My Weekly Pamper Routine: At Home Spa Night

*This post contains gifted items*

Happy Sunday, loves! Is anyone else trying to take all the extra self care time they can right now? ME TOO! I know that self care is certainly not all about beauty; there are so many elements that create a good self care routine, but it’s very personal. For me, a good beauty routine is a huge part of how I feel good about myself and keep myself feeling happy and rested, which is more important than ever right now. I find so much joy in spending an hour or two each week indulging in a little pamper sesh, and I can’t recommend it enough! In fact, take this post as a little kick-up-the-bum reminder that you should must enjoy a pamper evening tonight 🙂

Of course, you don’t need to use any of the products I’m talking about to have your own pamper evening! I’m just using what I have especially after splurging on Caroline Hirons’ Spring Kit! I’m now on a No Buy for the foreseeable but it was so worth it. More on that soon!

I sometimes go to get my nails done as a little treat, but honestly I’m not all that fussed about it. I love how gel nails look and I like to get them done for a special occasion or when Matt and I go on holiday but it’s not something I get joy out of spending my money on, y’know? As it doesn’t matter too much to me, I see very little point in painting my nails at home. The polish chips so easily and I don’t have the patience to sit still long enough for it to dry in the first place! But, painting my toes is a different story… I paint my toes year round and change up my polish almost every week; my go-to brand is Essie. I especially love their gel polishes, they really don’t chip (although, does nail polish ever chip on your toes?) I also think it’s so nice to have your toes painted when you’re wearing sandals, and we’re thankfully so close to sandal season!

A bubble bath is my ultimate self care treat. I love to light a candle – I’ve recently been burning Coast from Our Lovely Goods and The Ritual of Sakura candle from Rituals – whenever Matt or I take a bath. We have just used a whole Rituals candle up and are about to start burning my backup; I love these candles so freaking much! Rituals of Sakura smells like cherry blossom and vanilla, and it’s the most perfect spa-like scent. Mixed with the scent from my Dr Teal’s Soothe & Sleep Foaming Bath and Radox Sleep Aromatherapy Bath Salts, I feel like I could be IN a spa. All that’s missing is the gross cucumber water that everyone pretends to enjoy! LOL.

I grab my Kindle, a Diet Coke and I’m set for a while, this is literally my idea of heaven. #introvertlife Anyone who knows me knows I really dislike body hair (on me. This is a no judgement zone!) so during a pamper evening I like to REALLY exfoliate before shaving! Not just using my shower gel, I bring out the big guns… my beloved Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupacu Scrub-In-Oil from The Body Shop. This scrub is incredible, it leaves my skin silky smooth and smells like Summer to me. I also like to do a hair mask, and really make the most of the fact I’m spending at least an hour in the tub. I’ve been loving Garnier’s Coconut & Macadamia Hair Mask for a while now – I wrote a whole post about this which you can check out here if you missed it.

My favourite ‘I don’t have much time but want to spend a little self care time’ task is applying a face mask. If you don’t have time for a whole pamper evening you can apply on and still go about your day. Perks of not being able to leave the house, eh?! You can be productive, you can feel the magic working, and they immediately make your skin look better. I really enjoy a sheet mask – any/all of these from The Body Shop are my absolute favourites, and they’re biodegradable – for ease. They feel so cooling on the skin, are quick to clean up and just make my face a little happier. My favourite ever face mask, that I’ve re-purchased so many times I honestly can’t remember, is the Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask, also from The Body Shop. It’s delightful! Whether my skin is breaking out, stressed, red, dehydrated, just looks a bit sh*t, this makes it SO much better. I also adore the smell of this, it’s very subtle but feels so comforting!

Of course, my skincare routine is a perfect little snippet of self care time every day. Since I can remember, I have set time aside every morning and night to do my skincare routine! I love to try new things (that I know will not irritate my skin; fragrance free, suitable for sensitive and acne prone skin etc) here and there, too. I have a very fun skincare related post going up in the next week or so, then at the end of the month I’ll be sharing my everyday skincare routine. I feel like skincare is one of those things you love or you don’t, and I really flipping love it. It’s up there with my favourite things to talk about, ha!

I’m pretty proud to say that after EVERY shower and EVERY bath I moisturise my body. That’s commitment, guys! I have super dry skin (that somehow seems to get worse when it’s warmer, not when it’s cold? Anyone else?!) and last year I promised myself I was going to be better at moisturising. It always seemed like such a chore but honestly, it’s really not. Once you get into the routine of it, it’s something you look forward to, and it takes two minutes! At least three times per week, I dry brush from my toes up to my neck. I love how this makes my skin feel and it’s actually a really enjoyable beauty ‘task’. I get carried away and spend so long dry brushing because it’s incredibly relaxing; you can literally feel your skin tingle! On a pamper evening I love to moisturise with The Ritual of Jing body cream from Rituals; this was so kindly gifted to me and I definitely will be repurchasing. This is a spa in a pot; it’s luxurious, it sinks in so nicely, and it’s the perfect pick-me-up product that just makes you feel good. Matt always compliments me when I use this too, he loves the smell!

Are you just desperate to break out your favourite face mask and jump in the bath right now?! Me too! I’m very happy that today is Sunday, because Sunday just screams pamper day doesn’t it! It’s like I planned this post like that… 😉 what’s your favourite pamper products to use that just make you feel good? How do you like to treat yourself at home?

-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

Self Care For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With The Current Pandemic

Hi, loves. I hope you’re all well and enjoying your weekend despite the current world problems! I thought it was really important to change up my blogging schedule a little and write today’s post, and hopefully spread a little positivity which is so needed right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment with the pandemic happening; coronavirus is something completely new to all of us and we’re all trying to navigate it the best way we can, so looking after ourselves is more important than ever.

People all over the world are experiencing a lot of stress, heartache and worry which unfortunately there isn’t much we can do to change right now. I am obviously not a healthcare professional but I would advise following all instructions given (which, in the UK is don’t be in large crowds, practice social distancing and wash/sanitize your hands more often than usual). We’re all praying for a miracle guys! Any regular readers will know I’m a pretty anxious person normally, however in the midst of a worldwide pandemic I’m actually not in the big panic I expected I would be. I do find some comfort in the fact we’re being told the virus seems to be similar to the common cold or maybe an extremely mild flu for most people. It does however make me worried for the people who will not experience it to be ‘like a cold’, but you have to take the positives where you can, right?

I am feeling a little anxious which I think is only normal, but I’m also feeling hopeful and I’m praying for everyone to stay safe and healthy. For me personally I’m most concerned about mine or Matt’s grandparents falling ill (as the elderly are more susceptible to COVID19 and potential further issues), Matt’s upcoming trip to Budapest which looks like it will be cancelled and kinda selfishly that I’m starting my new job in one week. Not the best timing in light of what’s going on so I have everything crossed I start next Monday and things go well with that. Obviously I’m generally worried about any of my family/friends – or really, anyone I know – getting the virus, but I cannot physically carry all of the worries on my shoulders so I’m just trying to take it one day at a time like everyone else. That is very hard for someone as Type A as me, but we’re all in this together. It’s funny because writing down my worries somehow makes me feel a little bit more at ease. How are you holding up? What are your worries specifically centred around the pandemic?

As I’m writing this schools are not closed here and for the most part England is very much ‘business as usual’, but large gatherings are going to be banned in the next week. There’s a lot of tension and uncertainty lingering because nobody knows what will happen, and many people feel like their lives are a little bit on hold. To be honest, personally I think if that has to happen for a few weeks to stop the spread of the virus we should all be adhering to it! I know the reality and the preventative measures taking place are different for every country and we’re all suffering in some way. In England, shelves of supermarkets nationwide are bare, people are working from home where possible and almost all of our sports have been postponed/cancelled – which has very much upset my sport-loving boyfriend! However in the midst of the panic communities are coming together, people are being kinder and we’re learning as we go. The scaremongering is NOT helping anyone and it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves and each other, and I hope this post brings you a little self care inspiration over the coming weeks. Looking after yourself is the best form of self care!

Spend quality time with your loved ones and enjoying being home
There is a slight possibility we’re all going to be actually stuck indoors for a little while with government imposed bans, but even if that doesn’t happen we’re more than likely going to be spending more time indoors than usual. Disney+ can’t arrive in the UK soon enough. Take this extra time to enjoy family movie nights, do puzzles, get cosy in your most comfortable clothes, bake and/or cook new foods, play board games, take long baths, read books, catch up on your favourite shows and just enjoy being around your partner and/or your family! Matt and I are prepared with all the extra snacks (I may have stocked up on Doritos and Haribo… just incase) and I’m excited for an excuse to watch all the movies! It’s also a fun time to be creative; Matt will be working a little more on his venture NUFC Vintage and I’m going to be spending more time creating blog content. Our hobbies are really important to us so I’m definitely feeling grateful for those right now!

Drink lots of water
It’s something we’re told to do for one hundred and one reasons, but there really is so many benefits to drinking water! As a self-confessed Diet Coke addict, I really need to up my daily intake of water ASAP. Water is good for your skin, your joints (I have arthritis so this alone should be enough of a reason for me to drink more!), helps you feel less bloated, regulates body temperature, delivers oxygen to your body and can prevent headaches, and there’s tons more benefits on top of that. I love my Chilly’s bottle so much, having a cute water bottle is a really good way to encourage drinking more water and remember to take it with you on the go!

Stick to your exercise routine (or create one!)
Exercise is so important for us to look and feel our best. Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending an hour at the gym, but I love easy at home workouts and there are so many great free options. Yoga is my favourite and I can’t recommend Yoga with Adrienne or Alo Yoga videos enough if you’re looking for somewhere to start! If you’re looking for a HIIT workout or something a little more strenuous I love The Body Coach and Blogilates. For most of these workouts you don’t need any props or even weights, and they’re all super easy to do from the comfort of your lounge! Also there’s no bans on being outside and we should all be going for walks as much as possible, fresh air is SO GOOD for us. Matt and I bloody love a beach walk, and we’ll for sure be making the most of those like always!

Clean, declutter and re-organise
I am happiest when our bedroom is clean, tidy and organised. I really love decluttering and I find an excuse to do it pretty often, just because it helps me to a) not have too much stuff, b) use what I have and c) sell things I no longer need or use. Annoyingly, I just fully cleared out and re-organised my wardrobe this past weekend, or I would have for sure been doing that this weekend when I’ve spent pretty much the whole time at home. Clear out your beauty products, find things to donate, clean out your car (I do this every week or so anyway and it feels SO good to drive a clean car!), list a few items you’ve been meaning to on eBay, wash your makeup brushes and maybe even re-organise your space. Could the couch be placed differently? Should you put your bed under the window for a change? Can you switch up your shelves or vanity table? Also, if you’ve avoided all Marie Kondo hype until now… this could be the best time to get invested in her Netflix show and book!

Carry out your full skincare routine morning and night
It wouldn’t be self care tips from me without a little mention of skincare now, would it? Seriously though, during times that we’re a little more stressed out than usual it’s extra important to be consistent with your skincare! My skin reacts very quickly to changes with my diet or a lack of routine, so I’m for sure going to be keeping on top of that. Remember to clean your hands thoroughly prior to removing your makeup, and for the love of God stop touching your face. Has anyone noticed over the past few weeks just how much you touch your face?! ME TOO. That’s a huge way the virus can be transmitted so please be cautious of this! Encourage your partner and family to stick to their skincare routine too, and hey getting everyone involved in a little multi-masking party sounds like a fun way to pass the time!

Meal plan and eat lots of fruits and veggies
I’m so grateful Matt and I meal plan because it takes away all of the ‘what are we having for dinner?’ conversations and also saves us a heck of a lot of time! We grocery shop once per week – usually on a Sunday – then we may pop into one or two stores during the week to grab a few extras, usually more fresh fruit or veggies. As panic buying is going a little crazy right now I’d really encourage to write down your meal plan; literally each day what are you having for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What do you currently have in your cupboards/fridge/freezer and what else do you need to buy? Then make your shopping list from there and keep your fingers crossed you can grab everything you need! The government are telling us there are plenty of plans in place to keep supermarkets stocked no matter what happens over the next few weeks so just don’t go too crazy and please leave things for others. Opt for a few more frozen and tinned items than you usually would and try to buy products with long use by dates. Also be prepared to switch up your shopping list/meal plan whilst you’re actually in the supermarket! You can read all about how we meal plan (in normal circumstances) for some extra tips.

Be mindful of how others are feeling
People are feeling very mixed emotions right now; some are not at all fussed by what is happening, and some are beside themselves with worry. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, and honestly I think we just have to let everything run it’s course (which is the only thing we can do) and try to stay calm for ourselves and each other. Check in on elderly relatives or neighbours who may not be able or willing to go shopping, avoid overexposure to news, don’t buy into the scaremongering and try to live your life as normal, whilst still adhering to government advice!

Listen to podcasts/music instead of the radio whilst driving
I started doing this a long long long time ago and I can’t recommend it enough. There’s something to be said for being in your own little world whilst driving, especially as most of us are in the car for a long time each day! Whether I’m singing my heart out to Disney songs or having a giggle at my fave duo (Rosie and Chris Ramsey, obviously) I can’t tell you how much happier I feel not listening to the radio. The songs are repeated hundreds of times and the news bulletins every five minutes are filled with doom and gloom, especially at the moment. You’re mostly in control of what you consume, so open up Spotify and choose something that makes you happy! In addition I’d really recommend not watching or reading the news 24/7, and instead point you in the direction of this Reddit thread for all the happy feels.

Ensure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep per night
It is SO very important for our health that we sleep as we well as we can. I’m going to be posting in a few weeks about things I’m doing to enjoy Matt and I’s evening routine more and sleep better! I really do love pillow sprays because they help me to relax and feel calm – Matt loves them too! – and I’m a huge fan of a cosy bubble bath before bed. Try to turn Netflix off a little earlier the next few weeks, keep bedding clean by washing your sheets regularly, and make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Sleep is also great if you’re feeling under the weather or run down – which is extremely common this time of year without the ongoing world issues – as your body fights infection even harder when you’re sleeping and rested.

Read, read and read some more
Oh you mean we may have to stay in the house for an unknown amount of time? You’ll find me snuggled under a blanket, drinking a cup of tea and reading my Kindle for the foreseeable! #suchagrandma Matt has never understood how I can love reading so much but I swear since he bought me my Kindle Paperwhite my love has got even deeper. I downloaded a few new books this weekend; including two I’m very excited about; The Two Lives Of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle; and I’m so excited to get stuck in! If you don’t have a Kindle or Amazon Prime, you get free delivery on any orders over £10, or you could pick up some books when you’re next grocery shopping! There are great deals in places like Asda and Tesco for books, sometimes even cheaper than Amazon. Be sure to shop your stash too, I bet you’ve got a few books stashed away for a rainy day… today is that rainy day! Reading is good for the soul, and I’d personally recommend fiction books for an escape.

Stay healthy, spend more time indoors, eat good foods, look after yourself and your family/friends/neighbours, don’t panic and hopefully the pandemic will blow over as quickly as it arrived! This post will be my one and only post regarding the COVID 19 outbreak as I really want to post happy and positive content going forward. I already mentioned this on Twitter, but I’m only going to be posting once per week over the next few weeks/months as life is super busy right now (nothing to do with the outbreak, more with preparing to start a new job!)

-G x

Beauty Spotlight: Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Mask Treatment

Hi, loves! I decided this year that I want to share more beauty related posts with you, because that has been my favourite blog ‘niche’ to read since I first discovered blogs. Every time I find a product that really blows me away, I’m going to share with you by shedding a little Beauty Spotlight on it! I really only try products nowadays that are things I think I’ll love, whether that’s based on blog reviews, YouTube videos, chatting with a salesperson in store or friends/family telling me they enjoy the product. I still try the odd new thing here and there without doing my research – especially if one of my favourite tried and tested brands has a new release! – so I think this will be so fun to share with you all the new things I find. So, the first product that blew me away this year is…

…the Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Coconut Oil 3-in-1 Frizzy Hair Mask Treatment. Phew, what a title! I picked this up somewhat on a whim, as I’d heard lots of good things about their banana hair mask since it’s release but hadn’t purchased as I wasn’t looking for another hair mask. I was browsing in Boots, as you do, and after smelling this product and reading the claims on the packaging I couldn’t put it back down. I had to have it! My hair is dry, but it’s also extremely frizzy and quite honestly has a mind of it’s own. My hair is naturally curly but it’s not the kind of curl I can do much with as it’s so messy and wild! I truly relate to Monica in Barbados.

Seriously, hahahaha. I’ve straightened my hair since I was around 12 or 13, which is actually funny because before that I was SO AGAINST the idea of straightening my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love my curly hair either, but the idea of literally ironing my hair was just so weird to me. Just before I was given my first pair of GHD’s, my mum took me to the hairdressers and told the stylist to straighten my hair after drying it. I didn’t know this and freaked out – I’ve no idea why I thought it was such a bad thing – but literally fifteen minutes later when it was finished I loved how it looked. *Cue a life of over straightening my hair*

As I use so much heat on my hair, literally on a daily basis, my hair could always use a little extra TLC. I’m religious with washing my hair every two to three days, and try to stretch it out between washes by using dry shampoo and opting for a messy bun when I can no longer stand it! Washing my hair less has really helped with how dry/frizzy it can feel, but overall that’s just my hair type and there’s always going to be a natural element that I can’t control.

I’ve been looking for the ‘perfect’ hair mask for a really long time, and although I’ve had a favourite in the past this one truly blows it out of the water. First of all, this treatment smells incredible. I love the smell of coconut in general, but this is like Summer in a tub, which just makes me so happy! Secondly, the formula is 100% vegan/cruelty free and 98% biodegradable, which is seriously incredible for a drugstore brand. As you may know I’ve been opting for vegan and cruelty free products where possible, and I’m really thinking about where my beauty products come from. Being conscious of what you’re putting on/in your body is something I think we’re all experiencing more and more, so knowing that a product is ethical makes me want to try it more.

There’s three options on the back of the tub for how to use this treatment, and I’ve tried all three ways. I’ve used it in place of my regular conditioner, as a quick mask on wet hair for three probably more like ten minutes and as a leave in treatment during a particularly long bath! I love all three ways as I saw great results each time, but my favourite way is to use it as a mini mask treatment, for around ten minutes. I like to do this as I first wash my hair in the shower, then apply the mask and exfoliate, shave, in-shower tan etc whilst the treatment is working it’s magic.

I let my hair air dry for a little post-shower, whilst I do my skincare and apply my moisturiser/gradual tan (just depending on the day), then I blow dry to leave it with a smooth-as-possible finish. The first time I dried my hair after using this mask I was truly blown away at how silky and smooth my hair felt. It felt nourished like I’d just been to the salon! On the nights I wash my hair, I always straighten it before I go to bed as then I find it much easier to tame in the morning. I couldn’t believe how soft it felt post drying, and that made it super easy/quick to straighten. I felt like my GHD’s glided through the hair and even Matt commented that my hair looked really nice!

One of my biggest concerns when using hair masks it that by day two of my hair washing schedule I can already feel it’s a bit more greasy and heavy than normal, although I’ve never experienced that with this product. The difference has been noticeable in the days following washing too; my hair seems to stay straighter for longer, my flyaways are less visible and I love that my hair looks so healthy! The scent lingers in my hair even after using my hair oil and leave-in conditioner which I personally really love. I think the price point is amazing; as a drugstore brand it’s already inexpensive, but right now there is an introductory offer where all of the masks are being sold at half price.

I’m so excited to pick up the banana mask too as based on reviews/what I think of this one, I’m pretty sure that will be just as incredible! Have you tried the new hair mask treatment range? Are you as blown away as I am?! If you haven’t I’d definitely recommend picking up next time you’re browsing haircare, and be sure to let me know what you think!

-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

My Current Skincare Routine: Winter Edition

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m so excited about because I really just wanted to talk about all the products I’m loving right now. I should start by saying that my skin is combination, and like most people’s it leans way more to the dry side during the Winter months. My skin is also dehydrated, and that’s something I’m really trying to treat. Overall I’m pretty happy with my skin right now, and I’ve learned it’s never going to be ‘perfect’ which is fine! I recently talked about the things I’ve learned from my experience with acne, and I think it’s so important that we stop being so hard on ourselves for not having perfect skin. Nobody has perfect skin, and that’s okay! Also I’m sure this may seem like a lot of products to some (and possibly very little to others) but this is just what works for me 🙂

AM

I cleanse my face every morning with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser which I absolutely love! This cleanser leaves my face feeling clean and is the perfect first step in the morning as it’s not at all harsh or stripping. It removes all of the skincare product residue from the night before easily and gently, and it has a really pleasant, light scent which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of highly fragranced cleansers. I really look forward to washing my face with this every morning!

Depending on how my skin is, I tone with Pixi Glow Tonic but I tend to only use this on the days my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have an active breakout/cystic acne. This is without a doubt my favourite toner as it is packed with glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin. I really think this makes a huge difference to the pores on my cheeks too, it definitely reduces the appearance of them and overall helps my skin look so much brighter. It literally makes you glow!

Whether I have or haven’t used my toner, my next step is always Hydraluron serum. As soon as the weather gets cold, my skin gets dry and dehydrated and this serum works to boost moisture levels in the skin, and hold on to all of the moisture from your moisturiser. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (a huge tell tale sign is your makeup breaking up/not lasting throughout the day) you should give this a go as it makes all the difference! It’s not a miracle worker and my skin is definitely still dehydrated, but it has improved so much since I started using this serum. I only use a pea sized amount across my whole face; it absorbs straight in and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all. Also, just an FYI, Caroline Hirons swears by this product so much it’s been coined Hironsluron by her loyal readers/viewers!

I’m not usually too fussed on which eye cream I use as I’ve never found a day time eye cream that makes much difference to me, but that all changed when I picked up La Roche Posay Hydraphase eye cream. I’ve been using this around two months and it feels so nice, absorbs into my under eye area quickly and is cooling which is lovely if your eyes can be a little puffy in the morning! My concealer always sits well on top of this which is also a bonus as I’ve tried several eye creams that pill under makeup and cause texture.

For my moisturiser I like to combine two products; I take a smidge of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and mix it with a bigger smidge of Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. So technical, I know! If I have a bad breakout I apply a little Effaclar Duo directly over the area, but most days I mix them together with my fingertips and apply all over my face. Effaclar Duo has been a staple in my skincare routine for years and it’s something I’ve always kept in my collection, but with consistent use it’s made such a difference to my skin. I love love love Lait Crème Concentré – which is one of the best selling French pharmacy skincare products ever – as it’s very hydrating, but sinks into the skin so well and is a perfect base under makeup. Makeup artists worldwide swear by this as a must have product in their kit, it also doubles as a primer which is great for travelling!

My favourite ever lip balm is hands down Nuxe Reve de Miel – made by another fantastic French pharmacy brand – I just cannot say enough good things about this! It’s creamy, moisturising, non-sticky and keeps my lips moisturised for hours. I use this morning and night, and I also keep my Nuxe Reve de Miel stick in my bag which I re-apply several times throughout the day. Matt is a huge fan of these lip balms too!

PM

My favourite time of the day apart from snuggling up in bed with Matt is taking my makeup (and bra) off. As soon as I’m home for the evening I like to take off my makeup, get showered/bathed and throw my pj’s on, and then I’m cosy for the night! Over the past few weeks I’ve been reaching only for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is an old favourite of mine. This balm takes off every. single. scrap. of makeup on your face and doesn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin. I apply to my dry face, and massage in to start to break down my makeup. I then wet my fingers and carry on massaging in the balm, which turns to an oil-like consistency when water is added. I take my flannel soaked with warm water to remove everything. It literally takes less than a minute! I’m also a huge fan of these flannels from M&S; they’re inexpensive, wash so well and make the world of difference to my cleansing routine.

I always always always double cleanse – because Caroline Hirons told me to – and nine times out of ten I reach for my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser that I use each morning. I just love this stuff! It’s also very boyfriend friendly; I’m forever trying to get Matt into a set skincare routine and this is one of the few products he actually enjoys using.

Each night I tone my face with either Pixi Glow Tonic or Pixi Retinol Tonic on a cotton round. I choose which one to use based on my skin that day; if I’m suffering with an acne flare up or a bad breakout I reach for Glow tonic, and if I’m having a good skin day I reach for Retinol tonic. This is such a low dose of Retinol that it is safe to use every day, so I often use this several nights in a row, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

My next step is to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum which is fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin! I personally prefer Hydraluron for during the day, but I love love love this product for the evening. I find this is a lot more runny in consistency and you have to be careful not to pump too much out, but it is such a bargain and really has made a difference to my skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated, and is the perfect product to be sandwiched between cleansing and applying the rest of my skincare products.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know I am obsessed with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask and nothing will ever replace this for me! I’ve used this product for around two to three years and it is just so hydrating. I especially love that this eye cream is cooling on application and as it’s a gel-like texture it sinks straight in. I really love this eye cream and it’s a product several people have told me they tried because I rave about it so much… it’s so worth the hype, I promise!

Before I apply my my moisturiser, I use Pixi Glow Tonic serum followed by Botanics Restoring Overnight facial oil which is my perfect evening combination. The Pixi serum is just beautiful! I apply two to three drops across my whole face and it helps to exfoliate (like the toner) and hydrate. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after application, and if I ever skip this step I feel like my skin really pays for it the next day. The Botanics facial oil was something I picked up on a whim in Boots – we’ve all done it, right? – and it is the most luxurious facial oil I’ve ever used! I love the scent so much, it’s packed full of essential oils and is really calming. I am so impressed with the quality of the oil and I’d really advise anyone wanting a little luxury in their skincare routine to pick it up! One thing to note is that I don’t apply the oil to any areas affected with an active breakout!

My holy grail skincare product this time of year is Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, it’s truly the best hydrating moisturiser I’ve ever tried! I feel like it just layers so well on top of my serums and oil, and makes my skin feel so soft and plump. I love that it’s such a light texture but a little really does go a long way, and it is a great product if you have combination skin. It definitely doesn’t make my face feel or look oily, but it concentrates on any dry patches and just makes things so much more hydrated!

Just like I do in the mornings, I always finish off my evening skincare routine with my Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. I generally tend to do my skincare routine early in the evening so I often apply several times more before I go to sleep, and I always put it on just before Matt and I get into bed.

I of course use various treatments – sheet masks are a personal fave – throughout the week/month, and I just see how my skin is doing and what it needs at that time. You can read all about my favourite treatment products here, I still use and love all of those products, I just have a few extra faves now too! I love trying new beauty products but these days I’m slightly more hesitant to try new skincare products as I’m really happy with the ones I’m currently using! I would love to try more from the Botanics range though, and the Clinique Moisture Surge hydrating water gel has been on my ‘to try’ list forever! What are your go-to skincare products for the colder months? Have you tried anything I talked about in this post, or are you adding them to your Christmas list?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy (black) Friday, loves! Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and I’m sure if you’re on the internet today, you’re shopping… not reading my blog. *Cries* but if you did take five minutes out of your jam packed shopping day to come see little old me then THANK YOU. I appreciate it! I hope all my American readers had the best Thanksgiving celebration with family yesterday; it’s such a sweet tradition and I so wish we had something similar in the UK. I mean, we did steal Black Friday, why couldn’t we steal the part with all the yummy food?! I was drooling over all the photos of amazing food like I do every year, I’m so jealous! There’s a lot packed in today’s post, so let’s get going!

What I’m wearing:
I am genuinely obsessed with my new scarf from Tartan Blanket Co. because it makes me feel like CHRISTMAS. I feel like it’s just what Mrs Claus would wear! Seriously, how can you look at that and not feel immediately happy? I purchased the Stewart Royal Oversized scarf in the shade Red, and I’ve worn it every day since I bought it. It’s 100% wool so it’s super warm and worth every penny; it is so well made and will last you a lifetime. I really want to get another scarf in a more muted, neutral tone (maybe this one? Thoughts?!) so I’m hoping I’ll be able to snag one with a little Black Friday discount today! If you’re looking for a Christmas gift one of their scarves would make a beautiful gift, and they have options for men and women. They shipped super quick and my scarf was packaged beautifully too, so you don’t need to worry about that! I’m also so beyond happy with my new Winter coat but I love it so much it’s getting it’s own post soon. Be sure to come back to hear my thoughts on picking a new Winter coat that’s cute and also practical!

What I’m watching:
Hahahaha. That meme is ME!!! Holiday movies! Last weekend Matt and I went to see Last Christmas which you need to go see, it’s amazing! Although, consider this your word of warning because I didn’t realise it was a sad movie and I SOBBED in the cinema hahaha. Cheesy Christmas movies are my very favourite, and it’s got to the time of year I want to snuggle up in bed with Matt and watch Hallmark movies on repeat. I also love that everyone wears plaid shirts in these movies ALL THE TIME and I feel like my wardrobe is seriously lacking in the plaid department. Also, I love the classics just as much! Home Alone, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street etc… you all have my heart. Is it acceptable to take a whole day off work to watch movies? Pretty please tell me it is? Matt and I of course still watching Strictly each week and we’re SO HAPPY Chris is still in the competition (well, Matt isn’t such a fan of the show but he watches because he loves me!) and we’re loving I’m A Celebrity this year, it’s great reality TV!

What I’m worried about:
So I didn’t have a photo for this one and decided to share this festive photo of the restaurant Matt and I had lunch at this past weekend. We LOVE going out to eat because we get to totally relax and it’s so nice to enjoy food we haven’t cooked ourselves :). I just feel worried in general! For a long time I felt really good and like myself again, but this past week or so I’ve slowly began to feel anxious and ‘off’, hence not posting on Wednesday. I hate missing posts, I’m so sorry! It’s not a constant feeling and it’s not completely ruining every day but I’m just feeling really anxious and not myself. I think I may be suffering a little bit with SAD which is strange because I don’t think that normally affects me, at least not yet. I love Autumn and the build up to Christmas so I feel rubbish that I’ve not been enjoying it as much as I usually do. Matt and I have so many fun plans coming up and we just had the best weekend so I’m really hoping I can put aside any more anxious feelings and fully enjoy the Christmas season. January is going to be the start of a serious Self Care Month for me, and I’m hoping to do a few things to change my mindset and stop me feeling so anxious all the time. I’ll be sharing everything on the blog in time!

What I’m buying:
Almost everything Matt and I have purchased the past few weeks have been Christmas gifts for our families (and each other) – thanks to the early Black Friday discounts we’re so close to being done with our holiday shopping and just have a few more things to buy next month! – but I did just pick up this beautiful lip balm last week and I’m already obsessed with it. I’ve never had a Fresh lip balm before as they only have become available in the UK fairly recently, but I’ve seriously been missing out! This lip balm is so pigmented and leaves the best pop of colour, as well as being so moisturising and not at all sticky. It’s literally my perfect lip balm! I highly recommend picking one up if you’re wanting to treat yourself to a little something this Black Friday 🙂 I also really would love that scarf from Tartan Blanket Co, but we’ll see!

What I’m listening to:
I’m of course listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed every week because it’s my favourite podcast ever. 🙂 I started listening to Office Ladies this month too and it is so funny! I love hearing more about the behind-the-scenes element of filming, and they have had guests from the show too which is great. I love love love Jenna Fischer, she is so different than Pam! When you watch a person in a show you kind of just assume the character is like the actor… or is that just me?! I really wish they didn’t call each other ‘lady’ so much though, haha. This week I listened to a podcast Shay Shull was a guest on recently and I so enjoyed hearing more from Shay. I wish she’d release her own podcast already! I don’t want to name it because honestly… I didn’t love the girl whose podcast Shay was a guest on. She came across kinda rude to me and I felt a little awkward for Shay even though she did a great job. I just want to be Shay when I grow up. Hahaha.

What I’m excited for:
The whole month of December!!! There’s so much to look forward to this month and I’m giddy about it all. I’m super excited about a few things in particular; Matt and I are going to see Jack Whitehall next week, my mum and I have a shopping day planned in town, Matt and I are going for our annual festive trip to visit the Christmas markets in Edinburgh and before we know it, it’ll be CHRISTMAS DAY! I can’t wait for all of the fun festive things in between and I’m always so aware and grateful for all of my blessings this time of year, especially. I’m also recording a Week In My life from the middle of next week, so you’ll get to come along to lots of fun things with us! 🙂

What my favourite Lush product of the month is:
I thought I’d start a fun little *extra* segment to my Feelin’ It Friday’s, because so many people ask me what my favourite products are from Lush and what I think are worth the money! If you fancy treating yourself before Christmas a few Lush goodies is one of the best things in my opinion, and they also make for perfect stocking filler gifts. This month my most recommended product just has to be the Snow Fairy bath bomb! It is the perfect fun bath product for this time of year, and I’m a sucker for the Snow Fairy scent. I don’t often buy bath bombs because you only get the one bath out of them and that’s a pretty expensive bath (compared to getting at least four from a bubble bar) but I like to treat myself around the holidays!

What I’m eating:
Matt and I are officially enjoying ALL of the Christmas treats, especially Christmas chocolate! I love love love the big tubs of chocolates at this time of year and we’ve started sneaking a few when we watch I’m A Celebrity in the evenings which has been so fun. Each night we’re really enjoying eating more hearty dinners; soups, pasta bakes, rice dishes, pie with mash and veggies… pretty much all the good stuff that you just have to eat when the weather gets colder!

What I’m recommending for Black Friday:
Okay so I’ve already shared Christmas gift ideas for the ladies and the men in your life, and also a round up of stocking fillers/Secret Santa presents under £20, so be sure to check those out if you’re struggling for gift ideas. Shopping the sales is so great because you can find some incredible discounts! Also, remember if *the item* you’re looking at is something that wasn’t already on your radar or is not a great Christmas gift this year, you don’t need it. Set yourself a budget and don’t go too crazy – impulse purchases are not your friend!

John Lewis – 20% off almost everything. If you’re buying Ugg slippers this year for a loved one or yourself, don’t wait any longer and get them TODAY! This deal is so good and your feet will be forever thankful, I wear mine that Matt bought me two years ago all. the. time. to the point they’re gross, hahaha. My mum and dad just purchased this pair for me for Christmas, I can’t wait to have pretty new slippers on December 25th!
Amazon | Argos – SO MANY GREAT DEALS. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (my gift from Matt this year that I am so excited about!!) and all Amazon products are super discounted, get them while you can.
Topshop | ASOS – at least 20% off both sites and the perfect time to buy that Christmas Day outfit. Lots of items are reduced by more than 20% off so be sure to check out your favourite brands!
The Body Shop – anyone who’s ever read my blog KNOWS I’m a huge fan of The Body Shop! My sweet friend Shannen recently became a consultant for them and is able to offer deals that you can’t find in store or online. You can email her at shankellyx@gmail.com or check her Facebook page for great deals every day, not just Black Friday!
Boots | Feel Unique | Look Fantastic – so many varying deals. I recommend all of these place for EVERYTHING beauty related. Gift sets, perfume, aftershave, makeup, skincare, body products, bath products. Everything! There’s amazing deals on all sites, but if the price is the same I tend to buy from Boots because I also get my points! Just a little tip in case you’re caught up in the Black Friday madness.
Missoma | Monica Vinader | Astrid & Miyu – up to 30% off across the three sites. Beautiful, delicate jewellery for an incredible price! I wear my Missoma initial necklace every day with this little moon charm on the same chain and it just makes my heart happy. People ask me ALL the time which necklace I‘m wearing, and that’s always it!
Space NK | Cult Beauty – varying discounts and so many limited edition/exclusive deals on beautiful items. Perfect for those last minute Christmas gifts!
Figleaves – 20% off site wide. I love love love Figleaves underwear, their Juliette balcony bra is my all time favourite and is SO COMFY!

Be sure to search thoroughly online before buying anything to find the best deal today (and through the weekend into Cyber Monday). Happy shopping!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂 thanks for always being the best support to me and my blog, I appreciate it so much. I hope you all have a great weekend and have so much fun with your loved ones! Don’t forget to get your advent calendars ready for Sunday… I can’t wait to eat chocolate every single morning 🙂

-G x

How To Keep It Together This Holiday Season

Hi, loves! We are one week away from December 1st, which for most of us marks the beginning of the busiest time of year. Date nights, dinner and drinks, Christmas markets, catch ups with friends you haven’t seen forever, a whole channel filled with Christmas movies you NEED to watch, last minute present shopping, work Christmas parties and approximately 483 other events are taking place this month, and somehow you’re expected to fit it all in. Not to mention you’ve still got to squeeze in the regular ol’ 9-5, quality time with your partner, grocery shopping, errands, sleeping, eating, seeing your family, exercising, preparing dinner, I’m A Celebrity, hobbies and there’s also probably a sh*t load of Christmas presents you need to wrap too. Phew. Anybody else exhausted just reading that?! ME. TOO. But, it doesn’t have to be as hectic as it seems. There’s lots of things we can do – aside from cutting out our favourite reality TV show – to make this time of year easier on ourselves, and actually really enjoy the festive fun!

Utilize your iPhone calendar. There’s no excuse for forgetting you already agreed to plans when you can plan every second of your life in your phone. *Note to self because I am still really bad at this!* A surefire way to ensure you don’t double book, turn up late or (even worse) arrive at the wrong place is to record every single plan you agree to in your calendar. I love to use my iPhone calendar specifically because it syncs to my MacBook and iPad therefore everything is easily accessible, and it can be colour coded for ease. I use my calendar throughout the year to plan blog content as well as write details of social plans, but Christmas is HECTIC and requires a little extra upkeep!

Write lists. For everything. The last thing you need to be stressing out about is if what you’ve forgotten to do/buy/organise etc. I can’t tell you how much I love writing a list (partly because crossing off what you’ve achieved is just fun to me) but it’s so. much. help. I have lists for everything and the holiday season is certainly no different! I have several gifting lists, tasks to be done, extra things to buy, places to visit etc – I just feel so organised when I know what’s to be checked off.

Eat good meals. Most of us link preparing super healthy meals to the Summer months, when pre-holiday your biggest concern is how you’ll look in your new bikini. But, let’s be real. It’s pretty common for most of us at the time of year to indulge in more chocolates than we usually would, try every festive flavoured drink in Costa and enjoy an alcoholic beverage with the occasional every meal, justified by the words “well, it’s Christmas”. Add in the fact it’s freezing cold outside and you’re almost definitely enjoying nights out without a coat (it’s not just a Northern thing, right?) the chances of you falling ill are pretty high, too. Being poorly at Christmas time sucks, so eating healthy, good-for-you meals during the day is a little way of self care and you’ll feel the benefits throughout the month. Pile your meals high with fruits and veggies and it makes all of the indulging you do a little bit more acceptable! Speaking of which…

Don’t be afraid to indulge yourself. When you are at home, make the most of it. Don’t worry too much about the non-essential things and instead really indulge in things that make you happy. For Matt and I, that’s cooking a good meal and chatting about our days then snuggling in to watch one of our favourite shows. We both find so much joy in binge watching The Office but I want to watch as many holiday movies as possible this year. Just don’t tell Matt, it’s a surprise! One of our favourite ways to unwind is a long soak in a bubble bath, and I love to read books so much. Also, despite my point above that we should try to eat healthy meals… I also am MORE than happy to eat any sweets, chocolates, shortbread, cookies etc that I want to! If we’re watching a cute Christmas movie we’re probably snacking on something, and that’s okay. It’s all about moderation.

Prioritise the things that are most important for you. The annual Christmas market trip with your love, a last minute Christmas shopping dash with your mum and a festive brunch with your best gal might be the three things that are top of your social plans this year, and that’s fine! Make sure you do the things you really want to do, and everything else will slot in where possible. It’s really important not to overload your social calendar as it will begin to feel like a chore, when really all of your festive plans should be fun and bring JOY!

Do not get slack on your skincare! Okay, maybe this is just an important one for me but I know if I take even one day away from my usual routine my face really bloody hates me for it. It’s super easy after a busy day to think you can skip a few steps but really, taking those five minutes for you will help you feel (and look) good. At the very least make sure to cleanse, tone and apply eye cream, serum and moisturiser each morning and night. I also would advise against trying new skincare products this time of year because with all of the Christmas induced stress, chances are your skin isn’t going to be it’s best anyway. I just know if I try *that* amazing moisturiser everyone is raving about I’ll develop a spot the size of Rudolph’s nose, so it’s just not worth the hassle.

Say no if you can’t make it work. There’s no reason to feel obliged to squeeze in that pub meet up with those friends you barely see ‘just because it’s Christmas’ if it doesn’t work for you. True friends will always understand that life is busy, and I’d really suggest giving alternative plans if what everyone else is doing doesn’t work for you. By the same token, if a friend isn’t able to make it to something you’ve planned or are attending, make sure to let them know it’s okay and they’ve got nothing to worry about. For example, I personally couldn’t think of anything worse than going to a club because I’m a #25yearoldgrandma, and that’s okay. We all have to set boundaries and the people who love us as we are will never make us feel guilty for that. I’m a sociable person, but kinda only with my people. We all just need to be mindful, especially at this time of year, that there is no obligation to join in on plans you can’t make work with your schedule.

Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to use this blog post as your reminder to chill the heck out this holiday season, refer back to it throughout the next month and share it with your friends… we need all of the self care reminders we can get, right?! I hope you have the most amazing December, I’m so excited to share what we’re up to with you throughout the month! Next week I’ll be posting our Christmas Bucket List! I’m so excited because we have so many fun plans… and yes some of those include snuggling up on the couch with a hot chocolate and Elf 🙂 yay for plans that make us happy!

-G x

The Sam & Nic Edit: A Beauty Box You Need In Your Life

Hi, loves! Beauty boxes are one of my favourite things; they’re an opportunity to try various brands and products without committing to a full size product, they’re often very good value for money and you could find a new holy grail product! When I found out that Sam and Nic had launched their own beauty box with Estee Lauder I immediately ordered! Aside from the fact I love Sam and Nic, the box truly is such good value for money, and filled with so many brands/products I already know and love. There are NINE products in this box, which is crazy!

I have watched Sam and Nic on Youtube for so many years, and truly have admired them not just as incredible makeup artists but as entrepreneurs, mums, and quite literally, #girlbosses. They paved the way for so many content creators through the years, and were truly the first ‘beauty gurus’ I ever came across on YouTube. Having said that, you’d think I’d be a hell of a lot better at doing my own makeup from watching them… hah! I also wanted to note this box is cruelty free, which makes it even more of a winner and inclusive to everyone. I’m sharing a mini review and first impressions on each of the products in the box, spoiler alert… it’s amazing.

Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover
An oldie but a goodie, I’m such a huge fan of Clinique’s Take The Day Off range. The cleansing balm is an OG favourite of mine (and many, many others) but this product is fantastic especially for removing eye makeup, even if I’ve gone a little heavy on that particular day. I love this for travelling as one swipe removes almost all of my eye makeup, and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes at all. The packaging is very chic and cute, and it looks so pretty in your skincare bag or on your vanity table!

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Rebel Length and Lift Mascara
A new addition to Estee Lauder’s makeup range, I was so excited to see this included in the box. I love love love Estee Lauder mascaras, although I don’t buy them very often as let’s be real, drugstore mascaras are a fraction of the price and generally just as good. I’ve used this for a few days now and I really love how long it makes my lashes. I’ve not found it to be clumpy and it’s super black – one of my biggest pet hates is mascara that leaves your lashes with a grey tinge!

MAC Strobe Cream
This is a product I have used on and off since I first properly got into makeup and I really really love it. I received a sample last year during a time I did not have a full sized product in my collection, then I re-purchased when the sample ran out and have used it ever since. I like to use this on days I’m doing my makeup ‘properly’ as it adds a beautiful glow that doesn’t make my face look like a greaseball* and leaves my makeup looking fresh and glowy. Strobe cream is a makeup artist favourite and for good reason, it’s so versatile! Speaking of which… have you seen Sam doing her makeup in this video? The applications of strobe cream? That looks so easy and effortless? How the F does she do that? WOW.
*My skin has changed a lot in recent years and it’s nowhere near as oily as it used to be. Super oily skins might not love this all over the face!

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Ruby
I love love love Bobbi Brown’s crushed lip colours! I recently talked about Cali Rose which is my favourite shade; it’s just such a beautiful formula. One of my favourite things about these lipsticks is that they can be worn super sheer which looks effortless and more daytime appropriate, or you can apply to be super opaque. I have previously owned Ruby and I loved it then, but I never re-purchased for some reason. I wore this yesterday and I really liked how it looked on, and Matt also complimented me… I always know it’s a good product when my boyfriend notices!

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light
On first look I thought this seemed a little too dark for my fair skin tone, but after using it a few times it’s not, and I love love love this bronzer! I’ve never tried a bronzing powder from Bobbi Brown before, and honestly I’ve been on the lookout for something new for a while. Benefit Hoola lost it’s appeal to me, I’m kinda bored of The Body Shop Honey Bronzer and as much as I love Physician’s Formula’s Butter Bronzer, I can’t bare the cheap childish packaging. This bronzer is also my perfect ‘all over the lid’ eyeshadow colour on days I don’t have much time, or it would be great as a blending shade for travel. It’s so rare for me to find a makeup product I love immediately (except for lipsticks/lip glosses) but holy smokes, this is incredible. I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying the full size!

Smashbox Cover Shot Eyeshadow Palette in Ablaze
Confession time: this baby was the product I was most excited for, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. I trust Sam and Nic’s opinion and judgement, and I knew if they were including this in their beauty box it was because it was a fantastic product, and it is! Warm, earthy eyeshadows speak to my soul and this is a palette that’s been on my radar for a while. I really like these tones because I have greenish blue eyes and they make my eyes pop! Every shade is usable and something I’d opt for on an everyday basis, whether I was heading to work, running errands or getting a little bit glam for date night. The pigmentation is amazing, there’s not a lot of fall out from the shadows at all and I really appreciate having larger sizes for the base/blending shades as those are the shades in a palette I always use up first. Bravo choice girls, bravo!

Real Techniques Rebel Edge Fine Brush
Okay, so setting aside my admiration for Sam and Nic for a second, I am a HUGE fan of Real Techniques brushes. I use several every day; they apply your makeup incredibly easily, they don’t hold too much product in the brush, they wash very well and I have had some for well over five years that are in immaculate condition. This brush makes what I do almost every day SO freaking easy – I was using a Zoeva 322 (which is technically for eyebrows) to run a darker eyeshadow along my lash line to create a faux eyeliner look, but it is a little fiddly. This brush literally does the work for me! I have hooded eyes and I’ve never been able to flick out eyeshadow or eyeliner and make it look even both sides, but with this I did it in seconds.

Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Texture Spray
A tried and tested favourite… I really like this texture spray. Bumble and Bumble products are so highly loved in the blogging world, and for very good reason. I have a full size of this product that I’m using right now so will be keeping this to one side for travelling. I use this every time I curl my hair, or when I’m going for a big messy bun as it adds so much texture but doesn’t leave residue or colour in my hair. Other texture sprays I’ve used leave a weird residue so I was super happy to find this didn’t on first application, and that’s what made me stick with it.

Glamglow Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Mask
I’m SO very excited to use this mask. Glamglow is a brand I used to use A LOT – literally every week when I had really bad skin I would use their Supermud Clearing Treatment which worked wonders for me – but it’s a brand in which I kinda stick to what I know. I’m less likely to pick up new products on a whim these days, so trying out this mask as part of the box is so good for me! I’ve seen all of the promo for this product since it was released and it looks so interesting. I can’t wait to stick it on and surprise Matt when he’s least expecting it, HA!

Disclaimer: I paid for this box with my own money and I’m so happy to see 10% of sales from every box purchased are being split between two charities; Look Good Feel Better and Breast Cancer Haven. This box would make a wonderful treat for yourself or any beauty loving lady in your life, I couldn’t recommend it enough! It would also be a great Christmas present, although I believe it’s only available for a limited time only so don’t be shy about purchasing if it’s something you want.

Thank you so much for reading! I’m so happy with the contents of this box and I’m really enjoying using the products I hadn’t tried before. My favourites are Smashbox eyeshadow palette in Ablaze, MAC’s strobe cream and I really love the Real Techniques brush! Will you be picking up this limited edition box? Or maybe you already have…? What’s your favourite product from the selection?

-G x

Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

Happy Sunday, loves! Self care is something that is discussed in great detail, but it’s often linked directly to beauty treatments and pampering yourself. That’s not to say I don’t love a pamper night because – let’s be real, I DO! – and that’s something I make sure to incorporate into my life at least once per week, but I think there’s so many other ways you can hit that self care button and relax at the same time.

We live in a world where we’re so connected via iMessage and social media, and it’s really become difficult to let ourselves and our minds unwind. Most of us spend at least forty hours per week at work, and during that time our minds can be so wired and frantic with everything we need to get done we don’t allow ourselves time to stop. My blog is something I do in my ‘free’ time, but as I talked about in my October goals post, I was losing the barrier between ‘free’ time and any time I wasn’t at work. I felt like I needed to be constantly working on my blog whether it was writing posts, taking photos, editing photos, reading other blogs, trawling social media or just brainstorming ideas and it became so hard to let my mind escape and just enjoy being at home. I’ve been feeling extremely anxious over the past few months and it’s something I’m really struggling with right now. As a result, I’ve been trying to find all of the things that make me feel less anxious and focus on those, rather than trying to identify why I feel anxious in the first place!

Something Matt and I have prioritized more and more recently is unwinding each evening/weekend we aren’t at work. I often take a little time whilst he’s at work (either early morning, after I get home during the week or whilst he’s in on a weekend) to do all of my blog work, and I’m feeling way happier and less stressed out by giving myself some ‘me’ time back. I made a promise to both Matt and myself a long time ago that I’d not work on my blog whilst we were having chill time at home, and it’s really important to me that I stick to that.

I’m such a homebody at heart but Matt would often rather be out; we compromise on this by usually spending a little more time at home during the week, and a little more time out of the house doing fun things at the weekend. Being a homebody means I relish in all things cosy; candles, fuzzy blankets, comfy pj’s and dressing gowns are up there with my all time favourite items ever, and I just love every opportunity Matt and I get for a cosy night at home. Also, you don’t need to have a ton of time to enjoy the cosiness of being at home; often by the time we get home from work, cook and eat dinner, shower/bathe etc it could easily be 8pm! It’s about being intentional with the time you do have, and being able to roll your to-do list over to the next day.

Here’s a few little things I suggest doing at least a few times per week to help you unwind, relax and enjoy being at home.

Clean your space. I can’t really explain how or why, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on this one: when my space is clean, I feel happier. This is the same for my home and my car; I just need my environment to be welcoming and as clutter free as possible. I pick up our room several times per week which takes all of five minutes in the mornings, then I fully deep clean once per week. Putting on fresh sheets, hanging clothes away, vacuuming, dusting etc just makes the whole room feel more cosy and inviting, and it always makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment. We’re big believers in the fact a bedroom needs to be a happy, comforting space; it’s so important to allow yourself to fully rest at home!

Light a candle. Okay so I’m sure so many of you will already know this, but I’m obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I love love love the cosy pumpkin scents for Fall right now, and I’m genuinely concerned at how often I think about purchasing another. Ha! I feel so calm and at peace with candles burning and our pink Himalayan rock salt lamp on; it gives our bedroom the most beautiful warm pink glow and makes my heart happy.

Put down your phone. One of the best things you can do to unwind from work, friends, peers, a bad day etc is to just put down your phone. Leave it charging in another room or preferably another floor of the house and be in the moment. Matt and I always try to do this when we’re out for dinner too; so many times on date night you’ll see the couple more interested in their phones than each other. Other than maybe taking a quick snap of our food we don’t put the focus on our phones. We’re really working on not having our phones in bed at all; every night we were brushing our teeth, getting cosy in bed, then sitting on our phones for at least ten minutes just scrolling through our socials. It’s gross how attached we all our to our phones; as much as I love technology, I sometimes really despise it too!

Listen to music or a podcast. Our Amazon Echo Dots are some of our most favourite ever items we own, and we make use of them every single day! We sleep with Alexa Sleep Sounds on every night (we alternate between Matt’s favourite, ocean sounds, and my favourite, thunderstorm sounds) and it’s truly made a difference to how we sleep. We sometimes play music whilst we tidy up or get ready in the mornings, and it’s just a fun way to occupy ourselves that doesn’t involve being on our phones. I also listen to podcasts almost every time I’m driving (it’s either a podcast or Disney music, there’s no in-between!) and I find them such a fun addition to my day.

Head for a breakfast/dinner date. Going for breakfast is hands down one of Matt and I’s favourite hobbies. Breakfast food is our favourite, it’s generally way less crowded, and we still have the whole rest of our day to get a bunch of things done. We also love dinner dates because getting dressed up together, having a few glasses of wine and making the most of date night is such a treat to us! I think it’s so important to take time for food dates with your partner, your friends and your family – both Matt and I’s families love to go out for meals and it’s something I really am grateful for.

Take a hot bath. The ultimate self care treat for me personally is a hot bubble bath. Pile in your favourite Lush products, light an aromatherapy candle and allow yourself to disconnect from the world for thirty minutes at least an hour. A bubble bath can seriously make up for any crap work day, and you’ll never regret taking time out of your day for that. I’ll be sharing my favourite self care Sunday pamper routine on the blog in a few weeks!

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and your book. Ah, a book and a cuppa… that is my idea of bliss. If we’re having a lazy weekend morning in bed Matt likes to watch various football shows on Amazon Prime (he’s currently watching Sergio Ramos documentary which is all in Spanish… I mean…) and I’m so happy to curl up with my iPad and read before we get ready for the day. I also am a huge fan of sleepy time teas before bed; they really do make you feel a little more relaxed and ready for sleep, and reading a book is a great way to unwind before bed. Matt is not a reader at all which hurts my heart a little bit, but I just keep telling hime he hasn’t found the right books yet!

Watch your favourite shows. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your love and watching the series you’re both invested in? No, there is not! Matt and I often watch several shows at a time, and then incorporate the odd movie or documentary into that too. Strictly Come Dancing is my thing, so by default Matt is often stuck watching it too. He is a huge football fan, so that’s his vice and another thing we watch SO much. We love comedy shows; Brooklyn 99 was our favourite, we’ve seen Friends one hundred times and right now The Office is our ‘easy watch’ obsession. We love love love documentaries (Stacey Dooley’s are a personal favourite, obvs) and shows like Ambulance: Australia make us very happy. We change things up pretty much every evening, but it’s such a nice time to chill and chat with each other too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to unwind a little more this coming week. Do you make unwinding a priority right now? Or are you always go go go, ticking things off that to-do list? I challenge you this week to take at least an hour each night for yourself or you and your partner, it will totally change your week I promise you!

-G x