What’s What!

Hello my loves!

Guess who’s back?! Back again, ‘gain, ‘gain…

It has been SO long since I sat down and wrote to you all and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you guys and my blog. It’s actually exactly one month today since I posted saying I’d be taking some time away which is unintentional, but it feels right to bring my blog back now. Things are going to look a little different around here, but I am officially back in the blogging world and I’m so excited. I hope you’re all well and have had a fabulous month since we last spoke! Grab a cup of tea and settle in, in true www.gillianfinn.com style, we’ve got a long old post… 🙂

We love an awkward car selfie 🙂

What things are going to be looking like on the blog:
I took a break from blogging for several reasons; 1) I just needed a little time to adapt to our ‘new normal’ as things were opening back up again, 2) I felt like I was taking so much time up with taking photos, planning content, writing etc that it was not  becoming enjoyable and 3) I really wanted to just relax a little more as I’d been feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I still don’t feel 100%, but I do feel much better than I did at the end of July. 

I really love my blog and I’m so freaking proud of it! I knew I was only going to take a short break, but having that time away has made me realise that I don’t want to stress myself out about getting 2 – 3 posts up per week. I work full time, I am trying to get back into a social life (thank you, ‘Rona) and I need to make sure I prioritise my self care time too. I’m going to be uploading once per week for now, although as and when I can I’m really hoping to upload ‘bonus’ posts!

What I’m loving:
As you may have noticed from the photo above, I got my hair dyed this month! My roots look a little darker in that photo than they are now as this was taken the day after I got it dyed, they’ve lightened up just a tad after I’ve washed it 🙂 I had a not-so-great salon experience in July and was desperate to get it fixed. Going to a new salon is always scary! I can’t believe how much better I feel since I got my hair done, I really feel like a new person and I’m just so happy with it. I’ve not been this blonde for years and I kinda feel like I’m wearing a wig – LOL! – but it’s just so fun to try something new. Also, I already have a few things, but if you have any must-have products you use to keep your blonde hair healthy and happy, please let me know!

What I’m buying:
Well… Matt and I accidentally fell into Homesense the other day and their Autumn candles are already out! I was very reserved and only picked up two, but really I could have bought twelve. How flipping cute is that lid?! I had a huge wardrobe clear out a couple weeks ago so I’m really excited to see the A/W clothing slowly filter through into stores websites. I don’t really buy many clothes and I try to #shopsecondhand as much as I can, but there’s a couple of gaps I need to fill in my wardrobe ahead of the colder weather coming. I really need some new basic sweaters that I can dress up or down, and I’d love to grab a couple pretty shirts/blouses to wear for evenings out. I’d also love one or two more midi dresses as I wear the few I have all the time and it would be nice to switch things up a little!

What I’m watching:
All the shows! Matt and I have finally gotten back into a routine of watching shows almost every evening and I’m so happy about it. It’s so nice to unwind and relax after work. I’m still working from home for the foreseeable future so making sure to disconnect from work whilst in the same space is something I think is really important. I binge watched season three of Selling Sunset – it fills a void since the Laguna Beach & The Hills days! – and I already can’t wait for season four. Chrishell is just my favourite, I love her! We’re watching The Office (duh) and Friends reruns, we flew through Down To Earth with Zac Efron and now we’re watching season three of World’s Toughest Prisons. We really enjoy this show and watched the first two seasons around a year ago – some of the things that happen in these places is literally mind-blowing! 

This photo was taken at Eden Locke Hotel in Edinburgh at the start of August. I wish I’d had lighter hair then!

What I’m reading:
I just started a new book this past weekend; Hello Again by Isabelle Broom. So far I’m really enjoying it, I’m 24% of the way through and I’m already obsessed with the characters and making assumptions on what will happen next. I haven’t been reading as much recently just because I haven’t been making the time for it but since lockdown began back in March I’ve read tons of books. My stand out favourite was by far The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Friends, this was my favorite book I’ve read ALL YEAR! I had no idea what to expect; almost every time I guessed what the next part of the story would be I was so wrong. I laughed, I cried, I just loved it. I highly recommend!

What I’m excited about:
For me, August bank holiday marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. I can’t really explain it but I feel like September 1st is a fresh start in the way most people see January 1st! I’m taking my mum out for a treat, Matt and I have dinner plans with our friends, the most exciting/scary/nerve-wracking appointment of our lives and we’re hiking Thrunton Woods too. I might just record a Weekend In My Life because it’s going to be FUN! I know technically we have warm (ish) weather in September and sometimes through to mid-October, but I cannot wait for all things cold weather. I am so excited for pumpkin spice drinks, layering clothes, wearings scarves, coats & boots, dark gel nails… the list goes on! 

What skincare product I’m obsessed with:
I am SO happy with my skincare routine I’ve used religiously for a few months, but wearing a mask just here and there throughout the week is making my cheeks/jaw break out. Maskne is real, people. I realise so many people have to wear masks for literally 12 hours per day (you’re all amazing and I truly don’t know how you do it!) but just literally a couple hours per week means I’ve had to really focus on products that prevent breakouts and acne. I’m super acne prone so this isn’t really shocking, honestly. The one treatment I’ve been using per week has helped so. freaking. much. I’m talking about The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution, this works so well! This past Sunday my mum, Matt and I all enjoyed a little facial (courtesy of me, obvs!) and they really love the effects too. I’m going to be talking about how/when I use this in next week’s post, but if you pick this up please read full instructions on how to use the product and introduce it slowly; this is a chemical peel and if you use it like many people show on TikTok you’re at risk of chemical burns!

What I’m planning:
It’s Matt and I’s third anniversary in September and we’re really hoping to squeeze in a weekend away to celebrate! We would love to go to a spa hotel with a good area to hike/explore around there, but we’re a little reluctant to book somewhere until a little closer to the time as local lockdowns can happen with no notice. We are also looking for the best deal possible, too! It seems our Covid cases are creeping back up again so I’m not sure we want to travel very far, if we’ll even be able to. We’re leaning towards The Lake District or Yorkshire, so if you have any hotel/cabin recommendations please let me know!

What I’m burning:
Before I take a deep dive into my Autumn candles, Matt and I have been burning Somewhere Far Away by Our Lovely Goods this past week. I think the packaging is just so minimalistic and beautiful, I love how it looks sitting on my vanity table whether it’s lit or not. The amber glass jars are just so pretty and unique! All their candles burn so evenly which is really important to me, it bugs me so much when candles tunnel down the middle and you’re left with tons of wasted wax at the end. I also have word from the lovely couple behind OLG that they are launching Autumn scents on September 1st, I cannot wait to pick ten one up! Supporting small businesses is so important – now more than ever. I wrote this post a couple of months ago sharing how you can help if you’re wanting to do more.

What else is new:
Honestly, not much! At the beginning of August Matt and I had a little staycation in Scotland, we stayed in South Queensferry for one night and then spent one night in Edinburgh; we had the most amazing time. We just love everything about Edinburgh, it’s my favourite city ever and I’m so grateful we live close enough that we can visit often. I think I mentioned this a little while ago but I’m having really random stomach issues (that may be gluten related – I really hope not) so fingers crossed I can get that figured out soon. Other than that, I am so happy we’re able to go out to eat again! We’ve got two double dates scheduled in for next week with some amazing friends and we’re going on a date night just the two of us – we never eat out three times in a week but we’re making the most of it while we can and I can’t wait. I’m also really excited that our beauty services are back up and running in the UK, I absolutely love having gel nails again. They make me feel so happy and it’s the best self care treat to myself every couple weeks. I can’t recommend my lovely friend Emma enough; if you’re in the southern Northumberland area go check her out!

Well…. I told you it was a long ‘un! How are you all?! I hope you’ve had a great Summer so far, even though this is hands down the weirdest year we’ve ever experienced. It really teaches you to make the most of the little things, right? See you next week my friends! 🙂 

-G x

A Spontaneous Fall Trip: Photo Diary

Hi, loves! I am SO excited to share today’s post with you; a little recap in a photo diary style from Matt and I’s trip last week. Any regular readers may remember I’ve spoken a few times about the fact we were trying to plan a night away for our anniversary (which was back in September) and due to both of our work schedules we just couldn’t make it work in that month. Then, we hoped to book a weekend getaway in October but Matt’s work schedule was even more busy and it seemed it would be impossible to make it work. We decided we’d just go away around December time, but then Matt managed to get TWO week days off work, and I was so grateful to get the same days… hence our spontaneous trip!

Snapple fact: I’m literally the least spontaneous person EVER. I need structure and routine and planning, but we booked our hotel late on Friday night, then travelled early Tuesday morning. I know it’s only a one night trip and this is probably so normal to most people, but this was such a big deal for me! We decided to split our two days between York and Harrogate because we love both of those places and it’s been a hot minute since we last visited. York is a super special place to us as it’s where we went on our first date. Yep, we drove two and a half hours away from home on our very first date… thank God it went well, hahaha. Matt was obviously feeling confident because it was his suggestion! We also really love Harrogate; we stayed there for my birthday last year and it is just such a beautiful town. We unfortunately didn’t get to see very much of Harrogate at all as it was SO rainy and cold!

We set off bright dark and early so we could spend most of our day exploring and enjoying York, not stuck in the car. The roads were pretty clear which we were thankful for, and we had our favourite car snacks too! We sang along to our favourite songs and talked the whole way there, which is one of my very favourite things about road trips with Matt. It was a very grey day which is pretty common here from October through to March (!) but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all, we were so excited to get to our first stop; the pumpkin patch!

…so very excited that I didn’t even check it was open mid-week. And guess what? IT WAS CLOSED. Hahaha. We pulled up to what was clearly a working farm with not another car in sight (just tractors and farm equipment) and the sweet farmer headed over right away to see us. We pretty quickly knew it wasn’t open, so explained we hadn’t checked before coming and before we could say any more he told us to park the car out of the mud and he’d meet us up at the top of the courtyard. Guys, he was SO NICE and let us explore anyway! He gave us a little private tour, showing us the barn and the Halloween activities that had been set up for the next few weeks. He then showed us around his land a little, and left us to explore his pumpkin patch and land for as long as we wanted to! There were chickens everywhere which was so fun to see. We were so grateful to get to visit because we had been so excited to see the pumpkin patch (okay, I was way more excited than Matt!) and I can’t believe I didn’t think to check if it was open. The farm was called Cundall Lodge Farm, and it’s also a B&B which looks so beautiful! Matt and I want to go back and stay here soon, the farmer was seriously so nice and the grounds are amazing.

Side note: I was SO FREAKING GLAD we had taken wellies with us, it was very very muddy! My wellies look like chelsea boots and are from J Crew, but I can’t find a link. Sorry! My colourblock sweater is linked here, I got a size Small and it’s pretty oversized but I love it.

He is just the most handsome man I ever did see! I LOVED this look on him!
A Barbour jacket + wellies = 😍😍😍

I actually really like that shot of me opening the car door, it’s a genuine candid Matt took that we didn’t plan ha! Thanks babe. We left the pumpkin patch covered in mud (seriously, our jeans somehow had mud EVERYWHERE) and headed into York city centre. We come to York pretty often but we very rarely go into the centre so I was super excited to wander around. We did a little shopping – I picked up this Disney tee in Zara and I’m obsessed with it! Matt so badly wants one of those coats pictured below but he can never quite decide on which. We also went to Expressions Clothing which is a vintage store selling lots of American brands and sportswear. I treated Matt to a rugby shirt for SUCH a good price, and I picked up an oversized Broncos tee that still had the tags on. I’m super excited to wear it with mom jeans and Vans!

After looking round a few more shops we headed for lunch at Lucky Days cafe – we first went here in December 2017 and ordered soup because we were so freezing. We remembered how amazing the food was so specifically went back for their soup, and it was just as good! Matt got thai green chicken and I went for broccoli and cheddar, and we split a red velvet cake. A perk of being an adult? You can eat dessert before your main course. Which we did… oops!

We spent another hour or so exploring York; venturing around the shambles and just enjoying being in a new city before making a quick visit to York Designer Outlet. We love the outlets, and I swear Matt snaps up every great deal there is! He got a new Ted Baker shirt, a Paul Smith shirt (sadly not the one I found below which was perfect for #spookyszn) and a Fred Perry polo shirt. I got a cute slogan t-shirt from Tommy Hilfiger which I love – it will be perfect with jeans/leggings and an oversized cardigan – and we of course made a visit to the Cadbury store and the Haribo store!

The outlets were SO EMPTY – we’d definitely recommend going mid-week instead of during the weekend if you can. Sometimes when we’ve been it’s been so busy you can barely look around the stores! We finished up our shopping and made our way to Harrogate to get cosy in our hotel. We stayed at the new Doubletree by Hilton, which we didn’t know had only become a Hilton three weeks before! The hotel was undergoing renovations but when it’s finished it is going to be SO BEAUTIFUL. We had a huge room that had just been done out (I really didn’t take many photos, sorry guys!) and had no complaints. As we booked pretty last minute we didn’t check TripAdvisor, but when I looked a day or two before I was slightly worried, the reviews were AWFUL. We had no need to be worried though, we had a great stay and the staff were really friendly. One thing I really love about Hilton hotels is that you get a warm chocolate chip cookie on arrival, that’s great service!

We took a few blog photos for this post (I swear Matt is the best boyfriend ever!!) and then got ready for our evening enjoying a few glasses of wine. We ate at one of our favourite restaurants, Gino’s, and the food as always was AMAZING. I love that they have a photo booth up on the top level of the restaurant, and a heated outside bar. We of course took photo booth photos as that’s another little tradition of ours, we’ve got tons! As it was a Tuesday night there wasn’t too much going on in the centre, so we headed back to our hotel for drinks in the beautiful lobby. We then took a few drinks upstairs and snuggled in bed to watch Chaos In The Cockpit… we always watch shows like this. No wonder I’m so scared of flying!! Also yes, date night and we prefer to spend it in bed. We’re 25 going on 85 HAH.

Oh hey there, you can see me in the mirror!

Okay so I took this photo because I need your guys’ advice/help!! After a full day of wearing makeup (which is almost every day because y’know… I love my makeup) my skin is SO RED. It is almost rash-like and so so hot to touch, and covers my cheeks, chin and nose. Has anyone else ever experienced this? My skin is looking and feeling SO good right now (except for acne scars and the odd spot), but this random redness – it almost looks like a rash? – is kinda freaking me out. Please help me!

Date night with you is my favourite. I love you, Matthew!

Any restaurant/bar that provides blankets is my kind of place!

The next morning we slept in a little, and enjoyed not having to rush around getting ready. We literally snuggled in bed for like, half an hour! It was perfect. I read a little whilst Matt caught up on a few e-mails, and we slowly got ready for our day! I am borderline obsessed with my Zara x Disney t-shirt, it is just soooo cute. I’m really going to miss wearing slogan/cute t-shirts as the weather gets colder and I have to wear a sweater every day! In the photo below Matt was totally stuffing his face with our Haribo pick n mix. Hahaha.

We were planning on going for breakfast in Harrogate but it was pouring rain and we really weren’t dressed for the weather so we decided to just head back up North early. We went into Newcastle city centre for a wander, browse of the shops and lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants; The Botanist. The food is always amazing and their cocktails are out of this world, although sadly we didn’t get any as it was 2pm on a Tuesday. #sigh #life (although, if you go… get a blueberry martini! I don’t even like a regular martini but wow, these are AMAZING and my ‘treat’ every time we go. Thank me later!)

We had the best afternoon wandering around our hometown, but we were so freaking tired. We headed home, unpacked the car and… took a nap. At 4pm on a week day. It was FANTASTIC! We highly recommend, guys. Toddlers are so lucky! I can’t even tell you how much we needed that nap; we woke up around 5.30pm, I took a shower and we headed over to Matt’s parents, where we just managed to stay awake past 10pm, hahaha. We had a lovely night visiting with them, watching football and eating dinner. I feel like all we did those two days was eat, but hey you have to enjoy yourself right?! We sadly had to be back at work the next day, but this was such a special trip for us and we had so much fun! Thank you for being my favourite travel partner, I love you Matthew 🙂

And thank YOU so much for reading and following along on our little Fall getaway! I hope you enjoyed this post, how beautiful is that pumpkin patch?! I feel so grateful and lucky we got to have a mini anniversary celebration after all, and I’m so thankful to be able to share it with you guys. Thank you for your continued support; you have no idea how much it means to me that you read my blog and I am so excited for all of the fun, festive content planned for the next few months 🙂 have you visited York or Harrogate before? Where’s your favourite road trip place?!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday 13th!! Are you feeling nervous about today? It makes me laugh but I am a little bit! I’m superstitious with lots of things; I never cross on the stairs, I never walk under ladders and I always avoid three drains. Matt does now too, it’s so funny! We always say ‘toast’ if we accidentally walk over three drains (I have NO IDEA how this came about. Why would saying ‘toast’ make any difference?!) Anyway, I digress, what I’m trying to say is that Friday 13th makes me a little bit nervous. But also excited for Halloween. This is me right now:

Image result for hocus pocus gif

Ahhhh. Hocus Pocus season is my favourite. *forces Matt to watch with me for 100th time*

What I’m drinking:
Bonfire spice hot chocolates are LIFE. As I briefly mentioned last week I was so dang excited about the bonfire spice flavour coming back to Costa, it’s just the best flavour and makes my heart happy. Seriously, get in your car right now. Finish this post. Now get in your car. Drive to Costa. BUY A BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATE. Thank me later… 🙂 I’ve had two this week and I’m for sure going to be drinking them lots over the next few months. Side note: I get mine extra hot with a dash of almond milk, it’s sooooo good. And of course, I always try to take a re-usable cup!

What I’m celebrating:
Monday September 16th is Matt and I’s two year anniversary!!! I just don’t know where the time has gone, it seems like we were just dating! I’m really excited to celebrate this weekend at our favourite restaurant, Tomahawk Steakhouse, but we’re trying out their new location. We literally can’t wait because the food is always incredible, their mac n cheese is my favourite ever! We can’t properly celebrate on our anniversary due to Matt’s work schedule so we’re just going to curl up at home with an M&S meal and a few episodes of The Office on the day. Matthew, I am so lucky to do life with you, I love you more than anything! Happy (early) anniversary, my love!

What I’m excited about:
Tomorrow morning I’m getting my hair dyed, and I’m going back dark! I have spent WEEKS finding the perfect brown balayage photo to show at the salon and I know it’ll turn out even better than what I’m thinking. I’m SO over the blonde as I just got kinda bored and now I really dislike how I look with the blonde tones. I think I want to keep a little bit of light through my hair as I still want it to look fresh and pretty, but more brown tones than blonde. If that makes sense. I’ll be sharing on my Instagram like always, so make sure to follow me there to see how it looks! I’m so excited to have darker hair for Fall and Winter!

Image result for the office halloween

…I am Dwight.

What I’m happy about:
It’s almost Fall! This cold(ish) rainy weather is making it feel like Fall is already here and I’m loving every second of it. It’s been chilly each day and I’m really enjoying that cosy feeling this kind of weather brings. Matt is such a Summer person but we have so many fun things planned during the Autumn months that he’s actually enjoying it too. It’s cold in the mornings and evenings I’m super excited that sweater weather is almost upon us! Also, any excuse to burn those pumpkin candles… are you excited for Fall too? Or are you holding on to the very last of Summer?!

What I’m watching:
The Office. Obvs. Matt and I are obsessed, okay?! Seriously if you’re like we were and are still living under a rock, it’s one of the best TV shows we’ve ever seen and we’d really recommend it. But I’ve also been loving Zoe Sugg’s vlogs recently. Like, really really loving them. I’ve watched and loved Zoe for as long as I can remember, but she goes through patches where she vlogs a lot, then where she doesn’t vlog at all. Recently she’s been vlogging so much and I’m loving it! Also, she is re-launching her blog this month and I’m so excited to see what it’s going to be like as that was one of the first blogs I ever read.

What I’m working on for the blog:
This month is #SecondHandSeptember (something I didn’t know about on September 1st when I made a Topshop order… OOPS) but now that I do know I’m participating, and I’m really excited about it! The whole concept came from Oxfam, to encourage people to shop more sustainably and avoid purchasing new products for thirty days. Have you took the pledge yet? I have! This weekend my lovely friend Jessy and I are going for a browse in a few charity shops and vintage stores which I hope will be successful (if not we’ll for sure have fun). Matt and I are going to another vintage store in a few weeks time and I’ve been browsing Depop lots too! I’ve been really impressed with so many of the things on Depop although I’ve not bought anything yet. I was so impressed by Emma Hill’s finds in this video, it was really inspiring to someone finding their feet with second hand shopping, and she got some incredible bargains! Niomi Smart also posted this video that I found so fun to watch and I’m obsessed with the things she picked up, especially that Chanel button ring. Wow. I can’t wait to share Jess and I’s second hand shopping experience with you in a few weeks time!

What I’m reading:
Linking in with what I just said above about #SecondHandSeptember, I LOVED Stacey Dooley’s piece in Grazia this week about the fashion industry and the impact buying too many clothes has on the environment. It’s no surprise to any regular readers that Stacey Dooley is my ultimate inspiration/girl crush/love of my life (sorry, Matthew) and everything she does is just amazing to me. But her thoughts on fast fashion originally inspired me to look at my buying habits last year and I think this piece was just so well written. Slightly off topic but I’m actually buying Grazia every week now, it’s such a good value magazine and packed full of high quality content. I’ve really been enjoying snuggling up in the mornings with my magazine and vanilla chai whilst Matt works on emails!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Matt is unfortunately at work all weekend, but we’re making the most of our time together as always. Tonight Matt and I are having fish and chips with my family, snuggling in to catch up on Peaky Blinders and having an early night before a very early start tomorrow morning. Once Matt leaves for work I’ll get a little blog work done then head to the salon for my hair appointment. I can’t wait! After I get my hair done I’m meeting my sweet friend Jess to go second hand and vintage shopping! We seriously are SO EXCITED. Later I’m heading to our local mall to shop Lush’s Autumn/Halloween collection which is released today, and I still have a gift card from my lovely co-workers to spend too. I have a few other errands to run then I’m heading back to get on with some blog work and get ready before Matt gets home. Matt and I are heading for date night on Saturday evening (as I said above) at our favourite restaurant, then Sunday is a cosy-at-home cleaning and blogging day for me while Matt’s at work. When he gets home we’re having pizza night with his parents and I’m so looking forward to that!

What else is new:
Nothing much TBH. I’ve had a kinda crappy week with my anxiety, I just feel very drained and like I’m putting in so much time/effort with things that I don’t see much reward from which really sucks. I’ve been a little stressed out and just generally felt rubbish which has then made me really anxious. I have however been feeling really really grateful for Matt and I’s time together more than ever, and I’m just so thankful to have him by my side, he’s truly the best! I’m hoping this weekend will recharge my batteries a little bit and let me get back to feeling like my usual self.

Thank you so much for reading! These posts have become some of my favourite to write; they get really good views and open up so many conversations either in the comments or in my DM’s. People message me all the time saying how much they enjoy reading these posts and I can’t tell you how much I love to hear that! Due to another very busy week (and a little bit of extra self care time that I really need) there won’t be a #feelinitfriday next week, but I’ll be back the following week for sure. My ‘normal’ posts will be up every Sunday and Wednesday as normal! Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! 

-G x