My Current Skincare Routine: Winter Edition

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m so excited about because I really just wanted to talk about all the products I’m loving right now. I should start by saying that my skin is combination, and like most people’s it leans way more to the dry side during the Winter months. My skin is also dehydrated, and that’s something I’m really trying to treat. Overall I’m pretty happy with my skin right now, and I’ve learned it’s never going to be ‘perfect’ which is fine! I recently talked about the things I’ve learned from my experience with acne, and I think it’s so important that we stop being so hard on ourselves for not having perfect skin. Nobody has perfect skin, and that’s okay! Also I’m sure this may seem like a lot of products to some (and possibly very little to others) but this is just what works for me 🙂

AM

I cleanse my face every morning with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser which I absolutely love! This cleanser leaves my face feeling clean and is the perfect first step in the morning as it’s not at all harsh or stripping. It removes all of the skincare product residue from the night before easily and gently, and it has a really pleasant, light scent which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of highly fragranced cleansers. I really look forward to washing my face with this every morning!

Depending on how my skin is, I tone with Pixi Glow Tonic but I tend to only use this on the days my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have an active breakout/cystic acne. This is without a doubt my favourite toner as it is packed with glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin. I really think this makes a huge difference to the pores on my cheeks too, it definitely reduces the appearance of them and overall helps my skin look so much brighter. It literally makes you glow!

Whether I have or haven’t used my toner, my next step is always Hydraluron serum. As soon as the weather gets cold, my skin gets dry and dehydrated and this serum works to boost moisture levels in the skin, and hold on to all of the moisture from your moisturiser. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (a huge tell tale sign is your makeup breaking up/not lasting throughout the day) you should give this a go as it makes all the difference! It’s not a miracle worker and my skin is definitely still dehydrated, but it has improved so much since I started using this serum. I only use a pea sized amount across my whole face; it absorbs straight in and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all. Also, just an FYI, Caroline Hirons swears by this product so much it’s been coined Hironsluron by her loyal readers/viewers!

I’m not usually too fussed on which eye cream I use as I’ve never found a day time eye cream that makes much difference to me, but that all changed when I picked up La Roche Posay Hydraphase eye cream. I’ve been using this around two months and it feels so nice, absorbs into my under eye area quickly and is cooling which is lovely if your eyes can be a little puffy in the morning! My concealer always sits well on top of this which is also a bonus as I’ve tried several eye creams that pill under makeup and cause texture.

For my moisturiser I like to combine two products; I take a smidge of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and mix it with a bigger smidge of Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. So technical, I know! If I have a bad breakout I apply a little Effaclar Duo directly over the area, but most days I mix them together with my fingertips and apply all over my face. Effaclar Duo has been a staple in my skincare routine for years and it’s something I’ve always kept in my collection, but with consistent use it’s made such a difference to my skin. I love love love Lait Crème Concentré – which is one of the best selling French pharmacy skincare products ever – as it’s very hydrating, but sinks into the skin so well and is a perfect base under makeup. Makeup artists worldwide swear by this as a must have product in their kit, it also doubles as a primer which is great for travelling!

My favourite ever lip balm is hands down Nuxe Reve de Miel – made by another fantastic French pharmacy brand – I just cannot say enough good things about this! It’s creamy, moisturising, non-sticky and keeps my lips moisturised for hours. I use this morning and night, and I also keep my Nuxe Reve de Miel stick in my bag which I re-apply several times throughout the day. Matt is a huge fan of these lip balms too!

PM

My favourite time of the day apart from snuggling up in bed with Matt is taking my makeup (and bra) off. As soon as I’m home for the evening I like to take off my makeup, get showered/bathed and throw my pj’s on, and then I’m cosy for the night! Over the past few weeks I’ve been reaching only for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is an old favourite of mine. This balm takes off every. single. scrap. of makeup on your face and doesn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin. I apply to my dry face, and massage in to start to break down my makeup. I then wet my fingers and carry on massaging in the balm, which turns to an oil-like consistency when water is added. I take my flannel soaked with warm water to remove everything. It literally takes less than a minute! I’m also a huge fan of these flannels from M&S; they’re inexpensive, wash so well and make the world of difference to my cleansing routine.

I always always always double cleanse – because Caroline Hirons told me to – and nine times out of ten I reach for my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser that I use each morning. I just love this stuff! It’s also very boyfriend friendly; I’m forever trying to get Matt into a set skincare routine and this is one of the few products he actually enjoys using.

Each night I tone my face with either Pixi Glow Tonic or Pixi Retinol Tonic on a cotton round. I choose which one to use based on my skin that day; if I’m suffering with an acne flare up or a bad breakout I reach for Glow tonic, and if I’m having a good skin day I reach for Retinol tonic. This is such a low dose of Retinol that it is safe to use every day, so I often use this several nights in a row, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

My next step is to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum which is fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin! I personally prefer Hydraluron for during the day, but I love love love this product for the evening. I find this is a lot more runny in consistency and you have to be careful not to pump too much out, but it is such a bargain and really has made a difference to my skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated, and is the perfect product to be sandwiched between cleansing and applying the rest of my skincare products.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know I am obsessed with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask and nothing will ever replace this for me! I’ve used this product for around two to three years and it is just so hydrating. I especially love that this eye cream is cooling on application and as it’s a gel-like texture it sinks straight in. I really love this eye cream and it’s a product several people have told me they tried because I rave about it so much… it’s so worth the hype, I promise!

Before I apply my my moisturiser, I use Pixi Glow Tonic serum followed by Botanics Restoring Overnight facial oil which is my perfect evening combination. The Pixi serum is just beautiful! I apply two to three drops across my whole face and it helps to exfoliate (like the toner) and hydrate. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after application, and if I ever skip this step I feel like my skin really pays for it the next day. The Botanics facial oil was something I picked up on a whim in Boots – we’ve all done it, right? – and it is the most luxurious facial oil I’ve ever used! I love the scent so much, it’s packed full of essential oils and is really calming. I am so impressed with the quality of the oil and I’d really advise anyone wanting a little luxury in their skincare routine to pick it up! One thing to note is that I don’t apply the oil to any areas affected with an active breakout!

My holy grail skincare product this time of year is Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, it’s truly the best hydrating moisturiser I’ve ever tried! I feel like it just layers so well on top of my serums and oil, and makes my skin feel so soft and plump. I love that it’s such a light texture but a little really does go a long way, and it is a great product if you have combination skin. It definitely doesn’t make my face feel or look oily, but it concentrates on any dry patches and just makes things so much more hydrated!

Just like I do in the mornings, I always finish off my evening skincare routine with my Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. I generally tend to do my skincare routine early in the evening so I often apply several times more before I go to sleep, and I always put it on just before Matt and I get into bed.

I of course use various treatments – sheet masks are a personal fave – throughout the week/month, and I just see how my skin is doing and what it needs at that time. You can read all about my favourite treatment products here, I still use and love all of those products, I just have a few extra faves now too! I love trying new beauty products but these days I’m slightly more hesitant to try new skincare products as I’m really happy with the ones I’m currently using! I would love to try more from the Botanics range though, and the Clinique Moisture Surge hydrating water gel has been on my ‘to try’ list forever! What are your go-to skincare products for the colder months? Have you tried anything I talked about in this post, or are you adding them to your Christmas list?

-G x

Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

Happy Wednesday, loves! I’m so excited for this weekend for several reasons… especially because it’s bank holiday! Who doesn’t love three day weekends? I just wish they were every week. Secondly, Matt and I are going away for the weekend, which is our favourite thing to do. Thirdly, we’re visiting with Matt’s family! We’re so excited to spend time with them, admire the beautiful countryside and explore the cute little town we’re staying in. It’s so much hotter down South, and we are very excited to spend our last Summer weekend in the sun. I know Autumn technically doesn’t start until almost the end of September, but for me as soon as August is out, I’m all about Autumn. Who am I kidding, I’ve been ready for Autumn since JULY, lol! We’re also getting to squeeze in one more road trip, and boy do we love road trips! (Also, I’m so sorry about these photos. I know they’re not great I just didn’t have time to take better ones, please forgive me!!)

As any regular readers will know, I love packing whether it’s for a short trip or a holiday – just search ‘packing’ in the side bar and a ton of posts will come up – so I wanted to share with you all what I’m packing for our last weekend of Summer! In just a few weeks we’ll be living in coats, boots, scarves and hats (I’m SO excited, I can’t pretend I don’t love Autumn!) but it’s probably one of the last times we’ll be able to wear minimal clothing here in the UK. I’m extra excited to pack this time because, I finally get to make good use of our packing cubes that I purchased during Prime Day(s)!

When packing skincare products and toiletries for a short trip, I try to pack pretty minimal. I don’t need options and I don’t need products I’ve only just started trying out; if I’m going to get breakouts or irritated skin you can just guarantee it’s when we’re away from home! For that reason I like to take tried and tested products that my skin loves, and keep it super simple and easy with my skincare. As you’ll see in an upcoming post, I’m currently obsessed with Pixi’s new Vitamin C Tonic, it’s working miracles for my skin! I love to take sheet masks with me when we’re travelling as they make for great pick-me-up’s if you’re skin is feeling a little naff, and they’re super easy with no mess if you only have ten minutes whilst you’re getting ready for the day or evening.

For my toiletries, I like to take small travel-sized products because this isn’t where I want to take up a lot of space. I decant my favourite shampoo and conditioner as I really don’t like to mix up my hair products; when I find something that works I run with it. I can save space to be without my trusty banana hair mask from The Body Shop (just for a few days!) and I really try not to overpack. Matt shares whichever shampoo and shower gel I take, but he’s not at all fussed what I choose. We’re staying in an apartment that provides a hairdryer – something you should always check before you travel – and I’ll probably only wash my hair once anyway.

I find makeup is the hardest thing to be minimal with as I like to switch up my products, and I don’t know how my skin will react whilst we’re away. We all have good skin days and bad skin days, so I just have to hope for the best that my makeup will cover any imperfections (and last all day/night). Lip products are the hardest for me to cull (hence taking five) but I’d definitely rather have ‘too many’ options than not enough, and they’re so little they take up hardly any space anyway! I really really love my new Pillowtalk eyeshadow palette, it’s by far the prettiest palette I’ve ever owned and it creates the most beautiful looks.

Skincare:
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter | Muslin Cloths | Bioderma Micellar Water | Re-Usable Cotton Pads | The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Exfoliator *gifted | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream *gifted | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Pixi Glow Tonic | The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil | The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution *gifted | The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Sheet Mask | Carmex Watermelon Lip Balm

Toiletries:
The Body Shop Tahitian Tiare Shower Gel | Gillette Satin Care Shaving Gel | Gillette Venus Swirl Razor | Bedhead Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner (decanted) | Travel Bottles | Morrocanoil Treatment Light | Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses | The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Body Lotion | MAC Turquatic Rollerball Perfume | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Perfume | IGK First Class Dry Shampoo | Straighteners (similar) | The Wet Brush Detangler

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 1N1 | Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer in C6 | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer in 1N | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | The Body Shop Honey Bronze in Shade 3 | Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love | NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Brunette | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black | Colorpop Highlight in Flexitarian | Brushes mostly Zoeva | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose | Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk | Physician’s Formula Velvet Liquid Lipstick in All Natural Nude | Mac Fix + (Travel Size)

I always like to travel in something comfy, and normally I’d stay away from jeans at all costs. However, when I was clearing out my wardrobe – my post is finally coming on that next week – I re-discovered a pair of Tori mom jeans I forgot I owned. I’ve since bought another pair (which I can’t find online, sorry!) and I love them so much. They’re comfortable, forgiving and don’t make me feel like my waist is being cut off, and they’re super cute! I’m pairing with a cute slogan t-shirt – how perfect is this ‘long weekend’ tee from J Crew?! – a cosy cardigan and my comfiest Adidas Coast star trainers, as our travel day is also our first day in Stamford and we’re going to be doing a lot of visiting with family and exploring.

We’re not too sure on our our plans for Saturday night but we do know we’re going out for dinner, so I’ve packed a midi skirt with a black cami and option of a black t-shirt just depending of how I feel. Paired with my super comfortable black heeled sandals, this is such an easy outfit and one that I know I’ll feel good in! On Sunday we’re up early for a breakfast date and another day of exploring/visiting family, so I’m going with a slogan t-shirt and a midi skirt, again paired with my Adidas trainers. On Sunday night we’re going out for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, and I’m not sure where we’re going so packed two options, just incase. The first being (you guessed it) my favourite Zara leopard print midi skirt with cami, and the second a blouse and jeans. Both of the outfits work with my black heeled sandals so I don’t need to take any other shoes! I find making sure your shoes, bag and jewellery work with any outfit option is key, and really helps you to not overpack.

On Monday we’re unfortunately heading back up North, so again I’m opting for those same jeans I wore on the way down (with the option of leggings, depending how much I eat over the weekend LOL) and a slouchy Levi’s tee. I find that I’m always wearing a t-shirt these days, they’re my favourite because they’re cute, comfy and go with anything. I’ve packed an extra comfy cardigan to keep me warm if I get a little chilly; I’m always cold and I know Matt will have the air con on during the drive down! The only other clothing items I’m taking are underwear and my cutest silky pajamas (they’re on sale right now and perfect for the upcoming Autumn months!) so I can get ready comfortably at the apartment – I never sleep in pj’s but I have an obsession with buying them!! I also always overpack my underwear; for a three day trip I literally will take ten pairs. I don’t know why but I’ve done this ever since I can remember, it’s such a bad habit!

The jewellery I’m taking is just my regular everyday stuff that I always wear; my Pandora rings, Pandora bracelet, Missoma initial necklace (I added the moon charm) and my Fitbit. I don’t like to have to continuously swap out jewellery so keep it pretty simple, although I do wish I was able to accessorize my outfits the way others do. I also am only taking one bag, my trusty little Whistles Verity backpack – I’ve owned this for at least three years and it still looks good as new – it’s super roomy which is perfect for during the day and it can work for the night times too. Also, does anyone else’s boyfriend/husband always give them tons of things to carry when you’re out?! I swear I have three things of my own in my bag then Matt’s sunglasses, wallet, car key etc take up so much space, hah!

My favourite category to pack is always the miscellaneous stuff because I feel like that’s one category you can’t really cut down and the over-packer in me relishes in it! Matt and I very rarely travel with our laptops because we just don’t really need them, but taking my iPad is SO easy and it means we can use it to watch a little Netflix or Amazon Prime, and I can read on it. I also like to record any blogging info on the go and sometimes I prefer to do this on my phone, sometimes on my iPad, it just depends on the day! I think pretty much all hotels/air bnb’s have wifi these days, and it’s never been an issue for us before. Of course we make sure to take our chargers, I always take the book I’m currently reading and Matt loves his Four Four Two magazines. I can’t go on a road trip without my car blanket, and we both love to take snacks, they’re the best part of a road trip! We’ve stocked up on Sweet & Smokin’ Hippeas, Tony’s Chocomolonely and all of the Haribos… *makes mental note to pack bananas and trail mix*

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek into what I packed! I know people love posts like this – me too! – and I’m pretty sure it’s just because we’re all super nosy, LOL. Do you have any fun plans for the bank holiday weekend? Are you going away for the weekend too? I’m going to be recording a Weekend In My Life/Travel Diary post, so that will be up soon. I’m making it my goal to get a cute full length picture of Matt and I, we barely ever get good photos together and it’s something we always get mad about!

-G x

Skincare Saviours

Hi, loves! I am such a huge lover of skincare, it’s my favourite part of my beauty routine and I really enjoy trying new brands and products. That being said, I definitely have my favourites that I come back to time and time again that I couldn’t imagine being without. I talked through my skincare routine in this post back in March and I still love and use all of those products! I have added some new products into my routine over the past few months, but I’ll save those to share with you in an updated skincare routine during the Autumn months. Today I’m talking about my must haves that I like to use randomly during the week, and that are also reserved for those crappy skin days when my regular routine just won’t cut it.

My skin is firmly in the ‘combination’ category; it’s super oily in my T Zone, especially during the Summer months, but I also have dry skin that needs lots of moisture and hydration. I seem to have eczema (or something similar) under my right eye that appears out of nowhere, it’s there right now and it drives me crazy! I am so strict with my skincare routine and I never miss a morning or night; it’s so therapeutic to me and I’m really happy with the products I’m using right now. I am however very intrigued by the new Pixi Vitamin C range and I’m planning on picking up some of those products next time I’m shopping, please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried anything yet and what you think so far!

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
This is my absolute holy grail mask, and I’ve spoken about it A LOT on my blog! I use this once per week, usually on a Sunday evening, and my skin loves it. Matt almost always joins in with my little pamper evenings when I use this mask, because it just makes your skin look incredible. The ‘glow’ part is so true – my skin feels light and glowy, and my makeup always applies better the next day. As I mentioned in this post, I always apply with The Body Shop’s face mask brush which ensures it goes on evenly without clumping, and is not at all messy. It is slightly tingly when applied but that subsides pretty quickly, and although I leave the mask on for around 10 – 15 minutes (pretty much just until it hardens) it never leaves my skin red or puffy. I also swear by all of the sheet masks from The Body Shop as they always leave my skin looking and feeling great! When Matt and I are travelling I always pack a few sheet masks as they’re so travel friendly, and really quick to use! Also, they’re biodegradable and environmentally friendly, doesn’t it just feel good to be in David Attenborough’s good books?

Pixi Glow Tonic
It’s a cult product for a reason, right? A must have in my routine, a product I always travel with and one I recommend to anyone and everyone who will listen, but I have stopped using this every day. Shocking, right? I now use this roughly four to five times per week; I’ve experimented with using it when I felt like my skin ‘needed’ it, every day use, and eventually settled somewhere in-between that. I take this toner on a reusable cotton pad, wipe over my t-zone and take whatever is left on the rest of my face, then once my skin is dry I apply my serum(s), eye cream and moisturiser. I never use this during the morning but I always notice the following day how glowy my skin looks, it’s a genuine miracle worker. It has reduced hyper pigmentation and acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw line SO much, and I love how my makeup applies the next day. Also, I really feel like this isn’t talked about enough when it comes to Glow Tonic; but you MUST use SPF religiously if you use this product, especially during the Summer months.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion *gifted
This product hasn’t been in rotation in my routine very long, but oh my gosh I just love it! It was very kindly sent to me by The Body Shop and I’ve been using this exfoliator two to three times per week since I received it. This is another product Matt ‘borrows’ from me – he’s obsessed with this and how much it clears the blackheads from his nose! I don’t find it harsh on my skin as the exfoliating pieces are so fine and not abrasive, and it never leaves my sensitive skin red or feeling sore. My skin always looks and feels so much brighter in the evenings I use this, and it works very well on acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, it seems to fade/lighten the scars which is amazing. This exfoliator works so well on dry patches, and I know this will be a staple going into the Autumn and Winter months when my skin needs all the TLC it can get. It smells gorgeous and is such a treat to use in the evening, I really look forward to it. I always make sure to use a nourishing serum afterwards – my favourite is of course the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop – which helps to hydrate my skin.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
I bought this product for the first time way before I heard any hype about it, and I feel like it was one of the very rare times I was ahead of the ‘trend’! I ordered this on a whim back in 2016, and after trying so many products for persistent acne I have to admit I didn’t have high hopes. By this point I’d been prescribed various creams by the doctors and even they hadn’t worked, but I was still willing to give anything a shot. I applied this as I’d read online; dipping a cotton bud into the bottom of the bottle without shaking the mixture; and went to sleep. Fast forward to the following morning and the horrible under-the-skin spot that was taking over my chin had almost gone, I literally couldn’t believe it! I’ve always gotten on well with the formula, and I’ve re-purchased several bottles over the years. I only use this now when I have a particularly bad spot and it still works a treat. I apply onto a spot before bed (Matt’s a lucky guy!) and the next morning the spot is always way less red, reduced in size and less painful.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful, I loved sharing this with you because skincare is just my thing. When I was younger I definitely was more interested in makeup products, but the more I learn about skincare the more I love it! What are your skincare saviours that you reach for throughout the week or turn to when you’re having a bad skin day? Have you tried any of the products in this post?

-G x

25 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 25

Hi, loves! This coming Friday, on May 17th, I turn 25 and I’m happy to say I’m way more cool about being a year older than I was when I turned 24. I think our twenties are a weird time; from being teenagers we had goals and aspirations for where we thought we’d be at *insert age* and we may not have met the goals we’d laid out for ourselves. I’m actually really okay with that this year, and I feel so blessed to be turning 25 feeling genuinely happier than I have for all of my twenty-something birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my last birthday and Matt and I had so much fun, but I was still so worried about being another year older. Back on my 21st birthday I didn’t even celebrate because I was really struggling with my anxiety and felt so rubbish, yet now at 25 I feel like a whole new person!

Even though I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been right now, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to say that! I have the most amazing boyfriend in the whole world (you might have heard me mention him from time to time…) and my family and friends are just the best I could wish for. I have a job, a car, lots of new goals I’m working towards and my blog is my little baby! If you had told 21 year old Gill that this would be her life at 25, she’d never have believed it. Anxiety has re-shaped my whole life over the past six years, and although it has been terrible in some parts, I have grown so much and I appreciate life in a whole new way.

1. Your mental health must always be your first priority. Only you can do this for yourself, and it’s so important to listen to what you need (and deserve). No matter what the situation is, if you don’t feel up to it you don’t need to do it and you’ll thank yourself later. We live in a generation where it’s not at all uncommon to suffer or know someone suffering with mental health problems, and it’s something we need to stop being ashamed of, and start speaking up about!

2. Being in love is the best feeling in the whole world. I feel beyond blessed to experience such a deep and meaningful love at such a young age, that some people don’t find in one thousand lifetimes. Matt is not just my boyfriend but my rock, my soulmate, my biggest supporter and my favourite person in the whole world. Falling asleep and waking up with the person you love every day is also hands down one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience, it still makes me so happy every single day/night. I’m so lucky to be in love with my best friend, and I never have or will take that for granted.

3. Moderation is key. This applies to most aspects of life really, but especially with food. Since I was super young I’ve had a bit of a weird relationship with food; I either binge on anything and everything I want, or I barely eat. Over the past few years I’ve found a much better balance; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and if I want to eat chocolate, sweets, ice cream (or whatever!) I’ll enjoy that too. I also have the worst sweet tooth, sometimes I literally can’t help myself!!

4. Learning to drive is one of the best thing you’ll ever do. Well, for me it was. I struggled and stressed my way through driving lessons, failing tests I wasn’t ready for and having panic attack after panic attack at even the thought of another lesson. I finally plucked up the courage to change instructors and breezed through my test (third time lucky!) and now, three and a half years on, I truly couldn’t imagine my life without being able to drive, or my cute little Viva!

5. Always buy the scented candle. Seriously. I am a connoisseur of candles, if I do say so myself, at the grand old age of (almost) twenty five, and if I like the candle I’m going to buy the candle. It makes me happy, and life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Which is more the point of this lesson: do what makes you happy. And buy the damn candle.

6. Always be kind, no matter how you feel that day. But do not expect every kind act to be reciprocated, or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Kindness is so so important, and we can all be a bit nicer from time to time! It’s just important to remember that you don’t know what anyone is going through, and everyone has their own problems to deal with. I delved into this topic way more in this post.

7. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve spent almost twenty five years trying to please everyone, and keep everyone around me happy. It’s a fact that you’re not going to gel with everyone you meet in life, and that’s okay. I really want to be less of a people pleaser, and it’s something I’m working on. I joked to Matt the other day that sometimes I feel like Amy Santiago with the Captain in Brooklyn 99 – desperate to be liked, lol!

8. Always pay yourself first out of your wages. Setting up a direct debit into my savings account has totally changed how I save money; you can’t miss money you didn’t ever see! Every month the day after I get paid, X amount goes straight into my savings account and is there for emergencies only. I have separate savings accounts for various things, but that *just incase* money is so important, and gives me peace of mind.

9. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. This is a hard lesson; to share and to learn, and it’s something I still struggle with now. I want to believe that everyone’s nice and life is sunshine and rainbows but I know that’s not true. If someone talks badly of you when you’re not around, makes you feel/look stupid in front of others or will happily throw you under the bus for their own gain then they’re not worth it.

10. Travelling feeds the soul. I’m not one for backpacking round Australia for three months – props to you, if you are – but I love to explore new places, and Matt is (obviously) my favorite travel partner. Whether it’s city breaks, day trips or week-long jaunts to a hot climate, I absolutely love to travel and I can’t wait to tick more and more places off our bucket list. We got to Croatia in five and a half weeks and I’m SO ready for it!

11. Never apologise for being curious. Asking questions is the way we learn, and it’s not something to be looked down on for. Ever. During my second week at my job back when I was 19 years old and super shy, I innocently asked the person teaching me why she did a few things so I could get a better understanding. She scoffed that I ask too many questions, laughed about me with our other colleagues, and made me feel so uncomfortable for being genuinely curious and wanting to learn. Her reaction sticks with me to this day, and I try to be as helpful as possible when teaching others as a result.

12. There’s a Disney quote for every occasion. There really is! My favourite is always going to be from the man himself: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

13. Having the confidence to walk into the unknown is a beautiful thing. Like starting this blog. I had wanted to create a blog for most of my adult life, as an avid reader/follower of so many, yet I lacked the confidence to do so. I wrote myself off as being not good enough, yet I love writing my blog more and more as the months go on. I’m so thankful for my platform, and even though it is just a hobby for me right now, I take it so seriously.

14. The quality of your social circle is much more important than the quantity. Treasure the people that always have your back and fill you with joy, love and happiness, they’re the good eggs! As you get older I think it’s so difficult to meet new people and make friends, that’s something that shocked me a little about getting older. I’ve said this thousands of times, but I know I’m so lucky that Matt is my boyfriend and my best friend, and I thank my lucky stars for that every single day. Quality over quantity, always!

15. Being open with your emotions does not make you weak. I’ve been told several times that I’m ‘too’ emotional. It’s true that I cry a lot (whether I’m happy or sad, ha!), I often lead with my heart and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. Being emotional means I’m very empathetic to others’ situations however, and that is not a bad quality to have!

16. Learning to cook is life changing. Matt and I flipping LOVE cooking. We love to try new recipes and methods, create our own meals and experiment with different ingredients and flavours. I feel sad I didn’t have an interest in cooking from a younger age and I wish I’d developed it sooner, but I’m so happy it’s something Matt and I are able to learn about together! I delved into how and why we meal plan in this post, and I’m excited to share some of our favourite recipes on the blog in the coming months.

17. Being kind to the planet is so important. I’m ashamed to admit that this is something I’ve only truly thought about over the past two or three years, but I’m proud of myself for making changes to my everyday life and doing what I can to make a difference. I wrote a post about small changes we can make in our everyday lives to live more sustainably here if you’d like to check that out for a little inspiration. I definitely want to write more about this topic on my blog!

18. Mums are always right. If I had have told my 14 year old self this I would have literally laughed in my own face, but it’s true. My mum and Matt’s mum (she’s my second mum, I’m so lucky!!) always know what to do or say no matter what the situation is, and they are strong, amazing women that I’m so lucky to look up to.

19. There’s no place like home. *clicks glittery red heels together* ha! For real, Matt and I are homebodies in every sense of the word. We love cosy nights at home; lighting our candles, cooking a lovely dinner and snuggling up to watch a show. (I’m so excited to do this in our own home, hopefully next year!) We also love our hometown more than anything – Newcastle is honestly the greatest place on earth to us. From where we live, we’re ten minutes away from the city centre in one direction, the beach another, and the countryside in another!

20. Friendships change and that’s okay. Sometimes friendships grow into a life-long bond, sometimes they mould into a weird new territory and sometimes they fizzle out all together. Take the good with the bad and be sure to appreciate the good memories you make as they will last way beyond any empty friendships. You learn so many lessons from your friendships, and I wish I knew this when I was a teenager.

21. Comparing your life to somebody else’s will never bring you joy. You were made to be you; a unique individual with their own thoughts, looks, style, opinions etc and that is a wonderful thing. Don’t feel envious of other people’s lives or circumstances, and put that focus back into yourself. Stay in your own lane and you’ll be so much happier for it.

22. You’ll turn into a grandma sooner than you think. Like I said above, Matt and I are homebodies. We’re those people that think we want to go out for date night, but when the day comes we’d rather stay in and cook a meal or grab a takeaway. We also would rather get an early night in so we can head out early in the morning for breakfast and ‘a wander’ (potentially around a garden centre…). We buy clothes thinking about the purpose and/or longevity. If we’re in the house you can pretty much guarantee I have a blanket draped over me. We’re literally turning into our grandparents more and more as the days roll on and we’re okay with that, just someone please stop me if you see me going in for a blue rinse!

23. Standing up for what you believe can be hard, but always worth it. I hate confrontation. I hate disagreements. I hate arguments. BUT there is always a way to get your point across in a level-headed, relaxed way, and it doesn’t need to cause uproar. Being respectful is the main thing; it’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, stand up for your beliefs or voice your thoughts, and it’s something I really need to do more often.

24. Less truly is more. After the rise of minimalism, sustainability and Marie Kondo, we all felt a bit embarrassed about the amount of crap we’d accumulated, right? Since having several clear outs – tbh, Matt and I really need another – I’m very happy living with less and truly loving what I own. I think about this with everything I buy, and it means I’m way more clever about what is worth the purchase. Does *insert item* spark joy? Will I get use out of *insert item*? Material items will not bring you happiness, no matter how hard you try to make them.

25. Making ‘me time’ is so important. There’s so much more to self care than just the beauty aspect, but I swear treating yourself to pamper evening at least once per week will make your whole life feel different. Go all out with a face mask, hair mask, full body scrub and a Lush bath bomb. Book yourself in for regular salon appointments to keep your hair looking pretty, and indulge in getting your nails done now and then. When you look good you feel good, and I really appreciate ‘me time’.

Thank you so much for reading, it truly means the world to me! I’m taking a little of my own advice from this post, and for the first time on my blog, there won’t be a new post up on Sunday. I’m SO SAD saying that, but I want to enjoy my birthday weekend with Matt and not have to worry about editing, scheduling or keeping up with my new post, I hope you understand! Can you relate with any of the lessons I mentioned in this post? What’s the most important things you’ve learned so far in life? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back on Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend!

-G x

The Cleansers Worth Your Money

Hey, loves!

I’m very excited to be talking about my favourite part of my skincare routine: cleansing my face. I love nothing more than the feeling of coming home from work, taking off my makeup and having a bath, before spending the evening with Matthew, more than likely cooking and watching our shows. (We’re currently watching Our Planet and it’s heartbreaking and amazing at the same time, the walrus scene had me crying so hard!)

I find that taking my makeup off is the first step in unwinding from my day; whether I’ve been at work, out shopping or running errands with Matt, it literally feels amazing every time. I’ve always been loyal to specific cleansers – I used Clinique Take The Day off pretty much exclusively for two years, but then when I changed my mind and no longer wanted to use/buy makeup and skincare products that weren’t cruelty free, I had to start looking at other options.

I shared my cruelty free skincare routine with you last month, and those products are tried, tested and truly loved. I didn’t delve too much into the products I use alternatively, or what I favour when I do switch out products from time to time. I think my skin reacts best when I stay consistent with my day/night moisturisers, and I truly love what I use so I stay away from changing these up. Cleansers are a product I have a little more wiggle room with, and as they’re not staying on my skin for an extended period of time, they don’t seem to cause too much trouble if my skin doesn’t agree with the formulation. I could probably change up my toner reguarly too, but I honestly have no desire to as I love Pixi Glow Tonic more than life itself! All of the products mentioned in this post are cruelty free, so you can shop without guilt if you’re in the market for something new! So, you probably won’t be too surprised by any of my picks based on previous posts, but which products would I recommend?

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser
This is the cleanser that I reach for every morning and some nights, and as I mentioned in my skincare routine it smells very spa-like due to the natural ingredients. The cleanser foams up nicely when applied and never leaves my skin feeling dry or tight after; just a clean canvas to apply my makeup. It’s inexpensive, paraben free and formulated for use on all skin types. I’ve found that generally when a product states it’s suitable for ‘all skin types’ it doesn’t work so well on sensitive skin (my skin is beyond sensitive) but this is fantastic. The cleanser is formulated with witch hazel, which has worked really well to lessen my acne scars, and I’m pretty sure is solely down to this product (and my beloved night cream). On the occasions I use this cleanser in the evening I always take my makeup off prior with micellar water or an alternative cleanser, this is just the next step in my routine. Matt sometimes uses this when he’s having a ‘bad skin day’ – he’s crazy, his skin is perfect – and so does my brother. I picked this up on a whim one day in Boots back in October last year, and I’m so glad I did. I just can’t wait to try more from the brand!
RRP: £5.96

Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser
With my love of Pixi Glow Tonic being strong and unconditional, it’s safe to say I had bloody high hopes for this cleanser, and *spoiler* it didn’t disappoint. I got this as a gift from my parents for Christmas, and after having my eyes on the cleanser for a while I was so excited to try it. I started using it in January, and it was love at first use, although I shied away from using it too much as it’s a lot more expensive compared to the Sukin cleanser. Having used it more regularly over the past few months, I think the price is completely justified and it’s a product I look forward to using. Again, I don’t take my makeup off with this product although I’ve seen some people use it in that way and will probably give it a try now I’ve thought about it. The cleanser is thick and feels so luxurious on the skin, it’s like having a mini facial in our bathroom every night! The 5% gylcolic acid helps to keep my pores clear, and my skin always looks fresh and, literally glowing, after every use. Matt always compliments when my skin looks good, and I noticed every time he said it looked ‘really good’ was the nights I’d used this. It’s becoming an every day staple in my skincare routine, and I know I’ll re-purchase before it runs out.
RRP: £18.00

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
Ah, my beloved milky jelly cleanser. A truly iconic cult product, and boy is it for good reason. I’ve re-purchased this cleanser several times, and when I’m having a moment with it, I really love it. I use this exclusively in the evenings, and although I don’t reach for it every night I do grab this a few times per week. I really like to use it after a night out or a long day where I’ve really stepped up my makeup game and am wearing more than usual. I love to take my makeup off with this as I feel like my skin always feels super soft afterwards, and sometimes I’ll use this to take off my makeup, then cleanse with the Pixi cleanser. It is worth noting that I have combination skin that leans more to the oily side, and my face never feels dry after using this although I’ve seen various reviews saying people find it makes them more dry. In my opinion this is a steal; it’s fuss-free and so simple to use, sometimes the simple stuff really is best.
RRP: £15.00

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter
I’ve used this on and off for years now, I don’t think I could ever not have this in rotation in my routine. Right now I use most nights, as I’m trying to use micellar water less often, due to the waste produced by cotton pads. Again, like the Glossier cleanser I use this to take my makeup off, and I’ll usually follow it up with my Pixi cleanser too. All about that double cleanse life. This cleanser is different as it’s in a balm format; the product is solid and when worked into the skin turns into the most wonderful oily consistency. I find this works especially well on eye makeup, and I never actually need to double cleanse with this product even when I wear waterproof mascara. As this product is formulated with camomile, it has that perfect soothing, calming scent and is so welcome at the end of a long stressful day. There’s also an oil version of this product I reach for over and over again, it’s equally as good and another must-have in my collection. I just need to find a solution to the cotton pads problem – has anyone got any experience with re-usable alternatives? Please help a gal out!
RRP: £10.00

Thank you so much for reading! Is taking your makeup off the best part of your day too? Have you tried any of the cleansers mentioned in this post? What are your go-to cleansers? Let me know in the comments!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

As this post goes live, we will be on our way to enjoy a staycation at one of our favourite hotels, Hotel du Vin at Newcastle Quayside. It’s a birthday treat for Matthew as he turns 25 tomorrow, and we’re making the most of it! We’re planning on doing very little; maybe a chilled walk along the Quayside, a bubble bath, dinner, drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing with yours truly. What more could he want, eh?!

Packing is my thing and I love reading packing related blog posts or watching ‘pack with me’ videos on YouTube, some of these incredible people fit enough clothes for three weeks in a carry on suitcase! Mind = blown. I am borderline obsessed with the whole process and find it so exciting, as soon as we have a trip booked I find myself beginning to plan my outfits, search through my stash of travel sized minis and find the Insta-worthy hotspots usually reserved for the locals. As much as I enjoy that kind of packing, there’s something real nice about heading for a staycation, less than thirty minutes from home. You already know the best places to go! Driving means no luggage restrictions! Full sized beauty products! The ability to pop home if you forget your favourite shoes… Also, it means I don’t have to hide Matt’s birthday presents as I can easily sneak them in the boot.

Really, the chances of me forgetting something on a staycation trip are pretty slim, as I tend to go with the ‘if you might need it, take it’ method of packing when there’s no weight restriction. Slippers? Our favourite blanket? Ski goggles? You name it, I’ve probably packed it. I feel I’m being a tad hard on myself as I’ve definitely honed it down from previous trips, but I’m still not the most minimalistic or streamlined packer, and for a one or two night trip close to home, I’m okay with that. Also, the best thing about travelling anywhere with your boyfriend? He takes literally the essentials. (By ‘he’ I mean me, because of course I end up packing for him HAHA). I’m sure all girls have read between the lines here and know where I’m going with this… extra space for our stuff, YAY!

*I’ve linked all of the items you can still purchase to save you having to find them!*

The Beauty Bits

My favourite part of packing is always my skincare, makeup and toiletries. As I mentioned above, I do love a travel sized mini, but there is something a little bit special about being able to take your old faithfuls without having to find a mini or decant them. Although I often take full sized beauty products on staycation trips, or really anywhere we travel to by car, I tend to take less products overall, and just take the things I actually need. Sort of. I definitely minimize my skincare and makeup routine, and don’t take all of the extra ‘just incase’ bits I usually keep in my skincare stash. I’m so happy with my daily skincare routine so I’m definitely taking all my must-haves for morning and night, even though it may seem like a lot to some. I talked about my current skincare routine in this post so please check that out if you’d like to know my thoughts on the products pictured, in more detail!

I also try to pack as little as possible in the category of ‘body care’ (I feel like there needs to be an actual name for this stuff?!) because A) it’s just a one night trip and I won’t be doing a full on pamper sesh and B) Hotel du Vin have Ren products in all of their rooms anyway, which is an amazing cruelty free brand that I love. Matt and I always share whichever shampoo and conditioner I pack, and we’ll use one of our own mini Molton Brown shower gels, then I need my shaving products, moisturiser and hair products to style my hair before I blow dry it. We very rarely use the mini toiletries provided in the room when we’re there as I (not so) secretly love to take them for future trips that may not provide them. That’s why they’re there, right?!

If this is your first time reading my blog you may not know that my aim for 2019 is to go fully cruelty free on my beauty products. I’m already there on my everyday skincare and makeup items, but body care is proving a little more tricky – I’m yet to find a razor that works as well as my beloved Gillette Swirl, and any other shaving gel apart from Gillette leaves my skin dry and/or irritated. I wanted so badly to love the Lush D’Fluff as it smelled glorious, but it really wasn’t right for my skin, and never gave me a close enough shave. My beloved Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a must-have, I use this almost every day and I love it; it reminds me of so many wonderful memories.

Skincare: Glossier Milky Oil / Boots Botanics Micellar Water / Cotton Rounds / Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser / Pixi Glow Tonic / The Body Shop Serum-in-Oil / The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask / Neals’ Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser / Glossier Balm Dot Com / Facetheory Eye Cream / Facetheory SuperGel Moisturiser

Makeup: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer / Colourpop X Zoella Eyeshadow Palette / Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette / Too Faced Better Than Sex & Diamonds Mascara / It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte in Fair / Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Concealer in 2 / Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder / Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love / Colourpop Highlighter in Flexitarian / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in The Duchess / NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu / Minimal amount of makeup brushes & my beauty blender

Hair & Body Care: Ren Oat & Bay Shampoo (mini) / Love Beauty & Planet Magic Masque / Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser / Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo / Tangle Teezer Brush / Straighteners / Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt / Dove Deodorant / Lush Sleepy Moisturiser / Gillette Shaving Gel (mini) / Gillette Swirl Razor / Molton Brown Shower Gel (mini) / Contact Lenses / Medication

Clothing & Accessories

I love planning my outfits in general, and I find this the easiest category to pack for, even though I do like to have some kind of option, just in case. I’ll use the same bag both day and night – my Kate Spade crossbody is my go-to – and my trusty Vans will go with any day time outfit. I tend to be pretty hard on just taking one evening outfit for an overnight stay, as I know exactly what we’ll be doing – in this case, dinner at The Botanist and drinks on Grey St – but packing for the next day is a little trickier. We know our morning consists of Matt opening his presents (I’m so excited for that!) and us going for breakfast, but then we have the whole day to explore our favourite city and spend time with family, which is what birthdays are for.

I keep it minimal with my jewellery day-to-day, and I’ll be wearing my good ol’ faithfuls. My Missoma initial G necklace and mis-matched star and moon studs, my Pandora bracelet and various rings, and the rest of my earrings are silver, purchased from various stores. I very rarely change up my earrings as I love how they look, although it’s something I really want be more adventurous with this Spring/Summer! I’m also determined to try hoop earrings and to love them, other girls look SO good wearing hoops.

The weather is still very odd right now up North as we’re finally moving into Spring. Some days it’s warm, sunny and bright, and others it’s dark, rainy and freezing cold. This is my justification for taking two day outfit options, if you hadn’t already guessed what was coming. Also, we don’t take pyjamas as we never sleep in them, and we know from experience that Hotel du Vin robes are the bomb. I love to wear my hotel robe whilst I get ready for the evening and the following morning, so other than my two three outfits, there’s nothing else I need here! Except for a few spare pairs of pants and an extra bralette that I know I won’t wear. I can’t help it, it’s the overpacker in me. (Side note: VS thongs are the only underwear I buy, but I’m always looking for new options, and more sustainable brands would be great – if you have any tried and trusted recommendations please let me know in the comments!)

Evening: Underwear / Zara Animal Print Skirt / Black Camisole (similar) / Heeled Teal Boots / Kate Spade Crossbody
(YAY for ‘no bra’ outfits! #freethenipple)

Day: Underwear & Bra / Black Leather Jacket / Scarf / Black Old Skool Vans / Kate Spade Crossbody
Option 1 – Colourblock Jumper / Topshop Black Jamie Jeans
Option 2 – Black V Neck T-Shirt / Topshop Blue Jamie Jeans

The Bits I Actually Need (And Definitely Do Not Need But Will Take Anyway)

Like I said, I’m not perfect when it comes to packing (or anything, ha) and I knowingly pack more than I need. I always make sure to pack our phone chargers and also squeeze in snacks for the room because we love to have our home comforts for the evening. We’ve got our favourite sweets to snack on, and we’ll also have a box of our favourite donuts thanks to the amazing guys at Proven Goods Co. Matt won’t know this until we get there, and I’m so excited to surprise him! The only thing better than birthday cake is birthday donuts, right?! We always make sure to take a few bottles of water and cans of Diet Coke to stick in the fridge in the room, because we’re cheap and can’t justify paying the mini bar prices LOL. For special staycation trips like this one, we like to take a bottle of champagne, because that’s half the fun of the amazing roll top bath, right?! Also, it’s my love’s birthday, and if he wants champagne then that’s what he’ll get!

We’ll be throwing an extra coat in the car and I’ve already packed an umbrella ‘just incase’ but with good reason; in Newcastle it’s not uncommon to experience every weather possible in the space of 24 hours! Ironically, I’ll definitely be taking my sunglasses as the optimist in me will be praying for a sunny day so we can take a nice morning walk along the Quayside; it’s one of our favourite places in Newcastle and it’s just so beautiful.

We’d never take our iPads or laptops on an overnight trip like this as we absolutely will not need them, so there’s no need to worry about fitting those in to our luggage. I would normally take a book with me, but I know I’ll have no time to read so I wouldn’t bother lugging it around. (Even though this makes me a little sad as I’m obsessed with my current book, Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto, it’s the eighth book I’ve read so far this year and I hate putting it down!) I do always throw a tote bag into our luggage no matter where we’re going as they take up no space and come in so handy for tons of reasons. I mean, how else would I take all the miniature Ren toiletries home? I have to add, Poo Pourri comes in so handy on trips, I bought it originally as a joke when Matt and I went on our first weekend away together, but it’s actually a great idea (and still funny). Also, I think it’s a brilliant ‘gag gift’ for someone who’d laugh about it! Now, if only I could get him to use it at home…

I’m SO excited to relax and spoil my favourite person in the world, he deserves it so much. I hope you liked having a peek inside my suitcase, and if you haven’t already, you can check out my previous packing-related posts here and here. They’re the kind of posts you can come back to at any point for a little extra inspiration or motivation to pack! I’ll definitely be writing an updated What’s In My Carry On post when we go on our Summer holiday to Croatia later in the year, and we have a few city breaks in the pipeline too, I’m so excited to share more travel-related content.

What are your must-have items to pack for an overnight stay? Are you way more minimalist than me? I bet you are. Also, HOW do you do it? Please leave me all the tips and tricks in the comments, it would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much for reading!

-G x


How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x