A Little Look At My Vanity Table

Happy Wednesday my loves 🙂 

I was getting ready this past Sunday morning, feeling a bit crap because I’ve had ‘one of those weeks’ and I didn’t have the energy or motivation to do anything. As I was sitting there finishing up my makeup I was trying to think of all the little things that make me happy and as weird as it may sound I just felt super grateful for my sweet vanity table. I LOVE getting ready here every morning, and getting unready here in the evenings.

It’s not ‘Insta-worthy’ by any means but it’s perfect to me, I’m so happy with my space! Every morning I carry out my skincare routine, do my makeup and style my hair here and I just really love the setup I have. Sometimes I set up my MacBook to blog here and Matt loves to work from this spot too. I also carry out my evening skincare routine here each night and it’s truly just a happy place for me. I think it’s very important to have a set place to get ready/unready each morning and evening. I just love all things homey and routine based. I am debating on getting some shelves to place above my vanity table, maybe to display a couple plants, a candle and maybe one of my favourite quotes in a frame? Let me know if you think that would be cute?! 

I think my very favourite part of my dressing table is my mirrored perfume tray. I really need to write an updated post about my favourite fragrances because perfume is one of my most loved things to be gifted or to purchase for myself. I always thought that perfume wasn’t really one of those things you buy yourself, but honestly I love to treat myself to perfume now and then. I’m super lucky that Matt and my family often gift me perfume for birthdays and Christmas too! I have travel size rollerballs in my bag at all times but my full size perfumes bring me so much joy it’s a little crazy. Does anyone else love perfumes like this?! I really feel like they can be so overlooked in the beauty world. I know they’re super expensive but I really think they’re worth it, to me applying perfume is like putting the cherry on top of the cake. It just makes me feel ‘finished’ and ready for the day (or night) ahead! My mirrored tray is just from Amazon; it looks so pretty but it was so inexpensive. I’m linking it here if you fancy dressing up your vanity table a little.

My rotating skincare organiser brings me a ridiculous amount of joy. I’m sure you all already knew that, hahaha! This was another Amazon purchase recommended by my sweet friend Lauren. She told me it would change my life and it has! I’ve lost count of how many people have asked me on Instagram where I got it from and asked for the link. It’s SUCH a good idea because when I kept all of my products in my drawers I really didn’t use what I had. I was also kinda guilty of buying more because I just forgot what was stuffed in the drawers which is so crazy. Seeing all of my everyday stuff out makes my heart happy. Obviously I don’t use all of this every day, but it’s things I could (and do) reach for on an everyday basis. For the first time in a long time I’m so happy with my skincare products and routine, I literally have no requirement to buy anything else and it’s so nice to feel content with my little collection. 

I store all of my beauty bits in the drawers on either side! All of my back up skincare products, body lotions, razors, makeup, shower gels, bath products, hair products and my tools, nail polishes and all of the other extra random beauty bits.  They’re not super organised because I have never found really good drawer separators; I’d love to pick up some acrylic organisers and maybe even downsize a few things too. My makeup bag and brushes usually sit inside the top right drawer; I like to keep my makeup in a bag not in acrylic storage, but I don’t like to see it out on my vanity table. I’ve no idea why but this just makes sense to me! I think I prefer to keep it in a makeup bag because (pre-lockdown) when we travel or stay at Matt’s parents once or twice per week it’s much easier to pack. I use the same makeup products each day so I don’t really have to choose too much, whereas with skincare I use different products on different days/weeks depending on how my skin is, so I prefer to pack my skincare each time we’re not staying at home. Almost three months into lockdown and I so miss the excitement of packing up a travel bag for visiting Matt’s parents and going on trips!

Fresh flowers are one of the little things that always make me smile, and I LOVE the weeks I have a beautiful bouquet on display on my vanity! I talked about this a little while ago but I don’t buy myself flowers too often, it’s usually for a treat around payday or Matt will sometimes surprise me with a pretty bunch when he arrives home from work. The heart jug/vase was one of my best bargain finds, it was on sale for £3 (!!!) in Tesco and I just love how sweet it looks. It’s even cute with no flowers in there! My beautiful orchid was a gift from my dad, he went to buy me flowers but there wasn’t any nice bunches so he picked this up instead. I flipping love it! I’ve only had it a few weeks and it’s already gained an extra flower. I love the pop of color it gives!

My regular readers will already know this but I just adore scented candles, and the ones out on my vanity are currently more ‘display’ candles than ones we burn in the evenings. The candles I burn most often are mostly from Yankee Candle, Aldi and Bath & Body Works, and I keep those inside one of our wardrobes out of the way during the day. I really like my space I’m using to be clean, tidy and clutter free so that’s just what works best for me. 

The pretty geode coasters you see were a cute stocking filler from Matthew last Christmas, and they are from Anthropologie. They seriously just add a little extra *something*, I’m obsessed with them! I also have one on my bedside table which I find so important; I love to have super cold drinks in a glass with tons of ice and the ring that cold glasses leave on surfaces drives me crazy. Hahaha, just me?! I also have a cup of tea (English Breakfast, if you wondered) pretty much every morning as I get ready so the coasters are actually as functional as they are cute.

The last thing to note on there is my mirrors. I don’t love the big bulky mirrors with lights around the outside edges – the only ones I’ve seen that I like are literally £300+ which is crazy to me – and I love that my mirrors are kinda small but also pretty. The larger mirror was something I picked up years and years ago whilst shopping with my mum. I think it was from Debenhams? My light up mirror is from Boots No. 7, is also a few years old and was a Christmas present from my mum and dad. I’m pretty sure most girls have these! They’re so functional and I like that the other side is magnified, it’s especially great for when I do a little at home dermaplaning.

I hope you’re having a great week, I can’t believe it’s almost JUNE! I am very excited to share all of the fun Summer content with you. I have tons of beauty posts up my sleeve! Do you get ready (and unready) at a vanity table each day? How do you display your items on there? Also please share with me how you store things inside the drawers, I’ll definitely update in a few months time with how I’ve organised everything. 

-G x

Travel Diaries: Stamford

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a photo diary instead of a typical WIML post, as we spent so much time with Matt’s family and just totally relaxed all weekend! I am so excited to be sharing our photos from Stamford with you, because I literally took so. dang. many. We spent August bank holiday weekend there; visiting Matt’s family, exploring the area and just enjoying a break from our usual day-to-day life. We love going for weekends away, and we try to visit somewhere every few months for a mini break. Our weekend was filled with love and laughter; we had the best time exploring and I’m so grateful to my favourite person for always making our travels so fun. Matthew; I love you, and I love doing life with you! Did you see what I packed for this trip? I’m linking that post here in case you missed it!

We headed off super early on Saturday morning, and what should have been a maximum three and a half hour drive took us five and a half… which is literally just our luck! The A1 was closed due to a lorry fire (thankfully nobody was hurt) but we took a huge detour and got stuck in SO MUCH traffic. Luckily we had snacks, our favourite podcast and each other so we were still pretty happy 🙂

I love you so much Matthew 🙂

…yes I am tucked in with my car blanket for the journey. I am a child. When we finally made it to Stamford, we headed straight for Matt’s aunts house! His parents, nana and cousins little boy were already there so we were so happy to see everyone. The garden was a total sun trap and it was SO HOT. Especially for us Northerners, ha! We caught up, ate and played in the sun – it was so nice to be with the family (and out of the car)! Later we headed to find our cute little apartment in the centre of town and walk around Stamford for a little while; it is the most beautiful place! Everywhere is just so picturesque, the photos really don’t do it justice. We walked around for an hour or so before popping to The London Inn for a few drinks, then we headed back to freshen up for the evening. I can’t believe we didn’t take any nice photos but Matt and I went out for dinner with his parents; we ate at Cosy Club which was amazing, we all had great meals! Debbie and I tried a delicious new rhubarb gin and we had such a fun night all together. Afterwards we met up with Matt’s cousin and his lovely girlfriend for drinks before snuggling back up in our cosy apartment; we had the perfect first day!

This was our view from the apartment, it was so pretty in the late afternoon sun 🙂

The most English picture I think I’ve ever taken, lol!

So funny story… I jumped to the side of the road to take this picture of the tractor coming down the road and I think he thought I was a tourist (I mean, technically I was) because I must have looked so excited. He stopped to wave at me, hahahaha. Matt thought it was so funny!

Our Sunday was very chilled; we went for a breakfast date in the morning at the garden centre, it was so good! We love love love breakfast dates and we know good breakfast food, but this ticked every box. We’ve made a mental note to try breakfast at garden centres in our town to see if we love that too! After breakfast we visited with Matt’s nana; her village is so so tiny I can’t even explain it, they have like three shops! I I loved the area so much, it was super pretty and so remote. We spent the rest of our day visiting a little more with family and exploring the town; there was a classic car show in the centre which we looked around, but really I was only there for the ice cream van at the other side. #truth We got ready pretty early for the evening (it was BEYOND HOT – 34 degrees is just insane to us) and headed back to Matt’s aunt’s house to spend a little more time with the family before going out for the evening. We went to The Crown for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, before spending the evening in the courtyard with them; it was so quirky and literally nothing like we have at home. The fairy lights made it beyond cute! We had such a fun night with everyone, and we’re already excited for our next trip down!

Eggs and avocado on toasted sourdough is HEAVEN to me!

Matt and I LOVE exploring garden centres. Like, seriously love them. I swear we’re 25 going on 75, hahaha.

I loved this little street! The light coming through the church on the next photo was surreal to us, so I had to snap a quick picture 🙂

It was HOT. Hahahaha.

Is this not the most quintessentially British pub you’ve ever seen?! Flowers are my favourite, and these were so pretty and vibrant!

On Monday morning we left pretty early and headed home via York; we went to the Designer Outlet and Matt did so well with his bargains, as always. I picked up a cute Levi’s tee that I’m sure you’ll see on the blog sooner rather than later! Thank you so much for reading, I hope you liked seeing a little snippet of Stamford! We really loved the quaint, cute town SO much because it’s just so different than where we live. It was REAL middle-of-nowhere countryside, I loved it! As you can probably tell from the photos in this post it was very pretty; literally every corner we turned there was something so sweet to look at. We’re hoping to go back in December and I really hope we can make that work; I’d love to see how the town looks decorated for Christmas! Have you ever been to Stamford? Where is your favourite places to travel in the UK?

-G x

Meal Planning: The How’s And Why’s

Hi, loves!

Meal planning is a huge part of Matt and I’s week, and it’s something we now do every week without fail. I love routine, I love organisation and I love being able to do things in a quick and effective way. Matt isn’t as fussed, but what we’re having for dinner each night is something I had always made the decisions on, because Matt is super indecisive! Now, through changing our habits and meal planning, this makes it a joint decision for both of us. I’ve mentioned meal planning many times on the blog, and been asked lots of times for recipe ideas and why we do it. I’d love to share a week’s worth of dinner recipe ideas, so that will definitely be up in the blog in the next month or so. Today I’m focusing on the how’s and why’s of meal planning for us, and asking some of the questions I see popping up over and over again. Is it actually beneficial to our lives? Should you be doing it? What does it even mean?

What is meal planning?
It’s pretty self explanatory, but meal planning is literally to plan – usually for the week ahead – the meals you (and your partner/family) will be eating. Some people do this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, however Matt and I only really focus on breakfast for Matt (I generally eat at work), dinner for both of us with leftovers for lunch the following day and healthy snacks/desserts. I’m not really a baker at all, but I made this banana bread last week before I picked Matt up from a night out with the boys and it was so good! Also, no bake desserts are great, and they’re super quick and easy when your evenings are busy.

How do you do it?
On a Sunday, Matt and I sit down for twenty minutes to talk about what we want to make the following week, and plan our shopping list(s). We look at Matt’s shifts as this has an impact on what we make; on the days he works until 9pm I make dinner ready for him coming home, so we tend to go for meals that go in the oven and can be timed perfectly (for example, cod and roasted vegetables or a good ol’ pasta bake). I make a list in the Notes app on my phone of what meal we’ll make each evening, writing underneath all of the ingredients required to make the meal. I don’t include items like sauces or spices which we use in every meal as we already have those, although if I had to re-purchase something during my shop that week then I’d write them down too. Miscellaneous items like almond milk, protein bars and bread are bought every week, so I keep a generic shopping list I buy from too. I love that I can tick off the lists as I go through my shop, and have even started writing in the order that I’d walk around the shop, that’s dedication LOL. I grocery shop twice per week, sometimes a third time if we’ve ran out of anything, and I can get round the store in fifteen minutes or less every time.

Does it save you money and/or time?
YES. As we plan ahead and have a shopping list, I literally buy to the shopping list. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a sneaky bag of Haribo or Cadbury’s buttons will find their way into the trolley – I’ve no idea how – but most of the time I stick to our list. I tend to do almost all of our grocery shopping as it just works easier that way, and I enjoy buying based on a list as it saves so much time. It also cuts out any extra deliberations in store where I ring Matt and say “is X okay for dinner tonight? What do you fancy for tomorrow?” I also have the flexibility to go to more than one supermarket when I can, as I know what I need to get and we prefer certain items from certain places. Aldi and Lidl are great for freshly baked bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, and they also have great deals on pasta, spices and yoghurts. When it comes to chicken and meat, we always buy from Asda as I feel you get more for your money there, and we buy specific branded things like rice, almond milk, frozen goodies, and sauces there too. To be honest, I generally do most of our shopping at Asda as it’s nearby work, but I should get better at buying from various stores. However if we’re ever having a cheat night and eating rubbish, we love the Taste The Difference flatbread pizzas from Sainsbury’s (with a tub of Halo Top or Alpro ice cream thrown in, obviously)!

How do you get your ideas for recipes?
This has built up over a long time of trial and error of trying out new foods, as we now have our own little (mental) portfolio of go-to meals we love. We don’t eat much red meat and it’s something we’re actively trying to cut down on, and we generally favour chicken or fish dishes if we’re not eating vegetarian. When we’re not cooking a tried and tested favourite and want to try something new, I firstly look through our three favourite cookbooks. Our go-to’s are Pinch Of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, A Year Of Beautiful Eating by Madeleine Shaw and Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape by Gino D’Acampo. Whether we follow the exact ingredients and method, or take inspiration to create something else I can almost always find something that looks good. If nothing was to take our fancy from those cookbooks we’d then look online at BBC Good Food, Pinterest, Tesco Real Food and of course, social media.

Do you find it easy?
I really do, and I would advise anyone who is thinking about giving it a go, to just try it. It took us a long time to start cooking with fresh ingredients, and we were regulars at M&S Food Hall for their dine in for two offer (we ate those almost every night!) for our first year of being together, but now that’s definitely a treat and something we do on the nights we really have no time. We didn’t know how to cook at all prior to last Summer, so we’re self taught (well, with the help of Matt’s lovely mum). I hear people say all the time “I don’t know how to cook” but honestly you just have to give it a whirl and practice lots, it gets easier and now we love every aspect of it. After we got the methods down, it took us a little time to tweak how we do things each week, but after a little trial and error it works perfectly for us. We’ve also been eating way healthier since we took meal planning seriously, as it’s developed a new interest in creating new meals, and we’re forever trying new things. I’m very interested in eating more vegetarian meals, and Matt’s on board to try whatever I want to try too, which is great! We’re thinking of eating vegetarian only for a week, pretty much just to see if we can do it, and if we do I’ll definitely share my thoughts on it with you on the blog.

Does it work every week?
Yes, for us it really does. We look at the week ahead, so if we’re heading out for date night on Friday we know we don’t need to buy anything for that night, or if we have plans with friends on the Saturday we’ll more than likely grab something when we’re out. If Matt’s out for the evening with the boys I also take great pleasure in having a kid’s tea before I go pick him up (Quorn crispy nuggets, Strong Roots spinach bites and a whole lot of this amazing BBQ sauce, if you’re interested) and those are the kinds of food we always make sure to have in the freezer, and I replace without fail on an almost weekly basis (especially those spinach bites, we literally eat them with almost every meal HA). The best part of meal planning is that it works around your life and your schedule, and it’s very flexible as a result. You could definitely just do one shop per week but we buy so many fresh vegetables and fruit it means by the end of the week items are out of date or just not as good as they should be, so I’d rather not waste food and just go to the supermarket two or three times per week.

I hope this post was informative and helped in some way! I love seeing what people eat for dinner, and what must-have recipe they recommend to others. I can’t wait to share with you a week’s worth of dinners for Matt and I. If you’re wanting to get a start on meal planning, I’d really recommend the three cookbooks photographed/linked in this post! Do you meal plan? Do you have any extra tips that may help me or my readers?!

-G x