My Post Lockdown Bucket List

Hi loves, happy Wednesday! Today’s post is a little light hearted and just-for-fun, but I also REALLY need to have things to look forward to for my own sanity too. My Spring bucket list should have gone live a few weeks ago but due to everything going on in the world it just didn’t seem right to post it, knowing that we (and you!) wouldn’t be able to do anything on the list. We are still completely unaware of how long the lockdown will last for – in the UK our lockdown is expected to be extended tomorrow – but I think we all know we’re in this for the long haul. I keep reminding myself every day that passes is a day closer to this all being over, but I really like having things to look forward to. If you’re an essential key worker who is working through this terrible time in potentially dangers and definitely stressful environments please know how much you mean to all of us! We’ll never be able to repay you for all you’ve done so far and will do in the future, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m so grateful that me, Matt, our families, friends and community are safe and healthy, and although lockdown is NOT fun, it’s so necessary.

From probably day three of lockdown Matt and I have been talking about all of the fun things we’ll do when Boris says we’re allowed out again, and it’s crazy how much we (unknowingly) took for granted! So many people are upset about holidays being cancelled which is understandable but looking at the bigger picture is so much more important. We’re being realistic and we’re pretty sure our family trip to Florida won’t be happening in October – it would have been Matt’s first visit and it was to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday 😦 – which we’re all devastated about, but in the grand scheme of things it is NOT a big deal. We can re-book our trip when it’s safe to do so, and it’s really a small price to pay! Matt and I were hoping to squeeze in city breaks to Lisbon and Krakow this year but honestly I’m not sure how long it’ll be before flights are running normally and we feel comfortable with international travel again. Everything in this list is things we can do in the UK, and some are really quite silly… if you told me I’d be so excited about walking around Tesco or Costco a month ago I’d think you were crazy! 

  • Spend time with Matt’s parents and our grandparents! This is what we’re most excited for, we miss them all SO much! 
  • Go to the movies 
  • Enjoy the biggest family meal with Matt and I’s families at our favourite restaurant, Lollo Rosso
  • Walk around ‘Big’ Tesco for like… hours 
  • Spend an afternoon (and probably night) in the beer garden with our friends
  • Celebrate Matt’s birthday, his new job and my birthday! We’ve already missed two of these and my birthday (May 17th) looks like it will be spent under lockdown too
  • Go for all of the Saturday morning breakfast dates at Postbox Coffee
  • Enjoy all the beach walks we possibly can
  • Go for a long drive. I miss driving SO MUCH
  • Have a picnic at Linhope Spout
  • Go makeup shopping and enjoy using all of the testers. Anybody else missing “non-essential” shopping?! 
  • Visit Bolam Lake
  • Host a BBQ
  • Walk around Costco aimlessly, buying stuff we definitely do not need just because we can 
  • Head for the Costa drive thru
  • Book a staycation at our favourite hotel (hence the feature photo! I’d do anything for a cosy night away in our favourite place)
  • Enjoy our late night McFlurry runs again
  • Re-schedule our getaway to Harrogate
  • Enjoy ALL of the date nights
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Shop local!! 
  • Spend the day at The Alnwick Garden and eat lunch in the treehouse 
  • Drive up to the Scottish Borders and just find a B&B to stay at for the night
  • Get back on track with weekly grocery shopping and meal planning. I’m so excited about this!! 
  • Go beer tasting at our local brewery
  • Spend a weekend in the Lake District
  • Drive to pretty spots to watch the sunset 
  • Enjoy a couples spa day 
  • Go for early morning hikes
  • Buy candles at Homesense. I wish I was joking but I’m running LOW! Hahaha
  • Go for more double dates with our friends
  • Take walks in the countryside (it sure beats walking around our estate, that’s pretty much as far as we’re allowed to go right now!) 
  • Eat at Wagamama’s, it’s definitely our favourite chain restaurant! 
  • Visit Beamish
  • Spend Sunday mornings at Tynemouth Market
  • Go outlet shopping in York
  • Enjoy a girls night
  • Go out for Sunday lunch at our favourite countryside pubs

I hope this made you smile and gave you a few ideas of things you can also look forward to when lockdown ends! What is the first things you’ll be doing/planning when lockdown is over? What do you miss the most right now?! 

-G x

Spring Reading List

Hi, my loves! I hope everyone is safe right now more than ever, and learning to live in our ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable. I’ve been quite undecided whether or not I should carry on blogging as if the world isn’t THE most terrifying place right now, and after a lot of debating I thought it best to carry on, and hopefully spread a little much needed positivity. I didn’t post last week as my Spring Bucket List was due to go up but as we’re not allowed to leave our houses (except for grocery shopping or medical attention!) it really wasn’t the right time to post it. The way things are looking right now we might just have to wait for a Summer Bucket List… but we all know this is going to be the most amazing Summer once all of this is over right?! *crosses fingers*

I don’t want anyone to think I’m feeling particularly happy and upbeat right now because honestly, each day is so different. I’m scared and I hate the unknown more than anything, but I am really trying to have a PMA* (*Positive Mental Attitude). I think the only thing we have to hold onto right now is positivity and hope! I think I might record a Week In My Life next week, which seems strange as my days are only just working from home, watching Netflix and not much else, but I think a little bit of solidarity could be extra helpful right now! Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing 🙂 

I’ve seen LOTS of bloggers online talking about now that they have ~so~ much more time on their hands they’re picking up hobbies, working out more etc but honestly, I feel like if anything I have less time? I’m extremely fortunate to be able to work from home which I’m so grateful for (I started my new job two weeks ago, then took pretty much my whole desk home on my second day to work from home for the foreseeable, pretty crazy right?!) I guess I technically have more time as I’m not getting ready the same as I would for work and I don’t have a commute anymore. Unless you count walking the 20 steps from my bed to the dining room AKA my unofficial home office but I’ve been filling that time with other happy things. Real talk: I really miss getting in my car and driving to the office, I never knew how much I enjoyed my commute!

I’m not getting fully ready most days (I think I’m going to change this from next week because honestly I love doing my makeup – and sometimes my hair – so maybe this will make me feel more ‘normal’). But… I’m SO DRAINED. Does anyone else agree with me on this?! I’m only reading the news once or twice per day as honestly I’m finding the whole thing terrifying, and it’s really hard to mentally cope with. I’m so grateful that Matt and I are safe and healthy, and so are our families. We’re staying permanently with my family until this is all over and we are missing Matt’s parents so so much! We miss our grandma’s, our friends, and I haven’t even met most of my new co-workers yet. It’s a crazy time and for me personally starting to learn a new hobby just isn’t something I can do right now. Instead I’m working really hard and trying to learn as much as I can with my new job, sleep well, eat well and enjoy all my favourite downtime/self-care activities. I especially love taking baths, spending extra time on my skincare routine, watching my favourite vloggers, Matt and I look forward to walks more than your average Labrador and I LOVE reading! My Kindle is packed with fun books to read and I’m so excited to be sharing some of those with you, as well as a bunch of books that I really loved and recommend you get immediately! 

My To Read List:

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This was recommended to me on Amazon and the synopsis and reviews made me download it immediately! This book is a love story of a couple based in New York (I mean that alone had me sold) who have their life planned out. Dannie, the main character, falls asleep one night and wakes up five years in the future, with a completely different life to the one she currently has planned out. I was really careful not to read too many reviews – someone always spoils it! – but this is the next book I’ll be delving into because I’m so excited about it.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I’m currently reading this now, I’m about half way through and I am really enjoying it. I loved Josie’s first book (more about that below) so I had high expectations! I admit I found it a little slow at the beginning and I wasn’t as excited about it as I was her first one, but now I’m wrapped up in the story and can’t wait to see what happens. Lydia is married to Freddie, who dies suddenly in an accident and her whole world is turned upside down. She soon realises that when she sleeps life in her dreams is just the same as it always has been…

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
I have had this on my ‘to read’ list for a long time but there’s just always been other books I’ve been more excited about, although after how much I loved So Lucky (again, more on that below!) I am really excited to get stuck in. The story is based on three women who are all united in their views, if nothing else, and I have a feeling it will be very much based on the way society is nowadays. By her own admission, Dawn likes to talk about reality in her books and show that different perspectives can work together, I hope it’s as witty and off-the-cuff as So Lucky!

Dear Lily by Drew Davis
Anyone else hear the name ‘Lily’ and immediately hear ‘where’s the dog, Lily?’ in their head? Just Me? Okay… Again this was recommended to me on Amazon and I’m really looking forward to reading it; the story is about Joy moving away from her family home – and her sister, Lily – and sounds like the perfect escapism girly read. Joy communicates via letter and I’m assuming goes through things from her childhood/past as it appears to be very emotional based on the reviews.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Shay talked about this in her March book review this past week and I immediately downloaded it. I love pretty much all of her recommended books, and if I’m ever feeling at a loss looking through Amazon I head over there for inspiration (and check the comments section too)! This book is about a mum and son who live in Mexico, and have to escape to the US away from the Cartel. From Shay’s review and the Amazon reviews it seems to be a very suspenseful, tragic, heartwarming read, and I’m kind of obsessed with all things about the drug cartels in Mexico! Matt and I watched Narcos: Mexico and LOVED it, and I think that’s what got me into that kind of storyline. This book is fictional but wanting to cross the border for a better life is an everyday thought for so many people, I’m so excited to read this… I just need a few more happy, easy books before I delve in!

No We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald
Okay so I adore Sophie’s books and I’m so excited to read this! This books seems like a typical girly, romantic comedy that I really bloody love… Sloane is looking for The One and she’s pretty sure she’s found him, until she finds out Myles is hiding a huge secret from her and everything falls apart, as it always does in a rom-com! This feels like a perfect chilled read, especially when the world is so topsy turvsy.

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher 
I really like Giovanna’s books because they’re generally very light hearted, easy-to-read and something you can pick up and put down without being too gripped. I mean that as a good thing! This story follows Lizzy, who thinks after being with her boyfriend for ten years there’s a proposal on the horizon, however that doesn’t exactly work out. Gi’s books are super down-to-earth and I always fall in love with the main character, who I’m assuming is going to be heartbroken and on a journey to find herself throughout the book…

Books I loved and recommend:

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
I’ve bought this book for so many people! This is a great read that would be such a welcome distraction for someone during this crap time. Dolly recounts SO many memories throughout this book, and so many of them are things that our teenage selves will relate to! She covers heartbreaking times in her life, funny times, learning experiences and everything in-between. I really feel like Dolly comes across in a big sister kinda way throughout this book, and it’s a bloody fun trip down memory lane as I guarantee you’ll remember certain things/people/times whilst reading her story. I think every woman should read this, I’ve actually read it twice and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! Literally laugh-out-loud funny and not the predictable storyline I was expecting a few chapters in. Tiffy, the main character, is the most lovable, friendly girl and I think that’s partly why I loved this book so much. I found it so funny, I always wanted to know what was happening next and I was jumping to conclusions of what would happen next all the way through. It also really shows how people can get to know each other without knowing each other, and that’s something that happens more and more in the world we live in. Imagine how many couples will be saying in a few years ‘oh we talked every day during quarantine!’ hahaha.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
I’ve talked about this book several times on my blog and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it’s so worth a mention for anyone new reading! Let me just be clear: this is NOT a light read. It’s a very moving, heartbreaking, touching story and my heart physically hurt reading this. But, it’s still so amazing! Elsie, the main character, is living in a happy little bubble when the most distressing thing happens; her husband is killed in an accident. The writing is phenomenal; Elsie’s personality shone through in this book even in the midst of horrific grief and all the way through I just wanted to pop round and give her a hug. I also really cuddled Matt tight each night when I put this down, it brings a whole other level of appreciation to your loved ones! To be honest all of Taylor’s books are incredible, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce
This is a very fun, light and easy read, which is perfect if you’re struggling with everything going on in the world right now. I read this in two or three days a few weeks back and I just loved the storyline. Rebecca is a pushover who works for a horribly mean boss (we’ve all been there!), and she thinks she needs to be more like her in order to do better in life. She quickly learns that being a bitch is not the best way to go through life and the way she learns it is SO funny. I also would love to see if the house in this book was based on one in real life, and if so I want to move in!

One Day In December by Josie Silver
I read this last December, assuming by the title it was a Christmas themed book. It’s not! I loved this book from start to finish and read it SO quickly, I wish I could go back and re-read it for the first time! Laurie and her best friend Sarah both unexpectedly fall in love with the same guy, but it’s not a typical love triangle story at all. The book moves through years pretty quickly and you really get to know the characters so well, I was rooting for different people at different times in this book but overall I loved the ending and I so want a second book to see what happens with the characters! Also there is some really sad moments in this book, so just bear that in mind if you’re struggling a little right now.

One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom
This was such a heart-warming read, I truly adored the storyline and the characters! A twenty-something girl who was adopted as a baby goes to find her birth mother on the other side of the world in New Zealand, and as you can imagine it’s not straight forward. She’s led there by a tragedy, and the truth behind her adoption is told throughout the book. I literally gasped at parts of this, again I was thinking I knew what was going to happen but I was so off. This is an easy read and I was so happy with the ending (even though I felt it was a little rushed). Also, it really made me want to visit New Zealand, it sounds like such a beautiful place and the way of life seems very similar to the UK!

The Matchmaker by Catriona Innes
I’ve also talked about this on the blog a few times recently but oh my goodness I just LOVED this book! This is the perfect quarantine read because I promise you’ll not want to put it down. Caitlin is a professional matchmaker running her own agency, with the most perfect cookie cutter husband and life, or so her followers think. This is a great story that shows what you see on social media is not always as it seems, and although some parts are completely heartbreaking overall the book is beautiful and heartwarming. I love that the reader doesn’t know exactly what’s going on right away, and you are led to make your own assumptions before being told the truth. Such a great read, and another book that makes you feel especially lucky for your life right now.

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter 
I saw this book all over Instagram and I downloaded it because I just had to see what all the hype was about. Around three chapters in I was feeling like this book was not for me, but boy was I WRONG! I did find it a little hard to get into, but it is so worth sticking with. This book is relatable, hilarious, thought-provoking and it also covers some really hard parts of life. The story is based on three very different women whose paths overlap and it’s a really great testament to the power of female friendship. Warning: it gets… graphic(?) pretty quick!

Have you read any of these books? Which is your favourite?! Please share all of your recommendations below, I love hearing what books people would recommend and why! Sending you all positive thoughts and love in this horrible time, we’re all in this together friends 🙂 (and that reminds me, Matt and I have got a date with HSM this afternoon… yay for Disney+!) 

-G x

Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

I am so happy it’s officially Spring (even if the temperature outside may not feel like it) but I’m pumped for all of the fun things to come this season. Matt and I are making fun travel plans, we’ve got lots of date days in the books, and we’re switching up our cooking game SO much to make delicious new recipes. Do you know what else I’m super excited for? Cleaning. ‘Tis the season, right?! In an era of self-confessed Hincher’s, cleaning has become a buzzword that we’re all talking about; I discuss my favourite cleaning products with my friends and co-workers in the same way I do my favourite TV shows, it’s literally like a bug we’ve all caught!

In line with my ever-growing obsession with cleaning, it’s time to make a fresh start on my beauty collection. I’ve cleaned out and de-cluttered Marie Kondo style already, but I think I was a little too lenient in a few categories. It’s funny really, because when it came to throwing out Matt’s old t-shirts he hadn’t worn for three years I was practically skipping to the charity shop to get rid of them, however if he’d tried to prise that iconic blush from 2014 out of my hands I’d have been giving all the excuses under the sun as to why I must keep it!

My cleaning for Spring has only just begun, and in the next few weeks I’m going to make the switch over from my Autumn/Winter wardrobe to my Spring/Summer one; another time to declutter, donate and sell items that no longer bring me joy, and this time I’m genuinely excited about doing so. I just love the feeling of everything feeling fresh and new in Spring! Wardrobe switch over videos from my favourite gals, Emma Hill and Anna Newton, have had me dying to do the switch over for weeks, and I’m sure I can convince Matt to get rid of a few more bits too. It’s all about balance, right?! Anyway, there will be more on this in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s all the things I’ve done or am planning to get started on my Spring beauty declutter, and you can join in too!

Clean out your makeup storage
It sounds so redundant, but it’s so important to start with a fresh canvas when it comes to any aspect of cleaning and refreshing what you’ve already got. I’d start with emptying everything; whether you’ve got makeup in pouches, bags, acrylic organisers or your back-ups stashed in drawers, put it all into one big pile. Now it’s time to fully clean out your storage; most pouches and makeup bags can go in the wash (make sure to check the label beforehand!) and a good all purpose cleaner should take care of the rest. The one pictured is my absolute favourite, Wild Rhubarb from Method, it’s eco friendly and leaves everything sparkling clean, not to mention the amazing scent fills the whole room way after you’ve finished cleaning.

Sort through your products
Before you put back any products into their freshly cleaned homes, check to make sure everything is good to use. This is the basic checklist I follow during a clear out:
Is it safe to use? Makeup products don’t last forever, and chances are if you’ve had a product for over two years it’s no longer safe. Foundations can last anywhere between 12 months to 24 months, most powder products generally are good for 24 months, and lip products should last around 12 months. Mascara is the one product I think everyone – myself included – doesn’t exchange regularly enough, as their expiration date is just three months from opening. All makeup and skincare products have a small square with a number in; this is the recommended lifetime (in months) of the specific product. Be honest with yourself and throw out anything that is no longer safe to use.
Will I actually use this? You may have just picked up a blush only two months ago so it’s definitely safe to use, but now you’ve brought it home it’s apparent that it’s way brighter than it looked in store, and you’d feel like you were in costume as a Russian doll if you wore it. It’s disheartening to donate or throw out products you’ve spent your hard earned cash on, but it’s definitely better to give them a home they’ll be appreciated in, instead of leaving them in a drawer. Any unopened and unused products can be donated to women’s shelters, and that’s always my first choice for those products. Lightly used products may be okay to give to your family or friends, at mutual discretion. If something is old and used up, unfortunately it needs to be thrown out, and I’d recommend handing in your rubbish to your local L’Occitane store, who have a fantastic cosmetic recycling program with Terracycle, all of the details you need are included in the link.
Is this an everyday product or an optional product? My everyday makeup lives in my makeup bag, and I tend to favour the products I know and love to put in here, or something new I’ve bought and am trying out. As Matt and I live between our parents’ houses whilst we’re saving for a house (it’s only for another year or so, and we actually really love it!) it’s so much easier to keep my things in a bag. I keep all of my optional products – I still have nine blushes after my clear out, dear Lord – in a drawer in my vanity table, organised by category. I do switch out products from time to time, whether it’s a concealer or mascara, I go through stages of liking one product for a while then fancying a change. Be realistic, and don’t keep an overwhelming amount of options with your everyday times as you’ll be less likely to try new things.

Wash your makeup brushes
Is it just me that feels like my life is approximately 87% more together when my makeup brushes are clean? No? Seriously, it’s one of those tasks I dread, and I put off for way longer than necessary but it’s never as bad as I think. I love the feeling of doing my makeup for the first few days afterwards with freshly cleaned tools, especially when I’ve cleaned my makeup sponge too! I’d really recommend investing in a brush cleansing palette next time you’re feeling spendy as they make the process way quicker and easier, and I genuinely think keeping on top of the cleaning keeps my brushes looking better for longer. Some of my face brushes are about seven years old, most are sadly discontinued but they look good as new because I’ve looked after them. Also, you definitely don’t need to invest in specific brush cleaners, Johnson’s baby shampoo works a trick, and you can get huge bottles at Costco that will last forever!

Shop your stash
Re-introducing old favourites is one of my favorite ways to update my makeup bag or skincare routine! Now you’ve sorted out what is still good to use, you’ve almost definitely found products you totally forgot you owned. Please tell me that’s not just me who forgets they’ve purchased things?! I always find lipsticks I’d once loved and worn every day, that had been banished to the back of a drawer and left unloved for months. This is the stage where I’ll probably switch out my mascara (my current one has definitely been used for longer than three months!) and add in a different eyeliner or a new lippie. Always a new lippie. I feel very refreshed after switching out just a few products, as I’d liked what I’d been using for a while I had no desire to change things around, and Matt even noticed! I also found a Jouer eyeshadow pencil that I literally have no recollection of buying, but wow it’s beautiful and it’s become a go-to in my makeup bag over the past week.

Add one or two new items
I’m currently doing a Beauty No Buy for April, so I cannot purchase any new makeup or skincare products, except if a product I use every day runs out. However, my favourite part of a clear out has to be realising where the gaps are in your collection, and things that you could do with for the new season. I don’t personally fake tan, but I know lots of people will be picking up an extra shade of their foundation or concealer in darker shades around this time of year, ready for their Spring and Summer tanning. I save that for Summer when I go on holiday, although I probably shouldn’t bother as I gain more freckles than I tan, I wish I tanned like Matt did! I would love to get an everyday highlighter as the only one left in my stash is definitely more for a night out and is pretty heavy on the shimmer. I realise by my confession above that blush is the last thing I ‘need’ to buy but I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush as I’ve seen so many people rave about them, and I’ve lusted after one for months!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope this post inspired you to have a clear out of your makeup and maybe re-introduce some old (or new) products! What is your go-to makeup product this Spring? Have you been excited about anything you’ve re-discovered from your collection recently?

-G x

How To Become A Morning Person This Spring

Hi, loves!

I’ve always loved the idea of being a morning person. A sense of getting up when the birds begin chirping, being up and about roaming around before others have even opened their eyes, and just getting started on the day from the crack of dawn. My boyfriend thrives in the mornings, and I had just resided to it not being for me. He’s always full of the joys of Spring (appropriate, right?) the second his eyes open, and despises the fact I snooze our alarm at least twice every morning. Well, I used to!

Over the past few months I’ve been working so hard to become a morning person, to enjoy early mornings and to look forward to them, instead of dreading them. There’s a few things that have worked wonders to change my mindset, and I’m now officially one of those people. It’s actually pretty great, and I can’t stop banging on about it to my friends. Also, it means you get to eat more delicious food. Breakfast really IS the best meal of the day!

Prepare your clothes/bag/food etc the night before. I used to do this way back when I was in school, and I felt great pleasure in having my uniform hanging on the front of my wardrobe door, my Jane Norman bag filled to the brim with crap I didn’t need (textbooks? what are those?) and my makeup set out and ready to go. When I went to college, I started to go for the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-possibly-still-hungover look more often than not, and my eagerness to be prepared for the day ahead went down the drain. Then, I started the world of work, and I just never got into a rhythm that worked for me. Fast forward to 2019: after almost seven years in the working world, I’ve got it down. My work bag is always ready to go, Matt and I’s clothes are ironed and hanging up on our wardrobe door before our heads hit our pillows, and our lunches are prepared for the next day. It’s one less thing to think about in the morning, and sometimes I still even place my makeup products on my dressing table, ready to use when I’m bleary eyed and fighting the urge to jump back into bed for another cuddle!

Go to bed a reasonable time. It’s probably the most obvious thing to point out, but it’s for good reason. Waking up early and feeling ready to take on the day, are never going to go hand-in-hand if you’re falling asleep mid-way through a movie you decided you just had to watch at 11pm. Matt and I are such homebodies – we love our cosy evening routine so much – and quite honestly we’re very rarely awake at 11pm! That is the latest of nights for us, specifically reserved for weekends when Matt’s off work. In our twenties and living the high life. We’re all different, but scientists believe the optimum number of hours we should sleep lands between the six to eight hour mark, and I have to say for us, I agree. If we get less than seven hours we’re a little cranky, and counting down to having an early night from the second our alarm goes off. I think the best way to tweak this is to try to go to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each day, gradually working up to an hour or hour and a half earlier, and seeing how you feel getting up at the same time or earlier in the mornings.

Stop pressing snooze. Seriously. I admit it: I’m a fan of the snooze button. I used to religiously set alarms for an hour (or sometimes two) before we were going to get up just so I could enjoy snuggling back in and falling asleep again. I know. Matt hated it but never complained, bless him! You’ll be glad to know I’ve finally relaxed on the super early alarms. I still set our alarm a tad earlier than we need to get up to get ready for the day ahead, but generally by a much more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes. This gives us a little time to wake up, snuggle in with each other and talk about our sleep and the day ahead. *Cue lots of me telling Matt he said something super cute but he was fast asleep and has no recollection. And I’m probably complaining about him stealing all the covers. He does it every night!* In hindsight, I never actually felt better from snoozing our alarm either, if anything it made me more tired and grumpy, because I would fall back asleep then jump awake, feeling more startled every time.

Create a routine. I love routines. Love, love, love them. That will be no surprise to any regular readers, I think they just make life so much more simple! Due to Matt’s varying shifts throughout the week, our mornings are a little different each day, but that actually makes things a little easier for me, I think. Some days we’re up at 6am, and he’s out of the house around half an hour later. On those mornings I love to write and edit upcoming blog posts and/or squeeze in a thirty minute yoga session before I have to get ready for work. The days we get to snooze a little longer are when I’m out of the house first (much later at around 8.30am), and they’re generally reserved for little lie ins and cups of tea in bed. Both glorious in their own way! Of course, weekends are a whole different ball game (if Matt is off work, that is) – it’s our time to sleep a little longer and just move at a slower pace. Also, I find my days start so much better if I don’t start to browse social media the second I turn off the alarm. I’m obviously not perfect and I do usually catch up on my chosen platform (Instagram, ALWAYS!) before I leave the house, but it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up anymore. Matt and I try so hard to not look at our phones whilst we’re lying in bed in the morning, otherwise it makes us want to stay there for at least another twenty minutes! It’s still a work in progress, but little steps climb mountains. Or something like that.

Give yourself things to look forward to. It’s almost like bribing yourself, but having something in the morning to get up for is going to make you want to do it. I don’t really need to do this any more, but in the early days of trying to get up earlier and enjoy it, I really did need all of the motivation I could get! Whether it was the promise of a yoga session, an extra twenty minutes to binge-watch vlogs whilst I got ready (look no further than Emma Hill or The Anna Edit, they’re a dream) or cups of tea in bed, these little things became a reason to get up and get on with the day.

Let in the light and open the windows. Hallelujah, it’s no longer like the dead of night when it’s time to get up! Since mid-February when the mornings started getting warmer and lighter, my mood rose so quickly. We all know getting up when it’s dark and cold outside is ten times harder, so putting ourselves into new routines throughout the Spring and Summer gives us a better shot of carrying it on throughout the colder months too. Matt and I sleep with the window open every night (although, not too open. A few weeks ago, our next door neighbour’s cat let himself in during the middle of the night, plonked his bum on our bedside table and DRANK OUR GLASS OF WATER. guys. IT DRANK FROM THE GLASS. I woke up to the sound of his tongue lapping it up and screamed until Matt woke up. I sh*t you not. Also, we are not cat people hahaha). Anyway, I digress, but waking up to a light chill in the room is actually quite nice, and I find it weirdly motivating. It’s not freezing cold, so I find it just wakes me up a little more. Also, any excuse to wear bae’s dressing gown while I get ready, it’s so much cosier than mine!

Experiment with delicious breakfasts. Let’s be honest, food is the best part of everyone’s day, and in my opinion breakfast food just pips anything else to the top of the list. If you have time for homemade pancakes and berries covered in syrup then more power to you, but I’m thinking the quick, easy options are the best to go for in the mornings before work. Think avocado toast, oatmeal, Special K (I’m having a bit of a love affair with that right now!) or smoothies packed with all the goodies. If there’s one thing that’s sure to get me excited about getting up it’s food! Also, not to sound like your grandma, but breakfast is so important. Even if you’re running super late and barely have time to catch your breath, at least grab a banana or protein bar, you’ll thank me for it when the 11am slump doesn’t arrive!

I hope this post helped to give you a little inspiration, or maybe a few laughs at least! Are you a morning person? Do you enjoy getting up and getting on with your day? Please let me know your tips in the comments below!

-G x

Beating The January Blues

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Matt and I had the best day yesterday; we slept in and had a super lazy morning, then we went to watch NUFC vs Cardiff City. We won 3-0 and it was SUCH a good game! These are my favourite kind of days. It was so freezing cold (we’ve had snow this week!) but we had the best time. We headed to make dinner together, watch a little Netflix and squeeze in an early night. Bliss. Today we’re hoping to have another little lie in, then get wrapped up to head for breakfast and a long walk along the coast, it’s not going to get above 2 degrees but I’m so excited! Matt’s at a work event this evening so before I pick him up I’m going to have the pamper night of all pamper nights… meaning reading An Edited Life and lounging in the bath for approximately two hours. 

I’m so excited to be sharing with you the things I’m doing to keep myself in check this month, letting you in on the little things that make me feel happy and #blessed. But, for real. The January blues are a serious thing, and it’s a month where so many people generally feel low and miserable. It’s understandable; we’re all sad the festive season is over, there’s very little sunlight and it’s constantly freezing cold. I also have so much anxiety related to the bad weather – cue tears at the sight of a few snowflakes, knowing I have to drive in it. I wish I didn’t feel this way and any tips toget over it would be much appreciated? I hope this post may make you see January in a whole different light!

Making the most of quality time with my loved ones. It’ll be no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I treasure nothing more than quality time with my boyfriend. We make the most of being together every night and morning, and we’re extra grateful for the few ocassions per month when our work schedules alighn and we get to spend a whole day together! Planning date days and spending time with our friends and families help us feel refreshed, and as a bonus gives us things to look forward to, which is even more important in the never-ending month of January! I always look forward to coming home from work, getting my comfies on and snuggling up with Matt but I appreciate it during the cold weather more than ever. (It’s my favourite when he runs a bath for me coming home, the cutie!)

Eat foods that make me feel good. Matt and I love cooking SO much, it’s up there in my top three things to do in life. We’ve been learning and experimenting with different foods for a long time and we have our favourite, go-to recipes down. We’re professional meal planners now (probably going to talk about this in more detail at some point), and we’re still really enjoying trying new recipes. I think the Winter months are the best time to spend a little longer in the kitchen! We are big fans of #MeatlessMonday and I’m forever trying to find new vegetarian recipes – please let me know of any you love. I always feel so much better when we’re eating lots of veggies, and I’ve suddenly come to the realization that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. My grandma was right, after all! Also, I’m having a bit of a love affair with Quorn ‘chicken’ nuggets and southern fried bites right now. THEY. ARE. SO. GOOD.

Kos, June 2017. I can’t wait to experience beautiful sunsets in Croatia this year!

Make plans for the Summer. Speaking from experience, this is a great time of year to book your Summer holiday as during the never-ending dark days, Summer seems like it’s never going to come back again. There’s also often great deals in the January sales! Last year, Matt and I booked our holiday to Kos at the beginning of January, and it brightened up the dark days so much. I think when we first booked I checked our countdown on the TUI app approximately 432 times per day, but I was just so excited. We booked our holiday for this Summer last week and we’re are once again counting down the days! We’re heading to Croatia and staying in the most beautiful hotel, and we’re hoping to book up a mini break in Budapest soon too. I feel so lucky and grateful that we’re able to go on holiday! *Be right back, just checking my countdown on the TUI app…*

Don’t let the dark days be overwhelming. We all know during the Winter months when it’s dark in the morning and dark at night, it’s easy to feel miserable and sluggish. During this time of year, most of us go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, and unless you’re staring out of the office window (who’s got time for that?!) it’s easy to miss the small chunks of daylight we get all together. Matt and I always spend a little time cuddled up in the mornings, having a chat and a giggle together no matter how tired we feel or how miserable it is outside. Simple things like enjoying a cup of tea or glass of orange juice whilst we get ready for the day makes the day off to a better start. If the dark mornings are something that you really struggle with, you can purchase alarm clocks (like this one) that gradually wake you up in the morning with light, similar to daylight in the Spring/Summer months. I secretly like the really dark days when it’s pouring rain… just me?

Moving my body. Exercise is important all year round, but during the Winter months I think it’s even more important to make that extra effort to get the blood pumping around my body. As much as I’d love to be, I’m not a gym person and the thought of spending my evenings in the gym fills me with dread. Instead, I love yoga and how personal it is – I can practice at any time of day, anywhere I choose to (a few sun salutations on my lunch break isn’t weird, okay!) My favourite online instructor is the lovely Adrienne, and if yoga is something you’d like to get into this year I’d highly recommend checking her channel out. Matt and I are finally taking up swimming and we’re hoping to go at least twice per week. We’ve been saying this since we visited Kos back in June as we loved being in the water so much, so I’m proud of us for finally doing it! We love going on long walks and the Winter months are perfect for getting out and exploring; we have the beach on one side of our little town and the countryside on the other, we are SO lucky. I can’t wait to get wrapped up and get outside as much as possible!

Setting goals for the week/month/year ahead. I thrive off having goals and plans, and ticking things off a list is my idea of a good time. Lame, I know. If you are a goal orientated person, I’d highly recommend writing down the things you’d like to achieve this year, maybe the places you want to go and any personal things you’d like to work on. Even if this isn’t typically your style, give it a go! I wrote down all of the things I’d like to achieve this year back in December – I wrote a post including most of those here – and I’ve already put most things into practice. I also have set myself a few blog related goals that I’m hoping to achieve throughout the year. Goals can be anything you’d like to change, improve or work on, and there’s no harm in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Just make sure not to be too hard on yourself if a goal doesn’t work out, it’s another chance to give it time and start again!

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Enjoy indoor activities. I am such a homebody and I definitely feel a little bit excited to spend a few more cosy evenings in the house with Matt. That being said, I also love when the nights are bright, sunny and warm – it’s hard to explain HA! My ideal night in during the cold Winter months involves watching a movie or a few shows on Netflix, and eating a really good meal that we’ve cooked. Then of course, snuggling in together for an early night because we’re 24 going on 84. Use your extra time in the house to organise your space, declutter your wardrobes (you can read my experience on that here) and begin your Spring cleaning early. If you haven’t watched Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix – get on it! You’ll want to stay indoors for DAYS organising and de-cluttering. I know Matt and I will be spending the next few months finding new shows on Netflix, cooking some new dishes and wearing our dressing gowns like our lives depends on it! It’s a great time to pick up a new skill, and if you’re looking to learn how to cook I’d highly recommend beginning now. I’m posting a recipe for our favourite chilli in the next few weeks so be sure to come back and check that out!

Supplementing the lack of Vitamin D. It’s a pretty common fact that in the Winter months most of us Brits are Vitamin D deficient, as there really isn’t much daylight and we don’t see the sun for weeks at a time. It’s important to supplement the lack of Vitamin D as this can have a real impact on your general mood and well being, or at least I find it does. You can get Vitamin D from lots of foods, including eggs and fish, or you can supplement with tablets*. I picked up vitamin D tablets from Sainsbury’s and I’ve been taking them every day. Spending as much time as possible outside when you can during the daylight hours is so good for my health and I’d recommend that over any food/supplements! Whether it’s taking a quick walk on your lunch break or getting out of bed earlier than you’d like to on a Sunday morning, go outside and enjoy how beautiful and still everything is during the colder months!
*Speak to your doctor! NHS recommendations linked here.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and picked up a few ideas of things to implement in your life this January. Do you have any tips or ideas of things we can do to beat the January blues?

-G x