Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

My Morning Routine

Good morning, loves! I am so excited to share my morning routine with you all, because this is the kind of blog post I never thought I’d write! I recorded this based on a regular Saturday morning, so I had way more time than I would on a week day; Matt and I enjoyed a lay in and got ready at a leisurely pace for date day. I wish my week day mornings were chilled like this too, they’re much different and I don’t have a very set routine as Matt’s shifts are so different day to day. Sometimes we’re up at 6am and Matt’s rushing out the door whilst I write for the blog and get ready for work, other times we’re up around 8am and I’m the one rushing out the door whilst he gets to snooze in bed for a later start at work. I’d love to share my ‘typical’ week day routine with you too if that’s something you’d be interested in?

When Matt is off work at the weekend, we really try to enjoy a little lay in. Most days our alarm goes off at 6am so even laying in until 9am is a real treat! We like to wake up slowly by chatting and cuddling for a little while, and then I’ll jump out of bed to dash for a wee and brush my teeth. We always have candles lit when we’re in the house, especially in the colder months, and this one from Homesense is so beautiful! It’s such a calming, peaceful scent and fills the room so quickly. I have just started to break out all of our pumpkin scented candles during the evenings, and I’m SO happy about it. Matt really couldn’t care less, hah!

Once we’ve relaxed for a little while, I always go to make us a hot drink which is either a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and right now I’m fully embracing the fact it’s almost pumpkin spice season! Galaxy hot chocolate isn’t our favourite (we really love Cadbury’s) but any kind of hot chocolate paired with this pumpkin and caramel syrup is great!

Whilst we enjoy our drinks we sometimes will watch an episode of The Office or grab our laptops to get on with a little bit of blogging work for me, or real work for Matt. I am usually a nighttime shower person so most weekends I just head to the bathroom to wash my face with my morning cleanser, then do my skincare routine and my makeup. I am LOVING using Estee Lauder Double Wear again now that the seasons are changing, it just works so well with my skin, and I just adore the Bobbi Brown lipstick I talked about in this post. I am switching up my daytime moisturiser each day; I’m currently using up the seaweed oil-control gel cream pictured, and I’ve gone back to my trusty Effaclar Duo from La Roche Posay as my skin has been a little crazy recently. I straighten or curl my hair every day because my natural hair is super frizzy, and I love how the Moroccanoil Treatment Light makes my hair look!

Skincare / Haircare / Fragrance:
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo | Glossier Balm Dot Com in Coconut | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream | Morocanoil Treatment Light | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | NYX Micro Brow Pencil | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara | The Body Shop Honey Bronzing Powder | Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Pillowtalk | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose

I love to catch up on my YouTube subscriptions whilst I do my hair and makeup in the morning, it’s just the best time to zone out and see what my favourite content creators are up to! On this morning I was watching Anna from The Anna Edit packing for her trip (which are some of my favourite videos to watch) but this past week I’ve been watching Zoe Sugg’s Vlogmas videos from last year… and no I’m not joking. HAH! During this time Matt is either working, showering/bathing or getting ready himself, and we’ve got our timings down to a tee now to be ready for the same time. My favourite part of getting ready is choosing my outfit – which is so much easier now because my wardrobes are super organised! Once I’ve picked my outfit, I just need to grab my bag and spray on my perfume and I’m ready to head out of the door. On this day we were heading for a date day in our city, which is our favourite thing to do on a Sunday!

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was so fun to do something completely new! What does your morning routine look like? Do you like to spend your mornings relaxing and getting slowly ready for the day too? I just wish my weekday mornings looked the same! I’d love to record a weekday morning routine, maybe in a few months time? Let me know if you’d like to see an evening routine too (because Matt and I’s cosy evenings are my favourite!)

-G x

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Blogging Q&A

Hey, loves! A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked on my Instagram stories if you had any blogging related questions you’d like me to answer. I was super scared nobody would ask questions (LOL) but I thankfully got quite a good response, although some people asked the same or similar questions which I’ve just mixed together. I love reading posts like this because as a blogger – and as an aspiring blogger before I created my own blog – I love to know other people’s behind-the-scenes! I talk a lot about my real life on here, and I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, one of those bloggers with an incredibly professional set up. I admire the beautiful photogenic blogs SO much, but it’s just not me. I take my photos on my iPhone X, I will never do a professional photo shoot for blog content (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing) and I’m happy in my own little world over here. So, let’s A some of your Q’s…

Why did you start writing your blog?
It was a dream I thought would never come true. I’d read blogs for so many years, and felt so connected and inspired by the people running them. Many of the girls I followed moved from blogging to vlogging and I felt like I knew them even more; I genuinely talk about Anna and Emma as if they’re my high school besties, which Matt finds hilarious! I loved the connection I felt as a reader, and I always hoped one day I’d find the courage to create my own. Fast forward four years of loving everything about blogs, and I’d poured my heart out to Matt about how I’d always thought one day I’d do it myself, but I just never had and now it was too late. Like the amazing man he is, he encouraged me to start right there and then, and I did. I bought my blog domain at the end of May 2018, and just began writing. I had NO IDEA what to expect, how any of it worked, or how it would be received, but I did it anyway. The day my first post went live (10th June, 2018) I was a nervous wreck in case people were mean. Matt and I went out for Sunday dinner at our favourite local pub and I could barely eat because I was so nervous. Over the past year I’ve found my routine, and now I love every aspect of running and owning my blog, I’m so proud of it!

What is your favourite thing about writing? / How do you make time to write?
It is very freeing, and it just feels good to get lost in my own little world. I think we spend SO MUCH TIME worrying about others, pleasing others and doing what others want to do, and it’s important to actually take a step back and be a little selfish sometimes. My number one priorites are always going to be my relationship, our family and friends and work, but when I can just sit and blog, I love to totally switch off from the world. When I’m writing I always get super comfy under a blanket, and usually have a cup of tea or hot chocolate. By ‘a cup’ I mean at least three, because I write for so long! I usually listen to podcasts, watch old YouTube vlogs (Jade Billington‘s are my favourite!) or play Your Favourite Coffeehouse playlist on Spotify although sometimes I just write in silence. I think making writing time an enjoyable experience makes it something I look forward to, and not something I stress about having to get done, even though I’m working to deadlines. Editing usually looks very different; I tend to do that whenever/wherever I can squeeze it in, often whilst we’re in the car or when I’m in the bath I’ll be proof-reading or editing on my phone.

How do you grow your audience?
I’m struggling a little to answer this, as although my blog is growing, it’s very slowly and steadily, not super quick. I think having a schedule and posting consistently is a huge factor in people coming back to my blog over and over, but I’m not really sure how people find my little corner of the internet. I find self-promoting my blog a little weird and awkward, so I try to only do that when it comes to new posts going live. I interact with other bloggers whose blogs I adore, and building those relationships is a great way to interest other people in your posts. I don’t have the most professional set up or look, but I think that can give my blog a cosy ~homey~ vibe, which hopefully people enjoy.

Do you ever get stuck for ideas?
Not really, because I plan my posts so far in advance! I don’t write my post there and then; I have the original idea so I’ll write my title, make any notes – usually this is points I want to make in the post, products I want to talk about, photo ideas etc and then I ‘schedule’ that for a date in a few weeks time and save the draft. Then, when it comes to writing the post, most of the ground work is done and I’m able to just start writing. I find it hard to make things concise though sometimes LOL, but it’s okay because I waffle on in real life just as much. The only posts I do write not long before they go live is my Feelin’ It Friday’s as they’re quick and about the week we’re currently in. I usually prep those on the Thursday night, then edit/update on Friday morning before it goes live.

Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
I get my inspiration from just whatever is going on in my life. If we’re going on a road trip, I want to share our essentials, if I’m really obsessed with a brand, I want to tell you the things I’d recommend most, if Matt and I are having a fun weekend, I take photos throughout the days and round it up for you. I also listen to comments I get, side note: people are always asking me to share dinner recipes so that post will be coming in a few weeks! I’m of course inspired by other bloggers and by YouTube content creators, and I think I’ve carved a path for my blog that means I can write about pretty much anything I want to. I never intended on sharing so much of Matt and I’s life, but I love doing it in the way I do; it’s like an extension of Instagram, where it’s real and honest, yet never staged or ‘for the blog’.

Do you feel guilty being sent products for free?
I’m not really sure how to answer this question because I don’t understand what there is to feel guilty about. Is it absolutely insane? YES. Is it surreal? YES. Is it amazing? YES. I wouldn’t say I feel ‘guilty’ because I truly put so much time and effort into my blog, which I don’t think is something that people outside of my close circle or the blogging world will realise. I only accept products that fit with me and my blog, as I’ve had some emails which just don’t work for me so I’ve politely declined. I’d never recommend something I wouldn’t purchase myself, and I’ll always be very honest if a product doesn’t work for me. My disclaimer is linked here, if you’d like a little more clarification. I truly am so grateful for every product I’ve been sent and every PR agency or brand that wants to work with me, it’s mind-blowing that my little blog is even capable of this!

Where do you see your blog in one years time?
My blog will be two years old by then, and I’m hoping it would have continued to grow with me, but I’ll definitely be creating the same kind of content. I really do want to become more comfortable in front of the camera, and Matt is always trying to encourage me to take photos when we’re out and about, which is making me slightly warm up to the idea. I know I’m not photogenic as it is, but then when I’m specifically ‘posing’ for a photo, I truly just go to pot HAHA. I would love to figure out my photography style a little more too, as I’m learning more and more about how I like to take photos and I’m hoping as a result my blog looks more streamlined and pretty.

Have you ever been recognised in public from your blog?
Haha, no I have not! I have had a weird moment in The Body Shop (I mean, where else?) where I was restocking on a few products and a girl who went to my school – she was a few years below me and we knew of each other, but didn’t know each other, if that makes sense – asked what I’d recommend she buy. She said she read my blog and purchased the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil because of my review and loved it, which was seriously like an out of body experience.

Does blogging take up lots of your time?
Yes and no. It does take a lot of time and effort, but I try to set aside specific time to write, edit, take photos etc, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. As I always try to plan ahead I don’t feel like it ‘takes up lots of time’ necessarily, because that time is specifically for blogging. I work a real 9-5 job, and blogging is my hobby so it’s something I like to do. Sometimes I really feel like I should spend an hour or two writing and editing during an evening, but I’m always going to opt for snuggling in with Matt to watch Netflix instead! I talked a lot about this in this post, and covered the ins and outs of how I find the time to blog here, too!

Do you feel weird about people you know in real life reading your blog?
I used to find it SO weird, but now I don’t really think about it too much. I know some people who know of me may read to pick flaws or to laugh at me (I had an experience with that when I first started out blogging) but I’m 25 years old, and not in high school. Although, my co-workers love to read on their lunch breaks and tell me as they’re reading, that is kinda weird haha. I know that people I know read it, and I’m truly very grateful for the views I get. I hope that people who like to read my blog tell their friends who will then tell their friends, that would be amazing! One thing I will always find strange is that I sometimes will talk about something on my blog – especially now in my Feelin’ It Friday posts – and people will see me and say things like “did you and Matt love that movie you went to see last weekend?!” or “I seen you were at Wagamama’s again!” The weirdest thing is when someone tells me they’ve bought something because of what I said about it. I never imagined that but I’ve had so many messages from people telling me!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you asked a question thank you SO much, I hope I answered it well enough! I hope you feel like you know me a little more as a blogger, I really try to be so open and honest with everything I post. Fellow bloggers, how do you feel about this platform? Do you relate to anything I’ve said? I’d love to do more Q&A style posts, and I’m hoping to maybe rope Matt into taking part in a little post on the blog… we’ll see!

-G x

Pinks & Peaches

Hi, loves! I really really love pinks, peaches and corals, they’re just the perfect Summer colours to me! These are the shades that make my heart happy, you know when you’re just drawn to specific tones? I’m really desperate to buy a peach coral lipstick but I’m just not sure I could pull it off. Does anyone have any recommendations of shades I should look at?! My obsession with pinks and coral toned peaches are a little crazy… Matt and I were shopping in Homesense a few weeks ago and he had to prise me away from a cushion that I wanted so badly because it was the exact same shade as the Essie nail polish I’m talking about in this post, ha! Also, this wasn’t meant to be an I love Charlotte Tilbury post, but it kind of turned out that way…

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Cheat / Pillow Talk Lipstick
This is my go-to date night lip combination, and a duo I reach for over and over again! Both of these products pretty much live in my bag, and I never get bored of them. I’m not the biggest fan of matte lipstick normally, but this formula is incredible and I really want to pick up another shade! The lip liner is the perfect base for the lipstick, and the formula is creamy, soft and long lasting, without feeling dry or irritating on your lips. I’ve repurchased the lip liner so many times, and I know when I run out of the lipstick I’ll be heading into town to grab another right away!

Loreal Glow Mon Amour Highlighting Drops in Champagne
I briefly mentioned this in a #feelinitfriday post before I went on holiday, but I’m even more obsessed with it now. Other than foundation and concealer, I’m a powder kinda gal when it comes to my makeup, but highlighter has always been an exception. I think liquid highlighters are so beautiful and shimmery, and just look so much more fresh on your skin! This highlight is the most gorgeous shimmery, peachy colour, and it literally gives your skin a lit-from-within glow, which is what we’re all aspiring for, right?! I also mixed a little of this with my favourite body lotion when Matt and I were going out out and it looked so nice!

Charlotte Tilbury The Duchess Lipstick
This was a beautiful gift from my lovely boyfriend for Valentine’s Day this year, and I reach for it so often, I just love it! I actually wore it for every single night of our holiday this year and I got compliments on it, I’m always shocked when anyone other than Matt or our mums takes notice of what I’m wearing haha. It’s described as a tea rose which I think suits it perfectly; it is a little dark when I’m super fair, but when I have a little bit of a tan (which I do post holiday!) it looks more rosy and bright. The formula is iconic; it’s creamy, easy to wear and lasts for so long on the lips, even when eating and drinking. In the beautiful rose gold packaging Charlotte Tilbury is known for it feels and looks so luxurious, I always feel so happy applying it!

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love
I just really love Charlotte Tilbury products, what can I say? Since I picked this blush up just before Christmas I’ve used it pretty much every day, I just can’t choose another product over it! The colour is a subtle peachy pink, but can be easily built up for a more in-depth colour depending on the look you’re going for. It’s completely matte, which I really love becuase I like to be able to incorporate glitter with my eyeshadow, and add shimmer from my highlighting drops!

Essie Cute As A Button Nail Polish
I only ever really paint my toes as I was getting gels for a long time on my fingers, but after a few bad experiences with chipping/peeling (which never use to happen) I got them took off just before my holiday and I’m trying to give my nails a little rest. I wore this colour throughout my whole holiday on my toes, and loved it so much I repainted when we got back. And whilst we were there, because the sun literally melted off my nail polish. The shade is just so dang pretty, it’s my perfect peachy coral shade for Summer as it’s bright and loud, but doesn’t look neon as I’m not a huge fan of that. I already know I’m going to be wearing it for the rest of Summer! Essie’s formula is just always good, and with a little top coat it doesn’t chip at all.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got a little inspiration to pick up some peachy pink goodness! Have you tried any of the products featured in this post? What are your favourite pink and peach toned products? Do you have any recommendations of things I should try out?

-G x

Fragrance Favourites

Happy, happy Sunday my loves! Something you may not know about me is that I really freaking love perfume. It’s one of my favourite things to buy, give or (very generously) receive and as much as I love to try new ones, I definitely have my favourites. It’s kinda weird, even when my hair and makeup is done and I’m fully dressed, I don’t feel ready for the day until I’ve spritzed a little perfume! Since I was around 9 years old and got my first bottle of Tommy Girl, I became obsessed with perfume and sprayed it like my life depended on it. I smelled great, obviously! HA. Over the years my tastes have thankfully matured, and I’ve got my favourites that I always have on rotation, and couldn’t imagine not having in my collection. I do switch out perfumes sometimes depending on the season, but all of the perfumes in this post are ones I reach for no matter what the weather is.

Just a slight disclaimer: perfume is an area of beauty where I’ve not yet explored many cruelty free options. I am trying new perfumes, but these are my tried and tested, truly loved perfumes and right now I will continue to buy them. This may change in the future. Also, let’s be real: I know nothing about the ins and outs of perfumes. I have no idea what notes are in there (other than anything obvious from the name of the perfume), I just know what smells good to me and why, so that’s what I’m telling you in this post!

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede
Although all of the perfumes in this post are my favourites, Peony & Blush Suede is my numero uno. This perfume was the first Jo Malone product I ever owed, but this is not the same bottle of course! I got my first as a gift from my mum and dad for my 18th birthday and it started my love of all things Jo Malone. Since then, I’ve re-purchased this perfume so many times and had it bought as a gift from loved ones many times too. Matt has bought me a bottle for every birthday and Christmas we’ve spent together so far (he’s the absolute cutest, he got me the candle last Christmas too which I love and am scared to burn because it’s so beautiful, haha). This perfume reminds me of Matt, almost as much as his most-worn aftershaves remind me of him! Peony & Blush Suede has such sentimental value to me, it takes me right back to our first date almost two years ago, through all the special occasions we’ve since celebrated together. It also reminds me of Kos as I wore it almost every evening on our first holiday together, I’m definitely packing it to take to Croatia this month! I used to wear this almost every day, but I’m trying hard to keep it for fun weekends, date nights and special occasions.

MAC Turquatic
This is a perfume I’ve worn and loved since I was around 15 years old, and I always have my rollerball in my bag, no matter where I’m going or which bag I’m taking! It’s especially perfect for my small Kate Spade crossbody bag as it’s so teeny and takes up pretty much no space. I’ve worn this since I was around sixteen years old, and it’s a very comforting perfume! It’s such a unique fresh and captivating scent and to this day it’s like nothing I’ve ever smelt before. I’m so happy it’s been a staple in MAC’s products for such a long time, if it was ever discontinued I’d be genuinely so upset! Turquatic is a gorgeous scent for Spring/Summer especially, and a holiday staple for me – it reminds me of Florida so much and the smell that just makes me happy. I really think it’s incredibly underrated (or even unknown) as it’s the ultimate beautiful beachy fragrance!

Lancome La Vie Est Belle
If you’re ever wondering what I smell like on a typical day, this is it! La Vie Est Belle is another perfume I’ve worn and loved for years, and it’s one of those scents that just makes me feel like me. It’s sweet and floral, which is what I’m most attracted to in a perfume, and I think it’s just the most lovely smell! This is a perfume I fell in love with years ago, and I reach for it almost every day. Matt’s mum always comments on it when I wear it, even now, and she always says she can smell it through the whole house when I wear it. It’s another scent that makes my heart happy and I would 100% recommend to anyone looking for a new fun and flirty scent for Summer!

Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet
This perfume is another I tend to keep in my bag (I like to have options), and I reach for it so often. I think it works perfectly to freshen up my La Vie Est Belle during a long day! It’s sweet and floral, as the name suggests, but not in the typical sense that makes you think of a sweet old lady. It’s such a beautiful scent; it’s especially perfect for the Spring and Summer months, and I love this travel size bottle! I bought this perfume for the first time when Matt and I were on our way to an NUFC game early last year, after lusting after it for months. That same day we stayed at Ramside Hall as a surprise for Matt working so dang hard at his job, and I still remember using it for the first time that night! I really love that scents connect you to memories and feelings instantly. I’ve never actually had a full sized bottle of this perfume, and I’m hoping to pick one up in the airport when we go on holiday at the end of the month!

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt
Another beautiful Jo Malone scent – I love so many, it was hard to narrow it down for this post! – and another beachy scent that works throughout all the seasons, despite having ‘sea salt’ in the name. I have a very deep love for the beach, and anything that smells a little like the beach or makes me think of it is a winner in my book. I love this for when I feel like I need a little confidence that day – if I have a meeting or I’m feeling anxious it works a treat. It’s kinda become my #adulting perfume, lol! This is very fresh and much different than my typical perfumes, it’s just very unique. Like most perfumes, this smells so different on different people; on my mum it smells much deeper and almost musky, whereas on me it smells much more fresh and light. I have no idea how this works, but it does!

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
This is my go-to evening ‘out out’ scent, and it makes me feel a little bit bad ass. But also super fancy because, Tom Ford. Y’know? My brother bought this for me last Christmas (how stinking adorable! He totally surprised me and Matt on Christmas morning with amazing gifts, we had no idea!) and it is such an incredible scent. I love that it’s so powerful; I literally only use two or three sprays of this and it smells so strong – in a good way – and definitely lasts all night. It actually lasts to the point where when we wake up in the morning it’s almost ingrained into Matt and I’s skin! I’d love to try more Tom Ford perfumes in the future, I adore the smell of Neroli Portofino but that’s definitely one of those perfumes I spritz in the department store and put back. Very. Carefully. LOL, it’s so freaking expensive!

Thank you so much for reading! I love talking about perfume, I feel like I tapped my laptop keys so hard writing this because I was so excited, haha. Do you love your fragrances as much as I do? What are your favourites that you can always rely on? Is there anything other scents you think I should check out at the airport duty free later this month?

-Gx

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

Blogging Whilst Having A Full Time Job: How I Make It Work

Hi, loves!

Blogging is without a doubt my favourite hobby assuming that napping with my boyfriend is not considered a hobby but it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with my schedule when I work a full time job in the real world, that comes with it’s own problems and stresses. As lots of you will already know, I have a 9am to 5pm job in Accounts and Purchasing in the real world. I work Monday to Friday, so thankfully I have all of my evenings and weekends free which gives me lots of spare time. I always make sure to prioritise time with Matt, and our friends and family first, as well as allowing myself as much ‘me time’ as I need to keep my mental health feeling good. My blogging then slots in behind that, and I always try so hard to create good quality content that I’m proud of.

I started writing my blog in June 2017, after being a dedicated reader of so many blogs for years. I always thought it was something I wouldn’t be good at doing; I lacked the confidence to create one, and I had no idea where to start with the technical side of things either. I’ve talked about my feelings on this subject a little in this post, but I am SO glad I finally took the leap and created my little corner of the internet, after lots of encouragement from Matt. He’s an absolute gem and I’m forever grateful for all of his support, I love him so much! I’ve learned such a huge array of things already about the blogging world, and I’m still learning every day. My blog is my pride and joy, it’s literally like a little baby I want to look after and feed with all of the good stuff, and it feels so good to do something that’s just for me, but also benefits other people. To be honest, even if nobody read my blog I’d still write, it brings me so much joy and a sense of calm that I didn’t know I needed.

I’ve spoken many times on my blog, in various posts, about the fact that Matt and I’s schedules vary so much – there’s a little more background in this post – due to his varying shifts at work. Matt’s hours fluctuate each week, as do his days off, so we always make sure to make the most of time together, and make that our first priority. As a result, my blogging time to brainstorm ideas, write, edit, take photographs etc varies day by day, week by week. At least twice per week Matt starts work early, which means he’s getting up at 6am. I like to get up for the day with him and make his breakfast then when he leaves for work I will work on my blog, and try to squeeze in a yoga practice, before getting ready for the day. He works until late a few times per week, so again my main focus on those evenings is to work on my blog for X amount of time before he gets home, if I don’t have other plans or errands to run. Weekends also vary a lot, although recently we’ve been super lucky and he’s had lots of days off with me! Where possible, I take at least four hours during his work day when I’m at home to work on my blog, and get things pre-planned for the coming week(s). These big chunks of time come in so handy because I can get so much done! I generally tend to just take any spare time I have to create content, and although I don’t have the same daily schedule it seems to work well, and I’m able to run my blog around my life, rather than run my life around my blog.

If we have a few busy weeks in a row it makes it so much harder to ‘fit’ blogging in around the rest of my life, and that’s when I feel stressed out with keeping my hobby going to the high standards I’ve set myself. It sometimes can get a little overwhelming and there have been times I’ve put up a post because it was scheduled for that specific day, even though I haven’t been 100% happy with it. That is something I really don’t want to do again as I feel that’s an unfair reflection of my blog, and it makes me feel a bit rubbish. I appreciate that I’m able to write and edit on my phone, so sometimes I take a little time out of my work day, during my lunch break, to do so. I generally prefer to write on my laptop (or Matt’s) at home though, so I only use my phone to write/edit when I’m feeling a little behind. From my very first post I set myself a blogging schedule – which has since slightly changed due to realising the ‘peak’ times people read posts – but I always stick to it, and post twice per week. I like having continuity in my posts as that’s something I appreciate from my favourite bloggers.

I always write my posts in advance, and I usually have at least five to six posts pre-written, that are then edited a few days before going live. I plan ahead by months sometimes, which sounds a little crazy but I generally have lots of ideas at one time, so I like to plan them in as and when I think of them. I’m so Type A, LOL. I used to include a paragraph at the start of each post about what I’d been up to that week or weekend; any restaurants Matt and I had been to, what we’re watching on TV etc, but that’s something I’ve since stopped doing as I felt it was getting repetitive and took away from the topic(s) in my posts unnecessarily. Sometimes I see that a similar post to what I’ve written has been posted by someone else a little earlier than mine is planned, and I always worry that it looks as though I’m stealing their ideas, although I promise my ideas are all my own! I’m influenced by lots other bloggers – both big and small – in many ways, but I would never copy somebody else’s work or thoughts.

The biggest ‘struggle’ I have when it comes to my blogging schedule is taking photos to go with my pre-written posts. During the Winter months when it was dark before I went to work, and dark when I came home, I would try to take as many photographs as possible during the three hour window it was light every two weeks, and then end up stressed if I had other plans or it wasn’t bright enough outside anyway. I try to take lots of photographs at one time now, so I can edit and upload them together, and this alleviates a little of the stress of always having to take new photos. As I mentioned above, I feel like a lot of the struggles I feel regarding my blog are because I have set myself such high standards, but realistically if a post went up a day later, or didn’t have ‘enough’ photos, nobody would notice (or care) anyways.

I am very happy with, and proud of, my blog (I love my re-design that I did in March – I even had to write code, guys!) but I can’t help sometimes feeling discouraged when I inevitably compare myself to other bloggers. Blogging is not something that brings home the bacon for me, and although I have no idea what will happen in the future, it’s something that right now I love to do regardless, and I enjoy every aspect even with the stress I sometimes feel. That being said, now and then I feel like my blog isn’t good enough, and I can be really hard on myself about that. Sometimes when I read other bloggers’ paid or sponsored posts, seeing how much they are given by brands (those new CMA and ASA rules made this abundantly clear) and how much engagement they get on other platforms, can sometimes really get to me. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard blogging can be first hand, and I know that most bloggers work so hard and are extremely deserving of their success, it just sometimes worries me that I won’t ever get *there*, wherever there is. These worries are thankfully few and far between, and it’s normal to sometimes doubt yourself, right? It’s a little bit hard to admit that I can feel that way from time to time, and I know some people wouldn’t share that.

I think blogging often seems like sunshine and rainbows to the outside world, but it’s important to be realistic and remember that there are deadlines (albeit, set by myself), a sense of stability and continuity in my posts, and a constant need to be creative. I’m not the most creative person in the world – you should see my art projects as a child, wow! – but when it comes to writing, that’s my thing. I love sharing parts of my life, whether it’s what Matt and I have been up to, products I enjoy using or just my general thoughts and feelings on a subject, and again that’s something I really appreciate in other bloggers’ posts. I also feel the same about YouTube; it’s the boring, at-home-and-running-errands vlogs that interest me the most, not the wow-look-at-this-super-amazing-trip vlogs, although they can be a guilty pleasure from time to time. (Especially Disney World vlogs!) I’ve heard from several people, some of which I know personally and some I do not, that they love seeing a little sneak peek into my everyday life, and I recognise that I’m so blessed to have a platform to share that. I think I just need to stay in my own lane, remember that I’m being true to myself no matter what, and above all continue to put so much time, love and energy into my blog.

If you’re reading this post and hoping to start a blog, or maybe you already have a blog and struggle with finding time to create the content you so badly want to, don’t worry. Look at your schedule, carve time out where it’s possible and never give up. It’s going to be difficult now and then, but you’ll never get anywhere without lots of hard work and perseverance, and that’s true for all things in life. There may be various stressful situations occasionally, but you must put yourself and your mental health first! Make sure to take time out when you need it, and if it means skipping an upload day or pushing it back, I promise your readers will understand. That’s advice I need to take for myself, too.

Thank you so much for reading! I say it in every post but it truly means the world to me; I appreciate every view, comment and like more than you know. Do you feel any of the struggles or stress I’ve mentioned in this post, as you juggle writing your blog with working full time? Do you have any advice or tips that may help me or other bloggers? Please leave them in the comments below!

-G x