Feelin’ It Friday

Happy Friday, loves! Can you believe we’re heading into the second week of August? Where the heck is this year going? Matt left for work at 6.30am (boo) so I’m finishing up writing and editing this post laying in bed with a cup of Swiss Miss, candle burning, listening to the pouring rain and Friends playing in the background… what a relaxing way to start a Friday 🙂

What I’m loving:
This is a little sneak peek as in a week or two I have a post going up featuring several new beauty bits I’ve picked up recently, but I just HAVE to share this with you now! I ordered the Pillowtalk palette from Charlotte Tilbury when it finally came back in stock and I’ve never loved an eyeshadow palette so much, it’s a dream! The packaging is beautiful, just like everything from Charlotte Tilbury, and the colours are amazing – it’s literally my perfect palette. The shades are light and subtle but with lots of colour pay off, and you can create easy day or night looks. Now I have the palette, lipstick and lip liner from the Pillowtalk collection, I’m just missing the blush!

Where I’ve been:
I’m sorry there was no new post on Wednesday, I took the week off blogging because I was just feeling a little overwhelmed and anxious. I was pretty annoyed at myself because I had a post ready to go, I just needed to do a final edit and take photos but I didn’t feel up to it. I’ve been a little off the past couple of weeks and it unfortunately caught up with me. I took the week to spend more time with Matt, do more yoga, focus on work, plan new content and just relax, which made me feel so much better! I really hate taking time off from blogging because I feel like I’m letting not just myself down but also my readers, but now I’m back and so excited for upcoming content 🙂

What I’m wearing:
I LOVE midi skirts and I can’t get enough! I wore this leopard print wrap midi on Saturday night when we went out for my brother’s birthday (you can just see it in my feature photo) and I wore this one at the weekend with a t-shirt. I love to wear midi skirts dressed up with a cami and heels or dressed down with a t-shirt and trainers, and I’m definitely going to be wearing them with thin knits or jumpers and boots when Autumn rolls around! They’re really so versatile and I’m always looking for more to add to my collection, so please link me any that you love right now?

What I’ve been up to this week:
I’ve had a really good week despite feeling pretty rubbish at the beginning. I wrote a little for my blog on Wednesday and Thursday evening before Matt got home from work, and enjoyed it so much. Matt took me for date night at Banyan in Newcastle on Tuesday night; it’s restaurant week and we hadn’t planned anything because I wasn’t feeling like myself, but he surprised me and booked it. He’s seriously the best, I love him so much! Look how cute he is in that photo above!! We’ve also watched tons of TV because our new TV is the best thing ever. We were snuggled in bed the other night watching a Stacey Dooley documentary (I just love her) and I literally said to Matt “don’t you think having a TV again has made our lives so much better?!” hahahaha.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We’re having a nice relaxing weekend and I couldn’t be more excited to chill the heck out. Tonight I’m making a fun dinner – more on that below! – and we’re snuggling in bed watching TV all night long. I’m obsessed guys. Matt is working an early shift tomorrow so we’ll be up at 6am (well, he will be. I get to stay cosy in bed)! While he’s at work I’m hoping to catch up on my YouTube subscription box and get lots of work done on the blog. We really want to spend our afternoon at the beach but we’re on weather warning for torrential rain so we may need to take a rain check on that one. Rain check. Get it? We’re spending our evening with Matt’s parents, I love these kind of chilled weekends so much! On Sunday we’re up early to squeeze in a breakfast date as our plans to go for breakfast last week spectacularly failed. Sunday is also our first game of the season (we’re big NUFC fans, despite all of the problems going on at the club right now) so Matt is heading into town to watch the match with his friends, then I’m picking him up after. I’m hoping to spend the few hours he’s out finishing up blog stuff for the week, clearing out my beauty drawers (my wardrobes look SO GOOD) and baking banana bread for us to enjoy that evening!

What I’m planning:
Our trip at the end of the month! I am so excited to get away for a few days to explore Stamford, spend time with Matt’s family and just relax. Matt and I love exploring new places and finding hidden gems but if you have any recommendations of places we must visit or the best shops/restaurants please let me know! I’m going to be writing a packing post for our weekend away, as I haven’t done one of those for so long and I know those posts are loved. (That’s not me being big headed, those are some of the posts that are searched for and re-read the most… I get to see all the stats!) Those are some of my favourite posts from other bloggers too, and I really enjoy writing them so I’m really excited.

What I’m obsessed with:
Sheet masks, specifically these ones from The Body Shop! The seaweed mask is my go-to, and Matt really enjoys the Aloe option. I really want to do a whole post about how good their face mask range is and my top picks, as I feel like I always talk about them but never in much detail. I was feeling super crappy on Monday evening so Matt and I had a mini pamper night, and it made me feel SO much better! I’ve just picked up some of their Vitamin C masks and I’m so excited to use them more before giving my verdict. I really want to make a post soon about a few Vitamin C products I’ve introduced into my skincare routine that are making my skin look the best it has in a LONG time!

What I’m working out to:
Confession time: I’ve totally failed with this week’s Couch To 5k runs, I’ve only done one! But again, I was having one of those weeks so I’m not beating myself up about it because honestly, who cares? I have however done A LOT of yoga – I’ve practiced at least once per day over the past week and it’s felt SO good. I find it totally clears my mind, allows me to focus on the ‘right now’ and leaves me feeling so relaxed and content. When I feel particularly anxious I really enjoy doing yoga a little bit more because it helps so much!

What I’m excited about:
Tonight’s dinner receipe. I swear I am 25 going on 85. Matt has a little work to do so I said I’d make dinner for us, and I’m finally making this BLT pasta! Shay made it on The Today Show a while back and when I watched that I knew I wanted to make it too, then literally forgot. all. about. it. Does that happen to anyone else? We love to make new recipes but we also love our tried and tested favourites… it’s a hard balance! I’m so excited to see how it tastes, I’m also pairing it with garlic bread and I’m sure it’s going to be AMAZING!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you had a wonderful week and have an even better weekend with your loved ones. What have you been up to this past week? I’m so excited to relax a lot with Matt, do a little more decluttering and write more blog posts! I’ve gone a little crazy and planned my content until mid-September, I really am so excited to share so many fun things with you. Also, I SO BADLY wanted to share with you a Patagonia sweater I can barely wait to buy for the Autumn and Winter months, but I feel like I can’t stop talking about Autumn and it’s a little too early… I might share it with you next week, I am SO excited to get it!

-G x

How Can We Live More Sustainably?

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

Hey, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x