Photo Diary: My 25th Birthday Weekend

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! I’m so happy to be back! I know I only missed one upload (more on that in this post) but wow it’s felt SO long, I missed blogging and I missed you guys! I love love love writing photo diaries and Weekend In My Life posts, and I appreciate that they always get such a great response from my readers! You can read my latest WIML post from way back in February here, and if you type ‘weekend’, ‘week’ or ‘photo diary’ in the search bar at the side, a ton more posts will come up!

Thursday May 16th

Thursday was my last day at work for the week, which meant early birthday celebrations! The girls in my office are so sweet and thoughtful, and as always they totally spoiled me with so many lovely gifts, including a Lush gift card that I’m super excited to use!

I finished work a little earlier than usual, and headed straight to the salon for an update to my balayage! I was there a good three hours, and I’m so so happy with how it turned out, my hair is WAY lighter and feeling ready for Summer. Erin at Rein & Co is the best; she’s so sweet and knowledgable, and there’s something about having your hair done that just makes you feel so dang good. I’d really recommend visiting the salon if you’re in the Newcastle area! I drove home via the beach (literally the sunset was SO pretty – I pulled over in the worst spot to take a photo but trust me it was beautiful. I love the beach so much!) While I was on my way home, Matt headed out to pick up Indian food for dinner for us and my parents, we always go to the same place and their food is delicious. After the quickest shower ever, Matt and I snuggled in to watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and got an early(ish) night in. It was the perfect ending to my last day as a 24 year old!

Not the greatest photo. I snapped this super quickly before I headed home

Friday May 17th

I turned 25!! I woke up to Matt being the cutest ever (I mean, he is every morning, but he was extra cute on this day). We woke up around 7ish – no lay in for us! – as he was so excited for me to open my presents LOL. I love our little tradition on birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary of opening gifts in bed, it’s so cute. I also usually feel super awkward opening gifts from people, but when it’s just us two I don’t feel like that at all. Matt was SO generous and spoiled me like crazy, I love him so much and am beyond grateful! We spent a little time with my parents opening gifts from them and other family members, then my mum had to go to work. We ate birthday cake for breakfast (a must, right?), got ready for the day and packed up for our weekend getaway.

Literally the luckiest girl in the world, he’s so good to me!
My favourite EVER cake is the Red Velvet from Costco, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!
I kinda love this photo, even though I’m squinting so bad in the sun and I’ve no idea why my hair looks super dark!

We visited with my grandma for a little while which was lovely. She absolutely adores Matt, it’s so sweet to see! We said our goodbyes and set off for Ramside Hall. We got there around 1.45pm and, as our room wasn’t ready, took a little time to relax in the bar area and grab lunch. Matt got a Heineken (of course) and I opted for a strawberries and cream gin with lemonade, and we both ate club sandwiches. We got cosy in the bar until our room was ready, then went up to have a look around. We’d stayed in this hotel before – I booked a surprise trip for Matt after he’d had such a busy time at work a year past April – so we had an idea of what to expect, but our room was way bigger this time! There was a HUGE bath – it doesn’t look as big in the photos at all, we were super excited to jump in haha.

I just love the decor!
Matt had told the hotel it was my birthday and they left chocolates for us – how sweet! Also Cadbury’s is my FAVOURITE
Our bath of dreams… serious house inspo for next year!

After we’d unpacked (well, Matt unpacked. He’s the cutest and the first thing he does when we get to a hotel is unpack everything and hang his clothes up. I just love him!) we quickly threw on our bikini and swim shorts, and headed down to the spa. It was so warm and relaxing, we lay by the pool for a little then Matt went for a swim whilst I spent five minutes catching up on birthday messages (I was so overwhelmed with the sweet messages I recieved – thank you so much!) I joined him in the pool, and we spent a while just messing around, it felt like we were back in Kos for a split second! We stayed around the pool area for around an hour, but that huge bath was just calling our name. We caved and headed up to our room to take a long hot bubble bath and chilled the F out. It was bliss!

These robes were HUGE and so snuggly – I wanted to take them home! Also, don’t mind the no makeup. Wowzers
I just love him so much!
My handsome guy

Afterwards, we got ready for the evening (I’m SO mad we didn’t get a good photo together) and headed for dinner at Fat Buddha. It’s one of my favourite places to eat – their honey chilli chicken is incredible! We spent the rest of our evening out at a place nearby called Missoula that had the prettiest decor, and really good music. We had a few drinks and were beat, so headed back to the room to snuggle up in bed with a drink from the bar. #25goingon85. We watched an episode of The Force: Essex and fell asleep, we’re so cool. Honestly, we aren’t always like that but I kinda love when we are, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had the BEST day and I am so thankful for Matt making every day feel so special, not just my birthday. I love you so much, babe!

Saturday May 18th

Since we’d gone to bed pretty early the night before, we were up early and ready to take on the day. It was POURING rain out, so our plans to go for breakfast in Durham were unfortunately squashed as everything is outdoors, and we didn’t bring coats or appropriate footwear. #packingfail. Instead, we checked out, packed up the car and headed to the Metro Centre for a few hours of shopping. What else are you supposed to do when it’s pouring rain and freezing?! We ran a few errands, shopped in our favourite stores and ate lunch at our favourite place, Wagamama’s. I always get the same thing (either teriyaki chicken donburi or chilli steak ramen) and Matt ALWAYS gets chilli steak ramen, however this time I branched out! I got teriyaki steak soba noodles (without onions) and it was incredible, I think I’ve found a new favourite dish! We spent so long browsing Waterstone’s – book shops are one of my favourite places – and I picked up a few new books, I can’t wait to get stuck in! (I also made an Amazon order for even MORE when we got home as they were way cheaper on Amazon, I think I’m good for a while… LOL)

I love you!
My forever date!

We left the Metro Centre, and headed home via Tesco, our second favourite shop. Costco is obviously number one, we literally LOVE walking around buying crap we absolutely don’t need, haha. We were in and out pretty quick, just picking up groceries to make dinner that evening (and my favourite chips and dip… I couldn’t resist). Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so we were staying there the whole time and when we got home Matt went out for a run whilst I snuggled up with a cup of tea and my new book. Although I was in tears by page three – it’s so sad, but also heartwarming, moving and kinda funny – I’m completely hooked. I also kissed and snuggled Matt extra hard for the rest of the weekend, if you read it you’ll know why! And if you haven’t, I’m linking it here and saying you need to buy it immediately, you won’t regret it. (Well, I hope not. I’m 145 pages in when I’m typing this up on Monday evening, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read up to now).

A little beauty haul… all repurchases of products I use and LOVE every single day!
Buying new books makes me so happy. Also, how cute is our bedding at Matt’s parents?! I love it so much!

Matt got home from his run and we watched the opening ceremony to the Man City match, I really love how exciting the atmosphere feels at big football games! We watched for a little while, then Matt got a post-run bath and I went straight back into reading my book. I really struggled to put it down! Matt ran me a bath (and he put a Lush bath bomb in, what a cutie!) and I soaked with a face mask on… yep, whilst reading my book. I used The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask which is one of my absolute favourites, it always makes my skin feel SO good afterwards. Matt usually joins in on face mask night but he was not feeling it this weekend… party pooper! After I’d had a lovely bath, exfoliated, shaved and washed my hair, I jumped out and got ready for the evening. We made dinner – roasted veggies with ham and mashed potato – and got cosy on the couch to watch a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, we’re seriously obsessed! We went to bed pretty late, and snuggled in for a loooong sleep.

My favourite kind of beer! It’s SO GOOD
Do you put butter on your mashed potatoes? If you don’t you really should!

Sunday May 19th

Okay, so Sunday is where I FAILED with the photo taking. I’m sorry, I was on a roll for the first part of the weekend but then I was a #badblogger. To be honest, I felt a little bit off all day – I was really anxious and a little teary randomly. I’m not sure why as there was no specific reason but Matt was so good to me. He loved me a little harder all day and I thankfully felt so much better by Sunday night. We still had a lovely day, I just felt super anxious. So, what did we get up to? We lay in pretty late, and after a little too long snuggling I finally got out of bed to make Matt breakfast. We slowly started moving to get ready, and booked a hotel for a pretty spontaneous trip to Manchester this coming weekend! We’re road tripping down for a family reunion, and I’m so excited for Sunday’s post… can you guess what it’s about?!

I bought this mug for Matt over a year ago and it still makes me laugh!
My new Adidas sneaks from bae! I am so in love with them 😍

When we finally got ready, we headed to Aldi to grab a few groceries we needed for the beginning of the week until I do a big shop mid-week. I typically grocery shop by myself when Matt’s at work or when I’m on the way home from work, so I always appreciate when we get to run errands together. We went to see my parents and open a few extra birthday presents that had been dropped off (my family are so generous!) and caught up on what we’d all been doing over the weekend. After, we went up to see my godparents – we love being at their house, it’s so beautiful and they’re so lovely! We stayed for a while, and got some puppy cuddles in with Phoebe. Isn’t she just so cute?! We went home via a pit stop at the Co-Op (I’m literally OBSESSED with going into any Co-Op we pass, whether I need something or not. It’s become a running joke between Matt and I, then my godmother said she totally gets it and loves going in too! HA we’re so weird. They just have everything you could ever need) and Matt got on with some work whilst I read some more of my book and started editing photos for this post. We showered, cooked the most amazing steaks for dinner and snuggled in for a night of TV on the couch with some yummy snacks. We of course watched a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, then A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, featuring several football players and Prince William. It was so insightful, and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely advise watching it – and recommending it to any men in your life!

Photo credit to my favourite lil cousin Ellie, I totally forgot to take a photo whilst we were there! #badblogger
These rainbow pencils are AMAZING! The pink ones are rhubarb and custard flavour… what more could you want?!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a look into my life from this past weekend! We had so much fun, and I’m always so grateful for all the quality time Matthew and I get together. Our schedules have been jam packed lately so we’ve had to make the most of our mornings and evenings, and he’s going away the first week of June – I miss him and am counting down to picking him up from the airport already! LOL. We’re enjoying every little moment together more than ever right now, and we’re SO ready for our holiday together at the end of June! How was your weekend, what did you get up to? I’m counting down to this weekend already, I can’t wait for another weekend with my love, and to spend time with family!

-G x

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

Hi, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

I am so happy it’s officially Spring (even if the temperature outside may not feel like it) but I’m pumped for all of the fun things to come this season. Matt and I are making fun travel plans, we’ve got lots of date days in the books, and we’re switching up our cooking game SO much to make delicious new recipes. Do you know what else I’m super excited for? Cleaning. ‘Tis the season, right?! In an era of self-confessed Hincher’s, cleaning has become a buzzword that we’re all talking about; I discuss my favourite cleaning products with my friends and co-workers in the same way I do my favourite TV shows, it’s literally like a bug we’ve all caught!

In line with my ever-growing obsession with cleaning, it’s time to make a fresh start on my beauty collection. I’ve cleaned out and de-cluttered Marie Kondo style already, but I think I was a little too lenient in a few categories. It’s funny really, because when it came to throwing out Matt’s old t-shirts he hadn’t worn for three years I was practically skipping to the charity shop to get rid of them, however if he’d tried to prise that iconic blush from 2014 out of my hands I’d have been giving all the excuses under the sun as to why I must keep it!

My cleaning for Spring has only just begun, and in the next few weeks I’m going to make the switch over from my Autumn/Winter wardrobe to my Spring/Summer one; another time to declutter, donate and sell items that no longer bring me joy, and this time I’m genuinely excited about doing so. I just love the feeling of everything feeling fresh and new in Spring! Wardrobe switch over videos from my favourite gals, Emma Hill and Anna Newton, have had me dying to do the switch over for weeks, and I’m sure I can convince Matt to get rid of a few more bits too. It’s all about balance, right?! Anyway, there will be more on this in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s all the things I’ve done or am planning to get started on my Spring beauty declutter, and you can join in too!

Clean out your makeup storage
It sounds so redundant, but it’s so important to start with a fresh canvas when it comes to any aspect of cleaning and refreshing what you’ve already got. I’d start with emptying everything; whether you’ve got makeup in pouches, bags, acrylic organisers or your back-ups stashed in drawers, put it all into one big pile. Now it’s time to fully clean out your storage; most pouches and makeup bags can go in the wash (make sure to check the label beforehand!) and a good all purpose cleaner should take care of the rest. The one pictured is my absolute favourite, Wild Rhubarb from Method, it’s eco friendly and leaves everything sparkling clean, not to mention the amazing scent fills the whole room way after you’ve finished cleaning.

Sort through your products
Before you put back any products into their freshly cleaned homes, check to make sure everything is good to use. This is the basic checklist I follow during a clear out:
Is it safe to use? Makeup products don’t last forever, and chances are if you’ve had a product for over two years it’s no longer safe. Foundations can last anywhere between 12 months to 24 months, most powder products generally are good for 24 months, and lip products should last around 12 months. Mascara is the one product I think everyone – myself included – doesn’t exchange regularly enough, as their expiration date is just three months from opening. All makeup and skincare products have a small square with a number in; this is the recommended lifetime (in months) of the specific product. Be honest with yourself and throw out anything that is no longer safe to use.
Will I actually use this? You may have just picked up a blush only two months ago so it’s definitely safe to use, but now you’ve brought it home it’s apparent that it’s way brighter than it looked in store, and you’d feel like you were in costume as a Russian doll if you wore it. It’s disheartening to donate or throw out products you’ve spent your hard earned cash on, but it’s definitely better to give them a home they’ll be appreciated in, instead of leaving them in a drawer. Any unopened and unused products can be donated to women’s shelters, and that’s always my first choice for those products. Lightly used products may be okay to give to your family or friends, at mutual discretion. If something is old and used up, unfortunately it needs to be thrown out, and I’d recommend handing in your rubbish to your local L’Occitane store, who have a fantastic cosmetic recycling program with Terracycle, all of the details you need are included in the link.
Is this an everyday product or an optional product? My everyday makeup lives in my makeup bag, and I tend to favour the products I know and love to put in here, or something new I’ve bought and am trying out. As Matt and I live between our parents’ houses whilst we’re saving for a house (it’s only for another year or so, and we actually really love it!) it’s so much easier to keep my things in a bag. I keep all of my optional products – I still have nine blushes after my clear out, dear Lord – in a drawer in my vanity table, organised by category. I do switch out products from time to time, whether it’s a concealer or mascara, I go through stages of liking one product for a while then fancying a change. Be realistic, and don’t keep an overwhelming amount of options with your everyday times as you’ll be less likely to try new things.

Wash your makeup brushes
Is it just me that feels like my life is approximately 87% more together when my makeup brushes are clean? No? Seriously, it’s one of those tasks I dread, and I put off for way longer than necessary but it’s never as bad as I think. I love the feeling of doing my makeup for the first few days afterwards with freshly cleaned tools, especially when I’ve cleaned my makeup sponge too! I’d really recommend investing in a brush cleansing palette next time you’re feeling spendy as they make the process way quicker and easier, and I genuinely think keeping on top of the cleaning keeps my brushes looking better for longer. Some of my face brushes are about seven years old, most are sadly discontinued but they look good as new because I’ve looked after them. Also, you definitely don’t need to invest in specific brush cleaners, Johnson’s baby shampoo works a trick, and you can get huge bottles at Costco that will last forever!

Shop your stash
Re-introducing old favourites is one of my favorite ways to update my makeup bag or skincare routine! Now you’ve sorted out what is still good to use, you’ve almost definitely found products you totally forgot you owned. Please tell me that’s not just me who forgets they’ve purchased things?! I always find lipsticks I’d once loved and worn every day, that had been banished to the back of a drawer and left unloved for months. This is the stage where I’ll probably switch out my mascara (my current one has definitely been used for longer than three months!) and add in a different eyeliner or a new lippie. Always a new lippie. I feel very refreshed after switching out just a few products, as I’d liked what I’d been using for a while I had no desire to change things around, and Matt even noticed! I also found a Jouer eyeshadow pencil that I literally have no recollection of buying, but wow it’s beautiful and it’s become a go-to in my makeup bag over the past week.

Add one or two new items
I’m currently doing a Beauty No Buy for April, so I cannot purchase any new makeup or skincare products, except if a product I use every day runs out. However, my favourite part of a clear out has to be realising where the gaps are in your collection, and things that you could do with for the new season. I don’t personally fake tan, but I know lots of people will be picking up an extra shade of their foundation or concealer in darker shades around this time of year, ready for their Spring and Summer tanning. I save that for Summer when I go on holiday, although I probably shouldn’t bother as I gain more freckles than I tan, I wish I tanned like Matt did! I would love to get an everyday highlighter as the only one left in my stash is definitely more for a night out and is pretty heavy on the shimmer. I realise by my confession above that blush is the last thing I ‘need’ to buy but I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush as I’ve seen so many people rave about them, and I’ve lusted after one for months!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope this post inspired you to have a clear out of your makeup and maybe re-introduce some old (or new) products! What is your go-to makeup product this Spring? Have you been excited about anything you’ve re-discovered from your collection recently?

-G x

The Importance Of Being Kind In An Unkind World

Hi, loves! Happy Sunday!

I feel like the world we live in is constantly throwing out negative thing after negative thing; topics such as climate change, natural disasters, illness and pollution are inescapable to anyone who pays attention to the news or even social media. Add in other horrible headlines that we see on a near-daily basis; murders, animal cruelty, sexism and poverty, and it’s no wonder the world struggles to be kind and positive. Now, this blog post is not at all to put a downer on your Sunday, but it’s to show you that in my opinion, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and each other is to be kind.

jo-malone-peony-and-blush-suede-candle-how-to-be-parisian-an-edited-life-hinch-yourself-happy-homesense-flowers-pink-peonies-stackers-jewellery-box

I have been thinking a lot recently about the way I act towards others, and the way others act towards me. I really wanted to write a somewhat chatty blog post about this as it’s something I think we can all struggle with sometimes. I know personally if I was having a bad day, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought about how my mood can affect others, but that’s something I’ve really been working on the past few months. I find that my mood is often brought down if someone else is taking their bad mood out on me; if someone is snappy or rude, I feel like it’s contagious and it makes me feel miserable too. However, when someone is kind and friendly towards you, this also has a contagious effect and the smallest thing can make my whole day.

Another thing that has got me thinking about kindness, is After Life, a Netflix show created by Ricky Gervais, who is also the lead character. Matt and I are only five episodes in and I’ve cried seven times already, it’s moving, incredibly sad, witty, and so emotional. The story is based around a man called Tony, who recently lost his wife Lisa to breast cancer, and how this affects him and everyone around him who just want to help. He’s struggling to deal with all of the emotions he feels since her death, and contemplated taking his own life as a result. There are funny parts in there too, and without giving too much away it is a perfect example of the fact you don’t know what other people are going through. Kindness is sometimes the only thing we have, and it’s truly important to spread and share with everyone you meet.

Being kind is honestly one of the best traits in a person in my opinion, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many kind-hearted people. I know I talk about my boyfriend approximately 24 hours a day (sorry not sorry), but he’s really just the best thing in my life. He is without a doubt the most hard-working, generous and kind man I’ve ever met, and he makes me so proud. His kindness is endearing; he always wants to help, he makes other people feel good about themselves, and he is such a happy person. He genuinely inspires me to be a better person every day! My mum and dad are so loving and kind; they help anyone in any way they possibly can, and they never expect anything in return for that. My family and close friends are a great bunch of kind-hearted people, and I know how lucky I am to have this kind of inner circle.

This past week I was in Asda picking up our dinner ingredients, and an elderly lady was struggling to reach something on a lower shelf so I grabbed it for her. I didn’t think about it, and I’m sure this is a pretty natural reaction for anyone, of course we’re going to help people when we can, but she was so grateful and happy that I’d done such a simple thing. She stopped to chat for a little while, and explained she had lots of problems with her hip and could no longer do everyday tasks the same way. We spoke for only a few minutes, and when we said goodbye she thanked me for being so kind to her, which naturally made my eyes fill with tears. (I’m a crier, lol). I’d had a long day at work, was feeling a little stressed out and was wishing away the hours until Matt finished work so I could curl up with him. It was a great reminder of how much our actions can directly affect those around us, even people we don’t know, and why being kind should not depend on your mood. I felt so happy to have this little exchange with the lady, and it gave me all the warm fuzzies to see how happy she was from stopping for a quick chat.

Being kind is not exclusive to people of wealth or people without, it’s something inclusive to all and I think it should be a higher priority for people, myself included. Organise your day or week, and make sure to take time out each day to carry out small acts of kindness. Kindness may not always be the most important thing in our lives, we all have different priorities at different times, but I truly think if we all focus a little more on it, the world would be a much better place.

As I said above, kindness can be contagious and that is one of the best things about it in my opinion. How many times have you seen a stranger smile at you, smiled back and instantly felt happier? Or recieved a hug at the end of a long day that just felt like heaven? Or given a gift and seen the joy on someone else’s face? Being kind can be a truly selfless act, of course, but it’s lovely that it has a boomerang-like effect; we get a buzz from making others feel good, and I think that’s pretty special.

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Fifteen Easy Things You Can Do Today To Be More Kind:
Smile. It’s really such a small thing, but how good do you feel when a stranger smiles at you randomly? Or you’re being checked out at the grocery store by a smiley cashier? Be generous with your smiles, they’re free!
Make dinner for your partner. Cooking together is always our preference, but Matt loves when I make dinner for him coming home from work. He sees it as such a nice gesture and I love to do it for him. He repays the favour on his days off when I’m at work and makes dinner for me coming home, I appreciate it so much too.
Donate to a charity. As little as £1 can make a huge differnce to those in need, you don’t have to think big to donate. Whether you’d like to give money, old items you no longer benefit from, canned foods (always needed at the homeless shelters!) or your time, give generously.
Pay for someone’s drink in the line behind you. I love to do this for someone from time to time. It’s so apparent how out-of-the-blue it is, and how flipping happy they are at the prospect of a free drink! You can also try this out at the drive thru, which Matt told me I need to stop doing or people will be following me through like I’m the Pied Piper. LOL.
Look for the best in situations. Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, and watering your (metaphorical) little garden to help it grow and flourish, is up to you. Don’t get bogged down with whatever is going on in the world whether it’s personal or in general; embrace it, and find the positives. If you look really hard you’ll find some!
Visit with family. They love to see you, and they want to hear about all the stuff you’ve been up to. Matt and I try to visit with our grandmas as much as possible, and we know how much they appreciate that. We see both our families so much and we love it, we’re super family orientated and thrive off quality time spent with them.
Make someone a cuppa. Whether it’s your partner in the morning, your co-workers throughout the day or whilst visiting your mum in the evening, making someone a hot drink is one of the sweetest things you can do. And, very British.
Text a friend and ask how they are. It’s so important to check in with your friends, and it’s something I’m really working on doing more often. I’ve never been great at replying to messages (sorry!) but I’m trying to be intentionally quicker and better at replying, and planning in catch ups.
Let the person behind you with less groceries cut infront. I’ve been allowed to do this so many times as I’m forever popping into Aldi for just a packet of bacon and brioche bread buns (Matt’s fave for a weekend morning, LOL) when people are doing their weekly food shop. I always feel a little awkward pushing in, but it’s a sweet gesture that always makes me smile.
Be thoughtful. Did your boyfriend have a bad day? Does your mum feel poorly? Has your friend been going through something rough? Run them a bath, bring them their favourite treats, or spend a little extra time with them.
Tip good service generously. Matt and I always tip when we receive good service in a restaurant, and I think it’s so important to show gratitude for this. In England it’s a little different than in other countries, as waiters and waitresses get paid a fair wage (generally speaking) so do not ‘rely’ on tips the same way as they do in, for example, the US. It’s not expected here per se, and it’s a lovely treat for someone’s hard work.
Hold the door for the person behind you. One of the most simple gestures you can do for someone but I can’t tell you how much this one can be appreciated.
Leave nice comments on social media. Whether it’s on your friend’s Facebook status or an accquaintance’s Instagram photo, share the love! It takes literally seconds from your day, and it’s always so nice to receive lovely comments. I love receiving blog comments SO much and I’m actively trying to comment more on the blogs I read and love.
Watch whatever your boyfriend wants to watch on TV (without complaining). Who cares if you’ve watched every televised football game for the past three weeks? Who cares if you still have no idea what’s going on in Corrie and you’re hiding from seeing any spoilers? Making sacrifices, as small as watching the football, is so appreciated by your partner, just make sure you get to watch your show next time!
Compliment a stranger. If you like someone’s top, hair cut or just the way they acted towards you (or someone else), tell them!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts on kindness in the comments below. What was the last ‘random act of kindness’ someone did for you? Or what did you do for someone else? Do you have to sometimes make a conscious effort to be kind too?

-G x

How To Become A Morning Person This Spring

Hi, loves!

I’ve always loved the idea of being a morning person. A sense of getting up when the birds begin chirping, being up and about roaming around before others have even opened their eyes, and just getting started on the day from the crack of dawn. My boyfriend thrives in the mornings, and I had just resided to it not being for me. He’s always full of the joys of Spring (appropriate, right?) the second his eyes open, and despises the fact I snooze our alarm at least twice every morning. Well, I used to!

Over the past few months I’ve been working so hard to become a morning person, to enjoy early mornings and to look forward to them, instead of dreading them. There’s a few things that have worked wonders to change my mindset, and I’m now officially one of those people. It’s actually pretty great, and I can’t stop banging on about it to my friends. Also, it means you get to eat more delicious food. Breakfast really IS the best meal of the day!

Prepare your clothes/bag/food etc the night before. I used to do this way back when I was in school, and I felt great pleasure in having my uniform hanging on the front of my wardrobe door, my Jane Norman bag filled to the brim with crap I didn’t need (textbooks? what are those?) and my makeup set out and ready to go. When I went to college, I started to go for the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-possibly-still-hungover look more often than not, and my eagerness to be prepared for the day ahead went down the drain. Then, I started the world of work, and I just never got into a rhythm that worked for me. Fast forward to 2019: after almost seven years in the working world, I’ve got it down. My work bag is always ready to go, Matt and I’s clothes are ironed and hanging up on our wardrobe door before our heads hit our pillows, and our lunches are prepared for the next day. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and sometimes I still even place my makeup products on my dressing table, ready to use when I’m bleary eyed and fighting the urge to jump back into bed for another cuddle!

Go to bed a reasonable time. It’s probably the most obvious thing to point out, but it’s for good reason. Waking up early and feeling ready to take on the day, are never going to go hand-in-hand if you’re falling asleep mid-way through a movie you decided you just had to watch at 11pm. Matt and I are such homebodies – we love our cosy evening routine so much – and quite honestly we’re very rarely awake at 11pm! That is the latest of nights for us, specifically reserved for weekends when Matt’s off work. In our twenties and living the high life. We’re all different, but scientists believe the optimum number of hours we should sleep lands between the six to eight hour mark, and I have to say for us, I agree. If we get less than seven hours we’re a little cranky, and counting down to having an early night from the second our alarm goes off. I think the best way to tweak this is to try to go to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each day, gradually working up to an hour or hour and a half earlier, and seeing how you feel getting up at the same time or earlier in the mornings.

Stop pressing snooze. Seriously. I admit it: I’m a fan of the snooze button. I used to religiously set alarms for an hour (or sometimes two) before we were going to get up just so I could enjoy snuggling back in and falling asleep again. I know. Matt hated it but never complained, bless him! You’ll be glad to know I’ve finally relaxed on the super early alarms. I still set our alarm a tad earlier than we need to get up to get ready for the day ahead, but generally by a much more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes. This gives us a little time to wake up, snuggle in with each other and talk about our sleep and the day ahead. *Cue lots of me telling Matt he said something super cute but he was fast asleep and has no recollection. And I’m probably complaining about him stealing all the covers. He does it every night!* In hindsight, I never actually felt better from snoozing our alarm either, if anything it made me more tired and grumpy, because I would fall back asleep then jump awake, feeling more startled every time.

Create a routine. I love routines. Love, love, love them. That will be no surprise to any regular readers, I think they just make life so much more simple! Due to Matt’s varying shifts throughout the week, our mornings are a little different each day, but that actually makes things a little easier for me, I think. Some days we’re up at 6am, and he’s out of the house around half an hour later. On those mornings I love to write and edit upcoming blog posts and/or squeeze in a thirty minute yoga session before I have to get ready for work. The days we get to snooze a little longer are when I’m out of the house first (much later at around 8.30am), and they’re generally reserved for little lie ins and cups of tea in bed. Both glorious in their own way! Of course, weekends are a whole different ball game (if Matt is off work, that is) – it’s our time to sleep a little longer and just move at a slower pace. Also, I find my days start so much better if I don’t start to browse social media the second I turn off the alarm. I’m obviously not perfect and I do usually catch up on my chosen platform (Instagram, ALWAYS!) before I leave the house, but it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up anymore. Matt and I try so hard to not look at our phones whilst we’re lying in bed in the morning, otherwise it makes us want to stay there for at least another twenty minutes! It’s still a work in progress, but little steps climb mountains. Or something like that.

Give yourself things to look forward to. It’s almost like bribing yourself, but having something in the morning to get up for is going to make you want to do it. I don’t really need to do this any more, but in the early days of trying to get up earlier and enjoy it, I really did need all of the motivation I could get! Whether it was the promise of a yoga session, an extra twenty minutes to binge-watch vlogs whilst I got ready (look no further than Emma Hill or The Anna Edit, they’re a dream) or cups of tea in bed, these little things became a reason to get up and get on with the day.

Let in the light and open the windows. Hallelujah, it’s no longer like the dead of night when it’s time to get up! Since mid-February when the mornings started getting warmer and lighter, my mood rose so quickly. We all know getting up when it’s dark and cold outside is ten times harder, so putting ourselves into new routines throughout the Spring and Summer gives us a better shot of carrying it on throughout the colder months too. Matt and I sleep with the window open every night (although, not too open. A few weeks ago, our next door neighbour’s cat let himself in during the middle of the night, plonked his bum on our bedside table and DRANK OUR GLASS OF WATER. guys. IT DRANK FROM THE GLASS. I woke up to the sound of his tongue lapping it up and screamed until Matt woke up. I sh*t you not. Also, we are not cat people hahaha). Anyway, I digress, but waking up to a light chill in the room is actually quite nice, and I find it weirdly motivating. It’s not freezing cold, so I find it just wakes me up a little more. Also, any excuse to wear bae’s dressing gown while I get ready, it’s so much cosier than mine!

Experiment with delicious breakfasts. Let’s be honest, food is the best part of everyone’s day, and in my opinion breakfast food just pips anything else to the top of the list. If you have time for homemade pancakes and berries covered in syrup then more power to you, but I’m thinking the quick, easy options are the best to go for in the mornings before work. Think avocado toast, oatmeal, Special K (I’m having a bit of a love affair with that right now!) or smoothies packed with all the goodies. If there’s one thing that’s sure to get me excited about getting up it’s food! Also, not to sound like your grandma, but breakfast is so important. Even if you’re running super late and barely have time to catch your breath, at least grab a banana or protein bar, you’ll thank me for it when the 11am slump doesn’t arrive!

I hope this post helped to give you a little inspiration, or maybe a few laughs at least! Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy getting up and getting on with your day? Please let me know your tips in the comments below!

-G x

Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of Spring, beautiful people!

I am so excited for the new season, and to finally say goodbye to Winter! It’s weird, we definitely didn’t have a super cold Winter like we have in past years, but it seemed to last so long, I feel like I’ve been anticipating Spring since January. Although most of our Winter was pretty warm, this past weekend we woke up to snow, I was not impressed haha.

Spring is a season of new beginnings, blossoming flowers and warmer weather, and I think this year it’s going to be one of my favourite seasons. Matt and I already have so much planned and it’s the best feeling to have exciting things to look forward to. I’ve been feeling very reflective over the past few days, and after having something unfortunate happen I’ve been truly counting my blessings more than ever. I feel so lucky for what I have; an amazing boyfriend that I love more than life itself, a solid family and friend network, a job that I enjoy, my blog, car and so much more. I’m feeling happy and ready for a fresh new season to bring a little more joy!

I shared Matt and I’s Winter Bucket List in this post, and we ticked off so many of our items despite being super busy, and had so much fun throughout Winter! I recieved messages from people saying they enjoyed seeing what we had planned and took some ideas from what we wanted to do, so I’ve decided this will definitely be a post that is updated for every season this year. Unfortunately we didn’t get to squeeze in a weekend getaway to Glasgow – we’re hoping to this season instead – but we did book our Summer holiday and we’re heading to Croatia in June, we’re so excited! We also went to five NUFC games (and we won most of them), took a few day trips up North, explored Northumberland and Newcastle SO MUCH, and we went for lots of breakfast dates and beach walks. We had lots of fun date nights – some with our friends, and just spent lots of quality time together. We also got to see my family who live in Alaska for the first time in almost five years, it’s so much better to see each other in person instead of FaceTime-ing. We went for dinner with them this week and had such a lovely evening! A few of the things we didn’t get round to in the Winter may have made their way into things we hope to do this Spring…

Explore more of Northumberland during day trips
Spring-clean our wardrobes/lives (again) Marie Kondo style
Enjoy a staycation at Hotel du Vin in Newcastle
Go for more breakfast or brunch dates
Make s’mores on a chilly Spring evening
Go to a drive-in movie
Spend a weekend away in Glasgow
Celebrate bank holidays the way we always do – date night at one of our favourite restaurants!
Start my new blog series. It’s been a while in the making but I’m so excited
Enjoy a picnic in the sun
Use up beauty products before I buy anything new to replace it. I’m officially on a ‘Beauty No Buy’ for Spring… UHOH
Go to Alwnick Gardens during cherry blossom season
Make/create new recipes together for warmer weather
Buy fresh vegetables from a farmers market for the week
Spend as many weekend mornings as possible walking along the beach
Shoot a Spring fashion blog post (super nervous about this one!)
Go to the Lake District
Squeeze in all of the date nights – this will be listed for every season!
Book a city break to Lisbon
Feel comfortable wearing shorts in England as it gets warmer. Matt has no problem with this one, he’s been wearing shorts since February HAHA
Celebrate Matt and I’s birthdays – we both turn 25 this season!
Go to more NUFC games
Buy all the bunches of beautiful peonies – prepare to see them in every blog photo
Change up my hair colour/style a little (I’m thinking coppery, rich brown tones)
Play mini-golf
Spend an afternoon at The Garage Spa
Write more ‘think pieces’ for my blog
Pick fresh fruits at a nearby farm
Begin shopping for our holiday to Croatia
Plant new flowers in my grandma’s garden for her
Take a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before

Thank you so much for reading! What are you hoping to do this season? Are you as excited as I am for Spring?

-G x

Six Ways Marie Kondo Changed My Life

Hi, loves!

Marie Kondo is an author and organising consultant who is probably one of the most influential people around right now! Her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up, is a best-seller, as is her follow up book, Spark Joy, and now she’s the star of her own TV show on Netflix, all based on her own method (named KonMari) of tidying and organising. So, what is the KonMari method? Well, there’s a lot to it, and I haven’t gone into too much detail on her what’s and why’s in this post. I’d advise reading her book(s) and watching her Netflix show for more details.

I read her book at least a year ago, and although I made small changes to my lifestyle off the back of it, I wasn’t overly fussed on what I’d read. Then, I binge-watched season one of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and totally got the KonMari bug. Literally right away I began overhauling Matt and I’s wardrobes, and then, our lives! I think she’s the sweetest lady, and I love how passionate she is about her hobby-turned-job. I’ve learned so much from Marie, and I really think her teachings have genuinely changed my life in many ways that span beyond cleaning. Today I’m sharing a few things I’ve learned and benefited from since following her teachings, and I hope it encourages you to learn more too!

#1 I’m grateful for everything I own. This is absolutley my favourite thing I’ve learned from Marie, and it was a shock for me to realise I hadn’t previously thought this way. Marie teaches that you should only keep items that spark joy, therefore you love what you own and you own what you love. Since I began clearing out everything I own and seeing everything I’d accumulated right infront of me, it was a bit of a shock to donate or throw out so much stuff. I have very rarely had an emotional attachment to the things I buy before, but now I am truly grateful for the things that made the cut, and I absolutely love/use them more, which is what the lifestyle is all about. I get SO much more use out of my beauty products now! Matt was already so good at wearing most of his clothes, but we both found several items we’d completely forgotten about, and now it’s like we have a whole new wardrobe!

#2 I’m more mindful of what I purchase. I have already been actively trying to be more mindful of what I buy in general in relation to my sustainability journey, but this stepped things up a notch. Since having such big clear outs I don’t want to be in a position where I need to do that again, therefore everything I buy and bring home is intentional. I buy things that I truly love, and I’m way less inclined to make silly impulse purchases. My blog post on Sunday will go into even more detail on this! (Except for candles, we always need more candles for those ~cosy vibes~)

#3 I’m enjoying living more minimalistically than I have before. Okay, so minimalism on the whole scares the heck out of me. I enjoy lots of aspects of the thought process behind living in a minimalistic way, but it’s just never been something I thought I could adhere to, because it seems so strict and regimented. That being said, I definitley had way too many items, from clothing to beauty to miscellaneous, and I no longer feel the need to have so many options of the same item. Does anyone need fourteen blushes? No. Who do I think I am, Jaclyn Hill?! Matt has always purchased items in the sense of quality over quantity, and over the past few months I’ve totally re-trained my thinking to this way too. I wish I’d picked up on Matt’s habits ages ago, I’ve been missing out this whole time and we’d definitley have saved more for our future home. HAHA.

#4 I genuinely enjoy tidying up and organising. I mean, this isn’t necessarily anything new to me, but I have a super love for it now! Matt is more than happy to play a game on the PS4 whilst I happily re-fold everything in his drawers for twenty minutes. #girlfriendgoals, right?! If I have a spare thirty minutes before Matt gets home from work I’m more than happy to blast a little John Mayer and get my (cleaning) groove on, and it definitely makes our evenings feel more relaxed. I think having a clean and tidy living space can make such a difference to your mental health, it just makes the space (and you!) feel light and refreshed. My favourite eco-friendly cleaning brand is Method, all of their products smell SO GOOD. I can’t wait to put this into practice in every room when we buy our home in the next year!

#5 I save so much time getting ready. This one shocked me as I really didn’t realise how much time I’d wasted for years before. Especially since clearing out my beauty products – literally everything; makeup, skincare, bodycare, shower stuff, haircare, toiletry minis – I’ve really seen which products I love as I’m using things up before opening new ones, and an added bonus is I’m saving so much money by not buying crap I don’t need. I’ve definitely had go-to products in the past, but now I easily can reach for my favourite products, and I no longer waste half an hour trying to find that mauve lipstick. I keep my everyday skincare and makeup products in their own pouches, as we’re living between my parents house and Matt’s, and I realised how little I switch things out. Streamlining my beauty products has been one of the best parts of this process for me! I’d love to share an updated What’s In My Makeup Bag with you if you’d like to see it?

#6 *Everything has a home. *Well, almost everything. We’re still not completely finished our tidying journey, but we’re so close! I love that I know where to find what I’m looking for without trying four different spots to see where I shoved it back after the last time I’d used it. Marie’s folding method is so simple, yet also revolutionary, I love it! Rifling through all my products is a thing of the past and it makes cleaning, packing or unpacking SO MUCH EASIER. It’s also great that Matt isn’t constantly asking me where certain clothing items are, because he knows everything has a place. Every cloud, and that!

Thank you so much for reading! Are you as big of a fan girl as I am? Do you love the KonMari method as much as I do? If you’re still yet to get invovled in the whirlwind of cleaning and tidying along with everyone else, what are you waiting for?! Snuggle up and stick Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on, you won’t regret it! (But make sure to clear your schedule for the foreseeable future!)

-G x