What’s What! I Almost Quit Blogging…

Hey, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 there’s a lot to catch you guys up on, so I’m just going to jump right into it…

We celebrated Matt’s sweet grandma’s 80th birthday this weekend!

Where I’ve been:
Okay so I’ve only missed two upload dates, but behind the scenes I’ve been very close to quitting blogging. I’m not even sure why but I had a real crisis of confidence that spilled over into my blog and I just felt like the content I was creating wasn’t worth uploading. I figured people were getting bored of what I was writing and I doubted myself a ton. I wrote a blog post essentially saying goodbye to my blog and thank you to everyone who’s read here over the past two years, but when it came to Tuesday (the day I was going to upload it) I just couldn’t. I deleted the draft and in that moment I knew I wanted to continue. I love my blog and although I don’t think it’s anything amazing I am truly so proud of it. I don’t ever want to lose sight of that!

I started this blog two years ago, I was super shy, introverted and looking for a creative outlet. I found it! My happy little corner of the internet. But, like so many of us do I started playing the comparison game and feeling a little bit ‘meh’ about everything. Thankfully I picked myself up, and I’ve got a bunch of blog posts in the works. I really want to create blog posts that I love to write, and you guys enjoy reading. I feel a little like I’ve ‘lost’ myself recently, so I’m really hoping this will help me to ‘find’ myself again. If you’re still sticking around here with me, I’m so grateful for that!

What Content I’m Planning:
I really love sharing the ‘real life’ stuff with you because that’s what I like to read from other people. I love skincare, slow fashion, makeup, beauty products, cooking, exploring the North East with my boyfriend, self care, yoga and just writing like I’m talking to a friend. You might have already noticed but I’m changing how my blog looks too, www.gillianfinn.com is getting a mini makeover 🙂 

What new habit I’m trying to create:
Despite the fact I make Matt’s breakfast every morning, I got into a really bad routine of skipping breakfast and snacking on junk food until lunch time during the work week. The past month or so I’ve been trying to eat things like overnight oats, porridge, cereal or yogurt with granola and berries each day, just simple and super quick options! It has made SUCH a difference. I don’t snack anywhere near as much as I used to, and I feel like I have tons more energy through the day. I also started drinking Actimel shots each morning and I love them! Matt is debating if he should get on board with this habit, and I really think he should. These Actimel shots support normal function of the immune system, and contain vitamins D and B6. I’ve had random health issues (hopefully nothing serious, I’m waiting for tests!) for a while that have got worse the past couple months, and I’m really hoping even small changes to look after myself will make a huge difference.  

What I’m reading:
I just finished Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson last week and I highly recommend, it’s so funny! There were a few raunchy (…? does anyone use that word?) parts so just be warned if that’s not your thing! Yesterday I just finished reading The Spare Bedroom by Elizabeth Neep and I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s laugh out loud funny, heartbreaking, made me cry like three times and involves a once very loved up couple being reunited, with a storyline you’d not expect. This is one of the best books I’ve read recently, I’d love to watch a movie of this! I’m starting a new book this morning but I have SO MANY books on my ‘to read’ list I don’t actually know what I’m going to pick. I am going to be sharing a bunch of these with you in a couple weeks time so keep an eye out, alllll the book recommendations are coming your way!

What I’m buying:
I got new glasses! I mean, it’s not exactly the most fun purchase ever but there’s always something exciting about it as you only get new glasses every few years. And, they cost me a small large fortune so I’m showing them off! LOL! I knew my prescription needed updating as I couldn’t see as well anymore (turns out it had actually changed MUCH more than I expected!) so I was very grateful my opticians had opened back up. I picked up my new glasses this week and I’m so excited about them, I really love the shape of the frames and I can see sooo much better. My new contacts just arrived too… I swear everything looks like you just changed the settings on YouTube from 360p to 1080p…. 

What I’m looking forward to:
This weekend! Matt and I don’t really have any plans except to eat pastries, explore the countryside and visit with my godparents. Honestly, the weekends we don’t have too many plans always turn out to be some of our favourite! We had a great time last weekend celebrating Matt’s grandma turning 80, but I was poorly from thurssay night through to Monday morning so kinda felt like I missed out on those #weekendvibes. Today though, I’m feeling GREAT! I’m also going to be sharing a Weekend In My Life with you on Monday 🙂 I love taking you along on our weekends! 

What I’m obsessing over:
I am sooo happy with the immediate results I see every time I use the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal mask from Ren, it is just incredible. I have combination skin that is super sensitive so I have to be careful with what I use on my skin. These days I’m much more careful of which brands/ingredients I purchase, and Ren is always a winner for me. This mask literally leaves my skin soft as a baby’s butt! As my skin type is combination I deal with both dry and oily patches, and this somehow helps to even that out. My dry patches are non-existent the next morning, and my skin is way less oily under makeup. This is a very gentle exfoliator – those scrubby cleansers with ‘exfoliating beads’ etc are NOT good, it makes my face hurt at just the thought – but it really leaves beautiful fresh skin. I sometimes follow up with The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask (why do they give face mask such LONG names?) and those together are my ultimate pamper night duo! 

What I’m watching:
I finally watched season two of Selling Sunset and thought it was better than the first. I just love crappy ‘reality’ TV, and their makeup/hair/outfits are a world away from anything I ever wear, but are just to die for! Crishelle is my favourite. I just started Sweet Magnolias so I’m excited to see what I think about that 🙂 Matt and I are boring AF and are watching… The Office. We like what we like, guys! But… tonight we are finally watching Hamilton on Disney+! I’m giddy with excitement! We have been meaning to watch it every evening since it came out but y’know… #lifegotintheway. I’m soooo excited. We have popcorn, we have European Haribo (they get all the best flavours) and we are going to have the BEST movie night!

Phew! What a post. So, to summarize… I nearly left blogging for good, my immune system needs all the help it can get and I’m hoping yogurt drinks will cure it, and I’m dreaming of a life being a realtor in LA. LOL! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, see you Monday! I pinky promise 😉 

-G x

Day In My Life: WFH | UK Lockdown

Happy Easter Sunday, my loves! I hope you’re happily eating all of the Easter chocolate, and still doing well throughout this crazy time in the world. How are you doing? I’ve had a pretty good week overall and I’m feeling really grateful for everything I have right now. Whilst I’m very hopeful that this will all be over soon I also want to be realistic, and I’m trying to get used to our ‘new normal’ as much as possible.

I was going to write up a week in my life for this past week but honestly a couple of days in it was SO repetitive and I really just didn’t want to bore you all! I really miss writing week/weekend in my life posts and I’m really going to make a conscious effort to record weekends especially at least once per month. Round ups of what people have been up to are some of my favourite posts to read, when I post them they always get high views (thank you!) and I also love to read them back a while later. Today I’m sharing my new ‘typical’ day in my life with you, and I already know this is going to be SO crazy to look back on in a few months’ time!

On this particular day I woke up pretty late at 7.45am. Matt is a key worker – he’s a Store Manager – so he’s been in work most days, and has been starting at 7am so I’ve been getting up with him around 6am. He wasn’t starting until later so we got to sleep in which was so nice because I was awake for at least two hours during the night. I struggle with insomnia and it seems to be getting worse not better… I’ve no idea why it happens but I’m WIDE awake and unable to sleep for what feels like forever! The mornings I’ve been getting up earlier I’ve either spent an hour reading my Kindle, practicing yoga or just catching up on YouTube. I was grateful to sleep in but I kinda missed that time today. After a quick cuddle with Matt I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. This Effaclar Hydrating Cleansing Cream from La Roche Posay is my favourite cleanser for the mornings; it’s so gentle, removes my skincare products from the night before and does not irritate my skin at all. I’ve took my skincare routine ‘back to basics’ for the most part after another really bad breakout and I’m seeing such a difference already. I’m currently waiting for my prescription skincare to arrive from Dermatica but I can’t wait to share my minimalistic skincare routine with you all next month!

Matt stayed in bed and chatted to me whilst I got ready at my vanity table which was SO fun. I got fully ready; I straightened the ends of my hair that had got a little kinked from being tied back when I slept – I cut two inches off my hair last week and dyed it! #quarantinelife eh? I actually think I did a pretty good job *toot toot* then my mum evened up a little at the back. I never thought I’d be giving myself DIY haircuts but I also never thought we’d be in the middle of a pandemic, sooo… I did my makeup which makes SUCH a difference to how my day goes. I feel one hundred times better on the days I’ve made somewhat of an effort, and I really love taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup each morning. I highly recommend getting yourself a little more put together if you’re struggling spending all day in the house. As you can see I’m not wearing ‘real’ clothes, but honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting around in jeans. I love jeans but I wear them to go outside then the second I get home I put sweats or pj pants on anyway! My Disneyland sweatshirt just makes my heart happy, I live in my Ugg slippers every day anyway and these sweat pants from Abercrombie are the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn. My exact ones are sold out right now but all of their sweats are amazing.

Once I was ready it was time for my commute… to the dining room. AKA my Unofficial Home Office! So for the most part I really enjoy working from home and I am so beyond grateful to still have my job and be getting paid. I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office but really I miss commuting to work SO. MUCH. Never again will I complain about it! I miss getting into my cute car. I miss playing music or a podcast a little too loud. I miss blasting the heat (because I’m always cold). I miss actually physically driving. I’ve only driven once in the past two and a half weeks and I can’t wait until I can drive all the time again! I turned on my computer (I have two monitors and a laptop from my job, but I spend probably 90% of my work day sitting at the table using the monitors. I don’t love working on the laptop as much because the screen is so much smaller and I feel less productive) and wrote out my to-do list for the day. I love a to-do list and it makes me feel so much more motivated. I also have been time-blocking my work days which I’ll talk about in a blog post soon.

Whilst my computer was turning on and everything was opening up (as we’re all working remotely it takes a good five minutes) I made Matt’s breakfast and made myself a cup of tea. I haven’t been fixing myself breakfast most days until around 11am, but Matt and I have both developed a weird obsession with bagels over the past few weeks… we can’t stop eating them! Kissing him goodbye is so sad right now, I never ever thought I’d be worried about him working in a supermarket. Once he’d left I got started with work – around 9am – I made another cup of tea and my morning went SO quickly.

A super sweet Easter card arrived from Matt’s parents, we miss them SO much and can’t wait to spend time with them again when all of this is over! My morning went so quickly I couldn’t believe it was already time for my meeting of the day; we held our office meeting via Microsoft Teams which is always a fun part of the week. I’ve really been focused in the mornings without any noise or distraction, then in the afternoon I tend to bring down my MacBook and play Netflix or Disney+ in the background. I love that I can do that whilst working, it’s definitely a huge perk of working from home! Before I knew it it was almost 3pm and because of our office meeting I’d forgotten to eat breakfast, so I was HUNGRY.

I’ve really been trying to take my lunch break away from my desk the dining table and I was good at it this day. Some days, not so much. Ha! I cleaned up the kitchen, wiped down the counters and cleaned the hob before prepping a really quick and easy lunch. I had avocado on a bagel (told you we’re obsessed) with two boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes. I really don’t like poached eggs very much but I’ve probably eaten boiled eggs more often in the past three weeks than I have in my entire life. They’re just so quick to make, can be paired with pretty much anything and really filling!

I took my lunch upstairs and got cosy on our bed with my Kindle. I love reading so much and really actively try to make time for it each day. Again, some days I’m better at this than others but I notice I feel so much better when I’ve took the time to read a little. If you’re looking for some book recommendations I wrote this post last Sunday! Especially right now I’m trying to limit my time on social media; I barely use Facebook anyway but I’m not really checking Twitter very much, and Instagram for the most part is a pretty safe space which makes me happy. I only read the news once or twice per day, although most days I’ve listened to the 5pm press conference because I’d rather know the actual facts of WHAT is being said, not the scaremongering headlines people keep sharing.

It was my last day of the work week as we were about to have a four day weekend! Honestly I feel like there couldn’t be worse timing for this, bank holidays are normally something we all look forward to so much and we can’t even spend it with our loved ones outside of our home! I washed up, made another cup of tea, turned on Lizzie McGuire (thank you, Disney+ for allowing me to relive my childhood) and finished up my working day. Something that’s really surprised me about being at home all day is how many cups of tea I consume. I’m seriously obsessed! I would say it’s overtaking my love for Diet Coke but nothing can do that!

When I was finished working I switched off my computer and my four day weekend had begun. I went straight into the bathroom because I knew if I sat down in our room I’d get so comfy and not move until after Matt got home from work, hahaha. I removed my makeup (always one of the highlights of my day, why does clean skin feel SO GOOD?) and hopped in the shower. I washed my hair the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to do that, but the second I got out of the shower I really regretted not opting for a bath, ha! Post-shower I lit my favourite candle, took my time applying my skincare, moisturising and getting into comfy pj’s, then settled in to plan my blog posts over the next few weeks. I’m a little bummed because so many of the posts I was writing/had scheduled are just not appropriate for the season of life we’re all in right now, so I’m creating new content and working really hard to bring you positivity! The posts I had planned will still go up at some point, it may just be in a few months time.

My mum arrived home from work (only my brother and I are working from home. My mum, dad and Matthew are all key workers so they’re still getting up and heading out into the world everyday) and we caught up on our day for a little while whilst she sorted out some of her clothes. I swear NOBODY has more clothes than my mum, yet I’m pretty sure she wears the same twenty tops on rotation… she won’t mind me saying that, it’s true, ha! Matt arrived home not long after and he’d only brought home a couple bottles of our favourite wine ever, it’s seriously the best. It’s so inexpensive, you need to try it next time you’re out shopping (for essentials). He showered up and got into comfy clothes for the evening, and as I was just about to start cooking us a bolognese my dad offered to treat us to an Indian takeaway. Umm… YES please! No need to even think about that, Indian food is our favourite.

As they are every time, our meals were incredible – for anyone who lives nearby, we always go to Moti Jheel #shoplocal – and we were so happy and full! We clapped for our carers at 8pm which is honestly one of the highlights of my whole week. I truly think it’s the sweetest thing and I hope all of those key workers know just how important they are not just now but always. We live pretty close to our local hospital and we could hear all of the sirens blaring/noise being made there – this video shows what all of the police officers do every week at the hospital. It makes me cry every time!

After dinner and clapping we snuggled up in bed with a couple of fruity ciders (strawberry and lime cider is one of my favourite ever alcoholic drinks and it just tastes like Summer to me). We turned on Brooklyn 99 which is one of our go-to we-haven’t-got-much-time-but-want-to-watch-something-funny shows! The latest season just went live on Netflix a few weeks back – I think season six? – and we seriously love this show SO much. I just can’t pick a favourite character because I love them all (except Hitchcock, he really gets on our nerves) but I really don’t think it could be a more perfect cast. Our other favourite shows to watch when we don’t have a ton of time are The Office and Friends, but I think we’re going to start Schitt’s Creek soon!

We watched three episodes because we just couldn’t turn it off, then Matt went into the bathroom before me and found a SPIDER on my TOOTHBRUSH. I’m terrified of spiders (except little money spiders, I can deal with them) so I was beside myself haha. Matt killed the spider like a good boyfriend should whilst I jumped around screaming 🙂 not exactly relaxing before bed… After we brushed our teeth – I used my electric toothbrush and threw the other one out, ugh! – I sprayed our pillows and duvet down with this sleep spray. I am a HUGE fan of sleep sprays and I’ve tried quite a few now. I think the This Works one is probably my favourite, it helps so much as I’m a terrible sleeper. Once I get into bed I apply my Laneige lip sleeping mask which is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever used, my lips still feel so moisturised when I wake up. I really need to order a back up because I don’t ever want to be without this. I then apply Cicaplast on any spots/bumps/pimples I have on my face as it does an incredible job of clearing them up, and apply it to any dry patches on my hands. From constantly washing my hands my hands are so cracked and sore, but this is incredible. I use the SPF50 version because that’s what I have but next time I’ll definitely order without the SPF. I then use my Aveeno hand cream just to lock all of the moisture in, Matt set Alexa to play Waves on Sleep Sounds and that was our day over!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little look into my life 🙂 what does your every day look like right now? I hope you and your families are all safe and well, and just taking each day at a time! Every day that passes is another day closer to all of this being over, and I think we all really need to acknowledge that even though this is a horrific situation we’re so lucky to be safe in our homes with our loved ones. Thank you to all of our incredible NHS staff, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other essential professions keeping our country going right now, you are so loved and we’re all so grateful! Have a happy bank holiday weekend, AT HOME 🙂

I’ll be back on Wednesday, with the weirdest bucket list post I’ll probably ever write!

-G x

Four Things I Do Every Week To Be Productive

Hi, loves! There’s a few things I do each and every week that helps make me feel like I’m being the best version of me. I often feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once because running a blog whilst having a full time job, still making time for my social life and being able to run errands and other mundane things can sometimes feel like a lot. If I need to take time out to just relax and recharge, I’m (slowly) becoming okay with not completing my to-do list if I’m just not in the headspace to do it.

My default downtime/self care regime is often just a night in with Matthew bugging him to do a face mask with me, eat pick n mix and watch a few episodes of The Office, but I really wanted to share a few little things I do throughout each week to help me feel more productive, fulfilled and happy. Being able to do these things (among others, of course) really allows me to be productive when I have to be; downtime is so important and honestly being ‘busy’ all the time is not something I want to aim for.

Enjoy downtime in the mornings and evenings
I adore having a chilled morning or evening, especially when I can take my time over the mundane everyday things too. I try to wake up at least twenty to thirty minutes before I actually need to every day, whether it’s a work day or not, and this means I’m able to take my time a little more. Matt and I try to take an extra five minutes in bed together once our alarms have gone off, then we have a cup of tea every morning. I sometimes will a candle on my vanity table whilst I get ready, and I try to take my time doing my hair and makeup. One of my favourite parts of a weekend morning is picking my outfit for the day; I love to be able to pick clothing based on my mood that day! Is that weird?! I much prefer evenings where I have time to take a bath as showering just isn’t as relaxing to me, and I also take time to blog or read as much as I can too. I also LOVE to cook in the evenings it’s one of my favourite times of day.

Take time out to plan healthy meals
Cooking is a huge part of my night routine; whether Matt’s working late or he’s home before me it’s always a priority that we eat something hearty and healthy! I’m that weirdo that really enjoys meal planning and grocery shopping (genuinely, it’s my favourite errand to run… hahaha) and I find it really helps how I feel mentally to eat good foods. I’ve always ate lots of fruit and veggies but now more than ever Matt and I are trying to pack as many as we can into our daily meals, and cut out some of the rubbish. This year I was determined to take lunch to work with me everyday (and for Matt to do this, too!) because we were constantly eating food that made us feel crap and cost a fortune. I know we’re only two weeks into the work year but we’ve both really enjoyed eating a healthy lunch during the day, it just helps you to feel more energetic and productive. I also try to drink water as often as possible, but I’ll forever be obsessed with Diet Coke!

Read
I have no idea how people can not read books, honestly! Reading a good book is something I intentionally make time for each day, and I can’t tell you how much I love to get lost in a fictional world. I recently started to read during my lunch breaks at work which has quickly become one of my favourite times to read, I just find it the best way to escape the work environment for half an hour. In the evenings I take a bath I read in there, and I try to take at least twenty minutes before bed if I can too. Of course every day is so different; sometimes Matt and I watch TV (we’re currently obsessed with Jack Ryan!) right up until we go to sleep, and others we have a little more time to do our own thing. I’m sharing my current reading list on Wednesday, there’s so many good books in there!

Listen to motivational podcasts whilst driving
Driving is something that makes me so happy, and funnily enough I get so many blogging ideas whilst driving too. I really enjoy my alone time (I’m sure my regular readers will be quite surprised to hear that, actually) but being alone is how I re-charge. I’m an introvert and I really feel rested and relaxed after spending a little time alone each day; the only constant in this alone time during the week is my drives to and from work. I love to listen to podcasts and I find that this a perfect time to really indulge in the stories and conversations. My ultimate favourite podcast is Shagged, Married, Annoyed by my most favourite couple, Rosie & Chris Ramsey. BUT, when I want to feel inspired, motivated or just enjoy a chilled conversation, my go-to’s are How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton and The Estee Lalonde Show. It’s so interesting especially when I’m feeling a little bit unmotivated to hear another perspective (even on completely different situations) and it always helps me to count my blessings a little more.

Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate it more than you know. If you’re struggling with feeling unproductive or unmotivated right now, please know you have all my love and support, you’ve got this! What do you do day-to-day that makes you feel productive and prepared for your to-do list? Do you do any of the things I do, too? I’d love to know of other things I should incorporate into my life to make being productive feel that little bit easier!

-G x

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

Hey, loves! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’ve really had one of those weeks. I’ve felt a bit crap, and as a result I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways I try to carve out a little self care time each day, and focus on the things that keep me feeling good even on those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Name that movie. As I mentioned in a recent post I’ve made August an unofficial self-care month for me, and I’d love for you to join in too! Let’s get used to taking a little extra time for ourselves, no matter how busy we are. Today I’m sharing with you the things I try to do most days (or at least several times per week) to practice self care.

Practice yoga (or at least stretch)
It’s not realistic to assume we all have a spare hour or even half an hour each day to prioritise yoga, or whichever exercise you prefer. However, ten minutes is something we should all able to achieve – whether it means turning the TV off ten minutes before bed or getting up ten minutes earlier – it feels so good to stretch out your body. My favourite morning stretch routine for when I don’t have much time is this practice from Yoga With Adrienne, it always makes me feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

Eat food that’s good for you
When you’re eating healthy food your body feels refreshed, and so does your mind. Matt and I eat healthy veggie filled dinners most nights, and we try to eat healthy when possible. We definitely don’t restrict ourselves; if we want to eat something we’ll definitely enjoy it, it’s just about creating a balance. Getting our five a day is so important, and although there’s way less emphasis on it in the media now, I think we could all use a reminder!

Enjoy at least ten minutes of peace and quiet each day
Having a little time alone just to be is good for the soul. I’m an introvert, and until Matt and I got together two years ago, I’d have opted to spend time alone than with others any day of the week. Now, of course I’d rather spend every possible second with Matt, but it’s still important to appreciate time alone too. Whether it’s relaxing in a hot bath during the evening or whilst I’m doing my makeup before work, I just enjoy being with only my thoughts for a little while.

Keep the space around you clean, tidy and clutter-free
I am the kind of person that needs the space around me to be clean and tidy anyway, but it truly makes you feel so much more calm and relaxed when everything is in order and put away in it’s place. I like to de-clutter Matt and I’s space pretty often, and it’s freeing to not hold on to rubbish you don’t need! Our bedroom is always smelling fresh and looking tidy, and coming home each night to our own little sanctuary is so calming and refreshing. I’m also the same with my car, I can’t bare it being dirty or cluttered inside, I just very rarely clean the outside.

Treat yourself to regular pamper sessions
Whether it’s getting your gels refreshed or visiting your favourite salon for a fresh colour and cut, set aside time (and money) to enjoy it. I love days where I’m getting my hair or nails done SO much, it just makes me feel happier. Of course you don’t have to go to salons to treat yourself, because at-home spa and pamper evenings can be just as wonderful. Indulge in a bubble bath and throw a face mask on, and never let yourself feel guilty for doing so. It’s important to unwind and relax, and it’s very true that when you look good, you feel good on the inside too. Matt and I love a pamper night!

Make gratitude lists
Feeling grateful is one thing, but writing down what you’re grateful for changes your perspective on everything. It’s so easy to get bogged down with mundane life stuff, but just acknowledging the good things in your life can make you see everything so differently. I’ve wrote three posts this year, logging things I’m grateful for each day – you can catch up here, here and here – and I couldn’t recommend that enough. Whether you’re a blogger looking for a content idea or you just want to list what you’re grateful for privately, it’s amazing to see your blessings right in front of you. I keep a list in the Notes app in my phone, and man does it help me to keep positive.

Live in the moment
I admit that I am SO bad for not enjoying the day/hour/second right there and then, because I’m thinking about what’s coming up. Whether I’m stressing about something happening or I’m super excited for something fun, I find I’m always counting down to the Next Thing. I’m actively trying to enjoy where I’m at in the moment, and it’s making life so much more fun! …but it’s okay to have things to look forward to. Matt and I always have a trip planned, whether it’s a holiday or a weekend getaway, because we love travelling SO much and that’s where we want to put our energy. We just love getting away and exploring somewhere new! Similarly, date nights keep us sane and get us through long work weeks, and we always plan those in advance. Get plans in your diary to catch up with your friends too, they may need it more than you do!

Be active, and enjoy nature while you’re at it
Matt and I are SO LUCKY to live where we do; there’s beautiful beaches, rolling countryside and our favourite city, Newcastle upon Tyne, all just twenty minutes drive from us. We are always trying to get outside more and enjoy whatever is around us, and we’re also very lucky that we experience all four seasons here too! Well, Summer is questionable LOL.

Unwind in a way that makes you happy
Getting cosy under a fluffy blanket with our favourite candles flickering, snuggling up with Matt to watch Netflix is without a doubt my favourite pastime. We do this in some aspect every evening, even if it’s only to watch one quick episode of our favourite show (Brooklyn 99 is life, you guys!) and it feels so good to relax at home. Being curled up with Matt makes me so happy, and it’s something I look forward to from the minute we get out of bed each morning! I also love to blog, binge watch reality shows (The *original* Hills and KUTWK are always my go-to shows), online shop/browse, cook, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, read books, take bubble baths… whatever it is for you; do more of it.

Don’t beat yourself up
The best self care tip of all is to not be too hard on yourself, because everyone is doing the best they can. You don’t need to compare yourself to others, or what you think you should have/want in life. Being happy within yourself is so important, and nurturing your close relationships is super important too. Matt and I are very good at giving each other pep talks and cheering each other up if we ever have a bad day, and that support network is so vital!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and maybe feel inspired to take a little more time for yourself. How do you take time for self care each day? What’s one thing that always makes you feel good? Except for cuddling with Matt, one other thing specifically comes to mind for me. Blogging. It always makes me feel good and is there for me like a safety net; I love to write SO MUCH, and I had no idea how much joy blogging would bring to my life! Matt encouraged me to start and has (literally) held my hand every step of the way so far; I’m so grateful for him and that he pushed me to do it; it’s a dream come true to run my own blog. Thank you so much to everyone who takes time to read, comment, like, share etc – it means the world to me, and I really feel so lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.

-G x

Blogging Q&A

Hey, loves! A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked on my Instagram stories if you had any blogging related questions you’d like me to answer. I was super scared nobody would ask questions (LOL) but I thankfully got quite a good response, although some people asked the same or similar questions which I’ve just mixed together. I love reading posts like this because as a blogger – and as an aspiring blogger before I created my own blog – I love to know other people’s behind-the-scenes! I talk a lot about my real life on here, and I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, one of those bloggers with an incredibly professional set up. I admire the beautiful photogenic blogs SO much, but it’s just not me. I take my photos on my iPhone X, I will never do a professional photo shoot for blog content (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing) and I’m happy in my own little world over here. So, let’s A some of your Q’s…

Why did you start writing your blog?
It was a dream I thought would never come true. I’d read blogs for so many years, and felt so connected and inspired by the people running them. Many of the girls I followed moved from blogging to vlogging and I felt like I knew them even more; I genuinely talk about Anna and Emma as if they’re my high school besties, which Matt finds hilarious! I loved the connection I felt as a reader, and I always hoped one day I’d find the courage to create my own. Fast forward four years of loving everything about blogs, and I’d poured my heart out to Matt about how I’d always thought one day I’d do it myself, but I just never had and now it was too late. Like the amazing man he is, he encouraged me to start right there and then, and I did. I bought my blog domain at the end of May 2018, and just began writing. I had NO IDEA what to expect, how any of it worked, or how it would be received, but I did it anyway. The day my first post went live (10th June, 2018) I was a nervous wreck in case people were mean. Matt and I went out for Sunday dinner at our favourite local pub and I could barely eat because I was so nervous. Over the past year I’ve found my routine, and now I love every aspect of running and owning my blog, I’m so proud of it!

What is your favourite thing about writing? / How do you make time to write?
It is very freeing, and it just feels good to get lost in my own little world. I think we spend SO MUCH TIME worrying about others, pleasing others and doing what others want to do, and it’s important to actually take a step back and be a little selfish sometimes. My number one priorites are always going to be my relationship, our family and friends and work, but when I can just sit and blog, I love to totally switch off from the world. When I’m writing I always get super comfy under a blanket, and usually have a cup of tea or hot chocolate. By ‘a cup’ I mean at least three, because I write for so long! I usually listen to podcasts, watch old YouTube vlogs (Jade Billington‘s are my favourite!) or play Your Favourite Coffeehouse playlist on Spotify although sometimes I just write in silence. I think making writing time an enjoyable experience makes it something I look forward to, and not something I stress about having to get done, even though I’m working to deadlines. Editing usually looks very different; I tend to do that whenever/wherever I can squeeze it in, often whilst we’re in the car or when I’m in the bath I’ll be proof-reading or editing on my phone.

How do you grow your audience?
I’m struggling a little to answer this, as although my blog is growing, it’s very slowly and steadily, not super quick. I think having a schedule and posting consistently is a huge factor in people coming back to my blog over and over, but I’m not really sure how people find my little corner of the internet. I find self-promoting my blog a little weird and awkward, so I try to only do that when it comes to new posts going live. I interact with other bloggers whose blogs I adore, and building those relationships is a great way to interest other people in your posts. I don’t have the most professional set up or look, but I think that can give my blog a cosy ~homey~ vibe, which hopefully people enjoy.

Do you ever get stuck for ideas?
Not really, because I plan my posts so far in advance! I don’t write my post there and then; I have the original idea so I’ll write my title, make any notes – usually this is points I want to make in the post, products I want to talk about, photo ideas etc and then I ‘schedule’ that for a date in a few weeks time and save the draft. Then, when it comes to writing the post, most of the ground work is done and I’m able to just start writing. I find it hard to make things concise though sometimes LOL, but it’s okay because I waffle on in real life just as much. The only posts I do write not long before they go live is my Feelin’ It Friday’s as they’re quick and about the week we’re currently in. I usually prep those on the Thursday night, then edit/update on Friday morning before it goes live.

Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
I get my inspiration from just whatever is going on in my life. If we’re going on a road trip, I want to share our essentials, if I’m really obsessed with a brand, I want to tell you the things I’d recommend most, if Matt and I are having a fun weekend, I take photos throughout the days and round it up for you. I also listen to comments I get, side note: people are always asking me to share dinner recipes so that post will be coming in a few weeks! I’m of course inspired by other bloggers and by YouTube content creators, and I think I’ve carved a path for my blog that means I can write about pretty much anything I want to. I never intended on sharing so much of Matt and I’s life, but I love doing it in the way I do; it’s like an extension of Instagram, where it’s real and honest, yet never staged or ‘for the blog’.

Do you feel guilty being sent products for free?
I’m not really sure how to answer this question because I don’t understand what there is to feel guilty about. Is it absolutely insane? YES. Is it surreal? YES. Is it amazing? YES. I wouldn’t say I feel ‘guilty’ because I truly put so much time and effort into my blog, which I don’t think is something that people outside of my close circle or the blogging world will realise. I only accept products that fit with me and my blog, as I’ve had some emails which just don’t work for me so I’ve politely declined. I’d never recommend something I wouldn’t purchase myself, and I’ll always be very honest if a product doesn’t work for me. My disclaimer is linked here, if you’d like a little more clarification. I truly am so grateful for every product I’ve been sent and every PR agency or brand that wants to work with me, it’s mind-blowing that my little blog is even capable of this!

Where do you see your blog in one years time?
My blog will be two years old by then, and I’m hoping it would have continued to grow with me, but I’ll definitely be creating the same kind of content. I really do want to become more comfortable in front of the camera, and Matt is always trying to encourage me to take photos when we’re out and about, which is making me slightly warm up to the idea. I know I’m not photogenic as it is, but then when I’m specifically ‘posing’ for a photo, I truly just go to pot HAHA. I would love to figure out my photography style a little more too, as I’m learning more and more about how I like to take photos and I’m hoping as a result my blog looks more streamlined and pretty.

Have you ever been recognised in public from your blog?
Haha, no I have not! I have had a weird moment in The Body Shop (I mean, where else?) where I was restocking on a few products and a girl who went to my school – she was a few years below me and we knew of each other, but didn’t know each other, if that makes sense – asked what I’d recommend she buy. She said she read my blog and purchased the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil because of my review and loved it, which was seriously like an out of body experience.

Does blogging take up lots of your time?
Yes and no. It does take a lot of time and effort, but I try to set aside specific time to write, edit, take photos etc, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. As I always try to plan ahead I don’t feel like it ‘takes up lots of time’ necessarily, because that time is specifically for blogging. I work a real 9-5 job, and blogging is my hobby so it’s something I like to do. Sometimes I really feel like I should spend an hour or two writing and editing during an evening, but I’m always going to opt for snuggling in with Matt to watch Netflix instead! I talked a lot about this in this post, and covered the ins and outs of how I find the time to blog here, too!

Do you feel weird about people you know in real life reading your blog?
I used to find it SO weird, but now I don’t really think about it too much. I know some people who know of me may read to pick flaws or to laugh at me (I had an experience with that when I first started out blogging) but I’m 25 years old, and not in high school. Although, my co-workers love to read on their lunch breaks and tell me as they’re reading, that is kinda weird haha. I know that people I know read it, and I’m truly very grateful for the views I get. I hope that people who like to read my blog tell their friends who will then tell their friends, that would be amazing! One thing I will always find strange is that I sometimes will talk about something on my blog – especially now in my Feelin’ It Friday posts – and people will see me and say things like “did you and Matt love that movie you went to see last weekend?!” or “I seen you were at Wagamama’s again!” The weirdest thing is when someone tells me they’ve bought something because of what I said about it. I never imagined that but I’ve had so many messages from people telling me!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you asked a question thank you SO much, I hope I answered it well enough! I hope you feel like you know me a little more as a blogger, I really try to be so open and honest with everything I post. Fellow bloggers, how do you feel about this platform? Do you relate to anything I’ve said? I’d love to do more Q&A style posts, and I’m hoping to maybe rope Matt into taking part in a little post on the blog… we’ll see!

-G x

Pinks & Peaches

Hi, loves! I really really love pinks, peaches and corals, they’re just the perfect Summer colours to me! These are the shades that make my heart happy, you know when you’re just drawn to specific tones? I’m really desperate to buy a peach coral lipstick but I’m just not sure I could pull it off. Does anyone have any recommendations of shades I should look at?! My obsession with pinks and coral toned peaches are a little crazy… Matt and I were shopping in Homesense a few weeks ago and he had to prise me away from a cushion that I wanted so badly because it was the exact same shade as the Essie nail polish I’m talking about in this post, ha! Also, this wasn’t meant to be an I love Charlotte Tilbury post, but it kind of turned out that way…

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Cheat / Pillow Talk Lipstick
This is my go-to date night lip combination, and a duo I reach for over and over again! Both of these products pretty much live in my bag, and I never get bored of them. I’m not the biggest fan of matte lipstick normally, but this formula is incredible and I really want to pick up another shade! The lip liner is the perfect base for the lipstick, and the formula is creamy, soft and long lasting, without feeling dry or irritating on your lips. I’ve repurchased the lip liner so many times, and I know when I run out of the lipstick I’ll be heading into town to grab another right away!

Loreal Glow Mon Amour Highlighting Drops in Champagne
I briefly mentioned this in a #feelinitfriday post before I went on holiday, but I’m even more obsessed with it now. Other than foundation and concealer, I’m a powder kinda gal when it comes to my makeup, but highlighter has always been an exception. I think liquid highlighters are so beautiful and shimmery, and just look so much more fresh on your skin! This highlight is the most gorgeous shimmery, peachy colour, and it literally gives your skin a lit-from-within glow, which is what we’re all aspiring for, right?! I also mixed a little of this with my favourite body lotion when Matt and I were going out out and it looked so nice!

Charlotte Tilbury The Duchess Lipstick
This was a beautiful gift from my lovely boyfriend for Valentine’s Day this year, and I reach for it so often, I just love it! I actually wore it for every single night of our holiday this year and I got compliments on it, I’m always shocked when anyone other than Matt or our mums takes notice of what I’m wearing haha. It’s described as a tea rose which I think suits it perfectly; it is a little dark when I’m super fair, but when I have a little bit of a tan (which I do post holiday!) it looks more rosy and bright. The formula is iconic; it’s creamy, easy to wear and lasts for so long on the lips, even when eating and drinking. In the beautiful rose gold packaging Charlotte Tilbury is known for it feels and looks so luxurious, I always feel so happy applying it!

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love
I just really love Charlotte Tilbury products, what can I say? Since I picked this blush up just before Christmas I’ve used it pretty much every day, I just can’t choose another product over it! The colour is a subtle peachy pink, but can be easily built up for a more in-depth colour depending on the look you’re going for. It’s completely matte, which I really love becuase I like to be able to incorporate glitter with my eyeshadow, and add shimmer from my highlighting drops!

Essie Cute As A Button Nail Polish
I only ever really paint my toes as I was getting gels for a long time on my fingers, but after a few bad experiences with chipping/peeling (which never use to happen) I got them took off just before my holiday and I’m trying to give my nails a little rest. I wore this colour throughout my whole holiday on my toes, and loved it so much I repainted when we got back. And whilst we were there, because the sun literally melted off my nail polish. The shade is just so dang pretty, it’s my perfect peachy coral shade for Summer as it’s bright and loud, but doesn’t look neon as I’m not a huge fan of that. I already know I’m going to be wearing it for the rest of Summer! Essie’s formula is just always good, and with a little top coat it doesn’t chip at all.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got a little inspiration to pick up some peachy pink goodness! Have you tried any of the products featured in this post? What are your favourite pink and peach toned products? Do you have any recommendations of things I should try out?

-G x

All Of The Things That Made Me Happy This Week

Hi, loves!

I’ve been feeling super anxious, stressed and a little bit down in the dumps recently, and it’s a feeling I just haven’t been able to shift. I’ve lost count of how many hours I’ve spent crying to Matt, and us both knowing that nothing can be done to make me feel better, the anxiety just has to pass. I feel like every time I write about dealing with anxiety or feeling stressed I need to write DISCLAIMER: MY LIFE IS STILL GREAT. It’s almost like I feel guilty for having anxiety, for feeling a bit crap when really I am so happy with my boyfriend, our families and friends, and I have a dang great life. No matter how bad my anxiety can sometimes feel, no matter how many panic attacks or tense moments I may have, I know there is good in every day. Sometimes changing my perspective on things can help keep my anxiety at bay, so I challenged myself to recording nine things each day that made me happy in the moment, and I challenge you to do the same too!

I’m so lucky that I have a platform to share my thoughts and feelings, and I choose to share those because I want to help other people. I wrote a post very similarly to this one here, and I received so many messages from people saying they loved it, and that it helped them in various ways. Knowing I’ve made someone smile, see a different perspective or that someone really related with what I wrote beats every ounce of judgement I feel against the topic of anxiety.

Saturday 4th May
– seeing how happy Matt was that I made him breakfast before he left for work
– an hour long yoga session
– I spent my morning writing and editing blog posts snuggled in bed, whilst the wind and rain hit off the window
– I fully hinched our room before Matt got home from work
– the smell of Method Wild Rhubarb all purpose cleaner
– Matt and I ran errands together
– we visited with my grandma for a while and she was so funny (she’s pretty poorly and sadly going blind, but she’s at that point where she just couldn’t care less what she says or how she says it. It’s fantastic)
– wearing my Birks
– at Aldi we picked up ‘big daddy’ steaks for dinner. They were so good
– we snuggled in to watch the NUFC match with a homemade pick n mix (let’s just not talk about the score)

Sunday 5th May
– Matt and I got to lay in for the first time in so long! We slept for ten and a half hours and boy did we need it
– we had the laziest morning
– I caught up on Jade Billington’s vlogs whilst getting ready, her videos always make me feel so motivated and happy
– we got to spend a few hours with Matt’s grandma and mum, some of my favourite people
– watching KUWTK whilst Matt was out for a run/in the bath post-run
– making/eating Diet Coke chicken
– relaxing with a face mask on (Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty if you’re wondering)
– we got to snuggle on the couch all evening watching Mary Poppins Returns
– Emily Blunt *insert all of the heart eyes emojis* she’s my ultimate girl crush

Monday 6th May
– waking up to Matt’s cute little face. This makes my day every day, ngl
– Swiss Miss hot chocolate
– we had ‘laptop club’ before Matt went to work. (Matt works and I work on the blog, it’s a fun way to get stuff done but still be together :))
– my mum and dad came home from a trip away with their friends and we got to catch up on our weekends
– I edited two blog posts and took photographs for them both
– a Lush bath
– finishing another good book
– picky tea (including the best flatbread pizza)
– we got to spend a few hours in the evening with Matt’s parents after barely seeing them recently

Tuesday 7th May
– I got to stay snuggled in bed for an extra 45 minutes after Matt left for work
– my hair styled perfectly straight
– the perfect tuna mayo sandwich
– my work day went so quickly
– how soft my Brandy Melville Newport jumper is. I’ve had it for years and it’s just so comfy and cosy
– Matt’s phone call to say he was on his way home
– snuggling up with bae
– Liverpool winning in the craziest match
– falling asleep to rainforest sounds (we play waves or rainforest sounds every night. It’s becoming an obsession to the point we’re genuinely considering taking one of our Echo Dots on holiday hahaha)

Wednesday 8th May
– Matt and I woke up to the sound of rain hitting so hard on the window. I love rainy days
– having a little extra time to edit my blog before getting ready
– Twining’s buttermint tea
– I got our food shop done for the rest of the week in less than twenty minutes before work
– planning my blog posts right up until we go on holiday in June!
– eating a Wispa Gold
– looking at our holiday countdown and reading all of the Trip Adivsor reviews on my lunch break
– when I finished work Matt and I went for a little shopping trip so I could get myself an early birthday present! I got the Inspire HR Fitbit and my first impressions are great: I’m so happy with it
– receiving the sweetest message about this post that went live today
– having a super cosy snuggly evening

Thursday 9th May
– we got to lay in for a little while
– my godmother called me as I was driving to work and we got to chat, catch up and get some plans in the diary for Matt and I to go see them
– having just enough Alpro almond milk left for my cereal
– coming home from work to the smell of dinner in the Crock Pot (thanks to Matthew making Spanish chicken for us. It was SO GOOD. We make it slightly different each time, but I listed a recipe way back in this post)
– getting fresh gel nails
– having a hot shower and getting into my comfies after a long day
– an idea I had for my blog. Keep your eyes peeled, I’m super excited about it
– getting my first badge on my Fitbit, lol!
– watching Ambulance with Matt and his parents

Friday 10th May
– Matt and I woke up a minute before our alarm went off (this literally makes me giddy hah)
– driving to/from work listening to the new episode of Chris & Rosie’s podcast, Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed
– eating Burger King for lunch with the girls at work
– receiving the cutest text from my cousin after she got a parcel! Matt and I sent her some goodies from The Body Shop and she was so happy it made me happy
– fresh bedding. I got us a new set from Amazon, although I definitely should have ironed it first LOL! I just need to pick up some fresh throw pillows to spruce it up a little
– Matt arriving home after the longest day
– knowing that a week today Matt and I will be at Ramside Hall celebrating my birthday
– Ed Sheeran’s new song with Justin Bieber

Saturday 11th May
– we went to pick up Matt’s new glasses and he looks SO HANDSOME in them (obviously)
– getting our grocery shop done in record time
– hinching our bedroom whilst Matt was at work
– wearing mom jeans
Savannah‘s Instagram story. I’m so close to booking flights for Matt and I to explore Manistee, her beautiful home town!!
– getting Matt some treats whilst I was out (I definitely bought him Percy Pig’s too knowing he’ll share them with me…)
– the sweetest lady in Boots giving great customer service
– using The Body Shop banana hair mask and having a little pamper evening. It’s the best
– snuggling up with Matt, eating sugar cookies and watching Brooklyn 99 after dinner

Now this brings us right up to today, Sunday 12th May. Today I made Matt breakfast in bed before he headed to work, and I’m just about to go to Homesense to pick up some new candles! I have a day of working on the blog planned, followed by yoga, a bubble bath and a cosy night at the Scotney household… I can’t wait! Do I feel better than I did when I began writing this last Saturday? YES. Do I have a fresh perspective on all of the wonderful things in my life? YES. Do I feel extra happy and grateful and blessed for the life I have? YES. Do I still feel a little bit anxious and stressed? YES. Life unfortunately isn’t about moderation; you can feel lots of things at one time, and that’s okay. I love this quote I came across on Instagram a few weeks ago, I think it sums up my thoughts/feelings perfectly:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

-Vivian Greene

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it made you smile just a little bit. I hope you’re feeling good, and you too try to focus on the little things that make you happy more in the upcoming week! What has made you happy this past week?

-G x

Blogging Whilst Having A Full Time Job: How I Make It Work

Hi, loves!

Blogging is without a doubt my favourite hobby assuming that napping with my boyfriend is not considered a hobby but it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with my schedule when I work a full time job in the real world, that comes with it’s own problems and stresses. As lots of you will already know, I have a 9am to 5pm job in Accounts and Purchasing in the real world. I work Monday to Friday, so thankfully I have all of my evenings and weekends free which gives me lots of spare time. I always make sure to prioritise time with Matt, and our friends and family first, as well as allowing myself as much ‘me time’ as I need to keep my mental health feeling good. My blogging then slots in behind that, and I always try so hard to create good quality content that I’m proud of.

I started writing my blog in June 2017, after being a dedicated reader of so many blogs for years. I always thought it was something I wouldn’t be good at doing; I lacked the confidence to create one, and I had no idea where to start with the technical side of things either. I’ve talked about my feelings on this subject a little in this post, but I am SO glad I finally took the leap and created my little corner of the internet, after lots of encouragement from Matt. He’s an absolute gem and I’m forever grateful for all of his support, I love him so much! I’ve learned such a huge array of things already about the blogging world, and I’m still learning every day. My blog is my pride and joy, it’s literally like a little baby I want to look after and feed with all of the good stuff, and it feels so good to do something that’s just for me, but also benefits other people. To be honest, even if nobody read my blog I’d still write, it brings me so much joy and a sense of calm that I didn’t know I needed.

I’ve spoken many times on my blog, in various posts, about the fact that Matt and I’s schedules vary so much – there’s a little more background in this post – due to his varying shifts at work. Matt’s hours fluctuate each week, as do his days off, so we always make sure to make the most of time together, and make that our first priority. As a result, my blogging time to brainstorm ideas, write, edit, take photographs etc varies day by day, week by week. At least twice per week Matt starts work early, which means he’s getting up at 6am. I like to get up for the day with him and make his breakfast then when he leaves for work I will work on my blog, and try to squeeze in a yoga practice, before getting ready for the day. He works until late a few times per week, so again my main focus on those evenings is to work on my blog for X amount of time before he gets home, if I don’t have other plans or errands to run. Weekends also vary a lot, although recently we’ve been super lucky and he’s had lots of days off with me! Where possible, I take at least four hours during his work day when I’m at home to work on my blog, and get things pre-planned for the coming week(s). These big chunks of time come in so handy because I can get so much done! I generally tend to just take any spare time I have to create content, and although I don’t have the same daily schedule it seems to work well, and I’m able to run my blog around my life, rather than run my life around my blog.

If we have a few busy weeks in a row it makes it so much harder to ‘fit’ blogging in around the rest of my life, and that’s when I feel stressed out with keeping my hobby going to the high standards I’ve set myself. It sometimes can get a little overwhelming and there have been times I’ve put up a post because it was scheduled for that specific day, even though I haven’t been 100% happy with it. That is something I really don’t want to do again as I feel that’s an unfair reflection of my blog, and it makes me feel a bit rubbish. I appreciate that I’m able to write and edit on my phone, so sometimes I take a little time out of my work day, during my lunch break, to do so. I generally prefer to write on my laptop (or Matt’s) at home though, so I only use my phone to write/edit when I’m feeling a little behind. From my very first post I set myself a blogging schedule – which has since slightly changed due to realising the ‘peak’ times people read posts – but I always stick to it, and post twice per week. I like having continuity in my posts as that’s something I appreciate from my favourite bloggers.

I always write my posts in advance, and I usually have at least five to six posts pre-written, that are then edited a few days before going live. I plan ahead by months sometimes, which sounds a little crazy but I generally have lots of ideas at one time, so I like to plan them in as and when I think of them. I’m so Type A, LOL. I used to include a paragraph at the start of each post about what I’d been up to that week or weekend; any restaurants Matt and I had been to, what we’re watching on TV etc, but that’s something I’ve since stopped doing as I felt it was getting repetitive and took away from the topic(s) in my posts unnecessarily. Sometimes I see that a similar post to what I’ve written has been posted by someone else a little earlier than mine is planned, and I always worry that it looks as though I’m stealing their ideas, although I promise my ideas are all my own! I’m influenced by lots other bloggers – both big and small – in many ways, but I would never copy somebody else’s work or thoughts.

The biggest ‘struggle’ I have when it comes to my blogging schedule is taking photos to go with my pre-written posts. During the Winter months when it was dark before I went to work, and dark when I came home, I would try to take as many photographs as possible during the three hour window it was light every two weeks, and then end up stressed if I had other plans or it wasn’t bright enough outside anyway. I try to take lots of photographs at one time now, so I can edit and upload them together, and this alleviates a little of the stress of always having to take new photos. As I mentioned above, I feel like a lot of the struggles I feel regarding my blog are because I have set myself such high standards, but realistically if a post went up a day later, or didn’t have ‘enough’ photos, nobody would notice (or care) anyways.

I am very happy with, and proud of, my blog (I love my re-design that I did in March – I even had to write code, guys!) but I can’t help sometimes feeling discouraged when I inevitably compare myself to other bloggers. Blogging is not something that brings home the bacon for me, and although I have no idea what will happen in the future, it’s something that right now I love to do regardless, and I enjoy every aspect even with the stress I sometimes feel. That being said, now and then I feel like my blog isn’t good enough, and I can be really hard on myself about that. Sometimes when I read other bloggers’ paid or sponsored posts, seeing how much they are given by brands (those new CMA and ASA rules made this abundantly clear) and how much engagement they get on other platforms, can sometimes really get to me. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard blogging can be first hand, and I know that most bloggers work so hard and are extremely deserving of their success, it just sometimes worries me that I won’t ever get *there*, wherever there is. These worries are thankfully few and far between, and it’s normal to sometimes doubt yourself, right? It’s a little bit hard to admit that I can feel that way from time to time, and I know some people wouldn’t share that.

I think blogging often seems like sunshine and rainbows to the outside world, but it’s important to be realistic and remember that there are deadlines (albeit, set by myself), a sense of stability and continuity in my posts, and a constant need to be creative. I’m not the most creative person in the world – you should see my art projects as a child, wow! – but when it comes to writing, that’s my thing. I love sharing parts of my life, whether it’s what Matt and I have been up to, products I enjoy using or just my general thoughts and feelings on a subject, and again that’s something I really appreciate in other bloggers’ posts. I also feel the same about YouTube; it’s the boring, at-home-and-running-errands vlogs that interest me the most, not the wow-look-at-this-super-amazing-trip vlogs, although they can be a guilty pleasure from time to time. (Especially Disney World vlogs!) I’ve heard from several people, some of which I know personally and some I do not, that they love seeing a little sneak peek into my everyday life, and I recognise that I’m so blessed to have a platform to share that. I think I just need to stay in my own lane, remember that I’m being true to myself no matter what, and above all continue to put so much time, love and energy into my blog.

If you’re reading this post and hoping to start a blog, or maybe you already have a blog and struggle with finding time to create the content you so badly want to, don’t worry. Look at your schedule, carve time out where it’s possible and never give up. It’s going to be difficult now and then, but you’ll never get anywhere without lots of hard work and perseverance, and that’s true for all things in life. There may be various stressful situations occasionally, but you must put yourself and your mental health first! Make sure to take time out when you need it, and if it means skipping an upload day or pushing it back, I promise your readers will understand. That’s advice I need to take for myself, too.

Thank you so much for reading! I say it in every post but it truly means the world to me; I appreciate every view, comment and like more than you know. Do you feel any of the struggles or stress I’ve mentioned in this post, as you juggle writing your blog with working full time? Do you have any advice or tips that may help me or other bloggers? Please leave them in the comments below!

-G x

The Importance Of Being Kind In An Unkind World

Hi, loves! Happy Sunday!

I feel like the world we live in is constantly throwing out negative thing after negative thing; topics such as climate change, natural disasters, illness and pollution are inescapable to anyone who pays attention to the news or even social media. Add in other horrible headlines that we see on a near-daily basis; murders, animal cruelty, sexism and poverty, and it’s no wonder the world struggles to be kind and positive. Now, this blog post is not at all to put a downer on your Sunday, but it’s to show you that in my opinion, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and each other is to be kind.

jo-malone-peony-and-blush-suede-candle-how-to-be-parisian-an-edited-life-hinch-yourself-happy-homesense-flowers-pink-peonies-stackers-jewellery-box

I have been thinking a lot recently about the way I act towards others, and the way others act towards me. I really wanted to write a somewhat chatty blog post about this as it’s something I think we can all struggle with sometimes. I know personally if I was having a bad day, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought about how my mood can affect others, but that’s something I’ve really been working on the past few months. I find that my mood is often brought down if someone else is taking their bad mood out on me; if someone is snappy or rude, I feel like it’s contagious and it makes me feel miserable too. However, when someone is kind and friendly towards you, this also has a contagious effect and the smallest thing can make my whole day.

Another thing that has got me thinking about kindness, is After Life, a Netflix show created by Ricky Gervais, who is also the lead character. Matt and I are only five episodes in and I’ve cried seven times already, it’s moving, incredibly sad, witty, and so emotional. The story is based around a man called Tony, who recently lost his wife Lisa to breast cancer, and how this affects him and everyone around him who just want to help. He’s struggling to deal with all of the emotions he feels since her death, and contemplated taking his own life as a result. There are funny parts in there too, and without giving too much away it is a perfect example of the fact you don’t know what other people are going through. Kindness is sometimes the only thing we have, and it’s truly important to spread and share with everyone you meet.

Being kind is honestly one of the best traits in a person in my opinion, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many kind-hearted people. I know I talk about my boyfriend approximately 24 hours a day (sorry not sorry), but he’s really just the best thing in my life. He is without a doubt the most hard-working, generous and kind man I’ve ever met, and he makes me so proud. His kindness is endearing; he always wants to help, he makes other people feel good about themselves, and he is such a happy person. He genuinely inspires me to be a better person every day! My mum and dad are so loving and kind; they help anyone in any way they possibly can, and they never expect anything in return for that. My family and close friends are a great bunch of kind-hearted people, and I know how lucky I am to have this kind of inner circle.

This past week I was in Asda picking up our dinner ingredients, and an elderly lady was struggling to reach something on a lower shelf so I grabbed it for her. I didn’t think about it, and I’m sure this is a pretty natural reaction for anyone, of course we’re going to help people when we can, but she was so grateful and happy that I’d done such a simple thing. She stopped to chat for a little while, and explained she had lots of problems with her hip and could no longer do everyday tasks the same way. We spoke for only a few minutes, and when we said goodbye she thanked me for being so kind to her, which naturally made my eyes fill with tears. (I’m a crier, lol). I’d had a long day at work, was feeling a little stressed out and was wishing away the hours until Matt finished work so I could curl up with him. It was a great reminder of how much our actions can directly affect those around us, even people we don’t know, and why being kind should not depend on your mood. I felt so happy to have this little exchange with the lady, and it gave me all the warm fuzzies to see how happy she was from stopping for a quick chat.

Being kind is not exclusive to people of wealth or people without, it’s something inclusive to all and I think it should be a higher priority for people, myself included. Organise your day or week, and make sure to take time out each day to carry out small acts of kindness. Kindness may not always be the most important thing in our lives, we all have different priorities at different times, but I truly think if we all focus a little more on it, the world would be a much better place.

As I said above, kindness can be contagious and that is one of the best things about it in my opinion. How many times have you seen a stranger smile at you, smiled back and instantly felt happier? Or recieved a hug at the end of a long day that just felt like heaven? Or given a gift and seen the joy on someone else’s face? Being kind can be a truly selfless act, of course, but it’s lovely that it has a boomerang-like effect; we get a buzz from making others feel good, and I think that’s pretty special.

do-all-things-with-kindnesss

Fifteen Easy Things You Can Do Today To Be More Kind:
Smile. It’s really such a small thing, but how good do you feel when a stranger smiles at you randomly? Or you’re being checked out at the grocery store by a smiley cashier? Be generous with your smiles, they’re free!
Make dinner for your partner. Cooking together is always our preference, but Matt loves when I make dinner for him coming home from work. He sees it as such a nice gesture and I love to do it for him. He repays the favour on his days off when I’m at work and makes dinner for me coming home, I appreciate it so much too.
Donate to a charity. As little as £1 can make a huge differnce to those in need, you don’t have to think big to donate. Whether you’d like to give money, old items you no longer benefit from, canned foods (always needed at the homeless shelters!) or your time, give generously.
Pay for someone’s drink in the line behind you. I love to do this for someone from time to time. It’s so apparent how out-of-the-blue it is, and how flipping happy they are at the prospect of a free drink! You can also try this out at the drive thru, which Matt told me I need to stop doing or people will be following me through like I’m the Pied Piper. LOL.
Look for the best in situations. Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, and watering your (metaphorical) little garden to help it grow and flourish, is up to you. Don’t get bogged down with whatever is going on in the world whether it’s personal or in general; embrace it, and find the positives. If you look really hard you’ll find some!
Visit with family. They love to see you, and they want to hear about all the stuff you’ve been up to. Matt and I try to visit with our grandmas as much as possible, and we know how much they appreciate that. We see both our families so much and we love it, we’re super family orientated and thrive off quality time spent with them.
Make someone a cuppa. Whether it’s your partner in the morning, your co-workers throughout the day or whilst visiting your mum in the evening, making someone a hot drink is one of the sweetest things you can do. And, very British.
Text a friend and ask how they are. It’s so important to check in with your friends, and it’s something I’m really working on doing more often. I’ve never been great at replying to messages (sorry!) but I’m trying to be intentionally quicker and better at replying, and planning in catch ups.
Let the person behind you with less groceries cut infront. I’ve been allowed to do this so many times as I’m forever popping into Aldi for just a packet of bacon and brioche bread buns (Matt’s fave for a weekend morning, LOL) when people are doing their weekly food shop. I always feel a little awkward pushing in, but it’s a sweet gesture that always makes me smile.
Be thoughtful. Did your boyfriend have a bad day? Does your mum feel poorly? Has your friend been going through something rough? Run them a bath, bring them their favourite treats, or spend a little extra time with them.
Tip good service generously. Matt and I always tip when we receive good service in a restaurant, and I think it’s so important to show gratitude for this. In England it’s a little different than in other countries, as waiters and waitresses get paid a fair wage (generally speaking) so do not ‘rely’ on tips the same way as they do in, for example, the US. It’s not expected here per se, and it’s a lovely treat for someone’s hard work.
Hold the door for the person behind you. One of the most simple gestures you can do for someone but I can’t tell you how much this one can be appreciated.
Leave nice comments on social media. Whether it’s on your friend’s Facebook status or an accquaintance’s Instagram photo, share the love! It takes literally seconds from your day, and it’s always so nice to receive lovely comments. I love receiving blog comments SO much and I’m actively trying to comment more on the blogs I read and love.
Watch whatever your boyfriend wants to watch on TV (without complaining). Who cares if you’ve watched every televised football game for the past three weeks? Who cares if you still have no idea what’s going on in Corrie and you’re hiding from seeing any spoilers? Making sacrifices, as small as watching the football, is so appreciated by your partner, just make sure you get to watch your show next time!
Compliment a stranger. If you like someone’s top, hair cut or just the way they acted towards you (or someone else), tell them!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts on kindness in the comments below. What was the last ‘random act of kindness’ someone did for you? Or what did you do for someone else? Do you have to sometimes make a conscious effort to be kind too?

-G x

February Favourites

Hi, loves!

I said this last month, but wow I can’t believe how quickly this month has passed. It seems like I blinked and the month was over, but Matt and I have had such a fun month, filled with so much love and happiness, which is what February is all about! I’m not too excited for March because Matt is going away on a work trip (just for one night, which still feels like forever haha) and for a weekend with the boys in Berlin! I’m so excited for him to make amazing memories but I’m already dreading how much I’m going to miss him! BUT there’s so many things to look forward to also! It’s Matt’s 25th birthday, Spring begins, we’re planning a spa day, and hopefully the weather will be warming up even more. It’s been so warm for February in the UK, I’m not convinced it’s a good thing although the sunny days have got me so excited for Spring, I literally can’t wait. I’ve got lots of favourites from this month, so let’s dive right in…

*All beauty products recommended are cruelty free*

Valentine’s Dinner at Tomahawk Steakhouse
Matt and I had the best early Valentine’s date at our favourite restaurant; we had the most amazing steaks and ate SO much food we were full until lunch time the next day. We always go to this restaurant for special ocassions and it’s such a happy place for us both; the food is amazing, the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are lovely. We get different sides and share them between us, but the mac n cheese is to die for – Matt isn’t a huge fan generally and even he loves this one! If you’re in Newcastle I’d highly recommend this restaurant for any special ocassion, it’s worth every penny. We also had such a fun Valentine’s weekend together, which I shared with you in this post, it was absolutely a highlight of the month.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte)
This is my new holy-grail foundation, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to purchase! I used the original formula a few years back (I picked it up in Florida well before it was available in the UK) but then when I ran out I couldn’t re-purchase and I forgot all about it. I’ve tried so many foundations over the years but I’m never fully happy with some aspect of it, except this one ticks every box for me. It’s lightweight on the skin, covers all redness/imperfections (although I do always use concealer over the top of any spots or redness) and it lasts all day. I always set with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder and I never have issues with it coming off through the day.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte) in Fair – £31.50

Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo and Conditioner
GUYS. I’m always so honest with you on my blog and I only talk about products I truly love and believe in. But wow, I really bloody love these! I bought this shampoo and conditioner when I ran out of what I was using, and all I wanted was to buy a good quality, cruelty free option (without spending a fortune). Shampoo and conditioner are those type of products I always thought you could buy along with your grocery shop and not think much more about it, but my hair was SO damaged and cheap formulas were just not doing it. After doing a ton of research, I picked up these and I’m so shocked at how much the quality of my hair has changed in just a few weeks. My hair looks so much better after washing, lasts longer without looking/feeling greasy between washes and these products smell SO GOOD. I also think my hair styles much better since using these, and I’ve noticed that my hair doesn’t break anywhere near as much as it used to. If you’re in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner I’d highly recommend picking these up!
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo – £7.00
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Conditioner – £7.00

Leopard Print Everything
I flipping love leopard print, and I’ve been wearing tons of leopard print items over the past month! From scarves to shirts to sock boots, I’ve wore it constantly, and I’m not complaining. Much to Matt’s dismay my eye is automatically drawn to anything leopard print, and I definitely want to pick up some makes-my-heart-sing leopard print pieces for the Spring/Summer months. I’ve talked so much about how I no longer want to be an active part of the fast fashion industry, so any items I buy will be things I can definitley wear for years to come. I realise it’s only the end of February but this warm weather has me so excited to buy things for Summer! I’m especially excited to buy things for our holiday to Croatia, and I’m on the lookout for a leopard print pool cover up!
Boots – New Look (old)

Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess
This was a lovely and super generous Valentine’s gift from Matt (isn’t he just the cutest) that I’d wanted for so long! This lipstick is even better than I hoped it would be; it’s the perfect tea-rose shade, and wearable day or night. The formula is creamy and hydrating, and it lasts so well on the lips! This shade was made for Kate Middleton, and just knowing that makes me feel like a princess when I wear it. As always with anything from Charlotte Tilbury, the packaging is beautiful; it’s in a weighty, rose gold tube that makes me want to re-apply at any given moment, just to look at it!
Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess – £24.00

Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter
This product is the definition of an oldie but a goodie to me, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog for a while I’m sure you would have seen it featured many times. I use this (almost – I’m not perfect, okay!?) every night when I get out of the bath or shower, and it is hands-down my favourite body butter for when my skin’s feeling dry, or just for a little luxury. I love the smell so much and it dries in so quickly, which is something I always look for in a good moisturiser.
Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter – £12.50

Soph Hearts Blog
I’ve read Sophie’s blog for a while, but I just think she is smashing it more and more with her content and deserves a little extra recognition. I recently followed her on social media (a goal this year was to interact more with the bloggers behind blogs I read and love) and I’m so glad I did. Sophie is such a sweetheart, she takes amazing photos and I love how honest she is with anything she’s sharing. My favourite post from February was this one, about the importance of self-love. I did that thing where you fall into a blog hole, and went back to re-read her Summer posts from last year – her outfits were so cute and gave me major inspo for things I’d like to buy/wear in SS19. If you don’t already follow Sophie or read her blog, please go give her some love!
www.sophhearts.com

Berry Trifle Yankee Candle
I’ve actually got a few favourite candles from this month, but this one pips the others to the top of the list as it’s the one we’ve burned the most. Matt’s lovely mam bought me this ‘just because’ back in November, and I’d been saving it to burn after my Christmas candles ran out. Matt and I have candles burning literally every night; they make our evenings so cosy and relaxed, and just generally make me feel happy. This candle smells incredible, without being too strong, and fills the room. It’s a beautiful warming scent, but thankfully doesn’t give you the urge to go grab some baked goods like most candles in the food category!
Berry Trifle Yankee Candle – £25.00

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products/things from this month? I’m crossing my fingers for warm, Spring weather in March!

-G x