Beauty Spotlight: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a little short but a lot sweet, I just couldn’t wait to get this up for you guys 🙂 I shared my first beauty spotlight post a little while ago featuring this Garnier hair mask; in this series I talk about a specific product that I truly love. These are products that deserve a whole post dedicated to them because they’re just that good!

I very recently started using prescription treatment for my skin (thanks to this incredible offer from Dermatica and Caroline Hirons) so right now I’m using the most paired back, back-to-basics skincare routine. I’m using a very minimal amount of products – well, for me anyway – and I actually don’t think I’ll ever go back to using as many products as I used to. 

I have seen a lot of hype around the brand CeraVe over the past year or so, and honestly I’d never been drawn in to try it. I really think this was because the packaging is nothing to write home about, I hadn’t realised how much packaging influences me… stick something in a pretty bottle and I’ll probably buy it. I’m a marketer’s dream! The pretty packaging that looks nice by my bathroom sink or in blog photos is what I have always gravitated towards, but that didn’t mean those products worked best for my skin. I fell in love with Caroline Hirons and everything she teaches a good few years back, and ever since I’ve become more and more interested in skincare; from the ingredients to the story of the brand and everything in-between.

Let’s get one thing straight right now… this is a basic, no-frills moisturiser. And it’s also the best moisturiser I’ve ever used…

I’ve talked about this a few times on my blog, but my skin was VERY oily a few years back. I’ve struggled with acne since my late teens/early twenties, and over the past six months or so my skin seems to have finally evened out. My skin is combination and still (unfortunately) acne prone, but thankfully I definitely get a lot less cystic acne than I used to. I still get those horrible under the skin bumps on my chin/jaw line, especially around the time of my period each month – you’ve just gotta love being a girl don’t you?! – but overall my skin is the best it’s been in a long time. I whole heartedly believe my paired back routine, and in particular this product, has had a huge impact on that.

CeraVe is an American brand that was developed by dermatologists to be easily accessible and affordable. I’m not exactly sure when it made it’s way across the pond but I’m so grateful that we can get it so easily here in the UK! The CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion is specifically recommend for use in the evenings – which is when I personally use it – but I’d also happily use this during the day. I’ve tried it a few times after my friend said she used it both morning and night and it is such a great base for makeup, and super hydrating throughout the day. Next time Matt and I travel (whenever that will be…) I’ll definitely just take this to use day and night. 

I’m pretty sure the reason it’s marketed for evening use only is because they sell the same lotion formulated with SPF, for use during the day. I’ve tried that one too and although I used it up I wouldn’t re-purchase as I really love my La Roche Posay Toleraine Ultra, and I personally like to use a separate SPF after my moisturiser instead of using a two-in-one product. 

The lotion is not at all greasy, sinks into my skin so nicely and it’s never once caused me irritation. My skin is very sensitive and so many moisturisers can turn it red and ‘hot’. I just thought that was something that would happen no matter what I used, but now that I’m using gentle products on my skin I’ve realised how many harsh products I was using before. This lotion is super lightweight (which is why it also works great under makeup) and does not pill or feel thick on my face. I hate products that leave a ‘greasy film’ on my face and most moisturisers do this; it’s like my skin tries to overcompensate for the moisture levels or something!

I only use two pumps of this to cover all of my face and neck, so although the packaging is quite small one tube lasts me a really long time. The tube retails for £13 so its extremely affordable and a great option for good quality skincare on a budget.

I think the reason this lotion has been so great for my skin is because of the ingredients. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid which is great for retaining moisture in your skin and restoring/supporting your skin barrier. Niacinamide is another very important ingredient in the formula; this is formulated in my Dermatica prescription too and it has so many perks. The main things I want niacnimaide to do for my skin is to improve uneven skin tone and scarring (caused by previous acne) and minimize large pores on my nose. I seen a difference within a few weeks from first using this moisturiser, way before I got my prescription.

There’s only one con I can think of… it’s so good my boyfriend steals it. I’ve finally pulled Matthew away from the cheap crap (in quality, not pricing) he was using and now he likes to share my favourite products too. It’s my own fault guys! If I had one tip… maybe buy one for you and one for your partner?

Have you tried this moisturiser? Do you love it as much as I do? I definitely recommend this next time you’re looking for a new no-frills moisturiser, it’s so amazing and it’s so affordable 🙂 also, do you have any other CeraVe recommendations for me? I use (and love) the hydrating cleanser and eye cream, but I’d love to try more! 

-G x

My Current Favourites

Happy Sunday, loves! Today I am sharing with you my beauty and lifestyle favourites, and it’s been a hot minute since I wrote a post like this. I really like chatty, honest favourites posts; they really feel nostalgic to me and I just think it’s so fun to share everything I’ve been loving over the past few months. I took these photos during Matt and I’s stay at Hotel du Vin and I loved how the exposed brick looked so much, I’ve been so excited to share them!

The Flat Lay Co. Makeup Bag
I always store my everyday makeup in a makeup bag because it just makes it so easy! Everything is one place, if Matt and I are travelling or staying at his parents for the night I don’t have to worry about packing everything up, and I love to do my makeup in random places in our bedroom. Is that weird?! I have a vanity table (which was my dream since being a little girl, it still makes me so happy!) but sometimes I really like to sit on my fluffy rug, in front of my full length mirror and get ready. I think it kinda reminds me of high school and having friends stay over all the time, I don’t know why but I enjoy it so much! This makeup bag is genius; it opens up by loosening a drawstring into a large flat circle, and everything is just there right in front of you. No spillages, no rummaging through to find what you need. I love it, I really need to invest in more for travel!

Missoma Amazonite Necklace*
Cute, dainty necklaces are my thing! I love love love Missoma and I always go for silver; because it suits my skin tone best and (I think) I’m allergic to gold. It’s a weird one, ha! This necklace layers perfectly with my initial necklace I wear every single day, and I love the pop of green. Amazonite is a stone that is believed to have physical and emotional healing properties, which honestly is something I could really do with right now as my anxiety has been through the roof!
*similar linked, mine is in silver on a bobble chain but is sold out

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid
My go-to skincare ingredient for the past six months has definitely been hyaluronic acid. Wow. It makes my skin feel/look so plump and smooth, and I’m slowly building my perfect selection of products that just work so well for my skin. I use this every day on top of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and underneath The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Moisture Lotion (another two products I adore) and it makes the most incredible difference to my makeup. My foundation sits better on my face and lasts longer through the day, I don’t get as oily in my T Zone and I just find my skin to look really good even after I take my makeup off. This is a bargain and I really can’t recommend it enough!

The White Company Winter Candle
This is a candle I always purchase during the build up to Christmas, but this was a sweet Christmas present from my boyfriend. I had already burned one through November/December, and I’m so happy to have another to burn in the new year! The scent is so cosy, warm and inviting (kinda just like Christmas, to be honest), and it’s a scent that just makes me feel cosy and happy. I love how simple and pretty the design of their candles are, it looks so lovely whether it’s lit or not. Although the biggest perk has to be that once lit the scent fills our bedroom in minutes and can be smelled long after it’s been blown out!

Daniel Wellington Sheffield Watch
This is an oldie but a goodie for me, I must have bought it at least three or four years ago and it still looks brand spanking new. I used to wear a watch every single day then went through a stage of just not wearing one, and now I’m so back on that bandwagon. I really like the look of a watch; I feel like it dresses up an outfit nicely, is a great compliment to my Pandora bracelet that I wear every day and I also really love the classic rose gold hardware with the black strap. I feel like this watch is really versatile as it goes with everything that I wear, although I LOVE this style too, and I really want to invest in another in the next few months!

Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Treatment Cleanser
I have a whole post coming on this in the next few weeks so I really don’t want to say too much, but this cleanser has changed my life! Seriously! I was SO EXCITED for Jordan Samuel Skin to be released on Cult Beauty (more on that in the upcoming post) and to finally have and use some of his products is just the most exciting thing for me. I really like using this to take off my makeup and it’s also great for a second cleanse every evening; it leaves my skin feeling clean which is a given, but it makes it so incredibly soft, nourished and hydrated. The smell is beautiful, it’s great to travel with and I really love everything about Jordan and his brand. Come back for my full review. I promise I’ve got so much to say on this beauty!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
The one that got away. The one I always go back to. My holy grail mascara. Seriously, I freaking love this stuff. I only buy it a few times per year as I just use Maybelline Lash Sensational in-between (it’s pricey) but every single time I get to use it again I swear I fall in love all over again! The wand is perfect for creating thick, fluffy lashes, and I love how black the mascara is. It doesn’t smudge on me – although if you’ve tried it and it smudges there is also a waterproof option – which is such a huge plus, and I find it really easy to remove without irritating my eyes.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and getting a little look into some of my very favourite things right now! Have you tried any of the products I talked about in this post? Do you love them as much as I do? What are your favourite products of the moment?!

-G x

Christmas Gift Guide: For Her

Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here

Hi, loves! Today is the first of three gift guides for this holiday season, and I’m so excited to share them with you! I decided to bring you the gift guide for the ladies in your life first, and I really hope this helps you if you’re struggling for gift inspiration this year. Of course there is so much more to Christmas than giving presents, but mixing and matching gifts from any of these categories would make the most incredible present for gal you’re buying for this year. Happy shopping!

Disclaimer: There are a few higher priced items in this gift guide but I promise you it’s because they’re great value for money and really amazing gifts! I really wanted to keep my gift guides affordable and practical, and also very realistic for the average gift giver like myself. Remember Black Friday is coming up and always check for discount codes before purchasing online – you can almost always save at least 10%. I hope you find it so helpful!

THE HOMEBODY

If there was ever a perfect word to describe my personality, it’s homebody. I love love love my home comforts, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got this category down. The White Company’s Winter candle is a must-have for me from November through to March! I live in my Ugg slippers that Matt bought me a few years ago; I’d literally wear them to work if I could. Guys… the Dumbo mug? My heart just can’t take it!

1. Ugg Aynsley Slippers | 2. Quiet by Fearne Cotton | 3. New Look Tinkerbell PJ Set | 4. Neal’s Yard Remedies Bath Salts | 5. Whittard Hot Chocolate Selection | 6. Victoria’s Secret Super Soft Legging Crew | 7. M&S Dressing Gown | 8. The White Company Candle in Winter | 9. Topshop Oatmeal Joggers| 10. Tisserand Essential Oil Diffuser | 11. Anthropologie Sleep Mask | 12. Disney Dumbo Mug | 13. Dunelm Bath Caddy | 14. Chelsea Peers Pyjama Set| 15. M&S Checked Throw

THE LUXURY LOVER

Jewelery is a wonderful gift for the ladies in your life, and just looking at the cute Tiffany & Co necklace makes my heart happy! Fun fact: Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow has been on my ‘wishlist’ for at least three years, and this limited edition packaging? *picks self up off floor* WOW! It’s so dang beautiful. I want need it so bad! Oh, and if you’re wondering why I picked Frederic Malle’s Portrait Of A Lady which is crazy expensive? Stacey Dooley wears it. A girl can dream…

1. Topshop MABEL Black Leather Boots | 2. Jo Malone Candle in Peony & Blush Suede | 3. Slip Silk Eye Mask | 4. Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Gift Set | 5. & Other Stories Grey Wool Fringed Blanket Scarf | 6. Missoma Silver Interstellar Bracelet | 7. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow | 8. The White Company Pink Cashmere Socks | 9. Frederic Malle Portrait Of A Lady Perfume | 10. Aspinal of London Grey Saffiano Leather Card Holder | 11. Tiffany & Co Silver Necklace| 12. Monica Vinader Siren Mini Earrings | 13. Dulwich Duck Egg Jewellery Box | 14. Dior Creme de Rose Lip Balm | 15. Acne Studios Pink Scarf

THE BEAUTY GURU

Beauty products are a fail-safe product for everyone. Your mum, your sister, your girlfriend, your grandma. Every lady loves a little pampering treat now and then! Emma Hardie’s Moringa cleansing balm is hopefully going to be my treat to myself this Black Friday (20% off is a steal) and I swear by Laura Mercier’s caviar sticks for quick and easy eyeshadow application! How dang cute is that little set?! Lancome La Vie Est Belle is one of my very favourite go-to scents, and such a sweet gift to give this Christmas season.

1. The Body Shop Spa Of The World Blissful Escape | 2. Peter Thomas Roth Mask-A-Holic Gift Set | 3. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Quad Palette | 4. Babyliss Curl Secret | 5. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow | 6. Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm | 7. Bare Minerals Lip Gloss Duo | 8. Rose Gold Zoeva Brush Gift Set | 9. Pixi Best Of Tonic Gift Set | 10. Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Collection | 11. Lancome La Vie Est Belle Fragrance Set | 12. Fresh Hydration Ever After Gift Set | 13. Huda Beauty The New Nude Eyeshadow Palette | 14. Omorovicza Rose Quartz Facial Roller | 15. Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Luxe Body Collection

THE FOODIE

If you know me, you know bee prints and anything with bees on makes me so HAPPY. I just adore those bee print oven gloves, they’re so sweet! The marble and copper bar tools set is the most gorgeous gift for any of the cocktail loving ladies in your life and who wouldn’t just adore a whole hamper of Hotel Chocolat products?!

1. Pinch of Nom Cookbook | 2. Marble & Copper Bar Tools Set | 3. Anthropologie Measuring Spoons | 4. Bella Foster Dish Towel | 5. Saskia Salt & Pepper Shakers | 6. Le Creuset Pink Casserole Dish | 7. Marble Serving Board | 8. Bee Print Double Oven Mitt | 9. Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel Gift Set | 10. Oliver Bonas Daydreamer Mug | 11. Cath Kidston Christmas Cheer Apron | 12. A DIY Hamper | 13. Pink Marble Serving Board | 14. CrockPot Slow Cooker | 15. Lakeland 2 in 1 Hand & Stand Mixer

THE TRAVELLER

An Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is my number one wishlist product this Christmas, and if it was socially acceptable I’d be writing it in my letter to Father Christmas for sure! The lovely team at Gaston Luga gifted me a Parlän backpack earlier this month and I can’t tell you how much I love it; and it’s perfect for travel! Pixi’s DetoxifEYE eye patches are a must when you’re a little tired or hungover and will definitely leave you looking and feeling your best when you step off any flight.

1. Aspinal Of London Passport Cover | 2. Gaston Luga Parlän Backpack | 3. Taupe Stackers Travel Jewellery Box | 4. Kindle Paperwhite | 5. Chilly’s Reusable Water Bottle | 6. Stojo Collapsible Cup | 7. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm | 8. Pixi DetoxifEYE Eye Patches | 9. Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Rollerball | 10. Apple Airpods | 11. & Other Stories Wool Fringed Blanket Scarf | 12. Longchamp Large Tote | 13. Elizabeth Scarlett Zebra Makeup Bag | 14. Mophie Portable Phone Charger | 15. GHD Flight Travel Hair Dryer

THE GIRL WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Have you smelled Capri Blue’s Volcano candle? No? YOU NEED IT. Seriously, it’s gorgeous!! Disney’s Dumbo Pandora charm is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my entire life (I kinda love Dumbo, can you tell?!) and oh how sweet is that Diptyque candle snuffer? I’d feel like a rich housewife putting out my candles with that, hah. The candle and snuffer would be a wonderful gift for that gal who has everything!

1. Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp | 2. Vans Authentic White Trainers | 3. Oliver Bonas Plant Pot | 4. Tropical Palm Safety Matches | 5. Bee Wall Art | 6. Ted Baker Suede & Leather Gloves | 7. Stemless Wine Glasses | 8. Disney Dumbo Pandora Charm | 9. Molecule 01 Fragrance | 10. Oliver Bonas Stars Jewellery Holder | 11. Kikki K 2020 Diary | 12. Les Jardin Picnic Basket | 13. Capri Blue Volcano Candle | 14. Aspinal of London Continental Zip Wallet | 15. Diptyque Candle Snuffer

“It’s not about the gifts under the tree, it’s about the people around it”

-G x

Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

Hi, loves! I’ve talked several times about my journey with acne on my blog, and today I want to talk about what I’ve learned from the experience. I first thought about writing this post months ago but I wanted to wait until my skin was ‘good’ so I was able to discuss it in more detail. Honestly, my skin has good days and bad days; I’m still experiencing acne and if I want to talk about what I’ve learned so far in my journey there’s not ever going to be a specific right time. It’s scary and I feel super vulnerable putting this post out there but I’m hoping if it can bring others comfort and reassurance it’s worth it, right?!

Here’s a little background for those of you who aren’t familiar: as a teenager I had near perfect skin, and it wasn’t until I turned 19 that I began getting any spots at all. As I moved into my early twenties I began to experience cystic acne that felt overwhelming and horrendous; I hated it with every part of me, and honestly hated the way I looked for YEARS. My skin became something I worried about all day every day and I’ve carried that with me for so long it’s probably always going to be part of me. I was very emotional about my skin, and I unfortunately still am. When someone mentions a breakout or really bad spot – even if they mean well – my defense mechanism is to ignore the conversation because it makes me feel SO uncomfortable. Honestly it’s so rude to point out something ‘wrong’ with someone else’s skin and I’ve no idea why people think it’s okay to do so.

I feel very very lucky that my skin has calmed down a lot over the years and the acne I experience now is much more manageable in terms of treatment and also pain level. I’ve no idea if that is down to a change in hormones, finally settling into a tried and tested skincare routine, a bit of both or something else entirely but I’m so grateful to have clearer skin. I no longer suffer from consistent acne, although I do have breakouts pretty much every week that sometimes can be cystic there’s a huge difference. At one point my cheeks and jaw line were covered in breakouts, and they were so bad I couldn’t hide them with makeup which made them seem even worse to me. Every time one breakout began to clear up another would appear and it was a constant cycle I couldn’t do anything about. Now I’m thankful that I generally have one or two small (by comparison to what I used to experience) breakouts at a time, which is easier to manage and doesn’t cause me as much anxiety or stress.

I think other than the ocassional cystic acne, the most irritating breakouts I get now are those under-the-skin-bumps that feel like my whole face is pulsing as they last for days or sometimes a week. The really frustrating thing is that there isn’t a way to draw them out or help them heal quicker which stresses me out a little. I don’t mean to sound negative about having acne, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, I just really want to be transparent and help you to get the full perspective on how my skin has been (and still is). Don’t get me wrong; there are MUCH worse things in the world than having acne! But when it’s something that you deal with day to day and you can’t get a break from it can feel so overwhelming and almost debilitating at times. I lost so much confidence when I first started experiencing acne a few years back and I’m so grateful that I now feel so much better about myself. Matt tells me I’m beautiful every single day – even when I most definitely DO NOT look beautiful, hah! – and little things like that truly mean the world to me.

I’m sure I’ve got so much more to learn regarding acne but today I’m so excited to share a few things I’ve learned so far from my acne journey with you all. If you have suffered or are still suffering with acne of any form please know that I get how you feel, so many people experience varying forms of acne and it’s something I really think we should talk about more openly.

There is no such thing as a miracle cure. Oh how I wish there was. I’ve lost count of how many creams, oils, serums etc I’ve tried over the years – lots of them even on prescription or doctors’ recommendations – and not one of them has magically cleared my acne. Funny, huh?! I think in the beginning I was very naive and just assumed that one product would come along and make my skin smooth, even and acne free. I definitely assumed that expensive meant better when it came to skincare (and makeup, haircare, body care etc) but that is categorically not true. Some of my most used, very favourite products are from the drugstore – albeit some at slightly more premium prices – but you do NOT need to use an £80.00 serum to see results!

Something that is so important however is finding a good skincare routine for morning and night that helps your skin. This can be a frustrating and costly experiment, because not every product you try will work for your skin, your skin may change and something that worked for a while may not any more and you may have other skin concerns that you want to address along the way. I love skincare and I’m so invested in learning about it so for the most part I quite enjoy the trial and error of finding new products, but I’m so happy that right now I truly enjoy every single part of my skincare routine. I have introduced two new products fairly recently and after I’ve used them for a few more weeks I’ll for sure share my current AM and PM skincare routines with you!

One thing I’d like to mention as it’s something I’ve experienced several times is that people – especially those who don’t have any specific skin concerns themselves – may criticize the products (or amount of products) you use. Take this with a pinch of salt; once you find the products that work for you, you’ll be so pleased you took time to figure it out! What happened to “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” anyway?! Following a curated skincare routine is essential and any dermatologist or aesthetician will tell you that it is vital. Obviously, there are some things that products cannot help with too much; for example I have some pretty bad acne scarring that would need laser treatment to minimize, but that’s okay with me and I’ve just gotten used to it. Caroline Hirons is a wealth of knowledge for all types of skin concerns, and if you’re feeling a little lost for what to do to help yourself I would really advise checking out her blog and YouTube channel.

Hormones plays a huge part in how your skin looks/feels. I was put on the pill by my doctor at a very young age – I had just barely turned thirteen – because I had horrendously painful periods. Side note: I’m experiencing them again right now at the age of 25 after changing my pill not so long ago… I just love being a girl. :). HAH. As my hormones were altered by a tablet from such a young age, I’m not sure if this might have changed the way my skin was or not, but it’s so normal to experience more spots or actual acne because of hormonal changes.

It’s very common around the time of your period to break out, pregnancy and breastfeeding throws off your hormones and causes all kinds of skin issues, and sometimes just generally if you’re feeling tired, anxious, stressed or just a bit run down your skin often has a reaction too. If you know you’re breaking out due to hormonal reasons there is still so many options of treatments for this, I’d really recommend speaking to your doctor. One tip I’d love to share with you regarding hormonal acne; from my experience these spots are usually angry, red, raised, and not always ones that have a whitehead. If this is the case and you’re looking for immediate relief, take an anti-histamine! Breakouts are literally an inflammation, so anti-histamines help to lessen the redness and swelling, and makes day-to-day life with spots just that little bit easier. I wish I knew this YEARS ago!

Your skin is nothing to be embarrassed about. How many times have you told your partner or friend that you just can’t believe the size of the spot on your chin? Maybe you’re calling it your ‘second head’? And how many times have you been met with the response “where?! I can’t even see it?” … we can all relate, right?! I truly believe that your skin looks and feels worse to you because it’s often a very personal and emotional thing, but like with most areas of life being kind to yourself is such an important factor in helping things to be easier. When he was a teenager Matt also suffered from cystic acne and I’m so grateful he understands exactly how I feel when I have a particularly bad breakout now – whether it’s cystic or not. I think it’s often really hard for people with ‘good’ skin to understand just how much skin issues can affect others, but just by being honest and opening the conversation up it helps to break down the taboo.

In my early twenties I spent countless social occasions making my excuses for why I couldn’t go and literally hiding away because I was so embarrassed of my skin, and it’s really sad because I never should have felt that way. I definitely think my acne linked to my anxiety, as when my skin was especially bad my anxiety was most definitely heightened. Even now when I have a particularly ‘bad’ breakout (I realise this is subjective) I still feel like I don’t want to be social, how silly is that? It’s something I can’t explain to people who don’t ‘get it’ but I’m working on changing my thought process slowly but surely. We’ve all heard this before but plastering foundations and concealers over any bout of acne, spots or blemishes is not necessarily the answer, we just need to find comfort in embracing our skin! *Makes note to self*

Thank you so much from reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and if acne is something that still affects you on a daily basis I hope you found a little comfort in it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a time in my life where my skin is completely breakout free but I hope I do, one day! Have you dealt with acne as a teenager or adult? What have you learned from your experience?

-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

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’ve teased on the blog for a little while, and I’m so happy to be writing about BOOKS. *Warning: it’s a long one, and perfect if you want to carve out a little self care time this bank holiday weekend. I’d recommend you grab a cuppa and settle in!* I love love love reading and it’s something I really wish more people were passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I know lots of people love to read, but I really don’t know that many people who do! I have loved reading since I was a child; my parents and grandparents always read to me whenever they had time to, and I learned to read so quickly myself. I read my beloved Jacqueline Wilson books so many times I swear I knew the stories off by heart! When I was around 10 or 11, I was helping my granddad clear out a bunch of stuff, and discovered all of my mum and auntie’s old books by Enid Blyton. He kindly gave them to me, and I spent the rest of my summer engrossed in those books! The Secret Seven and Famous Five series ignited a serious love of reading (and dogs – I wanted my own Timmy SO BAD) and I’m forever grateful. I literally spent so many nights in my lilac groovy chick themed bedroom, curled up with a blanket and a book thinking I was so grown up. Ha!

In the years since then, I’ve never lost the joy in browsing book stores, talking about books and of course, reading them. I literally can’t walk past a bookstore without dragging Matt in ‘for a look’ – although, if you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) have a perusal in store and check the prices on Amazon whilst you’re there; I can pretty much guarantee you’ll always get a better deal on Amazon! No, this post isn’t sponsored by Amazon, I just really love it.

Whenever I talk about my love of reading I am often met with “I wish I had time to read”. News flash: everyone has time to read. Let’s be honest; if Michelle Obama can find time to read, so can you. I have time to read so often because I literally set time aside to do so; making reading a priority is really important to me and it makes the world of difference to my mental health. It’s the perfect self care treat for me (along with a pamper evening and a cuddle from Matt, of course) and it truly opens your mind to SO much you may otherwise not know. Books can cover all different topics, issues and situations, and it’s crazy how much you can learn from a book. My mum and Matt’s mum share my love of reading, and we’re always swapping our current reads, like an unofficial book club! So, how do I find time to read? What are my top tips to help you make reading a priority?

Keep your book on your bedside table
Possibly the most obvious tip, but it makes sense guys. I always keep my current book on our bedside table, and take a little time to read most evenings/mornings. Matt often has to send a few work emails just before we settle in for the night so I take those twenty or so minutes to read a few chapters and get my reading fix. Similarly, he starts work early several times per week (which means a 6am alarm for us both) and I also take a little time once he’s left for work, before I blog or get ready for my work day, to read too. It’s a lovely way to begin or end your day, and if you’re struggling to fit reading time in, this will make a huge difference.

Set goals
Like with anything else, setting goals to read X amount each day/week, will make you hold yourself accountable, and make reading a priority. I love to set goals and have things to work towards, so of course this is no exception! I really think being able to tick a goal off a list helps to visualise it; of course this is a very niche goal but if you want to read more you need to treat it seriously. Maybe you could set out a week Monday to Sunday in the Notes app on your phone, using the bullet point system you can tick off, and then you can see how many days out of seven you read each week. Doing this week by week until it becomes a habit (which it should within two months, as scientists say on average it takes 66 days to create a habit) means that within a really short space of time reading would just become part of your everyday life!

Incorporate reading into your day-to-day life
Similarly to reading before bed or first thing in the morning, it’s amazing where you can fit time in to read. If you spend hours scrolling mindlessly on social media (your phone literally tells you how much time you spend now so you can’t avoid it) you could easily spend at least some of that with a book in your hand instead. I love to read in the bath, I seriously take super long baths just to be able to read for longer, and it’s the ultimate self care time for me. Matt sometimes spends a little time in the evenings working or playing on the playstation, which gives me a good chunk of time to read and not feel guilty about it! I also will spend a little time reading whilst sitting in the garden when it’s warm, or on a cold day I love to curl up with a cuppa and a book. I really should take my lunch break at work away from my desk, as that would be the perfect time to rack up some reading time.

Read digitally on your iPad/Kindle/phone
If you find reading a struggle or would just like to switch things up, I’d really recommend downloading a book onto your tablet or phone. I have been really enjoying reading on the Kindle app on my iPad recently; it’s so convenient as I always have my iPad with me anyway, and it’s very accessible no matter where I am. Downloading books onto a tablet is so handy when travelling too; it limits the weight/bulkiness of books (although I do think you can’t beat a ‘real’ book!) and it allows you to take several options, not to mention ebooks are way less money than a physical book. I am still so mad at myself for not picking up a Kindle Paperwhite during the Prime Day(s) sale, and it’s very high on my wishlist right now.

Carry a book with you day-to-day
If reading on a tablet is not for you I totally get that, but you need to carry your book with you if you want to make the most of reading time as and when you can. If you take public transport to work I’d really recommend making the most of your journey time and lose yourself in a book (just make sure not to miss your stop). Side note: I drive to work each day, and spend lots of time during the week in my car; I’m tempted to try Audible but it’s just not something that’s crossed my mind before. Please let me know if you would recommend! If you’re going somewhere where you may be waiting around, hospital appointments spring to mind right away, pack a book and the wait definitely won’t seem so bad.

Find authors and genres you find interesting
Another thing people tell me, is that they have the time to read, but they can never find a book they actually want to read. This is a little trial and error, but if you put the effort in to finding what makes your heart sing, you’ll see the benefit of it. Personally, I love fiction stories that feel like you’re right in with the characters but as you’ll see from my current picks below, I do like varied content. I really want to read more mystery books as I’ve borrowed a few from my mum that I’ve enjoyed, so that’s something I need to explore more in the coming months. It’s the best feeling finding an author you love, as you are drawn to their writing style and therefore can find so many books. Amazon’s ‘Recommended for you’ section pretty much always brings up amazing options, and I’ve found so many books I love that way!

My current favourite author is hands down Taylor Jenkins Reid. Two books I’ve read (and loved) recently are Forever, Interrupted and After I Do; both books are filled with love, heartbreak, sadness and happiness, and you truly feel like you’re experiencing the emotions of the lead characters. Zoe Folbigg is an amazing author and I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve read! I just finished The Postcard, which was the sequel to The Note, and it left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Two books that changed my life (in different ways) are Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan. I’ve read both several times; they’re incredible and would make for brilliant presents for the gals in your life!

Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a must read for everyone, everywhere; she is, in my opinion, the most inspirational woman of our generation and I’m so happy she shared her story. The best non-fiction book I’ve ever read was This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay; I don’t know anyone who disliked this book, it’s filled with so much emotion – I’d literally be laughing one page and sobbing the next – it’s a must read. If you like books that let you escape from every day life, I’d suggest anything by Elin Hilderband. She writes about Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) in so much depth I feel like I’ve been there myself; it’s a book that takes you on holiday from real life, and her stories are always so enticing. My favourite book of hers is hands down The Identicals. I’ve just downloaded a new Elin Hilderbrand book called The Perfect Couple (and One Minute Later by Susan Lewis) onto my Kindle app for literally 99p each! Order while you can! Shoutout to the lovely Savannah for originally recommending Elin Hilderbrand books to me!

Some of my current ‘to read’ list include the last in a wonderful series by Louise Pentland; Wilde Women. Louise is someone I’ve loved and admired for years, from way back to her Sprinkle of Glitter days, and I’m so happy that she’s began to write. She writes from the heart, her characters are lovable and I’m so excited to see what is happening with Robin, Lyla and Kath in the final installment! Queenie is a book I saw in Anna‘s reading pile and immediately purchased (the girl just knows her books, and also wrote a cracking book herself, An Edited Life) and I’m so excited to read; the book talks all about love, life and race issues and has rave reviews. Another author I’m very interested in is Jane Fallon, I often see her books featured on Instagram and I need to order one soon!

Thank you so so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips and tricks helpful in some way. Can you believe my boyfriend (who is perfect in every other way, if I do say so myself) doesn’t like to read?! He’s literally been ‘reading’ the same book since Christmas 2017… maybe you take a few pointers from this post, Matthew?! Ha. So, are you a bookworm like me? Where’s your favourite way to make time to read? I’d love to share my favourite books every few months if that’s something you’d be interested in? Please leave me all your book recommendations below, I love to hear what other people are reading!

-G x

Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

Happy Wednesday, loves! I’m so excited for this weekend for several reasons… especially because it’s bank holiday! Who doesn’t love three day weekends? I just wish they were every week. Secondly, Matt and I are going away for the weekend, which is our favourite thing to do. Thirdly, we’re visiting with Matt’s family! We’re so excited to spend time with them, admire the beautiful countryside and explore the cute little town we’re staying in. It’s so much hotter down South, and we are very excited to spend our last Summer weekend in the sun. I know Autumn technically doesn’t start until almost the end of September, but for me as soon as August is out, I’m all about Autumn. Who am I kidding, I’ve been ready for Autumn since JULY, lol! We’re also getting to squeeze in one more road trip, and boy do we love road trips! (Also, I’m so sorry about these photos. I know they’re not great I just didn’t have time to take better ones, please forgive me!!)

As any regular readers will know, I love packing whether it’s for a short trip or a holiday – just search ‘packing’ in the side bar and a ton of posts will come up – so I wanted to share with you all what I’m packing for our last weekend of Summer! In just a few weeks we’ll be living in coats, boots, scarves and hats (I’m SO excited, I can’t pretend I don’t love Autumn!) but it’s probably one of the last times we’ll be able to wear minimal clothing here in the UK. I’m extra excited to pack this time because, I finally get to make good use of our packing cubes that I purchased during Prime Day(s)!

When packing skincare products and toiletries for a short trip, I try to pack pretty minimal. I don’t need options and I don’t need products I’ve only just started trying out; if I’m going to get breakouts or irritated skin you can just guarantee it’s when we’re away from home! For that reason I like to take tried and tested products that my skin loves, and keep it super simple and easy with my skincare. As you’ll see in an upcoming post, I’m currently obsessed with Pixi’s new Vitamin C Tonic, it’s working miracles for my skin! I love to take sheet masks with me when we’re travelling as they make for great pick-me-up’s if you’re skin is feeling a little naff, and they’re super easy with no mess if you only have ten minutes whilst you’re getting ready for the day or evening.

For my toiletries, I like to take small travel-sized products because this isn’t where I want to take up a lot of space. I decant my favourite shampoo and conditioner as I really don’t like to mix up my hair products; when I find something that works I run with it. I can save space to be without my trusty banana hair mask from The Body Shop (just for a few days!) and I really try not to overpack. Matt shares whichever shampoo and shower gel I take, but he’s not at all fussed what I choose. We’re staying in an apartment that provides a hairdryer – something you should always check before you travel – and I’ll probably only wash my hair once anyway.

I find makeup is the hardest thing to be minimal with as I like to switch up my products, and I don’t know how my skin will react whilst we’re away. We all have good skin days and bad skin days, so I just have to hope for the best that my makeup will cover any imperfections (and last all day/night). Lip products are the hardest for me to cull (hence taking five) but I’d definitely rather have ‘too many’ options than not enough, and they’re so little they take up hardly any space anyway! I really really love my new Pillowtalk eyeshadow palette, it’s by far the prettiest palette I’ve ever owned and it creates the most beautiful looks.

Skincare:
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter | Muslin Cloths | Bioderma Micellar Water | Re-Usable Cotton Pads | The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Exfoliator *gifted | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream *gifted | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Pixi Glow Tonic | The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil | The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution *gifted | The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Sheet Mask | Carmex Watermelon Lip Balm

Toiletries:
The Body Shop Tahitian Tiare Shower Gel | Gillette Satin Care Shaving Gel | Gillette Venus Swirl Razor | Bedhead Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner (decanted) | Travel Bottles | Morrocanoil Treatment Light | Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses | The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Body Lotion | MAC Turquatic Rollerball Perfume | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Perfume | IGK First Class Dry Shampoo | Straighteners (similar) | The Wet Brush Detangler

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 1N1 | Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer in C6 | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer in 1N | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | The Body Shop Honey Bronze in Shade 3 | Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love | NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Brunette | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black | Colorpop Highlight in Flexitarian | Brushes mostly Zoeva | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose | Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk | Physician’s Formula Velvet Liquid Lipstick in All Natural Nude | Mac Fix + (Travel Size)

I always like to travel in something comfy, and normally I’d stay away from jeans at all costs. However, when I was clearing out my wardrobe – my post is finally coming on that next week – I re-discovered a pair of Tori mom jeans I forgot I owned. I’ve since bought another pair (which I can’t find online, sorry!) and I love them so much. They’re comfortable, forgiving and don’t make me feel like my waist is being cut off, and they’re super cute! I’m pairing with a cute slogan t-shirt – how perfect is this ‘long weekend’ tee from J Crew?! – a cosy cardigan and my comfiest Adidas Coast star trainers, as our travel day is also our first day in Stamford and we’re going to be doing a lot of visiting with family and exploring.

We’re not too sure on our our plans for Saturday night but we do know we’re going out for dinner, so I’ve packed a midi skirt with a black cami and option of a black t-shirt just depending of how I feel. Paired with my super comfortable black heeled sandals, this is such an easy outfit and one that I know I’ll feel good in! On Sunday we’re up early for a breakfast date and another day of exploring/visiting family, so I’m going with a slogan t-shirt and a midi skirt, again paired with my Adidas trainers. On Sunday night we’re going out for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, and I’m not sure where we’re going so packed two options, just incase. The first being (you guessed it) my favourite Zara leopard print midi skirt with cami, and the second a blouse and jeans. Both of the outfits work with my black heeled sandals so I don’t need to take any other shoes! I find making sure your shoes, bag and jewellery work with any outfit option is key, and really helps you to not overpack.

On Monday we’re unfortunately heading back up North, so again I’m opting for those same jeans I wore on the way down (with the option of leggings, depending how much I eat over the weekend LOL) and a slouchy Levi’s tee. I find that I’m always wearing a t-shirt these days, they’re my favourite because they’re cute, comfy and go with anything. I’ve packed an extra comfy cardigan to keep me warm if I get a little chilly; I’m always cold and I know Matt will have the air con on during the drive down! The only other clothing items I’m taking are underwear and my cutest silky pajamas (they’re on sale right now and perfect for the upcoming Autumn months!) so I can get ready comfortably at the apartment – I never sleep in pj’s but I have an obsession with buying them!! I also always overpack my underwear; for a three day trip I literally will take ten pairs. I don’t know why but I’ve done this ever since I can remember, it’s such a bad habit!

The jewellery I’m taking is just my regular everyday stuff that I always wear; my Pandora rings, Pandora bracelet, Missoma initial necklace (I added the moon charm) and my Fitbit. I don’t like to have to continuously swap out jewellery so keep it pretty simple, although I do wish I was able to accessorize my outfits the way others do. I also am only taking one bag, my trusty little Whistles Verity backpack – I’ve owned this for at least three years and it still looks good as new – it’s super roomy which is perfect for during the day and it can work for the night times too. Also, does anyone else’s boyfriend/husband always give them tons of things to carry when you’re out?! I swear I have three things of my own in my bag then Matt’s sunglasses, wallet, car key etc take up so much space, hah!

My favourite category to pack is always the miscellaneous stuff because I feel like that’s one category you can’t really cut down and the over-packer in me relishes in it! Matt and I very rarely travel with our laptops because we just don’t really need them, but taking my iPad is SO easy and it means we can use it to watch a little Netflix or Amazon Prime, and I can read on it. I also like to record any blogging info on the go and sometimes I prefer to do this on my phone, sometimes on my iPad, it just depends on the day! I think pretty much all hotels/air bnb’s have wifi these days, and it’s never been an issue for us before. Of course we make sure to take our chargers, I always take the book I’m currently reading and Matt loves his Four Four Two magazines. I can’t go on a road trip without my car blanket, and we both love to take snacks, they’re the best part of a road trip! We’ve stocked up on Sweet & Smokin’ Hippeas, Tony’s Chocomolonely and all of the Haribos… *makes mental note to pack bananas and trail mix*

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek into what I packed! I know people love posts like this – me too! – and I’m pretty sure it’s just because we’re all super nosy, LOL. Do you have any fun plans for the bank holiday weekend? Are you going away for the weekend too? I’m going to be recording a Weekend In My Life/Travel Diary post, so that will be up soon. I’m making it my goal to get a cute full length picture of Matt and I, we barely ever get good photos together and it’s something we always get mad about!

-G x

A Beauty Haul & First Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Skincare Saviours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x