Christmas In Edinburgh

Hi, loves! This past Saturday Matt and I headed up to Edinburgh for a fun little day trip to explore one of our favourite cities, finish up on a little extra holiday shopping and… well… eat all of the food (and drink all of the Irn Bru)! We live in the North of England and we are very used to the cold weather, but oh my gosh it was so freezing cold up in Scotland. Which, to be fair, I guess that’s to be expected in December! Matt and I have a tradition to visit a new city’s Christmas markets each year. Back in 2017 we headed to York, then last year we went to Manchester. It was so fun to see another city and how they do Christmas! We of course visit our hometown Christmas markets which are beautiful, but they’re not a patch on some other cities. Spoiler: Edinburgh is our favourite Christmas market we’ve visited so far! 🙂

We started our day bright dark and early, and we just had to make a Starbucks trip as soon as we got to the train station. As much as I love the holiday themed drinks at Starbucks/Costa, I opted for my ‘usual’ cold weather drink: an extra hot, hot chocolate with two pumps of vanilla and almond milk. It’s delish!

Hahahaha. We were going past Newcastle United’s training ground at the time I took this, look at his face!

I love you so much 🙂

The very second we came out of the train station we headed straight to H&M to buy gloves and an umbrella for Matt! He forgot to bring a hat (but ended up buying a cute lil Barbour cap during our day, I LOVE it on him. It’s very Peaky Blinders haha!) We got a SHOCK when we came out into the fresh air because it was so freezing cold, our cheeks and noses were instantly red! I was super toasty in my coat though #bestbuyever.

I’m so drawn to colorful wool patterns and Tartan is my JAM.

I have no words how amazing these pancakes are, I didn’t want to share with Matt, hahaha! There were ten little pancakes in the tray, smothered with Nutella and white chocolate that melted in and made the most delicious litle treat ever! I want to eat it again right now.

After walking all round the markets, we headed to wander around a few shops. We went into a store called Kingdom Of Sweets and found all of the Tony’s flavours…

…and best of all… USA Mountain Dew!!! The Mountain Dew we can buy here is really naff and just not the same at all. I was so excited to see these that I didn’t even care they were £1.99 each! We got three Mountain Dew’s and one Exotic Fanta for Matt. I couldn’t BELIEVE the price of Freddo’s! Like, what the HECK?!

The streets throughout Edinburgh are GORGEOUS, especially when decorated for Christmas. The streets by The Dome are our very favourite and they have the best shops, including so many that we don’t have here in Newcastle. I really wish I had taken photos in Harvey Nichol’s because it was just so pretty in there.

We HAD to make a stop at Anthropologie! Look how beautiful!

I was literally in love with these coasters. I bought one in a teal/dark green shade and Matt got me one in this light blue to put in my stocking! I just think they’re so pretty 🙂

Another shop we stopped by was Oliver Bonas. I’m dreaming of this sweet chest in our future home! How GORGEOUS!?

Many shops later, we stopped for lunch at All Bar One. We do have one of these in Newcastle that just opened a few months ago, but we haven’t had chance to visit yet. We ate breakfast here two years ago so it was really nice to come back! Matt got Tennent’s and I got Irn Bru… #wheninScotland. We also had delicious food and the atmosphere is just so lovely in there! It’s relaxed but busy, and just feels so homely and cosy. Matt went for a burger and I opted for mac n cheese, we were so happy, warm and full when we left!

We did have another little look around the markets, then headed up to the castle! The streets on the way up are so quaint and cute, I feel like they’re very ‘typically British’ and so photogenic. We’re so lucky that where we live in Northumberland has so many pretty castles and places of history, but I LOVE Edinburgh Castle so much. It absolutely beautiful and on a clear day you can see for miles!

The most handsome man I ever did see 🙂

I’m SO glad it wasn’t windy up there…

Matt may or may not have added this bottle of whisky to his Christmas List. I’m pretty sure Father Christmas will NOT be getting that memo!

A candid at the top of the very windy hill.

We sent this shirt photo to Debbie (Matt’s mum) to ask her opinion on whether or not Matt should get it. I loved it, Matt liked it, Debbie loved it. We bought it! He’s going to be wearing this on Christmas Day 🙂 …if you’re looking for a last minute gift, anything from Ted Baker is a WINNER. Matt wears Ted Baker shirts for so many occasions, and they’re such high quality.

More market wandering… more drinking inside the log cabins to warm the F up… we also grabbed Bailey’s hot chocolates but our hands were too freezing to take photos. They were really good, but we can do make better at home!

SO pretty!

The Dome lit up for Christmas is just SO STUNNING! If you get chance to visit Edinburgh at Christmas, do it!

After a little more wandering/browsing/shopping we headed to a bar (I’m pretty sure it was called The Refinery?) for a few drinks. Pints and gins all round! This was such a cute bar, it’s definitely Matt and I’s kind of vibe.

…just before we made a dash to Sainsbury’s to buy drinks/snacks for the train home we got a photo outside of the Tipi. How gorgoeus is this star!? I love this photo. And Matthew, I love you so much 🙂

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our little festive trip and seeing what we got up to. Have you ever visited Edinburgh at Christmas? Which are the best Christmas markets you’ve visited this year? I so wish we could have stayed for a whole weekend, we definitely want to visit again next year.

-G x

All Of The Things That Made Me Happy Last Week

Hi, loves! Today’s post is another talking about everything that’s made me happy over the past week. As the title may suggest. *shrugs shoulders* I really love writing these posts – you can read my previous ones here and here – and I get so many lovely messages from people saying that they notice the little things more after reading them, and in turn feel happier too! I’ve had another weird week where I’ve felt super anxious and a little bit off, so I dived deep and looked at all the happy, positive things in my life! I try so hard to do this every day, but it’s really so easy to forget and sometimes we need a little reminder. Getting bogged down with silly mundane things like traffic, someone else’s bad attitude or the weather is SO common, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day!

This was from the week before Matt and I left for Croatia so I really had a lot to be happy about 🙂 about mid-week my anxiety finally tailed off, and I felt so much brighter, happier and genuinely so excited for our holiday! Also, I like to include way more photos in these posts normally but I forgot to take relevant photos each day as I was super pre-occupied with things I needed to do before my holiday, I’m sorry!

SUNDAY
– Matt and I got to lay in for the first time in weeks, it was bliss
– I watched Jade Billington‘s first two Disney vlogs whilst getting ready. I love her so much, her videos always leave me feeling so happy but travel/Disney vlogs? Come on!
– date day with my love. We went to Wagamama’s, which is our favourite place for lunch! Matt had chilli steak ramen and I got udon noodles with steak. It was SO. GOOD.
– I met an Internet friend in real life! It was so so lovely to see her, and meet her adorable little daughter who loved Matt. Babies always are attracted to Matt, it’s the cutest thing ever #broody
– finishing up my holiday clothes shopping, finally. I literally felt 10000 x more relaxed (and excited) once I’d picked up the last few bits
– the smell of my banana hair mask from The Body Shop
– having a cosy night at home with Matt’s parents. They’re so good to us and I feel so so lucky to have them!

MONDAY
– snuggles in bed
– Cheerios with Alpro almond coconut milk. This will never not make me happy
– I got our grocery shop done in record time AND came in under budget. Double win!
– picking up our Kuna (Croatian currency) for our holiday! I love that feeling when you pick up your money and it all suddenly feels real
– the best long shower
– getting lots of blog photos taken. I love love love writing my blog but I do sometimes get super stressed about not having photographs ready to go with my upcoming posts!
– I had dinner ready for Matt coming home and it was so good (if I do say so myself). We had cod with mash and veggies!

TUESDAY
– Matt’s cute little face when I brought him a cup of tea in bed. I do this most mornings (when we have time) and he always looks so happy!
– driving past all the cute little bunnies outside of our estate
– listening to this podcast on the way to work. I’m literally obsessed with Chris & Rosie, they’re so flipping funny
– the ice cream van came round the industrial estate I work on and we ran out to get an ice cream like children. What holiday body?
– I had such a quick, easy day at work
– another cosy night in with Matt and his parents. I just love my second family!
– the most beautiful sunset (photos did NOT do it justice sadly)

WEDNESDAY
– we woke up to the sound of heavy rain. I love rainy mornings
– spending my lunch break shopping with my co-worker
– coming home to the smell of Spanish Chicken in the crockpot. Bae did good
– seeing Matt’s sweet grandma. We set up her new TV and she was so happy it just melted my heart!
– watching the women’s world cup, eating pick n mix with Matthew
– hitting over 10,000 steps on my Fitbit
– Matt and I snuggled up in bed and fell right to sleep, this never happens but we slept so good!

THURSDAY
– morning cuddles (I could have said this every day LOL)
– a hot cup of tea
– picking up our groceries/last minute holiday bits before work. I just really enjoy ticking things off my to do list
– my last holiday delivery arrived! I absolutely love these earrings I ordered, I seen them weeks ago and was planning to pick them up in the airport, but then they went on sale for HALF PRICE. Usually I buy things then they get reduced, so that was great! I can’t wait to wear them throughout the Summer 🙂
– that post-hair wash feeling
– picking Matt up from his night out! I’d literally dropped him off a few hours before but I missed spending my night with him haha
– driving late at night, it’s just so peaceful

FRIDAY
– working on the blog for an hour when Matt left for work. I was snuggled up under our duvet, with a candle burning and a cup of tea. Bliss
– a croissant from Lidl’s bakery. If you know, you know
– ticking off everything (well except one non-important) thing on my to do list at work
– setting my out of office for a week and a half! At this point I’m SO EXCITED for our holiday
– an ice cold Diet Coke
– cooking dinner with Matthew
– snuggling up and watching Brooklyn 99, it’s our favourite

SATURDAY
– I had a lot of fun waking Matt up by being super annoying and kissing/cuddling him a little too much. He loved it as much as I did really
– making bacon sandwiches for breakfast
– seeing my sweet grandma
– painting my toe nails, I only really bother to do it for holidays/special occasions haha
– I finished up packing and have plenty of space to bring back cute souvenirs
– that holiday eve feeling
– Chinese for dinner with bae

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and felt the positive vibes radiating from it… maybe? A little bit? Ha! What’s three things that have made your day a little bit happier today? What could you do to make someone else’s happier? I’m continuing the happy vibes on Wednesday too!

-G x

How To Become A Morning Person This Spring

Hi, loves!

I’ve always loved the idea of being a morning person. A sense of getting up when the birds begin chirping, being up and about roaming around before others have even opened their eyes, and just getting started on the day from the crack of dawn. My boyfriend thrives in the mornings, and I had just resided to it not being for me. He’s always full of the joys of Spring (appropriate, right?) the second his eyes open, and despises the fact I snooze our alarm at least twice every morning. Well, I used to!

Over the past few months I’ve been working so hard to become a morning person, to enjoy early mornings and to look forward to them, instead of dreading them. There’s a few things that have worked wonders to change my mindset, and I’m now officially one of those people. It’s actually pretty great, and I can’t stop banging on about it to my friends. Also, it means you get to eat more delicious food. Breakfast really IS the best meal of the day!

Prepare your clothes/bag/food etc the night before. I used to do this way back when I was in school, and I felt great pleasure in having my uniform hanging on the front of my wardrobe door, my Jane Norman bag filled to the brim with crap I didn’t need (textbooks? what are those?) and my makeup set out and ready to go. When I went to college, I started to go for the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-possibly-still-hungover look more often than not, and my eagerness to be prepared for the day ahead went down the drain. Then, I started the world of work, and I just never got into a rhythm that worked for me. Fast forward to 2019: after almost seven years in the working world, I’ve got it down. My work bag is always ready to go, Matt and I’s clothes are ironed and hanging up on our wardrobe door before our heads hit our pillows, and our lunches are prepared for the next day. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and sometimes I still even place my makeup products on my dressing table, ready to use when I’m bleary eyed and fighting the urge to jump back into bed for another cuddle!

Go to bed a reasonable time. It’s probably the most obvious thing to point out, but it’s for good reason. Waking up early and feeling ready to take on the day, are never going to go hand-in-hand if you’re falling asleep mid-way through a movie you decided you just had to watch at 11pm. Matt and I are such homebodies – we love our cosy evening routine so much – and quite honestly we’re very rarely awake at 11pm! That is the latest of nights for us, specifically reserved for weekends when Matt’s off work. In our twenties and living the high life. We’re all different, but scientists believe the optimum number of hours we should sleep lands between the six to eight hour mark, and I have to say for us, I agree. If we get less than seven hours we’re a little cranky, and counting down to having an early night from the second our alarm goes off. I think the best way to tweak this is to try to go to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each day, gradually working up to an hour or hour and a half earlier, and seeing how you feel getting up at the same time or earlier in the mornings.

Stop pressing snooze. Seriously. I admit it: I’m a fan of the snooze button. I used to religiously set alarms for an hour (or sometimes two) before we were going to get up just so I could enjoy snuggling back in and falling asleep again. I know. Matt hated it but never complained, bless him! You’ll be glad to know I’ve finally relaxed on the super early alarms. I still set our alarm a tad earlier than we need to get up to get ready for the day ahead, but generally by a much more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes. This gives us a little time to wake up, snuggle in with each other and talk about our sleep and the day ahead. *Cue lots of me telling Matt he said something super cute but he was fast asleep and has no recollection. And I’m probably complaining about him stealing all the covers. He does it every night!* In hindsight, I never actually felt better from snoozing our alarm either, if anything it made me more tired and grumpy, because I would fall back asleep then jump awake, feeling more startled every time.

Create a routine. I love routines. Love, love, love them. That will be no surprise to any regular readers, I think they just make life so much more simple! Due to Matt’s varying shifts throughout the week, our mornings are a little different each day, but that actually makes things a little easier for me, I think. Some days we’re up at 6am, and he’s out of the house around half an hour later. On those mornings I love to write and edit upcoming blog posts and/or squeeze in a thirty minute yoga session before I have to get ready for work. The days we get to snooze a little longer are when I’m out of the house first (much later at around 8.30am), and they’re generally reserved for little lie ins and cups of tea in bed. Both glorious in their own way! Of course, weekends are a whole different ball game (if Matt is off work, that is) – it’s our time to sleep a little longer and just move at a slower pace. Also, I find my days start so much better if I don’t start to browse social media the second I turn off the alarm. I’m obviously not perfect and I do usually catch up on my chosen platform (Instagram, ALWAYS!) before I leave the house, but it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up anymore. Matt and I try so hard to not look at our phones whilst we’re lying in bed in the morning, otherwise it makes us want to stay there for at least another twenty minutes! It’s still a work in progress, but little steps climb mountains. Or something like that.

Give yourself things to look forward to. It’s almost like bribing yourself, but having something in the morning to get up for is going to make you want to do it. I don’t really need to do this any more, but in the early days of trying to get up earlier and enjoy it, I really did need all of the motivation I could get! Whether it was the promise of a yoga session, an extra twenty minutes to binge-watch vlogs whilst I got ready (look no further than Emma Hill or The Anna Edit, they’re a dream) or cups of tea in bed, these little things became a reason to get up and get on with the day.

Let in the light and open the windows. Hallelujah, it’s no longer like the dead of night when it’s time to get up! Since mid-February when the mornings started getting warmer and lighter, my mood rose so quickly. We all know getting up when it’s dark and cold outside is ten times harder, so putting ourselves into new routines throughout the Spring and Summer gives us a better shot of carrying it on throughout the colder months too. Matt and I sleep with the window open every night (although, not too open. A few weeks ago, our next door neighbour’s cat let himself in during the middle of the night, plonked his bum on our bedside table and DRANK OUR GLASS OF WATER. guys. IT DRANK FROM THE GLASS. I woke up to the sound of his tongue lapping it up and screamed until Matt woke up. I sh*t you not. Also, we are not cat people hahaha). Anyway, I digress, but waking up to a light chill in the room is actually quite nice, and I find it weirdly motivating. It’s not freezing cold, so I find it just wakes me up a little more. Also, any excuse to wear bae’s dressing gown while I get ready, it’s so much cosier than mine!

Experiment with delicious breakfasts. Let’s be honest, food is the best part of everyone’s day, and in my opinion breakfast food just pips anything else to the top of the list. If you have time for homemade pancakes and berries covered in syrup then more power to you, but I’m thinking the quick, easy options are the best to go for in the mornings before work. Think avocado toast, oatmeal, Special K (I’m having a bit of a love affair with that right now!) or smoothies packed with all the goodies. If there’s one thing that’s sure to get me excited about getting up it’s food! Also, not to sound like your grandma, but breakfast is so important. Even if you’re running super late and barely have time to catch your breath, at least grab a banana or protein bar, you’ll thank me for it when the 11am slump doesn’t arrive!

I hope this post helped to give you a little inspiration, or maybe a few laughs at least! Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy getting up and getting on with your day? Please let me know your tips in the comments below!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

As this post goes live, we will be on our way to enjoy a staycation at one of our favourite hotels, Hotel du Vin at Newcastle Quayside. It’s a birthday treat for Matthew as he turns 25 tomorrow, and we’re making the most of it! We’re planning on doing very little; maybe a chilled walk along the Quayside, a bubble bath, dinner, drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing with yours truly. What more could he want, eh?!

Packing is my thing and I love reading packing related blog posts or watching ‘pack with me’ videos on YouTube, some of these incredible people fit enough clothes for three weeks in a carry on suitcase! Mind = blown. I am borderline obsessed with the whole process and find it so exciting, as soon as we have a trip booked I find myself beginning to plan my outfits, search through my stash of travel sized minis and find the Insta-worthy hotspots usually reserved for the locals. As much as I enjoy that kind of packing, there’s something real nice about heading for a staycation, less than thirty minutes from home. You already know the best places to go! Driving means no luggage restrictions! Full sized beauty products! The ability to pop home if you forget your favourite shoes… Also, it means I don’t have to hide Matt’s birthday presents as I can easily sneak them in the boot.

Really, the chances of me forgetting something on a staycation trip are pretty slim, as I tend to go with the ‘if you might need it, take it’ method of packing when there’s no weight restriction. Slippers? Our favourite blanket? Ski goggles? You name it, I’ve probably packed it. I feel I’m being a tad hard on myself as I’ve definitely honed it down from previous trips, but I’m still not the most minimalistic or streamlined packer, and for a one or two night trip close to home, I’m okay with that. Also, the best thing about travelling anywhere with your boyfriend? He takes literally the essentials. (By ‘he’ I mean me, because of course I end up packing for him HAHA). I’m sure all girls have read between the lines here and know where I’m going with this… extra space for our stuff, YAY!

*I’ve linked all of the items you can still purchase to save you having to find them!*

The Beauty Bits

My favourite part of packing is always my skincare, makeup and toiletries. As I mentioned above, I do love a travel sized mini, but there is something a little bit special about being able to take your old faithfuls without having to find a mini or decant them. Although I often take full sized beauty products on staycation trips, or really anywhere we travel to by car, I tend to take less products overall, and just take the things I actually need. Sort of. I definitely minimize my skincare and makeup routine, and don’t take all of the extra ‘just incase’ bits I usually keep in my skincare stash. I’m so happy with my daily skincare routine so I’m definitely taking all my must-haves for morning and night, even though it may seem like a lot to some. I talked about my current skincare routine in this post so please check that out if you’d like to know my thoughts on the products pictured, in more detail!

I also try to pack as little as possible in the category of ‘body care’ (I feel like there needs to be an actual name for this stuff?!) because A) it’s just a one night trip and I won’t be doing a full on pamper sesh and B) Hotel du Vin have Ren products in all of their rooms anyway, which is an amazing cruelty free brand that I love. Matt and I always share whichever shampoo and conditioner I pack, and we’ll use one of our own mini Molton Brown shower gels, then I need my shaving products, moisturiser and hair products to style my hair before I blow dry it. We very rarely use the mini toiletries provided in the room when we’re there as I (not so) secretly love to take them for future trips that may not provide them. That’s why they’re there, right?!

If this is your first time reading my blog you may not know that my aim for 2019 is to go fully cruelty free on my beauty products. I’m already there on my everyday skincare and makeup items, but body care is proving a little more tricky – I’m yet to find a razor that works as well as my beloved Gillette Swirl, and any other shaving gel apart from Gillette leaves my skin dry and/or irritated. I wanted so badly to love the Lush D’Fluff as it smelled glorious, but it really wasn’t right for my skin, and never gave me a close enough shave. My beloved Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a must-have, I use this almost every day and I love it; it reminds me of so many wonderful memories.

Skincare: Glossier Milky Oil / Boots Botanics Micellar Water / Cotton Rounds / Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser / Pixi Glow Tonic / The Body Shop Serum-in-Oil / The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask / Neals’ Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser / Glossier Balm Dot Com / Facetheory Eye Cream / Facetheory SuperGel Moisturiser

Makeup: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer / Colourpop X Zoella Eyeshadow Palette / Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette / Too Faced Better Than Sex & Diamonds Mascara / It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte in Fair / Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Concealer in 2 / Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder / Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love / Colourpop Highlighter in Flexitarian / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in The Duchess / NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu / Minimal amount of makeup brushes & my beauty blender

Hair & Body Care: Ren Oat & Bay Shampoo (mini) / Love Beauty & Planet Magic Masque / Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser / Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo / Tangle Teezer Brush / Straighteners / Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt / Dove Deodorant / Lush Sleepy Moisturiser / Gillette Shaving Gel (mini) / Gillette Swirl Razor / Molton Brown Shower Gel (mini) / Contact Lenses / Medication

Clothing & Accessories

I love planning my outfits in general, and I find this the easiest category to pack for, even though I do like to have some kind of option, just in case. I’ll use the same bag both day and night – my Kate Spade crossbody is my go-to – and my trusty Vans will go with any day time outfit. I tend to be pretty hard on just taking one evening outfit for an overnight stay, as I know exactly what we’ll be doing – in this case, dinner at The Botanist and drinks on Grey St – but packing for the next day is a little trickier. We know our morning consists of Matt opening his presents (I’m so excited for that!) and us going for breakfast, but then we have the whole day to explore our favourite city and spend time with family, which is what birthdays are for.

I keep it minimal with my jewellery day-to-day, and I’ll be wearing my good ol’ faithfuls. My Missoma initial G necklace and mis-matched star and moon studs, my Pandora bracelet and various rings, and the rest of my earrings are silver, purchased from various stores. I very rarely change up my earrings as I love how they look, although it’s something I really want be more adventurous with this Spring/Summer! I’m also determined to try hoop earrings and to love them, other girls look SO good wearing hoops.

The weather is still very odd right now up North as we’re finally moving into Spring. Some days it’s warm, sunny and bright, and others it’s dark, rainy and freezing cold. This is my justification for taking two day outfit options, if you hadn’t already guessed what was coming. Also, we don’t take pyjamas as we never sleep in them, and we know from experience that Hotel du Vin robes are the bomb. I love to wear my hotel robe whilst I get ready for the evening and the following morning, so other than my two three outfits, there’s nothing else I need here! Except for a few spare pairs of pants and an extra bralette that I know I won’t wear. I can’t help it, it’s the overpacker in me. (Side note: VS thongs are the only underwear I buy, but I’m always looking for new options, and more sustainable brands would be great – if you have any tried and trusted recommendations please let me know in the comments!)

Evening: Underwear / Zara Animal Print Skirt / Black Camisole (similar) / Heeled Teal Boots / Kate Spade Crossbody
(YAY for ‘no bra’ outfits! #freethenipple)

Day: Underwear & Bra / Black Leather Jacket / Scarf / Black Old Skool Vans / Kate Spade Crossbody
Option 1 – Colourblock Jumper / Topshop Black Jamie Jeans
Option 2 – Black V Neck T-Shirt / Topshop Blue Jamie Jeans

The Bits I Actually Need (And Definitely Do Not Need But Will Take Anyway)

Like I said, I’m not perfect when it comes to packing (or anything, ha) and I knowingly pack more than I need. I always make sure to pack our phone chargers and also squeeze in snacks for the room because we love to have our home comforts for the evening. We’ve got our favourite sweets to snack on, and we’ll also have a box of our favourite donuts thanks to the amazing guys at Proven Goods Co. Matt won’t know this until we get there, and I’m so excited to surprise him! The only thing better than birthday cake is birthday donuts, right?! We always make sure to take a few bottles of water and cans of Diet Coke to stick in the fridge in the room, because we’re cheap and can’t justify paying the mini bar prices LOL. For special staycation trips like this one, we like to take a bottle of champagne, because that’s half the fun of the amazing roll top bath, right?! Also, it’s my love’s birthday, and if he wants champagne then that’s what he’ll get!

We’ll be throwing an extra coat in the car and I’ve already packed an umbrella ‘just incase’ but with good reason; in Newcastle it’s not uncommon to experience every weather possible in the space of 24 hours! Ironically, I’ll definitely be taking my sunglasses as the optimist in me will be praying for a sunny day so we can take a nice morning walk along the Quayside; it’s one of our favourite places in Newcastle and it’s just so beautiful.

We’d never take our iPads or laptops on an overnight trip like this as we absolutely will not need them, so there’s no need to worry about fitting those in to our luggage. I would normally take a book with me, but I know I’ll have no time to read so I wouldn’t bother lugging it around. (Even though this makes me a little sad as I’m obsessed with my current book, Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto, it’s the eighth book I’ve read so far this year and I hate putting it down!) I do always throw a tote bag into our luggage no matter where we’re going as they take up no space and come in so handy for tons of reasons. I mean, how else would I take all the miniature Ren toiletries home? I have to add, Poo Pourri comes in so handy on trips, I bought it originally as a joke when Matt and I went on our first weekend away together, but it’s actually a great idea (and still funny). Also, I think it’s a brilliant ‘gag gift’ for someone who’d laugh about it! Now, if only I could get him to use it at home…

I’m SO excited to relax and spoil my favourite person in the world, he deserves it so much. I hope you liked having a peek inside my suitcase, and if you haven’t already, you can check out my previous packing-related posts here and here. They’re the kind of posts you can come back to at any point for a little extra inspiration or motivation to pack! I’ll definitely be writing an updated What’s In My Carry On post when we go on our Summer holiday to Croatia later in the year, and we have a few city breaks in the pipeline too, I’m so excited to share more travel-related content.

What are your must-have items to pack for an overnight stay? Are you way more minimalist than me? I bet you are. Also, HOW do you do it? Please leave me all the tips and tricks in the comments, it would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much for reading!

-G x


Proving To Myself That The Little Things Make A Big Difference

Hi loves, happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is shorter than most, but that’s okay, because the little things make the biggest difference. See what I did there? I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps recently, and I’ve had to work extra hard to see the good in each day. (Please see this post for a little more perspective, it happens to the best of us, right?!) For over a week I felt like the second I got out of bed in the morning I was already on a countdown to getting back into it that night. Now, of course being snuggled with Matt is always going to be my ultimate happy place and heading off to work isn’t going to be the happiest part of my day, but it’s so draining to have no energy, and to feel like each day is a struggle in itself.

I just had a lot of those days, nothing was specifically wrong, but I set myself a task to make note of random things through the day that made me smile. Some of these are generic things that happen every day and some are random and uncommon. I’m a big believer in voicing gratitude and showing appreciation, and I hope this post helps to remind others there’s always good in each day. Here’s a little summary of the little things that made me smile last week – there obviously were tons of little things, I just tried to focus on things that people may find relatable (minus the Dwayne Johnson story)…

M O N D A Y

-Matt and I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual and spent the morning snuggling and chatting
-It was super sunny and warm
-Every traffic light on the way to work was green (that’s EIGHT of them)
-I got the cutest phone call from Matthew
-We spent a fun night with my second family, and made the best enchiladas for dinner
-I was having a good skin day
-Matt took some blog photos for me and we had such a giggle
-I found a new app to edit the photos and was SO happy with the results, I’m probably going to use it for most posts from now on
-Forehead kisses. ‘Nuff said
-Brendan from Coach Trip just being a little sweetie

T U E S D A Y

-By the time I’d got to work (like ten minutes after leaving him) Matt sent me the cutest text that made me so happy I cried
-One of my co-workers did something really sweet for another co-worker
-I drove home from work through the most beautiful, vibrant sunset that reminded me of being in Kos with my love
-I had a bubble bath and read my current book (Still Me by Jojo Moyes, I’m OBSESSED)
-The smell of my DW Home Tulip Takeover candle
-I sent Jessy a cute little quote to make her smile
-I timed dinner perfectly for Matt coming home from work, and was just about to serve as he walked through the door
-We snuggled up to watch more Coach Trip and it made us SO EXCITED for Summer

W E D N E S D A Y

-I showed Matt the Southwest flight attendant video this morning (he’s been living under a rock, clearly) and felt all the warm fuzzy’s at how funny and sweet the lady is
-I ate an iced split from Gregg’s for the first time in years
-I squeezed in an hour’s yoga before a long hot bubble bath and I’m not sure which felt better
-My post-yoga messy bun looked better than one I’d tried to make look good for twenty minutes (okay, this is bittersweet)
-I managed to grab the bits I wanted from the Zoella X Colourpop collaboration (more on that on the blog once it arrives!), plus a highlighter and lipgloss I’ve been eyeing up for ages
-Matt brought me home a new MacBook charger because mine was completely broken. The £80.00 price tag didn’t make me so happy LOL
-We had picky tea, which meant minimal effort and very full tummies before we fell into bed

He makes me so happy 🙂

T H U R S D A Y

-Matt and I had time to have a cup of tea together
-I nailed the rap from You’re Welcome on the way to work. Dwayne Johnson would have been PROUD… side note I met Dwayne Johnson. Everyone I’ve ever met for three seconds or less has probably heard this story, but we were in LA and he was at his movie premier and, yeah, we’re basically besties ~so casual~ ~so relatable~
-I ate Special K with Alpro Almond Coconut milk (which is my current breakfast of choice at work – highly recommend), but I was so hungry it tasted better than ever
-I was coming up to traffic on my way home from work, so I put my hazards on to warn the car behind me and then he put his hazards on to warn the car behind him. I love when this happens, weirdest feeling of accomplishment ever HAHA
-I went to my second home straight from work and was so happy to catch up with Matt’s parents, I hadn’t seen them for two days which felt like forever
-Matt and I made our plans for the weekend which always makes me super excited
-We also made the best pasta together and I want to eat it RIGHT NOW

F R I D A Y

-We woke up to the sound of birds chirping
-The smell of my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer made me feel like I was on holiday
-I had the weekend feeling driving to work, knowing I’d be heading home for a fun weekend in eight hours
-It was my company’s year-end, so we all had lunch together and our MD gave a little speech in the boardroom about us all doing a great job
-Anna’s new series, Everyday March, started on her Youtube Channel
-Matt and I went to Nando’s for dinner for the first time in so long
-At Nando’s, we bumped into my lovely friend Grace and her boyfriend. We only seen them for a short time as they were meeting friends but she was so smiley and sweet it literally made my day
-Matt and I snuggled up when we got home with glasses of our fave Whitney Neill gin (rhubarb and ginger, obvs) and lemonade
-Cry laughing with bae

S A T U R D A Y

-We got to have a lie in (!!!)
-The smell of my new Spring candle burning whilst we got ready
-We went for a breakfast date at a new place – our favourite thing to do on a weekend morning – it was SO good
-I had a crepe filled with bananas and Nutella. No explanation needed on why this made me happy. NUTELLA
-I popped into Blue Lotus (the only place I’d go for piercings) to see if they could squeeze me in but they were fully booked, however I got a new earring and we got to see Nici for the first time in ages – the sweetest lady who works there. She’s such a breath of fresh air
-The beautiful flowers outside Fenwick’s
-I finally got some extra ideas on what else to buy Matt for his birthday (he’s so hard to buy for because he buys whatever he wants for himself!)
-We had a super chilled evening watching our shows and eating Domino’s. Perfect

S U N D A Y

-Matt was so full of energy dancing around from the second he got out of bed, which gave me a burst of energy (and a giggle at his expense, he’s so cute)
-He went to play golf with the boys for the morning, so I spent a little time beginning to write up this post, with my candles burning and Himalayan pink salt lamp on, feeling like I really had my life together. I don’t, lol
-I totally zoned out and enjoyed my yoga session so much
-I had a Lush bath at 11am on a Sunday morning, just because
-Matt and I went for a late dinner at one of our fave local pubs
-After I’d showered we did face masks together and it’s literally one of my favourite things
-I received an overwhelming amount of love about today’s post My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine (thank you so much!)
-My new Sleepy moisturiser from Lush
-It was raining so hard when we went to bed, all the cosy feels

I hope you guys enjoyed this personal, almost Dear Diary style post – it’s certainly something different than what I’d usually post. Do you need to remind yourself to see the little things sometimes? What were the little things that made you smile today?

-G x

Valentine’s Date Ideas

Happy, happy Sunday, loves!

It’s officially the month of loooove and I am so excited about it! I feel like so often the real meaning of Valentine’s Day (which is, in my opinion, to show your love and appreciation for the special someone in your life) is taken away by an obsession to buy the biggest and best gifts. I know that when the 14th rolls around my social media pages will be flooded with photos of flowers, chocolates and probably a few extravagant gifts. If that’s what you and your partner like to do for each other, that’s great and you can bet I’ll be liking all of those photos! Matt and I do give gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we opt for smaller, thoughtful ones that mean something (and of course lots of chocolate). Instead of spending lots of money on material gifts, we prefer to spend a little extra on a fun date night!

This year, we’re celebrating the weekend before Valentine’s Day. I made reservations at our favourite steakhouse for this Friday, and I’m so excited! On Valentine’s Day we’re going to spend the evening cooking our favourite meal and enjoying a special dessert (you’ll see what that is in this post). Today I’m sharing with you some of Matt and I’s favourite dates, at all different price points, to give you a little inspiration if you’re stuck for something to do with your loved one this year. Remember; date days/nights don’t have to cost the earth AT ALL, it’s all about spending time with the person you love more than anything! I’ve added our local recommendations where applicable and linked websites for all the places that have them 🙂

Brunch date
Early morning dates are my favourite! Matt and I go for breakfast or brunch together as much as we can and we try to squeeze in these dates at least twice per month when he has weekend days off work. We’re always trying new places but we generally order the same thing – Matt’s favourite is a full English, and mine is a full veggie breakfast! (The veggie sausage at Post Box are THE BEST!)
Local recommendations: Post Box, Ponteland; The View, Tynemouth; The Butterfly Cabinet, Heaton

Mini golf
This was one of my favourite spontaneous dates we’ve had! Matt plays golf for real so he totally kicked my butt, which is fine because we had SO much fun. He definitely gave me more goes that allowed, and it was fun to get a little competitive against each other. There’s something to be said for getting to be kids together for a little while and forget all of the #adulting we have to do in real life!
Local recommendations: Mr Mulligan’s Space Golf; Dinosaur Encounter, Heighly Gate Garden Centre

At home movie night
This is perfect if you and/or your partner have hectic schedule(s) or children and can’t commit to a few hours outside of the home, but want to take a little time out together. Grab all your favourite snacks, pick a few Netflix faves (or newbies!) and snuggle up together for a night of cuddles and chilling. We try to to do this at least once per week, and it’s always one of my favourite evenings!

Book a staycation
Staying at a luxury hotel not too far from where you live is the best of both worlds; you get to experience a little luxury but you don’t have to travel for miles to find it. For us, it’s a welcome change to get out of our little home bubble for a night, enjoy a nice bath, wear comfy hotel robes (the best!) and go for dinner a stone’s throw away from our bed. Tip: take champagne for an extra special night!
Local recommendations: Hotel du Vin, Newcastle; Ramside Hall, Durham; Vermont Hotel, Newcastle

Dinner and drinks
It’s a classic for a reason, and you just can’t beat it. It’s our ultimate favourite date night and we try to fit this in as much as we can. It’s so fun to get dressed up and have fun with your partner, and to enjoy a nice meal out! We love to go for a few post-dinner cocktails when we can too, Matt loves a mojito and I love anything with gin! (All lemonade, no tonic!)
Local recommendations: (dinner) Tomahawk Steakhouse, Newcastle; Branches, Ponteland; Ora, Tynemouth; (drinks) Tiger Hornsby, Newcastle; Pleased To Meet You, Newcastle; YOLO, Ponteland

Play tourist in your hometown
Matt and I will be doing this until the day we die, I’m pretty sure! We love to spend a chilled day exploring new places and re-visiting old favourites, and it’s such a nice way to spend time together. You can also pop in to small bakeries or cafes for a bite to eat, and watch the world go by infront of you! If you’re in Newcastle, you have to make the trip just outside of the centre to Hoult’s Yard for Proven Goods Co. donuts; you won’t regret it!
Local recommendations: Quayside Market, Newcastle; Tynemouth Market, Tynemouth; Beamish Museum, Durham

Valentine’s Day 2017 🙂

Fondue for two
Due to Matt’s work schedule, this was how we spent our Valentine’s Day evening last year, and we’re doing it all over again this year (but with a mini version of this)! I melted our favourite kinds of chocolates, and added marshmallows, strawberries, Biscoff biscuits and bananas to dip in. We had a mini bottle of champange (the ones where you get literally one glass each, he had to be up at 5am!) and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. We had a cute, cosy night in that was so special to us.

Head on a road trip
Okay we’re a little biased here, we LOVE road trips! Whether it’s along the coast, down to the middle of the country or into the nearby countryside, we’re always up for spending a day exploring together. Stumbling across places we’ve never even heard of is the best, there’s always cute cosy pubs to find. We actually did this on our very first date on the way home from York! Make sure to take some yummy snacks for the car, and comfy clothes for the long journey home! (I always bring a blanket too, like the 4 year old I am at heart, HAHA).

Take a walk at the beach/in the country
Date days don’t have to cost the earth, but they can be about seeing what the earth has to offer. Corny enough for you?! I’ve said so many times that we’re super lucky with where we live because 10 minutes one way is the beach and 10 minutes the other is sprawling countryside. February in the North is freezing cold, so throw on all the layers and get your heart pumping on a long walk!
Local recommendations: Tynemouth beach; Cragside; Bamburgh Castle

If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, don’t let that get you down! Instead, have a party for one, or invite all of your girls round on the 13th to celebrate #GalentinesDay. Pick a few of your favourite movies, all your favourite snacks and snuggle up in your pj’s for a movie marathon. There’s some amazing gin cocktails you can make from the comfort of your own home linked here, I think it would be so much fun to make some cute drinks. Maybe throw on a face mask and order your favourite takeaway too, why not?! Valentine’s Day is for loving yourself too!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little inspiration if you’re feeling stuck for plans in the next few weeks. How are you planning to celebrate this year? Also, bookmark this page and you can easily find your way back to this post for any future date inspiration. Whether it’s for an anniversary or just a regular date without an ocassion, there’s something for everyone! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

-G x

Winter Bucket List

Hi, loves!

As any regular readers will know, I am SUCH a planner, and I thrive off having things to look forward to. Matt laughs at me all the time because I’m constantly planning our week in advance – what we’re having for dinner, if we’re staying at my parents house or his, where we should go for date night… I can’t help it! On the plus side, I’m super organised and we’ll never miss a birthday or anniversary, or turn up late to an event, every cloud eh?

Matt and I love spending time together and we’re so lucky that no matter what hectic work schedule Matt’s dealing with that week, we’re able to spend at least every morning and night together. Matt gets two days off per week but they’re often during the week, whereas mine are always Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes our evenings consist of catching up on each other’s days over a super quick dinner and then we’re snuggled up in bed ready to do it all over again. We see each other more than lots of couples are able to and we’re super grateful for that, we just wish we got more quality time together! This is why we plan in date nights and trips together, it’s so much better when we know in X amount of days we get to do this or that.

This year I thought it would be fun to plan season by season of all the fun things we’d like to do rather than by month and also include three personal goals I want achieve myself! I hope this may give you guys some ideas of fun things to do with your partners and/or friends over the upcoming months! I can’t wait to tick these things off our list, and I’m planning to do an update in the Spring, letting you know what worked for us and what didn’t. Also, I’m borderline obsessed with watching planning/journalling videos and there’s just not enough blog posts on the subject! Let me know if you’d like me to share how I plan ahead for the week/month?

Go to as many NUFC games as we can
Get wrapped up and go for walks along the beach
Spend a whole day lounging in the house in our pyjamas, watching films and cooking an extravagant evening meal
Make a snowman
Declutter and clean out my drawers and wardrobes (again, Marie Kondo style!)
Declutter and clean out Matt’s drawers and wardrobe
Go bowling
Spend a relaxing afternoon at a spa
Take a day trip up North
Finally start watching Power on Netflix – we’ve been saying we’d start for about a year now
Squeeze in all of the date nights!
Go swimming regularly through the week
Take walks through the woods to explore new places
Visit Glasgow and stay overnight
Cook a Sunday roast for our parents
Finally decide where we want to go on holiday and book!
Make gingerbread men (baking is not our forte so this might be a struggle)
Have a game night with our parents
Make reservations at all our favourite restaurants; Tomahawk Steakhouse, Harry’s, Ora, Branches
Plan fun double dates with our friends
Make homemade hot chocolate
Complete a jigsaw puzzle together on a cold Wintery day
See a show at our local theatre

Personal goals this season:
Go to a yoga class
Drive in the snow – if it snows – without crying… LOL this is so serious
Go to a coffee shop to work on my blog

Thank you so much for reading! I’m not sure we’ll have enough time to do everything on our list before Spring rolls around but I’m sure we’ll have fun trying! What are some of the things you want to do over the Winter months? Are you looking forward to anything in particular?

-G x

Christmas Weekend Trip: Photo Diary

Happy Christmas Eve, loves!

I’m so sad this is my last post in the Twelve Days Of Christmas! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, but hopefully this is a fun post to end my mini series with! Last week, Matt and I headed on a road trip down to Manchester to visit the Christmas markets, do our final bis of Christmas shopping and squeeze in all the football activities possible. (Guess who’s idea the third part was, HAHA). I’ve wrote this post similarly to our weekend trip to Liverpool – you can catch that here if you missed it! We had such a great weekend, I’m incredibly thankful for all of the fun Matt and I have squeezed into this festive season despite how much he’s been working. Spending our Christmas together is the best gift I could ever ask for, I love and appreciate him so much!

Friday 14th December

Our weekend began on Friday evening when I got home from work. Matt had been off work all day and had spent the whole day relaxing, watching Netflix and playing his new Playstation game. He was literally in the same position as when I left for work that morning, curled up in bed HAHA. He ran a bath for me coming home (literally melts my heart when he does this!) and we had the best cosy evening together. He went to pick up our Indian takeaway, and we snuggled in front of the Christmas tree, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We had a pretty early night ahead of our early start the next day!

Saturday 15th December

We woke up around 6.30am and after a few minutes of snoozing too long (oops, we do this every morning!) we got ready to head down to Manchester. Matt wanted to be on the road early to avoid the traffic, and although we set off a little later than planned we still made really good time! The drive down was so quick and the roads were fairly empty which we were surprised about! I may have fell asleep for an hour… such good company.

It’s not a road trip without my car blanket ✌🏻

We headed straight to the Trafford Centre to finish our Christmas shopping. Matt got a lovely shirt from Ted Baker for Christmas Day (I’m sure I’ll be sharing a few photos from Christmas with you on the blog in the next few days, if not they’ll definitely be up on Instagram!) and we finally purchased our last presents. I’m never usually this unorganised for Christmas so I was so happy to be done! We went for breakfast at All Bar One, we haven’t eaten there since we were in Edinburgh last year and it was so good even if my serving was teeny tiny HAHA. We finished up our shopping, and I treated myself to a new pair of Topshop Jamie jeans (my fave!) then we headed to drop our bags off at the hotel.

Looking like a robber in a black hat, black oversized jumper and black skinnies!

After a super quick turnaround at the hotel, we got wrapped up and headed into Manchester city centre. We stayed in a cheap and cheerful hotel in MediaCityUK which was a lovely area – it’s a man-made metro city and it’s where lots of the TV studios are situated. We were right next to the Coronation Street set which I was way too excited about! It was pouring down ALL day so unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the markets. We went to the National Football Museum – obviously Matt’s idea – and had a lot of fun wandering around and learning! We spent our afternoon browsing Selfridges (a novelty to us because we don’t have one here!), eating Yorkshire pudding wraps and drinking Bailey’s hot chocolates. We had so much fun, I love our tradition of visiting a new Christmas market every year! We’re hoping to visit Bath next year (well, I am, Matt isn’t too keen but I’m sure he’ll come round to it when we’re booking up to go 😉).

Yorkshire pudding wraps were UNBELIEVABLE!
I love you 😍

After we’d spent hours in the freezing cold rain, sleet and snow, we made our way back to the hotel to warm up and get ready for the evening. We had reservations for a late dinner so we were able to take our time getting ready! We also may have watched the Strictly final and seen Stacey be announced the winner, just as we were leaving. I’m SO happy for her!! She deserved it so much. It was still pouring rain when we left the hotel, so we headed to grab a drink at the restaurant we were eating at, The Botanist. I was drinking Rhubarb gin and lemonade, one of my favourites, and Matt was of course drining Heineken. We had a lovely dinner (sorry, I totally forgot to take photos!) but Matt had fish and chips, and I had a chicken skewer with fries. We spent the evening laughing and joking together and enjoying each other’s company, and planning our next week in the build up to Christmas, and getting even more excited for everything coming up! We headed back after a few drinks and snuggled up for the evening.

Sunday 16th December

Sunday mornings are forever my favourite! Well, the ones that Matt isn’t at work for anyway HAHA. The weather had finally let up, and we got to see a beautiful sunrise from our high-rise hotel. We got ready, checked out and loaded up the car, then set off for a beautiful walk along the Quays outside our hotel.

It was super cold and fresh outside – the perfect weather to go exploring in! We stopped by Costa so I could grab a gingerbread hot chocolate, and Matt got a gingerbread man, he was obviously feeling the Christmas spirit! We walked along the Quays and towards Old Trafford, as we decided we’d do a stadium tour. My mam’s side of the family are huge Man U fans (they’re from Manchester so it’s okay!) and I’m sure I actually did a tour years ago, but I couldn’t remember anything. It was so so freezing but we had such a fun time on the tour, and we learned so much! I just love how much Matt loves football.

Doing his best Rafa!

We were freezing after the tour, and we’d spent best part of three hours in the museum/on the tour so were also super hungry. We grabbed Subway which wasn’t our first choice but it was the closest thing around, and actually was pretty good! Matt had a chicken and bacon ranch footlong with a donut, and I got a steak and cheese with salad with a Smartie’s cookie… I love knowing people’s fast food orders! We then made our way back to the car and began the journey home. We thought the traffic was going to be terrible as it was the second last weekend before Christmas, but we made such good time!

We visited my parents for a little while whilst I dropped off everything I didn’t need, and picked up my work stuff for the next day. We watched the end of the Man U game with them (unfortunately Man U lost – my family were not happy bunnies!) then we headed back to Matt’s for the evening, via the Chinese takeaway! We ate so badly through the weekend but every once in a while that’s okay, right?! We had quick showers to get into our comfies, then snuggled in to watch Elf with his parents, and had the perfect cosy night. We spent the rest of the evening laughing and chatting with Matt’s lovely parents (literally my second family!), and had an early night as we both had to be up early for work the next day!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed my last festive post of the year. Writing this and looking at our photos gave me all of the cosy festive vibes, I wish we could go back and do the wekend all over again right now! Today Matt and I get a little lie in before he heads to work, then I’m getting our final bits for Christmas organised. Fingers crossed before I know it it’ll be 6pm, he’ll be home and we’ll be off to the pub to begin the Christmas celebrations with his family!

I hope you have the best Christmas with your family and friends, I am giddy with excitement right now! I’m so excited to give my loved ones their gifts this year and spend the day with all of my favourite people.

Normal posts will resume from Sunday 30th December.

Merry Christmas, loves!

-G x