Weekend In My Life: Celebrating My 26th Birthday In Lockdown

Hi, loves! I’m so excited to have taken a bunch of photos to document my 26th birthday by, because it’s my first (and hopefully last) lockdown birthday! What a weird season of life, right? We couldn’t celebrate in our usual way; Matt and I normally go on a trip – we’d actually hoped earlier in the year to visit Krakow around my birthday weekend, we’d celebrate with family dinner and we’d go out for drinks with friends. But, I still had such an amazing birthday weekend, and I’m so grateful to Matt and my family for making my birthday so special 🙂

F R I D A Y

I LOVE Friday’s. It’s the start of the weekend, I work a much shorter day (I start late and finish early, what could be better!?) and I have the Friday feeling from the second I open my eyes that morning. Matt had to start at 8am (sucks to be him, hehe) so I got up with him to make his breakfast and finish up my blog post. I enjoyed a cup of tea, made my post live and got ready for the day. I’ve really took the extra time I have in the mornings on a Friday to get ready slowly; I spend way more time on my skincare routine and my makeup and it just makes me so happy.

How flipping cute is my tie dye tee?! I am actually obsessed with it and have an urge to try tie-dying myself but I know I won’t make anything as cute as this. I had to run a few errands; I went grocery shopping, picked up a parcel and sent some of Matt and I’s returns back to the post office. We’ve been online shopping kinda often recently, although I’ve decided throughout June I’m going to have a No Spend month because there’s honestly nothing I need (or really even want) right now. I always get so excited to hop in my car and drive these days, it actually feels like a treat because I’m getting so used to spending my days inside. I turned the AC up, played Shagged, Married, Annoyed on Spotify and totally enjoyed driving around running errands.

…does anyone else always catch 11:11? It makes me smile every time 🙂 also those little marks aren’t dust. I’m SO Type A and dust my car interior down every time I get in with a microfibre cloth. I used a new one and it shedded. Yes this is very important to know…

My usual Friday work day is 12pm – 5.30pm (when we’re in the office living a normal life!) but working from home I’ve been working 11am – 4.30pm most weeks. I didn’t get home until around 11.30am so I put all our groceries away, quickly picked up and tidied our bedroom (I didn’t have time before I left) then headed to the dining room to start work at 12pm. Around 1.30pm I was flagging and needed a little pick me up (my sleeping pattern is still SO out of sorts. I truly have insomnia, I can be awake up to three hours during the night) so I grabbed a red bull and some lunch. I don’t drink them often but oh my goodness I really love them! I had a really great work day, I felt productive and I was able to get so many things ticked off my to do list for the day. Before I knew it, it was 5.30pm. I turned off my computer, made my to-do list for Monday (HIGHLY recommend doing this, especially if you’re working from home. All of the tasks and things to follow up are fresh in your mind at the end of your work day, makes it so much easier to remember everything when you next sit down) and then my dad told me a delivery had arrived for me…

Surprisingly, I hadn’t ordered anything this day. Haha! The parcel was the best surprise from Matt’s family; Adam & Laura are seriously the sweetest, most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. I was so shocked, they sent the most beautiful bouquet filled with roses, wildflowers and, my very favourite, peonies! I had a blast arranging the flowers – Bloom & Wild send a card that directs you how to make your bouquet look pretty – and I think I’ve changed it around maybe four times since, LOL. I took a nice hot shower, did my skincare routine, got cosy in my pj’s and lit this cute candle. It’s from a small business Dole Wicks Candle Co. (they used to be called Tiki Candle Company hence the label)… Disney and candles? Come on, that’s two of my very favourite things in the whole world! I’d been saving it for this weekend and it smelled so good.

Matt arrived home from work just in time for me prepping dinner. It was Burger Night! We’ve been trying to have ‘fun’ dinners on Friday’s because typically we’d either go out or grab a takeaway on these nights, and we are actually really missing fast food. I am so excited for McDonald’s to re-open, it’s been two months and I’m not exaggerating when I say I need a Big Mac. NEED! That being said, I make a pretty good burger 🙂 I always use brioche buns (duh, they’re the best) and we put spicy cheese inside. Add a little tomato, lettuce and a ton of ketchup, and it’s delish. I washed my makeup brushes and re-organised my skincare (I’m sharing all about my cute little vanity soon!) whilst Matt took a bath. We spent the rest of our evening chilling, watching The Office US in bed and I read a little on my Kindle. I don’t know if it’s me but the weeks fly by in lockdown. I couldn’t believe it was already…

S A T U R D A Y

Have you ever in your life seen anything so cute?! I got up for literally a minute and came back to him cuddling the pillow (very tightly). Hahahaha. So cute!

I woke up super early on Saturday, around 7am, and laid reading my Kindle for almost an hour. I typed up a few blog ideas on my phone, caught up on all the social media I’d ‘missed’ overnight, and Matt still was fast asleep. I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em… I cuddled back in, fell asleep and we didn’t wake up until after 10.30am. I kinda felt lazy but I also kinda loved it. Can I use the birthday weekend excuse? We had the laziest morning in bed watching Amazon Prime and just enjoying the fact we didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. I think the one thing I’m really learning to appreciate most in lockdown is the slower pace of life, I want to write about this in a whole post!

Matt got cosy watching TV whilst I made breakfast lunch burritos! I add sweet potato, sausage, a bell pepper, beans and two eggs to ours. It’s kind of a long process because you have to cook everything separately then add it all together and put it back in the oven, but oh my goodness it’s worth it. This is one of our favourite breakfasts because it’s so filling and it’s the closest we’re going to get to a Mexican breakfast for a little while. We lazed around a little more (…still not feeling guilty!) and Matt watched football whilst I got ready. The German Bundesliga had just come back for the first time since the pandemic and you’ve no idea how GIDDY he was about it, the boy loves sport. I took a shower and got ready, which was even better with freshly cleaned makeup brushes. I have so many makeup brushes but these are the ones I use the most, although usually I’d use a few other eye brushes if I was making an effort with my makeup… like when we were able to socialize!

I love this oversize shirt from Zara. I thrifted it (from Depop, for a grand total of £3.50. Yay for #shoppingsecondhand) and I love how it looks tied at the front with mom jeans. I totally thought I’d get to wear it as a swimsuit coverup this Summer too, but unless I decide to throw on a bikini in the garden I have a feeling that will not be happening. Matt came with me to go back to the post office (again… we had MORE returns!) and whilst he went in I changed from country music to a little bit of Disney. It’s good for the soul. I also popped into Aldi as there was a couple of things I couldn’t get grocery shopping the day before. For the first time since lockdown started I got to go straight into a grocery store without waiting in a huge line outside. It was actually kinda weird!?

We stopped by Matt’s parents to see them through the window (literally the strangest thing, I can’t wait until we can see them properly) and pick up my birthday presents. They’re so sweet to me and always spoil me so so much! We came home to eat Krispy Kreme donuts and get cosy watching TV for a little while. Matt took a bath and I made dinner – chicken and leek pasta bake. It was a total ‘wing it’ dinner and oh wow it might be the best thing we’ve made in a long time. I’ll share it on the blog sometime soon because you need to make it!

Matt had a FaceTime date with the boys and I ended the night drinking a glass of wine in the bath (*cough* two glasses *cough*, Matt may have brought me a refill…), watching Modern Family and having the best little pamper evening. We went to bed pretty late but somehow didn’t struggle to get up the next day!

S U N D A Y

Because it was my birthday! 🙂 we started the day with cups of tea in bed. Matt and I have a tradition of opening our birthday presents and Christmas stockings in bed, it’s one of my favourite things. Matt is literally the most amazing boyfriend ever and I felt so very lucky with all the gifts he got me. He always goes above and beyond, but the best gift I could ask for was spending my birthday with him.

I mean… come on! I am so thankful! (Also Giorgio Armani Si is one of the most beautiful perfumes and has become one of my favorites this year, I highly recommend if you’re looking for something new!)

After we opened presents we went downstairs to open everything from our families. I received so many lovely cards, gifts and money which I am so thankful for. Matt and I’s families are the best 🙂 my mum and dad are crazy (in the best possible way) and bought me AirPods!! I have wanted a pair for so long and I already think they’re the best thing ever. I’d been stealing borrowing Matthew’s for a while so I’m so glad to have my own. I had no idea they’d got them for me, I love them so much. (Jumping in, in real time to say I’m wearing (using?) them right now whilst I type up this post and literally had to just take a five minute break because I was cry laughing at SMA. I frigging love Rosie Ramsey). We had bacon sandwiches, relaxed on the couch and then I took a little extra time to shower, get dressed and ready for the day. I was sooo excited to use my new lipstick, it’s so flipping pretty.

The weather was kinda rubbish – warm but super grey and rainy – but I wanted to wear my pretty new dress so that’s what I did. If you can’t wear a cute dress on your birthday, when can you?! Just as we were getting ready to leave my sweet godmother and her daughter stopped by with my card and gift. We talked out on the driveway for half an hour and it was SO good to see them! Like everyone else, Matt and I miss seeing family and friends so much, but it’s already so apparent how much more we’ll appreciate those times post-lockdown.

We picked up another super generous birthday gift from my aunt and uncle, and headed for the beach! We were planning to go for a little walk along the beach (my happiest place) but once we got closer it was very clearly not safe to get out. Since lockdown has been ever so slightly lifted in the UK people are free to go to the beach, but it was like it was the Summer holidays with no lockdown in place. I was kinda sad because I’ve been looking forward to going back to the beach since lockdown started, but I’d much rather be safe. From what we saw driving along the coast there was very little social distancing happening; people were in big groups, pretty much all of the food places were open and the lines outside were huge. It was so lovely to drive along the coast even just for half an hour though, it lifted our spirits so much and it was nice to see somewhere a little different.

So grey but still oh so pretty!
Two of my very favourite products for double cleansing!

…unfortunately, I got car sick. LOL. I don’t know why this happens but if I’m not driving I’ve started to get really bad car sickness. I had a headache and Matt said I was ‘green’ …delightful. I changed into comfy clothes, got cosy under a blanket and took a twenty minute nap. I woke up feeling so much better and spent a few hours just enjoying time with Matt, my mum and my brother. I also got my birthday present off my brother (he was still asleep when we left because he’d been up until God knows when watching UFC!). He bought me a bottle of Dior Joy, which is another of my favourite perfumes. My perfume collection is now fully stocked again and I’m so happy 🙂 I actually just picked up the cutest mirrored perfume tray that I’m completely obsessed with, I love displaying my perfumes out on my vanity! I took an extra long time to do my evening skincare, shower and then my dad arrived home from work with our favourite takeout…

DELISH!

We literally love our local Indian takeaway! It was as always, so good. I spent a little time with my dad after not seeing him all day, Matt took a bath, I caught up on my YouTube subscriptions for an hour which is one of my favourite things to do, we drank Dole Whip’s (with Malibu in, it was a great choice, I highly recommend!) and got super cosy for the night watching… you guessed it… The Office. We love a lil bit of Michael Scott. We also may have stuffed our faced with my birthday cake (red velvet cake is literally the best thing in the whole world to me) 🙂

Thank you so much for reliving my birthday weekend with me!

-G x

100 Things That Make Me So Happy

Hey, loves! Today I wanted to spread a little positivity and happiness and I thought a fun way to do it would be to share one hundred things that make me so happy. I am so easily pleased and I’ve always tried to appreciate the little things every single day, but living through this pandemic I’m seeing more and more each day how important it is to find the little joys in life. I’m always so excited for plans we’ve got coming up, for the next activity or next celebration, but now that lots of our days seem to blend into one, I’ve been taking the time to really appreciate each little thing each day.

I really encourage you to write this list out for you and what makes you happy! Just writing this made me smile so much. Many of these things are things I can experience right now but oh boy I’m so excited for all of the things that will happen again once lockdown is over 🙂 

  1. My boyfriend
  2. How hard I laugh listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed. I just adore Rosie Ramsey
  3. Cosy vintage sweatshirts
  4. Driving in my car with the air con blasting when it’s hot or the heat blasting when it’s cold
  5. Diet Coke… #obviously #obsessed 
  6. How close my family is
  7. Burning a scented candle
  8. The sound of waves crashing on the shore. The beach is my happy place
  9. Cooking!
  10. Disney movies
  11. Twining’s English Breakfast tea
  12. Rainy days
  13. Fresh flowers. Especially tulips or peonies, they’re my favourite! 
  14. Michael Scott (and everything to do with The US Office)
  15. Taking a hot bubble bath  
  16. The thrill of finding a great one-of-a-kind item when thrift shopping
  17. When Matt and I say something at the exact same time without meaning to then we look at each other like “oh my god! We’re so in sync” lol
  18. Giving presents
  19. Eating fish and chips by the sea
  20. The smell when you walk into the ET ride at Universal Studios
  21. Taking my time with my skincare routine each morning/night
  22. Fresh bed sheets
  23. Reading my Kindle. Not much makes me happier than a really good book!
  24. Seeing people I love being happy
  25. Inside jokes
  26. When people flash their hazards to say thank you when they’re driving
  27. Pinterest
  28. Picking shells on the beach 
  29. Catching the time at 11:11
  30. A really good pastry. Bonus points if it’s cinnamon flavoured 
  31. Date night at the movies
  32. Sunshine peeking through our blinds in the morning
  33. Christmas lights
  34. A big bowl of fresh strawberries
  35. The smell of a book shop
  36. Leopard print. Carole Baskin will not take that away from me 
  37. Booking trips/holidays and planning all of the exciting things to see/do
  38. Wearing matching underwear
  39. Long text messages from my friends
  40. Gilmore Girls (and Lorelai being a badass)
  41. BBQ sauce with pretty much any food
  42. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt perfume
  43. Road trips
  44. The feeling I get every time I step foot on Main Street, USA
  45. Mom jeans 
  46. Morning yoga
  47. Watching the sunset
  48. The smell of a BBQ
  49. Watching vlogs
  50. Getting a parcel in the mail
  51. Birthday cake
  52. Wearing comfy shoes. I’m such a grandma hahaha!
  53. Anything to do with Texas. So random but Matt and I so badly want to live there one day
  54. Cosy blankets
  55. Uncontrollably laughing to the point your tummy kinda hurts
  56. The way dogs get so excited when you talk to them in a high pitched voice
  57. Pumpkin scented/flavoured everything… except coffee. I hate coffee 
  58. Having no plans for the day (usually, it’s not so fun on day #472 of lockdown)
  59. Finding something weird and wonderful in Aldi
  60. The smell outside when it’s warm and it’s just rained
  61. Buying crappy cheap souvenirs on holiday that I don’t need just because Matt hates them. Hehehe
  62. Stacey Dooley documentaries
  63. Walking barefoot in the sand. I just love being by the beach 
  64. Breakfast dates
  65. When someone says “this made me think of you“
  66. The first day of the year you can wear a t-shirt outside and not freeze
  67. That sweet spot when my mascara dries out enough to be at it’s prime
  68. Looking at old photographs. I especially love the ones that have my granddad in!
  69. My Ugg slippers
  70. A perfectly cooked medium rare steak
  71. How great the characters work together in Brooklyn 99
  72. The excitement I feel every time a new blog post goes live
  73. Having a super clean car
  74. HUGE tall sunflowers in fields
  75. Organising stuff. Those ‘tap to clean/tidy’ posts on Insta always get me
  76. Diffusing essential oils
  77. Autumn, it’s my favourite season!
  78. When strangers smile at you
  79. Seeing a super bright rainbow
  80. A productive day
  81. Halloweentown. I watch it like… once per month. Hahaha
  82. Drinking a strawberry and lime cider in a beer garden
  83. The smell of freshly baked cookies
  84. Getting discount on something I was going to buy for full price
  85. Knowing probably 95% of the lines in Friends. That show makes my heart so happy!
  86. Family meals 
  87. Being able to rub my eyes when I have no contacts in/makeup on
  88. The reflection of trees in a lake
  89. Writing blog posts
  90. Ticking things off a list
  91. People watching. Especially in somewhere super busy like an airport
  92. Pastel tie dye
  93. Having a full tank of petrol
  94. Wearing my dressing gown
  95. Winning bids on eBay
  96. Christmas movies
  97. The colour yellow
  98. The sound of birds chirping
  99. Having good skin days
  100. Lazy Sunday afternoons

What things make you so happy?! What came to mind when you first started reading this post? 🙂

-G x

Ten Things I No Longer Buy | Minimalism

Happy Sunday, my loves! Something I’ve realised over the past year or so is that I actually really enjoy having less. Let me just be super clear and say that I am NOT a minimalist. My skincare bag for an overnight trip is probably more items than some people would pick up in an entire year, but that’s okay! 

*I wrote the majority of this post before all of the social distancing / self isolating / quarantining began, but this could definitely be helpful to people at this time! If you’re struggling in any way with what’s happening my heart is with you, please know you’re not alone. We will get through this together! You can check out my last post for some self care inspiration that is probably very much needed at this time.*

I have learned to live a little more minimally in a way that makes sense to me, and I’m really finding comfort in that. When I have too much stuff I don’t get enough use or wear out of what I have, I find it difficult to make choices and the physical clutter somehow clutters my brain too! I also have found I’ve saved so much money by stopping buying the things I talk about in this post; even a few pounds here and there mounts up so quickly and I really think twice about what I spend my money on nowadays. *Obviously there are no right or wrong answers! I do not judge anyone who still buys any of these things, that’s totally okay. This post is just for fun!*  

  1. Cheap jewellery

I LOVE jewellery, and I wear a bunch of staple pieces every single day. I have two pairs of earrings that I pretty much never switch up (and four other ear piercings I can’t even change myself!), I wear the same one or two necklaces every day, I have three rings I never take off and I always wear my Pandora bracelet and watch. All of those pieces are pretty minimal in themselves and neutral; every piece goes with every clothing item I wear and I really don’t feel the need to have hundreds of jewellery options when I get dressed in the morning. Jewellery is one of my favourite ways to accessorize an outfit, and I think it’s really important to invest in good pieces that will last a lifetime! My favourite jewellery brands are Missoma, Daniel Wellington and Pandora as they have tons of options and many are classic, timeless items. The only thing I think I’m missing in my jewellery staples is maybe a pair of silver hoops and a silver choker (I LOVE this one) so maybe I’ll purchase those in time. 

  1. Flowers

I really adore fresh flowers, and I got into a habit where I was picking up a bunch almost every week whilst grocery shopping. They brighten up Matt and I’s space so much, they’re so pretty to look at and (when needed) they can be a great photo prop for my blog. However, buying flowers that frequently is not only an unnecessary expense it’s also kind of a waste of money and definitely not an ‘essential’, especially on a weekly basis! I love being gifted flowers (sometimes Matt treats me to a beautiful bunch which is the sweetest!) and that’s so much more special than just buying them every week for no particular reason.

  1. Excess beauty products

Beauty has been my thing since before I can remember. I used to borrow steal my mum’s makeup, perfume and skincare when I was younger and began to hoard any beauty products I could get my hands on (like, starting with Lip Smackers lip balms!) from a young age. As I moved into my teens, I started experimenting with new products and brands, and found so much joy in buying all the products I could. This carried on to my early twenties but over the past year or so I’ve really started to find joy in the simplicity of a (somewhat) simple routine. I love to use the same products day-to-day, and also have a few extras that I use for pamper evenings which makes them feel even more special! My skin reacts SO easily to new products and sometimes I would wish I’d never tried X, Y or Z. Finding products that I really love and only trying new things on a necessity basis (like if I unexpectedly react to something I use, which can happen no matter how long you’ve used a product, or running out of a current product) has made much more sense to me, and my bank account definitely prefers it too!

  1. ‘Trendy’ clothing pieces

I stopped purchasing fast fashion items for the most part over a long time ago, as I really didn’t see why I should carry on purchasing stuff I didn’t need. The fast fashion impact on our economy and the environment was really brought home to me by Stacey Dooley’s Fashion’s Dirty Secrets documentary (a MUST watch!) and ever since I’ve been much more intentional with my clothing purchases. I do still buy from high street stores now and then but I purchase SO much less clothing than ever before, and when I do buy I really try to purchase items that are made with good – or at least ‘better’ – quality fabrics, minimal patterns and things that I’ll wear for years to come. This takes a little bit of time to find what works best for you, but it’s so worth thinking about and changing how you purchase! 

  1. Manicures/pedicures

I know many girls who adore getting their nails done and honestly I love having mine done too, but it’s just not a huge priority for me at this time in life. It’s a lot of money to justify getting my nails done every two weeks, and I’m really trying to save money to put towards things that are more important to me, like travelling and date nights! It’s something that I like to do for a treat here and there throughout the year so I tend to save getting my nails done only for special occasions like birthdays, trips or holidays. I generally paint my own toe nails (especially in the Summer when I’m wearing sandals all the time!) and I actually really enjoy the process of doing that too.

  1. Bottled water

I stopped purchasing small bottles of water (well let’s be real, usually it was Diet Coke) a few years back as it’s just SO terrible for the environment and generally not necessary. Of course there are exceptions; if I’m out shopping and I’m not going to be home for a while but need a drink I’ll obviously one but I do try to pick up a can instead of a bottle if possible. One of the best ways I’ve found to get around this has been to take my Chilly’s bottle out with me if I know I’m going to be out for a while. I take my bottle to work every day and out with me if I’m going out for a long time, it makes such a difference and helps me drink more water too!

  1. Movies

Anyone else kinda miss the run-to-Blockbuster days? Me too! These days between Netflix, Sky and Amazon Prime, Matt and I have absolutely no reason to purchase movies anymore. We do enjoy date nights at the movies at least once per month but that’s more the experience of going out for a date (and eating all the good food) not just the movie! I am however SO FREAKING GIDDY for Disney+ to come out in the UK… two more days to wait, friends! I’d rather pay for subscription services and have thousands of options instead of paying one time for one DVD or rental movie.

  1. Items just because they’re on sale

As a lover of reading blogs and watching Youtube vloggers I sometimes feel inundated with people showing me what they’re buying or what they’ve been given, and giving discount codes/sharing sales with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sale as much as anyone, but I really try not to purchase anything that I’m not already looking for. I actually started a list in my Notes app (that has over forty things in it right now, hahaha) of items I’d like to buy at some point; some of these are pretty specific like tan sandals for the Summer, some are just ‘one of those things’ like sweat pants if I see a pair that I like as I need to replace a few pairs of mine. I really do think bloggers as a whole sometimes unintentionally encourage consumerism, just yesterday I seen one of my favourite YouTuber’s sharing her brightly coloured leggings that were on sale for ‘less than $100!’ …they were $98. If something is on sale that you never had any intention of buying but now you ‘want’ it, you’re not saving any money whatsoever!

  1. Weekly magazines

I used to purchase SO MANY magazines, I probably bought at least three per week! I know for sure I didn’t read all of those magazines and some of them may have never even been opened. Not only is that so wasteful it’s really costly, magazines are expensive guys! I still purchase one monthly magazine (I’ve bought Cosmopolitan ever since I can remember and I actually really enjoy lounging in the tub reading it one night per month) but I have no desire to pick up magazines anymore. You can find all of the content and so much more online via blogs or websites, and reading online is also a much more sustainable way to consume that information. 

  1. Subscription boxes

As a beauty lover, I found subscription boxes were such a fun way for me to try new products. I was subscribed to Birchbox and Glossybox for years and whilst I do think it’s a great way to try new things, it’s also a way to over consume products. I started to get products mounting up and many brands/products weren’t things I enjoyed or liked therefore it really became a waste. I think the products also get quite repetitive, if there was a way to somewhat customise what you got in these boxes I think they’d make more sense to purchase.

I hope this post was fun for you guys to read, and maybe stirred up a few questions if you should still be buying X, Y or Z too? What are some things you used to purchase but no longer do? I’m really enjoy learning more about minimalism and I’m very grateful for the impact it’s had on my life already. Please share anything you no longer buy in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions on this topic! 

-G x

Sustainable Valentine’s Gifting

Hey, my little lovebugs! Happy month of luuuurve! I love *love* and everything about it, and I think it’s so fun to celebrate Valentine’s Day (even though it’s a kinda ridiculous marketer’s-dream holiday). However, I am not about to tell you buying tons of crap for your loved ones is the best way to go. It’s not! Just like birthdays and Christmas, I think it’s important to try and think of the recipient and what they would really like. Although you can never go wrong with chocolates, right?! We all know the typical ‘dinner and a movie’ date idea (dates are totally gifts too!), so I thought I’d throw in a few other suggestions…

*Disclaimer: of course the practicality and sustainability of any gift is subjective, so please take these ideas with a pinch of salt and tailor them if necessary! They are all things I personally/people I know would love. I’d love to hear other ideas in the comments section!*

Jewellery
One of my very favourite gifts to give and receive is jewellery. There are so many options for both men and women, you can pick something with meaning, you can pick something on a small budget or a large budget… there’s just so many options. My go-to jewellery brands to browse for women are Missoma, Monica Vinader, Aleyole, Daniel Wellington and Olivia Burton. For men I’d suggest looking at Monica Vinader, Ted Baker and Thomas Sabo. It’s also handy if you know if the recipient has a preference, for example I only wear silver jewellery because I’m allergic to gold! (I really don’t like gold jewellery either as I’m so fair skinned, so this works out pretty well hah).

A candle
Candles are my love language. Seriously! Candles set the mood for romantic evenings, make a room feel so much more welcoming and are honestly just an integral part of my morning/evening routine. I burn candles every single day, they just make me so happy! My very favourite luxury candle brands are Jo Malone, Diptyque and The White Company, although I love more budget friendly brands such as Waitrose, Dovecote (which are a local brand and I’m so happy to support them), and Aldi’s own brand just as much. If your significant other already has enough candles *cough, no such thing, cough* I think reed diffusers and room / linen / pillow sprays also make wonderful gifts.

An experience
I’m not exactly suggesting you sign yourself and your partner up for a life art drawing class – although each to their own – but doing something together that’s different than your norm is SO MUCH FUN. And, er, you get the benefit of the gift too. Whether you know your way around a kitchen or you’re likely to burn toast, taking a cooking class is a sure fire way to heat things up between the two of you! Maybe going to see a sports game is more up your street, or a trip to the theatre, or even a spa day. Whatever floats your boat, surprise your loved one and book something they wouldn’t be expecting. Almost two and half years ago Matt and I went to Go Ape and it was one of our best ever date days, I’d totally recommend that!

Fragrance
Another of my most favourite gifts to give and receive is a beautiful fragrance! Perfume is such an important part of getting ready for me, as I think it is for most people, and it’s such a beautiful gift. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, my favourite ever perfumes are Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt and MAC Turquatic, although I’ve been eying up Dior Joy for the longest time… maybe that will be my V Day present to myself! There are so many incredible men’s fragrances, although I think my personal favourites would be Bleu De Chanel (I bought this for Matt two years ago for Christmas and he treats it like it’s gold dust!), Mont Blanc Legend and Dior Sauvage. Don’t be afraid to buy someone a scent they’ve never tried before either – if you like it and it makes you think of that person I think that’s such a sweet gift!

Breakfast in bed
If there’s one day that practically screams ‘let’s have breakfast in bed’ I’m going to safely say it’s Valentine’s Day. Whether you go all out with poached egg and avocado on toast (my fave!) or stack pancakes up high drizzled with maple syrup and all the berries or Nutella (Matt’s fave!) there’s so many options and so many choices. If, like us, you’re working on Valentine’s Day even a cup of tea and an extra five minutes of snuggles in bed is a special treat that will be so appreciated. Whoever gets the short straw to make breakfast in bed just has to make sure they get a little something in return!

Flowers (or a plant!)
Plants are incredible gifts to give because they have actual health benefits! Plants help to purify the air, boost your mood and even can relieve stress or anxiety, and let’s be honest… they looks so dang pretty! You can even buy a cute plant pot to house the new plant in, which is a very thoughtful 2-in-1 gift. Flowers are a great gift for yourself too; I love to buy myself flowers and I don’t care if that’s not something people ‘normally’ do. Occasionally when I’m doing our weekly grocery shopping I’ll pick myself up a bunch or two, although I have to admit there’s something a little extra luxe about M&S’ flowers! You don’t have to spend a fortune either; most bunches are less than £10.00, and if you’re giving them as a gift delivering them personally is way more inexpensive fun than sending them by courier.

I hope this post gave you a few ideas if you and your partner are giving gifts this year. Maybe you’re celebrating galentine’s (on February 13th) with your best girlfriend and want to give them a little treat, there’s so many possibilities! Please just don’t feel stress about gift giving, or the day itself. You can always treat yourself… What is your favourite sustainable gift to give or receive? If you’re in a relationship, do you and your partner celebrate Valentine’s Day?

-G x

Getting Personal

Hi, loves! If you haven’t seen, I started a new series on my blog last week, you can read the first post here if you missed it! I’ve had lots more blog views and followers in the past few months, and it dawned on me that I talk about so many things assuming people know what or who I’m talking about. If you don’t know me IRL or haven’t been reading here very long, I thought it might be fun to share a few things about me. My first ever blog post – over a year ago now, what the actual heck!? – was actually a facts about me post. I hope I haven’t repeated anything (although I’m almost pretty sure I have, it’s so hard to think of facts about yourself, lol!)

1. I am so madly in love with my boyfriend. Matt is the best thing in my whole world, and I truly appreciate him more than I could ever physically explain. I’m so proud of him and he makes every day a thousand times better. He feels like home to me, and I’m so thankful we get to do life together. Also, I’m pretty sure everyone knows this because I talk about Matt in oh, I don’t know, EVERY post. Sorry not sorry.

2. I really like hot sunny days but I love colder rainy days just a little bit more. Especially those days where we can stay snuggled up in bed in the morning, they’re the best! I think this is why Autumn is my favourite season, because there’s so many crisp, cool, rainy days. I also check the weather a ridiculous amount of times each day, I’m kind of obsessed with it.

3. I am SO particular about how grocery bags are packed. A while ago Matt tried to put crisps on the bottom and ever since then he’s not allowed to even touch the bags whilst I’m packing HAHA.

4. I might be shooting myself in the foot with this one, because (obviously) I’m not perfect either. If I’m reading anything – a book, an email, a blog post, even Twitter – I spot typos and grammatical errors instantly and it’s all I can focus on. Super pedantic, I know.

5. I’m obsessed with being cosy! If we’re in the house for any length of time I’m wearing comfy clothes (ideally sweat pants/leggings and a big sweater, with my UGG slippers #fashun) and will have a blanket draped over me no matter the weather. Matt spends half of his evenings pulling his limbs outside of said blankets, lol! I have our candles lit every single night no matter what the weather is and that is the ultimate cosy vibes.

6. I love love love flowers! The way they look, the way they smell, the way they make me feel; they’re just such a happy thing to me. Peonies are my favourite. I know when Matt and I buy our house next year I really want to have a pretty bouquet in the kitchen at all times, whether or not we do or not will be a different matter… Also something that I’m pretty sure only Matt knows about me is that if I could pick any dream job, I’d love to own a florists! It would have a cute creamy pink front, with a little turquoise bench outside and lots of fresh white flowers in the window everyday. Maybe one day!

7. My favourite things to splurge on that are ‘just for me’ are new makeup items I’m buying on recommendation (usually from a blog/YouTube video), perfumes and candles. I’ve cut my spending back so much, but you really do have to treat yourself now and then, and I’d rather buy any of these things over clothes!

8. I LOVE Chinese food. Literally I could have just eaten a huge meal, and if someone suggested getting a takeaway I wouldn’t be able to help myself saying yes! Matt and I’s regular order is chicken chow mein, salt and pepper chilli chicken, fried rice and pork in kubo sauce (sometimes just the kubo sauce). We just share everything and it’s so. dang. good.

9. Travelling is my favourite thing in the world, and of course, Matt is my favourite travel partner. We’ve got so many places on our bucket list, some of which we’ve already ticked off, and it’s forever growing. Our top three right now are Lisbon, Banff, and the Caribbean. Super varied, I know! We’re really hoping we get to visit Lisbon later this year, I really hope we can find a trip that works for us.

10. I adore being at the beach, and as soon as I smell the ocean air I just feel so calm and relaxed. BUT I’m also terrified of being in the sea, unless I can see right to the bottom! 

The BEST vegetarian breakfast at Postbox, Ponteland!

11. Breakfast dates are my favourite kind of date, and I think it’s because I love the feeling of beginnings. When Matt and I go for breakfast dates it’s the start of our day together; we usually have fun plans for the rest of the day or we wing it (which any regular reader knows that means if we’re winging it, we’re heading to Costco). We don’t often get full days together – although we definitely do more now Matt’s working patterns have changed – but they’re still such a treat!

12. I do not deal well with change. I thrive on structure and I feel worried and panicked when things are out of ‘order’. It can cause me a lot of anxiety so to minimize that I try to plan things as much as possible. I’m very lucky that Matt is happy to go along with my planner ways, and I’m so grateful to him for that! Also, he’s the opposite of that and doesn’t plan anything, so in this instance he’s definitely the yin to my yang.

13. I’m addicted to Diet Coke, and I’ve kinda got some weird knock on effect that makes people around me love it too. It’s literally the best, I’d rather have it over any other pop!

14. I’ve watched Friends SO MANY TIMES. I’ve watched season one through ten all the way through four times, and if it’s ever on TV when we’re flicking through channels you can bet I’m gonna sit and watch that episode. And maybe the next one. It just makes me happy, and yes, it still makes me laugh so hard.

15. I’m obsessed with the stars, moon and all things space related. I really love learning about it, and looking up to a clear sky and seeing hundreds and thousands of stars makes my heart so happy. Matt and I have our own star in the Cetus constellation, which was a cute little Valentine’s gift for him last year.

16. When I was younger I begged and begged my mum and dad to buy me a see through purple phone a la Lizzie McGuire because I literally wanted to BE her. I got it, and my family still laugh about it now! I got a fringe cut (and called it bangs because that’s what she said, lol), I did all kinds of crazy weird crimping techniques with my hair, wore camis over t shirts and just thought she was the best thing on the planet. Why am I telling you this? I don’t really know 🙂

17. I grew up being kinda scared of dogs. My mum has always been a little worried being near them because she was bit by one when she was a child, and I think her worries passed on to me without her realising. I now LOVE dogs, and I can’t wait until Matt and I can get one, once we’re all set in our future house. We really want a ginger cockapoo called Storm!

18. I have *knocks on wood* never been stung by a bee or wasp and I’m SO terrified of them, in case it ever happens! I freak out when one comes near me, screaming and flapping like I’m about to be murdered. It scares me because if I am allergic I don’t know, and I just don’t want to be stung. It’s kind of a crazy fear. (But, I’m totally on board with the #savethebees movement…)

19. My claim to fame is meeting The Rock at a movie premiere in LA. ~so relatable~ HAHA I know that when my work colleagues read this they will laugh, it’s become a running joke because I mention it just about every chance I get. Like, once a week.

20. I am so crazy excitable about everything! I already talk very fast (I literally don’t know how to stop this. It’s bad, my Northern accent doesn’t help and when I meet new people I can see they’re trying to work out what I’m saying as I’m talking, lol). BUT when I’m excited about something, or have something to contribute to a conversation I panic and allofmywordscomeoutasone.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, did you learn anything new? Do you still want to read here…? Please say yes, lol! Humour me and tell me three random facts about you in the comments, I want to know more about you, too!

-G x

25 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 25

Hi, loves! This coming Friday, on May 17th, I turn 25 and I’m happy to say I’m way more cool about being a year older than I was when I turned 24. I think our twenties are a weird time; from being teenagers we had goals and aspirations for where we thought we’d be at *insert age* and we may not have met the goals we’d laid out for ourselves. I’m actually really okay with that this year, and I feel so blessed to be turning 25 feeling genuinely happier than I have for all of my twenty-something birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my last birthday and Matt and I had so much fun, but I was still so worried about being another year older. Back on my 21st birthday I didn’t even celebrate because I was really struggling with my anxiety and felt so rubbish, yet now at 25 I feel like a whole new person!

Even though I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been right now, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to say that! I have the most amazing boyfriend in the whole world (you might have heard me mention him from time to time…) and my family and friends are just the best I could wish for. I have a job, a car, lots of new goals I’m working towards and my blog is my little baby! If you had told 21 year old Gill that this would be her life at 25, she’d never have believed it. Anxiety has re-shaped my whole life over the past six years, and although it has been terrible in some parts, I have grown so much and I appreciate life in a whole new way.

1. Your mental health must always be your first priority. Only you can do this for yourself, and it’s so important to listen to what you need (and deserve). No matter what the situation is, if you don’t feel up to it you don’t need to do it and you’ll thank yourself later. We live in a generation where it’s not at all uncommon to suffer or know someone suffering with mental health problems, and it’s something we need to stop being ashamed of, and start speaking up about!

2. Being in love is the best feeling in the whole world. I feel beyond blessed to experience such a deep and meaningful love at such a young age, that some people don’t find in one thousand lifetimes. Matt is not just my boyfriend but my rock, my soulmate, my biggest supporter and my favourite person in the whole world. Falling asleep and waking up with the person you love every day is also hands down one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience, it still makes me so happy every single day/night. I’m so lucky to be in love with my best friend, and I never have or will take that for granted.

3. Moderation is key. This applies to most aspects of life really, but especially with food. Since I was super young I’ve had a bit of a weird relationship with food; I either binge on anything and everything I want, or I barely eat. Over the past few years I’ve found a much better balance; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and if I want to eat chocolate, sweets, ice cream (or whatever!) I’ll enjoy that too. I also have the worst sweet tooth, sometimes I literally can’t help myself!!

4. Learning to drive is one of the best thing you’ll ever do. Well, for me it was. I struggled and stressed my way through driving lessons, failing tests I wasn’t ready for and having panic attack after panic attack at even the thought of another lesson. I finally plucked up the courage to change instructors and breezed through my test (third time lucky!) and now, three and a half years on, I truly couldn’t imagine my life without being able to drive, or my cute little Viva!

5. Always buy the scented candle. Seriously. I am a connoisseur of candles, if I do say so myself, at the grand old age of (almost) twenty five, and if I like the candle I’m going to buy the candle. It makes me happy, and life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Which is more the point of this lesson: do what makes you happy. And buy the damn candle.

6. Always be kind, no matter how you feel that day. But do not expect every kind act to be reciprocated, or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Kindness is so so important, and we can all be a bit nicer from time to time! It’s just important to remember that you don’t know what anyone is going through, and everyone has their own problems to deal with. I delved into this topic way more in this post.

7. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve spent almost twenty five years trying to please everyone, and keep everyone around me happy. It’s a fact that you’re not going to gel with everyone you meet in life, and that’s okay. I really want to be less of a people pleaser, and it’s something I’m working on. I joked to Matt the other day that sometimes I feel like Amy Santiago with the Captain in Brooklyn 99 – desperate to be liked, lol!

8. Always pay yourself first out of your wages. Setting up a direct debit into my savings account has totally changed how I save money; you can’t miss money you didn’t ever see! Every month the day after I get paid, X amount goes straight into my savings account and is there for emergencies only. I have separate savings accounts for various things, but that *just incase* money is so important, and gives me peace of mind.

9. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. This is a hard lesson; to share and to learn, and it’s something I still struggle with now. I want to believe that everyone’s nice and life is sunshine and rainbows but I know that’s not true. If someone talks badly of you when you’re not around, makes you feel/look stupid in front of others or will happily throw you under the bus for their own gain then they’re not worth it.

10. Travelling feeds the soul. I’m not one for backpacking round Australia for three months – props to you, if you are – but I love to explore new places, and Matt is (obviously) my favorite travel partner. Whether it’s city breaks, day trips or week-long jaunts to a hot climate, I absolutely love to travel and I can’t wait to tick more and more places off our bucket list. We got to Croatia in five and a half weeks and I’m SO ready for it!

11. Never apologise for being curious. Asking questions is the way we learn, and it’s not something to be looked down on for. Ever. During my second week at my job back when I was 19 years old and super shy, I innocently asked the person teaching me why she did a few things so I could get a better understanding. She scoffed that I ask too many questions, laughed about me with our other colleagues, and made me feel so uncomfortable for being genuinely curious and wanting to learn. Her reaction sticks with me to this day, and I try to be as helpful as possible when teaching others as a result.

12. There’s a Disney quote for every occasion. There really is! My favourite is always going to be from the man himself: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

13. Having the confidence to walk into the unknown is a beautiful thing. Like starting this blog. I had wanted to create a blog for most of my adult life, as an avid reader/follower of so many, yet I lacked the confidence to do so. I wrote myself off as being not good enough, yet I love writing my blog more and more as the months go on. I’m so thankful for my platform, and even though it is just a hobby for me right now, I take it so seriously.

14. The quality of your social circle is much more important than the quantity. Treasure the people that always have your back and fill you with joy, love and happiness, they’re the good eggs! As you get older I think it’s so difficult to meet new people and make friends, that’s something that shocked me a little about getting older. I’ve said this thousands of times, but I know I’m so lucky that Matt is my boyfriend and my best friend, and I thank my lucky stars for that every single day. Quality over quantity, always!

15. Being open with your emotions does not make you weak. I’ve been told several times that I’m ‘too’ emotional. It’s true that I cry a lot (whether I’m happy or sad, ha!), I often lead with my heart and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. Being emotional means I’m very empathetic to others’ situations however, and that is not a bad quality to have!

16. Learning to cook is life changing. Matt and I flipping LOVE cooking. We love to try new recipes and methods, create our own meals and experiment with different ingredients and flavours. I feel sad I didn’t have an interest in cooking from a younger age and I wish I’d developed it sooner, but I’m so happy it’s something Matt and I are able to learn about together! I delved into how and why we meal plan in this post, and I’m excited to share some of our favourite recipes on the blog in the coming months.

17. Being kind to the planet is so important. I’m ashamed to admit that this is something I’ve only truly thought about over the past two or three years, but I’m proud of myself for making changes to my everyday life and doing what I can to make a difference. I wrote a post about small changes we can make in our everyday lives to live more sustainably here if you’d like to check that out for a little inspiration. I definitely want to write more about this topic on my blog!

18. Mums are always right. If I had have told my 14 year old self this I would have literally laughed in my own face, but it’s true. My mum and Matt’s mum (she’s my second mum, I’m so lucky!!) always know what to do or say no matter what the situation is, and they are strong, amazing women that I’m so lucky to look up to.

19. There’s no place like home. *clicks glittery red heels together* ha! For real, Matt and I are homebodies in every sense of the word. We love cosy nights at home; lighting our candles, cooking a lovely dinner and snuggling up to watch a show. (I’m so excited to do this in our own home, hopefully next year!) We also love our hometown more than anything – Newcastle is honestly the greatest place on earth to us. From where we live, we’re ten minutes away from the city centre in one direction, the beach another, and the countryside in another!

20. Friendships change and that’s okay. Sometimes friendships grow into a life-long bond, sometimes they mould into a weird new territory and sometimes they fizzle out all together. Take the good with the bad and be sure to appreciate the good memories you make as they will last way beyond any empty friendships. You learn so many lessons from your friendships, and I wish I knew this when I was a teenager.

21. Comparing your life to somebody else’s will never bring you joy. You were made to be you; a unique individual with their own thoughts, looks, style, opinions etc and that is a wonderful thing. Don’t feel envious of other people’s lives or circumstances, and put that focus back into yourself. Stay in your own lane and you’ll be so much happier for it.

22. You’ll turn into a grandma sooner than you think. Like I said above, Matt and I are homebodies. We’re those people that think we want to go out for date night, but when the day comes we’d rather stay in and cook a meal or grab a takeaway. We also would rather get an early night in so we can head out early in the morning for breakfast and ‘a wander’ (potentially around a garden centre…). We buy clothes thinking about the purpose and/or longevity. If we’re in the house you can pretty much guarantee I have a blanket draped over me. We’re literally turning into our grandparents more and more as the days roll on and we’re okay with that, just someone please stop me if you see me going in for a blue rinse!

23. Standing up for what you believe can be hard, but always worth it. I hate confrontation. I hate disagreements. I hate arguments. BUT there is always a way to get your point across in a level-headed, relaxed way, and it doesn’t need to cause uproar. Being respectful is the main thing; it’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, stand up for your beliefs or voice your thoughts, and it’s something I really need to do more often.

24. Less truly is more. After the rise of minimalism, sustainability and Marie Kondo, we all felt a bit embarrassed about the amount of crap we’d accumulated, right? Since having several clear outs – tbh, Matt and I really need another – I’m very happy living with less and truly loving what I own. I think about this with everything I buy, and it means I’m way more clever about what is worth the purchase. Does *insert item* spark joy? Will I get use out of *insert item*? Material items will not bring you happiness, no matter how hard you try to make them.

25. Making ‘me time’ is so important. There’s so much more to self care than just the beauty aspect, but I swear treating yourself to pamper evening at least once per week will make your whole life feel different. Go all out with a face mask, hair mask, full body scrub and a Lush bath bomb. Book yourself in for regular salon appointments to keep your hair looking pretty, and indulge in getting your nails done now and then. When you look good you feel good, and I really appreciate ‘me time’.

Thank you so much for reading, it truly means the world to me! I’m taking a little of my own advice from this post, and for the first time on my blog, there won’t be a new post up on Sunday. I’m SO SAD saying that, but I want to enjoy my birthday weekend with Matt and not have to worry about editing, scheduling or keeping up with my new post, I hope you understand! Can you relate with any of the lessons I mentioned in this post? What’s the most important things you’ve learned so far in life? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back on Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend!

-G x

How To Become A Morning Person This Spring

Hi, loves!

I’ve always loved the idea of being a morning person. A sense of getting up when the birds begin chirping, being up and about roaming around before others have even opened their eyes, and just getting started on the day from the crack of dawn. My boyfriend thrives in the mornings, and I had just resided to it not being for me. He’s always full of the joys of Spring (appropriate, right?) the second his eyes open, and despises the fact I snooze our alarm at least twice every morning. Well, I used to!

Over the past few months I’ve been working so hard to become a morning person, to enjoy early mornings and to look forward to them, instead of dreading them. There’s a few things that have worked wonders to change my mindset, and I’m now officially one of those people. It’s actually pretty great, and I can’t stop banging on about it to my friends. Also, it means you get to eat more delicious food. Breakfast really IS the best meal of the day!

Prepare your clothes/bag/food etc the night before. I used to do this way back when I was in school, and I felt great pleasure in having my uniform hanging on the front of my wardrobe door, my Jane Norman bag filled to the brim with crap I didn’t need (textbooks? what are those?) and my makeup set out and ready to go. When I went to college, I started to go for the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-possibly-still-hungover look more often than not, and my eagerness to be prepared for the day ahead went down the drain. Then, I started the world of work, and I just never got into a rhythm that worked for me. Fast forward to 2019: after almost seven years in the working world, I’ve got it down. My work bag is always ready to go, Matt and I’s clothes are ironed and hanging up on our wardrobe door before our heads hit our pillows, and our lunches are prepared for the next day. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and sometimes I still even place my makeup products on my dressing table, ready to use when I’m bleary eyed and fighting the urge to jump back into bed for another cuddle!

Go to bed a reasonable time. It’s probably the most obvious thing to point out, but it’s for good reason. Waking up early and feeling ready to take on the day, are never going to go hand-in-hand if you’re falling asleep mid-way through a movie you decided you just had to watch at 11pm. Matt and I are such homebodies – we love our cosy evening routine so much – and quite honestly we’re very rarely awake at 11pm! That is the latest of nights for us, specifically reserved for weekends when Matt’s off work. In our twenties and living the high life. We’re all different, but scientists believe the optimum number of hours we should sleep lands between the six to eight hour mark, and I have to say for us, I agree. If we get less than seven hours we’re a little cranky, and counting down to having an early night from the second our alarm goes off. I think the best way to tweak this is to try to go to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each day, gradually working up to an hour or hour and a half earlier, and seeing how you feel getting up at the same time or earlier in the mornings.

Stop pressing snooze. Seriously. I admit it: I’m a fan of the snooze button. I used to religiously set alarms for an hour (or sometimes two) before we were going to get up just so I could enjoy snuggling back in and falling asleep again. I know. Matt hated it but never complained, bless him! You’ll be glad to know I’ve finally relaxed on the super early alarms. I still set our alarm a tad earlier than we need to get up to get ready for the day ahead, but generally by a much more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes. This gives us a little time to wake up, snuggle in with each other and talk about our sleep and the day ahead. *Cue lots of me telling Matt he said something super cute but he was fast asleep and has no recollection. And I’m probably complaining about him stealing all the covers. He does it every night!* In hindsight, I never actually felt better from snoozing our alarm either, if anything it made me more tired and grumpy, because I would fall back asleep then jump awake, feeling more startled every time.

Create a routine. I love routines. Love, love, love them. That will be no surprise to any regular readers, I think they just make life so much more simple! Due to Matt’s varying shifts throughout the week, our mornings are a little different each day, but that actually makes things a little easier for me, I think. Some days we’re up at 6am, and he’s out of the house around half an hour later. On those mornings I love to write and edit upcoming blog posts and/or squeeze in a thirty minute yoga session before I have to get ready for work. The days we get to snooze a little longer are when I’m out of the house first (much later at around 8.30am), and they’re generally reserved for little lie ins and cups of tea in bed. Both glorious in their own way! Of course, weekends are a whole different ball game (if Matt is off work, that is) – it’s our time to sleep a little longer and just move at a slower pace. Also, I find my days start so much better if I don’t start to browse social media the second I turn off the alarm. I’m obviously not perfect and I do usually catch up on my chosen platform (Instagram, ALWAYS!) before I leave the house, but it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up anymore. Matt and I try so hard to not look at our phones whilst we’re lying in bed in the morning, otherwise it makes us want to stay there for at least another twenty minutes! It’s still a work in progress, but little steps climb mountains. Or something like that.

Give yourself things to look forward to. It’s almost like bribing yourself, but having something in the morning to get up for is going to make you want to do it. I don’t really need to do this any more, but in the early days of trying to get up earlier and enjoy it, I really did need all of the motivation I could get! Whether it was the promise of a yoga session, an extra twenty minutes to binge-watch vlogs whilst I got ready (look no further than Emma Hill or The Anna Edit, they’re a dream) or cups of tea in bed, these little things became a reason to get up and get on with the day.

Let in the light and open the windows. Hallelujah, it’s no longer like the dead of night when it’s time to get up! Since mid-February when the mornings started getting warmer and lighter, my mood rose so quickly. We all know getting up when it’s dark and cold outside is ten times harder, so putting ourselves into new routines throughout the Spring and Summer gives us a better shot of carrying it on throughout the colder months too. Matt and I sleep with the window open every night (although, not too open. A few weeks ago, our next door neighbour’s cat let himself in during the middle of the night, plonked his bum on our bedside table and DRANK OUR GLASS OF WATER. guys. IT DRANK FROM THE GLASS. I woke up to the sound of his tongue lapping it up and screamed until Matt woke up. I sh*t you not. Also, we are not cat people hahaha). Anyway, I digress, but waking up to a light chill in the room is actually quite nice, and I find it weirdly motivating. It’s not freezing cold, so I find it just wakes me up a little more. Also, any excuse to wear bae’s dressing gown while I get ready, it’s so much cosier than mine!

Experiment with delicious breakfasts. Let’s be honest, food is the best part of everyone’s day, and in my opinion breakfast food just pips anything else to the top of the list. If you have time for homemade pancakes and berries covered in syrup then more power to you, but I’m thinking the quick, easy options are the best to go for in the mornings before work. Think avocado toast, oatmeal, Special K (I’m having a bit of a love affair with that right now!) or smoothies packed with all the goodies. If there’s one thing that’s sure to get me excited about getting up it’s food! Also, not to sound like your grandma, but breakfast is so important. Even if you’re running super late and barely have time to catch your breath, at least grab a banana or protein bar, you’ll thank me for it when the 11am slump doesn’t arrive!

I hope this post helped to give you a little inspiration, or maybe a few laughs at least! Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy getting up and getting on with your day? Please let me know your tips in the comments below!

-G x

Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of Spring, beautiful people!

I am so excited for the new season, and to finally say goodbye to Winter! It’s weird, we definitely didn’t have a super cold Winter like we have in past years, but it seemed to last so long, I feel like I’ve been anticipating Spring since January. Although most of our Winter was pretty warm, this past weekend we woke up to snow, I was not impressed haha.

Spring is a season of new beginnings, blossoming flowers and warmer weather, and I think this year it’s going to be one of my favourite seasons. Matt and I already have so much planned and it’s the best feeling to have exciting things to look forward to. I’ve been feeling very reflective over the past few days, and after having something unfortunate happen I’ve been truly counting my blessings more than ever. I feel so lucky for what I have; an amazing boyfriend that I love more than life itself, a solid family and friend network, a job that I enjoy, my blog, car and so much more. I’m feeling happy and ready for a fresh new season to bring a little more joy!

I shared Matt and I’s Winter Bucket List in this post, and we ticked off so many of our items despite being super busy, and had so much fun throughout Winter! I recieved messages from people saying they enjoyed seeing what we had planned and took some ideas from what we wanted to do, so I’ve decided this will definitely be a post that is updated for every season this year. Unfortunately we didn’t get to squeeze in a weekend getaway to Glasgow – we’re hoping to this season instead – but we did book our Summer holiday and we’re heading to Croatia in June, we’re so excited! We also went to five NUFC games (and we won most of them), took a few day trips up North, explored Northumberland and Newcastle SO MUCH, and we went for lots of breakfast dates and beach walks. We had lots of fun date nights – some with our friends, and just spent lots of quality time together. We also got to see my family who live in Alaska for the first time in almost five years, it’s so much better to see each other in person instead of FaceTime-ing. We went for dinner with them this week and had such a lovely evening! A few of the things we didn’t get round to in the Winter may have made their way into things we hope to do this Spring…

Explore more of Northumberland during day trips
Spring-clean our wardrobes/lives (again) Marie Kondo style
Enjoy a staycation at Hotel du Vin in Newcastle
Go for more breakfast or brunch dates
Make s’mores on a chilly Spring evening
Go to a drive-in movie
Spend a weekend away in Glasgow
Celebrate bank holidays the way we always do – date night at one of our favourite restaurants!
Start my new blog series. It’s been a while in the making but I’m so excited
Enjoy a picnic in the sun
Use up beauty products before I buy anything new to replace it. I’m officially on a ‘Beauty No Buy’ for Spring… UHOH
Go to Alwnick Gardens during cherry blossom season
Make/create new recipes together for warmer weather
Buy fresh vegetables from a farmers market for the week
Spend as many weekend mornings as possible walking along the beach
Shoot a Spring fashion blog post (super nervous about this one!)
Go to the Lake District
Squeeze in all of the date nights – this will be listed for every season!
Book a city break to Lisbon
Feel comfortable wearing shorts in England as it gets warmer. Matt has no problem with this one, he’s been wearing shorts since February HAHA
Celebrate Matt and I’s birthdays – we both turn 25 this season!
Go to more NUFC games
Buy all the bunches of beautiful peonies – prepare to see them in every blog photo
Change up my hair colour/style a little (I’m thinking coppery, rich brown tones)
Play mini-golf
Spend an afternoon at The Garage Spa
Write more ‘think pieces’ for my blog
Pick fresh fruits at a nearby farm
Begin shopping for our holiday to Croatia
Plant new flowers in my grandma’s garden for her
Take a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before

Thank you so much for reading! What are you hoping to do this season? Are you as excited as I am for Spring?

-G x

How I Plan My Week

Hi, loves!

Way back in my Winter Bucket List post I asked if you would like to see how I plan my week, and received tons of responses saying yes, please! A little background… I thrive off routine, plans and things being in order. I can’t quite explain why, but knowing what my week is going to look like brings me so much joy, and also helps my anxious mind to rest a little. I fret about everything I can possibly think of (it’s SO MUCH FUN) so taking control of things that I can makes me calmer. I’m sure for some people I probably plan a little too much and with too much detail, but you can easily adapt anything in this post to work better for you. It’s really trial and error, and I hope my post gives you a little inspiration and insight into how I plan. (Also, it’s so not too late to buy a 2019 planner – you’ve still got best part of 9 months to use it)! Any excuse for new stationery.

Write down the important things. If you work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, chances are that’s not something you’re likely to forget and it doesn’t need to be recorded every day. I generally write very little to do with work in my planner as I use notepads and my work calendar whilst I’m at my desk for anything important, like a meeting or deadline. If your hours change, or you are self employed and have a little more flexibility in your days, then this would be the kind of thing I would include. Matt works various shifts throughout the week, so I write his hours down – this also helps as we’re currently living between our parents houses (whilst saving for our first home) and we can plan where is easier to be that night, based on his shifts. I always plan my blog posts in my planner, which helps me SO much to make sure everything is ready to go. Personal appointments, date nights, errands and plans with our friends are things I always like to write down, including the time and place, so I don’t have to check back through texts or rely on my brain to remember everything.

Stick to the ‘rule of threes’ with your to-do list. I learned this from many years of reading Anna‘s blog posts and watching her YouTube videos, and it works so well for me. If I set myself a daily to-do list of 20 things, I’d literally do none of them. Breaking everything down, into the three most important tasks, helps me to prioritise and not feel overwhelmed. I tend to number tasks from 1 to 3 in order of importance, and I always tick them off once complete – sometimes if I’m having one of those days I will include unimportant things, like changing our sheets and doing a deep clean. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Set weekly and/or monthly goals and review them regularly. If you’re a regular reader, it’ll be no surprise that setting goals is my kinda thing. I love to have something to work towards, and it’s the best way I find to motivate myself. I thrive off working towards goals, especially with my blog and it helps a lot when I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a rut. I think it’s a great way to track progress and keep yourself accountable, and you can always change your goals as and when you need to. Setting monthly goals works best for me, and if I can’t/don’t achieve something in the month I’d like to, I can always look at my objectives and re-schedule for the next month. It’s important to only use your goals as a guide, not as a checklist for what you must do in a specific timeframe, life doesn’t work that way!

Use your space to write notes, make lists, check finances and plan your meals. I love writing lists and I love checking things off even more! I definitely benefit from having things written down infront of me instead of floating about in my head, and as I check my planner (almost) every day it’s a good reminder to do things. I meal plan in my planner every week and since doing so we have no waste, we enjoy our meals more because they’re never just thrown together, and we are never stuck for ideas. We rotate the same approximate twenty recipes, and when we feel like making something new I ususally browse Pinterest, Instagram and Tesco’s online recipe book. I also write our shopping list out each week to make sure we have what we need for each night, and we buy food two to three times per week as we always need fresh ingredients! I’m hoping to write a post in the next few weeks detailing our meals for a week as I’ve had a few comments saying people would like to see that.

Make adjustments as and when required. The one downside of writing in pen, is that making ammendments sometimes looks a little messy. I do however have no shame in using my Tippex mouse (life changing, I promise you!) to change anything I need to, and I always try to make those changes as soon as possible so I don’t forget. Usually it’s things like times or dates of an appointment or Matt’s shifts (which also sometimes changes our meal plan(s) for the day/week). Life is always going to change around you and your plans are often not going to be exactly as you first thought, and that’s okay!

Make your planner work for you. Apologies if that sounds like the beginning of a bad speech at a multi-level marketing seminar. But, hear me out. The whole point of planning out your week/month/year is that it gives you an idea of what your schedule looks like, and also makes sure you don’t miss anything important. If birthdays and anniversaries are something you’re likely to forget I’d highly recommend setting up your planner for half an hour and adding in any important dates. Once it’s done it’s done for a whole year! I also strongly advise writing down any quotes that stick with you, or things you can record to motivate yourself if you’re having one of those days/weeks. I love to re-read pages from The Secret any time I need a little boost, and I’d advise anyone who wants a little more positivity in their lives to pick it up too! For anyone in that situation right now, my sweet friend Grace sent the below illustration to me when I was feeling down a little while ago, and it made me smile so much. Isn’t it so cute?! (Except, on one of those days a Lush bath is the BEST thing to boost my mood, followed by cuddles with Matthew, obvs!)

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know if you found any of my tips helpful? Do you have any tips for how you plan? Please let me know, I love learning from other people!

-G x

Proving To Myself That The Little Things Make A Big Difference

Hi loves, happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is shorter than most, but that’s okay, because the little things make the biggest difference. See what I did there? I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps recently, and I’ve had to work extra hard to see the good in each day. (Please see this post for a little more perspective, it happens to the best of us, right?!) For over a week I felt like the second I got out of bed in the morning I was already on a countdown to getting back into it that night. Now, of course being snuggled with Matt is always going to be my ultimate happy place and heading off to work isn’t going to be the happiest part of my day, but it’s so draining to have no energy, and to feel like each day is a struggle in itself.

I just had a lot of those days, nothing was specifically wrong, but I set myself a task to make note of random things through the day that made me smile. Some of these are generic things that happen every day and some are random and uncommon. I’m a big believer in voicing gratitude and showing appreciation, and I hope this post helps to remind others there’s always good in each day. Here’s a little summary of the little things that made me smile last week – there obviously were tons of little things, I just tried to focus on things that people may find relatable (minus the Dwayne Johnson story)…

M O N D A Y

-Matt and I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual and spent the morning snuggling and chatting
-It was super sunny and warm
-Every traffic light on the way to work was green (that’s EIGHT of them)
-I got the cutest phone call from Matthew
-We spent a fun night with my second family, and made the best enchiladas for dinner
-I was having a good skin day
-Matt took some blog photos for me and we had such a giggle
-I found a new app to edit the photos and was SO happy with the results, I’m probably going to use it for most posts from now on
-Forehead kisses. ‘Nuff said
-Brendan from Coach Trip just being a little sweetie

T U E S D A Y

-By the time I’d got to work (like ten minutes after leaving him) Matt sent me the cutest text that made me so happy I cried
-One of my co-workers did something really sweet for another co-worker
-I drove home from work through the most beautiful, vibrant sunset that reminded me of being in Kos with my love
-I had a bubble bath and read my current book (Still Me by Jojo Moyes, I’m OBSESSED)
-The smell of my DW Home Tulip Takeover candle
-I sent Jessy a cute little quote to make her smile
-I timed dinner perfectly for Matt coming home from work, and was just about to serve as he walked through the door
-We snuggled up to watch more Coach Trip and it made us SO EXCITED for Summer

W E D N E S D A Y

-I showed Matt the Southwest flight attendant video this morning (he’s been living under a rock, clearly) and felt all the warm fuzzy’s at how funny and sweet the lady is
-I ate an iced split from Gregg’s for the first time in years
-I squeezed in an hour’s yoga before a long hot bubble bath and I’m not sure which felt better
-My post-yoga messy bun looked better than one I’d tried to make look good for twenty minutes (okay, this is bittersweet)
-I managed to grab the bits I wanted from the Zoella X Colourpop collaboration (more on that on the blog once it arrives!), plus a highlighter and lipgloss I’ve been eyeing up for ages
-Matt brought me home a new MacBook charger because mine was completely broken. The £80.00 price tag didn’t make me so happy LOL
-We had picky tea, which meant minimal effort and very full tummies before we fell into bed

He makes me so happy 🙂

T H U R S D A Y

-Matt and I had time to have a cup of tea together
-I nailed the rap from You’re Welcome on the way to work. Dwayne Johnson would have been PROUD… side note I met Dwayne Johnson. Everyone I’ve ever met for three seconds or less has probably heard this story, but we were in LA and he was at his movie premier and, yeah, we’re basically besties ~so casual~ ~so relatable~
-I ate Special K with Alpro Almond Coconut milk (which is my current breakfast of choice at work – highly recommend), but I was so hungry it tasted better than ever
-I was coming up to traffic on my way home from work, so I put my hazards on to warn the car behind me and then he put his hazards on to warn the car behind him. I love when this happens, weirdest feeling of accomplishment ever HAHA
-I went to my second home straight from work and was so happy to catch up with Matt’s parents, I hadn’t seen them for two days which felt like forever
-Matt and I made our plans for the weekend which always makes me super excited
-We also made the best pasta together and I want to eat it RIGHT NOW

F R I D A Y

-We woke up to the sound of birds chirping
-The smell of my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer made me feel like I was on holiday
-I had the weekend feeling driving to work, knowing I’d be heading home for a fun weekend in eight hours
-It was my company’s year-end, so we all had lunch together and our MD gave a little speech in the boardroom about us all doing a great job
-Anna’s new series, Everyday March, started on her Youtube Channel
-Matt and I went to Nando’s for dinner for the first time in so long
-At Nando’s, we bumped into my lovely friend Grace and her boyfriend. We only seen them for a short time as they were meeting friends but she was so smiley and sweet it literally made my day
-Matt and I snuggled up when we got home with glasses of our fave Whitney Neill gin (rhubarb and ginger, obvs) and lemonade
-Cry laughing with bae

S A T U R D A Y

-We got to have a lie in (!!!)
-The smell of my new Spring candle burning whilst we got ready
-We went for a breakfast date at a new place – our favourite thing to do on a weekend morning – it was SO good
-I had a crepe filled with bananas and Nutella. No explanation needed on why this made me happy. NUTELLA
-I popped into Blue Lotus (the only place I’d go for piercings) to see if they could squeeze me in but they were fully booked, however I got a new earring and we got to see Nici for the first time in ages – the sweetest lady who works there. She’s such a breath of fresh air
-The beautiful flowers outside Fenwick’s
-I finally got some extra ideas on what else to buy Matt for his birthday (he’s so hard to buy for because he buys whatever he wants for himself!)
-We had a super chilled evening watching our shows and eating Domino’s. Perfect

S U N D A Y

-Matt was so full of energy dancing around from the second he got out of bed, which gave me a burst of energy (and a giggle at his expense, he’s so cute)
-He went to play golf with the boys for the morning, so I spent a little time beginning to write up this post, with my candles burning and Himalayan pink salt lamp on, feeling like I really had my life together. I don’t, lol
-I totally zoned out and enjoyed my yoga session so much
-I had a Lush bath at 11am on a Sunday morning, just because
-Matt and I went for a late dinner at one of our fave local pubs
-After I’d showered we did face masks together and it’s literally one of my favourite things
-I received an overwhelming amount of love about today’s post My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine (thank you so much!)
-My new Sleepy moisturiser from Lush
-It was raining so hard when we went to bed, all the cosy feels

I hope you guys enjoyed this personal, almost Dear Diary style post – it’s certainly something different than what I’d usually post. Do you need to remind yourself to see the little things sometimes? What were the little things that made you smile today?

-G x