What’s What! I Almost Quit Blogging…

Hey, loves! Happy Friday 🙂 there’s a lot to catch you guys up on, so I’m just going to jump right into it…

We celebrated Matt’s sweet grandma’s 80th birthday this weekend!

Where I’ve been:
Okay so I’ve only missed two upload dates, but behind the scenes I’ve been very close to quitting blogging. I’m not even sure why but I had a real crisis of confidence that spilled over into my blog and I just felt like the content I was creating wasn’t worth uploading. I figured people were getting bored of what I was writing and I doubted myself a ton. I wrote a blog post essentially saying goodbye to my blog and thank you to everyone who’s read here over the past two years, but when it came to Tuesday (the day I was going to upload it) I just couldn’t. I deleted the draft and in that moment I knew I wanted to continue. I love my blog and although I don’t think it’s anything amazing I am truly so proud of it. I don’t ever want to lose sight of that!

I started this blog two years ago, I was super shy, introverted and looking for a creative outlet. I found it! My happy little corner of the internet. But, like so many of us do I started playing the comparison game and feeling a little bit ‘meh’ about everything. Thankfully I picked myself up, and I’ve got a bunch of blog posts in the works. I really want to create blog posts that I love to write, and you guys enjoy reading. I feel a little like I’ve ‘lost’ myself recently, so I’m really hoping this will help me to ‘find’ myself again. If you’re still sticking around here with me, I’m so grateful for that!

What Content I’m Planning:
I really love sharing the ‘real life’ stuff with you because that’s what I like to read from other people. I love skincare, slow fashion, makeup, beauty products, cooking, exploring the North East with my boyfriend, self care, yoga and just writing like I’m talking to a friend. You might have already noticed but I’m changing how my blog looks too, www.gillianfinn.com is getting a mini makeover 🙂 

What new habit I’m trying to create:
Despite the fact I make Matt’s breakfast every morning, I got into a really bad routine of skipping breakfast and snacking on junk food until lunch time during the work week. The past month or so I’ve been trying to eat things like overnight oats, porridge, cereal or yogurt with granola and berries each day, just simple and super quick options! It has made SUCH a difference. I don’t snack anywhere near as much as I used to, and I feel like I have tons more energy through the day. I also started drinking Actimel shots each morning and I love them! Matt is debating if he should get on board with this habit, and I really think he should. These Actimel shots support normal function of the immune system, and contain vitamins D and B6. I’ve had random health issues (hopefully nothing serious, I’m waiting for tests!) for a while that have got worse the past couple months, and I’m really hoping even small changes to look after myself will make a huge difference.  

What I’m reading:
I just finished Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson last week and I highly recommend, it’s so funny! There were a few raunchy (…? does anyone use that word?) parts so just be warned if that’s not your thing! Yesterday I just finished reading The Spare Bedroom by Elizabeth Neep and I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s laugh out loud funny, heartbreaking, made me cry like three times and involves a once very loved up couple being reunited, with a storyline you’d not expect. This is one of the best books I’ve read recently, I’d love to watch a movie of this! I’m starting a new book this morning but I have SO MANY books on my ‘to read’ list I don’t actually know what I’m going to pick. I am going to be sharing a bunch of these with you in a couple weeks time so keep an eye out, alllll the book recommendations are coming your way!

What I’m buying:
I got new glasses! I mean, it’s not exactly the most fun purchase ever but there’s always something exciting about it as you only get new glasses every few years. And, they cost me a small large fortune so I’m showing them off! LOL! I knew my prescription needed updating as I couldn’t see as well anymore (turns out it had actually changed MUCH more than I expected!) so I was very grateful my opticians had opened back up. I picked up my new glasses this week and I’m so excited about them, I really love the shape of the frames and I can see sooo much better. My new contacts just arrived too… I swear everything looks like you just changed the settings on YouTube from 360p to 1080p…. 

What I’m looking forward to:
This weekend! Matt and I don’t really have any plans except to eat pastries, explore the countryside and visit with my godparents. Honestly, the weekends we don’t have too many plans always turn out to be some of our favourite! We had a great time last weekend celebrating Matt’s grandma turning 80, but I was poorly from thurssay night through to Monday morning so kinda felt like I missed out on those #weekendvibes. Today though, I’m feeling GREAT! I’m also going to be sharing a Weekend In My Life with you on Monday 🙂 I love taking you along on our weekends! 

What I’m obsessing over:
I am sooo happy with the immediate results I see every time I use the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal mask from Ren, it is just incredible. I have combination skin that is super sensitive so I have to be careful with what I use on my skin. These days I’m much more careful of which brands/ingredients I purchase, and Ren is always a winner for me. This mask literally leaves my skin soft as a baby’s butt! As my skin type is combination I deal with both dry and oily patches, and this somehow helps to even that out. My dry patches are non-existent the next morning, and my skin is way less oily under makeup. This is a very gentle exfoliator – those scrubby cleansers with ‘exfoliating beads’ etc are NOT good, it makes my face hurt at just the thought – but it really leaves beautiful fresh skin. I sometimes follow up with The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask (why do they give face mask such LONG names?) and those together are my ultimate pamper night duo! 

What I’m watching:
I finally watched season two of Selling Sunset and thought it was better than the first. I just love crappy ‘reality’ TV, and their makeup/hair/outfits are a world away from anything I ever wear, but are just to die for! Crishelle is my favourite. I just started Sweet Magnolias so I’m excited to see what I think about that 🙂 Matt and I are boring AF and are watching… The Office. We like what we like, guys! But… tonight we are finally watching Hamilton on Disney+! I’m giddy with excitement! We have been meaning to watch it every evening since it came out but y’know… #lifegotintheway. I’m soooo excited. We have popcorn, we have European Haribo (they get all the best flavours) and we are going to have the BEST movie night!

Phew! What a post. So, to summarize… I nearly left blogging for good, my immune system needs all the help it can get and I’m hoping yogurt drinks will cure it, and I’m dreaming of a life being a realtor in LA. LOL! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, see you Monday! I pinky promise 😉 

-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

What’s What! #1

Happy Wednesday my loves! I hope you’re all having a great week and staying warm because it’s SO freaking cold outside.

Today’s post might seem a little out of the blue, because it’s a new (kinda) series here on my blog. I posted Feelin’ It Friday posts every week for a long time and I LOVED writing them, but I just felt like they were a little too structured. I felt a lot of pressure to have new things to talk about every single week and sometimes I wouldn’t be happy with what I’d written but felt like I had to post them because it was Friday. I always got messages from people saying they loved those posts and they tried X, Y or Z because of them, but I never wanted them to become too repetitive or boring and so I stopped writing them. This kind of post is pretty much the same format, the only thing that’s changing is my What’s What posts will be posted completely randomly (either on a Wednesday or Sunday because they’re my uploading days). I hope you enjoy the new format and I’m so excited to get into it!

What I’m obsessing over:
Matt and I have had a mini makeover with our bedding and I’m SO happy with how it turned out. I just wanted to insert a little colour as honestly our bedroom was looking super dark and kinda boring, so I wanted to add in a little pink (of course). I got our beautiful throw from Homesense – sorry I can’t find it online at TK Maxx but they had so many pretty ones in store! – and the quirky face pillow at Matalan. The colours in the throw just make me SO happy, and make me want Spring/Summer to be here immediately. I also added another pink cushion since this photo was taken on Sunday but we haven’t had hardly any day light to take photos. I just want one more big cream cushion to complete it! I also really love our fuzzy cream blanket (underneath the throw) that we got around two years at Costco. We have a few of these in different colours and we snuggle up in them every single night to watch TV, and in the Summer we use them as our duvet when it’s really hot out!

What I’m buying:
So in light of last week’s life update, I have just started purchasing new clothes for my new job! Guys I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED to wear cute clothes to work! I can’t wait to dress up a little and feel good about what I’m wearing. I truly believe when you look good you feel good! I’ve only purchased a few pairs of trousers and a couple of tops/blouses so far, but I have a list written out of all the things I’d like to pick up before I start the job, then I’ll add to my work wardrobe each month. I really need some cute ballet flats and maybe I’ll also get a pair of nude loafers that will go with everything! Where do you buy cute work clothes? An old coworker told me to she buys lots of her work clothing from Tesco so I looked the other day whilst grocery shopping… their stuff is so cute! I picked up a pair of grey checked slim fit trousers that I’m so excited to wear. I also really need to get a new work bag and I’m torn between a few from Katie Loxton. I’m stuck between this tote bag, this super cute bucket bag or this slouch bag. Is it wrong to buy them all…? I’m leaning towards the tote bag for work (although I think realistically black is a more practical colour) and the pink bucket bag for… a treat? Just because? Help a gal out!

What I’m burning:
So I have a new love for wax melts! My co-worker has told me how good they are for such a long time but I’ve always been a candle girl and hadn’t really bought into the hype of them. I was grocery shopping after work last week and picked up this cut out heart shaped wax burner, a bunch of tea lights and some Spring/Summer scents from the Scentsationals brand. I started burning Cotton Candy Cloud immediately and wow oh wow, the scent payoff is incredible! It fills our whole bedroom in minutes, and unlike a candle I feel like it keeps it’s same strength the whole time. Now, don’t get me wrong I still love my candles and I’m always going to burn them, but wax melts are such a fun change for me! I can’t wait to try more scents/brands. Do you have any specific ones you’d recommend?!

What I’m reading:
SO MANY BOOKS. I recently read and loved So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter, The Flat Share by Beth Leary, The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy,
Right now I’m reading One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom and guys I’m so invested in the story. I love love love the main character and the sentiment behind the storyline is so sweet, I can’t wait to see what happens and I’m prepared to cry all the ugly tears! Next on my reading list is Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid; I’ve only heard/seen good things so I have super high hopes. I’m so excited to share my Spring Reading List with you all soon because my list of recommendations is HUGE! I got a message from my sweet blogging friend Chloe this week saying I’d inspired her to buy a Kindle and I genuinely felt like a proud mum. Hahahaha. Feeling like you want to be enabled to buy one too? Read my review rave here.

What I’m wearing:
I cannot stop wearing oversized sweatshirts. I’ve purchased tons of vintage sweaters in the past few months and I’m so happy with my little collection. I normally go for vintage Disney or US colleges / national parks / sports teams etc. That’s kind of my new vibe and I love it! I got this Walt Disney World sweatshirt I’m wearing in the photo above from eBay; it’s a men’s size medium so it’s pretty dang big on me but I LOVE that look. I wear it with mom jeans all the time! It was brand new with the tags still attached and I got it for so cheap, I really love buying second hand. I’m putting together a whole blog post about my tips for shopping second hand which will be up in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to share it with you! Also… the vintage Disney sweaters are so cute, I want them all!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I are watching season two of Narcos: Mexico and so far (three episodes in) it’s absolutely as good as the first season! We always get so addicted to the shows and binge watch them too fast though which kinda makes me sad. We’re still watching The Office, we laugh our heads off at every episode and it’s just the perfect feel good show after a long day! And guys… can we talk about the Friends reunion?!? I could pee my pants I’m so excited!!! What do we think will be the plot line? Do we think it’ll be just as funny? I’m pretty sure Ross and Rachel would have gotten married and had more children, and I just can’t wait to find out. Also, I really want to watch Dumplin’ this weekend, have you seen it? Would you recommend for a chilled evening in?! Matt’s heading up to Edinburgh to visit one of his best friends who recently moved there so I’m flying solo on Saturday night! I also have A Cinderella Story on my to watch list because I just found out it’s on Netflix and it’s one of my favourite movies! Is it so sad I’m already excited to pick him up from the train station on Sunday afternoon? He hasn’t even gone yet hahaha.

What beauty product I’m recommending:
An oldie but a goodie, I just can’t tell you how much I love this product. Do I actually think it helps me get a better nights sleep? No. Because my sleeping pattern is terrible and I spend at least two hours in the middle of every night staring at the ceiling whilst Matt snoozes happily cuddled into me. I swear I have insomnia on some level! BUT, I do bloody love this product. My favourite ever evening moisturiser that I only use once or twice a week is Sleepy from Lush; it’s a vanilla/lavender scent but it’s not at all overpowering, and it’s so dang moisturising! I really would love to use it every evening but it’s a lil’ spenny y’know?! The scent does make me feel really calm and relaxed and it’s just really comforting to me, I don’t think anyone would regret buying this for a little luxury in their evening routine!

What I’m looking forward to:
I just am so excited for Spring! Spring means lighter days, warmer weather and new beginnings… like my new job! I really am so terrified/nervous but I’m pushing past it to focus on all the exciting things that come with a big change like this. I really am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and I just want to do #allthethings that make me happy. I’m genuinely so excited for warm weather, I cannot wait until I can leave the house without my huge parka coat! I’m really an Autumn kinda gal but this year something in me is so excited about all things Spring and Summer.

Thank you so much for reading friends! What has been going on in your life? What are you loving right now? Also, please help me with the bag options… which would you pick?!

-G x

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: An Honest Review

Hey, loves! I am SO FREAKING EXCITED about today’s blog post, because I really am so in love with my Kindle. Oh, that was kind of a spoiler wasn’t it? As I’m sure you already know because I haven’t shut up about it, Matthew very kindly bought me a Kindle for Christmas and it’s quite literally become my pride and joy. I had tried the Kindle concept a little in the past as I had dabbled with reading on my iPad, although I really didn’t love that and still favoured a paperback or hardback instead.

I have to admit, prior to my first time reading on my Kindle, I was really apprehensive if I would enjoy it because I love books. I could – and still do – lose hours walking around a book shop, I love the feel of a ‘real’ book and I also really like that you can pass them on to friends and family once you’re done with them. Books also have a very nostalgic, beautiful smell to me which I know some people may think is bonkers, ha! I’ve been a bookworm since before I can remember, although when I was younger I definitely wouldn’t have shouted it from the roof tops because I was so consumed by what people may think. That’s crazy to me now, I couldn’t be more proud to be a book nerd!

I made little notes in the Notes app on my phone so I could remember my thoughts and feelings to share with you guys on the blog at some point. The very first thing I wrote down was that my Kindle was so small and light. I hadn’t even held a Kindle before so really I had no reference but I expected it to be a lot heavier, and I just couldn’t believe how teeny tiny it was. This for me is definitely a positive thing; so many books are released in hardback first and the paperback version doesn’t come out for up to a year after that, so I’d lost count of how many times I’d struggled to hold up heavy books for long periods of time. I should probably go to the gym LOL. I love that the device is very compact which makes it easy to carry on-the-go and perfect for travel; one of my (only) pet hates about books is the they’re so bulky and annoying to travel with! I did buy a case (this one, if you’re interested) and I love it, it works perfectly.

Buying books has become a completely new experience for me, which wasn’t something I’d thought about. I was used to logging into Amazon, ordering whatever took my fancy and thanks to the Prime Gods, new books would turn up at my door the following day. I thought that was SO fast. Now, I download my chosen book(s) through the Amazon Kindle Store and they sync straight to my Kindle in seconds. Wi-Fi is just the best technology ever, right?!

Prior to having my Kindle I had no real reference of how inexpensive Kindle copies are in comparison to the paperback/hardback copy, as I’d only read a few books on my iPad’s Kindle app. Almost every single book you purchase through the Kindle Store is a fraction of the price in comparison; when I first started loading up my Kindle I spent £12.99 … but if I’d bought paper copies of those books it would have cost me £62.49. That is NUTS! This is already proving to be huge cost saving for me, because I read books pretty quickly (I’m currently reading book #8 of 2020… I think I’m going to have to write the most epic round up of all the books I’ve read at the end of the year if I cary on reading like this) and that’s a great bonus I hadn’t anticipated. Not to mention, e-books are way more sustainable than paper books!

I really enjoy the whole reading experience on my Kindle. The text is super clear and easy to read, and you can also make changes if necessary to suit your needs better. I personally kept everything as it came because that works really well for me. One of my very favourite things about reading on the device is that there is a small percentage marker at the bottom of the screen, which shows how far you are through the book. You can also swipe to see how far you are away from finishing that specific chapter, which is great if you’re like me and can’t stop mid-chapter. I also find it really motivating to see how far I’ve read in X amount of time, because I am #TypeA.

I always try to intentionally make time to read each day. My bed has always been one of my favourite places to read as I love to read for at least twenty minutes before I go to sleep, but if Matt was super tired I felt bad having our bedside lamp on so often didn’t bother. I often wake up in the middle of the night (that’s a whole other post) and I always thought it would be a great time to read until I could fall back to sleep, but putting the lamp on then isn’t really an option either. Now that I have my Kindle this hasn’t been an issue at all! The screen has a built in light which makes reading convenient anywhere, and I know this will also be great for airplanes when I don’t want to disturb any sleeping neighbours by using the overhead lights. If you do have a light above you when you’re reading, the screen is glare free guys, they’ve covered everything. There is also no blue light emitted from the Kindle Paperwhite, which helps to reduce eye strain and eye pain!

Another of my favourite places to read is in the tub. I love my baths filled with bubbles and bath salts, and I like my bath water hot. Like, if I’m not bright pink when I get out it wasn’t a good bath, LOL. I figured reading in the bath would be a little tricky with a Kindle but no… it’s fully waterproof. W A T E R P R O O F. This was the realisation that made me really fall in love with it I think! If you’ve ever used your phone in a bath, hot tub or sauna you’ll know what I mean by saying it makes the phone screen wet and almost cloudy. A phone screen cannot cope with the heat, water or steam and it’s just easier to not bother using your phone. However, the Kindle is completely oblivious to the Satan level heat being emitted around my bath, and it works perfectly! There’s no pesky fingerprint marks, no trouble with the screen not picking up where I’m tapping, and absolutely no need to throw it out of the bath and grab a paperback instead. I know this means it would be great for a spa day or by the pool on holiday – no matter how hot the weather may be – and that my friends is why I’m going to say this is the BEST technology I’ve ever owned. My inner nerd is psyched!

The last thing I wanted to mention is that the battery life is fantastic. I use my Kindle every single day, for anywhere from twenty minutes to over an hour, and I’ve barely had to charge the device since Christmas. Maybe four times?! Unlike my phone – which I’m pretty sure I sometimes just look at and my battery goes down by 10% – this is a great feature, and I hope it continues to last as well once I’ve used it for years!

So… are you on Amazon ordering yourself a Kindle Paperwhite yet?! Apologies for any enabling that may be caused by this post, they’re really just the best things ever. Do you love to read as much as I do? Have you already invested in a Kindle? What’s your favourite thing about it?! Be sure to check out my reading list I shared last month, there’s so many great books in there!

-G x

Winter Reading List

Happy Wednesday, loves! One of the things I really want to include more of in my blog this year is my love of reading. I read at least twenty minutes per day, but I really try to read for around an hour if I can. Honestly this totally depends on my day; if I have spare time in the morning like when Matt leaves for work, or if I’m taking a long bath in the evening I often read for longer than hour. I’ve set myself a target to read twenty six books this year but I’ve just finished book #5 of 2020, so I’m pretty sure I’ll surpass that goal quickly!

If you’ve missed me talking about it approximately 400 times on the blog, Matthew very kindly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I am absolutely in love with it (full first impressions/review will be coming in the next few weeks) and I’m so so grateful he gifted it to me! I’ve only read books on my Kindle since Christmas Day, and I honestly haven’t missed having a ‘real’ book at all, which was something I was a little worried about. I decided to mix this review up with a few books I’ve read and a few books I’m planning on reading; let me know if you’d like to see more review-style lists on what I’ve already read, rather than what I’m planning to!

The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth
Real talk: I’ve never met a Sally Hepworth book I didn’t like. Ha! I first found Sally through Shay and I loved her writing style from the very beginning. I always feel like her characters are very well written and have that real feeling to them that makes connecting to their story so effortless. I love the mystery linked in to this book; the plot surrounds Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, being found dead, next to a suicide note that makes no sense. All of the family have something to hide, and the book is a whodunnit style which I’m sure will have me gripped based on the reviews I’ve read. Fun fact: after girly ‘rom com’ style of book, whodunnit is my second favourite kind of book to read! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This was the fifth book I read this year, and it’s definitely my favourite of the bunch so far! I LOVED it so much. The story is told by the two main characters – Tiffy and Leon – in a diary-like format, although I have to admit when I first started reading I didn’t know if I’d like that. After a few chapters I really enjoyed this way of story telling; it was interesting to hear both points of view and still have my own opinion/thoughts as the reader. Right from the very beginning I just adored Tiffy; she’s found with nowhere to live and her only option is to live in Leon’s flat (and bed!) when he’s not there. Sounds strange doesn’t it? It is, but it’s wonderful. This is just a lovely story of two personalities intertwining and it’s definitely not your typical boy-meets-girl. It’s also laugh out loud funny. This should be next on your ‘to read’ list for sure!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I ordered this book as it was recommended to me on Amazon back in December and I am SO glad I did! I read it within a few days and I loved every. single. second. The story follows two best friends, and a boy they are both in love with. The new characters that are introduced fit in so well, and the story has so many twists and turns it’s not the predictable easy read I assumed it was. I really felt like I couldn’t put this down and would recommend to everyone; also the title is a little misleading as I thought this was a Christmas themed book but it’s definitely not, you could read this any time of year. This was hands down my favourite book of 2019! I can’t wait to read more from Josie, her new book comes out in March and I’m very excited to get my hands on it!

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like this book is EVERYWHERE at the moment. I have to say, I love the cover so much I almost bought the paperback instead of downloading the Kindle version, ha! I just started reading this and I’m really enjoying it. The book is told (so far) from the perspective of two women, and also features an influencer’s social media posts, obviously showing off her perfect life. I have a feeling there are a lot of cracks that will show soon! So far none of the women have met but I can see how their lives are about to intertwine. I love Beth already, her character is SO funny and I’ve laughed out loud several times in her parts of the book! I’ve seen from reviews there’s a less in here regarding not believing things as you see them on social media, and I think that’s a lesson we could all do with being told over and over again. I’m really excited to see what happens (and why Ruby is the way she is…)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
I have wanted to read this book for SO long; I know it’s very loved and it’s a best-seller, but I’ve kinda put it off because I know it’s going to be a hard read. Matt and I love to watch movies set during wartime but every time I read a book set around the war I can’t finish it, I have no idea how but to me reading is so much more powerful than a TV show/movie and my heart hurts so much I can’t take it! This story centres around two people on very different sides of the camp falling in love, and I just know it’s going to be a heartbreaking read! It’s a bestseller and so many people have told me to read it, so I really need to get to it.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
I read this book super quickly, and I’d definitely recommend for an easy read that actually covers some very hard life events. Warning: it can get a little raunchy! Ha! I did not know that when I picked it up, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. Caitlin, the main character, is so lovable and someone you’re immediately connected to and rooting for from the beginning. I love when I immediately like or can relate to the main character as I think that is a huge part of how much I enjoy books. She is a super successful lawyer and when her ex-nemesis from college is needing a favour from her, she seems to find a whole new side of herself. I also LOVE Emme’s character! I can’t say much more without spoiling it, just add it to your reading list ASAP!

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life And Strange Times In Television
Matt bought me Louis’ book for Christmas which was so sweet because he knew I was planning on buying it. Something you may not know about us is that we LOVE Louis Theroux! His documentaries are some of our favourites (Queen Stace gets the top spot, obvs) and we binge watch his old ones all the time. I especially love Louis’ interviewing style; he’s never afraid to say what he thinks and he has met some of the most controversial people! I really am so excited to delve into this to see a behind-the-scenes aspect.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This book was also recommended to me by Amazon after reading One Day In December, so I have pretty high hopes. The story is based on a girl figuring out her own grief and finding her biological mother in the process, and these kind of heart wrenching stories make for some of my favourites! It’s also set in New Zealand and I love when a book is set somewhere I’ve never been before. I really enjoy a family based drama within a book, and this book is described as moving and emotional, which we all know means I’ll be crying my way through it!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
This was the first book I read in 2020, and I loved it so much I wish I could unread it and read it again! The story was not at all what I thought and I think that’s actually a really good thing; I love when a book takes you by surprise and has lots more to offer than it appears on the surface. The Matchmaker covers some very hard circumstances you’d never want to experience in your own life, but it also is funny. Caitlin, the main character, is someone I immediately liked, and thought it was so interesting that she runs her own matchmaking agency. I don’t want to spoil for you why she’s against sharing her perfect life with her perfect husband – after all, it’s been the selling point of her agency for a very long time – but I just need you to buy it! Warning: I sobbed several times reading this book. You know those big, fat tears that just don’t stop? Buy tissues!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this inspired you to grab your book (or Kindle) and snuggle in to read for a few hours this afternoon. I just get so much joy from reading, I want everyone else to enjoy it just as much as I do! I’m still trying to convince Matthew to pick up a book… Have you read any of the books I talk about in this post? Do you have any recommendations for me of what I should order next?

-G x

Four Things I Do Every Week To Be Productive

Hi, loves! There’s a few things I do each and every week that helps make me feel like I’m being the best version of me. I often feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once because running a blog whilst having a full time job, still making time for my social life and being able to run errands and other mundane things can sometimes feel like a lot. If I need to take time out to just relax and recharge, I’m (slowly) becoming okay with not completing my to-do list if I’m just not in the headspace to do it.

My default downtime/self care regime is often just a night in with Matthew bugging him to do a face mask with me, eat pick n mix and watch a few episodes of The Office, but I really wanted to share a few little things I do throughout each week to help me feel more productive, fulfilled and happy. Being able to do these things (among others, of course) really allows me to be productive when I have to be; downtime is so important and honestly being ‘busy’ all the time is not something I want to aim for.

Enjoy downtime in the mornings and evenings
I adore having a chilled morning or evening, especially when I can take my time over the mundane everyday things too. I try to wake up at least twenty to thirty minutes before I actually need to every day, whether it’s a work day or not, and this means I’m able to take my time a little more. Matt and I try to take an extra five minutes in bed together once our alarms have gone off, then we have a cup of tea every morning. I sometimes will a candle on my vanity table whilst I get ready, and I try to take my time doing my hair and makeup. One of my favourite parts of a weekend morning is picking my outfit for the day; I love to be able to pick clothing based on my mood that day! Is that weird?! I much prefer evenings where I have time to take a bath as showering just isn’t as relaxing to me, and I also take time to blog or read as much as I can too. I also LOVE to cook in the evenings it’s one of my favourite times of day.

Take time out to plan healthy meals
Cooking is a huge part of my night routine; whether Matt’s working late or he’s home before me it’s always a priority that we eat something hearty and healthy! I’m that weirdo that really enjoys meal planning and grocery shopping (genuinely, it’s my favourite errand to run… hahaha) and I find it really helps how I feel mentally to eat good foods. I’ve always ate lots of fruit and veggies but now more than ever Matt and I are trying to pack as many as we can into our daily meals, and cut out some of the rubbish. This year I was determined to take lunch to work with me everyday (and for Matt to do this, too!) because we were constantly eating food that made us feel crap and cost a fortune. I know we’re only two weeks into the work year but we’ve both really enjoyed eating a healthy lunch during the day, it just helps you to feel more energetic and productive. I also try to drink water as often as possible, but I’ll forever be obsessed with Diet Coke!

Read
I have no idea how people can not read books, honestly! Reading a good book is something I intentionally make time for each day, and I can’t tell you how much I love to get lost in a fictional world. I recently started to read during my lunch breaks at work which has quickly become one of my favourite times to read, I just find it the best way to escape the work environment for half an hour. In the evenings I take a bath I read in there, and I try to take at least twenty minutes before bed if I can too. Of course every day is so different; sometimes Matt and I watch TV (we’re currently obsessed with Jack Ryan!) right up until we go to sleep, and others we have a little more time to do our own thing. I’m sharing my current reading list on Wednesday, there’s so many good books in there!

Listen to motivational podcasts whilst driving
Driving is something that makes me so happy, and funnily enough I get so many blogging ideas whilst driving too. I really enjoy my alone time (I’m sure my regular readers will be quite surprised to hear that, actually) but being alone is how I re-charge. I’m an introvert and I really feel rested and relaxed after spending a little time alone each day; the only constant in this alone time during the week is my drives to and from work. I love to listen to podcasts and I find that this a perfect time to really indulge in the stories and conversations. My ultimate favourite podcast is Shagged, Married, Annoyed by my most favourite couple, Rosie & Chris Ramsey. BUT, when I want to feel inspired, motivated or just enjoy a chilled conversation, my go-to’s are How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton and The Estee Lalonde Show. It’s so interesting especially when I’m feeling a little bit unmotivated to hear another perspective (even on completely different situations) and it always helps me to count my blessings a little more.

Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate it more than you know. If you’re struggling with feeling unproductive or unmotivated right now, please know you have all my love and support, you’ve got this! What do you do day-to-day that makes you feel productive and prepared for your to-do list? Do you do any of the things I do, too? I’d love to know of other things I should incorporate into my life to make being productive feel that little bit easier!

-G x

What I Got For Christmas 2019

Hi, loves! I hope you have all had the best Christmas season with your family and friends, and are still super stuffed and super happy. I feel like the past week has been a blur of giving presents, receiving presents and drinking and eating more than any human ever should. Seriously, I don’t think I really need to eat again for at least three weeks!

Matt and I really had the most fun Christmas Day; we spent the morning with my parents and brother, gift giving and enjoying family time before getting ready and heading over to see Matt’s parents and grandma. We gave more gifts and opened so many lovely presents ourselves, then headed for Christmas Dinner at The Brandling Arms in Gosforth. We went there last year too and it was just the best day! The food is beautiful and the setting was so perfect; it was super chilled and relaxed, and we were all just so happy to spend our day together. When we finished up at the pub, Matt and I went back to my parents house to see all of my extended family, and give/receive even more presents. We ended the day back at Matt’s parents with his godparents too, drinking gin and laughing our heads off at the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special. There has to be a new series, right?! We had the best Christmas and I feel so very lucky and loved.

Disclaimer: of course I’m not trying to brag or show off by sharing these items with you. What I Got For Christmas blog posts and YouTube videos are some of my very favourites to read/watch, because I’m so nosey! Ha, I just really like seeing what other people got for Christmas, and it’s also fun to get gift inspiration for others too. I was spoiled rotten with gift cards, chocolates – including a beautiful tin of chocolates from Brugge from Matt’s cousin and partner, money, perfume, so much ‘lovely bath shit’ (Gavin and Stacey reference, obvs!), jewellery, experience tickets and so much more, but I’ve just picked a handful to show you! Also, I almost put off posting this today because the listing has been SO TERRIBLE and my photos kinda suck. But… life isn’t perfect right?! I hope they’re okay enough!

My ultimate wish list item this year was a Kindle Paperwhite. I really love a real book – the feel, the smell, the ability to pass it on to a family member/friend once I’ve read it – but for so long I’ve wished for a Kindle! I have almost bought myself one a few times but kept stopping myself as it was so expensive, then Matt suggested a few months ago he get me one for Christmas. Knowing he’s had it for literally two months has killed me, I wanted it so bad, ha! I’m hoping to write a first impressions/review post once I’ve had a little more use out of it, but I’ve really been enjoying using it the past few days. It’s beyond convenient to have all of my books in one teeny little device, and it’s so portable! It’s also a huge bonus that Kindle books are way cheaper than paperbacks, and they download instantly. This may spoil any future review post, but I love love love my Kindle! I also got my cute little Universal Studios E.T mug for Christmas too 🙂

A few months ago, my brother went to Canada with his friends. I had mentioned how much I wanted something from the brand Roots, and asked if he saw a store could he please pick me up a t-shirt and I’d give him the money. He fibbed that he didn’t see one store (although a swift Google search showed they were on pretty much EVERY street in Toronto…) and I accepted I’d never own anything. Fast forward to Christmas Day… he’d only gone and bought me a hoodie! This hoodie is so soft and cosy, I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s better than I thought it would be, to be honest! Anything warm, soft, or cosy is a winner for me, and this ticks all of those boxes. I’ve pretty much lived in it since Christmas! Also, I love having things that other people don’t or haven’t heard of, and Roots is not at all well known here in the UK. I’ve already looked to buy online but the shipping rates are so expensive to get it here. Guess Matt and I will just have to book that trip to Canada we’re dreaming of…

I am obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I have them burning every single moment I’m in the house, and Matt is actually becoming a huge fan too. He loves The White Company candles as much as I do, and so kindly bought me the scent Winter, which is one of my favourites. He totally bought it for himself, I’m sure of it! 😉 Matt’s cousin gifted me this sweet little gold, frankinsence and myrrh candle that truly smells like Christmas, and Matt’s parents picked up this Woodwick candle for me. This smells like Summer and I’m determined not to burn it until the weather gets a little brighter and warmer! Last but certainly not least, my aunt and uncle recently went on holiday to Florida and knowing how much I love Bath & Body Works, they treated me to two of their candles! Champagne Toast is one of my favourite ever scents, and Mahogany Teakwood is 100% Matt’s (it really is so beautiful!) so these were such a perfect gift. My uncle also spotted the beautiful glittery snowflake candle holder and thought I’d love it, which I do! I’m like a magpie for all things sparkly, I just can’t help myself.

Matt totally surprised me with a new pair of GHD’s and they are so amazing! My old ones broke a little while ago (after six or seven years) and I bought an alternative brand that really just wasn’t cutting it. I had been planning to use any money I got for Christmas to purchase a new pair but he was so sweet to buy them for me for Christmas, I have loved doing my hair the past few days with these! I forgot just how good GHD’s are; my hair feels/looks so sleek and shiny, and I am obsessed with the scent of their heat protectant spray, something he also gifted to me.

I love jewellery, and my vibe is anything dainty, silver, or Disney. Literally! Matt’s lovely parents spoiled me rotten again this year, and one of my very favourite gifts was a pair of silver daisy earrings from the brand Daisy. I have seen so much about this brand on Instagram but I’ve never purchased before, however these are seriously the cutest. I love the small gold detail in the centre and they’re so comfortable to wear; I really like simple, light earrings that don’t irritate my ears. Among many other lovely gifts Matt surprised me with a Disney Pandora charm – it’s the cutest Dumbo charm, which is one of my favorite ever Disney characters. My Pandora bracelet is now full! I also ordered myself the Missoma Amazonite necklace a few days before Christmas as a little treat to myself. Missoma is my favourite jewellery brand for thin, delicate necklaces, and this layers perfectly with my everyday necklace or looks gorgeous on it’s own.

If I had to describe my favourite feeling in one word it would be cosy. I love anything soft, warm, snuggly… that’s my heaven! I actually have no idea how many pairs of cosy socks I got but it was a lot. Matt’s parents gave me the softest blanket as they know if I’m at home I’m always snuggled under a blanket or three. Matt never used to understand this but now he loves it as much as I do, he’s so into all things cosy and warm too! I love the colour, it’s a dusky lilac and funnily enough goes perfectly with my new dressing gown from my parents. They are both from M&S but they’re not an exact match! M&S dressing gowns are my jam, and I seriously get SO MUCH wear out of my dressing gowns. Matt and I love to wear them round the house in the mornings/evenings, we are such oldies haha. I donated all of my old ones not too long ago and I now have four super good quality ones – that may seem excessive but I probably wear my dressing gown(s) more than I wear real clothes! One of my very favourite presents this year was a new pair of Ugg slippers, they are dreamy. Two years ago for Christmas, Matt bought me a pair of Ugg slippers that I’ve worn every single day since, and I’ve literally worn through them. It feels SO GOOD to have a new pair, I forgot just how fluffy and cosy they are! In my opinion they are 100% worth the money and if you have a little Christmas money for sales shopping I’d definitely recommend picking up a pair!

An oil diffuser is something I’ve wanted for a very long time, partly because Shay talks so highly of them! I read several posts of hers talking about the benefits and how well they work for her and her family, and I was so excited my mum and dad got me one. I actually ordered it for them from Amazon; I just got a basic one to see how I like it to begin with, but Matt and I have used it every night since Christmas and so far we’re really happy with it. I’ve been using a blend of Eucalyptus and Lavender oils each evening which is a perfect sleepy scent, I’d love to talk about this more in a future post once we’ve used it for a lot longer if that’s something you’re interested in. Matt and I have a very specific nighttime routine – Sleep Sounds, pillow spray, dark room etc – so we’re all about adding things in for a great nights sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, did you receive lots of fun gifts? What was your favourite present(s) this Christmas? More importantly, what was your favourite present you gave and who to?! I loved everything I gave to Matt; he really wasn’t expecting most of the gifts and genuinely seemed so happy/surprised, but my favourite was that we gave a pair of Ugg slippers to my mum and Matt’s mum, Debbie. That was their main gift and they both had no idea, I love giving people practical gifts that are something they’d love, but would never buy for themselves. That’s the best kind of gift to receive, right?!

-G x

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

73 Questions: Vogue Parody

Hi, loves! Back in July the lovely Abbie tagged me to complete the 73 questions: Vogue parody tag and I’ve just never had a gap in my blogging schedule where I could fit it in… until today. Tags like this make my heart happy because it reminds me of the old Bebo and Facebook days where you’d fill out 101 questions, and I used to love filling them out.

I thought this would be so fun to do just before my Christmas content begins (next Wednesday, guys! YAY!) and it’s another little way to share more of me and my personality with my readers which can never be a bad thing, right? Be sure to check out Abbie’ tag here; she’s one of my very favourite bloggers and I wish she’d post more… hint hint, Abs! 🙂

1.What’s your usual Starbucks drink?
I really love an extra hot hot chocolate, with a pump of vanilla and almond milk. Boring, but so good.

2. What does your work station look like?
At work my desk is organised chaos. I don’t have much space so things just get piled on top of each other, but it works for me. Like, I know where everything is. For the most part, ha!

3. All-time favourite food?
Mac n cheese or mashed potatoes! I also really love pizza, Chinese food, Sunday roasts, donuts and chicken parm. HAHA so nothing healthy!

4. Favourite author?
Right now I’d probably say Taylor Jenkins-Reid. I really love Jojo Moyes and Susan Lewis too. I pick books more on the genre and reviews than the author, though.

5. What do you think of open relationships?
It’s not something that Matt and I would ever do, but whatever makes people happy is great.

6. What’s your favourite video game?
I don’t play video games. Although I feel like I’m always watching Matt play FIFA…

7. What’s your guilty pleasure treat?
Pick n mix! I love having a little mixture of everything 🙂 also if Matt or I have had a bad day (or y’know… just because) we love a late night McFlurry run.

8. Your favourite movie?
I love E.T sooooo much. And anything Disney of course!

9. Favourite book?
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?
I’m not really sure on advice, but my favourite quote is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” – AA Milne

11. Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram for sure! I especially love Instagram stories because they’re more casual and you can post whatever.

12. Are you a desktop or a laptop person?
Laptop. I love love love my MacBook Pro.

13. What projects are you working on right now?
I really have so much fun content planned for my blog all the way until the end of the year 🙂 I can’t wait to share it all with you!

14. What’s your favourite colour?
Pink.

15. Did you get good grades in school?
I did, but I didn’t go to university because I didn’t want to.

16. Dream job?
I’d LOVE to own a florists. I know nothing about flowers, it just is a pie-in-the-sky dream! I also would love one day to run my blog as a full time job, but I don’t think that would ever happen for real.

17. Played any sports?
I danced and played netball when I was younger. Now… is shopping a sport?

18. Do you have a degree?
Nope.

19. Nationality?
British.

20. What’s your favourite type of blog post to write?
I really love Weekend In My Life recaps because they’re my favourite to look back on to re-live memories! Also, I enjoy anything beauty related and I’m so happy to now be sharing more about books/reading.

21. What do you like to collect?
Literally anything and everything Disney! I collect things from Matt and I’s dates, concerts, trips, holidays, dinners and really anything we do. Also mugs! I LOVE MUGS.

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?
I’m always cold.

23. If you were a rapper, what would your rapper name be?
I certainly wouldn’t be a rapper, hahaha.

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?
My friend, Grace.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?
An Amazon Kindle Paperwhite… which Matthew is getting me for Christmas and I’m super excited about 😍 I feel so lucky/spoiled!

26. Sorting House?
Matt and I aren’t really ‘in the know’ with Harry Potter. Starting this week we’re watching one movie per week though, I’m very excited.

27. How many tattoos do you have?
Zero.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?
Matthew, our families and our friends. And of course our jobs, cars, and our fun little life we’ve made together!

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
It’s only November 3rd as I’m writing this, but yesterday I received the most insane gift from Gaston Luga. I already posted a sneak peek on Instagram stories but I’m so excited to share it with you on the blog on Sunday! 🙂

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Matt and I had the perfect lazy Sunday morning, I ordered this beautiful wool scarf from & Other Stories and when Matt gets home from work (he had to pop in for two hours) we’re going for dinner with our friends Nathan and David in a few hours… so everything!

31. What’s the best thing ever?
Cold evenings at home with my love; post Lush bath with our Himalayan pink salt lamp lit, cosy scented candles burning and watching TV under all of the snuggly blankets. And maybe a Chinese takeaway!

32. Favourite season?
Autumn. Always.

33. Favourite holiday?
Christmas!! I LOVE everything about Christmas, I’m so excited for the festivities to begin over the next few weeks!

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
Rachel Green from Friends. I’m a little bit of a pushover, shopping is my favourite thing (apart from Matthew), I’m kinda ditzy and I’d do anything for those close to me.

35. Do you like surprises?
I love giving people surprises, but I hate receiving them!

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?
When I was 16 (or 17?) my family was going on holiday with my best friend (Hannah)’s family – something we’d done a few times before – but this time Hannah couldn’t make it because she had to work. I was gutted but obviously still excited about a holiday with everyone else. We were checking in at the airport and Hannah’s dad was joking he was going to ring her to wind her up and tell her we wished she was there, I obviously said no that’s mean but he called anyway. Then she walked up behind us talking on the phone and said oh well, I guess I’d better come then! I was literally gobsmacked and didn’t speak for like… five minutes. Which is a long time for me!

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?
…I cry even when Matt brings pick n mix home for us. Hahahaha. What can I say? I’m a crier!

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?
I think when I took Matt to Dublin for his birthday last year! He was so excited.

39. Do you like muffins?
YES! I love blueberry muffins because if a muffin contains fruit it’s a breakfast food. Right?

40. Do you cook often?
Pretty much every night! I love to cook, it’s something Matt and I learned together and I just find it to be so fun.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
If Matt and I are splitting it, probably a cheesecake or bannoffee pie. If we’re getting our own, I always go for apple crumble and custard!

42. Is there a dessert you dislike?
Anything with raisins. Ew.

43. Cake or pie?
I love apple pie or rhubarb pie, but overall I’d rather have cake. Specifically red velvet cake, if you’re wondering.

44. What’s your least favourite food?
I like most foods but I can’t bare raw onion or raw carrot.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?
BBQ sauce or firecracker sauce!

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?
Matt and I are OLD and there’s no way we’d be awake at 4am on a Saturday night. Also… isn’t that technically Sunday morning?!

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?
How To Pretend You’ve Got Your Sh*t Together.

48. Best animated film?
Ahhh this is a hard one. I love Up and Inside Out!

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?
Matt just always made me laugh SO HARD even before we started dating or got together.

50. The best thing to do on a first date?
On Matt and I’s first date we drove two hours south to York, which was SUCH a fun idea and we really got to know so much about each other!

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?
Going to the movies. Who wants to sit in silence for two hours and try to eat popcorn quietly?!

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?
I don’t really like things like that. Thank God Matt didn’t try it!

53. Best comic book character?
I’ve literally got no idea who any comic book characters are.

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?
Come back on Sunday to find out 😉 haha, that was a perfect question!

55. Favourite drink?
My all time favourite drink is Mountain Dew, but only the one you can buy in America/Canada. Every time any of my family or friends go to the US or Canada they bring me back as many bottles as they can and I’m so grateful for that! I literally treasure them and drink them so sparingly, hahaha. But day-to-day… I’ve been obsessed with Diet Coke since I can remember. Literally, obsessed! I don’t even know how many cans Matt and I drink in a day, how bad is that?!

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?
Audrey Hepburn.

57. Kittens or puppies?
Puppies.

58. Tell me your favourite sushi roll?
I don’t like sushi.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?
So many! I love love love lipstick. My favourites right now are Clinique Bare Pop, MAC Jubilee and MAC Syrup. They’re all so wearable for every day and look super pretty.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?
Right now I’m back to using Estee Lauder Double Wear. I can never stay away for too long!

61. Blow dry or air dry?
I only really wash my hair at night, so I let my hair air dry whilst I do my skincare routine and prepare dinner, then usually blow dry it whilst dinner is cooking.

62. Who is your fashion icon?
Stacey Dooley and Emma Hill.

63. Favourite Disney Character?
Winnie The Pooh.

64. What are you doing tomorrow?
I’m working, then Matt and I are having a cosy night in watching the last two episodes of Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over.

65. A movie you laughed the hardest through?
Bridesmaids makes me die laughing every time!

66. A movie that made you cry?
Oh god. SO many. The Notebook, Titanic, My Sister’s Keeper, Marley & Me, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, PS I Love You. Any cheesy Christmas Hallmark movie. I’m a crier, okay!

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?
Ed Sheeran, obviously!

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?
I’m so bad at things like this, I’ve no idea.

69. What’s your favourite animal?
I love love love penguins.

70. Favourite illustrator?
Is it so bad that I don’t know any names?

71. A person you want to have coffee with?
Stacey Dooley. I seriously love her.

72. What country do you wish to visit?
I can’t wait to explore Canada one day with Matthew! We’re hoping to go to Krakow in January/February next year and I’m SO EXCITED, even though it’s going to be super cold I think it’ll be such an incredible place to visit.

73. Best way to decompress?
A nice, hot Lush bath with my book. And cuddles, obvs.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post fun and interesting, and got to know some things about me you maybe didn’t know before. I tag any blogger reading this; I’d love to see what you have to say! Especially Savannah at Savannah Said It; I just love her content so much. Have you done this tag? Please leave your links below, I’d love to read!

-G x

Nine Happy Things From October

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m really excited about, because it was so lovely re-living the good things from this month and enjoying them all over again. I’ve talked a few times recently about the fact my anxiety has been pretty bad, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be getting any better right now. Instead of dwelling on it and making myself feel even worse, I’ve been trying extra hard to focus on the good, and boy has there been a lot of good things in the past month!

Spontaneous Getaway With Matthew
Matt and I had THE most fun trip to York and Harrogate in October; it was just a little (less than) 48 hour getaway that was so needed for both of us. We’ve been working so hard and had very full schedules the past few months, which to be honest will carry on for the rest of the year. We make the most of all our time together every single day, but it’s extra special to go on a trip with your loved one, right? Also, Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and I love even the super simple things like the changing colours of the leaves and wearing jumpers/coats, it’s my favourite time to travel!

Practicing Yoga
Yoga and I have a very on/off relationship, it’s literally a love/hate kinda thing. I love how it makes me feel, but I hate having to specifically make time for it when I have other things to do too. Over the past month I’ve been more intentional with my time in all areas of my life, and this means yoga has nicely slotted into my day-to-day life as I’ve made it a priority. I’ve always appreciated the feeling I have when I step off the mat, but recently I’m enjoying my sessions more and more! It really helps to clear my mind and make me happy.

Bonfire Spice Hot Chocolates
Costa hit it out of the park with their seasonal drinks year after year, and after becoming slightly obsessed addicted to bonfire spice hot chocolates in 2018, I was so freaking happy they were back this year. I’ve definitely not had as many as I’d have liked to because y’know… they’re pricey, but they’re so bloody worth it. There’s a Costa drive thru not too far from home and I just think it’s the best invention ever. I also can’t stop treating myself to their millionaire’s shortbread whenever I pop in, they are SO GOOD.

Visiting A Pumpkin Patch
I was super lucky to grow up holidaying to Florida pretty much every year, and let’s just say the bar was set HIGH… Pumpkin patches in the US are a dream; they look like Pinterest in real life, and involve all sorts of fun things that ours just don’t have. I was still so excited to visit a pumpkin patch here in the UK, and the one Matt and I went to was extra special because we got a little private tour! You can read all about that in my photo diary from our trip, I still feel so bad for just turning up, hahaha.

Strictly Come Dancing Saturday’s (and Sunday’s)
It’s my favourite time of year for one hundred and one reasons, but I have to say the TV schedule is pretty high up there. Strictly is something I look forward to all year, and I can’t tell you how much I love this season! Matt and I have been enjoying all of the Saturday nights in snuggled up watching (he loves it too… secretly) and it just makes for the perfect cosy weekend. I have so many favourites, I just get so excited for Saturday nights every single week!

Leaves Changing Colour
It seriously makes me so. dang. happy. I love love love the leaves turning from yellow to orange to red, and standing on crunchy leaves is one of life’s biggest joys! I’m a child at heart, what can I say? This Fall has felt super cold already, and I’m loving wrapping up and just enjoying the outdoors. Matt and I are going on a hike next week and I’m so excited; we love being outdoors so much! Also, it’s even better when we can go for a Sunday roast afterwards… right?

Lazy Sunday’s
Breakfast dates are hands down Matt and I’s favourite way to spend a Sunday morning, and this month we’ve squeezed in two which has made my heart so happy. Our favourite local breakfast spot is Post Box in Ponteland, we try to go once per month and literally every meal is better than the last! I love getting up early, seeing the beginning of the day and getting to chat with Matt about our upcoming week. We enjoy getting out for a wander after our breakfast too; it’s just such a nice feeling to be out and about when people are still just getting up and starting their day.

Snuggly Afternoons Reading
One of my favourite things about this time of year is that a lot of time is spent at home. I’m a homebody, and I love nothing more than a cosy evening taking a nice hot bubble bath, cooking with Matt and snuggling in under forty blankets for the rest of the night. Although Matt and I watch a ton of TV, I’ve always made time to read, and often during weekends when he’s watching the football I get so excited to curl up with my book! I shared my reading list with you a few weeks back, go check it out if you’re looking for some reading inspiration.

Wearing Cosy Sweaters
When I have actually gotten dressed and not been wearing my most amazing dressing gown I have loved wearing sweaters again! There’s a few areas in which I’m lacking in my wardrobe, and I’m super excited to pick up just a few more to wear throughout the next few months. My favourite places to shop for sweaters and oversized jumpers are Zara, & Other Stories and Topshop. I’m also thinking I might treat myself with Christmas money to an M&S cashmere jumper, because Emma Hill RAVES about how good they are!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and felt like it was fun and inspiring! What were your highlights from the month of October? Did you have a good month? If this is something you’d like to see each month I’d love to share again in November. I hope your month is filled with all of the love, fun and fireworks!

-G x