March Goals

Hi, loves! I love setting goals for myself as I find it really helps to keep me accountable and motivate me to tick off things during the day/week. I am sometimes really hard on myself over things I can’t control but I like to create happy goals that are personal and also challenging. I don’t like to set too many goals as then they feel overwhelming and unachievable, but little things that improve my happiness are always great!

March is going to be a very big month for me, because I’m leaving a job I’ve been in for six years and starting somewhere completely new. I’m equal parts terrified and excited about this, but I just generally feel very anxious and stressed out right now! I’m pretty sure that’s just the norm for me these days, haha. March also brings Matthew’s birthday, Mother’s Day and the beginning of Spring, so overall it should be a very happy month.

Practice yoga every day
Ah… yoga always comes up in these monthly goals posts doesn’t it?! Here’s the thing. I love yoga. But I also love sleeping in a little longer in the mornings and going to bed a little earlier. I love lounging in a bubble bath for an extra twenty minutes. I love reading. I love cooking meals from scratch. I love snuggling up and watching Netflix with Matt. Somehow, especially over the past six months, all of those things have come before yoga during my typical day, and I only actively make time to practice when I have *nothing* else to do! If Matt is working late or starting super early I usually force myself to practice, and even though I feel so good afterwards it’s just not been a big enough priority for me to practice the next day. I’ve just gotten used to making excuses and that needs to change, so I’m committing to practicing some form of yoga every single day. Some days may be one hour sessions and some days may be five minute stretches, but I need to push myself to fall back into a workout that I really actually do enjoy! Yoga is also amazing for an anxious mind and I know it will help me to feel more at ease over the next few months.

Have a No Spend Month for beauty products
Honestly, this should be pretty easy and it’ll probably continue into April. I don’t need any skincare products right now; my skincare routine is the most consistent it’s been for a long time and I’m so over trying hundreds of new products. I really am SO happy with my routine; it’s been pretty much the same for six months now and my skin appears to be thanking me for it. I’m stocked up on toiletries (I always buy in bulk/on half price to save money on toiletries!) and I don’t think any of my makeup is near running out. Except maybe my brow pencil… they always run out with no warning don’t they?! As I’m changing jobs I really want to be mindful with what I spend money on and how much I spend – during March and April more than ever – and buying beauty products is not a priority for me this month! Do you ever partake in No Spend months? It’s such a kick up the butt to shop your stash. Would you like me to share with you which products I re-discover this month/April? I guarantee I’ll find things I forgot I owned/loved in the next two months!

Record a Week In My Life post
I love love love reading Weekend/Week In My Life blog posts, and I miss sharing more of my ‘real’ life stuff on my blog. I am pretty sure I’m going to record this the week I start my new job (w/c 23.03) because I think that will be interesting for others to see and SO fun to look back on for me, too! I really don’t share too much on my blog that’s super personal anymore and I want to change that, but I also need to find a good balance between sharing/oversharing. I’d love to share in the format of a brief recap of my day – probably throughout the day with time stamps? Maybe? – along with photos of what I’m wearing, what we made for dinner that night, and anything else I happen to get up to in that week.

Eat vegetarian dinners at least three times per week
It’ll not be surprising to any regular readers that I flipping love eating veggie meals. Matt and I eat veggie when we can (we stared off with Meatless Monday and just expanded from there!) but I really want to be intentional with eating less meat. I’m definitely more on board with this than Matt is, but we’re working on it! I personally feel better when we eat more veggies, my skin looks better and meals without meat are much less expensive to create which is a huge bonus. Most of our veggie meals centre around pasta, pasta bakes or chillis, so I’m hoping we can branch out and try some completely new things this month. I’d love to try to create the perfect veggie omelettes – because we love breakfast for dinner – and test our cooking skills with recipes we’ve never tried before.

Do you try to be intentional with your time to set goals and make them happen? What kind of goals do you regularly set yourself? It feels so good to have things to work towards, and it really helps to keep my motivation up throughout the week! Also… today’s post is my TWO HUNDREDTH guys! What the actual heck?!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy Friday my loves! Surprise… you weren’t expecting this were you?! I’m changing things up a little on the blog, and at least twice per month (maybe more often, I might even do this every week!) you’ll be getting a #feelinitfriday from me. These posts are essentially going to be a recap of my week; what I’ve been doing, what I’m loving and everything in between. I’m so excited to inject a little something new into my blog, and this means some weeks you’ll be getting three posts from me! My regular upload schedule is remaining the same at 6pm on Wednesdays and 12pm on Sundays. Also, can you believe my blog turns one on Monday, June 10th?! Me either! It literally seems five minutes ago since I hit publish on my first post. Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog, it means the world to me!

I was super inspired to write this style of post by Savannah over at Savannah Said It. She writes What Up Wednesday’s most weeks, originally inspired by Shay at Mix and Match Mama who writes What’s Up Wednesday posts every month, I love the personal feel to those posts! (They’re also two of my favourite bloggers, if you’re looking for some reading recommendations!) I really miss writing about all the things going on in my life as that’s something that doesn’t seem to feature too often on my blog now. As I mentioned in this post, I used to write at least one paragraph at the beginning of every post talking about Matt and I’s week/weekend, but I found it was taking away from whatever the topic was, so I stopped. However, any of my personal posts (weekends in my life, trips etc) get SO many views, and they’re the posts that are re-read a ton.

I’m a little bit sad to say this will also mean I’ll no longer be posting monthly favourites posts, which I just started writing in January this year. I did love writing them, but honestly I’d sometimes struggle to find things to talk about and I felt like I was repeating myself a lot. Most people talk about new launches in those posts, and I don’t try enough new products regularly enough to be able to do that. As many of you already know, Matt and I are saving for our house and buying things I don’t need (or, you know, really really want) is just not a priority anymore. I talk about beauty products I love all of the time in my ‘main’ posts anyway, and if I try something new that is really awesome you’ll see it in a #feelinitfriday. SO, let’s get on with it!

Fair warning: this is probably not the best week to begin a fun new series because I have been MISERABLE. Haha, Matt is out of town on an amazing trip with the boys. I’m so happy he’s having the best time, but I literally can’t tell you how much I’m missing him. I promise every post won’t be this boring (read: whingey). LOL!

What I’m loving:
SO many products from The Body Shop! As I said above, I don’t really buy new products unless it’s something I need (or want real bad) and as a result I’ve started to really appreciate the products I already own and use so often. I’ve loved The Body Shop since I was really young, and I think it’s just so underrated. I posted a round up of my most favourite products this past Wednesday, which you can read here if you missed it! If you’re looking to purchase something new I’d recommend everything in that post, but if you buy just one thing please make it the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, you won’t regret it!

What I’m thinking about:
Sunday. Sunday. Sunday. I can barely wait to pick my love up from the airport on Sunday morning!!! It’s what has been getting me through this crazy long week, kissing him goodbye last Sunday morning when he left for the airport literally feels a lifetime ago. I’m so grateful we’re able to keep in touch all day (technology is great, isn’t it?!) but I just want to kiss him and squeeze him SO BAD! I’m also thinking about the blueberry muffins downstairs in the kitchen and willing myself not to grab one before work…

What I’m excited for:
Sunday! LOL, I’m aware I sound like a broken record. I’m also very excited for a good night’s sleep, I’ve slept so bad all week! I really hate sleeping without Matt and I’m very thankful it’s so rare we’re apart at night (literally only if he’s on a trip or away with work). I know he’s super tired too and I have a feeling we’ll be passed out way too early on Sunday! No complaints about that though 🙂 we’re #oldies at heart.

I promise there’s granola under all that yogurt, lol! #terryLOVESyogurt (if you know, you know)

What I’m eating:
I’ve not really been cooking this week as it’s just been me. I have however ate a ton of Quorn nuggs, spinach bites and rice! I’ve really been enjoying granola, Onken vanilla yogurt and berries most mornings, and I’m trying to eat better before we go on holiday so I’ve not really snacked much. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things next week. I also found some new recipes I know Matt and I will love, and I can’t wait to make them with him!

What I’m watching:
Lots and lots and lots of my YouTube subscriptions. Some weeks are so busy I can barely keep up with my favourite YouTubers (The Anna Edit, Rebecca Lamb, Allie Glines and Ellie & Jared, if you’re wondering) but with all of the extra time I’ve had this week I’ve watched way more videos! I also caught up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, watched lots of reruns of Friends and I’m binge watching a show called Instant Hotel on Netflix, it’s kinda bitchy and really funny! I can’t wait to watch lots of Brooklyn 99 when Matt comes home, we’re mid-way through season three and it’s getting JUICY! (I love Amy and Jake being together so much!)

What I’m listening to:
Rosie & Chris’ podcast, Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed. Is anyone surprised?! I love this podcast, it’s the funniest one I’ve ever listened to and 100% my favourite! There’s a new one out today which I’m going to listen on my way to/from work, I genuinely get so excited for Friday’s to hear the new episode! I cry laugh on my drive to work every Friday morning *not necessarily recommended* – those two are so hilarious and relatable! Also, if you don’t follow Rosie on Instagram, you really should. Her stories make my day and I’m always making Matt watch them too!

What I’m buying:
ALL of the last minute holiday bits! Over the next few weeks I need to pick up new bikinis, a few more clothing pieces to wear in the evenings, a pair of pretty sandals and a cute beach cover up. I still need to grab all of our sun lotions, a few makeup items and our toiletries! Matt just got me these adorable headbands last week from Primark, how flipping cute are they?! I kinda feel like a five year old but I’m super excited to wear them all Summer, I think they’ll be especially cute around the pool!

What I’m wearing:
Honestly this past week, I’ve not really worn anything except my work uniform and loungewear. It’s been pretty dark and and a little bit rainy this past week (definitely matched my mood, haha) and I’ve been loving curling up in oversized sweaters and sweatpants. Not the cutest look, but who doesn’t love comfy clothes?!

What I’m reading:
As well as watching a ton of TV/Youtube, I’ve also read lots! I love reading and always try to make it a priority, usually when I have a little extra time to soak in the tub in the evenings. I finished Paige Toon’s latest book, If You Could Go Anywhere on Tuesday night, which I really enjoyed and was kinda shocked by how the story turned out. I’d definitely recommend picking it up! I’ve just started another book which I really like so far, it’s laugh-out-loud funny and I’m already hooked. I’ll share my thoughts on it with you in the next #feelinitfriday!

I love this photo because it’s genuinely candid! My brother took it a few weeks ago whilst we were all in Manchester. I love how happy Matt looks 🙂 he’s so handsome and I just feel so. dang. lucky.

What I’ve been up to:
Work has been busy this week, which has been a pretty good distraction. The days have felt so long and it’s been so weird not being with Matt, I really feel like my right arm has been cut off! I’ve spent so much time working on my blog, and I’m really happy with my content for the next few weeks. I’ve cleared out lots of my clothes and started to set things aside ready for our holiday (anyone else make piles of things you’ll need to pack way before you need to, but end up causing yourself more hassle in the long run? Me too.) I’ve done a little yoga everyday too, and I’m hoping by some miracle it will make me feel good in a bikini in a few weeks! Probably not.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Erm… I may have mentioned Matt COMES HOME?! I’m giddy at the thought, and thankfully I don’t feel near as upset anymore because I’m so excited. Tomorrow I’m heading to the Metro Centre to (hopefully) finish my holiday shopping and have breakfast with my sweetest friend, Jessy. Afterwards, I’m going to run all of my errands so everything is ready for Matt coming home, and I want to finish up on Sunday’s post. Sunday morning I’ll be up bright and early because I’m heading to the airport to pick Matt up first thing *insert all of the heart eyes emojis right here*. We’re planning on spending our day snuggling, watching the football and eating Chinese food. Heaven.

What else is new:
One last thing I really wanted to mention, have you guys heard of Amazon Smile?! NOT an advertisement (as if Amazon need little old me to advertise, lol) but it’s an amazing addition to the Amazon website we all know and love. I’m not sure if it’s only available for Prime members, but if you shop through http://www.smile.amazon.co.uk a percentage of every item you buy will be donated to a charity of your choice. It’s super small at 0.5% of the cost, but when you consider how many people purchase items on Amazon every day, I imagine that adds up like crazy! I chose Make A Wish UK, and you’re able to change your charity of choice whenever you like. I’m not sure when this was released as I only found out at the end of May, but I just wanted you all to know anything I link via Amazon will be linked through Amazon Smile! Also, it doesn’t affect any prices, so you don’t need to worry about that.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the beginning of my new blogging series, I’m so excited to inject a little spontaneity into my blog. I promise they won’t all be this long, or this whingey! It is a little scary to me to do something without a specific, set plan, but I’m trying so hard to not let it get to me and #gowiththeflow. LOL I’m so not a go with the flow person. AT ALL. Anyway, what have you been up to this week? What have you been loving?! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I know we will! I’ll see you on Sunday with a new post!

-G x

How I’m Changing The Way I Spend Money

Happy Sunday, loves!

Today I’m sharing with you a few of the little changes I’ve made to my spending habits, mostly since the beginning of 2019. We’re only halfway through the second month of the year, but I already feel so much better since implementing a few simple changes. I thought I’d share with you the changes I’ve made, in the hope it may help or inspire you if you’re looking to hold tighter on the reigns of your finances. Aren’t we all…

Matt and I are currently saving for our future home (we’re going to start looking by the end of the year and I’m SO excited at the prospect of this I can barely stand it)! As we’re buckling down on saving more and spending less, whilst still trying to have a life, we’ve been looking at all the things we can do to improve our ability to save.

Budget by category, and track your spending
In my opinion, it’s so important to know how much you get paid, and to categorise your spending in categories at the beginning of the month. I can’t believe some people don’t know their take home pay each month! If that is you, this is a no judgement zone. BUT, please make a budget! I’m begging you! I track my spending loosely on a spreadsheet I made a few years back (it’s colour coded and very pleasing to the eye LOL. I’m so Type A), but as a result I always know how much I have to set aside for bills and fixed monthly expenses. My fixed monthly expenses include things like my phone contract, house fund savings, my car payment and insurance, then my variable monthly expenses include things like holiday savings (to pay off our Summer holiday to Croatia and begin savings for a mini-break to Budapest, I’m so excited!), ‘fun money’, petrol and groceries. I split my money into twelve categories overall, but it’s all down to what works best for you. I personally think it’s really important to have a ‘fun money’ category; whatever amount works for you in your budget; for treating yourself to a few new beauty bits during the month or spending a little extra on date night.

Spending with cash only in shops/supermarkets
I literally never used cash. Ever. I tapped my contactless debit card or Apple pay like it was my job, and rarely carried a full sized purse as I just didn’t need it. My card holder is now strictly reserved for when I carry a small crossbody bag (usually just on the weekend), and day-to-day I now carry my purse with me. Using cash at first felt so strange, it was like being on holiday and trying to work out which coin was which. Yes, really. I felt so awkward the first few times I didn’t pay using just notes as I was scrabbling through my coins, mortified I was holding up the queue. How British of me. Spending with physical cash keeps me accountable in a whole different way, as I think when I use a debit card it often doesn’t feel like real money. I’m not sure if it’s mind over matter, but whenever Matt and I go out for date night and pay in cash rather than on our debit cards we always spend less. If you find yourself overspending on your budget, or just are generally confused where your money is going, I’d highly recommend trying to use just cash only, it puts things into a whole new perspective!

Meal planning
Matt and I started to do this during the last few months of 2018, and by now we nail it every week. Our evening routines vary due to Matt’s shift pattern, but we know what that will be at least a few weeks in advance. As a result, we plan which nights we’re going to cook with fresh ingredients, and which nights we might grab a Sainsbury’s flat bread pizza (the BEST – you need to try the chorizo one!) or an M&S ‘throw it in the oven and wait thirty minutes’ meal. This all depends on what time Matt finishes work, for example on the nights he comes home between 9pm and 9.30pm we quite honestly can’t be bothered to cook and we want something quick and easy so we can catch up on our days and fall into bed! I’d love to write a whole post, detailing our meals for a week – including recipes – if that’s something you’d like to see?

Limiting online shopping
I’m not completely opposed to online shopping, but I no longer feel the need to mindlessly scroll through websites and buy things just for the buzz of buying. Before re-training the way I think about money, I shopped online way more than I’d like to admit, and often once I’d opened the package, at least half of the novelty had already worn off. I prefer to shop in stores anyway; to feel, smell and look at things properly. I have a few online loves – such as Feel Unique – that I know I’ll purchase from for years to come, but I feel less of an obligation to purchase online. I’d also really recommend taking twenty minutes out of your day to unsubscribe from all of the mailing lists you’ve signed up to over the years, this will definitley ease any extra temptation! One thing I will never get tired of buying online is books; as much as I love browsing Waterstone’s, I can’t justify paying full price when I know (usually) Amazon will be way cheaper! My Amazon ‘Save For Later’ list is brimming with books to order over the coming months.

Opening separate savings accounts
This is one of the best things I’ve done to get into a better habit of saving money! I have a regular old ‘Emergency Fund’ then I also have a ‘House Fund’ and a ‘Holiday Fund’. Matt and I are so excited to buy our first home together and it’s something we talk about all the time, but it’s also something that we don’t need to put added pressure onto ourselves for. We are so blessed to spend every day/night together and we have two houses right now – so we feel very lucky and grateful for that. Having a holiday fund allows me to set aside money each money to pay off our upcoming holidays – I’m so excited! – then when that’s paid off, I can carry on adding money to it as we’re planning a city break to Budapest later in the year. My ‘Emergency Fund’ is a personal fund, which is to take money from as/when needed for genuine emergencies. Sadly, a Mulberry purse doesn’t count as an emergency. I have direct debits set up which automatically add money into these accounts throughout the month, then if I have anything left over at the end of the month I’ll add extra into a specific account (right now any extra pennies are reserved for our holiday fund).

Implement the thirty day rule on any splurge/impulse purchases
This is SUCH a great tip that I read/heard somewhere ages ago, and it works so well for me. I really struggled with this at the beginning of January, but I’m now set in a new habit and it’s begining to feel second nature. I use space in my planner, or sometimes in the Notes app on my phone, to write down any of the things I’m lusting over, whether it’s a new beauty product or a clothing item. In the past, if I saw something I’d quite like to buy, I’d open up my laptop and purchase without thinking about it. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid, so writing things down as a decoy to not buy them was a totally different concept to me. The whole point is to then wait (at least) thirty days before purchasing, as if after the thirty days you still want that item it’s not a silly purchase. I was making so many frivolous purchases in 2018, and I’m quite shocked that I haven’t bought one thing on my list that has passed the thirty day term. So, it really was something I lusted after in the moment, and I don’t regret not buying at all!

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of my points helpful, or did they reasonate with you as something you’d like to introduce into your life? What is your best tip for managing your money better?

-G x