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

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

April Favourites

Hi, loves!

Once again, I literally can’t believe we’re already at the end of another month. It seems like 2019 has been put on fast forward, and the days and weeks are flying by at a pace I’m not quite sure I like. It honestly seems five minutes since Matt and I were seeing in midnight of New Year’s Eve with our friends! April was another great month, and despite having a little bit of a hard time with my anxiety I’ve loved it for the most part. Matt and I have been eating tons healthier, and we’re absolutely loving how well meal planning works for us. We’re on countdown to our holiday (57 days to go! WHAT?!), we’ve had tons of fun date nights and date days this month, and we also had some great weekends with our friends and family. I changed up my hair length/colour and I love it, Matt and I celebrated the first bank holiday of 2019 and enjoyed the warmer weather. I was literally so excited about the sunglasses-as-a-hair-style-and-no-jacket weather… but where’s it gone?!

During April, I also did a Beauty No Buy, which literally is what it sounds like; I couldn’t purchase any new beauty items, unless it was to replace something that ran out (with one exception, oops). It sounds simple enough, but jeez it’s so hard not being ‘allowed’ to purchase things as and when you please! I did however stick to it for the most part and I want to be more aware of what I’m purchasing throughout the rest of the year. As a result of my Beauty No Buy, I’ve really had to use and love what I have, and that’s something I need to make more of a priority.

*All products mentioned are linked at the bottom of this post*

St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion
This product is an oldie but a goodie, and after first using it throughout last Summer to top up my barely-there-real-tan, I loved it. I re-discovered it this month, and I’m really enjoying using it again to give my super pale skin a little colour. It’s a very subtle tan, will not make you Geordie Shore-esque orange (thank the Lord) and it also doesn’t smell or stain your sheets! I use the Medium shade, leave it on around three to five minutes – three minutes is recommended but I find a little longer gives better results – rinse off, then apply lots of Lush sleepy body lotion when I get out of the shower. Matt and I are such cuddly sleepers (cute, HA!), I could never go back to using a regular fake tan you leave on overnight, so this is a great option for me. It’s also fab to not have to worry about orange bed sheets!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown
I go through phases with which eyebrow pencil I currently love, but lately this one has blown anything else out of the water. I used the Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift in Brooke S exclusively for a few months, then I re-discovered my Brow Wiz after my Spring clean, and forgot why I ever stopped using it. It had very little pencil left in the tube (after I fell back in love with it, of course) so I re-purchased right before it ran out. I think my brows look much fuller, more polished and generally just better at the moment, and it’s definitely as a result of changing my pencil. I love the spoolie in this one too, it’s very good at combing the product through and my eyebrows don’t look overly done.

OGX Argan Oil of Moracco Shampoo & Conditioner
These two products were my exception in my Beauty No Buy! I know, I know, I literally just talked about how much I love the Soap and Glory shampoos in this monthly favourites post, but I started getting super dry yet somehow greasy hair, and it seems those were causing the problem. I passed the S&G products on to my mum who loves them, so they’ve got a lovely new home. Both of the OGX products are both sulphate free, as recommended by my hairdresser, and I really have noticed a difference to the quality of my hair. It’s a little hard to know if these products are the sole reason for that, as I also had my hair cut and dyed this month (I love it! I’m going lighter again in May and I’m very excited about it. I think my ‘end goal’ is Lauren-Conrad-in-the-early-Hills-days Californian blonde. Very specific, I know) and I had an Olaplex treatment when I was at the salon which made my hair feel amazing. These products smell glorious, and I can wait until the third day to wash my hair when needed, which I’ve never been comfortable doing before.

After Life
Matt and I have watched a lot of good shows recently – a post will be up on our favourites next month – but this one has to be the top of our recommendations list. I briefly talked about this show in this post, but I just had to include it in my monthly favourites post too as it made such an impact on us. I actually said when we finished I wish we could unwatch it, to watch again! The show is written, produced and directed by Ricky Gervais, who also plays the main character, Tony. Tony’s wife unfortunately passed away from breast cancer, and as a result he finds himself in a pit of depression, and has to navigate a ‘new normal’ in his life. It’s heartbreakingly sad, and I cried so many times throughout the six episode series, but it’s also filled with joyous moments, humour and laughter. It depicts depression in a way I’ve never personally seen on TV before, and I hope it brings awareness to the fact that you really don’t know what somone else is going through, and that everyone is fighting their own battles.

Bank Holiday Weekend Fun
I love bank holiday weekends so much – I’m a Brit after all – and our first of the year was glorious, and also super busy! I changed up my hair, Matt and I ate fish and chips, I had a lunch and shopping date with my dearest friend Jessy and Matt enjoyed a few beers watching the match with the boys. We cooked delicious meals and ate outside in the garden because it was finally HOT, enjoyed showing off our home city to Matt’s cousin and his girlfriend, visited with family, spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun and swung through the beautiful cherry blossom trees at Alnwick Garden. I felt so content and happy as Matt and I snuggled up in bed on the Monday evening, and very excited for two more bank holidays to come in May! I also took the photo of the blossom at the top of this post at Alnwick Garden, I’m (very sadly) proud of it – I love Portrait Mode so much.

Shagged, Married, Annoyed by Chris & Rosie Ramsey
I love listening to podcasts and I think this might be my ultimate top pick from every one I’ve ever listened to. Chris is a very well known comedian, and his wife Rosie could easily get him out of a job – she is hilarious. Fellow Northerners they already had my hearts, and as soon as I heard their banter together I really loved them, and I’m so happy it gets better with each episode. They talk about so many relatable things – including the ‘beef’ they have with each other which makes me cry laugh every episode. Chris’ beef with Rosie in one episode was that she’s always asking what he fancies for dinner, even when they’re eating breakfast, and I couldn’t stop laughing because that’s me! Every single day, poor Matthew. (If you need any evidence this post sums it up nicely). Their stories and constant taking the p*ss out of each other is just briliant, and I can’t get enough! Especially when Rosie called Robin (their son) a little prick. Fantastic. There’s only eleven episodes so far, with a new one launching every Friday, and I’ve binged my way through seven so far, I’m very excited for the rest!

Scrunchies
Guys. I love scrunchies!!! They are just so fun to wear, and a brilliant way to make a boring pony tail look cute. I wear them very often during cosy evenings in the house, but I feel like they’re also an adorable accessory to an oufit. A simple white tee with mom jeans can look way more chic and put together with a little pop of colour in your hair. When I was younger I used to wear scrunchies pretty much every day, they’re one of the few 90’s trends I’m still on board with. (These kind of bags are everywhere and it genuinely baffles me – they’re very Sex and The City and I’m not here for it!) Topshop and H&M have some amazing styles for pretty good prices – the velvet feel ones are my absolute favourite!

Strong Roots Spinach Bites
These are one of the best ‘healthy junk foods’ I think I’ve ever tried, and I actually really like everything I’ve tried from the Strong Roots brand. Matt and I are a little obsessed with these bites; we put them with meals as often as we can, and we’ve recommended them to pretty much everyone we know. They crisp up on the outside and stay soft on the inside, and thankfully they’re always included in deals at Tesco to make them a little more affordable. On a lazy evening or when we don’t much have time to cook, we love these with Quorn nuggets and Tilda peri peri rice!

Shop my favourites:

St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion / Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown / OGX Argan Oil of Morrocco Shampoo / OGX Argan Oil of Morrocco Conditioner / After Life / Shagged, Married, Annoyed by Chris & Rosie Ramsey / Leopard Print Scrunchie (similar) / Yellow Scrunchie (similar) / Strong Roots Spinach Bites

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe got a few ideas of things you might like to try? What have you been loving this month? I’m looking forward to May so much, and I’ll be sharing my goals for the month on the blog on Wednesday!

-G x

Seven Beauty Changes I Want To Make

Hi, loves!

For someone running a blog that continues to feature pretty heavily on beauty related topics, I feel like I’m setting a pretty rubbish example when it comes to a lot of the behind-the-scenes beauty bits. I’ve been in a bit of a slump with the mountain of beauty treatments and habits I felt I should be doing, and as a result I’ve done very little in the way of ‘treating myself’. This isn’t something I’ve spoken about on my blog but I’ve put weight on (not enough to change dress sizes or anything, but enough that I feel really crap about it – pretty sure it’s related to the pill but I’ll delve into that in an upcoming post) and I’m feeling a bit rubbish about how I look. After a few too many tears to my boyfriend I decided that if I treated myself by indulging in a few new beauty habits (and changed my pill, lol) I might feel better, and get out of my little moping bubble. I’ve set myself a few tasks to do over the next few weeks/months, and I’m hoping they’ll become habits that I continue for years to come.

boyfriend-girlfriend-face-mask-lush-mask-of-magnaminty-friday-night-in
In our comfies loving our life, isn’t he just the cutest lil bean!

Apply a face mask at least once per week
Right now I use face masks pretty much when I remember, and that is usually on a Sunday evening. After fighting being roped into a pamper evening, Matt now loves to partake in #facemasksundays (sssh, he thinks nobody knows) and we’re slowly but surely working our way through my stash. I really need to make this more of a priority and I’m lucky that my skin generally reacts pretty well with the face masks I’m currently using in rotation. Ideally I want to use a purifying face mask once per week, and a hydrating good-for-the-skin mask once per week, so I’m hoping I can prioritise my time better to do this. I always feel so good after a face mask, and I’m sure Matt won’t take much convincing either, ha!

Change up my hair colour and style
I’m most excited about this one because I’ve got a date in the diary (this Friday! It can’t come soon enough) and I’m so ready for a fresh hairstyle, it’s long overdue. I’m getting a considerable cut – my hair is beyond damaged and I want it to look fresh and healthy again so bad – and I’m also going for a blondey caramel balayage. I’ve not had my hair dyed professionally for years and I’m the weirdest mix of nervous and excited, I feel like I just need something to freshen up my look and make me feel good again. I went for a consultation and allergy test this past Saturday, and I felt so at ease the second I walked in. The lovely girl who owns the salon was so friendly and knowledgable about hair, and all of my worries about changing it up disappeared. The salon I’m going to consistently posts the most beautiful photos of their clients finished looks and I can’t wait to see what magic they work on me! After my initial appointment I want to make sure to have follow ups and keep on top of my balayage and the cut, I think I’m going to feel so much better.

Take better care of my hair
In line with changing up my hair colour and style, I really need to take much better care of my hair in general. I’m so excited to have a new look, and I want to do what I can to make sure my hair stays looking nice between salon appointments too. My plan is to use hair masks more often, let my hair dry naturally most nights (much easier to do as the weather warms up) and stop straightening it so much. I noticed my hair breaks much less since buying my detangling Tangle Teezer brush and using Invisibobbles and scrunchies – such a cute trend, I love that they’re back! – so I’m hoping making further small changes will continue to help my hair. I know you’re not meant to wash you hair too much, so as I currently wash it every other day, I’m also looking for a new dry shampoo to help it last longer between washes without looking greasy.

Use my face roller daily
I’ve got my skincare routine down – all of my essentials are listed in this post, and they’re cruelty free! – but I really need to use my face roller more. As I mentioned in that post, I do use my face roller every now and then, but that’s really not enough. I’m not 100% convinced this is the miracle worker it is claimed (by some) to be, but I do feel like my skin looks better on the nights I use it, and I’m really going to try to make this part of my everyday evening routine. It’s also a super relaxing part of my evening routine, even if Matt finds it absolutely hilarious!

Get my nails done regularly
I go through stages with gel nails, and after getting them done continuously for the last half of 2018, I decided to give my nails (and bank account) a break, and leave my nails natural for a while. I tried to paint my own nails several times but it never worked out well; they chip so easily compared to gels, and they never looked as pretty. Since I got my gels taken off at the beginning of January I missed them so much – I realise this sounds ridiculously dramatic to anyone that doesn’t like getting their nails done, lol – and I’ve decided to begin treating myself every two to three weeks again. I love bright colours and simple glitter accents, and I think it boosts my mood so much to have them looking good. I just got fresh gels on Monday for the first time this year (I love the lilac!) and I’m so happy to have them back, I’m grateful it’s something I’m able to work into my monthly budget.

Invest in HD brows
I’ve been saying I’m going to look into HD brows for a very long time but it’s something that scares me a little bit. I really dislike my eyebrows as thirteen year old Gillian was very handy with a pair of tweezers, and they’ve never recovered. The tail end of my eyebrows literally didn’t grow for about five years, but in recent years it has finally grown back. They’re incredibly sparse; I have to use an eyebrow pencil and eyebrow gel every day, and even then I feel like my eyebrows still feel a bit meh. After reading this post recently from Jodie – who has the eyebrows of my dreams, by the way – I realised I just need to bite the bullet and go for it, there’s so many people that swear by the process and I’m hoping my eyebrows will look much better in no time. It’s an investment and it requires upkeep, but I’m sure it will save me so much more time each morning getting ready, and give brilliant results!

Drink more water
Yep. Groundbreaking. Like many, I really do not drink enough water daily and the only time I even can gaurantee I’ll reach for it is at night or post workout, as the rest of the time I opt for Diet Coke without even thinking about it. The obsession is real. Matt and I are constantly trying to drink more water and after a sudden love I’ve developed for squash I am drinking more than I used to, just still nowhere near enough. I really want to get in a regular habit of drinking glasses of water each day and I know my skin will benefit from that too, which is an added bonus!

Thank you so much for reading! Do you feel like you need to step up your beauty game and set a few resolutions? What’s your favourite beauty treat you do for yourself? I’m so excited to hear!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

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

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

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

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

The Beauty Bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clothing & Accessories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x