What’s What!

Hello my loves!

Guess who’s back?! Back again, ‘gain, ‘gain…

It has been SO long since I sat down and wrote to you all and I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you guys and my blog. It’s actually exactly one month today since I posted saying I’d be taking some time away which is unintentional, but it feels right to bring my blog back now. Things are going to look a little different around here, but I am officially back in the blogging world and I’m so excited. I hope you’re all well and have had a fabulous month since we last spoke! Grab a cup of tea and settle in, in true www.gillianfinn.com style, we’ve got a long old post… 🙂

We love an awkward car selfie 🙂

What things are going to be looking like on the blog:
I took a break from blogging for several reasons; 1) I just needed a little time to adapt to our ‘new normal’ as things were opening back up again, 2) I felt like I was taking so much time up with taking photos, planning content, writing etc that it was not  becoming enjoyable and 3) I really wanted to just relax a little more as I’d been feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I still don’t feel 100%, but I do feel much better than I did at the end of July. 

I really love my blog and I’m so freaking proud of it! I knew I was only going to take a short break, but having that time away has made me realise that I don’t want to stress myself out about getting 2 – 3 posts up per week. I work full time, I am trying to get back into a social life (thank you, ‘Rona) and I need to make sure I prioritise my self care time too. I’m going to be uploading once per week for now, although as and when I can I’m really hoping to upload ‘bonus’ posts!

What I’m loving:
As you may have noticed from the photo above, I got my hair dyed this month! My roots look a little darker in that photo than they are now as this was taken the day after I got it dyed, they’ve lightened up just a tad after I’ve washed it 🙂 I had a not-so-great salon experience in July and was desperate to get it fixed. Going to a new salon is always scary! I can’t believe how much better I feel since I got my hair done, I really feel like a new person and I’m just so happy with it. I’ve not been this blonde for years and I kinda feel like I’m wearing a wig – LOL! – but it’s just so fun to try something new. Also, I already have a few things, but if you have any must-have products you use to keep your blonde hair healthy and happy, please let me know!

What I’m buying:
Well… Matt and I accidentally fell into Homesense the other day and their Autumn candles are already out! I was very reserved and only picked up two, but really I could have bought twelve. How flipping cute is that lid?! I had a huge wardrobe clear out a couple weeks ago so I’m really excited to see the A/W clothing slowly filter through into stores websites. I don’t really buy many clothes and I try to #shopsecondhand as much as I can, but there’s a couple of gaps I need to fill in my wardrobe ahead of the colder weather coming. I really need some new basic sweaters that I can dress up or down, and I’d love to grab a couple pretty shirts/blouses to wear for evenings out. I’d also love one or two more midi dresses as I wear the few I have all the time and it would be nice to switch things up a little!

What I’m watching:
All the shows! Matt and I have finally gotten back into a routine of watching shows almost every evening and I’m so happy about it. It’s so nice to unwind and relax after work. I’m still working from home for the foreseeable future so making sure to disconnect from work whilst in the same space is something I think is really important. I binge watched season three of Selling Sunset – it fills a void since the Laguna Beach & The Hills days! – and I already can’t wait for season four. Chrishell is just my favourite, I love her! We’re watching The Office (duh) and Friends reruns, we flew through Down To Earth with Zac Efron and now we’re watching season three of World’s Toughest Prisons. We really enjoy this show and watched the first two seasons around a year ago – some of the things that happen in these places is literally mind-blowing! 

This photo was taken at Eden Locke Hotel in Edinburgh at the start of August. I wish I’d had lighter hair then!

What I’m reading:
I just started a new book this past weekend; Hello Again by Isabelle Broom. So far I’m really enjoying it, I’m 24% of the way through and I’m already obsessed with the characters and making assumptions on what will happen next. I haven’t been reading as much recently just because I haven’t been making the time for it but since lockdown began back in March I’ve read tons of books. My stand out favourite was by far The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Friends, this was my favorite book I’ve read ALL YEAR! I had no idea what to expect; almost every time I guessed what the next part of the story would be I was so wrong. I laughed, I cried, I just loved it. I highly recommend!

What I’m excited about:
For me, August bank holiday marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. I can’t really explain it but I feel like September 1st is a fresh start in the way most people see January 1st! I’m taking my mum out for a treat, Matt and I have dinner plans with our friends, the most exciting/scary/nerve-wracking appointment of our lives and we’re hiking Thrunton Woods too. I might just record a Weekend In My Life because it’s going to be FUN! I know technically we have warm (ish) weather in September and sometimes through to mid-October, but I cannot wait for all things cold weather. I am so excited for pumpkin spice drinks, layering clothes, wearings scarves, coats & boots, dark gel nails… the list goes on! 

What skincare product I’m obsessed with:
I am SO happy with my skincare routine I’ve used religiously for a few months, but wearing a mask just here and there throughout the week is making my cheeks/jaw break out. Maskne is real, people. I realise so many people have to wear masks for literally 12 hours per day (you’re all amazing and I truly don’t know how you do it!) but just literally a couple hours per week means I’ve had to really focus on products that prevent breakouts and acne. I’m super acne prone so this isn’t really shocking, honestly. The one treatment I’ve been using per week has helped so. freaking. much. I’m talking about The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution, this works so well! This past Sunday my mum, Matt and I all enjoyed a little facial (courtesy of me, obvs!) and they really love the effects too. I’m going to be talking about how/when I use this in next week’s post, but if you pick this up please read full instructions on how to use the product and introduce it slowly; this is a chemical peel and if you use it like many people show on TikTok you’re at risk of chemical burns!

What I’m planning:
It’s Matt and I’s third anniversary in September and we’re really hoping to squeeze in a weekend away to celebrate! We would love to go to a spa hotel with a good area to hike/explore around there, but we’re a little reluctant to book somewhere until a little closer to the time as local lockdowns can happen with no notice. We are also looking for the best deal possible, too! It seems our Covid cases are creeping back up again so I’m not sure we want to travel very far, if we’ll even be able to. We’re leaning towards The Lake District or Yorkshire, so if you have any hotel/cabin recommendations please let me know!

What I’m burning:
Before I take a deep dive into my Autumn candles, Matt and I have been burning Somewhere Far Away by Our Lovely Goods this past week. I think the packaging is just so minimalistic and beautiful, I love how it looks sitting on my vanity table whether it’s lit or not. The amber glass jars are just so pretty and unique! All their candles burn so evenly which is really important to me, it bugs me so much when candles tunnel down the middle and you’re left with tons of wasted wax at the end. I also have word from the lovely couple behind OLG that they are launching Autumn scents on September 1st, I cannot wait to pick ten one up! Supporting small businesses is so important – now more than ever. I wrote this post a couple of months ago sharing how you can help if you’re wanting to do more.

What else is new:
Honestly, not much! At the beginning of August Matt and I had a little staycation in Scotland, we stayed in South Queensferry for one night and then spent one night in Edinburgh; we had the most amazing time. We just love everything about Edinburgh, it’s my favourite city ever and I’m so grateful we live close enough that we can visit often. I think I mentioned this a little while ago but I’m having really random stomach issues (that may be gluten related – I really hope not) so fingers crossed I can get that figured out soon. Other than that, I am so happy we’re able to go out to eat again! We’ve got two double dates scheduled in for next week with some amazing friends and we’re going on a date night just the two of us – we never eat out three times in a week but we’re making the most of it while we can and I can’t wait. I’m also really excited that our beauty services are back up and running in the UK, I absolutely love having gel nails again. They make me feel so happy and it’s the best self care treat to myself every couple weeks. I can’t recommend my lovely friend Emma enough; if you’re in the southern Northumberland area go check her out!

Well…. I told you it was a long ‘un! How are you all?! I hope you’ve had a great Summer so far, even though this is hands down the weirdest year we’ve ever experienced. It really teaches you to make the most of the little things, right? See you next week my friends! 🙂 

-G x

Day In My Life: WFH | UK Lockdown

Happy Easter Sunday, my loves! I hope you’re happily eating all of the Easter chocolate, and still doing well throughout this crazy time in the world. How are you doing? I’ve had a pretty good week overall and I’m feeling really grateful for everything I have right now. Whilst I’m very hopeful that this will all be over soon I also want to be realistic, and I’m trying to get used to our ‘new normal’ as much as possible.

I was going to write up a week in my life for this past week but honestly a couple of days in it was SO repetitive and I really just didn’t want to bore you all! I really miss writing week/weekend in my life posts and I’m really going to make a conscious effort to record weekends especially at least once per month. Round ups of what people have been up to are some of my favourite posts to read, when I post them they always get high views (thank you!) and I also love to read them back a while later. Today I’m sharing my new ‘typical’ day in my life with you, and I already know this is going to be SO crazy to look back on in a few months’ time!

On this particular day I woke up pretty late at 7.45am. Matt is a key worker – he’s a Store Manager – so he’s been in work most days, and has been starting at 7am so I’ve been getting up with him around 6am. He wasn’t starting until later so we got to sleep in which was so nice because I was awake for at least two hours during the night. I struggle with insomnia and it seems to be getting worse not better… I’ve no idea why it happens but I’m WIDE awake and unable to sleep for what feels like forever! The mornings I’ve been getting up earlier I’ve either spent an hour reading my Kindle, practicing yoga or just catching up on YouTube. I was grateful to sleep in but I kinda missed that time today. After a quick cuddle with Matt I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. This Effaclar Hydrating Cleansing Cream from La Roche Posay is my favourite cleanser for the mornings; it’s so gentle, removes my skincare products from the night before and does not irritate my skin at all. I’ve took my skincare routine ‘back to basics’ for the most part after another really bad breakout and I’m seeing such a difference already. I’m currently waiting for my prescription skincare to arrive from Dermatica but I can’t wait to share my minimalistic skincare routine with you all next month!

Matt stayed in bed and chatted to me whilst I got ready at my vanity table which was SO fun. I got fully ready; I straightened the ends of my hair that had got a little kinked from being tied back when I slept – I cut two inches off my hair last week and dyed it! #quarantinelife eh? I actually think I did a pretty good job *toot toot* then my mum evened up a little at the back. I never thought I’d be giving myself DIY haircuts but I also never thought we’d be in the middle of a pandemic, sooo… I did my makeup which makes SUCH a difference to how my day goes. I feel one hundred times better on the days I’ve made somewhat of an effort, and I really love taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup each morning. I highly recommend getting yourself a little more put together if you’re struggling spending all day in the house. As you can see I’m not wearing ‘real’ clothes, but honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting around in jeans. I love jeans but I wear them to go outside then the second I get home I put sweats or pj pants on anyway! My Disneyland sweatshirt just makes my heart happy, I live in my Ugg slippers every day anyway and these sweat pants from Abercrombie are the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn. My exact ones are sold out right now but all of their sweats are amazing.

Once I was ready it was time for my commute… to the dining room. AKA my Unofficial Home Office! So for the most part I really enjoy working from home and I am so beyond grateful to still have my job and be getting paid. I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office but really I miss commuting to work SO. MUCH. Never again will I complain about it! I miss getting into my cute car. I miss playing music or a podcast a little too loud. I miss blasting the heat (because I’m always cold). I miss actually physically driving. I’ve only driven once in the past two and a half weeks and I can’t wait until I can drive all the time again! I turned on my computer (I have two monitors and a laptop from my job, but I spend probably 90% of my work day sitting at the table using the monitors. I don’t love working on the laptop as much because the screen is so much smaller and I feel less productive) and wrote out my to-do list for the day. I love a to-do list and it makes me feel so much more motivated. I also have been time-blocking my work days which I’ll talk about in a blog post soon.

Whilst my computer was turning on and everything was opening up (as we’re all working remotely it takes a good five minutes) I made Matt’s breakfast and made myself a cup of tea. I haven’t been fixing myself breakfast most days until around 11am, but Matt and I have both developed a weird obsession with bagels over the past few weeks… we can’t stop eating them! Kissing him goodbye is so sad right now, I never ever thought I’d be worried about him working in a supermarket. Once he’d left I got started with work – around 9am – I made another cup of tea and my morning went SO quickly.

A super sweet Easter card arrived from Matt’s parents, we miss them SO much and can’t wait to spend time with them again when all of this is over! My morning went so quickly I couldn’t believe it was already time for my meeting of the day; we held our office meeting via Microsoft Teams which is always a fun part of the week. I’ve really been focused in the mornings without any noise or distraction, then in the afternoon I tend to bring down my MacBook and play Netflix or Disney+ in the background. I love that I can do that whilst working, it’s definitely a huge perk of working from home! Before I knew it it was almost 3pm and because of our office meeting I’d forgotten to eat breakfast, so I was HUNGRY.

I’ve really been trying to take my lunch break away from my desk the dining table and I was good at it this day. Some days, not so much. Ha! I cleaned up the kitchen, wiped down the counters and cleaned the hob before prepping a really quick and easy lunch. I had avocado on a bagel (told you we’re obsessed) with two boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes. I really don’t like poached eggs very much but I’ve probably eaten boiled eggs more often in the past three weeks than I have in my entire life. They’re just so quick to make, can be paired with pretty much anything and really filling!

I took my lunch upstairs and got cosy on our bed with my Kindle. I love reading so much and really actively try to make time for it each day. Again, some days I’m better at this than others but I notice I feel so much better when I’ve took the time to read a little. If you’re looking for some book recommendations I wrote this post last Sunday! Especially right now I’m trying to limit my time on social media; I barely use Facebook anyway but I’m not really checking Twitter very much, and Instagram for the most part is a pretty safe space which makes me happy. I only read the news once or twice per day, although most days I’ve listened to the 5pm press conference because I’d rather know the actual facts of WHAT is being said, not the scaremongering headlines people keep sharing.

It was my last day of the work week as we were about to have a four day weekend! Honestly I feel like there couldn’t be worse timing for this, bank holidays are normally something we all look forward to so much and we can’t even spend it with our loved ones outside of our home! I washed up, made another cup of tea, turned on Lizzie McGuire (thank you, Disney+ for allowing me to relive my childhood) and finished up my working day. Something that’s really surprised me about being at home all day is how many cups of tea I consume. I’m seriously obsessed! I would say it’s overtaking my love for Diet Coke but nothing can do that!

When I was finished working I switched off my computer and my four day weekend had begun. I went straight into the bathroom because I knew if I sat down in our room I’d get so comfy and not move until after Matt got home from work, hahaha. I removed my makeup (always one of the highlights of my day, why does clean skin feel SO GOOD?) and hopped in the shower. I washed my hair the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to do that, but the second I got out of the shower I really regretted not opting for a bath, ha! Post-shower I lit my favourite candle, took my time applying my skincare, moisturising and getting into comfy pj’s, then settled in to plan my blog posts over the next few weeks. I’m a little bummed because so many of the posts I was writing/had scheduled are just not appropriate for the season of life we’re all in right now, so I’m creating new content and working really hard to bring you positivity! The posts I had planned will still go up at some point, it may just be in a few months time.

My mum arrived home from work (only my brother and I are working from home. My mum, dad and Matthew are all key workers so they’re still getting up and heading out into the world everyday) and we caught up on our day for a little while whilst she sorted out some of her clothes. I swear NOBODY has more clothes than my mum, yet I’m pretty sure she wears the same twenty tops on rotation… she won’t mind me saying that, it’s true, ha! Matt arrived home not long after and he’d only brought home a couple bottles of our favourite wine ever, it’s seriously the best. It’s so inexpensive, you need to try it next time you’re out shopping (for essentials). He showered up and got into comfy clothes for the evening, and as I was just about to start cooking us a bolognese my dad offered to treat us to an Indian takeaway. Umm… YES please! No need to even think about that, Indian food is our favourite.

As they are every time, our meals were incredible – for anyone who lives nearby, we always go to Moti Jheel #shoplocal – and we were so happy and full! We clapped for our carers at 8pm which is honestly one of the highlights of my whole week. I truly think it’s the sweetest thing and I hope all of those key workers know just how important they are not just now but always. We live pretty close to our local hospital and we could hear all of the sirens blaring/noise being made there – this video shows what all of the police officers do every week at the hospital. It makes me cry every time!

After dinner and clapping we snuggled up in bed with a couple of fruity ciders (strawberry and lime cider is one of my favourite ever alcoholic drinks and it just tastes like Summer to me). We turned on Brooklyn 99 which is one of our go-to we-haven’t-got-much-time-but-want-to-watch-something-funny shows! The latest season just went live on Netflix a few weeks back – I think season six? – and we seriously love this show SO much. I just can’t pick a favourite character because I love them all (except Hitchcock, he really gets on our nerves) but I really don’t think it could be a more perfect cast. Our other favourite shows to watch when we don’t have a ton of time are The Office and Friends, but I think we’re going to start Schitt’s Creek soon!

We watched three episodes because we just couldn’t turn it off, then Matt went into the bathroom before me and found a SPIDER on my TOOTHBRUSH. I’m terrified of spiders (except little money spiders, I can deal with them) so I was beside myself haha. Matt killed the spider like a good boyfriend should whilst I jumped around screaming 🙂 not exactly relaxing before bed… After we brushed our teeth – I used my electric toothbrush and threw the other one out, ugh! – I sprayed our pillows and duvet down with this sleep spray. I am a HUGE fan of sleep sprays and I’ve tried quite a few now. I think the This Works one is probably my favourite, it helps so much as I’m a terrible sleeper. Once I get into bed I apply my Laneige lip sleeping mask which is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever used, my lips still feel so moisturised when I wake up. I really need to order a back up because I don’t ever want to be without this. I then apply Cicaplast on any spots/bumps/pimples I have on my face as it does an incredible job of clearing them up, and apply it to any dry patches on my hands. From constantly washing my hands my hands are so cracked and sore, but this is incredible. I use the SPF50 version because that’s what I have but next time I’ll definitely order without the SPF. I then use my Aveeno hand cream just to lock all of the moisture in, Matt set Alexa to play Waves on Sleep Sounds and that was our day over!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little look into my life 🙂 what does your every day look like right now? I hope you and your families are all safe and well, and just taking each day at a time! Every day that passes is another day closer to all of this being over, and I think we all really need to acknowledge that even though this is a horrific situation we’re so lucky to be safe in our homes with our loved ones. Thank you to all of our incredible NHS staff, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other essential professions keeping our country going right now, you are so loved and we’re all so grateful! Have a happy bank holiday weekend, AT HOME 🙂

I’ll be back on Wednesday, with the weirdest bucket list post I’ll probably ever write!

-G x