Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

As this post goes live, we will be on our way to enjoy a staycation at one of our favourite hotels, Hotel du Vin at Newcastle Quayside. It’s a birthday treat for Matthew as he turns 25 tomorrow, and we’re making the most of it! We’re planning on doing very little; maybe a chilled walk along the Quayside, a bubble bath, dinner, drinks, and a whole lot of relaxing with yours truly. What more could he want, eh?!

Packing is my thing and I love reading packing related blog posts or watching ‘pack with me’ videos on YouTube, some of these incredible people fit enough clothes for three weeks in a carry on suitcase! Mind = blown. I am borderline obsessed with the whole process and find it so exciting, as soon as we have a trip booked I find myself beginning to plan my outfits, search through my stash of travel sized minis and find the Insta-worthy hotspots usually reserved for the locals. As much as I enjoy that kind of packing, there’s something real nice about heading for a staycation, less than thirty minutes from home. You already know the best places to go! Driving means no luggage restrictions! Full sized beauty products! The ability to pop home if you forget your favourite shoes… Also, it means I don’t have to hide Matt’s birthday presents as I can easily sneak them in the boot.

Really, the chances of me forgetting something on a staycation trip are pretty slim, as I tend to go with the ‘if you might need it, take it’ method of packing when there’s no weight restriction. Slippers? Our favourite blanket? Ski goggles? You name it, I’ve probably packed it. I feel I’m being a tad hard on myself as I’ve definitely honed it down from previous trips, but I’m still not the most minimalistic or streamlined packer, and for a one or two night trip close to home, I’m okay with that. Also, the best thing about travelling anywhere with your boyfriend? He takes literally the essentials. (By ‘he’ I mean me, because of course I end up packing for him HAHA). I’m sure all girls have read between the lines here and know where I’m going with this… extra space for our stuff, YAY!

*I’ve linked all of the items you can still purchase to save you having to find them!*

The Beauty Bits

My favourite part of packing is always my skincare, makeup and toiletries. As I mentioned above, I do love a travel sized mini, but there is something a little bit special about being able to take your old faithfuls without having to find a mini or decant them. Although I often take full sized beauty products on staycation trips, or really anywhere we travel to by car, I tend to take less products overall, and just take the things I actually need. Sort of. I definitely minimize my skincare and makeup routine, and don’t take all of the extra ‘just incase’ bits I usually keep in my skincare stash. I’m so happy with my daily skincare routine so I’m definitely taking all my must-haves for morning and night, even though it may seem like a lot to some. I talked about my current skincare routine in this post so please check that out if you’d like to know my thoughts on the products pictured, in more detail!

I also try to pack as little as possible in the category of ‘body care’ (I feel like there needs to be an actual name for this stuff?!) because A) it’s just a one night trip and I won’t be doing a full on pamper sesh and B) Hotel du Vin have Ren products in all of their rooms anyway, which is an amazing cruelty free brand that I love. Matt and I always share whichever shampoo and conditioner I pack, and we’ll use one of our own mini Molton Brown shower gels, then I need my shaving products, moisturiser and hair products to style my hair before I blow dry it. We very rarely use the mini toiletries provided in the room when we’re there as I (not so) secretly love to take them for future trips that may not provide them. That’s why they’re there, right?!

If this is your first time reading my blog you may not know that my aim for 2019 is to go fully cruelty free on my beauty products. I’m already there on my everyday skincare and makeup items, but body care is proving a little more tricky – I’m yet to find a razor that works as well as my beloved Gillette Swirl, and any other shaving gel apart from Gillette leaves my skin dry and/or irritated. I wanted so badly to love the Lush D’Fluff as it smelled glorious, but it really wasn’t right for my skin, and never gave me a close enough shave. My beloved Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a must-have, I use this almost every day and I love it; it reminds me of so many wonderful memories.

Skincare: Glossier Milky Oil / Boots Botanics Micellar Water / Cotton Rounds / Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser / Pixi Glow Tonic / The Body Shop Serum-in-Oil / The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask / Neals’ Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser / Glossier Balm Dot Com / Facetheory Eye Cream / Facetheory SuperGel Moisturiser

Makeup: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer / Colourpop X Zoella Eyeshadow Palette / Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette / Too Faced Better Than Sex & Diamonds Mascara / It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte in Fair / Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Concealer in 2 / Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder / Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer / Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love / Colourpop Highlighter in Flexitarian / Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk / Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in The Duchess / NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu / Minimal amount of makeup brushes & my beauty blender

Hair & Body Care: Ren Oat & Bay Shampoo (mini) / Love Beauty & Planet Magic Masque / Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser / Soap & Glory The Rushower Dry Shampoo / Tangle Teezer Brush / Straighteners / Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt / Dove Deodorant / Lush Sleepy Moisturiser / Gillette Shaving Gel (mini) / Gillette Swirl Razor / Molton Brown Shower Gel (mini) / Contact Lenses / Medication

Clothing & Accessories

I love planning my outfits in general, and I find this the easiest category to pack for, even though I do like to have some kind of option, just in case. I’ll use the same bag both day and night – my Kate Spade crossbody is my go-to – and my trusty Vans will go with any day time outfit. I tend to be pretty hard on just taking one evening outfit for an overnight stay, as I know exactly what we’ll be doing – in this case, dinner at The Botanist and drinks on Grey St – but packing for the next day is a little trickier. We know our morning consists of Matt opening his presents (I’m so excited for that!) and us going for breakfast, but then we have the whole day to explore our favourite city and spend time with family, which is what birthdays are for.

I keep it minimal with my jewellery day-to-day, and I’ll be wearing my good ol’ faithfuls. My Missoma initial G necklace and mis-matched star and moon studs, my Pandora bracelet and various rings, and the rest of my earrings are silver, purchased from various stores. I very rarely change up my earrings as I love how they look, although it’s something I really want be more adventurous with this Spring/Summer! I’m also determined to try hoop earrings and to love them, other girls look SO good wearing hoops.

The weather is still very odd right now up North as we’re finally moving into Spring. Some days it’s warm, sunny and bright, and others it’s dark, rainy and freezing cold. This is my justification for taking two day outfit options, if you hadn’t already guessed what was coming. Also, we don’t take pyjamas as we never sleep in them, and we know from experience that Hotel du Vin robes are the bomb. I love to wear my hotel robe whilst I get ready for the evening and the following morning, so other than my two three outfits, there’s nothing else I need here! Except for a few spare pairs of pants and an extra bralette that I know I won’t wear. I can’t help it, it’s the overpacker in me. (Side note: VS thongs are the only underwear I buy, but I’m always looking for new options, and more sustainable brands would be great – if you have any tried and trusted recommendations please let me know in the comments!)

Evening: Underwear / Zara Animal Print Skirt / Black Camisole (similar) / Heeled Teal Boots / Kate Spade Crossbody
(YAY for ‘no bra’ outfits! #freethenipple)

Day: Underwear & Bra / Black Leather Jacket / Scarf / Black Old Skool Vans / Kate Spade Crossbody
Option 1 – Colourblock Jumper / Topshop Black Jamie Jeans
Option 2 – Black V Neck T-Shirt / Topshop Blue Jamie Jeans

The Bits I Actually Need (And Definitely Do Not Need But Will Take Anyway)

Like I said, I’m not perfect when it comes to packing (or anything, ha) and I knowingly pack more than I need. I always make sure to pack our phone chargers and also squeeze in snacks for the room because we love to have our home comforts for the evening. We’ve got our favourite sweets to snack on, and we’ll also have a box of our favourite donuts thanks to the amazing guys at Proven Goods Co. Matt won’t know this until we get there, and I’m so excited to surprise him! The only thing better than birthday cake is birthday donuts, right?! We always make sure to take a few bottles of water and cans of Diet Coke to stick in the fridge in the room, because we’re cheap and can’t justify paying the mini bar prices LOL. For special staycation trips like this one, we like to take a bottle of champagne, because that’s half the fun of the amazing roll top bath, right?! Also, it’s my love’s birthday, and if he wants champagne then that’s what he’ll get!

We’ll be throwing an extra coat in the car and I’ve already packed an umbrella ‘just incase’ but with good reason; in Newcastle it’s not uncommon to experience every weather possible in the space of 24 hours! Ironically, I’ll definitely be taking my sunglasses as the optimist in me will be praying for a sunny day so we can take a nice morning walk along the Quayside; it’s one of our favourite places in Newcastle and it’s just so beautiful.

We’d never take our iPads or laptops on an overnight trip like this as we absolutely will not need them, so there’s no need to worry about fitting those in to our luggage. I would normally take a book with me, but I know I’ll have no time to read so I wouldn’t bother lugging it around. (Even though this makes me a little sad as I’m obsessed with my current book, Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto, it’s the eighth book I’ve read so far this year and I hate putting it down!) I do always throw a tote bag into our luggage no matter where we’re going as they take up no space and come in so handy for tons of reasons. I mean, how else would I take all the miniature Ren toiletries home? I have to add, Poo Pourri comes in so handy on trips, I bought it originally as a joke when Matt and I went on our first weekend away together, but it’s actually a great idea (and still funny). Also, I think it’s a brilliant ‘gag gift’ for someone who’d laugh about it! Now, if only I could get him to use it at home…

I’m SO excited to relax and spoil my favourite person in the world, he deserves it so much. I hope you liked having a peek inside my suitcase, and if you haven’t already, you can check out my previous packing-related posts here and here. They’re the kind of posts you can come back to at any point for a little extra inspiration or motivation to pack! I’ll definitely be writing an updated What’s In My Carry On post when we go on our Summer holiday to Croatia later in the year, and we have a few city breaks in the pipeline too, I’m so excited to share more travel-related content.

What are your must-have items to pack for an overnight stay? Are you way more minimalist than me? I bet you are. Also, HOW do you do it? Please leave me all the tips and tricks in the comments, it would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much for reading!

-G x


February Favourites

Hi, loves!

I said this last month, but wow I can’t believe how quickly this month has passed. It seems like I blinked and the month was over, but Matt and I have had such a fun month, filled with so much love and happiness, which is what February is all about! I’m not too excited for March because Matt is going away on a work trip (just for one night, which still feels like forever haha) and for a weekend with the boys in Berlin! I’m so excited for him to make amazing memories but I’m already dreading how much I’m going to miss him! BUT there’s so many things to look forward to also! It’s Matt’s 25th birthday, Spring begins, we’re planning a spa day, and hopefully the weather will be warming up even more. It’s been so warm for February in the UK, I’m not convinced it’s a good thing although the sunny days have got me so excited for Spring, I literally can’t wait. I’ve got lots of favourites from this month, so let’s dive right in…

*All beauty products recommended are cruelty free*

Valentine’s Dinner at Tomahawk Steakhouse
Matt and I had the best early Valentine’s date at our favourite restaurant; we had the most amazing steaks and ate SO much food we were full until lunch time the next day. We always go to this restaurant for special ocassions and it’s such a happy place for us both; the food is amazing, the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are lovely. We get different sides and share them between us, but the mac n cheese is to die for – Matt isn’t a huge fan generally and even he loves this one! If you’re in Newcastle I’d highly recommend this restaurant for any special ocassion, it’s worth every penny. We also had such a fun Valentine’s weekend together, which I shared with you in this post, it was absolutely a highlight of the month.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte)
This is my new holy-grail foundation, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to purchase! I used the original formula a few years back (I picked it up in Florida well before it was available in the UK) but then when I ran out I couldn’t re-purchase and I forgot all about it. I’ve tried so many foundations over the years but I’m never fully happy with some aspect of it, except this one ticks every box for me. It’s lightweight on the skin, covers all redness/imperfections (although I do always use concealer over the top of any spots or redness) and it lasts all day. I always set with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder and I never have issues with it coming off through the day.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Matte) in Fair – £31.50

Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo and Conditioner
GUYS. I’m always so honest with you on my blog and I only talk about products I truly love and believe in. But wow, I really bloody love these! I bought this shampoo and conditioner when I ran out of what I was using, and all I wanted was to buy a good quality, cruelty free option (without spending a fortune). Shampoo and conditioner are those type of products I always thought you could buy along with your grocery shop and not think much more about it, but my hair was SO damaged and cheap formulas were just not doing it. After doing a ton of research, I picked up these and I’m so shocked at how much the quality of my hair has changed in just a few weeks. My hair looks so much better after washing, lasts longer without looking/feeling greasy between washes and these products smell SO GOOD. I also think my hair styles much better since using these, and I’ve noticed that my hair doesn’t break anywhere near as much as it used to. If you’re in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner I’d highly recommend picking these up!
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Shampoo – £7.00
Soap & Glory Get A Smooth On Conditioner – £7.00

Leopard Print Everything
I flipping love leopard print, and I’ve been wearing tons of leopard print items over the past month! From scarves to shirts to sock boots, I’ve wore it constantly, and I’m not complaining. Much to Matt’s dismay my eye is automatically drawn to anything leopard print, and I definitely want to pick up some makes-my-heart-sing leopard print pieces for the Spring/Summer months. I’ve talked so much about how I no longer want to be an active part of the fast fashion industry, so any items I buy will be things I can definitley wear for years to come. I realise it’s only the end of February but this warm weather has me so excited to buy things for Summer! I’m especially excited to buy things for our holiday to Croatia, and I’m on the lookout for a leopard print pool cover up!
Boots – New Look (old)

Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess
This was a lovely and super generous Valentine’s gift from Matt (isn’t he just the cutest) that I’d wanted for so long! This lipstick is even better than I hoped it would be; it’s the perfect tea-rose shade, and wearable day or night. The formula is creamy and hydrating, and it lasts so well on the lips! This shade was made for Kate Middleton, and just knowing that makes me feel like a princess when I wear it. As always with anything from Charlotte Tilbury, the packaging is beautiful; it’s in a weighty, rose gold tube that makes me want to re-apply at any given moment, just to look at it!
Charlotte Tilbury KISSING Lipstick in The Duchess – £24.00

Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter
This product is the definition of an oldie but a goodie to me, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog for a while I’m sure you would have seen it featured many times. I use this (almost – I’m not perfect, okay!?) every night when I get out of the bath or shower, and it is hands-down my favourite body butter for when my skin’s feeling dry, or just for a little luxury. I love the smell so much and it dries in so quickly, which is something I always look for in a good moisturiser.
Sanctuary Spa Ultra Rich Body Butter – £12.50

Soph Hearts Blog
I’ve read Sophie’s blog for a while, but I just think she is smashing it more and more with her content and deserves a little extra recognition. I recently followed her on social media (a goal this year was to interact more with the bloggers behind blogs I read and love) and I’m so glad I did. Sophie is such a sweetheart, she takes amazing photos and I love how honest she is with anything she’s sharing. My favourite post from February was this one, about the importance of self-love. I did that thing where you fall into a blog hole, and went back to re-read her Summer posts from last year – her outfits were so cute and gave me major inspo for things I’d like to buy/wear in SS19. If you don’t already follow Sophie or read her blog, please go give her some love!
www.sophhearts.com

Berry Trifle Yankee Candle
I’ve actually got a few favourite candles from this month, but this one pips the others to the top of the list as it’s the one we’ve burned the most. Matt’s lovely mam bought me this ‘just because’ back in November, and I’d been saving it to burn after my Christmas candles ran out. Matt and I have candles burning literally every night; they make our evenings so cosy and relaxed, and just generally make me feel happy. This candle smells incredible, without being too strong, and fills the room. It’s a beautiful warming scent, but thankfully doesn’t give you the urge to go grab some baked goods like most candles in the food category!
Berry Trifle Yankee Candle – £25.00

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products/things from this month? I’m crossing my fingers for warm, Spring weather in March!

-G x

My Festive Makeup Routine

Hi, loves!

Over the past few months I’ve found products I really  love to use, and I feel like my A/W makeup has been so much better. Part of that is definitely down to having a skincare routine that works for me and I’m so excited to share that with you in more detail in the new year!

Today’s post is all about my makeup favourites right now, and the products I’ll be using to create my Christmas Day makeup look. I love getting ready in the mornings, however I usually don’t have much time to do my makeup (all about the extra snuggles in bed with Matt HAHA). This look can be done in 15 minutes or I can really take my time and take 45 minutes! I’ve gotten much more into makeup in recent months, I feel like it’s such a great way to express yourself and your mood. Does anyone else plan out what makeup routine they’re going to do days before an event?! *holds hand high* Here’s my step by step routine for the look I’m planning for Christmas Day, with a fresh face after applying my skincare products. Spoiler: updated skincare routine coming in the new year!

Step #1: I prime my eyes with the MAC paint pot in Soft Ochre. I like this product but I wouldn’t say it’s a must have for me. I really want to pick up the Nars eyeshadow primer again as I loved that, I just need to use this up first!

Step #2:  I LOVE my Chill Baby palette by Kylie Cosmetics! I absolutely adore the colours in this palette and the pigmentation is so incredible. All throughout December I’ve only used this palette and the Kat Von D Shade & Light Glitter palette, they’re both so beautiful! For my Christmas Day look, I’ll use the shade Make Magic, and deepen the colour with Wrap It Up. On my lid I’ll use Jingle Baby (probably with a little MAC Fix +), and deepen the corner with Home Alone. I love to use Plum Pudding as an eyeliner on my top lash line, then a little of Plum Pudding on the bottom lash line to make the colours pop a little more. 

Step #3: My go-to mascara is the Maybelline Lash Sensational in Very Black, and I apply that to my top lashes. (I go back in after doing my face makeup and apply to the bottom lashes!)

Step #4: I apply my primer through my t-zone and chin, and then blend out any extra product onto my cheeks.

Step #5: I really am loving the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop foundation in Vanilla, and it lasts so well on my skin. I use two pumps for my whole face, and apply the foundation using a damp beauty blender. I go in with my favourite base product ever, the Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Vanilla to cover any pigmentation/marks or redness showing through. Right now I have no active spots – the best feeling ever – although I’m sure by the time Christmas Day rolls around my skin will surprise me with one or two! I use the Laura Mercier flawless fusion concealer in N1 under my eyes, and I swear it is a miracle worker! I have a naturally dark under eye area and this product covers the blue tones without looking at all cakey, and it brightens my face up so much. To set everything, I use my Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in Translucent, which after re-purchasing on Black Friday has become a staple in my makeup routine again. It keeps my makeup in place all day, and it never makes my skin look cakey or powdery which makes me very happy!

Step #6: I contour using the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light; this was another Black Friday purchase and I swear this product is SO worth the hype (and the price tag, even at full price). My go-to blush of the past few months has been Madly by Nars, it’s just a beautiful colour and works so well with my fair skin tone. I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush when Matt and I go shopping after Christmas! To highlight, I apply Rose Quartz by Jouer Cosmetics, which is my favourite powder highlighter ever. It’s a beautiful pink/champagne shade, and when applied to the skin just makes my face look fresh and glowy. I sadly broke mine when Matt and I travelled down to Manchester 😦

Step #7: Eyebrows. Yes, I do my makeup in a weird order LOL. I go in with the Estee Lauder Micro Precision Brow Pencil in Brunette and I swear this product is life-changing. I mentioned in this post that I bought this after years of being kinda disappointed by the ABH Brow Wiz, and I so wish I’d bought it sooner! I fill in my brows with small, hair-like strokes and brush through with the spoolie. I then apply Glossier Boy Brow in Brown to set my eyebrows, and add a little more texture to make the hairs look real. This is when I’d go back in with my mascara on my bottom lashes too.

Step #8: I set my face with MAC Fix + which is my favourite part of my makeup routine! I now apply a little extra Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm (it always seems to come off during the time I do my makeup) and line my lips with the Pillowtalk Lip Cheat by Charlotte Tilbury. I apply Hot Toddy by Buxom to my lips, I love this because it looks so pretty, lasts well and it’s not too sticky (and Matt doesn’t get annoyed kissing me haha!) I also know I’m going to be eating and drinking a lot, so I definitely need to make sure I take this in my bag for when we go out for Christmas Lunch!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe got some inspiration for your holiday makeup look! (Also, if you get any money for Christmas I’d HIGHLY recommend the Kylie Cosmetics Chill Baby palette before it’s discontinued… it’s so beautiful).

-G x