Weekend In My Life: Celebrating My 26th Birthday In Lockdown

Hi, loves! I’m so excited to have taken a bunch of photos to document my 26th birthday by, because it’s my first (and hopefully last) lockdown birthday! What a weird season of life, right? We couldn’t celebrate in our usual way; Matt and I normally go on a trip – we’d actually hoped earlier in the year to visit Krakow around my birthday weekend, we’d celebrate with family dinner and we’d go out for drinks with friends. But, I still had such an amazing birthday weekend, and I’m so grateful to Matt and my family for making my birthday so special 🙂

F R I D A Y

I LOVE Friday’s. It’s the start of the weekend, I work a much shorter day (I start late and finish early, what could be better!?) and I have the Friday feeling from the second I open my eyes that morning. Matt had to start at 8am (sucks to be him, hehe) so I got up with him to make his breakfast and finish up my blog post. I enjoyed a cup of tea, made my post live and got ready for the day. I’ve really took the extra time I have in the mornings on a Friday to get ready slowly; I spend way more time on my skincare routine and my makeup and it just makes me so happy.

How flipping cute is my tie dye tee?! I am actually obsessed with it and have an urge to try tie-dying myself but I know I won’t make anything as cute as this. I had to run a few errands; I went grocery shopping, picked up a parcel and sent some of Matt and I’s returns back to the post office. We’ve been online shopping kinda often recently, although I’ve decided throughout June I’m going to have a No Spend month because there’s honestly nothing I need (or really even want) right now. I always get so excited to hop in my car and drive these days, it actually feels like a treat because I’m getting so used to spending my days inside. I turned the AC up, played Shagged, Married, Annoyed on Spotify and totally enjoyed driving around running errands.

…does anyone else always catch 11:11? It makes me smile every time 🙂 also those little marks aren’t dust. I’m SO Type A and dust my car interior down every time I get in with a microfibre cloth. I used a new one and it shedded. Yes this is very important to know…

My usual Friday work day is 12pm – 5.30pm (when we’re in the office living a normal life!) but working from home I’ve been working 11am – 4.30pm most weeks. I didn’t get home until around 11.30am so I put all our groceries away, quickly picked up and tidied our bedroom (I didn’t have time before I left) then headed to the dining room to start work at 12pm. Around 1.30pm I was flagging and needed a little pick me up (my sleeping pattern is still SO out of sorts. I truly have insomnia, I can be awake up to three hours during the night) so I grabbed a red bull and some lunch. I don’t drink them often but oh my goodness I really love them! I had a really great work day, I felt productive and I was able to get so many things ticked off my to do list for the day. Before I knew it, it was 5.30pm. I turned off my computer, made my to-do list for Monday (HIGHLY recommend doing this, especially if you’re working from home. All of the tasks and things to follow up are fresh in your mind at the end of your work day, makes it so much easier to remember everything when you next sit down) and then my dad told me a delivery had arrived for me…

Surprisingly, I hadn’t ordered anything this day. Haha! The parcel was the best surprise from Matt’s family; Adam & Laura are seriously the sweetest, most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. I was so shocked, they sent the most beautiful bouquet filled with roses, wildflowers and, my very favourite, peonies! I had a blast arranging the flowers – Bloom & Wild send a card that directs you how to make your bouquet look pretty – and I think I’ve changed it around maybe four times since, LOL. I took a nice hot shower, did my skincare routine, got cosy in my pj’s and lit this cute candle. It’s from a small business Dole Wicks Candle Co. (they used to be called Tiki Candle Company hence the label)… Disney and candles? Come on, that’s two of my very favourite things in the whole world! I’d been saving it for this weekend and it smelled so good.

Matt arrived home from work just in time for me prepping dinner. It was Burger Night! We’ve been trying to have ‘fun’ dinners on Friday’s because typically we’d either go out or grab a takeaway on these nights, and we are actually really missing fast food. I am so excited for McDonald’s to re-open, it’s been two months and I’m not exaggerating when I say I need a Big Mac. NEED! That being said, I make a pretty good burger 🙂 I always use brioche buns (duh, they’re the best) and we put spicy cheese inside. Add a little tomato, lettuce and a ton of ketchup, and it’s delish. I washed my makeup brushes and re-organised my skincare (I’m sharing all about my cute little vanity soon!) whilst Matt took a bath. We spent the rest of our evening chilling, watching The Office US in bed and I read a little on my Kindle. I don’t know if it’s me but the weeks fly by in lockdown. I couldn’t believe it was already…

S A T U R D A Y

Have you ever in your life seen anything so cute?! I got up for literally a minute and came back to him cuddling the pillow (very tightly). Hahahaha. So cute!

I woke up super early on Saturday, around 7am, and laid reading my Kindle for almost an hour. I typed up a few blog ideas on my phone, caught up on all the social media I’d ‘missed’ overnight, and Matt still was fast asleep. I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em… I cuddled back in, fell asleep and we didn’t wake up until after 10.30am. I kinda felt lazy but I also kinda loved it. Can I use the birthday weekend excuse? We had the laziest morning in bed watching Amazon Prime and just enjoying the fact we didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. I think the one thing I’m really learning to appreciate most in lockdown is the slower pace of life, I want to write about this in a whole post!

Matt got cosy watching TV whilst I made breakfast lunch burritos! I add sweet potato, sausage, a bell pepper, beans and two eggs to ours. It’s kind of a long process because you have to cook everything separately then add it all together and put it back in the oven, but oh my goodness it’s worth it. This is one of our favourite breakfasts because it’s so filling and it’s the closest we’re going to get to a Mexican breakfast for a little while. We lazed around a little more (…still not feeling guilty!) and Matt watched football whilst I got ready. The German Bundesliga had just come back for the first time since the pandemic and you’ve no idea how GIDDY he was about it, the boy loves sport. I took a shower and got ready, which was even better with freshly cleaned makeup brushes. I have so many makeup brushes but these are the ones I use the most, although usually I’d use a few other eye brushes if I was making an effort with my makeup… like when we were able to socialize!

I love this oversize shirt from Zara. I thrifted it (from Depop, for a grand total of £3.50. Yay for #shoppingsecondhand) and I love how it looks tied at the front with mom jeans. I totally thought I’d get to wear it as a swimsuit coverup this Summer too, but unless I decide to throw on a bikini in the garden I have a feeling that will not be happening. Matt came with me to go back to the post office (again… we had MORE returns!) and whilst he went in I changed from country music to a little bit of Disney. It’s good for the soul. I also popped into Aldi as there was a couple of things I couldn’t get grocery shopping the day before. For the first time since lockdown started I got to go straight into a grocery store without waiting in a huge line outside. It was actually kinda weird!?

We stopped by Matt’s parents to see them through the window (literally the strangest thing, I can’t wait until we can see them properly) and pick up my birthday presents. They’re so sweet to me and always spoil me so so much! We came home to eat Krispy Kreme donuts and get cosy watching TV for a little while. Matt took a bath and I made dinner – chicken and leek pasta bake. It was a total ‘wing it’ dinner and oh wow it might be the best thing we’ve made in a long time. I’ll share it on the blog sometime soon because you need to make it!

Matt had a FaceTime date with the boys and I ended the night drinking a glass of wine in the bath (*cough* two glasses *cough*, Matt may have brought me a refill…), watching Modern Family and having the best little pamper evening. We went to bed pretty late but somehow didn’t struggle to get up the next day!

S U N D A Y

Because it was my birthday! 🙂 we started the day with cups of tea in bed. Matt and I have a tradition of opening our birthday presents and Christmas stockings in bed, it’s one of my favourite things. Matt is literally the most amazing boyfriend ever and I felt so very lucky with all the gifts he got me. He always goes above and beyond, but the best gift I could ask for was spending my birthday with him.

I mean… come on! I am so thankful! (Also Giorgio Armani Si is one of the most beautiful perfumes and has become one of my favorites this year, I highly recommend if you’re looking for something new!)

After we opened presents we went downstairs to open everything from our families. I received so many lovely cards, gifts and money which I am so thankful for. Matt and I’s families are the best 🙂 my mum and dad are crazy (in the best possible way) and bought me AirPods!! I have wanted a pair for so long and I already think they’re the best thing ever. I’d been stealing borrowing Matthew’s for a while so I’m so glad to have my own. I had no idea they’d got them for me, I love them so much. (Jumping in, in real time to say I’m wearing (using?) them right now whilst I type up this post and literally had to just take a five minute break because I was cry laughing at SMA. I frigging love Rosie Ramsey). We had bacon sandwiches, relaxed on the couch and then I took a little extra time to shower, get dressed and ready for the day. I was sooo excited to use my new lipstick, it’s so flipping pretty.

The weather was kinda rubbish – warm but super grey and rainy – but I wanted to wear my pretty new dress so that’s what I did. If you can’t wear a cute dress on your birthday, when can you?! Just as we were getting ready to leave my sweet godmother and her daughter stopped by with my card and gift. We talked out on the driveway for half an hour and it was SO good to see them! Like everyone else, Matt and I miss seeing family and friends so much, but it’s already so apparent how much more we’ll appreciate those times post-lockdown.

We picked up another super generous birthday gift from my aunt and uncle, and headed for the beach! We were planning to go for a little walk along the beach (my happiest place) but once we got closer it was very clearly not safe to get out. Since lockdown has been ever so slightly lifted in the UK people are free to go to the beach, but it was like it was the Summer holidays with no lockdown in place. I was kinda sad because I’ve been looking forward to going back to the beach since lockdown started, but I’d much rather be safe. From what we saw driving along the coast there was very little social distancing happening; people were in big groups, pretty much all of the food places were open and the lines outside were huge. It was so lovely to drive along the coast even just for half an hour though, it lifted our spirits so much and it was nice to see somewhere a little different.

So grey but still oh so pretty!
Two of my very favourite products for double cleansing!

…unfortunately, I got car sick. LOL. I don’t know why this happens but if I’m not driving I’ve started to get really bad car sickness. I had a headache and Matt said I was ‘green’ …delightful. I changed into comfy clothes, got cosy under a blanket and took a twenty minute nap. I woke up feeling so much better and spent a few hours just enjoying time with Matt, my mum and my brother. I also got my birthday present off my brother (he was still asleep when we left because he’d been up until God knows when watching UFC!). He bought me a bottle of Dior Joy, which is another of my favourite perfumes. My perfume collection is now fully stocked again and I’m so happy 🙂 I actually just picked up the cutest mirrored perfume tray that I’m completely obsessed with, I love displaying my perfumes out on my vanity! I took an extra long time to do my evening skincare, shower and then my dad arrived home from work with our favourite takeout…

DELISH!

We literally love our local Indian takeaway! It was as always, so good. I spent a little time with my dad after not seeing him all day, Matt took a bath, I caught up on my YouTube subscriptions for an hour which is one of my favourite things to do, we drank Dole Whip’s (with Malibu in, it was a great choice, I highly recommend!) and got super cosy for the night watching… you guessed it… The Office. We love a lil bit of Michael Scott. We also may have stuffed our faced with my birthday cake (red velvet cake is literally the best thing in the whole world to me) 🙂

Thank you so much for reliving my birthday weekend with me!

-G x

The Most Exciting Skincare Haul: Caroline Hirons Spring Kit 1

Happy Sunday, loves! As any of my lovely regular readers will know, I am a HUGE fan of Caroline Hirons. I love that she has so much knowledge, I love the way she cares about her following, I love that she is becoming more successful by the freaking day and is still so humble, I love how she takes no sh*t and I really bloody love that she always has her Freaks at heart. It’s me. I’m a Freak. 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look at this Facebook group. We love skincare, we love Queen C, and we love tea. That’s about it?!

I had been anticipating the arrival (like all of the Freaks) of the Spring Kit for months; I was hyped up and I knew I had to purchase! When I found out the kit was being released in May I was SO excited to treat myself as an early (and very splurge-y) birthday present, and I’m officially now on a beauty product no buy. Until Caroline’s Summer Kit comes out…

Caroline outdid herself and actually created two kits. Kit 1 (the one I opted for) was aimed more towards the younger audience and people who are dealing with breakouts in lockdown, or in general. Kit 2 was for more mature skins and those who are more dry during lockdown, or in general. Thankfully both kits were suitable for sensitive skin, and my combination acne-prone skins is super excited for all of the new additions to my collection. The kits were released two weeks ago, which one of the fantastic girls in the Facebook group likened to ‘Kitmas Day’ – Caroline should officially coin this term, right?! – and the biggest Internet meltdown I’ve witnessed began. The kits went on sale at 12pm, and the site crashed at 12.01pm. Yep, we’re good! I took lunch around 2pm, and the site was still down. Fast forward a few more hours, I was just finishing up work at around 4.30pm and grabbed my iPad to take back upstairs (LOL, ‘finishing work’ is defined by ‘going upstairs’ right now… what a weird time of life!) and I assumed I’d missed out completely on the kit. However… I opened up Safari, refreshed the page I had left open… and there it was! I counted down for a week and a half until my kit was dispatched and I literally was so giddy poor Andy – my DPD driver, we’ve got pretty well acquainted since lockdown started – didn’t get chance to ring the doorbell. I was literally waiting with the door open. HAHAHA. Also, everything except two products in the kit are new to me! 

Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Treatment Cleanser (Sensitive Skin) RRP £20
First off, I just need to say how much I adore Jordan Pacitti, the founder of JSS. He puts so much effort and thought into his products and his personal customer service is second to none. He is such a kind, sweet soul and his brand is one of my very favourite skincare brands I’ve ever tried. Anything he makes I will buy. I LOVE him! That being said, this cleanser is one of the products I had already used before and it’s one of my holy grail cleansers! I love this for removing makeup, as a second cleanse or as a morning cleanse. It’s a fantastic multi use product, and I’m obsessed with the limited edition yellow packaging on this tube! It was made just for Caroline’s kit and matches to the pantone of her blog. #goals I will re-buy this cleanser forever, I love that it never irritates my sensitive skin or causes breakouts. It also removes makeup so gently without feeling stripping. When you next need to replace a cleanser (or if you just fancy a fun treat!) I highly recommend this product.

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel RRP £89
Full disclosure: these acid wipes are something I would have never purchased, as they normally retail for a whopping £89… and that is just crazy to me. That being said, as someone who has suffered with acne and breakouts for over seven years and heard how much this product has helped people, I’ve wanted them for a long time. I admire Dr Dennis Gross and his products so much; it’s all science based and there’s no frills with anything he makes. Maybe one day my regular skincare budget will stretch to include his products! This is a two-step product; you use ‘wipe one’ to eliminate dead skin cells with a mix of acids, then ‘wipe two’ is used two minutes later to balance your skin out. He explains it really well in the video on the product page I linked. Acid exfoliators work so much better for me, I cannot use physical exfoliators as they just cause irritation. I really hope to see an improvement in the texture of my skin; I have acne pigmentation marks left on my cheeks and although they’ve lightened considerably over the years they could definitely look better. I’m currently experiencing an allergic reaction (I think it may be a food allergy but I don’t know what to. Thankfully it’s not really on my face, but it is on my chest/neck and has slightly spread to my jawline) so I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m so excited to! They are gentle enough to be used every day but I think as my skin is super sensitive I’ll probably only use two to three times per week.

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening And Depuffing Eye Contour Cream RRP £60
I think this was the most exciting product in the kit for me! I have lusted over Sunday Riley for years. The iconic packaging and cult following have made this brand one I’d just dreamed of owning, but the price points are crazy high and I’ve never been able to justify paying them. Then I was lucky enough to get this kit! I’ve been using this eye cream the past few days and I am absolutely obsessed with it. I kinda hoped I wouldn’t think it was amazing because I can’t imagine I’ll be able to justify spending £60 (!!!) to replace it. BUT, I’m going to continue to use it (sparingly) and love it, and maybe it could be a very generous Christmas gift… from myself… to myself… My under-eye area is pretty dry and I sometimes suffer with eczema – more in the colder months – so I need a hydrating eye cream. This is extremely hydrating, and I swear it makes my eyes look brighter immediately on application. It’s very depuffing which is so appreciated in the morning. I also love how makeup applies over it! Is it worth five times the price of my regular day eye cream? Probably not. Do I love it? YES!

Oskia Super C Smart Nutrient Beauty Capsules RRP £62 (for 60 capsules)
I am not going to lie… I’m a little scared to use these! I adore Oskia as a brand; I’ve used a few products from them and they’re very luxurious and also work really well. That being said, I’ve not gotten on great with Vitamin C in the past. I was using products from The Body Shop and Pixi that worked great for a while, then they started to cause me lots of irritation. I stopped using them and the irritation almost immediately stopped. I was then scared to use Vitamin C again but Caroline said this Vitamin C was very gentle, and anyone that had experienced issues or irritation in the past with Vitamin C should be fine with this. I do really love how Vitamin C makes your skin g l o w so I’d love to find one that works for my skin. Also, the capsules are heart shaped and biodegradable… and how flipping cute is the little personalised case?! I will definitely be re-purposing this when we’re able to travel again.

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex RRP £38
If you don’t have a hyaluronic acid serum in your skincare routine, where have you been!? I love love love hyaluronic acid as an ingredient, and over the past year or so a HA serum has become a must in my morning skincare routine. I sometimes use it in the evenings too but usually I prefer to use my ‘treatment’ products then. I freaking love Jordan Samuel’s hyaluronic serum although I also really enjoy The Inkey List’s; it’s so inexpensive and it works a treat! NIOD is a new brand to me; they are owned by Deciem, the parent company of The Ordinary – another brand I love – so all of their products are created with science in mind. The NIOD MMHC is a ‘Freaks favourite’ and one of the most recent products to experience #TheCarolineEffect. That’s when she talks about how good something is and it immediately sells out 🙂 I’ve used this the past couple of days, although it’s noticeably nicer to use than my go-to from the The Inkey list (which is expected, it’s got extra stuff in there to make it feel luxe) it’s very similar to JSS. My first impressions are good, and I’m excited to see how I get on with this! 

Ren EVERCALM Global Protection Day Cream RRP £36
This is the other product in the kit that I’ve used before and after just a few days I’m truly SO happy to have this back in my life! I love love love the Ren EVERCALM range – if you have sensitive skin and/or suffer with acne and breakouts, I can’t recommend it enough – and I forgot just how much I adored this day cream. I use the Ren EVERCALM cleansing gel every day as my second cleanse and it’s been a saviour for my skin! This moisturiser doesn’t pill at all, keeps my face hydrated all day without making my T Zone oily and it also doesn’t break me out. I can’t tell you how many moisturisers I’ve tried in the quest to find something that works well with my skin type. Although before this arrived I’d been using the Cerave Facial Moisturising Lotion morning and night, I’m pretty sure this will be my go-to day cream going forward. It’s incredible and I’ve no idea why I stopped using it? I think I ran out when I was at the height of my ‘I must try every product EVER’ phase, but now when I find products I love I prefer to either only use them, or alternate with products from a couple of other tried and tested brands. 

Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF 30 RRP £55
SPF is one of the most important products you could ever use in your skincare routine. For a really long time I couldn’t find a SPF that worked well for me (by not breaking me out and not piling under makeup) but then I discovered The Body Shop’s Skin Defence and that all changed. That’s been my go-to SPF for so long and I always recommend it to people! I tried this for the first time on Friday and guys… I’m blown away by how much I liked it! This is not just a bog standard SPF. It’s technically a moisturiser so can be used as just your final step in your routine, but I like to use a moisturizer then apply SPF. My skin is pretty dehydrated so it needs all the goodness it can get! This SPF also protects against blue light, pollution and infrared, and it has anti-aging properties to boot. As I turn 26 on the day this post goes live, I guess it’s time to think about that! This didn’t affect my makeup application at all, it actually made my makeup look flawless. It did cause a white cast when first applied, but it rubbed in really well and was not noticeable once I had makeup on. It’s also not greasy or heavy feeling which is a huge plus, I’m really excited to use this more.

Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of Caroline too? What’s something you’ve bought on her recommendation?! I’d love to know if you have any favourite products amongst the ones in this post, I’m so excited to continue using them over the coming months and see how I feel about them. I always re-purchase a product before it ends when I really love it so I’m excited to see if that happens with any of the new-to-me products.

-G x

Beauty Spotlight: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a little short but a lot sweet, I just couldn’t wait to get this up for you guys 🙂 I shared my first beauty spotlight post a little while ago featuring this Garnier hair mask; in this series I talk about a specific product that I truly love. These are products that deserve a whole post dedicated to them because they’re just that good!

I very recently started using prescription treatment for my skin (thanks to this incredible offer from Dermatica and Caroline Hirons) so right now I’m using the most paired back, back-to-basics skincare routine. I’m using a very minimal amount of products – well, for me anyway – and I actually don’t think I’ll ever go back to using as many products as I used to. 

I have seen a lot of hype around the brand CeraVe over the past year or so, and honestly I’d never been drawn in to try it. I really think this was because the packaging is nothing to write home about, I hadn’t realised how much packaging influences me… stick something in a pretty bottle and I’ll probably buy it. I’m a marketer’s dream! The pretty packaging that looks nice by my bathroom sink or in blog photos is what I have always gravitated towards, but that didn’t mean those products worked best for my skin. I fell in love with Caroline Hirons and everything she teaches a good few years back, and ever since I’ve become more and more interested in skincare; from the ingredients to the story of the brand and everything in-between.

Let’s get one thing straight right now… this is a basic, no-frills moisturiser. And it’s also the best moisturiser I’ve ever used…

I’ve talked about this a few times on my blog, but my skin was VERY oily a few years back. I’ve struggled with acne since my late teens/early twenties, and over the past six months or so my skin seems to have finally evened out. My skin is combination and still (unfortunately) acne prone, but thankfully I definitely get a lot less cystic acne than I used to. I still get those horrible under the skin bumps on my chin/jaw line, especially around the time of my period each month – you’ve just gotta love being a girl don’t you?! – but overall my skin is the best it’s been in a long time. I whole heartedly believe my paired back routine, and in particular this product, has had a huge impact on that.

CeraVe is an American brand that was developed by dermatologists to be easily accessible and affordable. I’m not exactly sure when it made it’s way across the pond but I’m so grateful that we can get it so easily here in the UK! The CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion is specifically recommend for use in the evenings – which is when I personally use it – but I’d also happily use this during the day. I’ve tried it a few times after my friend said she used it both morning and night and it is such a great base for makeup, and super hydrating throughout the day. Next time Matt and I travel (whenever that will be…) I’ll definitely just take this to use day and night. 

I’m pretty sure the reason it’s marketed for evening use only is because they sell the same lotion formulated with SPF, for use during the day. I’ve tried that one too and although I used it up I wouldn’t re-purchase as I really love my La Roche Posay Toleraine Ultra, and I personally like to use a separate SPF after my moisturiser instead of using a two-in-one product. 

The lotion is not at all greasy, sinks into my skin so nicely and it’s never once caused me irritation. My skin is very sensitive and so many moisturisers can turn it red and ‘hot’. I just thought that was something that would happen no matter what I used, but now that I’m using gentle products on my skin I’ve realised how many harsh products I was using before. This lotion is super lightweight (which is why it also works great under makeup) and does not pill or feel thick on my face. I hate products that leave a ‘greasy film’ on my face and most moisturisers do this; it’s like my skin tries to overcompensate for the moisture levels or something!

I only use two pumps of this to cover all of my face and neck, so although the packaging is quite small one tube lasts me a really long time. The tube retails for £13 so its extremely affordable and a great option for good quality skincare on a budget.

I think the reason this lotion has been so great for my skin is because of the ingredients. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid which is great for retaining moisture in your skin and restoring/supporting your skin barrier. Niacinamide is another very important ingredient in the formula; this is formulated in my Dermatica prescription too and it has so many perks. The main things I want niacnimaide to do for my skin is to improve uneven skin tone and scarring (caused by previous acne) and minimize large pores on my nose. I seen a difference within a few weeks from first using this moisturiser, way before I got my prescription.

There’s only one con I can think of… it’s so good my boyfriend steals it. I’ve finally pulled Matthew away from the cheap crap (in quality, not pricing) he was using and now he likes to share my favourite products too. It’s my own fault guys! If I had one tip… maybe buy one for you and one for your partner?

Have you tried this moisturiser? Do you love it as much as I do? I definitely recommend this next time you’re looking for a new no-frills moisturiser, it’s so amazing and it’s so affordable 🙂 also, do you have any other CeraVe recommendations for me? I use (and love) the hydrating cleanser and eye cream, but I’d love to try more! 

-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

Hi, loves! Happy Friday! In fact, happy (almost) Christmas! I’m posting my Feelin’ It Friday a little early this month as I really wanted to share it with you before Christmas rolls around. Next week is going to be reserved for quality time with my loved ones – once I’m finished work for the year – and honestly I didn’t want to worry about rushing to get a blog post up! There’s a lot going on in this month’s post so let’s dive right in…

What candle I’m burning:
I am burning all of the FESTIVE scents! My favourites every year are Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle and Winter by The White Company, although this year I am obsessed with my Bath & Body Works candles, too. Matt and I’s sweet friends Nathan and David were recently on holiday in the US (not jealous at all…) and they so kindly picked up a few candles and wallflowers for us! Matt and I are both obsessed with ‘Tis The Season so we’ve been burning that most evenings, and we have the wall plug in our room right now too. It’s literally the smell of CHRISTMAS! I have just started burning Pink Fairy Gumdrop which is super sweet and the scent makes me happy. I love love love the pink, glittery packaging and if I could ever be a candle, it would be this one! 

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are addicted to Ghirardelli Peppermint bark. Seriously, addicted! My family has always stocked up on this chocolate when we’re in Florida, so I can’t tell you how excited we were to find it in Costco this year! We’ve bought literally five bags and already eaten two (I mean, it’s a family effort…) it’s just SO GOOD. I love love love chocolate, and I love candy canes. Mixing the two together? Genius. I also have made our own peppermint bark a few times this season and I know it’ll be on rotation throughout the next few weeks!

What I’m watching:
Every Vlogmas video I can possibly keep up with! Matt has been working more late shifts than usual in the run up to Christmas, so I’ve been blogging/editing, watching Vlogmas videos and drinking all the cups of tea before he comes home. I love Niomi Smart’s Vlogmas videos the most again this year! I really enjoy her content year round, but I feel like Vlogmas is the most exciting time because we see so much of her life. She is the sweetest person, and I truly get so much joy from watching her videos. She lives such an incredible life – she’s moving to India with her partner, Joe in January – and I’m so excited to be along for the journey via YouTube! They also just got engaged and it was the most pure, wholesome content I ever did see. Also, I can’t get into how sad I (still) am that Chris didn’t make the Strictly final. I was seriously SO gutted, although Kelvin & Oti are very worthy winners and I am so happy for them both!

What I’m reading:
I just started reading One Day In December by Josie Silver last week, although I really haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like. I love nothing more than a long soak in the bath with a good book, and I am so into this story and the characters! This is my last physical book I’ve got left to read (my sweet boyfriend has bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, I can’t tell you how excited I am to read all of my books on it!) so I’m really making the most of that, too. I’m sure I’ll still read the odd paperback, especially because my mum and Matt’s mum are always sharing books with me that they’ve enjoyed, too. I’m definitely going to be talking a lot more about reading on the blog in the new year, I love it SO much and I see how much you guys love my book related posts! They’re always posts that are searched for and re-read tons of times. (Thanks, you cuties!) I’m not sure if it’ll be a monthly thing or just a here-and-there thing, but I’m excited about it. I really want to review books I’ve read, to be honest, but I’m not sure how that would be! How many ways is there to say “I love this book” or “I didn’t love this book so much”? HAHA, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

This cute bauble was a little gift I gave Matt last year of all the places we’d travelled to in 2018! I ordered him a different personalised one for 2019 that hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m pretty sure it won’t be here in time for Christmas 😦

What I’m excited about:
Christmas and all of the fun things coming up. Spending so much time with Matt and our families, eating delicious food, the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special (low key sad we have to wait until 8.30pm to watch it!!), being off work for almost two weeks, having so much time to create blog content and brainstorm where I want to take my blog in the new year. I’m going to spend my Christmas break doing all of the things that bring me joy! I am SO HAPPY Matt and I have so much time off work together I can’t even tell you. We literally never have time for a ‘lazy day’ so we are going to make the most of it.

What I’m listening to:
Christmas music! I have been SO loving an excuse to listen to Christmas music when it’s socially acceptable. Matt hates when I play it in like… July. I’ve no idea why. Hahaha. I’ve had Michael Buble pretty much on repeat since October. His voice just makes me happy!

What I’m wearing:
Okay so I know I promised you a post on things to look for in your perfect Winter coat, and I promise that’s coming in the new year. Here’s a little sneak peak! I am OBSESSED with my Winter coat; it’s made with recycled down feathers so it’s super warm, snuggly and cosy, and perfect for this super cold weather. I love that it’s a little longer to cover my hips/bum, and it has the biggest hood you’ve ever seen! I feel like I’ve finally found a coat my mum would be proud of… anyone else spend years of their life refusing to wear a proper coat? Just me…?

What is going on in my life:
A few weeks ago I found a lump in my right breast. Obviously, I went into panic mode – I’m pretty sure this is just the normal reaction – and bearing in mind I’ve already been more anxious than usual the past few weeks, it really wasn’t a fun time. This is a huge part of the reason my posts have been a little spotty recently, I’m so sorry. Matt has been an absolute star and let me feel my worries, but also not let me dwell on something we didn’t know about. This week I had a doctor’s appointment and I’ve been referred for further testing; to take a biopsy, an ultrasound, an x-ray etc. I feel okay and I’m surprisingly not a wreck right now! It does not necessarily mean the C word, but there were a few things my GP was concerned about. I’m trying to stay upbeat and positive because right now, no news is good news! Regardless if there is something wrong or not, I’m so grateful for our NHS and the quick, high quality treatment they are able to give. I’m only telling you all of this now – without any real answers – because it’s what’s going on in my life right now, and life is not all sunshine and rainbows! Also, this is your reminder to check your boobs, ladies. Coppafeel have so much information I’m linking here in case you’re confused on where to start. If you pray, I’d really appreciate your prayers for good news right now! I’ll be talking about everything in more detail once I have answers and results, but right now it is a season of waiting. I hate waiting!

What is making me feel festive:
So I know it’s partly because of being worried about what I mentioned above, but I’ve been having a really hard time feeling festive this year. I mentioned in my last Feelin’ It Friday post that I think I may have been suffering a little with SAD and I’m 99% positive I am as I just feel so unmotivated and not like myself. Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I can’t tell you how crap this makes me feel! However, Matt and I just had the most wonderful Christmassy day in Edinburgh and it picked up my spirits SO MUCH. We had the most amazing time, and I took all the photos to share with you lovely lot! You can see our festive day here, if you missed it.

What lipstick I’ve been wearing:
So you may remember this post from a few months ago, where I said I really wanted to try wearing red lipstick. I did it! I kinda love it! I’m definitely not going to be reaching for red lipstick on a day to day basis but I’m really enjoying being a little bit brave here and there and enjoy wearing it. I have however been wearing Clinique’s Bare Pop lipstick almost every. single. day. for the past three months! It’s the most perfect shade; it works for every ocassion and never clashes with clothes or anything, it’s so versatile and I can’t recommend it enough. I love the formula too, it lasts all day or night.

What I’m up to this weekend:
It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and I have so many things to do! Tomorrow Matt starts work at 7am so I’ll be up early with him, then I’m maybe going to get my nails done as a little festive treat. I’ll be spending the rest of the day running last minute errands, cleaning, organising, blogging, baking cookies and wrapping SO MANY Christmas presents whilst watching Christmas movies before he comes home. I can’t believe how many gifts I have left to wrap, it’s kind of freaking me out! He’ll be home mid-afternoon so we’re just going to chill at home for a little while (and eat cookies!) then I’ve planned a surprise Christmas date night for us both. I’m so excited! Our plan for Sunday is to have a relaxed morning, probably definitely drinking lots of hot chocolate and snoozing in bed then we’re heading into town to see the Christmas markets one last time before Christmas. I love our city so much, and at Christmas time it’s seriously the most beautiful! Later in the day Matt’s going out with his friends for a few hours and I’m going to treat myself to a pamper night, and probably finish up more wrapping before I go pick him up. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for all of your wonderful support over the past year. I am so thankful that you – yes, you! – read my blog, and you’ve no idea how much it means to me. I’m so sad this is the las Feelin’ It Friday of 2019! What are your plans for this weekend? I hope you all have the most perfect, Christmassy weekend with your loved ones! It’s five days until CHRISTMAS DAY! See you on Sunday, my loves.

-G x

Christmas In Edinburgh

Hi, loves! This past Saturday Matt and I headed up to Edinburgh for a fun little day trip to explore one of our favourite cities, finish up on a little extra holiday shopping and… well… eat all of the food (and drink all of the Irn Bru)! We live in the North of England and we are very used to the cold weather, but oh my gosh it was so freezing cold up in Scotland. Which, to be fair, I guess that’s to be expected in December! Matt and I have a tradition to visit a new city’s Christmas markets each year. Back in 2017 we headed to York, then last year we went to Manchester. It was so fun to see another city and how they do Christmas! We of course visit our hometown Christmas markets which are beautiful, but they’re not a patch on some other cities. Spoiler: Edinburgh is our favourite Christmas market we’ve visited so far! 🙂

We started our day bright dark and early, and we just had to make a Starbucks trip as soon as we got to the train station. As much as I love the holiday themed drinks at Starbucks/Costa, I opted for my ‘usual’ cold weather drink: an extra hot, hot chocolate with two pumps of vanilla and almond milk. It’s delish!

Hahahaha. We were going past Newcastle United’s training ground at the time I took this, look at his face!

I love you so much 🙂

The very second we came out of the train station we headed straight to H&M to buy gloves and an umbrella for Matt! He forgot to bring a hat (but ended up buying a cute lil Barbour cap during our day, I LOVE it on him. It’s very Peaky Blinders haha!) We got a SHOCK when we came out into the fresh air because it was so freezing cold, our cheeks and noses were instantly red! I was super toasty in my coat though #bestbuyever.

I’m so drawn to colorful wool patterns and Tartan is my JAM.

I have no words how amazing these pancakes are, I didn’t want to share with Matt, hahaha! There were ten little pancakes in the tray, smothered with Nutella and white chocolate that melted in and made the most delicious litle treat ever! I want to eat it again right now.

After walking all round the markets, we headed to wander around a few shops. We went into a store called Kingdom Of Sweets and found all of the Tony’s flavours…

…and best of all… USA Mountain Dew!!! The Mountain Dew we can buy here is really naff and just not the same at all. I was so excited to see these that I didn’t even care they were £1.99 each! We got three Mountain Dew’s and one Exotic Fanta for Matt. I couldn’t BELIEVE the price of Freddo’s! Like, what the HECK?!

The streets throughout Edinburgh are GORGEOUS, especially when decorated for Christmas. The streets by The Dome are our very favourite and they have the best shops, including so many that we don’t have here in Newcastle. I really wish I had taken photos in Harvey Nichol’s because it was just so pretty in there.

We HAD to make a stop at Anthropologie! Look how beautiful!

I was literally in love with these coasters. I bought one in a teal/dark green shade and Matt got me one in this light blue to put in my stocking! I just think they’re so pretty 🙂

Another shop we stopped by was Oliver Bonas. I’m dreaming of this sweet chest in our future home! How GORGEOUS!?

Many shops later, we stopped for lunch at All Bar One. We do have one of these in Newcastle that just opened a few months ago, but we haven’t had chance to visit yet. We ate breakfast here two years ago so it was really nice to come back! Matt got Tennent’s and I got Irn Bru… #wheninScotland. We also had delicious food and the atmosphere is just so lovely in there! It’s relaxed but busy, and just feels so homely and cosy. Matt went for a burger and I opted for mac n cheese, we were so happy, warm and full when we left!

We did have another little look around the markets, then headed up to the castle! The streets on the way up are so quaint and cute, I feel like they’re very ‘typically British’ and so photogenic. We’re so lucky that where we live in Northumberland has so many pretty castles and places of history, but I LOVE Edinburgh Castle so much. It absolutely beautiful and on a clear day you can see for miles!

The most handsome man I ever did see 🙂

I’m SO glad it wasn’t windy up there…

Matt may or may not have added this bottle of whisky to his Christmas List. I’m pretty sure Father Christmas will NOT be getting that memo!

A candid at the top of the very windy hill.

We sent this shirt photo to Debbie (Matt’s mum) to ask her opinion on whether or not Matt should get it. I loved it, Matt liked it, Debbie loved it. We bought it! He’s going to be wearing this on Christmas Day 🙂 …if you’re looking for a last minute gift, anything from Ted Baker is a WINNER. Matt wears Ted Baker shirts for so many occasions, and they’re such high quality.

More market wandering… more drinking inside the log cabins to warm the F up… we also grabbed Bailey’s hot chocolates but our hands were too freezing to take photos. They were really good, but we can do make better at home!

SO pretty!

The Dome lit up for Christmas is just SO STUNNING! If you get chance to visit Edinburgh at Christmas, do it!

After a little more wandering/browsing/shopping we headed to a bar (I’m pretty sure it was called The Refinery?) for a few drinks. Pints and gins all round! This was such a cute bar, it’s definitely Matt and I’s kind of vibe.

…just before we made a dash to Sainsbury’s to buy drinks/snacks for the train home we got a photo outside of the Tipi. How gorgoeus is this star!? I love this photo. And Matthew, I love you so much 🙂

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our little festive trip and seeing what we got up to. Have you ever visited Edinburgh at Christmas? Which are the best Christmas markets you’ve visited this year? I so wish we could have stayed for a whole weekend, we definitely want to visit again next year.

-G x