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

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

March Favourites

Happy Sunday, loves!

March was a bit of a rollercoaster month for me, and as always it went by in the blink of an eye. I had lots of high highs and unfortunately a very low low this month (it’s not something I can share on the blog unfortunately, but thanks to Matt and our families everything is okay now). I’ve also been so poorly over the past week, and I feel so grateful I now feel a little better. I’m so looking forward to April; lots of warm days, more sunshine, fun plans with Matthew, and another month closer to my birthday. In March we cooked new recipes, obsessed over watching Jack Ryan, celebrated Matthew’s 25th birthday (and he went to Berlin with the boys!) and we seen my aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Alaska for the first time in five years. I’ve also officially started Spring cleaning and I’m now sitting on our bed, admiring how beautiful everything looks, smells and feels. I went to town with my favourite all purpose cleaner (Method Wild Rhubarb) and the smell has filled the whole house, it’s beautiful!

Matt’s Birthday Weekend
My love celebrated his golden birthday, and turned 25 on March 25th, we had so much fun celebrating! We began the celebrations early on Saturday, spending the evening having dinner and drinks with his parents and godparents in Gosforth. We ate at San Lorenzo and the food was so good, we had such a lovely night! On Sunday afternoon we headed into Newcastle for a staycation at our favourite hotel, Hotel du Vin. We had the best evening; enjoying a bubble bath, drinking champagne and relaxing together, before going for dinner and drinks in the city centre. We ate amazing food, I embarrassed Matt by having the restaurant bring out a birthday dessert (always makes me giggle!) and we fell into bed way too early for a couple in their mid-twenties. Old and we know it. His actual birthday on Monday was so much fun; we woke up early so he could open presents in bed, and had a lovely breakfast at the hotel. We did a little window shopping in town, before spending the afternoon and evening with family, and spending quality time together. It was one of the best weekends we’ve had so far this year!

Glossier Milky Oil
I mentioned in my updated skincare routine that I was currently trying this makeup remover out, and that at the time I liked it but I hadn’t used it enough to recommend it. I’ve used it every evening since I received it, and I LOVE it! It removes all of my makeup, including mascara, over two cotton rounds, and it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. I do always cleanse after (using my beloved Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser) which removes the slight oily residue left behind, and the two have become a dream combo for me. This product never caused me to breakout, which is always a bonus, and it’s just leaves my skin feeling so soft and clean. I love the packaging and the fact that the bottle is so small makes it super travel friendly, also like everything from Glossier it’s very photogenic!

Zoella X Colourpop Brunch Date Palette
This palette is so dang pretty! I love the shades, and find it’s a super wearable and versatile palette, I’ve reached for this every day since it arrived. I even took it on our overnight trip for Matt’s birthday instead of my usual travel palette (Kat Von D Shade & Light Glitter) so you know it’s good. On a daily basis I use Maple Syrup across the lid as a blending shade, Champagne Toast on the lid/inner corner and Skinny Latte in the outer corner to deepen the eye a little, it’s so a quick and easy, and looks so pretty. I love Pancakes Please as a quick all-over-the-lid shade when I’m getting ready in a rush, and I’m experimenting with the other shades now and then. I think the criticism of this palette was unjust and unfair, it’s truly so wearable, and perfect for those of us that aren’t pro make-up artists!

Love Beauty & Planet Coconut & Ylang Ylang Hair Masque
Along with a few other products (more on that in the next few weeks), I really think mask is saving my hair. Not to be dramatic, but boy is it in need of a little help! Years of dying, over straightening and tying in super tight buns have took their toll, and I’m finally giving my hair the love it needs. I mentioned in this post how damaged my hair was feeling/looking at the moment, but it’s already looking ten times better than it was at the start of the month. I use this mask every other time I wash hair in place of a conditioner, so sometimes I leave it on just for the approximate two minutes recommended, and sometimes I use it as a mask from when I first get in the bath; anything up to an hour. This is the first product I’ve purchased from this brand and I’m so excited to try more soon! The brand pride themselves on being cruelty free and vegan friendly, and I think the quality is great.

Lush Hunny Bear Massage Bar
I picked this up on a whim whilst stocking up on some of my must-haves, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve never used a massage bar before, and I was a little skeptical if I’d get on with it well, but I absolutely love it, and I need to re-purchase ASAP as it’s a limited edition product. It smells buttery and comforting, with strong hints of vanilla and almond, which are two of my favourite scents/ingredients for body care products. This product is vegan, and doesn’t contain honey at all, despite the name and branding. It’s creamy and moisturising, and Matt and I both commented on how good my skin felt after I used this for the first time! I’m excited to try out more massage bars from Lush and see which others I enjoy (hopefully ones in the main collection)!

Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp
This is nothing new to any regular readers, I’m obsessed with this lamp! LOL, I know that sounds so strange. Matt bought me this for Christmas and it’s absolutely one of my favourite things in our bedroom. I have it lit any time we’re at home, and I love the pink glow that comes from it, it just makes me happy! There are many benefits to having a Himalayan pink salt lamp in your home; they cleanse and deodorise the air, increase energy levels, improve your mood and help you sleep better, among lots of other things. They also look so dang pretty, and set the ~cosy evening~ mood perfectly. I’ve moved it round a few times and I love having it on the windowsill right now!

Clean Reserve Rain Perfume
I first bought this perfume a few years ago in Florida, and I loved it, used it and forgot about it. Recently I was browsing Space NK (I had a few points to spend) and seen it, remembered how much I loved it and added it straight to my basket. The scent is fresh and light, and it’s perfect day or night; it’s one of those scents that can easily be layered or worn alone. I’ve worn this perfume so much this month and it’s been one of two I’ve reached for, the other being my beloved Spring/Summer fragrance, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I got the small travel size (20ml) to make sure I definitely still liked it, but it’s actually so handy and perfect to take in your bag or when travelling. My taste in perfumes has changed so much over the past year, I’d love to write a post about my favourite perfumes, if that’s something you’d be interested in?

Livia’s Raw Cookie Dough Nugglets
I haven’t got a close up photograph of these, but I love them and had to give them a little mention! I bought these on a whim, mid-shopping trip a few weeks back, and I’ve bought so many packs since! They’re vegan friendly and gluten free, and you can really taste the dates in there. I love cookie dough, and these are a fun way to have a naughty treat that isn’t at all naughty.

Shop my favourites:

Glossier Milky Oil Cleanser / Zoella X Colourpop Brunch Date Palette / Love Beauty & Planet Ylang Ylang Hair Masque / Lush Hunny Bear Massage Bar / Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp / Clean Reserve Rain Perfume / Livia’s Raw Cookie Dough Nugglets

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products from the month? Have you tried anything I mentioned above? Please share your Monthly Favourites blog posts in the comments below, I’d love to have a read!

-G x

My Favourite Lush Products

Happy Sunday, loves!

There’s not too many brands I would consider a ‘favourite’. Of course I have lots of favourite products from varying brands, but it’s not often I love so many products from one brand. One of the very few exceptions to this, is of course Lush. I’ve shopped in Lush since I was 13 and spent my Saturday’s in town with my friends, stretching £20.00 as far as it would go. Like many, my first foray into the world of Lush was bath bombs and bubble bars, and I still use them often now, over ten years later. I’m not as into the gimmicky products (although damn it I want that cute little Easter lamb!) but it still brings me so much joy to use bath bombs and bubble bars. Over the years I’ve turned my boyfriend and mum into self-confessed fans too, and I feel like I’m always recommending products to my friends.

As I’ve got older, I’ve enjoyed seeing what else Lush have to offer other than pretty coloured baths, and I’m slowly working my way through trying a bit of everything. There have been some products that didn’t work for me unfortunately, but for the most part I’ve found amazing products that I love to incorporate into my beauty routine and will re-purchase for years to come. I love the Christmas collections and Snow Fairy is my favourite scent of all time (but, I’m not into the gimmicky things. Remember?) although throughout the year they release so many new, innovative products. I’m currently trying out a few new-to-me items that I haven’t been using long enough to list as a favourite (although I do really love the H’Suan Wen Hua hair mask so far and I’m obsessed with the Sleepy shower gel – thanks to a recommendation from my friend Laura). I’m sure you’ll see them featured on the blog at some point!

Lush have been way ahead of most brands for years, and they are proudly a cruelty-free, vegetarian friendly and environmentally friendly company. They also use ethically sourced, organic ingredients and promote recycling and giving back. Basically, they’re awesome. If you buy products in the black tubs, please please please remember to save your empty tubs! Once you have accumulated five, you can return them to the store to be recycled and/or re-used, and as a bonus you get a free fresh face mask just for being a good egg and helping the environment. That sounds like a win-win to me! Lush employees are so passionate about their jobs and the products they sell, and I always find them to be very informative and helpful. I love shopping in store at Lush so much that I very rarely order online, it’s just such a fun in-store experience!

Sleepy
Body Moisturiser

This is my most recent new-to-me purchase from Lush, and it’s already right up there as one of my ultimate favourite beauty products. I remember when this was first released I smelled it in store, it smelled very strongly of lavender so I wrote it off as being a product that wasn’t for me. Fast forward around a year, Matt and I were browsing in Lush and I decided to test it again, this time I loved the scent and it felt amazing on my hand. It does have lavender flower in there, but as someone who doesn’t really like the smell of lavender, I would say this is very muted and not at all overpowering. It’s also infused with tonka and oatmeal, and is the most delicious, calming scent (that even Matt loves, which says something because he thinks most of my moisturisers are too strongly scented). I’ve used this every night since I purchased, and it’s a very comforting, lovely smell. The moisturiser sinks into my skin and isn’t at all tacky, but keeps my skin soft and moisturised through to the next day.

Rosy Cheeks
Fresh Face Mask

This product has gained cult status within the beauty industry, and it’s not hard to see why. A millenial pink coloured face mask, that smells like roses in a fresh and feminine way and works a treat on sensitive skin. Sold. I use this mask around once per week until I use up a tub, then I always forget to pick up another for a few weeks before dragging Matt back into town for the sole purpose of re-purchasing this. This is a fresh face mask, which means it needs to be stored in the fridge, so it always feels cooling and relaxing when applied to the skin. It works pretty quickly, and I tend to take it off with warm water and a flannel after around 5 – 10 minutes when the mask begins to harden/crack. This mask calms any redness or spots I have and thankfully it doesn’t cause me to have breakouts, which is very rare from a face mask as my skin is super sensitive.

Goddess/Avobath/Butterball
Bath Bomb

I still love bath bombs as much as I did when I was 13 (almost twelve years ago, wow) and I always feel like it’s a real treat to use them. I pick at least one up every time I’m in Lush, although I do try not to use them too often, as I think they’re pretty expensive for a one-use product. I always tend to reach for bath bombs on days I feel a little rubbish and need a pick-me-up, or before a date night when I want to feel a little bit special, and sometimes just because. I always take baths in the evening (people who shower/bath in the morning baffle me – surely those extra minutes are much better spent snoozing and snuggling in bed) and I find it’s a perfect way to unwind ready for the evening. As I mentioned above, I’m not super into the gimmicky products any more, but you can’t beat that feeling of joy seeing pretty colours and glitter swirls fill your bath. My skin always feels softer and smoother post-bath, and I love the varying scents in each option; they’re filled with essential oils. Goddess is my ultimate ‘feel-good’ bath bomb right now, and Avobath and Butterball are go-to’s year round. Matt also loves Butterball, although the first time I bought it for him he said he was ‘disappointed there’s no colour’. Bless.

R&B
Hair Moisturiser

This is an oldie but a goodie, and a product I’ve rediscovered in the past few weeks. Real talk: my hair is in dire need of help; years of bleaching, dying, straightening and too much dry shampoo have finally taken their toll, and I’m a little bit at a loss as to what to do to with it. I’ve been a big fan of piling on hair masks recently and I’ve also enlisted any other product that might make any difference to my dry and frazzled locks. R&B is absolutely a miracle in a pot, and I’m mad at myself for ever stopping using it! I take the smallest amount and rub between my fingers then applying to towel dried hair. I’m trying not to blow dry my hair every day, but my natural hair dries super curly frizzy so it’s like an internal battle every evening. All I want to do post-shower/bath is make dinner and get snuggled up in my comfies with Matthew, without worrying about my hair! I have to admit this product does make my hair much less frizzy (it’s a miracle worker I tell you!) whether it dries naturally or I blow dry it, and my hair looks/feels so much more sleek and smooth. It smells glorious, and it’s one of those scents that lingers in your hair until your next wash.

Rub, Rub, Rub
Body Scrub

If I remember correctly, this was my first non-bath-bomb-or-bubble-bar purchase from Lush a few years back, and I’ve loved it ever since. This scrub is made with sea salt and isn’t harsh on the skin, but I find it does an excellent job of exfoliating and keeping my skin soft. In the warmer months I use this daily, although normally I reach for this around three to four times per week and I always feel so much cleaner when I’ve used it. It makes shaving a breeze, and then after I apply my body moisturiser post-shower my skin is silky smooth! This scrub smells very fresh and citrus-y, it’s always a scent that reminds me of Summer. No other scrub I’ve tried comes close to this, and I know I’ll continue to re-purchase for years to come. This product is multi-use and can also be used in your hair; I use it as a pre-shampoo treatment around once per week and my hair always feels so clean and fresh afterwards. If you try just one new thing from this post, make it this! (And pick up a new bath bomb whilst you’re at it, because well, we all deserve a treat!)

Mask Of Magnaminty
Self-Preserving Mask

I bloody love this mask. I love the consistency, I love that it’s self-preserving (which means it doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge), I love the results it gives and I love the smell! Matt is a huge fan too, and on our pamper evening each week – usually a Sunday if you’re interested. We are such losers, I know – we often reach for this mask. This is great for oily/combination skin, and it works wonders when I’m having a bad skin day. It’s a little thicker than the fresh version, which I was told by a Lush employee is down to having more honey in the formula, but it works just as well, if not better, in my opinion. I find this balances my skin really well, and my skin always feels less oily the first few days after using this. Sometimes I multi-mask between this and Rosy Cheeks, and it’s definitely holy-grail status in my beauty regime. If I can ever feel one of those horrible under-the-skin spots coming on, I reach for this to use as a spot treatment on that area and by the next day things always look and feel so much better. This product is also multi-use and can be used to treat spots on your body.

The Comforter/Creamy Candy
Bubble Bar

Like bath bombs, bubble bars have been a favourite product for 10+ years, yet I always tend to re-purchase my tried and tested favourites. I’m less intrigued by new launches with the bubble bars, as I know I love the smell of these two so much I usually have little desire to try anything new. The exception to this is of course the Christmas themed products, but day-to-day these are the ones I reach for. I always break these up into multiple pieces (way more for your bang for your buck than the bath bombs!) and I get around four to five baths from The Comforter, and two to three from Creamy Candy. PSA: if you’ve never tried a bubble bar before, the way to use these is to crumble a section of the bar under the tap as your bath is running! I’ve seen so many people on Instagram complain about how rubbish the bubble bars are because they threw them in the water, but that’s not how they’re supposed to be used. Matt and I always take a bubble bar with us the few times a year we treat each other to a stay at a fancy shmancy hotel, because surely a gorgeous hotel room with a roll top bath is the best setting for a Lush bath!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite products from Lush? Do you have any must-have items you always re-purchase? Let me know in the comments for my next shopping spree!

-G x

How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x

January Favourites

Hi, loves!

Boy am I glad January is OVER. Ringing in the new year with Matt and our friends seems like a lifetime ago! The weather has been so dark and miserable, and I’m already longing for warm Spring days when I can fill our bedroom with bunches of peonies and we can go outside without a coat. However, even though the weather hasn’t been on our side, Matt and I have had so much fun this month. We also booked our Summer holiday, we’re heading to the beautiful country of Croatia in June! I’m SO excited to explore and relax in the sun with my love, I literally check the TUI countdown app like my life depends on it.

So, I know what you’re thinking… January favourites? But you said you’d never have enough content to create monthly posts on the products you’ve been using? WELL, I hold my hands up can I can say I was wrong. I mean, I’m never wrong. But, on this one occasion, I was. HAHA. Okay so let me explain; I have loved watching monthly favourites videos on YouTube and reading monthly favourites blog posts for as long as I can remember. Nowhere near as many creators make them nowadays, but they’re OG YouTube/blogging, and I have to admit they’re such a guilty pleasure of mine. (Anna‘s are forever my favourite!) I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that as much as I love reading/watching this content, I don’t try enough new products each month to constantly be raving about new things. Then it hit me, it doesn’t have to be about new products!

I definitely have favourite products I use month to month, and I’d actually love to be able to look back over previous months and see which books/beauty products/TV shows/movies/clothing items etc were floating my boat then. When I wrote my 2018 beauty favourites, every item had been featured on my blog, most of them several times, and I got such a great response to that post it made me want to try out a monthly favourites series on my blog. Also, apologies these photos aren’t great – it’s been so dark I’ve not been able to take good quality photos with natural light! I promise my February favourites will be photographed much better. So, what are my favourites from the month of January?

All the date days/nights. As I mentioned above, Matt and I have had SO many fun date days and nights this month! We’ve been to four(!!) football games supporting our team, did a little shopping, gone for a few walks down by the beach, made so many new (and old) recipes, went for a few breakfast and dinner dates, squeezed in a double date with our lovely friends Jonny and Jo, and made the most of all the cosy nights in! We’ve spent so much of the month having fun and I’m beyond grateful that we always prioritise our time together.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer. Okay, quite a big claim, but this is hands down the best concealer I’ve used under my eyes! I picked this up on recommendation from Allie Glines, I love her and she always creates the best easy-to-wear looks. This concealer is lightweight, brightening and lasts all day/night. It doesn’t accentuate any dry patches under my eyes and it doesn’t crease, although I always set it with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder which I’m sure helps a lot. As the formula is so lightweight it never looks cakey on the skin, and it applies beautifully with a damp beauty blender. Laura Mercier is also cruelty free! (Side note: the Nars soft matte concealer that I love and use to cover redness/spots etc is running out so fast, and I can’t repurchase as it’s not cruelty free. Does anyone have any recommendations for an alternative? I think I may pick up the new Too Faced concealer!)

Prison documentaries on Netflix. It’s probably no surprise to any regular readers, but man do Matt and I love a documentary on Netflix. Our recent love has been anything prison related – Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons and Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail have been our ultimate favourites this month! It’s crazy seeing what goes on inside prisons/jails all over the world, it almost seems made up sometimes. If you have any recommendations for some more documentaries we need to watch, please let me know!

An Edited Life by Anna Newton. I’m the biggest fan girl of Anna, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. My blog inpsiration and ultimate girl crush has only gone and wrote a bloody book! I just finished reading and I’m excited to let you in on a little secret… it’s going to be featured on my blog in my first ever book review next month! Anna is the queen of organiation and de-cluttering, as well as being the most Monica-esque person there ever was, can you see why I love her? I genuinely aspire to be more like her everyday. I told you I was a fan girl! I feel like generally we’re so similar, from our love of Friends, right down to our colour co-ordinated budget spreadsheets. If you’re looking to get your life in order this year, this one’s for you!

Sukin Facial Cleanser. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this product as it’ll be featured in my skincare routine next month, but I’m seriously impressed with this! I’ve been using this cleanser every night and most mornings since November, and it works so well for my skin. Sukin is an eco-friendly, vegan brand, and all of their products are made with natural ingredients. This cleanser has been a huge help in keeping my skin clear, it doesn’t feel harsh or stripping and the product seems to last forever. I use a 5p sized amount each morning/evening, and I genuinely look forward to washing my face! This is big news because normally I find it the biggest chore ever, HAHA. I can’t wait to share more with you in my skincare routine!

Writing/posting in January. It’s no secret that I love to write for my blog, or else I wouldn’t be doing it! BUT, I loved writing more than ever this past month. My posts What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion? and Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together? got SO much traction which I wasn’t expecting, but was so pleasantly surprised. Both of the topics covered in these posts; sustainability and mental health, are so important to me, and I truly wrote from the heart, which I think comes across to readers. I love that I can engage with people all over the world and open up new conversations, it still blows my mind. Thank you so much to my new followers, and to anyone that has messaged me about either/both posts! If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?! They’re super long so I’d highly advise grabbing a cuppa and a Penguin biscuit (Matt and I’s favourite snack from the month… shhhhh).

Thank you so much for reading! I had so much fun writing my first monthly favourites post, I hope you enjoyed! Have you been a fan of any of the things featured in this post? What were your favourite products or things from this past month?

-G x