My Current Skincare Routine: Winter Edition

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m so excited about because I really just wanted to talk about all the products I’m loving right now. I should start by saying that my skin is combination, and like most people’s it leans way more to the dry side during the Winter months. My skin is also dehydrated, and that’s something I’m really trying to treat. Overall I’m pretty happy with my skin right now, and I’ve learned it’s never going to be ‘perfect’ which is fine! I recently talked about the things I’ve learned from my experience with acne, and I think it’s so important that we stop being so hard on ourselves for not having perfect skin. Nobody has perfect skin, and that’s okay! Also I’m sure this may seem like a lot of products to some (and possibly very little to others) but this is just what works for me 🙂

AM

I cleanse my face every morning with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser which I absolutely love! This cleanser leaves my face feeling clean and is the perfect first step in the morning as it’s not at all harsh or stripping. It removes all of the skincare product residue from the night before easily and gently, and it has a really pleasant, light scent which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of highly fragranced cleansers. I really look forward to washing my face with this every morning!

Depending on how my skin is, I tone with Pixi Glow Tonic but I tend to only use this on the days my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have an active breakout/cystic acne. This is without a doubt my favourite toner as it is packed with glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin. I really think this makes a huge difference to the pores on my cheeks too, it definitely reduces the appearance of them and overall helps my skin look so much brighter. It literally makes you glow!

Whether I have or haven’t used my toner, my next step is always Hydraluron serum. As soon as the weather gets cold, my skin gets dry and dehydrated and this serum works to boost moisture levels in the skin, and hold on to all of the moisture from your moisturiser. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (a huge tell tale sign is your makeup breaking up/not lasting throughout the day) you should give this a go as it makes all the difference! It’s not a miracle worker and my skin is definitely still dehydrated, but it has improved so much since I started using this serum. I only use a pea sized amount across my whole face; it absorbs straight in and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all. Also, just an FYI, Caroline Hirons swears by this product so much it’s been coined Hironsluron by her loyal readers/viewers!

I’m not usually too fussed on which eye cream I use as I’ve never found a day time eye cream that makes much difference to me, but that all changed when I picked up La Roche Posay Hydraphase eye cream. I’ve been using this around two months and it feels so nice, absorbs into my under eye area quickly and is cooling which is lovely if your eyes can be a little puffy in the morning! My concealer always sits well on top of this which is also a bonus as I’ve tried several eye creams that pill under makeup and cause texture.

For my moisturiser I like to combine two products; I take a smidge of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and mix it with a bigger smidge of Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. So technical, I know! If I have a bad breakout I apply a little Effaclar Duo directly over the area, but most days I mix them together with my fingertips and apply all over my face. Effaclar Duo has been a staple in my skincare routine for years and it’s something I’ve always kept in my collection, but with consistent use it’s made such a difference to my skin. I love love love Lait Crème Concentré – which is one of the best selling French pharmacy skincare products ever – as it’s very hydrating, but sinks into the skin so well and is a perfect base under makeup. Makeup artists worldwide swear by this as a must have product in their kit, it also doubles as a primer which is great for travelling!

My favourite ever lip balm is hands down Nuxe Reve de Miel – made by another fantastic French pharmacy brand – I just cannot say enough good things about this! It’s creamy, moisturising, non-sticky and keeps my lips moisturised for hours. I use this morning and night, and I also keep my Nuxe Reve de Miel stick in my bag which I re-apply several times throughout the day. Matt is a huge fan of these lip balms too!

PM

My favourite time of the day apart from snuggling up in bed with Matt is taking my makeup (and bra) off. As soon as I’m home for the evening I like to take off my makeup, get showered/bathed and throw my pj’s on, and then I’m cosy for the night! Over the past few weeks I’ve been reaching only for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is an old favourite of mine. This balm takes off every. single. scrap. of makeup on your face and doesn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin. I apply to my dry face, and massage in to start to break down my makeup. I then wet my fingers and carry on massaging in the balm, which turns to an oil-like consistency when water is added. I take my flannel soaked with warm water to remove everything. It literally takes less than a minute! I’m also a huge fan of these flannels from M&S; they’re inexpensive, wash so well and make the world of difference to my cleansing routine.

I always always always double cleanse – because Caroline Hirons told me to – and nine times out of ten I reach for my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser that I use each morning. I just love this stuff! It’s also very boyfriend friendly; I’m forever trying to get Matt into a set skincare routine and this is one of the few products he actually enjoys using.

Each night I tone my face with either Pixi Glow Tonic or Pixi Retinol Tonic on a cotton round. I choose which one to use based on my skin that day; if I’m suffering with an acne flare up or a bad breakout I reach for Glow tonic, and if I’m having a good skin day I reach for Retinol tonic. This is such a low dose of Retinol that it is safe to use every day, so I often use this several nights in a row, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

My next step is to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum which is fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin! I personally prefer Hydraluron for during the day, but I love love love this product for the evening. I find this is a lot more runny in consistency and you have to be careful not to pump too much out, but it is such a bargain and really has made a difference to my skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated, and is the perfect product to be sandwiched between cleansing and applying the rest of my skincare products.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know I am obsessed with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask and nothing will ever replace this for me! I’ve used this product for around two to three years and it is just so hydrating. I especially love that this eye cream is cooling on application and as it’s a gel-like texture it sinks straight in. I really love this eye cream and it’s a product several people have told me they tried because I rave about it so much… it’s so worth the hype, I promise!

Before I apply my my moisturiser, I use Pixi Glow Tonic serum followed by Botanics Restoring Overnight facial oil which is my perfect evening combination. The Pixi serum is just beautiful! I apply two to three drops across my whole face and it helps to exfoliate (like the toner) and hydrate. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after application, and if I ever skip this step I feel like my skin really pays for it the next day. The Botanics facial oil was something I picked up on a whim in Boots – we’ve all done it, right? – and it is the most luxurious facial oil I’ve ever used! I love the scent so much, it’s packed full of essential oils and is really calming. I am so impressed with the quality of the oil and I’d really advise anyone wanting a little luxury in their skincare routine to pick it up! One thing to note is that I don’t apply the oil to any areas affected with an active breakout!

My holy grail skincare product this time of year is Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, it’s truly the best hydrating moisturiser I’ve ever tried! I feel like it just layers so well on top of my serums and oil, and makes my skin feel so soft and plump. I love that it’s such a light texture but a little really does go a long way, and it is a great product if you have combination skin. It definitely doesn’t make my face feel or look oily, but it concentrates on any dry patches and just makes things so much more hydrated!

Just like I do in the mornings, I always finish off my evening skincare routine with my Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. I generally tend to do my skincare routine early in the evening so I often apply several times more before I go to sleep, and I always put it on just before Matt and I get into bed.

I of course use various treatments – sheet masks are a personal fave – throughout the week/month, and I just see how my skin is doing and what it needs at that time. You can read all about my favourite treatment products here, I still use and love all of those products, I just have a few extra faves now too! I love trying new beauty products but these days I’m slightly more hesitant to try new skincare products as I’m really happy with the ones I’m currently using! I would love to try more from the Botanics range though, and the Clinique Moisture Surge hydrating water gel has been on my ‘to try’ list forever! What are your go-to skincare products for the colder months? Have you tried anything I talked about in this post, or are you adding them to your Christmas list?

-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

Pinks & Peaches

Hi, loves! I really really love pinks, peaches and corals, they’re just the perfect Summer colours to me! These are the shades that make my heart happy, you know when you’re just drawn to specific tones? I’m really desperate to buy a peach coral lipstick but I’m just not sure I could pull it off. Does anyone have any recommendations of shades I should look at?! My obsession with pinks and coral toned peaches are a little crazy… Matt and I were shopping in Homesense a few weeks ago and he had to prise me away from a cushion that I wanted so badly because it was the exact same shade as the Essie nail polish I’m talking about in this post, ha! Also, this wasn’t meant to be an I love Charlotte Tilbury post, but it kind of turned out that way…

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Cheat / Pillow Talk Lipstick
This is my go-to date night lip combination, and a duo I reach for over and over again! Both of these products pretty much live in my bag, and I never get bored of them. I’m not the biggest fan of matte lipstick normally, but this formula is incredible and I really want to pick up another shade! The lip liner is the perfect base for the lipstick, and the formula is creamy, soft and long lasting, without feeling dry or irritating on your lips. I’ve repurchased the lip liner so many times, and I know when I run out of the lipstick I’ll be heading into town to grab another right away!

Loreal Glow Mon Amour Highlighting Drops in Champagne
I briefly mentioned this in a #feelinitfriday post before I went on holiday, but I’m even more obsessed with it now. Other than foundation and concealer, I’m a powder kinda gal when it comes to my makeup, but highlighter has always been an exception. I think liquid highlighters are so beautiful and shimmery, and just look so much more fresh on your skin! This highlight is the most gorgeous shimmery, peachy colour, and it literally gives your skin a lit-from-within glow, which is what we’re all aspiring for, right?! I also mixed a little of this with my favourite body lotion when Matt and I were going out out and it looked so nice!

Charlotte Tilbury The Duchess Lipstick
This was a beautiful gift from my lovely boyfriend for Valentine’s Day this year, and I reach for it so often, I just love it! I actually wore it for every single night of our holiday this year and I got compliments on it, I’m always shocked when anyone other than Matt or our mums takes notice of what I’m wearing haha. It’s described as a tea rose which I think suits it perfectly; it is a little dark when I’m super fair, but when I have a little bit of a tan (which I do post holiday!) it looks more rosy and bright. The formula is iconic; it’s creamy, easy to wear and lasts for so long on the lips, even when eating and drinking. In the beautiful rose gold packaging Charlotte Tilbury is known for it feels and looks so luxurious, I always feel so happy applying it!

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love
I just really love Charlotte Tilbury products, what can I say? Since I picked this blush up just before Christmas I’ve used it pretty much every day, I just can’t choose another product over it! The colour is a subtle peachy pink, but can be easily built up for a more in-depth colour depending on the look you’re going for. It’s completely matte, which I really love becuase I like to be able to incorporate glitter with my eyeshadow, and add shimmer from my highlighting drops!

Essie Cute As A Button Nail Polish
I only ever really paint my toes as I was getting gels for a long time on my fingers, but after a few bad experiences with chipping/peeling (which never use to happen) I got them took off just before my holiday and I’m trying to give my nails a little rest. I wore this colour throughout my whole holiday on my toes, and loved it so much I repainted when we got back. And whilst we were there, because the sun literally melted off my nail polish. The shade is just so dang pretty, it’s my perfect peachy coral shade for Summer as it’s bright and loud, but doesn’t look neon as I’m not a huge fan of that. I already know I’m going to be wearing it for the rest of Summer! Essie’s formula is just always good, and with a little top coat it doesn’t chip at all.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got a little inspiration to pick up some peachy pink goodness! Have you tried any of the products featured in this post? What are your favourite pink and peach toned products? Do you have any recommendations of things I should try out?

-G x

My May Goals

Happy first day of May, loves!

I am so excited to share my first monthly goals post on my blog, and I hope (if you enjoy it) it can become a semi-regular feature. I love to set goals for myself and it’s something that encourages me and motivates me like nothing else. I generally keep my goals private, and only would share my current goals with Matt, but I think it’s good to hold myself accountable by writing them for the world to see. I wrote this post towards the end of 2018, to set myself some goals before the new year rolled around. I’m still working on some of those right now, and I also wrote a post about the goals I want to achieve in 2019.

May is going to be a good month, I can feel it! Matt and I had so much fun in April, but it wasn’t the best month for me as I struggled a lot with my anxiety and felt a bit rubbish. April did however see a huge increase in traffic for my blog which was unexpected, and I can’t tell you how excited and grateful I am for that. I’m enjoying blogging more and more as the months roll on, and seeing the rise in people reading posts, liking and commenting makes it feel that little bit extra special. It’s also my birthday month – I turn 25 on May 17th – to celebrate Matt and I are heading for a little spa break and we’re so excited! There’s two bank holidays this month, hopefully the warm weather from April bank holiday weekend will return, and we’re going to have so many fun date days/nights. So, what are my goals for this month, and what steps am I taking to achieve them?

Worry less
I’m pretty sure from now until the day I die, my daily goal will be to worry less. I’m a perfectionist, I care too much what other people think, and I’m always striving to please everyone around me, even those that don’t really matter. I really want to work on this, although I find it’s much harder than it sounds when I attempt to put it into practice. I’m starting with giving myself that extra little bit of self love, believing in all of the wonderful things Matt says to/about me, and trying to live in the moment more. I know life is so short, and we should focus on ourselves way more than we do, it’s just hard to find that perspective when I need it. It goes without saying that my anxiety does not help with this and, as mentioned above, I’ve been feeling very anxious recently, although I’ve been unable to pin down exactly why. I’m hoping my head will feel a little clearer this month, and I can enjoy each day without feeling that little cloud hovering over me.

Make better food choices
Throughout April, Matt and I were trying so hard to eat better. We’ve always generally ate well for breakfast and dinner, but it was the bit in the middle of the day (and sometimes the evening) that was the struggle. We’re self-confessed snackers, and we’re prone to snuggling up to watch our TV shows in the evening with a bag of popcorn or a pack of Haribo. We’re not cutting out everything bad for us and we’re definitely still eating the things we love in moderation, we’re just trying to be a little more aware of what we put into our bodies. I’d love to lose a little weight before our holiday next month, too! Our four main goals are; more vegetables, more fruit, less sugar and less red meat. I talked about this in lots of detail in a previous post last month, but we really love to experiment and cook different dishes for dinner, and we’re trying to make at least two new recipes a week throughout May so we can expand our ‘go-to dinner options’ even more. I’m excited for the challenge of another month of making healthier choices, and I’m hoping that after another four weeks it may become second nature. Let’s just forget about the fact there’s two bank holidays and my birthday weekend where we’ll 100% be consuming alcohol. And cake.

Read at least four books
Throughout 2019, I’ve been reading like a machine, and this one is probably going to be the easiest goal for me. I love nothing more than getting lost in a fictional world; it’s a great way for me to de-stress from everyday life, and it makes me feel so relaxed, especially when I’m feeling a little bit lost with myself. I feel like I have to actively make time for reading, as my default *thing to do* when I’ve got a little downtime is to work on my blog. I’m trying to be a little more selfish, and allow myself time to read as a self-care activity, instead of thinking I constantly need to be doing something. I am forever buying new books, and when I love one I tend to fly through it at lightening speed. I’ve read 12 books so far this year, which works out at three per month, but I’m setting myself the goal of reading (at least) one more. My favourite place to read books is in a Lush bath, as I feel like I’m completely in my own little bubble and it’s glorious!

Create new in-front-of-the-camera blog content
I find having my photo taken the cringiest thing in the world, and I just don’t know how to re-train my thinking on this. I think the fact I feel uncomfortable with my body is the driving force behind this, but that’s a slow process to change. I began the process to change up my hair last month and I do feel so much better already, so maybe this will be more achievable as the months roll on! The only photos I feel comfortable taking are ugly Snapchat selfies (my boyfriend is so lucky) or the occasional couple photo when we’re dressed up for a night out, and even those I rarely like when the morning rolls around. I really want to branch out more with my blog, especially by showing Spring/Summer fashion ideas and taking the kind of photos I’d love to feature on my blog, but it’s hard when I don’t feel too comfortable in front of the camera. Matt is fortunately a great (and very patient) photographer, so hopefully we can work together to get some good shots! He took the photos of me in this post during a day out at Alnwick Garden during the April bank holiday Monday – we had the best day enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms – and he made me feel so much more comfortable in front of the camera.

Use cash as much as possible throughout the month
As I mentioned in this post, I was getting much better at taking money out at the ATM for the week, and then using that money for groceries, shopping days or heading out for an impromptu dinner date with Matt. Throughout April I didn’t do so well with this, and went back to tapping my contactless card or using Face ID to activate my Apple Pay like it was my job. As a result, I spent over my budget in a few too many categories, and I want to save a little more money this month than I did in April. Matt and I are starting our Spring/Summer clothes shopping too – I love shopping date days, we pretty much always go for a Wagamama too! – and I want to make sure I’m not overspending. You can see some of the things I’m planning on picking up in my Spring style wishlist post, and there’s a few other bits and pieces I need to start picking up for our holiday next month!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a little peek into what my goals are for the month. Do you set monthly goals? How well do you do at achieving them? If you have any tips or tricks to help me achieve mine I’d be eternally grateful!

-G x

My Favourite Self Care Practices

Happy Sunday, loves!

I’ve talked about my love of practicing self care on my blog several times, and there’s so much more to it than beauty regimes, (although that is one of my personal favourite ways to look after myself). There’s so many things I do that make me feel good, relaxed and ready to take on the world. I think we all sometimes need an extra spoon of self care, and we need to be better at knowing when it’s time to give ourselves a break. It’s so important to look after yourself, and nurture that feeling inside that sometimes is just screaming for a little ‘me time’!

Breakfast dates. Waking up early and heading for breakfast with Matt is hands down one of my favourite weekend activities. We never get chance to do this during the week due to my work schedule, so every opportunity we get we make the most of it. There’s something so fun to me about being up early; there’s less people around, you’re way more likely to get a table, and breakfast food is the best food. I mentioned a few of our favourite local spots in this post. (Well, I’m obviously biased but all of our dates make me so happy – good food and good company is forever the best combination!)

Being outside. Whether it’s after breakfast or mid-afternoon, another weekend favourite of ours is going for a long walk. We love to go down by the coast or through the countryside, there’s so many beautiful views all around. In this weather, it may involve wearing twelve layers, but it’s SO worth it. We are so lucky with where we live; we have so many beautiful places right on our doorstep. If we travel ten minutes one way, we’re at the beach, and ten minutes the other way we’re in the countryside. I think fresh air does so much for your mind; it’s freeing and wonderful!

Reading a book. Lounging in the bath reading a book is my ultimate unwinding place. I mean, I’d love to be reading and laying by the pool with Matt in Croatia, but it’s not June yet. I find reading to be my perfect escape for a few moments of peace and quiet, to allow myself to re-charge my batteries and relax. Also, I mentioned this in my January favourites post, but if you missed that you may not know… my favourite social media babe has only gone and wrote a bloody book! An Edited Life is your one stop shop for all things organisation and planning and I’m so sad I finished it. I’ve just started reading Normal People by Sally Rooney (my fourth book of the year, I think I’ll definitely hit my goal to read 20 books this year at this rate!) and I’m really enjoying that too. I have a few more books in my stash to read, but please leave any recommendations below!

Cooking. Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before… LOL. Cooking is one of my favourite activities, and I’m so grateful it’s something Matt and I get to do together almost every night. The occasional night we’re so tired (or recently, so unwell! We’re thankfully feeling so much better now after being poorly for over a week) we throw in a few flatbread pizzas and call it a night. When it comes to cooking, we’re learning as we go, and having so much fun doing it. We generally get ideas from recipe books/blogs then over time we adapt to make things the way we prefer, I can’t wait to share some with you on the blog in the coming weeks! My favourite things to make in the Winter are warm dishes, filled to the brim with veggies (and usually served with garlic bread, we’re obsessed guys!)

Exercising. I realise this isn’t exactly ground-breaking , but moving my body and working up a sweat makes me feel so dang good. I love yoga and HIIT workouts, and I alternate my workouts depending on how I feel that day. I don’t work out every day, unfortunately, but I’ve stepped my game up so much already this year! Working out is good for my body and mind, and makes me feel so much happier in my day-to-day life. I also keep thinking about the fact I’ll be living in a bikini for a week at the end of June and I’d rather not resemble a marshmallow.

Listening To Podcasts. I got into podcasts towards the end of last year, thanks to the lovely Savannah. She talks about Small Town Murder a lot on her blog, and I was so intrigued I went onto Spotify and started listening, now I’m hooked! Matt enjoys the stories too, James and Jimmy are so funny and I’ve learned so much from them. I wrote a post about some of my favourite podcasts which you can read here, and as I mentioned in that post, Bryony Gordon’s Mad World is so good if you’re needing a big ol’ tablespoon of self care.

Organising/Cleaning/Tidying. LOL, this really does make me feel good. I hate when things are unorganised and not as they should be, so taking a little time out of my day to make things more streamlined helps immensely. Something as little as making our bed every morning is an important one to me, or keeping my makeup bag clean with just the important bits in, or taking out all of the crap that somehow accumulates in my work tote regularly. I also love cleaning my makeup brushes as then when it comes to doing my makeup the next day I enjoy it even more! The next post you’ll see from me on Wednesday may have something to do with this…

A Pamper Night. So, as I mentioned above self care doesn’t solely revolve around beauty, but I really do feel good after a hot bath, exfoliating, shaving and moisturising my whole body, washing my hair and really going in on my skincare routine. I’m a bit of a loser and have products I use for ‘special occasions’ which basically means before a date night or if I feel a bit naff. My ideal pamper night also includes eating a really naughty dessert wihlst snuggled up in bed… Matt and I are always sneaking off to grab a McFlurry, oops!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite self care practices? What makes you feel your best?

-G x

January Favourites

Hi, loves!

Boy am I glad January is OVER. Ringing in the new year with Matt and our friends seems like a lifetime ago! The weather has been so dark and miserable, and I’m already longing for warm Spring days when I can fill our bedroom with bunches of peonies and we can go outside without a coat. However, even though the weather hasn’t been on our side, Matt and I have had so much fun this month. We also booked our Summer holiday, we’re heading to the beautiful country of Croatia in June! I’m SO excited to explore and relax in the sun with my love, I literally check the TUI countdown app like my life depends on it.

So, I know what you’re thinking… January favourites? But you said you’d never have enough content to create monthly posts on the products you’ve been using? WELL, I hold my hands up can I can say I was wrong. I mean, I’m never wrong. But, on this one occasion, I was. HAHA. Okay so let me explain; I have loved watching monthly favourites videos on YouTube and reading monthly favourites blog posts for as long as I can remember. Nowhere near as many creators make them nowadays, but they’re OG YouTube/blogging, and I have to admit they’re such a guilty pleasure of mine. (Anna‘s are forever my favourite!) I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that as much as I love reading/watching this content, I don’t try enough new products each month to constantly be raving about new things. Then it hit me, it doesn’t have to be about new products!

I definitely have favourite products I use month to month, and I’d actually love to be able to look back over previous months and see which books/beauty products/TV shows/movies/clothing items etc were floating my boat then. When I wrote my 2018 beauty favourites, every item had been featured on my blog, most of them several times, and I got such a great response to that post it made me want to try out a monthly favourites series on my blog. Also, apologies these photos aren’t great – it’s been so dark I’ve not been able to take good quality photos with natural light! I promise my February favourites will be photographed much better. So, what are my favourites from the month of January?

All the date days/nights. As I mentioned above, Matt and I have had SO many fun date days and nights this month! We’ve been to four(!!) football games supporting our team, did a little shopping, gone for a few walks down by the beach, made so many new (and old) recipes, went for a few breakfast and dinner dates, squeezed in a double date with our lovely friends Jonny and Jo, and made the most of all the cosy nights in! We’ve spent so much of the month having fun and I’m beyond grateful that we always prioritise our time together.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer. Okay, quite a big claim, but this is hands down the best concealer I’ve used under my eyes! I picked this up on recommendation from Allie Glines, I love her and she always creates the best easy-to-wear looks. This concealer is lightweight, brightening and lasts all day/night. It doesn’t accentuate any dry patches under my eyes and it doesn’t crease, although I always set it with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder which I’m sure helps a lot. As the formula is so lightweight it never looks cakey on the skin, and it applies beautifully with a damp beauty blender. Laura Mercier is also cruelty free! (Side note: the Nars soft matte concealer that I love and use to cover redness/spots etc is running out so fast, and I can’t repurchase as it’s not cruelty free. Does anyone have any recommendations for an alternative? I think I may pick up the new Too Faced concealer!)

Prison documentaries on Netflix. It’s probably no surprise to any regular readers, but man do Matt and I love a documentary on Netflix. Our recent love has been anything prison related – Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons and Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail have been our ultimate favourites this month! It’s crazy seeing what goes on inside prisons/jails all over the world, it almost seems made up sometimes. If you have any recommendations for some more documentaries we need to watch, please let me know!

An Edited Life by Anna Newton. I’m the biggest fan girl of Anna, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. My blog inpsiration and ultimate girl crush has only gone and wrote a bloody book! I just finished reading and I’m excited to let you in on a little secret… it’s going to be featured on my blog in my first ever book review next month! Anna is the queen of organiation and de-cluttering, as well as being the most Monica-esque person there ever was, can you see why I love her? I genuinely aspire to be more like her everyday. I told you I was a fan girl! I feel like generally we’re so similar, from our love of Friends, right down to our colour co-ordinated budget spreadsheets. If you’re looking to get your life in order this year, this one’s for you!

Sukin Facial Cleanser. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this product as it’ll be featured in my skincare routine next month, but I’m seriously impressed with this! I’ve been using this cleanser every night and most mornings since November, and it works so well for my skin. Sukin is an eco-friendly, vegan brand, and all of their products are made with natural ingredients. This cleanser has been a huge help in keeping my skin clear, it doesn’t feel harsh or stripping and the product seems to last forever. I use a 5p sized amount each morning/evening, and I genuinely look forward to washing my face! This is big news because normally I find it the biggest chore ever, HAHA. I can’t wait to share more with you in my skincare routine!

Writing/posting in January. It’s no secret that I love to write for my blog, or else I wouldn’t be doing it! BUT, I loved writing more than ever this past month. My posts What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion? and Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together? got SO much traction which I wasn’t expecting, but was so pleasantly surprised. Both of the topics covered in these posts; sustainability and mental health, are so important to me, and I truly wrote from the heart, which I think comes across to readers. I love that I can engage with people all over the world and open up new conversations, it still blows my mind. Thank you so much to my new followers, and to anyone that has messaged me about either/both posts! If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?! They’re super long so I’d highly advise grabbing a cuppa and a Penguin biscuit (Matt and I’s favourite snack from the month… shhhhh).

Thank you so much for reading! I had so much fun writing my first monthly favourites post, I hope you enjoyed! Have you been a fan of any of the things featured in this post? What were your favourite products or things from this past month?

-G x

Beating The January Blues

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Matt and I had the best day yesterday; we slept in and had a super lazy morning, then we went to watch NUFC vs Cardiff City. We won 3-0 and it was SUCH a good game! These are my favourite kind of days. It was so freezing cold (we’ve had snow this week!) but we had the best time. We headed to make dinner together, watch a little Netflix and squeeze in an early night. Bliss. Today we’re hoping to have another little lie in, then get wrapped up to head for breakfast and a long walk along the coast, it’s not going to get above 2 degrees but I’m so excited! Matt’s at a work event this evening so before I pick him up I’m going to have the pamper night of all pamper nights… meaning reading An Edited Life and lounging in the bath for approximately two hours. 

I’m so excited to be sharing with you the things I’m doing to keep myself in check this month, letting you in on the little things that make me feel happy and #blessed. But, for real. The January blues are a serious thing, and it’s a month where so many people generally feel low and miserable. It’s understandable; we’re all sad the festive season is over, there’s very little sunlight and it’s constantly freezing cold. I also have so much anxiety related to the bad weather – cue tears at the sight of a few snowflakes, knowing I have to drive in it. I wish I didn’t feel this way and any tips toget over it would be much appreciated? I hope this post may make you see January in a whole different light!

Making the most of quality time with my loved ones. It’ll be no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I treasure nothing more than quality time with my boyfriend. We make the most of being together every night and morning, and we’re extra grateful for the few ocassions per month when our work schedules alighn and we get to spend a whole day together! Planning date days and spending time with our friends and families help us feel refreshed, and as a bonus gives us things to look forward to, which is even more important in the never-ending month of January! I always look forward to coming home from work, getting my comfies on and snuggling up with Matt but I appreciate it during the cold weather more than ever. (It’s my favourite when he runs a bath for me coming home, the cutie!)

Eat foods that make me feel good. Matt and I love cooking SO much, it’s up there in my top three things to do in life. We’ve been learning and experimenting with different foods for a long time and we have our favourite, go-to recipes down. We’re professional meal planners now (probably going to talk about this in more detail at some point), and we’re still really enjoying trying new recipes. I think the Winter months are the best time to spend a little longer in the kitchen! We are big fans of #MeatlessMonday and I’m forever trying to find new vegetarian recipes – please let me know of any you love. I always feel so much better when we’re eating lots of veggies, and I’ve suddenly come to the realization that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. My grandma was right, after all! Also, I’m having a bit of a love affair with Quorn ‘chicken’ nuggets and southern fried bites right now. THEY. ARE. SO. GOOD.

Kos, June 2017. I can’t wait to experience beautiful sunsets in Croatia this year!

Make plans for the Summer. Speaking from experience, this is a great time of year to book your Summer holiday as during the never-ending dark days, Summer seems like it’s never going to come back again. There’s also often great deals in the January sales! Last year, Matt and I booked our holiday to Kos at the beginning of January, and it brightened up the dark days so much. I think when we first booked I checked our countdown on the TUI app approximately 432 times per day, but I was just so excited. We booked our holiday for this Summer last week and we’re are once again counting down the days! We’re heading to Croatia and staying in the most beautiful hotel, and we’re hoping to book up a mini break in Budapest soon too. I feel so lucky and grateful that we’re able to go on holiday! *Be right back, just checking my countdown on the TUI app…*

Don’t let the dark days be overwhelming. We all know during the Winter months when it’s dark in the morning and dark at night, it’s easy to feel miserable and sluggish. During this time of year, most of us go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, and unless you’re staring out of the office window (who’s got time for that?!) it’s easy to miss the small chunks of daylight we get all together. Matt and I always spend a little time cuddled up in the mornings, having a chat and a giggle together no matter how tired we feel or how miserable it is outside. Simple things like enjoying a cup of tea or glass of orange juice whilst we get ready for the day makes the day off to a better start. If the dark mornings are something that you really struggle with, you can purchase alarm clocks (like this one) that gradually wake you up in the morning with light, similar to daylight in the Spring/Summer months. I secretly like the really dark days when it’s pouring rain… just me?

Moving my body. Exercise is important all year round, but during the Winter months I think it’s even more important to make that extra effort to get the blood pumping around my body. As much as I’d love to be, I’m not a gym person and the thought of spending my evenings in the gym fills me with dread. Instead, I love yoga and how personal it is – I can practice at any time of day, anywhere I choose to (a few sun salutations on my lunch break isn’t weird, okay!) My favourite online instructor is the lovely Adrienne, and if yoga is something you’d like to get into this year I’d highly recommend checking her channel out. Matt and I are finally taking up swimming and we’re hoping to go at least twice per week. We’ve been saying this since we visited Kos back in June as we loved being in the water so much, so I’m proud of us for finally doing it! We love going on long walks and the Winter months are perfect for getting out and exploring; we have the beach on one side of our little town and the countryside on the other, we are SO lucky. I can’t wait to get wrapped up and get outside as much as possible!

Setting goals for the week/month/year ahead. I thrive off having goals and plans, and ticking things off a list is my idea of a good time. Lame, I know. If you are a goal orientated person, I’d highly recommend writing down the things you’d like to achieve this year, maybe the places you want to go and any personal things you’d like to work on. Even if this isn’t typically your style, give it a go! I wrote down all of the things I’d like to achieve this year back in December – I wrote a post including most of those here – and I’ve already put most things into practice. I also have set myself a few blog related goals that I’m hoping to achieve throughout the year. Goals can be anything you’d like to change, improve or work on, and there’s no harm in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Just make sure not to be too hard on yourself if a goal doesn’t work out, it’s another chance to give it time and start again!

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Enjoy indoor activities. I am such a homebody and I definitely feel a little bit excited to spend a few more cosy evenings in the house with Matt. That being said, I also love when the nights are bright, sunny and warm – it’s hard to explain HA! My ideal night in during the cold Winter months involves watching a movie or a few shows on Netflix, and eating a really good meal that we’ve cooked. Then of course, snuggling in together for an early night because we’re 24 going on 84. Use your extra time in the house to organise your space, declutter your wardrobes (you can read my experience on that here) and begin your Spring cleaning early. If you haven’t watched Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix – get on it! You’ll want to stay indoors for DAYS organising and de-cluttering. I know Matt and I will be spending the next few months finding new shows on Netflix, cooking some new dishes and wearing our dressing gowns like our lives depends on it! It’s a great time to pick up a new skill, and if you’re looking to learn how to cook I’d highly recommend beginning now. I’m posting a recipe for our favourite chilli in the next few weeks so be sure to come back and check that out!

Supplementing the lack of Vitamin D. It’s a pretty common fact that in the Winter months most of us Brits are Vitamin D deficient, as there really isn’t much daylight and we don’t see the sun for weeks at a time. It’s important to supplement the lack of Vitamin D as this can have a real impact on your general mood and well being, or at least I find it does. You can get Vitamin D from lots of foods, including eggs and fish, or you can supplement with tablets*. I picked up vitamin D tablets from Sainsbury’s and I’ve been taking them every day. Spending as much time as possible outside when you can during the daylight hours is so good for my health and I’d recommend that over any food/supplements! Whether it’s taking a quick walk on your lunch break or getting out of bed earlier than you’d like to on a Sunday morning, go outside and enjoy how beautiful and still everything is during the colder months!
*Speak to your doctor! NHS recommendations linked here.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and picked up a few ideas of things to implement in your life this January. Do you have any tips or ideas of things we can do to beat the January blues?

-G x