Five Favourite Beauty Products Under Five Pounds

Hi, loves! I’m so excited to share today’s post with you because all of these products are fantastic value for money and also really great products. Like, if they were three times the price I’d still purchase them good. Y’know?! All five of the products I’ve used for a long time and always have/will re-purchase, and also I feel like inexpensive items like these can easily be overlooked. I stick to a pretty tight beauty budget these days (because it’s just SO easy to get carried away if you don’t set a budget!) so I only really splurge on items I know are worth the money. This means I’m generally a little more likely to try new things that are inexpensive, and if you have any great beauty products under a £5 I’d love to know!

Carmex Lip Balm in Strawberry
I have a confession. I am a lip balm junkie. I would never leave the house without lip balm even though I have like three in my car, I apply it religiously and I love to try new brands/scents! I try super inexpensive lip balms and I try super expensive lip balms, but no matter what I ALWAYS come back to Carmex. I really like many lip balms from the drugstore; EOS, Burt’s Bees and Palmer’s are all really good and ones I’d also recommend, but there’s something about Carmex that gets me. My favourite scent is the strawberry one because it just makes me happy, and I really love the applicator too. This is great in the warm weather or on holiday, as it’s not a stick it doesn’t melt all over the place even when it gets super hot. It also has SPF 15 which is so incredibly important!! I think Carmex is very comparable to Glossier Balm Dot Com, which is my favourite high end lip balm, although it’s much more affordable and easily accessible. I really love this lip balm under lipstick or lipgloss too; it’s moisturising and makes a really good base for product to be applied on to without being sticky.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair
This is the ONLY concealer I buy to cover spots/pigmentation/scarring on my face. Around a year ago I completely stopped buying my previous Nars concealer because this is just amazing and works even better (in my opinion)! I would personally never use it under my eyes as it’s quite thick, but I know lots of people do and really like it for that application. I love the doe foot applicator, the coverage and the price point; it’s truly such a great concealer. A tube lasts me forever too, I have no idea how because I used to go through high end concealers so quickly I felt like I was purchasing one every month! I’ve been using this concealer for so long I still call it Collection 2000. Does anyone else remember that?! I don’t know when or why they dropped the ‘2000’ but I’ll probably always call it that, hah! I also remember all those YouTube videos where US beauty vloggers would come to the UK and they’d literally buy twenty of these concealers because you couldn’t buy it in the US! I’m guessing you can now because it really has a cult following, and it’s for sure worth the hype.

Garnier Intensive Body Lotion in Mango
I made a commitment a few years back to always moisturise my body when I get out of the shower or bath, and now it’s such a part of my routine that I couldn’t imagine not doing it. Beforehand I would sometimes moisturise, maybe like every third time I showered or bathed, but my skin was always dry and felt uncomfortable because of it. I figured that I spend so much time and effort with my face skincare that my body deserved the same love! It makes me feel so good and I’m truly happy I began doing this, but I started to go through body lotion like you wouldn’t believe. My ultimate favourite moisturisers are from The Body Shop; either the Mango Body Butter or Hawaiian Kukui Cream from the Spa Of The World collection; but I’d spend a fortune if I used those every single day, especially the latter! I tend to mostly save those for special occasions like date nights or a really nice pamper evening. I’ve tried many budget moisturisers and haven’t loved many of them, but this one is incredible and the mango scent is absolutely my favourite. It’s extremely moisturising, smells gorgeous (like Summer!) and really soaks into my skin quickly so I can put pj’s/comfy clothes on straight after I apply it. I also love the coconut scent, I tend to pick up a few of each when they’re on offer and they’re such a steal. If you’re looking for a new moisturiser this beats so many high end ones I’ve tried, I promise you won’t regret it!

The Body Shop Sheet Masks
If I’m having a little pamper evening one of my favourite things to do is throw on a sheet mask! We all know most sheet masks are not great for the environment, but I only buy sheet masks from The Body Shop as they’re biodegradable and they also are by far the best I’ve tried. My favourite is either the Aloe or Vitamin C; both give fantastic results and I also just love how cooling they are on my face. I really appreciate that after a hot bath! Matt loves to join in on a sheet mask with me too, the Seaweed one is his favourite because he has oily skin and every time he uses one his skin looks SO good the next day! We always use these at night; we leave them on for around fifteen minutes, then rub in any excess that’s left on our skin and then I go in with my evening skincare routine as normal. I’ve told so many people about these masks and everyone who tries them seems to love them as much as I do.

CYO Loose Powder in Translucent
I picked this up in December because I was almost out of my Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder and did not need to spend £30 just before Christmas on a makeup product. I did however need a setting powder to set my makeup each day so I wandered into Boots looking for an inexpensive alternative. This was my first product I’ve ever bought from CYO (which I think may be a Boots own brand?) and guys, it’s incredible! This powder is finely milled, bakes concealer really well, helps my makeup last throughout the day and a little goes a long way. The only thing I would say is that although it’s marketed as translucent I feel it does have a little colour pay off; I’m super fair and it doesn’t look orange on me but it definitely darkens my foundation just a tad. This doesn’t bother me at all but it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’re going to purchase!

Have you tried and loved any of these products? What is your go-to inexpensive beauty product(s) that you feel doesn’t get the recognition it deserves?! I’d love to try some new budget beauty items! Also I’d love to know if you’d like to see a ten beauty products under £10? I have so many favourites from the drugstore and I’d be so happy to share them with you!

-G x

AD | What’s In My Bag?

AD – this post contains gifted content sent to me to feature on my blog. Please read my full disclaimer here for more information

Happy, happy Sunday loves! I am so very excited to share today’s post with you because these kind of posts are some of my favourite to write, and I also love to read them from others. I’ve watched What’s In My Bag videos on YouTube since I can remember, and it’s something I genuinely feel SO INVESTED in. I last shared what’s in my bag back in January, and although it’s not changed up too much I thought it was about time I shared my current must-haves with you. I love to see what other people carry with them on a day-to-day basis, maybe I’m just super nosy?! Whatever it is, it scratches an itch I can’t explain and I just find it so fascinating to see what people class as their must-have items.

I’ve spoken about my love of backpacks, particularly when travelling, before on my blog, and they’re so handy in everyday life too. First of all, they are super practical; you have both hands free! This means holding hands with your partner, carrying your drink (the new Starbucks’ toasted marshmallow hot chocolate for the holidays is a game changer!) or browsing rails whilst shopping is so easy. Secondly they are so spacious and adaptable to any outfit or ocassion. Thirdly… my backpack is so. dang. pretty.

I was able to choose the beautiful Parlän backpack in black *gifted from the lovely guys over at Gaston Luga and I can’t tell you how much I love it! Gaston Luga are a Swedish brand, based in Stockholm, manufacturing backpacks for both men and women. I truly love their designs; they are very chic yet classic and timeless, which makes them the perfect accessory that never goes out of style. I am so happy and grateful Gaston Luga wanted to collaborate with me! I know by now you’ve swooned over the photos, clicked on the link and are dying to purchase your own… just wait, because I have the PERFECT discount code for you to get money off your order!

I really want to share my thoughts on my favourite features of the Parlän backpack. First of all; the two outside pockets are super handy for items you need to grab easily like lip balm or car keys. There’s a slip pocket on the back of the bag that fits a passport or card holder which is so practical, especially for travelling. How often do you worry about losing things like that in busy airports?! I am obsessed with the red fabric interior of the bag; it has the Gaston Luga logo printed all over which is a gorgeous touch. Inside, the backpack is SO roomy! You can easily fit more than I have inside right now, which makes it perfect for travel or long days out of the house, but also a brilliant option for work or running errands. There’s even a pocket at the back with a magnetic closure that fits my iPad mini just perfectly. One more thing… the buckle closure on the top of the bag is for show! It does actually open like a regular buckle, but there’s a secret little press stud underneath which makes it very convenient to open.

…So, what’s inside?!

I of course always have my purse in my bag, which is a must! Right now I’m using this Kate Spade purse (that I actually stole from my mum about a year ago and still haven’t gave back… sorry mum!) which is the perfect size. It fits all my cards, cash and coins with ease. I also always keep my pill in there so I know where it is and it’s easily accessible as I take it every day. I loved my old YSL card holder so much but after four years it’s really looking worn and kinda gross. I’m planning on treating myself to a new card holder in the Black Friday sale as I generally prefer using a card holder instead of a purse. I’m not sure if I’m going to go for this one from Aspinal or this one from Mulberry… please help me!

I generally keep my car & house keys on the top of my bag or in the front pockets as I’m always in and out of my car. The only time I don’t take my keys with me is the rare weekend day Matt is off work and we’re out for the whole day, because he’s always the driver! I love to keep my keys on a lanyard for two reasons; it makes my keys super easy to find, and it also makes them easier to carry around. I really love this leopard print one, it’s the cutest!

One of my favourite things in my bag is my iPad Mini; I keep this with me because it makes blogging on the go really convienent, and I love to watch my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m cooking dinner. Whether we’re at home or Matt’s parents in the evening, it just means I always have it with me! I also currently read books on my iPad Mini so I always want to make sure it’s accessible to read on my lunch break or during the evenings. Matt is gifting me an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite this Christmas and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it, I can’t WAIT!

I of course keep super boring things in my bag each day too; including an iPhone wall charger and a portable charger – you know, just so I’m really covered, my pink Stojo collapsible cup (it’s literally the best invention EVER), an emergency Cadbury’s bar because your girl gets hangry and my Tangle Teezer. I’ve had this one for so long it’s seriously time to replace it! One of my favourite things in my bag is my worry stone, Matt has one too and it just brings me a lot of comfort when I’m feeling anxious. I also sometimes keep my umbrella in my bag but it generally lives in the side of my car door for easy access. Which always seems like a great idea until I’m going to the car in the rain!

I like to keep things organised inside pouches so things don’t roll loosely around my bag and this beautiful Oliver Bonas makeup bag is my newest purchase that I’m so happy with. It’s just the cutest dang colour, and the small bee design makes my heart so happy! I’m scared of bees in real life (just because I’ve never been stung before and I don’t want to be) but I think they’re so cute in design. Weird, I know! This pouch easily fits in my beauty essentials – and some non-essentials) that I like to have on hand whilst out and about during the day or at work.

I am obsessed with anything from Bath & Body Works, and as we don’t have one here in the UK I buy via a Facebook selling page. The prices are generally quite reasonable, albeit more expensive than in the US, but the products are just so. dang. good. I’m finishing up the last of my Fall hand cream in the scent Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, and my hand sanitizer in -. I can’t wait to purchase some festive scents in the next few weeks!

I love fragrances, so I like to carry two with me just in case. My most used rollerball perfume is without a doubt MAC Turquatic, I replace this every couple of months because I go through it so fast! It’s perfect for any occasion and I always get compliments on it, I’ve worn it since I was a teenager! I also really love Dior’s Blooming Bouquet roller pearl which is ideal for evenings or weekends; it’s another of my favourite scents. I don’t carry many makeup bits with me these days but I do always have my MAC Next To Nothing compact (sadly discontinued) with me, along with my eyebrow pencil and concealer.

Lip balm is a must for me at all times of the year, but right now it’s even more important to carry! My go-to is Nuxe Reve de Miel, although it’s not unusual for me to carry at least three with me at any time. To be fair, Matt is always borrowing my lip balm, too! My current favourite lipsticks are always on hand; MAC Jubilee, Clinique Bare Pop and Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. I always carry Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillowtalk lip liner too as it goes with pretty much all of my lipsticks – it’s seriously such a good buy.

Then I have all of the random ‘bits and bobs’ in my pouch. I carry my MoonCup (because I know some people will be wondering… it’s very new to me. The jury is still out on what I think – although I’m genuinely considering writing a blog post about my experience with it so far. Is that TMI? Or is that helpful?!), tampons – just in case as like I said the MoonCup is very new to me, bobby pins, a few pairs of contact lenses, extra invisibobbles, ibuprofen and my favourite scrunchie from Topshop. Sometimes, especially at the end of a long work day, all I want to do is get my hair out of my face and I love scrunchies because you literally can’t feel them in your hair! I tend to wear my glasses most work days, and make the most of my contact lenses at the weekends. If I’m not wearing my glasses they need to be in my bag, just incase! My glasses are from Ted Baker and I just love so much, they’re so cute. Matt totally copied and got the mens version of my style, hah!

Are you in love with this backpack too?! Or are you wanting to buy it as a Christmas gift for your favourite lady this year? I’ve got you covered! You can use my discount code GF15 for 15% off across the whole website. Also, if you order between now and November 13th (that’s this Wednesday, guys!) they are having a sale for Singles Day. This means you get 25% discount automatically applied at checkout, then you can use my code GF15 for a further 15% off. What a bargain!

Thank you for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, isn’t it so fun having a nosy inside other people’s bags?! I know I carry an awful lot but… I like to be prepared. For dry lips and phones losing power. HA! What are your must-haves in your bag every day? Also, have you ever seen a cuter backpack?! Thank you so much to Gaston Luga… and happy shopping!

-G x

Travel Diaries: Stamford

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a photo diary instead of a typical WIML post, as we spent so much time with Matt’s family and just totally relaxed all weekend! I am so excited to be sharing our photos from Stamford with you, because I literally took so. dang. many. We spent August bank holiday weekend there; visiting Matt’s family, exploring the area and just enjoying a break from our usual day-to-day life. We love going for weekends away, and we try to visit somewhere every few months for a mini break. Our weekend was filled with love and laughter; we had the best time exploring and I’m so grateful to my favourite person for always making our travels so fun. Matthew; I love you, and I love doing life with you! Did you see what I packed for this trip? I’m linking that post here in case you missed it!

We headed off super early on Saturday morning, and what should have been a maximum three and a half hour drive took us five and a half… which is literally just our luck! The A1 was closed due to a lorry fire (thankfully nobody was hurt) but we took a huge detour and got stuck in SO MUCH traffic. Luckily we had snacks, our favourite podcast and each other so we were still pretty happy 🙂

I love you so much Matthew 🙂

…yes I am tucked in with my car blanket for the journey. I am a child. When we finally made it to Stamford, we headed straight for Matt’s aunts house! His parents, nana and cousins little boy were already there so we were so happy to see everyone. The garden was a total sun trap and it was SO HOT. Especially for us Northerners, ha! We caught up, ate and played in the sun – it was so nice to be with the family (and out of the car)! Later we headed to find our cute little apartment in the centre of town and walk around Stamford for a little while; it is the most beautiful place! Everywhere is just so picturesque, the photos really don’t do it justice. We walked around for an hour or so before popping to The London Inn for a few drinks, then we headed back to freshen up for the evening. I can’t believe we didn’t take any nice photos but Matt and I went out for dinner with his parents; we ate at Cosy Club which was amazing, we all had great meals! Debbie and I tried a delicious new rhubarb gin and we had such a fun night all together. Afterwards we met up with Matt’s cousin and his lovely girlfriend for drinks before snuggling back up in our cosy apartment; we had the perfect first day!

This was our view from the apartment, it was so pretty in the late afternoon sun 🙂

The most English picture I think I’ve ever taken, lol!

So funny story… I jumped to the side of the road to take this picture of the tractor coming down the road and I think he thought I was a tourist (I mean, technically I was) because I must have looked so excited. He stopped to wave at me, hahahaha. Matt thought it was so funny!

Our Sunday was very chilled; we went for a breakfast date in the morning at the garden centre, it was so good! We love love love breakfast dates and we know good breakfast food, but this ticked every box. We’ve made a mental note to try breakfast at garden centres in our town to see if we love that too! After breakfast we visited with Matt’s nana; her village is so so tiny I can’t even explain it, they have like three shops! I I loved the area so much, it was super pretty and so remote. We spent the rest of our day visiting a little more with family and exploring the town; there was a classic car show in the centre which we looked around, but really I was only there for the ice cream van at the other side. #truth We got ready pretty early for the evening (it was BEYOND HOT – 34 degrees is just insane to us) and headed back to Matt’s aunt’s house to spend a little more time with the family before going out for the evening. We went to The Crown for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, before spending the evening in the courtyard with them; it was so quirky and literally nothing like we have at home. The fairy lights made it beyond cute! We had such a fun night with everyone, and we’re already excited for our next trip down!

Eggs and avocado on toasted sourdough is HEAVEN to me!

Matt and I LOVE exploring garden centres. Like, seriously love them. I swear we’re 25 going on 75, hahaha.

I loved this little street! The light coming through the church on the next photo was surreal to us, so I had to snap a quick picture 🙂

It was HOT. Hahahaha.

Is this not the most quintessentially British pub you’ve ever seen?! Flowers are my favourite, and these were so pretty and vibrant!

On Monday morning we left pretty early and headed home via York; we went to the Designer Outlet and Matt did so well with his bargains, as always. I picked up a cute Levi’s tee that I’m sure you’ll see on the blog sooner rather than later! Thank you so much for reading, I hope you liked seeing a little snippet of Stamford! We really loved the quaint, cute town SO much because it’s just so different than where we live. It was REAL middle-of-nowhere countryside, I loved it! As you can probably tell from the photos in this post it was very pretty; literally every corner we turned there was something so sweet to look at. We’re hoping to go back in December and I really hope we can make that work; I’d love to see how the town looks decorated for Christmas! Have you ever been to Stamford? Where is your favourite places to travel in the UK?

-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

Seven Beauty Products I Use Every Day

Hi, loves! I’m a creature of habit when it comes to pretty much every aspect of my life – I love routine, I love plans and I love using tried and tested great products. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy trying new products and finding new things I like, but as I’ve got a little older I have less of a want to buy, buy, buy without lots of research and consideration. When I was 19 I bought my very own Soleil Tan de Chanel after seeing SO many beauty bloggers and vloggers rave about it, and I’ve never disliked a makeup product more. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the product, I just didn’t and still don’t have the skills to apply a cream bronzer to look good on my face, and it was also way too dark for my skin tone. This should have been a valuable lesson (literally) as it cost around £40.00, which was a lot of money to me back then in my first ‘real’ job where I made barely nothing. I mean, it’s still a lot of money now and I have a much better job!

It took me years and years of buying the must-have product of the moment, but I’ve finally learned my lesson, and I only buy now if I’m confident I’ll love the product. I know what I like, and I’m always drawn to the same tones, colours and finishes when it comes to makeup. When Matt and I go shopping I would always rather spend more time looking at beauty products than clothes as I really don’t buy many clothes, but I’ve cut back on purchasing beauty products so much! I very rarely pick things up on a whim now, and try to do a lot of research before I buy from reading blogs, watching YouTube videos and reading website reviews. I use so many products on a regular basis, but I thought it would be fun to choose seven truly loved products that I couldn’t imagine getting ready (or unready) without! I’m sure they’re all very familiar to you, but that’s how you know I really love them, right?

Morroccanoil Treatment Light
I am obsessed with using oils on my hair (and face and body!) but this one is my absolute number one. I recently changed to the light treatment instead of the regular and it truly is a miracle worker on my hair. I apply a teeny tiny amount to wet hair after I wash it, and then I work a small amount through the ends of my hair on the in-between days before styling. It smells incredible and I’d really love to try more products from the Morroccanoil range, I know so many salons – including mine – recommend their products!

MAC Turquatic Rollerball
As I wrote about in this post, this perfume lives in my bag and comes in so handy for travelling and typical day-to-day life! I switch up my perfumes depending on the day or where we’re going (although of course Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede and Lancome La Vie East Belle are my ultimate luxury favourites!) but this I reach for every single day. I use it to top up whichever perfume I applied that morning at least once per day, and the smell makes me so. dang. happy. Matt loves this perfume on me which is so cute, it’s such a feel good scent and although I think it’s marketed for Summer due to the citrus notes I wear it all year round.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer in 1N
I discovered this product towards the end of last year, and it first featured on my blog in this post, yet I’ve spoken about it so many times since. I bought it on recommendation from Allie Glines after she talked about how much she loved it, and I’ve repurchased a few times, I can’t imagine using another product under my eyes! It doesn’t crease, it lasts throughout the day (I always set with my Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder) and it looks great in photos.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shared this product on my blog, but when you really love something you want to share it with others, right?! No matter what lipstick or lip gloss I’m wearing, I always apply this first, which is probably why I go through them so quickly. I first purchased this product around four or five years ago, when it became *the* beauty product on YouTube and I’ve not looked back since; I’ve tried so many ‘dupes’ and nothing works as well as this. The formula is so creamy but it applies easily and lasts for such a long time, and it is a perfect base for any peach, pink or nude lip product, which is pretty much all I wear!

L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Hand Cream
I have one of these hand creams in my bag at all times, and one in my nightstand drawer because I just need to have it on hand at all times. ON HAND, lol. Get it? I definitely do use multiple hand creams – The Body Shop and Sanctuary Spa also make great ones that are a little less expensive – but this is just a luxurious product I love so much. First of all, it smells amazing and the smell lingers around on your hands for so long, but the formula is not sticky or tacky and sinks in right away. I use hand cream religiously during the colder months because if I didn’t my hands would be ridiculously dry, but I’m getting better at using it when it’s not cold too. I’m really trying so hard to use hand cream after every time I wash my hands, because since I stopped getting gel manicures my hands need all the love they can get!

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter
The. Best. Cleanser. Ever. Hands down. I use all of the products in my skincare routine every day, but I just had to include his gem! I’ve used this for such a long time, and although I use other products in rotation, over the past few months this is really all I’ve reached for. I truly look forward to taking my makeup off with this cleanser every single night because it’s so relaxing and makes my skin feel great. It’s lightly fragranced but smells amazing, almost spa-like, and it’s a very relaxing way to begin my evening skincare routine. I apply this directly onto my face to break down makeup, then add a little water to create a milky consistency that breaks down any extra makeup a little more. I remove with a muslin cloth or flannel, and depending how much makeup I’ve worn that day/night I sometimes repeat, although I very rarely need to.

Carmex Watermelon Lip Balm
Lip balm is a beauty obsession for me, it’s one product I truly can’t have enough of and boy do I love trying out new ones. To be fair, Matt steals my lip balm all the time, and even when he doesn’t he wears it by default from how much I kiss him, haha. I use so many lip balms, but I really love Carmex and I reach for several throughout the day, depending on where I am as I have them stashed everywhere! I picked this watermelon scented lip balm up a few weeks ago and I really love the scent of it, it’s just perfect for the Summer months.

Thank you so much for reading! Could you have guessed some of these products? Do you use anything I mentioned in this post? What are your tried and tested must-have products you use every day?

-G x

Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

I am so happy it’s officially Spring (even if the temperature outside may not feel like it) but I’m pumped for all of the fun things to come this season. Matt and I are making fun travel plans, we’ve got lots of date days in the books, and we’re switching up our cooking game SO much to make delicious new recipes. Do you know what else I’m super excited for? Cleaning. ‘Tis the season, right?! In an era of self-confessed Hincher’s, cleaning has become a buzzword that we’re all talking about; I discuss my favourite cleaning products with my friends and co-workers in the same way I do my favourite TV shows, it’s literally like a bug we’ve all caught!

In line with my ever-growing obsession with cleaning, it’s time to make a fresh start on my beauty collection. I’ve cleaned out and de-cluttered Marie Kondo style already, but I think I was a little too lenient in a few categories. It’s funny really, because when it came to throwing out Matt’s old t-shirts he hadn’t worn for three years I was practically skipping to the charity shop to get rid of them, however if he’d tried to prise that iconic blush from 2014 out of my hands I’d have been giving all the excuses under the sun as to why I must keep it!

My cleaning for Spring has only just begun, and in the next few weeks I’m going to make the switch over from my Autumn/Winter wardrobe to my Spring/Summer one; another time to declutter, donate and sell items that no longer bring me joy, and this time I’m genuinely excited about doing so. I just love the feeling of everything feeling fresh and new in Spring! Wardrobe switch over videos from my favourite gals, Emma Hill and Anna Newton, have had me dying to do the switch over for weeks, and I’m sure I can convince Matt to get rid of a few more bits too. It’s all about balance, right?! Anyway, there will be more on this in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s all the things I’ve done or am planning to get started on my Spring beauty declutter, and you can join in too!

Clean out your makeup storage
It sounds so redundant, but it’s so important to start with a fresh canvas when it comes to any aspect of cleaning and refreshing what you’ve already got. I’d start with emptying everything; whether you’ve got makeup in pouches, bags, acrylic organisers or your back-ups stashed in drawers, put it all into one big pile. Now it’s time to fully clean out your storage; most pouches and makeup bags can go in the wash (make sure to check the label beforehand!) and a good all purpose cleaner should take care of the rest. The one pictured is my absolute favourite, Wild Rhubarb from Method, it’s eco friendly and leaves everything sparkling clean, not to mention the amazing scent fills the whole room way after you’ve finished cleaning.

Sort through your products
Before you put back any products into their freshly cleaned homes, check to make sure everything is good to use. This is the basic checklist I follow during a clear out:
Is it safe to use? Makeup products don’t last forever, and chances are if you’ve had a product for over two years it’s no longer safe. Foundations can last anywhere between 12 months to 24 months, most powder products generally are good for 24 months, and lip products should last around 12 months. Mascara is the one product I think everyone – myself included – doesn’t exchange regularly enough, as their expiration date is just three months from opening. All makeup and skincare products have a small square with a number in; this is the recommended lifetime (in months) of the specific product. Be honest with yourself and throw out anything that is no longer safe to use.
Will I actually use this? You may have just picked up a blush only two months ago so it’s definitely safe to use, but now you’ve brought it home it’s apparent that it’s way brighter than it looked in store, and you’d feel like you were in costume as a Russian doll if you wore it. It’s disheartening to donate or throw out products you’ve spent your hard earned cash on, but it’s definitely better to give them a home they’ll be appreciated in, instead of leaving them in a drawer. Any unopened and unused products can be donated to women’s shelters, and that’s always my first choice for those products. Lightly used products may be okay to give to your family or friends, at mutual discretion. If something is old and used up, unfortunately it needs to be thrown out, and I’d recommend handing in your rubbish to your local L’Occitane store, who have a fantastic cosmetic recycling program with Terracycle, all of the details you need are included in the link.
Is this an everyday product or an optional product? My everyday makeup lives in my makeup bag, and I tend to favour the products I know and love to put in here, or something new I’ve bought and am trying out. As Matt and I live between our parents’ houses whilst we’re saving for a house (it’s only for another year or so, and we actually really love it!) it’s so much easier to keep my things in a bag. I keep all of my optional products – I still have nine blushes after my clear out, dear Lord – in a drawer in my vanity table, organised by category. I do switch out products from time to time, whether it’s a concealer or mascara, I go through stages of liking one product for a while then fancying a change. Be realistic, and don’t keep an overwhelming amount of options with your everyday times as you’ll be less likely to try new things.

Wash your makeup brushes
Is it just me that feels like my life is approximately 87% more together when my makeup brushes are clean? No? Seriously, it’s one of those tasks I dread, and I put off for way longer than necessary but it’s never as bad as I think. I love the feeling of doing my makeup for the first few days afterwards with freshly cleaned tools, especially when I’ve cleaned my makeup sponge too! I’d really recommend investing in a brush cleansing palette next time you’re feeling spendy as they make the process way quicker and easier, and I genuinely think keeping on top of the cleaning keeps my brushes looking better for longer. Some of my face brushes are about seven years old, most are sadly discontinued but they look good as new because I’ve looked after them. Also, you definitely don’t need to invest in specific brush cleaners, Johnson’s baby shampoo works a trick, and you can get huge bottles at Costco that will last forever!

Shop your stash
Re-introducing old favourites is one of my favorite ways to update my makeup bag or skincare routine! Now you’ve sorted out what is still good to use, you’ve almost definitely found products you totally forgot you owned. Please tell me that’s not just me who forgets they’ve purchased things?! I always find lipsticks I’d once loved and worn every day, that had been banished to the back of a drawer and left unloved for months. This is the stage where I’ll probably switch out my mascara (my current one has definitely been used for longer than three months!) and add in a different eyeliner or a new lippie. Always a new lippie. I feel very refreshed after switching out just a few products, as I’d liked what I’d been using for a while I had no desire to change things around, and Matt even noticed! I also found a Jouer eyeshadow pencil that I literally have no recollection of buying, but wow it’s beautiful and it’s become a go-to in my makeup bag over the past week.

Add one or two new items
I’m currently doing a Beauty No Buy for April, so I cannot purchase any new makeup or skincare products, except if a product I use every day runs out. However, my favourite part of a clear out has to be realising where the gaps are in your collection, and things that you could do with for the new season. I don’t personally fake tan, but I know lots of people will be picking up an extra shade of their foundation or concealer in darker shades around this time of year, ready for their Spring and Summer tanning. I save that for Summer when I go on holiday, although I probably shouldn’t bother as I gain more freckles than I tan, I wish I tanned like Matt did! I would love to get an everyday highlighter as the only one left in my stash is definitely more for a night out and is pretty heavy on the shimmer. I realise by my confession above that blush is the last thing I ‘need’ to buy but I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush as I’ve seen so many people rave about them, and I’ve lusted after one for months!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope this post inspired you to have a clear out of your makeup and maybe re-introduce some old (or new) products! What is your go-to makeup product this Spring? Have you been excited about anything you’ve re-discovered from your collection recently?

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

As this post goes live, we will be on our way to enjoy a staycation at one of our favourite hotels, Hotel du Vin at Newcastle Quayside. It’s a birthday treat for Matthew as he turns 25 tomorrow, and we’re making the most of it! We’re planning on doing very little; maybe a chilled walk along the Quayside, a bubble bath, dinner, drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing with yours truly. What more could he want, eh?!

Packing is my thing and I love reading packing related blog posts or watching ‘pack with me’ videos on YouTube, some of these incredible people fit enough clothes for three weeks in a carry on suitcase! Mind = blown. I am borderline obsessed with the whole process and find it so exciting, as soon as we have a trip booked I find myself beginning to plan my outfits, search through my stash of travel sized minis and find the Insta-worthy hotspots usually reserved for the locals. As much as I enjoy that kind of packing, there’s something real nice about heading for a staycation, less than thirty minutes from home. You already know the best places to go! Driving means no luggage restrictions! Full sized beauty products! The ability to pop home if you forget your favourite shoes… Also, it means I don’t have to hide Matt’s birthday presents as I can easily sneak them in the boot.

Really, the chances of me forgetting something on a staycation trip are pretty slim, as I tend to go with the ‘if you might need it, take it’ method of packing when there’s no weight restriction. Slippers? Our favourite blanket? Ski goggles? You name it, I’ve probably packed it. I feel I’m being a tad hard on myself as I’ve definitely honed it down from previous trips, but I’m still not the most minimalistic or streamlined packer, and for a one or two night trip close to home, I’m okay with that. Also, the best thing about travelling anywhere with your boyfriend? He takes literally the essentials. (By ‘he’ I mean me, because of course I end up packing for him HAHA). I’m sure all girls have read between the lines here and know where I’m going with this… extra space for our stuff, YAY!

*I’ve linked all of the items you can still purchase to save you having to find them!*

The Beauty Bits

My favourite part of packing is always my skincare, makeup and toiletries. As I mentioned above, I do love a travel sized mini, but there is something a little bit special about being able to take your old faithfuls without having to find a mini or decant them. Although I often take full sized beauty products on staycation trips, or really anywhere we travel to by car, I tend to take less products overall, and just take the things I actually need. Sort of. I definitely minimize my skincare and makeup routine, and don’t take all of the extra ‘just incase’ bits I usually keep in my skincare stash. I’m so happy with my daily skincare routine so I’m definitely taking all my must-haves for morning and night, even though it may seem like a lot to some. I talked about my current skincare routine in this post so please check that out if you’d like to know my thoughts on the products pictured, in more detail!

I also try to pack as little as possible in the category of ‘body care’ (I feel like there needs to be an actual name for this stuff?!) because A) it’s just a one night trip and I won’t be doing a full on pamper sesh and B) Hotel du Vin have Ren products in all of their rooms anyway, which is an amazing cruelty free brand that I love. Matt and I always share whichever shampoo and conditioner I pack, and we’ll use one of our own mini Molton Brown shower gels, then I need my shaving products, moisturiser and hair products to style my hair before I blow dry it. We very rarely use the mini toiletries provided in the room when we’re there as I (not so) secretly love to take them for future trips that may not provide them. That’s why they’re there, right?!

If this is your first time reading my blog you may not know that my aim for 2019 is to go fully cruelty free on my beauty products. I’m already there on my everyday skincare and makeup items, but body care is proving a little more tricky – I’m yet to find a razor that works as well as my beloved Gillette Swirl, and any other shaving gel apart from Gillette leaves my skin dry and/or irritated. I wanted so badly to love the Lush D’Fluff as it smelled glorious, but it really wasn’t right for my skin, and never gave me a close enough shave. My beloved Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a must-have, I use this almost every day and I love it; it reminds me of so many wonderful memories.

Skincare: Glossier Milky Oil / Boots Botanics Micellar Water / Cotton Rounds / Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser / Pixi Glow Tonic / The Body Shop Serum-in-Oil / The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask / Neals’ Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser / Glossier Balm Dot Com / Facetheory Eye Cream / Facetheory SuperGel Moisturiser

Makeup: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer / Colourpop X Zoella Eyeshadow Palette / Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette / Too Faced Better Than Sex & Diamonds Mascara / It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte in Fair / Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Concealer in 2 / Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder / Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love / Colourpop Highlighter in Flexitarian / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in The Duchess / NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu / Minimal amount of makeup brushes & my beauty blender

Hair & Body Care: Ren Oat & Bay Shampoo (mini) / Love Beauty & Planet Magic Masque / Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser / Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo / Tangle Teezer Brush / Straighteners / Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt / Dove Deodorant / Lush Sleepy Moisturiser / Gillette Shaving Gel (mini) / Gillette Swirl Razor / Molton Brown Shower Gel (mini) / Contact Lenses / Medication

Clothing & Accessories

I love planning my outfits in general, and I find this the easiest category to pack for, even though I do like to have some kind of option, just in case. I’ll use the same bag both day and night – my Kate Spade crossbody is my go-to – and my trusty Vans will go with any day time outfit. I tend to be pretty hard on just taking one evening outfit for an overnight stay, as I know exactly what we’ll be doing – in this case, dinner at The Botanist and drinks on Grey St – but packing for the next day is a little trickier. We know our morning consists of Matt opening his presents (I’m so excited for that!) and us going for breakfast, but then we have the whole day to explore our favourite city and spend time with family, which is what birthdays are for.

I keep it minimal with my jewellery day-to-day, and I’ll be wearing my good ol’ faithfuls. My Missoma initial G necklace and mis-matched star and moon studs, my Pandora bracelet and various rings, and the rest of my earrings are silver, purchased from various stores. I very rarely change up my earrings as I love how they look, although it’s something I really want be more adventurous with this Spring/Summer! I’m also determined to try hoop earrings and to love them, other girls look SO good wearing hoops.

The weather is still very odd right now up North as we’re finally moving into Spring. Some days it’s warm, sunny and bright, and others it’s dark, rainy and freezing cold. This is my justification for taking two day outfit options, if you hadn’t already guessed what was coming. Also, we don’t take pyjamas as we never sleep in them, and we know from experience that Hotel du Vin robes are the bomb. I love to wear my hotel robe whilst I get ready for the evening and the following morning, so other than my two three outfits, there’s nothing else I need here! Except for a few spare pairs of pants and an extra bralette that I know I won’t wear. I can’t help it, it’s the overpacker in me. (Side note: VS thongs are the only underwear I buy, but I’m always looking for new options, and more sustainable brands would be great – if you have any tried and trusted recommendations please let me know in the comments!)

Evening: Underwear / Zara Animal Print Skirt / Black Camisole (similar) / Heeled Teal Boots / Kate Spade Crossbody
(YAY for ‘no bra’ outfits! #freethenipple)

Day: Underwear & Bra / Black Leather Jacket / Scarf / Black Old Skool Vans / Kate Spade Crossbody
Option 1 – Colourblock Jumper / Topshop Black Jamie Jeans
Option 2 – Black V Neck T-Shirt / Topshop Blue Jamie Jeans

The Bits I Actually Need (And Definitely Do Not Need But Will Take Anyway)

Like I said, I’m not perfect when it comes to packing (or anything, ha) and I knowingly pack more than I need. I always make sure to pack our phone chargers and also squeeze in snacks for the room because we love to have our home comforts for the evening. We’ve got our favourite sweets to snack on, and we’ll also have a box of our favourite donuts thanks to the amazing guys at Proven Goods Co. Matt won’t know this until we get there, and I’m so excited to surprise him! The only thing better than birthday cake is birthday donuts, right?! We always make sure to take a few bottles of water and cans of Diet Coke to stick in the fridge in the room, because we’re cheap and can’t justify paying the mini bar prices LOL. For special staycation trips like this one, we like to take a bottle of champagne, because that’s half the fun of the amazing roll top bath, right?! Also, it’s my love’s birthday, and if he wants champagne then that’s what he’ll get!

We’ll be throwing an extra coat in the car and I’ve already packed an umbrella ‘just incase’ but with good reason; in Newcastle it’s not uncommon to experience every weather possible in the space of 24 hours! Ironically, I’ll definitely be taking my sunglasses as the optimist in me will be praying for a sunny day so we can take a nice morning walk along the Quayside; it’s one of our favourite places in Newcastle and it’s just so beautiful.

We’d never take our iPads or laptops on an overnight trip like this as we absolutely will not need them, so there’s no need to worry about fitting those in to our luggage. I would normally take a book with me, but I know I’ll have no time to read so I wouldn’t bother lugging it around. (Even though this makes me a little sad as I’m obsessed with my current book, Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto, it’s the eighth book I’ve read so far this year and I hate putting it down!) I do always throw a tote bag into our luggage no matter where we’re going as they take up no space and come in so handy for tons of reasons. I mean, how else would I take all the miniature Ren toiletries home? I have to add, Poo Pourri comes in so handy on trips, I bought it originally as a joke when Matt and I went on our first weekend away together, but it’s actually a great idea (and still funny). Also, I think it’s a brilliant ‘gag gift’ for someone who’d laugh about it! Now, if only I could get him to use it at home…

I’m SO excited to relax and spoil my favourite person in the world, he deserves it so much. I hope you liked having a peek inside my suitcase, and if you haven’t already, you can check out my previous packing-related posts here and here. They’re the kind of posts you can come back to at any point for a little extra inspiration or motivation to pack! I’ll definitely be writing an updated What’s In My Carry On post when we go on our Summer holiday to Croatia later in the year, and we have a few city breaks in the pipeline too, I’m so excited to share more travel-related content.

What are your must-have items to pack for an overnight stay? Are you way more minimalist than me? I bet you are. Also, HOW do you do it? Please leave me all the tips and tricks in the comments, it would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much for reading!

-G x


How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x

January Favourites

Hi, loves!

Boy am I glad January is OVER. Ringing in the new year with Matt and our friends seems like a lifetime ago! The weather has been so dark and miserable, and I’m already longing for warm Spring days when I can fill our bedroom with bunches of peonies and we can go outside without a coat. However, even though the weather hasn’t been on our side, Matt and I have had so much fun this month. We also booked our Summer holiday, we’re heading to the beautiful country of Croatia in June! I’m SO excited to explore and relax in the sun with my love, I literally check the TUI countdown app like my life depends on it.

So, I know what you’re thinking… January favourites? But you said you’d never have enough content to create monthly posts on the products you’ve been using? WELL, I hold my hands up can I can say I was wrong. I mean, I’m never wrong. But, on this one occasion, I was. HAHA. Okay so let me explain; I have loved watching monthly favourites videos on YouTube and reading monthly favourites blog posts for as long as I can remember. Nowhere near as many creators make them nowadays, but they’re OG YouTube/blogging, and I have to admit they’re such a guilty pleasure of mine. (Anna‘s are forever my favourite!) I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that as much as I love reading/watching this content, I don’t try enough new products each month to constantly be raving about new things. Then it hit me, it doesn’t have to be about new products!

I definitely have favourite products I use month to month, and I’d actually love to be able to look back over previous months and see which books/beauty products/TV shows/movies/clothing items etc were floating my boat then. When I wrote my 2018 beauty favourites, every item had been featured on my blog, most of them several times, and I got such a great response to that post it made me want to try out a monthly favourites series on my blog. Also, apologies these photos aren’t great – it’s been so dark I’ve not been able to take good quality photos with natural light! I promise my February favourites will be photographed much better. So, what are my favourites from the month of January?

All the date days/nights. As I mentioned above, Matt and I have had SO many fun date days and nights this month! We’ve been to four(!!) football games supporting our team, did a little shopping, gone for a few walks down by the beach, made so many new (and old) recipes, went for a few breakfast and dinner dates, squeezed in a double date with our lovely friends Jonny and Jo, and made the most of all the cosy nights in! We’ve spent so much of the month having fun and I’m beyond grateful that we always prioritise our time together.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer. Okay, quite a big claim, but this is hands down the best concealer I’ve used under my eyes! I picked this up on recommendation from Allie Glines, I love her and she always creates the best easy-to-wear looks. This concealer is lightweight, brightening and lasts all day/night. It doesn’t accentuate any dry patches under my eyes and it doesn’t crease, although I always set it with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder which I’m sure helps a lot. As the formula is so lightweight it never looks cakey on the skin, and it applies beautifully with a damp beauty blender. Laura Mercier is also cruelty free! (Side note: the Nars soft matte concealer that I love and use to cover redness/spots etc is running out so fast, and I can’t repurchase as it’s not cruelty free. Does anyone have any recommendations for an alternative? I think I may pick up the new Too Faced concealer!)

Prison documentaries on Netflix. It’s probably no surprise to any regular readers, but man do Matt and I love a documentary on Netflix. Our recent love has been anything prison related – Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons and Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail have been our ultimate favourites this month! It’s crazy seeing what goes on inside prisons/jails all over the world, it almost seems made up sometimes. If you have any recommendations for some more documentaries we need to watch, please let me know!

An Edited Life by Anna Newton. I’m the biggest fan girl of Anna, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. My blog inpsiration and ultimate girl crush has only gone and wrote a bloody book! I just finished reading and I’m excited to let you in on a little secret… it’s going to be featured on my blog in my first ever book review next month! Anna is the queen of organiation and de-cluttering, as well as being the most Monica-esque person there ever was, can you see why I love her? I genuinely aspire to be more like her everyday. I told you I was a fan girl! I feel like generally we’re so similar, from our love of Friends, right down to our colour co-ordinated budget spreadsheets. If you’re looking to get your life in order this year, this one’s for you!

Sukin Facial Cleanser. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this product as it’ll be featured in my skincare routine next month, but I’m seriously impressed with this! I’ve been using this cleanser every night and most mornings since November, and it works so well for my skin. Sukin is an eco-friendly, vegan brand, and all of their products are made with natural ingredients. This cleanser has been a huge help in keeping my skin clear, it doesn’t feel harsh or stripping and the product seems to last forever. I use a 5p sized amount each morning/evening, and I genuinely look forward to washing my face! This is big news because normally I find it the biggest chore ever, HAHA. I can’t wait to share more with you in my skincare routine!

Writing/posting in January. It’s no secret that I love to write for my blog, or else I wouldn’t be doing it! BUT, I loved writing more than ever this past month. My posts What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion? and Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together? got SO much traction which I wasn’t expecting, but was so pleasantly surprised. Both of the topics covered in these posts; sustainability and mental health, are so important to me, and I truly wrote from the heart, which I think comes across to readers. I love that I can engage with people all over the world and open up new conversations, it still blows my mind. Thank you so much to my new followers, and to anyone that has messaged me about either/both posts! If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?! They’re super long so I’d highly advise grabbing a cuppa and a Penguin biscuit (Matt and I’s favourite snack from the month… shhhhh).

Thank you so much for reading! I had so much fun writing my first monthly favourites post, I hope you enjoyed! Have you been a fan of any of the things featured in this post? What were your favourite products or things from this past month?

-G x