Self Care For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With The Current Pandemic

Hi, loves. I hope you’re all well and enjoying your weekend despite the current world problems! I thought it was really important to change up my blogging schedule a little and write today’s post, and hopefully spread a little positivity which is so needed right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment with the pandemic happening; coronavirus is something completely new to all of us and we’re all trying to navigate it the best way we can, so looking after ourselves is more important than ever.

People all over the world are experiencing a lot of stress, heartache and worry which unfortunately there isn’t much we can do to change right now. I am obviously not a healthcare professional but I would advise following all instructions given (which, in the UK is don’t be in large crowds, practice social distancing and wash/sanitize your hands more often than usual). We’re all praying for a miracle guys! Any regular readers will know I’m a pretty anxious person normally, however in the midst of a worldwide pandemic I’m actually not in the big panic I expected I would be. I do find some comfort in the fact we’re being told the virus seems to be similar to the common cold or maybe an extremely mild flu for most people. It does however make me worried for the people who will not experience it to be ‘like a cold’, but you have to take the positives where you can, right?

I am feeling a little anxious which I think is only normal, but I’m also feeling hopeful and I’m praying for everyone to stay safe and healthy. For me personally I’m most concerned about mine or Matt’s grandparents falling ill (as the elderly are more susceptible to COVID19 and potential further issues), Matt’s upcoming trip to Budapest which looks like it will be cancelled and kinda selfishly that I’m starting my new job in one week. Not the best timing in light of what’s going on so I have everything crossed I start next Monday and things go well with that. Obviously I’m generally worried about any of my family/friends – or really, anyone I know – getting the virus, but I cannot physically carry all of the worries on my shoulders so I’m just trying to take it one day at a time like everyone else. That is very hard for someone as Type A as me, but we’re all in this together. It’s funny because writing down my worries somehow makes me feel a little bit more at ease. How are you holding up? What are your worries specifically centred around the pandemic?

As I’m writing this schools are not closed here and for the most part England is very much ‘business as usual’, but large gatherings are going to be banned in the next week. There’s a lot of tension and uncertainty lingering because nobody knows what will happen, and many people feel like their lives are a little bit on hold. To be honest, personally I think if that has to happen for a few weeks to stop the spread of the virus we should all be adhering to it! I know the reality and the preventative measures taking place are different for every country and we’re all suffering in some way. In England, shelves of supermarkets nationwide are bare, people are working from home where possible and almost all of our sports have been postponed/cancelled – which has very much upset my sport-loving boyfriend! However in the midst of the panic communities are coming together, people are being kinder and we’re learning as we go. The scaremongering is NOT helping anyone and it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves and each other, and I hope this post brings you a little self care inspiration over the coming weeks. Looking after yourself is the best form of self care!

Spend quality time with your loved ones and enjoying being home
There is a slight possibility we’re all going to be actually stuck indoors for a little while with government imposed bans, but even if that doesn’t happen we’re more than likely going to be spending more time indoors than usual. Disney+ can’t arrive in the UK soon enough. Take this extra time to enjoy family movie nights, do puzzles, get cosy in your most comfortable clothes, bake and/or cook new foods, play board games, take long baths, read books, catch up on your favourite shows and just enjoy being around your partner and/or your family! Matt and I are prepared with all the extra snacks (I may have stocked up on Doritos and Haribo… just incase) and I’m excited for an excuse to watch all the movies! It’s also a fun time to be creative; Matt will be working a little more on his venture NUFC Vintage and I’m going to be spending more time creating blog content. Our hobbies are really important to us so I’m definitely feeling grateful for those right now!

Drink lots of water
It’s something we’re told to do for one hundred and one reasons, but there really is so many benefits to drinking water! As a self-confessed Diet Coke addict, I really need to up my daily intake of water ASAP. Water is good for your skin, your joints (I have arthritis so this alone should be enough of a reason for me to drink more!), helps you feel less bloated, regulates body temperature, delivers oxygen to your body and can prevent headaches, and there’s tons more benefits on top of that. I love my Chilly’s bottle so much, having a cute water bottle is a really good way to encourage drinking more water and remember to take it with you on the go!

Stick to your exercise routine (or create one!)
Exercise is so important for us to look and feel our best. Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending an hour at the gym, but I love easy at home workouts and there are so many great free options. Yoga is my favourite and I can’t recommend Yoga with Adrienne or Alo Yoga videos enough if you’re looking for somewhere to start! If you’re looking for a HIIT workout or something a little more strenuous I love The Body Coach and Blogilates. For most of these workouts you don’t need any props or even weights, and they’re all super easy to do from the comfort of your lounge! Also there’s no bans on being outside and we should all be going for walks as much as possible, fresh air is SO GOOD for us. Matt and I bloody love a beach walk, and we’ll for sure be making the most of those like always!

Clean, declutter and re-organise
I am happiest when our bedroom is clean, tidy and organised. I really love decluttering and I find an excuse to do it pretty often, just because it helps me to a) not have too much stuff, b) use what I have and c) sell things I no longer need or use. Annoyingly, I just fully cleared out and re-organised my wardrobe this past weekend, or I would have for sure been doing that this weekend when I’ve spent pretty much the whole time at home. Clear out your beauty products, find things to donate, clean out your car (I do this every week or so anyway and it feels SO good to drive a clean car!), list a few items you’ve been meaning to on eBay, wash your makeup brushes and maybe even re-organise your space. Could the couch be placed differently? Should you put your bed under the window for a change? Can you switch up your shelves or vanity table? Also, if you’ve avoided all Marie Kondo hype until now… this could be the best time to get invested in her Netflix show and book!

Carry out your full skincare routine morning and night
It wouldn’t be self care tips from me without a little mention of skincare now, would it? Seriously though, during times that we’re a little more stressed out than usual it’s extra important to be consistent with your skincare! My skin reacts very quickly to changes with my diet or a lack of routine, so I’m for sure going to be keeping on top of that. Remember to clean your hands thoroughly prior to removing your makeup, and for the love of God stop touching your face. Has anyone noticed over the past few weeks just how much you touch your face?! ME TOO. That’s a huge way the virus can be transmitted so please be cautious of this! Encourage your partner and family to stick to their skincare routine too, and hey getting everyone involved in a little multi-masking party sounds like a fun way to pass the time!

Meal plan and eat lots of fruits and veggies
I’m so grateful Matt and I meal plan because it takes away all of the ‘what are we having for dinner?’ conversations and also saves us a heck of a lot of time! We grocery shop once per week – usually on a Sunday – then we may pop into one or two stores during the week to grab a few extras, usually more fresh fruit or veggies. As panic buying is going a little crazy right now I’d really encourage to write down your meal plan; literally each day what are you having for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What do you currently have in your cupboards/fridge/freezer and what else do you need to buy? Then make your shopping list from there and keep your fingers crossed you can grab everything you need! The government are telling us there are plenty of plans in place to keep supermarkets stocked no matter what happens over the next few weeks so just don’t go too crazy and please leave things for others. Opt for a few more frozen and tinned items than you usually would and try to buy products with long use by dates. Also be prepared to switch up your shopping list/meal plan whilst you’re actually in the supermarket! You can read all about how we meal plan (in normal circumstances) for some extra tips.

Be mindful of how others are feeling
People are feeling very mixed emotions right now; some are not at all fussed by what is happening, and some are beside themselves with worry. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, and honestly I think we just have to let everything run it’s course (which is the only thing we can do) and try to stay calm for ourselves and each other. Check in on elderly relatives or neighbours who may not be able or willing to go shopping, avoid overexposure to news, don’t buy into the scaremongering and try to live your life as normal, whilst still adhering to government advice!

Listen to podcasts/music instead of the radio whilst driving
I started doing this a long long long time ago and I can’t recommend it enough. There’s something to be said for being in your own little world whilst driving, especially as most of us are in the car for a long time each day! Whether I’m singing my heart out to Disney songs or having a giggle at my fave duo (Rosie and Chris Ramsey, obviously) I can’t tell you how much happier I feel not listening to the radio. The songs are repeated hundreds of times and the news bulletins every five minutes are filled with doom and gloom, especially at the moment. You’re mostly in control of what you consume, so open up Spotify and choose something that makes you happy! In addition I’d really recommend not watching or reading the news 24/7, and instead point you in the direction of this Reddit thread for all the happy feels.

Ensure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep per night
It is SO very important for our health that we sleep as we well as we can. I’m going to be posting in a few weeks about things I’m doing to enjoy Matt and I’s evening routine more and sleep better! I really do love pillow sprays because they help me to relax and feel calm – Matt loves them too! – and I’m a huge fan of a cosy bubble bath before bed. Try to turn Netflix off a little earlier the next few weeks, keep bedding clean by washing your sheets regularly, and make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Sleep is also great if you’re feeling under the weather or run down – which is extremely common this time of year without the ongoing world issues – as your body fights infection even harder when you’re sleeping and rested.

Read, read and read some more
Oh you mean we may have to stay in the house for an unknown amount of time? You’ll find me snuggled under a blanket, drinking a cup of tea and reading my Kindle for the foreseeable! #suchagrandma Matt has never understood how I can love reading so much but I swear since he bought me my Kindle Paperwhite my love has got even deeper. I downloaded a few new books this weekend; including two I’m very excited about; The Two Lives Of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle; and I’m so excited to get stuck in! If you don’t have a Kindle or Amazon Prime, you get free delivery on any orders over £10, or you could pick up some books when you’re next grocery shopping! There are great deals in places like Asda and Tesco for books, sometimes even cheaper than Amazon. Be sure to shop your stash too, I bet you’ve got a few books stashed away for a rainy day… today is that rainy day! Reading is good for the soul, and I’d personally recommend fiction books for an escape.

Stay healthy, spend more time indoors, eat good foods, look after yourself and your family/friends/neighbours, don’t panic and hopefully the pandemic will blow over as quickly as it arrived! This post will be my one and only post regarding the COVID 19 outbreak as I really want to post happy and positive content going forward. I already mentioned this on Twitter, but I’m only going to be posting once per week over the next few weeks/months as life is super busy right now (nothing to do with the outbreak, more with preparing to start a new job!)

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! It’s almost September!! I know technically Autumn doesn’t begin until September 23rd, but let’s be honest… I’ve been anticipating the season since last November July and I am READY for it! Now I’m just waiting for the weather to cool down a little so I can break out all of the scarves, boots and chunky knit sweaters… I can’t wait. It is kinda chilly in the mornings now; Matt started work early this morning (hello 6am alarm!) and our room was so cold when we woke up! I just want to say thank you so much for the love on Wednesday’s post – I got SO many lovely messages about it saying you guys felt inspired to declutter now too!

What I’m loving:
Matt was so sweet and bought me this beautiful grilled peaches and vanilla candle last weekend, and we’ve burned it every night since! We were smelling all the candles in the shop and this was by far the nicest, before I knew it he’d took it off to the till and paid for it. It’s sweet but not in a sickly way (Matt hates super sweet scents) and it really fills the whole room. I’ve been a little on the fence with Yankee Candle as a brand because SO many of their candles tunnel down the middle – even when cutting the wick – but this one is burning so evenly! The scent is part of the brunch collection which I think is being discontinued, so if you want to grab it you probably need to be quick! I’ve linked it here on Amazon but you can probably find it for cheaper in stores.

What product is making me happy:
The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil. You need it in your life!! This is not at all a new product to me, it’s hands down my favourite ever evening serum and something I talk about tons on the blog. BUT I ran out and was without it for around a week, then picked it up again last weekend and I’m so happy to have it in my routine again! I thought I had a backup and was so sad I didn’t. So I just bought two, hah! You know those products that you love and use every day, but don’t realise how much you rely on them? This serum is absolutely one of those! As I mentioned last week, my skin has been acting up so much recently but it has calmed down a little bit and I’m hoping it’s through the worst!

What I’m feeling good about:
I finally changed my pill! I know my audience is mostly female, so I don’t mind talking about this on the blog. I’ve spoke about this a few times in the past, but I changed my pill around this time last year and it’s made me feel sh*t ever since. Not every day or every week, but generally it wasn’t a good fit for my mental health, not to mention I put on so much weight since changing. (To clarify: I haven’t changed clothes sizes but I just feel ‘chubby’ compared to what I was. Matt is so supportive and sweet; he’s always telling me I look great, but you know when you just don’t feel yourself? That’s how I’ve felt for so long and I’m hoping switching pills will really help! Maybe less late night McFlurry runs would also help, but let’s not be drastic.) I was on the mini pill but I’ve gone back to a combined pill, so while I know it might make me feel a bit rubbish as the hormone levels change in my body, I have my fingers tightly crossed that I’ve made the right decision. I am recording how I feel each day right now, so fingers crossed a blog post may come out of that to help anyone else in the same situation!

What I’m doing this weekend:
Matt is unfortunately at work all weekend (boohoo) so we’re of course making the most of our mornings and evenings together, and taking all of our time together to just enjoy being at home. Tonight we’re making burgers and spending a little time with his parents, I love Friday evenings at the Scotney’s! He doesn’t start work until after 12pm, I’m going to cook us a fun breakfast (I will share with you next week if it’s any good!) and spend a lazy morning snuggled watching The Office on Amazon Prime. I’m spending Saturday afternoon preparing our favourite CrockPot meal for when Matt gets home – he doesn’t get back until after 9pm! – then doing nothing but work on the blog all day. I need to write my pre-planned posts for the next few weeks and take a ton of photos, which I’m actually really looking forward to. On Sunday Matt leaves for work pretty early, so I’m going to do our food shop, run a few errands and have a very chilled day! I also need to list more things on Depop so I’m going to hopefully finish that up too. Matt’s not home until a little later than usual as he’s going out after work for an hour or so, so I’m going to treat myself to a little pamper evening with my favourite face mask and my book, then we have SO MUCH Peaky Blinders to catch up on… I can’t wait!

What I’m reading:
I started reading Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams last week and I’m only around half way through because I’ve only been reading a few pages at at time the past few nights. I LOVE this book so much; it’s funny, the characters are relatable, the writing flows so well and I just absolutely love the story. This would be a perfect beach read, if you’re going away soon I’d definitely recommend picking it up! I also wrote a huge post all about how I find time to read and my book recommendations last Sunday, I’d love if you could check that out. Warning: it’s VERY long. Cuppa required.

What is changing on the blog:
Okay so I’m not sure if this is definitely going to be the case, but we may have a temporary change where you’ll only see two posts each week from me, instead of three. My Wednesday posts are probably going to be non-existent, and my Sunday posts may be up on a Monday from time to time. Maybe. If that happens, please bare with me! September is a super busy month for Matt and I; it’s our anniversary, we have family visiting, our weekends are crazy busy and both Matt and I have busier than usual weeks at work. I don’t want to rush to put up posts I’m not really happy with, so if I need to I’m going to cut back a little bit, and still hopefully get good quality posts up! Now that I write longer, more detailed posts, they take a little extra planning and they take way longer to write and edit. As always, taking photos is always the hardest thing to make time for (I’m SO BAD at taking photos, too) but it’s about the main written content, right?

What I’m excited about:
I literally can’t believe it’s almost Matt and I’s two year anniversary! Our official anniversary is on September 16th, but we were ‘dating’ for a while before that. We had known each other for years before, and I still can’t believe how lucky I am! We can’t celebrate on the day due to Matt’s work schedule, so we’re just going to have a cute night at home on our actual anniversary. We are however having a mini celebration the weekend before (dinner at our favourite restaurant, of course) and we’re planning a weekend getaway in October when life is (hopefully) a little quieter. We haven’t been able to confirm dates yet but we’re doing a mini UK city break to a city we’ve never been to before, and I’m SO excited! Can you guess where?!

What else is new:
Nothing much, to be honest! Considering it was a bank holiday I feel like this has been a really long week and I really wish it was another long weekend. Aren’t they just the best?! My WIML post from last weekend will be up on Wednesday, we had so much fun in Stamford and I seriously LOVED the place! It was super cute and quaint, and (I think) exactly what Americans think all of England looks like… you know?! Haha, I can’t wait to share our photos!

Thank you so much for reading! I’m sorry this post was a little shorter than most, I promise next weeks will be way more fun 🙂 what has your week looked like? Are you excited for the weekend? I hope your plans are more fun than ours. We are however looking forward to next weekend SO MUCH; I can’t wait to share our plans with you! What are you up to this weekend? Please leave your blog posts from the week below because I’m also going to take a little time on Sunday to catch up on everything I’ve missed recently!

-G x

Decluttering 101: The Wardrobe Edit

Hi, loves! A few weeks ago Matt was working all weekend and I took a whole day to clear the heck out of the wardrobes. When he left for work I immediately pulled out a whole rail of clothing so I couldn’t decide not to do it, and the second he got home from work I rushed him upstairs to see all my hard work, ha! I owned so many clothes, but not many brought me joy, and I was feeling a little deflated every time I looked in my wardrobes to try put an outfit together. Matt is so good at buying high quality items he loves that last him for years, and up until the past year that wasn’t something I did. I bought any old junk just because I thought it would come in handy and I also had some weird emotional attachment to my old clothing. Realistically I had a wall of wardrobes full to the brim, yet I constantly felt like I had nothing to wear. I shop smarter now but I really needed a clear canvas to work with; I just wanted to love everything I owned and so decided a major purge was on the cards!

I feel SO GOOD now about getting ready in the mornings or evenings, and I’m so happy I decided to bite the bullet and spend six hours – yes, really – working on this. Putting outfits together is way more fun (and easier), and I know what gaps I have in my wardrobe for things to purchase moving into Autumn, so my shopping list has pretty much wrote itself. I may have already began purchasing my Autumn clothing… I’m just so excited! My wardrobes look so much better and are properly organised, and Matt has a little more room now too which makes me so happy. Hopefully in the next year or so we’ll have our own house but for now we’re so happy and grateful with our set up; for anyone that doesn’t know we live between our family houses whilst we save for our own home. Matt and I know how lucky we are to be able to do this; we get to be together every night – which is just the best thing, I love him so much! – and our family’s love having us there with them, (or so they tell us, haha). We tend to spend more evenings at my family’s house due to Matt’s shifts, so I really wanted to make more space for Matt in our wardrobes. In this post I’m sharing my recommended tips and tricks for a major declutter, but where to start? First of all, turn on Netflix to watch all of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Then read this blog post on why I love her so much. Then, you’re about ready to go:

Clear out one section at a time
This is the only thing I disagree with in Marie Kondo’s teachings. She advises to dump out everything in one go, but I feel like that’s a little too overwhelming for me personally, and I’d rather be able to take a break if/when needed; I don’t think a clear out has to be done in one sitting if you don’t want to. I think it’s better to look at your clothing in one category at a time, maybe even sub-categories depending how much you own, as I find it easier to focus on one thing at a time. (I don’t know why because in regular everyday life I’m doing thirty things at once!) I also like this method because I prefer to re-organise where things are kept as I go; this time I put all of my t-shirts, short sleeves, camis etc high up in my wardrobe, and moved long sleeved t-shirts, blouses, thin knit sweaters etc to the bottom. It’s easier to place things in your wardrobe in a way that makes sense to you as you’re getting dressed or picking outfits out to pack, and once you start the process it becomes much easier.

Clean out all shelving, drawers and rails as you go
Do not leave ANYTHING in your wardrobe as you clear out. Nothing at all. You might know you love that plaid shirt you always wear or the grey jumper you just bought, but you still need to see each piece to make sure you’re keeping only things you love. If you have similar clothing pieces – how many white blouses does one gal need? – this is also a good time to cull the ones you don’t reach for very often. I also take the time whilst everything is off the shelf, out of the drawer or off the rail to fully clean and wipe down. Method’s all purpose cleaner is brilliant for this, I’m still obsessed with the Wild Rhubarb scent!

Make three piles per category: donate, keep and sell
The one basic of a wardobe clear out is always to make these three piles, right? This is also great when you’re working by category (or, sub category if you’re super type A *raises hand*) as you can put away your keep piles as you go, and organise your donating/selling piles easier.

Identify any items you feel like your wardrobe is missing
Maybe you are changing your style up, maybe you’ve thrown out or donated all of your jeans because you realised you didn’t like any, or maybe you just realised a few basics that were missing from your wardrobe, but take this as the opportunitory to take inventory. As I mentioned in this post, I found a few obvious gaps where I was lacking in my wardrobe and made a list (of course, I LOVE a list) of things to pick up over the next few months. This makes it much easier when shopping, as you begin to shop intentionally and to choose things that go with what you already own.

Be ruthless: if it doesn’t bring you joy you don’t need it
I used to be very sentimental with my clothes but I’m really not anymore, I feel like if it doesn’t benefit me and I don’t feel good wearing it there’s no need to keep it anymore. Goodbye, size 6 jeans. I think a really good rule of thumb for this is asking yourself “if you were shopping in a store right now, would you buy X?” If the answer is no, you don’t need it in your wardrobe because it obviously doesn’t bring you joy. Also, do not keep hold of items that once fit you but now don’t! It will make you miserable seeing them every day, life’s just too short.

Give every item a home
One of the biggest problems I found with my wardobes being messy is that not everything had it’s own home, therefore when things were ‘out of place’ there was nowhere for them to go. Storage bins are great for miscellaneous items that are otherwise hard to store, like scarves! I rolled all of my scarves and stores them in a storage bin which means I can see them all at a glance and pick one out so much easier.

Remove seasonal pieces that won’t be worn in the next six months
If you don’t have a lot of space in your wardrobe(s), then you need to make sure you utilise it wisely. If you still struggle for space after your clear out, I’d recommend storing your Spring/Summer specific clothing during the Autumn/Winter months, and vice versa, to limit your wardrobe looking like a clothing explosion. If you have underbed storage or a loft, that will probaly work best. Buy large sealable bins to make sure your clothes don’t get damp in a loft space, just make sure you don’t forget they’re there. I actually no longer need to do this as I have enough space to store everything at once since my clear out which makes me very happy!

Maintain your organisation
Consistency is key, after all. As tempting as it can sometimes be to say you’ll put your clean clothes away at a later date/time, just do it there and then. You worked hard to clear everything out, and you owe it to yourself to maintain your efforts. It also takes literally five minutes, so you have no excuse! Having a ‘one in, one out’ system when buying new items is a great way to ensure you don’t need to have a clear out of the same scale again, but I’d definitley recommend reviewing your wardrobe every 3-6 months to make tweaks here and there.

Now… relax. Grab a cup of tea. Admire your hard work!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and are able to completely clean out your wardrobes too. I feel like that ~fresh~ feeling everyone gets in January is something I feel in Autumn, and this year I’m so ready for it. We’re making a start on Matt’s wardrobes and drawers in the next week or two and I’m so excited, it’s way more fun to be brutal with the ‘donate’ and ‘sell’ piles of someone else’s clothes 🙂 for real though, it feels so good to be organised and to love everything in my wardrobe again. I literally found so many pieces of clothing I forgot I owned, how is that even possible?! Do you need a wardrobe declutter too? Is there any extra tips you have to share with me and my readers? Please leave them below!

-G x

Learning To Shop Consciously

Hi, loves! I’ve wrote several posts about wanting to reduce my carbon footprint, learning to be more sustainable and all of the reasons why we shouldn’t shop fast fashion trends, but is it wrong to still enjoy shopping for new items and even having the ocassional splurge? In October 2018 I wrote about why I was changing the way I shopped, and it caused me to re-evaluate what I’m buying; from food to fashion and everything else. In this post I focused more on the fashion aspect of sustainability; talking about all of the ways to minimize buying, give your old clothes a new lease of life, and to encourage donating things that didn’t serve you a purpose anymore, but how do we go about shopping for new pieces?

I personally think that sustainability within fashion is a complete grey area; many people have said they’ll never ever buy new pieces of clothing again and will only up-cycle current clothes, borrow/rent or shop second hand. Others, like me, do our bit where we can with donating, buying second hand and trying to shop more consciously when buying new. For me personally, I think the key is balance; just like recycling and cutting down on single use plastic, everyone doing their bit makes such a huge difference. In the months since I wrote the above post on fast fashion, I’ve seen SO much more attention brought to it, and I feel like lots of us are a little overwhelmed. I love a bit of retail therapy, and in recent months I’ve began to find my personal style and learn to love my body (I’m working on it, anyway) so I’m all for buying new pieces here and there. I also really want to share more fashion related content on my blog; it’s something I’ve always shied away from because there is so much hype around it, but I hope the Autumn months are going to see an influx of fashion related content around here. Here’s how I’m shopping more consciously, and I hope it helps you too!

Do not purchase on a whim. I’d say that at least 90% of items I’ve purchased on a whim because I ‘needed’ to buy something, bought a whacky print that isn’t me or liked how it looked on the model without giving consideration to how it would fit me are items I regret buying. I try to buy seasonally now; items that will see me through a whole season (or multiple seasons) and can be worn in many different ways are ones that stay in my wardrobe for years, and I truly get the value from. Buying with the purpose of that clothing item lasting you through all different seasons and occasions is something that has changed the way I shop in such a huge way; I’m way less likely to be drawn to things I won’t wear over and over again. I really try not to impulse buy, and generally prefer to shop in store rather than online because it’s best to feel fabrics and try things on.

Buy quality over quantity. I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of pounds on an outfit or piece of clothing to justify it being ‘good’ quality, but it really can pay to shop arounds sometimes. For example, buying cheap t-shirts from Primark might seem like fun in the heat of the moment, but realistically you’re not going to get much wear out of it and it’ll end up in a charity bag within a matter of weeks. Factor in that someone had to make that t-shirt; if they’re marking up their price to be still be £5 or less, it cost pennies to make, and in reflection the person who made that was likely not being paid a fair wage. The fabrics and dyes used in ‘cheap’ clothing are terrible for the environment, and you just don’t get value for money. Aim to shop in stores that offer more premium priced items that are made with better materials, as they will last you way longer and you’ll get your value for money. I’ve said this a few times, but Matt is so good for shopping with the quality over quantity in mind, and I’m slowly but surely learning from him!

Know your price point and stick to your budget. Hand in hand with looking at quality over quantity, it’s so important to know what you can afford, and where you can compromise on spending a little more for a better piece, or go for a less expensive option that suits your needs but still fits with your ethical opinion. It’s hard to judge this as everyone is so different, and our allocated money to spend on clothing each month can vary so much. I personally will never feel guilty for buying at *a certain store* because the reality is I can’t afford to shop exclusively at ethical, sustainable stores or brands. The prices are much higher – although I agree with the reasoning for this, for paying fair wages and using harder to source fabrics – but I’m unable to consistently purchase that way at this time in my life.

Buy with intention. Does the item of clothing go with at least X amount of things you own? Can you wear it through multiple seasons/years? Or is it a ‘trendy’ piece that you’ll not reach for in a month? Or are you only buying it because everyone else is wearing it? Yes, I’m talking about *that* Zara dress. If the answers to these questions err on the side of ~I am not shopping for the right reason~ then chances are, it’s a purchase you’ll regret making. As I said in this post, I read somewhere that you should get at least thirty wears out of each piece of clothing you own, although I think personally that number should be even higher. Buying items of clothing that are not made to fit a certain trend makes this much more likely; stick to shapes and fits that flatter your body, buy solid coloured basics, opt for pieces that can be dressed up or down and only buy patterns when it’s one you know you’ll wear long term (like leopard print, always buy leopard print).

Get over the fear of outfit repeating. I’m sure most of us are immediately re-playing that scene from Lizzie McGuire in our heads right now, which taught us that re-wearing clothes you love was so not cool. Well, you know what really isn’t cool? Killing our planet by throwing away billions of clothing each year. This article shocked me so much, I can’t believe there is still such a stigma against wearing clothes you love, and it bugs me that we’re taught to think this way. I regularly see Daily Mail articles with headlines like “Princess Kate recycles dress for another event” …what? She is not ‘recycling’ anything. She’s literally wearing her clothes. Why don’t we all take a leaf out of Kate’s book and wear what we bloody own?! I also sometimes justify higher priced products by looking at the cost per wear; for example if a jumper was £60.00 but you wore it thirty times, you’re down to £2 per wear; making the investment worth it, and the jumper is better quality therefore will last longer with the correct care.

Read the labels. I really am that person who reads the labels on pretty much every clothing item I purchase. I’m not an angel and I definitely could be better with this, but I try to stay away from purchasing man-made fabrics, such as polyester, and opt for more natural fabrics that are sustainable to our planet. There is a term called greenwashing that is being thrown around a lot recently, and it basically means brands are being accused of advertising products/fabrics are ‘better for the environment’ without being able to back it up. So many cotton clothing items say they are made with ‘recycled’ cotton, but many retailers are not being truthful with this statement; if it doesn’t say “certified recycled/sustainable cotton” it’s more than likely NOT. Do your research, check the labels thoroughly and be prepared to shop around.

Buy with comfort in mind. This one is maybe something that lots of you won’t agree with, but I am tired of buying clothing items that LOOK good, but don’t feel good. Super tight skinny jeans, I’m looking at you. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of skinnies as much as the next person, but if Matt and I are heading out for dinner and drinks (hello, bloating!) I’m no longer forcing myself to wear them when it’s just not necessary. Over the past few months I’ve totally fallen in love with Mom jeans, and I couldn’t care less if they make me look ‘big’ which was what I always thought when I tried a pair on. Matt compliments me every single time I wear them, and they’re so much comfier. If you’re still not on the Mom jean hype, please go try them out! I am equally as obsessed with midi skirts, comfy trousers and if I’m having a chilled day you can bet I’m wearing leggings for that athleisure vibe. Comfort is key, and honestly when you’re comfortable in your clothing (and your own skin, but that’s for another post) you look so much better anyway!

I’m so excited to shop for my Autumn wardrobe, and I’m hoping to implement a better one in/one out system when the time comes. I began decluttering my wardrobe last weekend, and over the next few weeks of culling more and more, I’m determined to only own things I love, feel good in and will get wear out of. I can’t wait to begin buying a few Autumn pieces, I’m really so excited to create a wardrobe I love for years to come! My shopping list for Autumn includes chunky cable knit sweaters, a new midi skirt or two in darker tones, black (vegan) leather ankle boots, a good pair of dark wash mom jeans and some comfy long sleeved tees. I’ll definitely be sharing a little Autumn haul on my blog in September or October, and I’d love to share more outfit related posts with you next season if you wouldn’t be fussed that most of my clothes aren’t able to be linked? I adore Autumn fashion, and I’m excited to focus on fashion a little more on my blog.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe a little interesting; I love to talk about this topic and I’d love to know your thoughts below. How are you shopping more consciously? Have you seen brands greenwashing potential customers for their own gain? What’s your favourite tip to shop more consciously?

-G x

My August Goals

Hi, loves! Happy (early) August! Can you believe how quick this year is going?! It’s almost Christmas! *rushes to make candy cane hot chocolates and turn Elf on, despite faint protests from Matt* As any regular readers will know, I really love setting goals and having something to work towards, and I also quite enjoy sharing my goals on the blog from time to time. It holds me accountable in a different way, as normally I’d write my goals in the Notes app on my phone and if I didn’t achieve something I wouldn’t be too disappointed, so this puts a little fire in my belly! I try to only set five goals at a time, as I feel like it can be really overwhelming if you set more, as in my experience they then become daunting and unachievable.

Clear out Matt and I’s wardrobes (and all of my beauty drawers)
We are HOARDERS, guys. And it’s kind of a problem. We don’t buy new clothes too often, but we did buy some new bits at the start of the Summer for our holiday to Croatia and we didn’t really clear anything out at the time we made new purchases. My dream closet would be one that looks just like Shay’s (hers is amazing!) but right now I’m super grateful for what I have and I want to make it work better for me. I’ve already started my clear out and to be fair I’m almost done, I’ve just got a few organisational bits left to do to make things look a little more pretty. I know there’s several pieces on my ‘to buy’ list for the upcoming Autumn months (I’m VERY excited for A/W fashion, it’s my favourite!) and Matt will be picking up some new pieces for the colder months too! I’m not looking forward to doing my beauty drawers, they are a MESS. If anyone has any great drawer organiser recommendations please let me know! It always feels very refreshing to have a good clear out, and I’m sure we’ll feel so much better when it’s all complete. I’ve already got tons of stuff to sell on Depop which I’ve never done before, so I need to make sure I take all of those photos and send parcels out quickly too!

Treat myself to self care time
I’m making August an unofficial Self Care Month for me, because I think I just need to be a little kinder to myself. Matt and I have had a busy few months and I’m excited to unwind, enjoy the last of Summer and prepare for all of the upcoming fun that we’re going to have in Autumn! I want to make the most of the warm weather, explore new places and rest instead of being 100 miles per hour all of the time. Matt and I have planned a few fun date days and we’re hoping to check off the rest of our Summer bucket list, I really hope we do! It’s going to be a month of unwinding, running, pampering myself, practicing yoga regularly, reading more often etc and I really can’t wait for it. Matt and I are also heading down South for a few nights to visit his family at the end of the month and we’re so excited! We’re hoping to spend our days there spending time with family, relaxing, eating good food and exploring, that’s the PERFECT way to unwind, right? We also get to go on a big old road trip to get there (and back) and you all know road trips are my jam. I can’t freaking wait!

Cut our grocery spending
This is always a goal, but this month I really want to see how much we can cut back. We always buy fresh fruit and vegetables so that will never be cut out, but I think we’re going to experiment a little more with vegetarian meals (which will be much cheaper because meat and Galaxy chocolate is the largest expense of our food shops!) I’m pretty concious about our meat consumption so we try to eat veggie when we can anyway, but this month it’s going to be more intentional. We also want to make lots of Summer recipes before we move back into the colder months, I’m thinking lots of pasta salads, fish dishes and all the tacos!

Be more present
I feel like this is something I’m always working on in one way or another, and I have to keep myself in check and remind myself to live in the moment a lot. I am so excitable about upcoming plans I kinda wish away the days which is something I don’t realise I’m even doing and then I look back and feel like I missed out on things by not being as present as I could be. I’m trying to be happy with what I have and we’re Matt and I are at right now, because I am SO fortunate and grateful for everything and everyone in my life. Also, we all know quality time with Matt is my favourite thing, and this month is packed full of it so I don’t want to miss a second!

Grow my blog
I know this sounds super vague but I just really want to make my blog the best it can possibly be. I talked about this a lot in this post, but my blog grows slowly and steadily rather than super quickly – which is fine, I’m so grateful it grows at all! – I’d just really like to continue putting so much effort in and see how it can grow further. I’ve really stepped up my game with creating new content and I actively like and comment more on blogs that I love, and I’m very grateful for others who always comment on my posts.

Thank you so much for reading! Do you set goals each week or month? Is there something you’re hoping to achieve this month? I love seeing what goals others are working towards, so if you’ve written any similar posts please leave your links below!

-G x

Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

I am so happy it’s officially Spring (even if the temperature outside may not feel like it) but I’m pumped for all of the fun things to come this season. Matt and I are making fun travel plans, we’ve got lots of date days in the books, and we’re switching up our cooking game SO much to make delicious new recipes. Do you know what else I’m super excited for? Cleaning. ‘Tis the season, right?! In an era of self-confessed Hincher’s, cleaning has become a buzzword that we’re all talking about; I discuss my favourite cleaning products with my friends and co-workers in the same way I do my favourite TV shows, it’s literally like a bug we’ve all caught!

In line with my ever-growing obsession with cleaning, it’s time to make a fresh start on my beauty collection. I’ve cleaned out and de-cluttered Marie Kondo style already, but I think I was a little too lenient in a few categories. It’s funny really, because when it came to throwing out Matt’s old t-shirts he hadn’t worn for three years I was practically skipping to the charity shop to get rid of them, however if he’d tried to prise that iconic blush from 2014 out of my hands I’d have been giving all the excuses under the sun as to why I must keep it!

My cleaning for Spring has only just begun, and in the next few weeks I’m going to make the switch over from my Autumn/Winter wardrobe to my Spring/Summer one; another time to declutter, donate and sell items that no longer bring me joy, and this time I’m genuinely excited about doing so. I just love the feeling of everything feeling fresh and new in Spring! Wardrobe switch over videos from my favourite gals, Emma Hill and Anna Newton, have had me dying to do the switch over for weeks, and I’m sure I can convince Matt to get rid of a few more bits too. It’s all about balance, right?! Anyway, there will be more on this in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s all the things I’ve done or am planning to get started on my Spring beauty declutter, and you can join in too!

Clean out your makeup storage
It sounds so redundant, but it’s so important to start with a fresh canvas when it comes to any aspect of cleaning and refreshing what you’ve already got. I’d start with emptying everything; whether you’ve got makeup in pouches, bags, acrylic organisers or your back-ups stashed in drawers, put it all into one big pile. Now it’s time to fully clean out your storage; most pouches and makeup bags can go in the wash (make sure to check the label beforehand!) and a good all purpose cleaner should take care of the rest. The one pictured is my absolute favourite, Wild Rhubarb from Method, it’s eco friendly and leaves everything sparkling clean, not to mention the amazing scent fills the whole room way after you’ve finished cleaning.

Sort through your products
Before you put back any products into their freshly cleaned homes, check to make sure everything is good to use. This is the basic checklist I follow during a clear out:
Is it safe to use? Makeup products don’t last forever, and chances are if you’ve had a product for over two years it’s no longer safe. Foundations can last anywhere between 12 months to 24 months, most powder products generally are good for 24 months, and lip products should last around 12 months. Mascara is the one product I think everyone – myself included – doesn’t exchange regularly enough, as their expiration date is just three months from opening. All makeup and skincare products have a small square with a number in; this is the recommended lifetime (in months) of the specific product. Be honest with yourself and throw out anything that is no longer safe to use.
Will I actually use this? You may have just picked up a blush only two months ago so it’s definitely safe to use, but now you’ve brought it home it’s apparent that it’s way brighter than it looked in store, and you’d feel like you were in costume as a Russian doll if you wore it. It’s disheartening to donate or throw out products you’ve spent your hard earned cash on, but it’s definitely better to give them a home they’ll be appreciated in, instead of leaving them in a drawer. Any unopened and unused products can be donated to women’s shelters, and that’s always my first choice for those products. Lightly used products may be okay to give to your family or friends, at mutual discretion. If something is old and used up, unfortunately it needs to be thrown out, and I’d recommend handing in your rubbish to your local L’Occitane store, who have a fantastic cosmetic recycling program with Terracycle, all of the details you need are included in the link.
Is this an everyday product or an optional product? My everyday makeup lives in my makeup bag, and I tend to favour the products I know and love to put in here, or something new I’ve bought and am trying out. As Matt and I live between our parents’ houses whilst we’re saving for a house (it’s only for another year or so, and we actually really love it!) it’s so much easier to keep my things in a bag. I keep all of my optional products – I still have nine blushes after my clear out, dear Lord – in a drawer in my vanity table, organised by category. I do switch out products from time to time, whether it’s a concealer or mascara, I go through stages of liking one product for a while then fancying a change. Be realistic, and don’t keep an overwhelming amount of options with your everyday times as you’ll be less likely to try new things.

Wash your makeup brushes
Is it just me that feels like my life is approximately 87% more together when my makeup brushes are clean? No? Seriously, it’s one of those tasks I dread, and I put off for way longer than necessary but it’s never as bad as I think. I love the feeling of doing my makeup for the first few days afterwards with freshly cleaned tools, especially when I’ve cleaned my makeup sponge too! I’d really recommend investing in a brush cleansing palette next time you’re feeling spendy as they make the process way quicker and easier, and I genuinely think keeping on top of the cleaning keeps my brushes looking better for longer. Some of my face brushes are about seven years old, most are sadly discontinued but they look good as new because I’ve looked after them. Also, you definitely don’t need to invest in specific brush cleaners, Johnson’s baby shampoo works a trick, and you can get huge bottles at Costco that will last forever!

Shop your stash
Re-introducing old favourites is one of my favorite ways to update my makeup bag or skincare routine! Now you’ve sorted out what is still good to use, you’ve almost definitely found products you totally forgot you owned. Please tell me that’s not just me who forgets they’ve purchased things?! I always find lipsticks I’d once loved and worn every day, that had been banished to the back of a drawer and left unloved for months. This is the stage where I’ll probably switch out my mascara (my current one has definitely been used for longer than three months!) and add in a different eyeliner or a new lippie. Always a new lippie. I feel very refreshed after switching out just a few products, as I’d liked what I’d been using for a while I had no desire to change things around, and Matt even noticed! I also found a Jouer eyeshadow pencil that I literally have no recollection of buying, but wow it’s beautiful and it’s become a go-to in my makeup bag over the past week.

Add one or two new items
I’m currently doing a Beauty No Buy for April, so I cannot purchase any new makeup or skincare products, except if a product I use every day runs out. However, my favourite part of a clear out has to be realising where the gaps are in your collection, and things that you could do with for the new season. I don’t personally fake tan, but I know lots of people will be picking up an extra shade of their foundation or concealer in darker shades around this time of year, ready for their Spring and Summer tanning. I save that for Summer when I go on holiday, although I probably shouldn’t bother as I gain more freckles than I tan, I wish I tanned like Matt did! I would love to get an everyday highlighter as the only one left in my stash is definitely more for a night out and is pretty heavy on the shimmer. I realise by my confession above that blush is the last thing I ‘need’ to buy but I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush as I’ve seen so many people rave about them, and I’ve lusted after one for months!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope this post inspired you to have a clear out of your makeup and maybe re-introduce some old (or new) products! What is your go-to makeup product this Spring? Have you been excited about anything you’ve re-discovered from your collection recently?

-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