The Ultimate Festive Pamper Evening

Happy Sunday, loves! I’m so excited about today’s post because I just LOVE a pamper evening and I know lots of you do, too! I love nothing more than taking an hour or two on a Sunday evening (pre Strictly results show, of course) relaxing in a nice hot bath with all my favourite pamper treats. I take the time to treat my skin and my hair to a little bit more TLC than they get for the rest of the week and I always feel so good after! Matt sometimes joins in with my face mask sesh pre-bath and he really loves it too. All of the products in this post would make for amazing Christmas gifts, and I promise this post is not sponsored by The Body Shop (I wish!)

First things first, I like to set the mood. I feel the most relaxed with minimal lighting. Candles and lamps – particularly our Himalayan pink salt lamp Matt bought me for Christmas last year – make me feel so cosy and happy! I love to burn candles all year round, but at Christmas time I really appreciate a festive candle. My two favourites every year are Winter by The White Company and Snowflake Cookie by Yankee Candle, and this year I’m also obsessed with Bath & Body Works Pink Fairy Gum Drop. It’s just so pink and beautiful!

Once I’ve lit one or two of my favourite candles, it’s time to run my bubble bath. I tend to save my Lush products for weekends and days I’m feeling a little bit cr*p as I appreciate them even more then! My go-to bath bomb this Christmas is Snow Fairy as it smells incredible and creates the most picture perfect pink baths! A few of my other favourites for the season are the Polar Bear Plunge bubble bar, Luxury Lush Put bath bomb, Yog Nog bubble bar and Butterbear bath bomb… although Matt tends to steal all of the Butterbear’s we buy! I also love love love Dr Teal’s Lavender foaming bath which I’ve been using more and more as my regular bubble bath, the lavender scent is just so lovely and relaxing in the evening.

Whilst my bath is running, I take off my makeup with Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm and my flannel, then double cleanse with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser. I love double cleansing!

By now my bath is ran, I have a can of Diet Coke (a must for any bath, I’m obsessed!) and it’s time to apply my face mask. The face mask I use totally depends on how my skin is on that day, so I don’t necessarily always use the same ones. My favourite go-to’s are the Pixi Glow sheet mask or The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow mask; both are incredible and are masks I’ve used for so long!

Post-face mask I wash my hair and apply The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing hair mask *gifted which I leave on my hair for at least thirty minutes. (I do this mask every other time I wash my hair and leave it on for around five minutes on a regular day when I don’t have tons of time!) This soaks into my hair and leaves it feeling so soft, tangle free and looking shiny as ever. It also smells amazing, kind of like banana milkshake, and I wish we had some kind of technology so you could smell it through my photo. Every single time I use this Matt compliments me on how good my hair smells, so it’s a boyfriend pleaser too!

Now it’s time to R E L A X and for me, that means opening up my current book and getting lost in another world. It’s my happy place! I just recently read Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay, which is the sequel to one of my very favourite books I read this year. It was so funny and well written, I’d definitely stick it on your list for Father Christmas this year. I love long baths but I love even more having uninterrupted reading time. Matt has very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas which I am SO excited about because it’s going to make my reading experience one hundred times better! He’s the best 🙂

My favourite shower gels of the moment are The Body Shop’s Juicy Pear *gifted by my lovely friend Shannen; more information here and Lush’s Yog Nog, I love them both so much I alternate pretty much every night! Festive scents are always my favourite, they are so fun to use and inject a little fun into my typical routine. I exfoliate using my beautiful The Body Shop Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupuaçu scrub-in-oil, before using my regular old Gillette Venus Platinum razor and shaving gel. I only exfoliate before shaving every other time (or every other, other time) but I always feels SO much better when I do. You really get a closer shave and it just makes my skin feels so incredible!

Post bath I take my time to go through my full skincare routine, run a little Morrocanoil Treatment Light through my hair and spray my Aussie Leave-In conditioner before wrapping my hair up in my hair towel wrap to dry and stay out of my face. I moisturise using my Hawaiian Kukui cream from The Body Shop which is so luxurious, although I think I really need something a little more moisturising to help my dry skin during the colder months. I love nothing more than getting cosy in my pj’s, my favourite fluffy dressing gown and Ugg slippers. Matt and I spend the rest of our evening snuggled up watching TV (which would ideally be a Christmas movie at this time of year but if football is on I can guarantee that’s what we’ll be watching!), cooking our dinner and just enjoying each others company. At some point I’ll quickly blow dry my hair – which after around an hour in the wrap is almost fully dry – and run my straighteners through it so it’s much easier to manage in the morning.

Thank you so much for reading! I apologise for the lack of photos but I totally forgot to take the rest I had planned. It’s been a week, haha. I do however hope this gave you all of the cosy, festive vibes and maybe a little inspiration for your next pamper night. I think they are especially important with all of the events we have this time of year – make sure to check out this post to stop you feeling overwhelmed! Sunday is the perfect evening to take a little pamper time, so take this as your reminder to treat yourself tonight! What are your favourite pamper products? Do you switch things up to include festive scents and products, too?

-G x

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

New In Skincare: Vitamin C

Hi, loves! It’s no secret that I love skincare. As I love it so much, I also find so much joy in trying new products, although I’m a little more reluctant now to introduce too many new products into my routine because my skin can react badly sometimes; therefore my urge to regularly buy new products is much less than it used to be. I always try to buy with intention, and genuinely research products before I purchase them. Vitamin C is an ingredient I’ve never intentionally added to my skincare routine before, but it’s actually included in so many products! Vitamin C works amazingly for my skin; it helps to clear up acne scars, plump up my skin and overall brighten my complexion, doesn’t that sound amazing?!

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion

*gifted | £18.00

This was the product that began my interest in Vitamin C skincare; I LOVE this microdermabrasion treatment so much. I was very kindly sent this by The Body Shop’s PR team (that is so nuts to me, I feel so lucky to be gifted products) but I’m not sure this is something I would have gravitated to in store! This product is a slightly more intense exfoliator, and is definitely not something to use every day. I reach for this twice per week; pretty much always on Sunday as that’s my self care/treatment evening most weeks, and then another day throughout the week. I’ve even got Matt using this each week; he loves it because it clears his blackheads and makes his skin so clear and fresh. I apply a small amount to freshly cleaned, wet skin and work in circular motions. It’s gritty but not abrasive; my skin is pretty sensitive and this doesn’t cause any redness or irritation, it just leaves my skin feeling super clean and fresh. This product has made a huge difference to my acne scarring too; I know that nothing except laser treatment could fully clear it up, but the difference is crazy in just a few months of using this exfoliator.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Mask

£3.50

Sheet masks are my thing. I love them for so many reasons; they’re super convenient to use even when travelling, they’re not at all messy, they work very quickly to give great results and, best of all, I get to rope Matt in too! I use a sheet mask at least once per week, and I’m such a huge fan of The Body Shop’s range because they are all biodegradable, and of course cruelty free. I’ve used and loved their sheet masks for a long time, and when this one was released I couldn’t wait to try it. I’ve used these masks several times now and they also make my complexion super clear and bright, and the following morning I see such a huge difference in my complexion. I love that the masks are so saturated as when you take it off there’s so much product left that you can massage it into your skin before applying an evening moisturiser.

Pixi Vitamin C Tonic

£10.00 for 100ml / £18.00 for 250ml

This toner is my most recent addition to my skincare collection, and it had very big shoes to fill. Pixi’s Glow Tonic is my absolute favourite toner, and one you’ll be very familiar with if you’re a regular reader. I use it almost every evening, and if I ever deviate from my typical routine I notice right away that that product is missing. So, with that being said, I didn’t know if I wanted to try another toner, or what I would think of it. I picked up the smaller size whilst in Boots a few weeks back and I am so glad I did. I didn’t want this to replace my Glow Tonic, so I opted to use it in the mornings from the beginning, and I’ve actually used it every morning after washing my face. It’s very gentle on the skin; it brightens and refreshes my face before I apply my eye cream and moisturiser and it really wakes me up in the mornings (it literally smells like oranges)!

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts on Vitamin C skincare products! Have you used any of the products I’ve talked about in this post, or are you wanting to pick any of these products up? Do you have any Vitamin C filled skincare products you’d recommend for me to pick up?

-G x

My Morning Routine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

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

Seven Beauty Changes I Want To Make

Hi, loves!

For someone running a blog that continues to feature pretty heavily on beauty related topics, I feel like I’m setting a pretty rubbish example when it comes to a lot of the behind-the-scenes beauty bits. I’ve been in a bit of a slump with the mountain of beauty treatments and habits I felt I should be doing, and as a result I’ve done very little in the way of ‘treating myself’. This isn’t something I’ve spoken about on my blog but I’ve put weight on (not enough to change dress sizes or anything, but enough that I feel really crap about it – pretty sure it’s related to the pill but I’ll delve into that in an upcoming post) and I’m feeling a bit rubbish about how I look. After a few too many tears to my boyfriend I decided that if I treated myself by indulging in a few new beauty habits (and changed my pill, lol) I might feel better, and get out of my little moping bubble. I’ve set myself a few tasks to do over the next few weeks/months, and I’m hoping they’ll become habits that I continue for years to come.

boyfriend-girlfriend-face-mask-lush-mask-of-magnaminty-friday-night-in
In our comfies loving our life, isn’t he just the cutest lil bean!

Apply a face mask at least once per week
Right now I use face masks pretty much when I remember, and that is usually on a Sunday evening. After fighting being roped into a pamper evening, Matt now loves to partake in #facemasksundays (sssh, he thinks nobody knows) and we’re slowly but surely working our way through my stash. I really need to make this more of a priority and I’m lucky that my skin generally reacts pretty well with the face masks I’m currently using in rotation. Ideally I want to use a purifying face mask once per week, and a hydrating good-for-the-skin mask once per week, so I’m hoping I can prioritise my time better to do this. I always feel so good after a face mask, and I’m sure Matt won’t take much convincing either, ha!

Change up my hair colour and style
I’m most excited about this one because I’ve got a date in the diary (this Friday! It can’t come soon enough) and I’m so ready for a fresh hairstyle, it’s long overdue. I’m getting a considerable cut – my hair is beyond damaged and I want it to look fresh and healthy again so bad – and I’m also going for a blondey caramel balayage. I’ve not had my hair dyed professionally for years and I’m the weirdest mix of nervous and excited, I feel like I just need something to freshen up my look and make me feel good again. I went for a consultation and allergy test this past Saturday, and I felt so at ease the second I walked in. The lovely girl who owns the salon was so friendly and knowledgable about hair, and all of my worries about changing it up disappeared. The salon I’m going to consistently posts the most beautiful photos of their clients finished looks and I can’t wait to see what magic they work on me! After my initial appointment I want to make sure to have follow ups and keep on top of my balayage and the cut, I think I’m going to feel so much better.

Take better care of my hair
In line with changing up my hair colour and style, I really need to take much better care of my hair in general. I’m so excited to have a new look, and I want to do what I can to make sure my hair stays looking nice between salon appointments too. My plan is to use hair masks more often, let my hair dry naturally most nights (much easier to do as the weather warms up) and stop straightening it so much. I noticed my hair breaks much less since buying my detangling Tangle Teezer brush and using Invisibobbles and scrunchies – such a cute trend, I love that they’re back! – so I’m hoping making further small changes will continue to help my hair. I know you’re not meant to wash you hair too much, so as I currently wash it every other day, I’m also looking for a new dry shampoo to help it last longer between washes without looking greasy.

Use my face roller daily
I’ve got my skincare routine down – all of my essentials are listed in this post, and they’re cruelty free! – but I really need to use my face roller more. As I mentioned in that post, I do use my face roller every now and then, but that’s really not enough. I’m not 100% convinced this is the miracle worker it is claimed (by some) to be, but I do feel like my skin looks better on the nights I use it, and I’m really going to try to make this part of my everyday evening routine. It’s also a super relaxing part of my evening routine, even if Matt finds it absolutely hilarious!

Get my nails done regularly
I go through stages with gel nails, and after getting them done continuously for the last half of 2018, I decided to give my nails (and bank account) a break, and leave my nails natural for a while. I tried to paint my own nails several times but it never worked out well; they chip so easily compared to gels, and they never looked as pretty. Since I got my gels taken off at the beginning of January I missed them so much – I realise this sounds ridiculously dramatic to anyone that doesn’t like getting their nails done, lol – and I’ve decided to begin treating myself every two to three weeks again. I love bright colours and simple glitter accents, and I think it boosts my mood so much to have them looking good. I just got fresh gels on Monday for the first time this year (I love the lilac!) and I’m so happy to have them back, I’m grateful it’s something I’m able to work into my monthly budget.

Invest in HD brows
I’ve been saying I’m going to look into HD brows for a very long time but it’s something that scares me a little bit. I really dislike my eyebrows as thirteen year old Gillian was very handy with a pair of tweezers, and they’ve never recovered. The tail end of my eyebrows literally didn’t grow for about five years, but in recent years it has finally grown back. They’re incredibly sparse; I have to use an eyebrow pencil and eyebrow gel every day, and even then I feel like my eyebrows still feel a bit meh. After reading this post recently from Jodie – who has the eyebrows of my dreams, by the way – I realised I just need to bite the bullet and go for it, there’s so many people that swear by the process and I’m hoping my eyebrows will look much better in no time. It’s an investment and it requires upkeep, but I’m sure it will save me so much more time each morning getting ready, and give brilliant results!

Drink more water
Yep. Groundbreaking. Like many, I really do not drink enough water daily and the only time I even can gaurantee I’ll reach for it is at night or post workout, as the rest of the time I opt for Diet Coke without even thinking about it. The obsession is real. Matt and I are constantly trying to drink more water and after a sudden love I’ve developed for squash I am drinking more than I used to, just still nowhere near enough. I really want to get in a regular habit of drinking glasses of water each day and I know my skin will benefit from that too, which is an added bonus!

Thank you so much for reading! Do you feel like you need to step up your beauty game and set a few resolutions? What’s your favourite beauty treat you do for yourself? I’m so excited to hear!

-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


My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine

Hi, loves!

I’m so excited to share my updated skincare routine with you because I’ve finally found a routine that works for me. My last skincare routine was posted way back in July, but I have switched things up a lot since then. I’ve been really intrigued to try more natural, organic skincare brands and products, and I’m so happy with everything I’m currently using. My skin type is combination but leans more towards the oily side, I get dry patches under my eyes from time to time, and for the past few years I’ve been prone to breakouts and redness. I have acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw dating back to when I was a teenager, but it has improved SO much over the past six months.

You may have seen from previous blog posts that I’ve committed to only buy from cruelty free brands going forward, and my skincare routine is fully cruelty free. My everyday makeup routine is almost there too, although right now I’m using up products that I had already bought but will not be re-purchasing. I really am so happy with my skincare products, and my skin is really good right now. *prays to the skin Gods that it stays that way after making such a statement* I switched my contraceptive around June 2018, and I think that has also had a huge impact – girls, if you’re on the pill and suffer with acne, change it up! I’d recommend speaking to your doctor to see what will be the best option for you, but I really think this needs to be discussed more openly.

I’ve stripped back my skincare routine a lot, and I no longer feel the need to try out hundreds of products, constantly buying the next must-have item. I used to be such a skincare junkie, and as much as I like to admire dreamy Instagram #shelfies and other bloggers’ or vloggers’ skincare routines from afar, I just don’t have the interest (or room in my budget) to continuously try out new products. There are however a few brands I’d love to explore more – Sukin, Facetheory and Neal’s Yard Remedies I’m looking at you! – over the coming months as and when I finish current products. Also, I probably do a few steps in the ‘wrong’ order, but that’s okay!

MORNING ROUTINE

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – I flipping love this cleanser. Sukin are a 100% natural and organic brand, this is the first product I’ve tried from them and I can’t wait to try more in time. This cleanser is the perfect way to prepare my face for my skincare routine and makeup, and I’m trying to use this every morning and every night. This foams up slightly but it isn’t irritating and never leaves my skin feeling dry or tight. I apply one pump to a wet face (either in the shower or over the sink), and massage in for a few minutes. I use Facetheory exfoliating muslin cloths every other evening and they’re great at exfoliating without being too harsh. The cleanser smells very spa-like, due to the natural ingredients, and it’s a perfect pick-me-up in the mornings or evenings.

Pixi Glow Tonic – I don’t use this every morning, it totally depends on how my skin is that specific day; if my skin is clear and not aggravated I stay. away. However, if I have a breakout, or my skin is a little red (this often happens the day after I’ve used a face mask) then I apply a little across my face with a cotton round. I often use this in the evenings too, again depending on how my skin is on that day. This is the only toner I have re-purchased several times, and I really don’t think any other toner I’ve tried compares to this. It is a cult favourite, but for good reason! In my opinion it’s 100% worth the hype.

Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – I’ve been using this eye cream since just before Christmas as this product was my first foray into the brand, and it’s one of my absolute favourite skincare products. I actually stumbled across this brand as it was featured in an Instagram post, and at the time I’d never heard of it, but I’m so glad I found it! I use the smallest amount for both eyes (a pea-sized amount as the pros would say), I’ve been using this every day for almost three months now and there’s heaps left. This eye cream is lightweight and my makeup applies so nicely on top, which is an added bonus as lots of inexpensive eye creams I’ve tried tended to ball up under makeup.

Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – I’ve only been using this for around four to five weeks, as I purchased it when my moisturiser (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo) ran out. I almost bent my purchasing cruelty-free products only rule to re-purchase Effaclar Duo as I really think it helped my skin SO much. However, as I loved the Facetheory eye cream I decided to try out their moisturiser for oily skin and I love it. My skin generally doesn’t react well to new products so I was prepared for a few crappy skin days/weeks, but that never happened which was pretty impressive. It’s a lightweight formula and sinks into my skin within a few minutes, making the perfect base for foundation. As I mentioned, it hasn’t broke me out at all, and I think my skin has been less oilier throughout the day over the past few weeks. One thing to warn you if you’d like to purchase; as it’s a gel formula it’s such a thin liquid (almost serum-like) it went everywhere the first time I used it!

Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm / Glossier Balm Dot Com – these two are level at the top spot in my never-ending crusade to find the perfect lip balm. (I have a problem, guys!) Both products work so well under lip liner or lipstick to protect and soothe my lips, and any regular readers will know I carry a balm dot com lip balm in every bag!

Shop my AM skincare (all prices RRP)
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Facetheory Exfoliating Muslin Cloths (3 pack) – £4.99
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18
Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – £15.99
Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – £12.99
Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm – £6.95

Glossier Balm Dot Com (Original) – £10.00

EVENING ROUTINE

Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water / Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser / The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – I change this up day to day, and generally use whichever product I fancy on that day. If I’m having a pamper night I will always go for a good wash-at-the-sink makeup remover, but if I’m feeling tired or just super lazy it’s going to be micellar water on cotton rounds (I buy these organic ones). I tend to go through stages with my cleansers, as some weeks I love the Glossier one and other weeks I reach for my cleansing butter from The Body Shop every night. All three of these are so gentle on my skin and never cause me to break out! Very occasionally I reach for makeup wipes (Burt’s Bee’s Micellar Cleansing Towelettes are the ones I buy, made from repurposed cotton) but I know everyone thinks that’s the cardinal skincare sin! I’m currently trying out Glossier’s new micellar water too, and so far I really love it – as with everything from Glossier it’s simple and effective, and it hasn’t made my skin break out which is always a bonus.

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – see above.

Pixi Glow Tonic – see above.

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – so, you may have heard me talk about this before… LOL. I’ve declared my love for this product 101 times on my blog, but it’s really that good. This eye cream is so moisturising, does not irritate my sensitive under-eye area, and it’s damn good for the recurring dry patches that keeps appearing under my right eye. Each morning my under-eye area still feels moisturised, which I’ve never found from an overnight eye cream before. The texture is so different than anything I’ve used before, and it always feels cool when applied to my skin. If you’re looking for a new night eye cream, look no further. You can thank me later!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 / The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Serum-in-Oil – I change my serums up based on my skin that day; if my skin is feeling a little dry or irritated I reach for the Hyaluronic Acid, and if it’s pretty normal I reach for the Vitamin E, although more often than not I use both. I do have various serums from The Ordinary that I used to alternate between, but I really see no benefit in piling them all on my face and I very rarely reach for anything else. When my current Hyaluronic Acid serum runs out I think I’ll repurchase Glossier Super Bounce as I feel that did a little more for my skin, but The Ordinary one is such a great budget friendly option.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – this is the best overnight moisturiser I’ve ever used, and I totally found it by accident. This was the first skincare product I’ve bought from Neal’s Yard Remedies and the bar is set so high for future purchases. It’s made with natural ingredients, so it feels and smells like I’ve been transported to the most beautiful spa every night. When morning rolls around, my skin still feels and looks moisturised, and plump in the best way! Yarrow, one of the main ingredients, is great for helping oily skin as it controls sebum production, and it also helps to reduce acne scarring. As I mentioned above, I had horrendous acne scarring on my cheeks/jaw which has improved so much, I wish I had a before and after picture! This moisturiser isn’t sticky, it never breaks me out, and I’m really seeing the benefits of less oil production. This is truly a holy grail product for me and I know I’ll be repurchasing for years to come, with no need to try out alternatives. Also, Matt keeps telling me every morning and night how good my skin looks, and you know a product is working miracles when your boyfriend notices!

Glossier Balm Dot Com – during the Winter months I tend to need a thicker, heavier lip balm overnight, but as we’ve had such mild weather my favourite Glossier balm is doing the trick. Matt uses this too, and we absolutely love it! I really would like to try out the Evolve Lip Treat at some point, though.

Shop my PM skincare (all prices RRP)
Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water – £6.99
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15.00
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – £10.00
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18.00

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – £18.00
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – £5.90
The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil – £16.00
Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – £22.00
Glossier Balm Dot Com – £10.00

THE EXTRAS

Face masks – I’m the biggest advocate of face masks, I just love them. Throwing a face mask on is self care, okay?! Sheet masks are the no-fuss way to do it, and my favourites were from the Garnier Moisture range but I’m unable to purchase those now as Garnier are not cruelty free. I’m hoping and praying Garnier will change their processes in 2019! However, a few cruelty free sheet masks I love and have re-purchased several times are Burt’s Bees Hydrating, Sanctuary Spa Charcoal Bubble and Starskin Pink Clay Purifying, they all work so well for my skin and help to settle my skin without causing breakouts. My favourite face masks are the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Lush Mask Of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving) and Lush Rosy Cheeks. The one aspect of skincare I can get Matt excited about is face masks, we love to do them together and try to make time to as often as we can – it’s my favourite part of our Sunday evenings!

Jade roller – if you don’t have one of these, get on it! I treated myself to this one from Amazon to cheer myself up when I was having a crappy week, as I’d been debating on buying one for a long time. It works fine but it is clearly cheaply made and I’m hoping to purchase this one from Herbivore in the near future. Face rollers are a firm favourite in many people’s beauty routines, and it’s easy to see why. My face is often a little puffy in the morning, especially around my eyes, and this magic tool fixes that in an instant. I don’t use this every day as it honestly depends on *how much time I have (*basically, I spend too much time snoozing my alarm and snuggling my boyfriend), but I always make sure to use it when I can. I use this in the evening most nights after applying my serum, and I really love to roll my face after using a face mask.

Spot treatment – I always reach for Mario Badescu Drying Lotion if I have any active breakouts, and I swear by this product. I apply using a cotton bud, and dab onto the affected area. (I buy cotton buds from Sainsbury’s, which are the most affordable organic ones I can find, but they come in plastic packaging which drives me crazy!) This product is genuinely a miracle worker, by morning my spots are gone or at least well on their way to healing, and the redness around the area is non-existant. I wish I knew about this product when I suffered with terrible acne! I’ve been meaning to purchase the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches for so long as they’re apparently incredible, so I really need to do that. I hope Glossier’s Zit Stick will be available in the UK soon too – I literally check on the daily – as I’ve heard SO many good things about that product (although reviews are mixed online).

Drinking more water, eating less dairy and eating more veggies. It’s not groundbreaking information that what we put into our bodies has a huge effect on how it looks on the outside. I’ve always found it so difficult to drink lots of water, but recently I’ve upped my game and drink way more than I used to. Matt and I cook dinner together every night and we always pile the vegetables into our recipes, and try to participate in meatless Monday most weeks. I think eating cleaner in general (less meat, little dairy) has had a huge impact on my skin; since I stopped drinking cow’s milk I noticed a huge decrease in the amount of breakouts I was having. Matt and I are never going to give up our late night McFlurry runs, but it’s all about balance right?! Of course, just because this helped me does not necessarily mean it would work for you, but I’d definitely encourage you to switch up things in your diet and see what works best for your skin/body.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite skincare products? Do you have any you go back to over and over again?

-G x