A Spontaneous Fall Trip: Photo Diary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Photo Diary: My 25th Birthday Weekend

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! I’m so happy to be back! I know I only missed one upload (more on that in this post) but wow it’s felt SO long, I missed blogging and I missed you guys! I love love love writing photo diaries and Weekend In My Life posts, and I appreciate that they always get such a great response from my readers! You can read my latest WIML post from way back in February here, and if you type ‘weekend’, ‘week’ or ‘photo diary’ in the search bar at the side, a ton more posts will come up!

Thursday May 16th

Thursday was my last day at work for the week, which meant early birthday celebrations! The girls in my office are so sweet and thoughtful, and as always they totally spoiled me with so many lovely gifts, including a Lush gift card that I’m super excited to use!

I finished work a little earlier than usual, and headed straight to the salon for an update to my balayage! I was there a good three hours, and I’m so so happy with how it turned out, my hair is WAY lighter and feeling ready for Summer. Erin at Rein & Co is the best; she’s so sweet and knowledgable, and there’s something about having your hair done that just makes you feel so dang good. I’d really recommend visiting the salon if you’re in the Newcastle area! I drove home via the beach (literally the sunset was SO pretty – I pulled over in the worst spot to take a photo but trust me it was beautiful. I love the beach so much!) While I was on my way home, Matt headed out to pick up Indian food for dinner for us and my parents, we always go to the same place and their food is delicious. After the quickest shower ever, Matt and I snuggled in to watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and got an early(ish) night in. It was the perfect ending to my last day as a 24 year old!

Not the greatest photo. I snapped this super quickly before I headed home

Friday May 17th

I turned 25!! I woke up to Matt being the cutest ever (I mean, he is every morning, but he was extra cute on this day). We woke up around 7ish – no lay in for us! – as he was so excited for me to open my presents LOL. I love our little tradition on birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary of opening gifts in bed, it’s so cute. I also usually feel super awkward opening gifts from people, but when it’s just us two I don’t feel like that at all. Matt was SO generous and spoiled me like crazy, I love him so much and am beyond grateful! We spent a little time with my parents opening gifts from them and other family members, then my mum had to go to work. We ate birthday cake for breakfast (a must, right?), got ready for the day and packed up for our weekend getaway.

Literally the luckiest girl in the world, he’s so good to me!
My favourite EVER cake is the Red Velvet from Costco, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!
I kinda love this photo, even though I’m squinting so bad in the sun and I’ve no idea why my hair looks super dark!

We visited with my grandma for a little while which was lovely. She absolutely adores Matt, it’s so sweet to see! We said our goodbyes and set off for Ramside Hall. We got there around 1.45pm and, as our room wasn’t ready, took a little time to relax in the bar area and grab lunch. Matt got a Heineken (of course) and I opted for a strawberries and cream gin with lemonade, and we both ate club sandwiches. We got cosy in the bar until our room was ready, then went up to have a look around. We’d stayed in this hotel before – I booked a surprise trip for Matt after he’d had such a busy time at work a year past April – so we had an idea of what to expect, but our room was way bigger this time! There was a HUGE bath – it doesn’t look as big in the photos at all, we were super excited to jump in haha.

I just love the decor!
Matt had told the hotel it was my birthday and they left chocolates for us – how sweet! Also Cadbury’s is my FAVOURITE
Our bath of dreams… serious house inspo for next year!

After we’d unpacked (well, Matt unpacked. He’s the cutest and the first thing he does when we get to a hotel is unpack everything and hang his clothes up. I just love him!) we quickly threw on our bikini and swim shorts, and headed down to the spa. It was so warm and relaxing, we lay by the pool for a little then Matt went for a swim whilst I spent five minutes catching up on birthday messages (I was so overwhelmed with the sweet messages I recieved – thank you so much!) I joined him in the pool, and we spent a while just messing around, it felt like we were back in Kos for a split second! We stayed around the pool area for around an hour, but that huge bath was just calling our name. We caved and headed up to our room to take a long hot bubble bath and chilled the F out. It was bliss!

These robes were HUGE and so snuggly – I wanted to take them home! Also, don’t mind the no makeup. Wowzers
I just love him so much!
My handsome guy

Afterwards, we got ready for the evening (I’m SO mad we didn’t get a good photo together) and headed for dinner at Fat Buddha. It’s one of my favourite places to eat – their honey chilli chicken is incredible! We spent the rest of our evening out at a place nearby called Missoula that had the prettiest decor, and really good music. We had a few drinks and were beat, so headed back to the room to snuggle up in bed with a drink from the bar. #25goingon85. We watched an episode of The Force: Essex and fell asleep, we’re so cool. Honestly, we aren’t always like that but I kinda love when we are, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had the BEST day and I am so thankful for Matt making every day feel so special, not just my birthday. I love you so much, babe!

Saturday May 18th

Since we’d gone to bed pretty early the night before, we were up early and ready to take on the day. It was POURING rain out, so our plans to go for breakfast in Durham were unfortunately squashed as everything is outdoors, and we didn’t bring coats or appropriate footwear. #packingfail. Instead, we checked out, packed up the car and headed to the Metro Centre for a few hours of shopping. What else are you supposed to do when it’s pouring rain and freezing?! We ran a few errands, shopped in our favourite stores and ate lunch at our favourite place, Wagamama’s. I always get the same thing (either teriyaki chicken donburi or chilli steak ramen) and Matt ALWAYS gets chilli steak ramen, however this time I branched out! I got teriyaki steak soba noodles (without onions) and it was incredible, I think I’ve found a new favourite dish! We spent so long browsing Waterstone’s – book shops are one of my favourite places – and I picked up a few new books, I can’t wait to get stuck in! (I also made an Amazon order for even MORE when we got home as they were way cheaper on Amazon, I think I’m good for a while… LOL)

I love you!
My forever date!

We left the Metro Centre, and headed home via Tesco, our second favourite shop. Costco is obviously number one, we literally LOVE walking around buying crap we absolutely don’t need, haha. We were in and out pretty quick, just picking up groceries to make dinner that evening (and my favourite chips and dip… I couldn’t resist). Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so we were staying there the whole time and when we got home Matt went out for a run whilst I snuggled up with a cup of tea and my new book. Although I was in tears by page three – it’s so sad, but also heartwarming, moving and kinda funny – I’m completely hooked. I also kissed and snuggled Matt extra hard for the rest of the weekend, if you read it you’ll know why! And if you haven’t, I’m linking it here and saying you need to buy it immediately, you won’t regret it. (Well, I hope not. I’m 145 pages in when I’m typing this up on Monday evening, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read up to now).

A little beauty haul… all repurchases of products I use and LOVE every single day!
Buying new books makes me so happy. Also, how cute is our bedding at Matt’s parents?! I love it so much!

Matt got home from his run and we watched the opening ceremony to the Man City match, I really love how exciting the atmosphere feels at big football games! We watched for a little while, then Matt got a post-run bath and I went straight back into reading my book. I really struggled to put it down! Matt ran me a bath (and he put a Lush bath bomb in, what a cutie!) and I soaked with a face mask on… yep, whilst reading my book. I used The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask which is one of my absolute favourites, it always makes my skin feel SO good afterwards. Matt usually joins in on face mask night but he was not feeling it this weekend… party pooper! After I’d had a lovely bath, exfoliated, shaved and washed my hair, I jumped out and got ready for the evening. We made dinner – roasted veggies with ham and mashed potato – and got cosy on the couch to watch a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, we’re seriously obsessed! We went to bed pretty late, and snuggled in for a loooong sleep.

My favourite kind of beer! It’s SO GOOD
Do you put butter on your mashed potatoes? If you don’t you really should!

Sunday May 19th

Okay, so Sunday is where I FAILED with the photo taking. I’m sorry, I was on a roll for the first part of the weekend but then I was a #badblogger. To be honest, I felt a little bit off all day – I was really anxious and a little teary randomly. I’m not sure why as there was no specific reason but Matt was so good to me. He loved me a little harder all day and I thankfully felt so much better by Sunday night. We still had a lovely day, I just felt super anxious. So, what did we get up to? We lay in pretty late, and after a little too long snuggling I finally got out of bed to make Matt breakfast. We slowly started moving to get ready, and booked a hotel for a pretty spontaneous trip to Manchester this coming weekend! We’re road tripping down for a family reunion, and I’m so excited for Sunday’s post… can you guess what it’s about?!

I bought this mug for Matt over a year ago and it still makes me laugh!
My new Adidas sneaks from bae! I am so in love with them 😍

When we finally got ready, we headed to Aldi to grab a few groceries we needed for the beginning of the week until I do a big shop mid-week. I typically grocery shop by myself when Matt’s at work or when I’m on the way home from work, so I always appreciate when we get to run errands together. We went to see my parents and open a few extra birthday presents that had been dropped off (my family are so generous!) and caught up on what we’d all been doing over the weekend. After, we went up to see my godparents – we love being at their house, it’s so beautiful and they’re so lovely! We stayed for a while, and got some puppy cuddles in with Phoebe. Isn’t she just so cute?! We went home via a pit stop at the Co-Op (I’m literally OBSESSED with going into any Co-Op we pass, whether I need something or not. It’s become a running joke between Matt and I, then my godmother said she totally gets it and loves going in too! HA we’re so weird. They just have everything you could ever need) and Matt got on with some work whilst I read some more of my book and started editing photos for this post. We showered, cooked the most amazing steaks for dinner and snuggled in for a night of TV on the couch with some yummy snacks. We of course watched a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, then A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, featuring several football players and Prince William. It was so insightful, and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely advise watching it – and recommending it to any men in your life!

Photo credit to my favourite lil cousin Ellie, I totally forgot to take a photo whilst we were there! #badblogger
These rainbow pencils are AMAZING! The pink ones are rhubarb and custard flavour… what more could you want?!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a look into my life from this past weekend! We had so much fun, and I’m always so grateful for all the quality time Matthew and I get together. Our schedules have been jam packed lately so we’ve had to make the most of our mornings and evenings, and he’s going away the first week of June – I miss him and am counting down to picking him up from the airport already! LOL. We’re enjoying every little moment together more than ever right now, and we’re SO ready for our holiday together at the end of June! How was your weekend, what did you get up to? I’m counting down to this weekend already, I can’t wait for another weekend with my love, and to spend time with family!

-G x

25 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 25

Hi, loves! This coming Friday, on May 17th, I turn 25 and I’m happy to say I’m way more cool about being a year older than I was when I turned 24. I think our twenties are a weird time; from being teenagers we had goals and aspirations for where we thought we’d be at *insert age* and we may not have met the goals we’d laid out for ourselves. I’m actually really okay with that this year, and I feel so blessed to be turning 25 feeling genuinely happier than I have for all of my twenty-something birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my last birthday and Matt and I had so much fun, but I was still so worried about being another year older. Back on my 21st birthday I didn’t even celebrate because I was really struggling with my anxiety and felt so rubbish, yet now at 25 I feel like a whole new person!

Even though I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been right now, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to say that! I have the most amazing boyfriend in the whole world (you might have heard me mention him from time to time…) and my family and friends are just the best I could wish for. I have a job, a car, lots of new goals I’m working towards and my blog is my little baby! If you had told 21 year old Gill that this would be her life at 25, she’d never have believed it. Anxiety has re-shaped my whole life over the past six years, and although it has been terrible in some parts, I have grown so much and I appreciate life in a whole new way.

1. Your mental health must always be your first priority. Only you can do this for yourself, and it’s so important to listen to what you need (and deserve). No matter what the situation is, if you don’t feel up to it you don’t need to do it and you’ll thank yourself later. We live in a generation where it’s not at all uncommon to suffer or know someone suffering with mental health problems, and it’s something we need to stop being ashamed of, and start speaking up about!

2. Being in love is the best feeling in the whole world. I feel beyond blessed to experience such a deep and meaningful love at such a young age, that some people don’t find in one thousand lifetimes. Matt is not just my boyfriend but my rock, my soulmate, my biggest supporter and my favourite person in the whole world. Falling asleep and waking up with the person you love every day is also hands down one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience, it still makes me so happy every single day/night. I’m so lucky to be in love with my best friend, and I never have or will take that for granted.

3. Moderation is key. This applies to most aspects of life really, but especially with food. Since I was super young I’ve had a bit of a weird relationship with food; I either binge on anything and everything I want, or I barely eat. Over the past few years I’ve found a much better balance; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and if I want to eat chocolate, sweets, ice cream (or whatever!) I’ll enjoy that too. I also have the worst sweet tooth, sometimes I literally can’t help myself!!

4. Learning to drive is one of the best thing you’ll ever do. Well, for me it was. I struggled and stressed my way through driving lessons, failing tests I wasn’t ready for and having panic attack after panic attack at even the thought of another lesson. I finally plucked up the courage to change instructors and breezed through my test (third time lucky!) and now, three and a half years on, I truly couldn’t imagine my life without being able to drive, or my cute little Viva!

5. Always buy the scented candle. Seriously. I am a connoisseur of candles, if I do say so myself, at the grand old age of (almost) twenty five, and if I like the candle I’m going to buy the candle. It makes me happy, and life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Which is more the point of this lesson: do what makes you happy. And buy the damn candle.

6. Always be kind, no matter how you feel that day. But do not expect every kind act to be reciprocated, or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Kindness is so so important, and we can all be a bit nicer from time to time! It’s just important to remember that you don’t know what anyone is going through, and everyone has their own problems to deal with. I delved into this topic way more in this post.

7. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve spent almost twenty five years trying to please everyone, and keep everyone around me happy. It’s a fact that you’re not going to gel with everyone you meet in life, and that’s okay. I really want to be less of a people pleaser, and it’s something I’m working on. I joked to Matt the other day that sometimes I feel like Amy Santiago with the Captain in Brooklyn 99 – desperate to be liked, lol!

8. Always pay yourself first out of your wages. Setting up a direct debit into my savings account has totally changed how I save money; you can’t miss money you didn’t ever see! Every month the day after I get paid, X amount goes straight into my savings account and is there for emergencies only. I have separate savings accounts for various things, but that *just incase* money is so important, and gives me peace of mind.

9. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. This is a hard lesson; to share and to learn, and it’s something I still struggle with now. I want to believe that everyone’s nice and life is sunshine and rainbows but I know that’s not true. If someone talks badly of you when you’re not around, makes you feel/look stupid in front of others or will happily throw you under the bus for their own gain then they’re not worth it.

10. Travelling feeds the soul. I’m not one for backpacking round Australia for three months – props to you, if you are – but I love to explore new places, and Matt is (obviously) my favorite travel partner. Whether it’s city breaks, day trips or week-long jaunts to a hot climate, I absolutely love to travel and I can’t wait to tick more and more places off our bucket list. We got to Croatia in five and a half weeks and I’m SO ready for it!

11. Never apologise for being curious. Asking questions is the way we learn, and it’s not something to be looked down on for. Ever. During my second week at my job back when I was 19 years old and super shy, I innocently asked the person teaching me why she did a few things so I could get a better understanding. She scoffed that I ask too many questions, laughed about me with our other colleagues, and made me feel so uncomfortable for being genuinely curious and wanting to learn. Her reaction sticks with me to this day, and I try to be as helpful as possible when teaching others as a result.

12. There’s a Disney quote for every occasion. There really is! My favourite is always going to be from the man himself: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

13. Having the confidence to walk into the unknown is a beautiful thing. Like starting this blog. I had wanted to create a blog for most of my adult life, as an avid reader/follower of so many, yet I lacked the confidence to do so. I wrote myself off as being not good enough, yet I love writing my blog more and more as the months go on. I’m so thankful for my platform, and even though it is just a hobby for me right now, I take it so seriously.

14. The quality of your social circle is much more important than the quantity. Treasure the people that always have your back and fill you with joy, love and happiness, they’re the good eggs! As you get older I think it’s so difficult to meet new people and make friends, that’s something that shocked me a little about getting older. I’ve said this thousands of times, but I know I’m so lucky that Matt is my boyfriend and my best friend, and I thank my lucky stars for that every single day. Quality over quantity, always!

15. Being open with your emotions does not make you weak. I’ve been told several times that I’m ‘too’ emotional. It’s true that I cry a lot (whether I’m happy or sad, ha!), I often lead with my heart and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. Being emotional means I’m very empathetic to others’ situations however, and that is not a bad quality to have!

16. Learning to cook is life changing. Matt and I flipping LOVE cooking. We love to try new recipes and methods, create our own meals and experiment with different ingredients and flavours. I feel sad I didn’t have an interest in cooking from a younger age and I wish I’d developed it sooner, but I’m so happy it’s something Matt and I are able to learn about together! I delved into how and why we meal plan in this post, and I’m excited to share some of our favourite recipes on the blog in the coming months.

17. Being kind to the planet is so important. I’m ashamed to admit that this is something I’ve only truly thought about over the past two or three years, but I’m proud of myself for making changes to my everyday life and doing what I can to make a difference. I wrote a post about small changes we can make in our everyday lives to live more sustainably here if you’d like to check that out for a little inspiration. I definitely want to write more about this topic on my blog!

18. Mums are always right. If I had have told my 14 year old self this I would have literally laughed in my own face, but it’s true. My mum and Matt’s mum (she’s my second mum, I’m so lucky!!) always know what to do or say no matter what the situation is, and they are strong, amazing women that I’m so lucky to look up to.

19. There’s no place like home. *clicks glittery red heels together* ha! For real, Matt and I are homebodies in every sense of the word. We love cosy nights at home; lighting our candles, cooking a lovely dinner and snuggling up to watch a show. (I’m so excited to do this in our own home, hopefully next year!) We also love our hometown more than anything – Newcastle is honestly the greatest place on earth to us. From where we live, we’re ten minutes away from the city centre in one direction, the beach another, and the countryside in another!

20. Friendships change and that’s okay. Sometimes friendships grow into a life-long bond, sometimes they mould into a weird new territory and sometimes they fizzle out all together. Take the good with the bad and be sure to appreciate the good memories you make as they will last way beyond any empty friendships. You learn so many lessons from your friendships, and I wish I knew this when I was a teenager.

21. Comparing your life to somebody else’s will never bring you joy. You were made to be you; a unique individual with their own thoughts, looks, style, opinions etc and that is a wonderful thing. Don’t feel envious of other people’s lives or circumstances, and put that focus back into yourself. Stay in your own lane and you’ll be so much happier for it.

22. You’ll turn into a grandma sooner than you think. Like I said above, Matt and I are homebodies. We’re those people that think we want to go out for date night, but when the day comes we’d rather stay in and cook a meal or grab a takeaway. We also would rather get an early night in so we can head out early in the morning for breakfast and ‘a wander’ (potentially around a garden centre…). We buy clothes thinking about the purpose and/or longevity. If we’re in the house you can pretty much guarantee I have a blanket draped over me. We’re literally turning into our grandparents more and more as the days roll on and we’re okay with that, just someone please stop me if you see me going in for a blue rinse!

23. Standing up for what you believe can be hard, but always worth it. I hate confrontation. I hate disagreements. I hate arguments. BUT there is always a way to get your point across in a level-headed, relaxed way, and it doesn’t need to cause uproar. Being respectful is the main thing; it’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, stand up for your beliefs or voice your thoughts, and it’s something I really need to do more often.

24. Less truly is more. After the rise of minimalism, sustainability and Marie Kondo, we all felt a bit embarrassed about the amount of crap we’d accumulated, right? Since having several clear outs – tbh, Matt and I really need another – I’m very happy living with less and truly loving what I own. I think about this with everything I buy, and it means I’m way more clever about what is worth the purchase. Does *insert item* spark joy? Will I get use out of *insert item*? Material items will not bring you happiness, no matter how hard you try to make them.

25. Making ‘me time’ is so important. There’s so much more to self care than just the beauty aspect, but I swear treating yourself to pamper evening at least once per week will make your whole life feel different. Go all out with a face mask, hair mask, full body scrub and a Lush bath bomb. Book yourself in for regular salon appointments to keep your hair looking pretty, and indulge in getting your nails done now and then. When you look good you feel good, and I really appreciate ‘me time’.

Thank you so much for reading, it truly means the world to me! I’m taking a little of my own advice from this post, and for the first time on my blog, there won’t be a new post up on Sunday. I’m SO SAD saying that, but I want to enjoy my birthday weekend with Matt and not have to worry about editing, scheduling or keeping up with my new post, I hope you understand! Can you relate with any of the lessons I mentioned in this post? What’s the most important things you’ve learned so far in life? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back on Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend!

-G x

My May Goals

Happy first day of May, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

As this post goes live, we will be on our way to enjoy a staycation at one of our favourite hotels, Hotel du Vin at Newcastle Quayside. It’s a birthday treat for Matthew as he turns 25 tomorrow, and we’re making the most of it! We’re planning on doing very little; maybe a chilled walk along the Quayside, a bubble bath, dinner, drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing with yours truly. What more could he want, eh?!

Packing is my thing and I love reading packing related blog posts or watching ‘pack with me’ videos on YouTube, some of these incredible people fit enough clothes for three weeks in a carry on suitcase! Mind = blown. I am borderline obsessed with the whole process and find it so exciting, as soon as we have a trip booked I find myself beginning to plan my outfits, search through my stash of travel sized minis and find the Insta-worthy hotspots usually reserved for the locals. As much as I enjoy that kind of packing, there’s something real nice about heading for a staycation, less than thirty minutes from home. You already know the best places to go! Driving means no luggage restrictions! Full sized beauty products! The ability to pop home if you forget your favourite shoes… Also, it means I don’t have to hide Matt’s birthday presents as I can easily sneak them in the boot.

Really, the chances of me forgetting something on a staycation trip are pretty slim, as I tend to go with the ‘if you might need it, take it’ method of packing when there’s no weight restriction. Slippers? Our favourite blanket? Ski goggles? You name it, I’ve probably packed it. I feel I’m being a tad hard on myself as I’ve definitely honed it down from previous trips, but I’m still not the most minimalistic or streamlined packer, and for a one or two night trip close to home, I’m okay with that. Also, the best thing about travelling anywhere with your boyfriend? He takes literally the essentials. (By ‘he’ I mean me, because of course I end up packing for him HAHA). I’m sure all girls have read between the lines here and know where I’m going with this… extra space for our stuff, YAY!

*I’ve linked all of the items you can still purchase to save you having to find them!*

The Beauty Bits

My favourite part of packing is always my skincare, makeup and toiletries. As I mentioned above, I do love a travel sized mini, but there is something a little bit special about being able to take your old faithfuls without having to find a mini or decant them. Although I often take full sized beauty products on staycation trips, or really anywhere we travel to by car, I tend to take less products overall, and just take the things I actually need. Sort of. I definitely minimize my skincare and makeup routine, and don’t take all of the extra ‘just incase’ bits I usually keep in my skincare stash. I’m so happy with my daily skincare routine so I’m definitely taking all my must-haves for morning and night, even though it may seem like a lot to some. I talked about my current skincare routine in this post so please check that out if you’d like to know my thoughts on the products pictured, in more detail!

I also try to pack as little as possible in the category of ‘body care’ (I feel like there needs to be an actual name for this stuff?!) because A) it’s just a one night trip and I won’t be doing a full on pamper sesh and B) Hotel du Vin have Ren products in all of their rooms anyway, which is an amazing cruelty free brand that I love. Matt and I always share whichever shampoo and conditioner I pack, and we’ll use one of our own mini Molton Brown shower gels, then I need my shaving products, moisturiser and hair products to style my hair before I blow dry it. We very rarely use the mini toiletries provided in the room when we’re there as I (not so) secretly love to take them for future trips that may not provide them. That’s why they’re there, right?!

If this is your first time reading my blog you may not know that my aim for 2019 is to go fully cruelty free on my beauty products. I’m already there on my everyday skincare and makeup items, but body care is proving a little more tricky – I’m yet to find a razor that works as well as my beloved Gillette Swirl, and any other shaving gel apart from Gillette leaves my skin dry and/or irritated. I wanted so badly to love the Lush D’Fluff as it smelled glorious, but it really wasn’t right for my skin, and never gave me a close enough shave. My beloved Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a must-have, I use this almost every day and I love it; it reminds me of so many wonderful memories.

Skincare: Glossier Milky Oil / Boots Botanics Micellar Water / Cotton Rounds / Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser / Pixi Glow Tonic / The Body Shop Serum-in-Oil / The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask / Neals’ Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser / Glossier Balm Dot Com / Facetheory Eye Cream / Facetheory SuperGel Moisturiser

Makeup: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer / Colourpop X Zoella Eyeshadow Palette / Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette / Too Faced Better Than Sex & Diamonds Mascara / It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte in Fair / Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Concealer in 2 / Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder / Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love / Colourpop Highlighter in Flexitarian / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in The Duchess / NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu / Minimal amount of makeup brushes & my beauty blender

Hair & Body Care: Ren Oat & Bay Shampoo (mini) / Love Beauty & Planet Magic Masque / Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser / Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo / Tangle Teezer Brush / Straighteners / Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt / Dove Deodorant / Lush Sleepy Moisturiser / Gillette Shaving Gel (mini) / Gillette Swirl Razor / Molton Brown Shower Gel (mini) / Contact Lenses / Medication

Clothing & Accessories

I love planning my outfits in general, and I find this the easiest category to pack for, even though I do like to have some kind of option, just in case. I’ll use the same bag both day and night – my Kate Spade crossbody is my go-to – and my trusty Vans will go with any day time outfit. I tend to be pretty hard on just taking one evening outfit for an overnight stay, as I know exactly what we’ll be doing – in this case, dinner at The Botanist and drinks on Grey St – but packing for the next day is a little trickier. We know our morning consists of Matt opening his presents (I’m so excited for that!) and us going for breakfast, but then we have the whole day to explore our favourite city and spend time with family, which is what birthdays are for.

I keep it minimal with my jewellery day-to-day, and I’ll be wearing my good ol’ faithfuls. My Missoma initial G necklace and mis-matched star and moon studs, my Pandora bracelet and various rings, and the rest of my earrings are silver, purchased from various stores. I very rarely change up my earrings as I love how they look, although it’s something I really want be more adventurous with this Spring/Summer! I’m also determined to try hoop earrings and to love them, other girls look SO good wearing hoops.

The weather is still very odd right now up North as we’re finally moving into Spring. Some days it’s warm, sunny and bright, and others it’s dark, rainy and freezing cold. This is my justification for taking two day outfit options, if you hadn’t already guessed what was coming. Also, we don’t take pyjamas as we never sleep in them, and we know from experience that Hotel du Vin robes are the bomb. I love to wear my hotel robe whilst I get ready for the evening and the following morning, so other than my two three outfits, there’s nothing else I need here! Except for a few spare pairs of pants and an extra bralette that I know I won’t wear. I can’t help it, it’s the overpacker in me. (Side note: VS thongs are the only underwear I buy, but I’m always looking for new options, and more sustainable brands would be great – if you have any tried and trusted recommendations please let me know in the comments!)

Evening: Underwear / Zara Animal Print Skirt / Black Camisole (similar) / Heeled Teal Boots / Kate Spade Crossbody
(YAY for ‘no bra’ outfits! #freethenipple)

Day: Underwear & Bra / Black Leather Jacket / Scarf / Black Old Skool Vans / Kate Spade Crossbody
Option 1 – Colourblock Jumper / Topshop Black Jamie Jeans
Option 2 – Black V Neck T-Shirt / Topshop Blue Jamie Jeans

The Bits I Actually Need (And Definitely Do Not Need But Will Take Anyway)

Like I said, I’m not perfect when it comes to packing (or anything, ha) and I knowingly pack more than I need. I always make sure to pack our phone chargers and also squeeze in snacks for the room because we love to have our home comforts for the evening. We’ve got our favourite sweets to snack on, and we’ll also have a box of our favourite donuts thanks to the amazing guys at Proven Goods Co. Matt won’t know this until we get there, and I’m so excited to surprise him! The only thing better than birthday cake is birthday donuts, right?! We always make sure to take a few bottles of water and cans of Diet Coke to stick in the fridge in the room, because we’re cheap and can’t justify paying the mini bar prices LOL. For special staycation trips like this one, we like to take a bottle of champagne, because that’s half the fun of the amazing roll top bath, right?! Also, it’s my love’s birthday, and if he wants champagne then that’s what he’ll get!

We’ll be throwing an extra coat in the car and I’ve already packed an umbrella ‘just incase’ but with good reason; in Newcastle it’s not uncommon to experience every weather possible in the space of 24 hours! Ironically, I’ll definitely be taking my sunglasses as the optimist in me will be praying for a sunny day so we can take a nice morning walk along the Quayside; it’s one of our favourite places in Newcastle and it’s just so beautiful.

We’d never take our iPads or laptops on an overnight trip like this as we absolutely will not need them, so there’s no need to worry about fitting those in to our luggage. I would normally take a book with me, but I know I’ll have no time to read so I wouldn’t bother lugging it around. (Even though this makes me a little sad as I’m obsessed with my current book, Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto, it’s the eighth book I’ve read so far this year and I hate putting it down!) I do always throw a tote bag into our luggage no matter where we’re going as they take up no space and come in so handy for tons of reasons. I mean, how else would I take all the miniature Ren toiletries home? I have to add, Poo Pourri comes in so handy on trips, I bought it originally as a joke when Matt and I went on our first weekend away together, but it’s actually a great idea (and still funny). Also, I think it’s a brilliant ‘gag gift’ for someone who’d laugh about it! Now, if only I could get him to use it at home…

I’m SO excited to relax and spoil my favourite person in the world, he deserves it so much. I hope you liked having a peek inside my suitcase, and if you haven’t already, you can check out my previous packing-related posts here and here. They’re the kind of posts you can come back to at any point for a little extra inspiration or motivation to pack! I’ll definitely be writing an updated What’s In My Carry On post when we go on our Summer holiday to Croatia later in the year, and we have a few city breaks in the pipeline too, I’m so excited to share more travel-related content.

What are your must-have items to pack for an overnight stay? Are you way more minimalist than me? I bet you are. Also, HOW do you do it? Please leave me all the tips and tricks in the comments, it would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much for reading!

-G x