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


Weekend In My Life: Valentine’s, Exploring Northumberland & The Best Donuts

Hey, loves!

I haven’t wrote a Weekend In My Life post since December, I’m so happy to be back with another! Matt and I had such a great Valentine’s weekend, and I love to be able to 1) share snippets of my life with you, and 2) to look back on these posts! Yep, I sneak back to read my own blog posts from time to time. You may have noticed I’ve stopped rounding up our weeks/weekends at the beginning of each post, which was a decicision I made as I feel like we’re always up to the same things, and how many ways can I possibly phrase ‘cosy night in’ or ‘breakfast date’ LOL!? (Also, I’m sure 99% of people couldn’t care less!) I hope you enjoy this post, I’ll definitely be sharing more weekends in our life over the coming months as we have tons of fun plans for the Summer!

Thursday, 14th February

I usually begin these posts from Friday, but as this was Valentine’s Day I wanted to include it. We woke up slightly earlier than usual to exchange gifts and spend a little longer snuggled up (whilst I was pretending I didn’t have to go to work). As I mentioned in this post, we don’t really exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we both waivered our own rule this year! Matt was SO sweet and bought me cute presents he really didn’t need to. My favourite was a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick (!!) in the shade The Duchess, which is a shade I’ve had my eye on for so long. It was, as the name would suggest, made for Kate Middleton and it’s the most beautiful rosy nude, I’ve wore it non-stop since I opened it LOL! I bought Matt a scratch map (just for fun as he’s been to so many amazing places; and it’s something he can put in his man cave when we buy our house in the next year!) and a CrockPot, which was something we’d been thinking about buying. Of course I filled a gift bag with sweets and chocolates, which is just part of the fun of Valentine’s Day! We had such a cute morning and it was the perfect way to start the day.

Seriously… fit for a princess!

After we exchanged gifts I unfortunately had to get ready and head to work, and I swear I was wishing the hours away before I even got there. Thankfully my day went by pretty quickly, although I thought it was Friday all day! One of the managers bought us girls in the office donuts which was so sweet of him. I think Valentine’s is so special because it’s about sharing and spreading love, and Heaven knows the world needs a little more love!

When 5pm rolled around I headed home, listening to Ariana Grande’s new album of course. (I love it! I think NASA is my fave song, although I can’t relate as I never want to be apart from Matt hahaha). Matt got home just after me, by then I had showered, cosied up in my dressing gown and carried out my skincare routine. We lit candles, turned on all of our cosy lamps and started to prepare dinner. We made one of our favourite dinners; steak, potatoes, tenderstem brocolli and green beans (super simple but SO good) and then set up a mini fondue/ice cream bar for dessert later in the night. We spent the evening watching our new favourite show, Ambulance: Australia – nothing says romance like paramedics attending poorly patients – and had the best cosy, chilled night in. We snuggled in for a pretty early night, and we fell asleep feeling so happy and grateful for our little life. I love him so much and I literally feel so thankful as we cuddle in to sleep every night!

Friday, 15th February

As it always seems to happen during the week, the morning rolled round way too quickly and it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Friday’s are so bittersweet; it’s almost the weekend, we usually have a fun lunch at work BUT there’s still a whole eight hours between me and the weekend. Matt was off work again (he’s so lucky!) so he got to spend the whole day relaxing and playing on the PlayStation. My day was super long for a Friday but I did go grocery shopping for the weekend over my lunch break which made me feel a little productive.

At 5pm I headed home for a cosy night in with Matt before a busy weekend together. He had ran a bubble bath for me coming home – the below picture is exactly what I walked into, he’s so cute – so after a relaxing soak I got into my pj’s and we spent our evening relaxing. Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so it was just us at home. We had some of our favourite flatbread pizzas for a super easy dinner and snuggled in to watch Life Of The Party (it was so funny, we LOVE Melissa McCarthy). It was the perfect way to start our weekend! These kind of nights are my favourite because we get to totally switch off from everything, and have so much fun in our little bubble.

the sky was so beautiful when I got home from work! I LOVE that it’s light in the evenings for a little longer now

Saturday, 16th February

We had gone to bed pretty early the night before, so were feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day when our alarm went off. I did a super quick yoga practice for twenty minutes (this was the video I followed, Adrienne is the best!) and felt so good for fitting it into my day. We already had plans to head to one of our favourite breakfast places called Post Box in Ponteland. Matt had a bath which meant I could spend a little longer on my makeup, and sneak in catching up on some of my YouTube subs! I quickly prepped our dinner for later in the evening, and threw everything in the CrockPot. We were super excited to be making use of Matt’s gift (maybe it was for me too) HAHA.

before we added the chicken, seasoning and sauce!

By the time we left home it was around 11.30am so our breakfast was more like brunch, but as always it was delicious. It’s such a small cafe and it’s usually quite difficult to get a table but we lucked out and got one right away. Matt had a full English, and I got a veggie breakfast (but swapped out the mushrooms for avocado). I wish all Saturday’s consisted of breakfast dates! Matt works lots of Saturday’s so when we have the opportunity to go for one, we take it! After, we jumped back in the car to head to Bolam Lake, which is a beautiful country park that we’ve been meaning to go to for so long. There’s a gorgeous lake (obviously) in the middle, and the walk was beautiful. It was pretty cold as we were further North but typically of me, I didn’t wear the right clothing and was FREEZING. We spent a little time walking around, working off our breakfasts, then we decided to go on a little inpromptu tour of Northumberland! We went up towards Jedburgh and had so much fun playing tourists in our own area, it’s literally one of our favourite things to do. We’re planning to go up to the Scottish borders a few times in the next few months, hopefully starting when it’s a little warmer!

After our little road trip around the countryside, we headed back to the other side of town and popped into the Metro Centre (to buy bath bombs LOL) and then to Costco. We LOVE Costco, there is just so much to look at (and buy) so we spent about an hour there. There were tons of good free samples which is obviously the best part about it, and I got the cutest pink blanket for our bed! I already have two different colours, but we sleep with these blankets most nights because sleeping under a quilt just gets so dang hot. I’m pretty sure it’s because Matt is like a human radiator but every night we have to open the window, even in the Winter! Please tell me it’s not just us?!

bae

On the way home from Costco we popped in to see Matt’s lovely grandma and drop in some bottled water for her. I love going to see her, she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and we always have such a giggle when we’re there. We stayed for around an hour, then headed home to see if 1) the house was still standing (spoiler: it was!) and 2) if our food was edible. Turns out this CrockPot malarkey is so easy, our food was so good we literally didn’t want to stop eating. I can’t wait to try out more recipes! We left it in for around six and a half hours, then served it with spicy rice and salad and it was SO good, and sorry I didn’t get a photograph we were so hungry! I totally made up the recipe, but here’s a quick list of the ingredients if you’d like to try it:

-6 x stalks of celery
-(approx) 10 x cherry tomatoes
-2 x peppers
-1 x onion

-(approx) 500g chicken strips (browned before adding)
-Spanish chicken sauce

-salt, pepper, paprika & Shwarz Season All for flavour!
-Tilda Firecracker rice and salad to serve

After dinner I had a quick shower and washed/dried my hair whilst Matt cleaned up (he’s the best) and we got settled for the evening to watch TV. We had a few glasses of prosecco and I caught up on the episodes of Coronation Street I missed from Friday, HAHA I’m so old. After, Matt got to choose what we watched so he picked a Bear Grylls show we hadn’t seen with Gareth Southgate. I randomly had a really bad headache and felt so unwell so we didn’t finish the show and headed to bed. I never feel poorly out of the blue like that but since having the flu a few weeks ago I seem to have never got properly better!

Sunday 17th February

We woke up on Sunday morning early as we wanted to be out of the house and into Newcastle city centre as early as possible. We got ready quickly, and below is a little snippet of the makeup I used for you! This is my go-to daily makeup, I’m really loving Charlotte Tilbury products right now, and I’m getting tons of use out of my favourites. I really don’t feel the need to buy new makeup just for the fun of it anymore, but these past few weeks I’ve had to re-purchase a few items that ran out! I’ve put myself on a ‘no spend’ for beauty products (unless anything runs out) until my birthday, so let’s see how that goes HAHA.

we were so excited to try this new Fanta but we really weren’t big fans HAHA

We headed to one of our favourite weekend spots, the Quayside market. We love it because there are so many small businesses there, and everyone is so lovely and friendly. There’s also always lots of cute doggos, hehe. It was a beautiful day, although the wind was super cold I just really want it to be Spring! We had a very unhealthy breakfast; Matt got a sausage sandwich from Geordie Bangers (his favourite stall LOL) and I grabbed a grilled cheese from Meltdown. I’m sorry but we were so hungry I didn’t even get photos! We also shared a Maltesers brownie that was amazing, and I did get a photo of that before we ate it.

I also picked up a beautiful candle that had been upcycled from an old champagne bottle, it was quite pricey at £20 but I think supporting small local businesses is so important, and it looks/smells so good! Matt and I love this champagne, and the bright label is so fun to spruce up our bedroom too. I bought it from the Upcycle Jewellery Company, if you’d like to take a look at their products. We spent around an hour wandering and taking in the view – the Quayside is one of our favourite places in the North East – then stopped by Hoult’s Yard to visit Proven Goods Co. Sundays are cheat days. I’ve talked about this company so much on my blog, but we really do love them and they deserve recognition! Their customer service is fantastic and their donuts are even better, what’s not to love?! Matt got a Biscoff (which is also vegan-friendly) and I got a vanilla custard, although I was a little sad there were no Homer’s left, they’re my faves.

When we got home from town, Matt quickly got sorted to go and watch a local football team play with his dad. He was gone around two hours, and I spent the time relaxing at home with his lovely mam. We caught up on our weekends as they had just got back from their trip down South, and we talked literally the whole time they were gone HAHA.

The boys got home and we spent the rest of the afternoon with Matt’s parents, watching the football and chatting. Oh, and of course eating our donuts! Matt and I were super tired so we literally lay on the sofa snuggled up for about an hour, I so could have done with a nap! After I showered and got into my pj’s (the best time of day, right?!) we made dinner which was a super easy meatball pasta with salad. I’m all about easy, cosy recipes on a Sunday evening! We snuggled in after dinner to watch a few more episodes of Ambulance: Australia, we literally NEED to go to Australia at some point in our lives! I love all of the staff featured in this show, they’re so sweet. We went to bed around 10.30pm which is actually pretty late for us HAHA, but we were both at work the next day and needed our beauty sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! This was one of my favourite weekends in a long time, we had SO much fun and I’m forever grateful for all of the time we get to spend together. What did you get up to this past weekend?

-G x