My Post Lockdown Bucket List

Hi loves, happy Wednesday! Today’s post is a little light hearted and just-for-fun, but I also REALLY need to have things to look forward to for my own sanity too. My Spring bucket list should have gone live a few weeks ago but due to everything going on in the world it just didn’t seem right to post it, knowing that we (and you!) wouldn’t be able to do anything on the list. We are still completely unaware of how long the lockdown will last for – in the UK our lockdown is expected to be extended tomorrow – but I think we all know we’re in this for the long haul. I keep reminding myself every day that passes is a day closer to this all being over, but I really like having things to look forward to. If you’re an essential key worker who is working through this terrible time in potentially dangers and definitely stressful environments please know how much you mean to all of us! We’ll never be able to repay you for all you’ve done so far and will do in the future, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m so grateful that me, Matt, our families, friends and community are safe and healthy, and although lockdown is NOT fun, it’s so necessary.

From probably day three of lockdown Matt and I have been talking about all of the fun things we’ll do when Boris says we’re allowed out again, and it’s crazy how much we (unknowingly) took for granted! So many people are upset about holidays being cancelled which is understandable but looking at the bigger picture is so much more important. We’re being realistic and we’re pretty sure our family trip to Florida won’t be happening in October – it would have been Matt’s first visit and it was to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday 😦 – which we’re all devastated about, but in the grand scheme of things it is NOT a big deal. We can re-book our trip when it’s safe to do so, and it’s really a small price to pay! Matt and I were hoping to squeeze in city breaks to Lisbon and Krakow this year but honestly I’m not sure how long it’ll be before flights are running normally and we feel comfortable with international travel again. Everything in this list is things we can do in the UK, and some are really quite silly… if you told me I’d be so excited about walking around Tesco or Costco a month ago I’d think you were crazy! 

  • Spend time with Matt’s parents and our grandparents! This is what we’re most excited for, we miss them all SO much! 
  • Go to the movies 
  • Enjoy the biggest family meal with Matt and I’s families at our favourite restaurant, Lollo Rosso
  • Walk around ‘Big’ Tesco for like… hours 
  • Spend an afternoon (and probably night) in the beer garden with our friends
  • Celebrate Matt’s birthday, his new job and my birthday! We’ve already missed two of these and my birthday (May 17th) looks like it will be spent under lockdown too
  • Go for all of the Saturday morning breakfast dates at Postbox Coffee
  • Enjoy all the beach walks we possibly can
  • Go for a long drive. I miss driving SO MUCH
  • Have a picnic at Linhope Spout
  • Go makeup shopping and enjoy using all of the testers. Anybody else missing “non-essential” shopping?! 
  • Visit Bolam Lake
  • Host a BBQ
  • Walk around Costco aimlessly, buying stuff we definitely do not need just because we can 
  • Head for the Costa drive thru
  • Book a staycation at our favourite hotel (hence the feature photo! I’d do anything for a cosy night away in our favourite place)
  • Enjoy our late night McFlurry runs again
  • Re-schedule our getaway to Harrogate
  • Enjoy ALL of the date nights
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Shop local!! 
  • Spend the day at The Alnwick Garden and eat lunch in the treehouse 
  • Drive up to the Scottish Borders and just find a B&B to stay at for the night
  • Get back on track with weekly grocery shopping and meal planning. I’m so excited about this!! 
  • Go beer tasting at our local brewery
  • Spend a weekend in the Lake District
  • Drive to pretty spots to watch the sunset 
  • Enjoy a couples spa day 
  • Go for early morning hikes
  • Buy candles at Homesense. I wish I was joking but I’m running LOW! Hahaha
  • Go for more double dates with our friends
  • Take walks in the countryside (it sure beats walking around our estate, that’s pretty much as far as we’re allowed to go right now!) 
  • Eat at Wagamama’s, it’s definitely our favourite chain restaurant! 
  • Visit Beamish
  • Spend Sunday mornings at Tynemouth Market
  • Go outlet shopping in York
  • Enjoy a girls night
  • Go out for Sunday lunch at our favourite countryside pubs

I hope this made you smile and gave you a few ideas of things you can also look forward to when lockdown ends! What is the first things you’ll be doing/planning when lockdown is over? What do you miss the most right now?! 

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday to you all 🙂 I am so freaking happy it’s the weekend and I’m determined to enjoy every. single. second. Does anyone else feel like they blink and the weekend just disappears? I’m not to let that happen this time. During this week I’ve kinda been running on empty; literally every morning when Matt and I’s alarm goes off we both have felt as though we’ve just closed our eyes to fall asleep. I think it’s probably just a combination of late nights watching The Office and busy weeks at work, bring on the weekend! Also I just have to say… I’ll probably definitely be talking about this in lots more detail next week but BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATES ARE BACK AT COSTA. Me and the girls at work have made a Costa run a priority during our lunch break today and I’ve already got my re-usable mug waiting by the door 🙂 I’m SO EXCITED!!!

What I’m loving:
I’ve been having lots more baths over the past few weeks, and I’m really really enjoying them! Matt’s had more late shifts at work than usual which means he’s not home until around 9.30pm, so I’ve been spending at least an hour in the bath most nights before he gets home, reading my book and treating myself to various pamper treatments. As it starts to get colder my arthritis gets worse (it’s unfortunately just a fact of life) so I will be pretty much living in hot baths for the foreseeable. Bliss. There’s just a few of the products I’m loving right now in the photo above, but I’d love to share my favourite pamper products with you if that’s something you’d like to see? Spoiler: this shampoo and conditioner is brand new to me and I’m already LOVING them both so much!

What I’m slightly jealous about:
My brother is in Canada right now! Matt and I were feeling a little bitter saying goodbye to him because we want to visit Canada so bad. I mean that in a jokey way because of course we want him to have a great time, we just also wanted to hop in his suitcase. He’s spending the week in Toronto and also visited Niagara Falls, which is super high on Matt and I’s travel bucket list! He was sending me photos whilst he was there (which you may have seen on my Instagram stories) and I so badly wish we were there too!

What I’m buying:
I have started officially shopping for Fall! (I know. I’m English, but Fall sounds SO MUCH BETTER than Autumn, right? My friend Jessy agrees which is enough for me… we’re going to make Fall happen this year. Fall.) Topshop had 25% off last Sunday (!!) so I ordered this mustard sweater, the most perfect black polka dot satin blouse and a gorgeous grey, cream and blush colourblock sweater, I’m so excited for them to arrive (hopefully today)! I also ordered this beautiful checked blazer from H&M on my lunch break during the week and although the shipping has been delayed I am SO excited for it to arrive. Prepare to see it featured lots on the blog, I really can’t wait to create more fashion related content this season. I’ve been looking for a pair of riding boots and had very little luck so far, but I LOVE how they look so I really hope I can find some soon. I’m trying to shop intentionally, so I’m buying staple pieces that will not only last me through this A/W season, but many years to come.

What I’m cooking:
Again, I didn’t take photos of our meals throughout the week because we’ve been making our old faithfuls due to Matt’s shifts! Tuna pasta bakes, bolognese and chicken fajitas… nothing groundbreaking, therefore I didn’t want to bore you with it all. But I really need to share this CrockPot dinner with you because it’s one of our FAVOURITES and a dish we’ll be making pretty much every week this Autumn/Winter. Side note: we are already big fans of a strawberry and lime cider, but oh my gosh we tried this peach and apricot cider this weekend and it is so good. You need to try it ASAP! We totally made up the recipe way back in February when I bought the CrockPot for Matt (#adulting) so we have tweaked it a little here and there since, but now it is perfect for us. You really need to try it, CrockPot meals are THE BEST for long days when you’re at work as you literally throw it all in and when you come home dinner is ready for you!

Ingredient list:
500g x diced chicken
3 x peppers
20 x cherry tomatoes (approx)

1 x large onion 
5 x celery stalks (approx)
1 x jar of Chicken Tonight Spanish Chicken sauce
salt, pepper and seasoning to taste

Method:
Dice all your veggies as large or small as you like them; add to CrockPot. Cut chicken into small pieces; add to CrockPot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, any seasoning of your choice (we like this fajita seasoning) then pour sauce over the top. Stir well, then cook on low for 8+ hours, or medium for 4-6 hours. If one of us is at home when this is cooking we stir every 1-2 hours, but it’s not required. We eat with rice or pasta depending on what we want that day. This is enough for four large servings, and it also refrigerates or freezes if required.

What I’m excited about:
Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend, and I CAN’T WAIT!!! I love love love Strictly, and much to Matt’s disappointment we watch every weekend, usually with his mum because she also loves it. I feel like it’s the beginning of the build up to Christmas (yep, I said the C word!) and it just makes me look forward to cosy nights in the house when it’s super dark and cold out. I already can’t wait for snuggly nights in the house with the Christmas lights twinkling in the background, how perfect! Also, Chris Ramsey is a contestant this year and I have everything crossed for him to do really well, and also Saffron Barker!

What app I’m loving right now:
So I’m pretty sure I’m WAY behind everybody else, but I just found out about the Tezza app and I am obsessed with it. I edited all of the photos for this post (and probably every post for the foreseeable) with the app, and I’m so happy with how they look! I also edited two photos from our Stamford trip to put up on my Instagram grid this morning (plug plug, check it out) and I am FINALLY going to have an Instagram theme. It’s my time. #blogger #notreallybutI’mtrying

What I’m burning:
I’ve officially broken out the pumpkin candles and I DON’T CARE. I mean, it’s September. So it’s justified. Right?! Matt is actually on board too, they just smell like ~cosiness~ and make us very happy. We’ve been loving the one pictured from Homesense (sorry I can’t find it online but there were TONS in store)! Side note: I wish we had Bath & Body Works here, it’s literally so expensive to get them in the UK. Homesense thankfully have the best pumpkin scented stock around, and I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more over the coming weeks.

What I’m binge watching:
So Matt and I are still watching The Office (we’re onto season three and are pretty much obsessed with it) – I’m still so confused how it took us this long to watch it! We genuinely look forward to snuggling in to watch an episode or two in bed each night. We’ve also been catching up on Peaky Blinders – the new season is already SO GOOD, watching all of the Stacey Dooley documentaries and until Mattgets home, most nights I’ve been binge watching an old favourite show, Chesapeake Shores. I watched seasons one and two a while back, and totally forgot about it. But, I seen on Netflix they’d released new episodes and now I am obsessed with it again! I want to pack up everything Matt and I own and book one way flights for us to Chesapeake Qualicum Beach/Parksville in British Columbia. Hah, Chesapeake is a fictional town but the locations it’s filmed in are real and they’re seriously the most picture perfect places. I love love love the characters too, it’s super cheesy and kinda Hallmark-movie-esque, but it’s great binge-watching TV.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We have such a fun weekend planned, and I’m really looking forward to it! Tonight Matt and I are going to watch the rugby; England are playing Italy and we are SO excited. They’re playing at St James’ Park so it will be super weird to be there for something that’s not football! Matt’s cousins and their partners are visiting this weekend from down South, so we’re spending tomorrow with them and his parents, and we’re all heading for dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants in the evening. On Sunday, Matt’s cousin Adam is running in the Great North Run so we’re going to cheer him on; GNR day is one of Matt and I’s favourite days of the year because the atmosphere is amazing! I’m so excited 🙂 I’m also recording a Weekend In My Life post which I’ve had lots of requests about, so you’ll get to see everything from our weekend!

ICYMI: this week’s posts:
Sunday – My Morning Routine
Wednesday – Travel Diaries: Stamford

I’m so happy I was able to get this post up for you this morning, like I said in last week’s post September is SUPER busy for us! (So busy I actually wrote most of this last night when Matt was out at a work party! By the time he got home I was ready to snuggle in and watch The Office – obviously – and I just needed to finish up and edit this morning). I am really trying hard to be consistent with my schedule and I am officially all set for the next week with pre-written posts, YAY. Right now Matt is happily snoozing next to me as he’s off today, but I really need to jump up and get ready for work. I’ll see you on Sunday for a post about CHRISTMAS! Yes, really! Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

-G x

My Favourite Self Care Practices

Happy Sunday, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

How To Have A Better Night’s Sleep

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Yesterday Matt and I had such a fun date day. We went for brunch at the cutest cafe called Post Box in Ponteland, I had the best veggie breakfast I’ve ever had! We spent the rest of the day doing a little grocery shopping, football watching and cleaning out Matt’s wardrobe Marie Kondo style. (I’m OBSESSED with her new Netflix show! Have you watched it?!) Today Matt’s unfortunately back at work, so although we got a mini lie-in this morning, I’m home alone until 5pm! I am however hoping to declutter ALL of my skincare/makeup and maybe a few more clothes, and have dinner ready for Matt coming home… productive Sunday’s are my thing! What are you up to this weekend?

I think during the Winter months more than ever, I appreciate every single second I get to spend snuggled in bed! Matt and I have been lucky enough to squeeze in lots of early nights recently, and we have our evening routine perfected to suit us. Today I’m sharing with you a few things that have been helping Matt and I to have the best night’s sleep.

Unwind during the evening. From the minute Matt and I arrive home from work, we spend the evening relaxing and unwinding. Even if sometimes we have to take a few minutes to send that last email or complain to one another about a bad day at work, we then switch off from the work day and allow ourselves time to relax and enjoy being together. We don’t spend much time on our phones during the evening other than to reply to a few texts or post the odd photo to our Instagram story (guilty), but we really try to be fully present with each other. I am obsessed with scented candles, and Matt has finally agreed they make everything feel ten times more cosy! I love nothing more than lighting a few candles, turning on my Himalayan pink salt lamp and snuggling up with him under our huge Costco blankets (they’re hands down the best thing you can buy this Winter and they’re so inexpensive!) watching a movie.

Eat good food. One of the best feelings in the world is snuggling up in bed next to your loved one when you both have a full belly. It’s something I’ve often took for granted but I realise just how lucky I am for this to be my every day reality! Matt and I love to cook and although we have a few favourite go-to recipes, we’re currently trying new ones out and often making things up as we go along. Coming in from the cold to make a warming, filling meal after a long day is, in my opinion, the perfect way to begin the evening. One of our favourite things to make recently is a vegetable chilli, I can’t wait to share some recipes with you over the next few weeks. I’m also very into drinking hot chocolate at the moment and I love to make one before bed!

Read or listen to a podcast. I find that whenever I do either of these things I feel so calm and relaxed. Reading blogs is my favourite pastime day or night, and I’m forever playing catch up on my favourites. I love losing myself in a good book (this year I’ve challenged myself to read 20 books). I might be a little too confident. I love to read in the bath especially, and then curled up in my dressing gown post-bath. When Matt’s on a late finish (meaning he’s not home until after 9pm) I read for at least an hour, and wonder where the time has gone! I’ve also really got into podcasts over the past six months – Small Town Murder is forever my favourite – and I find they help me unwind too. It’s different to watching YouTube or Netflix, as I don’t have to concentrate as much, and I can also listen whilst doing other things, such as planning my week, changing our sheets or cleaning.

Invest in good quality pillows, duvet and bedding. I’m a sucker for a good smushy pillow and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I picked up some new ones just before Christmas, they are SO. COMFY. Matt and I are such cuddly sleepers (anyone else remembering that Friends episode where Rachel is a cuddly sleeper and Ross isn’t, well I promise we both are HAHA) that we generally snuggle in to go to sleep and after a few minutes we’re flat out! Soft, hotel-like pillows are my jam, and Matt thankfully loves them too. If you’re in the market for new ones, Dunelm have some great options for really affordable prices that you can feel in store, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

Take time for my skincare routine. Is it just me that feels SO incredibly good after spending a tad longer than usual carrying out my skincare routine? From cleansing to toning to moisturising, it just makes me feel relaxed and refreshed, and TBH, ready to snuggle up in bed! I love to use super moisturising products and oils at night time, as my skin always thanks me for it when morning rolls around. I can’t wait to share my current skincare favourites with you, my routine will be up on the blog next month!

Use pillow mist. I love the smell of essential oils, and I got a sample size of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray in a Look Fantastic monthly subscription box at the end of 2018. I’ve used this product in the past and honestly forgot all about it, but now I quite enjoy spraying it on our pillows before we go to sleep. Matt thought it would make no difference, but we’re sleeping better than ever, and waking up so much easier after a good night’s sleep, so it must be doing something right. The smell of essential oils is so calming and relaxing, and although it’s quite an extravagant product it’s such a fun one to use – maybe you could pick it up if you have a little Christmas money left over? I’m definitely going to invest in the full size once this is gone.

Have a relaxing bath. I could happily spend half my life in the bath! Tbh, I probably do. I love nothing more than settling in with a glass filled with Diet Coke and lots of ice and letting the minutes (cough hours cough) tick by. I shared my favourite bath products back in December which you can check out here, but any products that make you feel relaxed and pampered will do just the trick. I find that if I’ve had a bad day I tend to stress my whole drive home, then the second I’m preparing my bath I can literally feel any stresses or worries easing off. This also means by the time Matt gets home from work (most days I’m home first) I’m relaxed and feeling much happier, and we’re able to enjoy our night together. Using all my favourite pamper products will almost definitely make for a better sleep too, all products from Jo Malone or Sanctuary Spa are heaven to me!

Take ten minutes for a yoga sesh. Yoga? Again? SORRY I can’t stop! I’m more into it then ever, it makes me happy, relaxed and sometimes, quite sleepy. You can spend just a few minutes or an hour winding down, it’s totally up to you. Evenings where I can’t really be bothered to take time for yoga usually end up being my favourite sessions, I always feel like a weight’s been lifted when I’m finished. There are so many yoga practices you can find on YouTube or on apps if you don’t have your own 10 minute unwinding routine. This is my favourite routine for nights I just need a little more relaxation.

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? What do you do to ensure you have a good nights sleep? I can’t wait for Matt to come home tonight so we can fall asle-zzzzzzz

-G x