Sustainable Valentine’s Gifting

Hey, my little lovebugs! Happy month of luuuurve! I love *love* and everything about it, and I think it’s so fun to celebrate Valentine’s Day (even though it’s a kinda ridiculous marketer’s-dream holiday). However, I am not about to tell you buying tons of crap for your loved ones is the best way to go. It’s not! Just like birthdays and Christmas, I think it’s important to try and think of the recipient and what they would really like. Although you can never go wrong with chocolates, right?! We all know the typical ‘dinner and a movie’ date idea (dates are totally gifts too!), so I thought I’d throw in a few other suggestions…

*Disclaimer: of course the practicality and sustainability of any gift is subjective, so please take these ideas with a pinch of salt and tailor them if necessary! They are all things I personally/people I know would love. I’d love to hear other ideas in the comments section!*

Jewellery
One of my very favourite gifts to give and receive is jewellery. There are so many options for both men and women, you can pick something with meaning, you can pick something on a small budget or a large budget… there’s just so many options. My go-to jewellery brands to browse for women are Missoma, Monica Vinader, Aleyole, Daniel Wellington and Olivia Burton. For men I’d suggest looking at Monica Vinader, Ted Baker and Thomas Sabo. It’s also handy if you know if the recipient has a preference, for example I only wear silver jewellery because I’m allergic to gold! (I really don’t like gold jewellery either as I’m so fair skinned, so this works out pretty well hah).

A candle
Candles are my love language. Seriously! Candles set the mood for romantic evenings, make a room feel so much more welcoming and are honestly just an integral part of my morning/evening routine. I burn candles every single day, they just make me so happy! My very favourite luxury candle brands are Jo Malone, Diptyque and The White Company, although I love more budget friendly brands such as Waitrose, Dovecote (which are a local brand and I’m so happy to support them), and Aldi’s own brand just as much. If your significant other already has enough candles *cough, no such thing, cough* I think reed diffusers and room / linen / pillow sprays also make wonderful gifts.

An experience
I’m not exactly suggesting you sign yourself and your partner up for a life art drawing class – although each to their own – but doing something together that’s different than your norm is SO MUCH FUN. And, er, you get the benefit of the gift too. Whether you know your way around a kitchen or you’re likely to burn toast, taking a cooking class is a sure fire way to heat things up between the two of you! Maybe going to see a sports game is more up your street, or a trip to the theatre, or even a spa day. Whatever floats your boat, surprise your loved one and book something they wouldn’t be expecting. Almost two and half years ago Matt and I went to Go Ape and it was one of our best ever date days, I’d totally recommend that!

Fragrance
Another of my most favourite gifts to give and receive is a beautiful fragrance! Perfume is such an important part of getting ready for me, as I think it is for most people, and it’s such a beautiful gift. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, my favourite ever perfumes are Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt and MAC Turquatic, although I’ve been eying up Dior Joy for the longest time… maybe that will be my V Day present to myself! There are so many incredible men’s fragrances, although I think my personal favourites would be Bleu De Chanel (I bought this for Matt two years ago for Christmas and he treats it like it’s gold dust!), Mont Blanc Legend and Dior Sauvage. Don’t be afraid to buy someone a scent they’ve never tried before either – if you like it and it makes you think of that person I think that’s such a sweet gift!

Breakfast in bed
If there’s one day that practically screams ‘let’s have breakfast in bed’ I’m going to safely say it’s Valentine’s Day. Whether you go all out with poached egg and avocado on toast (my fave!) or stack pancakes up high drizzled with maple syrup and all the berries or Nutella (Matt’s fave!) there’s so many options and so many choices. If, like us, you’re working on Valentine’s Day even a cup of tea and an extra five minutes of snuggles in bed is a special treat that will be so appreciated. Whoever gets the short straw to make breakfast in bed just has to make sure they get a little something in return!

Flowers (or a plant!)
Plants are incredible gifts to give because they have actual health benefits! Plants help to purify the air, boost your mood and even can relieve stress or anxiety, and let’s be honest… they looks so dang pretty! You can even buy a cute plant pot to house the new plant in, which is a very thoughtful 2-in-1 gift. Flowers are a great gift for yourself too; I love to buy myself flowers and I don’t care if that’s not something people ‘normally’ do. Occasionally when I’m doing our weekly grocery shopping I’ll pick myself up a bunch or two, although I have to admit there’s something a little extra luxe about M&S’ flowers! You don’t have to spend a fortune either; most bunches are less than £10.00, and if you’re giving them as a gift delivering them personally is way more inexpensive fun than sending them by courier.

I hope this post gave you a few ideas if you and your partner are giving gifts this year. Maybe you’re celebrating galentine’s (on February 13th) with your best girlfriend and want to give them a little treat, there’s so many possibilities! Please just don’t feel stress about gift giving, or the day itself. You can always treat yourself… What is your favourite sustainable gift to give or receive? If you’re in a relationship, do you and your partner celebrate Valentine’s Day?

-G x

Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of Spring, beautiful people!

I am so excited for the new season, and to finally say goodbye to Winter! It’s weird, we definitely didn’t have a super cold Winter like we have in past years, but it seemed to last so long, I feel like I’ve been anticipating Spring since January. Although most of our Winter was pretty warm, this past weekend we woke up to snow, I was not impressed haha.

Spring is a season of new beginnings, blossoming flowers and warmer weather, and I think this year it’s going to be one of my favourite seasons. Matt and I already have so much planned and it’s the best feeling to have exciting things to look forward to. I’ve been feeling very reflective over the past few days, and after having something unfortunate happen I’ve been truly counting my blessings more than ever. I feel so lucky for what I have; an amazing boyfriend that I love more than life itself, a solid family and friend network, a job that I enjoy, my blog, car and so much more. I’m feeling happy and ready for a fresh new season to bring a little more joy!

I shared Matt and I’s Winter Bucket List in this post, and we ticked off so many of our items despite being super busy, and had so much fun throughout Winter! I recieved messages from people saying they enjoyed seeing what we had planned and took some ideas from what we wanted to do, so I’ve decided this will definitely be a post that is updated for every season this year. Unfortunately we didn’t get to squeeze in a weekend getaway to Glasgow – we’re hoping to this season instead – but we did book our Summer holiday and we’re heading to Croatia in June, we’re so excited! We also went to five NUFC games (and we won most of them), took a few day trips up North, explored Northumberland and Newcastle SO MUCH, and we went for lots of breakfast dates and beach walks. We had lots of fun date nights – some with our friends, and just spent lots of quality time together. We also got to see my family who live in Alaska for the first time in almost five years, it’s so much better to see each other in person instead of FaceTime-ing. We went for dinner with them this week and had such a lovely evening! A few of the things we didn’t get round to in the Winter may have made their way into things we hope to do this Spring…

Explore more of Northumberland during day trips
Spring-clean our wardrobes/lives (again) Marie Kondo style
Enjoy a staycation at Hotel du Vin in Newcastle
Go for more breakfast or brunch dates
Make s’mores on a chilly Spring evening
Go to a drive-in movie
Spend a weekend away in Glasgow
Celebrate bank holidays the way we always do – date night at one of our favourite restaurants!
Start my new blog series. It’s been a while in the making but I’m so excited
Enjoy a picnic in the sun
Use up beauty products before I buy anything new to replace it. I’m officially on a ‘Beauty No Buy’ for Spring… UHOH
Go to Alwnick Gardens during cherry blossom season
Make/create new recipes together for warmer weather
Buy fresh vegetables from a farmers market for the week
Spend as many weekend mornings as possible walking along the beach
Shoot a Spring fashion blog post (super nervous about this one!)
Go to the Lake District
Squeeze in all of the date nights – this will be listed for every season!
Book a city break to Lisbon
Feel comfortable wearing shorts in England as it gets warmer. Matt has no problem with this one, he’s been wearing shorts since February HAHA
Celebrate Matt and I’s birthdays – we both turn 25 this season!
Go to more NUFC games
Buy all the bunches of beautiful peonies – prepare to see them in every blog photo
Change up my hair colour/style a little (I’m thinking coppery, rich brown tones)
Play mini-golf
Spend an afternoon at The Garage Spa
Write more ‘think pieces’ for my blog
Pick fresh fruits at a nearby farm
Begin shopping for our holiday to Croatia
Plant new flowers in my grandma’s garden for her
Take a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before

Thank you so much for reading! What are you hoping to do this season? Are you as excited as I am for Spring?

-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