Road Trip Essentials

Happy, happy Sunday, loves! As this post goes live Matt and I will be in Manchester for a family re-union, we’re so excited! My mum is from Manchester and most of her side of our family still live down there, so we’re all getting together for the first time in a LONG time. My great aunt and uncle are also visiting from Canada and I haven’t seen them in around four years! The rest of our family from up North are headed down a day earlier than us, because Matt was working we couldn’t go until Sunday. We’re happy though because we get to make the most of a cosy Saturday evening at home then leave early on Sunday morning. Fingers crossed we’ll miss most of the bank holiday traffic and get there pretty quickly!

As I mentioned briefly at the end of this post, Matt goes away for a whole week from next Sunday *sob sob* so we’re making sure to enjoy every second we’ve got together before he goes! I’m going to miss him like CRAZY but I’m so grateful we have a fun trip to look forward to before he leaves. I know he’s going to have so much fun being away but I literally feel like my right arm is missing when he’s not around! Especially going to sleep and waking up without him, it’s so rare we’re apart at night and it’s the worst feeling. I’m really excited for him to have an adventure, but I’m already (not so) secretly counting down to picking him up from the airport on his return… sssshh! Literally me right now:

BUT back to the present: we’re even more excited for this weekend because we’ve got tickets for the Manchester United Legends vs Bayern Munich Legends game and my mum, brother and uncle are tagging along too! Everyone else is sitting it out and enjoying being with family, but I know we’ll have a great time at the game. I can’t wait to see David Beckham up close! Matt and I did a stadium tour of Old Trafford back in December – I’m linking my photo diary from that trip here!

Road trips are seriously one of Matt and I’s favourite things, and whether it’s for a day trip or a weekend getaway we are pros when it comes to knowing what we need, and what we don’t. I absolutely love packing, especially for weekend breaks! There is however so many things we’ve found are good to have on hand whilst travelling that you don’t want stuck in your suitcase whilst on a motorway. I also love travelling by car because there’s no weight limits, and you can bring whatever the heck you like!

Aside from what to take with you, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks we put into practice for each road trip:
1. Use Waze to navigate your journey, it will be your best friend. This free app is seriously the best, and I never see people talking about it! You can add your destination, set the time you ideally want to arrive and it will tell you exactly what time you need to leave. It warns you of any upcoming traffic or roadworks, and advises the best places to detour or stop.
2. Check your tyres, screen wash and oil before you set off to give you peace of mind. You definitely don’t want your journey to be interrupted by issues with your car, so making the necessary checks and alterations alleviates most of this worry. We’re not used to driving super long distances in England (literally you can drive from the most Northern point to the most Southern point in less than ten hours) but it’s still so important to be safe and make those checks.
3. Carry cash for any service station stops. Matt and I are so bad for paying for most items on our debit card whether we’re buying groceries or clothes, but I’m trying to make a concious effort to carry – and use – cash on a more regular basis. We once stopped at an M&S in a service station and their card machines were down, all I wanted was a pot of fresh pineapple but we didn’t have any cash, learn from my mistakes!
4. Dress comfy. If you’re sitting in a car for a long time you do NOT want to be wearing jeans. Unless you’re like Matt who finds jeans ‘comfy’ but he’s just weird and if that’s you, you shouldn’t admit it! Ha, but for real I can’t stand sitting around in jeans! To travel for a while I typically wear leggings, trainers/comfy sandals and a t shirt, with a sweater or denim jacket to throw on if I get chilly. Also, if you’re the passenger and you’ll be taking your shoes off (the only way to travel in my opinion) make sure to take fluffy socks!
5. Pack your patience. Seriously, the chances of a slight detour or traffic at some point during your journey is pretty high, and you don’t want to spend your travelling time stressed out or speeding to make up lost time. Apps like Waze really help out here, but sometimes even stopping to grab a breakfast muffin or re-joining the motorway after stopping off can be a headache. Stay calm, and stay safe!

Just to be transparent: the photos of me in this post were actually taken in Matt’s car, not mine! We were coming home one evening last week and the light was so good we decided to take the opportunity to take pictures there and then! #doingitfortheblog. So, we have a full tank of diesel and a clean car, I’ve made a snack run and our suitcases are filled to the brim. (Well, mine is…) so let’s get into the essentials for our road trip:

The must-have beauty bits
I definitely don’t need my skincare or haircare products, makeup bag or toiletries whilst we’re on the road, so they are safe inside my suitcase in the boot. There are a few things I would always keep in my bag whether we were out for the day/night or I was at work, and these are the things I want in the front seat with me! I have to take lip balm wherever I go (even like… downstairs, lol) so that is a must. I’ve packed two for this trip – Glossier Balm Dot Com and Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear; they’re both super nourishing and hydrating, and I just like to have options! Keeping my hands soft is just as important, and my favourite cherry blossom hand cream from L’Occitaine is a must. The last things I like to keep near me are the products I reach for just before we arrive at our destination; my face powder, tangle teezer (this one is so much cuter than mine), my favourite travel sized perfume and my current favourite lip gloss in the shade Hot Toddy. We’re heading straight to my aunt’s house and I want to look somewhat ‘put together’ after a long drive!

A good soundtrack
When you’re going to be in a car for X amount of hours, you really need good entertainment! Thankfully Matt and I are easily entertained, and could happily talk the whole drive there (and back) without any distraction from music or podcasts, but we actually really enjoy listening to both. I’ve saved my Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed podcast from Friday to listen to on the drive down – it’s my favourite EVER podcast and Matt really enjoys it too! Seriously Rosie and Chris are freaking hilarious; I wrote about it a lot more in this post. We’ll also listen to one or two Small Town Murder podcasts, James and Jimmy are so funny and if you’re a fan of true crime (told in a comedic way) this is the podcast for you. I’m pretty sure I’ll add a little Ed Sheeran and Disney songs into the mix at some point too – perks of riding shotgun is you get to make all the music decisions, sorry babe! Also we love the pre-made Spotify playlists (Cheesy Hits, Feel Good Friday and Road Trip Sing Along Songs are our favourite), I can hardly wait for us to hit the open road and sing stupidly loud! 

A blanket
LOL so hear me out on this one, I promise I’m not like a three year old. It may be Spring on the calendar but that doesn’t mean we have Spring weather, in fact it’s been completely all over the place recently. The mornings and evenings are cool, and some days have been absolutely freezing! I’m also one of those super annoying people that’s always cold even when it’s hot and humid, and Matt is pretty much always hot. Having a blanket for the journey means he can have the air con blasting but I’m still toasty and cosy! I even have a specific car blanket – the multi coloured one pictured above – that I got in Florida when I was 12 (yes I was cold in Florida…) This blanket has been half way around the world with me so many times and I absolutely love it, it’s the perfect travelling companion! Except for Matt, of course. As mentioned above, I also always pack fluffy socks and wear a comfy sweater or hoodie, I just want to be warm and comfortable!

iPhone charger
No matter how we are travelling or how far we’re going, a phone charger is a MUST for any journey. Battery packs are great and something I pretty much always keep in my bag, but if Matt or I wanted to charge our phone whilst on the road we’d more than likely plug it into the car USB port. Keep your cables up front so you don’t have to stop at a service station and root around in your suitcase mid-trip, I may be speaking from experience… you’ll thank me later!

Drinks and snacks
The best part of a road trip is 100% snacks, right?! We’re fully stocked up on the essentials and for us that’s almost all junk food. Sorry not sorry. I really wanted to take bananas (I’m obsessed with them right now, I don’t know why!) but the thought of the peel sitting in the car for a few hours makes me feel sick. So I guess I’ll have to eat chocolate instead, ha! As we’re heading down super early on Sunday morning we’ll probably eat very little of what we’re taking, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy when we’re at the hotel and for the trip back up North! We’ve got plenty of Diet Coke, water, chips and dip, Cadbury’s chocolate buttons, Propercorn coconut and vanilla popcorn, strawberry Starbursts and our favourite Kind bars just incase we’re stuck between meals! Also you can’t forget hand sanitizer or wipes, I never leave the house without my pocketbac, it comes in SO handy and Matt is always borrowing it too. I find wet wipes are a necessity when you’re travelling no matter what you need them for, and these ones from Cheeky Panda are biodegradable so they’re good for the environment!

Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a necessity when heading out on a road trip for passengers and the driver, and we’re being hopeful we’ll actually get lots of sun this weekend! The sunglasses I tend wear most are from Quay and they’re my absolute favourite; I always pick them over my Raybans, they’re so light on my face and go with any outfit! They were also super inexpensive compared to so many sunglasses brands, definitely keep your eye out for deals coming into the Summer months. Eye. Get it?! I wear sunglasses on my head as a ‘hairstyle’ continuously throughout Spring and Summer, and it’s one of my favourite looks – I love having my hair down but just hate it being in my face. 

Reading material
I don’t always feel comfortable reading in the car, it completely depends on how I feel that day. For the most part, Matt and I will be talking, listening to podcasts and singing (badly) to our Spotify playlists, but I like to have options. I just finished the most amazing book (Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid – it’s so so good guys! There’ll be lots more about it on the blog this coming Wednesday). I picked up If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon and although I’ve only read a few chapters, I’m really enjoying it so far! I also grabbed my latest issue of Cosmopolitan for good measure, and Matt has his copy of Four Four Two in case we have a little downtime at the hotel in the evening or following morning.

A rubbish bin
Seriously, how many times have you been on a road trip and had nowhere to put all of your rubbish?! Cans of pop, crisp packets and chocolate wrappers always end up stuffed in the side of the car doors for us, but this trip I wasn’t having it. I picked up this pop-up rubbish bin from eBay (Mrs Hinch has got me browsing eBay like no tomorrow!) that we can keep in the back so we don’t need to worry about finding all of our rubbish when we get to our destination! 

Re-usable bottles 
Chances are we’ll be stopping off at a Starbucks at least once on the way there and on the way back (and there’s one super close to our hotel, I can’t wait for a morning Starbs as that’s a complete luxury for us, we don’t live near one!) but I’m really trying not to buy one-use cups as much as I can help it. My Chilly’s bottle is my new favourite thing! The colour is perfect, and I’m already getting so much use out of it. I’ll fill it with water before we set off, and re-fill along the way. I’m trying to convince Matt that he needs one too! I’ve also had a Kate Spade thermal mug for so long and although I use it more in the Autumn and Winter months, I’ll almost definitely be grabbing a hot chocolate or vanilla chai in the morning!

Umbrella and raincoats
Like I said, it may be Spring but you just never know what weather to expect in England. As well as my obsession with the Co-Op (lol, more context in this post) I’m kind of obsessed with looking at the weather, Matt and our families are always joking about me being a weather reporter LOL. But, the forecast is almost always wrong! We’ve been on too many road trips where we’ve stopped at a service station and I’ve had to grab my scarf or blanket to cover my hair from the rain, not this time. Lesson learned!

Medication
Of course you hope you won’t need it during the journey (or the trip itself) but it’s always better to have it on hand. I have arthritis and sitting still for any period of time is just not good for my legs – my arthritis is much worse in my knees, hips and ankles – so I literally need to have ibuprofen with me. I also pack other medication I need for the trip, which stays in my bag anyway so would always be close! Since last Spring when we road tripped to Harrogate I’ve packed travel sickness tablets too, as sometimes Matt and I can feel really unwell being in the car for so long. I think it’s worse when it’s super hot and humid (which it’s not meant to be this weekend… I’ve checked all my weather apps) and Matt is poorly if he’s the passenger. This means he’s always our designated driver, bless him! 

Thank you so much for reading! Do you love road trips as much as we do? What are your road trip essentials? I hope we haven’t forgotten anything, I always feel worried as soon as we hit the motorway and there’s no turning back! We’re going to be making the exact same trip in just over three weeks as we’re heading to Croatia and flying from Manchester airport, I can barely stand how excited I am!

-G x

Photo Diary: My 25th Birthday Weekend

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! I’m so happy to be back! I know I only missed one upload (more on that in this post) but wow it’s felt SO long, I missed blogging and I missed you guys! I love love love writing photo diaries and Weekend In My Life posts, and I appreciate that they always get such a great response from my readers! You can read my latest WIML post from way back in February here, and if you type ‘weekend’, ‘week’ or ‘photo diary’ in the search bar at the side, a ton more posts will come up!

Thursday May 16th

Thursday was my last day at work for the week, which meant early birthday celebrations! The girls in my office are so sweet and thoughtful, and as always they totally spoiled me with so many lovely gifts, including a Lush gift card that I’m super excited to use!

I finished work a little earlier than usual, and headed straight to the salon for an update to my balayage! I was there a good three hours, and I’m so so happy with how it turned out, my hair is WAY lighter and feeling ready for Summer. Erin at Rein & Co is the best; she’s so sweet and knowledgable, and there’s something about having your hair done that just makes you feel so dang good. I’d really recommend visiting the salon if you’re in the Newcastle area! I drove home via the beach (literally the sunset was SO pretty – I pulled over in the worst spot to take a photo but trust me it was beautiful. I love the beach so much!) While I was on my way home, Matt headed out to pick up Indian food for dinner for us and my parents, we always go to the same place and their food is delicious. After the quickest shower ever, Matt and I snuggled in to watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and got an early(ish) night in. It was the perfect ending to my last day as a 24 year old!

Not the greatest photo. I snapped this super quickly before I headed home

Friday May 17th

I turned 25!! I woke up to Matt being the cutest ever (I mean, he is every morning, but he was extra cute on this day). We woke up around 7ish – no lay in for us! – as he was so excited for me to open my presents LOL. I love our little tradition on birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary of opening gifts in bed, it’s so cute. I also usually feel super awkward opening gifts from people, but when it’s just us two I don’t feel like that at all. Matt was SO generous and spoiled me like crazy, I love him so much and am beyond grateful! We spent a little time with my parents opening gifts from them and other family members, then my mum had to go to work. We ate birthday cake for breakfast (a must, right?), got ready for the day and packed up for our weekend getaway.

Literally the luckiest girl in the world, he’s so good to me!
My favourite EVER cake is the Red Velvet from Costco, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!
I kinda love this photo, even though I’m squinting so bad in the sun and I’ve no idea why my hair looks super dark!

We visited with my grandma for a little while which was lovely. She absolutely adores Matt, it’s so sweet to see! We said our goodbyes and set off for Ramside Hall. We got there around 1.45pm and, as our room wasn’t ready, took a little time to relax in the bar area and grab lunch. Matt got a Heineken (of course) and I opted for a strawberries and cream gin with lemonade, and we both ate club sandwiches. We got cosy in the bar until our room was ready, then went up to have a look around. We’d stayed in this hotel before – I booked a surprise trip for Matt after he’d had such a busy time at work a year past April – so we had an idea of what to expect, but our room was way bigger this time! There was a HUGE bath – it doesn’t look as big in the photos at all, we were super excited to jump in haha.

I just love the decor!
Matt had told the hotel it was my birthday and they left chocolates for us – how sweet! Also Cadbury’s is my FAVOURITE
Our bath of dreams… serious house inspo for next year!

After we’d unpacked (well, Matt unpacked. He’s the cutest and the first thing he does when we get to a hotel is unpack everything and hang his clothes up. I just love him!) we quickly threw on our bikini and swim shorts, and headed down to the spa. It was so warm and relaxing, we lay by the pool for a little then Matt went for a swim whilst I spent five minutes catching up on birthday messages (I was so overwhelmed with the sweet messages I recieved – thank you so much!) I joined him in the pool, and we spent a while just messing around, it felt like we were back in Kos for a split second! We stayed around the pool area for around an hour, but that huge bath was just calling our name. We caved and headed up to our room to take a long hot bubble bath and chilled the F out. It was bliss!

These robes were HUGE and so snuggly – I wanted to take them home! Also, don’t mind the no makeup. Wowzers
I just love him so much!
My handsome guy

Afterwards, we got ready for the evening (I’m SO mad we didn’t get a good photo together) and headed for dinner at Fat Buddha. It’s one of my favourite places to eat – their honey chilli chicken is incredible! We spent the rest of our evening out at a place nearby called Missoula that had the prettiest decor, and really good music. We had a few drinks and were beat, so headed back to the room to snuggle up in bed with a drink from the bar. #25goingon85. We watched an episode of The Force: Essex and fell asleep, we’re so cool. Honestly, we aren’t always like that but I kinda love when we are, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had the BEST day and I am so thankful for Matt making every day feel so special, not just my birthday. I love you so much, babe!

Saturday May 18th

Since we’d gone to bed pretty early the night before, we were up early and ready to take on the day. It was POURING rain out, so our plans to go for breakfast in Durham were unfortunately squashed as everything is outdoors, and we didn’t bring coats or appropriate footwear. #packingfail. Instead, we checked out, packed up the car and headed to the Metro Centre for a few hours of shopping. What else are you supposed to do when it’s pouring rain and freezing?! We ran a few errands, shopped in our favourite stores and ate lunch at our favourite place, Wagamama’s. I always get the same thing (either teriyaki chicken donburi or chilli steak ramen) and Matt ALWAYS gets chilli steak ramen, however this time I branched out! I got teriyaki steak soba noodles (without onions) and it was incredible, I think I’ve found a new favourite dish! We spent so long browsing Waterstone’s – book shops are one of my favourite places – and I picked up a few new books, I can’t wait to get stuck in! (I also made an Amazon order for even MORE when we got home as they were way cheaper on Amazon, I think I’m good for a while… LOL)

I love you!
My forever date!

We left the Metro Centre, and headed home via Tesco, our second favourite shop. Costco is obviously number one, we literally LOVE walking around buying crap we absolutely don’t need, haha. We were in and out pretty quick, just picking up groceries to make dinner that evening (and my favourite chips and dip… I couldn’t resist). Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so we were staying there the whole time and when we got home Matt went out for a run whilst I snuggled up with a cup of tea and my new book. Although I was in tears by page three – it’s so sad, but also heartwarming, moving and kinda funny – I’m completely hooked. I also kissed and snuggled Matt extra hard for the rest of the weekend, if you read it you’ll know why! And if you haven’t, I’m linking it here and saying you need to buy it immediately, you won’t regret it. (Well, I hope not. I’m 145 pages in when I’m typing this up on Monday evening, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read up to now).

A little beauty haul… all repurchases of products I use and LOVE every single day!
Buying new books makes me so happy. Also, how cute is our bedding at Matt’s parents?! I love it so much!

Matt got home from his run and we watched the opening ceremony to the Man City match, I really love how exciting the atmosphere feels at big football games! We watched for a little while, then Matt got a post-run bath and I went straight back into reading my book. I really struggled to put it down! Matt ran me a bath (and he put a Lush bath bomb in, what a cutie!) and I soaked with a face mask on… yep, whilst reading my book. I used The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask which is one of my absolute favourites, it always makes my skin feel SO good afterwards. Matt usually joins in on face mask night but he was not feeling it this weekend… party pooper! After I’d had a lovely bath, exfoliated, shaved and washed my hair, I jumped out and got ready for the evening. We made dinner – roasted veggies with ham and mashed potato – and got cosy on the couch to watch a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, we’re seriously obsessed! We went to bed pretty late, and snuggled in for a loooong sleep.

My favourite kind of beer! It’s SO GOOD
Do you put butter on your mashed potatoes? If you don’t you really should!

Sunday May 19th

Okay, so Sunday is where I FAILED with the photo taking. I’m sorry, I was on a roll for the first part of the weekend but then I was a #badblogger. To be honest, I felt a little bit off all day – I was really anxious and a little teary randomly. I’m not sure why as there was no specific reason but Matt was so good to me. He loved me a little harder all day and I thankfully felt so much better by Sunday night. We still had a lovely day, I just felt super anxious. So, what did we get up to? We lay in pretty late, and after a little too long snuggling I finally got out of bed to make Matt breakfast. We slowly started moving to get ready, and booked a hotel for a pretty spontaneous trip to Manchester this coming weekend! We’re road tripping down for a family reunion, and I’m so excited for Sunday’s post… can you guess what it’s about?!

I bought this mug for Matt over a year ago and it still makes me laugh!
My new Adidas sneaks from bae! I am so in love with them 😍

When we finally got ready, we headed to Aldi to grab a few groceries we needed for the beginning of the week until I do a big shop mid-week. I typically grocery shop by myself when Matt’s at work or when I’m on the way home from work, so I always appreciate when we get to run errands together. We went to see my parents and open a few extra birthday presents that had been dropped off (my family are so generous!) and caught up on what we’d all been doing over the weekend. After, we went up to see my godparents – we love being at their house, it’s so beautiful and they’re so lovely! We stayed for a while, and got some puppy cuddles in with Phoebe. Isn’t she just so cute?! We went home via a pit stop at the Co-Op (I’m literally OBSESSED with going into any Co-Op we pass, whether I need something or not. It’s become a running joke between Matt and I, then my godmother said she totally gets it and loves going in too! HA we’re so weird. They just have everything you could ever need) and Matt got on with some work whilst I read some more of my book and started editing photos for this post. We showered, cooked the most amazing steaks for dinner and snuggled in for a night of TV on the couch with some yummy snacks. We of course watched a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, then A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, featuring several football players and Prince William. It was so insightful, and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely advise watching it – and recommending it to any men in your life!

Photo credit to my favourite lil cousin Ellie, I totally forgot to take a photo whilst we were there! #badblogger
These rainbow pencils are AMAZING! The pink ones are rhubarb and custard flavour… what more could you want?!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a look into my life from this past weekend! We had so much fun, and I’m always so grateful for all the quality time Matthew and I get together. Our schedules have been jam packed lately so we’ve had to make the most of our mornings and evenings, and he’s going away the first week of June – I miss him and am counting down to picking him up from the airport already! LOL. We’re enjoying every little moment together more than ever right now, and we’re SO ready for our holiday together at the end of June! How was your weekend, what did you get up to? I’m counting down to this weekend already, I can’t wait for another weekend with my love, and to spend time with family!

-G x