Christmas In Edinburgh

Hi, loves! This past Saturday Matt and I headed up to Edinburgh for a fun little day trip to explore one of our favourite cities, finish up on a little extra holiday shopping and… well… eat all of the food (and drink all of the Irn Bru)! We live in the North of England and we are very used to the cold weather, but oh my gosh it was so freezing cold up in Scotland. Which, to be fair, I guess that’s to be expected in December! Matt and I have a tradition to visit a new city’s Christmas markets each year. Back in 2017 we headed to York, then last year we went to Manchester. It was so fun to see another city and how they do Christmas! We of course visit our hometown Christmas markets which are beautiful, but they’re not a patch on some other cities. Spoiler: Edinburgh is our favourite Christmas market we’ve visited so far! 🙂

We started our day bright dark and early, and we just had to make a Starbucks trip as soon as we got to the train station. As much as I love the holiday themed drinks at Starbucks/Costa, I opted for my ‘usual’ cold weather drink: an extra hot, hot chocolate with two pumps of vanilla and almond milk. It’s delish!

Hahahaha. We were going past Newcastle United’s training ground at the time I took this, look at his face!

I love you so much 🙂

The very second we came out of the train station we headed straight to H&M to buy gloves and an umbrella for Matt! He forgot to bring a hat (but ended up buying a cute lil Barbour cap during our day, I LOVE it on him. It’s very Peaky Blinders haha!) We got a SHOCK when we came out into the fresh air because it was so freezing cold, our cheeks and noses were instantly red! I was super toasty in my coat though #bestbuyever.

I’m so drawn to colorful wool patterns and Tartan is my JAM.

I have no words how amazing these pancakes are, I didn’t want to share with Matt, hahaha! There were ten little pancakes in the tray, smothered with Nutella and white chocolate that melted in and made the most delicious litle treat ever! I want to eat it again right now.

After walking all round the markets, we headed to wander around a few shops. We went into a store called Kingdom Of Sweets and found all of the Tony’s flavours…

…and best of all… USA Mountain Dew!!! The Mountain Dew we can buy here is really naff and just not the same at all. I was so excited to see these that I didn’t even care they were £1.99 each! We got three Mountain Dew’s and one Exotic Fanta for Matt. I couldn’t BELIEVE the price of Freddo’s! Like, what the HECK?!

The streets throughout Edinburgh are GORGEOUS, especially when decorated for Christmas. The streets by The Dome are our very favourite and they have the best shops, including so many that we don’t have here in Newcastle. I really wish I had taken photos in Harvey Nichol’s because it was just so pretty in there.

We HAD to make a stop at Anthropologie! Look how beautiful!

I was literally in love with these coasters. I bought one in a teal/dark green shade and Matt got me one in this light blue to put in my stocking! I just think they’re so pretty 🙂

Another shop we stopped by was Oliver Bonas. I’m dreaming of this sweet chest in our future home! How GORGEOUS!?

Many shops later, we stopped for lunch at All Bar One. We do have one of these in Newcastle that just opened a few months ago, but we haven’t had chance to visit yet. We ate breakfast here two years ago so it was really nice to come back! Matt got Tennent’s and I got Irn Bru… #wheninScotland. We also had delicious food and the atmosphere is just so lovely in there! It’s relaxed but busy, and just feels so homely and cosy. Matt went for a burger and I opted for mac n cheese, we were so happy, warm and full when we left!

We did have another little look around the markets, then headed up to the castle! The streets on the way up are so quaint and cute, I feel like they’re very ‘typically British’ and so photogenic. We’re so lucky that where we live in Northumberland has so many pretty castles and places of history, but I LOVE Edinburgh Castle so much. It absolutely beautiful and on a clear day you can see for miles!

The most handsome man I ever did see 🙂

I’m SO glad it wasn’t windy up there…

Matt may or may not have added this bottle of whisky to his Christmas List. I’m pretty sure Father Christmas will NOT be getting that memo!

A candid at the top of the very windy hill.

We sent this shirt photo to Debbie (Matt’s mum) to ask her opinion on whether or not Matt should get it. I loved it, Matt liked it, Debbie loved it. We bought it! He’s going to be wearing this on Christmas Day 🙂 …if you’re looking for a last minute gift, anything from Ted Baker is a WINNER. Matt wears Ted Baker shirts for so many occasions, and they’re such high quality.

More market wandering… more drinking inside the log cabins to warm the F up… we also grabbed Bailey’s hot chocolates but our hands were too freezing to take photos. They were really good, but we can do make better at home!

SO pretty!

The Dome lit up for Christmas is just SO STUNNING! If you get chance to visit Edinburgh at Christmas, do it!

After a little more wandering/browsing/shopping we headed to a bar (I’m pretty sure it was called The Refinery?) for a few drinks. Pints and gins all round! This was such a cute bar, it’s definitely Matt and I’s kind of vibe.

…just before we made a dash to Sainsbury’s to buy drinks/snacks for the train home we got a photo outside of the Tipi. How gorgoeus is this star!? I love this photo. And Matthew, I love you so much 🙂

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our little festive trip and seeing what we got up to. Have you ever visited Edinburgh at Christmas? Which are the best Christmas markets you’ve visited this year? I so wish we could have stayed for a whole weekend, we definitely want to visit again next year.

-G x

Christmas Movie Night: Hot Chocolate & The Best Treats

Hi, loves! Christmas movies are my very favourite type of movie to watch, and honestly the cheesier the better! They just bring me so much joy, and I really want Matt and I to watch as many as we can possibly squeeze in over the rest of the holiday season. If you’re anything like us you’ll agree a movie night (Christmassy or otherwise) is not complete without delicious treats, and I thought it would be a fun idea to share our favourites with you all! If you’re as obsessed with chocolate as much as we are I then I’m sorry you’re going to want to eat all of this, and also… you’re welcome! Tis the season, after all 😊

Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying to eat all of these things together, nor do I recommend it. This is just a selection of Matt and I’s most favourite treats and there’s a very chocolatey theme. Which is the best kind of theme, right? They are treats for a reason… to be enjoyed in moderation. 

I wanted to share with you our two favourite snacks we make at this time of year; they’re super quick and easy and would also make for perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbours or co-workers! If you want to spread a little holiday cheer this season, homemade treats tied with a cute ribbon are a great way to go. 

Peppermint Bark

I shared this recipe on my blog last year, but I’m giving you the run down again in 2019! This bark easily refrigerates for a few days so you can make a huge batch in one go and store in Tupperware. Although in our house, this is eaten in literally minutes.

Shopping List:
Milk chocolate (Galaxy is the best to melt)
White chocolate (we like Milkybar!)
Coconut oil
Peppermint oil
Candy canes

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Place candy canes (we use around five per baking tray size slab of bark) into a zip loc bag, seal and break up lightly with a rolling pin. Make sure to break the bigger chunks down as much as possible so it is easier to eat!
  3. Melt milk chocolate in microwave or over boiling water on the hob – we just melt in the microwave as it’s so quick. I find microwaving on full power for 40 seconds, stirring then repeating until the chocolate is fully melted is the best way to do this.
  4. Add four to five drops of peppermint oil into melted chocolate, stir well and spread over the lined baking tray. It’s personal preference if you’d rather have this layer thick or thin, it just depends how much bark you want to make. 
  5. Melt white chocolate in the same way as before, then spread thickly over the top of the melted milk chocolate. Sometimes we drizzle it over to create a pattern, or we just smooth over to make a second layer. Again, this is just personal preference. 
  6. Scatter crushed pieces of candy cane over the top whilst the white chocolate is still melted and warm. 
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge for around 30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. 
  8. Break up into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re based in the UK and don’t fancy making peppermint bark this year, you can finally buy it from Costco! Ghiradelli isn’t usually sold in Costco but for some reason this year they are stocking PLENTY and I am here for it. Ghiradelli is my favourite brand of chocolate and usually something I stock up on when I’m in the US (and beg my friends/family to do so, too!) so I was beyond excited to find it in store. *jumps in the car to buy all the bags*

*Image from Pinterest. I haven’t had time to make any to take photos, but I’ll definitely be making some this week which I’ll share in my Feelin’ It Friday post!

Pretzel Bites 

These take less than 20 minutes to make – including ‘cooking’ time – and they are truly little bites of heaven. I got this idea from a Bethany Mota YouTube video about six years ago and have made them ever since, they’re a Finn family favourite! I also think these bites would be so easy to make and have little children ‘help’ you. Matt and I LOVE sweet and salty flavours mixed together, and this treat combines both!

Shopping List:
Small salted pretzels
Chocolate of your choice – either a square if you’re using a bar, or buttons work really well
M&M’s

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking tray with foil, then place pretzels in rows on the tray. 
  3. Place one piece of chocolate/chocolate button in the centre of each pretzel, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fully melted. The chocolate will mould over the pretzel shape and will be gooey to touch. 
  4. Place an M&M in the centre of the chocolate and push down lightly. 
  5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until the chocolate hardens, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate

…it wouldn’t be a Christmas movie night without a delicious hot chocolate, right? Hot chocolate is my go-to treat during the colder months (well honestly, all the months!) and I love experimenting with different flavours. My favourite ever hot chocolate is Swiss Miss (either original or with marshmallows – this pack has both!) and Matt loves Cadbury’s, but I really love to try new brands, and thankfully Matt is happy to drink whatever I buy/make! I found some Starbucks brand and Silly Cow Farms options in Homesense and they are both SO good, although definitely more of a treat as they’re not readily available here in the UK and are way more expensive.

Hot chocolate spoons are such a fun way to make hot chocolate, and they’re so aesthetically pleasing if you’re involving your friends and family too! Matt and I picked these up from Whittard’s to add as stocking fillers in a few gifts this year, and also got some for ourselves. The taste is so luxurious and rich, they’re just a very indulgent treat! Matt LOVES Bailey’s and adding a splash of Bailey’s to his hot chocolate in the evening is one of his very favourite things.

I don’t like coffee and tea isn’t really something you can ‘add’ to, so I really appreciate there are so many different flavours to change up your hot chocolates with. We always make our hot chocolates with either Alpro almond or Alpro coconut milk – honestly just whichever we have open, I tend to alternate each time I do our grocery shopping – and it makes the drink so creamy! Hot chocolate made with water just isn’t the same to me. Matt loves whipped cream and marshmallows, whereas I’m happy with a candy cane and maybe just a few marshmallows! (I definitely went WAY overboard on the marshmallows for the photo… #doitfortheblog LOL) I also really love adding candy canes to our hot chocolate because they give the best peppermint taste.

If you’re having friends or family round this holiday season setting up a DIY hot chocolate station is such a sweet idea. You could even make hot chocolate in the CrockPot, and then leave a range of items out so people can customise exactly how they want theirs to be. I’d definitely leave out candy canes, various sized/flavoured marshmallows, whipped cream, honeycomb, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter and of course festive mugs! I think this is an especially fun idea for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning.

So, now we have ALL of the treats prepared there’s just one more thing to decide… which movie should we choose?! I’ve listed below some of our favourites, and most of them are movies we go back to every. single. year. 

Elf
Miracle On 34th Street
Home Alone 1 & 2
The Santa Clause
Santa Claus 1 & 2
The Grinch
Christmas With The Kranks
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Love Actually
Last Christmas – go see this for your Christmas date night, it’s SO good!
Deck The Halls
*ALL of the cheesy Hallmark movies*

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little chocolatey Christmassy inspiration for your next movie night! Let me know if you make any of the Christmas treats in this post, and if you do I hope you love them! Do you love all things chocolate as much as we do? What’s your favourite chocolatey treat? Also, please leave any movie recommendations below! 🙂

-G x

AD | What’s In My Bag?

AD – this post contains gifted content sent to me to feature on my blog. Please read my full disclaimer here for more information

Happy, happy Sunday loves! I am so very excited to share today’s post with you because these kind of posts are some of my favourite to write, and I also love to read them from others. I’ve watched What’s In My Bag videos on YouTube since I can remember, and it’s something I genuinely feel SO INVESTED in. I last shared what’s in my bag back in January, and although it’s not changed up too much I thought it was about time I shared my current must-haves with you. I love to see what other people carry with them on a day-to-day basis, maybe I’m just super nosy?! Whatever it is, it scratches an itch I can’t explain and I just find it so fascinating to see what people class as their must-have items.

I’ve spoken about my love of backpacks, particularly when travelling, before on my blog, and they’re so handy in everyday life too. First of all, they are super practical; you have both hands free! This means holding hands with your partner, carrying your drink (the new Starbucks’ toasted marshmallow hot chocolate for the holidays is a game changer!) or browsing rails whilst shopping is so easy. Secondly they are so spacious and adaptable to any outfit or ocassion. Thirdly… my backpack is so. dang. pretty.

I was able to choose the beautiful Parlän backpack in black *gifted from the lovely guys over at Gaston Luga and I can’t tell you how much I love it! Gaston Luga are a Swedish brand, based in Stockholm, manufacturing backpacks for both men and women. I truly love their designs; they are very chic yet classic and timeless, which makes them the perfect accessory that never goes out of style. I am so happy and grateful Gaston Luga wanted to collaborate with me! I know by now you’ve swooned over the photos, clicked on the link and are dying to purchase your own… just wait, because I have the PERFECT discount code for you to get money off your order!

I really want to share my thoughts on my favourite features of the Parlän backpack. First of all; the two outside pockets are super handy for items you need to grab easily like lip balm or car keys. There’s a slip pocket on the back of the bag that fits a passport or card holder which is so practical, especially for travelling. How often do you worry about losing things like that in busy airports?! I am obsessed with the red fabric interior of the bag; it has the Gaston Luga logo printed all over which is a gorgeous touch. Inside, the backpack is SO roomy! You can easily fit more than I have inside right now, which makes it perfect for travel or long days out of the house, but also a brilliant option for work or running errands. There’s even a pocket at the back with a magnetic closure that fits my iPad mini just perfectly. One more thing… the buckle closure on the top of the bag is for show! It does actually open like a regular buckle, but there’s a secret little press stud underneath which makes it very convenient to open.

…So, what’s inside?!

I of course always have my purse in my bag, which is a must! Right now I’m using this Kate Spade purse (that I actually stole from my mum about a year ago and still haven’t gave back… sorry mum!) which is the perfect size. It fits all my cards, cash and coins with ease. I also always keep my pill in there so I know where it is and it’s easily accessible as I take it every day. I loved my old YSL card holder so much but after four years it’s really looking worn and kinda gross. I’m planning on treating myself to a new card holder in the Black Friday sale as I generally prefer using a card holder instead of a purse. I’m not sure if I’m going to go for this one from Aspinal or this one from Mulberry… please help me!

I generally keep my car & house keys on the top of my bag or in the front pockets as I’m always in and out of my car. The only time I don’t take my keys with me is the rare weekend day Matt is off work and we’re out for the whole day, because he’s always the driver! I love to keep my keys on a lanyard for two reasons; it makes my keys super easy to find, and it also makes them easier to carry around. I really love this leopard print one, it’s the cutest!

One of my favourite things in my bag is my iPad Mini; I keep this with me because it makes blogging on the go really convienent, and I love to watch my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m cooking dinner. Whether we’re at home or Matt’s parents in the evening, it just means I always have it with me! I also currently read books on my iPad Mini so I always want to make sure it’s accessible to read on my lunch break or during the evenings. Matt is gifting me an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite this Christmas and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it, I can’t WAIT!

I of course keep super boring things in my bag each day too; including an iPhone wall charger and a portable charger – you know, just so I’m really covered, my pink Stojo collapsible cup (it’s literally the best invention EVER), an emergency Cadbury’s bar because your girl gets hangry and my Tangle Teezer. I’ve had this one for so long it’s seriously time to replace it! One of my favourite things in my bag is my worry stone, Matt has one too and it just brings me a lot of comfort when I’m feeling anxious. I also sometimes keep my umbrella in my bag but it generally lives in the side of my car door for easy access. Which always seems like a great idea until I’m going to the car in the rain!

I like to keep things organised inside pouches so things don’t roll loosely around my bag and this beautiful Oliver Bonas makeup bag is my newest purchase that I’m so happy with. It’s just the cutest dang colour, and the small bee design makes my heart so happy! I’m scared of bees in real life (just because I’ve never been stung before and I don’t want to be) but I think they’re so cute in design. Weird, I know! This pouch easily fits in my beauty essentials – and some non-essentials) that I like to have on hand whilst out and about during the day or at work.

I am obsessed with anything from Bath & Body Works, and as we don’t have one here in the UK I buy via a Facebook selling page. The prices are generally quite reasonable, albeit more expensive than in the US, but the products are just so. dang. good. I’m finishing up the last of my Fall hand cream in the scent Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, and my hand sanitizer in -. I can’t wait to purchase some festive scents in the next few weeks!

I love fragrances, so I like to carry two with me just in case. My most used rollerball perfume is without a doubt MAC Turquatic, I replace this every couple of months because I go through it so fast! It’s perfect for any occasion and I always get compliments on it, I’ve worn it since I was a teenager! I also really love Dior’s Blooming Bouquet roller pearl which is ideal for evenings or weekends; it’s another of my favourite scents. I don’t carry many makeup bits with me these days but I do always have my MAC Next To Nothing compact (sadly discontinued) with me, along with my eyebrow pencil and concealer.

Lip balm is a must for me at all times of the year, but right now it’s even more important to carry! My go-to is Nuxe Reve de Miel, although it’s not unusual for me to carry at least three with me at any time. To be fair, Matt is always borrowing my lip balm, too! My current favourite lipsticks are always on hand; MAC Jubilee, Clinique Bare Pop and Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. I always carry Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillowtalk lip liner too as it goes with pretty much all of my lipsticks – it’s seriously such a good buy.

Then I have all of the random ‘bits and bobs’ in my pouch. I carry my MoonCup (because I know some people will be wondering… it’s very new to me. The jury is still out on what I think – although I’m genuinely considering writing a blog post about my experience with it so far. Is that TMI? Or is that helpful?!), tampons – just in case as like I said the MoonCup is very new to me, bobby pins, a few pairs of contact lenses, extra invisibobbles, ibuprofen and my favourite scrunchie from Topshop. Sometimes, especially at the end of a long work day, all I want to do is get my hair out of my face and I love scrunchies because you literally can’t feel them in your hair! I tend to wear my glasses most work days, and make the most of my contact lenses at the weekends. If I’m not wearing my glasses they need to be in my bag, just incase! My glasses are from Ted Baker and I just love so much, they’re so cute. Matt totally copied and got the mens version of my style, hah!

Are you in love with this backpack too?! Or are you wanting to buy it as a Christmas gift for your favourite lady this year? I’ve got you covered! You can use my discount code GF15 for 15% off across the whole website. Also, if you order between now and November 13th (that’s this Wednesday, guys!) they are having a sale for Singles Day. This means you get 25% discount automatically applied at checkout, then you can use my code GF15 for a further 15% off. What a bargain!

Thank you for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, isn’t it so fun having a nosy inside other people’s bags?! I know I carry an awful lot but… I like to be prepared. For dry lips and phones losing power. HA! What are your must-haves in your bag every day? Also, have you ever seen a cuter backpack?! Thank you so much to Gaston Luga… and happy shopping!

-G x

73 Questions: Vogue Parody

Hi, loves! Back in July the lovely Abbie tagged me to complete the 73 questions: Vogue parody tag and I’ve just never had a gap in my blogging schedule where I could fit it in… until today. Tags like this make my heart happy because it reminds me of the old Bebo and Facebook days where you’d fill out 101 questions, and I used to love filling them out.

I thought this would be so fun to do just before my Christmas content begins (next Wednesday, guys! YAY!) and it’s another little way to share more of me and my personality with my readers which can never be a bad thing, right? Be sure to check out Abbie’ tag here; she’s one of my very favourite bloggers and I wish she’d post more… hint hint, Abs! 🙂

1.What’s your usual Starbucks drink?
I really love an extra hot hot chocolate, with a pump of vanilla and almond milk. Boring, but so good.

2. What does your work station look like?
At work my desk is organised chaos. I don’t have much space so things just get piled on top of each other, but it works for me. Like, I know where everything is. For the most part, ha!

3. All-time favourite food?
Mac n cheese or mashed potatoes! I also really love pizza, Chinese food, Sunday roasts, donuts and chicken parm. HAHA so nothing healthy!

4. Favourite author?
Right now I’d probably say Taylor Jenkins-Reid. I really love Jojo Moyes and Susan Lewis too. I pick books more on the genre and reviews than the author, though.

5. What do you think of open relationships?
It’s not something that Matt and I would ever do, but whatever makes people happy is great.

6. What’s your favourite video game?
I don’t play video games. Although I feel like I’m always watching Matt play FIFA…

7. What’s your guilty pleasure treat?
Pick n mix! I love having a little mixture of everything 🙂 also if Matt or I have had a bad day (or y’know… just because) we love a late night McFlurry run.

8. Your favourite movie?
I love E.T sooooo much. And anything Disney of course!

9. Favourite book?
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?
I’m not really sure on advice, but my favourite quote is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” – AA Milne

11. Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram for sure! I especially love Instagram stories because they’re more casual and you can post whatever.

12. Are you a desktop or a laptop person?
Laptop. I love love love my MacBook Pro.

13. What projects are you working on right now?
I really have so much fun content planned for my blog all the way until the end of the year 🙂 I can’t wait to share it all with you!

14. What’s your favourite colour?
Pink.

15. Did you get good grades in school?
I did, but I didn’t go to university because I didn’t want to.

16. Dream job?
I’d LOVE to own a florists. I know nothing about flowers, it just is a pie-in-the-sky dream! I also would love one day to run my blog as a full time job, but I don’t think that would ever happen for real.

17. Played any sports?
I danced and played netball when I was younger. Now… is shopping a sport?

18. Do you have a degree?
Nope.

19. Nationality?
British.

20. What’s your favourite type of blog post to write?
I really love Weekend In My Life recaps because they’re my favourite to look back on to re-live memories! Also, I enjoy anything beauty related and I’m so happy to now be sharing more about books/reading.

21. What do you like to collect?
Literally anything and everything Disney! I collect things from Matt and I’s dates, concerts, trips, holidays, dinners and really anything we do. Also mugs! I LOVE MUGS.

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?
I’m always cold.

23. If you were a rapper, what would your rapper name be?
I certainly wouldn’t be a rapper, hahaha.

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?
My friend, Grace.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?
An Amazon Kindle Paperwhite… which Matthew is getting me for Christmas and I’m super excited about 😍 I feel so lucky/spoiled!

26. Sorting House?
Matt and I aren’t really ‘in the know’ with Harry Potter. Starting this week we’re watching one movie per week though, I’m very excited.

27. How many tattoos do you have?
Zero.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?
Matthew, our families and our friends. And of course our jobs, cars, and our fun little life we’ve made together!

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
It’s only November 3rd as I’m writing this, but yesterday I received the most insane gift from Gaston Luga. I already posted a sneak peek on Instagram stories but I’m so excited to share it with you on the blog on Sunday! 🙂

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Matt and I had the perfect lazy Sunday morning, I ordered this beautiful wool scarf from & Other Stories and when Matt gets home from work (he had to pop in for two hours) we’re going for dinner with our friends Nathan and David in a few hours… so everything!

31. What’s the best thing ever?
Cold evenings at home with my love; post Lush bath with our Himalayan pink salt lamp lit, cosy scented candles burning and watching TV under all of the snuggly blankets. And maybe a Chinese takeaway!

32. Favourite season?
Autumn. Always.

33. Favourite holiday?
Christmas!! I LOVE everything about Christmas, I’m so excited for the festivities to begin over the next few weeks!

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
Rachel Green from Friends. I’m a little bit of a pushover, shopping is my favourite thing (apart from Matthew), I’m kinda ditzy and I’d do anything for those close to me.

35. Do you like surprises?
I love giving people surprises, but I hate receiving them!

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?
When I was 16 (or 17?) my family was going on holiday with my best friend (Hannah)’s family – something we’d done a few times before – but this time Hannah couldn’t make it because she had to work. I was gutted but obviously still excited about a holiday with everyone else. We were checking in at the airport and Hannah’s dad was joking he was going to ring her to wind her up and tell her we wished she was there, I obviously said no that’s mean but he called anyway. Then she walked up behind us talking on the phone and said oh well, I guess I’d better come then! I was literally gobsmacked and didn’t speak for like… five minutes. Which is a long time for me!

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?
…I cry even when Matt brings pick n mix home for us. Hahahaha. What can I say? I’m a crier!

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?
I think when I took Matt to Dublin for his birthday last year! He was so excited.

39. Do you like muffins?
YES! I love blueberry muffins because if a muffin contains fruit it’s a breakfast food. Right?

40. Do you cook often?
Pretty much every night! I love to cook, it’s something Matt and I learned together and I just find it to be so fun.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
If Matt and I are splitting it, probably a cheesecake or bannoffee pie. If we’re getting our own, I always go for apple crumble and custard!

42. Is there a dessert you dislike?
Anything with raisins. Ew.

43. Cake or pie?
I love apple pie or rhubarb pie, but overall I’d rather have cake. Specifically red velvet cake, if you’re wondering.

44. What’s your least favourite food?
I like most foods but I can’t bare raw onion or raw carrot.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?
BBQ sauce or firecracker sauce!

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?
Matt and I are OLD and there’s no way we’d be awake at 4am on a Saturday night. Also… isn’t that technically Sunday morning?!

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?
How To Pretend You’ve Got Your Sh*t Together.

48. Best animated film?
Ahhh this is a hard one. I love Up and Inside Out!

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?
Matt just always made me laugh SO HARD even before we started dating or got together.

50. The best thing to do on a first date?
On Matt and I’s first date we drove two hours south to York, which was SUCH a fun idea and we really got to know so much about each other!

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?
Going to the movies. Who wants to sit in silence for two hours and try to eat popcorn quietly?!

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?
I don’t really like things like that. Thank God Matt didn’t try it!

53. Best comic book character?
I’ve literally got no idea who any comic book characters are.

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?
Come back on Sunday to find out 😉 haha, that was a perfect question!

55. Favourite drink?
My all time favourite drink is Mountain Dew, but only the one you can buy in America/Canada. Every time any of my family or friends go to the US or Canada they bring me back as many bottles as they can and I’m so grateful for that! I literally treasure them and drink them so sparingly, hahaha. But day-to-day… I’ve been obsessed with Diet Coke since I can remember. Literally, obsessed! I don’t even know how many cans Matt and I drink in a day, how bad is that?!

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?
Audrey Hepburn.

57. Kittens or puppies?
Puppies.

58. Tell me your favourite sushi roll?
I don’t like sushi.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?
So many! I love love love lipstick. My favourites right now are Clinique Bare Pop, MAC Jubilee and MAC Syrup. They’re all so wearable for every day and look super pretty.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?
Right now I’m back to using Estee Lauder Double Wear. I can never stay away for too long!

61. Blow dry or air dry?
I only really wash my hair at night, so I let my hair air dry whilst I do my skincare routine and prepare dinner, then usually blow dry it whilst dinner is cooking.

62. Who is your fashion icon?
Stacey Dooley and Emma Hill.

63. Favourite Disney Character?
Winnie The Pooh.

64. What are you doing tomorrow?
I’m working, then Matt and I are having a cosy night in watching the last two episodes of Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over.

65. A movie you laughed the hardest through?
Bridesmaids makes me die laughing every time!

66. A movie that made you cry?
Oh god. SO many. The Notebook, Titanic, My Sister’s Keeper, Marley & Me, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, PS I Love You. Any cheesy Christmas Hallmark movie. I’m a crier, okay!

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?
Ed Sheeran, obviously!

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?
I’m so bad at things like this, I’ve no idea.

69. What’s your favourite animal?
I love love love penguins.

70. Favourite illustrator?
Is it so bad that I don’t know any names?

71. A person you want to have coffee with?
Stacey Dooley. I seriously love her.

72. What country do you wish to visit?
I can’t wait to explore Canada one day with Matthew! We’re hoping to go to Krakow in January/February next year and I’m SO EXCITED, even though it’s going to be super cold I think it’ll be such an incredible place to visit.

73. Best way to decompress?
A nice, hot Lush bath with my book. And cuddles, obvs.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post fun and interesting, and got to know some things about me you maybe didn’t know before. I tag any blogger reading this; I’d love to see what you have to say! Especially Savannah at Savannah Said It; I just love her content so much. Have you done this tag? Please leave your links below, I’d love to read!

-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