love Louis’ interviewing style; he’s never afraid to say what he thinks and he has met some of the most controversial people! I really am so excited to delve into this to see a behind-the-scenes aspect.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This book was also recommended to me by Amazon after reading One Day In December, so I have pretty high hopes. The story is based on a girl figuring out her own grief and finding her biological mother in the process, and these kind of heart wrenching stories make for some of my favourites! It’s also set in New Zealand and I love when a book is set somewhere I’ve never been before. I really enjoy a family based drama within a book, and this book is described as moving and emotional, which we all know means I’ll be crying my way through it!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
This was the first book I read in 2020, and I loved it so much I wish I could unread it and read it again! The story was not at all what I thought and I think that’s actually a really good thing; I love when a book takes you by surprise and has lots more to offer than it appears on the surface. The Matchmaker covers some very hard circumstances you’d never want to experience in your own life, but it also is funny. Caitlin, the main character, is someone I immediately liked, and thought it was so interesting that she runs her own matchmaking agency. I don’t want to spoil for you why she’s against sharing her perfect life with her perfect husband – after all, it’s been the selling point of her agency for a very long time – but I just need you to buy it! Warning: I sobbed several times reading this book. You know those big, fat tears that just don’t stop? Buy tissues!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this inspired you to grab your book (or Kindle) and snuggle in to read for a few hours this afternoon. I just get so much joy from reading, I want everyone else to enjoy it just as much as I do! I’m still trying to convince Matthew to pick up a book… Have you read any of the books I talk about in this post? Do you have any recommendations for me of what I should order next?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy (black) Friday, loves! Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and I’m sure if you’re on the internet today, you’re shopping… not reading my blog. *Cries* but if you did take five minutes out of your jam packed shopping day to come see little old me then THANK YOU. I appreciate it! I hope all my American readers had the best Thanksgiving celebration with family yesterday; it’s such a sweet tradition and I so wish we had something similar in the UK. I mean, we did steal Black Friday, why couldn’t we steal the part with all the yummy food?! I was drooling over all the photos of amazing food like I do every year, I’m so jealous! There’s a lot packed in today’s post, so let’s get going!

What I’m wearing:
I am genuinely obsessed with my new scarf from Tartan Blanket Co. because it makes me feel like CHRISTMAS. I feel like it’s just what Mrs Claus would wear! Seriously, how can you look at that and not feel immediately happy? I purchased the Stewart Royal Oversized scarf in the shade Red, and I’ve worn it every day since I bought it. It’s 100% wool so it’s super warm and worth every penny; it is so well made and will last you a lifetime. I really want to get another scarf in a more muted, neutral tone (maybe this one? Thoughts?!) so I’m hoping I’ll be able to snag one with a little Black Friday discount today! If you’re looking for a Christmas gift one of their scarves would make a beautiful gift, and they have options for men and women. They shipped super quick and my scarf was packaged beautifully too, so you don’t need to worry about that! I’m also so beyond happy with my new Winter coat but I love it so much it’s getting it’s own post soon. Be sure to come back to hear my thoughts on picking a new Winter coat that’s cute and also practical!

What I’m watching:
Hahahaha. That meme is ME!!! Holiday movies! Last weekend Matt and I went to see Last Christmas which you need to go see, it’s amazing! Although, consider this your word of warning because I didn’t realise it was a sad movie and I SOBBED in the cinema hahaha. Cheesy Christmas movies are my very favourite, and it’s got to the time of year I want to snuggle up in bed with Matt and watch Hallmark movies on repeat. I also love that everyone wears plaid shirts in these movies ALL THE TIME and I feel like my wardrobe is seriously lacking in the plaid department. Also, I love the classics just as much! Home Alone, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street etc… you all have my heart. Is it acceptable to take a whole day off work to watch movies? Pretty please tell me it is? Matt and I of course still watching Strictly each week and we’re SO HAPPY Chris is still in the competition (well, Matt isn’t such a fan of the show but he watches because he loves me!) and we’re loving I’m A Celebrity this year, it’s great reality TV!

What I’m worried about:
So I didn’t have a photo for this one and decided to share this festive photo of the restaurant Matt and I had lunch at this past weekend. We LOVE going out to eat because we get to totally relax and it’s so nice to enjoy food we haven’t cooked ourselves :). I just feel worried in general! For a long time I felt really good and like myself again, but this past week or so I’ve slowly began to feel anxious and ‘off’, hence not posting on Wednesday. I hate missing posts, I’m so sorry! It’s not a constant feeling and it’s not completely ruining every day but I’m just feeling really anxious and not myself. I think I may be suffering a little bit with SAD which is strange because I don’t think that normally affects me, at least not yet. I love Autumn and the build up to Christmas so I feel rubbish that I’ve not been enjoying it as much as I usually do. Matt and I have so many fun plans coming up and we just had the best weekend so I’m really hoping I can put aside any more anxious feelings and fully enjoy the Christmas season. January is going to be the start of a serious Self Care Month for me, and I’m hoping to do a few things to change my mindset and stop me feeling so anxious all the time. I’ll be sharing everything on the blog in time!

What I’m buying:
Almost everything Matt and I have purchased the past few weeks have been Christmas gifts for our families (and each other) – thanks to the early Black Friday discounts we’re so close to being done with our holiday shopping and just have a few more things to buy next month! – but I did just pick up this beautiful lip balm last week and I’m already obsessed with it. I’ve never had a Fresh lip balm before as they only have become available in the UK fairly recently, but I’ve seriously been missing out! This lip balm is so pigmented and leaves the best pop of colour, as well as being so moisturising and not at all sticky. It’s literally my perfect lip balm! I highly recommend picking one up if you’re wanting to treat yourself to a little something this Black Friday 🙂 I also really would love that scarf from Tartan Blanket Co, but we’ll see!

What I’m listening to:
I’m of course listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed every week because it’s my favourite podcast ever. 🙂 I started listening to Office Ladies this month too and it is so funny! I love hearing more about the behind-the-scenes element of filming, and they have had guests from the show too which is great. I love love love Jenna Fischer, she is so different than Pam! When you watch a person in a show you kind of just assume the character is like the actor… or is that just me?! I really wish they didn’t call each other ‘lady’ so much though, haha. This week I listened to a podcast Shay Shull was a guest on recently and I so enjoyed hearing more from Shay. I wish she’d release her own podcast already! I don’t want to name it because honestly… I didn’t love the girl whose podcast Shay was a guest on. She came across kinda rude to me and I felt a little awkward for Shay even though she did a great job. I just want to be Shay when I grow up. Hahaha.

What I’m excited for:
The whole month of December!!! There’s so much to look forward to this month and I’m giddy about it all. I’m super excited about a few things in particular; Matt and I are going to see Jack Whitehall next week, my mum and I have a shopping day planned in town, Matt and I are going for our annual festive trip to visit the Christmas markets in Edinburgh and before we know it, it’ll be CHRISTMAS DAY! I can’t wait for all of the fun festive things in between and I’m always so aware and grateful for all of my blessings this time of year, especially. I’m also recording a Week In My life from the middle of next week, so you’ll get to come along to lots of fun things with us! 🙂

What my favourite Lush product of the month is:
I thought I’d start a fun little *extra* segment to my Feelin’ It Friday’s, because so many people ask me what my favourite products are from Lush and what I think are worth the money! If you fancy treating yourself before Christmas a few Lush goodies is one of the best things in my opinion, and they also make for perfect stocking filler gifts. This month my most recommended product just has to be the Snow Fairy bath bomb! It is the perfect fun bath product for this time of year, and I’m a sucker for the Snow Fairy scent. I don’t often buy bath bombs because you only get the one bath out of them and that’s a pretty expensive bath (compared to getting at least four from a bubble bar) but I like to treat myself around the holidays!

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are officially enjoying ALL of the Christmas treats, especially Christmas chocolate! I love love love the big tubs of chocolates at this time of year and we’ve started sneaking a few when we watch I’m A Celebrity in the evenings which has been so fun. Each night we’re really enjoying eating more hearty dinners; soups, pasta bakes, rice dishes, pie with mash and veggies… pretty much all the good stuff that you just have to eat when the weather gets colder!

What I’m recommending for Black Friday:
Okay so I’ve already shared Christmas gift ideas for the ladies and the men in your life, and also a round up of stocking fillers/Secret Santa presents under £20, so be sure to check those out if you’re struggling for gift ideas. Shopping the sales is so great because you can find some incredible discounts! Also, remember if *the item* you’re looking at is something that wasn’t already on your radar or is not a great Christmas gift this year, you don’t need it. Set yourself a budget and don’t go too crazy – impulse purchases are not your friend!

John Lewis – 20% off almost everything. If you’re buying Ugg slippers this year for a loved one or yourself, don’t wait any longer and get them TODAY! This deal is so good and your feet will be forever thankful, I wear mine that Matt bought me two years ago all. the. time. to the point they’re gross, hahaha. My mum and dad just purchased this pair for me for Christmas, I can’t wait to have pretty new slippers on December 25th!
Amazon | Argos – SO MANY GREAT DEALS. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (my gift from Matt this year that I am so excited about!!) and all Amazon products are super discounted, get them while you can.
Topshop | ASOS – at least 20% off both sites and the perfect time to buy that Christmas Day outfit. Lots of items are reduced by more than 20% off so be sure to check out your favourite brands!
The Body Shop – anyone who’s ever read my blog KNOWS I’m a huge fan of The Body Shop! My sweet friend Shannen recently became a consultant for them and is able to offer deals that you can’t find in store or online. You can email her at shankellyx@gmail.com or check her Facebook page for great deals every day, not just Black Friday!
Boots | Feel Unique | Look Fantastic – so many varying deals. I recommend all of these place for EVERYTHING beauty related. Gift sets, perfume, aftershave, makeup, skincare, body products, bath products. Everything! There’s amazing deals on all sites, but if the price is the same I tend to buy from Boots because I also get my points! Just a little tip in case you’re caught up in the Black Friday madness.
Missoma | Monica Vinader | Astrid & Miyu – up to 30% off across the three sites. Beautiful, delicate jewellery for an incredible price! I wear my Missoma initial necklace every day with this little moon charm on the same chain and it just makes my heart happy. People ask me ALL the time which necklace I‘m wearing, and that’s always it!
Space NK | Cult Beauty – varying discounts and so many limited edition/exclusive deals on beautiful items. Perfect for those last minute Christmas gifts!
Figleaves – 20% off site wide. I love love love Figleaves underwear, their Juliette balcony bra is my all time favourite and is SO COMFY!

Be sure to search thoroughly online before buying anything to find the best deal today (and through the weekend into Cyber Monday). Happy shopping!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂 thanks for always being the best support to me and my blog, I appreciate it so much. I hope you all have a great weekend and have so much fun with your loved ones! Don’t forget to get your advent calendars ready for Sunday… I can’t wait to eat chocolate every single morning 🙂

-G x

Weekend In My Life

Happy Sunday, loves! Today is… by popular demand… another Weekend In My Life! My last WIML post was uploaded just a few weeks ago, but I seriously get the cutest comments on these posts and you guys really seem to enjoy reading them! I might make this a regular thing, where every month I share just one weekend with you all? Maybe in place of a Feelin’ It Friday as I’ve just recently cut way back on them? Please let me know your thoughts on this as I really just want to make content you guys want to read, too!

This was a rare weekend Matt and I had a full 48 hours off work together to do whatever the heck we wanted, and we we were SO happy about it. We had lots of ideas for things to do but we were also very kind to ourselves as we’d had a super busy week and were feeling kinda exhausted. We still got so much done, had a ton of fun and enjoyed spending our time together so much! For the first time maybe ever we didn’t really plan our weekend out, and just went with the flow. I’m so thankful for a fun and relaxing weekend 🙂 Matthew, I love you so much!

Friday 20th September

I was awake from 5am on Friday as I had horrendous period cramps that were making me feel physically sick! I stayed in bed and just cuddled into Matt (who was flat out, jammy bugger!) for what seemed like hours, then I was just drifting off to sleep before our alarm went off… does this ever happen to anyone else? It’s the worst feeling! I really struggled getting ready for work, especially as Matt got to stay curled up in bed. I kissed him goodbye and headed to work for a busy Friday, although my co-worker Keli and I did get to share Domino’s for lunch which was the best surprise treat 🙂

I definitely should have taken a photo before we dived in. HAHA

The day was over in a flash, and after a crazy busy week I was so happy to see 5pm! I drove home listening to Small Town Murder – I was obsessed with this podcast for the longest time then stopped listening as much, now I can’t get enough! I really recommend if you like comedy and/or true crime podcasts – then caught up on some of my YouTube subscriptions whilst I cleaned our bedroom and put fresh sheets on. Fresh bedding is one of Matt and I’s favourite ever things; we just love the feeling of getting into a nice comfy bed after a long day! I re-organised my underwear drawer and had another mini clearout which was much needed, and I got to put in my pretty new underwear that had just arrived. Keli and I made an order on Boux Avenue from their sale and seriously, the deals were SO good. I love the two new sets I bought, they’re just so pretty (and comfy)!

I still had cramps and all I could think about was relaxing in a nice hot bath. Matt was working late so I took the time for a little pamper night; exfoliating, shaving (pretty much) every inch of my body and doing a hair mask! I lay in the bath for so long reading my magazines and it was bliss, I really enjoy when I have the time to relax in the bath for a long time. I took my time doing my skincare routine (spoiler: a post is coming on my routine next month!), putting oil in my hair and covering myself in my favourite body cream, then as I still had over an hour until Matt was home I began to re-organise our wardrobes. Again. I’m kinda obsessed with doing it, I can never decide how I want things to be!

The jury is still out on this hair towel wrap… they’re supposed to make your hair super soft and help it to dry before you have to blow dry it, but I’ve been using it for around two months now and haven’t seen much of a difference. I got a two pack and I kinda think one makes a difference but one doesn’t. Do you use these? Do you love them?! Maybe I’m using them wrong!

Matt got home work around 9.30pm and we snuggled in to eat chicken tenders and watch The Office, then we remembered we had Halo Top in the freezer. Guys. The salted caramel Halo Top is THE BEST ice cream in the entire world. Seriously!! We had a super early night (I was exhausted from being awake from 5am) so we played thunderstorm sounds on Alexa and snuggled in for the night. Do you use Sleep Sounds? What’s your favourite? I am obsessed with the thunderstorm sounds and Matt loves the ocean sounds, so we alternate pretty much every night!

Saturday 21st September

We woke up pretty early on Saturday and it was so nice to feel rested! I had a much better sleep and was so excited to get up and moving for the day. After taking our time to wake up a little we got ready and popped in to Matt’s parents house. His mum was at work so we saw his dad for a little while then headed straight to the Metro Centre. I really appreciate shopping days where we just eat, wander around, browse the shops and pick up a few goodies, and this was exactly what we did. We got there right at 12pm so went for lunch at Wagamama, it was delish! Matt and I shared duck pancakes to start, and he finally caved to order what I always get – a number 45; teriyaki soba noodles with sirloin steak (I get with no onion/coriander) – and we were so happy with our choice. The service at the Gateshead branch is always fantastic and we really love going there for lunch, it’s just so relaxed and not super busy.

We did a lot of browsing but not a lot of shopping which was a little disappointing to be honest! I bought a few new makeup items at MAC which will literally last me a whole year (an on-the-go powder, my old favourite Fall/Winter blush in Desert Rose and a pretty new lipstick in the shade Jubilee). I was so disappointed to be told that MAC are discontinuing the Next To Nothing powder, it is my favourite for touch ups! If they had more than one in my shade (Light Plus) I would have bought them all as back ups. This one will last so long, but please let me know what your favourite compact powder is! My skin is oily and acne prone so makeup slides off my face throughout the day. It’s wonderful 🙂 Matt really wanted to pick up a Ted Baker sweater he’d seen online but it wasn’t available in store. Luckily he managed to snag it for a really good discounted price online. It arrived in the mail this week and it’s so nice! We bought some of my dad’s birthday presents and I also used my Boots points to purchase Clinique’s Bare Pop lipstick, it’s the perfect Fall shade and I already love it so much.

After shopping Matt had to pop into work for twenty minutes so I got cosy in the car and watched my YouTube subscriptions while he was gone. I’m still obsessed with Jade Billington’s videos, obviously. We then headed to Costco which is quite honestly one of our favourite places! We seem to end up visiting every time we have a weekend with no specific plans. The samples were SO GOOD this time! We ate spicy sausages, Chinese noodles, avocado on sourdough, and our ultimate favourite… red velvet cake. Basically we had a second lunch. We also found our dream Christmas Tree for our Dream Mansion. We can always hope for a lottery win!

We headed back to Matt’s parents house to relax and watch the beginning of the NUFC game, then got showered and freshened up for the evening. We went for dinner at Fratelli’s in Ponteland with Matt’s parents and his grandma (we really love this place!) and had the most amazing meals. I’m so obsessed with their Pinot Grigio blush, it’s delicious!! Tip: wine tastes better with ice cubes. Always. Matt thinks his mum and I are so weird for liking it like that, hahaha. We had the most perfect night, I love love love nights with Matt’s family, they’re so good to us! We left kinda early and snuggled in at home with more wine. We slept like freaking babies this night, hahaha.

The BEST seafood linguine (I ordered without mussels because I’m weird)

I love you! 🙂

My second family 🙂 I just love them.

Sunday 22nd September

Sunday we slept in a little (like I said, we slept like BABIES). Snuggly mornings at home are some of our favourites, and we really don’t get chance to have them very often! We drank cups of tea and watched the news with Matt’s parents – I wish we hadn’t, the news is literally ALL doom and gloom! – before getting ready for the day. I watched a little more of my YouTube subscriptions whilst doing my makeup, I swear I’m forever playing catch up because there’s just not enough hours in the day to watch my favourite vlogs!

My favourite ever mug… I love Winnie The Pooh (and all things Disney)!

How freaking CUTE is he?! I just seriously love him so much. We jumped in the car and headed to one of our favourite Sunday morning locations… Tynemouth market. We hadn’t been for a while but it was nice to just wander round, look at all the cool things for sale (some of it is complete tat, I can’t lie!) and grab some food. It was almost lunch time so we went for Greek food; we got chips, chicken and a whole load of sauces/spices, it was so yummy. Afterwards, Matt suggested we go for a little wander around Tynemouth’s town and we took some blog photos which you may have seen in this post from Wednesday. I’m so grateful my sweet boyfriend is always so happy to take photos and take the time to get some I actually like. He’s so so good to me and I appreciate him so much!

This is one of the photos we took! I really am trying to be more confident infront of the camera, it’s really hard for me.

We jumped back in the car and drove the coastal route home. All the way along the drive we could see St. Mary’s Lighthouse ahead of us, and decided to just pop in for a little look around. We haven’t been since we were kids and it was just nice to go somewhere a little bit different! It was pretty chilly and I was so thankful I had threw my cosy cardigan in the car, haha. We wandered a little on the rocks, went all the way up to the lighthouse then walked back to the car. I was a little nervous because the thought of the tide coming in and stranding us there is not my idea of fun!

It was so. freaking. windy.

It was forecast for really bad rainstorms for the afternoon and (although these photos don’t really show it) it was starting to get super hazy and dark out to sea, so we decided it was best to leave before the rain came. We visited with my grandma which was so nice, we haven’t seen her for a few weeks and she was really happy to see us. We headed home to catch some of the Man U game with my parents, then Matt got fixed up to head out for a few drinks with the boys. They mainly went to watch the football so he was only gone a couple of hours, and I took the time to write a little for the blog and get ahead for the week, and of course to have a Lush bath which was SO needed. I was half way through catching up on Strictly Come Dancing and editing blog posts when he came home so we snuggled in to watch the rest of the show whilst dinner cooked. We ate burritos, watched a few episodes of The Office and then watched Mamma Mia (definitely not Matt’s choice. LOL) before getting an early night in ready for the work week to roll back around.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and coming along with us during our weekend. Matt and I are really trying to amke the most of our time together because he is working every single weekend during October, both Saturday and Sunday! We do have a day off mid-week together during the month which I’m super excited about, and we’ll for sure make the most of our mornings and evenings. What have your weekends looked like recently? What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?!

-G x

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’ve teased on the blog for a little while, and I’m so happy to be writing about BOOKS. *Warning: it’s a long one, and perfect if you want to carve out a little self care time this bank holiday weekend. I’d recommend you grab a cuppa and settle in!* I love love love reading and it’s something I really wish more people were passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I know lots of people love to read, but I really don’t know that many people who do! I have loved reading since I was a child; my parents and grandparents always read to me whenever they had time to, and I learned to read so quickly myself. I read my beloved Jacqueline Wilson books so many times I swear I knew the stories off by heart! When I was around 10 or 11, I was helping my granddad clear out a bunch of stuff, and discovered all of my mum and auntie’s old books by Enid Blyton. He kindly gave them to me, and I spent the rest of my summer engrossed in those books! The Secret Seven and Famous Five series ignited a serious love of reading (and dogs – I wanted my own Timmy SO BAD) and I’m forever grateful. I literally spent so many nights in my lilac groovy chick themed bedroom, curled up with a blanket and a book thinking I was so grown up. Ha!

In the years since then, I’ve never lost the joy in browsing book stores, talking about books and of course, reading them. I literally can’t walk past a bookstore without dragging Matt in ‘for a look’ – although, if you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) have a perusal in store and check the prices on Amazon whilst you’re there; I can pretty much guarantee you’ll always get a better deal on Amazon! No, this post isn’t sponsored by Amazon, I just really love it.

Whenever I talk about my love of reading I am often met with “I wish I had time to read”. News flash: everyone has time to read. Let’s be honest; if Michelle Obama can find time to read, so can you. I have time to read so often because I literally set time aside to do so; making reading a priority is really important to me and it makes the world of difference to my mental health. It’s the perfect self care treat for me (along with a pamper evening and a cuddle from Matt, of course) and it truly opens your mind to SO much you may otherwise not know. Books can cover all different topics, issues and situations, and it’s crazy how much you can learn from a book. My mum and Matt’s mum share my love of reading, and we’re always swapping our current reads, like an unofficial book club! So, how do I find time to read? What are my top tips to help you make reading a priority?

Keep your book on your bedside table
Possibly the most obvious tip, but it makes sense guys. I always keep my current book on our bedside table, and take a little time to read most evenings/mornings. Matt often has to send a few work emails just before we settle in for the night so I take those twenty or so minutes to read a few chapters and get my reading fix. Similarly, he starts work early several times per week (which means a 6am alarm for us both) and I also take a little time once he’s left for work, before I blog or get ready for my work day, to read too. It’s a lovely way to begin or end your day, and if you’re struggling to fit reading time in, this will make a huge difference.

Set goals
Like with anything else, setting goals to read X amount each day/week, will make you hold yourself accountable, and make reading a priority. I love to set goals and have things to work towards, so of course this is no exception! I really think being able to tick a goal off a list helps to visualise it; of course this is a very niche goal but if you want to read more you need to treat it seriously. Maybe you could set out a week Monday to Sunday in the Notes app on your phone, using the bullet point system you can tick off, and then you can see how many days out of seven you read each week. Doing this week by week until it becomes a habit (which it should within two months, as scientists say on average it takes 66 days to create a habit) means that within a really short space of time reading would just become part of your everyday life!

Incorporate reading into your day-to-day life
Similarly to reading before bed or first thing in the morning, it’s amazing where you can fit time in to read. If you spend hours scrolling mindlessly on social media (your phone literally tells you how much time you spend now so you can’t avoid it) you could easily spend at least some of that with a book in your hand instead. I love to read in the bath, I seriously take super long baths just to be able to read for longer, and it’s the ultimate self care time for me. Matt sometimes spends a little time in the evenings working or playing on the playstation, which gives me a good chunk of time to read and not feel guilty about it! I also will spend a little time reading whilst sitting in the garden when it’s warm, or on a cold day I love to curl up with a cuppa and a book. I really should take my lunch break at work away from my desk, as that would be the perfect time to rack up some reading time.

Read digitally on your iPad/Kindle/phone
If you find reading a struggle or would just like to switch things up, I’d really recommend downloading a book onto your tablet or phone. I have been really enjoying reading on the Kindle app on my iPad recently; it’s so convenient as I always have my iPad with me anyway, and it’s very accessible no matter where I am. Downloading books onto a tablet is so handy when travelling too; it limits the weight/bulkiness of books (although I do think you can’t beat a ‘real’ book!) and it allows you to take several options, not to mention ebooks are way less money than a physical book. I am still so mad at myself for not picking up a Kindle Paperwhite during the Prime Day(s) sale, and it’s very high on my wishlist right now.

Carry a book with you day-to-day
If reading on a tablet is not for you I totally get that, but you need to carry your book with you if you want to make the most of reading time as and when you can. If you take public transport to work I’d really recommend making the most of your journey time and lose yourself in a book (just make sure not to miss your stop). Side note: I drive to work each day, and spend lots of time during the week in my car; I’m tempted to try Audible but it’s just not something that’s crossed my mind before. Please let me know if you would recommend! If you’re going somewhere where you may be waiting around, hospital appointments spring to mind right away, pack a book and the wait definitely won’t seem so bad.

Find authors and genres you find interesting
Another thing people tell me, is that they have the time to read, but they can never find a book they actually want to read. This is a little trial and error, but if you put the effort in to finding what makes your heart sing, you’ll see the benefit of it. Personally, I love fiction stories that feel like you’re right in with the characters but as you’ll see from my current picks below, I do like varied content. I really want to read more mystery books as I’ve borrowed a few from my mum that I’ve enjoyed, so that’s something I need to explore more in the coming months. It’s the best feeling finding an author you love, as you are drawn to their writing style and therefore can find so many books. Amazon’s ‘Recommended for you’ section pretty much always brings up amazing options, and I’ve found so many books I love that way!

My current favourite author is hands down Taylor Jenkins Reid. Two books I’ve read (and loved) recently are Forever, Interrupted and After I Do; both books are filled with love, heartbreak, sadness and happiness, and you truly feel like you’re experiencing the emotions of the lead characters. Zoe Folbigg is an amazing author and I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve read! I just finished The Postcard, which was the sequel to The Note, and it left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Two books that changed my life (in different ways) are Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan. I’ve read both several times; they’re incredible and would make for brilliant presents for the gals in your life!

Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a must read for everyone, everywhere; she is, in my opinion, the most inspirational woman of our generation and I’m so happy she shared her story. The best non-fiction book I’ve ever read was This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay; I don’t know anyone who disliked this book, it’s filled with so much emotion – I’d literally be laughing one page and sobbing the next – it’s a must read. If you like books that let you escape from every day life, I’d suggest anything by Elin Hilderband. She writes about Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) in so much depth I feel like I’ve been there myself; it’s a book that takes you on holiday from real life, and her stories are always so enticing. My favourite book of hers is hands down The Identicals. I’ve just downloaded a new Elin Hilderbrand book called The Perfect Couple (and One Minute Later by Susan Lewis) onto my Kindle app for literally 99p each! Order while you can! Shoutout to the lovely Savannah for originally recommending Elin Hilderbrand books to me!

Some of my current ‘to read’ list include the last in a wonderful series by Louise Pentland; Wilde Women. Louise is someone I’ve loved and admired for years, from way back to her Sprinkle of Glitter days, and I’m so happy that she’s began to write. She writes from the heart, her characters are lovable and I’m so excited to see what is happening with Robin, Lyla and Kath in the final installment! Queenie is a book I saw in Anna‘s reading pile and immediately purchased (the girl just knows her books, and also wrote a cracking book herself, An Edited Life) and I’m so excited to read; the book talks all about love, life and race issues and has rave reviews. Another author I’m very interested in is Jane Fallon, I often see her books featured on Instagram and I need to order one soon!

Thank you so so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips and tricks helpful in some way. Can you believe my boyfriend (who is perfect in every other way, if I do say so myself) doesn’t like to read?! He’s literally been ‘reading’ the same book since Christmas 2017… maybe you take a few pointers from this post, Matthew?! Ha. So, are you a bookworm like me? Where’s your favourite way to make time to read? I’d love to share my favourite books every few months if that’s something you’d be interested in? Please leave me all your book recommendations below, I love to hear what other people are reading!

-G x

Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

Happy Wednesday, loves! I’m so excited for this weekend for several reasons… especially because it’s bank holiday! Who doesn’t love three day weekends? I just wish they were every week. Secondly, Matt and I are going away for the weekend, which is our favourite thing to do. Thirdly, we’re visiting with Matt’s family! We’re so excited to spend time with them, admire the beautiful countryside and explore the cute little town we’re staying in. It’s so much hotter down South, and we are very excited to spend our last Summer weekend in the sun. I know Autumn technically doesn’t start until almost the end of September, but for me as soon as August is out, I’m all about Autumn. Who am I kidding, I’ve been ready for Autumn since JULY, lol! We’re also getting to squeeze in one more road trip, and boy do we love road trips! (Also, I’m so sorry about these photos. I know they’re not great I just didn’t have time to take better ones, please forgive me!!)

As any regular readers will know, I love packing whether it’s for a short trip or a holiday – just search ‘packing’ in the side bar and a ton of posts will come up – so I wanted to share with you all what I’m packing for our last weekend of Summer! In just a few weeks we’ll be living in coats, boots, scarves and hats (I’m SO excited, I can’t pretend I don’t love Autumn!) but it’s probably one of the last times we’ll be able to wear minimal clothing here in the UK. I’m extra excited to pack this time because, I finally get to make good use of our packing cubes that I purchased during Prime Day(s)!

When packing skincare products and toiletries for a short trip, I try to pack pretty minimal. I don’t need options and I don’t need products I’ve only just started trying out; if I’m going to get breakouts or irritated skin you can just guarantee it’s when we’re away from home! For that reason I like to take tried and tested products that my skin loves, and keep it super simple and easy with my skincare. As you’ll see in an upcoming post, I’m currently obsessed with Pixi’s new Vitamin C Tonic, it’s working miracles for my skin! I love to take sheet masks with me when we’re travelling as they make for great pick-me-up’s if you’re skin is feeling a little naff, and they’re super easy with no mess if you only have ten minutes whilst you’re getting ready for the day or evening.

For my toiletries, I like to take small travel-sized products because this isn’t where I want to take up a lot of space. I decant my favourite shampoo and conditioner as I really don’t like to mix up my hair products; when I find something that works I run with it. I can save space to be without my trusty banana hair mask from The Body Shop (just for a few days!) and I really try not to overpack. Matt shares whichever shampoo and shower gel I take, but he’s not at all fussed what I choose. We’re staying in an apartment that provides a hairdryer – something you should always check before you travel – and I’ll probably only wash my hair once anyway.

I find makeup is the hardest thing to be minimal with as I like to switch up my products, and I don’t know how my skin will react whilst we’re away. We all have good skin days and bad skin days, so I just have to hope for the best that my makeup will cover any imperfections (and last all day/night). Lip products are the hardest for me to cull (hence taking five) but I’d definitely rather have ‘too many’ options than not enough, and they’re so little they take up hardly any space anyway! I really really love my new Pillowtalk eyeshadow palette, it’s by far the prettiest palette I’ve ever owned and it creates the most beautiful looks.

Skincare:
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter | Muslin Cloths | Bioderma Micellar Water | Re-Usable Cotton Pads | The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Exfoliator *gifted | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream *gifted | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Pixi Glow Tonic | The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil | The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution *gifted | The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Sheet Mask | Carmex Watermelon Lip Balm

Toiletries:
The Body Shop Tahitian Tiare Shower Gel | Gillette Satin Care Shaving Gel | Gillette Venus Swirl Razor | Bedhead Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner (decanted) | Travel Bottles | Morrocanoil Treatment Light | Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses | The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Body Lotion | MAC Turquatic Rollerball Perfume | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Perfume | IGK First Class Dry Shampoo | Straighteners (similar) | The Wet Brush Detangler

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 1N1 | Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer in C6 | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer in 1N | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | The Body Shop Honey Bronze in Shade 3 | Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love | NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Brunette | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black | Colorpop Highlight in Flexitarian | Brushes mostly Zoeva | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose | Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk | Physician’s Formula Velvet Liquid Lipstick in All Natural Nude | Mac Fix + (Travel Size)

I always like to travel in something comfy, and normally I’d stay away from jeans at all costs. However, when I was clearing out my wardrobe – my post is finally coming on that next week – I re-discovered a pair of Tori mom jeans I forgot I owned. I’ve since bought another pair (which I can’t find online, sorry!) and I love them so much. They’re comfortable, forgiving and don’t make me feel like my waist is being cut off, and they’re super cute! I’m pairing with a cute slogan t-shirt – how perfect is this ‘long weekend’ tee from J Crew?! – a cosy cardigan and my comfiest Adidas Coast star trainers, as our travel day is also our first day in Stamford and we’re going to be doing a lot of visiting with family and exploring.

We’re not too sure on our our plans for Saturday night but we do know we’re going out for dinner, so I’ve packed a midi skirt with a black cami and option of a black t-shirt just depending of how I feel. Paired with my super comfortable black heeled sandals, this is such an easy outfit and one that I know I’ll feel good in! On Sunday we’re up early for a breakfast date and another day of exploring/visiting family, so I’m going with a slogan t-shirt and a midi skirt, again paired with my Adidas trainers. On Sunday night we’re going out for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, and I’m not sure where we’re going so packed two options, just incase. The first being (you guessed it) my favourite Zara leopard print midi skirt with cami, and the second a blouse and jeans. Both of the outfits work with my black heeled sandals so I don’t need to take any other shoes! I find making sure your shoes, bag and jewellery work with any outfit option is key, and really helps you to not overpack.

On Monday we’re unfortunately heading back up North, so again I’m opting for those same jeans I wore on the way down (with the option of leggings, depending how much I eat over the weekend LOL) and a slouchy Levi’s tee. I find that I’m always wearing a t-shirt these days, they’re my favourite because they’re cute, comfy and go with anything. I’ve packed an extra comfy cardigan to keep me warm if I get a little chilly; I’m always cold and I know Matt will have the air con on during the drive down! The only other clothing items I’m taking are underwear and my cutest silky pajamas (they’re on sale right now and perfect for the upcoming Autumn months!) so I can get ready comfortably at the apartment – I never sleep in pj’s but I have an obsession with buying them!! I also always overpack my underwear; for a three day trip I literally will take ten pairs. I don’t know why but I’ve done this ever since I can remember, it’s such a bad habit!

The jewellery I’m taking is just my regular everyday stuff that I always wear; my Pandora rings, Pandora bracelet, Missoma initial necklace (I added the moon charm) and my Fitbit. I don’t like to have to continuously swap out jewellery so keep it pretty simple, although I do wish I was able to accessorize my outfits the way others do. I also am only taking one bag, my trusty little Whistles Verity backpack – I’ve owned this for at least three years and it still looks good as new – it’s super roomy which is perfect for during the day and it can work for the night times too. Also, does anyone else’s boyfriend/husband always give them tons of things to carry when you’re out?! I swear I have three things of my own in my bag then Matt’s sunglasses, wallet, car key etc take up so much space, hah!

My favourite category to pack is always the miscellaneous stuff because I feel like that’s one category you can’t really cut down and the over-packer in me relishes in it! Matt and I very rarely travel with our laptops because we just don’t really need them, but taking my iPad is SO easy and it means we can use it to watch a little Netflix or Amazon Prime, and I can read on it. I also like to record any blogging info on the go and sometimes I prefer to do this on my phone, sometimes on my iPad, it just depends on the day! I think pretty much all hotels/air bnb’s have wifi these days, and it’s never been an issue for us before. Of course we make sure to take our chargers, I always take the book I’m currently reading and Matt loves his Four Four Two magazines. I can’t go on a road trip without my car blanket, and we both love to take snacks, they’re the best part of a road trip! We’ve stocked up on Sweet & Smokin’ Hippeas, Tony’s Chocomolonely and all of the Haribos… *makes mental note to pack bananas and trail mix*

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek into what I packed! I know people love posts like this – me too! – and I’m pretty sure it’s just because we’re all super nosy, LOL. Do you have any fun plans for the bank holiday weekend? Are you going away for the weekend too? I’m going to be recording a Weekend In My Life/Travel Diary post, so that will be up soon. I’m making it my goal to get a cute full length picture of Matt and I, we barely ever get good photos together and it’s something we always get mad about!

-G x

How To Become A Morning Person This Spring

Hi, loves!

I’ve always loved the idea of being a morning person. A sense of getting up when the birds begin chirping, being up and about roaming around before others have even opened their eyes, and just getting started on the day from the crack of dawn. My boyfriend thrives in the mornings, and I had just resided to it not being for me. He’s always full of the joys of Spring (appropriate, right?) the second his eyes open, and despises the fact I snooze our alarm at least twice every morning. Well, I used to!

Over the past few months I’ve been working so hard to become a morning person, to enjoy early mornings and to look forward to them, instead of dreading them. There’s a few things that have worked wonders to change my mindset, and I’m now officially one of those people. It’s actually pretty great, and I can’t stop banging on about it to my friends. Also, it means you get to eat more delicious food. Breakfast really IS the best meal of the day!

Prepare your clothes/bag/food etc the night before. I used to do this way back when I was in school, and I felt great pleasure in having my uniform hanging on the front of my wardrobe door, my Jane Norman bag filled to the brim with crap I didn’t need (textbooks? what are those?) and my makeup set out and ready to go. When I went to college, I started to go for the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-possibly-still-hungover look more often than not, and my eagerness to be prepared for the day ahead went down the drain. Then, I started the world of work, and I just never got into a rhythm that worked for me. Fast forward to 2019: after almost seven years in the working world, I’ve got it down. My work bag is always ready to go, Matt and I’s clothes are ironed and hanging up on our wardrobe door before our heads hit our pillows, and our lunches are prepared for the next day. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and sometimes I still even place my makeup products on my dressing table, ready to use when I’m bleary eyed and fighting the urge to jump back into bed for another cuddle!

Go to bed a reasonable time. It’s probably the most obvious thing to point out, but it’s for good reason. Waking up early and feeling ready to take on the day, are never going to go hand-in-hand if you’re falling asleep mid-way through a movie you decided you just had to watch at 11pm. Matt and I are such homebodies – we love our cosy evening routine so much – and quite honestly we’re very rarely awake at 11pm! That is the latest of nights for us, specifically reserved for weekends when Matt’s off work. In our twenties and living the high life. We’re all different, but scientists believe the optimum number of hours we should sleep lands between the six to eight hour mark, and I have to say for us, I agree. If we get less than seven hours we’re a little cranky, and counting down to having an early night from the second our alarm goes off. I think the best way to tweak this is to try to go to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each day, gradually working up to an hour or hour and a half earlier, and seeing how you feel getting up at the same time or earlier in the mornings.

Stop pressing snooze. Seriously. I admit it: I’m a fan of the snooze button. I used to religiously set alarms for an hour (or sometimes two) before we were going to get up just so I could enjoy snuggling back in and falling asleep again. I know. Matt hated it but never complained, bless him! You’ll be glad to know I’ve finally relaxed on the super early alarms. I still set our alarm a tad earlier than we need to get up to get ready for the day ahead, but generally by a much more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes. This gives us a little time to wake up, snuggle in with each other and talk about our sleep and the day ahead. *Cue lots of me telling Matt he said something super cute but he was fast asleep and has no recollection. And I’m probably complaining about him stealing all the covers. He does it every night!* In hindsight, I never actually felt better from snoozing our alarm either, if anything it made me more tired and grumpy, because I would fall back asleep then jump awake, feeling more startled every time.

Create a routine. I love routines. Love, love, love them. That will be no surprise to any regular readers, I think they just make life so much more simple! Due to Matt’s varying shifts throughout the week, our mornings are a little different each day, but that actually makes things a little easier for me, I think. Some days we’re up at 6am, and he’s out of the house around half an hour later. On those mornings I love to write and edit upcoming blog posts and/or squeeze in a thirty minute yoga session before I have to get ready for work. The days we get to snooze a little longer are when I’m out of the house first (much later at around 8.30am), and they’re generally reserved for little lie ins and cups of tea in bed. Both glorious in their own way! Of course, weekends are a whole different ball game (if Matt is off work, that is) – it’s our time to sleep a little longer and just move at a slower pace. Also, I find my days start so much better if I don’t start to browse social media the second I turn off the alarm. I’m obviously not perfect and I do usually catch up on my chosen platform (Instagram, ALWAYS!) before I leave the house, but it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up anymore. Matt and I try so hard to not look at our phones whilst we’re lying in bed in the morning, otherwise it makes us want to stay there for at least another twenty minutes! It’s still a work in progress, but little steps climb mountains. Or something like that.

Give yourself things to look forward to. It’s almost like bribing yourself, but having something in the morning to get up for is going to make you want to do it. I don’t really need to do this any more, but in the early days of trying to get up earlier and enjoy it, I really did need all of the motivation I could get! Whether it was the promise of a yoga session, an extra twenty minutes to binge-watch vlogs whilst I got ready (look no further than Emma Hill or The Anna Edit, they’re a dream) or cups of tea in bed, these little things became a reason to get up and get on with the day.

Let in the light and open the windows. Hallelujah, it’s no longer like the dead of night when it’s time to get up! Since mid-February when the mornings started getting warmer and lighter, my mood rose so quickly. We all know getting up when it’s dark and cold outside is ten times harder, so putting ourselves into new routines throughout the Spring and Summer gives us a better shot of carrying it on throughout the colder months too. Matt and I sleep with the window open every night (although, not too open. A few weeks ago, our next door neighbour’s cat let himself in during the middle of the night, plonked his bum on our bedside table and DRANK OUR GLASS OF WATER. guys. IT DRANK FROM THE GLASS. I woke up to the sound of his tongue lapping it up and screamed until Matt woke up. I sh*t you not. Also, we are not cat people hahaha). Anyway, I digress, but waking up to a light chill in the room is actually quite nice, and I find it weirdly motivating. It’s not freezing cold, so I find it just wakes me up a little more. Also, any excuse to wear bae’s dressing gown while I get ready, it’s so much cosier than mine!

Experiment with delicious breakfasts. Let’s be honest, food is the best part of everyone’s day, and in my opinion breakfast food just pips anything else to the top of the list. If you have time for homemade pancakes and berries covered in syrup then more power to you, but I’m thinking the quick, easy options are the best to go for in the mornings before work. Think avocado toast, oatmeal, Special K (I’m having a bit of a love affair with that right now!) or smoothies packed with all the goodies. If there’s one thing that’s sure to get me excited about getting up it’s food! Also, not to sound like your grandma, but breakfast is so important. Even if you’re running super late and barely have time to catch your breath, at least grab a banana or protein bar, you’ll thank me for it when the 11am slump doesn’t arrive!

I hope this post helped to give you a little inspiration, or maybe a few laughs at least! Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy getting up and getting on with your day? Please let me know your tips in the comments below!

-G x