Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

Happy Sunday, loves! Self care is something that is discussed in great detail, but it’s often linked directly to beauty treatments and pampering yourself. That’s not to say I don’t love a pamper night because – let’s be real, I DO! – and that’s something I make sure to incorporate into my life at least once per week, but I think there’s so many other ways you can hit that self care button and relax at the same time.

We live in a world where we’re so connected via iMessage and social media, and it’s really become difficult to let ourselves and our minds unwind. Most of us spend at least forty hours per week at work, and during that time our minds can be so wired and frantic with everything we need to get done we don’t allow ourselves time to stop. My blog is something I do in my ‘free’ time, but as I talked about in my October goals post, I was losing the barrier between ‘free’ time and any time I wasn’t at work. I felt like I needed to be constantly working on my blog whether it was writing posts, taking photos, editing photos, reading other blogs, trawling social media or just brainstorming ideas and it became so hard to let my mind escape and just enjoy being at home. I’ve been feeling extremely anxious over the past few months and it’s something I’m really struggling with right now. As a result, I’ve been trying to find all of the things that make me feel less anxious and focus on those, rather than trying to identify why I feel anxious in the first place!

Something Matt and I have prioritized more and more recently is unwinding each evening/weekend we aren’t at work. I often take a little time whilst he’s at work (either early morning, after I get home during the week or whilst he’s in on a weekend) to do all of my blog work, and I’m feeling way happier and less stressed out by giving myself some ‘me’ time back. I made a promise to both Matt and myself a long time ago that I’d not work on my blog whilst we were having chill time at home, and it’s really important to me that I stick to that.

I’m such a homebody at heart but Matt would often rather be out; we compromise on this by usually spending a little more time at home during the week, and a little more time out of the house doing fun things at the weekend. Being a homebody means I relish in all things cosy; candles, fuzzy blankets, comfy pj’s and dressing gowns are up there with my all time favourite items ever, and I just love every opportunity Matt and I get for a cosy night at home. Also, you don’t need to have a ton of time to enjoy the cosiness of being at home; often by the time we get home from work, cook and eat dinner, shower/bathe etc it could easily be 8pm! It’s about being intentional with the time you do have, and being able to roll your to-do list over to the next day.

Here’s a few little things I suggest doing at least a few times per week to help you unwind, relax and enjoy being at home.

Clean your space. I can’t really explain how or why, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on this one: when my space is clean, I feel happier. This is the same for my home and my car; I just need my environment to be welcoming and as clutter free as possible. I pick up our room several times per week which takes all of five minutes in the mornings, then I fully deep clean once per week. Putting on fresh sheets, hanging clothes away, vacuuming, dusting etc just makes the whole room feel more cosy and inviting, and it always makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment. We’re big believers in the fact a bedroom needs to be a happy, comforting space; it’s so important to allow yourself to fully rest at home!

Light a candle. Okay so I’m sure so many of you will already know this, but I’m obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I love love love the cosy pumpkin scents for Fall right now, and I’m genuinely concerned at how often I think about purchasing another. Ha! I feel so calm and at peace with candles burning and our pink Himalayan rock salt lamp on; it gives our bedroom the most beautiful warm pink glow and makes my heart happy.

Put down your phone. One of the best things you can do to unwind from work, friends, peers, a bad day etc is to just put down your phone. Leave it charging in another room or preferably another floor of the house and be in the moment. Matt and I always try to do this when we’re out for dinner too; so many times on date night you’ll see the couple more interested in their phones than each other. Other than maybe taking a quick snap of our food we don’t put the focus on our phones. We’re really working on not having our phones in bed at all; every night we were brushing our teeth, getting cosy in bed, then sitting on our phones for at least ten minutes just scrolling through our socials. It’s gross how attached we all our to our phones; as much as I love technology, I sometimes really despise it too!

Listen to music or a podcast. Our Amazon Echo Dots are some of our most favourite ever items we own, and we make use of them every single day! We sleep with Alexa Sleep Sounds on every night (we alternate between Matt’s favourite, ocean sounds, and my favourite, thunderstorm sounds) and it’s truly made a difference to how we sleep. We sometimes play music whilst we tidy up or get ready in the mornings, and it’s just a fun way to occupy ourselves that doesn’t involve being on our phones. I also listen to podcasts almost every time I’m driving (it’s either a podcast or Disney music, there’s no in-between!) and I find them such a fun addition to my day.

Head for a breakfast/dinner date. Going for breakfast is hands down one of Matt and I’s favourite hobbies. Breakfast food is our favourite, it’s generally way less crowded, and we still have the whole rest of our day to get a bunch of things done. We also love dinner dates because getting dressed up together, having a few glasses of wine and making the most of date night is such a treat to us! I think it’s so important to take time for food dates with your partner, your friends and your family – both Matt and I’s families love to go out for meals and it’s something I really am grateful for.

Take a hot bath. The ultimate self care treat for me personally is a hot bubble bath. Pile in your favourite Lush products, light an aromatherapy candle and allow yourself to disconnect from the world for thirty minutes at least an hour. A bubble bath can seriously make up for any crap work day, and you’ll never regret taking time out of your day for that. I’ll be sharing my favourite self care Sunday pamper routine on the blog in a few weeks!

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and your book. Ah, a book and a cuppa… that is my idea of bliss. If we’re having a lazy weekend morning in bed Matt likes to watch various football shows on Amazon Prime (he’s currently watching Sergio Ramos documentary which is all in Spanish… I mean…) and I’m so happy to curl up with my iPad and read before we get ready for the day. I also am a huge fan of sleepy time teas before bed; they really do make you feel a little more relaxed and ready for sleep, and reading a book is a great way to unwind before bed. Matt is not a reader at all which hurts my heart a little bit, but I just keep telling hime he hasn’t found the right books yet!

Watch your favourite shows. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your love and watching the series you’re both invested in? No, there is not! Matt and I often watch several shows at a time, and then incorporate the odd movie or documentary into that too. Strictly Come Dancing is my thing, so by default Matt is often stuck watching it too. He is a huge football fan, so that’s his vice and another thing we watch SO much. We love comedy shows; Brooklyn 99 was our favourite, we’ve seen Friends one hundred times and right now The Office is our ‘easy watch’ obsession. We love love love documentaries (Stacey Dooley’s are a personal favourite, obvs) and shows like Ambulance: Australia make us very happy. We change things up pretty much every evening, but it’s such a nice time to chill and chat with each other too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to unwind a little more this coming week. Do you make unwinding a priority right now? Or are you always go go go, ticking things off that to-do list? I challenge you this week to take at least an hour each night for yourself or you and your partner, it will totally change your week I promise you!

-G x

Sweater Weather

Happy, happy Sunday my little lovebugs!

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet… I just HAD to share this sweater with you. And I decided it’s so flipping cute that it deserves it’s own post. You may remember a few weeks back I included this Patagonia sweater in a Feelin’ It Friday post as one of my top ‘wishlist items’ for my Autumn wardrobe, but guys… I’ve found something just as pretty, just as cosy and it’s literally £75 CHEAPER!! Seventy. freaking. five.

A cosy, snuggly sweater is a must have for most of us especially during Fall and Winter, and I feel like finding the ‘perfect’ one is so dang hard. I love chic, fashionable jumpers which I wear ALL the time during the colder months, but I really struggle to find a more casual sweater. The main thing I’m usually looking for is that it’s fleece because that makes it super warm, but I still want it to be cute and something I want to wear outside. I always try to buy clothing items that will last for years, and this one sure will! I also really want clothing pieces to be budget friendly if possible, because let’s be real… the less I spend on my A/W wardrobe, the more money I can justify spending on bonfire spice hot chocolates. I’ve got my priorities straight, I swear! HA. I was browsing ASOS one evening whilst ordering Matt a pair of pants, and seen this baby in the New In section. Matt encouraged me to place the order and no joke, from the moment I opened the package I’ve been obsessed with this sweater!! I went for the cream and grey colourway, but there’s a also a two toned grey with hot pink detail sweater which I also love and might pick up through the season too.

This sweater is a steal at £35, although be sure to check for discount codes because there’s always 20% off deals on ASOS. I actually only paid £28 because I searched for a code on Twitter! I know it’s not quite cold enough right now to be wearing this sweater, but you can bet as soon as the temperature dips a tiny bit more it is going to be my go to for those cosy, relaxed days! Although I dressed it down in this post with my favourite black leggings and Nike sneakers (which are no longer available, similar pair linked here), you could easily dress it up with a pair of skinny jeans and riding boots. So you look cute and chic but it feels kinda like you’re walking around in a fuzzy blanket. Literally, what could be better?! Matt thinks my obsession with all things cosy and soft is so funny, but I don’t understand why… maybe it’s a girl thing?

Do you feel like you need this in your life too?! If it’s something you want I’d definitely recommend ordering before it’s out of stock, as I feel like often when things go out of stock on ASOS they’re never seen again! What’s the best fashion dupe you’ve found recently? Please share it with me in the comments below!

-G x

My October Goals

Hi, loves! Happy OCTOBER. Seriously, where the heck has this year gone?! I’m sorry this post isn’t going live on the 1st, but my schedule is Sunday’s and Wednesday’s… and I like schedules. #TypeA. Snapple fact: the featured image of this blog post is one of my favourite ever quotes. I truly am SO GLAD to live in a world where there are October’s! This month I’m setting myself five goals to accomplish, and as always I’m sharing them with my lovely readers. Sharing my goals helps to keep me motivated, holds me accountable throughout the month and maybe it will even inspire someone to create their own goals?

Be kinder to myself and unwind
I am always hard on myself, but over the past few weeks/months I’ve been so harsh and unkind to myself, especially about my blog. I have such high standards and hopes for what I want my online space to be, but I really need to stop stressing so much about it! I don’t ever give myself a break but I need to, and this month is the time for it. I LOVE October. It’s the beginning of my favourite time of year (which is the last three months of the year, they bring so much joy!) and I’m determined to relax a little to enjoy it. Matt is sadly at work every weekend in October but we’re making the most of the month anyway; we’re going to have fun date nights, spend cosy mornings eating breakfast in bed and we also have a mid-week date day visiting a pumpkin patch… I’m so excited! I want to put quality time and effort into my blog; I work full time Monday to Friday, then I spend any ‘free’ time I have (after Matt and I’s time of course) to create blog content. This month I’m going to be more intentional with my ‘free’ time and take a little back just for me.

Practice yoga at least three times per week
Any regular readers will probably have guessed this would be up here, it seems to feature any time I talk about my goals for that month. I have a confession guys: I’ve barely practiced yoga over the past two months. How bad is that? I generally feel so much better when I’m consistent with practicing yoga, so I really want to get back into some kind of routine and just have fun with it. My favourite online yoga teacher is of course Yoga With Adrienne, I always enjoy her practices and she’s so flipping funny. There’s a practice for every mood or feeling, and I really feel refreshed and happier at the end of every session. I already practiced yoga twice this week and it’s only Wednesday, so I’m super happy about that!

Wear red lipstick
This probably sounds crazy to so many of you, but I just do not feel comfortable wearing red lipstick! I haven’t even owned a red lipstick for around three years because I didn’t get any wear out of the ones I had, so this month I’m going to treat myself and I’m going to wear red lips for date night. I’ve really been trying to work on my confidence lately, and this is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I hope this makes sense, it probably sounds so silly! I remember Rimmel’s red lipsticks used to get so much hype online (which I’m pretty sure was solely because of Zoe Sugg) but to any of my red lipstick wearers out there, is that still the case?! Which brand/shade should I go for? I’m going to buy a drugstore one just incase I can’t get used to it!

Create new Fall outfits with clothing I already own / Only purchase clothing items from my list
Okay so this is a two-in-one goal. I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I kept during my decluttering process which I’ve not worn before and probably should have gotten rid of, but I promised myself I’d wear this Autumn. If I don’t, they’ll find themselves on eBay for someone else to love! My intention is to make outfits from clothes that I wouldn’t usually pair together; I really just want to give my clothes the love they deserve and experiment a little. I’m slowly figuring out my style so this Autumn I want to embrace change and try to create fun outfits that are a little different from my norm! I’ve also made a list with a few essentials I’m lacking in my wardrobe since my de-clutter (a good black coat, turtle neck jumper(s), a grey cardigan, long sleeve t-shirts, a fancy midi skirt and leather look jeans) which I’m now on the lookout for. Something that’s not officially on the list but I probably will buy is the E.T sweater from this post because it’s just so flipping cute. You’re allowed a frivolous purchase now and then if it makes your heart sing, right?!

Cook at least one new dinner recipe each week
Cooking is something Matt and I found a love of together, and I so appreciate that we’ve found a hobby we can share. We literally had no idea how to cook even the most basic things when we first got together, so now the fact we cook together/for each other every night is crazy to me. Matt often likes to make meals we know and love, but I really like to try new recipes. We’ve had such busy weeks recently that we’ve not pushed ourselves to try something new very often, but this month we’re going to try new things! I shared with you how I meal plan a few months ago, and nothing has changed since. Matt is always happy to eat whatever I have planned for that night, so this one lies on me guys. I’ve already been searching up a storm on the Mix And Match Mama blog (Shay has the BEST recipes, especially if you want specific seasonal recipes) and I’m so excited to create new meals for us to eat. New on the menu this week is Shay’s chicken fajita soup which I’m going to adapt slightly to cook in the CrockPot, then next week we’re attempting this pumpkin and chipotle pasta. I literally can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my monthly goals for this October. Do you create monthly goals? Do you track how you’re doing with them week to week? I love to set goals because it gives you the best sense of achievement when you complete them! Also, if you don’t complete them it just makes you work harder the next month, right? 🙂 I challenge you to set yourself five goals for the month of October, we can hold each other accountable!

-G x

Autumn Bucket List

Happy, happy Sunday loves! I can’t lie to you… I started planning for this blog post back in July because I’ve been so dang excited. Tomorrow is, in my opinion, one of the best days of the whole year. Beat only by Matt and I’s birthdays, our anniversary and of course Christmas. It’s the first day of Autumn! Matt and I have so many fun things planned and I can’t wait to share some of them with you. Matt is Jim. I am Dwight. #allthepumpkins

Image result for halloween gif the office

As any regular readers will know, Autumn is my jam. I live for crisp, Fall days, leaves turning read, Halloween, pumpkin spiced everything and all of the cosy vibes that the Autumn brings. Matt is a huge fan of Summer, so we really tried this year to pack in as many fun things as possible to make the most of it! I feel like I often wish away Summer and just don’t enjoy it, but the past two years we’ve made amazing memories and even though I was super excited for Autumn, I hadn’t wished away the time for it to be here (well, not too much).

– Make time for all of the breakfast dates
– Carve pumpkins
– Drink lots of bonfire spice hot chocolates from Costa
– Take a hike when the leaves are changing
– Attend a pumpkin FESTIVAL. I’m so dang excited for this!
– Celebrate our anniversary with a weekend getaway (we couldn’t go in September on our actual anniversary or October due to Matt’s work schedule so we’re hoping to go in November!)
– Go beer tasting at a local brewery
– Drink hot apple cider
– Bake pumpkin cookies/muffins/bread
– Wrap up for crisp morning beach walks
– Enjoy all of the cosy nights with pumpkin candles burning
– Visit Edinburgh & Glasgow
– Spend Sunday afternoons out for dinner in cute, cozy pubs
– Have a bonfire
– Eat s’mores over the bonfire
– Watch all of the Halloween movies (sorry, Matthew!)
– Watch the Harry Potter movies. Matt and I have been clearly living under a rock and have only seen the first few, but don’t really remember them. Prepping for our Florida trip next year, we’re watching all of the movies back to back this Autumn!
– Visit a haunted house/haunted maze
– Dress up for Halloween. Couples costume ideas appreciated?!
– Visit a pumpkin patch, we’ve found an amazing one in York and I can’t wait to see it!
– Spend a morning at a local farmer’s market
– Create my first Fall DIY (#fortheblog)
– Celebrate Bonfire Night
– Begin our Christmas shopping
– Experiment with more CrockPot recipes
– Build my Autumn wardrobe

This was so fun to write! I just love everything about Autumn, I’m sooo happy it’s here and I’m genuinely so excited for all of the things we’re hoping to squeeze in to the season! The build up to Christmas has officially started and the last three months of the year really are the best. What are you excited for this season? Do you have any fun plans? Is there anything going on in North East England we should make time for?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday to you all 🙂 I am so freaking happy it’s the weekend and I’m determined to enjoy every. single. second. Does anyone else feel like they blink and the weekend just disappears? I’m not to let that happen this time. During this week I’ve kinda been running on empty; literally every morning when Matt and I’s alarm goes off we both have felt as though we’ve just closed our eyes to fall asleep. I think it’s probably just a combination of late nights watching The Office and busy weeks at work, bring on the weekend! Also I just have to say… I’ll probably definitely be talking about this in lots more detail next week but BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATES ARE BACK AT COSTA. Me and the girls at work have made a Costa run a priority during our lunch break today and I’ve already got my re-usable mug waiting by the door 🙂 I’m SO EXCITED!!!

What I’m loving:
I’ve been having lots more baths over the past few weeks, and I’m really really enjoying them! Matt’s had more late shifts at work than usual which means he’s not home until around 9.30pm, so I’ve been spending at least an hour in the bath most nights before he gets home, reading my book and treating myself to various pamper treatments. As it starts to get colder my arthritis gets worse (it’s unfortunately just a fact of life) so I will be pretty much living in hot baths for the foreseeable. Bliss. There’s just a few of the products I’m loving right now in the photo above, but I’d love to share my favourite pamper products with you if that’s something you’d like to see? Spoiler: this shampoo and conditioner is brand new to me and I’m already LOVING them both so much!

What I’m slightly jealous about:
My brother is in Canada right now! Matt and I were feeling a little bitter saying goodbye to him because we want to visit Canada so bad. I mean that in a jokey way because of course we want him to have a great time, we just also wanted to hop in his suitcase. He’s spending the week in Toronto and also visited Niagara Falls, which is super high on Matt and I’s travel bucket list! He was sending me photos whilst he was there (which you may have seen on my Instagram stories) and I so badly wish we were there too!

What I’m buying:
I have started officially shopping for Fall! (I know. I’m English, but Fall sounds SO MUCH BETTER than Autumn, right? My friend Jessy agrees which is enough for me… we’re going to make Fall happen this year. Fall.) Topshop had 25% off last Sunday (!!) so I ordered this mustard sweater, the most perfect black polka dot satin blouse and a gorgeous grey, cream and blush colourblock sweater, I’m so excited for them to arrive (hopefully today)! I also ordered this beautiful checked blazer from H&M on my lunch break during the week and although the shipping has been delayed I am SO excited for it to arrive. Prepare to see it featured lots on the blog, I really can’t wait to create more fashion related content this season. I’ve been looking for a pair of riding boots and had very little luck so far, but I LOVE how they look so I really hope I can find some soon. I’m trying to shop intentionally, so I’m buying staple pieces that will not only last me through this A/W season, but many years to come.

What I’m cooking:
Again, I didn’t take photos of our meals throughout the week because we’ve been making our old faithfuls due to Matt’s shifts! Tuna pasta bakes, bolognese and chicken fajitas… nothing groundbreaking, therefore I didn’t want to bore you with it all. But I really need to share this CrockPot dinner with you because it’s one of our FAVOURITES and a dish we’ll be making pretty much every week this Autumn/Winter. Side note: we are already big fans of a strawberry and lime cider, but oh my gosh we tried this peach and apricot cider this weekend and it is so good. You need to try it ASAP! We totally made up the recipe way back in February when I bought the CrockPot for Matt (#adulting) so we have tweaked it a little here and there since, but now it is perfect for us. You really need to try it, CrockPot meals are THE BEST for long days when you’re at work as you literally throw it all in and when you come home dinner is ready for you!

Ingredient list:
500g x diced chicken
3 x peppers
20 x cherry tomatoes (approx)

1 x large onion 
5 x celery stalks (approx)
1 x jar of Chicken Tonight Spanish Chicken sauce
salt, pepper and seasoning to taste

Method:
Dice all your veggies as large or small as you like them; add to CrockPot. Cut chicken into small pieces; add to CrockPot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, any seasoning of your choice (we like this fajita seasoning) then pour sauce over the top. Stir well, then cook on low for 8+ hours, or medium for 4-6 hours. If one of us is at home when this is cooking we stir every 1-2 hours, but it’s not required. We eat with rice or pasta depending on what we want that day. This is enough for four large servings, and it also refrigerates or freezes if required.

What I’m excited about:
Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend, and I CAN’T WAIT!!! I love love love Strictly, and much to Matt’s disappointment we watch every weekend, usually with his mum because she also loves it. I feel like it’s the beginning of the build up to Christmas (yep, I said the C word!) and it just makes me look forward to cosy nights in the house when it’s super dark and cold out. I already can’t wait for snuggly nights in the house with the Christmas lights twinkling in the background, how perfect! Also, Chris Ramsey is a contestant this year and I have everything crossed for him to do really well, and also Saffron Barker!

What app I’m loving right now:
So I’m pretty sure I’m WAY behind everybody else, but I just found out about the Tezza app and I am obsessed with it. I edited all of the photos for this post (and probably every post for the foreseeable) with the app, and I’m so happy with how they look! I also edited two photos from our Stamford trip to put up on my Instagram grid this morning (plug plug, check it out) and I am FINALLY going to have an Instagram theme. It’s my time. #blogger #notreallybutI’mtrying

What I’m burning:
I’ve officially broken out the pumpkin candles and I DON’T CARE. I mean, it’s September. So it’s justified. Right?! Matt is actually on board too, they just smell like ~cosiness~ and make us very happy. We’ve been loving the one pictured from Homesense (sorry I can’t find it online but there were TONS in store)! Side note: I wish we had Bath & Body Works here, it’s literally so expensive to get them in the UK. Homesense thankfully have the best pumpkin scented stock around, and I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more over the coming weeks.

What I’m binge watching:
So Matt and I are still watching The Office (we’re onto season three and are pretty much obsessed with it) – I’m still so confused how it took us this long to watch it! We genuinely look forward to snuggling in to watch an episode or two in bed each night. We’ve also been catching up on Peaky Blinders – the new season is already SO GOOD, watching all of the Stacey Dooley documentaries and until Mattgets home, most nights I’ve been binge watching an old favourite show, Chesapeake Shores. I watched seasons one and two a while back, and totally forgot about it. But, I seen on Netflix they’d released new episodes and now I am obsessed with it again! I want to pack up everything Matt and I own and book one way flights for us to Chesapeake Qualicum Beach/Parksville in British Columbia. Hah, Chesapeake is a fictional town but the locations it’s filmed in are real and they’re seriously the most picture perfect places. I love love love the characters too, it’s super cheesy and kinda Hallmark-movie-esque, but it’s great binge-watching TV.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We have such a fun weekend planned, and I’m really looking forward to it! Tonight Matt and I are going to watch the rugby; England are playing Italy and we are SO excited. They’re playing at St James’ Park so it will be super weird to be there for something that’s not football! Matt’s cousins and their partners are visiting this weekend from down South, so we’re spending tomorrow with them and his parents, and we’re all heading for dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants in the evening. On Sunday, Matt’s cousin Adam is running in the Great North Run so we’re going to cheer him on; GNR day is one of Matt and I’s favourite days of the year because the atmosphere is amazing! I’m so excited 🙂 I’m also recording a Weekend In My Life post which I’ve had lots of requests about, so you’ll get to see everything from our weekend!

ICYMI: this week’s posts:
Sunday – My Morning Routine
Wednesday – Travel Diaries: Stamford

I’m so happy I was able to get this post up for you this morning, like I said in last week’s post September is SUPER busy for us! (So busy I actually wrote most of this last night when Matt was out at a work party! By the time he got home I was ready to snuggle in and watch The Office – obviously – and I just needed to finish up and edit this morning). I am really trying hard to be consistent with my schedule and I am officially all set for the next week with pre-written posts, YAY. Right now Matt is happily snoozing next to me as he’s off today, but I really need to jump up and get ready for work. I’ll see you on Sunday for a post about CHRISTMAS! Yes, really! Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

-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