What’s What!

Hello my loves!

Guess who’s back?! Back again, ‘gain, ‘gain…

It has been SO long since I sat down and wrote to you all and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you guys and my blog. It’s actually exactly one month today since I posted saying I’d be taking some time away which is unintentional, but it feels right to bring my blog back now. Things are going to look a little different around here, but I am officially back in the blogging world and I’m so excited. I hope you’re all well and have had a fabulous month since we last spoke! Grab a cup of tea and settle in, in true www.gillianfinn.com style, we’ve got a long old post… 🙂

We love an awkward car selfie 🙂

What things are going to be looking like on the blog:
I took a break from blogging for several reasons; 1) I just needed a little time to adapt to our ‘new normal’ as things were opening back up again, 2) I felt like I was taking so much time up with taking photos, planning content, writing etc that it was not  becoming enjoyable and 3) I really wanted to just relax a little more as I’d been feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I still don’t feel 100%, but I do feel much better than I did at the end of July. 

I really love my blog and I’m so freaking proud of it! I knew I was only going to take a short break, but having that time away has made me realise that I don’t want to stress myself out about getting 2 – 3 posts up per week. I work full time, I am trying to get back into a social life (thank you, ‘Rona) and I need to make sure I prioritise my self care time too. I’m going to be uploading once per week for now, although as and when I can I’m really hoping to upload ‘bonus’ posts!

What I’m loving:
As you may have noticed from the photo above, I got my hair dyed this month! My roots look a little darker in that photo than they are now as this was taken the day after I got it dyed, they’ve lightened up just a tad after I’ve washed it 🙂 I had a not-so-great salon experience in July and was desperate to get it fixed. Going to a new salon is always scary! I can’t believe how much better I feel since I got my hair done, I really feel like a new person and I’m just so happy with it. I’ve not been this blonde for years and I kinda feel like I’m wearing a wig – LOL! – but it’s just so fun to try something new. Also, I already have a few things, but if you have any must-have products you use to keep your blonde hair healthy and happy, please let me know!

What I’m buying:
Well… Matt and I accidentally fell into Homesense the other day and their Autumn candles are already out! I was very reserved and only picked up two, but really I could have bought twelve. How flipping cute is that lid?! I had a huge wardrobe clear out a couple weeks ago so I’m really excited to see the A/W clothing slowly filter through into stores websites. I don’t really buy many clothes and I try to #shopsecondhand as much as I can, but there’s a couple of gaps I need to fill in my wardrobe ahead of the colder weather coming. I really need some new basic sweaters that I can dress up or down, and I’d love to grab a couple pretty shirts/blouses to wear for evenings out. I’d also love one or two more midi dresses as I wear the few I have all the time and it would be nice to switch things up a little!

What I’m watching:
All the shows! Matt and I have finally gotten back into a routine of watching shows almost every evening and I’m so happy about it. It’s so nice to unwind and relax after work. I’m still working from home for the foreseeable future so making sure to disconnect from work whilst in the same space is something I think is really important. I binge watched season three of Selling Sunset – it fills a void since the Laguna Beach & The Hills days! – and I already can’t wait for season four. Chrishell is just my favourite, I love her! We’re watching The Office (duh) and Friends reruns, we flew through Down To Earth with Zac Efron and now we’re watching season three of World’s Toughest Prisons. We really enjoy this show and watched the first two seasons around a year ago – some of the things that happen in these places is literally mind-blowing! 

This photo was taken at Eden Locke Hotel in Edinburgh at the start of August. I wish I’d had lighter hair then!

What I’m reading:
I just started a new book this past weekend; Hello Again by Isabelle Broom. So far I’m really enjoying it, I’m 24% of the way through and I’m already obsessed with the characters and making assumptions on what will happen next. I haven’t been reading as much recently just because I haven’t been making the time for it but since lockdown began back in March I’ve read tons of books. My stand out favourite was by far The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Friends, this was my favorite book I’ve read ALL YEAR! I had no idea what to expect; almost every time I guessed what the next part of the story would be I was so wrong. I laughed, I cried, I just loved it. I highly recommend!

What I’m excited about:
For me, August bank holiday marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. I can’t really explain it but I feel like September 1st is a fresh start in the way most people see January 1st! I’m taking my mum out for a treat, Matt and I have dinner plans with our friends, the most exciting/scary/nerve-wracking appointment of our lives and we’re hiking Thrunton Woods too. I might just record a Weekend In My Life because it’s going to be FUN! I know technically we have warm (ish) weather in September and sometimes through to mid-October, but I cannot wait for all things cold weather. I am so excited for pumpkin spice drinks, layering clothes, wearings scarves, coats & boots, dark gel nails… the list goes on! 

What skincare product I’m obsessed with:
I am SO happy with my skincare routine I’ve used religiously for a few months, but wearing a mask just here and there throughout the week is making my cheeks/jaw break out. Maskne is real, people. I realise so many people have to wear masks for literally 12 hours per day (you’re all amazing and I truly don’t know how you do it!) but just literally a couple hours per week means I’ve had to really focus on products that prevent breakouts and acne. I’m super acne prone so this isn’t really shocking, honestly. The one treatment I’ve been using per week has helped so. freaking. much. I’m talking about The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution, this works so well! This past Sunday my mum, Matt and I all enjoyed a little facial (courtesy of me, obvs!) and they really love the effects too. I’m going to be talking about how/when I use this in next week’s post, but if you pick this up please read full instructions on how to use the product and introduce it slowly; this is a chemical peel and if you use it like many people show on TikTok you’re at risk of chemical burns!

What I’m planning:
It’s Matt and I’s third anniversary in September and we’re really hoping to squeeze in a weekend away to celebrate! We would love to go to a spa hotel with a good area to hike/explore around there, but we’re a little reluctant to book somewhere until a little closer to the time as local lockdowns can happen with no notice. We are also looking for the best deal possible, too! It seems our Covid cases are creeping back up again so I’m not sure we want to travel very far, if we’ll even be able to. We’re leaning towards The Lake District or Yorkshire, so if you have any hotel/cabin recommendations please let me know!

What I’m burning:
Before I take a deep dive into my Autumn candles, Matt and I have been burning Somewhere Far Away by Our Lovely Goods this past week. I think the packaging is just so minimalistic and beautiful, I love how it looks sitting on my vanity table whether it’s lit or not. The amber glass jars are just so pretty and unique! All their candles burn so evenly which is really important to me, it bugs me so much when candles tunnel down the middle and you’re left with tons of wasted wax at the end. I also have word from the lovely couple behind OLG that they are launching Autumn scents on September 1st, I cannot wait to pick ten one up! Supporting small businesses is so important – now more than ever. I wrote this post a couple of months ago sharing how you can help if you’re wanting to do more.

What else is new:
Honestly, not much! At the beginning of August Matt and I had a little staycation in Scotland, we stayed in South Queensferry for one night and then spent one night in Edinburgh; we had the most amazing time. We just love everything about Edinburgh, it’s my favourite city ever and I’m so grateful we live close enough that we can visit often. I think I mentioned this a little while ago but I’m having really random stomach issues (that may be gluten related – I really hope not) so fingers crossed I can get that figured out soon. Other than that, I am so happy we’re able to go out to eat again! We’ve got two double dates scheduled in for next week with some amazing friends and we’re going on a date night just the two of us – we never eat out three times in a week but we’re making the most of it while we can and I can’t wait. I’m also really excited that our beauty services are back up and running in the UK, I absolutely love having gel nails again. They make me feel so happy and it’s the best self care treat to myself every couple weeks. I can’t recommend my lovely friend Emma enough; if you’re in the southern Northumberland area go check her out!

Well…. I told you it was a long ‘un! How are you all?! I hope you’ve had a great Summer so far, even though this is hands down the weirdest year we’ve ever experienced. It really teaches you to make the most of the little things, right? See you next week my friends! 🙂 

-G x

Weekend In My Life: WFH, First Weekend Of Summer, Exploring In The North

Happy MONDAY, my loves! 

Matt and I had a heck of a week last week, Matt’s auntie Hilary sadly lost her battle with cancer. We spent the week grieving and reminiscing on happy memories. It was pretty unexpected, but we are grateful she is out of pain and at peace. If you pray, we’d so appreciate if you kept Matt’s family in your prayers 🙂 

We picked ourselves up and packed so much fun, love and joy into this weekend. We were super grateful for a little sunshine and warm weather, and we’re so excited the next week is going to be filled with sunny days, we’re going to make the most of those after work! Let’s throw it back to Friday…

Friday

Friday’s are my favourite days of the week 🙂 I love the anticipation of the weekend coming and I 100% believe the weekend starts on Friday. Matt and I slept in a little and didn’t wake up until around 7.30am which was great! I start late and finish early on Friday’s, and on this particular day Matt had a breakfast meeting (via Zoom) so wasn’t in a hurry to get ready and head into work.

I made us breakfast and cups of tea, showered and got ready for the day. I love sitting at my vanity table each morning! I watched a couple of Bonnie Hoellein’s old vlogs whilst I got ready – I can’t stop re-watching old vlogs from my favorite YouTuber’s – and got ready to head out to M&S. We’re super happy the Dine in for £10 pizza deal is back so I had gone to grab those for dinner that evening. If you go, make sure to get the loaded potato skins, they’re one of our fave things M&S makes! Also, this mug makes me so happy, Disney + yellow = happiness.

I was in and out of M&S within twenty minutes and I was so happy to get a bunch of our favourite things. Strange thing: I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this recently but I cannot find nice strawberries ANYWHERE. Matt doesn’t like strawberries but I love them and could happily eat a whole packet per day. Half the time when I do our weekly grocery run I can’t get them, and when I have been able to get them they’re super sour and gooey inside. If you’re having this problem… head to Marks & Spencer. They’re the same price as any other supermarket but they’re the only ones I’ve found that taste really good right now. Matt had headed out whilst I was shopping for an in-person meeting – I can’t remember what they feel like! – so I put away our groceries, changed into sweats and sat down to start my work day. I was half way through our office quiz when he got back home (yep, best job ever) so he set up his little work station in our office at the dining table and we worked for a few hours together.

One of my most favourite things about at-home work days is that Matt works from home once or twice per week too and we get to enjoy our lunch breaks together! A mid-week lunch date? We’re so lucky. We had soup (Tarka Dahl is THE BEST, even if the photo below doesn’t do it justice) with fresh sourdough and it was the perfect lunch. We had planned to eat outside but it suddenly got super dark and windy – I swear we’re experiencing all four seasons in one day recently. We got back to work for a few more hours…

Sneaking a peek at this handsome chap between my monitors… 🙂

…ate an afternoon snack and before we knew it 4.30pm had rolled around, our work day was done! Matt popped out to the post office whilst I finished up a couple things, and then we had an accidental nap. We literally lay down to watch a little TV to unwind then woke up 45 minutes later. OOPS! Matt had been whinging at asking me to cut his hair again for a couple of days so we grabbed ten minutes before the rain started and I played barber. I see girls so excited about cutting their partner’s hair and I don’t get it. I hate cutting Matt’s hair! I find it really stressful and I know that I’m really not good (lol) so I can’t freaking wait until his barber is back at work. I really need my hair done but I know I won’t feel comfortable heading to the salon for a long time yet. I think it’s going to take me a very long time to feel comfortable doing ‘normal’ life things again! Does anyone else feel like that or am I crazy?!

Check out that post-nap hair. I also slept with MAKEUP ON! Euuurggghh! I would never sleep with makeup on (even for 45 minutes) so I felt extra gross when we woke up!

Post hair cut, we showered up and spent the majority of our evening relaxing, eating dinner, and watching football. Man U were playing (my family are HUGE Man U supporters) so we watched the game with the fam and it was so nice, even if they didn’t win! Also… have you tried honey on a pepperoni pizza? It’s literally the only way I can eat pepperoni pizza now, I swear it’s the most delicious thing ever! We ended our evening snuggled in bed watching The Office, which is truly our happiest place.

Saturday

Saturday morning rolled around a little too quickly for my liking… I was EXHAUSTED. We wanted something quick and easy to eat, and cinnamon rolls are our go-to weekend breakfast so I made a beeline to the kitchen to bake them. I always use the Jus Rol pack and they’re soooo delicious. I never use the icing they provide though, we get this one in bulk at Costco. Pro tip!

We ate breakfast together, drank huge cups of tea, got ready and headed out to our very favourite place…

…the beach! We loveeee the beach so much. I have been feeling kinda down, on edge and anxious recently (probably because things are opening back up/people are completely ignoring social distancing rules and it’s making me very nervous) but literally an hour by the sea and I felt like a whole new person. I just feel so relaxed and happy there; we go at least once per week but we decided during Summer we really want to go more often. This week we’re going to go late one evening to watch the sunset, I’m so excited!

I love you so much 🙂
pure happiness ❤️

We walked along the coast for a little while – it was pretty busy but it’s a big enough space that you never really felt ‘too’ close to people. I think if the weather had been a little better I would have hated how busy it was, tbh. We walked back to the car and headed back home, via the Number One Ice Cream Spot in the North East*. Seriously though for us, nothing beats Arrighi’s ice cream. NOTHING! We always get vanilla/original flavour because it’s the best. If you live here I would guess you’re as big a fan as we are, but if you’re ever visiting Up North you need to try it! We sat in the sun and ate our ice cream, it was a truly perfect, serene ten minutes 🙂

*not official information 😉

We were only out for a little while as Matt had golf booked in with the boys at 3pm. He had to get sorted for that and drive to the golf course around 45 minutes away, so we didn’t want to be pushed for time. He headed out to golf (and had the best time!) whilst I jumped in my car and went grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure some people might think I well and truly drew the short straw here, but I really enjoy grocery shopping (I mean, I like it much more pre-COVID but y’know). I love planning our meals out for the week and picking up everything we need. I also love putting in my headphones and listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed and laughing my way through the store!

Matt was out for a good four/five hours so when I got back I cleaned, changed our bed sheets and did a yoga workout. I really really really want to get back into a good routine with yoga, I used to be so good with practicing at least four times per week but now it’s once or twice, and even then I have to push myself. I only set out to do this practice, but I enjoyed it so much I also did this one. Adrienne is by far my favourite virtual teacher! I had a new hair treatment to use from Aussie – spoiler: I really enjoyed it – so I was super excited for a nice long bath. There’s nothing quite like a post yoga bubble bath; I grabbed a Diet Coke and started a new book on my Kindle, it was the perfect start to my evening.

Matt arrived home from golf with Chinese food and I cannot tell you how excited I was, we were so hungry! Sorry that so many of the photos in this post are food… LOL! This was the best takeaway we’ve had in a really long time, we ate sooo much and had no regrets. Matt took a long bath, I watched a bunch of my favourite YouTube subscriptions and then we ended the night watching… The Office. Obviously!

Sunday

We both woke up much later than planned, we didn’t get out of bed until after 9am which is just not like us! I jumped out of bed to shower, do my makeup, clean up our room and get dressed. Matt usually takes longer than me to get ready (he’ll totally dispute this) but he got ready pretty quickly and popped out to get petrol whilst I packed us a picnic for later in the day. I love picnics so much, they’re my favourite! He got back just as I was finishing up so we left my dad’s Father’s Day gifts for him to open when he woke up, packed up the car and headed to our new favourite countryside location… Stocksfield!

We found the most incredible place a few weeks back that we’ve decided is going to be our Summer spot. We typically spend so much time at the beach but with all the social distancing guidelines sunny weekend days at the beach will be few and far between. We do have tons of places we want to spend time at this Summer (there may be a Summer bucket list coming up very soon with lots of fun ideas…) but there are so many beautiful countryside spots around this area and we just can’t wait to explore more. We went on a small easy hike and enjoyed a couple hours out in the countryside.

We played ‘hide from the rain under the big trees’ at least four times, but the sun even came out a couple times too! It was mostly grey and cloudy but that was perfect, some of those hills are really steep so we appreciated it being a little cooler.

We saw so many squirrels! 🙂
Checking if Matt liked butter… he does. I know this because I’ve made approx 99% of his food for the past (almost!) three years, but it was good to have it confirmed. LOL! Did anyone else do this as a kid?!

One thing we really need to get is hiking gear. We’ve been thinking about it for a couple weeks but we need to really need to get some bits soon. I’d like a couple pairs of new leggings to rotate through, a pair of shorts and a few ‘workout’ tops. Matt wants some nice shorts and a few t-shirts that he can wear too. We also both desperately need hiking shoes/boots as we have so many hikes and adventures we want to do this Summer and really don’t have the appropriate footwear. Omg we’re 70 years old I swear. I’ve found a couple brands that look really good but if you have any suggestions please let me know?!

We followed a bunch of trails and ended up on the other side of the valley from where we parked. All of the country lanes look so alike it’s really hard to differentiate from where you are, so I had dropped a pin on Google maps in case we got lost and needed to find our way back. Great thinking, right?! Not so much, once we got out of the woods (on the other side) we had zero service. You can’t easily walk back through the woods because there’s so many tracks this way and that, and who knows which turns we took?!

Matt somehow managed to get us back to where we parked the car pretty quickly, even though we were nowhere near where we started! I have no idea how he does it but he has this incredible internal geography. Like, we’ll visit somewhere one time, or even just drive through it, and then we’ll be there again maybe even years later and he knows exactly where to go. I however barely know my left from right. Thank God opposites attract or we’d still be out there looking for our car! We made it back to the car for a picnic whilst sitting on the edge of the boot, we were so hungry as we’d not even ate breakfast. There’s something about picnics that will always remind me of reading Famous Five books when I was a kid, I so wanted to be part of the gang. I wanted my own Timmy!

We headed to visit with Matt’s parents in their garden and give Matt’s dad his Father’s Day presents. He is the best person to give gifts to, he is always so excited it melts my heart 🙂 after we went home to chill out, work on a couple things and of course… to watch the game! Newcastle United were playing, Matt is SO EXCITED football is back and I kinda am too, we’re both really missing going to the games. We snuggled up on the couch and it was so nice to win, the final score was 3-0! It’s really weird that there’s no fans in the stadium but they’re playing the sound effects of a crowd. We popped out at half time to the Co-Op to pick up a few things and Matt grabbed custard donuts (one of my favourite things). He also go me a Milky Way (another of my favourite things) and I’m already thinking about how good it will be to eat it during my work day one day this week…

We finally got to spend a little time with my dad, then I got roped into fixing Matt’s hair (it needed a little more blending from Friday), Matt watched his Formula 1 show on Netflix that he’s become obsessed with, and I worked on planning more blog content. It’s super hard to plan everything in advance but I feel much happier when I know what I need to write/take photos of etc. I have so many fun things planned and I really am so excited to share more of the beautiful North of England with you this Summer 🙂 we also had a freak Summer rainstorm that was so peaceful and calming, I love the rain. We could see the most beautiful rainbow right from our window!

I picked up this candle from Sainsbury’s and I need you all to know how gorgeous it is! It was only five pounds and is the best dupe I’ve ever smelled for Jo Malone’s Peony & Blush Suede. It’s almost 10pm as I’m writing this, we’ve had it burning for over three hours now and it’s barely gone down at all. I don’t like dupes of things that are direct rip offs off high end brands – Peony & Blush Suede is my favourite Jo Malone scent (I always have the perfume in my collection and I have the candle on my bedside table that Matt bought me almost two years ago and I don’t want to burn because it’s so expensive – but this is marketed in it’s own way and smells so incredible. Our whole room smells incredible!

I made us a late dinner; we had a chicken & veggie dish with rice, I just made it up as I went which tends to be how we find our favourite meals! Whilst I was cooking I watched Kristin & Marcus’ video all about their accident. I’ve watched Kristin on YouTube for years and I was so shocked/saddened by their horrendous accident last month, you can watch it here if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I cried watching the video but I’m SO GLAD they’re okay. We washed up, we’ve been watching The Office for a couple hours since dinner, and now I’m writing up this post. For real, I know I talk about The Office so much but it’s seriously the best show ever, we love it and it makes us so happy!

Oversized t-shirts are my favourite thing to wear!

Thank you so much for coming along on our weekend 🙂 how was your weekend? Have the best Monday!

-G x

What I Got For Christmas 2019

Hi, loves! I hope you have all had the best Christmas season with your family and friends, and are still super stuffed and super happy. I feel like the past week has been a blur of giving presents, receiving presents and drinking and eating more than any human ever should. Seriously, I don’t think I really need to eat again for at least three weeks!

Matt and I really had the most fun Christmas Day; we spent the morning with my parents and brother, gift giving and enjoying family time before getting ready and heading over to see Matt’s parents and grandma. We gave more gifts and opened so many lovely presents ourselves, then headed for Christmas Dinner at The Brandling Arms in Gosforth. We went there last year too and it was just the best day! The food is beautiful and the setting was so perfect; it was super chilled and relaxed, and we were all just so happy to spend our day together. When we finished up at the pub, Matt and I went back to my parents house to see all of my extended family, and give/receive even more presents. We ended the day back at Matt’s parents with his godparents too, drinking gin and laughing our heads off at the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special. There has to be a new series, right?! We had the best Christmas and I feel so very lucky and loved.

Disclaimer: of course I’m not trying to brag or show off by sharing these items with you. What I Got For Christmas blog posts and YouTube videos are some of my very favourites to read/watch, because I’m so nosey! Ha, I just really like seeing what other people got for Christmas, and it’s also fun to get gift inspiration for others too. I was spoiled rotten with gift cards, chocolates – including a beautiful tin of chocolates from Brugge from Matt’s cousin and partner, money, perfume, so much ‘lovely bath shit’ (Gavin and Stacey reference, obvs!), jewellery, experience tickets and so much more, but I’ve just picked a handful to show you! Also, I almost put off posting this today because the listing has been SO TERRIBLE and my photos kinda suck. But… life isn’t perfect right?! I hope they’re okay enough!

My ultimate wish list item this year was a Kindle Paperwhite. I really love a real book – the feel, the smell, the ability to pass it on to a family member/friend once I’ve read it – but for so long I’ve wished for a Kindle! I have almost bought myself one a few times but kept stopping myself as it was so expensive, then Matt suggested a few months ago he get me one for Christmas. Knowing he’s had it for literally two months has killed me, I wanted it so bad, ha! I’m hoping to write a first impressions/review post once I’ve had a little more use out of it, but I’ve really been enjoying using it the past few days. It’s beyond convenient to have all of my books in one teeny little device, and it’s so portable! It’s also a huge bonus that Kindle books are way cheaper than paperbacks, and they download instantly. This may spoil any future review post, but I love love love my Kindle! I also got my cute little Universal Studios E.T mug for Christmas too 🙂

A few months ago, my brother went to Canada with his friends. I had mentioned how much I wanted something from the brand Roots, and asked if he saw a store could he please pick me up a t-shirt and I’d give him the money. He fibbed that he didn’t see one store (although a swift Google search showed they were on pretty much EVERY street in Toronto…) and I accepted I’d never own anything. Fast forward to Christmas Day… he’d only gone and bought me a hoodie! This hoodie is so soft and cosy, I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s better than I thought it would be, to be honest! Anything warm, soft, or cosy is a winner for me, and this ticks all of those boxes. I’ve pretty much lived in it since Christmas! Also, I love having things that other people don’t or haven’t heard of, and Roots is not at all well known here in the UK. I’ve already looked to buy online but the shipping rates are so expensive to get it here. Guess Matt and I will just have to book that trip to Canada we’re dreaming of…

I am obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I have them burning every single moment I’m in the house, and Matt is actually becoming a huge fan too. He loves The White Company candles as much as I do, and so kindly bought me the scent Winter, which is one of my favourites. He totally bought it for himself, I’m sure of it! 😉 Matt’s cousin gifted me this sweet little gold, frankinsence and myrrh candle that truly smells like Christmas, and Matt’s parents picked up this Woodwick candle for me. This smells like Summer and I’m determined not to burn it until the weather gets a little brighter and warmer! Last but certainly not least, my aunt and uncle recently went on holiday to Florida and knowing how much I love Bath & Body Works, they treated me to two of their candles! Champagne Toast is one of my favourite ever scents, and Mahogany Teakwood is 100% Matt’s (it really is so beautiful!) so these were such a perfect gift. My uncle also spotted the beautiful glittery snowflake candle holder and thought I’d love it, which I do! I’m like a magpie for all things sparkly, I just can’t help myself.

Matt totally surprised me with a new pair of GHD’s and they are so amazing! My old ones broke a little while ago (after six or seven years) and I bought an alternative brand that really just wasn’t cutting it. I had been planning to use any money I got for Christmas to purchase a new pair but he was so sweet to buy them for me for Christmas, I have loved doing my hair the past few days with these! I forgot just how good GHD’s are; my hair feels/looks so sleek and shiny, and I am obsessed with the scent of their heat protectant spray, something he also gifted to me.

I love jewellery, and my vibe is anything dainty, silver, or Disney. Literally! Matt’s lovely parents spoiled me rotten again this year, and one of my very favourite gifts was a pair of silver daisy earrings from the brand Daisy. I have seen so much about this brand on Instagram but I’ve never purchased before, however these are seriously the cutest. I love the small gold detail in the centre and they’re so comfortable to wear; I really like simple, light earrings that don’t irritate my ears. Among many other lovely gifts Matt surprised me with a Disney Pandora charm – it’s the cutest Dumbo charm, which is one of my favorite ever Disney characters. My Pandora bracelet is now full! I also ordered myself the Missoma Amazonite necklace a few days before Christmas as a little treat to myself. Missoma is my favourite jewellery brand for thin, delicate necklaces, and this layers perfectly with my everyday necklace or looks gorgeous on it’s own.

If I had to describe my favourite feeling in one word it would be cosy. I love anything soft, warm, snuggly… that’s my heaven! I actually have no idea how many pairs of cosy socks I got but it was a lot. Matt’s parents gave me the softest blanket as they know if I’m at home I’m always snuggled under a blanket or three. Matt never used to understand this but now he loves it as much as I do, he’s so into all things cosy and warm too! I love the colour, it’s a dusky lilac and funnily enough goes perfectly with my new dressing gown from my parents. They are both from M&S but they’re not an exact match! M&S dressing gowns are my jam, and I seriously get SO MUCH wear out of my dressing gowns. Matt and I love to wear them round the house in the mornings/evenings, we are such oldies haha. I donated all of my old ones not too long ago and I now have four super good quality ones – that may seem excessive but I probably wear my dressing gown(s) more than I wear real clothes! One of my very favourite presents this year was a new pair of Ugg slippers, they are dreamy. Two years ago for Christmas, Matt bought me a pair of Ugg slippers that I’ve worn every single day since, and I’ve literally worn through them. It feels SO GOOD to have a new pair, I forgot just how fluffy and cosy they are! In my opinion they are 100% worth the money and if you have a little Christmas money for sales shopping I’d definitely recommend picking up a pair!

An oil diffuser is something I’ve wanted for a very long time, partly because Shay talks so highly of them! I read several posts of hers talking about the benefits and how well they work for her and her family, and I was so excited my mum and dad got me one. I actually ordered it for them from Amazon; I just got a basic one to see how I like it to begin with, but Matt and I have used it every night since Christmas and so far we’re really happy with it. I’ve been using a blend of Eucalyptus and Lavender oils each evening which is a perfect sleepy scent, I’d love to talk about this more in a future post once we’ve used it for a lot longer if that’s something you’re interested in. Matt and I have a very specific nighttime routine – Sleep Sounds, pillow spray, dark room etc – so we’re all about adding things in for a great nights sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, did you receive lots of fun gifts? What was your favourite present(s) this Christmas? More importantly, what was your favourite present you gave and who to?! I loved everything I gave to Matt; he really wasn’t expecting most of the gifts and genuinely seemed so happy/surprised, but my favourite was that we gave a pair of Ugg slippers to my mum and Matt’s mum, Debbie. That was their main gift and they both had no idea, I love giving people practical gifts that are something they’d love, but would never buy for themselves. That’s the best kind of gift to receive, right?!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday! In fact, happy (almost) Christmas! I’m posting my Feelin’ It Friday a little early this month as I really wanted to share it with you before Christmas rolls around. Next week is going to be reserved for quality time with my loved ones – once I’m finished work for the year – and honestly I didn’t want to worry about rushing to get a blog post up! There’s a lot going on in this month’s post so let’s dive right in…

What candle I’m burning:
I am burning all of the FESTIVE scents! My favourites every year are Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle and Winter by The White Company, although this year I am obsessed with my Bath & Body Works candles, too. Matt and I’s sweet friends Nathan and David were recently on holiday in the US (not jealous at all…) and they so kindly picked up a few candles and wallflowers for us! Matt and I are both obsessed with ‘Tis The Season so we’ve been burning that most evenings, and we have the wall plug in our room right now too. It’s literally the smell of CHRISTMAS! I have just started burning Pink Fairy Gumdrop which is super sweet and the scent makes me happy. I love love love the pink, glittery packaging and if I could ever be a candle, it would be this one! 

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are addicted to Ghirardelli Peppermint bark. Seriously, addicted! My family has always stocked up on this chocolate when we’re in Florida, so I can’t tell you how excited we were to find it in Costco this year! We’ve bought literally five bags and already eaten two (I mean, it’s a family effort…) it’s just SO GOOD. I love love love chocolate, and I love candy canes. Mixing the two together? Genius. I also have made our own peppermint bark a few times this season and I know it’ll be on rotation throughout the next few weeks!

What I’m watching:
Every Vlogmas video I can possibly keep up with! Matt has been working more late shifts than usual in the run up to Christmas, so I’ve been blogging/editing, watching Vlogmas videos and drinking all the cups of tea before he comes home. I love Niomi Smart’s Vlogmas videos the most again this year! I really enjoy her content year round, but I feel like Vlogmas is the most exciting time because we see so much of her life. She is the sweetest person, and I truly get so much joy from watching her videos. She lives such an incredible life – she’s moving to India with her partner, Joe in January – and I’m so excited to be along for the journey via YouTube! They also just got engaged and it was the most pure, wholesome content I ever did see. Also, I can’t get into how sad I (still) am that Chris didn’t make the Strictly final. I was seriously SO gutted, although Kelvin & Oti are very worthy winners and I am so happy for them both!

What I’m reading:
I just started reading One Day In December by Josie Silver last week, although I really haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like. I love nothing more than a long soak in the bath with a good book, and I am so into this story and the characters! This is my last physical book I’ve got left to read (my sweet boyfriend has bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, I can’t tell you how excited I am to read all of my books on it!) so I’m really making the most of that, too. I’m sure I’ll still read the odd paperback, especially because my mum and Matt’s mum are always sharing books with me that they’ve enjoyed, too. I’m definitely going to be talking a lot more about reading on the blog in the new year, I love it SO much and I see how much you guys love my book related posts! They’re always posts that are searched for and re-read tons of times. (Thanks, you cuties!) I’m not sure if it’ll be a monthly thing or just a here-and-there thing, but I’m excited about it. I really want to review books I’ve read, to be honest, but I’m not sure how that would be! How many ways is there to say “I love this book” or “I didn’t love this book so much”? HAHA, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

This cute bauble was a little gift I gave Matt last year of all the places we’d travelled to in 2018! I ordered him a different personalised one for 2019 that hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m pretty sure it won’t be here in time for Christmas 😦

What I’m excited about:
Christmas and all of the fun things coming up. Spending so much time with Matt and our families, eating delicious food, the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special (low key sad we have to wait until 8.30pm to watch it!!), being off work for almost two weeks, having so much time to create blog content and brainstorm where I want to take my blog in the new year. I’m going to spend my Christmas break doing all of the things that bring me joy! I am SO HAPPY Matt and I have so much time off work together I can’t even tell you. We literally never have time for a ‘lazy day’ so we are going to make the most of it.

What I’m listening to:
Christmas music! I have been SO loving an excuse to listen to Christmas music when it’s socially acceptable. Matt hates when I play it in like… July. I’ve no idea why. Hahaha. I’ve had Michael Buble pretty much on repeat since October. His voice just makes me happy!

What I’m wearing:
Okay so I know I promised you a post on things to look for in your perfect Winter coat, and I promise that’s coming in the new year. Here’s a little sneak peak! I am OBSESSED with my Winter coat; it’s made with recycled down feathers so it’s super warm, snuggly and cosy, and perfect for this super cold weather. I love that it’s a little longer to cover my hips/bum, and it has the biggest hood you’ve ever seen! I feel like I’ve finally found a coat my mum would be proud of… anyone else spend years of their life refusing to wear a proper coat? Just me…?

What is going on in my life:
A few weeks ago I found a lump in my right breast. Obviously, I went into panic mode – I’m pretty sure this is just the normal reaction – and bearing in mind I’ve already been more anxious than usual the past few weeks, it really wasn’t a fun time. This is a huge part of the reason my posts have been a little spotty recently, I’m so sorry. Matt has been an absolute star and let me feel my worries, but also not let me dwell on something we didn’t know about. This week I had a doctor’s appointment and I’ve been referred for further testing; to take a biopsy, an ultrasound, an x-ray etc. I feel okay and I’m surprisingly not a wreck right now! It does not necessarily mean the C word, but there were a few things my GP was concerned about. I’m trying to stay upbeat and positive because right now, no news is good news! Regardless if there is something wrong or not, I’m so grateful for our NHS and the quick, high quality treatment they are able to give. I’m only telling you all of this now – without any real answers – because it’s what’s going on in my life right now, and life is not all sunshine and rainbows! Also, this is your reminder to check your boobs, ladies. Coppafeel have so much information I’m linking here in case you’re confused on where to start. If you pray, I’d really appreciate your prayers for good news right now! I’ll be talking about everything in more detail once I have answers and results, but right now it is a season of waiting. I hate waiting!

What is making me feel festive:
So I know it’s partly because of being worried about what I mentioned above, but I’ve been having a really hard time feeling festive this year. I mentioned in my last Feelin’ It Friday post that I think I may have been suffering a little with SAD and I’m 99% positive I am as I just feel so unmotivated and not like myself. Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I can’t tell you how crap this makes me feel! However, Matt and I just had the most wonderful Christmassy day in Edinburgh and it picked up my spirits SO MUCH. We had the most amazing time, and I took all the photos to share with you lovely lot! You can see our festive day here, if you missed it.

What lipstick I’ve been wearing:
So you may remember this post from a few months ago, where I said I really wanted to try wearing red lipstick. I did it! I kinda love it! I’m definitely not going to be reaching for red lipstick on a day to day basis but I’m really enjoying being a little bit brave here and there and enjoy wearing it. I have however been wearing Clinique’s Bare Pop lipstick almost every. single. day. for the past three months! It’s the most perfect shade; it works for every ocassion and never clashes with clothes or anything, it’s so versatile and I can’t recommend it enough. I love the formula too, it lasts all day or night.

What I’m up to this weekend:
It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and I have so many things to do! Tomorrow Matt starts work at 7am so I’ll be up early with him, then I’m maybe going to get my nails done as a little festive treat. I’ll be spending the rest of the day running last minute errands, cleaning, organising, blogging, baking cookies and wrapping SO MANY Christmas presents whilst watching Christmas movies before he comes home. I can’t believe how many gifts I have left to wrap, it’s kind of freaking me out! He’ll be home mid-afternoon so we’re just going to chill at home for a little while (and eat cookies!) then I’ve planned a surprise Christmas date night for us both. I’m so excited! Our plan for Sunday is to have a relaxed morning, probably definitely drinking lots of hot chocolate and snoozing in bed then we’re heading into town to see the Christmas markets one last time before Christmas. I love our city so much, and at Christmas time it’s seriously the most beautiful! Later in the day Matt’s going out with his friends for a few hours and I’m going to treat myself to a pamper night, and probably finish up more wrapping before I go pick him up. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for all of your wonderful support over the past year. I am so thankful that you – yes, you! – read my blog, and you’ve no idea how much it means to me. I’m so sad this is the las Feelin’ It Friday of 2019! What are your plans for this weekend? I hope you all have the most perfect, Christmassy weekend with your loved ones! It’s five days until CHRISTMAS DAY! See you on Sunday, my loves.

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy FRIDAY! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be writing a new Feelin’ It Friday post. I really have missed writing them each week, but I’ve been so grateful to have a little extra time for Matt and I and taking a *little* bit of time back from my blog. I’m so happy it’s (almost) the weekend as Matt and I get a little more time together this weekend than we have the past few weeks! Something to note; I’ve switched up the format of this post and made it a little more photo heavy, I hope that makes it more fun?

As I’m finishing up this post Matt has just left for work and it’s super dark out; I’m snuggled in bed with a pumpkin spice bagel, a cup of tea and Friends playing in the background. I love early mornings so much! Let’s get into it…

What I’m watching:
SO MANY TV SHOWS. Matt and I are still watching The Office throughout the week, I’m watching Friends and Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time (so is Matt by default, oops), and Graham Norton is back with another season of his show which makes me so happy! The main show I’m obviously most excited about right now is Strictly. Chris liked my tweet above and it went a little crazy hahaha, it’s so true though. I love Rosie (and Chris)! Caroline Hirons also liked another tweet and I mean, the fangirl’ing has been REAL this week.

I really think this is my favourite season of Strictly yet; most of the celebrities are SO GOOD and the competition is a little crazy. I’m still super pissed that Diane & Dev left two weeks ago as I really thought they’d be in the final, but the competition is so fun and I truly look forward to Saturday evenings so much. Matt has been watching along with me and although it’s far from his favourite show on TV, he’s actually been enjoying it too! My favourites are Chris & Karen (#TeamChris), Kelvin & Oti, Catherine & Johannes, Saffron & AJ and Karim & Amy. So you know, pretty much half of the contestants, hahaha. I also really love Motsi as a judge this year, she is SO FUN and just what the show needed!

What I’m reminiscing about:
Matt and I made the most of a super hectic, busy month (which doesn’t look to be slowing down into November either) and we squeezed in a fun Fall getaway! I just posted our photo diary this week from our trip which you can catch here if you missed it. I can’t tell you how fun it was to just unwind and relax together! We went for dinner, did a little shopping, explored some of our favourite places and just had SO MUCH FUN together. Matthew, I love you so much! Thank you for being the most amazing man 🙂

What I’m eating:
I am so happy about all of the Autumn/Halloween flavoured and themed products this year! I always enjoy seasonal goods, and this time of year is the start of the very best. I’ve been LOVING these pumpkin spiced bagels for breakfast from New York Bakery Co, they are just so delicious and hearty for the colder mornings. My mum also really enjoys them, and of course you just have to eat them toasted and smothered in butter. I’m actually eating one right now as I finish up writing and editing this post, I’m going to be so sad when they’re discontinued in the next few weeks!

What beauty product I’m obsessed with:
I’m not going to say TOO much on my Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre because it’s going to be featured in my upcoming Autumn skincare routine with a full review, but just know this is my favourite moisturiser I’ve ever used! EVER. It works so well under makeup or applied more thickly as an evening moisturiser, I’m just so happy with it. French pharmacy skincare products are so hyped up but for good reason, I can’t tell you how lovely it makes my skin look/feel. I can’t wait to share all of my thoughts in a post very soon! Also, the link I’ve shared with you to Feel Unique currently has 25% off…

What I’m burning:
All the Fall scents! My favourites are of course from Bath & Body Works and DW Home which I’ve been burning all month. I love pumpkin scents SO much, I’m not ready to jump into Christmas scents for a few more weeks yet. I got the sweetest surprise present from Matt and I’s friend Nathan; he went to America with his partner and they picked me up a Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow candle!! I’m so grateful; it’s a beautiful candle with the most comforting, cosy scent. It smells like freshly baked pumpkin muffins, which hey… I’m all about that.

What I’m showering with:
Hahaha I know that sounds SO WEIRD! Guys. I’m obsessed with Lush right now! I always buy way more during Autumn and Winter because that’s when all of the best stuff (in my opinion) comes out. My mum and I went shopping earlier in the month and as well as picking up a few birthday presents for her, I grabbed a bottle of the Yog Nog shower gel for myself. Lush’s website describes Yog Nog as a scent that’s reminiscent of caramel and custard and that is the great way to describe it. To me it smells kinda like cinder toffee and takes me right back to the old sweet shop in Beamish; it’s very reminiscent of my childhood in a strange way! I just LOVE it, and Matt has been stealing this to use almost every day too. Seriously… go to the store. Smell it. Buy it. Thank me later.

What I’m wearing:
The weather is getting pretty cold here in the North now, and it’s most definitely #sweaterweather. I have been wearing lots of cute and cosy sweaters that I’ll share on the blog sometime soon, but when I’ve been snuggled at home I’ve been wearing my new beautiful M&S dressing gown. I can’t tell you how soft it is, and I am obsessed with the colour! It’s the most beautiful baby blue that just makes me happy. Matt and I love M&S dressing gowns – I have another that I’ve had for literally three years and it’s still in perfect condition – and we spend most of our evenings super cosy in our robes! Confession time: I spent most of last weekend wearing my robe… I felt a little poorly so whilst Matt was at work I blogged, cleaned and tidied, but felt no need to get properly ready. I just kept showering or taking a bath and putting clean pj’s on, it was delightful!

What I’m reading:
I have a new blog love! I talk about my favourite blogs all the time – Mix and Match Mama, The Anna Edit and Savannah Said It are my go to’s every single day – but guys… I found Lauren via Instagram’s explore page and oh my gosh I just love her and her blog. The Lovely Lo Down is primarily fashion focused and Lauren wears the most sweet, darling outfits that I will now be forever trying to re-create! She also shares a little lifestyle content, and I’d love to see more of that from her as that’s always my favourite content to read. I have a question for you guys though… what is your favourite kind of content to read? Do you prefer fashion posts and outfit ideas? Or photo diaries? Or beauty favourites? Or wellness/self care related content? Please let me know!

What I’m working on:
Trying to relax and chill the F out. I’m really trying to live in the moment a little more, and I am trying to just enjoy each day as it is, without putting pressure on myself about other things. I can’t really stop feeling anxious or super stressed out, but I feel like being kind to myself during this phase is the best way to go about it, right? Sending all of my love to anyone else struggling a little right now.

What I’m looking forward to:
It’s almost bonfire night! The photo above is from last year’s celebrations, apologies it’s a little crap but it’s just so hard to take good photos of fireworks on an iPhone haha. I’m actually going to be recording a Weekend In My Life for the weekend before bonfire night, as Matt and I are celebrating a little early with our go-to firework display at Blyth Beach. This will be our third year in a row going to this display, it’s our very favourite! We have a fun weekend planned overall so it will be super fun to share with you guys 🙂 we’re also going to a mid-week display on bonfire night itself, I love fireworks!

What I’m excited about:
Next Sunday I’m sharing a new type of post with you, and it may be something I make into a monthly thing, if you like it of course! I’m sharing nine happy things from the month of October, and I’ve been recording things that could feature throughout the month. I have literally over thirty happy things to pick from so far, and we’ve still got almost a week left of October! It’s made me feel so grateful even though I’ve felt pretty down and anxious, and made my perspective completely flip. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Thank you so much for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, it felt so refreshing to write a #feelinitfriday again. I am planning to stick to monthly FIF’s for the next few months then maybe I’ll write every two weeks instead of once per month in 2020. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, see you on Sunday!

-G x

My October Goals

Hi, loves! Happy OCTOBER. Seriously, where the heck has this year gone?! I’m sorry this post isn’t going live on the 1st, but my schedule is Sunday’s and Wednesday’s… and I like schedules. #TypeA. Snapple fact: the featured image of this blog post is one of my favourite ever quotes. I truly am SO GLAD to live in a world where there are October’s! This month I’m setting myself five goals to accomplish, and as always I’m sharing them with my lovely readers. Sharing my goals helps to keep me motivated, holds me accountable throughout the month and maybe it will even inspire someone to create their own goals?

Be kinder to myself and unwind
I am always hard on myself, but over the past few weeks/months I’ve been so harsh and unkind to myself, especially about my blog. I have such high standards and hopes for what I want my online space to be, but I really need to stop stressing so much about it! I don’t ever give myself a break but I need to, and this month is the time for it. I LOVE October. It’s the beginning of my favourite time of year (which is the last three months of the year, they bring so much joy!) and I’m determined to relax a little to enjoy it. Matt is sadly at work every weekend in October but we’re making the most of the month anyway; we’re going to have fun date nights, spend cosy mornings eating breakfast in bed and we also have a mid-week date day visiting a pumpkin patch… I’m so excited! I want to put quality time and effort into my blog; I work full time Monday to Friday, then I spend any ‘free’ time I have (after Matt and I’s time of course) to create blog content. This month I’m going to be more intentional with my ‘free’ time and take a little back just for me.

Practice yoga at least three times per week
Any regular readers will probably have guessed this would be up here, it seems to feature any time I talk about my goals for that month. I have a confession guys: I’ve barely practiced yoga over the past two months. How bad is that? I generally feel so much better when I’m consistent with practicing yoga, so I really want to get back into some kind of routine and just have fun with it. My favourite online yoga teacher is of course Yoga With Adrienne, I always enjoy her practices and she’s so flipping funny. There’s a practice for every mood or feeling, and I really feel refreshed and happier at the end of every session. I already practiced yoga twice this week and it’s only Wednesday, so I’m super happy about that!

Wear red lipstick
This probably sounds crazy to so many of you, but I just do not feel comfortable wearing red lipstick! I haven’t even owned a red lipstick for around three years because I didn’t get any wear out of the ones I had, so this month I’m going to treat myself and I’m going to wear red lips for date night. I’ve really been trying to work on my confidence lately, and this is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I hope this makes sense, it probably sounds so silly! I remember Rimmel’s red lipsticks used to get so much hype online (which I’m pretty sure was solely because of Zoe Sugg) but to any of my red lipstick wearers out there, is that still the case?! Which brand/shade should I go for? I’m going to buy a drugstore one just incase I can’t get used to it!

Create new Fall outfits with clothing I already own / Only purchase clothing items from my list
Okay so this is a two-in-one goal. I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I kept during my decluttering process which I’ve not worn before and probably should have gotten rid of, but I promised myself I’d wear this Autumn. If I don’t, they’ll find themselves on eBay for someone else to love! My intention is to make outfits from clothes that I wouldn’t usually pair together; I really just want to give my clothes the love they deserve and experiment a little. I’m slowly figuring out my style so this Autumn I want to embrace change and try to create fun outfits that are a little different from my norm! I’ve also made a list with a few essentials I’m lacking in my wardrobe since my de-clutter (a good black coat, turtle neck jumper(s), a grey cardigan, long sleeve t-shirts, a fancy midi skirt and leather look jeans) which I’m now on the lookout for. Something that’s not officially on the list but I probably will buy is the E.T sweater from this post because it’s just so flipping cute. You’re allowed a frivolous purchase now and then if it makes your heart sing, right?!

Cook at least one new dinner recipe each week
Cooking is something Matt and I found a love of together, and I so appreciate that we’ve found a hobby we can share. We literally had no idea how to cook even the most basic things when we first got together, so now the fact we cook together/for each other every night is crazy to me. Matt often likes to make meals we know and love, but I really like to try new recipes. We’ve had such busy weeks recently that we’ve not pushed ourselves to try something new very often, but this month we’re going to try new things! I shared with you how I meal plan a few months ago, and nothing has changed since. Matt is always happy to eat whatever I have planned for that night, so this one lies on me guys. I’ve already been searching up a storm on the Mix And Match Mama blog (Shay has the BEST recipes, especially if you want specific seasonal recipes) and I’m so excited to create new meals for us to eat. New on the menu this week is Shay’s chicken fajita soup which I’m going to adapt slightly to cook in the CrockPot, then next week we’re attempting this pumpkin and chipotle pasta. I literally can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my monthly goals for this October. Do you create monthly goals? Do you track how you’re doing with them week to week? I love to set goals because it gives you the best sense of achievement when you complete them! Also, if you don’t complete them it just makes you work harder the next month, right? 🙂 I challenge you to set yourself five goals for the month of October, we can hold each other accountable!

-G x

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’ve teased on the blog for a little while, and I’m so happy to be writing about BOOKS. *Warning: it’s a long one, and perfect if you want to carve out a little self care time this bank holiday weekend. I’d recommend you grab a cuppa and settle in!* I love love love reading and it’s something I really wish more people were passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I know lots of people love to read, but I really don’t know that many people who do! I have loved reading since I was a child; my parents and grandparents always read to me whenever they had time to, and I learned to read so quickly myself. I read my beloved Jacqueline Wilson books so many times I swear I knew the stories off by heart! When I was around 10 or 11, I was helping my granddad clear out a bunch of stuff, and discovered all of my mum and auntie’s old books by Enid Blyton. He kindly gave them to me, and I spent the rest of my summer engrossed in those books! The Secret Seven and Famous Five series ignited a serious love of reading (and dogs – I wanted my own Timmy SO BAD) and I’m forever grateful. I literally spent so many nights in my lilac groovy chick themed bedroom, curled up with a blanket and a book thinking I was so grown up. Ha!

In the years since then, I’ve never lost the joy in browsing book stores, talking about books and of course, reading them. I literally can’t walk past a bookstore without dragging Matt in ‘for a look’ – although, if you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) have a perusal in store and check the prices on Amazon whilst you’re there; I can pretty much guarantee you’ll always get a better deal on Amazon! No, this post isn’t sponsored by Amazon, I just really love it.

Whenever I talk about my love of reading I am often met with “I wish I had time to read”. News flash: everyone has time to read. Let’s be honest; if Michelle Obama can find time to read, so can you. I have time to read so often because I literally set time aside to do so; making reading a priority is really important to me and it makes the world of difference to my mental health. It’s the perfect self care treat for me (along with a pamper evening and a cuddle from Matt, of course) and it truly opens your mind to SO much you may otherwise not know. Books can cover all different topics, issues and situations, and it’s crazy how much you can learn from a book. My mum and Matt’s mum share my love of reading, and we’re always swapping our current reads, like an unofficial book club! So, how do I find time to read? What are my top tips to help you make reading a priority?

Keep your book on your bedside table
Possibly the most obvious tip, but it makes sense guys. I always keep my current book on our bedside table, and take a little time to read most evenings/mornings. Matt often has to send a few work emails just before we settle in for the night so I take those twenty or so minutes to read a few chapters and get my reading fix. Similarly, he starts work early several times per week (which means a 6am alarm for us both) and I also take a little time once he’s left for work, before I blog or get ready for my work day, to read too. It’s a lovely way to begin or end your day, and if you’re struggling to fit reading time in, this will make a huge difference.

Set goals
Like with anything else, setting goals to read X amount each day/week, will make you hold yourself accountable, and make reading a priority. I love to set goals and have things to work towards, so of course this is no exception! I really think being able to tick a goal off a list helps to visualise it; of course this is a very niche goal but if you want to read more you need to treat it seriously. Maybe you could set out a week Monday to Sunday in the Notes app on your phone, using the bullet point system you can tick off, and then you can see how many days out of seven you read each week. Doing this week by week until it becomes a habit (which it should within two months, as scientists say on average it takes 66 days to create a habit) means that within a really short space of time reading would just become part of your everyday life!

Incorporate reading into your day-to-day life
Similarly to reading before bed or first thing in the morning, it’s amazing where you can fit time in to read. If you spend hours scrolling mindlessly on social media (your phone literally tells you how much time you spend now so you can’t avoid it) you could easily spend at least some of that with a book in your hand instead. I love to read in the bath, I seriously take super long baths just to be able to read for longer, and it’s the ultimate self care time for me. Matt sometimes spends a little time in the evenings working or playing on the playstation, which gives me a good chunk of time to read and not feel guilty about it! I also will spend a little time reading whilst sitting in the garden when it’s warm, or on a cold day I love to curl up with a cuppa and a book. I really should take my lunch break at work away from my desk, as that would be the perfect time to rack up some reading time.

Read digitally on your iPad/Kindle/phone
If you find reading a struggle or would just like to switch things up, I’d really recommend downloading a book onto your tablet or phone. I have been really enjoying reading on the Kindle app on my iPad recently; it’s so convenient as I always have my iPad with me anyway, and it’s very accessible no matter where I am. Downloading books onto a tablet is so handy when travelling too; it limits the weight/bulkiness of books (although I do think you can’t beat a ‘real’ book!) and it allows you to take several options, not to mention ebooks are way less money than a physical book. I am still so mad at myself for not picking up a Kindle Paperwhite during the Prime Day(s) sale, and it’s very high on my wishlist right now.

Carry a book with you day-to-day
If reading on a tablet is not for you I totally get that, but you need to carry your book with you if you want to make the most of reading time as and when you can. If you take public transport to work I’d really recommend making the most of your journey time and lose yourself in a book (just make sure not to miss your stop). Side note: I drive to work each day, and spend lots of time during the week in my car; I’m tempted to try Audible but it’s just not something that’s crossed my mind before. Please let me know if you would recommend! If you’re going somewhere where you may be waiting around, hospital appointments spring to mind right away, pack a book and the wait definitely won’t seem so bad.

Find authors and genres you find interesting
Another thing people tell me, is that they have the time to read, but they can never find a book they actually want to read. This is a little trial and error, but if you put the effort in to finding what makes your heart sing, you’ll see the benefit of it. Personally, I love fiction stories that feel like you’re right in with the characters but as you’ll see from my current picks below, I do like varied content. I really want to read more mystery books as I’ve borrowed a few from my mum that I’ve enjoyed, so that’s something I need to explore more in the coming months. It’s the best feeling finding an author you love, as you are drawn to their writing style and therefore can find so many books. Amazon’s ‘Recommended for you’ section pretty much always brings up amazing options, and I’ve found so many books I love that way!

My current favourite author is hands down Taylor Jenkins Reid. Two books I’ve read (and loved) recently are Forever, Interrupted and After I Do; both books are filled with love, heartbreak, sadness and happiness, and you truly feel like you’re experiencing the emotions of the lead characters. Zoe Folbigg is an amazing author and I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve read! I just finished The Postcard, which was the sequel to The Note, and it left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Two books that changed my life (in different ways) are Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan. I’ve read both several times; they’re incredible and would make for brilliant presents for the gals in your life!

Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a must read for everyone, everywhere; she is, in my opinion, the most inspirational woman of our generation and I’m so happy she shared her story. The best non-fiction book I’ve ever read was This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay; I don’t know anyone who disliked this book, it’s filled with so much emotion – I’d literally be laughing one page and sobbing the next – it’s a must read. If you like books that let you escape from every day life, I’d suggest anything by Elin Hilderband. She writes about Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) in so much depth I feel like I’ve been there myself; it’s a book that takes you on holiday from real life, and her stories are always so enticing. My favourite book of hers is hands down The Identicals. I’ve just downloaded a new Elin Hilderbrand book called The Perfect Couple (and One Minute Later by Susan Lewis) onto my Kindle app for literally 99p each! Order while you can! Shoutout to the lovely Savannah for originally recommending Elin Hilderbrand books to me!

Some of my current ‘to read’ list include the last in a wonderful series by Louise Pentland; Wilde Women. Louise is someone I’ve loved and admired for years, from way back to her Sprinkle of Glitter days, and I’m so happy that she’s began to write. She writes from the heart, her characters are lovable and I’m so excited to see what is happening with Robin, Lyla and Kath in the final installment! Queenie is a book I saw in Anna‘s reading pile and immediately purchased (the girl just knows her books, and also wrote a cracking book herself, An Edited Life) and I’m so excited to read; the book talks all about love, life and race issues and has rave reviews. Another author I’m very interested in is Jane Fallon, I often see her books featured on Instagram and I need to order one soon!

Thank you so so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips and tricks helpful in some way. Can you believe my boyfriend (who is perfect in every other way, if I do say so myself) doesn’t like to read?! He’s literally been ‘reading’ the same book since Christmas 2017… maybe you take a few pointers from this post, Matthew?! Ha. So, are you a bookworm like me? Where’s your favourite way to make time to read? I’d love to share my favourite books every few months if that’s something you’d be interested in? Please leave me all your book recommendations below, I love to hear what other people are reading!

-G x

Skincare Saviours

Hi, loves! I am such a huge lover of skincare, it’s my favourite part of my beauty routine and I really enjoy trying new brands and products. That being said, I definitely have my favourites that I come back to time and time again that I couldn’t imagine being without. I talked through my skincare routine in this post back in March and I still love and use all of those products! I have added some new products into my routine over the past few months, but I’ll save those to share with you in an updated skincare routine during the Autumn months. Today I’m talking about my must haves that I like to use randomly during the week, and that are also reserved for those crappy skin days when my regular routine just won’t cut it.

My skin is firmly in the ‘combination’ category; it’s super oily in my T Zone, especially during the Summer months, but I also have dry skin that needs lots of moisture and hydration. I seem to have eczema (or something similar) under my right eye that appears out of nowhere, it’s there right now and it drives me crazy! I am so strict with my skincare routine and I never miss a morning or night; it’s so therapeutic to me and I’m really happy with the products I’m using right now. I am however very intrigued by the new Pixi Vitamin C range and I’m planning on picking up some of those products next time I’m shopping, please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried anything yet and what you think so far!

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
This is my absolute holy grail mask, and I’ve spoken about it A LOT on my blog! I use this once per week, usually on a Sunday evening, and my skin loves it. Matt almost always joins in with my little pamper evenings when I use this mask, because it just makes your skin look incredible. The ‘glow’ part is so true – my skin feels light and glowy, and my makeup always applies better the next day. As I mentioned in this post, I always apply with The Body Shop’s face mask brush which ensures it goes on evenly without clumping, and is not at all messy. It is slightly tingly when applied but that subsides pretty quickly, and although I leave the mask on for around 10 – 15 minutes (pretty much just until it hardens) it never leaves my skin red or puffy. I also swear by all of the sheet masks from The Body Shop as they always leave my skin looking and feeling great! When Matt and I are travelling I always pack a few sheet masks as they’re so travel friendly, and really quick to use! Also, they’re biodegradable and environmentally friendly, doesn’t it just feel good to be in David Attenborough’s good books?

Pixi Glow Tonic
It’s a cult product for a reason, right? A must have in my routine, a product I always travel with and one I recommend to anyone and everyone who will listen, but I have stopped using this every day. Shocking, right? I now use this roughly four to five times per week; I’ve experimented with using it when I felt like my skin ‘needed’ it, every day use, and eventually settled somewhere in-between that. I take this toner on a reusable cotton pad, wipe over my t-zone and take whatever is left on the rest of my face, then once my skin is dry I apply my serum(s), eye cream and moisturiser. I never use this during the morning but I always notice the following day how glowy my skin looks, it’s a genuine miracle worker. It has reduced hyper pigmentation and acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw line SO much, and I love how my makeup applies the next day. Also, I really feel like this isn’t talked about enough when it comes to Glow Tonic; but you MUST use SPF religiously if you use this product, especially during the Summer months.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion *gifted
This product hasn’t been in rotation in my routine very long, but oh my gosh I just love it! It was very kindly sent to me by The Body Shop and I’ve been using this exfoliator two to three times per week since I received it. This is another product Matt ‘borrows’ from me – he’s obsessed with this and how much it clears the blackheads from his nose! I don’t find it harsh on my skin as the exfoliating pieces are so fine and not abrasive, and it never leaves my sensitive skin red or feeling sore. My skin always looks and feels so much brighter in the evenings I use this, and it works very well on acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, it seems to fade/lighten the scars which is amazing. This exfoliator works so well on dry patches, and I know this will be a staple going into the Autumn and Winter months when my skin needs all the TLC it can get. It smells gorgeous and is such a treat to use in the evening, I really look forward to it. I always make sure to use a nourishing serum afterwards – my favourite is of course the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop – which helps to hydrate my skin.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
I bought this product for the first time way before I heard any hype about it, and I feel like it was one of the very rare times I was ahead of the ‘trend’! I ordered this on a whim back in 2016, and after trying so many products for persistent acne I have to admit I didn’t have high hopes. By this point I’d been prescribed various creams by the doctors and even they hadn’t worked, but I was still willing to give anything a shot. I applied this as I’d read online; dipping a cotton bud into the bottom of the bottle without shaking the mixture; and went to sleep. Fast forward to the following morning and the horrible under-the-skin spot that was taking over my chin had almost gone, I literally couldn’t believe it! I’ve always gotten on well with the formula, and I’ve re-purchased several bottles over the years. I only use this now when I have a particularly bad spot and it still works a treat. I apply onto a spot before bed (Matt’s a lucky guy!) and the next morning the spot is always way less red, reduced in size and less painful.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful, I loved sharing this with you because skincare is just my thing. When I was younger I definitely was more interested in makeup products, but the more I learn about skincare the more I love it! What are your skincare saviours that you reach for throughout the week or turn to when you’re having a bad skin day? Have you tried any of the products in this post?

-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

May Favourites

Hi, loves! Another month has been and (almost) gone, and it’s nearly JUNE! How are we nearly half way through 2019?! May has been such a busy month for Matt and I, but wow has it been a good one. We enjoyed two bank holidays, I turned twenty five, we went for a spa break at Ramside Hall to celebrate, we saw our friends, I got my hair dyed lighter, we went on a road trip to Manchester for a family re-union and we spent so much quality time together.

We’ve also been working super hard and it feels like we barely stopped all month, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I loved every second and my heart is so full! I’m not looking forward to the start of June as Matt is going to be away for the first week and I’m going to miss him like crazy, I feel so lost when he’s gone! I’m really dreading trying to get to sleep without him there, I realise I sound so ridiculous LOL. But I know he’s going to have so much fun, and I get to pick him up from the airport a week later! I already can’t wait, and our Summer officially starts when he’s back. We’ll get to settle back into our lovely little routine, and two weeks later we go on holiday to Croatia, we’re so excited! Anyway, what have I been loving a little extra this month?!

*Also, apologies in advance that these photos aren’t the greatest. I did everything I said I was going to stop doing in this post, and took these in a rush yesterday morning after Matt had left for work, to make sure I got this edited and scheduled on time!*

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
I flipping love this face mask, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve re-purchased so many times since I first bought it a few years ago and I’ve encouraged so many of my friends buy it. I just read an article last week that said one of these masks sells worldwide every fifteen seconds, which is so crazy! I totally understand the hype though, it’s truly a miracle worker. I’ve wrote a full review in an upcoming post (it’ll be live on the blog next week!) and I raved about it so much in that post, I’m trying to keep this short and sweet. I tend to use this in rotation with Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty, but I think it works a little better than MoM for me! I have sensitive skin but this mask doesn’t irritate it at all; it leaves my skin fresh, glowy and clears up any blemishes or blackheads. Matt loves this too, it’s his favourite of all the charcoal masks I make him use!

No 7 Hydraluminous Moisturising Foundation in Cool Vanilla
Okay, I’ve been using this foundation since it was released in February (or March?) and I really really love it. I originally bought it as it was on an introductory offer in Boots, and I like trying new foundations. I thought it could be a great alternative product to wear during the days I’m at work, and keep my It Cosmetics CC Cream for weekends/evenings out, but I actually have reached for this pretty much every day since I first tried it. I re-purchased this month, and I also am going to buy another tube one shade darker ready for our holiday in June. I only wear makeup in the evenings on holiday and this will be perfect! It lasts all day, doesn’t settle into any dry patches or give me spots, I really love it. This is hands down the best drugstore foundation I’ve ever tried, and it’s a steal when it’s on promotion!

Evolve Beauty Nourishing Hair Elixir
This is the only hair oil I’ve used that has made a noticeable difference to the look, texture and quality of my hair. Evolve Beauty are a fairly small brand based in London, who create vegan friendly and cruelty free products. I’ve been using this oil since March and I only just had to purchase another bottle this month, a little goes a long way. I’m so impressed by this product and it’s so inexpensive, especially considering how much you get out of one tiny bottle! I take two to three drops between my palms every day (well, almost every day) and run through the ends of my hair. I lightly smooth any excess product over the top of my head to get rid of flyaways, and it helps keep my hair nourished and soft. It also smells so beautiful!

Nest Candle Co. Mason du Plage Candle
This is one of the most beautiful scents I’ve ever smelled, I wish I could bottle it up into a perfume! It’s the perfect Summer-evening-at-the-beach scent, burns evenly and looks gorgeous in our bedroom, whether it’s lit or not. I purchased this candle when it was first released (there was a little hype in the blogosphere) and I’m going to order another in the scent Soleil. These candles are created by the lovely Becky at Sail Away, I’m so excited for her new adventure! I’m so pleased for her that they already seem to be selling so well, and I see photos all over Instagram pretty much every day. I love supporting small Etsy shops, and I’ll always support fellow bloggers. If you’re looking for a beautiful handmade candle for yourself or as a gift, look no further! They are constantly selling out but stock is replenished often, you just need to keep checking back.

Please ignore the marks from my Invisibobble, lol!

Fitbit Inspire HR
I purchased my Fitbit as an early birthday gift to myself, and I’m head over heels obsessed with it. I used to have a Fitbit Alta around two years ago, but it broke and I never replaced it. I’d been thinking about getting a new Fitbit for a few months, then when I seen this model launch in March I knew it was exactly what I wanted. This is such a huge improvement on my old Alta! I mainly use my Fitbit to track my steps, how I’ve slept each night, and my workouts. It tracks yoga which is a huge bonus as that’s my favourite workout, and it’s so interesting to see my stats each day. Matt is equally as obsessed as I am since I never stop talking about it, and he’s just bought a Fitbit Versa yesterday! That’s definitely going to be motivation to go on a beautiful hike I really want to do over the Adriatic on our holiday, yay! If you’re thinking about getting one I’d definitely recommend making the splurge, you won’t regret it.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I swear this is my favourite book I’ve EVER read! I read this in less than a week (which is super quick – I don’t know how people say they read a book in a day?! Unless I’m on holiday that’s just not physically possible with my life!) I cried three pages in and then spent the rest of the book smiling, laughing and crying a little more. The book centres around Elsie, who got caught up in a whirlwind romance with Ben and got married to him in less than six months. Ben is tragically killed nine days after their wedding (no spoilers, you can see all this on the back of the book/on Amazon!) and the story of how they met is told at the same time as she deals with the horrific grief she feels. I love love love the main characters Elsie and Susan, I truly felt their heartbreak! From when I started reading, each night when Matt and I snuggled up in bed I squeezed him a little tighter and kissed him a little more. It’s a very sad story which makes you think of all of the amazing things you have this very second, and a reminder that you never know what could happen tomorrow. It scares me to think that way, but it’s true. I finished this book in the bath last Friday night and ordered One True Loves and After I Do immediately, I’m torn whether to save them for our holiday or start reading when I’ve finished my current book!

Chilly’s Water Bottle in Pastel Green
It’s a bold claim, but this water bottle might just be the best thing I’ve ever bought! I’ve spoken several times on my blog about the fact I really need to drink more water, and it’s something Matt and I talk about all the time. I drink Diet Coke like my life depends on it, and although I love Diet Coke and will absolutely not be stopping my obsession, I’m really happy to be drinking more water. Some days I really didn’t drink any at all, and that just can’t be good for me! I’ve used my Chilly’s bottle every day since I got it – I’m always trying to do my bit to help the planet and live more sustainably, and I really hate purchasing bottles of water (or more realistically, bottles of Diet Coke) when we’re out and about. Now I don’t need to! Also, it really does keep your drinks cold – I’ve not tried putting hot drinks in yet – for so long, up to twelve hours. Through the night, even when it’s been super hot (where did the warm weather go?!) if Matt or I take a drink it’s like it’s fresh from the fridge. I love that the technology of this bottle means you don’t get any condensation on the outside, and it’s leak proof so you don’t need to worry about throwing it in your bag!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you had the most amazing month, what have you been up to? What items have you been loving this month? I’m so excited for all of my Summer and holiday-related content which will begin this month on the blog. I have pre-written lots of posts already and I have so many other posts planned – I hope you enjoy it too!

-G x