My Current Favourites

Happy Sunday, loves! Today I am sharing with you my beauty and lifestyle favourites, and it’s been a hot minute since I wrote a post like this. I really like chatty, honest favourites posts; they really feel nostalgic to me and I just think it’s so fun to share everything I’ve been loving over the past few months. I took these photos during Matt and I’s stay at Hotel du Vin and I loved how the exposed brick looked so much, I’ve been so excited to share them!

The Flat Lay Co. Makeup Bag
I always store my everyday makeup in a makeup bag because it just makes it so easy! Everything is one place, if Matt and I are travelling or staying at his parents for the night I don’t have to worry about packing everything up, and I love to do my makeup in random places in our bedroom. Is that weird?! I have a vanity table (which was my dream since being a little girl, it still makes me so happy!) but sometimes I really like to sit on my fluffy rug, in front of my full length mirror and get ready. I think it kinda reminds me of high school and having friends stay over all the time, I don’t know why but I enjoy it so much! This makeup bag is genius; it opens up by loosening a drawstring into a large flat circle, and everything is just there right in front of you. No spillages, no rummaging through to find what you need. I love it, I really need to invest in more for travel!

Missoma Amazonite Necklace*
Cute, dainty necklaces are my thing! I love love love Missoma and I always go for silver; because it suits my skin tone best and (I think) I’m allergic to gold. It’s a weird one, ha! This necklace layers perfectly with my initial necklace I wear every single day, and I love the pop of green. Amazonite is a stone that is believed to have physical and emotional healing properties, which honestly is something I could really do with right now as my anxiety has been through the roof!
*similar linked, mine is in silver on a bobble chain but is sold out

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid
My go-to skincare ingredient for the past six months has definitely been hyaluronic acid. Wow. It makes my skin feel/look so plump and smooth, and I’m slowly building my perfect selection of products that just work so well for my skin. I use this every day on top of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and underneath The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Moisture Lotion (another two products I adore) and it makes the most incredible difference to my makeup. My foundation sits better on my face and lasts longer through the day, I don’t get as oily in my T Zone and I just find my skin to look really good even after I take my makeup off. This is a bargain and I really can’t recommend it enough!

The White Company Winter Candle
This is a candle I always purchase during the build up to Christmas, but this was a sweet Christmas present from my boyfriend. I had already burned one through November/December, and I’m so happy to have another to burn in the new year! The scent is so cosy, warm and inviting (kinda just like Christmas, to be honest), and it’s a scent that just makes me feel cosy and happy. I love how simple and pretty the design of their candles are, it looks so lovely whether it’s lit or not. Although the biggest perk has to be that once lit the scent fills our bedroom in minutes and can be smelled long after it’s been blown out!

Daniel Wellington Sheffield Watch
This is an oldie but a goodie for me, I must have bought it at least three or four years ago and it still looks brand spanking new. I used to wear a watch every single day then went through a stage of just not wearing one, and now I’m so back on that bandwagon. I really like the look of a watch; I feel like it dresses up an outfit nicely, is a great compliment to my Pandora bracelet that I wear every day and I also really love the classic rose gold hardware with the black strap. I feel like this watch is really versatile as it goes with everything that I wear, although I LOVE this style too, and I really want to invest in another in the next few months!

Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Treatment Cleanser
I have a whole post coming on this in the next few weeks so I really don’t want to say too much, but this cleanser has changed my life! Seriously! I was SO EXCITED for Jordan Samuel Skin to be released on Cult Beauty (more on that in the upcoming post) and to finally have and use some of his products is just the most exciting thing for me. I really like using this to take off my makeup and it’s also great for a second cleanse every evening; it leaves my skin feeling clean which is a given, but it makes it so incredibly soft, nourished and hydrated. The smell is beautiful, it’s great to travel with and I really love everything about Jordan and his brand. Come back for my full review. I promise I’ve got so much to say on this beauty!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
The one that got away. The one I always go back to. My holy grail mascara. Seriously, I freaking love this stuff. I only buy it a few times per year as I just use Maybelline Lash Sensational in-between (it’s pricey) but every single time I get to use it again I swear I fall in love all over again! The wand is perfect for creating thick, fluffy lashes, and I love how black the mascara is. It doesn’t smudge on me – although if you’ve tried it and it smudges there is also a waterproof option – which is such a huge plus, and I find it really easy to remove without irritating my eyes.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and getting a little look into some of my very favourite things right now! Have you tried any of the products I talked about in this post? Do you love them as much as I do? What are your favourite products of the moment?!

-G x

Meal Planning: The How’s And Why’s

Hi, loves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

My Favourite Lush Products

Happy Sunday, loves!

There’s not too many brands I would consider a ‘favourite’. Of course I have lots of favourite products from varying brands, but it’s not often I love so many products from one brand. One of the very few exceptions to this, is of course Lush. I’ve shopped in Lush since I was 13 and spent my Saturday’s in town with my friends, stretching £20.00 as far as it would go. Like many, my first foray into the world of Lush was bath bombs and bubble bars, and I still use them often now, over ten years later. I’m not as into the gimmicky products (although damn it I want that cute little Easter lamb!) but it still brings me so much joy to use bath bombs and bubble bars. Over the years I’ve turned my boyfriend and mum into self-confessed fans too, and I feel like I’m always recommending products to my friends.

As I’ve got older, I’ve enjoyed seeing what else Lush have to offer other than pretty coloured baths, and I’m slowly working my way through trying a bit of everything. There have been some products that didn’t work for me unfortunately, but for the most part I’ve found amazing products that I love to incorporate into my beauty routine and will re-purchase for years to come. I love the Christmas collections and Snow Fairy is my favourite scent of all time (but, I’m not into the gimmicky things. Remember?) although throughout the year they release so many new, innovative products. I’m currently trying out a few new-to-me items that I haven’t been using long enough to list as a favourite (although I do really love the H’Suan Wen Hua hair mask so far and I’m obsessed with the Sleepy shower gel – thanks to a recommendation from my friend Laura). I’m sure you’ll see them featured on the blog at some point!

Lush have been way ahead of most brands for years, and they are proudly a cruelty-free, vegetarian friendly and environmentally friendly company. They also use ethically sourced, organic ingredients and promote recycling and giving back. Basically, they’re awesome. If you buy products in the black tubs, please please please remember to save your empty tubs! Once you have accumulated five, you can return them to the store to be recycled and/or re-used, and as a bonus you get a free fresh face mask just for being a good egg and helping the environment. That sounds like a win-win to me! Lush employees are so passionate about their jobs and the products they sell, and I always find them to be very informative and helpful. I love shopping in store at Lush so much that I very rarely order online, it’s just such a fun in-store experience!

Sleepy
Body Moisturiser

This is my most recent new-to-me purchase from Lush, and it’s already right up there as one of my ultimate favourite beauty products. I remember when this was first released I smelled it in store, it smelled very strongly of lavender so I wrote it off as being a product that wasn’t for me. Fast forward around a year, Matt and I were browsing in Lush and I decided to test it again, this time I loved the scent and it felt amazing on my hand. It does have lavender flower in there, but as someone who doesn’t really like the smell of lavender, I would say this is very muted and not at all overpowering. It’s also infused with tonka and oatmeal, and is the most delicious, calming scent (that even Matt loves, which says something because he thinks most of my moisturisers are too strongly scented). I’ve used this every night since I purchased, and it’s a very comforting, lovely smell. The moisturiser sinks into my skin and isn’t at all tacky, but keeps my skin soft and moisturised through to the next day.

Rosy Cheeks
Fresh Face Mask

This product has gained cult status within the beauty industry, and it’s not hard to see why. A millenial pink coloured face mask, that smells like roses in a fresh and feminine way and works a treat on sensitive skin. Sold. I use this mask around once per week until I use up a tub, then I always forget to pick up another for a few weeks before dragging Matt back into town for the sole purpose of re-purchasing this. This is a fresh face mask, which means it needs to be stored in the fridge, so it always feels cooling and relaxing when applied to the skin. It works pretty quickly, and I tend to take it off with warm water and a flannel after around 5 – 10 minutes when the mask begins to harden/crack. This mask calms any redness or spots I have and thankfully it doesn’t cause me to have breakouts, which is very rare from a face mask as my skin is super sensitive.

Goddess/Avobath/Butterball
Bath Bomb

I still love bath bombs as much as I did when I was 13 (almost twelve years ago, wow) and I always feel like it’s a real treat to use them. I pick at least one up every time I’m in Lush, although I do try not to use them too often, as I think they’re pretty expensive for a one-use product. I always tend to reach for bath bombs on days I feel a little rubbish and need a pick-me-up, or before a date night when I want to feel a little bit special, and sometimes just because. I always take baths in the evening (people who shower/bath in the morning baffle me – surely those extra minutes are much better spent snoozing and snuggling in bed) and I find it’s a perfect way to unwind ready for the evening. As I mentioned above, I’m not super into the gimmicky products any more, but you can’t beat that feeling of joy seeing pretty colours and glitter swirls fill your bath. My skin always feels softer and smoother post-bath, and I love the varying scents in each option; they’re filled with essential oils. Goddess is my ultimate ‘feel-good’ bath bomb right now, and Avobath and Butterball are go-to’s year round. Matt also loves Butterball, although the first time I bought it for him he said he was ‘disappointed there’s no colour’. Bless.

R&B
Hair Moisturiser

This is an oldie but a goodie, and a product I’ve rediscovered in the past few weeks. Real talk: my hair is in dire need of help; years of bleaching, dying, straightening and too much dry shampoo have finally taken their toll, and I’m a little bit at a loss as to what to do to with it. I’ve been a big fan of piling on hair masks recently and I’ve also enlisted any other product that might make any difference to my dry and frazzled locks. R&B is absolutely a miracle in a pot, and I’m mad at myself for ever stopping using it! I take the smallest amount and rub between my fingers then applying to towel dried hair. I’m trying not to blow dry my hair every day, but my natural hair dries super curly frizzy so it’s like an internal battle every evening. All I want to do post-shower/bath is make dinner and get snuggled up in my comfies with Matthew, without worrying about my hair! I have to admit this product does make my hair much less frizzy (it’s a miracle worker I tell you!) whether it dries naturally or I blow dry it, and my hair looks/feels so much more sleek and smooth. It smells glorious, and it’s one of those scents that lingers in your hair until your next wash.

Rub, Rub, Rub
Body Scrub

If I remember correctly, this was my first non-bath-bomb-or-bubble-bar purchase from Lush a few years back, and I’ve loved it ever since. This scrub is made with sea salt and isn’t harsh on the skin, but I find it does an excellent job of exfoliating and keeping my skin soft. In the warmer months I use this daily, although normally I reach for this around three to four times per week and I always feel so much cleaner when I’ve used it. It makes shaving a breeze, and then after I apply my body moisturiser post-shower my skin is silky smooth! This scrub smells very fresh and citrus-y, it’s always a scent that reminds me of Summer. No other scrub I’ve tried comes close to this, and I know I’ll continue to re-purchase for years to come. This product is multi-use and can also be used in your hair; I use it as a pre-shampoo treatment around once per week and my hair always feels so clean and fresh afterwards. If you try just one new thing from this post, make it this! (And pick up a new bath bomb whilst you’re at it, because well, we all deserve a treat!)

Mask Of Magnaminty
Self-Preserving Mask

I bloody love this mask. I love the consistency, I love that it’s self-preserving (which means it doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge), I love the results it gives and I love the smell! Matt is a huge fan too, and on our pamper evening each week – usually a Sunday if you’re interested. We are such losers, I know – we often reach for this mask. This is great for oily/combination skin, and it works wonders when I’m having a bad skin day. It’s a little thicker than the fresh version, which I was told by a Lush employee is down to having more honey in the formula, but it works just as well, if not better, in my opinion. I find this balances my skin really well, and my skin always feels less oily the first few days after using this. Sometimes I multi-mask between this and Rosy Cheeks, and it’s definitely holy-grail status in my beauty regime. If I can ever feel one of those horrible under-the-skin spots coming on, I reach for this to use as a spot treatment on that area and by the next day things always look and feel so much better. This product is also multi-use and can be used to treat spots on your body.

The Comforter/Creamy Candy
Bubble Bar

Like bath bombs, bubble bars have been a favourite product for 10+ years, yet I always tend to re-purchase my tried and tested favourites. I’m less intrigued by new launches with the bubble bars, as I know I love the smell of these two so much I usually have little desire to try anything new. The exception to this is of course the Christmas themed products, but day-to-day these are the ones I reach for. I always break these up into multiple pieces (way more for your bang for your buck than the bath bombs!) and I get around four to five baths from The Comforter, and two to three from Creamy Candy. PSA: if you’ve never tried a bubble bar before, the way to use these is to crumble a section of the bar under the tap as your bath is running! I’ve seen so many people on Instagram complain about how rubbish the bubble bars are because they threw them in the water, but that’s not how they’re supposed to be used. Matt and I always take a bubble bar with us the few times a year we treat each other to a stay at a fancy shmancy hotel, because surely a gorgeous hotel room with a roll top bath is the best setting for a Lush bath!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite products from Lush? Do you have any must-have items you always re-purchase? Let me know in the comments for my next shopping spree!

-G x