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

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy Friday, loves! Can you believe we’re heading into the second week of August? Where the heck is this year going? Matt left for work at 6.30am (boo) so I’m finishing up writing and editing this post laying in bed with a cup of Swiss Miss, candle burning, listening to the pouring rain and Friends playing in the background… what a relaxing way to start a Friday 🙂

What I’m loving:
This is a little sneak peek as in a week or two I have a post going up featuring several new beauty bits I’ve picked up recently, but I just HAVE to share this with you now! I ordered the Pillowtalk palette from Charlotte Tilbury when it finally came back in stock and I’ve never loved an eyeshadow palette so much, it’s a dream! The packaging is beautiful, just like everything from Charlotte Tilbury, and the colours are amazing – it’s literally my perfect palette. The shades are light and subtle but with lots of colour pay off, and you can create easy day or night looks. Now I have the palette, lipstick and lip liner from the Pillowtalk collection, I’m just missing the blush!

Where I’ve been:
I’m sorry there was no new post on Wednesday, I took the week off blogging because I was just feeling a little overwhelmed and anxious. I was pretty annoyed at myself because I had a post ready to go, I just needed to do a final edit and take photos but I didn’t feel up to it. I’ve been a little off the past couple of weeks and it unfortunately caught up with me. I took the week to spend more time with Matt, do more yoga, focus on work, plan new content and just relax, which made me feel so much better! I really hate taking time off from blogging because I feel like I’m letting not just myself down but also my readers, but now I’m back and so excited for upcoming content 🙂

What I’m wearing:
I LOVE midi skirts and I can’t get enough! I wore this leopard print wrap midi on Saturday night when we went out for my brother’s birthday (you can just see it in my feature photo) and I wore this one at the weekend with a t-shirt. I love to wear midi skirts dressed up with a cami and heels or dressed down with a t-shirt and trainers, and I’m definitely going to be wearing them with thin knits or jumpers and boots when Autumn rolls around! They’re really so versatile and I’m always looking for more to add to my collection, so please link me any that you love right now?

What I’ve been up to this week:
I’ve had a really good week despite feeling pretty rubbish at the beginning. I wrote a little for my blog on Wednesday and Thursday evening before Matt got home from work, and enjoyed it so much. Matt took me for date night at Banyan in Newcastle on Tuesday night; it’s restaurant week and we hadn’t planned anything because I wasn’t feeling like myself, but he surprised me and booked it. He’s seriously the best, I love him so much! Look how cute he is in that photo above!! We’ve also watched tons of TV because our new TV is the best thing ever. We were snuggled in bed the other night watching a Stacey Dooley documentary (I just love her) and I literally said to Matt “don’t you think having a TV again has made our lives so much better?!” hahahaha.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We’re having a nice relaxing weekend and I couldn’t be more excited to chill the heck out. Tonight I’m making a fun dinner – more on that below! – and we’re snuggling in bed watching TV all night long. I’m obsessed guys. Matt is working an early shift tomorrow so we’ll be up at 6am (well, he will be. I get to stay cosy in bed)! While he’s at work I’m hoping to catch up on my YouTube subscription box and get lots of work done on the blog. We really want to spend our afternoon at the beach but we’re on weather warning for torrential rain so we may need to take a rain check on that one. Rain check. Get it? We’re spending our evening with Matt’s parents, I love these kind of chilled weekends so much! On Sunday we’re up early to squeeze in a breakfast date as our plans to go for breakfast last week spectacularly failed. Sunday is also our first game of the season (we’re big NUFC fans, despite all of the problems going on at the club right now) so Matt is heading into town to watch the match with his friends, then I’m picking him up after. I’m hoping to spend the few hours he’s out finishing up blog stuff for the week, clearing out my beauty drawers (my wardrobes look SO GOOD) and baking banana bread for us to enjoy that evening!

What I’m planning:
Our trip at the end of the month! I am so excited to get away for a few days to explore Stamford, spend time with Matt’s family and just relax. Matt and I love exploring new places and finding hidden gems but if you have any recommendations of places we must visit or the best shops/restaurants please let me know! I’m going to be writing a packing post for our weekend away, as I haven’t done one of those for so long and I know those posts are loved. (That’s not me being big headed, those are some of the posts that are searched for and re-read the most… I get to see all the stats!) Those are some of my favourite posts from other bloggers too, and I really enjoy writing them so I’m really excited.

What I’m obsessed with:
Sheet masks, specifically these ones from The Body Shop! The seaweed mask is my go-to, and Matt really enjoys the Aloe option. I really want to do a whole post about how good their face mask range is and my top picks, as I feel like I always talk about them but never in much detail. I was feeling super crappy on Monday evening so Matt and I had a mini pamper night, and it made me feel SO much better! I’ve just picked up some of their Vitamin C masks and I’m so excited to use them more before giving my verdict. I really want to make a post soon about a few Vitamin C products I’ve introduced into my skincare routine that are making my skin look the best it has in a LONG time!

What I’m working out to:
Confession time: I’ve totally failed with this week’s Couch To 5k runs, I’ve only done one! But again, I was having one of those weeks so I’m not beating myself up about it because honestly, who cares? I have however done A LOT of yoga – I’ve practiced at least once per day over the past week and it’s felt SO good. I find it totally clears my mind, allows me to focus on the ‘right now’ and leaves me feeling so relaxed and content. When I feel particularly anxious I really enjoy doing yoga a little bit more because it helps so much!

What I’m excited about:
Tonight’s dinner receipe. I swear I am 25 going on 85. Matt has a little work to do so I said I’d make dinner for us, and I’m finally making this BLT pasta! Shay made it on The Today Show a while back and when I watched that I knew I wanted to make it too, then literally forgot. all. about. it. Does that happen to anyone else? We love to make new recipes but we also love our tried and tested favourites… it’s a hard balance! I’m so excited to see how it tastes, I’m also pairing it with garlic bread and I’m sure it’s going to be AMAZING!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you had a wonderful week and have an even better weekend with your loved ones. What have you been up to this past week? I’m so excited to relax a lot with Matt, do a little more decluttering and write more blog posts! I’ve gone a little crazy and planned my content until mid-September, I really am so excited to share so many fun things with you. Also, I SO BADLY wanted to share with you a Patagonia sweater I can barely wait to buy for the Autumn and Winter months, but I feel like I can’t stop talking about Autumn and it’s a little too early… I might share it with you next week, I am SO excited to get it!

-G x