Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

Happy Sunday, loves! Self care is something that is discussed in great detail, but it’s often linked directly to beauty treatments and pampering yourself. That’s not to say I don’t love a pamper night because – let’s be real, I DO! – and that’s something I make sure to incorporate into my life at least once per week, but I think there’s so many other ways you can hit that self care button and relax at the same time.

We live in a world where we’re so connected via iMessage and social media, and it’s really become difficult to let ourselves and our minds unwind. Most of us spend at least forty hours per week at work, and during that time our minds can be so wired and frantic with everything we need to get done we don’t allow ourselves time to stop. My blog is something I do in my ‘free’ time, but as I talked about in my October goals post, I was losing the barrier between ‘free’ time and any time I wasn’t at work. I felt like I needed to be constantly working on my blog whether it was writing posts, taking photos, editing photos, reading other blogs, trawling social media or just brainstorming ideas and it became so hard to let my mind escape and just enjoy being at home. I’ve been feeling extremely anxious over the past few months and it’s something I’m really struggling with right now. As a result, I’ve been trying to find all of the things that make me feel less anxious and focus on those, rather than trying to identify why I feel anxious in the first place!

Something Matt and I have prioritized more and more recently is unwinding each evening/weekend we aren’t at work. I often take a little time whilst he’s at work (either early morning, after I get home during the week or whilst he’s in on a weekend) to do all of my blog work, and I’m feeling way happier and less stressed out by giving myself some ‘me’ time back. I made a promise to both Matt and myself a long time ago that I’d not work on my blog whilst we were having chill time at home, and it’s really important to me that I stick to that.

I’m such a homebody at heart but Matt would often rather be out; we compromise on this by usually spending a little more time at home during the week, and a little more time out of the house doing fun things at the weekend. Being a homebody means I relish in all things cosy; candles, fuzzy blankets, comfy pj’s and dressing gowns are up there with my all time favourite items ever, and I just love every opportunity Matt and I get for a cosy night at home. Also, you don’t need to have a ton of time to enjoy the cosiness of being at home; often by the time we get home from work, cook and eat dinner, shower/bathe etc it could easily be 8pm! It’s about being intentional with the time you do have, and being able to roll your to-do list over to the next day.

Here’s a few little things I suggest doing at least a few times per week to help you unwind, relax and enjoy being at home.

Clean your space. I can’t really explain how or why, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on this one: when my space is clean, I feel happier. This is the same for my home and my car; I just need my environment to be welcoming and as clutter free as possible. I pick up our room several times per week which takes all of five minutes in the mornings, then I fully deep clean once per week. Putting on fresh sheets, hanging clothes away, vacuuming, dusting etc just makes the whole room feel more cosy and inviting, and it always makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment. We’re big believers in the fact a bedroom needs to be a happy, comforting space; it’s so important to allow yourself to fully rest at home!

Light a candle. Okay so I’m sure so many of you will already know this, but I’m obsessed with candles. Obsessed. I love love love the cosy pumpkin scents for Fall right now, and I’m genuinely concerned at how often I think about purchasing another. Ha! I feel so calm and at peace with candles burning and our pink Himalayan rock salt lamp on; it gives our bedroom the most beautiful warm pink glow and makes my heart happy.

Put down your phone. One of the best things you can do to unwind from work, friends, peers, a bad day etc is to just put down your phone. Leave it charging in another room or preferably another floor of the house and be in the moment. Matt and I always try to do this when we’re out for dinner too; so many times on date night you’ll see the couple more interested in their phones than each other. Other than maybe taking a quick snap of our food we don’t put the focus on our phones. We’re really working on not having our phones in bed at all; every night we were brushing our teeth, getting cosy in bed, then sitting on our phones for at least ten minutes just scrolling through our socials. It’s gross how attached we all our to our phones; as much as I love technology, I sometimes really despise it too!

Listen to music or a podcast. Our Amazon Echo Dots are some of our most favourite ever items we own, and we make use of them every single day! We sleep with Alexa Sleep Sounds on every night (we alternate between Matt’s favourite, ocean sounds, and my favourite, thunderstorm sounds) and it’s truly made a difference to how we sleep. We sometimes play music whilst we tidy up or get ready in the mornings, and it’s just a fun way to occupy ourselves that doesn’t involve being on our phones. I also listen to podcasts almost every time I’m driving (it’s either a podcast or Disney music, there’s no in-between!) and I find them such a fun addition to my day.

Head for a breakfast/dinner date. Going for breakfast is hands down one of Matt and I’s favourite hobbies. Breakfast food is our favourite, it’s generally way less crowded, and we still have the whole rest of our day to get a bunch of things done. We also love dinner dates because getting dressed up together, having a few glasses of wine and making the most of date night is such a treat to us! I think it’s so important to take time for food dates with your partner, your friends and your family – both Matt and I’s families love to go out for meals and it’s something I really am grateful for.

Take a hot bath. The ultimate self care treat for me personally is a hot bubble bath. Pile in your favourite Lush products, light an aromatherapy candle and allow yourself to disconnect from the world for thirty minutes at least an hour. A bubble bath can seriously make up for any crap work day, and you’ll never regret taking time out of your day for that. I’ll be sharing my favourite self care Sunday pamper routine on the blog in a few weeks!

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and your book. Ah, a book and a cuppa… that is my idea of bliss. If we’re having a lazy weekend morning in bed Matt likes to watch various football shows on Amazon Prime (he’s currently watching Sergio Ramos documentary which is all in Spanish… I mean…) and I’m so happy to curl up with my iPad and read before we get ready for the day. I also am a huge fan of sleepy time teas before bed; they really do make you feel a little more relaxed and ready for sleep, and reading a book is a great way to unwind before bed. Matt is not a reader at all which hurts my heart a little bit, but I just keep telling hime he hasn’t found the right books yet!

Watch your favourite shows. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your love and watching the series you’re both invested in? No, there is not! Matt and I often watch several shows at a time, and then incorporate the odd movie or documentary into that too. Strictly Come Dancing is my thing, so by default Matt is often stuck watching it too. He is a huge football fan, so that’s his vice and another thing we watch SO much. We love comedy shows; Brooklyn 99 was our favourite, we’ve seen Friends one hundred times and right now The Office is our ‘easy watch’ obsession. We love love love documentaries (Stacey Dooley’s are a personal favourite, obvs) and shows like Ambulance: Australia make us very happy. We change things up pretty much every evening, but it’s such a nice time to chill and chat with each other too.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to unwind a little more this coming week. Do you make unwinding a priority right now? Or are you always go go go, ticking things off that to-do list? I challenge you this week to take at least an hour each night for yourself or you and your partner, it will totally change your week I promise you!

-G x

My October Goals

Hi, loves! Happy OCTOBER. Seriously, where the heck has this year gone?! I’m sorry this post isn’t going live on the 1st, but my schedule is Sunday’s and Wednesday’s… and I like schedules. #TypeA. Snapple fact: the featured image of this blog post is one of my favourite ever quotes. I truly am SO GLAD to live in a world where there are October’s! This month I’m setting myself five goals to accomplish, and as always I’m sharing them with my lovely readers. Sharing my goals helps to keep me motivated, holds me accountable throughout the month and maybe it will even inspire someone to create their own goals?

Be kinder to myself and unwind
I am always hard on myself, but over the past few weeks/months I’ve been so harsh and unkind to myself, especially about my blog. I have such high standards and hopes for what I want my online space to be, but I really need to stop stressing so much about it! I don’t ever give myself a break but I need to, and this month is the time for it. I LOVE October. It’s the beginning of my favourite time of year (which is the last three months of the year, they bring so much joy!) and I’m determined to relax a little to enjoy it. Matt is sadly at work every weekend in October but we’re making the most of the month anyway; we’re going to have fun date nights, spend cosy mornings eating breakfast in bed and we also have a mid-week date day visiting a pumpkin patch… I’m so excited! I want to put quality time and effort into my blog; I work full time Monday to Friday, then I spend any ‘free’ time I have (after Matt and I’s time of course) to create blog content. This month I’m going to be more intentional with my ‘free’ time and take a little back just for me.

Practice yoga at least three times per week
Any regular readers will probably have guessed this would be up here, it seems to feature any time I talk about my goals for that month. I have a confession guys: I’ve barely practiced yoga over the past two months. How bad is that? I generally feel so much better when I’m consistent with practicing yoga, so I really want to get back into some kind of routine and just have fun with it. My favourite online yoga teacher is of course Yoga With Adrienne, I always enjoy her practices and she’s so flipping funny. There’s a practice for every mood or feeling, and I really feel refreshed and happier at the end of every session. I already practiced yoga twice this week and it’s only Wednesday, so I’m super happy about that!

Wear red lipstick
This probably sounds crazy to so many of you, but I just do not feel comfortable wearing red lipstick! I haven’t even owned a red lipstick for around three years because I didn’t get any wear out of the ones I had, so this month I’m going to treat myself and I’m going to wear red lips for date night. I’ve really been trying to work on my confidence lately, and this is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I hope this makes sense, it probably sounds so silly! I remember Rimmel’s red lipsticks used to get so much hype online (which I’m pretty sure was solely because of Zoe Sugg) but to any of my red lipstick wearers out there, is that still the case?! Which brand/shade should I go for? I’m going to buy a drugstore one just incase I can’t get used to it!

Create new Fall outfits with clothing I already own / Only purchase clothing items from my list
Okay so this is a two-in-one goal. I have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I kept during my decluttering process which I’ve not worn before and probably should have gotten rid of, but I promised myself I’d wear this Autumn. If I don’t, they’ll find themselves on eBay for someone else to love! My intention is to make outfits from clothes that I wouldn’t usually pair together; I really just want to give my clothes the love they deserve and experiment a little. I’m slowly figuring out my style so this Autumn I want to embrace change and try to create fun outfits that are a little different from my norm! I’ve also made a list with a few essentials I’m lacking in my wardrobe since my de-clutter (a good black coat, turtle neck jumper(s), a grey cardigan, long sleeve t-shirts, a fancy midi skirt and leather look jeans) which I’m now on the lookout for. Something that’s not officially on the list but I probably will buy is the E.T sweater from this post because it’s just so flipping cute. You’re allowed a frivolous purchase now and then if it makes your heart sing, right?!

Cook at least one new dinner recipe each week
Cooking is something Matt and I found a love of together, and I so appreciate that we’ve found a hobby we can share. We literally had no idea how to cook even the most basic things when we first got together, so now the fact we cook together/for each other every night is crazy to me. Matt often likes to make meals we know and love, but I really like to try new recipes. We’ve had such busy weeks recently that we’ve not pushed ourselves to try something new very often, but this month we’re going to try new things! I shared with you how I meal plan a few months ago, and nothing has changed since. Matt is always happy to eat whatever I have planned for that night, so this one lies on me guys. I’ve already been searching up a storm on the Mix And Match Mama blog (Shay has the BEST recipes, especially if you want specific seasonal recipes) and I’m so excited to create new meals for us to eat. New on the menu this week is Shay’s chicken fajita soup which I’m going to adapt slightly to cook in the CrockPot, then next week we’re attempting this pumpkin and chipotle pasta. I literally can’t wait!

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and getting a little insight into my monthly goals for this October. Do you create monthly goals? Do you track how you’re doing with them week to week? I love to set goals because it gives you the best sense of achievement when you complete them! Also, if you don’t complete them it just makes you work harder the next month, right? 🙂 I challenge you to set yourself five goals for the month of October, we can hold each other accountable!

-G x

Autumn Bucket List

Happy, happy Sunday loves! I can’t lie to you… I started planning for this blog post back in July because I’ve been so dang excited. Tomorrow is, in my opinion, one of the best days of the whole year. Beat only by Matt and I’s birthdays, our anniversary and of course Christmas. It’s the first day of Autumn! Matt and I have so many fun things planned and I can’t wait to share some of them with you. Matt is Jim. I am Dwight. #allthepumpkins

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As any regular readers will know, Autumn is my jam. I live for crisp, Fall days, leaves turning read, Halloween, pumpkin spiced everything and all of the cosy vibes that the Autumn brings. Matt is a huge fan of Summer, so we really tried this year to pack in as many fun things as possible to make the most of it! I feel like I often wish away Summer and just don’t enjoy it, but the past two years we’ve made amazing memories and even though I was super excited for Autumn, I hadn’t wished away the time for it to be here (well, not too much).

– Make time for all of the breakfast dates
– Carve pumpkins
– Drink lots of bonfire spice hot chocolates from Costa
– Take a hike when the leaves are changing
– Attend a pumpkin FESTIVAL. I’m so dang excited for this!
– Celebrate our anniversary with a weekend getaway (we couldn’t go in September on our actual anniversary or October due to Matt’s work schedule so we’re hoping to go in November!)
– Go beer tasting at a local brewery
– Drink hot apple cider
– Bake pumpkin cookies/muffins/bread
– Wrap up for crisp morning beach walks
– Enjoy all of the cosy nights with pumpkin candles burning
– Visit Edinburgh & Glasgow
– Spend Sunday afternoons out for dinner in cute, cozy pubs
– Have a bonfire
– Eat s’mores over the bonfire
– Watch all of the Halloween movies (sorry, Matthew!)
– Watch the Harry Potter movies. Matt and I have been clearly living under a rock and have only seen the first few, but don’t really remember them. Prepping for our Florida trip next year, we’re watching all of the movies back to back this Autumn!
– Visit a haunted house/haunted maze
– Dress up for Halloween. Couples costume ideas appreciated?!
– Visit a pumpkin patch, we’ve found an amazing one in York and I can’t wait to see it!
– Spend a morning at a local farmer’s market
– Create my first Fall DIY (#fortheblog)
– Celebrate Bonfire Night
– Begin our Christmas shopping
– Experiment with more CrockPot recipes
– Build my Autumn wardrobe

This was so fun to write! I just love everything about Autumn, I’m sooo happy it’s here and I’m genuinely so excited for all of the things we’re hoping to squeeze in to the season! The build up to Christmas has officially started and the last three months of the year really are the best. What are you excited for this season? Do you have any fun plans? Is there anything going on in North East England we should make time for?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday 13th!! Are you feeling nervous about today? It makes me laugh but I am a little bit! I’m superstitious with lots of things; I never cross on the stairs, I never walk under ladders and I always avoid three drains. Matt does now too, it’s so funny! We always say ‘toast’ if we accidentally walk over three drains (I have NO IDEA how this came about. Why would saying ‘toast’ make any difference?!) Anyway, I digress, what I’m trying to say is that Friday 13th makes me a little bit nervous. But also excited for Halloween. This is me right now:

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Ahhhh. Hocus Pocus season is my favourite. *forces Matt to watch with me for 100th time*

What I’m drinking:
Bonfire spice hot chocolates are LIFE. As I briefly mentioned last week I was so dang excited about the bonfire spice flavour coming back to Costa, it’s just the best flavour and makes my heart happy. Seriously, get in your car right now. Finish this post. Now get in your car. Drive to Costa. BUY A BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATE. Thank me later… 🙂 I’ve had two this week and I’m for sure going to be drinking them lots over the next few months. Side note: I get mine extra hot with a dash of almond milk, it’s sooooo good. And of course, I always try to take a re-usable cup!

What I’m celebrating:
Monday September 16th is Matt and I’s two year anniversary!!! I just don’t know where the time has gone, it seems like we were just dating! I’m really excited to celebrate this weekend at our favourite restaurant, Tomahawk Steakhouse, but we’re trying out their new location. We literally can’t wait because the food is always incredible, their mac n cheese is my favourite ever! We can’t properly celebrate on our anniversary due to Matt’s work schedule so we’re just going to curl up at home with an M&S meal and a few episodes of The Office on the day. Matthew, I am so lucky to do life with you, I love you more than anything! Happy (early) anniversary, my love!

What I’m excited about:
Tomorrow morning I’m getting my hair dyed, and I’m going back dark! I have spent WEEKS finding the perfect brown balayage photo to show at the salon and I know it’ll turn out even better than what I’m thinking. I’m SO over the blonde as I just got kinda bored and now I really dislike how I look with the blonde tones. I think I want to keep a little bit of light through my hair as I still want it to look fresh and pretty, but more brown tones than blonde. If that makes sense. I’ll be sharing on my Instagram like always, so make sure to follow me there to see how it looks! I’m so excited to have darker hair for Fall and Winter!

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…I am Dwight.

What I’m happy about:
It’s almost Fall! This cold(ish) rainy weather is making it feel like Fall is already here and I’m loving every second of it. It’s been chilly each day and I’m really enjoying that cosy feeling this kind of weather brings. Matt is such a Summer person but we have so many fun things planned during the Autumn months that he’s actually enjoying it too. It’s cold in the mornings and evenings I’m super excited that sweater weather is almost upon us! Also, any excuse to burn those pumpkin candles… are you excited for Fall too? Or are you holding on to the very last of Summer?!

What I’m watching:
The Office. Obvs. Matt and I are obsessed, okay?! Seriously if you’re like we were and are still living under a rock, it’s one of the best TV shows we’ve ever seen and we’d really recommend it. But I’ve also been loving Zoe Sugg’s vlogs recently. Like, really really loving them. I’ve watched and loved Zoe for as long as I can remember, but she goes through patches where she vlogs a lot, then where she doesn’t vlog at all. Recently she’s been vlogging so much and I’m loving it! Also, she is re-launching her blog this month and I’m so excited to see what it’s going to be like as that was one of the first blogs I ever read.

What I’m working on for the blog:
This month is #SecondHandSeptember (something I didn’t know about on September 1st when I made a Topshop order… OOPS) but now that I do know I’m participating, and I’m really excited about it! The whole concept came from Oxfam, to encourage people to shop more sustainably and avoid purchasing new products for thirty days. Have you took the pledge yet? I have! This weekend my lovely friend Jessy and I are going for a browse in a few charity shops and vintage stores which I hope will be successful (if not we’ll for sure have fun). Matt and I are going to another vintage store in a few weeks time and I’ve been browsing Depop lots too! I’ve been really impressed with so many of the things on Depop although I’ve not bought anything yet. I was so impressed by Emma Hill’s finds in this video, it was really inspiring to someone finding their feet with second hand shopping, and she got some incredible bargains! Niomi Smart also posted this video that I found so fun to watch and I’m obsessed with the things she picked up, especially that Chanel button ring. Wow. I can’t wait to share Jess and I’s second hand shopping experience with you in a few weeks time!

What I’m reading:
Linking in with what I just said above about #SecondHandSeptember, I LOVED Stacey Dooley’s piece in Grazia this week about the fashion industry and the impact buying too many clothes has on the environment. It’s no surprise to any regular readers that Stacey Dooley is my ultimate inspiration/girl crush/love of my life (sorry, Matthew) and everything she does is just amazing to me. But her thoughts on fast fashion originally inspired me to look at my buying habits last year and I think this piece was just so well written. Slightly off topic but I’m actually buying Grazia every week now, it’s such a good value magazine and packed full of high quality content. I’ve really been enjoying snuggling up in the mornings with my magazine and vanilla chai whilst Matt works on emails!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Matt is unfortunately at work all weekend, but we’re making the most of our time together as always. Tonight Matt and I are having fish and chips with my family, snuggling in to catch up on Peaky Blinders and having an early night before a very early start tomorrow morning. Once Matt leaves for work I’ll get a little blog work done then head to the salon for my hair appointment. I can’t wait! After I get my hair done I’m meeting my sweet friend Jess to go second hand and vintage shopping! We seriously are SO EXCITED. Later I’m heading to our local mall to shop Lush’s Autumn/Halloween collection which is released today, and I still have a gift card from my lovely co-workers to spend too. I have a few other errands to run then I’m heading back to get on with some blog work and get ready before Matt gets home. Matt and I are heading for date night on Saturday evening (as I said above) at our favourite restaurant, then Sunday is a cosy-at-home cleaning and blogging day for me while Matt’s at work. When he gets home we’re having pizza night with his parents and I’m so looking forward to that!

What else is new:
Nothing much TBH. I’ve had a kinda crappy week with my anxiety, I just feel very drained and like I’m putting in so much time/effort with things that I don’t see much reward from which really sucks. I’ve been a little stressed out and just generally felt rubbish which has then made me really anxious. I have however been feeling really really grateful for Matt and I’s time together more than ever, and I’m just so thankful to have him by my side, he’s truly the best! I’m hoping this weekend will recharge my batteries a little bit and let me get back to feeling like my usual self.

Thank you so much for reading! These posts have become some of my favourite to write; they get really good views and open up so many conversations either in the comments or in my DM’s. People message me all the time saying how much they enjoy reading these posts and I can’t tell you how much I love to hear that! Due to another very busy week (and a little bit of extra self care time that I really need) there won’t be a #feelinitfriday next week, but I’ll be back the following week for sure. My ‘normal’ posts will be up every Sunday and Wednesday as normal! Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! 

-G x