The Ultimate Festive Pamper Evening

Happy Sunday, loves! I’m so excited about today’s post because I just LOVE a pamper evening and I know lots of you do, too! I love nothing more than taking an hour or two on a Sunday evening (pre Strictly results show, of course) relaxing in a nice hot bath with all my favourite pamper treats. I take the time to treat my skin and my hair to a little bit more TLC than they get for the rest of the week and I always feel so good after! Matt sometimes joins in with my face mask sesh pre-bath and he really loves it too. All of the products in this post would make for amazing Christmas gifts, and I promise this post is not sponsored by The Body Shop (I wish!)

First things first, I like to set the mood. I feel the most relaxed with minimal lighting. Candles and lamps – particularly our Himalayan pink salt lamp Matt bought me for Christmas last year – make me feel so cosy and happy! I love to burn candles all year round, but at Christmas time I really appreciate a festive candle. My two favourites every year are Winter by The White Company and Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle, and this year I’m also obsessed with Bath & Body Works Pink Fairy Gum Drop. It’s just so pink and beautiful!

Once I’ve lit one or two of my favourite candles, it’s time to run my bubble bath. I tend to save my Lush products for weekends and days I’m feeling a little bit cr*p as I appreciate them even more then! My go-to bath bomb this Christmas is Snow Fairy as it smells incredible and creates the most picture perfect pink baths! A few of my other favourites for the season are the Polar Bear Plunge bubble bar, Luxury Lush Put bath bomb, Yog Nog bubble bar and Butterbear bath bomb… although Matt tends to steal all of the Butterbear’s we buy! I also love love love Dr Teal’s Lavender foaming bath which I’ve been using more and more as my regular bubble bath, the lavender scent is just so lovely and relaxing in the evening.

Whilst my bath is running, I take off my makeup with Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm and my flannel, then double cleanse with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser. I love double cleansing!

By now my bath is ran, I have a can of Diet Coke (a must for any bath, I’m obsessed!) and it’s time to apply my face mask. The face mask I use totally depends on how my skin is on that day, so I don’t necessarily always use the same ones. My favourite go-to’s are the Pixi Glow sheet mask or The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow mask; both are incredible and are masks I’ve used for so long!

Post-face mask I wash my hair and apply The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing hair mask *gifted which I leave on my hair for at least thirty minutes. (I do this mask every other time I wash my hair and leave it on for around five minutes on a regular day when I don’t have tons of time!) This soaks into my hair and leaves it feeling so soft, tangle free and looking shiny as ever. It also smells amazing, kind of like banana milkshake, and I wish we had some kind of technology so you could smell it through my photo. Every single time I use this Matt compliments me on how good my hair smells, so it’s a boyfriend pleaser too!

Now it’s time to R E L A X and for me, that means opening up my current book and getting lost in another world. It’s my happy place! I just recently read Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay, which is the sequel to one of my very favourite books I read this year. It was so funny and well written, I’d definitely stick it on your list for Father Christmas this year. I love long baths but I love even more having uninterrupted reading time. Matt has very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas which I am SO excited about because it’s going to make my reading experience one hundred times better! He’s the best 🙂

My favourite shower gels of the moment are The Body Shop’s Juicy Pear *gifted by my lovely friend Shannen; more information here and Lush’s Yog Nog, I love them both so much I alternate pretty much every night! Festive scents are always my favourite, they are so fun to use and inject a little fun into my typical routine. I exfoliate using my beautiful The Body Shop Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupuaçu scrub-in-oil, before using my regular old Gillette Venus Platinum razor and shaving gel. I only exfoliate before shaving every other time (or every other, other time) but I always feels SO much better when I do. You really get a closer shave and it just makes my skin feels so incredible!

Post bath I take my time to go through my full skincare routine, run a little Morrocanoil Treatment Light through my hair and spray my Aussie Leave-In conditioner before wrapping my hair up in my hair towel wrap to dry and stay out of my face. I moisturise using my Hawaiian Kukui cream from The Body Shop which is so luxurious, although I think I really need something a little more moisturising to help my dry skin during the colder months. I love nothing more than getting cosy in my pj’s, my favourite fluffy dressing gown and Ugg slippers. Matt and I spend the rest of our evening snuggled up watching TV (which would ideally be a Christmas movie at this time of year but if football is on I can guarantee that’s what we’ll be watching!), cooking our dinner and just enjoying each others company. At some point I’ll quickly blow dry my hair – which after around an hour in the wrap is almost fully dry – and run my straighteners through it so it’s much easier to manage in the morning.

Thank you so much for reading! I apologise for the lack of photos but I totally forgot to take the rest I had planned. It’s been a week, haha. I do however hope this gave you all of the cosy, festive vibes and maybe a little inspiration for your next pamper night. I think they are especially important with all of the events we have this time of year – make sure to check out this post to stop you feeling overwhelmed! Sunday is the perfect evening to take a little pamper time, so take this as your reminder to treat yourself tonight! What are your favourite pamper products? Do you switch things up to include festive scents and products, too?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy (black) Friday, loves! Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and I’m sure if you’re on the internet today, you’re shopping… not reading my blog. *Cries* but if you did take five minutes out of your jam packed shopping day to come see little old me then THANK YOU. I appreciate it! I hope all my American readers had the best Thanksgiving celebration with family yesterday; it’s such a sweet tradition and I so wish we had something similar in the UK. I mean, we did steal Black Friday, why couldn’t we steal the part with all the yummy food?! I was drooling over all the photos of amazing food like I do every year, I’m so jealous! There’s a lot packed in today’s post, so let’s get going!

What I’m wearing:
I am genuinely obsessed with my new scarf from Tartan Blanket Co. because it makes me feel like CHRISTMAS. I feel like it’s just what Mrs Claus would wear! Seriously, how can you look at that and not feel immediately happy? I purchased the Stewart Royal Oversized scarf in the shade Red, and I’ve worn it every day since I bought it. It’s 100% wool so it’s super warm and worth every penny; it is so well made and will last you a lifetime. I really want to get another scarf in a more muted, neutral tone (maybe this one? Thoughts?!) so I’m hoping I’ll be able to snag one with a little Black Friday discount today! If you’re looking for a Christmas gift one of their scarves would make a beautiful gift, and they have options for men and women. They shipped super quick and my scarf was packaged beautifully too, so you don’t need to worry about that! I’m also so beyond happy with my new Winter coat but I love it so much it’s getting it’s own post soon. Be sure to come back to hear my thoughts on picking a new Winter coat that’s cute and also practical!

What I’m watching:
Hahahaha. That meme is ME!!! Holiday movies! Last weekend Matt and I went to see Last Christmas which you need to go see, it’s amazing! Although, consider this your word of warning because I didn’t realise it was a sad movie and I SOBBED in the cinema hahaha. Cheesy Christmas movies are my very favourite, and it’s got to the time of year I want to snuggle up in bed with Matt and watch Hallmark movies on repeat. I also love that everyone wears plaid shirts in these movies ALL THE TIME and I feel like my wardrobe is seriously lacking in the plaid department. Also, I love the classics just as much! Home Alone, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street etc… you all have my heart. Is it acceptable to take a whole day off work to watch movies? Pretty please tell me it is? Matt and I of course still watching Strictly each week and we’re SO HAPPY Chris is still in the competition (well, Matt isn’t such a fan of the show but he watches because he loves me!) and we’re loving I’m A Celebrity this year, it’s great reality TV!

What I’m worried about:
So I didn’t have a photo for this one and decided to share this festive photo of the restaurant Matt and I had lunch at this past weekend. We LOVE going out to eat because we get to totally relax and it’s so nice to enjoy food we haven’t cooked ourselves :). I just feel worried in general! For a long time I felt really good and like myself again, but this past week or so I’ve slowly began to feel anxious and ‘off’, hence not posting on Wednesday. I hate missing posts, I’m so sorry! It’s not a constant feeling and it’s not completely ruining every day but I’m just feeling really anxious and not myself. I think I may be suffering a little bit with SAD which is strange because I don’t think that normally affects me, at least not yet. I love Autumn and the build up to Christmas so I feel rubbish that I’ve not been enjoying it as much as I usually do. Matt and I have so many fun plans coming up and we just had the best weekend so I’m really hoping I can put aside any more anxious feelings and fully enjoy the Christmas season. January is going to be the start of a serious Self Care Month for me, and I’m hoping to do a few things to change my mindset and stop me feeling so anxious all the time. I’ll be sharing everything on the blog in time!

What I’m buying:
Almost everything Matt and I have purchased the past few weeks have been Christmas gifts for our families (and each other) – thanks to the early Black Friday discounts we’re so close to being done with our holiday shopping and just have a few more things to buy next month! – but I did just pick up this beautiful lip balm last week and I’m already obsessed with it. I’ve never had a Fresh lip balm before as they only have become available in the UK fairly recently, but I’ve seriously been missing out! This lip balm is so pigmented and leaves the best pop of colour, as well as being so moisturising and not at all sticky. It’s literally my perfect lip balm! I highly recommend picking one up if you’re wanting to treat yourself to a little something this Black Friday 🙂 I also really would love that scarf from Tartan Blanket Co, but we’ll see!

What I’m listening to:
I’m of course listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed every week because it’s my favourite podcast ever. 🙂 I started listening to Office Ladies this month too and it is so funny! I love hearing more about the behind-the-scenes element of filming, and they have had guests from the show too which is great. I love love love Jenna Fischer, she is so different than Pam! When you watch a person in a show you kind of just assume the character is like the actor… or is that just me?! I really wish they didn’t call each other ‘lady’ so much though, haha. This week I listened to a podcast Shay Shull was a guest on recently and I so enjoyed hearing more from Shay. I wish she’d release her own podcast already! I don’t want to name it because honestly… I didn’t love the girl whose podcast Shay was a guest on. She came across kinda rude to me and I felt a little awkward for Shay even though she did a great job. I just want to be Shay when I grow up. Hahaha.

What I’m excited for:
The whole month of December!!! There’s so much to look forward to this month and I’m giddy about it all. I’m super excited about a few things in particular; Matt and I are going to see Jack Whitehall next week, my mum and I have a shopping day planned in town, Matt and I are going for our annual festive trip to visit the Christmas markets in Edinburgh and before we know it, it’ll be CHRISTMAS DAY! I can’t wait for all of the fun festive things in between and I’m always so aware and grateful for all of my blessings this time of year, especially. I’m also recording a Week In My life from the middle of next week, so you’ll get to come along to lots of fun things with us! 🙂

What my favourite Lush product of the month is:
I thought I’d start a fun little *extra* segment to my Feelin’ It Friday’s, because so many people ask me what my favourite products are from Lush and what I think are worth the money! If you fancy treating yourself before Christmas a few Lush goodies is one of the best things in my opinion, and they also make for perfect stocking filler gifts. This month my most recommended product just has to be the Snow Fairy bath bomb! It is the perfect fun bath product for this time of year, and I’m a sucker for the Snow Fairy scent. I don’t often buy bath bombs because you only get the one bath out of them and that’s a pretty expensive bath (compared to getting at least four from a bubble bar) but I like to treat myself around the holidays!

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are officially enjoying ALL of the Christmas treats, especially Christmas chocolate! I love love love the big tubs of chocolates at this time of year and we’ve started sneaking a few when we watch I’m A Celebrity in the evenings which has been so fun. Each night we’re really enjoying eating more hearty dinners; soups, pasta bakes, rice dishes, pie with mash and veggies… pretty much all the good stuff that you just have to eat when the weather gets colder!

What I’m recommending for Black Friday:
Okay so I’ve already shared Christmas gift ideas for the ladies and the men in your life, and also a round up of stocking fillers/Secret Santa presents under £20, so be sure to check those out if you’re struggling for gift ideas. Shopping the sales is so great because you can find some incredible discounts! Also, remember if *the item* you’re looking at is something that wasn’t already on your radar or is not a great Christmas gift this year, you don’t need it. Set yourself a budget and don’t go too crazy – impulse purchases are not your friend!

John Lewis – 20% off almost everything. If you’re buying Ugg slippers this year for a loved one or yourself, don’t wait any longer and get them TODAY! This deal is so good and your feet will be forever thankful, I wear mine that Matt bought me two years ago all. the. time. to the point they’re gross, hahaha. My mum and dad just purchased this pair for me for Christmas, I can’t wait to have pretty new slippers on December 25th!
Amazon | Argos – SO MANY GREAT DEALS. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (my gift from Matt this year that I am so excited about!!) and all Amazon products are super discounted, get them while you can.
Topshop | ASOS – at least 20% off both sites and the perfect time to buy that Christmas Day outfit. Lots of items are reduced by more than 20% off so be sure to check out your favourite brands!
The Body Shop – anyone who’s ever read my blog KNOWS I’m a huge fan of The Body Shop! My sweet friend Shannen recently became a consultant for them and is able to offer deals that you can’t find in store or online. You can email her at shankellyx@gmail.com or check her Facebook page for great deals every day, not just Black Friday!
Boots | Feel Unique | Look Fantastic – so many varying deals. I recommend all of these place for EVERYTHING beauty related. Gift sets, perfume, aftershave, makeup, skincare, body products, bath products. Everything! There’s amazing deals on all sites, but if the price is the same I tend to buy from Boots because I also get my points! Just a little tip in case you’re caught up in the Black Friday madness.
Missoma | Monica Vinader | Astrid & Miyu – up to 30% off across the three sites. Beautiful, delicate jewellery for an incredible price! I wear my Missoma initial necklace every day with this little moon charm on the same chain and it just makes my heart happy. People ask me ALL the time which necklace I‘m wearing, and that’s always it!
Space NK | Cult Beauty – varying discounts and so many limited edition/exclusive deals on beautiful items. Perfect for those last minute Christmas gifts!
Figleaves – 20% off site wide. I love love love Figleaves underwear, their Juliette balcony bra is my all time favourite and is SO COMFY!

Be sure to search thoroughly online before buying anything to find the best deal today (and through the weekend into Cyber Monday). Happy shopping!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂 thanks for always being the best support to me and my blog, I appreciate it so much. I hope you all have a great weekend and have so much fun with your loved ones! Don’t forget to get your advent calendars ready for Sunday… I can’t wait to eat chocolate every single morning 🙂

-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

Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

Happy Sunday, loves! Self care is something that is discussed in great detail, but it’s often linked directly to beauty treatments and pampering yourself. That’s not to say I don’t love a pamper night because – let’s be real, I DO! – and that’s something I make sure to incorporate into my life at least once per week, but I think there’s so many other ways you can hit that self care button and relax at the same time.

We live in a world where we’re so connected via iMessage and social media, and it’s really become difficult to let ourselves and our minds unwind. Most of us spend at least forty hours per week at work, and during that time our minds can be so wired and frantic with everything we need to get done we don’t allow ourselves time to stop. My blog is something I do in my ‘free’ time, but as I talked about in my October goals post, I was losing the barrier between ‘free’ time and any time I wasn’t at work. I felt like I needed to be constantly working on my blog whether it was writing posts, taking photos, editing photos, reading other blogs, trawling social media or just brainstorming ideas and it became so hard to let my mind escape and just enjoy being at home. I’ve been feeling extremely anxious over the past few months and it’s something I’m really struggling with right now. As a result, I’ve been trying to find all of the things that make me feel less anxious and focus on those, rather than trying to identify why I feel anxious in the first place!

Something Matt and I have prioritized more and more recently is unwinding each evening/weekend we aren’t at work. I often take a little time whilst he’s at work (either early morning, after I get home during the week or whilst he’s in on a weekend) to do all of my blog work, and I’m feeling way happier and less stressed out by giving myself some ‘me’ time back. I made a promise to both Matt and myself a long time ago that I’d not work on my blog whilst we were having chill time at home, and it’s really important to me that I stick to that.

I’m such a homebody at heart but Matt would often rather be out; we compromise on this by usually spending a little more time at home during the week, and a little more time out of the house doing fun things at the weekend. Being a homebody means I relish in all things cosy; candles, fuzzy blankets, comfy pj’s and dressing gowns are up there with my all time favourite items ever, and I just love every opportunity Matt and I get for a cosy night at home. Also, you don’t need to have a ton of time to enjoy the cosiness of being at home; often by the time we get home from work, cook and eat dinner, shower/bathe etc it could easily be 8pm! It’s about being intentional with the time you do have, and being able to roll your to-do list over to the next day.

Here’s a few little things I suggest doing at least a few times per week to help you unwind, relax and enjoy being at home.

Clean your space. I can’t really explain how or why, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on this one: when my space is clean, I feel happier. This is the same for my home and my car; I just need my environment to be welcoming and as clutter free as possible. I pick up our room several times per week which takes all of five minutes in the mornings, then I fully deep clean once per week. Putting on fresh sheets, hanging clothes away, vacuuming, dusting etc just makes the whole room feel more cosy and inviting, and it always makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment. We’re big believers in the fact a bedroom needs to be a happy, comforting space; it’s so important to allow yourself to fully rest at home!

Light a candle. Okay so I’m sure so many of you will already know this, but I’m obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I love love love the cosy pumpkin scents for Fall right now, and I’m genuinely concerned at how often I think about purchasing another. Ha! I feel so calm and at peace with candles burning and our pink Himalayan rock salt lamp on; it gives our bedroom the most beautiful warm pink glow and makes my heart happy.

Put down your phone. One of the best things you can do to unwind from work, friends, peers, a bad day etc is to just put down your phone. Leave it charging in another room or preferably another floor of the house and be in the moment. Matt and I always try to do this when we’re out for dinner too; so many times on date night you’ll see the couple more interested in their phones than each other. Other than maybe taking a quick snap of our food we don’t put the focus on our phones. We’re really working on not having our phones in bed at all; every night we were brushing our teeth, getting cosy in bed, then sitting on our phones for at least ten minutes just scrolling through our socials. It’s gross how attached we all our to our phones; as much as I love technology, I sometimes really despise it too!

Listen to music or a podcast. Our Amazon Echo Dots are some of our most favourite ever items we own, and we make use of them every single day! We sleep with Alexa Sleep Sounds on every night (we alternate between Matt’s favourite, ocean sounds, and my favourite, thunderstorm sounds) and it’s truly made a difference to how we sleep. We sometimes play music whilst we tidy up or get ready in the mornings, and it’s just a fun way to occupy ourselves that doesn’t involve being on our phones. I also listen to podcasts almost every time I’m driving (it’s either a podcast or Disney music, there’s no in-between!) and I find them such a fun addition to my day.

Head for a breakfast/dinner date. Going for breakfast is hands down one of Matt and I’s favourite hobbies. Breakfast food is our favourite, it’s generally way less crowded, and we still have the whole rest of our day to get a bunch of things done. We also love dinner dates because getting dressed up together, having a few glasses of wine and making the most of date night is such a treat to us! I think it’s so important to take time for food dates with your partner, your friends and your family – both Matt and I’s families love to go out for meals and it’s something I really am grateful for.

Take a hot bath. The ultimate self care treat for me personally is a hot bubble bath. Pile in your favourite Lush products, light an aromatherapy candle and allow yourself to disconnect from the world for thirty minutes at least an hour. A bubble bath can seriously make up for any crap work day, and you’ll never regret taking time out of your day for that. I’ll be sharing my favourite self care Sunday pamper routine on the blog in a few weeks!

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and your book. Ah, a book and a cuppa… that is my idea of bliss. If we’re having a lazy weekend morning in bed Matt likes to watch various football shows on Amazon Prime (he’s currently watching Sergio Ramos documentary which is all in Spanish… I mean…) and I’m so happy to curl up with my iPad and read before we get ready for the day. I also am a huge fan of sleepy time teas before bed; they really do make you feel a little more relaxed and ready for sleep, and reading a book is a great way to unwind before bed. Matt is not a reader at all which hurts my heart a little bit, but I just keep telling hime he hasn’t found the right books yet!

Watch your favourite shows. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your love and watching the series you’re both invested in? No, there is not! Matt and I often watch several shows at a time, and then incorporate the odd movie or documentary into that too. Strictly Come Dancing is my thing, so by default Matt is often stuck watching it too. He is a huge football fan, so that’s his vice and another thing we watch SO much. We love comedy shows; Brooklyn 99 was our favourite, we’ve seen Friends one hundred times and right now The Office is our ‘easy watch’ obsession. We love love love documentaries (Stacey Dooley’s are a personal favourite, obvs) and shows like Ambulance: Australia make us very happy. We change things up pretty much every evening, but it’s such a nice time to chill and chat with each other too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to unwind a little more this coming week. Do you make unwinding a priority right now? Or are you always go go go, ticking things off that to-do list? I challenge you this week to take at least an hour each night for yourself or you and your partner, it will totally change your week I promise you!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

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

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

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

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

The Beauty Bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clothing & Accessories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x