Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy Friday my little love bugs! I’m writing to you this morning at 6.15am, from my snuggly bed… Matt is just getting ready to leave for work and our room is FREEZING! We sleep with the window open no matter the weather (literally even when it’s snowing) because we love the room to be cold when we’re super warm under our duvet and blankets. However it’s not as fun when I’m trying to type up a blog post and it feels like Alaska in here… Anyway, I’ve got lots to talk about, so let’s get into it!

What I’m obsessed with:
So, like I often do, I copied Shay. Again. I seriously love everything I try on her recommendation, so I’m happy to try out new products based just on her reviews! I’d been eyeing up the Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt bubble bath for the longest time but it’s pretty pricey and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. A while back I read Amazon reviews, searched for blog posts talking about it and asked my family/friends if they’d tried it, and then kinda forgot all about it. Then, last week I was re-reading lots of Shay’s Fall blog posts from last year (Autumn. is. on. the. brain.) and I seen this mentioned a couple of times, which prompted me to purchase it. Guys, I’m so happy I did because it’s SO GOOD. I love it! I have arthritis which is much worse in my knees/hips, and I’ve heard lots of good things about this helping aches and pains. To be honest, hot baths in general help me so I’m really intrigued to see if this makes a big difference when it starts to get a little cooler over the next few weeks.

What I’m reading:
I’m currently reading The Postcard by Zoe Folbigg, which is the sequel to The Note (one of my favourite books). I always love a book series, and I can’t get enough of this one! Zoe is such an incredible writer; her books feel like you’re right in with the characters, like you know everyone personally. I have read about two thirds of the book so far, and I’m going to be so sad when I finish it, I love love love Maya (the main character) so much, and Nena (her best friend) melts my heart. I am just finishing up a post this week about all the ways I find time to read regularly, which is something I asked if you guys might be intersested in SO long ago. It’ll be up in a few weeks and if you’re struggling with finding the time to read I really hope it helps you!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I started watching The Office! Well, we actually tried Parks and Rec but we just couldn’t get into it, we might go back to it in after The Office. We’re so late to the party, but we needed a funny, easy-to-watch show as we’ve now finished up to season five of Brooklyn 99. I’m still crying about it and I can’t wait for season six to be on Netflix! So far we are loving The Office, it’s so funny and the dry humour is exactly our style, we actually really look forward to watching a few more episodes every night. Baby John Krasinski melts my heart (I’m kinda obsessed with him and Emily Blunt, literally the best celeb couple!)

What I’m buying:
Okay so I kinda teased this last week, but I’m already looking for what I need to add to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I’m missing a few very obvious essentials in my wardrobes which was highlighted when I cleared them all out a few weeks ago, so I already have a pretty good list. One of the things on there is a good sweater/fleece that I can wear with jeans or leggings for just any casual weekend, and I found THIS baby. I’m not sure on the colour way I’m going to buy yet, but I already know how much I’ll love it and how much I’ll wear it. Patagonia have brilliant ethics which I fully support, and even though it’s extortionately expensive I’m hoping praying for a 20% discount to be available very soon! I also really wanted a mid-length cosy cardigan that will see me through the last of the Summer and into the Autumn, so I ordered this one, it’s a steal and it looks perfect, I’m excited for it to arrive! I can’t wait to start buying a few staple jumpers, long sleeved tees and I really need some black leather boots sooner rather than later because we have been getting SO much rain!

What I’m happy about:
Last week I had to send my iPad away to be fixed, because the battery ‘swelled’. Like, who knew that was even a thing?! It turns out they couldn’t actually fix the problem so instead they replaced my iPad with a pretty little new one! I was super nervous sending it away to be fixed because I really wanted it back before bank holiday weekend, but it literally took TWO days from when they received it to my new one arriving… Apple’s customer service is SO GOOD. I had just started using my iPad way more because I forgot how easy it is to carry it with me most days, and I can use it to blog on the go! I ordered this cute new case in anticipation of my new one arriving and I’m really happy with it!

What I’m thinking about:
Next week I’m getting my hair done again, and I’m completely undecided on what to do! I’m so torn between going for a darker, brunette balayage or going a little bit lighter with my current blondey balayage. I really just want a low maintenance, easy-to-manage colour as I feel like I get my hair dyed all the time which is pretty costly, not to mention so damaging! I’ve finally figured out how to curl my hair (well, kinda, I’m so bad at doing anything with my hair haha) but I LOVE how curls look in darker hair. I’m confused on what to do; should I go darker for Autumn or go a shade or two lighter? Someone please help me! I’d love for my hair to grow longer and I’m pretty sure the more I bleach it the less it’s likely to grow out.

What I’m working on:
I’ve planned so much new content for my blog, I feel like I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and trying to fit them into my posting schedule. Writing the posts is the easy part; I literally sit down at my laptop and the words just come out (for the most part, anyway) but having time to take photos isn’t always easy, and I hate to feel rushed or put up sub-standard photos. This weekend, Matt and I are taking photos for my first morning routine post, I really hope it all comes together how I picture it in my head, I’m nervous and excited about it!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Tonight we’re cooking, relaxing and snuggling in to watch Stacey Dooley’s new documentary. #Stace4evs. Matt is at work tomorrow on an early shift, so I’m taking the morning to run errands, grocery shop for the week ahead, maybe pop to Homesense and work a little a lot on my blog. He’ll be home around 3.30pm, so we’re spending our evening watching football, grabbing a Chinese takeaway and having the most chilled night, which is our favourite way to spend a Saturday! On Sunday we’re having a chilled morning (and also taking photos as I mentioned above), then heading for date day in town. I’m taking Matt for a breakfast date, we’re visiting the Quayside Market, getting donuts from The Best Place In The North East, browsing the shops and just having a fun little day together, before coming home to probably watch more football. ‘Tis the season! We’re spending our evening snuggled up on the couch with a good dinner, watching a movie before a hectic week.

Our favourite meals from the week:
I decided to start a new segment in my #feelinitfriday posts! I am asked SO often – especially in response to my almost nightly Instagram stories – to share recipe ideas on the blog, and I really want to do it; I’m just not great at taking photos of food. It’s hard because we obviously want to eat when our food is hot, but cooled down food photographs way better (weird, I know). Also, presentation is not our strong point; we literally throw it all together and all we care about is eating it! I’m not sharing recipes (unless I’ve followed someone else’s in which case I’ll link them) but maybe it will give you a little inspiration of things to make for the upcoming week. As I talked about in last week’s post, I was pumped to make this BLT pasta, and it turned out so. dang. good. I tweaked the recipe a little (we didn’t use stock) and we already know it’s going to be something we make all the time; it’s delicious, so easy and pretty healthy, what’s not to love? Another night we made pizza pasta bake which was also very good. Last night I made the easiest, most simple chicken fajita recipe for Matt coming home from work and we loved it. You literally throw it all in the oven for forty minutes on a baking tray, add rice, guac, salsa, sour cream etc and throw it all into a wrap. We had them with garlic potatoes, and we’re so happy the peri peri rice we LOVE is back in stores!

…and that wraps up today’s post, thank you so much for reading! These posts always get the most views on the day they go live, and I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re all nosy and love to know the behind-the-scenes of other people’s lives… just me? 🙂 I’m not sure if you’ll be getting a #feelinitfriday from me next week as Matt and I are going on a trip across the bank holiday weekend (I’m SO excited), we’ll just have to see how busy life is next week! Have the most wonderful weekend!

-G x

TV Shows You Need In Your Life

Hi, loves!

Matt and I are forever looking for new shows, and when we love something we really go hard on the binge watching! *Cue getting snuggled up together with a huge cosy blanket and a bowl of popcorn* We loved Narcos and Peaky Blinders a lot, and we really thought we’d never find anything we’d enjoy as much! Recently we’ve watched a few things that we’ve not stopped talking about or recommending to others, and you know they’re the really good ones. I love getting an insight into what other people have been watching, and seeing what people recommend and why. There’s so many shows we want to watch next, but I think we’ll start watching House of Cards and Dead To Me – I’m sure if we love them they’ll be featured on the blog sometime!

After Life, Netflix
You’ll love this if you liked: … I don’t think anything compares
I’ve talked about this already in this post and this post, but I seriously can’t recommend it enough. I’m sure almost everyone has seen this by now, but if you haven’t it’s an incredible show. Written, produced and directed by Ricky Gervais, who also plays the lead character, Tony, the show follows what it’s really like to suffer with depression. Tony’s wife sadly passed away from breast cancer, and the six part series shows how his life is affected by this, and how he tries to find his new normal. It’s horribly sad but also very funny and light hearted in places; I laughed and cried throughout each episode. Ricky Gervais is currently writing season two and I know so many people are anticipating the next part of the story, we can’t wait!

Selling Sunset, Netflix
You’ll love this if you liked: The Hills, Million Dollar Listing
Okay so Matt wasn’t on board with this one, but I binge watched this one Sunday a few weeks ago when Matt was at work and I loved it. The girls are beautiful, bitchy and brilliant, it’s that same kind of trashy ‘reality’ TV that lots of girls in their early *cough* mid *cough* twenties will also love. Produced by the same guy who brought us The Hills, which was literally my favourite show growing up, it’s easy to see why I had a soft spot for this show. Chrishell is my favourite character by far, she’s so sweet and definitely seemed the most genuine out of all the girls. She’s the Lauren Conrad of the group, for sure! I’m pretty sure the storylines are completely fake, but it’s entertaining all the same, and you can bet if there’s another season I’ll binge watch that too!

Jack Ryan, Amazon Prime Video
You’ll love this if you liked: Narcos, Homeland
Hands down, the best show we’ve watched. Spoiler: it beats Narcos! The show is named after the lead character Jack Ryan – played by John Krasinski who I love – and the series follows his journey of being a CIA analyst who goes from sitting at a desk, to being front and centre with the criminals he’s been tracking. This show was one we could not predict; you know when you think you know what’s going to happen because it’s so obvious? No, it’s never what you think! Throughout the series, Jack is working as part of a team to stop an Islamic terrorist from following through with this devastating plans, and the story is gripping, emotional, sad and heartwarming all at the same time. There are some brutal scenes, but I promise it’s worth the tears you’ll shed. Matt has a new man crush on John, too! Season two is being filmed right now and I’m so excited – it’s a whole new story but I know it’s going to be just as good.

Our Planet, Netflix
You’ll love this if you liked: Planet Earth, Dynasties
Another incredible show by Sir David Attenborough, our national treasure. The shots throughout this season are incredibly beautiful; showcasing the most beautiful deserts to undersea worlds to rainforests and some of the incredible animals living on our planet. The show focuses very heavily on what the human race is doing to our planet – we’re literally destroying it in front of our eyes – and there are some distressing scenes. The walrus scene was heartbreaking, both Matt and I sat in silence for a good five minutes after that scene in complete shock (I was crying. Naturally). If you don’t already have the determination to do your bit to help save planet Earth, this will definitely give you it. You can also check out this post for some easy things you can start doing to help live a more sustainable lifestyle today.

Ambulance, BBC One
You’ll love this if you liked: Inside The Ambulance, 999 What’s Your Emergency?
Matt and I have watched this show since it first started and it’s one of our favourite ever shows, each season brings more joy! There have been seasons shot in Birmingham and Manchester, and even a spin off called Ambulance: Australia which was based in Melbourne, they’re all so good. You feel so close to all of the paramedics; they often share personal stories and you see their vulnerability and strength throughout each episode. The show is always based on one shift, and in a 12 hour window you get a very honest depiction of how things can be for our NHS paramedics. Emotions run high and I’d definitely recommend you grab a box of tissues before you sit down to watch, but I promise there are so many beautiful heart warming moments too! Forever grateful for our overworked and underpaid NHS, and so thankful for all that they do.

Brooklyn 99, Netflix
You’ll love this if you liked: The Office US, Parks & Recreation
This was one of those shows we stumbled across, and unbelievably we seemed to have missed all of the hype surrounding it. Since we started watching it and talking about it, everyone has wondered how we hadn’t seen it until now! Brooklyn 99 is a comedy based on a wonderfully mismatched group of NYPD detectives, and it’s laugh out loud funny in every episode. It’s your typical American sitcom (without the fake audience laughter, thank God) and it’s such a feel good show. Jake and Amy’s bond is the best, although Gina is 100% our favourite character, we die laughing at her! We’re still watching season one and we’ve got tons of episodes to get through; it’s great for when you don’t have lots of time but want to watch something before bed as each episode is only around 22 minutes, and it’s so easy to pick up where you left off!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed seeing what we’ve been watching recently, and fingers crossed it gave you a little inspiration of your next show to watch! What shows have you been loving recently? Have you got any recommendations that we need to watch?

-G x

How I Plan My Week

Hi, loves!

Way back in my Winter Bucket List post I asked if you would like to see how I plan my week, and received tons of responses saying yes, please! A little background… I thrive off routine, plans and things being in order. I can’t quite explain why, but knowing what my week is going to look like brings me so much joy, and also helps my anxious mind to rest a little. I fret about everything I can possibly think of (it’s SO MUCH FUN) so taking control of things that I can makes me calmer. I’m sure for some people I probably plan a little too much and with too much detail, but you can easily adapt anything in this post to work better for you. It’s really trial and error, and I hope my post gives you a little inspiration and insight into how I plan. (Also, it’s so not too late to buy a 2019 planner – you’ve still got best part of 9 months to use it)! Any excuse for new stationery.

Write down the important things. If you work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, chances are that’s not something you’re likely to forget and it doesn’t need to be recorded every day. I generally write very little to do with work in my planner as I use notepads and my work calendar whilst I’m at my desk for anything important, like a meeting or deadline. If your hours change, or you are self employed and have a little more flexibility in your days, then this would be the kind of thing I would include. Matt works various shifts throughout the week, so I write his hours down – this also helps as we’re currently living between our parents houses (whilst saving for our first home) and we can plan where is easier to be that night, based on his shifts. I always plan my blog posts in my planner, which helps me SO much to make sure everything is ready to go. Personal appointments, date nights, errands and plans with our friends are things I always like to write down, including the time and place, so I don’t have to check back through texts or rely on my brain to remember everything.

Stick to the ‘rule of threes’ with your to-do list. I learned this from many years of reading Anna‘s blog posts and watching her YouTube videos, and it works so well for me. If I set myself a daily to-do list of 20 things, I’d literally do none of them. Breaking everything down, into the three most important tasks, helps me to prioritise and not feel overwhelmed. I tend to number tasks from 1 to 3 in order of importance, and I always tick them off once complete – sometimes if I’m having one of those days I will include unimportant things, like changing our sheets and doing a deep clean. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Set weekly and/or monthly goals and review them regularly. If you’re a regular reader, it’ll be no surprise that setting goals is my kinda thing. I love to have something to work towards, and it’s the best way I find to motivate myself. I thrive off working towards goals, especially with my blog and it helps a lot when I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a rut. I think it’s a great way to track progress and keep yourself accountable, and you can always change your goals as and when you need to. Setting monthly goals works best for me, and if I can’t/don’t achieve something in the month I’d like to, I can always look at my objectives and re-schedule for the next month. It’s important to only use your goals as a guide, not as a checklist for what you must do in a specific timeframe, life doesn’t work that way!

Use your space to write notes, make lists, check finances and plan your meals. I love writing lists and I love checking things off even more! I definitely benefit from having things written down infront of me instead of floating about in my head, and as I check my planner (almost) every day it’s a good reminder to do things. I meal plan in my planner every week and since doing so we have no waste, we enjoy our meals more because they’re never just thrown together, and we are never stuck for ideas. We rotate the same approximate twenty recipes, and when we feel like making something new I ususally browse Pinterest, Instagram and Tesco’s online recipe book. I also write our shopping list out each week to make sure we have what we need for each night, and we buy food two to three times per week as we always need fresh ingredients! I’m hoping to write a post in the next few weeks detailing our meals for a week as I’ve had a few comments saying people would like to see that.

Make adjustments as and when required. The one downside of writing in pen, is that making ammendments sometimes looks a little messy. I do however have no shame in using my Tippex mouse (life changing, I promise you!) to change anything I need to, and I always try to make those changes as soon as possible so I don’t forget. Usually it’s things like times or dates of an appointment or Matt’s shifts (which also sometimes changes our meal plan(s) for the day/week). Life is always going to change around you and your plans are often not going to be exactly as you first thought, and that’s okay!

Make your planner work for you. Apologies if that sounds like the beginning of a bad speech at a multi-level marketing seminar. But, hear me out. The whole point of planning out your week/month/year is that it gives you an idea of what your schedule looks like, and also makes sure you don’t miss anything important. If birthdays and anniversaries are something you’re likely to forget I’d highly recommend setting up your planner for half an hour and adding in any important dates. Once it’s done it’s done for a whole year! I also strongly advise writing down any quotes that stick with you, or things you can record to motivate yourself if you’re having one of those days/weeks. I love to re-read pages from The Secret any time I need a little boost, and I’d advise anyone who wants a little more positivity in their lives to pick it up too! For anyone in that situation right now, my sweet friend Grace sent the below illustration to me when I was feeling down a little while ago, and it made me smile so much. Isn’t it so cute?! (Except, on one of those days a Lush bath is the BEST thing to boost my mood, followed by cuddles with Matthew, obvs!)

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know if you found any of my tips helpful? Do you have any tips for how you plan? Please let me know, I love learning from other people!

-G x

Six Ways Marie Kondo Changed My Life

Hi, loves!

Marie Kondo is an author and organising consultant who is probably one of the most influential people around right now! Her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up, is a best-seller, as is her follow up book, Spark Joy, and now she’s the star of her own TV show on Netflix, all based on her own method (named KonMari) of tidying and organising. So, what is the KonMari method? Well, there’s a lot to it, and I haven’t gone into too much detail on her what’s and why’s in this post. I’d advise reading her book(s) and watching her Netflix show for more details.

I read her book at least a year ago, and although I made small changes to my lifestyle off the back of it, I wasn’t overly fussed on what I’d read. Then, I binge-watched season one of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and totally got the KonMari bug. Literally right away I began overhauling Matt and I’s wardrobes, and then, our lives! I think she’s the sweetest lady, and I love how passionate she is about her hobby-turned-job. I’ve learned so much from Marie, and I really think her teachings have genuinely changed my life in many ways that span beyond cleaning. Today I’m sharing a few things I’ve learned and benefited from since following her teachings, and I hope it encourages you to learn more too!

#1 I’m grateful for everything I own. This is absolutley my favourite thing I’ve learned from Marie, and it was a shock for me to realise I hadn’t previously thought this way. Marie teaches that you should only keep items that spark joy, therefore you love what you own and you own what you love. Since I began clearing out everything I own and seeing everything I’d accumulated right infront of me, it was a bit of a shock to donate or throw out so much stuff. I have very rarely had an emotional attachment to the things I buy before, but now I am truly grateful for the things that made the cut, and I absolutely love/use them more, which is what the lifestyle is all about. I get SO much more use out of my beauty products now! Matt was already so good at wearing most of his clothes, but we both found several items we’d completely forgotten about, and now it’s like we have a whole new wardrobe!

#2 I’m more mindful of what I purchase. I have already been actively trying to be more mindful of what I buy in general in relation to my sustainability journey, but this stepped things up a notch. Since having such big clear outs I don’t want to be in a position where I need to do that again, therefore everything I buy and bring home is intentional. I buy things that I truly love, and I’m way less inclined to make silly impulse purchases. My blog post on Sunday will go into even more detail on this! (Except for candles, we always need more candles for those ~cosy vibes~)

#3 I’m enjoying living more minimalistically than I have before. Okay, so minimalism on the whole scares the heck out of me. I enjoy lots of aspects of the thought process behind living in a minimalistic way, but it’s just never been something I thought I could adhere to, because it seems so strict and regimented. That being said, I definitley had way too many items, from clothing to beauty to miscellaneous, and I no longer feel the need to have so many options of the same item. Does anyone need fourteen blushes? No. Who do I think I am, Jaclyn Hill?! Matt has always purchased items in the sense of quality over quantity, and over the past few months I’ve totally re-trained my thinking to this way too. I wish I’d picked up on Matt’s habits ages ago, I’ve been missing out this whole time and we’d definitley have saved more for our future home. HAHA.

#4 I genuinely enjoy tidying up and organising. I mean, this isn’t necessarily anything new to me, but I have a super love for it now! Matt is more than happy to play a game on the PS4 whilst I happily re-fold everything in his drawers for twenty minutes. #girlfriendgoals, right?! If I have a spare thirty minutes before Matt gets home from work I’m more than happy to blast a little John Mayer and get my (cleaning) groove on, and it definitely makes our evenings feel more relaxed. I think having a clean and tidy living space can make such a difference to your mental health, it just makes the space (and you!) feel light and refreshed. My favourite eco-friendly cleaning brand is Method, all of their products smell SO GOOD. I can’t wait to put this into practice in every room when we buy our home in the next year!

#5 I save so much time getting ready. This one shocked me as I really didn’t realise how much time I’d wasted for years before. Especially since clearing out my beauty products – literally everything; makeup, skincare, bodycare, shower stuff, haircare, toiletry minis – I’ve really seen which products I love as I’m using things up before opening new ones, and an added bonus is I’m saving so much money by not buying crap I don’t need. I’ve definitely had go-to products in the past, but now I easily can reach for my favourite products, and I no longer waste half an hour trying to find that mauve lipstick. I keep my everyday skincare and makeup products in their own pouches, as we’re living between my parents house and Matt’s, and I realised how little I switch things out. Streamlining my beauty products has been one of the best parts of this process for me! I’d love to share an updated What’s In My Makeup Bag with you if you’d like to see it?

#6 *Everything has a home. *Well, almost everything. We’re still not completely finished our tidying journey, but we’re so close! I love that I know where to find what I’m looking for without trying four different spots to see where I shoved it back after the last time I’d used it. Marie’s folding method is so simple, yet also revolutionary, I love it! Rifling through all my products is a thing of the past and it makes cleaning, packing or unpacking SO MUCH EASIER. It’s also great that Matt isn’t constantly asking me where certain clothing items are, because he knows everything has a place. Every cloud, and that!

Thank you so much for reading! Are you as big of a fan girl as I am? Do you love the KonMari method as much as I do? If you’re still yet to get invovled in the whirlwind of cleaning and tidying along with everyone else, what are you waiting for?! Snuggle up and stick Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on, you won’t regret it! (But make sure to clear your schedule for the foreseeable future!)

-G x