Our Bedroom Refresh (On A Budget!)

Hi, loves! 

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I accidentally scheduled this post for 8pm instead of 8am. I’ve had a super busy work day and didn’t even realise that it hadn’t gone live, I completely forgot. Also, we’ve had several grey days in a row so the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos. Never mind 🙂

Today’s post is a little short and a lot sweet, and I really hope it inspires you if you’re looking to freshen up your bedroom too. I love simple, minimal decor and I was a little over everything we had going on in our room. There was a lot of blues and deep greens that I wanted to switch out, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

You probably already know Matt and I are planning to buy our own house next year and we live with my parents currently. We’re so lucky we all get along so well and are really grateful for this time with them! I wanted to update our space on a small budget, and a lot of the changes I made using things we already had. So, what did I change!?

The change I’m most excited about is a set of fresh bed linen. We already had a nice white set from Next that I purchased probably at least five years ago, but we didn’t have another neutral set to be able to switch out with. So, after a TON of searching I picked up new sheets – the set we got is linked here – and I absolutely love them. They are SO soft, comfy, and have the prettiest minimal detailing. I don’t really like garish patterns on bed linen, but I love that this is so simple and delicate. They duvet/pillows are not a bright white either and look a little muted, so it makes the room feel extra cosy and homey. 

We already had the majority of the other things you can see here; the cream blanket is from Costco and we actually sleep with this instead of our duvet when it’s super hot out. We have the same blanket in three colours and they’re a staple for us all year round! We also had the big cushion at the back which is from Costco too, the beigey/grey (…griege?) one and the two light grey ones in the centre. These were all from Tesco; they have such pretty cushions that are incredibly inexpensive and last so well! I’m pretty sure these are some of their basics that they have consistently throughout the year.

I did pick up the two fluffy beige cushions (I can’t find them anymore online, sorry!) in front from Dunelm, they’re super soft and I love the added texture to the bed. Then, my favorite find that tied all of our new bedding together is the amazing throw draped over the bottom corner. This is actually DKNY brand and has a very high RRP, but I picked it up for £16.99 at Homesense! They have the best throws in pretty much any colour you can imagine. Side note: these were the first “non-essential” stores Matt and I visited since the pandemic began and I hated the shopping experience so much. I’ll be sticking to my weekly grocery runs for a long time, I have zero desire to shop in stores right now.

I removed the majority of items from our windowsill and left it pretty minimal with only a jug/vase (I sometimes have pretty flowers in there!), a Diptyque candle, an Our Lovely Goods candle and our Amazon Echo Dot. I really like the window space to be open and airy! We use our Echo Dot every single night so I like it to be close to our bed; we play sleep sounds and I swear it improves the quality of our sleep so much. Our favourites are Thunderstorm and Wave Sounds! Our curtains are just a super simple, plain grey design that we’ve also had for years. They work perfectly and they keep the sun out in the mornings which is great. Oh… and that plant in the corner is dying and I’m refusing to believe it. I literally cannot keep succulents alive!!!

My bedside table makes me happy. I like it to look full but not cluttered – a very fine line – and honestly the old lamp we had was awful! It leaned to one side and just didn’t give off much light. You know, the point of a lamp… I found this beautiful grey and cream lamp at Matalan for a steal, it looks SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than it was. Seriously, this looks like something you’d get at West Elm for like, a bazillion pounds. I love the slightly distressed design on the base, it’s just perfect to tie in the minimal decor and is really pretty neutral colours. My Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede candle Matt bought me almost two years ago and it’s more of a decoration than anything now, I LOVE it so much don’t want to burn it. I know that’s super silly! My most favourite thing here is my cute little oil diffuser that was a really thoughtful gift from my sweet friend, Grace. We’ve been diffusing lavender essential oil she bought us every night recently and it’s helping us sleep so much better! As you can see I kept just a few of the muted blue tones in the room.

I shared all about my vanity table with you a couple weeks ago, but I did give it a little refresh too! I moved my orchid to the other side, added my Himalayan pink salt lamp from the other side of the room- a must-have for cosy evenings watching TV! – and added a few more candles. Our Lovely Goods is my favourite small business candle brand, and they’re a black owned company who would LOVE your additional support right now. We have ‘Coast’ on the window sill, and ‘Somewhere Far Away’ on my vanity table. I talked about pretty much everything else in my other post, but my rotating skincare organiser and my perfume tray filled with my everyday perfumes are my very favourite things! 

We have a full wall of built-in wardrobes that I designed almost ten years ago, and our TV is inside there. I hate hate hate having a TV on display in a bedroom (I don’t know why, I just think it looks a little garish) but we love to watch TV in bed. We also have two full length mirrors, one free standing and one on the wall, which you’ve probably seen me take selfies in before! We have a good amount of floor space – I like to practice yoga upstairs and there’s tons of room for that too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was fun for you guys, and gave you a little inspo if you want to switch a couple things up in your bedroom too! Are you more of a natural, neutral tones person, or do you like lots of colour? Over the past couple years I’ve really appreciated neutral tones more than bright, especially with my clothing. Speaking of, I’m going to be sharing a few of my clothing must-haves on the blog next week! 🙂 

-G x

The Most Exciting Skincare Haul: Caroline Hirons Spring Kit 1

Happy Sunday, loves! As any of my lovely regular readers will know, I am a HUGE fan of Caroline Hirons. I love that she has so much knowledge, I love the way she cares about her following, I love that she is becoming more successful by the freaking day and is still so humble, I love how she takes no sh*t and I really bloody love that she always has her Freaks at heart. It’s me. I’m a Freak. 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look at this Facebook group. We love skincare, we love Queen C, and we love tea. That’s about it?!

I had been anticipating the arrival (like all of the Freaks) of the Spring Kit for months; I was hyped up and I knew I had to purchase! When I found out the kit was being released in May I was SO excited to treat myself as an early (and very splurge-y) birthday present, and I’m officially now on a beauty product no buy. Until Caroline’s Summer Kit comes out…

Caroline outdid herself and actually created two kits. Kit 1 (the one I opted for) was aimed more towards the younger audience and people who are dealing with breakouts in lockdown, or in general. Kit 2 was for more mature skins and those who are more dry during lockdown, or in general. Thankfully both kits were suitable for sensitive skin, and my combination acne-prone skins is super excited for all of the new additions to my collection. The kits were released two weeks ago, which one of the fantastic girls in the Facebook group likened to ‘Kitmas Day’ – Caroline should officially coin this term, right?! – and the biggest Internet meltdown I’ve witnessed began. The kits went on sale at 12pm, and the site crashed at 12.01pm. Yep, we’re good! I took lunch around 2pm, and the site was still down. Fast forward a few more hours, I was just finishing up work at around 4.30pm and grabbed my iPad to take back upstairs (LOL, ‘finishing work’ is defined by ‘going upstairs’ right now… what a weird time of life!) and I assumed I’d missed out completely on the kit. However… I opened up Safari, refreshed the page I had left open… and there it was! I counted down for a week and a half until my kit was dispatched and I literally was so giddy poor Andy – my DPD driver, we’ve got pretty well acquainted since lockdown started – didn’t get chance to ring the doorbell. I was literally waiting with the door open. HAHAHA. Also, everything except two products in the kit are new to me! 

Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Treatment Cleanser (Sensitive Skin) RRP £20
First off, I just need to say how much I adore Jordan Pacitti, the founder of JSS. He puts so much effort and thought into his products and his personal customer service is second to none. He is such a kind, sweet soul and his brand is one of my very favourite skincare brands I’ve ever tried. Anything he makes I will buy. I LOVE him! That being said, this cleanser is one of the products I had already used before and it’s one of my holy grail cleansers! I love this for removing makeup, as a second cleanse or as a morning cleanse. It’s a fantastic multi use product, and I’m obsessed with the limited edition yellow packaging on this tube! It was made just for Caroline’s kit and matches to the pantone of her blog. #goals I will re-buy this cleanser forever, I love that it never irritates my sensitive skin or causes breakouts. It also removes makeup so gently without feeling stripping. When you next need to replace a cleanser (or if you just fancy a fun treat!) I highly recommend this product.

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel RRP £89
Full disclosure: these acid wipes are something I would have never purchased, as they normally retail for a whopping £89… and that is just crazy to me. That being said, as someone who has suffered with acne and breakouts for over seven years and heard how much this product has helped people, I’ve wanted them for a long time. I admire Dr Dennis Gross and his products so much; it’s all science based and there’s no frills with anything he makes. Maybe one day my regular skincare budget will stretch to include his products! This is a two-step product; you use ‘wipe one’ to eliminate dead skin cells with a mix of acids, then ‘wipe two’ is used two minutes later to balance your skin out. He explains it really well in the video on the product page I linked. Acid exfoliators work so much better for me, I cannot use physical exfoliators as they just cause irritation. I really hope to see an improvement in the texture of my skin; I have acne pigmentation marks left on my cheeks and although they’ve lightened considerably over the years they could definitely look better. I’m currently experiencing an allergic reaction (I think it may be a food allergy but I don’t know what to. Thankfully it’s not really on my face, but it is on my chest/neck and has slightly spread to my jawline) so I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m so excited to! They are gentle enough to be used every day but I think as my skin is super sensitive I’ll probably only use two to three times per week.

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening And Depuffing Eye Contour Cream RRP £60
I think this was the most exciting product in the kit for me! I have lusted over Sunday Riley for years. The iconic packaging and cult following have made this brand one I’d just dreamed of owning, but the price points are crazy high and I’ve never been able to justify paying them. Then I was lucky enough to get this kit! I’ve been using this eye cream the past few days and I am absolutely obsessed with it. I kinda hoped I wouldn’t think it was amazing because I can’t imagine I’ll be able to justify spending £60 (!!!) to replace it. BUT, I’m going to continue to use it (sparingly) and love it, and maybe it could be a very generous Christmas gift… from myself… to myself… My under-eye area is pretty dry and I sometimes suffer with eczema – more in the colder months – so I need a hydrating eye cream. This is extremely hydrating, and I swear it makes my eyes look brighter immediately on application. It’s very depuffing which is so appreciated in the morning. I also love how makeup applies over it! Is it worth five times the price of my regular day eye cream? Probably not. Do I love it? YES!

Oskia Super C Smart Nutrient Beauty Capsules RRP £62 (for 60 capsules)
I am not going to lie… I’m a little scared to use these! I adore Oskia as a brand; I’ve used a few products from them and they’re very luxurious and also work really well. That being said, I’ve not gotten on great with Vitamin C in the past. I was using products from The Body Shop and Pixi that worked great for a while, then they started to cause me lots of irritation. I stopped using them and the irritation almost immediately stopped. I was then scared to use Vitamin C again but Caroline said this Vitamin C was very gentle, and anyone that had experienced issues or irritation in the past with Vitamin C should be fine with this. I do really love how Vitamin C makes your skin g l o w so I’d love to find one that works for my skin. Also, the capsules are heart shaped and biodegradable… and how flipping cute is the little personalised case?! I will definitely be re-purposing this when we’re able to travel again.

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex RRP £38
If you don’t have a hyaluronic acid serum in your skincare routine, where have you been!? I love love love hyaluronic acid as an ingredient, and over the past year or so a HA serum has become a must in my morning skincare routine. I sometimes use it in the evenings too but usually I prefer to use my ‘treatment’ products then. I freaking love Jordan Samuel’s hyaluronic serum although I also really enjoy The Inkey List’s; it’s so inexpensive and it works a treat! NIOD is a new brand to me; they are owned by Deciem, the parent company of The Ordinary – another brand I love – so all of their products are created with science in mind. The NIOD MMHC is a ‘Freaks favourite’ and one of the most recent products to experience #TheCarolineEffect. That’s when she talks about how good something is and it immediately sells out 🙂 I’ve used this the past couple of days, although it’s noticeably nicer to use than my go-to from the The Inkey list (which is expected, it’s got extra stuff in there to make it feel luxe) it’s very similar to JSS. My first impressions are good, and I’m excited to see how I get on with this! 

Ren EVERCALM Global Protection Day Cream RRP £36
This is the other product in the kit that I’ve used before and after just a few days I’m truly SO happy to have this back in my life! I love love love the Ren EVERCALM range – if you have sensitive skin and/or suffer with acne and breakouts, I can’t recommend it enough – and I forgot just how much I adored this day cream. I use the Ren EVERCALM cleansing gel every day as my second cleanse and it’s been a saviour for my skin! This moisturiser doesn’t pill at all, keeps my face hydrated all day without making my T Zone oily and it also doesn’t break me out. I can’t tell you how many moisturisers I’ve tried in the quest to find something that works well with my skin type. Although before this arrived I’d been using the Cerave Facial Moisturising Lotion morning and night, I’m pretty sure this will be my go-to day cream going forward. It’s incredible and I’ve no idea why I stopped using it? I think I ran out when I was at the height of my ‘I must try every product EVER’ phase, but now when I find products I love I prefer to either only use them, or alternate with products from a couple of other tried and tested brands. 

Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF 30 RRP £55
SPF is one of the most important products you could ever use in your skincare routine. For a really long time I couldn’t find a SPF that worked well for me (by not breaking me out and not piling under makeup) but then I discovered The Body Shop’s Skin Defence and that all changed. That’s been my go-to SPF for so long and I always recommend it to people! I tried this for the first time on Friday and guys… I’m blown away by how much I liked it! This is not just a bog standard SPF. It’s technically a moisturiser so can be used as just your final step in your routine, but I like to use a moisturizer then apply SPF. My skin is pretty dehydrated so it needs all the goodness it can get! This SPF also protects against blue light, pollution and infrared, and it has anti-aging properties to boot. As I turn 26 on the day this post goes live, I guess it’s time to think about that! This didn’t affect my makeup application at all, it actually made my makeup look flawless. It did cause a white cast when first applied, but it rubbed in really well and was not noticeable once I had makeup on. It’s also not greasy or heavy feeling which is a huge plus, I’m really excited to use this more.

Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of Caroline too? What’s something you’ve bought on her recommendation?! I’d love to know if you have any favourite products amongst the ones in this post, I’m so excited to continue using them over the coming months and see how I feel about them. I always re-purchase a product before it ends when I really love it so I’m excited to see if that happens with any of the new-to-me products.

-G x

Day In My Life: WFH | UK Lockdown

Happy Easter Sunday, my loves! I hope you’re happily eating all of the Easter chocolate, and still doing well throughout this crazy time in the world. How are you doing? I’ve had a pretty good week overall and I’m feeling really grateful for everything I have right now. Whilst I’m very hopeful that this will all be over soon I also want to be realistic, and I’m trying to get used to our ‘new normal’ as much as possible.

I was going to write up a week in my life for this past week but honestly a couple of days in it was SO repetitive and I really just didn’t want to bore you all! I really miss writing week/weekend in my life posts and I’m really going to make a conscious effort to record weekends especially at least once per month. Round ups of what people have been up to are some of my favourite posts to read, when I post them they always get high views (thank you!) and I also love to read them back a while later. Today I’m sharing my new ‘typical’ day in my life with you, and I already know this is going to be SO crazy to look back on in a few months’ time!

On this particular day I woke up pretty late at 7.45am. Matt is a key worker – he’s a Store Manager – so he’s been in work most days, and has been starting at 7am so I’ve been getting up with him around 6am. He wasn’t starting until later so we got to sleep in which was so nice because I was awake for at least two hours during the night. I struggle with insomnia and it seems to be getting worse not better… I’ve no idea why it happens but I’m WIDE awake and unable to sleep for what feels like forever! The mornings I’ve been getting up earlier I’ve either spent an hour reading my Kindle, practicing yoga or just catching up on YouTube. I was grateful to sleep in but I kinda missed that time today. After a quick cuddle with Matt I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. This Effaclar Hydrating Cleansing Cream from La Roche Posay is my favourite cleanser for the mornings; it’s so gentle, removes my skincare products from the night before and does not irritate my skin at all. I’ve took my skincare routine ‘back to basics’ for the most part after another really bad breakout and I’m seeing such a difference already. I’m currently waiting for my prescription skincare to arrive from Dermatica but I can’t wait to share my minimalistic skincare routine with you all next month!

Matt stayed in bed and chatted to me whilst I got ready at my vanity table which was SO fun. I got fully ready; I straightened the ends of my hair that had got a little kinked from being tied back when I slept – I cut two inches off my hair last week and dyed it! #quarantinelife eh? I actually think I did a pretty good job *toot toot* then my mum evened up a little at the back. I never thought I’d be giving myself DIY haircuts but I also never thought we’d be in the middle of a pandemic, sooo… I did my makeup which makes SUCH a difference to how my day goes. I feel one hundred times better on the days I’ve made somewhat of an effort, and I really love taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup each morning. I highly recommend getting yourself a little more put together if you’re struggling spending all day in the house. As you can see I’m not wearing ‘real’ clothes, but honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting around in jeans. I love jeans but I wear them to go outside then the second I get home I put sweats or pj pants on anyway! My Disneyland sweatshirt just makes my heart happy, I live in my Ugg slippers every day anyway and these sweat pants from Abercrombie are the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn. My exact ones are sold out right now but all of their sweats are amazing.

Once I was ready it was time for my commute… to the dining room. AKA my Unofficial Home Office! So for the most part I really enjoy working from home and I am so beyond grateful to still have my job and be getting paid. I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office but really I miss commuting to work SO. MUCH. Never again will I complain about it! I miss getting into my cute car. I miss playing music or a podcast a little too loud. I miss blasting the heat (because I’m always cold). I miss actually physically driving. I’ve only driven once in the past two and a half weeks and I can’t wait until I can drive all the time again! I turned on my computer (I have two monitors and a laptop from my job, but I spend probably 90% of my work day sitting at the table using the monitors. I don’t love working on the laptop as much because the screen is so much smaller and I feel less productive) and wrote out my to-do list for the day. I love a to-do list and it makes me feel so much more motivated. I also have been time-blocking my work days which I’ll talk about in a blog post soon.

Whilst my computer was turning on and everything was opening up (as we’re all working remotely it takes a good five minutes) I made Matt’s breakfast and made myself a cup of tea. I haven’t been fixing myself breakfast most days until around 11am, but Matt and I have both developed a weird obsession with bagels over the past few weeks… we can’t stop eating them! Kissing him goodbye is so sad right now, I never ever thought I’d be worried about him working in a supermarket. Once he’d left I got started with work – around 9am – I made another cup of tea and my morning went SO quickly.

A super sweet Easter card arrived from Matt’s parents, we miss them SO much and can’t wait to spend time with them again when all of this is over! My morning went so quickly I couldn’t believe it was already time for my meeting of the day; we held our office meeting via Microsoft Teams which is always a fun part of the week. I’ve really been focused in the mornings without any noise or distraction, then in the afternoon I tend to bring down my MacBook and play Netflix or Disney+ in the background. I love that I can do that whilst working, it’s definitely a huge perk of working from home! Before I knew it it was almost 3pm and because of our office meeting I’d forgotten to eat breakfast, so I was HUNGRY.

I’ve really been trying to take my lunch break away from my desk the dining table and I was good at it this day. Some days, not so much. Ha! I cleaned up the kitchen, wiped down the counters and cleaned the hob before prepping a really quick and easy lunch. I had avocado on a bagel (told you we’re obsessed) with two boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes. I really don’t like poached eggs very much but I’ve probably eaten boiled eggs more often in the past three weeks than I have in my entire life. They’re just so quick to make, can be paired with pretty much anything and really filling!

I took my lunch upstairs and got cosy on our bed with my Kindle. I love reading so much and really actively try to make time for it each day. Again, some days I’m better at this than others but I notice I feel so much better when I’ve took the time to read a little. If you’re looking for some book recommendations I wrote this post last Sunday! Especially right now I’m trying to limit my time on social media; I barely use Facebook anyway but I’m not really checking Twitter very much, and Instagram for the most part is a pretty safe space which makes me happy. I only read the news once or twice per day, although most days I’ve listened to the 5pm press conference because I’d rather know the actual facts of WHAT is being said, not the scaremongering headlines people keep sharing.

It was my last day of the work week as we were about to have a four day weekend! Honestly I feel like there couldn’t be worse timing for this, bank holidays are normally something we all look forward to so much and we can’t even spend it with our loved ones outside of our home! I washed up, made another cup of tea, turned on Lizzie McGuire (thank you, Disney+ for allowing me to relive my childhood) and finished up my working day. Something that’s really surprised me about being at home all day is how many cups of tea I consume. I’m seriously obsessed! I would say it’s overtaking my love for Diet Coke but nothing can do that!

When I was finished working I switched off my computer and my four day weekend had begun. I went straight into the bathroom because I knew if I sat down in our room I’d get so comfy and not move until after Matt got home from work, hahaha. I removed my makeup (always one of the highlights of my day, why does clean skin feel SO GOOD?) and hopped in the shower. I washed my hair the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to do that, but the second I got out of the shower I really regretted not opting for a bath, ha! Post-shower I lit my favourite candle, took my time applying my skincare, moisturising and getting into comfy pj’s, then settled in to plan my blog posts over the next few weeks. I’m a little bummed because so many of the posts I was writing/had scheduled are just not appropriate for the season of life we’re all in right now, so I’m creating new content and working really hard to bring you positivity! The posts I had planned will still go up at some point, it may just be in a few months time.

My mum arrived home from work (only my brother and I are working from home. My mum, dad and Matthew are all key workers so they’re still getting up and heading out into the world everyday) and we caught up on our day for a little while whilst she sorted out some of her clothes. I swear NOBODY has more clothes than my mum, yet I’m pretty sure she wears the same twenty tops on rotation… she won’t mind me saying that, it’s true, ha! Matt arrived home not long after and he’d only brought home a couple bottles of our favourite wine ever, it’s seriously the best. It’s so inexpensive, you need to try it next time you’re out shopping (for essentials). He showered up and got into comfy clothes for the evening, and as I was just about to start cooking us a bolognese my dad offered to treat us to an Indian takeaway. Umm… YES please! No need to even think about that, Indian food is our favourite.

As they are every time, our meals were incredible – for anyone who lives nearby, we always go to Moti Jheel #shoplocal – and we were so happy and full! We clapped for our carers at 8pm which is honestly one of the highlights of my whole week. I truly think it’s the sweetest thing and I hope all of those key workers know just how important they are not just now but always. We live pretty close to our local hospital and we could hear all of the sirens blaring/noise being made there – this video shows what all of the police officers do every week at the hospital. It makes me cry every time!

After dinner and clapping we snuggled up in bed with a couple of fruity ciders (strawberry and lime cider is one of my favourite ever alcoholic drinks and it just tastes like Summer to me). We turned on Brooklyn 99 which is one of our go-to we-haven’t-got-much-time-but-want-to-watch-something-funny shows! The latest season just went live on Netflix a few weeks back – I think season six? – and we seriously love this show SO much. I just can’t pick a favourite character because I love them all (except Hitchcock, he really gets on our nerves) but I really don’t think it could be a more perfect cast. Our other favourite shows to watch when we don’t have a ton of time are The Office and Friends, but I think we’re going to start Schitt’s Creek soon!

We watched three episodes because we just couldn’t turn it off, then Matt went into the bathroom before me and found a SPIDER on my TOOTHBRUSH. I’m terrified of spiders (except little money spiders, I can deal with them) so I was beside myself haha. Matt killed the spider like a good boyfriend should whilst I jumped around screaming 🙂 not exactly relaxing before bed… After we brushed our teeth – I used my electric toothbrush and threw the other one out, ugh! – I sprayed our pillows and duvet down with this sleep spray. I am a HUGE fan of sleep sprays and I’ve tried quite a few now. I think the This Works one is probably my favourite, it helps so much as I’m a terrible sleeper. Once I get into bed I apply my Laneige lip sleeping mask which is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever used, my lips still feel so moisturised when I wake up. I really need to order a back up because I don’t ever want to be without this. I then apply Cicaplast on any spots/bumps/pimples I have on my face as it does an incredible job of clearing them up, and apply it to any dry patches on my hands. From constantly washing my hands my hands are so cracked and sore, but this is incredible. I use the SPF50 version because that’s what I have but next time I’ll definitely order without the SPF. I then use my Aveeno hand cream just to lock all of the moisture in, Matt set Alexa to play Waves on Sleep Sounds and that was our day over!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little look into my life 🙂 what does your every day look like right now? I hope you and your families are all safe and well, and just taking each day at a time! Every day that passes is another day closer to all of this being over, and I think we all really need to acknowledge that even though this is a horrific situation we’re so lucky to be safe in our homes with our loved ones. Thank you to all of our incredible NHS staff, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other essential professions keeping our country going right now, you are so loved and we’re all so grateful! Have a happy bank holiday weekend, AT HOME 🙂

I’ll be back on Wednesday, with the weirdest bucket list post I’ll probably ever write!

-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

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday! In fact, happy (almost) Christmas! I’m posting my Feelin’ It Friday a little early this month as I really wanted to share it with you before Christmas rolls around. Next week is going to be reserved for quality time with my loved ones – once I’m finished work for the year – and honestly I didn’t want to worry about rushing to get a blog post up! There’s a lot going on in this month’s post so let’s dive right in…

What candle I’m burning:
I am burning all of the FESTIVE scents! My favourites every year are Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle and Winter by The White Company, although this year I am obsessed with my Bath & Body Works candles, too. Matt and I’s sweet friends Nathan and David were recently on holiday in the US (not jealous at all…) and they so kindly picked up a few candles and wallflowers for us! Matt and I are both obsessed with ‘Tis The Season so we’ve been burning that most evenings, and we have the wall plug in our room right now too. It’s literally the smell of CHRISTMAS! I have just started burning Pink Fairy Gumdrop which is super sweet and the scent makes me happy. I love love love the pink, glittery packaging and if I could ever be a candle, it would be this one! 

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are addicted to Ghirardelli Peppermint bark. Seriously, addicted! My family has always stocked up on this chocolate when we’re in Florida, so I can’t tell you how excited we were to find it in Costco this year! We’ve bought literally five bags and already eaten two (I mean, it’s a family effort…) it’s just SO GOOD. I love love love chocolate, and I love candy canes. Mixing the two together? Genius. I also have made our own peppermint bark a few times this season and I know it’ll be on rotation throughout the next few weeks!

What I’m watching:
Every Vlogmas video I can possibly keep up with! Matt has been working more late shifts than usual in the run up to Christmas, so I’ve been blogging/editing, watching Vlogmas videos and drinking all the cups of tea before he comes home. I love Niomi Smart’s Vlogmas videos the most again this year! I really enjoy her content year round, but I feel like Vlogmas is the most exciting time because we see so much of her life. She is the sweetest person, and I truly get so much joy from watching her videos. She lives such an incredible life – she’s moving to India with her partner, Joe in January – and I’m so excited to be along for the journey via YouTube! They also just got engaged and it was the most pure, wholesome content I ever did see. Also, I can’t get into how sad I (still) am that Chris didn’t make the Strictly final. I was seriously SO gutted, although Kelvin & Oti are very worthy winners and I am so happy for them both!

What I’m reading:
I just started reading One Day In December by Josie Silver last week, although I really haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like. I love nothing more than a long soak in the bath with a good book, and I am so into this story and the characters! This is my last physical book I’ve got left to read (my sweet boyfriend has bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, I can’t tell you how excited I am to read all of my books on it!) so I’m really making the most of that, too. I’m sure I’ll still read the odd paperback, especially because my mum and Matt’s mum are always sharing books with me that they’ve enjoyed, too. I’m definitely going to be talking a lot more about reading on the blog in the new year, I love it SO much and I see how much you guys love my book related posts! They’re always posts that are searched for and re-read tons of times. (Thanks, you cuties!) I’m not sure if it’ll be a monthly thing or just a here-and-there thing, but I’m excited about it. I really want to review books I’ve read, to be honest, but I’m not sure how that would be! How many ways is there to say “I love this book” or “I didn’t love this book so much”? HAHA, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

This cute bauble was a little gift I gave Matt last year of all the places we’d travelled to in 2018! I ordered him a different personalised one for 2019 that hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m pretty sure it won’t be here in time for Christmas 😦

What I’m excited about:
Christmas and all of the fun things coming up. Spending so much time with Matt and our families, eating delicious food, the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special (low key sad we have to wait until 8.30pm to watch it!!), being off work for almost two weeks, having so much time to create blog content and brainstorm where I want to take my blog in the new year. I’m going to spend my Christmas break doing all of the things that bring me joy! I am SO HAPPY Matt and I have so much time off work together I can’t even tell you. We literally never have time for a ‘lazy day’ so we are going to make the most of it.

What I’m listening to:
Christmas music! I have been SO loving an excuse to listen to Christmas music when it’s socially acceptable. Matt hates when I play it in like… July. I’ve no idea why. Hahaha. I’ve had Michael Buble pretty much on repeat since October. His voice just makes me happy!

What I’m wearing:
Okay so I know I promised you a post on things to look for in your perfect Winter coat, and I promise that’s coming in the new year. Here’s a little sneak peak! I am OBSESSED with my Winter coat; it’s made with recycled down feathers so it’s super warm, snuggly and cosy, and perfect for this super cold weather. I love that it’s a little longer to cover my hips/bum, and it has the biggest hood you’ve ever seen! I feel like I’ve finally found a coat my mum would be proud of… anyone else spend years of their life refusing to wear a proper coat? Just me…?

What is going on in my life:
A few weeks ago I found a lump in my right breast. Obviously, I went into panic mode – I’m pretty sure this is just the normal reaction – and bearing in mind I’ve already been more anxious than usual the past few weeks, it really wasn’t a fun time. This is a huge part of the reason my posts have been a little spotty recently, I’m so sorry. Matt has been an absolute star and let me feel my worries, but also not let me dwell on something we didn’t know about. This week I had a doctor’s appointment and I’ve been referred for further testing; to take a biopsy, an ultrasound, an x-ray etc. I feel okay and I’m surprisingly not a wreck right now! It does not necessarily mean the C word, but there were a few things my GP was concerned about. I’m trying to stay upbeat and positive because right now, no news is good news! Regardless if there is something wrong or not, I’m so grateful for our NHS and the quick, high quality treatment they are able to give. I’m only telling you all of this now – without any real answers – because it’s what’s going on in my life right now, and life is not all sunshine and rainbows! Also, this is your reminder to check your boobs, ladies. Coppafeel have so much information I’m linking here in case you’re confused on where to start. If you pray, I’d really appreciate your prayers for good news right now! I’ll be talking about everything in more detail once I have answers and results, but right now it is a season of waiting. I hate waiting!

What is making me feel festive:
So I know it’s partly because of being worried about what I mentioned above, but I’ve been having a really hard time feeling festive this year. I mentioned in my last Feelin’ It Friday post that I think I may have been suffering a little with SAD and I’m 99% positive I am as I just feel so unmotivated and not like myself. Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I can’t tell you how crap this makes me feel! However, Matt and I just had the most wonderful Christmassy day in Edinburgh and it picked up my spirits SO MUCH. We had the most amazing time, and I took all the photos to share with you lovely lot! You can see our festive day here, if you missed it.

What lipstick I’ve been wearing:
So you may remember this post from a few months ago, where I said I really wanted to try wearing red lipstick. I did it! I kinda love it! I’m definitely not going to be reaching for red lipstick on a day to day basis but I’m really enjoying being a little bit brave here and there and enjoy wearing it. I have however been wearing Clinique’s Bare Pop lipstick almost every. single. day. for the past three months! It’s the most perfect shade; it works for every ocassion and never clashes with clothes or anything, it’s so versatile and I can’t recommend it enough. I love the formula too, it lasts all day or night.

What I’m up to this weekend:
It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and I have so many things to do! Tomorrow Matt starts work at 7am so I’ll be up early with him, then I’m maybe going to get my nails done as a little festive treat. I’ll be spending the rest of the day running last minute errands, cleaning, organising, blogging, baking cookies and wrapping SO MANY Christmas presents whilst watching Christmas movies before he comes home. I can’t believe how many gifts I have left to wrap, it’s kind of freaking me out! He’ll be home mid-afternoon so we’re just going to chill at home for a little while (and eat cookies!) then I’ve planned a surprise Christmas date night for us both. I’m so excited! Our plan for Sunday is to have a relaxed morning, probably definitely drinking lots of hot chocolate and snoozing in bed then we’re heading into town to see the Christmas markets one last time before Christmas. I love our city so much, and at Christmas time it’s seriously the most beautiful! Later in the day Matt’s going out with his friends for a few hours and I’m going to treat myself to a pamper night, and probably finish up more wrapping before I go pick him up. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for all of your wonderful support over the past year. I am so thankful that you – yes, you! – read my blog, and you’ve no idea how much it means to me. I’m so sad this is the las Feelin’ It Friday of 2019! What are your plans for this weekend? I hope you all have the most perfect, Christmassy weekend with your loved ones! It’s five days until CHRISTMAS DAY! See you on Sunday, my loves.

-G x

My Current Skincare Routine: Winter Edition

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m so excited about because I really just wanted to talk about all the products I’m loving right now. I should start by saying that my skin is combination, and like most people’s it leans way more to the dry side during the Winter months. My skin is also dehydrated, and that’s something I’m really trying to treat. Overall I’m pretty happy with my skin right now, and I’ve learned it’s never going to be ‘perfect’ which is fine! I recently talked about the things I’ve learned from my experience with acne, and I think it’s so important that we stop being so hard on ourselves for not having perfect skin. Nobody has perfect skin, and that’s okay! Also I’m sure this may seem like a lot of products to some (and possibly very little to others) but this is just what works for me 🙂

AM

I cleanse my face every morning with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser which I absolutely love! This cleanser leaves my face feeling clean and is the perfect first step in the morning as it’s not at all harsh or stripping. It removes all of the skincare product residue from the night before easily and gently, and it has a really pleasant, light scent which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of highly fragranced cleansers. I really look forward to washing my face with this every morning!

Depending on how my skin is, I tone with Pixi Glow Tonic but I tend to only use this on the days my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have an active breakout/cystic acne. This is without a doubt my favourite toner as it is packed with glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin. I really think this makes a huge difference to the pores on my cheeks too, it definitely reduces the appearance of them and overall helps my skin look so much brighter. It literally makes you glow!

Whether I have or haven’t used my toner, my next step is always Hydraluron serum. As soon as the weather gets cold, my skin gets dry and dehydrated and this serum works to boost moisture levels in the skin, and hold on to all of the moisture from your moisturiser. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (a huge tell tale sign is your makeup breaking up/not lasting throughout the day) you should give this a go as it makes all the difference! It’s not a miracle worker and my skin is definitely still dehydrated, but it has improved so much since I started using this serum. I only use a pea sized amount across my whole face; it absorbs straight in and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all. Also, just an FYI, Caroline Hirons swears by this product so much it’s been coined Hironsluron by her loyal readers/viewers!

I’m not usually too fussed on which eye cream I use as I’ve never found a day time eye cream that makes much difference to me, but that all changed when I picked up La Roche Posay Hydraphase eye cream. I’ve been using this around two months and it feels so nice, absorbs into my under eye area quickly and is cooling which is lovely if your eyes can be a little puffy in the morning! My concealer always sits well on top of this which is also a bonus as I’ve tried several eye creams that pill under makeup and cause texture.

For my moisturiser I like to combine two products; I take a smidge of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and mix it with a bigger smidge of Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. So technical, I know! If I have a bad breakout I apply a little Effaclar Duo directly over the area, but most days I mix them together with my fingertips and apply all over my face. Effaclar Duo has been a staple in my skincare routine for years and it’s something I’ve always kept in my collection, but with consistent use it’s made such a difference to my skin. I love love love Lait Crème Concentré – which is one of the best selling French pharmacy skincare products ever – as it’s very hydrating, but sinks into the skin so well and is a perfect base under makeup. Makeup artists worldwide swear by this as a must have product in their kit, it also doubles as a primer which is great for travelling!

My favourite ever lip balm is hands down Nuxe Reve de Miel – made by another fantastic French pharmacy brand – I just cannot say enough good things about this! It’s creamy, moisturising, non-sticky and keeps my lips moisturised for hours. I use this morning and night, and I also keep my Nuxe Reve de Miel stick in my bag which I re-apply several times throughout the day. Matt is a huge fan of these lip balms too!

PM

My favourite time of the day apart from snuggling up in bed with Matt is taking my makeup (and bra) off. As soon as I’m home for the evening I like to take off my makeup, get showered/bathed and throw my pj’s on, and then I’m cosy for the night! Over the past few weeks I’ve been reaching only for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is an old favourite of mine. This balm takes off every. single. scrap. of makeup on your face and doesn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin. I apply to my dry face, and massage in to start to break down my makeup. I then wet my fingers and carry on massaging in the balm, which turns to an oil-like consistency when water is added. I take my flannel soaked with warm water to remove everything. It literally takes less than a minute! I’m also a huge fan of these flannels from M&S; they’re inexpensive, wash so well and make the world of difference to my cleansing routine.

I always always always double cleanse – because Caroline Hirons told me to – and nine times out of ten I reach for my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser that I use each morning. I just love this stuff! It’s also very boyfriend friendly; I’m forever trying to get Matt into a set skincare routine and this is one of the few products he actually enjoys using.

Each night I tone my face with either Pixi Glow Tonic or Pixi Retinol Tonic on a cotton round. I choose which one to use based on my skin that day; if I’m suffering with an acne flare up or a bad breakout I reach for Glow tonic, and if I’m having a good skin day I reach for Retinol tonic. This is such a low dose of Retinol that it is safe to use every day, so I often use this several nights in a row, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

My next step is to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum which is fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin! I personally prefer Hydraluron for during the day, but I love love love this product for the evening. I find this is a lot more runny in consistency and you have to be careful not to pump too much out, but it is such a bargain and really has made a difference to my skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated, and is the perfect product to be sandwiched between cleansing and applying the rest of my skincare products.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know I am obsessed with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask and nothing will ever replace this for me! I’ve used this product for around two to three years and it is just so hydrating. I especially love that this eye cream is cooling on application and as it’s a gel-like texture it sinks straight in. I really love this eye cream and it’s a product several people have told me they tried because I rave about it so much… it’s so worth the hype, I promise!

Before I apply my my moisturiser, I use Pixi Glow Tonic serum followed by Botanics Restoring Overnight facial oil which is my perfect evening combination. The Pixi serum is just beautiful! I apply two to three drops across my whole face and it helps to exfoliate (like the toner) and hydrate. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after application, and if I ever skip this step I feel like my skin really pays for it the next day. The Botanics facial oil was something I picked up on a whim in Boots – we’ve all done it, right? – and it is the most luxurious facial oil I’ve ever used! I love the scent so much, it’s packed full of essential oils and is really calming. I am so impressed with the quality of the oil and I’d really advise anyone wanting a little luxury in their skincare routine to pick it up! One thing to note is that I don’t apply the oil to any areas affected with an active breakout!

My holy grail skincare product this time of year is Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, it’s truly the best hydrating moisturiser I’ve ever tried! I feel like it just layers so well on top of my serums and oil, and makes my skin feel so soft and plump. I love that it’s such a light texture but a little really does go a long way, and it is a great product if you have combination skin. It definitely doesn’t make my face feel or look oily, but it concentrates on any dry patches and just makes things so much more hydrated!

Just like I do in the mornings, I always finish off my evening skincare routine with my Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. I generally tend to do my skincare routine early in the evening so I often apply several times more before I go to sleep, and I always put it on just before Matt and I get into bed.

I of course use various treatments – sheet masks are a personal fave – throughout the week/month, and I just see how my skin is doing and what it needs at that time. You can read all about my favourite treatment products here, I still use and love all of those products, I just have a few extra faves now too! I love trying new beauty products but these days I’m slightly more hesitant to try new skincare products as I’m really happy with the ones I’m currently using! I would love to try more from the Botanics range though, and the Clinique Moisture Surge hydrating water gel has been on my ‘to try’ list forever! What are your go-to skincare products for the colder months? Have you tried anything I talked about in this post, or are you adding them to your Christmas list?

-G x

How To Keep It Together This Holiday Season

Hi, loves! We are one week away from December 1st, which for most of us marks the beginning of the busiest time of year. Date nights, dinner and drinks, Christmas markets, catch ups with friends you haven’t seen forever, a whole channel filled with Christmas movies you NEED to watch, last minute present shopping, work Christmas parties and approximately 483 other events are taking place this month, and somehow you’re expected to fit it all in. Not to mention you’ve still got to squeeze in the regular ol’ 9-5, quality time with your partner, grocery shopping, errands, sleeping, eating, seeing your family, exercising, preparing dinner, I’m A Celebrity, hobbies and there’s also probably a sh*t load of Christmas presents you need to wrap too. Phew. Anybody else exhausted just reading that?! ME. TOO. But, it doesn’t have to be as hectic as it seems. There’s lots of things we can do – aside from cutting out our favourite reality TV show – to make this time of year easier on ourselves, and actually really enjoy the festive fun!

Utilize your iPhone calendar. There’s no excuse for forgetting you already agreed to plans when you can plan every second of your life in your phone. *Note to self because I am still really bad at this!* A surefire way to ensure you don’t double book, turn up late or (even worse) arrive at the wrong place is to record every single plan you agree to in your calendar. I love to use my iPhone calendar specifically because it syncs to my MacBook and iPad therefore everything is easily accessible, and it can be colour coded for ease. I use my calendar throughout the year to plan blog content as well as write details of social plans, but Christmas is HECTIC and requires a little extra upkeep!

Write lists. For everything. The last thing you need to be stressing out about is if what you’ve forgotten to do/buy/organise etc. I can’t tell you how much I love writing a list (partly because crossing off what you’ve achieved is just fun to me) but it’s so. much. help. I have lists for everything and the holiday season is certainly no different! I have several gifting lists, tasks to be done, extra things to buy, places to visit etc – I just feel so organised when I know what’s to be checked off.

Eat good meals. Most of us link preparing super healthy meals to the Summer months, when pre-holiday your biggest concern is how you’ll look in your new bikini. But, let’s be real. It’s pretty common for most of us at the time of year to indulge in more chocolates than we usually would, try every festive flavoured drink in Costa and enjoy an alcoholic beverage with the occasional every meal, justified by the words “well, it’s Christmas”. Add in the fact it’s freezing cold outside and you’re almost definitely enjoying nights out without a coat (it’s not just a Northern thing, right?) the chances of you falling ill are pretty high, too. Being poorly at Christmas time sucks, so eating healthy, good-for-you meals during the day is a little way of self care and you’ll feel the benefits throughout the month. Pile your meals high with fruits and veggies and it makes all of the indulging you do a little bit more acceptable! Speaking of which…

Don’t be afraid to indulge yourself. When you are at home, make the most of it. Don’t worry too much about the non-essential things and instead really indulge in things that make you happy. For Matt and I, that’s cooking a good meal and chatting about our days then snuggling in to watch one of our favourite shows. We both find so much joy in binge watching The Office but I want to watch as many holiday movies as possible this year. Just don’t tell Matt, it’s a surprise! One of our favourite ways to unwind is a long soak in a bubble bath, and I love to read books so much. Also, despite my point above that we should try to eat healthy meals… I also am MORE than happy to eat any sweets, chocolates, shortbread, cookies etc that I want to! If we’re watching a cute Christmas movie we’re probably snacking on something, and that’s okay. It’s all about moderation.

Prioritise the things that are most important for you. The annual Christmas market trip with your love, a last minute Christmas shopping dash with your mum and a festive brunch with your best gal might be the three things that are top of your social plans this year, and that’s fine! Make sure you do the things you really want to do, and everything else will slot in where possible. It’s really important not to overload your social calendar as it will begin to feel like a chore, when really all of your festive plans should be fun and bring JOY!

Do not get slack on your skincare! Okay, maybe this is just an important one for me but I know if I take even one day away from my usual routine my face really bloody hates me for it. It’s super easy after a busy day to think you can skip a few steps but really, taking those five minutes for you will help you feel (and look) good. At the very least make sure to cleanse, tone and apply eye cream, serum and moisturiser each morning and night. I also would advise against trying new skincare products this time of year because with all of the Christmas induced stress, chances are your skin isn’t going to be it’s best anyway. I just know if I try *that* amazing moisturiser everyone is raving about I’ll develop a spot the size of Rudolph’s nose, so it’s just not worth the hassle.

Say no if you can’t make it work. There’s no reason to feel obliged to squeeze in that pub meet up with those friends you barely see ‘just because it’s Christmas’ if it doesn’t work for you. True friends will always understand that life is busy, and I’d really suggest giving alternative plans if what everyone else is doing doesn’t work for you. By the same token, if a friend isn’t able to make it to something you’ve planned or are attending, make sure to let them know it’s okay and they’ve got nothing to worry about. For example, I personally couldn’t think of anything worse than going to a club because I’m a #25yearoldgrandma, and that’s okay. We all have to set boundaries and the people who love us as we are will never make us feel guilty for that. I’m a sociable person, but kinda only with my people. We all just need to be mindful, especially at this time of year, that there is no obligation to join in on plans you can’t make work with your schedule.

Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to use this blog post as your reminder to chill the heck out this holiday season, refer back to it throughout the next month and share it with your friends… we need all of the self care reminders we can get, right?! I hope you have the most amazing December, I’m so excited to share what we’re up to with you throughout the month! Next week I’ll be posting our Christmas Bucket List! I’m so excited because we have so many fun plans… and yes some of those include snuggling up on the couch with a hot chocolate and Elf 🙂 yay for plans that make us happy!

-G x

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers Under £20

Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here

Hi, loves! Today is the last installment in my Christmas Gift Guide series for this year and if I do say so myself, I think I’ve saved the best for last! Stocking fillers are some of my favourite gifts to give and receive; there’s so many incredible options. I love to give one or two ‘big’ gifts then pad out my loved ones presents with smaller items, and everything in this gift guide would be perfect for that, too. I also think there’s something in here for any Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges you may be participating in this holiday season.

Also, I’m only sharing a few at the end of this post because there’s SO much choice, but it’s not a good stocking without ALL of the sweets and chocolate… right? 🙂 also – gift cards are my favourite gift to give/receive in stockings! I highly recommend placing a £10 or £20 gift card for the recipient’s favourite store in the bottom, it’ll be the best surprise.

Christmas Gift Guide For Her | Christmas Gift Guide For Him

FOR HER

1. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Mini | 2. The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Mask | 3. Invisibobble Cracker | 4. The Body Shop Juicy Pear Shower Gel | 5. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm | 6. L’Occitaine Cherry Blossom Hand Cream | 7. Therapie Himalayan Detox Bath Salts | 8. MAC Cosmetics Turquatic Rollerball | 9. Bumble Bee Necklace | 10. Pixi Glow Tonic Mini | 11. Oliver Bonas Bee Makeup Bag | 12. Emma Hardie Merrily Moringa | 13. Lush Yog Nog Shower Gel | 14. Cosy Socks | 15. Eye Majic Instant Eyeshadow | 16. This Works Seventh Heaven Gift Set | 17. The Body Shop Rich Plum Body Yoghurt | 18. Benefit Hoola Bronzer Mini | 19. Cath Kidston Christmas Village Tea Plate | 20. Stitch & Pieces Mustard Beanie | 21. Nike Black Trainer Socks | 22. Dr Teal’s Lavendar Foaming Bath | 23. Morroccanoil Treatment Light Ornament | 24. Cath Kidston Christmas Village Mug | 25. Katie Loxton Pen Set | 26. Essie Nail Polish | 27. The Body Shop Mango Hand Cream & Lip Balm Set | 28. The Giver Of Stars by Jojo Moyes | 29. Lush Polar Plunge Bubble Bar | 30. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

FOR HIM

1. Personalised Golf Mug | 2. Percy Pig Socks Gift Box | 3. Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay | 4. L’Oreal Beard Cream | 5. Next Checked Scarf | 6. Kent Tortoiseshell Comb | 7. LED Torch | 8. Ted Baker Notepad & Pen Set | 9. Jack Black Lip Balm | 10. Robot USB Stick | 11. Gillette Fusion 5 Razor | 12. Nando’s Peri Peri Salt & Shaker Set | 13. Dachshund Through The Snow Socks | 14. Brussel Sprouts Jigsaw | 15. Sukin Cream Cleanser | 16. The Body Shop Arber Hair & Body Wash | 17. The Chase Game | 18. Poo Pourri Spray | 19. Barbour Travel Mug | 20. Clarins for Men Cracker | 21. Beard Baubles | 22. Dr Teal’s Eucalyptus & Spearmint Foaming Bath | 23. Whittard Milk Chocolate Spoon | 24. Adidas Cushioned Socks | 25. Lush Shoot For The Stars Bath Bomb | 26. Jack Wills Boxers | 27. Brussel Sprouts Jigsaw | 28. L’Oreal Sheet Mask | 29. Bamboo Toothbrush | 30. Granite Whisky Stone Ice Cubes

TEN OF THE BEST SWEET TREATS UNDER TEN POUNDS

1. Thornton’s White Chocolate Snowy Bear | 2. Lindt Milk Chocolate Bear | 3. Handmade Gingerbread Fudge | 4. Hotel Chocolat White Chocolate Reindeers | 5. SugarSin Ros Gummies | 6. Nestle After Eight Straws | 7. Cadbury’s Chocolate Santa | 8. Jelly Babies Giant Jar | 9. Pink Smarties Tube | 10. Quality Street Purely Chocolate Caramel Brownie

This may be the last in my Christmas Gift Guide series for 2019, but I’m talking in detail about a few of my current favourite budget beauty products in my next Feelin’ It Friday post (coming to you next Friday, November 29th!) which will also make wonderful stocking filler or Secret Santa gifts so make sure to check back for that too!

-G x

Christmas Gift Guide: For Him

Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here

Hi, loves! Today I’m sharing with you the second part in my gifting series, the first post was specifically for all the gals in your life and you can catch up here if you missed it! Today I’ve appealed for the help of my lovely boyfriend Matthew (who has a pretty starring role on this blog, haha) to pick his three favourite gifts from each category, similar to what I did in my Gift Guide: For Her. I hope you enjoy and this is helpful to tick a few people off the list this year! Happy shopping!

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

THE HOMEBODY

Matthew’s favourite thing in the world (apart from me, of course) are his Ugg slippers. He literally wears them all day, every day when we’re at home! He may also be recieving some spanking new ones this year as his are a little too loved. He wears his M&S dressing gown every day too; it’s a must-have for any homebody, especially at this time of year! Matt loves sweatpants, and you just can’t beat how soft and cosy Abercrombie’s feel.

1. M&S Dressing Gown | 2. Ugg Slippers | 3. Checkerboard Pyjama Set | 4. Amazon Echo Dot | 5. Amazon Fire TV Stick With Alexa Voice Remote | 6. Abercrombie & Fitch Lounge Trousers | 7. Zara Hoodie | 8. Popcorn Machine | 9. Kindle Paperwhite | 10. PJ Pants Set | 11. Home City Wall Art | 12. Next Grey Borg Zip Hoodie| 13. Barbour Lambswool Scarf | 14. Cork Collection Box | 15. Royal Doulton White/Grey Mug

THE LUXURY LOVER

Fun fact: I bought Matt Chanel de Bleu aftershave our first Christmas together and it quickly became his most prized aftershave. He keeps it for special ocassions but he just loves it! He has a mini collection of coats and he thinks this Barber coat would be the best present you’d give someone this year. It’s a pretty bold statement but I believe him. If a man in your life has a love for watches, instead of stretching your budget to buy him a new one why not buy him a Dulwich Designs display case so he can admire his collection?

1. Moet Champagne | 2. Mont Blanc Pen | 3. Ted Baker Tie | 4. Chanel de Bleu Aftershave | 5. Gucci Card Holder | 6. Black Nespresso Machine | 7. Grey Paul Smith Jumper | 8. Acne Studios Grey Beanie | 9. Jigsaw Cashmere Jumper | 10. Dulwich Designs Watch Display Box | 11. Barbour Stevenson Coat | 12. Tom Ford Black Orchid Aftershave | 13. Black Mulberry Wallet | 14. Paul Smith Long Sleeve Polo Shirt | 15. Daniel Wellington Bristol Watch

THE GROOMED GENT

Like many men, Matt loves his pampering products. An electric toothbrush is a must for him and he recommends buying one for any man that doesn’t have one. He’s so interested to try some new skincare products to change up his routine and we both agree the bath oil would be a great present for anyone that enjoys a nice soak in the tub after a long day. Like Matt… who spends a good hour in the bath pretty much every evening!

1. Kiehl’s Gift Set | 2. Mr Burberry Aftershave | 3. Phillips Electric Shaver | 4. Sukin Oil Balancing Mattifying Skincare Gift Set | 6. Mont Blanc Legend Aftershave | 7. Ted Baker Leather Wash Bag | 8. L’Oreal Men The Expert Energetic Washbag Gift Set | 9. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil | 10. Oral B 4000 Cross Action Electric Toothbrush | 11. L’Occitaine Shower Gel | 12. Kiehl’s Nourishing Beard Oil | 13. Molton Brown Tobacco Absolute Gift Set | 14. Tom Ford Noir Aftershave Balm | 15. Clinique For Men Skincare Set

THE FOODIE

Matt thinks the Lazy Man pan set is perfect for men everywhere, haha! He’s a whisky fan but not necessarily too specific on brands, so he agrees a set like this would be brilliant for someone to be able to try different options without potentially wasting a whole bottle. As for the spaghetti monster colander… let’s just say if we had this he’d be helping out in the kitchen a lot more 🙂

1. Hotel Chocolat Hamper | 2. Whisky Tasting Set | 3. Chilli Sauce Set | 4. Cadbury’s Chocolate Football | 5. Joseph Joseph Kitchen Acessories Set | 6. Edinburgh Gin Apple & Spice Gin | 7. Spaghetti Monster Colander | 8. Paddle Shaped Serving Board | 9. Oliver Bonas Glass Globe Wine Decanter | 10. Lazy Man Pan Set | 11. Brewdog IPA Hamper | 12. Whittard Coffees Of The World Gift Set | 13. Tasty Cookbook | 14. Cheese Dome & Chutney Gift Set | 15. Whisky Marmalade

THE TRAVELLER

Matt is obsessed with his laptop, and picked the Herschel MacBook sleeve as the best accessory to keep it looking great whilst travelling. I purchased a very similar Ted Baker holdall to the one linked below for Matt last Christmas and it’s become his go-to for every weekend away or small trip we take. It’s so handy for a man on the move and Matt thinks it would also be a great gift for anyone who travels for work. Matt has visited so many countries so he suggested a scratch map would be a wonderful idea for anyone else who likes to travel!

1. Sony Noise Cancelling Earphones | 2. Stojo Grey Collapsible Cup | 3. Ted Baker Webbing Holdall Bag | 4. Molton Brown Travel Size Toiletry Set | 5. Gaston Luga Praper Backpack | 6. Jack Black Lip Balm | 7. Anker Powercore Portable Charger | 8. Antler Packing Cubes | 9. Aspinal of London Passport Cover | 10. Scratch Map | 11. Travel Pillow | 12. Herschel Macbook Sleeve | 13. Personalised Luggage Tag | 14. Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel Book| 15. Nuxe Travel Set

THE GUY WHO HAS EVERYTHING

If anyone knows my boyfriend, they know he is SO OBSESSED with all things football. He recently started an Instagram account called NUFC Vintage on which he showcases his love for football shirts and Newcastle United; a classic football shirt is literally the perfect gift for him! Matt is an avid golfer and Titleist Pro V1 golf balls are always going to be a hole in one with him. Yes I wrote that. I’m so sorry. He has had the brown Tommy Hilfiger belt for years and it still looks brand new; it’s such great quality!

1. Nintendo Switch Lite | 2. Classic Football Shirt | 3. Patagonia P6 Responsibilitee Long Sleeve | 4. Go Pro Hero 7 | 5. Aspinal Of London Silver & Mother Of Pearl Cufflinks | 6. A Named Star | 7. Gentlemen’s Hardware Cheese & Wine Multi Tool | 8. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls | 9. Tommy Hilfiger Brown Belt | 10. ASOS Design Brown Faux Suede Chukka Boots | 11. Cedar Shoe Trees | 12. Alpha Designs Black XXL Bottle | 13. Bose SoundLink | 14. Nike Half Zip Sweater | 15. Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce Candle

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

-G & M x

Christmas Gift Guide: For Her

Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here

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

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

THE HOMEBODY

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

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

THE LUXURY LOVER

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

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

THE BEAUTY GURU

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

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

THE FOODIE

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

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

THE TRAVELLER

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

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

THE GIRL WHO HAS EVERYTHING

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

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

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

-G x