Staycation Booking Tips

Hi, loves!

Last weekend Matt and I enjoyed a little staycation in our very favourite local hotel; Hotel du Vin, Newcastle. We’ve stayed there many times before and it always feels like such a treat, so much so that we rarely book anywhere else if we’re looking for a luxurious and romantic staycation! We especially love a night or two away from home because it’s just like a mini holiday for us, and we always treat it like that. We pack minimally, play tourist in our own city and just enjoy spending time together. I feel like it’s such a blessing that we’re able to take trips like this and I never want to take it for granted! I totally get this is not everyone’s cup of tea which is fine, but if you’re a fan of nights/weekends away I really hope this is helpful to you.

So, there’s several things to consider when you’re booking a staycation. Are you going to spend a lot of time in the hotel? Does it make sense to splurge a little more on your accommodation as you’re travelling less distance? Does the hotel look comfortable and cosy? Do you know of any friends or family who have stayed there before? Is it a suitable distance to the nightlife of the city/town you’re visiting? Is there anywhere to explore or play tourist nearby? If you want to really relax is there a spa facility?

Our checklist for a romantic weekend trip is pretty standard whether we’re staying close to home or travelling a few hours away. The five top things on our list are:
– a little bit of luxury that feels extra special
– the hotel being based close (ish) to shops restaurants and bars. We love to play tourist even in our own city and we went to make sure we can explore easily
– a roll top bath, because why the heck not?
– beautiful views
– a good deal on the room price, bonus points if it includes breakfast

For us, the benefit of a staycation is we’re jumping in the car and driving less than thirty minutes to our destination, and we want to R E L A X. We spend a lot of time in the hotel room before we go out for dinner, and also like to make the most of our morning there too. A roll top bath is obviously not a necessity for a hotel room, but hey… when in Rome Newcastle… Truthfully we are bath lovers, and a bubble bath sounds like a pretty fun way to spend time during a romantic weekend to me. Little luxuries of boutique hotels like fancy toiletries and a mini bar are great, but we try to take any extras we need… including our own cans of Diet Coke. I wish I was joking, hahaha. We usually book breakfast as an extra little treat because most days we don’t get to eat breakfast together due to our work schedules. And you all know, we love a breakfast date!

Choosing the right hotel for you and your needs is important; I personally think it’s extra special to be in a boutique hotel because there’s so many extra little touches that you don’t get in a large franchised hotel. We’ve stayed at several HdV’s (seriously guys, feel free to work with me!) and all of them have the same feel of a grand building, muted colour tones, huge comfy beds – which makes no difference because we always wake up right on the edge of Matt’s side, oops! – and friendly staff who look after you. I personally think Hotel du Vin’s have a very ‘homey’ feeling, it’s just really relaxing and quiet which is perfect for us. Every time we stay we also go for a walk along the Quayside which feels like something extra special too, because it’s somewhere we both love to be.

BOOKING (& PACKING!) TIPS

– read lots of blog posts and Trip Advisor reviews if you’ve never stayed at the hotel before
– look through the Instagram geotag to see real photos from guests
– check there is parking available on site, but remember it’s often charged separately to your hotel room
– set a budget beforehand so you aren’t tempted to book something too expensive
– plan ahead; if you stay on a Sunday evening you’ll normally get the best rates
– compare prices on different sites before booking, although often the best deal is with the hotel’s own website
– bring your own champagne/wine if you fancy a tipple in the room and you’re going all out on the romantic feeling. Glasses are always provided for free!
– you probably don’t need pj’s because hotel robes are the BEST
– whether you’re eating at the hotel or at a restaurant in the town/city, book ahead of time to avoid disappointment
– don’t overpack on the toiletries, it’s all there for you anyway
– check the hotel’s amenities for things that are important to you. Is there a hairdryer / coffee machine / fridge etc? Chances are, yes!
– make a (rough) itinerary of things to do and places to see so you aren’t tempted to spend all of your time lounging in your beautiful hotel room!
– pack snacks, nobody wants to be getting hangry

I hope this post was helpful to you if you’re thinking of planning a staycation any time soon! I’m still dreaming of that bubble bath… Have you stayed in a Hotel du Vin before? What hotels are your favourite for a luxury staycation? Do you have any additional booking tips to share with me and my readers?!

-G x

Winter Reading List

Happy Wednesday, loves! One of the things I really want to include more of in my blog this year is my love of reading. I read at least twenty minutes per day, but I really try to read for around an hour if I can. Honestly this totally depends on my day; if I have spare time in the morning like when Matt leaves for work, or if I’m taking a long bath in the evening I often read for longer than hour. I’ve set myself a target to read twenty six books this year but I’ve just finished book #5 of 2020, so I’m pretty sure I’ll surpass that goal quickly!

If you’ve missed me talking about it approximately 400 times on the blog, Matthew very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I am absolutely in love with it (full first impressions/review will be coming in the next few weeks) and I’m so so grateful he gifted it to me! I’ve only read books on my Kindle since Christmas Day, and I honestly haven’t missed having a ‘real’ book at all, which was something I was a little worried about. I decided to mix this review up with a few books I’ve read and a few books I’m planning on reading; let me know if you’d like to see more review-style lists on what I’ve already read, rather than what I’m planning to!

The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth
Real talk: I’ve never met a Sally Hepworth book I didn’t like. Ha! I first found Sally through Shay and I loved her writing style from the very beginning. I always feel like her characters are very well written and have that real feeling to them that makes connecting to their story so effortless. I love the mystery linked in to this book; the plot surrounds Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, being found dead, next to a suicide note that makes no sense. All of the family have something to hide, and the book is a whodunnit style which I’m sure will have me gripped based on the reviews I’ve read. Fun fact: after girly ‘rom com’ style of book, whodunnit is my second favourite kind of book to read! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This was the fifth book I read this year, and it’s definitely my favourite of the bunch so far! I LOVED it so much. The story is told by the two main characters – Tiffy and Leon – in a diary-like format, although I have to admit when I first started reading I didn’t know if I’d like that. After a few chapters I really enjoyed this way of story telling; it was interesting to hear both points of view and still have my own opinion/thoughts as the reader. Right from the very beginning I just adored Tiffy; she’s found with nowhere to live and her only option is to live in Leon’s flat (and bed!) when he’s not there. Sounds strange doesn’t it? It is, but it’s wonderful. This is just a lovely story of two personalities intertwining and it’s definitely not your typical boy-meets-girl. It’s also laugh out loud funny. This should be next on your ‘to read’ list for sure!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I ordered this book as it was recommended to me on Amazon back in December and I am SO glad I did! I read it within a few days and I loved every. single. second. The story follows two best friends, and a boy they are both in love with. The new characters that are introduced fit in so well, and the story has so many twists and turns it’s not the predictable easy read I assumed it was. I really felt like I couldn’t put this down and would recommend to everyone; also the title is a little misleading as I thought this was a Christmas themed book but it’s definitely not, you could read this any time of year. This was hands down my favourite book of 2019! I can’t wait to read more from Josie, her new book comes out in March and I’m very excited to get my hands on it!

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like this book is EVERYWHERE at the moment. I have to say, I love the cover so much I almost bought the paperback instead of downloading the Kindle version, ha! I just started reading this and I’m really enjoying it. The book is told (so far) from the perspective of two women, and also features an influencer’s social media posts, obviously showing off her perfect life. I have a feeling there are a lot of cracks that will show soon! So far none of the women have met but I can see how their lives are about to intertwine. I love Beth already, her character is SO funny and I’ve laughed out loud several times in her parts of the book! I’ve seen from reviews there’s a less in here regarding not believing things as you see them on social media, and I think that’s a lesson we could all do with being told over and over again. I’m really excited to see what happens (and why Ruby is the way she is…)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
I have wanted to read this book for SO long; I know it’s very loved and it’s a best-seller, but I’ve kinda put it off because I know it’s going to be a hard read. Matt and I love to watch movies set during wartime but every time I read a book set around the war I can’t finish it, I have no idea how but to me reading is so much more powerful than a TV show/movie and my heart hurts so much I can’t take it! This story centres around two people on very different sides of the camp falling in love, and I just know it’s going to be a heartbreaking read! It’s a bestseller and so many people have told me to read it, so I really need to get to it.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
I read this book super quickly, and I’d definitely recommend for an easy read that actually covers some very hard life events. Warning: it can get a little raunchy! Ha! I did not know that when I picked it up, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. Caitlin, the main character, is so lovable and someone you’re immediately connected to and rooting for from the beginning. I love when I immediately like or can relate to the main character as I think that is a huge part of how much I enjoy books. She is a super successful lawyer and when her ex-nemesis from college is needing a favour from her, she seems to find a whole new side of herself. I also LOVE Emme’s character! I can’t say much more without spoiling it, just add it to your reading list ASAP!

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life And Strange Times In Television
Matt bought me Louis’ book for Christmas which was so sweet because he knew I was planning on buying it. Something you may not know about us is that we LOVE Louis Theroux! His documentaries are some of our favourites (Queen Stace gets the top spot, obvs) and we binge watch his old ones all the time. I especially love Louis’ interviewing style; he’s never afraid to say what he thinks and he has met some of the most controversial people! I really am so excited to delve into this to see a behind-the-scenes aspect.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This book was also recommended to me by Amazon after reading One Day In December, so I have pretty high hopes. The story is based on a girl figuring out her own grief and finding her biological mother in the process, and these kind of heart wrenching stories make for some of my favourites! It’s also set in New Zealand and I love when a book is set somewhere I’ve never been before. I really enjoy a family based drama within a book, and this book is described as moving and emotional, which we all know means I’ll be crying my way through it!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
This was the first book I read in 2020, and I loved it so much I wish I could unread it and read it again! The story was not at all what I thought and I think that’s actually a really good thing; I love when a book takes you by surprise and has lots more to offer than it appears on the surface. The Matchmaker covers some very hard circumstances you’d never want to experience in your own life, but it also is funny. Caitlin, the main character, is someone I immediately liked, and thought it was so interesting that she runs her own matchmaking agency. I don’t want to spoil for you why she’s against sharing her perfect life with her perfect husband – after all, it’s been the selling point of her agency for a very long time – but I just need you to buy it! Warning: I sobbed several times reading this book. You know those big, fat tears that just don’t stop? Buy tissues!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this inspired you to grab your book (or Kindle) and snuggle in to read for a few hours this afternoon. I just get so much joy from reading, I want everyone else to enjoy it just as much as I do! I’m still trying to convince Matthew to pick up a book… Have you read any of the books I talk about in this post? Do you have any recommendations for me of what I should order next?

-G x

Four Things I Do Every Week To Be Productive

Hi, loves! There’s a few things I do each and every week that helps make me feel like I’m being the best version of me. I often feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once because running a blog whilst having a full time job, still making time for my social life and being able to run errands and other mundane things can sometimes feel like a lot. If I need to take time out to just relax and recharge, I’m (slowly) becoming okay with not completing my to-do list if I’m just not in the headspace to do it.

My default downtime/self care regime is often just a night in with Matthew bugging him to do a face mask with me, eat pick n mix and watch a few episodes of The Office, but I really wanted to share a few little things I do throughout each week to help me feel more productive, fulfilled and happy. Being able to do these things (among others, of course) really allows me to be productive when I have to be; downtime is so important and honestly being ‘busy’ all the time is not something I want to aim for.

Enjoy downtime in the mornings and evenings
I adore having a chilled morning or evening, especially when I can take my time over the mundane everyday things too. I try to wake up at least twenty to thirty minutes before I actually need to every day, whether it’s a work day or not, and this means I’m able to take my time a little more. Matt and I try to take an extra five minutes in bed together once our alarms have gone off, then we have a cup of tea every morning. I sometimes will a candle on my vanity table whilst I get ready, and I try to take my time doing my hair and makeup. One of my favourite parts of a weekend morning is picking my outfit for the day; I love to be able to pick clothing based on my mood that day! Is that weird?! I much prefer evenings where I have time to take a bath as showering just isn’t as relaxing to me, and I also take time to blog or read as much as I can too. I also LOVE to cook in the evenings it’s one of my favourite times of day.

Take time out to plan healthy meals
Cooking is a huge part of my night routine; whether Matt’s working late or he’s home before me it’s always a priority that we eat something hearty and healthy! I’m that weirdo that really enjoys meal planning and grocery shopping (genuinely, it’s my favourite errand to run… hahaha) and I find it really helps how I feel mentally to eat good foods. I’ve always ate lots of fruit and veggies but now more than ever Matt and I are trying to pack as many as we can into our daily meals, and cut out some of the rubbish. This year I was determined to take lunch to work with me everyday (and for Matt to do this, too!) because we were constantly eating food that made us feel crap and cost a fortune. I know we’re only two weeks into the work year but we’ve both really enjoyed eating a healthy lunch during the day, it just helps you to feel more energetic and productive. I also try to drink water as often as possible, but I’ll forever be obsessed with Diet Coke!

Read
I have no idea how people can not read books, honestly! Reading a good book is something I intentionally make time for each day, and I can’t tell you how much I love to get lost in a fictional world. I recently started to read during my lunch breaks at work which has quickly become one of my favourite times to read, I just find it the best way to escape the work environment for half an hour. In the evenings I take a bath I read in there, and I try to take at least twenty minutes before bed if I can too. Of course every day is so different; sometimes Matt and I watch TV (we’re currently obsessed with Jack Ryan!) right up until we go to sleep, and others we have a little more time to do our own thing. I’m sharing my current reading list on Wednesday, there’s so many good books in there!

Listen to motivational podcasts whilst driving
Driving is something that makes me so happy, and funnily enough I get so many blogging ideas whilst driving too. I really enjoy my alone time (I’m sure my regular readers will be quite surprised to hear that, actually) but being alone is how I re-charge. I’m an introvert and I really feel rested and relaxed after spending a little time alone each day; the only constant in this alone time during the week is my drives to and from work. I love to listen to podcasts and I find that this a perfect time to really indulge in the stories and conversations. My ultimate favourite podcast is Shagged, Married, Annoyed by my most favourite couple, Rosie & Chris Ramsey. BUT, when I want to feel inspired, motivated or just enjoy a chilled conversation, my go-to’s are How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton and The Estee Lalonde Show. It’s so interesting especially when I’m feeling a little bit unmotivated to hear another perspective (even on completely different situations) and it always helps me to count my blessings a little more.

Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate it more than you know. If you’re struggling with feeling unproductive or unmotivated right now, please know you have all my love and support, you’ve got this! What do you do day-to-day that makes you feel productive and prepared for your to-do list? Do you do any of the things I do, too? I’d love to know of other things I should incorporate into my life to make being productive feel that little bit easier!

-G x

73 Questions: Vogue Parody

Hi, loves! Back in July the lovely Abbie tagged me to complete the 73 questions: Vogue parody tag and I’ve just never had a gap in my blogging schedule where I could fit it in… until today. Tags like this make my heart happy because it reminds me of the old Bebo and Facebook days where you’d fill out 101 questions, and I used to love filling them out.

I thought this would be so fun to do just before my Christmas content begins (next Wednesday, guys! YAY!) and it’s another little way to share more of me and my personality with my readers which can never be a bad thing, right? Be sure to check out Abbie’ tag here; she’s one of my very favourite bloggers and I wish she’d post more… hint hint, Abs! 🙂

1.What’s your usual Starbucks drink?
I really love an extra hot hot chocolate, with a pump of vanilla and almond milk. Boring, but so good.

2. What does your work station look like?
At work my desk is organised chaos. I don’t have much space so things just get piled on top of each other, but it works for me. Like, I know where everything is. For the most part, ha!

3. All-time favourite food?
Mac n cheese or mashed potatoes! I also really love pizza, Chinese food, Sunday roasts, donuts and chicken parm. HAHA so nothing healthy!

4. Favourite author?
Right now I’d probably say Taylor Jenkins-Reid. I really love Jojo Moyes and Susan Lewis too. I pick books more on the genre and reviews than the author, though.

5. What do you think of open relationships?
It’s not something that Matt and I would ever do, but whatever makes people happy is great.

6. What’s your favourite video game?
I don’t play video games. Although I feel like I’m always watching Matt play FIFA…

7. What’s your guilty pleasure treat?
Pick n mix! I love having a little mixture of everything 🙂 also if Matt or I have had a bad day (or y’know… just because) we love a late night McFlurry run.

8. Your favourite movie?
I love E.T sooooo much. And anything Disney of course!

9. Favourite book?
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?
I’m not really sure on advice, but my favourite quote is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” – AA Milne

11. Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram for sure! I especially love Instagram stories because they’re more casual and you can post whatever.

12. Are you a desktop or a laptop person?
Laptop. I love love love my MacBook Pro.

13. What projects are you working on right now?
I really have so much fun content planned for my blog all the way until the end of the year 🙂 I can’t wait to share it all with you!

14. What’s your favourite colour?
Pink.

15. Did you get good grades in school?
I did, but I didn’t go to university because I didn’t want to.

16. Dream job?
I’d LOVE to own a florists. I know nothing about flowers, it just is a pie-in-the-sky dream! I also would love one day to run my blog as a full time job, but I don’t think that would ever happen for real.

17. Played any sports?
I danced and played netball when I was younger. Now… is shopping a sport?

18. Do you have a degree?
Nope.

19. Nationality?
British.

20. What’s your favourite type of blog post to write?
I really love Weekend In My Life recaps because they’re my favourite to look back on to re-live memories! Also, I enjoy anything beauty related and I’m so happy to now be sharing more about books/reading.

21. What do you like to collect?
Literally anything and everything Disney! I collect things from Matt and I’s dates, concerts, trips, holidays, dinners and really anything we do. Also mugs! I LOVE MUGS.

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?
I’m always cold.

23. If you were a rapper, what would your rapper name be?
I certainly wouldn’t be a rapper, hahaha.

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?
My friend, Grace.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?
An Amazon Kindle Paperwhite… which Matthew is getting me for Christmas and I’m super excited about 😍 I feel so lucky/spoiled!

26. Sorting House?
Matt and I aren’t really ‘in the know’ with Harry Potter. Starting this week we’re watching one movie per week though, I’m very excited.

27. How many tattoos do you have?
Zero.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?
Matthew, our families and our friends. And of course our jobs, cars, and our fun little life we’ve made together!

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
It’s only November 3rd as I’m writing this, but yesterday I received the most insane gift from Gaston Luga. I already posted a sneak peek on Instagram stories but I’m so excited to share it with you on the blog on Sunday! 🙂

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Matt and I had the perfect lazy Sunday morning, I ordered this beautiful wool scarf from & Other Stories and when Matt gets home from work (he had to pop in for two hours) we’re going for dinner with our friends Nathan and David in a few hours… so everything!

31. What’s the best thing ever?
Cold evenings at home with my love; post Lush bath with our Himalayan pink salt lamp lit, cosy scented candles burning and watching TV under all of the snuggly blankets. And maybe a Chinese takeaway!

32. Favourite season?
Autumn. Always.

33. Favourite holiday?
Christmas!! I LOVE everything about Christmas, I’m so excited for the festivities to begin over the next few weeks!

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
Rachel Green from Friends. I’m a little bit of a pushover, shopping is my favourite thing (apart from Matthew), I’m kinda ditzy and I’d do anything for those close to me.

35. Do you like surprises?
I love giving people surprises, but I hate receiving them!

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?
When I was 16 (or 17?) my family was going on holiday with my best friend (Hannah)’s family – something we’d done a few times before – but this time Hannah couldn’t make it because she had to work. I was gutted but obviously still excited about a holiday with everyone else. We were checking in at the airport and Hannah’s dad was joking he was going to ring her to wind her up and tell her we wished she was there, I obviously said no that’s mean but he called anyway. Then she walked up behind us talking on the phone and said oh well, I guess I’d better come then! I was literally gobsmacked and didn’t speak for like… five minutes. Which is a long time for me!

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?
…I cry even when Matt brings pick n mix home for us. Hahahaha. What can I say? I’m a crier!

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?
I think when I took Matt to Dublin for his birthday last year! He was so excited.

39. Do you like muffins?
YES! I love blueberry muffins because if a muffin contains fruit it’s a breakfast food. Right?

40. Do you cook often?
Pretty much every night! I love to cook, it’s something Matt and I learned together and I just find it to be so fun.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
If Matt and I are splitting it, probably a cheesecake or bannoffee pie. If we’re getting our own, I always go for apple crumble and custard!

42. Is there a dessert you dislike?
Anything with raisins. Ew.

43. Cake or pie?
I love apple pie or rhubarb pie, but overall I’d rather have cake. Specifically red velvet cake, if you’re wondering.

44. What’s your least favourite food?
I like most foods but I can’t bare raw onion or raw carrot.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?
BBQ sauce or firecracker sauce!

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?
Matt and I are OLD and there’s no way we’d be awake at 4am on a Saturday night. Also… isn’t that technically Sunday morning?!

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?
How To Pretend You’ve Got Your Sh*t Together.

48. Best animated film?
Ahhh this is a hard one. I love Up and Inside Out!

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?
Matt just always made me laugh SO HARD even before we started dating or got together.

50. The best thing to do on a first date?
On Matt and I’s first date we drove two hours south to York, which was SUCH a fun idea and we really got to know so much about each other!

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?
Going to the movies. Who wants to sit in silence for two hours and try to eat popcorn quietly?!

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?
I don’t really like things like that. Thank God Matt didn’t try it!

53. Best comic book character?
I’ve literally got no idea who any comic book characters are.

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?
Come back on Sunday to find out 😉 haha, that was a perfect question!

55. Favourite drink?
My all time favourite drink is Mountain Dew, but only the one you can buy in America/Canada. Every time any of my family or friends go to the US or Canada they bring me back as many bottles as they can and I’m so grateful for that! I literally treasure them and drink them so sparingly, hahaha. But day-to-day… I’ve been obsessed with Diet Coke since I can remember. Literally, obsessed! I don’t even know how many cans Matt and I drink in a day, how bad is that?!

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?
Audrey Hepburn.

57. Kittens or puppies?
Puppies.

58. Tell me your favourite sushi roll?
I don’t like sushi.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?
So many! I love love love lipstick. My favourites right now are Clinique Bare Pop, MAC Jubilee and MAC Syrup. They’re all so wearable for every day and look super pretty.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?
Right now I’m back to using Estee Lauder Double Wear. I can never stay away for too long!

61. Blow dry or air dry?
I only really wash my hair at night, so I let my hair air dry whilst I do my skincare routine and prepare dinner, then usually blow dry it whilst dinner is cooking.

62. Who is your fashion icon?
Stacey Dooley and Emma Hill.

63. Favourite Disney Character?
Winnie The Pooh.

64. What are you doing tomorrow?
I’m working, then Matt and I are having a cosy night in watching the last two episodes of Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over.

65. A movie you laughed the hardest through?
Bridesmaids makes me die laughing every time!

66. A movie that made you cry?
Oh god. SO many. The Notebook, Titanic, My Sister’s Keeper, Marley & Me, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, PS I Love You. Any cheesy Christmas Hallmark movie. I’m a crier, okay!

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?
Ed Sheeran, obviously!

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?
I’m so bad at things like this, I’ve no idea.

69. What’s your favourite animal?
I love love love penguins.

70. Favourite illustrator?
Is it so bad that I don’t know any names?

71. A person you want to have coffee with?
Stacey Dooley. I seriously love her.

72. What country do you wish to visit?
I can’t wait to explore Canada one day with Matthew! We’re hoping to go to Krakow in January/February next year and I’m SO EXCITED, even though it’s going to be super cold I think it’ll be such an incredible place to visit.

73. Best way to decompress?
A nice, hot Lush bath with my book. And cuddles, obvs.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post fun and interesting, and got to know some things about me you maybe didn’t know before. I tag any blogger reading this; I’d love to see what you have to say! Especially Savannah at Savannah Said It; I just love her content so much. Have you done this tag? Please leave your links below, I’d love to read!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday 13th!! Are you feeling nervous about today? It makes me laugh but I am a little bit! I’m superstitious with lots of things; I never cross on the stairs, I never walk under ladders and I always avoid three drains. Matt does now too, it’s so funny! We always say ‘toast’ if we accidentally walk over three drains (I have NO IDEA how this came about. Why would saying ‘toast’ make any difference?!) Anyway, I digress, what I’m trying to say is that Friday 13th makes me a little bit nervous. But also excited for Halloween. This is me right now:

Image result for hocus pocus gif

Ahhhh. Hocus Pocus season is my favourite. *forces Matt to watch with me for 100th time*

What I’m drinking:
Bonfire spice hot chocolates are LIFE. As I briefly mentioned last week I was so dang excited about the bonfire spice flavour coming back to Costa, it’s just the best flavour and makes my heart happy. Seriously, get in your car right now. Finish this post. Now get in your car. Drive to Costa. BUY A BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATE. Thank me later… 🙂 I’ve had two this week and I’m for sure going to be drinking them lots over the next few months. Side note: I get mine extra hot with a dash of almond milk, it’s sooooo good. And of course, I always try to take a re-usable cup!

What I’m celebrating:
Monday September 16th is Matt and I’s two year anniversary!!! I just don’t know where the time has gone, it seems like we were just dating! I’m really excited to celebrate this weekend at our favourite restaurant, Tomahawk Steakhouse, but we’re trying out their new location. We literally can’t wait because the food is always incredible, their mac n cheese is my favourite ever! We can’t properly celebrate on our anniversary due to Matt’s work schedule so we’re just going to curl up at home with an M&S meal and a few episodes of The Office on the day. Matthew, I am so lucky to do life with you, I love you more than anything! Happy (early) anniversary, my love!

What I’m excited about:
Tomorrow morning I’m getting my hair dyed, and I’m going back dark! I have spent WEEKS finding the perfect brown balayage photo to show at the salon and I know it’ll turn out even better than what I’m thinking. I’m SO over the blonde as I just got kinda bored and now I really dislike how I look with the blonde tones. I think I want to keep a little bit of light through my hair as I still want it to look fresh and pretty, but more brown tones than blonde. If that makes sense. I’ll be sharing on my Instagram like always, so make sure to follow me there to see how it looks! I’m so excited to have darker hair for Fall and Winter!

Image result for the office halloween

…I am Dwight.

What I’m happy about:
It’s almost Fall! This cold(ish) rainy weather is making it feel like Fall is already here and I’m loving every second of it. It’s been chilly each day and I’m really enjoying that cosy feeling this kind of weather brings. Matt is such a Summer person but we have so many fun things planned during the Autumn months that he’s actually enjoying it too. It’s cold in the mornings and evenings I’m super excited that sweater weather is almost upon us! Also, any excuse to burn those pumpkin candles… are you excited for Fall too? Or are you holding on to the very last of Summer?!

What I’m watching:
The Office. Obvs. Matt and I are obsessed, okay?! Seriously if you’re like we were and are still living under a rock, it’s one of the best TV shows we’ve ever seen and we’d really recommend it. But I’ve also been loving Zoe Sugg’s vlogs recently. Like, really really loving them. I’ve watched and loved Zoe for as long as I can remember, but she goes through patches where she vlogs a lot, then where she doesn’t vlog at all. Recently she’s been vlogging so much and I’m loving it! Also, she is re-launching her blog this month and I’m so excited to see what it’s going to be like as that was one of the first blogs I ever read.

What I’m working on for the blog:
This month is #SecondHandSeptember (something I didn’t know about on September 1st when I made a Topshop order… OOPS) but now that I do know I’m participating, and I’m really excited about it! The whole concept came from Oxfam, to encourage people to shop more sustainably and avoid purchasing new products for thirty days. Have you took the pledge yet? I have! This weekend my lovely friend Jessy and I are going for a browse in a few charity shops and vintage stores which I hope will be successful (if not we’ll for sure have fun). Matt and I are going to another vintage store in a few weeks time and I’ve been browsing Depop lots too! I’ve been really impressed with so many of the things on Depop although I’ve not bought anything yet. I was so impressed by Emma Hill’s finds in this video, it was really inspiring to someone finding their feet with second hand shopping, and she got some incredible bargains! Niomi Smart also posted this video that I found so fun to watch and I’m obsessed with the things she picked up, especially that Chanel button ring. Wow. I can’t wait to share Jess and I’s second hand shopping experience with you in a few weeks time!

What I’m reading:
Linking in with what I just said above about #SecondHandSeptember, I LOVED Stacey Dooley’s piece in Grazia this week about the fashion industry and the impact buying too many clothes has on the environment. It’s no surprise to any regular readers that Stacey Dooley is my ultimate inspiration/girl crush/love of my life (sorry, Matthew) and everything she does is just amazing to me. But her thoughts on fast fashion originally inspired me to look at my buying habits last year and I think this piece was just so well written. Slightly off topic but I’m actually buying Grazia every week now, it’s such a good value magazine and packed full of high quality content. I’ve really been enjoying snuggling up in the mornings with my magazine and vanilla chai whilst Matt works on emails!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Matt is unfortunately at work all weekend, but we’re making the most of our time together as always. Tonight Matt and I are having fish and chips with my family, snuggling in to catch up on Peaky Blinders and having an early night before a very early start tomorrow morning. Once Matt leaves for work I’ll get a little blog work done then head to the salon for my hair appointment. I can’t wait! After I get my hair done I’m meeting my sweet friend Jess to go second hand and vintage shopping! We seriously are SO EXCITED. Later I’m heading to our local mall to shop Lush’s Autumn/Halloween collection which is released today, and I still have a gift card from my lovely co-workers to spend too. I have a few other errands to run then I’m heading back to get on with some blog work and get ready before Matt gets home. Matt and I are heading for date night on Saturday evening (as I said above) at our favourite restaurant, then Sunday is a cosy-at-home cleaning and blogging day for me while Matt’s at work. When he gets home we’re having pizza night with his parents and I’m so looking forward to that!

What else is new:
Nothing much TBH. I’ve had a kinda crappy week with my anxiety, I just feel very drained and like I’m putting in so much time/effort with things that I don’t see much reward from which really sucks. I’ve been a little stressed out and just generally felt rubbish which has then made me really anxious. I have however been feeling really really grateful for Matt and I’s time together more than ever, and I’m just so thankful to have him by my side, he’s truly the best! I’m hoping this weekend will recharge my batteries a little bit and let me get back to feeling like my usual self.

Thank you so much for reading! These posts have become some of my favourite to write; they get really good views and open up so many conversations either in the comments or in my DM’s. People message me all the time saying how much they enjoy reading these posts and I can’t tell you how much I love to hear that! Due to another very busy week (and a little bit of extra self care time that I really need) there won’t be a #feelinitfriday next week, but I’ll be back the following week for sure. My ‘normal’ posts will be up every Sunday and Wednesday as normal! Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! 

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday to you all 🙂 I am so freaking happy it’s the weekend and I’m determined to enjoy every. single. second. Does anyone else feel like they blink and the weekend just disappears? I’m not to let that happen this time. During this week I’ve kinda been running on empty; literally every morning when Matt and I’s alarm goes off we both have felt as though we’ve just closed our eyes to fall asleep. I think it’s probably just a combination of late nights watching The Office and busy weeks at work, bring on the weekend! Also I just have to say… I’ll probably definitely be talking about this in lots more detail next week but BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATES ARE BACK AT COSTA. Me and the girls at work have made a Costa run a priority during our lunch break today and I’ve already got my re-usable mug waiting by the door 🙂 I’m SO EXCITED!!!

What I’m loving:
I’ve been having lots more baths over the past few weeks, and I’m really really enjoying them! Matt’s had more late shifts at work than usual which means he’s not home until around 9.30pm, so I’ve been spending at least an hour in the bath most nights before he gets home, reading my book and treating myself to various pamper treatments. As it starts to get colder my arthritis gets worse (it’s unfortunately just a fact of life) so I will be pretty much living in hot baths for the foreseeable. Bliss. There’s just a few of the products I’m loving right now in the photo above, but I’d love to share my favourite pamper products with you if that’s something you’d like to see? Spoiler: this shampoo and conditioner is brand new to me and I’m already LOVING them both so much!

What I’m slightly jealous about:
My brother is in Canada right now! Matt and I were feeling a little bitter saying goodbye to him because we want to visit Canada so bad. I mean that in a jokey way because of course we want him to have a great time, we just also wanted to hop in his suitcase. He’s spending the week in Toronto and also visited Niagara Falls, which is super high on Matt and I’s travel bucket list! He was sending me photos whilst he was there (which you may have seen on my Instagram stories) and I so badly wish we were there too!

What I’m buying:
I have started officially shopping for Fall! (I know. I’m English, but Fall sounds SO MUCH BETTER than Autumn, right? My friend Jessy agrees which is enough for me… we’re going to make Fall happen this year. Fall.) Topshop had 25% off last Sunday (!!) so I ordered this mustard sweater, the most perfect black polka dot satin blouse and a gorgeous grey, cream and blush colourblock sweater, I’m so excited for them to arrive (hopefully today)! I also ordered this beautiful checked blazer from H&M on my lunch break during the week and although the shipping has been delayed I am SO excited for it to arrive. Prepare to see it featured lots on the blog, I really can’t wait to create more fashion related content this season. I’ve been looking for a pair of riding boots and had very little luck so far, but I LOVE how they look so I really hope I can find some soon. I’m trying to shop intentionally, so I’m buying staple pieces that will not only last me through this A/W season, but many years to come.

What I’m cooking:
Again, I didn’t take photos of our meals throughout the week because we’ve been making our old faithfuls due to Matt’s shifts! Tuna pasta bakes, bolognese and chicken fajitas… nothing groundbreaking, therefore I didn’t want to bore you with it all. But I really need to share this CrockPot dinner with you because it’s one of our FAVOURITES and a dish we’ll be making pretty much every week this Autumn/Winter. Side note: we are already big fans of a strawberry and lime cider, but oh my gosh we tried this peach and apricot cider this weekend and it is so good. You need to try it ASAP! We totally made up the recipe way back in February when I bought the CrockPot for Matt (#adulting) so we have tweaked it a little here and there since, but now it is perfect for us. You really need to try it, CrockPot meals are THE BEST for long days when you’re at work as you literally throw it all in and when you come home dinner is ready for you!

Ingredient list:
500g x diced chicken
3 x peppers
20 x cherry tomatoes (approx)

1 x large onion 
5 x celery stalks (approx)
1 x jar of Chicken Tonight Spanish Chicken sauce
salt, pepper and seasoning to taste

Method:
Dice all your veggies as large or small as you like them; add to CrockPot. Cut chicken into small pieces; add to CrockPot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, any seasoning of your choice (we like this fajita seasoning) then pour sauce over the top. Stir well, then cook on low for 8+ hours, or medium for 4-6 hours. If one of us is at home when this is cooking we stir every 1-2 hours, but it’s not required. We eat with rice or pasta depending on what we want that day. This is enough for four large servings, and it also refrigerates or freezes if required.

What I’m excited about:
Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend, and I CAN’T WAIT!!! I love love love Strictly, and much to Matt’s disappointment we watch every weekend, usually with his mum because she also loves it. I feel like it’s the beginning of the build up to Christmas (yep, I said the C word!) and it just makes me look forward to cosy nights in the house when it’s super dark and cold out. I already can’t wait for snuggly nights in the house with the Christmas lights twinkling in the background, how perfect! Also, Chris Ramsey is a contestant this year and I have everything crossed for him to do really well, and also Saffron Barker!

What app I’m loving right now:
So I’m pretty sure I’m WAY behind everybody else, but I just found out about the Tezza app and I am obsessed with it. I edited all of the photos for this post (and probably every post for the foreseeable) with the app, and I’m so happy with how they look! I also edited two photos from our Stamford trip to put up on my Instagram grid this morning (plug plug, check it out) and I am FINALLY going to have an Instagram theme. It’s my time. #blogger #notreallybutI’mtrying

What I’m burning:
I’ve officially broken out the pumpkin candles and I DON’T CARE. I mean, it’s September. So it’s justified. Right?! Matt is actually on board too, they just smell like ~cosiness~ and make us very happy. We’ve been loving the one pictured from Homesense (sorry I can’t find it online but there were TONS in store)! Side note: I wish we had Bath & Body Works here, it’s literally so expensive to get them in the UK. Homesense thankfully have the best pumpkin scented stock around, and I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more over the coming weeks.

What I’m binge watching:
So Matt and I are still watching The Office (we’re onto season three and are pretty much obsessed with it) – I’m still so confused how it took us this long to watch it! We genuinely look forward to snuggling in to watch an episode or two in bed each night. We’ve also been catching up on Peaky Blinders – the new season is already SO GOOD, watching all of the Stacey Dooley documentaries and until Mattgets home, most nights I’ve been binge watching an old favourite show, Chesapeake Shores. I watched seasons one and two a while back, and totally forgot about it. But, I seen on Netflix they’d released new episodes and now I am obsessed with it again! I want to pack up everything Matt and I own and book one way flights for us to Chesapeake Qualicum Beach/Parksville in British Columbia. Hah, Chesapeake is a fictional town but the locations it’s filmed in are real and they’re seriously the most picture perfect places. I love love love the characters too, it’s super cheesy and kinda Hallmark-movie-esque, but it’s great binge-watching TV.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We have such a fun weekend planned, and I’m really looking forward to it! Tonight Matt and I are going to watch the rugby; England are playing Italy and we are SO excited. They’re playing at St James’ Park so it will be super weird to be there for something that’s not football! Matt’s cousins and their partners are visiting this weekend from down South, so we’re spending tomorrow with them and his parents, and we’re all heading for dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants in the evening. On Sunday, Matt’s cousin Adam is running in the Great North Run so we’re going to cheer him on; GNR day is one of Matt and I’s favourite days of the year because the atmosphere is amazing! I’m so excited 🙂 I’m also recording a Weekend In My Life post which I’ve had lots of requests about, so you’ll get to see everything from our weekend!

ICYMI: this week’s posts:
Sunday – My Morning Routine
Wednesday – Travel Diaries: Stamford

I’m so happy I was able to get this post up for you this morning, like I said in last week’s post September is SUPER busy for us! (So busy I actually wrote most of this last night when Matt was out at a work party! By the time he got home I was ready to snuggle in and watch The Office – obviously – and I just needed to finish up and edit this morning). I am really trying hard to be consistent with my schedule and I am officially all set for the next week with pre-written posts, YAY. Right now Matt is happily snoozing next to me as he’s off today, but I really need to jump up and get ready for work. I’ll see you on Sunday for a post about CHRISTMAS! Yes, really! Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy Friday, loves! Can you believe we’re heading into the second week of August? Where the heck is this year going? Matt left for work at 6.30am (boo) so I’m finishing up writing and editing this post laying in bed with a cup of Swiss Miss, candle burning, listening to the pouring rain and Friends playing in the background… what a relaxing way to start a Friday 🙂

What I’m loving:
This is a little sneak peek as in a week or two I have a post going up featuring several new beauty bits I’ve picked up recently, but I just HAVE to share this with you now! I ordered the Pillowtalk palette from Charlotte Tilbury when it finally came back in stock and I’ve never loved an eyeshadow palette so much, it’s a dream! The packaging is beautiful, just like everything from Charlotte Tilbury, and the colours are amazing – it’s literally my perfect palette. The shades are light and subtle but with lots of colour pay off, and you can create easy day or night looks. Now I have the palette, lipstick and lip liner from the Pillowtalk collection, I’m just missing the blush!

Where I’ve been:
I’m sorry there was no new post on Wednesday, I took the week off blogging because I was just feeling a little overwhelmed and anxious. I was pretty annoyed at myself because I had a post ready to go, I just needed to do a final edit and take photos but I didn’t feel up to it. I’ve been a little off the past couple of weeks and it unfortunately caught up with me. I took the week to spend more time with Matt, do more yoga, focus on work, plan new content and just relax, which made me feel so much better! I really hate taking time off from blogging because I feel like I’m letting not just myself down but also my readers, but now I’m back and so excited for upcoming content 🙂

What I’m wearing:
I LOVE midi skirts and I can’t get enough! I wore this leopard print wrap midi on Saturday night when we went out for my brother’s birthday (you can just see it in my feature photo) and I wore this one at the weekend with a t-shirt. I love to wear midi skirts dressed up with a cami and heels or dressed down with a t-shirt and trainers, and I’m definitely going to be wearing them with thin knits or jumpers and boots when Autumn rolls around! They’re really so versatile and I’m always looking for more to add to my collection, so please link me any that you love right now?

What I’ve been up to this week:
I’ve had a really good week despite feeling pretty rubbish at the beginning. I wrote a little for my blog on Wednesday and Thursday evening before Matt got home from work, and enjoyed it so much. Matt took me for date night at Banyan in Newcastle on Tuesday night; it’s restaurant week and we hadn’t planned anything because I wasn’t feeling like myself, but he surprised me and booked it. He’s seriously the best, I love him so much! Look how cute he is in that photo above!! We’ve also watched tons of TV because our new TV is the best thing ever. We were snuggled in bed the other night watching a Stacey Dooley documentary (I just love her) and I literally said to Matt “don’t you think having a TV again has made our lives so much better?!” hahahaha.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We’re having a nice relaxing weekend and I couldn’t be more excited to chill the heck out. Tonight I’m making a fun dinner – more on that below! – and we’re snuggling in bed watching TV all night long. I’m obsessed guys. Matt is working an early shift tomorrow so we’ll be up at 6am (well, he will be. I get to stay cosy in bed)! While he’s at work I’m hoping to catch up on my YouTube subscription box and get lots of work done on the blog. We really want to spend our afternoon at the beach but we’re on weather warning for torrential rain so we may need to take a rain check on that one. Rain check. Get it? We’re spending our evening with Matt’s parents, I love these kind of chilled weekends so much! On Sunday we’re up early to squeeze in a breakfast date as our plans to go for breakfast last week spectacularly failed. Sunday is also our first game of the season (we’re big NUFC fans, despite all of the problems going on at the club right now) so Matt is heading into town to watch the match with his friends, then I’m picking him up after. I’m hoping to spend the few hours he’s out finishing up blog stuff for the week, clearing out my beauty drawers (my wardrobes look SO GOOD) and baking banana bread for us to enjoy that evening!

What I’m planning:
Our trip at the end of the month! I am so excited to get away for a few days to explore Stamford, spend time with Matt’s family and just relax. Matt and I love exploring new places and finding hidden gems but if you have any recommendations of places we must visit or the best shops/restaurants please let me know! I’m going to be writing a packing post for our weekend away, as I haven’t done one of those for so long and I know those posts are loved. (That’s not me being big headed, those are some of the posts that are searched for and re-read the most… I get to see all the stats!) Those are some of my favourite posts from other bloggers too, and I really enjoy writing them so I’m really excited.

What I’m obsessed with:
Sheet masks, specifically these ones from The Body Shop! The seaweed mask is my go-to, and Matt really enjoys the Aloe option. I really want to do a whole post about how good their face mask range is and my top picks, as I feel like I always talk about them but never in much detail. I was feeling super crappy on Monday evening so Matt and I had a mini pamper night, and it made me feel SO much better! I’ve just picked up some of their Vitamin C masks and I’m so excited to use them more before giving my verdict. I really want to make a post soon about a few Vitamin C products I’ve introduced into my skincare routine that are making my skin look the best it has in a LONG time!

What I’m working out to:
Confession time: I’ve totally failed with this week’s Couch To 5k runs, I’ve only done one! But again, I was having one of those weeks so I’m not beating myself up about it because honestly, who cares? I have however done A LOT of yoga – I’ve practiced at least once per day over the past week and it’s felt SO good. I find it totally clears my mind, allows me to focus on the ‘right now’ and leaves me feeling so relaxed and content. When I feel particularly anxious I really enjoy doing yoga a little bit more because it helps so much!

What I’m excited about:
Tonight’s dinner receipe. I swear I am 25 going on 85. Matt has a little work to do so I said I’d make dinner for us, and I’m finally making this BLT pasta! Shay made it on The Today Show a while back and when I watched that I knew I wanted to make it too, then literally forgot. all. about. it. Does that happen to anyone else? We love to make new recipes but we also love our tried and tested favourites… it’s a hard balance! I’m so excited to see how it tastes, I’m also pairing it with garlic bread and I’m sure it’s going to be AMAZING!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you had a wonderful week and have an even better weekend with your loved ones. What have you been up to this past week? I’m so excited to relax a lot with Matt, do a little more decluttering and write more blog posts! I’ve gone a little crazy and planned my content until mid-September, I really am so excited to share so many fun things with you. Also, I SO BADLY wanted to share with you a Patagonia sweater I can barely wait to buy for the Autumn and Winter months, but I feel like I can’t stop talking about Autumn and it’s a little too early… I might share it with you next week, I am SO excited to get it!

-G x

Learning To Shop Consciously

Hi, loves! I’ve wrote several posts about wanting to reduce my carbon footprint, learning to be more sustainable and all of the reasons why we shouldn’t shop fast fashion trends, but is it wrong to still enjoy shopping for new items and even having the ocassional splurge? In October 2018 I wrote about why I was changing the way I shopped, and it caused me to re-evaluate what I’m buying; from food to fashion and everything else. In this post I focused more on the fashion aspect of sustainability; talking about all of the ways to minimize buying, give your old clothes a new lease of life, and to encourage donating things that didn’t serve you a purpose anymore, but how do we go about shopping for new pieces?

I personally think that sustainability within fashion is a complete grey area; many people have said they’ll never ever buy new pieces of clothing again and will only up-cycle current clothes, borrow/rent or shop second hand. Others, like me, do our bit where we can with donating, buying second hand and trying to shop more consciously when buying new. For me personally, I think the key is balance; just like recycling and cutting down on single use plastic, everyone doing their bit makes such a huge difference. In the months since I wrote the above post on fast fashion, I’ve seen SO much more attention brought to it, and I feel like lots of us are a little overwhelmed. I love a bit of retail therapy, and in recent months I’ve began to find my personal style and learn to love my body (I’m working on it, anyway) so I’m all for buying new pieces here and there. I also really want to share more fashion related content on my blog; it’s something I’ve always shied away from because there is so much hype around it, but I hope the Autumn months are going to see an influx of fashion related content around here. Here’s how I’m shopping more consciously, and I hope it helps you too!

Do not purchase on a whim. I’d say that at least 90% of items I’ve purchased on a whim because I ‘needed’ to buy something, bought a whacky print that isn’t me or liked how it looked on the model without giving consideration to how it would fit me are items I regret buying. I try to buy seasonally now; items that will see me through a whole season (or multiple seasons) and can be worn in many different ways are ones that stay in my wardrobe for years, and I truly get the value from. Buying with the purpose of that clothing item lasting you through all different seasons and occasions is something that has changed the way I shop in such a huge way; I’m way less likely to be drawn to things I won’t wear over and over again. I really try not to impulse buy, and generally prefer to shop in store rather than online because it’s best to feel fabrics and try things on.

Buy quality over quantity. I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of pounds on an outfit or piece of clothing to justify it being ‘good’ quality, but it really can pay to shop arounds sometimes. For example, buying cheap t-shirts from Primark might seem like fun in the heat of the moment, but realistically you’re not going to get much wear out of it and it’ll end up in a charity bag within a matter of weeks. Factor in that someone had to make that t-shirt; if they’re marking up their price to be still be £5 or less, it cost pennies to make, and in reflection the person who made that was likely not being paid a fair wage. The fabrics and dyes used in ‘cheap’ clothing are terrible for the environment, and you just don’t get value for money. Aim to shop in stores that offer more premium priced items that are made with better materials, as they will last you way longer and you’ll get your value for money. I’ve said this a few times, but Matt is so good for shopping with the quality over quantity in mind, and I’m slowly but surely learning from him!

Know your price point and stick to your budget. Hand in hand with looking at quality over quantity, it’s so important to know what you can afford, and where you can compromise on spending a little more for a better piece, or go for a less expensive option that suits your needs but still fits with your ethical opinion. It’s hard to judge this as everyone is so different, and our allocated money to spend on clothing each month can vary so much. I personally will never feel guilty for buying at *a certain store* because the reality is I can’t afford to shop exclusively at ethical, sustainable stores or brands. The prices are much higher – although I agree with the reasoning for this, for paying fair wages and using harder to source fabrics – but I’m unable to consistently purchase that way at this time in my life.

Buy with intention. Does the item of clothing go with at least X amount of things you own? Can you wear it through multiple seasons/years? Or is it a ‘trendy’ piece that you’ll not reach for in a month? Or are you only buying it because everyone else is wearing it? Yes, I’m talking about *that* Zara dress. If the answers to these questions err on the side of ~I am not shopping for the right reason~ then chances are, it’s a purchase you’ll regret making. As I said in this post, I read somewhere that you should get at least thirty wears out of each piece of clothing you own, although I think personally that number should be even higher. Buying items of clothing that are not made to fit a certain trend makes this much more likely; stick to shapes and fits that flatter your body, buy solid coloured basics, opt for pieces that can be dressed up or down and only buy patterns when it’s one you know you’ll wear long term (like leopard print, always buy leopard print).

Get over the fear of outfit repeating. I’m sure most of us are immediately re-playing that scene from Lizzie McGuire in our heads right now, which taught us that re-wearing clothes you love was so not cool. Well, you know what really isn’t cool? Killing our planet by throwing away billions of clothing each year. This article shocked me so much, I can’t believe there is still such a stigma against wearing clothes you love, and it bugs me that we’re taught to think this way. I regularly see Daily Mail articles with headlines like “Princess Kate recycles dress for another event” …what? She is not ‘recycling’ anything. She’s literally wearing her clothes. Why don’t we all take a leaf out of Kate’s book and wear what we bloody own?! I also sometimes justify higher priced products by looking at the cost per wear; for example if a jumper was £60.00 but you wore it thirty times, you’re down to £2 per wear; making the investment worth it, and the jumper is better quality therefore will last longer with the correct care.

Read the labels. I really am that person who reads the labels on pretty much every clothing item I purchase. I’m not an angel and I definitely could be better with this, but I try to stay away from purchasing man-made fabrics, such as polyester, and opt for more natural fabrics that are sustainable to our planet. There is a term called greenwashing that is being thrown around a lot recently, and it basically means brands are being accused of advertising products/fabrics are ‘better for the environment’ without being able to back it up. So many cotton clothing items say they are made with ‘recycled’ cotton, but many retailers are not being truthful with this statement; if it doesn’t say “certified recycled/sustainable cotton” it’s more than likely NOT. Do your research, check the labels thoroughly and be prepared to shop around.

Buy with comfort in mind. This one is maybe something that lots of you won’t agree with, but I am tired of buying clothing items that LOOK good, but don’t feel good. Super tight skinny jeans, I’m looking at you. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of skinnies as much as the next person, but if Matt and I are heading out for dinner and drinks (hello, bloating!) I’m no longer forcing myself to wear them when it’s just not necessary. Over the past few months I’ve totally fallen in love with Mom jeans, and I couldn’t care less if they make me look ‘big’ which was what I always thought when I tried a pair on. Matt compliments me every single time I wear them, and they’re so much comfier. If you’re still not on the Mom jean hype, please go try them out! I am equally as obsessed with midi skirts, comfy trousers and if I’m having a chilled day you can bet I’m wearing leggings for that athleisure vibe. Comfort is key, and honestly when you’re comfortable in your clothing (and your own skin, but that’s for another post) you look so much better anyway!

I’m so excited to shop for my Autumn wardrobe, and I’m hoping to implement a better one in/one out system when the time comes. I began decluttering my wardrobe last weekend, and over the next few weeks of culling more and more, I’m determined to only own things I love, feel good in and will get wear out of. I can’t wait to begin buying a few Autumn pieces, I’m really so excited to create a wardrobe I love for years to come! My shopping list for Autumn includes chunky cable knit sweaters, a new midi skirt or two in darker tones, black (vegan) leather ankle boots, a good pair of dark wash mom jeans and some comfy long sleeved tees. I’ll definitely be sharing a little Autumn haul on my blog in September or October, and I’d love to share more outfit related posts with you next season if you wouldn’t be fussed that most of my clothes aren’t able to be linked? I adore Autumn fashion, and I’m excited to focus on fashion a little more on my blog.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe a little interesting; I love to talk about this topic and I’d love to know your thoughts below. How are you shopping more consciously? Have you seen brands greenwashing potential customers for their own gain? What’s your favourite tip to shop more consciously?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! I’m back with another #feelinitfriday and it feels so good to just sit down and write about my week. I didn’t post last week because Matt’s parents came home from their holiday last Thursday and we spent our whole evening catching up with them, we missed them so much and are so happy they’re back! After missing out on a week’s worth of chatting with you all, I have SO MUCH to say hahaha. I’m so thankful it’s Friday and I’m very excited for this weekend, Matt is finally off work (YAY!) and we have a great weekend planned. Today’s post is a long one, so grab your morning cuppa and settle in…

What I’m happy about:
Well we’ve had a great week so I’m generally happy, but I’m so very happy to have pretty gels again! I treated myself to a little trip to the salon after work last night and I’m so happy to have my gels back. I know it probably sounds a little crazy to some but it just makes me feel good about myself, it’s such a fun self care treat now and then. I chose lilac with silver glitter, because isn’t that just the prettiest combo for Summer?

What I’m proud of:
I’m so freaking proud of my boyfriend! I know I talk about him A LOT on the blog – he’s my better half, sorry not sorry – but I just really need to sing his praises right now. Last week he was given the opportunity to manage two stores (he already managed one) and he is so deserving of success! He works so dang hard every single day and doesn’t even realise how amazing he is. I’m so excited to treat him and celebrate in a few weeks; we’re trying to get a date in the diary to go up to Edinburgh for the day and I can’t wait! He deserves the world, I just love him so much 🙂

What I’m watching:
Matt and I are now on season five of Brooklyn 99 (which we’re SO sad about, we never want it to end!) so we’re trying to watch it a little more sparingly at the moment. We watched Katherine Ryan’s new Netflix show this week and we about died laughing, she is just so hilarious! We enjoyed her original Netflix stand up so much and thought it would be hard to beat but she did it. Last night we snuggled in to watch Stacey Dooley’s new documentary (any regular readers will know how much I love her) which was amazing, I’m so excited she’s back with new episodes!

What I’m excited about:
Speaking of watching TV… we now have a TV to watch our shows again! Our old TV stopped working so we’ve been watching Netflix, Sky etc on my MacBook for the longest time, which worked fine and we had honestly got used to it. Then yesterday my mum and dad bought us a TV! We’re so grateful to them, they’re seriously so good to us. Doesn’t it look so cute with the little Diptyque candle? I never burn my fancy candles because they are the prettiest decor pieces! It’s only a small TV because it has to fit in the teeny space in the built-in wardrobes (that I designed when I was 14 and didn’t really know what I would want in the future haha) but it’s such good quality and it was SO nice to snuggle up in bed watching TV, instead of the laptop last night. We also will be able to take this TV when buy our house to use in our kitchen/spare room or something, so it’s super exciting to think about that for next year.

What I’m buying:
Autumn candles!!! I placed an order for my FAVOURITE Autumn candle (Leaves by Bath & Body Works) on Wednesday and I literally can’t wait for it to get here, I hope it arrives today! I probably buy at least five every year because Matt and I love the scent so much, it’s literally Autumn in a jar and it just makes me happy. I’ll be burning it the second it arrives in the post, and probably ordering a ton more. I’m really waiting for TK Maxx and Yankee Candle to launch their Autumn ranges for this year to pick up some more because the rainy, cold weather has truly got me in the Autumn spirit.

What I’m celebrating:
My (not so) little brother turned 21 this week! He may now legally be able to drink in the US but he’s always going to seem 12 to me, hahaha. We celebrated on his birthday, and we’re all going for a family meal this weekend in Morpeth; we had to fix a date that worked with Matt’s shifts and because he’s off all weekend it worked out perfectly. I can’t wait to eat Italian food and drink lots of gin with my favourite people!

What I’m eating:
This is super random but I’m kinda obsessed with these hummus chips, they’re so yummy!! They’re filling and tasty, and I’ve eaten SO many packets in the past few weeks without getting bored. I’ve only seen the smaller bags in the Co-Op (my favourite shop) but you can also buy huge bags at any supermarket. Of course Matt and I have been making delicious dinners each evening as always. We always sit down to eat dinner together no matter what time it is; Matt works until 9pm at least twice per week and I make dinner for him coming through the door. We really loved the steak stir fry I made on Sunday, it’s so freaking easy and I whipped it up in less than ten minutes whilst Matt was finishing up a little work. I picked up this stir fry pack and it was so good, we’ll definitely buy it again! Also, a little trick to make your stir fry taste better; use sesame oil. We get this one but I’m sure they all taste the same!

What I’ve been up to this week:
Matt and I have both been working every day as per usual, and we’ve been super busy during our evenings too. On Tuesday we celebrated Robert’s birthday so we relaxed and enjoyed being with family, but we’ve just been 100 miles per hour every other day, as always. I’ve also been spending a lot of time doing things for my blog, decluttering the heck out of the wardrobes (a LONG post will be coming on that soon!) and running errands, it’s just felt so busy. Matt and I have savoured every second of quiet time together, and we can’t wait to relax a little this weekend.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Speaking of which… we have such a fun weekend planned I can barely stand it! Tonight we’re finally going to watch The Lion King (and, you know, get popcorn and Tango ice blasts because that’s what date nights at the movies are all about. It’s tradition guys!) Tomorrow we’re sleeping in then going fruit picking at a local farm and exploring the nearby town, then we’ll be heading back to freshen up because we’re going out for my brother’s birthday meal. Sunday is a little up in the air right now but we know we’re going for breakfast at the beach – our favourite Sunday morning tradition – and then Matt may be playing golf in the afternoon. If he is I’ll work on my blog, we’re going for a run, then we so badly want a cosy evening in the house eating Indian food and watching Netflix! I’m thinking about recording another Weekend In My Life for this weekend because it’s been a while since my last one, please let me know what you think?!

What I’m reading:
Okay I just started a new book, but this week I finished reading After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid and oh my gosh I was a MESS through the whole thing! I literally cried through the first thirty pages, then throughout the book I kept tearing up (and sometimes full on sobbing) because the story was written so amazingly well. I said back in May that Forever, Interrupted was the best book I’ve ever read, and this one is up there too! I highly recommend picking this up – it was so raw and honest and heartbreaking, but also filled with hope and love and joy. I said the same after reading Forever, Interrupted but it totally made me appreciate what Matt and I have even more, we’re so lucky to have found each other and I never want to take that for granted, even for a second!

What I’m listening to:
Of course I’m listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed because I’m forever obsessed with Rosie and Chris Ramsey. No joke. I have also been listening to another podcast that I’ve just discovered (I feel like I’m cheating on SMA…) called Outspoken Beauty. If you’re into beauty blogs and vlogs this is the podcast for you; it’s like having a conversation with a friend and I’ve already laughed and learned so much! I’m just waiting for the day Shay makes a podcast because I just aspire to be her… pretty please?

What else is new:
I very briefly mentioned this in Wednesday’s post and a little bit in this one, but I’ve started doing the Couch To 5k! I was NOT planning to start, and it was so random – Matt thought I’d had an out of body experience I’m sure, hahaha. I was super inspired after watching Jade’s vlog, downloaded the app and just went out running! I’ve done two runs now, so I’ve almost completed my first week and I’m actually excited about starting the new week. I really found my first two runs challenging because I am not a runner, but I’m so excited to see how I get on with it. I don’t talk about this often on my blog but I have arthritis which affects my knees and hips the most, so I’m not sure how this will work out. I’m not putting any pressure on myself, I just want to enjoy it for as long as I can and see what happens!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you all have the most wonderful weekends and please let me know if you’d like me to record a Weekend In My Life? Now Matt’s still snoozing in bed (he’s off work today) and I’m heading to work, but there’s eight little hours between me and the weekend… let’s do this! Also, I decided to end today’s post with three of my favourite posts of the week, please go check them out and leave the girls lovely comments 🙂
What Up Wednesday-ish – Savannah is back!! She took a few days off for holiday (and was unfortunately poorly) but she is BACK. She’s my all time favourite blogger and I genuinely feel like I know her, her posts are always my go-to… please go send her all of the love and good wishes to be better!
July’s Feelings & Favourites – Chloe writes so beautifully, all of her posts are from the heart and I’m so excited she’s writing more about her personal life, those kind of posts always grab my attention more!
Summer Glow Getters – Gemma takes THE most beautiful photos in every post and this is no exception, all of these products are dreamy and I’ve added a few to my shopping list, she’s so informative about the products in this post.

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy Friday loves! Unlike last week which seemed to drag like CRAZY, this week has flown by for me, which I’m so happy about. I’m super excited to finish work for the week because Matt is running a 5k tonight, I can’t wait to cheer him on from the sidelines! I’m so proud of him, and I know he’s going to do so good! Also… how freaking cute is the mug in my feature photo? I just had to put it at the top of this post too because I can’t get over it, I picked it up last weekend when Matt and I were shopping and I’ve used it every day since. The colour yellow makes me so happy and since I was a child I’ve always loved Winnie The Pooh, I mean could it be any more perfect? Apologies in advance because I know it’s going to be featured A LOT on the blog (and probably Instagram) in the coming months!

What I’m loving:
If you follow me on Instagram or read last week’s #feelinitfriday post, you already know this, but I received the most incredible PR package from The Body Shop. What the actual heck!? I was so overwhelmed opening the parcel I literally cried, I’ve been such a huge fan of the brand since I was a teenager and to be gifted products by them was just so surreal. Some products they sent me I already use and love, and others were new to me, so I’m slowly trying out the products! I’m really enjoying the Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution *gifted I’ve been using it every night since it arrived and I’ve noticed my makeup has lasted better throughout the day since, and it cleared up a pretty big spot on my chin in literally one day. I’m intrigued to see if it will clear up my acne scarring (on my cheeks/jaw line) in time because I feel like it already looks a little lighter and less noticeable. I also am really loving the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion *gifted which I’ve used twice in the past week, it’s made my skin feel SO soft and clean. Matt used it and said his skin also felt amazing, so I’m really excited to use this more!

What I’ve been up to this week:
A whole lot of working, blogging, relaxing and cooking; it’s been such a peaceful week and I’ve been really grateful for that as I’ve felt a bit crap about myself. You know those moods that follow you around like a little dark cloud that you just can’t shift? Yep, I’ve been experiencing that all. week. long. Matt and I have spent so much time just chilling out together this week and I’ve loved every second of that. We’ve watched SO MUCH Netflix which has been wonderful, it’s so nice to come home from work and not have hundreds of things to do, I felt so relaxed and we’ve slept like babies all week!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Sadly Matt is at work all weekend, not just this weekend but for three weekends in a row! I always work Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm so we’re used to making the most of our mornings and evenings together during the week, but we really try to cram as much fun as possible into our weekends. It’s not too often he works on the weekend but when he does we really make the most of our mornings and evenings on those days too so that’s what we’ll be doing! I’m going to be working lots more on my blog, meeting my favourite gal Jessy for a lunch and shopping date, beginning another huge wardrobe declutter and Matt & I have date night at home with our current favourite bottle of wine on Saturday night, I’m very excited! Our plans for Sunday evening are a little up in the air right now due to a family member being poorly, so we’ll see what happens. If you pray, please keep them in your prayers!

What I’m eating:
As well as making our usual meals – pastas, fajitas and rice dishes – Matt and I have been making use out of our CrockPot this week, we seriously l.o.v.e. it. I made Spanish Chicken (a recipe we totally made up, which I listed back in this post a few months ago) ready for Matt coming home from Scotland on Sunday and it was so good! We ate with pasta instead of rice, and both had leftovers for work the next day, I love having enough for leftovers! Last night we had chicken noodle soup that Matt prepared and made in the CrockPot when I was at work, and it was delicious; seriously the best chicken noodle soup I’ve ever eaten! I know for sure it’s going to be a recipe we make all Autumn/Winter long.

What I’m excited about:
Speaking of which… I can’t stop thinking about Autumn, LOL. I’ve referenced it in so many of my recent posts, I’ve been watching old Autumnal vlogs and I’m already making plans and getting excited for all the things Matt and I are doing this Autumn! Yesterday I wrote up a few blog post ideas for Autumn and I’ve even made a list of clothing and accessories I want to buy, which I know is a little bit crazy, even for me. I just love the season so much, and I’m anticipating all things cosy and snuggly already! Also, is it too early to buy pumpkin scented candles? Asking for a friend.

What I’m watching:
Matt and I started watching season two of Instant Hotel this week and it’s so. flipping. funny. It’s set in Australia (I LOVE the accents!) and is all about a group of people who own Air BNB’s visiting each others, and scoring them on how good it is. The winners go head to head to win a huge prize, and of course they get more business from it being on TV. So far we’ve just watched episode four and I am obsessed with the penthouse in Queensland, I hope the mum and son duo win they’re so sweet, and their Air BNB is gorgeous! I definitely recommend watching the show, it gets so bitchy and funny but it’s TV you just can’t stop watching. Also, Matt and I want to visit Australia SO BAD!

What I’m working on:
I took the opportunity of being home alone last Sunday when Matt went up to the Scottish Open to write and photograph so much content for the next few weeks, and I’m going to do the same thing for a few hours this Sunday whilst he’s at work. It feels so good to have written out content to match my plans, and I love taking photos and coming up with new ideas. I love writing so much more when I can just sit and write with no distractions, and that’s exactly how I spent most of my Sunday! I have tons of ideas that are coming together and I can’t wait to share everything with you guys, I’m just really excited about how my blog is progressing and it makes me want to work even harder.

What I’m listening to:
Ed Sheeran’s new album, which I absolutely love! I’m a huge Ed Sheeran fan – Matt and I went with our friends to see him at St James’ Park last year – and I love that this album is a collaboration with so many incredible artists. My favourite songs are Feels, Beautiful People and Nothing On You – I just really think Ed can do no wrong, he’s such a sweetheart and has the most amazing voice!

What else is new:
I shopped Amazon Prime Day(s)! I didn’t buy a whole lot so I was pretty pleased with myself, I really restrained from buying stuff I didn’t need. #adulting, right? I do really wish I picked up an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite as that is something I’ve been lusting over for such a long time but I’m definitely going to treat myself next time there’s a great deal! I won’t share everything I got but these are my three favourite things; I picked up a double pack of the Real Technique Miracle Complexion sponges that I absolutely love, some packing cubes that I have wanted to buy for SO LONG (specifically since I read this post from Shay, she really sold them to me haha) and another set of travel sized bottles that I already have, they’re amazing and I always need more. I got all of these things for such great reduced prices, I love sale shopping! I’m so freaking excited to use the packing cubes when Matt and I go on our trip next month, I really think they’re going to change my packing life! Did you shop the sale? What did you get?! I really want to share my favourite Amazon finds on the blog at some point if that’s something you’d be interested in, I just LOVE Amazon!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and have even better weekends. What are your plans for the week? Please share with me your Amazon finds, you know I’m dying to place more orders, whether it’s Prime Day or not!

-G x