Weekend In My Life: Celebrating My 26th Birthday In Lockdown

Hi, loves! I’m so excited to have taken a bunch of photos to document my 26th birthday by, because it’s my first (and hopefully last) lockdown birthday! What a weird season of life, right? We couldn’t celebrate in our usual way; Matt and I normally go on a trip – we’d actually hoped earlier in the year to visit Krakow around my birthday weekend, we’d celebrate with family dinner and we’d go out for drinks with friends. But, I still had such an amazing birthday weekend, and I’m so grateful to Matt and my family for making my birthday so special 🙂

F R I D A Y

I LOVE Friday’s. It’s the start of the weekend, I work a much shorter day (I start late and finish early, what could be better!?) and I have the Friday feeling from the second I open my eyes that morning. Matt had to start at 8am (sucks to be him, hehe) so I got up with him to make his breakfast and finish up my blog post. I enjoyed a cup of tea, made my post live and got ready for the day. I’ve really took the extra time I have in the mornings on a Friday to get ready slowly; I spend way more time on my skincare routine and my makeup and it just makes me so happy.

How flipping cute is my tie dye tee?! I am actually obsessed with it and have an urge to try tie-dying myself but I know I won’t make anything as cute as this. I had to run a few errands; I went grocery shopping, picked up a parcel and sent some of Matt and I’s returns back to the post office. We’ve been online shopping kinda often recently, although I’ve decided throughout June I’m going to have a No Spend month because there’s honestly nothing I need (or really even want) right now. I always get so excited to hop in my car and drive these days, it actually feels like a treat because I’m getting so used to spending my days inside. I turned the AC up, played Shagged, Married, Annoyed on Spotify and totally enjoyed driving around running errands.

…does anyone else always catch 11:11? It makes me smile every time 🙂 also those little marks aren’t dust. I’m SO Type A and dust my car interior down every time I get in with a microfibre cloth. I used a new one and it shedded. Yes this is very important to know…

My usual Friday work day is 12pm – 5.30pm (when we’re in the office living a normal life!) but working from home I’ve been working 11am – 4.30pm most weeks. I didn’t get home until around 11.30am so I put all our groceries away, quickly picked up and tidied our bedroom (I didn’t have time before I left) then headed to the dining room to start work at 12pm. Around 1.30pm I was flagging and needed a little pick me up (my sleeping pattern is still SO out of sorts. I truly have insomnia, I can be awake up to three hours during the night) so I grabbed a red bull and some lunch. I don’t drink them often but oh my goodness I really love them! I had a really great work day, I felt productive and I was able to get so many things ticked off my to do list for the day. Before I knew it, it was 5.30pm. I turned off my computer, made my to-do list for Monday (HIGHLY recommend doing this, especially if you’re working from home. All of the tasks and things to follow up are fresh in your mind at the end of your work day, makes it so much easier to remember everything when you next sit down) and then my dad told me a delivery had arrived for me…

Surprisingly, I hadn’t ordered anything this day. Haha! The parcel was the best surprise from Matt’s family; Adam & Laura are seriously the sweetest, most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. I was so shocked, they sent the most beautiful bouquet filled with roses, wildflowers and, my very favourite, peonies! I had a blast arranging the flowers – Bloom & Wild send a card that directs you how to make your bouquet look pretty – and I think I’ve changed it around maybe four times since, LOL. I took a nice hot shower, did my skincare routine, got cosy in my pj’s and lit this cute candle. It’s from a small business Dole Wicks Candle Co. (they used to be called Tiki Candle Company hence the label)… Disney and candles? Come on, that’s two of my very favourite things in the whole world! I’d been saving it for this weekend and it smelled so good.

Matt arrived home from work just in time for me prepping dinner. It was Burger Night! We’ve been trying to have ‘fun’ dinners on Friday’s because typically we’d either go out or grab a takeaway on these nights, and we are actually really missing fast food. I am so excited for McDonald’s to re-open, it’s been two months and I’m not exaggerating when I say I need a Big Mac. NEED! That being said, I make a pretty good burger 🙂 I always use brioche buns (duh, they’re the best) and we put spicy cheese inside. Add a little tomato, lettuce and a ton of ketchup, and it’s delish. I washed my makeup brushes and re-organised my skincare (I’m sharing all about my cute little vanity soon!) whilst Matt took a bath. We spent the rest of our evening chilling, watching The Office US in bed and I read a little on my Kindle. I don’t know if it’s me but the weeks fly by in lockdown. I couldn’t believe it was already…

S A T U R D A Y

Have you ever in your life seen anything so cute?! I got up for literally a minute and came back to him cuddling the pillow (very tightly). Hahahaha. So cute!

I woke up super early on Saturday, around 7am, and laid reading my Kindle for almost an hour. I typed up a few blog ideas on my phone, caught up on all the social media I’d ‘missed’ overnight, and Matt still was fast asleep. I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em… I cuddled back in, fell asleep and we didn’t wake up until after 10.30am. I kinda felt lazy but I also kinda loved it. Can I use the birthday weekend excuse? We had the laziest morning in bed watching Amazon Prime and just enjoying the fact we didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. I think the one thing I’m really learning to appreciate most in lockdown is the slower pace of life, I want to write about this in a whole post!

Matt got cosy watching TV whilst I made breakfast lunch burritos! I add sweet potato, sausage, a bell pepper, beans and two eggs to ours. It’s kind of a long process because you have to cook everything separately then add it all together and put it back in the oven, but oh my goodness it’s worth it. This is one of our favourite breakfasts because it’s so filling and it’s the closest we’re going to get to a Mexican breakfast for a little while. We lazed around a little more (…still not feeling guilty!) and Matt watched football whilst I got ready. The German Bundesliga had just come back for the first time since the pandemic and you’ve no idea how GIDDY he was about it, the boy loves sport. I took a shower and got ready, which was even better with freshly cleaned makeup brushes. I have so many makeup brushes but these are the ones I use the most, although usually I’d use a few other eye brushes if I was making an effort with my makeup… like when we were able to socialize!

I love this oversize shirt from Zara. I thrifted it (from Depop, for a grand total of £3.50. Yay for #shoppingsecondhand) and I love how it looks tied at the front with mom jeans. I totally thought I’d get to wear it as a swimsuit coverup this Summer too, but unless I decide to throw on a bikini in the garden I have a feeling that will not be happening. Matt came with me to go back to the post office (again… we had MORE returns!) and whilst he went in I changed from country music to a little bit of Disney. It’s good for the soul. I also popped into Aldi as there was a couple of things I couldn’t get grocery shopping the day before. For the first time since lockdown started I got to go straight into a grocery store without waiting in a huge line outside. It was actually kinda weird!?

We stopped by Matt’s parents to see them through the window (literally the strangest thing, I can’t wait until we can see them properly) and pick up my birthday presents. They’re so sweet to me and always spoil me so so much! We came home to eat Krispy Kreme donuts and get cosy watching TV for a little while. Matt took a bath and I made dinner – chicken and leek pasta bake. It was a total ‘wing it’ dinner and oh wow it might be the best thing we’ve made in a long time. I’ll share it on the blog sometime soon because you need to make it!

Matt had a FaceTime date with the boys and I ended the night drinking a glass of wine in the bath (*cough* two glasses *cough*, Matt may have brought me a refill…), watching Modern Family and having the best little pamper evening. We went to bed pretty late but somehow didn’t struggle to get up the next day!

S U N D A Y

Because it was my birthday! 🙂 we started the day with cups of tea in bed. Matt and I have a tradition of opening our birthday presents and Christmas stockings in bed, it’s one of my favourite things. Matt is literally the most amazing boyfriend ever and I felt so very lucky with all the gifts he got me. He always goes above and beyond, but the best gift I could ask for was spending my birthday with him.

I mean… come on! I am so thankful! (Also Giorgio Armani Si is one of the most beautiful perfumes and has become one of my favorites this year, I highly recommend if you’re looking for something new!)

After we opened presents we went downstairs to open everything from our families. I received so many lovely cards, gifts and money which I am so thankful for. Matt and I’s families are the best 🙂 my mum and dad are crazy (in the best possible way) and bought me AirPods!! I have wanted a pair for so long and I already think they’re the best thing ever. I’d been stealing borrowing Matthew’s for a while so I’m so glad to have my own. I had no idea they’d got them for me, I love them so much. (Jumping in, in real time to say I’m wearing (using?) them right now whilst I type up this post and literally had to just take a five minute break because I was cry laughing at SMA. I frigging love Rosie Ramsey). We had bacon sandwiches, relaxed on the couch and then I took a little extra time to shower, get dressed and ready for the day. I was sooo excited to use my new lipstick, it’s so flipping pretty.

The weather was kinda rubbish – warm but super grey and rainy – but I wanted to wear my pretty new dress so that’s what I did. If you can’t wear a cute dress on your birthday, when can you?! Just as we were getting ready to leave my sweet godmother and her daughter stopped by with my card and gift. We talked out on the driveway for half an hour and it was SO good to see them! Like everyone else, Matt and I miss seeing family and friends so much, but it’s already so apparent how much more we’ll appreciate those times post-lockdown.

We picked up another super generous birthday gift from my aunt and uncle, and headed for the beach! We were planning to go for a little walk along the beach (my happiest place) but once we got closer it was very clearly not safe to get out. Since lockdown has been ever so slightly lifted in the UK people are free to go to the beach, but it was like it was the Summer holidays with no lockdown in place. I was kinda sad because I’ve been looking forward to going back to the beach since lockdown started, but I’d much rather be safe. From what we saw driving along the coast there was very little social distancing happening; people were in big groups, pretty much all of the food places were open and the lines outside were huge. It was so lovely to drive along the coast even just for half an hour though, it lifted our spirits so much and it was nice to see somewhere a little different.

So grey but still oh so pretty!
Two of my very favourite products for double cleansing!

…unfortunately, I got car sick. LOL. I don’t know why this happens but if I’m not driving I’ve started to get really bad car sickness. I had a headache and Matt said I was ‘green’ …delightful. I changed into comfy clothes, got cosy under a blanket and took a twenty minute nap. I woke up feeling so much better and spent a few hours just enjoying time with Matt, my mum and my brother. I also got my birthday present off my brother (he was still asleep when we left because he’d been up until God knows when watching UFC!). He bought me a bottle of Dior Joy, which is another of my favourite perfumes. My perfume collection is now fully stocked again and I’m so happy 🙂 I actually just picked up the cutest mirrored perfume tray that I’m completely obsessed with, I love displaying my perfumes out on my vanity! I took an extra long time to do my evening skincare, shower and then my dad arrived home from work with our favourite takeout…

DELISH!

We literally love our local Indian takeaway! It was as always, so good. I spent a little time with my dad after not seeing him all day, Matt took a bath, I caught up on my YouTube subscriptions for an hour which is one of my favourite things to do, we drank Dole Whip’s (with Malibu in, it was a great choice, I highly recommend!) and got super cosy for the night watching… you guessed it… The Office. We love a lil bit of Michael Scott. We also may have stuffed our faced with my birthday cake (red velvet cake is literally the best thing in the whole world to me) 🙂

Thank you so much for reliving my birthday weekend with me!

-G x

The Most Exciting Skincare Haul: Caroline Hirons Spring Kit 1

Happy Sunday, loves! As any of my lovely regular readers will know, I am a HUGE fan of Caroline Hirons. I love that she has so much knowledge, I love the way she cares about her following, I love that she is becoming more successful by the freaking day and is still so humble, I love how she takes no sh*t and I really bloody love that she always has her Freaks at heart. It’s me. I’m a Freak. 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look at this Facebook group. We love skincare, we love Queen C, and we love tea. That’s about it?!

I had been anticipating the arrival (like all of the Freaks) of the Spring Kit for months; I was hyped up and I knew I had to purchase! When I found out the kit was being released in May I was SO excited to treat myself as an early (and very splurge-y) birthday present, and I’m officially now on a beauty product no buy. Until Caroline’s Summer Kit comes out…

Caroline outdid herself and actually created two kits. Kit 1 (the one I opted for) was aimed more towards the younger audience and people who are dealing with breakouts in lockdown, or in general. Kit 2 was for more mature skins and those who are more dry during lockdown, or in general. Thankfully both kits were suitable for sensitive skin, and my combination acne-prone skins is super excited for all of the new additions to my collection. The kits were released two weeks ago, which one of the fantastic girls in the Facebook group likened to ‘Kitmas Day’ – Caroline should officially coin this term, right?! – and the biggest Internet meltdown I’ve witnessed began. The kits went on sale at 12pm, and the site crashed at 12.01pm. Yep, we’re good! I took lunch around 2pm, and the site was still down. Fast forward a few more hours, I was just finishing up work at around 4.30pm and grabbed my iPad to take back upstairs (LOL, ‘finishing work’ is defined by ‘going upstairs’ right now… what a weird time of life!) and I assumed I’d missed out completely on the kit. However… I opened up Safari, refreshed the page I had left open… and there it was! I counted down for a week and a half until my kit was dispatched and I literally was so giddy poor Andy – my DPD driver, we’ve got pretty well acquainted since lockdown started – didn’t get chance to ring the doorbell. I was literally waiting with the door open. HAHAHA. Also, everything except two products in the kit are new to me! 

Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Treatment Cleanser (Sensitive Skin) RRP £20
First off, I just need to say how much I adore Jordan Pacitti, the founder of JSS. He puts so much effort and thought into his products and his personal customer service is second to none. He is such a kind, sweet soul and his brand is one of my very favourite skincare brands I’ve ever tried. Anything he makes I will buy. I LOVE him! That being said, this cleanser is one of the products I had already used before and it’s one of my holy grail cleansers! I love this for removing makeup, as a second cleanse or as a morning cleanse. It’s a fantastic multi use product, and I’m obsessed with the limited edition yellow packaging on this tube! It was made just for Caroline’s kit and matches to the pantone of her blog. #goals I will re-buy this cleanser forever, I love that it never irritates my sensitive skin or causes breakouts. It also removes makeup so gently without feeling stripping. When you next need to replace a cleanser (or if you just fancy a fun treat!) I highly recommend this product.

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel RRP £89
Full disclosure: these acid wipes are something I would have never purchased, as they normally retail for a whopping £89… and that is just crazy to me. That being said, as someone who has suffered with acne and breakouts for over seven years and heard how much this product has helped people, I’ve wanted them for a long time. I admire Dr Dennis Gross and his products so much; it’s all science based and there’s no frills with anything he makes. Maybe one day my regular skincare budget will stretch to include his products! This is a two-step product; you use ‘wipe one’ to eliminate dead skin cells with a mix of acids, then ‘wipe two’ is used two minutes later to balance your skin out. He explains it really well in the video on the product page I linked. Acid exfoliators work so much better for me, I cannot use physical exfoliators as they just cause irritation. I really hope to see an improvement in the texture of my skin; I have acne pigmentation marks left on my cheeks and although they’ve lightened considerably over the years they could definitely look better. I’m currently experiencing an allergic reaction (I think it may be a food allergy but I don’t know what to. Thankfully it’s not really on my face, but it is on my chest/neck and has slightly spread to my jawline) so I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m so excited to! They are gentle enough to be used every day but I think as my skin is super sensitive I’ll probably only use two to three times per week.

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening And Depuffing Eye Contour Cream RRP £60
I think this was the most exciting product in the kit for me! I have lusted over Sunday Riley for years. The iconic packaging and cult following have made this brand one I’d just dreamed of owning, but the price points are crazy high and I’ve never been able to justify paying them. Then I was lucky enough to get this kit! I’ve been using this eye cream the past few days and I am absolutely obsessed with it. I kinda hoped I wouldn’t think it was amazing because I can’t imagine I’ll be able to justify spending £60 (!!!) to replace it. BUT, I’m going to continue to use it (sparingly) and love it, and maybe it could be a very generous Christmas gift… from myself… to myself… My under-eye area is pretty dry and I sometimes suffer with eczema – more in the colder months – so I need a hydrating eye cream. This is extremely hydrating, and I swear it makes my eyes look brighter immediately on application. It’s very depuffing which is so appreciated in the morning. I also love how makeup applies over it! Is it worth five times the price of my regular day eye cream? Probably not. Do I love it? YES!

Oskia Super C Smart Nutrient Beauty Capsules RRP £62 (for 60 capsules)
I am not going to lie… I’m a little scared to use these! I adore Oskia as a brand; I’ve used a few products from them and they’re very luxurious and also work really well. That being said, I’ve not gotten on great with Vitamin C in the past. I was using products from The Body Shop and Pixi that worked great for a while, then they started to cause me lots of irritation. I stopped using them and the irritation almost immediately stopped. I was then scared to use Vitamin C again but Caroline said this Vitamin C was very gentle, and anyone that had experienced issues or irritation in the past with Vitamin C should be fine with this. I do really love how Vitamin C makes your skin g l o w so I’d love to find one that works for my skin. Also, the capsules are heart shaped and biodegradable… and how flipping cute is the little personalised case?! I will definitely be re-purposing this when we’re able to travel again.

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex RRP £38
If you don’t have a hyaluronic acid serum in your skincare routine, where have you been!? I love love love hyaluronic acid as an ingredient, and over the past year or so a HA serum has become a must in my morning skincare routine. I sometimes use it in the evenings too but usually I prefer to use my ‘treatment’ products then. I freaking love Jordan Samuel’s hyaluronic serum although I also really enjoy The Inkey List’s; it’s so inexpensive and it works a treat! NIOD is a new brand to me; they are owned by Deciem, the parent company of The Ordinary – another brand I love – so all of their products are created with science in mind. The NIOD MMHC is a ‘Freaks favourite’ and one of the most recent products to experience #TheCarolineEffect. That’s when she talks about how good something is and it immediately sells out 🙂 I’ve used this the past couple of days, although it’s noticeably nicer to use than my go-to from the The Inkey list (which is expected, it’s got extra stuff in there to make it feel luxe) it’s very similar to JSS. My first impressions are good, and I’m excited to see how I get on with this! 

Ren EVERCALM Global Protection Day Cream RRP £36
This is the other product in the kit that I’ve used before and after just a few days I’m truly SO happy to have this back in my life! I love love love the Ren EVERCALM range – if you have sensitive skin and/or suffer with acne and breakouts, I can’t recommend it enough – and I forgot just how much I adored this day cream. I use the Ren EVERCALM cleansing gel every day as my second cleanse and it’s been a saviour for my skin! This moisturiser doesn’t pill at all, keeps my face hydrated all day without making my T Zone oily and it also doesn’t break me out. I can’t tell you how many moisturisers I’ve tried in the quest to find something that works well with my skin type. Although before this arrived I’d been using the Cerave Facial Moisturising Lotion morning and night, I’m pretty sure this will be my go-to day cream going forward. It’s incredible and I’ve no idea why I stopped using it? I think I ran out when I was at the height of my ‘I must try every product EVER’ phase, but now when I find products I love I prefer to either only use them, or alternate with products from a couple of other tried and tested brands. 

Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF 30 RRP £55
SPF is one of the most important products you could ever use in your skincare routine. For a really long time I couldn’t find a SPF that worked well for me (by not breaking me out and not piling under makeup) but then I discovered The Body Shop’s Skin Defence and that all changed. That’s been my go-to SPF for so long and I always recommend it to people! I tried this for the first time on Friday and guys… I’m blown away by how much I liked it! This is not just a bog standard SPF. It’s technically a moisturiser so can be used as just your final step in your routine, but I like to use a moisturizer then apply SPF. My skin is pretty dehydrated so it needs all the goodness it can get! This SPF also protects against blue light, pollution and infrared, and it has anti-aging properties to boot. As I turn 26 on the day this post goes live, I guess it’s time to think about that! This didn’t affect my makeup application at all, it actually made my makeup look flawless. It did cause a white cast when first applied, but it rubbed in really well and was not noticeable once I had makeup on. It’s also not greasy or heavy feeling which is a huge plus, I’m really excited to use this more.

Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of Caroline too? What’s something you’ve bought on her recommendation?! I’d love to know if you have any favourite products amongst the ones in this post, I’m so excited to continue using them over the coming months and see how I feel about them. I always re-purchase a product before it ends when I really love it so I’m excited to see if that happens with any of the new-to-me products.

-G x