Feelin’ It Friday

Happy Friday my loves! Surprise… you weren’t expecting this were you?! I’m changing things up a little on the blog, and at least twice per month (maybe more often, I might even do this every week!) you’ll be getting a #feelinitfriday from me. These posts are essentially going to be a recap of my week; what I’ve been doing, what I’m loving and everything in between. I’m so excited to inject a little something new into my blog, and this means some weeks you’ll be getting three posts from me! My regular upload schedule is remaining the same at 6pm on Wednesdays and 12pm on Sundays. Also, can you believe my blog turns one on Monday, June 10th?! Me either! It literally seems five minutes ago since I hit publish on my first post. Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog, it means the world to me!

I was super inspired to write this style of post by Savannah over at Savannah Said It. She writes What Up Wednesday’s most weeks, originally inspired by Shay at Mix and Match Mama who writes What’s Up Wednesday posts every month, I love the personal feel to those posts! (They’re also two of my favourite bloggers, if you’re looking for some reading recommendations!) I really miss writing about all the things going on in my life as that’s something that doesn’t seem to feature too often on my blog now. As I mentioned in this post, I used to write at least one paragraph at the beginning of every post talking about Matt and I’s week/weekend, but I found it was taking away from whatever the topic was, so I stopped. However, any of my personal posts (weekends in my life, trips etc) get SO many views, and they’re the posts that are re-read a ton.

I’m a little bit sad to say this will also mean I’ll no longer be posting monthly favourites posts, which I just started writing in January this year. I did love writing them, but honestly I’d sometimes struggle to find things to talk about and I felt like I was repeating myself a lot. Most people talk about new launches in those posts, and I don’t try enough new products regularly enough to be able to do that. As many of you already know, Matt and I are saving for our house and buying things I don’t need (or, you know, really really want) is just not a priority anymore. I talk about beauty products I love all of the time in my ‘main’ posts anyway, and if I try something new that is really awesome you’ll see it in a #feelinitfriday. SO, let’s get on with it!

Fair warning: this is probably not the best week to begin a fun new series because I have been MISERABLE. Haha, Matt is out of town on an amazing trip with the boys. I’m so happy he’s having the best time, but I literally can’t tell you how much I’m missing him. I promise every post won’t be this boring (read: whingey). LOL!

What I’m loving:
SO many products from The Body Shop! As I said above, I don’t really buy new products unless it’s something I need (or want real bad) and as a result I’ve started to really appreciate the products I already own and use so often. I’ve loved The Body Shop since I was really young, and I think it’s just so underrated. I posted a round up of my most favourite products this past Wednesday, which you can read here if you missed it! If you’re looking to purchase something new I’d recommend everything in that post, but if you buy just one thing please make it the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, you won’t regret it!

What I’m thinking about:
Sunday. Sunday. Sunday. I can barely wait to pick my love up from the airport on Sunday morning!!! It’s what has been getting me through this crazy long week, kissing him goodbye last Sunday morning when he left for the airport literally feels a lifetime ago. I’m so grateful we’re able to keep in touch all day (technology is great, isn’t it?!) but I just want to kiss him and squeeze him SO BAD! I’m also thinking about the blueberry muffins downstairs in the kitchen and willing myself not to grab one before work…

What I’m excited for:
Sunday! LOL, I’m aware I sound like a broken record. I’m also very excited for a good night’s sleep, I’ve slept so bad all week! I really hate sleeping without Matt and I’m very thankful it’s so rare we’re apart at night (literally only if he’s on a trip or away with work). I know he’s super tired too and I have a feeling we’ll be passed out way too early on Sunday! No complaints about that though 🙂 we’re #oldies at heart.

I promise there’s granola under all that yogurt, lol! #terryLOVESyogurt (if you know, you know)

What I’m eating:
I’ve not really been cooking this week as it’s just been me. I have however ate a ton of Quorn nuggs, spinach bites and rice! I’ve really been enjoying granola, Onken vanilla yogurt and berries most mornings, and I’m trying to eat better before we go on holiday so I’ve not really snacked much. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things next week. I also found some new recipes I know Matt and I will love, and I can’t wait to make them with him!

What I’m watching:
Lots and lots and lots of my YouTube subscriptions. Some weeks are so busy I can barely keep up with my favourite YouTubers (The Anna Edit, Rebecca Lamb, Allie Glines and Ellie & Jared, if you’re wondering) but with all of the extra time I’ve had this week I’ve watched way more videos! I also caught up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, watched lots of reruns of Friends and I’m binge watching a show called Instant Hotel on Netflix, it’s kinda bitchy and really funny! I can’t wait to watch lots of Brooklyn 99 when Matt comes home, we’re mid-way through season three and it’s getting JUICY! (I love Amy and Jake being together so much!)

What I’m listening to:
Rosie & Chris’ podcast, Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed. Is anyone surprised?! I love this podcast, it’s the funniest one I’ve ever listened to and 100% my favourite! There’s a new one out today which I’m going to listen on my way to/from work, I genuinely get so excited for Friday’s to hear the new episode! I cry laugh on my drive to work every Friday morning *not necessarily recommended* – those two are so hilarious and relatable! Also, if you don’t follow Rosie on Instagram, you really should. Her stories make my day and I’m always making Matt watch them too!

What I’m buying:
ALL of the last minute holiday bits! Over the next few weeks I need to pick up new bikinis, a few more clothing pieces to wear in the evenings, a pair of pretty sandals and a cute beach cover up. I still need to grab all of our sun lotions, a few makeup items and our toiletries! Matt just got me these adorable headbands last week from Primark, how flipping cute are they?! I kinda feel like a five year old but I’m super excited to wear them all Summer, I think they’ll be especially cute around the pool!

What I’m wearing:
Honestly this past week, I’ve not really worn anything except my work uniform and loungewear. It’s been pretty dark and and a little bit rainy this past week (definitely matched my mood, haha) and I’ve been loving curling up in oversized sweaters and sweatpants. Not the cutest look, but who doesn’t love comfy clothes?!

What I’m reading:
As well as watching a ton of TV/Youtube, I’ve also read lots! I love reading and always try to make it a priority, usually when I have a little extra time to soak in the tub in the evenings. I finished Paige Toon’s latest book, If You Could Go Anywhere on Tuesday night, which I really enjoyed and was kinda shocked by how the story turned out. I’d definitely recommend picking it up! I’ve just started another book which I really like so far, it’s laugh-out-loud funny and I’m already hooked. I’ll share my thoughts on it with you in the next #feelinitfriday!

I love this photo because it’s genuinely candid! My brother took it a few weeks ago whilst we were all in Manchester. I love how happy Matt looks 🙂 he’s so handsome and I just feel so. dang. lucky.

What I’ve been up to:
Work has been busy this week, which has been a pretty good distraction. The days have felt so long and it’s been so weird not being with Matt, I really feel like my right arm has been cut off! I’ve spent so much time working on my blog, and I’m really happy with my content for the next few weeks. I’ve cleared out lots of my clothes and started to set things aside ready for our holiday (anyone else make piles of things you’ll need to pack way before you need to, but end up causing yourself more hassle in the long run? Me too.) I’ve done a little yoga everyday too, and I’m hoping by some miracle it will make me feel good in a bikini in a few weeks! Probably not.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Erm… I may have mentioned Matt COMES HOME?! I’m giddy at the thought, and thankfully I don’t feel near as upset anymore because I’m so excited. Tomorrow I’m heading to the Metro Centre to (hopefully) finish my holiday shopping and have breakfast with my sweetest friend, Jessy. Afterwards, I’m going to run all of my errands so everything is ready for Matt coming home, and I want to finish up on Sunday’s post. Sunday morning I’ll be up bright and early because I’m heading to the airport to pick Matt up first thing *insert all of the heart eyes emojis right here*. We’re planning on spending our day snuggling, watching the football and eating Chinese food. Heaven.

What else is new:
One last thing I really wanted to mention, have you guys heard of Amazon Smile?! NOT an advertisement (as if Amazon need little old me to advertise, lol) but it’s an amazing addition to the Amazon website we all know and love. I’m not sure if it’s only available for Prime members, but if you shop through http://www.smile.amazon.co.uk a percentage of every item you buy will be donated to a charity of your choice. It’s super small at 0.5% of the cost, but when you consider how many people purchase items on Amazon every day, I imagine that adds up like crazy! I chose Make A Wish UK, and you’re able to change your charity of choice whenever you like. I’m not sure when this was released as I only found out at the end of May, but I just wanted you all to know anything I link via Amazon will be linked through Amazon Smile! Also, it doesn’t affect any prices, so you don’t need to worry about that.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the beginning of my new blogging series, I’m so excited to inject a little spontaneity into my blog. I promise they won’t all be this long, or this whingey! It is a little scary to me to do something without a specific, set plan, but I’m trying so hard to not let it get to me and #gowiththeflow. LOL I’m so not a go with the flow person. AT ALL. Anyway, what have you been up to this week? What have you been loving?! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I know we will! I’ll see you on Sunday with a new post!

-G x

April Favourites

Hi, loves!

Once again, I literally can’t believe we’re already at the end of another month. It seems like 2019 has been put on fast forward, and the days and weeks are flying by at a pace I’m not quite sure I like. It honestly seems five minutes since Matt and I were seeing in midnight of New Year’s Eve with our friends! April was another great month, and despite having a little bit of a hard time with my anxiety I’ve loved it for the most part. Matt and I have been eating tons healthier, and we’re absolutely loving how well meal planning works for us. We’re on countdown to our holiday (57 days to go! WHAT?!), we’ve had tons of fun date nights and date days this month, and we also had some great weekends with our friends and family. I changed up my hair length/colour and I love it, Matt and I celebrated the first bank holiday of 2019 and enjoyed the warmer weather. I was literally so excited about the sunglasses-as-a-hair-style-and-no-jacket weather… but where’s it gone?!

During April, I also did a Beauty No Buy, which literally is what it sounds like; I couldn’t purchase any new beauty items, unless it was to replace something that ran out (with one exception, oops). It sounds simple enough, but jeez it’s so hard not being ‘allowed’ to purchase things as and when you please! I did however stick to it for the most part and I want to be more aware of what I’m purchasing throughout the rest of the year. As a result of my Beauty No Buy, I’ve really had to use and love what I have, and that’s something I need to make more of a priority.

*All products mentioned are linked at the bottom of this post*

St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion
This product is an oldie but a goodie, and after first using it throughout last Summer to top up my barely-there-real-tan, I loved it. I re-discovered it this month, and I’m really enjoying using it again to give my super pale skin a little colour. It’s a very subtle tan, will not make you Geordie Shore-esque orange (thank the Lord) and it also doesn’t smell or stain your sheets! I use the Medium shade, leave it on around three to five minutes – three minutes is recommended but I find a little longer gives better results – rinse off, then apply lots of Lush sleepy body lotion when I get out of the shower. Matt and I are such cuddly sleepers (cute, HA!), I could never go back to using a regular fake tan you leave on overnight, so this is a great option for me. It’s also fab to not have to worry about orange bed sheets!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown
I go through phases with which eyebrow pencil I currently love, but lately this one has blown anything else out of the water. I used the Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift in Brooke S exclusively for a few months, then I re-discovered my Brow Wiz after my Spring clean, and forgot why I ever stopped using it. It had very little pencil left in the tube (after I fell back in love with it, of course) so I re-purchased right before it ran out. I think my brows look much fuller, more polished and generally just better at the moment, and it’s definitely as a result of changing my pencil. I love the spoolie in this one too, it’s very good at combing the product through and my eyebrows don’t look overly done.

OGX Argan Oil of Moracco Shampoo & Conditioner
These two products were my exception in my Beauty No Buy! I know, I know, I literally just talked about how much I love the Soap and Glory shampoos in this monthly favourites post, but I started getting super dry yet somehow greasy hair, and it seems those were causing the problem. I passed the S&G products on to my mum who loves them, so they’ve got a lovely new home. Both of the OGX products are both sulphate free, as recommended by my hairdresser, and I really have noticed a difference to the quality of my hair. It’s a little hard to know if these products are the sole reason for that, as I also had my hair cut and dyed this month (I love it! I’m going lighter again in May and I’m very excited about it. I think my ‘end goal’ is Lauren-Conrad-in-the-early-Hills-days Californian blonde. Very specific, I know) and I had an Olaplex treatment when I was at the salon which made my hair feel amazing. These products smell glorious, and I can wait until the third day to wash my hair when needed, which I’ve never been comfortable doing before.

After Life
Matt and I have watched a lot of good shows recently – a post will be up on our favourites next month – but this one has to be the top of our recommendations list. I briefly talked about this show in this post, but I just had to include it in my monthly favourites post too as it made such an impact on us. I actually said when we finished I wish we could unwatch it, to watch again! The show is written, produced and directed by Ricky Gervais, who also plays the main character, Tony. Tony’s wife unfortunately passed away from breast cancer, and as a result he finds himself in a pit of depression, and has to navigate a ‘new normal’ in his life. It’s heartbreakingly sad, and I cried so many times throughout the six episode series, but it’s also filled with joyous moments, humour and laughter. It depicts depression in a way I’ve never personally seen on TV before, and I hope it brings awareness to the fact that you really don’t know what somone else is going through, and that everyone is fighting their own battles.

Bank Holiday Weekend Fun
I love bank holiday weekends so much – I’m a Brit after all – and our first of the year was glorious, and also super busy! I changed up my hair, Matt and I ate fish and chips, I had a lunch and shopping date with my dearest friend Jessy and Matt enjoyed a few beers watching the match with the boys. We cooked delicious meals and ate outside in the garden because it was finally HOT, enjoyed showing off our home city to Matt’s cousin and his girlfriend, visited with family, spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun and swung through the beautiful cherry blossom trees at Alnwick Garden. I felt so content and happy as Matt and I snuggled up in bed on the Monday evening, and very excited for two more bank holidays to come in May! I also took the photo of the blossom at the top of this post at Alnwick Garden, I’m (very sadly) proud of it – I love Portrait Mode so much.

Shagged, Married, Annoyed by Chris & Rosie Ramsey
I love listening to podcasts and I think this might be my ultimate top pick from every one I’ve ever listened to. Chris is a very well known comedian, and his wife Rosie could easily get him out of a job – she is hilarious. Fellow Northerners they already had my hearts, and as soon as I heard their banter together I really loved them, and I’m so happy it gets better with each episode. They talk about so many relatable things – including the ‘beef’ they have with each other which makes me cry laugh every episode. Chris’ beef with Rosie in one episode was that she’s always asking what he fancies for dinner, even when they’re eating breakfast, and I couldn’t stop laughing because that’s me! Every single day, poor Matthew. (If you need any evidence this post sums it up nicely). Their stories and constant taking the p*ss out of each other is just briliant, and I can’t get enough! Especially when Rosie called Robin (their son) a little prick. Fantastic. There’s only eleven episodes so far, with a new one launching every Friday, and I’ve binged my way through seven so far, I’m very excited for the rest!

Scrunchies
Guys. I love scrunchies!!! They are just so fun to wear, and a brilliant way to make a boring pony tail look cute. I wear them very often during cosy evenings in the house, but I feel like they’re also an adorable accessory to an oufit. A simple white tee with mom jeans can look way more chic and put together with a little pop of colour in your hair. When I was younger I used to wear scrunchies pretty much every day, they’re one of the few 90’s trends I’m still on board with. (These kind of bags are everywhere and it genuinely baffles me – they’re very Sex and The City and I’m not here for it!) Topshop and H&M have some amazing styles for pretty good prices – the velvet feel ones are my absolute favourite!

Strong Roots Spinach Bites
These are one of the best ‘healthy junk foods’ I think I’ve ever tried, and I actually really like everything I’ve tried from the Strong Roots brand. Matt and I are a little obsessed with these bites; we put them with meals as often as we can, and we’ve recommended them to pretty much everyone we know. They crisp up on the outside and stay soft on the inside, and thankfully they’re always included in deals at Tesco to make them a little more affordable. On a lazy evening or when we don’t much have time to cook, we love these with Quorn nuggets and Tilda peri peri rice!

Shop my favourites:

St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion / Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown / OGX Argan Oil of Morrocco Shampoo / OGX Argan Oil of Morrocco Conditioner / After Life / Shagged, Married, Annoyed by Chris & Rosie Ramsey / Leopard Print Scrunchie (similar) / Yellow Scrunchie (similar) / Strong Roots Spinach Bites

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe got a few ideas of things you might like to try? What have you been loving this month? I’m looking forward to May so much, and I’ll be sharing my goals for the month on the blog on Wednesday!

-G x

Meal Planning: The How’s And Why’s

Hi, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x