Okay so I was originally planning to share a Weekend In My Life from this past weekend today, but I just forgot to take many photos and it would have been way too ‘wordy’… oops. We actually did tons this weekend so it would have been so fun to re-cap but maybe I’ll record next weekend instead?!
One thing we did do was visit Corbridge; this has been on our list of places to go for SO long but we just always had other things that we’d like to do more. We drove up late Saturday morning and it was so lovely, even if it was freezing. I’m not sure if North East England has got the memo that it’s July yet but seriously… where is the hot Summer weather!? We explored the quaint streets, admired the beautiful views along the river, visited the cutest antique shops and of course ate at Grant’s bakery! We LOVE a good bakery and a croissant is usually my go-to order; if a bakery makes a good croissant I know it’s my kinda place. Unfortunately they were out (it was around 1pm when we got there) but there was SO many other fun things to try!
Also… Matt and I learned a long time ago that we can try more food at new places if we split what we get. This seems like a ton of food but we did split it all, and ate some later that night! This is just a mini review but if you like these kind of posts for food places in the North East I’d love to share more… eating out is one of our favourite things to do and we’re so happy we can go grab takeaway food from our favourite places 🙂
Sausage Roll | Steak Pie
Starting with the savory foods we picked up, they were both incredible! The pastry was fluffy, flakey and the perfect golden brown, we literally had no complaints. Matt’s review of the sausage roll was “like Greggs, but better” LOL. Seriously, the sausage roll was FULL; I’m not too sure how to best explain this but you know sometimes if you bite into a sausage roll it’s half sausage meat half pastry? This was equal measures of both, and delicious. It also wasn’t at all greasy which I loved! The steak pie was filled with huge pieces of steak and thick gravy, and again not greasy. We highly recommend both of these! We also wanted to pick up the pork pie as Matt loves those, but we though that might be a little much.
Mars Bar Krispy Cake | Carrot Cake | Chocolate Brownie
Honestly… we struggled to pick a favourite. ALL of these were so good! The Mars Bar krispy cake was super syrupy and chocolatey; although it might have been 500 calories per bite we couldn’t get enough. The chocolate on the top was pretty thin but it was SUPER sweet! My auntie makes a bloody good Mars Bar cake, but I’m sorry to say this might have just beat it. Matt chose the carrot cake as he thinks it’s a good all-rounder that everyone likes, although honestly I’m not the biggest fan of carrot cake. This one might have changed my mind. It tasted gingery and almost like pumpkin, it was so moist and indulgent! The cream cheese icing was hands down the best I’ve ever tasted in my life, I could have literally ate it by the spoonful out of a tub. We ate this late evening when we got home and it still tasted amazing! Last but certainly not least… just look at that chocolate brownie. This was actually the first treat we ate and we both rated this 10/10 after our first bite, it was the best brownie we’ve ever eaten! I shared it on my Instagram stories and got a bunch of messages from people telling me they thought they were amazing too. The brownie was HUGE – I don’t think the size comes across quite so clearly in photos but you really get what you pay for. Next time I want to try the peach melba and maybe a strawberry filled cream cake!
It’s safe to say that we were HUGE fans of everything we tried. The smell coming out of the bakery was the most buttery, sweet, vanilla-y, delicious smell you can imagine and just thinking about it now has me wanting to grab Matt, jump in my car and drive back! We always try to support small and local businesses, and right now they need that support more than ever.
Also, in the post-Covid world that we now live in, I’m sure you’re wondering what the social distancing was like. Honestly, it was great! We waited in line for a good 20 – 25 minutes to get into the bakery as only two people were allowed in at the same time. As you can probably tell from my review, the food was worth the wait. The staff were so kind and sweet, there was plenty of baked goods to choose from and it felt really safe. Oh and I also found out after we visited that they deliver all across the North East… we’ll definitely have to order for a treat some time! Have you visited Corbridge before? What’s your go-to bakery food to try?
Hey, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 there’s a lot to catch you guys up on, so I’m just going to jump right into it…
Where I’ve been: Okay so I’ve only missed two upload dates, but behind the scenes I’ve been very close to quitting blogging. I’m not even sure why but I had a real crisis of confidence that spilled over into my blog and I just felt like the content I was creating wasn’t worth uploading. I figured people were getting bored of what I was writing and I doubted myself a ton. I wrote a blog post essentially saying goodbye to my blog and thank you to everyone who’s read here over the past two years, but when it came to Tuesday (the day I was going to upload it) I just couldn’t. I deleted the draft and in that moment I knew I wanted to continue. I love my blog and although I don’t think it’s anything amazing I am truly so proud of it. I don’t ever want to lose sight of that!
I started this blog two years ago, I was super shy, introverted and looking for a creative outlet. I found it! My happy little corner of the internet. But, like so many of us do I started playing the comparison game and feeling a little bit ‘meh’ about everything. Thankfully I picked myself up, and I’ve got a bunch of blog posts in the works. I really want to create blog posts that I love to write, and you guys enjoy reading. I feel a little like I’ve ‘lost’ myself recently, so I’m really hoping this will help me to ‘find’ myself again. If you’re still sticking around here with me, I’m so grateful for that!
What Content I’m Planning: I really love sharing the ‘real life’ stuff with you because that’s what I like to read from other people. I love skincare, slow fashion, makeup, beauty products, cooking, exploring the North East with my boyfriend, self care, yoga and just writing like I’m talking to a friend. You might have already noticed but I’m changing how my blog looks too, www.gillianfinn.com is getting a mini makeover 🙂
What new habit I’m trying to create: Despite the fact I make Matt’s breakfast every morning, I got into a really bad routine of skipping breakfast and snacking on junk food until lunch time during the work week. The past month or so I’ve been trying to eat things like overnight oats, porridge, cereal or yogurt with granola and berries each day, just simple and super quick options! It has made SUCH a difference. I don’t snack anywhere near as much as I used to, and I feel like I have tons more energy through the day. I also started drinking Actimel shots each morning and I love them! Matt is debating if he should get on board with this habit, and I really think he should. These Actimel shots support normal function of the immune system, and contain vitamins D and B6. I’ve had random health issues (hopefully nothing serious, I’m waiting for tests!) for a while that have got worse the past couple months, and I’m really hoping even small changes to look after myself will make a huge difference.
What I’m reading: I just finished Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson last week and I highly recommend, it’s so funny! There were a few raunchy (…? does anyone use that word?) parts so just be warned if that’s not your thing! Yesterday I just finished reading The Spare Bedroom by Elizabeth Neep and I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s laugh out loud funny, heartbreaking, made me cry like three times and involves a once very loved up couple being reunited, with a storyline you’d not expect. This is one of the best books I’ve read recently, I’d love to watch a movie of this! I’m starting a new book this morning but I have SO MANY books on my ‘to read’ list I don’t actually know what I’m going to pick. I am going to be sharing a bunch of these with you in a couple weeks time so keep an eye out, alllll the book recommendations are coming your way!
What I’m buying: I got new glasses! I mean, it’s not exactly the most fun purchase ever but there’s always something exciting about it as you only get new glasses every few years. And, they cost me a small large fortune so I’m showing them off! LOL! I knew my prescription needed updating as I couldn’t see as well anymore (turns out it had actually changed MUCH more than I expected!) so I was very grateful my opticians had opened back up. I picked up my new glasses this week and I’m so excited about them, I really love the shape of the frames and I can see sooo much better. My new contacts just arrived too… I swear everything looks like you just changed the settings on YouTube from 360p to 1080p….
What I’m looking forward to: This weekend! Matt and I don’t really have any plans except to eat pastries, explore the countryside and visit with my godparents. Honestly, the weekends we don’t have too many plans always turn out to be some of our favourite! We had a great time last weekend celebrating Matt’s grandma turning 80, but I was poorly from thurssay night through to Monday morning so kinda felt like I missed out on those #weekendvibes. Today though, I’m feeling GREAT! I’m also going to be sharing a Weekend In My Life with you on Monday 🙂 I love taking you along on our weekends!
What I’m obsessing over: I am sooo happy with the immediate results I see every time I use the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal mask from Ren, it is just incredible. I have combination skin that is super sensitive so I have to be careful with what I use on my skin. These days I’m much more careful of which brands/ingredients I purchase, and Ren is always a winner for me. This mask literally leaves my skin soft as a baby’s butt! As my skin type is combination I deal with both dry and oily patches, and this somehow helps to even that out. My dry patches are non-existent the next morning, and my skin is way less oily under makeup. This is a very gentle exfoliator – those scrubby cleansers with ‘exfoliating beads’ etc are NOT good, it makes my face hurt at just the thought – but it really leaves beautiful fresh skin. I sometimes follow up with The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask (why do they give face mask such LONG names?) and those together are my ultimate pamper night duo!
What I’m watching: I finally watched season two of Selling Sunset and thought it was better than the first. I just love crappy ‘reality’ TV, and their makeup/hair/outfits are a world away from anything I ever wear, but are just to die for! Crishelle is my favourite. I just started Sweet Magnolias so I’m excited to see what I think about that 🙂 Matt and I are boring AF and are watching… The Office. We like what we like, guys! But… tonight we are finally watching Hamilton on Disney+! I’m giddy with excitement! We have been meaning to watch it every evening since it came out but y’know… #lifegotintheway. I’m soooo excited. We have popcorn, we have European Haribo (they get all the best flavours) and we are going to have the BEST movie night!
Phew! What a post. So, to summarize… I nearly left blogging for good, my immune system needs all the help it can get and I’m hoping yogurt drinks will cure it, and I’m dreaming of a life being a realtor in LA. LOL! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, see you Monday! I pinky promise 😉
Hey, loves! This past Saturday was the very first day of Summer 2020, and apparently the memo made it to Northern England because we’ve actually had some super hot, sunny weather! You can read all about what Matt and I got up to on the first weekend of Summer right here.
So… my bucket list posts are some of my very favourite to write, to work through, and to check back up on. They’re some of your favourite too because people always tell me they got ideas from them, and I see you guys going back and looking them up throughout the season! I kinda wrote off a bucket list for Spring and instead posted a Post Lockdown Bucket List in jest… little did I know when Summer rolled around we’d still be in some form of lockdown!
This year, Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside down, and we know for sure we’re not going to have a normal Summer this year. While all of our grand plans can go on hold for 2021, I really still want to make the most of the season. I spend every Summer wishing away the days, desperate for the Autumn air to creep in and for pumpkin flavoured/scented everything to start appearing. This year, I was going to make the MOST of Summer. Meh! Global pandemic 1 – 0 Gillian. Great…
Bearing in mind travelling is still being discouraged, there’s no chance of us taking a holiday or city break and we probably can’t even visit our family down South this Summer, the one thing we really can do is make the most of all things local. We are SO LUCKY to live in up North; we have beautiful beaches, countryside and the best city in the world (it’s a fact) on our doorstep, so I really hope we can have just as much fun exploring nearby.
Obviously we will be continuing to social distance; real talk, I’m kinda nervous to ever be in a crowded/busy/small space with lots of people ever again. Haha! I really find it difficult to imagine going to somewhere like a football match (one of Matt and I’s favourite date day activities) or even eating in a restaurant or being in the office. It’s going to take a lot of adjusting, and it’s super weird that something we never cared about before; being close to people; is literally terrifying to me now!
Enjoy ice cream AT LEAST one per week! Our very favourite local ice cream place, Arrighi’s in Seaton Delaval,is our go-to Summer spot. I always feel like after every Summer passes we could have gone at least a couple more times! Their ice cream is a family recipe passed down for generations, and it’s such a staple for a Summer day. Also, we LOVE a late night McFlurry run. All year round, every season. Now that McDonald’s has opened back up you can bet we’ll be making the most of that!
Become a bookworm. Okay, so I’m already a bookworm. I love reading and I’ve been sitting in the sun with my Kindle at any opportunity I get! I’m currently reading Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson (it’s laugh out loud funny, I totally recommend it) and I really want to make my way through alllll the books this year. Laura Jane Williams’ new book, The Love Square, comes out next month and I’m so excited, her first book Our Stop was one of my favourite ever easy reads.
Spend the day at the beach! The beach is my favourite place, no matter the weather Matt and I LOVE a beach day. I firmly believe some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are right on our doorstep! We love to grab breakfast at one of our many favourite local cafes/restaurants, although it will have to be to go this Summer. There’s so many beaches to explore, we’ve made a little list of the ones we want to spend the day at this season:
Tynemouth (our very favourite)
Go outlet shopping. Matt, his parents and I really love a little road trip to York Designer Outlet (they have sooo many good things there, we even love the food court LOL!) and Matt really wants to make a trip there to grab some great bargains. Shopping in Summer means you get really good deals on Autumn/Winter clothing, and we both need new coats. Last time we were there The North Face store was like 40% off?! I’m hoping I’ll feel comfortable to go shopping before the end of Summer so we can visit.
Explore our new favourite trail. We found the sweetest place around 45 minutes from where live, and we cannot wait to explore more of the area. There’s cute villages all around (cute village = cute family ran bakeries, do you see what I’m saying…? ALL the pastries!) The trail itself is really fun with gorgeous views, and it’s literally the most picture perfect place. We also want to do tons of hikes this Summer!
Make s’mores. I feel like this is a Summer tradition for so many people and I’d love to make it one for us too! Matt is OBSESSED with the fire pit, and I think spending evenings in the garden with my parents is going to be such a fun thing to enjoy this Summer.
Take the office outside. One of the biggest benefits Matt and I have experienced from the global pandemic (a sentence I never thought I’d write…) is the ability to work from home. Matt works from home once or twice per week and I’ve worked from home exclusively since March 24th. I found out yesterday that we’re not going to be back in the office until September at the earliest, and I fully intend to make the most of working from home until then! Countless no makeup days, all the comfy clothes and the ability to have a 20 step commute are HUGE blessings. I’ve not took it for granted one bit, and I’m so grateful to still have my job during this crazy time. Working outside has been one of the biggest blessings, we love our garden set up and hope to make lots of use out of it!
Cook new foods. One thing that I’m excited about is trying new meals and learning how to incorporate new ingredients into our meals. I love cooking, and Matt loves eating (LOL) so I’m always trying to create new dinners that we can enjoy. Every season I love to add in seasonal ingredients and this Summer I want to include lots of strawberries, asparagus, cabbage, raspberries and courgettes! Not in the same dish obviously…
Take a road trip to the Lake District for the day. So this has been on our Summer bucket list for TWO YEARS and we’ve still not been! Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay over (I don’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel at all right now), but it would be so good to leave home around 7am and get there super early, to spend the whole day exploring and adventuring. I’m hoping we can take a little family trip with my mum and dad, I know my brother will not come with us ha!
Catch a thunderstorm. How many times do you know there’s a thunderstorm happening but life is so busy you just can’t enjoy it? Well, this is the Summer to enjoy every storm… it’s the least busy you’ll ever be! We are set for big storms today and tomorrow, and I LOVE a storm when I’m cosy and safe at home.
Pack a picnic and find a spot in the countryside. There is so much beautiful countryside around us, we’re honestly a little spoilt for choice. We LOVE all of the spots in Northumberland; and the further you go up towards Scotland the more beautiful places you’ll stumble across. It’s picture perfect everywhere you look, and I really can’t wait to make the most of it. Also, we freaking love a picnic!
Get back into yoga. I love yoga, I really do. BUT I really find it hard to stay consistent with it. I think it’s because I’ve always got 100 things going on and it’s not something I always prioritise, but then after every yoga practice I wish I prioritised it more. I really want to get into a routine and stick to it! I’ve practiced yoga five times this week already so maybe this is the start of a routine…
Go fruit picking. Last year Matt and I visited Brockbushes Farm and came back with the most delicious, juicy strawberries you can imagine! They were quite literally perfect. I’m not sure what the rules will be on fruit picking this year (?) but it’s super easy to social distance in their huge fields, so I really hope we can go again. Also I miss my balayage. I can’t wait until I feel safe to go back to see Erin atRein & Co (the best salon in the North East!) to get my hair done!
Enjoy a waterfall. We have so many beautiful waterfalls here in the North! I mean, the water is freezing and I’m 99% sure you might catch Frostbite if you went for a dip, but they’re stinking pretty to look at.
Find the prettiest pebbles/seashells at the beach. Does anyone else challenge whoever they’re at the beach with to find the prettiest pebbles or seashells?! I’ve done that ever since I was a kid and it still makes me happy. You can’t tell so much in the photo but these ones had pink running through them that looked like rose quartz. Matt and I’s favourite game though? Find the largest piece of seaglass, extra points if it’s blue. He beats me every time. I always seem to let him win that one… 😉
Enjoy the Summer beers and wines. Now that we can finally move on from FaceTime calls and see our friends IRL – socially distanced, of course – which feels like the biggest treat, we’re going to make the most of it. Matt loves the German Summer beers the most, he’s always trying new ones. There are SO many great wines too, although my favourite option is always going to be a pinot blush!
Catch a beautiful sunset at least once per week. I mean, they’re never going to beat the sunsets we experienced in Croatia last year, but we do have beautiful sunsets here at home, too. I’m actually having a little cry right now editing this post – Matt and I looked back at my Croatia blog post; this very week last year was when we were there. I would do anything for Matt and I to be back there right now. Best holiday EVER ❤️ We went for a sunset beach walk on Wednesday evening and it was so lovely, we’ll definitely be doing it often!
Enjoy BBQ’s with your loved ones. We’re all so grateful we can see family and friends again, I really hope we can make the most of that and spend afternoons/evenings chilling in our gardens. I’m super excited for a family BBQ coming up next weekend to celebrate Matt’s grandma’s 80th birthday, I’ll make sure to record a Weekend In My Life to share that!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you got some fun ideas for what you can do this Summer whilst staying close to home. Of course you can adapt pretty much everything in here no matter where you live, but the North really is the best place to be 😉 have a great weekend my friends!
Matt and I had a heck of a week last week, Matt’s auntie Hilary sadly lost her battle with cancer. We spent the week grieving and reminiscing on happy memories. It was pretty unexpected, but we are grateful she is out of pain and at peace. If you pray, we’d so appreciate if you kept Matt’s family in your prayers 🙂
We picked ourselves up and packedso much fun, love and joy into this weekend. We were super grateful for a little sunshine and warm weather, and we’re so excited the next week is going to be filled with sunny days, we’re going to make the most of those after work! Let’s throw it back to Friday…
Friday’s are my favourite days of the week 🙂 I love the anticipation of the weekend coming and I 100% believe the weekend starts on Friday. Matt and I slept in a little and didn’t wake up until around 7.30am which was great! I start late and finish early on Friday’s, and on this particular day Matt had a breakfast meeting (via Zoom) so wasn’t in a hurry to get ready and head into work.
I made us breakfast and cups of tea, showered and got ready for the day. I love sitting at my vanity table each morning! I watched a couple of Bonnie Hoellein’s old vlogs whilst I got ready – I can’t stop re-watching old vlogs from my favorite YouTuber’s – and got ready to head out to M&S. We’re super happy the Dine in for £10 pizza deal is back so I had gone to grab those for dinner that evening. If you go, make sure to get the loaded potato skins, they’re one of our fave things M&S makes! Also, this mug makes me so happy, Disney + yellow = happiness.
I was in and out of M&S within twenty minutes and I was so happy to get a bunch of our favourite things. Strange thing: I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this recently but I cannot find nice strawberries ANYWHERE. Matt doesn’t like strawberries but I love them and could happily eat a whole packet per day. Half the time when I do our weekly grocery run I can’t get them, and when I have been able to get them they’re super sour and gooey inside. If you’re having this problem… head to Marks & Spencer. They’re the same price as any other supermarket but they’re the only ones I’ve found that taste really good right now. Matt had headed out whilst I was shopping for an in-person meeting – I can’t remember what they feel like! – so I put away our groceries, changed into sweats and sat down to start my work day. I was half way through our office quiz when he got back home (yep, best job ever) so he set up his little work station in our office at the dining table and we worked for a few hours together.
One of my most favourite things about at-home work days is that Matt works from home once or twice per week too and we get to enjoy our lunch breaks together! A mid-week lunch date? We’re so lucky. We had soup (Tarka Dahl is THE BEST, even if the photo below doesn’t do it justice) with fresh sourdough and it was the perfect lunch. We had planned to eat outside but it suddenly got super dark and windy – I swear we’re experiencing all four seasons in one day recently. We got back to work for a few more hours…
…ate an afternoon snack and before we knew it 4.30pm had rolled around, our work day was done! Matt popped out to the post office whilst I finished up a couple things, and then we had an accidental nap. We literally lay down to watch a little TV to unwind then woke up 45 minutes later. OOPS! Matt had been whinging at asking me to cut his hair again for a couple of days so we grabbed ten minutes before the rain started and I played barber. I see girls so excited about cutting their partner’s hair and I don’t get it. I hate cutting Matt’s hair! I find it really stressful and I know that I’m really not good (lol) so I can’t freaking wait until his barber is back at work. I really need my hair done but I know I won’t feel comfortable heading to the salon for a long time yet. I think it’s going to take me a very long time to feel comfortable doing ‘normal’ life things again! Does anyone else feel like that or am I crazy?!
Post hair cut, we showered up and spent the majority of our evening relaxing, eating dinner, and watching football. Man U were playing (my family are HUGE Man U supporters) so we watched the game with the fam and it was so nice, even if they didn’t win! Also… have you tried honey on a pepperoni pizza? It’s literally the only way I can eat pepperoni pizza now, I swear it’s the most delicious thing ever! We ended our evening snuggled in bed watching The Office, which is truly our happiest place.
Saturday morning rolled around a little too quickly for my liking… I was EXHAUSTED. We wanted something quick and easy to eat, and cinnamon rolls are our go-to weekend breakfast so I made a beeline to the kitchen to bake them. I always use the Jus Rol pack and they’re soooo delicious. I never use the icing they provide though, we get this one in bulk at Costco. Pro tip!
We ate breakfast together, drank huge cups of tea, got ready and headed out to our very favourite place…
…the beach! We loveeee the beach so much. I have been feeling kinda down, on edge and anxious recently (probably because things are opening back up/people are completely ignoring social distancing rules and it’s making me very nervous) but literally an hour by the sea and I felt like a whole new person. I just feel so relaxed and happy there; we go at least once per week but we decided during Summer we really want to go more often. This week we’re going to go late one evening to watch the sunset, I’m so excited!
We walked along the coast for a little while – it was pretty busy but it’s a big enough space that you never really felt ‘too’ close to people. I think if the weather had been a little better I would have hated how busy it was, tbh. We walked back to the car and headed back home, via the Number One Ice Cream Spot in the North East*. Seriously though for us, nothing beats Arrighi’s ice cream. NOTHING! We always get vanilla/original flavour because it’s the best. If you live here I would guess you’re as big a fan as we are, but if you’re ever visiting Up North you need to try it! We sat in the sun and ate our ice cream, it was a truly perfect, serene ten minutes 🙂
*not official information 😉
We were only out for a little while as Matt had golf booked in with the boys at 3pm. He had to get sorted for that and drive to the golf course around 45 minutes away, so we didn’t want to be pushed for time. He headed out to golf (and had the best time!) whilst I jumped in my car and went grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure some people might think I well and truly drew the short straw here, but I really enjoy grocery shopping (I mean, I like it much more pre-COVID but y’know). I love planning our meals out for the week and picking up everything we need. I also love putting in my headphones and listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed and laughing my way through the store!
Matt was out for a good four/five hours so when I got back I cleaned, changed our bed sheets and did a yoga workout. I really really really want to get back into a good routine with yoga, I used to be so good with practicing at least four times per week but now it’s once or twice, and even then I have to push myself. I only set out to do this practice, but I enjoyed it so much I also did this one. Adrienne is by far my favourite virtual teacher! I had a new hair treatment to use from Aussie – spoiler: I really enjoyed it – so I was super excited for a nice long bath. There’s nothing quite like a post yoga bubble bath; I grabbed a Diet Coke and started a new book on my Kindle, it was the perfect start to my evening.
Matt arrived home from golf with Chinese food and I cannot tell you how excited I was, we were so hungry! Sorry that so many of the photos in this post are food… LOL! This was the best takeaway we’ve had in a really long time, we ate sooo much and had no regrets. Matt took a long bath, I watched a bunch of my favourite YouTube subscriptions and then we ended the night watching… The Office. Obviously!
We both woke up much later than planned, we didn’t get out of bed until after 9am which is just not like us! I jumped out of bed to shower, do my makeup, clean up our room and get dressed. Matt usually takes longer than me to get ready (he’ll totally dispute this) but he got ready pretty quickly and popped out to get petrol whilst I packed us a picnic for later in the day. I love picnics so much, they’re my favourite! He got back just as I was finishing up so we left my dad’s Father’s Day gifts for him to open when he woke up, packed up the car and headed to our new favourite countryside location… Stocksfield!
We found the most incredible place a few weeks back that we’ve decided is going to be our Summer spot. We typically spend so much time at the beach but with all the social distancing guidelines sunny weekend days at the beach will be few and far between. We do have tons of places we want to spend time at this Summer (there may be a Summer bucket list coming up very soon with lots of fun ideas…) but there are so many beautiful countryside spots around this area and we just can’t wait to explore more. We went on a small easy hike and enjoyed a couple hours out in the countryside.
We played ‘hide from the rain under the big trees’ at least four times, but the sun even came out a couple times too! It was mostly grey and cloudy but that was perfect, some of those hills are really steep so we appreciated it being a little cooler.
One thing we really need to get is hiking gear. We’ve been thinking about it for a couple weeks but we need to really need to get some bits soon. I’d like a couple pairs of new leggings to rotate through, a pair of shorts and a few ‘workout’ tops. Matt wants some nice shorts and a few t-shirts that he can wear too. We also both desperately need hiking shoes/boots as we have so many hikes and adventures we want to do this Summer and really don’t have the appropriate footwear. Omg we’re 70 years old I swear. I’ve found a couple brands that look really good but if you have any suggestions please let me know?!
We followed a bunch of trails and ended up on the other side of the valley from where we parked. All of the country lanes look so alike it’s really hard to differentiate from where you are, so I had dropped a pin on Google maps in case we got lost and needed to find our way back. Great thinking, right?! Not so much, once we got out of the woods (on the other side) we had zero service. You can’t easily walk back through the woods because there’s so many tracks this way and that, and who knows which turns we took?!
Matt somehow managed to get us back to where we parked the car pretty quickly, even though we were nowhere near where we started! I have no idea how he does it but he has this incredible internal geography. Like, we’ll visit somewhere one time, or even just drive through it, and then we’ll be there again maybe even years later and he knows exactly where to go. I however barely know my left from right. Thank God opposites attract or we’d still be out there looking for our car! We made it back to the car for a picnic whilst sitting on the edge of the boot, we were so hungry as we’d not even ate breakfast. There’s something about picnics that will always remind me of reading Famous Five books when I was a kid, I so wanted to be part of the gang. I wanted my own Timmy!
We headed to visit with Matt’s parents in their garden and give Matt’s dad his Father’s Day presents. He is the best person to give gifts to, he is always so excited it melts my heart 🙂 after we went home to chill out, work on a couple things and of course… to watch the game! Newcastle United were playing, Matt is SO EXCITED football is back and I kinda am too, we’re both really missing going to the games. We snuggled up on the couch and it was so nice to win, the final score was 3-0! It’s really weird that there’s no fans in the stadium but they’re playing the sound effects of a crowd. We popped out at half time to the Co-Op to pick up a few things and Matt grabbed custard donuts (one of my favourite things). He also go me a Milky Way (another of my favourite things) and I’m already thinking about how good it will be to eat it during my work day one day this week…
We finally got to spend a little time with my dad, then I got roped into fixing Matt’s hair (it needed a little more blending from Friday), Matt watched his Formula 1 show on Netflix that he’s become obsessed with, and I worked on planning more blog content. It’s super hard to plan everything in advance but I feel much happier when I know what I need to write/take photos of etc. I have so many fun things planned and I really am so excited to share more of the beautiful North of England with you this Summer 🙂 we also had a freak Summer rainstorm that was so peaceful and calming, I love the rain. We could see the most beautiful rainbow right from our window!
I picked up this candle from Sainsbury’s and I need you all to know how gorgeous it is! It was only five pounds and is the best dupe I’ve ever smelled for Jo Malone’s Peony & Blush Suede. It’s almost 10pm as I’m writing this, we’ve had it burning for over three hours now and it’s barely gone down at all. I don’t like dupes of things that are direct rip offs off high end brands – Peony & Blush Suede is my favourite Jo Malone scent (I always have the perfume in my collection and I have the candle on my bedside table that Matt bought me almost two years ago and I don’t want to burn because it’s so expensive – but this is marketed in it’s own way and smells so incredible. Our whole room smells incredible!
I made us a late dinner; we had a chicken & veggie dish with rice, I just made it up as I went which tends to be how we find our favourite meals! Whilst I was cooking I watched Kristin & Marcus’ video all about their accident. I’ve watched Kristin on YouTube for years and I was so shocked/saddened by their horrendous accident last month, you can watch it here if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I cried watching the video but I’m SO GLAD they’re okay. We washed up, we’ve been watching The Office for a couple hours since dinner, and now I’m writing up this post. For real, I know I talk about The Office so much but it’s seriously the best show ever, we love it and it makes us so happy!
Thank you so much for coming along on our weekend 🙂 how was your weekend? Have the best Monday!
Hi, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 normal posts are resuming again here on my blog, but I’ve really enjoyed taking the past week to read, listen, learn and grow. I shared this postwith a bunch of information on Black Lives Matter and links in that you can check out if you want to know a little more and find out how to help.
How are you doing right now? The weight of everything happening in the world is a little heavy and I’ve been limiting my social media time over the past few days because of it. I’m also very… nervous… about life returning to normal. Well, whatever normal looks like now. Here in the UK our ‘non-essential stores’ are opening again this coming week and I just don’t understand why that’s a priority when we’re still at risk level 4. I certainly won’t be rushing to go shopping! On top of that I’ve felt super headachey and just off all week. I swear this week feels like it’s lasted 40 days. Anyone else?! This week lockdown life has got me like:
BUT. It’s Friday! It’s the weekend! Matt is just getting ready to leave for work, I’m snuggled under my blanket with a cup of vanilla chai feeling so cosy. Let’s get into a little what’s what in my life!
What I’m Eating:
So it may not be Summer weather right now (seriously, where has the sun and heat gone?!) but Matt and I are eating all of the Summer dinners and I couldn’t be happier about it. Most evenings we’re enjoying a variation of subs, fajitas, tacos, pasta salads, burgers or fish. We love salmon A LOT – I typically serve with roast potatoes, rice and a feta salad – but I’ve been switching up how I make it recently. I made a honey chilli glaze the other week that was so delicious we’ve had it three times since. My mum even liked it and she is a super picker eater! I’ll share a ‘recipe’ on the blog soon. It’s so easy I don’t know if it can be classed as a recipe, but it’s delicious and you need to try it!
What I’m Disappointed About:
My No Buy Month is going very well, so well I’m making money back! I ordered a couple things at the end of May that arrived this past week and were not what I expected. First off I got a ‘vintage’ Levi’s denim jacket from Depop that was just disgusting and not at all what I was told. The seller was super rude and anyone who knows me IRL knows that me and confrontation do not mix. It was my first (and hopefully last) bad experience using Depop and I was horrified. Thankfully PayPal stepped up with a refund to fix it! I had also ordered a pair of Veja trainers after lusting after them for over a year – I went for the Campo style – and I was SO BUMMED with the quality. They’re a sustainable, ethical brand and I swear I’d only heard good things about them. I don’t know if I somehow got a ‘bad’ pair but the leather looked unfinished and the laces were marked. I had been so excited but I’ve sent them back to Office 😦 I still really want a pair of Nike Air Force Ones (I know everyone has a pair, but they’re just so cute) so maybe at the end of the month I’ll purchase those instead!
What I’m Excited About:
Matt and I found the CUTEST spot around 45 minutes away from where we live and I can’t wait to spend hot, sunny weekends exploring everything around there! If the sun ever comes back, that is. I’m in a really good routine working from home – if I haven’t already mentioned enough, I really love it – and Matt has been working from home a couple days out of the week too, so we’re spending the most time together we ever have. Matt got a new job a couple months ago and he (for the first time ever) has weekends off now! We used to pack everything possible into the random weekend days Matt got off work but now we’re able to do whatever, whenever and I’m so thankful for it. It’s a shame we can’t go too far this Summer but we’ve decided we’re going to explore as much of the North East as we can, especially this cute new spot, and we have a HUGE bucket list of things to do and places to see. The best part is, they’re right on our doorstep!
What I’m LOL’ing At:
Okay so I know I talk about this podcast all. the. time. but it’s for good reason! Shagged, Married, Annoyed seriously makes me CRY with laughter every single week, and I swear the episodes get funnier each week! The podcast is hosted by Chris & Rosie Ramsey; one is a professional comedian and one is married to her. Ha! (For anyone confused, Chris is the professional comedian. But Rosie is funnier. I said what I said). A new episode is released each Friday but I save them for my weekly grocery shop on a Saturday morning. I wear my AirPods (I’m obsessed) and giggle my way round the store, anything to make me forget how stressful getting groceries is right now is a good thing. Rosie posts the funniest Insta stories too! She & Chris have the most adorable son named Robin (my dad’s name!) who just melts my heart and is always on her stories. If you need a little light and laughter in your life, pull up SMA on your Spotify. I promise you won’t regret it! I’m even listening to the old episodes (again…) some afternoons whilst I work.
Looking super cute with my frizzy bed hair there from laying down, it’s a LOOK! Yes we’re eating cream cakes and also yes, we have basically the same glasses. They’re Ted Baker and I’d just like to point out I had mine for almost two years before Matt copied me…
What I’m Watching:
This week Matt and I started a new show… Space Force! It’s laugh out loud funny, kinda silly and Steve Carrell is the main character. I mean what’s not to love?! We love The Office SO MUCH and honestly anything with Steve in is just good TV. I’m also still re-watching all of Modern Family, I’m on season 8 and not ready to be on season 9. I really think it’s one of the best modern shows ever made, I just love every single character and it brings me so much joy! As always, Matt and I’s go-to shows for the evenings we don’t have much time is Friends or The Office reruns. Duh! We’ve also watched a ton of Ted Talks educating us on the Black Lives Matter movement over the past two weeks, there are sooo many amazing ones you can check out here.
What I’m Excited About: Everything I’ve been planning and working on for the blog! I’ve got lots of beauty and fashion content coming up and I think I’m going to delve into the topic of no buy’s/low buy’s a little too. I’ve become a much more conscious clothes shopper over the past few years – you can read more in thispost and this post– and I really want to share my favorite finds, tips, experiences etc on creating a wardrobe full of things you love. Be sure to subscribe to my blog (> you can fill in your email, the box is right over there!) so my posts get delivered right to your email inbox. Oh and also… I’m giddy McDonald’s reopened! We grabbed Quarter Pounder meals for dinner last night and I’m so excited we can start going for weekly late night McFlurry runs again (our fave tradition pre COVID-19).
What I’m Reading:
I started reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo last week and I flew through it in four days. Considering I’m still working full time, working on my blog, trying to enjoy down time with Matt and you know, sleep, that’s veryyy quick for me to read a book! I truly think this book should be a requirement to read in high school as it covered everything! It made me so aware of myself and the people around me, and fuelled my passion to always be an ally for the Black community even more. Like many, I really want to educate myself more on Black Lives Matter and I think that was a really good starting point, if you haven’t already you need to read this book! I have just started readingLove You, Love You Not by Jo Watson which was a recommendation from Shay last month. I literally only started last night but I already know it’s my perfect kind of book! Tbh, I love everything Shay recommends 🙂 I actually have tons of books I’m excited to read downloaded onto my Kindle right now and I really love that feeling, it makes me more motivated to read because I have so many options afterwards. Also I’m still crazy obsessed with my Kindle… if you’re on the fence about getting one, don’t be! They’re the best things EVER 🙂
What I’m Looking Forward To: Autumn. I know, I know. It’s JUNE. But it’s been super cold this past week and I’ve been pulling out my oversized sweatshirts, cosy cardigans, my favourite leggings and even fluffy socks. I’m ready for it to be September… Every year I count down to the beginning of September and Matt thinks I’m crazy but I love everything about that time of year. It feels like more of a fresh start for me than January does, I can’t wait to eat/drink/smell all things pumpkin and of course #fallfashion is my favourite. Also it’s kinda the beginning of the build up to Christmas (okay I know, I’m actually crazy) but this year has been so weird, let’s just skip to Christmas mode now!
I’m off to slowly get ready and run a few errands before my work day starts in a couple hours. I might even stop by the drive thru at Costa for a little Friday treat, I still have tons of gift cards from Christmas! 🙂 Friday’s make me so happy. I’m also having a work night IN with my coworkers tonight – we’re doing a CSI Mystery Escape Room on Zoom and I’m so excited!
I was getting ready this past Sunday morning, feeling a bit crap because I’ve had ‘one of those weeks’ and I didn’t have the energy or motivation to do anything. As I was sitting there finishing up my makeup I was trying to think of all the little things that make me happy and as weird as it may sound I just felt super grateful for my sweet vanity table. I LOVE getting ready here every morning, and getting unready here in the evenings.
It’s not ‘Insta-worthy’ by any means but it’s perfect to me, I’m so happy with my space! Every morning I carry out my skincare routine, do my makeup and style my hair here and I just really love the setup I have. Sometimes I set up my MacBook to blog here and Matt loves to work from this spot too. I also carry out my evening skincare routine here each night and it’s truly just a happy place for me. I think it’s very important to have a set place to get ready/unready each morning and evening. I just love all things homey and routine based. I am debating on getting some shelves to place above my vanity table, maybe to display a couple plants, a candle and maybe one of my favourite quotes in a frame? Let me know if you think that would be cute?!
I think my very favourite part of my dressing table is my mirrored perfume tray. I really need to write an updated post about my favourite fragrances because perfume is one of my most loved things to be gifted or to purchase for myself. I always thought that perfume wasn’t really one of those things you buy yourself, but honestly I love to treat myself to perfume now and then. I’m super lucky that Matt and my family often gift me perfume for birthdays and Christmas too! I have travel size rollerballs in my bag at all times but my full size perfumes bring me so much joy it’s a little crazy. Does anyone else love perfumes like this?! I really feel like they can be so overlooked in the beauty world. I know they’re super expensive but I really think they’re worth it, to me applying perfume is like putting the cherry on top of the cake. It just makes me feel ‘finished’ and ready for the day (or night) ahead! My mirrored tray is just from Amazon; it looks so pretty but it was so inexpensive. I’m linking it here if you fancy dressing up your vanity table a little.
My rotating skincare organiser brings me a ridiculous amount of joy. I’m sure you all already knew that, hahaha! This was another Amazon purchaserecommended by my sweet friend Lauren. She told me it would change my life and it has! I’ve lost count of how many people have asked me on Instagram where I got it from and asked for the link. It’s SUCH a good idea because when I kept all of my products in my drawers I really didn’t use what I had. I was also kinda guilty of buying more because I just forgot what was stuffed in the drawers which is so crazy. Seeing all of my everyday stuff out makes my heart happy. Obviously I don’t use all of this every day, but it’s things I could (and do) reach for on an everyday basis. For the first time in a long time I’m so happy with my skincare products and routine, I literally have no requirement to buy anything else and it’s so nice to feel content with my little collection.
I store all of my beauty bits in the drawers on either side! All of my back up skincare products, body lotions, razors, makeup, shower gels, bath products, hair products and my tools, nail polishes and all of the other extra random beauty bits. They’re not super organised because I have never found really good drawer separators; I’d love to pick up some acrylic organisers and maybe even downsize a few things too. My makeup bag and brushes usually sit inside the top right drawer; I like to keep my makeup in a bag not in acrylic storage, but I don’t like to see it out on my vanity table. I’ve no idea why but this just makes sense to me! I think I prefer to keep it in a makeup bag because (pre-lockdown) when we travel or stay at Matt’s parents once or twice per week it’s much easier to pack. I use the same makeup products each day so I don’t really have to choose too much, whereas with skincare I use different products on different days/weeks depending on how my skin is, so I prefer to pack my skincare each time we’re not staying at home. Almost three months into lockdown and I so miss the excitement of packing up a travel bag for visiting Matt’s parents and going on trips!
Fresh flowers are one of the little things that always make me smile, and I LOVE the weeks I have a beautiful bouquet on display on my vanity! I talked about this a little while ago but I don’t buy myself flowers too often, it’s usually for a treat around payday or Matt will sometimes surprise me with a pretty bunch when he arrives home from work. The heart jug/vase was one of my best bargain finds, it was on sale for £3 (!!!) in Tesco and I just love how sweet it looks. It’s even cute with no flowers in there! My beautiful orchid was a gift from my dad, he went to buy me flowers but there wasn’t any nice bunches so he picked this up instead. I flipping love it! I’ve only had it a few weeks and it’s already gained an extra flower. I love the pop of color it gives!
My regular readers will already know this but I just adore scented candles, and the ones out on my vanity are currently more ‘display’ candles than ones we burn in the evenings. The candles I burn most often are mostly from Yankee Candle, Aldi and Bath & Body Works, and I keep those inside one of our wardrobes out of the way during the day. I really like my space I’m using to be clean, tidy and clutter free so that’s just what works best for me.
The pretty geode coasters you see were a cute stocking filler from Matthew last Christmas, and they are from Anthropologie. They seriously just add a little extra *something*, I’m obsessed with them! I also have one on my bedside table which I find so important; I love to have super cold drinks in a glass with tons of ice and the ring that cold glasses leave on surfaces drives me crazy. Hahaha, just me?! I also have a cup of tea (English Breakfast, if you wondered) pretty much every morning as I get ready so the coasters are actually as functional as they are cute.
The last thing to note on there is my mirrors. I don’t love the big bulky mirrors with lights around the outside edges – the only ones I’ve seen that I like are literally £300+ which is crazy to me – and I love that my mirrors are kinda small but also pretty. The larger mirror was something I picked up years and years ago whilst shopping with my mum. I think it was from Debenhams? My light up mirror is from Boots No. 7, is also a few years old and was a Christmas present from my mum and dad. I’m pretty sure most girls have these! They’re so functional and I like that the other side is magnified, it’s especially great for when I do a little at home dermaplaning.
I hope you’re having a great week, I can’t believe it’s almost JUNE! I am very excited to share all of the fun Summer content with you. I have tons of beauty posts up my sleeve! Do you get ready (and unready) at a vanity table each day? How do you display your items on there? Also please share with me how you store things inside the drawers, I’ll definitely update in a few months time with how I’ve organised everything.
Happy Friday, loves! Surprise 🙂 I really wanted to write a chatty what’s-what-in-my-life post and I decided I just couldn’t wait until next week to post it! Apologies for the radio silence over here but the posts I had planned just didn’t feel right in this current season. I have taken a little time away to re-group, plan out lots of new posts and I’m so happy to be back!
I hope you’re all doing well despite everything happening in the world right now. I received the sweetest message from a reader thanking me for writing my blog and that she found it was a great distraction and a happy, positive space that she enjoyed reading. I literally cried! I am so grateful to have my blog to be creative with, and I love that someone can find a little positivity here. Just know I’m sending you all virtual, socially distant hugs on this sunny Friday morning!
So, here’s a little what’s what right now 🙂 also, grab a cuppa and get comfy, it’s a LONG one…
What I’m buying: Okay so I have to preface this by saying this was a h u g e treat to myself. It was a happy-new-job, happy-it’s-almost-your-birthday, happy-you’re-living-through-a-pandemic treat. That’s justified right!? So… the MOST EXCITING order I’ve ever placed arrived this week and I can’t stop staring at all the products, LOL! I’d had a kinda crappy day and I was so thankful for the joy this brought. Caroline Hirons released her two Spring Kits two weeks ago, I was so determined to get one and I’m still giddy that I did. These products were an incredible deal, it worked out approximately 55% off! And other than anything I run out of and need to replace I won’t need to purchase skincare again for a long time. Until Caroline’s Summer kit is released, I guess!
I’m posting all about the kit for you this Sunday so you can see everything there properly, and hear my first impressions 🙂 I love love love skincare; it’s truly the most important form of self care to me; and I’m so happy that during lockdown my skin is really the best it’s ever been. Except I’ve been having the most horrendous allergic reactions on my chest, neck and shoulders. I’m so excited to share my skincare routine with you in the next month, but I really think the main thing about skincare is finding products that work for you and being consistent with your routine.
Also, I mentioned on Instagram that I was desperately in need of a good t-shirt bra and the majority of suggestions were Victoria’s Secret, Boux Avenue and M&S. My size was out of stock on VS and I’m not really a huge fan of Boux Avenue (I like their ‘sexy’ bras but they’re just not comfortable to me) so I opted to purchase this bra from M&Sand I just have to mention it, it’s amazing! It’s super comfy, doesn’t show lines through the fabric of your top and I love how it fits. Honestly I really don’t like bras full stop and I go braless a lot, but for when that’s not an option this is the next best thing. I ordered two bras, in nude and black, and if there’s any good deals on them in the coming weeks I’ll probably buy another of each colour as they’re all I need day-to-day.
What I’m reading: I am still madly in love with my Kindle. It’s the best present I’ve ever been given and I’ve truly got no idea how I survived without it. #dramatic Whilst I’ve not been one of those super-humans picking up hobbies of making sourdough bread or suddenly getting in the best shape of my life with daily workouts (and that’s okay!) I definitely have been reading a little more since lockdown began. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend down time and it keeps my mental health in check. I just finished Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins-Reid and I absolutely loved it. I thought I’d read all of Taylor’s books but I came across this in my Kindle library and realised I’d missed it. The story follows a girl named Hannah and her best friend Gabby as they’re reunited in their hometown of Los Angeles. They go out for the evening, and then the rest of the story is split between two universes; based on a yes or no decision made during their night out. It’s wonderful and I’m still not sure which reality I liked best. I just started American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins two days ago and I’m almost half way through, I can barely wait to read the next chapter. It’s a hard read but it’s SO GOOD. It’s raw, emotional and if you liked shows like Narcos: Mexico you’ll love this. My Kindle is packed full of books I’m excited to read and that makes me so happy!
What made me happy this week: How sweet (literally, hehe) is this surprise parcel I received this week from my lovely team at work? I was so grateful to receive a little thank you, and you know Matt and I had so much fun trying all of the treats! They were fromKell’s Cupcakery, if you’re looking to send anybody a little pick-me-up in the mail during this time I can’t recommend them enough. I’m so lucky to work with such thoughtful, caring people!
What I’m watching: Matt and I really haven’t been watching much TV together in the evenings and I really want to change that. I’ve been watching Modern Family on my lunch breaks and sometimes had it playing in the background whilst I’m working – I just love the Dunphy/Pritchett/Tucker clan and I’ve seen it so many times I don’t need to actually watch it, y’know?! I’ll probably start watching Friends again once I finish Modern Family again… for the hundredth time. Is that lame? Probably 🙂 Matt and I have been really enjoying The Imagineering Story on Disney+ though, it’s one of the shows we’ve stayed consistent with. We really need to work our way through our list of shows soon, I feel like we have an overwhelmingly long list so we’ve kinda put off watching anything? So silly! Oh it also hurts my heart that we haven’t watched the Harry Potter movies despite saying nearly two years ago we’d watch them ‘soon’. We need to get on that…
What I’m wearing: When I haven’t been living the #wfh life to the fullest wearing sweats, leggings or pj pants, I’ve loved getting dressed and experimenting with outfits! I decided this year that my own issues with body confidence were not going to stop me wearing clothes I love and want to wear. Last year I became obsessed with mom jeans (I still am, they are SO comfy!) and I just decided I didn’t care if they weren’t the most flattering on me. I stepped it up an extra notch and I’ve purchased a few pretty shirts, skirts and dresses and I’m so happy with all of them! I don’t really buy clothes too often, but I try to always ensure anything I do buy is a piece I’ll love and wear for years to come. It’s been so fun to spruce my wardrobe up a little.This blue dress fits so nicely; I have a smaller waist and bigger hips – which I do not like – but this somehow makes my figure look good? It’s going to be perfect for the hot Summer days and I think I could also wear it for work – if we get back into the office whilst it’s still warm – with a pair of tan sandals, and maybe a little cardigan over the top. I just love it! I also picked up this white midi dress and I feel like it’s such a great addition to my wardrobe. I love it with a belt around my waist to add a little more shape, and I could even wear this during Autumn/Winter with boots and a leather jacket! New Look have really been killing it with their Spring/Summer items recently, and I always find their clothes to be good quality for the price.
What I’m thinking about: Is anyone else in a constant loop of: the world is a scary place > what is going to happen in the future > everything will be fine > I’ve had a great day today! > two great days! > oh my god what is happening in the world? And repeat. Please tell me it’s not just me!? I feel like my feelings on everything happening right now are up and down every day. Sometimes every hour of every day.
Although everyone is worried in their own way; we’re apart from our family and friends, life is not normal, we’re worried to leave our houses, we don’t know if our jobs are safe, the worry of catching the virus is very real and we can’t really imagine life returning to normal… I truly believe it will all be okay. I don’t know about you but how much do the little things mean right now?! I’m so content with myself. With Matthew. With my family. With life. Things are never going to be ‘perfect’ but I’ve come to realise that’s okay. People are so friendly in the grocery stores, there’s random acts of kindness everyday, we’re more appreciative of each other and what we have, we don’t feel the need to constantly keep up with the Jones’. I just think there’s lots of good that’s come from this, and lots of learning to just live with what you have. I think I’m going to write a post all about being content and quitting the comparison game for good!
What I’m drinking: So instead of mourning our trip to Disney World that will definitely not be happening in October, we brought a little Disney to us. And boy did it make us happy! I saw a recipe on Instagram that had been shared by Disney World to make their original Dole Whip at home. We made ours a little different but they were so yummy! I froze a can of pineapple chunks (not Dole… Tesco’s finest), and blended them up with vanilla ice cream, a splash of almond milk and a big scoop of coconut yoghurt. It was more pina-colada-in-a-Greek-all-inclusive than Dole-Whip-on-Main-Street but friends… they were DELICIOUS! I can’t recommend making these enough. Our own version of Dole Whips are going to be our go-to Summer treat this year, I just know it! We’re making them again this weekend and adding a dash (or two) of white rum, but that’s totally okay because…
What I’m looking forward to: Today is the start of my birthday weekend! I turn 26 on Sunday May 17th and it’s going to be one for the books… lockdown birthdays are strange aren’t they?! Have you already celebrated in lockdown? Or will you be in the coming weeks/months? I’m so grateful I get to spend the day with Matt and my family, it will just be so very strange to only see other family members very quickly and from six feet away. We’re going to make the most of it regardless; we are going to take a little trip to the beach, have a movie night and grab a takeaway with my family. It’ll probably be quite a chilled weekend, but I’m going to be recording all of it and sharing a Weekend In My Life with you all next Wednesday – and I’m starting right now!
It’s currently 8.20am as I’m just publishing this post. Matt left for work a little while ago so I’m about to sign off and start my birthday weekend! Unfortunately I have to adult this morning so I’m about to get ready, run to the post office and grab our groceries for the week. I don’t start work until 11am (yay for late starts and early finishes on a Friday) so I’ve got plenty of time to run a few errands. Oh and a new episode of Shagged, Married, Annoyed came out this morning so you can bet that will be playing the second I hop in my car!
Have a great weekend friends, I’ll see you on Sunday with my Caroline Hirons Spring Kit haul. Also this is your friendly reminder if you’re going out grocery shopping this weekend, make sure you grab a bunch of peonies! They’re only around for a few weeks of the year, and they’re hands down the most beautiful flower around. Right? I’m going to replace my current bunch and I’m not going to lie, it’s my motivation to go get the groceries… 🙂
Hi, loves! I’m so excited to share today’s post with you all because whilst we’re all having a really hard time right now, this pandemic is really hitting small businesses hard. I’m so passionate about supporting the small businesses I love and I really want to share what I’ve been doing recently to help and show support, even in the smallest of ways. I love so many small businesses and I’ve always admired people who can create something from nothing. From your local salon, to online boutiques to florists and everything in between, all of these businesses need your help and support more than ever right now.
Coast Candle from Our Lovely Goods, a fantastic small business; this is is one of my favourite ever candles and I’m so happy to support them!
Shop local There’s a reason the #shoplocal has over thirty MILLION tags on Instagram… it’s super important to people! I love to browse local shops whenever I can; they often supply goods you’d never find anywhere else, support local artists and have a little bit of that ‘home’ feeling in them. I think local stores also make wonderful gifts, especially if you have family or friends who love where you live but maybe live a little further out. Have a look on social media and maybe a little google search to see if you can support any of your favourite local stores online, or maybe just get some ideas of where you’d like to visit when this is all over and we’re able to explore again.
Talk about small businesses you love! If you love a company and their products, now is the time to shout it from the rooftops. I love to share small businesses I find, especially on Instagram stories, and I’m so happy to promote products that make me happy. Ask your family members and friends which small businesses they support and branch out to new businesses too! Word of mouth is how a lot of these businesses began and it’s something they’ll always appreciate.
Buy goods online if services are still running If there’s one good thing about a pandemic… it’s online shopping has never been more fun. Right?! I honestly haven’t purchased very much since lockdown began, but I have ‘window’ shopped online A LOT; I love adding things to my cart and then making a mental note of things I’d like to buy next time I need another *insert product here*. Websites always appreciate an increase in traffic as it really helps out with SEO – this even works for my little blog too. I love seeing little notifications from WordPress that my stats are ‘booming’ when you guys really love a blog post! Mail services are all running, albeit a little slower than usual, so there’s nothing to stop you ordering online. Be sure to check the company’s social media pages for discount codes too, it kinda seems like every website has some kind of deal on right now.
Share their social media pages or enter competitions I’m very aware that not everybody is in a place where they’re able to online shop right now; many people have been laid off or furloughed; and it’s an incredibly sad time for so many people. If you don’t have the means to spend physical cash to show your support, that is just fine. Sharing your favourite brands’ social media pages or entering competitions again drives traffic to their pages, and in turn boosts their SEO. When you’re in a position to purchase from them again you can, but make sure to look after yourself right now!
Take the night off cooking and order in from your favourite family run restaurant It’s slightly different than shopping local, but all of those local (often family run) takeaway places, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops etc are going to need your custom more than ever right now. We’ve ordered takeaway food around once per week during lockdown – our go-to is always Moti Jheel, we swear it’s the best Indian food in the North East – and I’m so happy to support a business we love so much. Although drive-thru’s and dine-in restaurants are completely closed in the UK at the moment, lots of takeaway services are running and I really encourage you to take advantage of a delicious meal you don’t have to put the work in for!
Tip the staff who are still working Tipping food places is pretty common in the UK – although unlike in other countries it’s not mandatory or even expected – but Matt and I always tip our delivery drivers! Those people are possibly working much more hours than usual or could have picked up delivering as an extra job if they’ve been laid off or furloughed during this pandemic. I think the kindness people are showing right now is such an unexpected blessing to come from a horrible season of life.
Leave positive reviews Similarly to sharing your thoughts and comments on social media, leaving reviews on the brand’s website, TrustPilot, TripAdvisor etc really helps to drive traffic their way and encourage others to purchase, or at least browse too. Make sure to set your reviews to public so you can ensure other people can read them!
Order a gift card for future use or for a gift for a friend/family member Many small businesses who are unable to offer their services right now – whether they don’t have the means to deliver, they’re a salon that rely on hands-on treatment or any other reason – are offering gift cards to their customers. This is a fantastic way to show your support, and get a little treat in a few months’ time when things are (hopefully) heading back to normal! You could also buy gift cards for any family or friends who love a specific store or salon, and give them a little pick-me-up during this time.
Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to share your favourite small businesses in the comments so we can all help to support them too 🙂 do you have any other tips on how we can support small businesses? I’ll see you on Sunday for a super exciting post… my at home pamper routine! It’s perfect for a pick-me-up especially during this time, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Happy Sunday, my loves! Something I’ve realised over the past year or so is that I actually really enjoy having less. Let me just be super clear and say that I am NOT a minimalist. My skincare bag for an overnight trip is probably more items than some people would pick up in an entire year, but that’s okay!
*I wrote the majority of this post before all of the social distancing / self isolating / quarantining began, but this could definitely be helpful to people at this time! If you’re struggling in any way with what’s happening my heart is with you, please know you’re not alone. We will get through this together! You can check out my last post for some self care inspiration that is probably very much needed at this time.*
I have learned to live a little more minimally in a way that makes sense to me, and I’m really finding comfort in that. When I have too much stuff I don’t get enough use or wear out of what I have, I find it difficult to make choices and the physical clutter somehow clutters my brain too! I also have found I’ve saved so much money by stopping buying the things I talk about in this post; even a few pounds here and there mounts up so quickly and I really think twice about what I spend my money on nowadays. *Obviously there are no right or wrong answers! I do not judge anyone who still buys any of these things, that’s totally okay. This post is just for fun!*
I LOVE jewellery, and I wear a bunch of staple pieces every single day. I have two pairs of earrings that I pretty much never switch up (and four other ear piercings I can’t even change myself!), I wear the same one or two necklaces every day, I have three rings I never take off and I always wear my Pandora bracelet and watch. All of those pieces are pretty minimal in themselves and neutral; every piece goes with every clothing item I wear and I really don’t feel the need to have hundreds of jewellery options when I get dressed in the morning. Jewellery is one of my favourite ways to accessorize an outfit, and I think it’s really important to invest in good pieces that will last a lifetime! My favourite jewellery brands are Missoma, Daniel Wellington and Pandora as they have tons of options and many are classic, timeless items. The only thing I think I’m missing in my jewellery staples is maybe a pair of silver hoops and a silver choker (I LOVE this one) so maybe I’ll purchase those in time.
I really adore fresh flowers, and I got into a habit where I was picking up a bunch almost every week whilst grocery shopping. They brighten up Matt and I’s space so much, they’re so pretty to look at and (when needed) they can be a great photo prop for my blog. However, buying flowers that frequently is not only an unnecessary expense it’s also kind of a waste of money and definitely not an ‘essential’, especially on a weekly basis! I love being gifted flowers (sometimes Matt treats me to a beautiful bunch which is the sweetest!) and that’s so much more special than just buying them every week for no particular reason.
Excess beauty products
Beauty has been my thing since before I can remember. I used to borrow steal my mum’s makeup, perfume and skincare when I was younger and began to hoard any beauty products I could get my hands on (like, starting with Lip Smackers lip balms!) from a young age. As I moved into my teens, I started experimenting with new products and brands, and found so much joy in buying all the products I could. This carried on to my early twenties but over the past year or so I’ve really started to find joy in the simplicity of a (somewhat) simple routine. I love to use the same products day-to-day, and also have a few extras that I use for pamper evenings which makes them feel even more special! My skin reacts SO easily to new products and sometimes I would wish I’d never tried X, Y or Z. Finding products that I really love and only trying new things on a necessity basis (like if I unexpectedly react to something I use, which can happen no matter how long you’ve used a product, or running out of a current product) has made much more sense to me, and my bank account definitely prefers it too!
‘Trendy’ clothing pieces
I stopped purchasing fast fashion items for the most part over a long time ago, as I really didn’t see why I should carry on purchasing stuff I didn’t need. The fast fashion impact on our economy and the environment was really brought home to me by Stacey Dooley’s Fashion’s Dirty Secrets documentary (a MUST watch!) and ever since I’ve been much more intentional with my clothing purchases. I do still buy from high street stores now and then but I purchase SO much less clothing than ever before, and when I do buy I really try to purchase items that are made with good – or at least ‘better’ – quality fabrics, minimal patterns and things that I’ll wear for years to come. This takes a little bit of time to find what works best for you, but it’s so worth thinking about and changing how you purchase!
I know many girls who adore getting their nails done and honestly I love having mine done too, but it’s just not a huge priority for me at this time in life. It’s a lot of money to justify getting my nails done every two weeks, and I’m really trying to save money to put towards things that are more important to me, like travelling and date nights! It’s something that I like to do for a treat here and there throughout the year so I tend to save getting my nails done only for special occasions like birthdays, trips or holidays. I generally paint my own toe nails (especially in the Summer when I’m wearing sandals all the time!) and I actually really enjoy the process of doing that too.
I stopped purchasing small bottles of water (well let’s be real, usually it was Diet Coke) a few years back as it’s just SO terrible for the environment and generally not necessary. Of course there are exceptions; if I’m out shopping and I’m not going to be home for a while but need a drink I’ll obviously one but I do try to pick up a can instead of a bottle if possible. One of the best ways I’ve found to get around this has been to take my Chilly’s bottle out with me if I know I’m going to be out for a while. I take my bottle to work every day and out with me if I’m going out for a long time, it makes such a difference and helps me drink more water too!
Anyone else kinda miss the run-to-Blockbuster days? Me too! These days between Netflix, Sky and Amazon Prime, Matt and I have absolutely no reason to purchase movies anymore. We do enjoy date nights at the movies at least once per month but that’s more the experience of going out for a date (and eating all the good food) not just the movie! I am however SO FREAKING GIDDY for Disney+ to come out in the UK… two more days to wait, friends! I’d rather pay for subscription services and have thousands of options instead of paying one time for one DVD or rental movie.
Items just because they’re on sale
As a lover of reading blogs and watching Youtube vloggers I sometimes feel inundated with people showing me what they’re buying or what they’ve been given, and giving discount codes/sharing sales with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sale as much as anyone, but I really try not to purchase anything that I’m not already looking for. I actually started a list in my Notes app (that has over forty things in it right now, hahaha) of items I’d like to buy at some point; some of these are pretty specific like tan sandals for the Summer, some are just ‘one of those things’ like sweat pants if I see a pair that I like as I need to replace a few pairs of mine. I really do think bloggers as a whole sometimes unintentionally encourage consumerism, just yesterday I seen one of my favourite YouTuber’s sharing her brightly coloured leggings that were on sale for ‘less than $100!’ …they were $98. If something is on sale that you never had any intention of buying but now you ‘want’ it, you’re not saving any money whatsoever!
I used to purchase SO MANY magazines, I probably bought at least three per week! I know for sure I didn’t read all of those magazines and some of them may have never even been opened. Not only is that so wasteful it’s really costly, magazines are expensive guys! I still purchase one monthly magazine (I’ve bought Cosmopolitan ever since I can remember and I actually really enjoy lounging in the tub reading it one night per month) but I have no desire to pick up magazines anymore. You can find all of the content and so much more online via blogs or websites, and reading online is also a much more sustainable way to consume that information.
As a beauty lover, I found subscription boxes were such a fun way for me to try new products. I was subscribed to Birchbox and Glossybox for years and whilst I do think it’s a great way to try new things, it’s also a way to over consume products. I started to get products mounting up and many brands/products weren’t things I enjoyed or liked therefore it really became a waste. I think the products also get quite repetitive, if there was a way to somewhat customise what you got in these boxes I think they’d make more sense to purchase.
I hope this post was fun for you guys to read, and maybe stirred up a few questions if you should still be buying X, Y or Z too? What are some things you used to purchase but no longer do? I’m really enjoy learning more about minimalism and I’m very grateful for the impact it’s had on my life already. Please share anything you no longer buy in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions on this topic!
Last weekend Matt and I enjoyed a little staycation in our very favourite local hotel; Hotel du Vin, Newcastle. We’ve stayed there many times before and it always feels like such a treat, so much so that we rarely book anywhere else if we’re looking for a luxurious and romantic staycation! We especially love a night or two away from home because it’s just like a mini holiday for us, and we always treat it like that. We pack minimally, play tourist in our own city and just enjoy spending time together. I feel like it’s such a blessing that we’re able to take trips like this and I never want to take it for granted! I totally get this is not everyone’s cup of tea which is fine, but if you’re a fan of nights/weekends away I really hope this is helpful to you.
So, there’s several things to consider when you’re booking a staycation. Are you going to spend a lot of time in the hotel? Does it make sense to splurge a little more on your accommodation as you’re travelling less distance? Does the hotel look comfortable and cosy? Do you know of any friends or family who have stayed there before? Is it a suitable distance to the nightlife of the city/town you’re visiting? Is there anywhere to explore or play tourist nearby? If you want to really relax is there a spa facility?
Our checklist for a romantic weekend trip is pretty standard whether we’re staying close to home or travelling a few hours away. The five top things on our list are: – a little bit of luxury that feels extra special – the hotel being based close (ish) to shops restaurants and bars. We love to play tourist even in our own city and we went to make sure we can explore easily – a roll top bath, because why the heck not? – beautiful views – a good deal on the room price, bonus points if it includes breakfast
For us, the benefit of a staycation is we’re jumping in the car and driving less than thirty minutes to our destination, and we want to R E L A X. We spend a lot of time in the hotel room before we go out for dinner, and also like to make the most of our morning there too. A roll top bath is obviously not a necessity for a hotel room, but hey… when in Rome Newcastle… Truthfully we are bath lovers, and a bubble bath sounds like a pretty fun way to spend time during a romantic weekend to me. Little luxuries of boutique hotels like fancy toiletries and a mini bar are great, but we try to take any extras we need… including our own cans of Diet Coke. I wish I was joking, hahaha. We usually book breakfast as an extra little treat because most days we don’t get to eat breakfast together due to our work schedules. And you all know, we love a breakfast date!
Choosing the right hotel for you and your needs is important; I personally think it’s extra special to be in a boutique hotel because there’s so many extra little touches that you don’t get in a large franchised hotel. We’ve stayed at several HdV’s (seriously guys, feel free to work with me!) and all of them have the same feel of a grand building, muted colour tones, huge comfy beds – which makes no difference because we always wake up right on the edge of Matt’s side, oops! – and friendly staff who look after you. I personally think Hotel du Vin’s have a very ‘homey’ feeling, it’s just really relaxing and quiet which is perfect for us. Every time we stay we also go for a walk along the Quayside which feels like something extra special too, because it’s somewhere we both love to be.
BOOKING (& PACKING!) TIPS
– read lots of blog posts and Trip Advisor reviews if you’ve never stayed at the hotel before – look through the Instagram geotag to see real photos from guests – check there is parking available on site, but remember it’s often charged separately to your hotel room – set a budget beforehand so you aren’t tempted to book something too expensive – plan ahead; if you stay on a Sunday evening you’ll normally get the best rates – compare prices on different sites before booking, although often the best deal is with the hotel’s own website – bring your own champagne/wine if you fancy a tipple in the room and you’re going all out on the romantic feeling. Glasses are always provided for free! – you probably don’t need pj’s because hotel robes are the BEST – whether you’re eating at the hotel or at a restaurant in the town/city, book ahead of time to avoid disappointment – don’t overpack on the toiletries, it’s all there for you anyway – check the hotel’s amenities for things that are important to you. Is there a hairdryer / coffee machine / fridge etc? Chances are, yes! – make a (rough) itinerary of things to do and places to see so you aren’t tempted to spend all of your time lounging in your beautiful hotel room! – pack snacks, nobody wants to be getting hangry
I hope this post was helpful to you if you’re thinking of planning a staycation any time soon! I’m still dreaming of that bubble bath… Have you stayed in a Hotel du Vin before? What hotels are your favourite for a luxury staycation? Do you have any additional booking tips to share with me and my readers?!