What’s What! #2

Happy, happy Sunday loves! Can you believe another week in lockdown has passed? Me neither! The UK government announced a lockdown extension of three weeks on Thursday – I called it! – so this is our reality until at least May 7th. I’m actually okay with that, I felt so much better watching the press conference the other evening and hearing the new official lockdown date. I know it sounds kinda weird but just knowing the next date to focus on lifted my anxiety SO MUCH, and even if it’s not the final date (I very much doubt it is, tbh) then I’m okay with that. I just need something to focus on! 

I’ve somehow gone straight back to the format/style of my old Feelin’ It Friday posts this week, but who cares. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?! Grab a cuppa and settle in for a loooong chatty post… 

What beauty product I’m recommending:
I very briefly mentioned this cleansing cream in my Day In My Life: WFH post but I need to talk to you about it properly! I’ve been using this every single morning for around four weeks now and I can’t tell you how much I love it. Before I was using a cleanser that was a little too harsh for my skin, but this is so gentle and hydrating. It feels so nice on my skin whilst I clean my face, and then when I wash it off my skin does not feel at all tight or irritated. I’ve been having a really hard time with my skin since the beginning of the year but it finally seems to be looking good again. Side note: I just recently got my prescription treatment from Dermatica and whilst I’m aware I’ll probably see peaks and troughs as my skin gets used to it, I’m already SO obsessed. I can’t wait to see what that does for my skin over time.

What I’m listening to:
One of my favourite parts of the #wfh life is that most afternoons I listen to a podcast, play a show on Netflix/Disney+ or catch up on my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m getting work done. But, this past week I have also been playing music too and it’s been such a fun change. Everyone knows your girl loves a Disney song, something you may not know is my favourite driving music is actually by Kasey Musgraves! I feel like I’m out in the middle of Texas driving down pretty roads listening to her (I have no idea why either…) and although I’m missing driving to/from work A TON I found a way to incorporate her into my wfh day too. I’m so looking forward to carefree Summer days, and that’s exactly what her music makes me think of!

What I’m eating:
It’s no secret that Matt and I LOVE cooking, so we’ve really been trying to create new dishes during this season of #stayinghome. We are really fortunate that we’re able to eat (pretty much) the same as we did before lockdown started, but we have had some questionable use-everything-up meals on the days before we had to go grocery shopping again! (I miss meal planning and grocery shopping as we normally would, and I can’t believe how much I miss being able to just pop to the store to pick up whatever, whenever. I’m kind of nervous about going grocery shopping right now which is so wild; I went yesterday and it was okay but I felt so stressed out by the time I was leaving). I made our favourite BLT pasta dish one night this week it was so. freaking. good. I can’t tell you how much we love this for a quick and easy dinner recipe! I got quite a lot of DM’s on Instagram about this too so I think I’ll share the recipe soon, we adapted this one from Shay. We paired it with our favourite wine and enjoyed the best little date night at home! 

What I’m reading:
ALL of the books! And blogs! And my Cosmopolitan magazine! I’ve really been making the most of the things that make me happy during lockdown (for y’know, my own sanity) and I just love reading so much. I’ve read two books this week – thanks to cosy late night baths and Matt’s new Football Manager obsession – and I’ve just started reading In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. This has such good reviews and so far I’m only 18% in (I love that I can see that on my Kindle) but I’m already really enjoying it. I wrote this post talking about tons of my favourite books and some of the books I’ve got on my reading list right now if you missed it! 

What I’m wearing:
I’m really NOT mad about all of the comfy clothes I’ve been living in the past few weeks. I truly am happiest wearing huge oversized sweatshirt (I kinda collect vintage USA/Disney sweatshirts, it’s my thing!) and I’ve been so enjoying getting cosy in them recently. I also have been wearing leggings or sweatpants on repeat. Part of me does miss wearing ‘real’ clothes but I’m happy that whenever the lockdown is lifted it will (hopefully) be warmer, and I’ll get to wear cute midi skirts and dresses! I just ordered a few more cosy vintage sweatshirts from Depop this past week because I got them for a steal and they’re literally all I’m wearing right now. I actually want to write a blog post about my collection because people often ask where I get them from/how I buy etc, but I don’t know if that would be interesting to read or helpful as because they’re vintage you couldn’t get the same ones. That being said, Matt just ordered this incredible HUGE New York sweatshirt for me – it’s for my birthday which is next month! – and if you’re in the market for something super cosy I can’t recommend Brandy Melville enough. These kind sell out super quick so be fast if you want one!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I have been loving the new season of Brooklyn 99, I’m so sad we’ve almost finished! We binge watched Tiger King a few weeks ago and were completely blindsided/dumbfounded/shocked/confused/every other emotion possible. Literally every 10 minutes it got weirder, and I can’t really decide if that’s a good thing or not? It was good TV and Carole totally killed her husband but would I recommend it? I don’t know! Hahaha. I’ve been making the most of Disney+ especially when Matt’s been at work and watching some of my old favourites like Lizzie McGuire… oh the memories! Matt and I are also watching The Imagineering Story. Oh my gosh I just love that show. I have always been fascinated with the imagineering side of Disney since I was a little girl. We’ve just started Ozark and I don’t really have an opinion on it yet, but I know people love it. I’m excited to see what we think! 

What I’m reminiscing about:
I totally understand why, but I’m bummed that we’re more than likely not going to get a holiday this year. Right now, we’re 99.9% sure our family trip to Florida in October is not a good idea, but Matt and I are holding onto the hope that we might get to go to an all inclusive in Portugal or somewhere for a week later in the year! Matt and I really hoped we’d go to Lisbon and Krakow on city breaks this year but that seems super unlikely, and that’s okay because I’d much rather be safe than on holiday! That hasn’t stopped me from looking back at our photos from Croatia last year at least… thirty thousand times?! We both have said so many times (to anyone that will listen, lol) that it was our favourite ever holiday and it really was. We were on the side of a mountain, right on the most beautiful, quiet beach we’ve ever seen, in 40 degree sunshine with each other and endless fun cocktails… literally what else could we have wanted?! We’ll definitely visit again one day!

What I’m thankful for:
Everything. Ha! I feel like I’ve really reflected a lot over the past few weeks and I’m just very grateful for my life and all of the positive things that are in it. I’m so very thankful for the big things; good health, Matthew, our families and friends, our jobs, the ability to work from home, being back into my regular blogging schedule. But, the little things mean just as much to me. Waking up early, sunny days, afternoon walks, long texts from my friends, taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup, driving to grab groceries whilst listening to my favourite podcast, spraying perfume in the mornings. The teeny little every day things that normally I wouldn’t give too much attention have just been highlighted to me SO much! I know lots of people think like this right now, and I really hope it’s something we carry forward after lockdown ends.

What I’m obsessed with:
Drinking tea! I’m still drinking an unhealthy amount of Diet Coke – you can’t judge me, we’re in a pandemic y’know! – but working from home has got me wandering to the kettle like it’s part of my job. I drink Twining’s English Breakfast every morning (I really hate coffee. I’ve tried to get myself to like it and I just can’t) but during the day I’ve been alternating between my English Breakfast and this vanilla tea from Tick Tock. I found it at Tesco way before the pandemic started so I’ve no idea if it’s easily available right now, but if you’re able to pick it up on your next grocery run I highly recommend!  

What else is new:
Not much. I did get stung by a wasp the other day for the first time in my life. It’s getting WILD over here, folks. For real it hurt like a MF and I thought my finger was going to fall off. #dramatic. I’m dying for a McDonald’s Fanta. Oh and I rode a bike for the first time since I was maybeee…twelve? I totally thought I was going to fall flat on my face and screamed at Matt to hold on (hahaha) but turns out it’s true what they say, you really don’t forget how to ride a bike! 

Thank you so much for reading, friends! What’s going on in your world right now? How are you coping with the lockdown? I’m only a DM away if you ever fancy a chat! What things have been making you happy this week? I’ll see you on Wednesday with a little chit-chat/review of the £13.00 most amazing moisturiser you need in your life. No, seriously… 

-G x

Spring Reading List

Hi, my loves! I hope everyone is safe right now more than ever, and learning to live in our ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable. I’ve been quite undecided whether or not I should carry on blogging as if the world isn’t THE most terrifying place right now, and after a lot of debating I thought it best to carry on, and hopefully spread a little much needed positivity. I didn’t post last week as my Spring Bucket List was due to go up but as we’re not allowed to leave our houses (except for grocery shopping or medical attention!) it really wasn’t the right time to post it. The way things are looking right now we might just have to wait for a Summer Bucket List… but we all know this is going to be the most amazing Summer once all of this is over right?! *crosses fingers*

I don’t want anyone to think I’m feeling particularly happy and upbeat right now because honestly, each day is so different. I’m scared and I hate the unknown more than anything, but I am really trying to have a PMA* (*Positive Mental Attitude). I think the only thing we have to hold onto right now is positivity and hope! I think I might record a Week In My Life next week, which seems strange as my days are only just working from home, watching Netflix and not much else, but I think a little bit of solidarity could be extra helpful right now! Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing 🙂 

I’ve seen LOTS of bloggers online talking about now that they have ~so~ much more time on their hands they’re picking up hobbies, working out more etc but honestly, I feel like if anything I have less time? I’m extremely fortunate to be able to work from home which I’m so grateful for (I started my new job two weeks ago, then took pretty much my whole desk home on my second day to work from home for the foreseeable, pretty crazy right?!) I guess I technically have more time as I’m not getting ready the same as I would for work and I don’t have a commute anymore. Unless you count walking the 20 steps from my bed to the dining room AKA my unofficial home office but I’ve been filling that time with other happy things. Real talk: I really miss getting in my car and driving to the office, I never knew how much I enjoyed my commute!

I’m not getting fully ready most days (I think I’m going to change this from next week because honestly I love doing my makeup – and sometimes my hair – so maybe this will make me feel more ‘normal’). But… I’m SO DRAINED. Does anyone else agree with me on this?! I’m only reading the news once or twice per day as honestly I’m finding the whole thing terrifying, and it’s really hard to mentally cope with. I’m so grateful that Matt and I are safe and healthy, and so are our families. We’re staying permanently with my family until this is all over and we are missing Matt’s parents so so much! We miss our grandma’s, our friends, and I haven’t even met most of my new co-workers yet. It’s a crazy time and for me personally starting to learn a new hobby just isn’t something I can do right now. Instead I’m working really hard and trying to learn as much as I can with my new job, sleep well, eat well and enjoy all my favourite downtime/self-care activities. I especially love taking baths, spending extra time on my skincare routine, watching my favourite vloggers, Matt and I look forward to walks more than your average Labrador and I LOVE reading! My Kindle is packed with fun books to read and I’m so excited to be sharing some of those with you, as well as a bunch of books that I really loved and recommend you get immediately! 

My To Read List:

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This was recommended to me on Amazon and the synopsis and reviews made me download it immediately! This book is a love story of a couple based in New York (I mean that alone had me sold) who have their life planned out. Dannie, the main character, falls asleep one night and wakes up five years in the future, with a completely different life to the one she currently has planned out. I was really careful not to read too many reviews – someone always spoils it! – but this is the next book I’ll be delving into because I’m so excited about it.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I’m currently reading this now, I’m about half way through and I am really enjoying it. I loved Josie’s first book (more about that below) so I had high expectations! I admit I found it a little slow at the beginning and I wasn’t as excited about it as I was her first one, but now I’m wrapped up in the story and can’t wait to see what happens. Lydia is married to Freddie, who dies suddenly in an accident and her whole world is turned upside down. She soon realises that when she sleeps life in her dreams is just the same as it always has been…

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
I have had this on my ‘to read’ list for a long time but there’s just always been other books I’ve been more excited about, although after how much I loved So Lucky (again, more on that below!) I am really excited to get stuck in. The story is based on three women who are all united in their views, if nothing else, and I have a feeling it will be very much based on the way society is nowadays. By her own admission, Dawn likes to talk about reality in her books and show that different perspectives can work together, I hope it’s as witty and off-the-cuff as So Lucky!

Dear Lily by Drew Davis
Anyone else hear the name ‘Lily’ and immediately hear ‘where’s the dog, Lily?’ in their head? Just Me? Okay… Again this was recommended to me on Amazon and I’m really looking forward to reading it; the story is about Joy moving away from her family home – and her sister, Lily – and sounds like the perfect escapism girly read. Joy communicates via letter and I’m assuming goes through things from her childhood/past as it appears to be very emotional based on the reviews.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Shay talked about this in her March book review this past week and I immediately downloaded it. I love pretty much all of her recommended books, and if I’m ever feeling at a loss looking through Amazon I head over there for inspiration (and check the comments section too)! This book is about a mum and son who live in Mexico, and have to escape to the US away from the Cartel. From Shay’s review and the Amazon reviews it seems to be a very suspenseful, tragic, heartwarming read, and I’m kind of obsessed with all things about the drug cartels in Mexico! Matt and I watched Narcos: Mexico and LOVED it, and I think that’s what got me into that kind of storyline. This book is fictional but wanting to cross the border for a better life is an everyday thought for so many people, I’m so excited to read this… I just need a few more happy, easy books before I delve in!

No We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald
Okay so I adore Sophie’s books and I’m so excited to read this! This books seems like a typical girly, romantic comedy that I really bloody love… Sloane is looking for The One and she’s pretty sure she’s found him, until she finds out Myles is hiding a huge secret from her and everything falls apart, as it always does in a rom-com! This feels like a perfect chilled read, especially when the world is so topsy turvsy.

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher 
I really like Giovanna’s books because they’re generally very light hearted, easy-to-read and something you can pick up and put down without being too gripped. I mean that as a good thing! This story follows Lizzy, who thinks after being with her boyfriend for ten years there’s a proposal on the horizon, however that doesn’t exactly work out. Gi’s books are super down-to-earth and I always fall in love with the main character, who I’m assuming is going to be heartbroken and on a journey to find herself throughout the book…

Books I loved and recommend:

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
I’ve bought this book for so many people! This is a great read that would be such a welcome distraction for someone during this crap time. Dolly recounts SO many memories throughout this book, and so many of them are things that our teenage selves will relate to! She covers heartbreaking times in her life, funny times, learning experiences and everything in-between. I really feel like Dolly comes across in a big sister kinda way throughout this book, and it’s a bloody fun trip down memory lane as I guarantee you’ll remember certain things/people/times whilst reading her story. I think every woman should read this, I’ve actually read it twice and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! Literally laugh-out-loud funny and not the predictable storyline I was expecting a few chapters in. Tiffy, the main character, is the most lovable, friendly girl and I think that’s partly why I loved this book so much. I found it so funny, I always wanted to know what was happening next and I was jumping to conclusions of what would happen next all the way through. It also really shows how people can get to know each other without knowing each other, and that’s something that happens more and more in the world we live in. Imagine how many couples will be saying in a few years ‘oh we talked every day during quarantine!’ hahaha.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
I’ve talked about this book several times on my blog and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it’s so worth a mention for anyone new reading! Let me just be clear: this is NOT a light read. It’s a very moving, heartbreaking, touching story and my heart physically hurt reading this. But, it’s still so amazing! Elsie, the main character, is living in a happy little bubble when the most distressing thing happens; her husband is killed in an accident. The writing is phenomenal; Elsie’s personality shone through in this book even in the midst of horrific grief and all the way through I just wanted to pop round and give her a hug. I also really cuddled Matt tight each night when I put this down, it brings a whole other level of appreciation to your loved ones! To be honest all of Taylor’s books are incredible, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce
This is a very fun, light and easy read, which is perfect if you’re struggling with everything going on in the world right now. I read this in two or three days a few weeks back and I just loved the storyline. Rebecca is a pushover who works for a horribly mean boss (we’ve all been there!), and she thinks she needs to be more like her in order to do better in life. She quickly learns that being a bitch is not the best way to go through life and the way she learns it is SO funny. I also would love to see if the house in this book was based on one in real life, and if so I want to move in!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I read this last December, assuming by the title it was a Christmas themed book. It’s not! I loved this book from start to finish and read it SO quickly, I wish I could go back and re-read it for the first time! Laurie and her best friend Sarah both unexpectedly fall in love with the same guy, but it’s not a typical love triangle story at all. The book moves through years pretty quickly and you really get to know the characters so well, I was rooting for different people at different times in this book but overall I loved the ending and I so want a second book to see what happens with the characters! Also there is some really sad moments in this book, so just bear that in mind if you’re struggling a little right now.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This was such a heart-warming read, I truly adored the storyline and the characters! A twenty-something girl who was adopted as a baby goes to find her birth mother on the other side of the world in New Zealand, and as you can imagine it’s not straight forward. She’s led there by a tragedy, and the truth behind her adoption is told throughout the book. I literally gasped at parts of this, again I was thinking I knew what was going to happen but I was so off. This is an easy read and I was so happy with the ending (even though I felt it was a little rushed). Also, it really made me want to visit New Zealand, it sounds like such a beautiful place and the way of life seems very similar to the UK!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
I’ve also talked about this on the blog a few times recently but oh my goodness I just LOVED this book! This is the perfect quarantine read because I promise you’ll not want to put it down. Caitlin is a professional matchmaker running her own agency, with the most perfect cookie cutter husband and life, or so her followers think. This is a great story that shows what you see on social media is not always as it seems, and although some parts are completely heartbreaking overall the book is beautiful and heartwarming. I love that the reader doesn’t know exactly what’s going on right away, and you are led to make your own assumptions before being told the truth. Such a great read, and another book that makes you feel especially lucky for your life right now.

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter 
I saw this book all over Instagram and I downloaded it because I just had to see what all the hype was about. Around three chapters in I was feeling like this book was not for me, but boy was I WRONG! I did find it a little hard to get into, but it is so worth sticking with. This book is relatable, hilarious, thought-provoking and it also covers some really hard parts of life. The story is based on three very different women whose paths overlap and it’s a really great testament to the power of female friendship. Warning: it gets… graphic(?) pretty quick!

Have you read any of these books? Which is your favourite?! Please share all of your recommendations below, I love hearing what books people would recommend and why! Sending you all positive thoughts and love in this horrible time, we’re all in this together friends 🙂 (and that reminds me, Matt and I have got a date with HSM this afternoon… yay for Disney+!) 

-G x

Winter Reading List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Christmas Movie Night: Hot Chocolate & The Best Treats

Hi, loves! Christmas movies are my very favourite type of movie to watch, and honestly the cheesier the better! They just bring me so much joy, and I really want Matt and I to watch as many as we can possibly squeeze in over the rest of the holiday season. If you’re anything like us you’ll agree a movie night (Christmassy or otherwise) is not complete without delicious treats, and I thought it would be a fun idea to share our favourites with you all! If you’re as obsessed with chocolate as much as we are I then I’m sorry you’re going to want to eat all of this, and also… you’re welcome! Tis the season, after all 😊

Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying to eat all of these things together, nor do I recommend it. This is just a selection of Matt and I’s most favourite treats and there’s a very chocolatey theme. Which is the best kind of theme, right? They are treats for a reason… to be enjoyed in moderation. 

I wanted to share with you our two favourite snacks we make at this time of year; they’re super quick and easy and would also make for perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbours or co-workers! If you want to spread a little holiday cheer this season, homemade treats tied with a cute ribbon are a great way to go. 

Peppermint Bark

I shared this recipe on my blog last year, but I’m giving you the run down again in 2019! This bark easily refrigerates for a few days so you can make a huge batch in one go and store in Tupperware. Although in our house, this is eaten in literally minutes.

Shopping List:
Milk chocolate (Galaxy is the best to melt)
White chocolate (we like Milkybar!)
Coconut oil
Peppermint oil
Candy canes

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Place candy canes (we use around five per baking tray size slab of bark) into a zip loc bag, seal and break up lightly with a rolling pin. Make sure to break the bigger chunks down as much as possible so it is easier to eat!
  3. Melt milk chocolate in microwave or over boiling water on the hob – we just melt in the microwave as it’s so quick. I find microwaving on full power for 40 seconds, stirring then repeating until the chocolate is fully melted is the best way to do this.
  4. Add four to five drops of peppermint oil into melted chocolate, stir well and spread over the lined baking tray. It’s personal preference if you’d rather have this layer thick or thin, it just depends how much bark you want to make. 
  5. Melt white chocolate in the same way as before, then spread thickly over the top of the melted milk chocolate. Sometimes we drizzle it over to create a pattern, or we just smooth over to make a second layer. Again, this is just personal preference. 
  6. Scatter crushed pieces of candy cane over the top whilst the white chocolate is still melted and warm. 
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 
  8. Break up into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re based in the UK and don’t fancy making peppermint bark this year, you can finally buy it from Costco! Ghiradelli isn’t usually sold in Costco but for some reason this year they are stocking PLENTY and I am here for it. Ghiradelli is my favourite brand of chocolate and usually something I stock up on when I’m in the US (and beg my friends/family to do so, too!) so I was beyond excited to find it in store. *jumps in the car to buy all the bags*

*Image from Pinterest. I haven’t had time to make any to take photos, but I’ll definitely be making some this week which I’ll share in my Feelin’ It Friday post!

Pretzel Bites 

These take less than 20 minutes to make – including ‘cooking’ time – and they are truly little bites of heaven. I got this idea from a Bethany Mota YouTube video about six years ago and have made them ever since, they’re a Finn family favourite! I also think these bites would be so easy to make and have little children ‘help’ you. Matt and I LOVE sweet and salty flavours mixed together, and this treat combines both!

Shopping List:
Small salted pretzels
Chocolate of your choice – either a square if you’re using a bar, or buttons work really well
M&M’s

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place pretzels in rows on the tray. 
  3. Place one piece of chocolate/chocolate button in the centre of each pretzel, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fully melted. The chocolate will mould over the pretzel shape and will be gooey to touch. 
  4. Place an M&M in the centre of the chocolate and push down lightly. 
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate

…it wouldn’t be a Christmas movie night without a delicious hot chocolate, right? Hot chocolate is my go-to treat during the colder months (well honestly, all the months!) and I love experimenting with different flavours. My favourite ever hot chocolate is Swiss Miss (either original or with marshmallows – this pack has both!) and Matt loves Cadbury’s, but I really love to try new brands, and thankfully Matt is happy to drink whatever I buy/make! I found some Starbucks brand and Silly Cow Farms options in Homesense and they are both SO good, although definitely more of a treat as they’re not readily available here in the UK and are way more expensive.

Hot chocolate spoons are such a fun way to make hot chocolate, and they’re so aesthetically pleasing if you’re involving your friends and family too! Matt and I picked these up from Whittard’s to add as stocking fillers in a few gifts this year, and also got some for ourselves. The taste is so luxurious and rich, they’re just a very indulgent treat! Matt LOVES Bailey’s and adding a splash of Bailey’s to his hot chocolate in the evening is one of his very favourite things.

I don’t like coffee and tea isn’t really something you can ‘add’ to, so I really appreciate there are so many different flavours to change up your hot chocolates with. We always make our hot chocolates with either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk – honestly just whichever we have open, I tend to alternate each time I do our grocery shopping – and it makes the drink so creamy! Hot chocolate made with water just isn’t the same to me. Matt loves whipped cream and marshmallows, whereas I’m happy with a candy cane and maybe just a few marshmallows! (I definitely went WAY overboard on the marshmallows for the photo… #doitfortheblog LOL) I also really love adding candy canes to our hot chocolate because they give the best peppermint taste.

If you’re having friends or family round this holiday season setting up a DIY hot chocolate station is such a sweet idea. You could even make hot chocolate in the CrockPot, and then leave a range of items out so people can customise exactly how they want theirs to be. I’d definitely leave out candy canes, various sized/flavoured marshmallows, whipped cream, honeycomb, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter and of course festive mugs! I think this is an especially fun idea for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

So, now we have ALL of the treats prepared there’s just one more thing to decide… which movie should we choose?! I’ve listed below some of our favourites, and most of them are movies we go back to every. single. year. 

Elf
Miracle On 34th Street
Home Alone 1 & 2
The Santa Clause
Santa Claus 1 & 2
The Grinch
Christmas With The Kranks
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love Actually
Last Christmas – go see this for your Christmas date night, it’s SO good!
Deck The Halls
*ALL of the cheesy Hallmark movies*

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little chocolatey Christmassy inspiration for your next movie night! Let me know if you make any of the Christmas treats in this post, and if you do I hope you love them! Do you love all things chocolate as much as we do? What’s your favourite chocolatey treat? Also, please leave any movie recommendations below! 🙂

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy FRIDAY! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be writing a new Feelin’ It Friday post. I really have missed writing them each week, but I’ve been so grateful to have a little extra time for Matt and I and taking a *little* bit of time back from my blog. I’m so happy it’s (almost) the weekend as Matt and I get a little more time together this weekend than we have the past few weeks! Something to note; I’ve switched up the format of this post and made it a little more photo heavy, I hope that makes it more fun?

As I’m finishing up this post Matt has just left for work and it’s super dark out; I’m snuggled in bed with a pumpkin spice bagel, a cup of tea and Friends playing in the background. I love early mornings so much! Let’s get into it…

What I’m watching:
SO MANY TV SHOWS. Matt and I are still watching The Office throughout the week, I’m watching Friends and Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time (so is Matt by default, oops), and Graham Norton is back with another season of his show which makes me so happy! The main show I’m obviously most excited about right now is Strictly. Chris liked my tweet above and it went a little crazy hahaha, it’s so true though. I love Rosie (and Chris)! Caroline Hirons also liked another tweet and I mean, the fangirl’ing has been REAL this week.

I really think this is my favourite season of Strictly yet; most of the celebrities are SO GOOD and the competition is a little crazy. I’m still super pissed that Diane & Dev left two weeks ago as I really thought they’d be in the final, but the competition is so fun and I truly look forward to Saturday evenings so much. Matt has been watching along with me and although it’s far from his favourite show on TV, he’s actually been enjoying it too! My favourites are Chris & Karen (#TeamChris), Kelvin & Oti, Catherine & Johannes, Saffron & AJ and Karim & Amy. So you know, pretty much half of the contestants, hahaha. I also really love Motsi as a judge this year, she is SO FUN and just what the show needed!

What I’m reminiscing about:
Matt and I made the most of a super hectic, busy month (which doesn’t look to be slowing down into November either) and we squeezed in a fun Fall getaway! I just posted our photo diary this week from our trip which you can catch here if you missed it. I can’t tell you how fun it was to just unwind and relax together! We went for dinner, did a little shopping, explored some of our favourite places and just had SO MUCH FUN together. Matthew, I love you so much! Thank you for being the most amazing man 🙂

What I’m eating:
I am so happy about all of the Autumn/Halloween flavoured and themed products this year! I always enjoy seasonal goods, and this time of year is the start of the very best. I’ve been LOVING these pumpkin spiced bagels for breakfast from New York Bakery Co, they are just so delicious and hearty for the colder mornings. My mum also really enjoys them, and of course you just have to eat them toasted and smothered in butter. I’m actually eating one right now as I finish up writing and editing this post, I’m going to be so sad when they’re discontinued in the next few weeks!

What beauty product I’m obsessed with:
I’m not going to say TOO much on my Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre because it’s going to be featured in my upcoming Autumn skincare routine with a full review, but just know this is my favourite moisturiser I’ve ever used! EVER. It works so well under makeup or applied more thickly as an evening moisturiser, I’m just so happy with it. French pharmacy skincare products are so hyped up but for good reason, I can’t tell you how lovely it makes my skin look/feel. I can’t wait to share all of my thoughts in a post very soon! Also, the link I’ve shared with you to Feel Unique currently has 25% off…

What I’m burning:
All the Fall scents! My favourites are of course from Bath & Body Works and DW Home which I’ve been burning all month. I love pumpkin scents SO much, I’m not ready to jump into Christmas scents for a few more weeks yet. I got the sweetest surprise present from Matt and I’s friend Nathan; he went to America with his partner and they picked me up a Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow candle!! I’m so grateful; it’s a beautiful candle with the most comforting, cosy scent. It smells like freshly baked pumpkin muffins, which hey… I’m all about that.

What I’m showering with:
Hahaha I know that sounds SO WEIRD! Guys. I’m obsessed with Lush right now! I always buy way more during Autumn and Winter because that’s when all of the best stuff (in my opinion) comes out. My mum and I went shopping earlier in the month and as well as picking up a few birthday presents for her, I grabbed a bottle of the Yog Nog shower gel for myself. Lush’s website describes Yog Nog as a scent that’s reminiscent of caramel and custard and that is the great way to describe it. To me it smells kinda like cinder toffee and takes me right back to the old sweet shop in Beamish; it’s very reminiscent of my childhood in a strange way! I just LOVE it, and Matt has been stealing this to use almost every day too. Seriously… go to the store. Smell it. Buy it. Thank me later.

What I’m wearing:
The weather is getting pretty cold here in the North now, and it’s most definitely #sweaterweather. I have been wearing lots of cute and cosy sweaters that I’ll share on the blog sometime soon, but when I’ve been snuggled at home I’ve been wearing my new beautiful M&S dressing gown. I can’t tell you how soft it is, and I am obsessed with the colour! It’s the most beautiful baby blue that just makes me happy. Matt and I love M&S dressing gowns – I have another that I’ve had for literally three years and it’s still in perfect condition – and we spend most of our evenings super cosy in our robes! Confession time: I spent most of last weekend wearing my robe… I felt a little poorly so whilst Matt was at work I blogged, cleaned and tidied, but felt no need to get properly ready. I just kept showering or taking a bath and putting clean pj’s on, it was delightful!

What I’m reading:
I have a new blog love! I talk about my favourite blogs all the time – Mix and Match Mama, The Anna Edit and Savannah Said It are my go to’s every single day – but guys… I found Lauren via Instagram’s explore page and oh my gosh I just love her and her blog. The Lovely Lo Down is primarily fashion focused and Lauren wears the most sweet, darling outfits that I will now be forever trying to re-create! She also shares a little lifestyle content, and I’d love to see more of that from her as that’s always my favourite content to read. I have a question for you guys though… what is your favourite kind of content to read? Do you prefer fashion posts and outfit ideas? Or photo diaries? Or beauty favourites? Or wellness/self care related content? Please let me know!

What I’m working on:
Trying to relax and chill the F out. I’m really trying to live in the moment a little more, and I am trying to just enjoy each day as it is, without putting pressure on myself about other things. I can’t really stop feeling anxious or super stressed out, but I feel like being kind to myself during this phase is the best way to go about it, right? Sending all of my love to anyone else struggling a little right now.

What I’m looking forward to:
It’s almost bonfire night! The photo above is from last year’s celebrations, apologies it’s a little crap but it’s just so hard to take good photos of fireworks on an iPhone haha. I’m actually going to be recording a Weekend In My Life for the weekend before bonfire night, as Matt and I are celebrating a little early with our go-to firework display at Blyth Beach. This will be our third year in a row going to this display, it’s our very favourite! We have a fun weekend planned overall so it will be super fun to share with you guys 🙂 we’re also going to a mid-week display on bonfire night itself, I love fireworks!

What I’m excited about:
Next Sunday I’m sharing a new type of post with you, and it may be something I make into a monthly thing, if you like it of course! I’m sharing nine happy things from the month of October, and I’ve been recording things that could feature throughout the month. I have literally over thirty happy things to pick from so far, and we’ve still got almost a week left of October! It’s made me feel so grateful even though I’ve felt pretty down and anxious, and made my perspective completely flip. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Thank you so much for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, it felt so refreshing to write a #feelinitfriday again. I am planning to stick to monthly FIF’s for the next few months then maybe I’ll write every two weeks instead of once per month in 2020. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, see you on Sunday!

-G x

Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Hey loves! Today’s post is a much requested and anticipated post as I share SO many of Matt and I’s meals with you over on my Instagram stories and am always asked what the heck we’re cooking. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to do this, cooking is something I’ve talked about several times on my blog but I don’t often share recipes because photographing food is so difficult. I know it’s a trick of the trade with cookbooks etc that cold food photographs so much better, but obviously we want to eat out food whilst it’s hot. Please bare with me for the photos in this post – I know they’re so bad – and I’ll figure out the photos for future posts, somehow! I really want to share recipes with you on a more regular basis as we rarely make anything difficul and we just love hearty meals that fill us up and help us unwind from our busy work days. Also, at this time of year a hot meal is the best to come home to; it’s something we look forward to from the moment we get out of our warm cosy bed each morning, ha!

On weekends Matt and I experiment a lot more with dinner recipes, and you may have seen I’m planning to make at least one new recipe per week this October. However, on weeknights we generally like to make quick and easy dinners that we know and love! We rotate between around twenty ‘standard’ meals, but the odd time we’ll throw in a curve ball to change things up a little. Every time we try a new recipe we love we just add them into our rotation of weeknight meals, and this has been the best way to learn and enjoy cooking. I shared how we meal plan and where we often get our ideas from in this post a few months ago, so be sure to check that out if you’re unsure where to start.

All three of the recipes are based on dinner for two people so if you want to make more just double or triple accordingly!

Cod With Roasted Veggies & Mash

This is probably the most popular recipe for us of the three, and one we kinda cheat on. Snapple fact: mash potato is my favourite food. Ever. When we first started dating, Matt wasn’t a huge fan of mash potato but now he loves it just as much as I do, and I hate to say it but the store-bought pre-made options are so much better than homemade. I’m sorry! We also serve with baby potatoes (as above) but if you want to make your own mash potato go right ahead. This is perfect for nights Matt is home late and I’m preparing dinner for him coming home, because timings are SO easy to get right on this and it’s minimum effort for maximum reward.

Ingredients:
2 x cod fillets
(approx) 4 x large carrots
(approx) 160g x broccoli
(approx) half a courgette
400g x mash potato / baby potatoes
(approx) two tablespoons of chilli olive oil
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to (approx) 200 degrees.
2. Place cod on tin foil lined baking tray, and cover with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Place a second sheet of tin foil over the fish, tucking in any corners so the juices don’t spill out, and place in oven.
3. Whilst the fish begins to cook, chop the ends off carrots, roughly peel and cut into batons. Cut courgette into small pieces.
4. Cut broccoli stems down and peel off any remaining leaves.
5. Place carrot batons, courgette and broccoli onto another baking tray, separating out vegetables so they’re not overlapping too much. Take a pinch of salt and pepper over vegetables, sprinkle Italian seasoning over then drizzle chilli olive oil, mostly distributing through the centre as it will run during cooking. You could just switch out to regular olive oil if you don’t like heat!
6. Place into the oven approx five to ten minutes after you’ve put in your fish (ideally underneath the fish) and cook for approx 20 – 25 minutes. This really depends on how soft you like your fish/veggies to be.
7. Microwave potato side of choice, or make your own during the time that your fish and veggies cooking!

Seriously, how quick and simple is that?! Roasted veggies are our favourite, they taste great with any meat or as a side dish to a vegetable tagine!

Matt’s pepper in the background looks a little drunk… hahaha!

(Beer) Chilli Stuffed Peppers

This was a take on one of our already favourite meals (just regular chilli – with or without beer) but we loved this variation so much it’s become a staple. We usually pair with homemade salt and pepper chilli chips – super easy, too! – and it’s such a hearty dinner. Stuffed peppers are another of my favourite foods and again Matt has kinda learned to love them. LOL, I promise he really enjoys these meals too! We have an ongoing private joke because I throw peppers into pretty much anything we cook. He’s like “can you please make me porridge for breakfast? Oh wait do you want to put peppers in that too?!” Hahaha. They’re just delicious, okay?! There’s also an option to add a little beer in here if you fancy it. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe for kids as the alcohol burns off! Also, yes I made this festive for #spookyszn. Because why not?!

Ingredients:
250g x lean beef mince
1 x large onion
2 x stalks of celery
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x chilli peppers
1 x large pepper
(to dice)
2 x large peppers (I’d recommend orange for Halloween dinners!)
400g x chopped tomatoes
(approx) 200ml x light beer (optional)
(approx) 100g x tomato puree
(approx) 200g x mixed beans
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Tilda peri peri rice
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Chop all veggies into small diced shapes, except for two peppers. You only want to cut off the tops, take out the core and de-seed. I recommend going over the inner surface with a tablespoon to make sure you’ve got plenty of room for your mixture! If you don’t like a lot of spice make sure to de-seed your chillis.
3. Brown mince in pan with onion and garlic cloves. Drain any excess fat. If you’re adding beer to your recipe, this is where you’d add it! It adds a great depth to your chilli, although we don’t do this too often as Matt generally prefers the recipe without it. Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?!
4. Add in all of your diced vegetables and tomato puree, and brown.
5. If you’re serving with chips, put them in the oven now!
6. After around seven minutes, add in mixed beans and chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer for approx ten minutes. Place large de-seeded peppers on a lined baking tray.
7. Pour chilli mixture into large peppers, add as much grated cheese as you’d like on top and pop in the oven for approx fifteen minutes (just keep checking to see how the cheese is melting/peppers are softening).
8. Just before you take out your peppers, microwave rice. You can use this as a ‘bed’ for your peppers or serve it on the side!

I mean seriously… could this be any more simple? How freaking cute do our Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers look?! They’re perfect for this time of year, and I know if you have littles they’ll appreciate this too. Matt and I always add a little extra cheese once cooked too which makes them a little less healthy, sshhh!

Hunter’s Chicken

This is a recipe we just LOVE to make, and it’s so crazy easy; you literally prepare everything in five minutes or less, throw it in the oven and leave it for half an hour to cook. It’s kind of become a go-to for us because of how quick and easy it is, and it’s a meal we really enjoy each time. You could serve with rice, veggies, chips, mash potato, the possiblities are endless! We switch our side up pretty much every time we have this meal, it’s super versatile which makes it feel like something new each time. I also made BBQ chicken baked tacos for the first time last week which Matt LOVED – I’d be happy to share that recipe soon?!

Ingredients:
2 x chicken breasts

4 x rashers of unsmoked bacon
(approx) 200g x French’s BBQ sauce
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Salt, pepper and peri peri seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Wrap chicken breasts in bacon; add a little salt and pepper (and peri peri seasoning if you like a little heat) and place in the oven for thirty five minutes.
2. After the time is up, take out your dish and add BBQ sauce; we really roughly use around 200g, but basically just make sure all of your bacon and chicken is covered. Add grated cheese and put back in the oven for seven minutes.

…Yep, that’s IT! I really love eating this with mash potato because it’s filling and hearty, but not TOO filling and means we have an excuse for a McFlurry run later 🙂 hahaha we’ve definitely got our priorities right!

I hope this post was somewhat helpful and gave you a little inspiration for what you and your partner or family can cook this week! I would love to share more, maybe every month I’ll share three of our favourite dinner recipes with you? We LOVE our Crockpot and make so many meals in there that are super easy! We also cook vegetarian dinners now and then (we’re trying to partake in #MeatlessMondays much more often than we do) but we have so many options of things to share. Please let me know what kind of meals you’d like to see! Are you planning on making any of these dinners this week? What is your favourite easy (and kinda healthy) dinner recipe?!

-G x

Four Lipsticks For Fall

Happy Wednesday, loves! If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know by now that lipstick is hands down my favourite beauty product. Each time I apply my lipstick I feel a little more confident, and just a little more like me. I’ve always thought that when I’m getting ready – whether it’s for date night, work or just to run errands – until I’ve spritzed my perfume and applied my lipstick I don’t feel ready to take on the day. I talked about how desperately I want to try (and love) red lipstick in this post, but today I’m sharing with you four of my current favourites for this season, and there’s something for everyone.

Clinique Bare Pop
This is my favourite lipstick of the moment, I literally cannot stop wearing it! Matt and I were shopping a few weeks ago and I popped into Boots to browse the lipsticks; I had lots of points to spend and just wanted to treat myself. I spotted this shade from afar and was immediately drawn to it; Bare Pop is the most gorgeous warm pink, and it’s only a few shades darker than my natural lip colour making it the perfect ‘your lips but better’ shade. I love the formula; it lasts really well without lip liner, and Matt compliments me on it all the time! It’s not crazy pigmented but it’s great for work and running errands as it’s so wearable, and it doesn’t feel drying on the lips which is a huge bonus, especially as we move in to the colder months of the year. I already have my eye on a few shades from their new Pop Lipsticks release; Shay raved about Cute Pop recently so you know it’s on my radar, because if Shay recommends, I buy!

NARS Bound
I wore this lipstick for pretty much every date night Matt and I had last Fall and Winter, and I was so excited to pull it back out now that we’re back in October. I can’t quite describe the texture of this; it applies like a lip gloss but the finish is more like that of a liquid lipstick, without being matte. Although it is described as a ‘soft rose pink’ on the website I feel like the shade deepens a little on application to a perfect mauve-toned dark pink on my fair complexion. This baby stays on through drinking and eating – which really does make it perfect for date night with your love because it lasts through those kisses too! – and it is just so stinking pretty. It’s dark without being too daring, and I am always telling people they need this lip product in their life.

MAC Jubilee
My favourite lipstick finish ever is the Lustre from MAC (it’s where my love of Syrup was born, which is my most worn lipstick for almost six years now, I re-purchase it over and over and over!) so when I seen this beautiful nude shade was part of the Lustre collection, I knew I’d love it. Another recent addition to my makeup collection, I’ve worn this so much the past few weeks. Pretty much each day I haven’t been wearing Bare Pop, I’ve been wearing this. This lipstick is a peach toned neutral, like a ‘pumpkin spice for your lips’ vibe (how on brand is that with the season?!) and it’s the most perfect ‘light’ nude shade I’ve ever found. This is a perfect day-to-night shade as I think with a slightly smokey eye it’s perfect for dinner and drinks right after the office.

Bobbi Brown Cali Rose
So this lipstick is a little ‘out there’ compared to the other three as it’s way more bright and colorful, but that’s why I love it so much! It’s the best lipstick to wear on those days you feel like you need a little ‘pick me up’ from boring day-to-day life, and I just think it’s the prettiest berry shade. I love to wear this when my makeup is super minimal for an extra little pop of colour, and it’s one that will transition so perfectly into the holiday season. It applies evenly although you need to make sure your lips are moisturised and exfoliated (I use Lush’s pumpkin spice lip scrub every morning and evening to keep my lips super soft!) otherwise you will definitely see different tones of the colour on your lips. I’d love to find a lip liner to match this but I haven’t yet – I thought MAC Soar was going to work perfectly but it’s a teeny bit too dark – if anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Thank you so much for reading; I hope you found a little inspiration for a new lipstick to pick up this Fall if you’re in the market for one. Have you already got any of these lipsticks? Do you give them the love they deserve demand?! What is your favourite lipstick(s) for Fall? I swear nude, mauve and berry tones are just perfect for all skin tones and all seasons, you really can’t go wrong! I still haven’t purchased a red lipstick yet, please let me know if you have any specific ones you’d recommend!

-G x

My October Goals

Hi, loves! Happy OCTOBER. Seriously, where the heck has this year gone?! I’m sorry this post isn’t going live on the 1st, but my schedule is Sunday’s and Wednesday’s… and I like schedules. #TypeA. Snapple fact: the featured image of this blog post is one of my favourite ever quotes. I truly am SO GLAD to live in a world where there are October’s! This month I’m setting myself five goals to accomplish, and as always I’m sharing them with my lovely readers. Sharing my goals helps to keep me motivated, holds me accountable throughout the month and maybe it will even inspire someone to create their own goals?

Be kinder to myself and unwind
I am always hard on myself, but over the past few weeks/months I’ve been so harsh and unkind to myself, especially about my blog. I have such high standards and hopes for what I want my online space to be, but I really need to stop stressing so much about it! I don’t ever give myself a break but I need to, and this month is the time for it. I LOVE October. It’s the beginning of my favourite time of year (which is the last three months of the year, they bring so much joy!) and I’m determined to relax a little to enjoy it. Matt is sadly at work every weekend in October but we’re making the most of the month anyway; we’re going to have fun date nights, spend cosy mornings eating breakfast in bed and we also have a mid-week date day visiting a pumpkin patch… I’m so excited! I want to put quality time and effort into my blog; I work full time Monday to Friday, then I spend any ‘free’ time I have (after Matt and I’s time of course) to create blog content. This month I’m going to be more intentional with my ‘free’ time and take a little back just for me.

Practice yoga at least three times per week
Any regular readers will probably have guessed this would be up here, it seems to feature any time I talk about my goals for that month. I have a confession guys: I’ve barely practiced yoga over the past two months. How bad is that? I generally feel so much better when I’m consistent with practicing yoga, so I really want to get back into some kind of routine and just have fun with it. My favourite online yoga teacher is of course Yoga With Adrienne, I always enjoy her practices and she’s so flipping funny. There’s a practice for every mood or feeling, and I really feel refreshed and happier at the end of every session. I already practiced yoga twice this week and it’s only Wednesday, so I’m super happy about that!

Wear red lipstick
This probably sounds crazy to so many of you, but I just do not feel comfortable wearing red lipstick! I haven’t even owned a red lipstick for around three years because I didn’t get any wear out of the ones I had, so this month I’m going to treat myself and I’m going to wear red lips for date night. I’ve really been trying to work on my confidence lately, and this is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I hope this makes sense, it probably sounds so silly! I remember Rimmel’s red lipsticks used to get so much hype online (which I’m pretty sure was solely because of Zoe Sugg) but to any of my red lipstick wearers out there, is that still the case?! Which brand/shade should I go for? I’m going to buy a drugstore one just incase I can’t get used to it!

Create new Fall outfits with clothing I already own / Only purchase clothing items from my list
Okay so this is a two-in-one goal. I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I kept during my decluttering process which I’ve not worn before and probably should have gotten rid of, but I promised myself I’d wear this Autumn. If I don’t, they’ll find themselves on eBay for someone else to love! My intention is to make outfits from clothes that I wouldn’t usually pair together; I really just want to give my clothes the love they deserve and experiment a little. I’m slowly figuring out my style so this Autumn I want to embrace change and try to create fun outfits that are a little different from my norm! I’ve also made a list with a few essentials I’m lacking in my wardrobe since my de-clutter (a good black coat, turtle neck jumper(s), a grey cardigan, long sleeve t-shirts, a fancy midi skirt and leather look jeans) which I’m now on the lookout for. Something that’s not officially on the list but I probably will buy is the E.T sweater from this post because it’s just so flipping cute. You’re allowed a frivolous purchase now and then if it makes your heart sing, right?!

Cook at least one new dinner recipe each week
Cooking is something Matt and I found a love of together, and I so appreciate that we’ve found a hobby we can share. We literally had no idea how to cook even the most basic things when we first got together, so now the fact we cook together/for each other every night is crazy to me. Matt often likes to make meals we know and love, but I really like to try new recipes. We’ve had such busy weeks recently that we’ve not pushed ourselves to try something new very often, but this month we’re going to try new things! I shared with you how I meal plan a few months ago, and nothing has changed since. Matt is always happy to eat whatever I have planned for that night, so this one lies on me guys. I’ve already been searching up a storm on the Mix And Match Mama blog (Shay has the BEST recipes, especially if you want specific seasonal recipes) and I’m so excited to create new meals for us to eat. New on the menu this week is Shay’s chicken fajita soup which I’m going to adapt slightly to cook in the CrockPot, then next week we’re attempting this pumpkin and chipotle pasta. I literally can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my monthly goals for this October. Do you create monthly goals? Do you track how you’re doing with them week to week? I love to set goals because it gives you the best sense of achievement when you complete them! Also, if you don’t complete them it just makes you work harder the next month, right? 🙂 I challenge you to set yourself five goals for the month of October, we can hold each other accountable!

-G x

Why You Need To Start Saving Now For Christmas

Hi, loves! Okay, so this post might seem a little random but please bare with me, I promise you’ll be glad of the reminder! Did the title scare you a little? Do you think I’ve gone completely nuts? Maybe I have! Today I’m sharing the reasons why you should start saving, and also helping you put together a little plan so that when December rolls around you’re not scared to check your bank account.

I never used to save for Christmas. It’s literally on the same day every year (Wednesday, right? If you know, you know) and there’s no real excuse not to set money aside each month to help you out with buying your gifts once November/December rolls around. There’s so much more to Christmas than giving gifts, but it’s something most of us love to do. Giving my loved ones gifts that I know they’ll love makes me so much happier than receiving gifts, it’s just the best feeling seeing someone be happy with what you got for them. So, what do you need to do to start saving?

Firstly, you need a plan. Is anyone shocked that I’m suggesting you create a plan? No? Okay, well let’s get started. Write down every single person on your Christmas list this year; that’s going to be your partner, your parents/siblings, your extended family members, friends and even any Secret Santa gifts you may be taking part in. Next to each persons name, you then need to write an amount you’re willing to spend on that person, and that is then your budget for their gift(s). This year, Matt and I decided not to do any ‘big gifts’ for each other, and instead we’re going to plan a trip for the new year (and also save more towards our house!) so we’ve set two limits; one for our ‘main’ gifts, and one for our stocking fillers. We always go overboard at Christmas and spend a small fortune, but really we’re just so happy to spend Christmas together and see both of our families so the the gifts part really isn’t important! I hope I stick to the set budget, because buying gifts for Matt really is one of my favorite things to do and I always feel like I just have to get all the things he’d like, hah!

Now you know how much you’re going to spend per person/couple, add those figures up, and divide it by how many weeks there is until Christmas. If you’re doing this today – if not, why aren’t you doing this today?! – it is 15 weeks until 22nd December. As you don’t want to be waiting for the balance of your money to be saved by the last weekend before Christmas, I’d divide your total by 14; meaning the week before Christmas all of your shopping should be completely done! Of course, you can save more than this figure each week, because the sooner you save that total the sooner you can have that money back for whatever else you want to spend it on. Also, if you’re not able to save that amount each week, maybe take another look at your totals for each person and adjust accordingly; your family and friends don’t need you to spend all of your money on them as that is NOT what Christmas is about, so be realistic with your figures.

So, where are you going to save this money? For me, the most logical thing to do is create another savings account; this means you can see the money mounting up, and you can also easily save each week by adding a standing order to your current account, meaning the money goes out each week and you don’t have to manually do anything. Of course you’ll need to adjust your budget to suit this money going out each week, but that’s another post!

It might also be beneficial to save extra money that you are wanting to spend at Christmas related to giving; we’re all so much more generous at Christmas (although it should be an all year round trait!) and there seems to be lots more giving opportunities. Whether it’s donating to charities, buying food for your local food bank, donating toys for children that don’t have them or something else entirely, even if you saved a few pounds each week you’d have an extra buffer ready to be able to give. Matt and I sent shoeboxes with Operation Christmas Child last year and we’re so excited to do it again; you pay a donation to be able to track your box, and fill it with sweets, toys, games, colouring books etc for children who would otherwise receive nothing on Christmas Day. Ours made it to Africa last year, and I can’t wait to see where they go this year! If you’re interested in participating this year, please check out the details here.

So, maybe you’re now freaking out that you need to save so much each week to be able to buy the gifts you want to for your loved ones. Don’t worry, you have so much time to be able to save, it’s more than three months until Christmas (which for me is now only two pay cheques, oh my GOD!) Here’s a few ways you can save money in the rest of your budget:
– limit eating out; cooking at home is way cheaper (and way more fun) than going out to eat all of the time. Check out Mix And Match Mama for some amazing recipe ideas, you’ll never want to go to a restaurant again!
– make your tea/coffee/hot chocolate at home; instead of stopping by Costa or Starbucks on the daily, make your own and you can take it on the go in the cutest re-usable (and collapsible!) cup. You can still enjoy in moderation, because after all it is Bonfire Spice season, YAY!
– have a No Spend month before December; basically eliminate everything from your budget that isn’t the absolute essentials. Of course you need to pay for your car, home, groceries, petrol etc, but do you need a clothing allowance this month? Or a beauty treatment? Give yourself a little ‘pocket money’ to spend at your own leisure to keep you encouraged, but for the most part you can forego everything but the necessities for a month, it’s life changing I promise you! You will absolutely hit your goal quicker if you do this.
– get creative with date nights; at home date nights (or friend nights) can be just as fun as going out, and as a bonus there’s no need to wear makeup, hallelujah!
– check out sales and offers in the buildup to Christmas; even before Black Friday hits our shelves and screens, there are so many good deals to be found – you just have to look! I like to add a separate column to my Christmas spreadsheet where I can list what I want to buy for each person (Matt’s so lucky because I do all of the choosing for gifts, he just gets to take the credit with me hah!) and then keep an eye out for discounts or deals.

December is always a crazy expensive month; with all of the gifting, giving and partying going on it seems that you’re constantly spending money, so I hope if you do plan a little in advance then you’re not going to feel the pinch so much! Also, if you get most of your December wage to yourself, think of all the extra Christmas chocolates you can pick up! 😉

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post (and don’t think I’m completely mad). Some people save all year round then beef their savings up when Christmas gets closer; do you do that? Or, are you now going to start saving after getting this little kick up the butt? I really hope this helps you, please leave any extra tips and tricks you do too!

-G x

My Morning Routine

Good morning, loves! I am so excited to share my morning routine with you all, because this is the kind of blog post I never thought I’d write! I recorded this based on a regular Saturday morning, so I had way more time than I would on a week day; Matt and I enjoyed a lay in and got ready at a leisurely pace for date day. I wish my week day mornings were chilled like this too, they’re much different and I don’t have a very set routine as Matt’s shifts are so different day to day. Sometimes we’re up at 6am and Matt’s rushing out the door whilst I write for the blog and get ready for work, other times we’re up around 8am and I’m the one rushing out the door whilst he gets to snooze in bed for a later start at work. I’d love to share my ‘typical’ week day routine with you too if that’s something you’d be interested in?

When Matt is off work at the weekend, we really try to enjoy a little lay in. Most days our alarm goes off at 6am so even laying in until 9am is a real treat! We like to wake up slowly by chatting and cuddling for a little while, and then I’ll jump out of bed to dash for a wee and brush my teeth. We always have candles lit when we’re in the house, especially in the colder months, and this one from Homesense is so beautiful! It’s such a calming, peaceful scent and fills the room so quickly. I have just started to break out all of our pumpkin scented candles during the evenings, and I’m SO happy about it. Matt really couldn’t care less, hah!

Once we’ve relaxed for a little while, I always go to make us a hot drink which is either a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and right now I’m fully embracing the fact it’s almost pumpkin spice season! Galaxy hot chocolate isn’t our favourite (we really love Cadbury’s) but any kind of hot chocolate paired with this pumpkin and caramel syrup is great!

Whilst we enjoy our drinks we sometimes will watch an episode of The Office or grab our laptops to get on with a little bit of blogging work for me, or real work for Matt. I am usually a nighttime shower person so most weekends I just head to the bathroom to wash my face with my morning cleanser, then do my skincare routine and my makeup. I am LOVING using Estee Lauder Double Wear again now that the seasons are changing, it just works so well with my skin, and I just adore the Bobbi Brown lipstick I talked about in this post. I am switching up my daytime moisturiser each day; I’m currently using up the seaweed oil-control gel cream pictured, and I’ve gone back to my trusty Effaclar Duo from La Roche Posay as my skin has been a little crazy recently. I straighten or curl my hair every day because my natural hair is super frizzy, and I love how the Moroccanoil Treatment Light makes my hair look!

Skincare / Haircare / Fragrance:
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo | Glossier Balm Dot Com in Coconut | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream | Morocanoil Treatment Light | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | NYX Micro Brow Pencil | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara | The Body Shop Honey Bronzing Powder | Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Pillowtalk | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose

I love to catch up on my YouTube subscriptions whilst I do my hair and makeup in the morning, it’s just the best time to zone out and see what my favourite content creators are up to! On this morning I was watching Anna from The Anna Edit packing for her trip (which are some of my favourite videos to watch) but this past week I’ve been watching Zoe Sugg’s Vlogmas videos from last year… and no I’m not joking. HAH! During this time Matt is either working, showering/bathing or getting ready himself, and we’ve got our timings down to a tee now to be ready for the same time. My favourite part of getting ready is choosing my outfit – which is so much easier now because my wardrobes are super organised! Once I’ve picked my outfit, I just need to grab my bag and spray on my perfume and I’m ready to head out of the door. On this day we were heading for a date day in our city, which is our favourite thing to do on a Sunday!

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was so fun to do something completely new! What does your morning routine look like? Do you like to spend your mornings relaxing and getting slowly ready for the day too? I just wish my weekday mornings looked the same! I’d love to record a weekday morning routine, maybe in a few months time? Let me know if you’d like to see an evening routine too (because Matt and I’s cosy evenings are my favourite!)

-G x