What’s What! #1

Happy Wednesday my loves! I hope you’re all having a great week and staying warm because it’s SO freaking cold outside.

Today’s post might seem a little out of the blue, because it’s a new (kinda) series here on my blog. I posted Feelin’ It Friday posts every week for a long time and I LOVED writing them, but I just felt like they were a little too structured. I felt a lot of pressure to have new things to talk about every single week and sometimes I wouldn’t be happy with what I’d written but felt like I had to post them because it was Friday. I always got messages from people saying they loved those posts and they tried X, Y or Z because of them, but I never wanted them to become too repetitive or boring and so I stopped writing them. This kind of post is pretty much the same format, the only thing that’s changing is my What’s What posts will be posted completely randomly (either on a Wednesday or Sunday because they’re my uploading days). I hope you enjoy the new format and I’m so excited to get into it!

What I’m obsessing over:
Matt and I have had a mini makeover with our bedding and I’m SO happy with how it turned out. I just wanted to insert a little colour as honestly our bedroom was looking super dark and kinda boring, so I wanted to add in a little pink (of course). I got our beautiful throw from Homesense – sorry I can’t find it online at TK Maxx but they had so many pretty ones in store! – and the quirky face pillow at Matalan. The colours in the throw just make me SO happy, and make me want Spring/Summer to be here immediately. I also added another pink cushion since this photo was taken on Sunday but we haven’t had hardly any day light to take photos. I just want one more big cream cushion to complete it! I also really love our fuzzy cream blanket (underneath the throw) that we got around two years at Costco. We have a few of these in different colours and we snuggle up in them every single night to watch TV, and in the Summer we use them as our duvet when it’s really hot out!

What I’m buying:
So in light of last week’s life update, I have just started purchasing new clothes for my new job! Guys I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED to wear cute clothes to work! I can’t wait to dress up a little and feel good about what I’m wearing. I truly believe when you look good you feel good! I’ve only purchased a few pairs of trousers and a couple of tops/blouses so far, but I have a list written out of all the things I’d like to pick up before I start the job, then I’ll add to my work wardrobe each month. I really need some cute ballet flats and maybe I’ll also get a pair of nude loafers that will go with everything! Where do you buy cute work clothes? An old coworker told me to she buys lots of her work clothing from Tesco so I looked the other day whilst grocery shopping… their stuff is so cute! I picked up a pair of grey checked slim fit trousers that I’m so excited to wear. I also really need to get a new work bag and I’m torn between a few from Katie Loxton. I’m stuck between this tote bag, this super cute bucket bag or this slouch bag. Is it wrong to buy them all…? I’m leaning towards the tote bag for work (although I think realistically black is a more practical colour) and the pink bucket bag for… a treat? Just because? Help a gal out!

What I’m burning:
So I have a new love for wax melts! My co-worker has told me how good they are for such a long time but I’ve always been a candle girl and hadn’t really bought into the hype of them. I was grocery shopping after work last week and picked up this cut out heart shaped wax burner, a bunch of tea lights and some Spring/Summer scents from the Scentsationals brand. I started burning Cotton Candy Cloud immediately and wow oh wow, the scent payoff is incredible! It fills our whole bedroom in minutes, and unlike a candle I feel like it keeps it’s same strength the whole time. Now, don’t get me wrong I still love my candles and I’m always going to burn them, but wax melts are such a fun change for me! I can’t wait to try more scents/brands. Do you have any specific ones you’d recommend?!

What I’m reading:
SO MANY BOOKS. I recently read and loved So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter, The Flat Share by Beth Leary, The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy,
Right now I’m reading One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom and guys I’m so invested in the story. I love love love the main character and the sentiment behind the storyline is so sweet, I can’t wait to see what happens and I’m prepared to cry all the ugly tears! Next on my reading list is Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid; I’ve only heard/seen good things so I have super high hopes. I’m so excited to share my Spring Reading List with you all soon because my list of recommendations is HUGE! I got a message from my sweet blogging friend Chloe this week saying I’d inspired her to buy a Kindle and I genuinely felt like a proud mum. Hahahaha. Feeling like you want to be enabled to buy one too? Read my review rave here.

What I’m wearing:
I cannot stop wearing oversized sweatshirts. I’ve purchased tons of vintage sweaters in the past few months and I’m so happy with my little collection. I normally go for vintage Disney or US colleges / national parks / sports teams etc. That’s kind of my new vibe and I love it! I got this Walt Disney World sweatshirt I’m wearing in the photo above from eBay; it’s a men’s size medium so it’s pretty dang big on me but I LOVE that look. I wear it with mom jeans all the time! It was brand new with the tags still attached and I got it for so cheap, I really love buying second hand. I’m putting together a whole blog post about my tips for shopping second hand which will be up in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to share it with you! Also… the vintage Disney sweaters are so cute, I want them all!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I are watching season two of Narcos: Mexico and so far (three episodes in) it’s absolutely as good as the first season! We always get so addicted to the shows and binge watch them too fast though which kinda makes me sad. We’re still watching The Office, we laugh our heads off at every episode and it’s just the perfect feel good show after a long day! And guys… can we talk about the Friends reunion?!? I could pee my pants I’m so excited!!! What do we think will be the plot line? Do we think it’ll be just as funny? I’m pretty sure Ross and Rachel would have gotten married and had more children, and I just can’t wait to find out. Also, I really want to watch Dumplin’ this weekend, have you seen it? Would you recommend for a chilled evening in?! Matt’s heading up to Edinburgh to visit one of his best friends who recently moved there so I’m flying solo on Saturday night! I also have A Cinderella Story on my to watch list because I just found out it’s on Netflix and it’s one of my favourite movies! Is it so sad I’m already excited to pick him up from the train station on Sunday afternoon? He hasn’t even gone yet hahaha.

What beauty product I’m recommending:
An oldie but a goodie, I just can’t tell you how much I love this product. Do I actually think it helps me get a better nights sleep? No. Because my sleeping pattern is terrible and I spend at least two hours in the middle of every night staring at the ceiling whilst Matt snoozes happily cuddled into me. I swear I have insomnia on some level! BUT, I do bloody love this product. My favourite ever evening moisturiser that I only use once or twice a week is Sleepy from Lush; it’s a vanilla/lavender scent but it’s not at all overpowering, and it’s so dang moisturising! I really would love to use it every evening but it’s a lil’ spenny y’know?! The scent does make me feel really calm and relaxed and it’s just really comforting to me, I don’t think anyone would regret buying this for a little luxury in their evening routine!

What I’m looking forward to:
I just am so excited for Spring! Spring means lighter days, warmer weather and new beginnings… like my new job! I really am so terrified/nervous but I’m pushing past it to focus on all the exciting things that come with a big change like this. I really am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and I just want to do #allthethings that make me happy. I’m genuinely so excited for warm weather, I cannot wait until I can leave the house without my huge parka coat! I’m really an Autumn kinda gal but this year something in me is so excited about all things Spring and Summer.

Thank you so much for reading friends! What has been going on in your life? What are you loving right now? Also, please help me with the bag options… which would you pick?!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

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

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

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

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

The Beauty Bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clothing & Accessories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x