Summer Beauty Edit / AD*

*This post contains gifted items I was sent for review, to share my honest opinion about. All words and photographs are my own.

Hi, loves! This coming Thursday is the official first day of Summer, and I’m hoping that means an abrupt end to all of this awful weather we’ve had! Endless days of torrential rain, wind and flooding have caused misery across the North (and to be honest, I think all around the UK) and as much as I love feeling cosy in the house when it’s cold and rainy outside, I’m more than ready for hot Summer days! I’m not the biggest fan of Summer fashion, as I talked about way more in this post, but one thing I really do love about Summer style is the beauty products. Shimmery highlights, bronzed tones and coconut scented everything? Yes please! I’m not going to be sharing everything I’m packing for Matt and I’s upcoming holiday to Croatia, but I wanted to share with you a few items that I couldn’t think about leaving without!

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
Okay so let’s get this out of the way: anything from Too Faced’s cocoa-infused chocolate range is a winner in my book, because why wouldn’t I want my makeup to smell like chocolate?! I first picked this bronzer up – in the original Chocolate shade – around four years ago, and it’s a product I’ve re-purchased over and over again since. I love that this bronzer looks natural whether I’m slightly sun-kissed with a little bit of a tan or even in the colder months when I’m very fair. I use this as a contour/bronzer day and night, because who really has the time (or patience) to use both?! It never looks harsh or muddy like so many bronzers easily can, and it blends so easily. The mirror in this compact is also perfect for when you’re on holiday, if the vanity table is not great – which is quite often the case – you can definitely use this to get ready easily!

Eylure Eye Lashes *gifted
I’ve used and loved Eylure eyelashes since I was a teenager, and when False Eyelashes reached out and asked if I’d like to feature some on my blog I was beyond excited! Eylure lashes are so. flipping. easy. to apply, and that is coming from the clumsiest person ever! I love that the band fits to your eye shape perfectly, the glue dries in no time and they look amazing every time! The 117 are my go-to date night lash because they’re thick and fluffy, and they’re perfect for adding a little extra to an otherwise simple makeup look. I really love the style of the 070’s; these will be perfect for a BBQ or a Summer day out, and for the night time on holiday! I love wearing lashes during our holiday evenings because it makes your face look so much more put together; a little lip gloss, brows, bronzer and highlight, topped off with a set of natural eyelashes? Yes, please! I wore the 031’s last night for date night (we literally went to the movies, but it’s nice to look good for your partner, right?! I was super excited about this package, haha) and I loved them, I need to pick up some more before we fly!

The Body Shop Brazillian Cupacu Scrub-in-Oil
This is hands down the best scrub I’ve ever used, and I am so excited to have it in my beauty collection. A super generous birthday gift from my lovely boyfriend, I use this at least twice per week, and I love how amazing my skin feels afterwards. In the Summer I’m wearing lots of short sleeved tops, cropped jeans/trousers and even skirts or shorts, so I’m definitely baring lots more skin and I want it to look/feel good! The oil makes the scrub feel so luxurious, and it’s the perfect pre-shave treatment. It also smells incredible, I literally feel like I’m in a spa each time I use this, which is amazing! I wish this came in a travel size as I’m a little wary to decant it to take away with us, and the tub is so huge it’s definitely not travel friendly.

NYX Bare With Me BB Cream in Vanilla Nude
Right now, this is seriously floating my boat! I have been testing this BB cream out over the past few weeks and I have to say it’s giving my favourite drugstore foundation a run for it’s money. It feels super lightweight yet gives incredible coverage which was something I never expected from a BB cream. It hasn’t once made me break out, it leaves my skin looking so good (like, your skin but better. You know?), and lasts all day without sliding off my face. Over the past few years I’ve moved away from the heavy foundations I used to love (I lived in Estee Lauder Double Wear which is so dang thick!) and now I always opt for a thin, light base. I use concealer to cover up any blemishes, scarring or hyper-pigmentation and I think this made such a difference. I’ve also picked this BB cream up in a darker shade in the hope that I get a little tan on holiday, and I’ll be able to mix the two shades for those in-between days!

MAC Turquatic Rollerball
I recently talked about this rollerball a lot in this post, and it’s so good I’m featuring it again! Turquatic is my all-time favourite rollerball year round, but it’s seriously perfect for hot, sunny Summer days. Matt really loves when I wear this too, which makes me love it even more! It reminds me of the beach and family trips to Florida when I was younger, the scent just makes me so dang happy. I really love that you can easily throw this in your bag or carry on to top up throughout the day, and it’s perfect to use on a plane because it’s not a spray that may irritate other people around you!

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Exotic Coconut
After sun is a must have for holidays and hot Summer days in the UK (although seriously, it feels like they’re never coming right now…) and nobody does it better than Hawaiian Tropic. This after sun is my absolute favourite because it smells like coconuts, which just screams Summer to me, and it’s so. freaking. moisturising. Matt and I share our after sun on holiday, and he also thinks it smells amazing! I tend to layer my after sun on pretty thick after my shower, then sit out on the balcony to do my makeup whilst it soaks in. Also, whilst you’re on holiday make sure you leave your after sun in the fridge! It stays super cold which feels amazing putting on to warm skin when you get out of the shower each evening.

NYX Butter Gloss in Madeleine
I love wearing lipgloss in the Summer months, it’s just so much more light and fresh, and I feel like it tones down my makeup just a tad! This is my perfect nude, it’s a little darker than I used to always go for, and kinda reminds me of the nineties, in a good way. I do still reach for my favourite Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks – The Duchess and Pillow Talk – for date night or sometimes if I want to feel a little more put together, but on a day-to-day basis, lipgloss is my go-to. This formula is super opaque and you don’t need a lip liner underneath, although it is a little tacky so if it’s windy I can guarantee my hair will get caught!

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Lotion
A fairly new discovery for me, and a product I’ve only been trying out for a few weeks, hence why it wasn’t included in my Best Of: The Body Shop post. This moisturiser is super lightweight and refreshing, and it smells of oranges which is a lovely scent to wake you up in the morning! Makeup sits on top of this really well for me, although I do always set my makeup with a setting spray! I’ve found that even though this moisturiser contains SPF 30 – so important, especially in the Summer – it doesn’t leave a white cast on your face or flashback in photos. It’s a super small tube at only 50ml, but despite near constant use the past few weeks I don’t think I’ve used much at all! My skin is left literally glowy after each application, and I am so excited to use this more throughout the Summer. I did however purchase this from Hawaiian Tropic to use on holiday when we’re staying at the resort, as that is a specific sun lotion and I think a little better for sitting in the sun all day!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and got a little inspiration if you’re looking for Summer beauty products. What are your must-haves for Summer and holiday season? Have you got any recommendations of things I need to pick up?

-G x

Best Of: The Body Shop

Happy Wednesday, loves! Today I’m sharing with you my best of the best, holy-grail status, creme-da-la-creme products from one of my favourite stores, The Body Shop. I’ve purchased from The Body Shop since I was around 12 years old and as I’ve got older, my love for the company has only grew stronger! They’re always doing so much good for the world and have brilliant ethics, that’s the kind of company I’ll always support. The Body Shop are of course a cruelty free brand, and they’re making huge waves in becoming more sustainable, and educating their customers too. They’ve been campaigning tirelessly for years, on incredibly important topics such as ending animal cruelty and animal testing, speaking out against domestic violence and partnering with Greenpeace to promote renewable energy.

I’ve tried so many products from The Body Shop over the years, and I’m forever impressed by the quality and the price point. The Spa Of The World collection is my personal favourite, and there are so many products from all different categories that I swear by. Prices range throughout their product ranges, and although I think they’re generally very fairly priced there are always amazing deals to take advantage of (£10 off a £30 spend and 3 for 2 are the offers I see most) so you can work a few treats easily into your budget. I’d recommend joining their rewards program – it’s called Love Your Body and I’m linking it here if you want to sign up – as I’m often emailed great discount codes, and they always work both in store and online! I really do love shopping in store though as the staff are always so friendly and knowledgeable, and you can feel a genuine love and excitement from them about the products they’re discussing.

All of the products featured in this post are perfect for a pamper evening, which is one of my very favourite things to do! (Especially when I can rope Matt in…) Also, I really really love the sheet masks from The Body Shop, but I used my last one prior to taking the photos for this post. #bloggingfail. Just know they’re incredible – they’re also biodegradable which is amazing! My favourites are the Vitamin E (Quench) and the Seaweed (Balance) options and I highly recommend picking those up next time you’re in store. So, this is your cue to head straight to the nearest store, and I’ve got your shopping list ready for you…

Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
I absolutely adore this mask, it works so dang well with my skin. I’ve used this mask for over two years, and it’s one I always re-purchase, I literally couldn’t imagine not having this. Matt loves this mask too, he says it’s the most effective mask in terms of immediate results and it doesn’t cause spots like many charcoal masks, I definitely agree with him! This mask smells super fresh and is a little tingly on the skin, but the good kind that just makes it feel like it’s working. I have very sensitive skin but this doesn’t irritate it at all, my skin always looks fresh and glowy after application. It somehow draws out blackheads we didn’t even know were there, and it works wonders on large pores and those horrible under the skin spots that I seem to be prone to. I always apply my mask with this face mask brush, which may seem like an unnecessary purchase but I swear it makes your face mask experience so much better; no mess and a super quick application. I always make sure to take the mask off with their soft facial sponge to ensure I’m not dragging the product across my skin, and it means you don’t have to scrub your face at all. I’d recommend checking out this article if you’re not already sold, one of these masks is sold worldwide every fifteen seconds, that is just crazy!

Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil
I’ve praised this serum so many times on my blog, most recently here. I use the Vitamin E serum every night, and it makes my skin so glowy and fresh. The serum is a wonderfully light texture and sinks into the skin quickly, so never leaves me looking or feeling greasy, which I really love. I tend to leave this on for a few minutes before I apply my overnight moisturiser, and I love how it makes my skin feel. I know a lot of people with oily skin are scared to products like this due to it having ‘oil’ in the name, but I promise it won’t make you more oily! Oils are good for your skin, no matter what your skin type is. I used to suffer with random dry patches on my cheeks and since I began using this they’re seriously a thing of the past. I also love that this is a great product for every season – it nourishes my skin whether it’s sunny or snowing, and never feels too heavy.

Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
If you wanted to introduce one new product into your skincare routine, this would be my number one recommendation! It’s my go-to cleanser; it leaves my skin clean, fresh and prepped for the rest of my skincare routine, and it feels very calming and spa like which is amazing. It’s one of those products I truly look forward to using at the end of a long day, and I never need to double cleanse, although sometimes I do like to. I massage the teeniest bit of this into my makeup with dry hands, then add a little water to break down the oil before removing with a muslin cloth. My friend Jess was looking for a new cleanser a few months ago and I told her she had to pick this up during our shopping trip, she also loves it and uses it every day! This cleanser even removes waterproof mascara, and it’s a great way to remove makeup without having to use cotton pads. I’m trying to do my bit to save the planet, guys! I talked recently about this cleanser in lots more detail in a post about my favourite picks, just trust me when I say you need it in your life!

Vitamin E Gel Moisture Cream
This moisturiser is formulated for combination/oily skin, and it’s quickly become one of my must-have products. I originally started using this last year, but I completely forgot I had it. When Matt and I went on a trip to Belfast I switched out my moisturisers (I do this a lot when we’re travelling somewhere) and I left it in the back of my skincare drawer. There was very little left in the pot (which was probably why I stopped using it) but I re-purchased again a few months ago and I’ve really been loving it. I’ve used this every day the past month or two and found it’s such a great base for my makeup. It doesn’t break me out, it helps control shine a little more than what I was previously using, and I love how cooling it is when I apply each morning.

Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask
Regular readers will know this is my favourite ever eye cream, and one I’ve used religiously every evening for over a year. This eye cream is so cooling and nourishing when applied, and recently I’ve been massaging it in with my face roller each night instead of my fingers. It is the weirdest texture as it really does have some kind of ‘bounce’ to it, and a little goes a long way. I’m pretty sure each teeny tub lasts me around six to eight months, and I probably use too much. I never find it irritating around my sensitive eyes, and my dark circles are pretty much non-existent since I started using this. I can’t say much on how it works with fine lines yet as I’m 25 and thankfully don’t really have any, but I’m hoping this product will help any that do appear!

Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask
This is hands down my favourite hair mask, and a product I literally tell people ALL the time they need to buy, ha! It smells like banana pancakes in the tub, but the smell is a little fresher once applied on your hair, and it doesn’t linger once rinsed out. I’m onto my second or third tub since I first purchased, it’s truly incredible – my mum is always ‘borrowing’ it because she loves it too! I used to use this once or twice per week, but recently I’ve been using it instead of conditioner almost every night that I wash my hair. I switched it up a little because over the past few months I’ve been getting my hair lightened, and I now have brown/blonde balayage, which needs a lot of love and TLC to help my hair with the bleaching process. To use, I wash my hair as normal, then apply this mask from just below my roots through to the ends, and leave on whilst I enjoy my bath or shower. At least a few times per week I’ll clip my hair up and read my book for up to an hour in the bath, and my hair never feels gross or greasy when I leave it longer than the advised ten minutes!

Spa Of The World Hawaiian Kukui Cream
This moisturiser is the most indulgent, luxurious I’ve ever used and it’s worth every penny! As it’s from the Spa Of The World collection, it’s a little pricier than the other ranges, but hear me out. It’s worth it. Matt actually just bought this tub for me last month as part of my birthday present (he’s so dang sweet to me :)) and I’m so happy to have it back in my routine. I’ve already gone through a whole tub of this last year and I can’t quite explain how good it feels to apply, it’s nicer than any other moisturiser I’ve ever tried! It’s a very thick texture and thankfully a little goes a long way, which makes the price point a little easier, although it is important to remember the tub is huge at 350ml. The smell is second to none, it’s the most beautiful serene scent that I can’t describe and do it justice, so I really would recommend popping into the store and having a peek yourself! I have a mini tub that I always take on weekends away, and you can easily decant from the larger tub to the small one. I also highly recommend the Japanese Camelia Cream, it smells so beautiful and is a little lighter, yet still as luxurious. Their body butters from the regular range are just as incredible and at a slightly more affordable price point, I love their coconut scent the most and always take it on holiday to apply along with after sun!

Spa Of The World Tahitan Tiaré Bath & Shower Gel-in-Oil
This feels like the most luxurious shower gel, and I still can’t believe it’s only £7 for the 250ml size! It is a little more expensive than your bog standard shower gel (I was a Dove girl before I discovered it) but it’s so worth the extra few pounds. It feels like it could be a £30 shower gel, seriously! I really love that this shower gel lathers up so much, and the beautiful scent fills the bathroom. Every time I use this I feel like I’m on holiday (Matt and I will be in two and a half weeks!! We’re so excited!) because it smells so good, and it’s super moisturising. It’s like having a little mini pamper session even during the quickest of showers! Matt always says I smell so good when I step out of the shower, and this little gem is 100% why! It doesn’t leave an oily residue or film on the skin like some shower gels, but it is super moisturising. The shower can get a little slippy from the oily suds, so be extra careful if you pick this up, and make sure you rinse the bottom of your bath/shower after use! I also love the Adriatic Peony Bath & Shower Cream which I keep at Matt’s parents house, so I get to use beautiful shower gels each night no matter where we’re staying!

Spa Of The World Brazilian Cupuaçu Scrub-in-Oil
Matt also bought this for me for my birthday and I’m so happy to finally have it! I got a few samples from the store and I so badly wanted the full size, but I had just never got round to purchasing. (It kind of sucks but the Spa Of The World collection isn’t always included in the offers!) Real talk: this is like no other scrub I’ve tried; it’s effective without being harsh or coarse, and my skin has felt beyond soft after every use, it’s the perfect pre-shave scrub. The oil forms a layer on the top so you have to dig deep to grab the scrub, and I always try not to take too much oil when I apply it to my skin. I have dry legs that somehow seem to get worse in the Summer (usually dry skin is way worse in the Winter) and this product is going to be so amazing to use throughout the season, I’m so excited! Exfoliating your skin is also so good for your circulation, and as someone with bad circulation I need any excuse to do it more often! Again, this can be a little slippy in the tub or shower, so please be careful if you pick this up. Oh, and it smells delicious.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed seeing my favourite products from one of my favourite brands, and I (kinda) apologise in advance if you’re now ready to dash to your nearest store to pick up all of the things! You won’t regret it though, I promise! What are your must-haves from The Body Shop? Is there anything I need to try? Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m off for a pamper evening…

-G x

Photo Diary: My 25th Birthday Weekend

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! I’m so happy to be back! I know I only missed one upload (more on that in this post) but wow it’s felt SO long, I missed blogging and I missed you guys! I love love love writing photo diaries and Weekend In My Life posts, and I appreciate that they always get such a great response from my readers! You can read my latest WIML post from way back in February here, and if you type ‘weekend’, ‘week’ or ‘photo diary’ in the search bar at the side, a ton more posts will come up!

Thursday May 16th

Thursday was my last day at work for the week, which meant early birthday celebrations! The girls in my office are so sweet and thoughtful, and as always they totally spoiled me with so many lovely gifts, including a Lush gift card that I’m super excited to use!

I finished work a little earlier than usual, and headed straight to the salon for an update to my balayage! I was there a good three hours, and I’m so so happy with how it turned out, my hair is WAY lighter and feeling ready for Summer. Erin at Rein & Co is the best; she’s so sweet and knowledgable, and there’s something about having your hair done that just makes you feel so dang good. I’d really recommend visiting the salon if you’re in the Newcastle area! I drove home via the beach (literally the sunset was SO pretty – I pulled over in the worst spot to take a photo but trust me it was beautiful. I love the beach so much!) While I was on my way home, Matt headed out to pick up Indian food for dinner for us and my parents, we always go to the same place and their food is delicious. After the quickest shower ever, Matt and I snuggled in to watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and got an early(ish) night in. It was the perfect ending to my last day as a 24 year old!

Not the greatest photo. I snapped this super quickly before I headed home

Friday May 17th

I turned 25!! I woke up to Matt being the cutest ever (I mean, he is every morning, but he was extra cute on this day). We woke up around 7ish – no lay in for us! – as he was so excited for me to open my presents LOL. I love our little tradition on birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary of opening gifts in bed, it’s so cute. I also usually feel super awkward opening gifts from people, but when it’s just us two I don’t feel like that at all. Matt was SO generous and spoiled me like crazy, I love him so much and am beyond grateful! We spent a little time with my parents opening gifts from them and other family members, then my mum had to go to work. We ate birthday cake for breakfast (a must, right?), got ready for the day and packed up for our weekend getaway.

Literally the luckiest girl in the world, he’s so good to me!
My favourite EVER cake is the Red Velvet from Costco, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!
I kinda love this photo, even though I’m squinting so bad in the sun and I’ve no idea why my hair looks super dark!

We visited with my grandma for a little while which was lovely. She absolutely adores Matt, it’s so sweet to see! We said our goodbyes and set off for Ramside Hall. We got there around 1.45pm and, as our room wasn’t ready, took a little time to relax in the bar area and grab lunch. Matt got a Heineken (of course) and I opted for a strawberries and cream gin with lemonade, and we both ate club sandwiches. We got cosy in the bar until our room was ready, then went up to have a look around. We’d stayed in this hotel before – I booked a surprise trip for Matt after he’d had such a busy time at work a year past April – so we had an idea of what to expect, but our room was way bigger this time! There was a HUGE bath – it doesn’t look as big in the photos at all, we were super excited to jump in haha.

I just love the decor!
Matt had told the hotel it was my birthday and they left chocolates for us – how sweet! Also Cadbury’s is my FAVOURITE
Our bath of dreams… serious house inspo for next year!

After we’d unpacked (well, Matt unpacked. He’s the cutest and the first thing he does when we get to a hotel is unpack everything and hang his clothes up. I just love him!) we quickly threw on our bikini and swim shorts, and headed down to the spa. It was so warm and relaxing, we lay by the pool for a little then Matt went for a swim whilst I spent five minutes catching up on birthday messages (I was so overwhelmed with the sweet messages I recieved – thank you so much!) I joined him in the pool, and we spent a while just messing around, it felt like we were back in Kos for a split second! We stayed around the pool area for around an hour, but that huge bath was just calling our name. We caved and headed up to our room to take a long hot bubble bath and chilled the F out. It was bliss!

These robes were HUGE and so snuggly – I wanted to take them home! Also, don’t mind the no makeup. Wowzers
I just love him so much!
My handsome guy

Afterwards, we got ready for the evening (I’m SO mad we didn’t get a good photo together) and headed for dinner at Fat Buddha. It’s one of my favourite places to eat – their honey chilli chicken is incredible! We spent the rest of our evening out at a place nearby called Missoula that had the prettiest decor, and really good music. We had a few drinks and were beat, so headed back to the room to snuggle up in bed with a drink from the bar. #25goingon85. We watched an episode of The Force: Essex and fell asleep, we’re so cool. Honestly, we aren’t always like that but I kinda love when we are, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had the BEST day and I am so thankful for Matt making every day feel so special, not just my birthday. I love you so much, babe!

Saturday May 18th

Since we’d gone to bed pretty early the night before, we were up early and ready to take on the day. It was POURING rain out, so our plans to go for breakfast in Durham were unfortunately squashed as everything is outdoors, and we didn’t bring coats or appropriate footwear. #packingfail. Instead, we checked out, packed up the car and headed to the Metro Centre for a few hours of shopping. What else are you supposed to do when it’s pouring rain and freezing?! We ran a few errands, shopped in our favourite stores and ate lunch at our favourite place, Wagamama’s. I always get the same thing (either teriyaki chicken donburi or chilli steak ramen) and Matt ALWAYS gets chilli steak ramen, however this time I branched out! I got teriyaki steak soba noodles (without onions) and it was incredible, I think I’ve found a new favourite dish! We spent so long browsing Waterstone’s – book shops are one of my favourite places – and I picked up a few new books, I can’t wait to get stuck in! (I also made an Amazon order for even MORE when we got home as they were way cheaper on Amazon, I think I’m good for a while… LOL)

I love you!
My forever date!

We left the Metro Centre, and headed home via Tesco, our second favourite shop. Costco is obviously number one, we literally LOVE walking around buying crap we absolutely don’t need, haha. We were in and out pretty quick, just picking up groceries to make dinner that evening (and my favourite chips and dip… I couldn’t resist). Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so we were staying there the whole time and when we got home Matt went out for a run whilst I snuggled up with a cup of tea and my new book. Although I was in tears by page three – it’s so sad, but also heartwarming, moving and kinda funny – I’m completely hooked. I also kissed and snuggled Matt extra hard for the rest of the weekend, if you read it you’ll know why! And if you haven’t, I’m linking it here and saying you need to buy it immediately, you won’t regret it. (Well, I hope not. I’m 145 pages in when I’m typing this up on Monday evening, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read up to now).

A little beauty haul… all repurchases of products I use and LOVE every single day!
Buying new books makes me so happy. Also, how cute is our bedding at Matt’s parents?! I love it so much!

Matt got home from his run and we watched the opening ceremony to the Man City match, I really love how exciting the atmosphere feels at big football games! We watched for a little while, then Matt got a post-run bath and I went straight back into reading my book. I really struggled to put it down! Matt ran me a bath (and he put a Lush bath bomb in, what a cutie!) and I soaked with a face mask on… yep, whilst reading my book. I used The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask which is one of my absolute favourites, it always makes my skin feel SO good afterwards. Matt usually joins in on face mask night but he was not feeling it this weekend… party pooper! After I’d had a lovely bath, exfoliated, shaved and washed my hair, I jumped out and got ready for the evening. We made dinner – roasted veggies with ham and mashed potato – and got cosy on the couch to watch a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, we’re seriously obsessed! We went to bed pretty late, and snuggled in for a loooong sleep.

My favourite kind of beer! It’s SO GOOD
Do you put butter on your mashed potatoes? If you don’t you really should!

Sunday May 19th

Okay, so Sunday is where I FAILED with the photo taking. I’m sorry, I was on a roll for the first part of the weekend but then I was a #badblogger. To be honest, I felt a little bit off all day – I was really anxious and a little teary randomly. I’m not sure why as there was no specific reason but Matt was so good to me. He loved me a little harder all day and I thankfully felt so much better by Sunday night. We still had a lovely day, I just felt super anxious. So, what did we get up to? We lay in pretty late, and after a little too long snuggling I finally got out of bed to make Matt breakfast. We slowly started moving to get ready, and booked a hotel for a pretty spontaneous trip to Manchester this coming weekend! We’re road tripping down for a family reunion, and I’m so excited for Sunday’s post… can you guess what it’s about?!

I bought this mug for Matt over a year ago and it still makes me laugh!
My new Adidas sneaks from bae! I am so in love with them 😍

When we finally got ready, we headed to Aldi to grab a few groceries we needed for the beginning of the week until I do a big shop mid-week. I typically grocery shop by myself when Matt’s at work or when I’m on the way home from work, so I always appreciate when we get to run errands together. We went to see my parents and open a few extra birthday presents that had been dropped off (my family are so generous!) and caught up on what we’d all been doing over the weekend. After, we went up to see my godparents – we love being at their house, it’s so beautiful and they’re so lovely! We stayed for a while, and got some puppy cuddles in with Phoebe. Isn’t she just so cute?! We went home via a pit stop at the Co-Op (I’m literally OBSESSED with going into any Co-Op we pass, whether I need something or not. It’s become a running joke between Matt and I, then my godmother said she totally gets it and loves going in too! HA we’re so weird. They just have everything you could ever need) and Matt got on with some work whilst I read some more of my book and started editing photos for this post. We showered, cooked the most amazing steaks for dinner and snuggled in for a night of TV on the couch with some yummy snacks. We of course watched a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, then A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, featuring several football players and Prince William. It was so insightful, and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely advise watching it – and recommending it to any men in your life!

Photo credit to my favourite lil cousin Ellie, I totally forgot to take a photo whilst we were there! #badblogger
These rainbow pencils are AMAZING! The pink ones are rhubarb and custard flavour… what more could you want?!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a look into my life from this past weekend! We had so much fun, and I’m always so grateful for all the quality time Matthew and I get together. Our schedules have been jam packed lately so we’ve had to make the most of our mornings and evenings, and he’s going away the first week of June – I miss him and am counting down to picking him up from the airport already! LOL. We’re enjoying every little moment together more than ever right now, and we’re SO ready for our holiday together at the end of June! How was your weekend, what did you get up to? I’m counting down to this weekend already, I can’t wait for another weekend with my love, and to spend time with family!

-G x

25 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 25

Hi, loves! This coming Friday, on May 17th, I turn 25 and I’m happy to say I’m way more cool about being a year older than I was when I turned 24. I think our twenties are a weird time; from being teenagers we had goals and aspirations for where we thought we’d be at *insert age* and we may not have met the goals we’d laid out for ourselves. I’m actually really okay with that this year, and I feel so blessed to be turning 25 feeling genuinely happier than I have for all of my twenty-something birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my last birthday and Matt and I had so much fun, but I was still so worried about being another year older. Back on my 21st birthday I didn’t even celebrate because I was really struggling with my anxiety and felt so rubbish, yet now at 25 I feel like a whole new person!

Even though I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been right now, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to say that! I have the most amazing boyfriend in the whole world (you might have heard me mention him from time to time…) and my family and friends are just the best I could wish for. I have a job, a car, lots of new goals I’m working towards and my blog is my little baby! If you had told 21 year old Gill that this would be her life at 25, she’d never have believed it. Anxiety has re-shaped my whole life over the past six years, and although it has been terrible in some parts, I have grown so much and I appreciate life in a whole new way.

1. Your mental health must always be your first priority. Only you can do this for yourself, and it’s so important to listen to what you need (and deserve). No matter what the situation is, if you don’t feel up to it you don’t need to do it and you’ll thank yourself later. We live in a generation where it’s not at all uncommon to suffer or know someone suffering with mental health problems, and it’s something we need to stop being ashamed of, and start speaking up about!

2. Being in love is the best feeling in the whole world. I feel beyond blessed to experience such a deep and meaningful love at such a young age, that some people don’t find in one thousand lifetimes. Matt is not just my boyfriend but my rock, my soulmate, my biggest supporter and my favourite person in the whole world. Falling asleep and waking up with the person you love every day is also hands down one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience, it still makes me so happy every single day/night. I’m so lucky to be in love with my best friend, and I never have or will take that for granted.

3. Moderation is key. This applies to most aspects of life really, but especially with food. Since I was super young I’ve had a bit of a weird relationship with food; I either binge on anything and everything I want, or I barely eat. Over the past few years I’ve found a much better balance; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and if I want to eat chocolate, sweets, ice cream (or whatever!) I’ll enjoy that too. I also have the worst sweet tooth, sometimes I literally can’t help myself!!

4. Learning to drive is one of the best thing you’ll ever do. Well, for me it was. I struggled and stressed my way through driving lessons, failing tests I wasn’t ready for and having panic attack after panic attack at even the thought of another lesson. I finally plucked up the courage to change instructors and breezed through my test (third time lucky!) and now, three and a half years on, I truly couldn’t imagine my life without being able to drive, or my cute little Viva!

5. Always buy the scented candle. Seriously. I am a connoisseur of candles, if I do say so myself, at the grand old age of (almost) twenty five, and if I like the candle I’m going to buy the candle. It makes me happy, and life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Which is more the point of this lesson: do what makes you happy. And buy the damn candle.

6. Always be kind, no matter how you feel that day. But do not expect every kind act to be reciprocated, or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Kindness is so so important, and we can all be a bit nicer from time to time! It’s just important to remember that you don’t know what anyone is going through, and everyone has their own problems to deal with. I delved into this topic way more in this post.

7. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve spent almost twenty five years trying to please everyone, and keep everyone around me happy. It’s a fact that you’re not going to gel with everyone you meet in life, and that’s okay. I really want to be less of a people pleaser, and it’s something I’m working on. I joked to Matt the other day that sometimes I feel like Amy Santiago with the Captain in Brooklyn 99 – desperate to be liked, lol!

8. Always pay yourself first out of your wages. Setting up a direct debit into my savings account has totally changed how I save money; you can’t miss money you didn’t ever see! Every month the day after I get paid, X amount goes straight into my savings account and is there for emergencies only. I have separate savings accounts for various things, but that *just incase* money is so important, and gives me peace of mind.

9. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. This is a hard lesson; to share and to learn, and it’s something I still struggle with now. I want to believe that everyone’s nice and life is sunshine and rainbows but I know that’s not true. If someone talks badly of you when you’re not around, makes you feel/look stupid in front of others or will happily throw you under the bus for their own gain then they’re not worth it.

10. Travelling feeds the soul. I’m not one for backpacking round Australia for three months – props to you, if you are – but I love to explore new places, and Matt is (obviously) my favorite travel partner. Whether it’s city breaks, day trips or week-long jaunts to a hot climate, I absolutely love to travel and I can’t wait to tick more and more places off our bucket list. We got to Croatia in five and a half weeks and I’m SO ready for it!

11. Never apologise for being curious. Asking questions is the way we learn, and it’s not something to be looked down on for. Ever. During my second week at my job back when I was 19 years old and super shy, I innocently asked the person teaching me why she did a few things so I could get a better understanding. She scoffed that I ask too many questions, laughed about me with our other colleagues, and made me feel so uncomfortable for being genuinely curious and wanting to learn. Her reaction sticks with me to this day, and I try to be as helpful as possible when teaching others as a result.

12. There’s a Disney quote for every occasion. There really is! My favourite is always going to be from the man himself: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

13. Having the confidence to walk into the unknown is a beautiful thing. Like starting this blog. I had wanted to create a blog for most of my adult life, as an avid reader/follower of so many, yet I lacked the confidence to do so. I wrote myself off as being not good enough, yet I love writing my blog more and more as the months go on. I’m so thankful for my platform, and even though it is just a hobby for me right now, I take it so seriously.

14. The quality of your social circle is much more important than the quantity. Treasure the people that always have your back and fill you with joy, love and happiness, they’re the good eggs! As you get older I think it’s so difficult to meet new people and make friends, that’s something that shocked me a little about getting older. I’ve said this thousands of times, but I know I’m so lucky that Matt is my boyfriend and my best friend, and I thank my lucky stars for that every single day. Quality over quantity, always!

15. Being open with your emotions does not make you weak. I’ve been told several times that I’m ‘too’ emotional. It’s true that I cry a lot (whether I’m happy or sad, ha!), I often lead with my heart and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. Being emotional means I’m very empathetic to others’ situations however, and that is not a bad quality to have!

16. Learning to cook is life changing. Matt and I flipping LOVE cooking. We love to try new recipes and methods, create our own meals and experiment with different ingredients and flavours. I feel sad I didn’t have an interest in cooking from a younger age and I wish I’d developed it sooner, but I’m so happy it’s something Matt and I are able to learn about together! I delved into how and why we meal plan in this post, and I’m excited to share some of our favourite recipes on the blog in the coming months.

17. Being kind to the planet is so important. I’m ashamed to admit that this is something I’ve only truly thought about over the past two or three years, but I’m proud of myself for making changes to my everyday life and doing what I can to make a difference. I wrote a post about small changes we can make in our everyday lives to live more sustainably here if you’d like to check that out for a little inspiration. I definitely want to write more about this topic on my blog!

18. Mums are always right. If I had have told my 14 year old self this I would have literally laughed in my own face, but it’s true. My mum and Matt’s mum (she’s my second mum, I’m so lucky!!) always know what to do or say no matter what the situation is, and they are strong, amazing women that I’m so lucky to look up to.

19. There’s no place like home. *clicks glittery red heels together* ha! For real, Matt and I are homebodies in every sense of the word. We love cosy nights at home; lighting our candles, cooking a lovely dinner and snuggling up to watch a show. (I’m so excited to do this in our own home, hopefully next year!) We also love our hometown more than anything – Newcastle is honestly the greatest place on earth to us. From where we live, we’re ten minutes away from the city centre in one direction, the beach another, and the countryside in another!

20. Friendships change and that’s okay. Sometimes friendships grow into a life-long bond, sometimes they mould into a weird new territory and sometimes they fizzle out all together. Take the good with the bad and be sure to appreciate the good memories you make as they will last way beyond any empty friendships. You learn so many lessons from your friendships, and I wish I knew this when I was a teenager.

21. Comparing your life to somebody else’s will never bring you joy. You were made to be you; a unique individual with their own thoughts, looks, style, opinions etc and that is a wonderful thing. Don’t feel envious of other people’s lives or circumstances, and put that focus back into yourself. Stay in your own lane and you’ll be so much happier for it.

22. You’ll turn into a grandma sooner than you think. Like I said above, Matt and I are homebodies. We’re those people that think we want to go out for date night, but when the day comes we’d rather stay in and cook a meal or grab a takeaway. We also would rather get an early night in so we can head out early in the morning for breakfast and ‘a wander’ (potentially around a garden centre…). We buy clothes thinking about the purpose and/or longevity. If we’re in the house you can pretty much guarantee I have a blanket draped over me. We’re literally turning into our grandparents more and more as the days roll on and we’re okay with that, just someone please stop me if you see me going in for a blue rinse!

23. Standing up for what you believe can be hard, but always worth it. I hate confrontation. I hate disagreements. I hate arguments. BUT there is always a way to get your point across in a level-headed, relaxed way, and it doesn’t need to cause uproar. Being respectful is the main thing; it’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, stand up for your beliefs or voice your thoughts, and it’s something I really need to do more often.

24. Less truly is more. After the rise of minimalism, sustainability and Marie Kondo, we all felt a bit embarrassed about the amount of crap we’d accumulated, right? Since having several clear outs – tbh, Matt and I really need another – I’m very happy living with less and truly loving what I own. I think about this with everything I buy, and it means I’m way more clever about what is worth the purchase. Does *insert item* spark joy? Will I get use out of *insert item*? Material items will not bring you happiness, no matter how hard you try to make them.

25. Making ‘me time’ is so important. There’s so much more to self care than just the beauty aspect, but I swear treating yourself to pamper evening at least once per week will make your whole life feel different. Go all out with a face mask, hair mask, full body scrub and a Lush bath bomb. Book yourself in for regular salon appointments to keep your hair looking pretty, and indulge in getting your nails done now and then. When you look good you feel good, and I really appreciate ‘me time’.

Thank you so much for reading, it truly means the world to me! I’m taking a little of my own advice from this post, and for the first time on my blog, there won’t be a new post up on Sunday. I’m SO SAD saying that, but I want to enjoy my birthday weekend with Matt and not have to worry about editing, scheduling or keeping up with my new post, I hope you understand! Can you relate with any of the lessons I mentioned in this post? What’s the most important things you’ve learned so far in life? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back on Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend!

-G x