Four Things I Do Every Week To Be Productive

Hi, loves! There’s a few things I do each and every week that helps make me feel like I’m being the best version of me. I often feel like I’m trying to do too many things at once because running a blog whilst having a full time job, still making time for my social life and being able to run errands and other mundane things can sometimes feel like a lot. If I need to take time out to just relax and recharge, I’m (slowly) becoming okay with not completing my to-do list if I’m just not in the headspace to do it.

My default downtime/self care regime is often just a night in with Matthew bugging him to do a face mask with me, eat pick n mix and watch a few episodes of The Office, but I really wanted to share a few little things I do throughout each week to help me feel more productive, fulfilled and happy. Being able to do these things (among others, of course) really allows me to be productive when I have to be; downtime is so important and honestly being ‘busy’ all the time is not something I want to aim for.

Enjoy downtime in the mornings and evenings
I adore having a chilled morning or evening, especially when I can take my time over the mundane everyday things too. I try to wake up at least twenty to thirty minutes before I actually need to every day, whether it’s a work day or not, and this means I’m able to take my time a little more. Matt and I try to take an extra five minutes in bed together once our alarms have gone off, then we have a cup of tea every morning. I sometimes will a candle on my vanity table whilst I get ready, and I try to take my time doing my hair and makeup. One of my favourite parts of a weekend morning is picking my outfit for the day; I love to be able to pick clothing based on my mood that day! Is that weird?! I much prefer evenings where I have time to take a bath as showering just isn’t as relaxing to me, and I also take time to blog or read as much as I can too. I also LOVE to cook in the evenings it’s one of my favourite times of day.

Take time out to plan healthy meals
Cooking is a huge part of my night routine; whether Matt’s working late or he’s home before me it’s always a priority that we eat something hearty and healthy! I’m that weirdo that really enjoys meal planning and grocery shopping (genuinely, it’s my favourite errand to run… hahaha) and I find it really helps how I feel mentally to eat good foods. I’ve always ate lots of fruit and veggies but now more than ever Matt and I are trying to pack as many as we can into our daily meals, and cut out some of the rubbish. This year I was determined to take lunch to work with me everyday (and for Matt to do this, too!) because we were constantly eating food that made us feel crap and cost a fortune. I know we’re only two weeks into the work year but we’ve both really enjoyed eating a healthy lunch during the day, it just helps you to feel more energetic and productive. I also try to drink water as often as possible, but I’ll forever be obsessed with Diet Coke!

Read
I have no idea how people can not read books, honestly! Reading a good book is something I intentionally make time for each day, and I can’t tell you how much I love to get lost in a fictional world. I recently started to read during my lunch breaks at work which has quickly become one of my favourite times to read, I just find it the best way to escape the work environment for half an hour. In the evenings I take a bath I read in there, and I try to take at least twenty minutes before bed if I can too. Of course every day is so different; sometimes Matt and I watch TV (we’re currently obsessed with Jack Ryan!) right up until we go to sleep, and others we have a little more time to do our own thing. I’m sharing my current reading list on Wednesday, there’s so many good books in there!

Listen to motivational podcasts whilst driving
Driving is something that makes me so happy, and funnily enough I get so many blogging ideas whilst driving too. I really enjoy my alone time (I’m sure my regular readers will be quite surprised to hear that, actually) but being alone is how I re-charge. I’m an introvert and I really feel rested and relaxed after spending a little time alone each day; the only constant in this alone time during the week is my drives to and from work. I love to listen to podcasts and I find that this a perfect time to really indulge in the stories and conversations. My ultimate favourite podcast is Shagged, Married, Annoyed by my most favourite couple, Rosie & Chris Ramsey. BUT, when I want to feel inspired, motivated or just enjoy a chilled conversation, my go-to’s are How To Fail by Elizabeth Day, Happy Place by Fearne Cotton and The Estee Lalonde Show. It’s so interesting especially when I’m feeling a little bit unmotivated to hear another perspective (even on completely different situations) and it always helps me to count my blessings a little more.

Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate it more than you know. If you’re struggling with feeling unproductive or unmotivated right now, please know you have all my love and support, you’ve got this! What do you do day-to-day that makes you feel productive and prepared for your to-do list? Do you do any of the things I do, too? I’d love to know of other things I should incorporate into my life to make being productive feel that little bit easier!

-G x

Blogging Q&A

Hey, loves! A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked on my Instagram stories if you had any blogging related questions you’d like me to answer. I was super scared nobody would ask questions (LOL) but I thankfully got quite a good response, although some people asked the same or similar questions which I’ve just mixed together. I love reading posts like this because as a blogger – and as an aspiring blogger before I created my own blog – I love to know other people’s behind-the-scenes! I talk a lot about my real life on here, and I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, one of those bloggers with an incredibly professional set up. I admire the beautiful photogenic blogs SO much, but it’s just not me. I take my photos on my iPhone X, I will never do a professional photo shoot for blog content (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing) and I’m happy in my own little world over here. So, let’s A some of your Q’s…

Why did you start writing your blog?
It was a dream I thought would never come true. I’d read blogs for so many years, and felt so connected and inspired by the people running them. Many of the girls I followed moved from blogging to vlogging and I felt like I knew them even more; I genuinely talk about Anna and Emma as if they’re my high school besties, which Matt finds hilarious! I loved the connection I felt as a reader, and I always hoped one day I’d find the courage to create my own. Fast forward four years of loving everything about blogs, and I’d poured my heart out to Matt about how I’d always thought one day I’d do it myself, but I just never had and now it was too late. Like the amazing man he is, he encouraged me to start right there and then, and I did. I bought my blog domain at the end of May 2018, and just began writing. I had NO IDEA what to expect, how any of it worked, or how it would be received, but I did it anyway. The day my first post went live (10th June, 2018) I was a nervous wreck in case people were mean. Matt and I went out for Sunday dinner at our favourite local pub and I could barely eat because I was so nervous. Over the past year I’ve found my routine, and now I love every aspect of running and owning my blog, I’m so proud of it!

What is your favourite thing about writing? / How do you make time to write?
It is very freeing, and it just feels good to get lost in my own little world. I think we spend SO MUCH TIME worrying about others, pleasing others and doing what others want to do, and it’s important to actually take a step back and be a little selfish sometimes. My number one priorites are always going to be my relationship, our family and friends and work, but when I can just sit and blog, I love to totally switch off from the world. When I’m writing I always get super comfy under a blanket, and usually have a cup of tea or hot chocolate. By ‘a cup’ I mean at least three, because I write for so long! I usually listen to podcasts, watch old YouTube vlogs (Jade Billington‘s are my favourite!) or play Your Favourite Coffeehouse playlist on Spotify although sometimes I just write in silence. I think making writing time an enjoyable experience makes it something I look forward to, and not something I stress about having to get done, even though I’m working to deadlines. Editing usually looks very different; I tend to do that whenever/wherever I can squeeze it in, often whilst we’re in the car or when I’m in the bath I’ll be proof-reading or editing on my phone.

How do you grow your audience?
I’m struggling a little to answer this, as although my blog is growing, it’s very slowly and steadily, not super quick. I think having a schedule and posting consistently is a huge factor in people coming back to my blog over and over, but I’m not really sure how people find my little corner of the internet. I find self-promoting my blog a little weird and awkward, so I try to only do that when it comes to new posts going live. I interact with other bloggers whose blogs I adore, and building those relationships is a great way to interest other people in your posts. I don’t have the most professional set up or look, but I think that can give my blog a cosy ~homey~ vibe, which hopefully people enjoy.

Do you ever get stuck for ideas?
Not really, because I plan my posts so far in advance! I don’t write my post there and then; I have the original idea so I’ll write my title, make any notes – usually this is points I want to make in the post, products I want to talk about, photo ideas etc and then I ‘schedule’ that for a date in a few weeks time and save the draft. Then, when it comes to writing the post, most of the ground work is done and I’m able to just start writing. I find it hard to make things concise though sometimes LOL, but it’s okay because I waffle on in real life just as much. The only posts I do write not long before they go live is my Feelin’ It Friday’s as they’re quick and about the week we’re currently in. I usually prep those on the Thursday night, then edit/update on Friday morning before it goes live.

Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
I get my inspiration from just whatever is going on in my life. If we’re going on a road trip, I want to share our essentials, if I’m really obsessed with a brand, I want to tell you the things I’d recommend most, if Matt and I are having a fun weekend, I take photos throughout the days and round it up for you. I also listen to comments I get, side note: people are always asking me to share dinner recipes so that post will be coming in a few weeks! I’m of course inspired by other bloggers and by YouTube content creators, and I think I’ve carved a path for my blog that means I can write about pretty much anything I want to. I never intended on sharing so much of Matt and I’s life, but I love doing it in the way I do; it’s like an extension of Instagram, where it’s real and honest, yet never staged or ‘for the blog’.

Do you feel guilty being sent products for free?
I’m not really sure how to answer this question because I don’t understand what there is to feel guilty about. Is it absolutely insane? YES. Is it surreal? YES. Is it amazing? YES. I wouldn’t say I feel ‘guilty’ because I truly put so much time and effort into my blog, which I don’t think is something that people outside of my close circle or the blogging world will realise. I only accept products that fit with me and my blog, as I’ve had some emails which just don’t work for me so I’ve politely declined. I’d never recommend something I wouldn’t purchase myself, and I’ll always be very honest if a product doesn’t work for me. My disclaimer is linked here, if you’d like a little more clarification. I truly am so grateful for every product I’ve been sent and every PR agency or brand that wants to work with me, it’s mind-blowing that my little blog is even capable of this!

Where do you see your blog in one years time?
My blog will be two years old by then, and I’m hoping it would have continued to grow with me, but I’ll definitely be creating the same kind of content. I really do want to become more comfortable in front of the camera, and Matt is always trying to encourage me to take photos when we’re out and about, which is making me slightly warm up to the idea. I know I’m not photogenic as it is, but then when I’m specifically ‘posing’ for a photo, I truly just go to pot HAHA. I would love to figure out my photography style a little more too, as I’m learning more and more about how I like to take photos and I’m hoping as a result my blog looks more streamlined and pretty.

Have you ever been recognised in public from your blog?
Haha, no I have not! I have had a weird moment in The Body Shop (I mean, where else?) where I was restocking on a few products and a girl who went to my school – she was a few years below me and we knew of each other, but didn’t know each other, if that makes sense – asked what I’d recommend she buy. She said she read my blog and purchased the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil because of my review and loved it, which was seriously like an out of body experience.

Does blogging take up lots of your time?
Yes and no. It does take a lot of time and effort, but I try to set aside specific time to write, edit, take photos etc, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. As I always try to plan ahead I don’t feel like it ‘takes up lots of time’ necessarily, because that time is specifically for blogging. I work a real 9-5 job, and blogging is my hobby so it’s something I like to do. Sometimes I really feel like I should spend an hour or two writing and editing during an evening, but I’m always going to opt for snuggling in with Matt to watch Netflix instead! I talked a lot about this in this post, and covered the ins and outs of how I find the time to blog here, too!

Do you feel weird about people you know in real life reading your blog?
I used to find it SO weird, but now I don’t really think about it too much. I know some people who know of me may read to pick flaws or to laugh at me (I had an experience with that when I first started out blogging) but I’m 25 years old, and not in high school. Although, my co-workers love to read on their lunch breaks and tell me as they’re reading, that is kinda weird haha. I know that people I know read it, and I’m truly very grateful for the views I get. I hope that people who like to read my blog tell their friends who will then tell their friends, that would be amazing! One thing I will always find strange is that I sometimes will talk about something on my blog – especially now in my Feelin’ It Friday posts – and people will see me and say things like “did you and Matt love that movie you went to see last weekend?!” or “I seen you were at Wagamama’s again!” The weirdest thing is when someone tells me they’ve bought something because of what I said about it. I never imagined that but I’ve had so many messages from people telling me!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you asked a question thank you SO much, I hope I answered it well enough! I hope you feel like you know me a little more as a blogger, I really try to be so open and honest with everything I post. Fellow bloggers, how do you feel about this platform? Do you relate to anything I’ve said? I’d love to do more Q&A style posts, and I’m hoping to maybe rope Matt into taking part in a little post on the blog… we’ll see!

-G x

Road Trip Essentials

Happy, happy Sunday, loves! As this post goes live Matt and I will be in Manchester for a family re-union, we’re so excited! My mum is from Manchester and most of her side of our family still live down there, so we’re all getting together for the first time in a LONG time. My great aunt and uncle are also visiting from Canada and I haven’t seen them in around four years! The rest of our family from up North are headed down a day earlier than us, because Matt was working we couldn’t go until Sunday. We’re happy though because we get to make the most of a cosy Saturday evening at home then leave early on Sunday morning. Fingers crossed we’ll miss most of the bank holiday traffic and get there pretty quickly!

As I mentioned briefly at the end of this post, Matt goes away for a whole week from next Sunday *sob sob* so we’re making sure to enjoy every second we’ve got together before he goes! I’m going to miss him like CRAZY but I’m so grateful we have a fun trip to look forward to before he leaves. I know he’s going to have so much fun being away but I literally feel like my right arm is missing when he’s not around! Especially going to sleep and waking up without him, it’s so rare we’re apart at night and it’s the worst feeling. I’m really excited for him to have an adventure, but I’m already (not so) secretly counting down to picking him up from the airport on his return… sssshh! Literally me right now:

BUT back to the present: we’re even more excited for this weekend because we’ve got tickets for the Manchester United Legends vs Bayern Munich Legends game and my mum, brother and uncle are tagging along too! Everyone else is sitting it out and enjoying being with family, but I know we’ll have a great time at the game. I can’t wait to see David Beckham up close! Matt and I did a stadium tour of Old Trafford back in December – I’m linking my photo diary from that trip here!

Road trips are seriously one of Matt and I’s favourite things, and whether it’s for a day trip or a weekend getaway we are pros when it comes to knowing what we need, and what we don’t. I absolutely love packing, especially for weekend breaks! There is however so many things we’ve found are good to have on hand whilst travelling that you don’t want stuck in your suitcase whilst on a motorway. I also love travelling by car because there’s no weight limits, and you can bring whatever the heck you like!

Aside from what to take with you, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks we put into practice for each road trip:
1. Use Waze to navigate your journey, it will be your best friend. This free app is seriously the best, and I never see people talking about it! You can add your destination, set the time you ideally want to arrive and it will tell you exactly what time you need to leave. It warns you of any upcoming traffic or roadworks, and advises the best places to detour or stop.
2. Check your tyres, screen wash and oil before you set off to give you peace of mind. You definitely don’t want your journey to be interrupted by issues with your car, so making the necessary checks and alterations alleviates most of this worry. We’re not used to driving super long distances in England (literally you can drive from the most Northern point to the most Southern point in less than ten hours) but it’s still so important to be safe and make those checks.
3. Carry cash for any service station stops. Matt and I are so bad for paying for most items on our debit card whether we’re buying groceries or clothes, but I’m trying to make a concious effort to carry – and use – cash on a more regular basis. We once stopped at an M&S in a service station and their card machines were down, all I wanted was a pot of fresh pineapple but we didn’t have any cash, learn from my mistakes!
4. Dress comfy. If you’re sitting in a car for a long time you do NOT want to be wearing jeans. Unless you’re like Matt who finds jeans ‘comfy’ but he’s just weird and if that’s you, you shouldn’t admit it! Ha, but for real I can’t stand sitting around in jeans! To travel for a while I typically wear leggings, trainers/comfy sandals and a t shirt, with a sweater or denim jacket to throw on if I get chilly. Also, if you’re the passenger and you’ll be taking your shoes off (the only way to travel in my opinion) make sure to take fluffy socks!
5. Pack your patience. Seriously, the chances of a slight detour or traffic at some point during your journey is pretty high, and you don’t want to spend your travelling time stressed out or speeding to make up lost time. Apps like Waze really help out here, but sometimes even stopping to grab a breakfast muffin or re-joining the motorway after stopping off can be a headache. Stay calm, and stay safe!

Just to be transparent: the photos of me in this post were actually taken in Matt’s car, not mine! We were coming home one evening last week and the light was so good we decided to take the opportunity to take pictures there and then! #doingitfortheblog. So, we have a full tank of diesel and a clean car, I’ve made a snack run and our suitcases are filled to the brim. (Well, mine is…) so let’s get into the essentials for our road trip:

The must-have beauty bits
I definitely don’t need my skincare or haircare products, makeup bag or toiletries whilst we’re on the road, so they are safe inside my suitcase in the boot. There are a few things I would always keep in my bag whether we were out for the day/night or I was at work, and these are the things I want in the front seat with me! I have to take lip balm wherever I go (even like… downstairs, lol) so that is a must. I’ve packed two for this trip – Glossier Balm Dot Com and Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear; they’re both super nourishing and hydrating, and I just like to have options! Keeping my hands soft is just as important, and my favourite cherry blossom hand cream from L’Occitaine is a must. The last things I like to keep near me are the products I reach for just before we arrive at our destination; my face powder, tangle teezer (this one is so much cuter than mine), my favourite travel sized perfume and my current favourite lip gloss in the shade Hot Toddy. We’re heading straight to my aunt’s house and I want to look somewhat ‘put together’ after a long drive!

A good soundtrack
When you’re going to be in a car for X amount of hours, you really need good entertainment! Thankfully Matt and I are easily entertained, and could happily talk the whole drive there (and back) without any distraction from music or podcasts, but we actually really enjoy listening to both. I’ve saved my Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed podcast from Friday to listen to on the drive down – it’s my favourite EVER podcast and Matt really enjoys it too! Seriously Rosie and Chris are freaking hilarious; I wrote about it a lot more in this post. We’ll also listen to one or two Small Town Murder podcasts, James and Jimmy are so funny and if you’re a fan of true crime (told in a comedic way) this is the podcast for you. I’m pretty sure I’ll add a little Ed Sheeran and Disney songs into the mix at some point too – perks of riding shotgun is you get to make all the music decisions, sorry babe! Also we love the pre-made Spotify playlists (Cheesy Hits, Feel Good Friday and Road Trip Sing Along Songs are our favourite), I can hardly wait for us to hit the open road and sing stupidly loud! 

A blanket
LOL so hear me out on this one, I promise I’m not like a three year old. It may be Spring on the calendar but that doesn’t mean we have Spring weather, in fact it’s been completely all over the place recently. The mornings and evenings are cool, and some days have been absolutely freezing! I’m also one of those super annoying people that’s always cold even when it’s hot and humid, and Matt is pretty much always hot. Having a blanket for the journey means he can have the air con blasting but I’m still toasty and cosy! I even have a specific car blanket – the multi coloured one pictured above – that I got in Florida when I was 12 (yes I was cold in Florida…) This blanket has been half way around the world with me so many times and I absolutely love it, it’s the perfect travelling companion! Except for Matt, of course. As mentioned above, I also always pack fluffy socks and wear a comfy sweater or hoodie, I just want to be warm and comfortable!

iPhone charger
No matter how we are travelling or how far we’re going, a phone charger is a MUST for any journey. Battery packs are great and something I pretty much always keep in my bag, but if Matt or I wanted to charge our phone whilst on the road we’d more than likely plug it into the car USB port. Keep your cables up front so you don’t have to stop at a service station and root around in your suitcase mid-trip, I may be speaking from experience… you’ll thank me later!

Drinks and snacks
The best part of a road trip is 100% snacks, right?! We’re fully stocked up on the essentials and for us that’s almost all junk food. Sorry not sorry. I really wanted to take bananas (I’m obsessed with them right now, I don’t know why!) but the thought of the peel sitting in the car for a few hours makes me feel sick. So I guess I’ll have to eat chocolate instead, ha! As we’re heading down super early on Sunday morning we’ll probably eat very little of what we’re taking, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy when we’re at the hotel and for the trip back up North! We’ve got plenty of Diet Coke, water, chips and dip, Cadbury’s chocolate buttons, Propercorn coconut and vanilla popcorn, strawberry Starbursts and our favourite Kind bars just incase we’re stuck between meals! Also you can’t forget hand sanitizer or wipes, I never leave the house without my pocketbac, it comes in SO handy and Matt is always borrowing it too. I find wet wipes are a necessity when you’re travelling no matter what you need them for, and these ones from Cheeky Panda are biodegradable so they’re good for the environment!

Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a necessity when heading out on a road trip for passengers and the driver, and we’re being hopeful we’ll actually get lots of sun this weekend! The sunglasses I tend wear most are from Quay and they’re my absolute favourite; I always pick them over my Raybans, they’re so light on my face and go with any outfit! They were also super inexpensive compared to so many sunglasses brands, definitely keep your eye out for deals coming into the Summer months. Eye. Get it?! I wear sunglasses on my head as a ‘hairstyle’ continuously throughout Spring and Summer, and it’s one of my favourite looks – I love having my hair down but just hate it being in my face. 

Reading material
I don’t always feel comfortable reading in the car, it completely depends on how I feel that day. For the most part, Matt and I will be talking, listening to podcasts and singing (badly) to our Spotify playlists, but I like to have options. I just finished the most amazing book (Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid – it’s so so good guys! There’ll be lots more about it on the blog this coming Wednesday). I picked up If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon and although I’ve only read a few chapters, I’m really enjoying it so far! I also grabbed my latest issue of Cosmopolitan for good measure, and Matt has his copy of Four Four Two in case we have a little downtime at the hotel in the evening or following morning.

A rubbish bin
Seriously, how many times have you been on a road trip and had nowhere to put all of your rubbish?! Cans of pop, crisp packets and chocolate wrappers always end up stuffed in the side of the car doors for us, but this trip I wasn’t having it. I picked up this pop-up rubbish bin from eBay (Mrs Hinch has got me browsing eBay like no tomorrow!) that we can keep in the back so we don’t need to worry about finding all of our rubbish when we get to our destination! 

Re-usable bottles 
Chances are we’ll be stopping off at a Starbucks at least once on the way there and on the way back (and there’s one super close to our hotel, I can’t wait for a morning Starbs as that’s a complete luxury for us, we don’t live near one!) but I’m really trying not to buy one-use cups as much as I can help it. My Chilly’s bottle is my new favourite thing! The colour is perfect, and I’m already getting so much use out of it. I’ll fill it with water before we set off, and re-fill along the way. I’m trying to convince Matt that he needs one too! I’ve also had a Kate Spade thermal mug for so long and although I use it more in the Autumn and Winter months, I’ll almost definitely be grabbing a hot chocolate or vanilla chai in the morning!

Umbrella and raincoats
Like I said, it may be Spring but you just never know what weather to expect in England. As well as my obsession with the Co-Op (lol, more context in this post) I’m kind of obsessed with looking at the weather, Matt and our families are always joking about me being a weather reporter LOL. But, the forecast is almost always wrong! We’ve been on too many road trips where we’ve stopped at a service station and I’ve had to grab my scarf or blanket to cover my hair from the rain, not this time. Lesson learned!

Medication
Of course you hope you won’t need it during the journey (or the trip itself) but it’s always better to have it on hand. I have arthritis and sitting still for any period of time is just not good for my legs – my arthritis is much worse in my knees, hips and ankles – so I literally need to have ibuprofen with me. I also pack other medication I need for the trip, which stays in my bag anyway so would always be close! Since last Spring when we road tripped to Harrogate I’ve packed travel sickness tablets too, as sometimes Matt and I can feel really unwell being in the car for so long. I think it’s worse when it’s super hot and humid (which it’s not meant to be this weekend… I’ve checked all my weather apps) and Matt is poorly if he’s the passenger. This means he’s always our designated driver, bless him! 

Thank you so much for reading! Do you love road trips as much as we do? What are your road trip essentials? I hope we haven’t forgotten anything, I always feel worried as soon as we hit the motorway and there’s no turning back! We’re going to be making the exact same trip in just over three weeks as we’re heading to Croatia and flying from Manchester airport, I can barely stand how excited I am!

-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

My Favourite Self Care Practices

Happy Sunday, loves!

I’ve talked about my love of practicing self care on my blog several times, and there’s so much more to it than beauty regimes, (although that is one of my personal favourite ways to look after myself). There’s so many things I do that make me feel good, relaxed and ready to take on the world. I think we all sometimes need an extra spoon of self care, and we need to be better at knowing when it’s time to give ourselves a break. It’s so important to look after yourself, and nurture that feeling inside that sometimes is just screaming for a little ‘me time’!

Breakfast dates. Waking up early and heading for breakfast with Matt is hands down one of my favourite weekend activities. We never get chance to do this during the week due to my work schedule, so every opportunity we get we make the most of it. There’s something so fun to me about being up early; there’s less people around, you’re way more likely to get a table, and breakfast food is the best food. I mentioned a few of our favourite local spots in this post. (Well, I’m obviously biased but all of our dates make me so happy – good food and good company is forever the best combination!)

Being outside. Whether it’s after breakfast or mid-afternoon, another weekend favourite of ours is going for a long walk. We love to go down by the coast or through the countryside, there’s so many beautiful views all around. In this weather, it may involve wearing twelve layers, but it’s SO worth it. We are so lucky with where we live; we have so many beautiful places right on our doorstep. If we travel ten minutes one way, we’re at the beach, and ten minutes the other way we’re in the countryside. I think fresh air does so much for your mind; it’s freeing and wonderful!

Reading a book. Lounging in the bath reading a book is my ultimate unwinding place. I mean, I’d love to be reading and laying by the pool with Matt in Croatia, but it’s not June yet. I find reading to be my perfect escape for a few moments of peace and quiet, to allow myself to re-charge my batteries and relax. Also, I mentioned this in my January favourites post, but if you missed that you may not know… my favourite social media babe has only gone and wrote a bloody book! An Edited Life is your one stop shop for all things organisation and planning and I’m so sad I finished it. I’ve just started reading Normal People by Sally Rooney (my fourth book of the year, I think I’ll definitely hit my goal to read 20 books this year at this rate!) and I’m really enjoying that too. I have a few more books in my stash to read, but please leave any recommendations below!

Cooking. Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before… LOL. Cooking is one of my favourite activities, and I’m so grateful it’s something Matt and I get to do together almost every night. The occasional night we’re so tired (or recently, so unwell! We’re thankfully feeling so much better now after being poorly for over a week) we throw in a few flatbread pizzas and call it a night. When it comes to cooking, we’re learning as we go, and having so much fun doing it. We generally get ideas from recipe books/blogs then over time we adapt to make things the way we prefer, I can’t wait to share some with you on the blog in the coming weeks! My favourite things to make in the Winter are warm dishes, filled to the brim with veggies (and usually served with garlic bread, we’re obsessed guys!)

Exercising. I realise this isn’t exactly ground-breaking , but moving my body and working up a sweat makes me feel so dang good. I love yoga and HIIT workouts, and I alternate my workouts depending on how I feel that day. I don’t work out every day, unfortunately, but I’ve stepped my game up so much already this year! Working out is good for my body and mind, and makes me feel so much happier in my day-to-day life. I also keep thinking about the fact I’ll be living in a bikini for a week at the end of June and I’d rather not resemble a marshmallow.

Listening To Podcasts. I got into podcasts towards the end of last year, thanks to the lovely Savannah. She talks about Small Town Murder a lot on her blog, and I was so intrigued I went onto Spotify and started listening, now I’m hooked! Matt enjoys the stories too, James and Jimmy are so funny and I’ve learned so much from them. I wrote a post about some of my favourite podcasts which you can read here, and as I mentioned in that post, Bryony Gordon’s Mad World is so good if you’re needing a big ol’ tablespoon of self care.

Organising/Cleaning/Tidying. LOL, this really does make me feel good. I hate when things are unorganised and not as they should be, so taking a little time out of my day to make things more streamlined helps immensely. Something as little as making our bed every morning is an important one to me, or keeping my makeup bag clean with just the important bits in, or taking out all of the crap that somehow accumulates in my work tote regularly. I also love cleaning my makeup brushes as then when it comes to doing my makeup the next day I enjoy it even more! The next post you’ll see from me on Wednesday may have something to do with this…

A Pamper Night. So, as I mentioned above self care doesn’t solely revolve around beauty, but I really do feel good after a hot bath, exfoliating, shaving and moisturising my whole body, washing my hair and really going in on my skincare routine. I’m a bit of a loser and have products I use for ‘special occasions’ which basically means before a date night or if I feel a bit naff. My ideal pamper night also includes eating a really naughty dessert wihlst snuggled up in bed… Matt and I are always sneaking off to grab a McFlurry, oops!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite self care practices? What makes you feel your best?

-G x