Our Bedroom Refresh (On A Budget!)

Hi, loves! 

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I accidentally scheduled this post for 8pm instead of 8am. I’ve had a super busy work day and didn’t even realise that it hadn’t gone live, I completely forgot. Also, we’ve had several grey days in a row so the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos. Never mind 🙂

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet, and I really hope it inspires you if you’re looking to freshen up your bedroom too. I love simple, minimal decor and I was a little over everything we had going on in our room. There was a lot of blues and deep greens that I wanted to switch out, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

You probably already know Matt and I are planning to buy our own house next year and we live with my parents currently. We’re so lucky we all get along so well and are really grateful for this time with them! I wanted to update our space on a small budget, and a lot of the changes I made using things we already had. So, what did I change!?

The change I’m most excited about is a set of fresh bed linen. We already had a nice white set from Next that I purchased probably at least five years ago, but we didn’t have another neutral set to be able to switch out with. So, after a TON of searching I picked up new sheets – the set we got is linked here – and I absolutely love them. They are SO soft, comfy, and have the prettiest minimal detailing. I don’t really like garish patterns on bed linen, but I love that this is so simple and delicate. They duvet/pillows are not a bright white either and look a little muted, so it makes the room feel extra cosy and homey. 

We already had the majority of the other things you can see here; the cream blanket is from Costco and we actually sleep with this instead of our duvet when it’s super hot out. We have the same blanket in three colours and they’re a staple for us all year round! We also had the big cushion at the back which is from Costco too, the beigey/grey (…griege?) one and the two light grey ones in the centre. These were all from Tesco; they have such pretty cushions that are incredibly inexpensive and last so well! I’m pretty sure these are some of their basics that they have consistently throughout the year.

I did pick up the two fluffy beige cushions (I can’t find them anymore online, sorry!) in front from Dunelm, they’re super soft and I love the added texture to the bed. Then, my favorite find that tied all of our new bedding together is the amazing throw draped over the bottom corner. This is actually DKNY brand and has a very high RRP, but I picked it up for £16.99 at Homesense! They have the best throws in pretty much any colour you can imagine. Side note: these were the first “non-essential” stores Matt and I visited since the pandemic began and I hated the shopping experience so much. I’ll be sticking to my weekly grocery runs for a long time, I have zero desire to shop in stores right now.

I removed the majority of items from our windowsill and left it pretty minimal with only a jug/vase (I sometimes have pretty flowers in there!), a Diptyque candle, an Our Lovely Goods candle and our Amazon Echo Dot. I really like the window space to be open and airy! We use our Echo Dot every single night so I like it to be close to our bed; we play sleep sounds and I swear it improves the quality of our sleep so much. Our favourites are Thunderstorm and Wave Sounds! Our curtains are just a super simple, plain grey design that we’ve also had for years. They work perfectly and they keep the sun out in the mornings which is great. Oh… and that plant in the corner is dying and I’m refusing to believe it. I literally cannot keep succulents alive!!!

My bedside table makes me happy. I like it to look full but not cluttered – a very fine line – and honestly the old lamp we had was awful! It leaned to one side and just didn’t give off much light. You know, the point of a lamp… I found this beautiful grey and cream lamp at Matalan for a steal, it looks SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than it was. Seriously, this looks like something you’d get at West Elm for like, a bazillion pounds. I love the slightly distressed design on the base, it’s just perfect to tie in the minimal decor and is really pretty neutral colours. My Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede candle Matt bought me almost two years ago and it’s more of a decoration than anything now, I LOVE it so much don’t want to burn it. I know that’s super silly! My most favourite thing here is my cute little oil diffuser that was a really thoughtful gift from my sweet friend, Grace. We’ve been diffusing lavender essential oil she bought us every night recently and it’s helping us sleep so much better! As you can see I kept just a few of the muted blue tones in the room.

I shared all about my vanity table with you a couple weeks ago, but I did give it a little refresh too! I moved my orchid to the other side, added my Himalayan pink salt lamp from the other side of the room- a must-have for cosy evenings watching TV! – and added a few more candles. Our Lovely Goods is my favourite small business candle brand, and they’re a black owned company who would LOVE your additional support right now. We have ‘Coast’ on the window sill, and ‘Somewhere Far Away’ on my vanity table. I talked about pretty much everything else in my other post, but my rotating skincare organiser and my perfume tray filled with my everyday perfumes are my very favourite things! 

We have a full wall of built-in wardrobes that I designed almost ten years ago, and our TV is inside there. I hate hate hate having a TV on display in a bedroom (I don’t know why, I just think it looks a little garish) but we love to watch TV in bed. We also have two full length mirrors, one free standing and one on the wall, which you’ve probably seen me take selfies in before! We have a good amount of floor space – I like to practice yoga upstairs and there’s tons of room for that too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was fun for you guys, and gave you a little inspo if you want to switch a couple things up in your bedroom too! Are you more of a natural, neutral tones person, or do you like lots of colour? Over the past couple years I’ve really appreciated neutral tones more than bright, especially with my clothing. Speaking of, I’m going to be sharing a few of my clothing must-haves on the blog next week! 🙂 

-G x

Day In My Life: WFH | UK Lockdown

Happy Easter Sunday, my loves! I hope you’re happily eating all of the Easter chocolate, and still doing well throughout this crazy time in the world. How are you doing? I’ve had a pretty good week overall and I’m feeling really grateful for everything I have right now. Whilst I’m very hopeful that this will all be over soon I also want to be realistic, and I’m trying to get used to our ‘new normal’ as much as possible.

I was going to write up a week in my life for this past week but honestly a couple of days in it was SO repetitive and I really just didn’t want to bore you all! I really miss writing week/weekend in my life posts and I’m really going to make a conscious effort to record weekends especially at least once per month. Round ups of what people have been up to are some of my favourite posts to read, when I post them they always get high views (thank you!) and I also love to read them back a while later. Today I’m sharing my new ‘typical’ day in my life with you, and I already know this is going to be SO crazy to look back on in a few months’ time!

On this particular day I woke up pretty late at 7.45am. Matt is a key worker – he’s a Store Manager – so he’s been in work most days, and has been starting at 7am so I’ve been getting up with him around 6am. He wasn’t starting until later so we got to sleep in which was so nice because I was awake for at least two hours during the night. I struggle with insomnia and it seems to be getting worse not better… I’ve no idea why it happens but I’m WIDE awake and unable to sleep for what feels like forever! The mornings I’ve been getting up earlier I’ve either spent an hour reading my Kindle, practicing yoga or just catching up on YouTube. I was grateful to sleep in but I kinda missed that time today. After a quick cuddle with Matt I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. This Effaclar Hydrating Cleansing Cream from La Roche Posay is my favourite cleanser for the mornings; it’s so gentle, removes my skincare products from the night before and does not irritate my skin at all. I’ve took my skincare routine ‘back to basics’ for the most part after another really bad breakout and I’m seeing such a difference already. I’m currently waiting for my prescription skincare to arrive from Dermatica but I can’t wait to share my minimalistic skincare routine with you all next month!

Matt stayed in bed and chatted to me whilst I got ready at my vanity table which was SO fun. I got fully ready; I straightened the ends of my hair that had got a little kinked from being tied back when I slept – I cut two inches off my hair last week and dyed it! #quarantinelife eh? I actually think I did a pretty good job *toot toot* then my mum evened up a little at the back. I never thought I’d be giving myself DIY haircuts but I also never thought we’d be in the middle of a pandemic, sooo… I did my makeup which makes SUCH a difference to how my day goes. I feel one hundred times better on the days I’ve made somewhat of an effort, and I really love taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup each morning. I highly recommend getting yourself a little more put together if you’re struggling spending all day in the house. As you can see I’m not wearing ‘real’ clothes, but honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting around in jeans. I love jeans but I wear them to go outside then the second I get home I put sweats or pj pants on anyway! My Disneyland sweatshirt just makes my heart happy, I live in my Ugg slippers every day anyway and these sweat pants from Abercrombie are the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn. My exact ones are sold out right now but all of their sweats are amazing.

Once I was ready it was time for my commute… to the dining room. AKA my Unofficial Home Office! So for the most part I really enjoy working from home and I am so beyond grateful to still have my job and be getting paid. I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office but really I miss commuting to work SO. MUCH. Never again will I complain about it! I miss getting into my cute car. I miss playing music or a podcast a little too loud. I miss blasting the heat (because I’m always cold). I miss actually physically driving. I’ve only driven once in the past two and a half weeks and I can’t wait until I can drive all the time again! I turned on my computer (I have two monitors and a laptop from my job, but I spend probably 90% of my work day sitting at the table using the monitors. I don’t love working on the laptop as much because the screen is so much smaller and I feel less productive) and wrote out my to-do list for the day. I love a to-do list and it makes me feel so much more motivated. I also have been time-blocking my work days which I’ll talk about in a blog post soon.

Whilst my computer was turning on and everything was opening up (as we’re all working remotely it takes a good five minutes) I made Matt’s breakfast and made myself a cup of tea. I haven’t been fixing myself breakfast most days until around 11am, but Matt and I have both developed a weird obsession with bagels over the past few weeks… we can’t stop eating them! Kissing him goodbye is so sad right now, I never ever thought I’d be worried about him working in a supermarket. Once he’d left I got started with work – around 9am – I made another cup of tea and my morning went SO quickly.

A super sweet Easter card arrived from Matt’s parents, we miss them SO much and can’t wait to spend time with them again when all of this is over! My morning went so quickly I couldn’t believe it was already time for my meeting of the day; we held our office meeting via Microsoft Teams which is always a fun part of the week. I’ve really been focused in the mornings without any noise or distraction, then in the afternoon I tend to bring down my MacBook and play Netflix or Disney+ in the background. I love that I can do that whilst working, it’s definitely a huge perk of working from home! Before I knew it it was almost 3pm and because of our office meeting I’d forgotten to eat breakfast, so I was HUNGRY.

I’ve really been trying to take my lunch break away from my desk the dining table and I was good at it this day. Some days, not so much. Ha! I cleaned up the kitchen, wiped down the counters and cleaned the hob before prepping a really quick and easy lunch. I had avocado on a bagel (told you we’re obsessed) with two boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes. I really don’t like poached eggs very much but I’ve probably eaten boiled eggs more often in the past three weeks than I have in my entire life. They’re just so quick to make, can be paired with pretty much anything and really filling!

I took my lunch upstairs and got cosy on our bed with my Kindle. I love reading so much and really actively try to make time for it each day. Again, some days I’m better at this than others but I notice I feel so much better when I’ve took the time to read a little. If you’re looking for some book recommendations I wrote this post last Sunday! Especially right now I’m trying to limit my time on social media; I barely use Facebook anyway but I’m not really checking Twitter very much, and Instagram for the most part is a pretty safe space which makes me happy. I only read the news once or twice per day, although most days I’ve listened to the 5pm press conference because I’d rather know the actual facts of WHAT is being said, not the scaremongering headlines people keep sharing.

It was my last day of the work week as we were about to have a four day weekend! Honestly I feel like there couldn’t be worse timing for this, bank holidays are normally something we all look forward to so much and we can’t even spend it with our loved ones outside of our home! I washed up, made another cup of tea, turned on Lizzie McGuire (thank you, Disney+ for allowing me to relive my childhood) and finished up my working day. Something that’s really surprised me about being at home all day is how many cups of tea I consume. I’m seriously obsessed! I would say it’s overtaking my love for Diet Coke but nothing can do that!

When I was finished working I switched off my computer and my four day weekend had begun. I went straight into the bathroom because I knew if I sat down in our room I’d get so comfy and not move until after Matt got home from work, hahaha. I removed my makeup (always one of the highlights of my day, why does clean skin feel SO GOOD?) and hopped in the shower. I washed my hair the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to do that, but the second I got out of the shower I really regretted not opting for a bath, ha! Post-shower I lit my favourite candle, took my time applying my skincare, moisturising and getting into comfy pj’s, then settled in to plan my blog posts over the next few weeks. I’m a little bummed because so many of the posts I was writing/had scheduled are just not appropriate for the season of life we’re all in right now, so I’m creating new content and working really hard to bring you positivity! The posts I had planned will still go up at some point, it may just be in a few months time.

My mum arrived home from work (only my brother and I are working from home. My mum, dad and Matthew are all key workers so they’re still getting up and heading out into the world everyday) and we caught up on our day for a little while whilst she sorted out some of her clothes. I swear NOBODY has more clothes than my mum, yet I’m pretty sure she wears the same twenty tops on rotation… she won’t mind me saying that, it’s true, ha! Matt arrived home not long after and he’d only brought home a couple bottles of our favourite wine ever, it’s seriously the best. It’s so inexpensive, you need to try it next time you’re out shopping (for essentials). He showered up and got into comfy clothes for the evening, and as I was just about to start cooking us a bolognese my dad offered to treat us to an Indian takeaway. Umm… YES please! No need to even think about that, Indian food is our favourite.

As they are every time, our meals were incredible – for anyone who lives nearby, we always go to Moti Jheel #shoplocal – and we were so happy and full! We clapped for our carers at 8pm which is honestly one of the highlights of my whole week. I truly think it’s the sweetest thing and I hope all of those key workers know just how important they are not just now but always. We live pretty close to our local hospital and we could hear all of the sirens blaring/noise being made there – this video shows what all of the police officers do every week at the hospital. It makes me cry every time!

After dinner and clapping we snuggled up in bed with a couple of fruity ciders (strawberry and lime cider is one of my favourite ever alcoholic drinks and it just tastes like Summer to me). We turned on Brooklyn 99 which is one of our go-to we-haven’t-got-much-time-but-want-to-watch-something-funny shows! The latest season just went live on Netflix a few weeks back – I think season six? – and we seriously love this show SO much. I just can’t pick a favourite character because I love them all (except Hitchcock, he really gets on our nerves) but I really don’t think it could be a more perfect cast. Our other favourite shows to watch when we don’t have a ton of time are The Office and Friends, but I think we’re going to start Schitt’s Creek soon!

We watched three episodes because we just couldn’t turn it off, then Matt went into the bathroom before me and found a SPIDER on my TOOTHBRUSH. I’m terrified of spiders (except little money spiders, I can deal with them) so I was beside myself haha. Matt killed the spider like a good boyfriend should whilst I jumped around screaming 🙂 not exactly relaxing before bed… After we brushed our teeth – I used my electric toothbrush and threw the other one out, ugh! – I sprayed our pillows and duvet down with this sleep spray. I am a HUGE fan of sleep sprays and I’ve tried quite a few now. I think the This Works one is probably my favourite, it helps so much as I’m a terrible sleeper. Once I get into bed I apply my Laneige lip sleeping mask which is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever used, my lips still feel so moisturised when I wake up. I really need to order a back up because I don’t ever want to be without this. I then apply Cicaplast on any spots/bumps/pimples I have on my face as it does an incredible job of clearing them up, and apply it to any dry patches on my hands. From constantly washing my hands my hands are so cracked and sore, but this is incredible. I use the SPF50 version because that’s what I have but next time I’ll definitely order without the SPF. I then use my Aveeno hand cream just to lock all of the moisture in, Matt set Alexa to play Waves on Sleep Sounds and that was our day over!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little look into my life 🙂 what does your every day look like right now? I hope you and your families are all safe and well, and just taking each day at a time! Every day that passes is another day closer to all of this being over, and I think we all really need to acknowledge that even though this is a horrific situation we’re so lucky to be safe in our homes with our loved ones. Thank you to all of our incredible NHS staff, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other essential professions keeping our country going right now, you are so loved and we’re all so grateful! Have a happy bank holiday weekend, AT HOME 🙂

I’ll be back on Wednesday, with the weirdest bucket list post I’ll probably ever write!

-G x

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

Easy Eco-Friendly Beauty Swaps

Hi, loves! Sustainability is something that’s become increasingly important to me over the past few years, and I really try my best to do my best. I am not saying by any means that I’m the most eco friendly person there is; I know I’m not. I do however try, and that’s the most important thing! Living sustainably would be so much easier if lots of people did little things in their everyday life, rather than a handful of people living perfectly. Y’know?

There’s lots of sustainable, eco-friendly things I do day-to-day without even thinking about, such as carrying a re-usable coffee cup with me, using re-usable bags when grocery shopping and Matt and I are making a conscious effort to eat less meat. I really think small changes that just become your way of life over time make such a huge difference, and I wanted to share a few beauty related things with you today. Some of these are things I have done for a long time, and some are things that I want to do in the near future! We’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

FROM: Using makeup wipes
TO: Removing makeup with a cleansing balm and flannel

Okay so the Caroline Hirons fanatic in me cannot comprehend how anyone can use makeup wipes in 2020, but I know that some people still love them. Not only are makeup wipes terrible for your skin, they’re also terrible for the environment. Many opt for the biodegradable options – which often aren’t any better, FYI – but I’m very much with Queen C on this one: she says “wipes are for fannies, festivals or flights”. Nuff said. Using a cleansing balm and flannel instead is such a great alternative; it takes a very short amount of time, although you can totally take your time if you fancy a little more of a pamper night. Similarly to taking off my bra after a long day, I LOVE taking off my makeup too. I do sometimes use micellar water to remove my makeup, but most of the time I reach for my cleansing balm and flannel. I really recommend these flannels from M&S; they’re very soft on my sensitive skin, budget friendly and wash really well. You literally just throw them in the wash after each use and they last forever. My very favourite cleansing balms (which are also cruelty free!) are The Body Shop’s Camomile Cleansing Butter and Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm. I use them both in the same way; I take a pea-sized amount between my fingers and rub all over my face. I take a little warm water on my fingers and massage the product in; this breaks down the balm to a milky oil consistency. I then wet my flannel with warm water to remove everything, it’s so easy!

FROM: Non-cruelty free brands
TO: Cruelty free brands

I only began to really think about this last year, and overhauled every product I was buying to be only cruelty free. Due to some skin issues caused by doing this I reverted to using some brands that do not fall under the cruelty free umbrella, and now I’m back in a weird phasing out stage again. Looking at the beauty products I buy, approximately 90% of them are cruelty free, and I’m always looking for alternatives to the other 10%. Some of my very favourite brands including Lush, The Body Shop, Too Faced and Dove are cruelty free, and thankfully more and more brands are following suit to become cruelty free. There’s a very fine line with what is defined as ‘cruelty free’ too, as many brands do not test on animals themselves, however they sell in China. As the law stands right now, any beauty products sold in China require animal testing to have the rights to sell.

FROM: Plastic toothbrushes
TO: Bamboo toothbrushes

Matt and I jumped on the bamboo toothbrush train fairly recently, and I have to say I’m SO impressed! We’ve all seen the photos of thousands of multi coloured plastic toothbrushes in landfill sites, and I knew that buying disposable plastic toothbrushes wasn’t something I wanted to carry on doing. We both use our electric toothbrushes most of the time, but for travelling (or when I forget to charge them…) it’s important to have a backup. I love that these are so aesthetically pleasing and for such a basic, everyday item they’re affordable. As toothbrushes are supposed to be replaced every three months they’re a great way to keep our ‘single-use plastic’ usage down. Despite David Attenborough’s pleas and much of what you read in the news, plastic in itself is *NOT* the problem, though. The problem is the way that plastic is disposed of. Or, honestly, the way it’s incorrectly disposed of. I really want to write a whole post talking about this but I’m not sure anyone would be interested!

FROM: Liquid hand wash
TO: Soap bars

I have to admit that there’s something about a bar of soap that makes me think of my grandma (just me?) but when brands such as Diptyque are flying the soap bar flag, I guess they’re cool now?! Buying bars of soap instead of hand wash is a more environmentally friendly way to live as it cuts out the unnecessary disposable plastic packaging. There are other alternatives too such as buying refillable bags to top up containers you already have, as the refillable bags are easier to recycle than a plastic bottle! Or, lots of people like pretty containers to house their soap next to the skin, so you can grab a decorative container and refill that each time.

FROM: Disposable cotton rounds
TO: Re-usable cotton rounds

I swear by re-usable cotton rounds! I made the change from disposable ones almost a year ago and unfortunately it has been a little trial and error finding the right ones, but this brand are my favourite out of all the ones I’ve tried! I use them to apply my toners in the morning and evening, and to remove my makeup with micellar water now and then. The pads allow the product to soak in enough to apply to my face and actually work, but don’t absorb the liquid completely like some other brands I’ve tried do. I just throw them in the washing machine alongside my flannels in the net washing bag they come with, and they come out good as new. Sometimes they stain a little – especially if I’ve used them to remove eyeliner or mascara – but the pads works just as well. They’re also really easy for travel as you can pop however many you’d need for your trip in your skincare bag and just bring them home to wash.

FROM: Regular shampoo/conditioner
TO: Shampoo/conditioner bars

Something I’m yet to try is a shampoo or conditioner bar, because honestly I have a pretty large stash of shampoo and conditioner to work through! The bonus of a hair bar is that there is no extra packaging at all, you can just keep them in re-usable metal tins and replace when the bar is gone. I tended to stock up when my favourites are on offer, and I very kindly was given some more expensive brands for Christmas, so it’s going to be a while before I need to replace them. However, I know lots of people swear by Lush’s hair bars! I’d love to hear your thoughts on these if you’ve tried them? Have they replaced regular shampoo/conditioner for you?

Photo contains gifted products

FROM: Plastic tampons/disposable applicators
TO: Cotton tampons with a re-usable applicator

Okay so I’ve tried the MoonCup for several months now and I’m still not completely sold. I like it – as much as you can like a period product – but I don’t necessarily feel comfortable using it in public or at work. As a result I only use the MoonCup at night time when I have the comfort of my own bathroom in the evening/morning! I was very kindly sent some Dame tampons by the lovely girls at Dame, and they are completely revolutionary. Dame markets themselves as ‘the only climate positive brand’ and their tampons don’t contain any plastics, chemicals or harsh additives which makes them better for both your body and the planet. Their applicator is sold for £24.99, but it’s re-usable with a patented ‘self cleaning’ technology, and the whole idea behind it is you never need to buy another applicator again. I really love this brand and I think their products are fantastic, I highly recommend them but I do wish the tampons were a little cheaper to purchase. Also, Dame is just as discreet as a regular tampon so you don’t ever need to worry about using it in public.

FROM: Plastic cotton buds
TO: Bamboo cotton buds

This is such a small change I feel like it’s not even something you’ll notice being different to what you normally use once you buy them. Bamboo cotton buds are biodegradable, and as a product we all use that’s really important. One thing to be careful of is many bamboo / recyclable cotton buds are packaged in plastic packaging, which kind of defeats the point of cutting down on plastic… I really like these ones, especially because they last forever as they come in a pack of 600. They’re also priced really well which makes a huge difference as many of the recyclable eco-friendly products are (in my opinion) quite expensive or overpriced.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this post was helpful and maybe gave you a few ideas of things to buy next time you run out of any of the things mentioned in this post. What are your favourite eco-friendly beauty swaps? Have you tried any of the products I talked about in this post?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

A Beauty Haul & First Impressions

Hi, loves! So, I did a thing. I spent too much money on a few new makeup items BUT I’m sharing them with you on the blog so they’re totally justified. Right? Maybe not. I really don’t buy new makeup too often, only usually to replace something I’ve ran out of, so it was SO exciting to try out new products ‘just for fun’! I purchased all of these products over a month or so, and I made great use of my Feel Unique discount! I did buy most of these with Autumn in mind, so the tones are little warmer; they’re perfect transitional colours as we move out of Summer into my favourite time of the year.

Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk
Guys. I’m in love. And not just with my boyfriend. Seriously, I’ve never found a more perfect eyeshadow palette, this is a dream! There is one slight issue that I’ll just get out of the way now; the bottom left glitter shade is pretty hard to work with; I have to wet my brush with Mac Fix + to get a good colour pay off, but it does create the most beautiful shimmery glitter on the lid! I love the shades in this palette because they’re so versatile; they can be super light and feminine for a day makeup look, or built up a little more for an evening look. I really want to keep this palette for weekends and date nights because it’s just too beautiful (and expensive) to use every day! I’m looking to purchase the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Intense Amethyst to use for work and lazy days; I really like products that are super quick to use and don’t take any effort to blend in; these are perfect when you’re in a rush!

Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose
I bought this lipstick on National Lipstick Day on a whim, and I’m so sad I hadn’t found this formula earlier, it’s so beautiful! This lipstick is super pigmented, lasts for hours without a lip liner and feels moisturising on the lips, it’s pretty much all you can ask for from a lipstick. It doesn’t smudge when I kiss Matt which makes us both very happy! I chose this colour as I love a purple-ish pink-ish lip in the Autumn months, and as any regular readers know I am SO READY for Autumn. This is a great transitional colour through from the end of Summer, it’s already become a staple in my handbag and I’ve worn it so much the past few weeks!

Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier
I LOVE this primer. I’d go as far as saying it’s holy grail status for me already. I’d been using the Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot primer for so long that I thought all of the problems with makeup not lasting on my face were because of my skin. Nope. Turns out, my skin must have just gotten used to the primer (or stopped working well with it) and this primer has changed my life, seriously! It’s a pet hate when I look in the mirror at midday and my makeup is already breaking up or sliding off my face, it makes me feel so crap. This primer feels like butter on the skin; it melts right in and doesn’t ball up under foundation/concealer like some primers do. I use the teeniest amount each morning in my T Zone, then take whatever is left over the rest of my face.

Physician’s Formula The Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick in All Natural Nude
I added this liquid lipstick to my basket last minute when re-purchasing my foundation and I’m SO glad I got this! I hadn’t read anything about this product – I just quickly looked up swatches – but it’s the most comfortable, non-drying liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried. I’m not the biggest fan of liquid lipsticks normally because I feel like they just don’t look good on me! I love the applicator; it has a hole in the middle which means the product never gets gloopy or applies too thickly. This liquid lipstick is comfortable on the lips and moisturising, I’ve worn it several times and it lasts for HOURS without smuding or disappearing. It’s also a steal at under £10.00, if you’re a liquid lipstick gal you need it in your life!

Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black
This mascara is a re-purchase and I’m very happy to have it back in my makeup bag. I first used this years ago, and although I think the formula may have changed it’s hands down one of the best mascaras I’ve ever used. It’s high end quality for mid range pricing, and the brush is incredible; it separates your lashes perfectly, whilst coating them with just the right amount of product. Like most mascaras I find this works at it’s best once it’s been opened for a week or two, but that’s just because I’m not a huge fan of ‘wet’ mascaras. I love how dark the colour is (SO many black mascaras have a grey undertone), and it lasts on my lashes all day without smudging or flaking so I don’t have any need for the waterproof formula. I always remove this with my cleansing balm, and it comes off super easy!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe got a little inspiration of things to pick up to change your makeup bag as we move into the Autumn. Have you tried any of the products mentioned in this post? Please let me know your thoughts, too! Is there anything on your beauty wishlist right now? What are your current favourite go-to makeup products?

-G x

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

Hey, loves! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’ve really had one of those weeks. I’ve felt a bit crap, and as a result I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways I try to carve out a little self care time each day, and focus on the things that keep me feeling good even on those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Name that movie. As I mentioned in a recent post I’ve made August an unofficial self-care month for me, and I’d love for you to join in too! Let’s get used to taking a little extra time for ourselves, no matter how busy we are. Today I’m sharing with you the things I try to do most days (or at least several times per week) to practice self care.

Practice yoga (or at least stretch)
It’s not realistic to assume we all have a spare hour or even half an hour each day to prioritise yoga, or whichever exercise you prefer. However, ten minutes is something we should all able to achieve – whether it means turning the TV off ten minutes before bed or getting up ten minutes earlier – it feels so good to stretch out your body. My favourite morning stretch routine for when I don’t have much time is this practice from Yoga With Adrienne, it always makes me feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

Eat food that’s good for you
When you’re eating healthy food your body feels refreshed, and so does your mind. Matt and I eat healthy veggie filled dinners most nights, and we try to eat healthy when possible. We definitely don’t restrict ourselves; if we want to eat something we’ll definitely enjoy it, it’s just about creating a balance. Getting our five a day is so important, and although there’s way less emphasis on it in the media now, I think we could all use a reminder!

Enjoy at least ten minutes of peace and quiet each day
Having a little time alone just to be is good for the soul. I’m an introvert, and until Matt and I got together two years ago, I’d have opted to spend time alone than with others any day of the week. Now, of course I’d rather spend every possible second with Matt, but it’s still important to appreciate time alone too. Whether it’s relaxing in a hot bath during the evening or whilst I’m doing my makeup before work, I just enjoy being with only my thoughts for a little while.

Keep the space around you clean, tidy and clutter-free
I am the kind of person that needs the space around me to be clean and tidy anyway, but it truly makes you feel so much more calm and relaxed when everything is in order and put away in it’s place. I like to de-clutter Matt and I’s space pretty often, and it’s freeing to not hold on to rubbish you don’t need! Our bedroom is always smelling fresh and looking tidy, and coming home each night to our own little sanctuary is so calming and refreshing. I’m also the same with my car, I can’t bare it being dirty or cluttered inside, I just very rarely clean the outside.

Treat yourself to regular pamper sessions
Whether it’s getting your gels refreshed or visiting your favourite salon for a fresh colour and cut, set aside time (and money) to enjoy it. I love days where I’m getting my hair or nails done SO much, it just makes me feel happier. Of course you don’t have to go to salons to treat yourself, because at-home spa and pamper evenings can be just as wonderful. Indulge in a bubble bath and throw a face mask on, and never let yourself feel guilty for doing so. It’s important to unwind and relax, and it’s very true that when you look good, you feel good on the inside too. Matt and I love a pamper night!

Make gratitude lists
Feeling grateful is one thing, but writing down what you’re grateful for changes your perspective on everything. It’s so easy to get bogged down with mundane life stuff, but just acknowledging the good things in your life can make you see everything so differently. I’ve wrote three posts this year, logging things I’m grateful for each day – you can catch up here, here and here – and I couldn’t recommend that enough. Whether you’re a blogger looking for a content idea or you just want to list what you’re grateful for privately, it’s amazing to see your blessings right in front of you. I keep a list in the Notes app in my phone, and man does it help me to keep positive.

Live in the moment
I admit that I am SO bad for not enjoying the day/hour/second right there and then, because I’m thinking about what’s coming up. Whether I’m stressing about something happening or I’m super excited for something fun, I find I’m always counting down to the Next Thing. I’m actively trying to enjoy where I’m at in the moment, and it’s making life so much more fun! …but it’s okay to have things to look forward to. Matt and I always have a trip planned, whether it’s a holiday or a weekend getaway, because we love travelling SO much and that’s where we want to put our energy. We just love getting away and exploring somewhere new! Similarly, date nights keep us sane and get us through long work weeks, and we always plan those in advance. Get plans in your diary to catch up with your friends too, they may need it more than you do!

Be active, and enjoy nature while you’re at it
Matt and I are SO LUCKY to live where we do; there’s beautiful beaches, rolling countryside and our favourite city, Newcastle upon Tyne, all just twenty minutes drive from us. We are always trying to get outside more and enjoy whatever is around us, and we’re also very lucky that we experience all four seasons here too! Well, Summer is questionable LOL.

Unwind in a way that makes you happy
Getting cosy under a fluffy blanket with our favourite candles flickering, snuggling up with Matt to watch Netflix is without a doubt my favourite pastime. We do this in some aspect every evening, even if it’s only to watch one quick episode of our favourite show (Brooklyn 99 is life, you guys!) and it feels so good to relax at home. Being curled up with Matt makes me so happy, and it’s something I look forward to from the minute we get out of bed each morning! I also love to blog, binge watch reality shows (The *original* Hills and KUTWK are always my go-to shows), online shop/browse, cook, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, read books, take bubble baths… whatever it is for you; do more of it.

Don’t beat yourself up
The best self care tip of all is to not be too hard on yourself, because everyone is doing the best they can. You don’t need to compare yourself to others, or what you think you should have/want in life. Being happy within yourself is so important, and nurturing your close relationships is super important too. Matt and I are very good at giving each other pep talks and cheering each other up if we ever have a bad day, and that support network is so vital!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and maybe feel inspired to take a little more time for yourself. How do you take time for self care each day? What’s one thing that always makes you feel good? Except for cuddling with Matt, one other thing specifically comes to mind for me. Blogging. It always makes me feel good and is there for me like a safety net; I love to write SO MUCH, and I had no idea how much joy blogging would bring to my life! Matt encouraged me to start and has (literally) held my hand every step of the way so far; I’m so grateful for him and that he pushed me to do it; it’s a dream come true to run my own blog. Thank you so much to everyone who takes time to read, comment, like, share etc – it means the world to me, and I really feel so lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.

-G x

Skincare Saviours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Summer Beauty Edit / AD*

*This post contains gifted items I was sent for review, to share my honest opinion about. All words and photographs are my own.

Hi, loves! This coming Thursday is the official first day of Summer, and I’m hoping that means an abrupt end to all of this awful weather we’ve had! Endless days of torrential rain, wind and flooding have caused misery across the North (and to be honest, I think all around the UK) and as much as I love feeling cosy in the house when it’s cold and rainy outside, I’m more than ready for hot Summer days! I’m not the biggest fan of Summer fashion, as I talked about way more in this post, but one thing I really do love about Summer style is the beauty products. Shimmery highlights, bronzed tones and coconut scented everything? Yes please! I’m not going to be sharing everything I’m packing for Matt and I’s upcoming holiday to Croatia, but I wanted to share with you a few items that I couldn’t think about leaving without!

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Okay so let’s get this out of the way: anything from Too Faced’s cocoa-infused chocolate range is a winner in my book, because why wouldn’t I want my makeup to smell like chocolate?! I first picked this bronzer up – in the original Chocolate shade – around four years ago, and it’s a product I’ve re-purchased over and over again since. I love that this bronzer looks natural whether I’m slightly sun-kissed with a little bit of a tan or even in the colder months when I’m very fair. I use this as a contour/bronzer day and night, because who really has the time (or patience) to use both?! It never looks harsh or muddy like so many bronzers easily can, and it blends so easily. The mirror in this compact is also perfect for when you’re on holiday, if the vanity table is not great – which is quite often the case – you can definitely use this to get ready easily!

Eylure Eye Lashes *gifted
I’ve used and loved Eylure eyelashes since I was a teenager, and when False Eyelashes reached out and asked if I’d like to feature some on my blog I was beyond excited! Eylure lashes are so. flipping. easy. to apply, and that is coming from the clumsiest person ever! I love that the band fits to your eye shape perfectly, the glue dries in no time and they look amazing every time! The 117 are my go-to date night lash because they’re thick and fluffy, and they’re perfect for adding a little extra to an otherwise simple makeup look. I really love the style of the 070’s; these will be perfect for a BBQ or a Summer day out, and for the night time on holiday! I love wearing lashes during our holiday evenings because it makes your face look so much more put together; a little lip gloss, brows, bronzer and highlight, topped off with a set of natural eyelashes? Yes, please! I wore the 031’s last night for date night (we literally went to the movies, but it’s nice to look good for your partner, right?! I was super excited about this package, haha) and I loved them, I need to pick up some more before we fly!

The Body Shop Brazillian Cupacu Scrub-in-Oil
This is hands down the best scrub I’ve ever used, and I am so excited to have it in my beauty collection. A super generous birthday gift from my lovely boyfriend, I use this at least twice per week, and I love how amazing my skin feels afterwards. In the Summer I’m wearing lots of short sleeved tops, cropped jeans/trousers and even skirts or shorts, so I’m definitely baring lots more skin and I want it to look/feel good! The oil makes the scrub feel so luxurious, and it’s the perfect pre-shave treatment. It also smells incredible, I literally feel like I’m in a spa each time I use this, which is amazing! I wish this came in a travel size as I’m a little wary to decant it to take away with us, and the tub is so huge it’s definitely not travel friendly.

NYX Bare With Me BB Cream in Vanilla Nude
Right now, this is seriously floating my boat! I have been testing this BB cream out over the past few weeks and I have to say it’s giving my favourite drugstore foundation a run for it’s money. It feels super lightweight yet gives incredible coverage which was something I never expected from a BB cream. It hasn’t once made me break out, it leaves my skin looking so good (like, your skin but better. You know?), and lasts all day without sliding off my face. Over the past few years I’ve moved away from the heavy foundations I used to love (I lived in Estee Lauder Double Wear which is so dang thick!) and now I always opt for a thin, light base. I use concealer to cover up any blemishes, scarring or hyper-pigmentation and I think this made such a difference. I’ve also picked this BB cream up in a darker shade in the hope that I get a little tan on holiday, and I’ll be able to mix the two shades for those in-between days!

MAC Turquatic Rollerball
I recently talked about this rollerball a lot in this post, and it’s so good I’m featuring it again! Turquatic is my all-time favourite rollerball year round, but it’s seriously perfect for hot, sunny Summer days. Matt really loves when I wear this too, which makes me love it even more! It reminds me of the beach and family trips to Florida when I was younger, the scent just makes me so dang happy. I really love that you can easily throw this in your bag or carry on to top up throughout the day, and it’s perfect to use on a plane because it’s not a spray that may irritate other people around you!

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Exotic Coconut
After sun is a must have for holidays and hot Summer days in the UK (although seriously, it feels like they’re never coming right now…) and nobody does it better than Hawaiian Tropic. This after sun is my absolute favourite because it smells like coconuts, which just screams Summer to me, and it’s so. freaking. moisturising. Matt and I share our after sun on holiday, and he also thinks it smells amazing! I tend to layer my after sun on pretty thick after my shower, then sit out on the balcony to do my makeup whilst it soaks in. Also, whilst you’re on holiday make sure you leave your after sun in the fridge! It stays super cold which feels amazing putting on to warm skin when you get out of the shower each evening.

NYX Butter Gloss in Madeleine
I love wearing lipgloss in the Summer months, it’s just so much more light and fresh, and I feel like it tones down my makeup just a tad! This is my perfect nude, it’s a little darker than I used to always go for, and kinda reminds me of the nineties, in a good way. I do still reach for my favourite Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks – The Duchess and Pillow Talk – for date night or sometimes if I want to feel a little more put together, but on a day-to-day basis, lipgloss is my go-to. This formula is super opaque and you don’t need a lip liner underneath, although it is a little tacky so if it’s windy I can guarantee my hair will get caught!

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Lotion
A fairly new discovery for me, and a product I’ve only been trying out for a few weeks, hence why it wasn’t included in my Best Of: The Body Shop post. This moisturiser is super lightweight and refreshing, and it smells of oranges which is a lovely scent to wake you up in the morning! Makeup sits on top of this really well for me, although I do always set my makeup with a setting spray! I’ve found that even though this moisturiser contains SPF 30 – so important, especially in the Summer – it doesn’t leave a white cast on your face or flashback in photos. It’s a super small tube at only 50ml, but despite near constant use the past few weeks I don’t think I’ve used much at all! My skin is left literally glowy after each application, and I am so excited to use this more throughout the Summer. I did however purchase this from Hawaiian Tropic to use on holiday when we’re staying at the resort, as that is a specific sun lotion and I think a little better for sitting in the sun all day!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got a little inspiration if you’re looking for Summer beauty products. What are your must-haves for Summer and holiday season? Have you got any recommendations of things I need to pick up?

-G x

Photo Diary: My 25th Birthday Weekend

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! I’m so happy to be back! I know I only missed one upload (more on that in this post) but wow it’s felt SO long, I missed blogging and I missed you guys! I love love love writing photo diaries and Weekend In My Life posts, and I appreciate that they always get such a great response from my readers! You can read my latest WIML post from way back in February here, and if you type ‘weekend’, ‘week’ or ‘photo diary’ in the search bar at the side, a ton more posts will come up!

Thursday May 16th

Thursday was my last day at work for the week, which meant early birthday celebrations! The girls in my office are so sweet and thoughtful, and as always they totally spoiled me with so many lovely gifts, including a Lush gift card that I’m super excited to use!

I finished work a little earlier than usual, and headed straight to the salon for an update to my balayage! I was there a good three hours, and I’m so so happy with how it turned out, my hair is WAY lighter and feeling ready for Summer. Erin at Rein & Co is the best; she’s so sweet and knowledgable, and there’s something about having your hair done that just makes you feel so dang good. I’d really recommend visiting the salon if you’re in the Newcastle area! I drove home via the beach (literally the sunset was SO pretty – I pulled over in the worst spot to take a photo but trust me it was beautiful. I love the beach so much!) While I was on my way home, Matt headed out to pick up Indian food for dinner for us and my parents, we always go to the same place and their food is delicious. After the quickest shower ever, Matt and I snuggled in to watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and got an early(ish) night in. It was the perfect ending to my last day as a 24 year old!

Not the greatest photo. I snapped this super quickly before I headed home

Friday May 17th

I turned 25!! I woke up to Matt being the cutest ever (I mean, he is every morning, but he was extra cute on this day). We woke up around 7ish – no lay in for us! – as he was so excited for me to open my presents LOL. I love our little tradition on birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary of opening gifts in bed, it’s so cute. I also usually feel super awkward opening gifts from people, but when it’s just us two I don’t feel like that at all. Matt was SO generous and spoiled me like crazy, I love him so much and am beyond grateful! We spent a little time with my parents opening gifts from them and other family members, then my mum had to go to work. We ate birthday cake for breakfast (a must, right?), got ready for the day and packed up for our weekend getaway.

Literally the luckiest girl in the world, he’s so good to me!
My favourite EVER cake is the Red Velvet from Costco, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!
I kinda love this photo, even though I’m squinting so bad in the sun and I’ve no idea why my hair looks super dark!

We visited with my grandma for a little while which was lovely. She absolutely adores Matt, it’s so sweet to see! We said our goodbyes and set off for Ramside Hall. We got there around 1.45pm and, as our room wasn’t ready, took a little time to relax in the bar area and grab lunch. Matt got a Heineken (of course) and I opted for a strawberries and cream gin with lemonade, and we both ate club sandwiches. We got cosy in the bar until our room was ready, then went up to have a look around. We’d stayed in this hotel before – I booked a surprise trip for Matt after he’d had such a busy time at work a year past April – so we had an idea of what to expect, but our room was way bigger this time! There was a HUGE bath – it doesn’t look as big in the photos at all, we were super excited to jump in haha.

I just love the decor!
Matt had told the hotel it was my birthday and they left chocolates for us – how sweet! Also Cadbury’s is my FAVOURITE
Our bath of dreams… serious house inspo for next year!

After we’d unpacked (well, Matt unpacked. He’s the cutest and the first thing he does when we get to a hotel is unpack everything and hang his clothes up. I just love him!) we quickly threw on our bikini and swim shorts, and headed down to the spa. It was so warm and relaxing, we lay by the pool for a little then Matt went for a swim whilst I spent five minutes catching up on birthday messages (I was so overwhelmed with the sweet messages I recieved – thank you so much!) I joined him in the pool, and we spent a while just messing around, it felt like we were back in Kos for a split second! We stayed around the pool area for around an hour, but that huge bath was just calling our name. We caved and headed up to our room to take a long hot bubble bath and chilled the F out. It was bliss!

These robes were HUGE and so snuggly – I wanted to take them home! Also, don’t mind the no makeup. Wowzers
I just love him so much!
My handsome guy

Afterwards, we got ready for the evening (I’m SO mad we didn’t get a good photo together) and headed for dinner at Fat Buddha. It’s one of my favourite places to eat – their honey chilli chicken is incredible! We spent the rest of our evening out at a place nearby called Missoula that had the prettiest decor, and really good music. We had a few drinks and were beat, so headed back to the room to snuggle up in bed with a drink from the bar. #25goingon85. We watched an episode of The Force: Essex and fell asleep, we’re so cool. Honestly, we aren’t always like that but I kinda love when we are, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had the BEST day and I am so thankful for Matt making every day feel so special, not just my birthday. I love you so much, babe!

Saturday May 18th

Since we’d gone to bed pretty early the night before, we were up early and ready to take on the day. It was POURING rain out, so our plans to go for breakfast in Durham were unfortunately squashed as everything is outdoors, and we didn’t bring coats or appropriate footwear. #packingfail. Instead, we checked out, packed up the car and headed to the Metro Centre for a few hours of shopping. What else are you supposed to do when it’s pouring rain and freezing?! We ran a few errands, shopped in our favourite stores and ate lunch at our favourite place, Wagamama’s. I always get the same thing (either teriyaki chicken donburi or chilli steak ramen) and Matt ALWAYS gets chilli steak ramen, however this time I branched out! I got teriyaki steak soba noodles (without onions) and it was incredible, I think I’ve found a new favourite dish! We spent so long browsing Waterstone’s – book shops are one of my favourite places – and I picked up a few new books, I can’t wait to get stuck in! (I also made an Amazon order for even MORE when we got home as they were way cheaper on Amazon, I think I’m good for a while… LOL)

I love you!
My forever date!

We left the Metro Centre, and headed home via Tesco, our second favourite shop. Costco is obviously number one, we literally LOVE walking around buying crap we absolutely don’t need, haha. We were in and out pretty quick, just picking up groceries to make dinner that evening (and my favourite chips and dip… I couldn’t resist). Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so we were staying there the whole time and when we got home Matt went out for a run whilst I snuggled up with a cup of tea and my new book. Although I was in tears by page three – it’s so sad, but also heartwarming, moving and kinda funny – I’m completely hooked. I also kissed and snuggled Matt extra hard for the rest of the weekend, if you read it you’ll know why! And if you haven’t, I’m linking it here and saying you need to buy it immediately, you won’t regret it. (Well, I hope not. I’m 145 pages in when I’m typing this up on Monday evening, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read up to now).

A little beauty haul… all repurchases of products I use and LOVE every single day!
Buying new books makes me so happy. Also, how cute is our bedding at Matt’s parents?! I love it so much!

Matt got home from his run and we watched the opening ceremony to the Man City match, I really love how exciting the atmosphere feels at big football games! We watched for a little while, then Matt got a post-run bath and I went straight back into reading my book. I really struggled to put it down! Matt ran me a bath (and he put a Lush bath bomb in, what a cutie!) and I soaked with a face mask on… yep, whilst reading my book. I used The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask which is one of my absolute favourites, it always makes my skin feel SO good afterwards. Matt usually joins in on face mask night but he was not feeling it this weekend… party pooper! After I’d had a lovely bath, exfoliated, shaved and washed my hair, I jumped out and got ready for the evening. We made dinner – roasted veggies with ham and mashed potato – and got cosy on the couch to watch a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, we’re seriously obsessed! We went to bed pretty late, and snuggled in for a loooong sleep.

My favourite kind of beer! It’s SO GOOD
Do you put butter on your mashed potatoes? If you don’t you really should!

Sunday May 19th

Okay, so Sunday is where I FAILED with the photo taking. I’m sorry, I was on a roll for the first part of the weekend but then I was a #badblogger. To be honest, I felt a little bit off all day – I was really anxious and a little teary randomly. I’m not sure why as there was no specific reason but Matt was so good to me. He loved me a little harder all day and I thankfully felt so much better by Sunday night. We still had a lovely day, I just felt super anxious. So, what did we get up to? We lay in pretty late, and after a little too long snuggling I finally got out of bed to make Matt breakfast. We slowly started moving to get ready, and booked a hotel for a pretty spontaneous trip to Manchester this coming weekend! We’re road tripping down for a family reunion, and I’m so excited for Sunday’s post… can you guess what it’s about?!

I bought this mug for Matt over a year ago and it still makes me laugh!
My new Adidas sneaks from bae! I am so in love with them 😍

When we finally got ready, we headed to Aldi to grab a few groceries we needed for the beginning of the week until I do a big shop mid-week. I typically grocery shop by myself when Matt’s at work or when I’m on the way home from work, so I always appreciate when we get to run errands together. We went to see my parents and open a few extra birthday presents that had been dropped off (my family are so generous!) and caught up on what we’d all been doing over the weekend. After, we went up to see my godparents – we love being at their house, it’s so beautiful and they’re so lovely! We stayed for a while, and got some puppy cuddles in with Phoebe. Isn’t she just so cute?! We went home via a pit stop at the Co-Op (I’m literally OBSESSED with going into any Co-Op we pass, whether I need something or not. It’s become a running joke between Matt and I, then my godmother said she totally gets it and loves going in too! HA we’re so weird. They just have everything you could ever need) and Matt got on with some work whilst I read some more of my book and started editing photos for this post. We showered, cooked the most amazing steaks for dinner and snuggled in for a night of TV on the couch with some yummy snacks. We of course watched a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, then A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, featuring several football players and Prince William. It was so insightful, and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely advise watching it – and recommending it to any men in your life!

Photo credit to my favourite lil cousin Ellie, I totally forgot to take a photo whilst we were there! #badblogger
These rainbow pencils are AMAZING! The pink ones are rhubarb and custard flavour… what more could you want?!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a look into my life from this past weekend! We had so much fun, and I’m always so grateful for all the quality time Matthew and I get together. Our schedules have been jam packed lately so we’ve had to make the most of our mornings and evenings, and he’s going away the first week of June – I miss him and am counting down to picking him up from the airport already! LOL. We’re enjoying every little moment together more than ever right now, and we’re SO ready for our holiday together at the end of June! How was your weekend, what did you get up to? I’m counting down to this weekend already, I can’t wait for another weekend with my love, and to spend time with family!

-G x