Christmas In Edinburgh

Hi, loves! This past Saturday Matt and I headed up to Edinburgh for a fun little day trip to explore one of our favourite cities, finish up on a little extra holiday shopping and… well… eat all of the food (and drink all of the Irn Bru)! We live in the North of England and we are very used to the cold weather, but oh my gosh it was so freezing cold up in Scotland. Which, to be fair, I guess that’s to be expected in December! Matt and I have a tradition to visit a new city’s Christmas markets each year. Back in 2017 we headed to York, then last year we went to Manchester. It was so fun to see another city and how they do Christmas! We of course visit our hometown Christmas markets which are beautiful, but they’re not a patch on some other cities. Spoiler: Edinburgh is our favourite Christmas market we’ve visited so far! 🙂

We started our day bright dark and early, and we just had to make a Starbucks trip as soon as we got to the train station. As much as I love the holiday themed drinks at Starbucks/Costa, I opted for my ‘usual’ cold weather drink: an extra hot, hot chocolate with two pumps of vanilla and almond milk. It’s delish!

Hahahaha. We were going past Newcastle United’s training ground at the time I took this, look at his face!

I love you so much 🙂

The very second we came out of the train station we headed straight to H&M to buy gloves and an umbrella for Matt! He forgot to bring a hat (but ended up buying a cute lil Barbour cap during our day, I LOVE it on him. It’s very Peaky Blinders haha!) We got a SHOCK when we came out into the fresh air because it was so freezing cold, our cheeks and noses were instantly red! I was super toasty in my coat though #bestbuyever.

I’m so drawn to colorful wool patterns and Tartan is my JAM.

I have no words how amazing these pancakes are, I didn’t want to share with Matt, hahaha! There were ten little pancakes in the tray, smothered with Nutella and white chocolate that melted in and made the most delicious litle treat ever! I want to eat it again right now.

After walking all round the markets, we headed to wander around a few shops. We went into a store called Kingdom Of Sweets and found all of the Tony’s flavours…

…and best of all… USA Mountain Dew!!! The Mountain Dew we can buy here is really naff and just not the same at all. I was so excited to see these that I didn’t even care they were £1.99 each! We got three Mountain Dew’s and one Exotic Fanta for Matt. I couldn’t BELIEVE the price of Freddo’s! Like, what the HECK?!

The streets throughout Edinburgh are GORGEOUS, especially when decorated for Christmas. The streets by The Dome are our very favourite and they have the best shops, including so many that we don’t have here in Newcastle. I really wish I had taken photos in Harvey Nichol’s because it was just so pretty in there.

We HAD to make a stop at Anthropologie! Look how beautiful!

I was literally in love with these coasters. I bought one in a teal/dark green shade and Matt got me one in this light blue to put in my stocking! I just think they’re so pretty 🙂

Another shop we stopped by was Oliver Bonas. I’m dreaming of this sweet chest in our future home! How GORGEOUS!?

Many shops later, we stopped for lunch at All Bar One. We do have one of these in Newcastle that just opened a few months ago, but we haven’t had chance to visit yet. We ate breakfast here two years ago so it was really nice to come back! Matt got Tennent’s and I got Irn Bru… #wheninScotland. We also had delicious food and the atmosphere is just so lovely in there! It’s relaxed but busy, and just feels so homely and cosy. Matt went for a burger and I opted for mac n cheese, we were so happy, warm and full when we left!

We did have another little look around the markets, then headed up to the castle! The streets on the way up are so quaint and cute, I feel like they’re very ‘typically British’ and so photogenic. We’re so lucky that where we live in Northumberland has so many pretty castles and places of history, but I LOVE Edinburgh Castle so much. It absolutely beautiful and on a clear day you can see for miles!

The most handsome man I ever did see 🙂

I’m SO glad it wasn’t windy up there…

Matt may or may not have added this bottle of whisky to his Christmas List. I’m pretty sure Father Christmas will NOT be getting that memo!

A candid at the top of the very windy hill.

We sent this shirt photo to Debbie (Matt’s mum) to ask her opinion on whether or not Matt should get it. I loved it, Matt liked it, Debbie loved it. We bought it! He’s going to be wearing this on Christmas Day 🙂 …if you’re looking for a last minute gift, anything from Ted Baker is a WINNER. Matt wears Ted Baker shirts for so many occasions, and they’re such high quality.

More market wandering… more drinking inside the log cabins to warm the F up… we also grabbed Bailey’s hot chocolates but our hands were too freezing to take photos. They were really good, but we can do make better at home!

SO pretty!

The Dome lit up for Christmas is just SO STUNNING! If you get chance to visit Edinburgh at Christmas, do it!

After a little more wandering/browsing/shopping we headed to a bar (I’m pretty sure it was called The Refinery?) for a few drinks. Pints and gins all round! This was such a cute bar, it’s definitely Matt and I’s kind of vibe.

…just before we made a dash to Sainsbury’s to buy drinks/snacks for the train home we got a photo outside of the Tipi. How gorgoeus is this star!? I love this photo. And Matthew, I love you so much 🙂

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our little festive trip and seeing what we got up to. Have you ever visited Edinburgh at Christmas? Which are the best Christmas markets you’ve visited this year? I so wish we could have stayed for a whole weekend, we definitely want to visit again next year.

-G x

An Honest Chat: Body Image

Hey, loves. I was inspired to write today’s post as I was watching the Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out documentary, and one I feel like I’ve written, re-written and edited so many times. If you haven’t seen the documentary and are based in the UK, you can catch it here. I’m not sure if it’s being shown worldwide, but you may also be able to catch it on YouTube. Matt and I watched the documentary with his parents on the night it aired and we were all so moved by the stories told; I cried and felt so much empathy towards Jesy, and I also related so much to many of the things she and the other people said throughout the documnetary.

Jesy Nelson is one fourth of Little Mix; the UK’s biggest girl band right now; and she is someone that you just see everywhere. She is a household name with a large social media presence along with the other three members of the band. Her face is on the side of buses and billboards around the world, and Little Mix’s songs are played in pretty much every store you walk into. They have a high presence in the charts, so are always played on the radio, and their songs are super catchy. They’re often on TV, taking part in interviews and, from an outsider’s perspective, it looks like they’re all living their best lives. I wouldn’t say I am necessarily a fan of Little Mix’s music, but I’ve always admired what they have achieved and how much girl power they bring to a historically male dominated industry.

As a young girl watching their original X Factor auditions back in 2011, I would say that at times I might have felt a little jealous throughout their success! All four girls always looked so happy, they were travelling all over the world and their lives completely changed overnight, which should have been the dream. That’s literally what little girls dream of; it was like a real life version of the Cheetah Girls, hah! Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out shone a new light on this time, and the experience that Jesy herself had in her sudden fame. All of those times that she looked so happy, she wasn’t. All of the times that she looked like she was living her best life, she wasn’t. The main reason being that she was bullied, victimized and trolled over her weight and her body. She saw messages every single day calling her ‘fat’ and telling her to lose weight. She began to pick herself apart more and more, then sadly when she did lose weight (which she didn’t need to) she was still trolled for being ‘fat’.

It was disgusting to hear just a handful of things that Jesy was told every single day, and she shared in the documentary that she wanted to commit suicide to get away from everything. That is heartbreaking; a young girl who should have been living her dream felt like she was living her nightmare, all because of how other people made her feel. She began to hate her own body and therefore tried to hide it away, and now she struggles to watch any video of herself at the start of her career because of the way she looked then. But, Jesy’s documentary was so powerful because she rose above it. She shared her story. She came out the other side. SHE MOVED ON. Jesy was never overweight; she looked like a healthy, normal girl then and she looks like a healthy, normal girl now. So many young girls of all shapes, sizes and builds looked up to her then and still do, and I can’t help but wonder how they’re feeling right now. Jesy met with many young people on the documentary who had experienced a similar thing; they had all been bullied because of the way they look and began to hate their own bodies.

Bullying is a whole different topic that is not really what I want to dive into in this post, but it did make me think about the way we talk about body image in general, and why people think it’s okay to comment on how others look. Magazines use photos of celebrities, just like Jesy, who have often been photographed unknowingly, sometimes in unflattering positions, with headlines like “is *insert name* eating for two?” Or “*insert name*’s crash diet has taken a nose dive” (Yep, they’re genuine articles). Even if a celebrity – or anybody else – has put weight on, it’s nobody else’s business and should never be topic of conversation! The media are known for being harsh, critical, unfair, unjust and downright rude in many circumstances. They want to sell their magazines and newspapers and they never once thought about how those people may feel reading that. This kind of culture has then led to regular people thinking those kind of comments are okay in everyday life. They are not. Whether we’re gossiping with our friends, writing it on social media or even thinking it in our head; it is wrong. It’s time that we took a stand; for each other and for ourselves.

I was thirteen years old when I first looked in the mirror and thought “I look fat”. I don’t know where it came from, thankfully it had not come from someone else, but from then I began to look at my body in a different way. When I started high school in year nine, many of the girls already had boobs and hips, and I didn’t really have either. At some point during that school year, I developed hips that I then began to loathe for the next twelve years. Up until I’m writing this post, to be honest. After growing up in an oversaturated media-filled world, I thought you were either one body type or the other: ‘skinny’ or ‘fat’. I felt ‘fat’ because my hips were wide and stuck out awkwardly, and it made me have a big bum which I’d never had before. But, I didn’t have boobs. In my head, I was ‘skinny’ on the top, and ‘fat’ on the bottom. How crazy is that for a thirteen year old?! Or to be honest, any age.

I spent my teens trying out fad diets, comparing my figure to my friends and celebrities, restricting what I ate, hiding my body sometimes, showing it off other times and finding a love of yoga that’s grown with me. I took every opportunity to whinge to my friends, and to myself, about how I didn’t look good in *insert clothing item*. They did the same, and I think that’s a large part of how we bonded back then. It was just normal to be unhappy with how you looked and I never realised how damaging it is to your happiness. In my opinion social media played a huge part in this; comparing ourselves to other girls was just part of a regular day. I grew up in a time where social media was just finding its feet; I had Piczo and Bebo, then opened Facebook and Twitter accounts, before finally jumping onto the Instagram bandwagon. We competed for likes and other people’s validation that we looked good, and for many of us it was, and maybe still is, an unhealthy place to be. Social media does not have to be a dangerous or unsafe place; I personally love to use Instagram to connect with people, to see new places, to admire photography, to find other bloggers and so much more. Social media can be a happy place, you just have to learn to protect yourself.

I didn’t actually realise how obsessed I was with my body image until I started to put on weight in my twenties. By the time I had turned seventeen, I was ‘skinny’ but still had big hips and no boobs, which I had to just take some kind of pride in. I felt validated when people told me I looked “so skinny” or “tiny” and it stayed like that for a long time, but as soon as I started to notice weight gain last year I freaked out. I started to have conversations all the time with Matt and my mum about how gross I felt, and constantly compared pictures from when I was ‘skinny’. I knew why my body was changing; I changed my pill and my hormones went crazy. I also have got older and I’m sure my metabolism is changing. My diet isn’t always the greatest and if I want ice cream, cookies, chocolate or gummy bears, you can bet I’m going to eat them! Recently I just changed my pill again and was half expecting to wake up one morning with my old body, but that’s just not how life works. Or hormones.

I might not look like I did in my late teens and early twenties but right now, today, I’m proud of my body. No, I don’t always love every part of it. No, I don’t always treat it how I should. No, I don’t always feed it how I should. But, my body allows me to live; I get to spend time with my boyfriend, family and friends, I get to drive my car, I get to go to work, I get to go shopping, I get to do yoga, I get to travel. My body is healthy. And from gaining a little weight I’ve suddenly developed actual boobs, which is always a bonus, right? Matt tells me every day that he thinks I’m beautiful and instead of thinking about something I dislike about myself, I’ve started to accept his compliments. I’m even starting to believe them!

It’s time we change the dialogue we use, and we need to start from within. Body image and body confidence go hand in hand. Let’s stop paying attention to the size of our clothes. Let’s stop finding validation from what society thinks is acceptable. Let’s stop beating ourselves up. Let’s start loving and accepting ourselves. Let’s start dressing for ourselves. Let’s start empowering other women and complimenting each other. You are beautiful, and I hope sharing my story has made you feel somewhat comfortable with your story. Did you ever feel so critical of your body? Maybe you still are, but I hope you find your way to self acceptance and love so soon, we’re all in this together.

-G x

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Fragrance Favourites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Gx

The Importance Of Being Kind In An Unkind World

Hi, loves! Happy Sunday!

I feel like the world we live in is constantly throwing out negative thing after negative thing; topics such as climate change, natural disasters, illness and pollution are inescapable to anyone who pays attention to the news or even social media. Add in other horrible headlines that we see on a near-daily basis; murders, animal cruelty, sexism and poverty, and it’s no wonder the world struggles to be kind and positive. Now, this blog post is not at all to put a downer on your Sunday, but it’s to show you that in my opinion, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and each other is to be kind.

jo-malone-peony-and-blush-suede-candle-how-to-be-parisian-an-edited-life-hinch-yourself-happy-homesense-flowers-pink-peonies-stackers-jewellery-box

I have been thinking a lot recently about the way I act towards others, and the way others act towards me. I really wanted to write a somewhat chatty blog post about this as it’s something I think we can all struggle with sometimes. I know personally if I was having a bad day, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought about how my mood can affect others, but that’s something I’ve really been working on the past few months. I find that my mood is often brought down if someone else is taking their bad mood out on me; if someone is snappy or rude, I feel like it’s contagious and it makes me feel miserable too. However, when someone is kind and friendly towards you, this also has a contagious effect and the smallest thing can make my whole day.

Another thing that has got me thinking about kindness, is After Life, a Netflix show created by Ricky Gervais, who is also the lead character. Matt and I are only five episodes in and I’ve cried seven times already, it’s moving, incredibly sad, witty, and so emotional. The story is based around a man called Tony, who recently lost his wife Lisa to breast cancer, and how this affects him and everyone around him who just want to help. He’s struggling to deal with all of the emotions he feels since her death, and contemplated taking his own life as a result. There are funny parts in there too, and without giving too much away it is a perfect example of the fact you don’t know what other people are going through. Kindness is sometimes the only thing we have, and it’s truly important to spread and share with everyone you meet.

Being kind is honestly one of the best traits in a person in my opinion, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many kind-hearted people. I know I talk about my boyfriend approximately 24 hours a day (sorry not sorry), but he’s really just the best thing in my life. He is without a doubt the most hard-working, generous and kind man I’ve ever met, and he makes me so proud. His kindness is endearing; he always wants to help, he makes other people feel good about themselves, and he is such a happy person. He genuinely inspires me to be a better person every day! My mum and dad are so loving and kind; they help anyone in any way they possibly can, and they never expect anything in return for that. My family and close friends are a great bunch of kind-hearted people, and I know how lucky I am to have this kind of inner circle.

This past week I was in Asda picking up our dinner ingredients, and an elderly lady was struggling to reach something on a lower shelf so I grabbed it for her. I didn’t think about it, and I’m sure this is a pretty natural reaction for anyone, of course we’re going to help people when we can, but she was so grateful and happy that I’d done such a simple thing. She stopped to chat for a little while, and explained she had lots of problems with her hip and could no longer do everyday tasks the same way. We spoke for only a few minutes, and when we said goodbye she thanked me for being so kind to her, which naturally made my eyes fill with tears. (I’m a crier, lol). I’d had a long day at work, was feeling a little stressed out and was wishing away the hours until Matt finished work so I could curl up with him. It was a great reminder of how much our actions can directly affect those around us, even people we don’t know, and why being kind should not depend on your mood. I felt so happy to have this little exchange with the lady, and it gave me all the warm fuzzies to see how happy she was from stopping for a quick chat.

Being kind is not exclusive to people of wealth or people without, it’s something inclusive to all and I think it should be a higher priority for people, myself included. Organise your day or week, and make sure to take time out each day to carry out small acts of kindness. Kindness may not always be the most important thing in our lives, we all have different priorities at different times, but I truly think if we all focus a little more on it, the world would be a much better place.

As I said above, kindness can be contagious and that is one of the best things about it in my opinion. How many times have you seen a stranger smile at you, smiled back and instantly felt happier? Or recieved a hug at the end of a long day that just felt like heaven? Or given a gift and seen the joy on someone else’s face? Being kind can be a truly selfless act, of course, but it’s lovely that it has a boomerang-like effect; we get a buzz from making others feel good, and I think that’s pretty special.

do-all-things-with-kindnesss

Fifteen Easy Things You Can Do Today To Be More Kind:
Smile. It’s really such a small thing, but how good do you feel when a stranger smiles at you randomly? Or you’re being checked out at the grocery store by a smiley cashier? Be generous with your smiles, they’re free!
Make dinner for your partner. Cooking together is always our preference, but Matt loves when I make dinner for him coming home from work. He sees it as such a nice gesture and I love to do it for him. He repays the favour on his days off when I’m at work and makes dinner for me coming home, I appreciate it so much too.
Donate to a charity. As little as £1 can make a huge differnce to those in need, you don’t have to think big to donate. Whether you’d like to give money, old items you no longer benefit from, canned foods (always needed at the homeless shelters!) or your time, give generously.
Pay for someone’s drink in the line behind you. I love to do this for someone from time to time. It’s so apparent how out-of-the-blue it is, and how flipping happy they are at the prospect of a free drink! You can also try this out at the drive thru, which Matt told me I need to stop doing or people will be following me through like I’m the Pied Piper. LOL.
Look for the best in situations. Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, and watering your (metaphorical) little garden to help it grow and flourish, is up to you. Don’t get bogged down with whatever is going on in the world whether it’s personal or in general; embrace it, and find the positives. If you look really hard you’ll find some!
Visit with family. They love to see you, and they want to hear about all the stuff you’ve been up to. Matt and I try to visit with our grandmas as much as possible, and we know how much they appreciate that. We see both our families so much and we love it, we’re super family orientated and thrive off quality time spent with them.
Make someone a cuppa. Whether it’s your partner in the morning, your co-workers throughout the day or whilst visiting your mum in the evening, making someone a hot drink is one of the sweetest things you can do. And, very British.
Text a friend and ask how they are. It’s so important to check in with your friends, and it’s something I’m really working on doing more often. I’ve never been great at replying to messages (sorry!) but I’m trying to be intentionally quicker and better at replying, and planning in catch ups.
Let the person behind you with less groceries cut infront. I’ve been allowed to do this so many times as I’m forever popping into Aldi for just a packet of bacon and brioche bread buns (Matt’s fave for a weekend morning, LOL) when people are doing their weekly food shop. I always feel a little awkward pushing in, but it’s a sweet gesture that always makes me smile.
Be thoughtful. Did your boyfriend have a bad day? Does your mum feel poorly? Has your friend been going through something rough? Run them a bath, bring them their favourite treats, or spend a little extra time with them.
Tip good service generously. Matt and I always tip when we receive good service in a restaurant, and I think it’s so important to show gratitude for this. In England it’s a little different than in other countries, as waiters and waitresses get paid a fair wage (generally speaking) so do not ‘rely’ on tips the same way as they do in, for example, the US. It’s not expected here per se, and it’s a lovely treat for someone’s hard work.
Hold the door for the person behind you. One of the most simple gestures you can do for someone but I can’t tell you how much this one can be appreciated.
Leave nice comments on social media. Whether it’s on your friend’s Facebook status or an accquaintance’s Instagram photo, share the love! It takes literally seconds from your day, and it’s always so nice to receive lovely comments. I love receiving blog comments SO much and I’m actively trying to comment more on the blogs I read and love.
Watch whatever your boyfriend wants to watch on TV (without complaining). Who cares if you’ve watched every televised football game for the past three weeks? Who cares if you still have no idea what’s going on in Corrie and you’re hiding from seeing any spoilers? Making sacrifices, as small as watching the football, is so appreciated by your partner, just make sure you get to watch your show next time!
Compliment a stranger. If you like someone’s top, hair cut or just the way they acted towards you (or someone else), tell them!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts on kindness in the comments below. What was the last ‘random act of kindness’ someone did for you? Or what did you do for someone else? Do you have to sometimes make a conscious effort to be kind too?

-G x

How To Become A Morning Person This Spring

Hi, loves!

I’ve always loved the idea of being a morning person. A sense of getting up when the birds begin chirping, being up and about roaming around before others have even opened their eyes, and just getting started on the day from the crack of dawn. My boyfriend thrives in the mornings, and I had just resided to it not being for me. He’s always full of the joys of Spring (appropriate, right?) the second his eyes open, and despises the fact I snooze our alarm at least twice every morning. Well, I used to!

Over the past few months I’ve been working so hard to become a morning person, to enjoy early mornings and to look forward to them, instead of dreading them. There’s a few things that have worked wonders to change my mindset, and I’m now officially one of those people. It’s actually pretty great, and I can’t stop banging on about it to my friends. Also, it means you get to eat more delicious food. Breakfast really IS the best meal of the day!

Prepare your clothes/bag/food etc the night before. I used to do this way back when I was in school, and I felt great pleasure in having my uniform hanging on the front of my wardrobe door, my Jane Norman bag filled to the brim with crap I didn’t need (textbooks? what are those?) and my makeup set out and ready to go. When I went to college, I started to go for the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-possibly-still-hungover look more often than not, and my eagerness to be prepared for the day ahead went down the drain. Then, I started the world of work, and I just never got into a rhythm that worked for me. Fast forward to 2019: after almost seven years in the working world, I’ve got it down. My work bag is always ready to go, Matt and I’s clothes are ironed and hanging up on our wardrobe door before our heads hit our pillows, and our lunches are prepared for the next day. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and sometimes I still even place my makeup products on my dressing table, ready to use when I’m bleary eyed and fighting the urge to jump back into bed for another cuddle!

Go to bed a reasonable time. It’s probably the most obvious thing to point out, but it’s for good reason. Waking up early and feeling ready to take on the day, are never going to go hand-in-hand if you’re falling asleep mid-way through a movie you decided you just had to watch at 11pm. Matt and I are such homebodies – we love our cosy evening routine so much – and quite honestly we’re very rarely awake at 11pm! That is the latest of nights for us, specifically reserved for weekends when Matt’s off work. In our twenties and living the high life. We’re all different, but scientists believe the optimum number of hours we should sleep lands between the six to eight hour mark, and I have to say for us, I agree. If we get less than seven hours we’re a little cranky, and counting down to having an early night from the second our alarm goes off. I think the best way to tweak this is to try to go to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each day, gradually working up to an hour or hour and a half earlier, and seeing how you feel getting up at the same time or earlier in the mornings.

Stop pressing snooze. Seriously. I admit it: I’m a fan of the snooze button. I used to religiously set alarms for an hour (or sometimes two) before we were going to get up just so I could enjoy snuggling back in and falling asleep again. I know. Matt hated it but never complained, bless him! You’ll be glad to know I’ve finally relaxed on the super early alarms. I still set our alarm a tad earlier than we need to get up to get ready for the day ahead, but generally by a much more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes. This gives us a little time to wake up, snuggle in with each other and talk about our sleep and the day ahead. *Cue lots of me telling Matt he said something super cute but he was fast asleep and has no recollection. And I’m probably complaining about him stealing all the covers. He does it every night!* In hindsight, I never actually felt better from snoozing our alarm either, if anything it made me more tired and grumpy, because I would fall back asleep then jump awake, feeling more startled every time.

Create a routine. I love routines. Love, love, love them. That will be no surprise to any regular readers, I think they just make life so much more simple! Due to Matt’s varying shifts throughout the week, our mornings are a little different each day, but that actually makes things a little easier for me, I think. Some days we’re up at 6am, and he’s out of the house around half an hour later. On those mornings I love to write and edit upcoming blog posts and/or squeeze in a thirty minute yoga session before I have to get ready for work. The days we get to snooze a little longer are when I’m out of the house first (much later at around 8.30am), and they’re generally reserved for little lie ins and cups of tea in bed. Both glorious in their own way! Of course, weekends are a whole different ball game (if Matt is off work, that is) – it’s our time to sleep a little longer and just move at a slower pace. Also, I find my days start so much better if I don’t start to browse social media the second I turn off the alarm. I’m obviously not perfect and I do usually catch up on my chosen platform (Instagram, ALWAYS!) before I leave the house, but it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up anymore. Matt and I try so hard to not look at our phones whilst we’re lying in bed in the morning, otherwise it makes us want to stay there for at least another twenty minutes! It’s still a work in progress, but little steps climb mountains. Or something like that.

Give yourself things to look forward to. It’s almost like bribing yourself, but having something in the morning to get up for is going to make you want to do it. I don’t really need to do this any more, but in the early days of trying to get up earlier and enjoy it, I really did need all of the motivation I could get! Whether it was the promise of a yoga session, an extra twenty minutes to binge-watch vlogs whilst I got ready (look no further than Emma Hill or The Anna Edit, they’re a dream) or cups of tea in bed, these little things became a reason to get up and get on with the day.

Let in the light and open the windows. Hallelujah, it’s no longer like the dead of night when it’s time to get up! Since mid-February when the mornings started getting warmer and lighter, my mood rose so quickly. We all know getting up when it’s dark and cold outside is ten times harder, so putting ourselves into new routines throughout the Spring and Summer gives us a better shot of carrying it on throughout the colder months too. Matt and I sleep with the window open every night (although, not too open. A few weeks ago, our next door neighbour’s cat let himself in during the middle of the night, plonked his bum on our bedside table and DRANK OUR GLASS OF WATER. guys. IT DRANK FROM THE GLASS. I woke up to the sound of his tongue lapping it up and screamed until Matt woke up. I sh*t you not. Also, we are not cat people hahaha). Anyway, I digress, but waking up to a light chill in the room is actually quite nice, and I find it weirdly motivating. It’s not freezing cold, so I find it just wakes me up a little more. Also, any excuse to wear bae’s dressing gown while I get ready, it’s so much cosier than mine!

Experiment with delicious breakfasts. Let’s be honest, food is the best part of everyone’s day, and in my opinion breakfast food just pips anything else to the top of the list. If you have time for homemade pancakes and berries covered in syrup then more power to you, but I’m thinking the quick, easy options are the best to go for in the mornings before work. Think avocado toast, oatmeal, Special K (I’m having a bit of a love affair with that right now!) or smoothies packed with all the goodies. If there’s one thing that’s sure to get me excited about getting up it’s food! Also, not to sound like your grandma, but breakfast is so important. Even if you’re running super late and barely have time to catch your breath, at least grab a banana or protein bar, you’ll thank me for it when the 11am slump doesn’t arrive!

I hope this post helped to give you a little inspiration, or maybe a few laughs at least! Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy getting up and getting on with your day? Please let me know your tips in the comments below!

-G x

February Favourites

Hi, loves!

I said this last month, but wow I can’t believe how quickly this month has passed. It seems like I blinked and the month was over, but Matt and I have had such a fun month, filled with so much love and happiness, which is what February is all about! I’m not too excited for March because Matt is going away on a work trip (just for one night, which still feels like forever haha) and for a weekend with the boys in Berlin! I’m so excited for him to make amazing memories but I’m already dreading how much I’m going to miss him! BUT there’s so many things to look forward to also! It’s Matt’s 25th birthday, Spring begins, we’re planning a spa day, and hopefully the weather will be warming up even more. It’s been so warm for February in the UK, I’m not convinced it’s a good thing although the sunny days have got me so excited for Spring, I literally can’t wait. I’ve got lots of favourites from this month, so let’s dive right in…

*All beauty products recommended are cruelty free*

Valentine’s Dinner at Tomahawk Steakhouse
Matt and I had the best early Valentine’s date at our favourite restaurant; we had the most amazing steaks and ate SO much food we were full until lunch time the next day. We always go to this restaurant for special ocassions and it’s such a happy place for us both; the food is amazing, the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are lovely. We get different sides and share them between us, but the mac n cheese is to die for – Matt isn’t a huge fan generally and even he loves this one! If you’re in Newcastle I’d highly recommend this restaurant for any special ocassion, it’s worth every penny. We also had such a fun Valentine’s weekend together, which I shared with you in this post, it was absolutely a highlight of the month.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte)
This is my new holy-grail foundation, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to purchase! I used the original formula a few years back (I picked it up in Florida well before it was available in the UK) but then when I ran out I couldn’t re-purchase and I forgot all about it. I’ve tried so many foundations over the years but I’m never fully happy with some aspect of it, except this one ticks every box for me. It’s lightweight on the skin, covers all redness/imperfections (although I do always use concealer over the top of any spots or redness) and it lasts all day. I always set with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder and I never have issues with it coming off through the day.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte) in Fair – £31.50

Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo and Conditioner
GUYS. I’m always so honest with you on my blog and I only talk about products I truly love and believe in. But wow, I really bloody love these! I bought this shampoo and conditioner when I ran out of what I was using, and all I wanted was to buy a good quality, cruelty free option (without spending a fortune). Shampoo and conditioner are those type of products I always thought you could buy along with your grocery shop and not think much more about it, but my hair was SO damaged and cheap formulas were just not doing it. After doing a ton of research, I picked up these and I’m so shocked at how much the quality of my hair has changed in just a few weeks. My hair looks so much better after washing, lasts longer without looking/feeling greasy between washes and these products smell SO GOOD. I also think my hair styles much better since using these, and I’ve noticed that my hair doesn’t break anywhere near as much as it used to. If you’re in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner I’d highly recommend picking these up!
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo – £7.00
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Conditioner – £7.00

Leopard Print Everything
I flipping love leopard print, and I’ve been wearing tons of leopard print items over the past month! From scarves to shirts to sock boots, I’ve wore it constantly, and I’m not complaining. Much to Matt’s dismay my eye is automatically drawn to anything leopard print, and I definitely want to pick up some makes-my-heart-sing leopard print pieces for the Spring/Summer months. I’ve talked so much about how I no longer want to be an active part of the fast fashion industry, so any items I buy will be things I can definitley wear for years to come. I realise it’s only the end of February but this warm weather has me so excited to buy things for Summer! I’m especially excited to buy things for our holiday to Croatia, and I’m on the lookout for a leopard print pool cover up!
Boots – New Look (old)

Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess
This was a lovely and super generous Valentine’s gift from Matt (isn’t he just the cutest) that I’d wanted for so long! This lipstick is even better than I hoped it would be; it’s the perfect tea-rose shade, and wearable day or night. The formula is creamy and hydrating, and it lasts so well on the lips! This shade was made for Kate Middleton, and just knowing that makes me feel like a princess when I wear it. As always with anything from Charlotte Tilbury, the packaging is beautiful; it’s in a weighty, rose gold tube that makes me want to re-apply at any given moment, just to look at it!
Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess – £24.00

Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter
This product is the definition of an oldie but a goodie to me, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog for a while I’m sure you would have seen it featured many times. I use this (almost – I’m not perfect, okay!?) every night when I get out of the bath or shower, and it is hands-down my favourite body butter for when my skin’s feeling dry, or just for a little luxury. I love the smell so much and it dries in so quickly, which is something I always look for in a good moisturiser.
Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter – £12.50

Soph Hearts Blog
I’ve read Sophie’s blog for a while, but I just think she is smashing it more and more with her content and deserves a little extra recognition. I recently followed her on social media (a goal this year was to interact more with the bloggers behind blogs I read and love) and I’m so glad I did. Sophie is such a sweetheart, she takes amazing photos and I love how honest she is with anything she’s sharing. My favourite post from February was this one, about the importance of self-love. I did that thing where you fall into a blog hole, and went back to re-read her Summer posts from last year – her outfits were so cute and gave me major inspo for things I’d like to buy/wear in SS19. If you don’t already follow Sophie or read her blog, please go give her some love!
www.sophhearts.com

Berry Trifle Yankee Candle
I’ve actually got a few favourite candles from this month, but this one pips the others to the top of the list as it’s the one we’ve burned the most. Matt’s lovely mam bought me this ‘just because’ back in November, and I’d been saving it to burn after my Christmas candles ran out. Matt and I have candles burning literally every night; they make our evenings so cosy and relaxed, and just generally make me feel happy. This candle smells incredible, without being too strong, and fills the room. It’s a beautiful warming scent, but thankfully doesn’t give you the urge to go grab some baked goods like most candles in the food category!
Berry Trifle Yankee Candle – £25.00

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products/things from this month? I’m crossing my fingers for warm, Spring weather in March!

-G x

Weekend In My Life: Valentine’s, Exploring Northumberland & The Best Donuts

Hey, loves!

I haven’t wrote a Weekend In My Life post since December, I’m so happy to be back with another! Matt and I had such a great Valentine’s weekend, and I love to be able to 1) share snippets of my life with you, and 2) to look back on these posts! Yep, I sneak back to read my own blog posts from time to time. You may have noticed I’ve stopped rounding up our weeks/weekends at the beginning of each post, which was a decicision I made as I feel like we’re always up to the same things, and how many ways can I possibly phrase ‘cosy night in’ or ‘breakfast date’ LOL!? (Also, I’m sure 99% of people couldn’t care less!) I hope you enjoy this post, I’ll definitely be sharing more weekends in our life over the coming months as we have tons of fun plans for the Summer!

Thursday, 14th February

I usually begin these posts from Friday, but as this was Valentine’s Day I wanted to include it. We woke up slightly earlier than usual to exchange gifts and spend a little longer snuggled up (whilst I was pretending I didn’t have to go to work). As I mentioned in this post, we don’t really exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we both waivered our own rule this year! Matt was SO sweet and bought me cute presents he really didn’t need to. My favourite was a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick (!!) in the shade The Duchess, which is a shade I’ve had my eye on for so long. It was, as the name would suggest, made for Kate Middleton and it’s the most beautiful rosy nude, I’ve wore it non-stop since I opened it LOL! I bought Matt a scratch map (just for fun as he’s been to so many amazing places; and it’s something he can put in his man cave when we buy our house in the next year!) and a CrockPot, which was something we’d been thinking about buying. Of course I filled a gift bag with sweets and chocolates, which is just part of the fun of Valentine’s Day! We had such a cute morning and it was the perfect way to start the day.

Seriously… fit for a princess!

After we exchanged gifts I unfortunately had to get ready and head to work, and I swear I was wishing the hours away before I even got there. Thankfully my day went by pretty quickly, although I thought it was Friday all day! One of the managers bought us girls in the office donuts which was so sweet of him. I think Valentine’s is so special because it’s about sharing and spreading love, and Heaven knows the world needs a little more love!

When 5pm rolled around I headed home, listening to Ariana Grande’s new album of course. (I love it! I think NASA is my fave song, although I can’t relate as I never want to be apart from Matt hahaha). Matt got home just after me, by then I had showered, cosied up in my dressing gown and carried out my skincare routine. We lit candles, turned on all of our cosy lamps and started to prepare dinner. We made one of our favourite dinners; steak, potatoes, tenderstem brocolli and green beans (super simple but SO good) and then set up a mini fondue/ice cream bar for dessert later in the night. We spent the evening watching our new favourite show, Ambulance: Australia – nothing says romance like paramedics attending poorly patients – and had the best cosy, chilled night in. We snuggled in for a pretty early night, and we fell asleep feeling so happy and grateful for our little life. I love him so much and I literally feel so thankful as we cuddle in to sleep every night!

Friday, 15th February

As it always seems to happen during the week, the morning rolled round way too quickly and it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Friday’s are so bittersweet; it’s almost the weekend, we usually have a fun lunch at work BUT there’s still a whole eight hours between me and the weekend. Matt was off work again (he’s so lucky!) so he got to spend the whole day relaxing and playing on the PlayStation. My day was super long for a Friday but I did go grocery shopping for the weekend over my lunch break which made me feel a little productive.

At 5pm I headed home for a cosy night in with Matt before a busy weekend together. He had ran a bubble bath for me coming home – the below picture is exactly what I walked into, he’s so cute – so after a relaxing soak I got into my pj’s and we spent our evening relaxing. Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so it was just us at home. We had some of our favourite flatbread pizzas for a super easy dinner and snuggled in to watch Life Of The Party (it was so funny, we LOVE Melissa McCarthy). It was the perfect way to start our weekend! These kind of nights are my favourite because we get to totally switch off from everything, and have so much fun in our little bubble.

the sky was so beautiful when I got home from work! I LOVE that it’s light in the evenings for a little longer now

Saturday, 16th February

We had gone to bed pretty early the night before, so were feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day when our alarm went off. I did a super quick yoga practice for twenty minutes (this was the video I followed, Adrienne is the best!) and felt so good for fitting it into my day. We already had plans to head to one of our favourite breakfast places called Post Box in Ponteland. Matt had a bath which meant I could spend a little longer on my makeup, and sneak in catching up on some of my YouTube subs! I quickly prepped our dinner for later in the evening, and threw everything in the CrockPot. We were super excited to be making use of Matt’s gift (maybe it was for me too) HAHA.

before we added the chicken, seasoning and sauce!

By the time we left home it was around 11.30am so our breakfast was more like brunch, but as always it was delicious. It’s such a small cafe and it’s usually quite difficult to get a table but we lucked out and got one right away. Matt had a full English, and I got a veggie breakfast (but swapped out the mushrooms for avocado). I wish all Saturday’s consisted of breakfast dates! Matt works lots of Saturday’s so when we have the opportunity to go for one, we take it! After, we jumped back in the car to head to Bolam Lake, which is a beautiful country park that we’ve been meaning to go to for so long. There’s a gorgeous lake (obviously) in the middle, and the walk was beautiful. It was pretty cold as we were further North but typically of me, I didn’t wear the right clothing and was FREEZING. We spent a little time walking around, working off our breakfasts, then we decided to go on a little inpromptu tour of Northumberland! We went up towards Jedburgh and had so much fun playing tourists in our own area, it’s literally one of our favourite things to do. We’re planning to go up to the Scottish borders a few times in the next few months, hopefully starting when it’s a little warmer!

After our little road trip around the countryside, we headed back to the other side of town and popped into the Metro Centre (to buy bath bombs LOL) and then to Costco. We LOVE Costco, there is just so much to look at (and buy) so we spent about an hour there. There were tons of good free samples which is obviously the best part about it, and I got the cutest pink blanket for our bed! I already have two different colours, but we sleep with these blankets most nights because sleeping under a quilt just gets so dang hot. I’m pretty sure it’s because Matt is like a human radiator but every night we have to open the window, even in the Winter! Please tell me it’s not just us?!

bae

On the way home from Costco we popped in to see Matt’s lovely grandma and drop in some bottled water for her. I love going to see her, she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and we always have such a giggle when we’re there. We stayed for around an hour, then headed home to see if 1) the house was still standing (spoiler: it was!) and 2) if our food was edible. Turns out this CrockPot malarkey is so easy, our food was so good we literally didn’t want to stop eating. I can’t wait to try out more recipes! We left it in for around six and a half hours, then served it with spicy rice and salad and it was SO good, and sorry I didn’t get a photograph we were so hungry! I totally made up the recipe, but here’s a quick list of the ingredients if you’d like to try it:

-6 x stalks of celery
-(approx) 10 x cherry tomatoes
-2 x peppers
-1 x onion

-(approx) 500g chicken strips (browned before adding)
-Spanish chicken sauce

-salt, pepper, paprika & Shwarz Season All for flavour!
-Tilda Firecracker rice and salad to serve

After dinner I had a quick shower and washed/dried my hair whilst Matt cleaned up (he’s the best) and we got settled for the evening to watch TV. We had a few glasses of prosecco and I caught up on the episodes of Coronation Street I missed from Friday, HAHA I’m so old. After, Matt got to choose what we watched so he picked a Bear Grylls show we hadn’t seen with Gareth Southgate. I randomly had a really bad headache and felt so unwell so we didn’t finish the show and headed to bed. I never feel poorly out of the blue like that but since having the flu a few weeks ago I seem to have never got properly better!

Sunday 17th February

We woke up on Sunday morning early as we wanted to be out of the house and into Newcastle city centre as early as possible. We got ready quickly, and below is a little snippet of the makeup I used for you! This is my go-to daily makeup, I’m really loving Charlotte Tilbury products right now, and I’m getting tons of use out of my favourites. I really don’t feel the need to buy new makeup just for the fun of it anymore, but these past few weeks I’ve had to re-purchase a few items that ran out! I’ve put myself on a ‘no spend’ for beauty products (unless anything runs out) until my birthday, so let’s see how that goes HAHA.

we were so excited to try this new Fanta but we really weren’t big fans HAHA

We headed to one of our favourite weekend spots, the Quayside market. We love it because there are so many small businesses there, and everyone is so lovely and friendly. There’s also always lots of cute doggos, hehe. It was a beautiful day, although the wind was super cold I just really want it to be Spring! We had a very unhealthy breakfast; Matt got a sausage sandwich from Geordie Bangers (his favourite stall LOL) and I grabbed a grilled cheese from Meltdown. I’m sorry but we were so hungry I didn’t even get photos! We also shared a Maltesers brownie that was amazing, and I did get a photo of that before we ate it.

I also picked up a beautiful candle that had been upcycled from an old champagne bottle, it was quite pricey at £20 but I think supporting small local businesses is so important, and it looks/smells so good! Matt and I love this champagne, and the bright label is so fun to spruce up our bedroom too. I bought it from the Upcycle Jewellery Company, if you’d like to take a look at their products. We spent around an hour wandering and taking in the view – the Quayside is one of our favourite places in the North East – then stopped by Hoult’s Yard to visit Proven Goods Co. Sundays are cheat days. I’ve talked about this company so much on my blog, but we really do love them and they deserve recognition! Their customer service is fantastic and their donuts are even better, what’s not to love?! Matt got a Biscoff (which is also vegan-friendly) and I got a vanilla custard, although I was a little sad there were no Homer’s left, they’re my faves.

When we got home from town, Matt quickly got sorted to go and watch a local football team play with his dad. He was gone around two hours, and I spent the time relaxing at home with his lovely mam. We caught up on our weekends as they had just got back from their trip down South, and we talked literally the whole time they were gone HAHA.

The boys got home and we spent the rest of the afternoon with Matt’s parents, watching the football and chatting. Oh, and of course eating our donuts! Matt and I were super tired so we literally lay on the sofa snuggled up for about an hour, I so could have done with a nap! After I showered and got into my pj’s (the best time of day, right?!) we made dinner which was a super easy meatball pasta with salad. I’m all about easy, cosy recipes on a Sunday evening! We snuggled in after dinner to watch a few more episodes of Ambulance: Australia, we literally NEED to go to Australia at some point in our lives! I love all of the staff featured in this show, they’re so sweet. We went to bed around 10.30pm which is actually pretty late for us HAHA, but we were both at work the next day and needed our beauty sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! This was one of my favourite weekends in a long time, we had SO much fun and I’m forever grateful for all of the time we get to spend together. What did you get up to this past weekend?

-G x

Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together?

Hi, loves!

Today I’m talking about something I think we all need to talk about more: anxiety and how it can affect those that struggle with it on a daily basis. I wrote a post similarly to this back in August, which you can read here. This may have all come out like #wordvomit (if you know, you know) but if this post can help even one person that makes me so pleased, please know you’re not alone and we’re all fighting our own battles!

I’d just like to preface this whole post by saying I know I have a bloody good life. I have a boyfriend I adore more than life itself, we have the most amazing families, I have a job, I have my own car, I have holidays and trips to look forward to, I have the luxury of snuggling up next to the person I love every night and I have a blog I enjoy writing, amongst many other amazing things.

I try so hard to focus on the positives in my life, and I know there are SO MANY to look at. Yet, every so often, I feel so down in the dumps and I don’t know how to get out of it. I talked about all of the things I’ve been doing to beat the January blues in this post which has been a huge help throughout the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety I generally feel is not an all-consuming, every minute of every day kind of feeling, but it’s there, niggling at the back of my mind. And it feels like it’s never going to go away. Usually, I begin to feel this way because I get a random bout of anxiety about something mundane. This time, it was the snow. Yep. To set the scene; Matt and I were having a lovely night, snuggled up watching Inside The World’s Toughest Prison’s on Netflix (highly recommend if you haven’t seen it, we’ve binge watched three seasons in just over a week!) after eating dinner, and I started uncontrollably crying. These are the kind of things you wouldn’t find featured on my Instagram story, but more about that later.

I feel anxious and apprehensive about the cold weather every year, and the thought of driving in it terrifies me to my core. I know that this specific topic is what was making me feel worried and sad; to the point I’d be wide awake at 3am, cuddling into Matt whilst he slept like a baby, but not being able to fall back to sleep myself. I’d spend way longer than necessary refreshing the Met Office pages each day, checking for updates on the likelihood of snow or ice, to the point it became a running joke with my co-workers (except for me, it wasn’t that funny). I’d be reading my book in the bath and suddenly feel a wave of worry wash over me, thinking about how I’d possibly make it to work tomorrow if it snowed overnight. This is all absolutely ridiculous, but hopefully it gives you a little back story into my pattern of thinking.

The stupidest thing is, I can drive in the snow and ice, and when I do it’s never as bad as I think it might be. If I really didn’t want to drive in the bad weather Matt would happily take me to work and pick me up, therefore eliminating the problem all together. I, now thinking rationally, can see that’s fine, and this issue doesn’t warrant worrying over any further. BUT, during the time of feeling generally panicked and anxious, that seems even worse – he’s putting himself in danger to take me somewhere, he’s taking time out of his day for me etc. It’s almost like my brain doesn’t want to provide a solution, and instead thinks of all the other things that could go wrong off the back of it.

Anyone who does or has suffer(ed) with anxiety will recognise what I’m saying above as being pretty standard. One little seed grows into a whole damn tree and the branches of worry get heavier as time goes on. Whether you suffer with anxiety or not, lots of us feel overwhelmed and uneasy from time to time. It’s silly really, most of us have feelings like this yet we don’t talk about it, and we don’t let people know how we feel. Then again, how could I really explain that I’m terrified about the prospect of snow, when the day before was 9 degrees and sunny.

The worry of bad weather in the past few weeks was just the start, and a familiar cycle began; I then started to worry about everything. Is my job safe? Will Matt and I save enough and find our future home by the end of the year? What if the restaurant we’ve made reservations for is too loud and I feel uncomfortable? These are, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant worries, yet in the moment they feel crushing and I’m stuck thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, is there is a huge difference between worries we can control and worries we cannot. Suddenly not having a job? No control, I’d have to just find another. (Also, it’s thankfully very unlikely that would happen!) Not finding a house to make our home this year? No control, but I know that it will happen when it happens and we’ve always got each other. Feeling uncomfortable on date night? We can always leave and go somewhere else. If I’m able to take a minute and think logically – especially if I can vocalise my thoughts – I can separate worries I can and can’t control. The things I can control generally have obvious solutions, and the things I can’t control just shouldn’t be taking up space in my brain. I’m so lucky that Matt is always so understanding and reassuring, and makes me feel so much better.

Something that now, in hindsight, makes me laugh is the things that probably *should cause me to feel anxious generally don’t. Whether that’s waiting in line for a long time when grocery shopping, being stuck in traffic, the hustle and bustle of a football game, those kinds of things are just ‘normal’ to me, and don’t leave me in a tizzy.
*NOT give me anxiety, just the normal human emotion of feeling anxious

One thing that does heighten my anxiety is social media. In a world where we’re so connected all the time, I see what my friend’s boyfriend’s auntie’s dog is up to, and quite honestly, I don’t care. I feel strongly about social media in that it’s a great place to document our lives. It’s a great place to connect and share our thoughts with others, and to potentially make new friends. It’s a great place to support small businesses. It’s a great place to raise awareness of topics or campaigns. However, it’s also a place where we compare ourselves to other people, whether it’s intentional or not.

I love to keep up with other people’s lives, in the same way I love to watch hours of mindless reality TV. (Four hour KUTWK sesh? Count me in!) I scroll through Instagram several times per day and when I’m in a good state of mind, it either doesn’t alter my mood or it makes me feel happy. I really enjoy scrolling to find inspiration on outfits, where to go for our next date night or what our future home will look like, and it’s all in one place! I’m happy for the people sharing their engagement news, promotions, new houses, gym progress and pregnancy announcements that I see on a regular basis. I love seeing people’s children achieve milestones and relating to them in a whole other way. I love when people share, and sometimes overshare, on social media, but when I’m having a *moment* as Matt & I like to call them, then everything seems to be taken out of context and I feel bad about myself in comparison to the success of others, which is something I’m so embarrassed to admit.

The thing is, I know so many of us have this feeling, whether it’s related to anxiety or just a bad day. I’m a big believer in unfollowing people who make you feel rubbish regularly, but I think at some point we have to take the responsibility for this back, and look at why we feel bad. Is someone looking super hot in a fancy pants outfit you’d never wear anyway, and you’re slobbing about in sweat pants with no make up on? Is someone sharing gleaming photos of how they’ve hinched their kitchen and you’re wishing it was yours? Is someone travelling around the most incredible island you’ve ever seen and you know it’s not on you radar any time soon? Whatever it is, other people’s actions are not a direct reflection of you or your life. No matter how many green smoothies, cute date night pictures, or amazing shopping sprees someone shares, that doesn’t mean they’re any happier than you. By the same token, it also doesn’t mean they’re miserable and trying to look happy for social media. There’s a weird notion that people who look like they’re happy obviously aren’t and it’s all pretend, but that’s not necessarily true either. I know I share lots of my life on social media, but I can admit that I share way more when I’m feeling good, which I’m sure is the same for most of us. Happiness isn’t measured by being more or less happy than somebody else and we don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives unless they personally tell us. The reality is everyone has their own struggles, and we should focus more on ourselves than on other people.

Anxiety is a weird thing, but it’s also kinda wonderful. I’m going to end this post by sharing with you a few points on why I’m grateful to be working my way through anxiety, one step at a time;

I set time aside to do what truly makes me happy. I feel like I need little nuggets of good in the day (and not just the Quorn kind) to make me feel revitalised and refreshed, and as a result I make those things a priority.
The little things mean the most to me and always have done. Taking even just 10 minutes out of my day to read a book, spending my evenings cooking and relaxing with Matt, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, fitting in yoga sessions, singing loudly in the car and other little things make me feel so much better. On the other side of this, I know when things make me feel nervous or uncomfortable and I’m able to remove myself from those situations.

I know how to plan. It may seem silly to some, but I generally have plans A, B and C for most situations, and this allows me to know my options, and to feel more comfortable in general. I talked a little bit about this in terms of social situations in this post if that’s something you’d like to know more about. A few more benefits of being a planner is that Matt and I will never miss a birthday or anniversary, can do our weekly shop pretty damn quickly, and we always have things to look forward to together.

I am more empathetic towards others. I think if I hadn’t struggled with anxiety on and off for years, I’d not be as empathetic as I am today. I genuinely feel others’ pain and struggles, and I’ll always go out of my way to help in any way I can. I am happy to talk through people’s problems and offer advice (when asked), hopefully helping people to feel a little better.

I hope by sharing this with you, you may have a little insight into my life you’d otherwise not know. I also hope that it may resonate with you, whether you feel similarly to me or whether it may help you see how someone in your life is feeling. Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts on this below! Also, in answer to the title, my opinion is no. None of us have our sh*t together, and that’s okay.

-G x

Christmas Weekend Trip: Photo Diary

Happy Christmas Eve, loves!

I’m so sad this is my last post in the Twelve Days Of Christmas! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, but hopefully this is a fun post to end my mini series with! Last week, Matt and I headed on a road trip down to Manchester to visit the Christmas markets, do our final bis of Christmas shopping and squeeze in all the football activities possible. (Guess who’s idea the third part was, HAHA). I’ve wrote this post similarly to our weekend trip to Liverpool – you can catch that here if you missed it! We had such a great weekend, I’m incredibly thankful for all of the fun Matt and I have squeezed into this festive season despite how much he’s been working. Spending our Christmas together is the best gift I could ever ask for, I love and appreciate him so much!

Friday 14th December

Our weekend began on Friday evening when I got home from work. Matt had been off work all day and had spent the whole day relaxing, watching Netflix and playing his new Playstation game. He was literally in the same position as when I left for work that morning, curled up in bed HAHA. He ran a bath for me coming home (literally melts my heart when he does this!) and we had the best cosy evening together. He went to pick up our Indian takeaway, and we snuggled in front of the Christmas tree, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We had a pretty early night ahead of our early start the next day!

Saturday 15th December

We woke up around 6.30am and after a few minutes of snoozing too long (oops, we do this every morning!) we got ready to head down to Manchester. Matt wanted to be on the road early to avoid the traffic, and although we set off a little later than planned we still made really good time! The drive down was so quick and the roads were fairly empty which we were surprised about! I may have fell asleep for an hour… such good company.

It’s not a road trip without my car blanket ✌🏻

We headed straight to the Trafford Centre to finish our Christmas shopping. Matt got a lovely shirt from Ted Baker for Christmas Day (I’m sure I’ll be sharing a few photos from Christmas with you on the blog in the next few days, if not they’ll definitely be up on Instagram!) and we finally purchased our last presents. I’m never usually this unorganised for Christmas so I was so happy to be done! We went for breakfast at All Bar One, we haven’t eaten there since we were in Edinburgh last year and it was so good even if my serving was teeny tiny HAHA. We finished up our shopping, and I treated myself to a new pair of Topshop Jamie jeans (my fave!) then we headed to drop our bags off at the hotel.

Looking like a robber in a black hat, black oversized jumper and black skinnies!

After a super quick turnaround at the hotel, we got wrapped up and headed into Manchester city centre. We stayed in a cheap and cheerful hotel in MediaCityUK which was a lovely area – it’s a man-made metro city and it’s where lots of the TV studios are situated. We were right next to the Coronation Street set which I was way too excited about! It was pouring down ALL day so unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the markets. We went to the National Football Museum – obviously Matt’s idea – and had a lot of fun wandering around and learning! We spent our afternoon browsing Selfridges (a novelty to us because we don’t have one here!), eating Yorkshire pudding wraps and drinking Bailey’s hot chocolates. We had so much fun, I love our tradition of visiting a new Christmas market every year! We’re hoping to visit Bath next year (well, I am, Matt isn’t too keen but I’m sure he’ll come round to it when we’re booking up to go 😉).

Yorkshire pudding wraps were UNBELIEVABLE!
I love you 😍

After we’d spent hours in the freezing cold rain, sleet and snow, we made our way back to the hotel to warm up and get ready for the evening. We had reservations for a late dinner so we were able to take our time getting ready! We also may have watched the Strictly final and seen Stacey be announced the winner, just as we were leaving. I’m SO happy for her!! She deserved it so much. It was still pouring rain when we left the hotel, so we headed to grab a drink at the restaurant we were eating at, The Botanist. I was drinking Rhubarb gin and lemonade, one of my favourites, and Matt was of course drining Heineken. We had a lovely dinner (sorry, I totally forgot to take photos!) but Matt had fish and chips, and I had a chicken skewer with fries. We spent the evening laughing and joking together and enjoying each other’s company, and planning our next week in the build up to Christmas, and getting even more excited for everything coming up! We headed back after a few drinks and snuggled up for the evening.

Sunday 16th December

Sunday mornings are forever my favourite! Well, the ones that Matt isn’t at work for anyway HAHA. The weather had finally let up, and we got to see a beautiful sunrise from our high-rise hotel. We got ready, checked out and loaded up the car, then set off for a beautiful walk along the Quays outside our hotel.

It was super cold and fresh outside – the perfect weather to go exploring in! We stopped by Costa so I could grab a gingerbread hot chocolate, and Matt got a gingerbread man, he was obviously feeling the Christmas spirit! We walked along the Quays and towards Old Trafford, as we decided we’d do a stadium tour. My mam’s side of the family are huge Man U fans (they’re from Manchester so it’s okay!) and I’m sure I actually did a tour years ago, but I couldn’t remember anything. It was so so freezing but we had such a fun time on the tour, and we learned so much! I just love how much Matt loves football.

Doing his best Rafa!

We were freezing after the tour, and we’d spent best part of three hours in the museum/on the tour so were also super hungry. We grabbed Subway which wasn’t our first choice but it was the closest thing around, and actually was pretty good! Matt had a chicken and bacon ranch footlong with a donut, and I got a steak and cheese with salad with a Smartie’s cookie… I love knowing people’s fast food orders! We then made our way back to the car and began the journey home. We thought the traffic was going to be terrible as it was the second last weekend before Christmas, but we made such good time!

We visited my parents for a little while whilst I dropped off everything I didn’t need, and picked up my work stuff for the next day. We watched the end of the Man U game with them (unfortunately Man U lost – my family were not happy bunnies!) then we headed back to Matt’s for the evening, via the Chinese takeaway! We ate so badly through the weekend but every once in a while that’s okay, right?! We had quick showers to get into our comfies, then snuggled in to watch Elf with his parents, and had the perfect cosy night. We spent the rest of the evening laughing and chatting with Matt’s lovely parents (literally my second family!), and had an early night as we both had to be up early for work the next day!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed my last festive post of the year. Writing this and looking at our photos gave me all of the cosy festive vibes, I wish we could go back and do the wekend all over again right now! Today Matt and I get a little lie in before he heads to work, then I’m getting our final bits for Christmas organised. Fingers crossed before I know it it’ll be 6pm, he’ll be home and we’ll be off to the pub to begin the Christmas celebrations with his family!

I hope you have the best Christmas with your family and friends, I am giddy with excitement right now! I’m so excited to give my loved ones their gifts this year and spend the day with all of my favourite people.

Normal posts will resume from Sunday 30th December.

Merry Christmas, loves!

-G x