Summer Bucket List

Hey, loves! This past Saturday was the very first day of Summer 2020, and apparently the memo made it to Northern England because we’ve actually had some super hot, sunny weather! You can read all about what Matt and I got up to on the first weekend of Summer right here

So… my bucket list posts are some of my very favourite to write, to work through, and to check back up on. They’re some of your favourite too because people always tell me they got ideas from them, and I see you guys going back and looking them up throughout the season! I kinda wrote off a bucket list for Spring and instead posted a Post Lockdown Bucket List in jest… little did I know when Summer rolled around we’d still be in some form of lockdown!

This year, Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside down, and we know for sure we’re not going to have a normal Summer this year. While all of our grand plans can go on hold for 2021, I really still want to make the most of the season. I spend every Summer wishing away the days, desperate for the Autumn air to creep in and for pumpkin flavoured/scented everything to start appearing. This year, I was going to make the MOST of Summer. Meh! Global pandemic 1 – 0 Gillian. Great… 

Bearing in mind travelling is still being discouraged, there’s no chance of us taking a holiday or city break and we probably can’t even visit our family down South this Summer, the one thing we really can do is make the most of all things local. We are SO LUCKY to live in up North; we have beautiful beaches, countryside and the best city in the world (it’s a fact) on our doorstep, so I really hope we can have just as much fun exploring nearby.

Obviously we will be continuing to social distance; real talk, I’m kinda nervous to ever be in a crowded/busy/small space with lots of people ever again. Haha! I really find it difficult to imagine going to somewhere like a football match (one of Matt and I’s favourite date day activities) or even eating in a restaurant or being in the office. It’s going to take a lot of adjusting, and it’s super weird that something we never cared about before; being close to people; is literally terrifying to me now!

Enjoy ice cream AT LEAST one per week! Our very favourite local ice cream place, Arrighi’s in Seaton Delaval, is our go-to Summer spot. I always feel like after every Summer passes we could have gone at least a couple more times! Their ice cream is a family recipe passed down for generations, and it’s such a staple for a Summer day. Also, we LOVE a late night McFlurry run. All year round, every season. Now that McDonald’s has opened back up you can bet we’ll be making the most of that! 

Become a bookworm. Okay, so I’m already a bookworm. I love reading and I’ve been sitting in the sun with my Kindle at any opportunity I get! I’m currently reading Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson (it’s laugh out loud funny, I totally recommend it) and I really want to make my way through alllll the books this year. Laura Jane Williams’ new book, The Love Square, comes out next month and I’m so excited, her first book Our Stop was one of my favourite ever easy reads.

Spend the day at the beach! The beach is my favourite place, no matter the weather Matt and I LOVE a beach day. I firmly believe some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are right on our doorstep! We love to grab breakfast at one of our many favourite local cafes/restaurants, although it will have to be to go this Summer. There’s so many beaches to explore, we’ve made a little list of the ones we want to spend the day at this season:

  • Cresswell
  • Tynemouth (our very favourite)
  • Druridge Bay
  • Bamburgh
  • Alnmouth
  • Seahouses
  • Saltburn 
  • Holy Island
  • Sandsend 

Go outlet shopping. Matt, his parents and I really love a little road trip to York Designer Outlet (they have sooo many good things there, we even love the food court LOL!) and Matt really wants to make a trip there to grab some great bargains. Shopping in Summer means you get really good deals on Autumn/Winter clothing, and we both need new coats. Last time we were there The North Face store was like 40% off?! I’m hoping I’ll feel comfortable to go shopping before the end of Summer so we can visit.

Explore our new favourite trail. We found the sweetest place around 45 minutes from where live, and we cannot wait to explore more of the area. There’s cute villages all around (cute village = cute family ran bakeries, do you see what I’m saying…? ALL the pastries!) The trail itself is really fun with gorgeous views, and it’s literally the most picture perfect place. We also want to do tons of hikes this Summer!

Make s’mores. I feel like this is a Summer tradition for so many people and I’d love to make it one for us too! Matt is OBSESSED with the fire pit, and I think spending evenings in the garden with my parents is going to be such a fun thing to enjoy this Summer.

Take the office outside. One of the biggest benefits Matt and I have experienced from the global pandemic (a sentence I never thought I’d write…) is the ability to work from home. Matt works from home once or twice per week and I’ve worked from home exclusively since March 24th. I found out yesterday that we’re not going to be back in the office until September at the earliest, and I fully intend to make the most of working from home until then! Countless no makeup days, all the comfy clothes and the ability to have a 20 step commute are HUGE blessings. I’ve not took it for granted one bit, and I’m so grateful to still have my job during this crazy time. Working outside has been one of the biggest blessings, we love our garden set up and hope to make lots of use out of it!

Cook new foods. One thing that I’m excited about is trying new meals and learning how to incorporate new ingredients into our meals. I love cooking, and Matt loves eating (LOL) so I’m always trying to create new dinners that we can enjoy. Every season I love to add in seasonal ingredients and this Summer I want to include lots of strawberries, asparagus, cabbage, raspberries and courgettes! Not in the same dish obviously…

Take a road trip to the Lake District for the day. So this has been on our Summer bucket list for TWO YEARS and we’ve still not been! Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay over (I don’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel at all right now), but it would be so good to leave home around 7am and get there super early, to spend the whole day exploring and adventuring. I’m hoping we can take a little family trip with my mum and dad, I know my brother will not come with us ha!

Catch a thunderstorm. How many times do you know there’s a thunderstorm happening but life is so busy you just can’t enjoy it? Well, this is the Summer to enjoy every storm… it’s the least busy you’ll ever be! We are set for big storms today and tomorrow, and I LOVE a storm when I’m cosy and safe at home.

Pack a picnic and find a spot in the countryside. There is so much beautiful countryside around us, we’re honestly a little spoilt for choice. We LOVE all of the spots in Northumberland; and the further you go up towards Scotland the more beautiful places you’ll stumble across. It’s picture perfect everywhere you look, and I really can’t wait to make the most of it. Also, we freaking love a picnic! 

Get back into yoga. I love yoga, I really do. BUT I really find it hard to stay consistent with it. I think it’s because I’ve always got 100 things going on and it’s not something I always prioritise, but then after every yoga practice I wish I prioritised it more. I really want to get into a routine and stick to it! I’ve practiced yoga five times this week already so maybe this is the start of a routine…

Go fruit picking. Last year Matt and I visited Brockbushes Farm and came back with the most delicious, juicy strawberries you can imagine! They were quite literally perfect. I’m not sure what the rules will be on fruit picking this year (?) but it’s super easy to social distance in their huge fields, so I really hope we can go again. Also I miss my balayage. I can’t wait until I feel safe to go back to see Erin at Rein & Co (the best salon in the North East!) to get my hair done!

Enjoy a waterfall. We have so many beautiful waterfalls here in the North! I mean, the water is freezing and I’m 99% sure you might catch Frostbite if you went for a dip, but they’re stinking pretty to look at.

Find the prettiest pebbles/seashells at the beach. Does anyone else challenge whoever they’re at the beach with to find the prettiest pebbles or seashells?! I’ve done that ever since I was a kid and it still makes me happy. You can’t tell so much in the photo but these ones had pink running through them that looked like rose quartz. Matt and I’s favourite game though? Find the largest piece of seaglass, extra points if it’s blue. He beats me every time. I always seem to let him win that one… 😉

Enjoy the Summer beers and wines. Now that we can finally move on from FaceTime calls and see our friends IRL – socially distanced, of course – which feels like the biggest treat, we’re going to make the most of it. Matt loves the German Summer beers the most, he’s always trying new ones. There are SO many great wines too, although my favourite option is always going to be a pinot blush!

TBT to Summer 2019, on the most beautiful beach in Croatia

Catch a beautiful sunset at least once per week. I mean, they’re never going to beat the sunsets we experienced in Croatia last year, but we do have beautiful sunsets here at home, too. I’m actually having a little cry right now editing this post – Matt and I looked back at my Croatia blog post; this very week last year was when we were there. I would do anything for Matt and I to be back there right now. Best holiday EVER ❤️ We went for a sunset beach walk on Wednesday evening and it was so lovely, we’ll definitely be doing it often!

Enjoy BBQ’s with your loved ones. We’re all so grateful we can see family and friends again, I really hope we can make the most of that and spend afternoons/evenings chilling in our gardens. I’m super excited for a family BBQ coming up next weekend to celebrate Matt’s grandma’s 80th birthday, I’ll make sure to record a Weekend In My Life to share that! 

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you got some fun ideas for what you can do this Summer whilst staying close to home. Of course you can adapt pretty much everything in here no matter where you live, but the North really is the best place to be 😉 have a great weekend my friends!

-G x

What’s What! #3

Happy Friday, loves! Surprise 🙂 I really wanted to write a chatty what’s-what-in-my-life post and I decided I just couldn’t wait until next week to post it! Apologies for the radio silence over here but the posts I had planned just didn’t feel right in this current season. I have taken a little time away to re-group, plan out lots of new posts and I’m so happy to be back! 

I hope you’re all doing well despite everything happening in the world right now. I received the sweetest message from a reader thanking me for writing my blog and that she found it was a great distraction and a happy, positive space that she enjoyed reading. I literally cried! I am so grateful to have my blog to be creative with, and I love that someone can find a little positivity here. Just know I’m sending you all virtual, socially distant hugs on this sunny Friday morning! 

So, here’s a little what’s what right now 🙂 also, grab a cuppa and get comfy, it’s a LONG one…

What I’m buying:
Okay so I have to preface this by saying this was a h u g e treat to myself. It was a happy-new-job, happy-it’s-almost-your-birthday, happy-you’re-living-through-a-pandemic treat. That’s justified right!? So… the MOST EXCITING order I’ve ever placed arrived this week and I can’t stop staring at all the products, LOL! I’d had a kinda crappy day and I was so thankful for the joy this brought. Caroline Hirons released her two Spring Kits two weeks ago, I was so determined to get one and I’m still giddy that I did. These products were an incredible deal, it worked out approximately 55% off! And other than anything I run out of and need to replace I won’t need to purchase skincare again for a long time. Until Caroline’s Summer kit is released, I guess!

I’m posting all about the kit for you this Sunday so you can see everything there properly, and hear my first impressions 🙂 I love love love skincare; it’s truly the most important form of self care to me; and I’m so happy that during lockdown my skin is really the best it’s ever been. Except I’ve been having the most horrendous allergic reactions on my chest, neck and shoulders. I’m so excited to share my skincare routine with you in the next month, but I really think the main thing about skincare is finding products that work for you and being consistent with your routine

Also, I mentioned on Instagram that I was desperately in need of a good t-shirt bra and the majority of suggestions were Victoria’s Secret, Boux Avenue and M&S. My size was out of stock on VS and I’m not really a huge fan of Boux Avenue (I like their ‘sexy’ bras but they’re just not comfortable to me) so I opted to purchase this bra from M&S and I just have to mention it, it’s amazing! It’s super comfy, doesn’t show lines through the fabric of your top and I love how it fits. Honestly I really don’t like bras full stop and I go braless a lot, but for when that’s not an option this is the next best thing. I ordered two bras, in nude and black, and if there’s any good deals on them in the coming weeks I’ll probably buy another of each colour as they’re all I need day-to-day. 

What I’m reading:
I am still madly in love with my Kindle. It’s the best present I’ve ever been given and I’ve truly got no idea how I survived without it. #dramatic Whilst I’ve not been one of those super-humans picking up hobbies of making sourdough bread or suddenly getting in the best shape of my life with daily workouts (and that’s okay!) I definitely have been reading a little more since lockdown began. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend down time and it keeps my mental health in check. I just finished Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins-Reid and I absolutely loved it. I thought I’d read all of Taylor’s books but I came across this in my Kindle library and realised I’d missed it. The story follows a girl named Hannah and her best friend Gabby as they’re reunited in their hometown of Los Angeles. They go out for the evening, and then the rest of the story is split between two universes; based on a yes or no decision made during their night out. It’s wonderful and I’m still not sure which reality I liked best. I just started American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins two days ago and I’m almost half way through, I can barely wait to read the next chapter. It’s a hard read but it’s SO GOOD. It’s raw, emotional and if you liked shows like Narcos: Mexico you’ll love this. My Kindle is packed full of books I’m excited to read and that makes me so happy! 

What made me happy this week:
How sweet (literally, hehe) is this surprise parcel I received this week from my lovely team at work? I was so grateful to receive a little thank you, and you know Matt and I had so much fun trying all of the treats! They were from Kell’s Cupcakery, if you’re looking to send anybody a little pick-me-up in the mail during this time I can’t recommend them enough. I’m so lucky to work with such thoughtful, caring people!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I really haven’t been watching much TV together in the evenings and I really want to change that. I’ve been watching Modern Family on my lunch breaks and sometimes had it playing in the background whilst I’m working – I just love the Dunphy/Pritchett/Tucker clan and I’ve seen it so many times I don’t need to actually watch it, y’know?! I’ll probably start watching Friends again once I finish Modern Family again… for the hundredth time. Is that lame? Probably 🙂 Matt and I have been really enjoying The Imagineering Story on Disney+ though, it’s one of the shows we’ve stayed consistent with. We really need to work our way through our list of shows soon, I feel like we have an overwhelmingly long list so we’ve kinda put off watching anything? So silly! Oh it also hurts my heart that we haven’t watched the Harry Potter movies despite saying nearly two years ago we’d watch them ‘soon’. We need to get on that…

What I’m wearing:
When I haven’t been living the #wfh life to the fullest wearing sweats, leggings or pj pants, I’ve loved getting dressed and experimenting with outfits! I decided this year that my own issues with body confidence were not going to stop me wearing clothes I love and want to wear. Last year I became obsessed with mom jeans (I still am, they are SO comfy!) and I just decided I didn’t care if they weren’t the most flattering on me. I stepped it up an extra notch and I’ve purchased a few pretty shirts, skirts and dresses and I’m so happy with all of them! I don’t really buy clothes too often, but I try to always ensure anything I do buy is a piece I’ll love and wear for years to come. It’s been so fun to spruce my wardrobe up a little. This blue dress fits so nicely; I have a smaller waist and bigger hips – which I do not like – but this somehow makes my figure look good? It’s going to be perfect for the hot Summer days and I think I could also wear it for work – if we get back into the office whilst it’s still warm – with a pair of tan sandals, and maybe a little cardigan over the top. I just love it! I also picked up this white midi dress and I feel like it’s such a great addition to my wardrobe. I love it with a belt around my waist to add a little more shape, and I could even wear this during Autumn/Winter with boots and a leather jacket! New Look have really been killing it with their Spring/Summer items recently, and I always find their clothes to be good quality for the price. 

What I’m thinking about:
Is anyone else in a constant loop of: the world is a scary place > what is going to happen in the future > everything will be fine > I’ve had a great day today! > two great days! > oh my god what is happening in the world? And repeat. Please tell me it’s not just me!? I feel like my feelings on everything happening right now are up and down every day. Sometimes every hour of every day. 

Although everyone is worried in their own way; we’re apart from our family and friends, life is not normal, we’re worried to leave our houses, we don’t know if our jobs are safe, the worry of catching the virus is very real and we can’t really imagine life returning to normal… I truly believe it will all be okay. I don’t know about you but how much do the little things mean right now?! I’m so content with myself. With Matthew. With my family. With life. Things are never going to be ‘perfect’ but I’ve come to realise that’s okay. People are so friendly in the grocery stores, there’s random acts of kindness everyday, we’re more appreciative of each other and what we have, we don’t feel the need to constantly keep up with the Jones’. I just think there’s lots of good that’s come from this, and lots of learning to just live with what you have. I think I’m going to write a post all about being content and quitting the comparison game for good!

What I’m drinking:
So instead of mourning our trip to Disney World that will definitely not be happening in October, we brought a little Disney to us. And boy did it make us happy! I saw a recipe on Instagram that had been shared by Disney World to make their original Dole Whip at home. We made ours a little different but they were so yummy! I froze a can of pineapple chunks (not Dole… Tesco’s finest), and blended them up with vanilla ice cream, a splash of almond milk and a big scoop of coconut yoghurt. It was more pina-colada-in-a-Greek-all-inclusive than Dole-Whip-on-Main-Street but friends… they were DELICIOUS! I can’t recommend making these enough. Our own version of Dole Whips are going to be our go-to Summer treat this year, I just know it! We’re making them again this weekend and adding a dash (or two) of white rum, but that’s totally okay because…

What I’m looking forward to:
Today is the start of my birthday weekend! I turn 26 on Sunday May 17th and it’s going to be one for the books… lockdown birthdays are strange aren’t they?! Have you already celebrated in lockdown? Or will you be in the coming weeks/months? I’m so grateful I get to spend the day with Matt and my family, it will just be so very strange to only see other family members very quickly and from six feet away. We’re going to make the most of it regardless; we are going to take a little trip to the beach, have a movie night and grab a takeaway with my family. It’ll probably be quite a chilled weekend, but I’m going to be recording all of it and sharing a Weekend In My Life with you all next Wednesday – and I’m starting right now! 

It’s currently 8.20am as I’m just publishing this post. Matt left for work a little while ago so I’m about to sign off and start my birthday weekend! Unfortunately I have to adult this morning so I’m about to get ready, run to the post office and grab our groceries for the week. I don’t start work until 11am (yay for late starts and early finishes on a Friday) so I’ve got plenty of time to run a few errands. Oh and a new episode of Shagged, Married, Annoyed came out this morning so you can bet that will be playing the second I hop in my car!

Have a great weekend friends, I’ll see you on Sunday with my Caroline Hirons Spring Kit haul. Also this is your friendly reminder if you’re going out grocery shopping this weekend, make sure you grab a bunch of peonies! They’re only around for a few weeks of the year, and they’re hands down the most beautiful flower around. Right? I’m going to replace my current bunch and I’m not going to lie, it’s my motivation to go get the groceries… 🙂

-G x

What’s What! #2

Happy, happy Sunday loves! Can you believe another week in lockdown has passed? Me neither! The UK government announced a lockdown extension of three weeks on Thursday – I called it! – so this is our reality until at least May 7th. I’m actually okay with that, I felt so much better watching the press conference the other evening and hearing the new official lockdown date. I know it sounds kinda weird but just knowing the next date to focus on lifted my anxiety SO MUCH, and even if it’s not the final date (I very much doubt it is, tbh) then I’m okay with that. I just need something to focus on! 

I’ve somehow gone straight back to the format/style of my old Feelin’ It Friday posts this week, but who cares. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?! Grab a cuppa and settle in for a loooong chatty post… 

What beauty product I’m recommending:
I very briefly mentioned this cleansing cream in my Day In My Life: WFH post but I need to talk to you about it properly! I’ve been using this every single morning for around four weeks now and I can’t tell you how much I love it. Before I was using a cleanser that was a little too harsh for my skin, but this is so gentle and hydrating. It feels so nice on my skin whilst I clean my face, and then when I wash it off my skin does not feel at all tight or irritated. I’ve been having a really hard time with my skin since the beginning of the year but it finally seems to be looking good again. Side note: I just recently got my prescription treatment from Dermatica and whilst I’m aware I’ll probably see peaks and troughs as my skin gets used to it, I’m already SO obsessed. I can’t wait to see what that does for my skin over time.

What I’m listening to:
One of my favourite parts of the #wfh life is that most afternoons I listen to a podcast, play a show on Netflix/Disney+ or catch up on my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m getting work done. But, this past week I have also been playing music too and it’s been such a fun change. Everyone knows your girl loves a Disney song, something you may not know is my favourite driving music is actually by Kasey Musgraves! I feel like I’m out in the middle of Texas driving down pretty roads listening to her (I have no idea why either…) and although I’m missing driving to/from work A TON I found a way to incorporate her into my wfh day too. I’m so looking forward to carefree Summer days, and that’s exactly what her music makes me think of!

What I’m eating:
It’s no secret that Matt and I LOVE cooking, so we’ve really been trying to create new dishes during this season of #stayinghome. We are really fortunate that we’re able to eat (pretty much) the same as we did before lockdown started, but we have had some questionable use-everything-up meals on the days before we had to go grocery shopping again! (I miss meal planning and grocery shopping as we normally would, and I can’t believe how much I miss being able to just pop to the store to pick up whatever, whenever. I’m kind of nervous about going grocery shopping right now which is so wild; I went yesterday and it was okay but I felt so stressed out by the time I was leaving). I made our favourite BLT pasta dish one night this week it was so. freaking. good. I can’t tell you how much we love this for a quick and easy dinner recipe! I got quite a lot of DM’s on Instagram about this too so I think I’ll share the recipe soon, we adapted this one from Shay. We paired it with our favourite wine and enjoyed the best little date night at home! 

What I’m reading:
ALL of the books! And blogs! And my Cosmopolitan magazine! I’ve really been making the most of the things that make me happy during lockdown (for y’know, my own sanity) and I just love reading so much. I’ve read two books this week – thanks to cosy late night baths and Matt’s new Football Manager obsession – and I’ve just started reading In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. This has such good reviews and so far I’m only 18% in (I love that I can see that on my Kindle) but I’m already really enjoying it. I wrote this post talking about tons of my favourite books and some of the books I’ve got on my reading list right now if you missed it! 

What I’m wearing:
I’m really NOT mad about all of the comfy clothes I’ve been living in the past few weeks. I truly am happiest wearing huge oversized sweatshirt (I kinda collect vintage USA/Disney sweatshirts, it’s my thing!) and I’ve been so enjoying getting cosy in them recently. I also have been wearing leggings or sweatpants on repeat. Part of me does miss wearing ‘real’ clothes but I’m happy that whenever the lockdown is lifted it will (hopefully) be warmer, and I’ll get to wear cute midi skirts and dresses! I just ordered a few more cosy vintage sweatshirts from Depop this past week because I got them for a steal and they’re literally all I’m wearing right now. I actually want to write a blog post about my collection because people often ask where I get them from/how I buy etc, but I don’t know if that would be interesting to read or helpful as because they’re vintage you couldn’t get the same ones. That being said, Matt just ordered this incredible HUGE New York sweatshirt for me – it’s for my birthday which is next month! – and if you’re in the market for something super cosy I can’t recommend Brandy Melville enough. These kind sell out super quick so be fast if you want one!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I have been loving the new season of Brooklyn 99, I’m so sad we’ve almost finished! We binge watched Tiger King a few weeks ago and were completely blindsided/dumbfounded/shocked/confused/every other emotion possible. Literally every 10 minutes it got weirder, and I can’t really decide if that’s a good thing or not? It was good TV and Carole totally killed her husband but would I recommend it? I don’t know! Hahaha. I’ve been making the most of Disney+ especially when Matt’s been at work and watching some of my old favourites like Lizzie McGuire… oh the memories! Matt and I are also watching The Imagineering Story. Oh my gosh I just love that show. I have always been fascinated with the imagineering side of Disney since I was a little girl. We’ve just started Ozark and I don’t really have an opinion on it yet, but I know people love it. I’m excited to see what we think! 

What I’m reminiscing about:
I totally understand why, but I’m bummed that we’re more than likely not going to get a holiday this year. Right now, we’re 99.9% sure our family trip to Florida in October is not a good idea, but Matt and I are holding onto the hope that we might get to go to an all inclusive in Portugal or somewhere for a week later in the year! Matt and I really hoped we’d go to Lisbon and Krakow on city breaks this year but that seems super unlikely, and that’s okay because I’d much rather be safe than on holiday! That hasn’t stopped me from looking back at our photos from Croatia last year at least… thirty thousand times?! We both have said so many times (to anyone that will listen, lol) that it was our favourite ever holiday and it really was. We were on the side of a mountain, right on the most beautiful, quiet beach we’ve ever seen, in 40 degree sunshine with each other and endless fun cocktails… literally what else could we have wanted?! We’ll definitely visit again one day!

What I’m thankful for:
Everything. Ha! I feel like I’ve really reflected a lot over the past few weeks and I’m just very grateful for my life and all of the positive things that are in it. I’m so very thankful for the big things; good health, Matthew, our families and friends, our jobs, the ability to work from home, being back into my regular blogging schedule. But, the little things mean just as much to me. Waking up early, sunny days, afternoon walks, long texts from my friends, taking twenty minutes to apply my makeup, driving to grab groceries whilst listening to my favourite podcast, spraying perfume in the mornings. The teeny little every day things that normally I wouldn’t give too much attention have just been highlighted to me SO much! I know lots of people think like this right now, and I really hope it’s something we carry forward after lockdown ends.

What I’m obsessed with:
Drinking tea! I’m still drinking an unhealthy amount of Diet Coke – you can’t judge me, we’re in a pandemic y’know! – but working from home has got me wandering to the kettle like it’s part of my job. I drink Twining’s English Breakfast every morning (I really hate coffee. I’ve tried to get myself to like it and I just can’t) but during the day I’ve been alternating between my English Breakfast and this vanilla tea from Tick Tock. I found it at Tesco way before the pandemic started so I’ve no idea if it’s easily available right now, but if you’re able to pick it up on your next grocery run I highly recommend!  

What else is new:
Not much. I did get stung by a wasp the other day for the first time in my life. It’s getting WILD over here, folks. For real it hurt like a MF and I thought my finger was going to fall off. #dramatic. I’m dying for a McDonald’s Fanta. Oh and I rode a bike for the first time since I was maybeee…twelve? I totally thought I was going to fall flat on my face and screamed at Matt to hold on (hahaha) but turns out it’s true what they say, you really don’t forget how to ride a bike! 

Thank you so much for reading, friends! What’s going on in your world right now? How are you coping with the lockdown? I’m only a DM away if you ever fancy a chat! What things have been making you happy this week? I’ll see you on Wednesday with a little chit-chat/review of the £13.00 most amazing moisturiser you need in your life. No, seriously… 

-G x

Day In My Life: WFH | UK Lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Spring Reading List

Hi, my loves! I hope everyone is safe right now more than ever, and learning to live in our ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable. I’ve been quite undecided whether or not I should carry on blogging as if the world isn’t THE most terrifying place right now, and after a lot of debating I thought it best to carry on, and hopefully spread a little much needed positivity. I didn’t post last week as my Spring Bucket List was due to go up but as we’re not allowed to leave our houses (except for grocery shopping or medical attention!) it really wasn’t the right time to post it. The way things are looking right now we might just have to wait for a Summer Bucket List… but we all know this is going to be the most amazing Summer once all of this is over right?! *crosses fingers*

I don’t want anyone to think I’m feeling particularly happy and upbeat right now because honestly, each day is so different. I’m scared and I hate the unknown more than anything, but I am really trying to have a PMA* (*Positive Mental Attitude). I think the only thing we have to hold onto right now is positivity and hope! I think I might record a Week In My Life next week, which seems strange as my days are only just working from home, watching Netflix and not much else, but I think a little bit of solidarity could be extra helpful right now! Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing 🙂 

I’ve seen LOTS of bloggers online talking about now that they have ~so~ much more time on their hands they’re picking up hobbies, working out more etc but honestly, I feel like if anything I have less time? I’m extremely fortunate to be able to work from home which I’m so grateful for (I started my new job two weeks ago, then took pretty much my whole desk home on my second day to work from home for the foreseeable, pretty crazy right?!) I guess I technically have more time as I’m not getting ready the same as I would for work and I don’t have a commute anymore. Unless you count walking the 20 steps from my bed to the dining room AKA my unofficial home office but I’ve been filling that time with other happy things. Real talk: I really miss getting in my car and driving to the office, I never knew how much I enjoyed my commute!

I’m not getting fully ready most days (I think I’m going to change this from next week because honestly I love doing my makeup – and sometimes my hair – so maybe this will make me feel more ‘normal’). But… I’m SO DRAINED. Does anyone else agree with me on this?! I’m only reading the news once or twice per day as honestly I’m finding the whole thing terrifying, and it’s really hard to mentally cope with. I’m so grateful that Matt and I are safe and healthy, and so are our families. We’re staying permanently with my family until this is all over and we are missing Matt’s parents so so much! We miss our grandma’s, our friends, and I haven’t even met most of my new co-workers yet. It’s a crazy time and for me personally starting to learn a new hobby just isn’t something I can do right now. Instead I’m working really hard and trying to learn as much as I can with my new job, sleep well, eat well and enjoy all my favourite downtime/self-care activities. I especially love taking baths, spending extra time on my skincare routine, watching my favourite vloggers, Matt and I look forward to walks more than your average Labrador and I LOVE reading! My Kindle is packed with fun books to read and I’m so excited to be sharing some of those with you, as well as a bunch of books that I really loved and recommend you get immediately! 

My To Read List:

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This was recommended to me on Amazon and the synopsis and reviews made me download it immediately! This book is a love story of a couple based in New York (I mean that alone had me sold) who have their life planned out. Dannie, the main character, falls asleep one night and wakes up five years in the future, with a completely different life to the one she currently has planned out. I was really careful not to read too many reviews – someone always spoils it! – but this is the next book I’ll be delving into because I’m so excited about it.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I’m currently reading this now, I’m about half way through and I am really enjoying it. I loved Josie’s first book (more about that below) so I had high expectations! I admit I found it a little slow at the beginning and I wasn’t as excited about it as I was her first one, but now I’m wrapped up in the story and can’t wait to see what happens. Lydia is married to Freddie, who dies suddenly in an accident and her whole world is turned upside down. She soon realises that when she sleeps life in her dreams is just the same as it always has been…

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
I have had this on my ‘to read’ list for a long time but there’s just always been other books I’ve been more excited about, although after how much I loved So Lucky (again, more on that below!) I am really excited to get stuck in. The story is based on three women who are all united in their views, if nothing else, and I have a feeling it will be very much based on the way society is nowadays. By her own admission, Dawn likes to talk about reality in her books and show that different perspectives can work together, I hope it’s as witty and off-the-cuff as So Lucky!

Dear Lily by Drew Davis
Anyone else hear the name ‘Lily’ and immediately hear ‘where’s the dog, Lily?’ in their head? Just Me? Okay… Again this was recommended to me on Amazon and I’m really looking forward to reading it; the story is about Joy moving away from her family home – and her sister, Lily – and sounds like the perfect escapism girly read. Joy communicates via letter and I’m assuming goes through things from her childhood/past as it appears to be very emotional based on the reviews.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Shay talked about this in her March book review this past week and I immediately downloaded it. I love pretty much all of her recommended books, and if I’m ever feeling at a loss looking through Amazon I head over there for inspiration (and check the comments section too)! This book is about a mum and son who live in Mexico, and have to escape to the US away from the Cartel. From Shay’s review and the Amazon reviews it seems to be a very suspenseful, tragic, heartwarming read, and I’m kind of obsessed with all things about the drug cartels in Mexico! Matt and I watched Narcos: Mexico and LOVED it, and I think that’s what got me into that kind of storyline. This book is fictional but wanting to cross the border for a better life is an everyday thought for so many people, I’m so excited to read this… I just need a few more happy, easy books before I delve in!

No We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald
Okay so I adore Sophie’s books and I’m so excited to read this! This books seems like a typical girly, romantic comedy that I really bloody love… Sloane is looking for The One and she’s pretty sure she’s found him, until she finds out Myles is hiding a huge secret from her and everything falls apart, as it always does in a rom-com! This feels like a perfect chilled read, especially when the world is so topsy turvsy.

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher 
I really like Giovanna’s books because they’re generally very light hearted, easy-to-read and something you can pick up and put down without being too gripped. I mean that as a good thing! This story follows Lizzy, who thinks after being with her boyfriend for ten years there’s a proposal on the horizon, however that doesn’t exactly work out. Gi’s books are super down-to-earth and I always fall in love with the main character, who I’m assuming is going to be heartbroken and on a journey to find herself throughout the book…

Books I loved and recommend:

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
I’ve bought this book for so many people! This is a great read that would be such a welcome distraction for someone during this crap time. Dolly recounts SO many memories throughout this book, and so many of them are things that our teenage selves will relate to! She covers heartbreaking times in her life, funny times, learning experiences and everything in-between. I really feel like Dolly comes across in a big sister kinda way throughout this book, and it’s a bloody fun trip down memory lane as I guarantee you’ll remember certain things/people/times whilst reading her story. I think every woman should read this, I’ve actually read it twice and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! Literally laugh-out-loud funny and not the predictable storyline I was expecting a few chapters in. Tiffy, the main character, is the most lovable, friendly girl and I think that’s partly why I loved this book so much. I found it so funny, I always wanted to know what was happening next and I was jumping to conclusions of what would happen next all the way through. It also really shows how people can get to know each other without knowing each other, and that’s something that happens more and more in the world we live in. Imagine how many couples will be saying in a few years ‘oh we talked every day during quarantine!’ hahaha.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
I’ve talked about this book several times on my blog and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it’s so worth a mention for anyone new reading! Let me just be clear: this is NOT a light read. It’s a very moving, heartbreaking, touching story and my heart physically hurt reading this. But, it’s still so amazing! Elsie, the main character, is living in a happy little bubble when the most distressing thing happens; her husband is killed in an accident. The writing is phenomenal; Elsie’s personality shone through in this book even in the midst of horrific grief and all the way through I just wanted to pop round and give her a hug. I also really cuddled Matt tight each night when I put this down, it brings a whole other level of appreciation to your loved ones! To be honest all of Taylor’s books are incredible, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce
This is a very fun, light and easy read, which is perfect if you’re struggling with everything going on in the world right now. I read this in two or three days a few weeks back and I just loved the storyline. Rebecca is a pushover who works for a horribly mean boss (we’ve all been there!), and she thinks she needs to be more like her in order to do better in life. She quickly learns that being a bitch is not the best way to go through life and the way she learns it is SO funny. I also would love to see if the house in this book was based on one in real life, and if so I want to move in!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I read this last December, assuming by the title it was a Christmas themed book. It’s not! I loved this book from start to finish and read it SO quickly, I wish I could go back and re-read it for the first time! Laurie and her best friend Sarah both unexpectedly fall in love with the same guy, but it’s not a typical love triangle story at all. The book moves through years pretty quickly and you really get to know the characters so well, I was rooting for different people at different times in this book but overall I loved the ending and I so want a second book to see what happens with the characters! Also there is some really sad moments in this book, so just bear that in mind if you’re struggling a little right now.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This was such a heart-warming read, I truly adored the storyline and the characters! A twenty-something girl who was adopted as a baby goes to find her birth mother on the other side of the world in New Zealand, and as you can imagine it’s not straight forward. She’s led there by a tragedy, and the truth behind her adoption is told throughout the book. I literally gasped at parts of this, again I was thinking I knew what was going to happen but I was so off. This is an easy read and I was so happy with the ending (even though I felt it was a little rushed). Also, it really made me want to visit New Zealand, it sounds like such a beautiful place and the way of life seems very similar to the UK!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
I’ve also talked about this on the blog a few times recently but oh my goodness I just LOVED this book! This is the perfect quarantine read because I promise you’ll not want to put it down. Caitlin is a professional matchmaker running her own agency, with the most perfect cookie cutter husband and life, or so her followers think. This is a great story that shows what you see on social media is not always as it seems, and although some parts are completely heartbreaking overall the book is beautiful and heartwarming. I love that the reader doesn’t know exactly what’s going on right away, and you are led to make your own assumptions before being told the truth. Such a great read, and another book that makes you feel especially lucky for your life right now.

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter 
I saw this book all over Instagram and I downloaded it because I just had to see what all the hype was about. Around three chapters in I was feeling like this book was not for me, but boy was I WRONG! I did find it a little hard to get into, but it is so worth sticking with. This book is relatable, hilarious, thought-provoking and it also covers some really hard parts of life. The story is based on three very different women whose paths overlap and it’s a really great testament to the power of female friendship. Warning: it gets… graphic(?) pretty quick!

Have you read any of these books? Which is your favourite?! Please share all of your recommendations below, I love hearing what books people would recommend and why! Sending you all positive thoughts and love in this horrible time, we’re all in this together friends 🙂 (and that reminds me, Matt and I have got a date with HSM this afternoon… yay for Disney+!) 

-G x