My Weekly Pamper Routine: At Home Spa Night

*This post contains gifted items*

Happy Sunday, loves! Is anyone else trying to take all the extra self care time they can right now? ME TOO! I know that self care is certainly not all about beauty; there are so many elements that create a good self care routine, but it’s very personal. For me, a good beauty routine is a huge part of how I feel good about myself and keep myself feeling happy and rested, which is more important than ever right now. I find so much joy in spending an hour or two each week indulging in a little pamper sesh, and I can’t recommend it enough! In fact, take this post as a little kick-up-the-bum reminder that you should must enjoy a pamper evening tonight 🙂

Of course, you don’t need to use any of the products I’m talking about to have your own pamper evening! I’m just using what I have especially after splurging on Caroline Hirons’ Spring Kit! I’m now on a No Buy for the foreseeable but it was so worth it. More on that soon!

I sometimes go to get my nails done as a little treat, but honestly I’m not all that fussed about it. I love how gel nails look and I like to get them done for a special occasion or when Matt and I go on holiday but it’s not something I get joy out of spending my money on, y’know? As it doesn’t matter too much to me, I see very little point in painting my nails at home. The polish chips so easily and I don’t have the patience to sit still long enough for it to dry in the first place! But, painting my toes is a different story… I paint my toes year round and change up my polish almost every week; my go-to brand is Essie. I especially love their gel polishes, they really don’t chip (although, does nail polish ever chip on your toes?) I also think it’s so nice to have your toes painted when you’re wearing sandals, and we’re thankfully so close to sandal season!

A bubble bath is my ultimate self care treat. I love to light a candle – I’ve recently been burning Coast from Our Lovely Goods and The Ritual of Sakura candle from Rituals – whenever Matt or I take a bath. We have just used a whole Rituals candle up and are about to start burning my backup; I love these candles so freaking much! Rituals of Sakura smells like cherry blossom and vanilla, and it’s the most perfect spa-like scent. Mixed with the scent from my Dr Teal’s Soothe & Sleep Foaming Bath and Radox Sleep Aromatherapy Bath Salts, I feel like I could be IN a spa. All that’s missing is the gross cucumber water that everyone pretends to enjoy! LOL.

I grab my Kindle, a Diet Coke and I’m set for a while, this is literally my idea of heaven. #introvertlife Anyone who knows me knows I really dislike body hair (on me. This is a no judgement zone!) so during a pamper evening I like to REALLY exfoliate before shaving! Not just using my shower gel, I bring out the big guns… my beloved Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupacu Scrub-In-Oil from The Body Shop. This scrub is incredible, it leaves my skin silky smooth and smells like Summer to me. I also like to do a hair mask, and really make the most of the fact I’m spending at least an hour in the tub. I’ve been loving Garnier’s Coconut & Macadamia Hair Mask for a while now – I wrote a whole post about this which you can check out here if you missed it.

My favourite ‘I don’t have much time but want to spend a little self care time’ task is applying a face mask. If you don’t have time for a whole pamper evening you can apply on and still go about your day. Perks of not being able to leave the house, eh?! You can be productive, you can feel the magic working, and they immediately make your skin look better. I really enjoy a sheet mask – any/all of these from The Body Shop are my absolute favourites, and they’re biodegradable – for ease. They feel so cooling on the skin, are quick to clean up and just make my face a little happier. My favourite ever face mask, that I’ve re-purchased so many times I honestly can’t remember, is the Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask, also from The Body Shop. It’s delightful! Whether my skin is breaking out, stressed, red, dehydrated, just looks a bit sh*t, this makes it SO much better. I also adore the smell of this, it’s very subtle but feels so comforting!

Of course, my skincare routine is a perfect little snippet of self care time every day. Since I can remember, I have set time aside every morning and night to do my skincare routine! I love to try new things (that I know will not irritate my skin; fragrance free, suitable for sensitive and acne prone skin etc) here and there, too. I have a very fun skincare related post going up in the next week or so, then at the end of the month I’ll be sharing my everyday skincare routine. I feel like skincare is one of those things you love or you don’t, and I really flipping love it. It’s up there with my favourite things to talk about, ha!

I’m pretty proud to say that after EVERY shower and EVERY bath I moisturise my body. That’s commitment, guys! I have super dry skin (that somehow seems to get worse when it’s warmer, not when it’s cold? Anyone else?!) and last year I promised myself I was going to be better at moisturising. It always seemed like such a chore but honestly, it’s really not. Once you get into the routine of it, it’s something you look forward to, and it takes two minutes! At least three times per week, I dry brush from my toes up to my neck. I love how this makes my skin feel and it’s actually a really enjoyable beauty ‘task’. I get carried away and spend so long dry brushing because it’s incredibly relaxing; you can literally feel your skin tingle! On a pamper evening I love to moisturise with The Ritual of Jing body cream from Rituals; this was so kindly gifted to me and I definitely will be repurchasing. This is a spa in a pot; it’s luxurious, it sinks in so nicely, and it’s the perfect pick-me-up product that just makes you feel good. Matt always compliments me when I use this too, he loves the smell!

Are you just desperate to break out your favourite face mask and jump in the bath right now?! Me too! I’m very happy that today is Sunday, because Sunday just screams pamper day doesn’t it! It’s like I planned this post like that… 😉 what’s your favourite pamper products to use that just make you feel good? How do you like to treat yourself at home?

-G x

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

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

All Of The Things That Made Me Happy Last Week

Hi, loves! Today’s post is another talking about everything that’s made me happy over the past week. As the title may suggest. *shrugs shoulders* I really love writing these posts – you can read my previous ones here and here – and I get so many lovely messages from people saying that they notice the little things more after reading them, and in turn feel happier too! I’ve had another weird week where I’ve felt super anxious and a little bit off, so I dived deep and looked at all the happy, positive things in my life! I try so hard to do this every day, but it’s really so easy to forget and sometimes we need a little reminder. Getting bogged down with silly mundane things like traffic, someone else’s bad attitude or the weather is SO common, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day!

This was from the week before Matt and I left for Croatia so I really had a lot to be happy about 🙂 about mid-week my anxiety finally tailed off, and I felt so much brighter, happier and genuinely so excited for our holiday! Also, I like to include way more photos in these posts normally but I forgot to take relevant photos each day as I was super pre-occupied with things I needed to do before my holiday, I’m sorry!

SUNDAY
– Matt and I got to lay in for the first time in weeks, it was bliss
– I watched Jade Billington‘s first two Disney vlogs whilst getting ready. I love her so much, her videos always leave me feeling so happy but travel/Disney vlogs? Come on!
– date day with my love. We went to Wagamama’s, which is our favourite place for lunch! Matt had chilli steak ramen and I got udon noodles with steak. It was SO. GOOD.
– I met an Internet friend in real life! It was so so lovely to see her, and meet her adorable little daughter who loved Matt. Babies always are attracted to Matt, it’s the cutest thing ever #broody
– finishing up my holiday clothes shopping, finally. I literally felt 10000 x more relaxed (and excited) once I’d picked up the last few bits
– the smell of my banana hair mask from The Body Shop
– having a cosy night at home with Matt’s parents. They’re so good to us and I feel so so lucky to have them!

MONDAY
– snuggles in bed
– Cheerios with Alpro almond coconut milk. This will never not make me happy
– I got our grocery shop done in record time AND came in under budget. Double win!
– picking up our Kuna (Croatian currency) for our holiday! I love that feeling when you pick up your money and it all suddenly feels real
– the best long shower
– getting lots of blog photos taken. I love love love writing my blog but I do sometimes get super stressed about not having photographs ready to go with my upcoming posts!
– I had dinner ready for Matt coming home and it was so good (if I do say so myself). We had cod with mash and veggies!

TUESDAY
– Matt’s cute little face when I brought him a cup of tea in bed. I do this most mornings (when we have time) and he always looks so happy!
– driving past all the cute little bunnies outside of our estate
– listening to this podcast on the way to work. I’m literally obsessed with Chris & Rosie, they’re so flipping funny
– the ice cream van came round the industrial estate I work on and we ran out to get an ice cream like children. What holiday body?
– I had such a quick, easy day at work
– another cosy night in with Matt and his parents. I just love my second family!
– the most beautiful sunset (photos did NOT do it justice sadly)

WEDNESDAY
– we woke up to the sound of heavy rain. I love rainy mornings
– spending my lunch break shopping with my co-worker
– coming home to the smell of Spanish Chicken in the crockpot. Bae did good
– seeing Matt’s sweet grandma. We set up her new TV and she was so happy it just melted my heart!
– watching the women’s world cup, eating pick n mix with Matthew
– hitting over 10,000 steps on my Fitbit
– Matt and I snuggled up in bed and fell right to sleep, this never happens but we slept so good!

THURSDAY
– morning cuddles (I could have said this every day LOL)
– a hot cup of tea
– picking up our groceries/last minute holiday bits before work. I just really enjoy ticking things off my to do list
– my last holiday delivery arrived! I absolutely love these earrings I ordered, I seen them weeks ago and was planning to pick them up in the airport, but then they went on sale for HALF PRICE. Usually I buy things then they get reduced, so that was great! I can’t wait to wear them throughout the Summer 🙂
– that post-hair wash feeling
– picking Matt up from his night out! I’d literally dropped him off a few hours before but I missed spending my night with him haha
– driving late at night, it’s just so peaceful

FRIDAY
– working on the blog for an hour when Matt left for work. I was snuggled up under our duvet, with a candle burning and a cup of tea. Bliss
– a croissant from Lidl’s bakery. If you know, you know
– ticking off everything (well except one non-important) thing on my to do list at work
– setting my out of office for a week and a half! At this point I’m SO EXCITED for our holiday
– an ice cold Diet Coke
– cooking dinner with Matthew
– snuggling up and watching Brooklyn 99, it’s our favourite

SATURDAY
– I had a lot of fun waking Matt up by being super annoying and kissing/cuddling him a little too much. He loved it as much as I did really
– making bacon sandwiches for breakfast
– seeing my sweet grandma
– painting my toe nails, I only really bother to do it for holidays/special occasions haha
– I finished up packing and have plenty of space to bring back cute souvenirs
– that holiday eve feeling
– Chinese for dinner with bae

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and felt the positive vibes radiating from it… maybe? A little bit? Ha! What’s three things that have made your day a little bit happier today? What could you do to make someone else’s happier? I’m continuing the happy vibes on Wednesday too!

-G x

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

Hi, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Proving To Myself That The Little Things Make A Big Difference

Hi loves, happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is shorter than most, but that’s okay, because the little things make the biggest difference. See what I did there? I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps recently, and I’ve had to work extra hard to see the good in each day. (Please see this post for a little more perspective, it happens to the best of us, right?!) For over a week I felt like the second I got out of bed in the morning I was already on a countdown to getting back into it that night. Now, of course being snuggled with Matt is always going to be my ultimate happy place and heading off to work isn’t going to be the happiest part of my day, but it’s so draining to have no energy, and to feel like each day is a struggle in itself.

I just had a lot of those days, nothing was specifically wrong, but I set myself a task to make note of random things through the day that made me smile. Some of these are generic things that happen every day and some are random and uncommon. I’m a big believer in voicing gratitude and showing appreciation, and I hope this post helps to remind others there’s always good in each day. Here’s a little summary of the little things that made me smile last week – there obviously were tons of little things, I just tried to focus on things that people may find relatable (minus the Dwayne Johnson story)…

M O N D A Y

-Matt and I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual and spent the morning snuggling and chatting
-It was super sunny and warm
-Every traffic light on the way to work was green (that’s EIGHT of them)
-I got the cutest phone call from Matthew
-We spent a fun night with my second family, and made the best enchiladas for dinner
-I was having a good skin day
-Matt took some blog photos for me and we had such a giggle
-I found a new app to edit the photos and was SO happy with the results, I’m probably going to use it for most posts from now on
-Forehead kisses. ‘Nuff said
-Brendan from Coach Trip just being a little sweetie

T U E S D A Y

-By the time I’d got to work (like ten minutes after leaving him) Matt sent me the cutest text that made me so happy I cried
-One of my co-workers did something really sweet for another co-worker
-I drove home from work through the most beautiful, vibrant sunset that reminded me of being in Kos with my love
-I had a bubble bath and read my current book (Still Me by Jojo Moyes, I’m OBSESSED)
-The smell of my DW Home Tulip Takeover candle
-I sent Jessy a cute little quote to make her smile
-I timed dinner perfectly for Matt coming home from work, and was just about to serve as he walked through the door
-We snuggled up to watch more Coach Trip and it made us SO EXCITED for Summer

W E D N E S D A Y

-I showed Matt the Southwest flight attendant video this morning (he’s been living under a rock, clearly) and felt all the warm fuzzy’s at how funny and sweet the lady is
-I ate an iced split from Gregg’s for the first time in years
-I squeezed in an hour’s yoga before a long hot bubble bath and I’m not sure which felt better
-My post-yoga messy bun looked better than one I’d tried to make look good for twenty minutes (okay, this is bittersweet)
-I managed to grab the bits I wanted from the Zoella X Colourpop collaboration (more on that on the blog once it arrives!), plus a highlighter and lipgloss I’ve been eyeing up for ages
-Matt brought me home a new MacBook charger because mine was completely broken. The £80.00 price tag didn’t make me so happy LOL
-We had picky tea, which meant minimal effort and very full tummies before we fell into bed

He makes me so happy 🙂

T H U R S D A Y

-Matt and I had time to have a cup of tea together
-I nailed the rap from You’re Welcome on the way to work. Dwayne Johnson would have been PROUD… side note I met Dwayne Johnson. Everyone I’ve ever met for three seconds or less has probably heard this story, but we were in LA and he was at his movie premier and, yeah, we’re basically besties ~so casual~ ~so relatable~
-I ate Special K with Alpro Almond Coconut milk (which is my current breakfast of choice at work – highly recommend), but I was so hungry it tasted better than ever
-I was coming up to traffic on my way home from work, so I put my hazards on to warn the car behind me and then he put his hazards on to warn the car behind him. I love when this happens, weirdest feeling of accomplishment ever HAHA
-I went to my second home straight from work and was so happy to catch up with Matt’s parents, I hadn’t seen them for two days which felt like forever
-Matt and I made our plans for the weekend which always makes me super excited
-We also made the best pasta together and I want to eat it RIGHT NOW

F R I D A Y

-We woke up to the sound of birds chirping
-The smell of my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer made me feel like I was on holiday
-I had the weekend feeling driving to work, knowing I’d be heading home for a fun weekend in eight hours
-It was my company’s year-end, so we all had lunch together and our MD gave a little speech in the boardroom about us all doing a great job
-Anna’s new series, Everyday March, started on her Youtube Channel
-Matt and I went to Nando’s for dinner for the first time in so long
-At Nando’s, we bumped into my lovely friend Grace and her boyfriend. We only seen them for a short time as they were meeting friends but she was so smiley and sweet it literally made my day
-Matt and I snuggled up when we got home with glasses of our fave Whitney Neill gin (rhubarb and ginger, obvs) and lemonade
-Cry laughing with bae

S A T U R D A Y

-We got to have a lie in (!!!)
-The smell of my new Spring candle burning whilst we got ready
-We went for a breakfast date at a new place – our favourite thing to do on a weekend morning – it was SO good
-I had a crepe filled with bananas and Nutella. No explanation needed on why this made me happy. NUTELLA
-I popped into Blue Lotus (the only place I’d go for piercings) to see if they could squeeze me in but they were fully booked, however I got a new earring and we got to see Nici for the first time in ages – the sweetest lady who works there. She’s such a breath of fresh air
-The beautiful flowers outside Fenwick’s
-I finally got some extra ideas on what else to buy Matt for his birthday (he’s so hard to buy for because he buys whatever he wants for himself!)
-We had a super chilled evening watching our shows and eating Domino’s. Perfect

S U N D A Y

-Matt was so full of energy dancing around from the second he got out of bed, which gave me a burst of energy (and a giggle at his expense, he’s so cute)
-He went to play golf with the boys for the morning, so I spent a little time beginning to write up this post, with my candles burning and Himalayan pink salt lamp on, feeling like I really had my life together. I don’t, lol
-I totally zoned out and enjoyed my yoga session so much
-I had a Lush bath at 11am on a Sunday morning, just because
-Matt and I went for a late dinner at one of our fave local pubs
-After I’d showered we did face masks together and it’s literally one of my favourite things
-I received an overwhelming amount of love about today’s post My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine (thank you so much!)
-My new Sleepy moisturiser from Lush
-It was raining so hard when we went to bed, all the cosy feels

I hope you guys enjoyed this personal, almost Dear Diary style post – it’s certainly something different than what I’d usually post. Do you need to remind yourself to see the little things sometimes? What were the little things that made you smile today?

-G x