What’s What! #3

Happy Friday, loves! Surprise 🙂 I really wanted to write a chatty what’s-what-in-my-life post and I decided I just couldn’t wait until next week to post it! Apologies for the radio silence over here but the posts I had planned just didn’t feel right in this current season. I have taken a little time away to re-group, plan out lots of new posts and I’m so happy to be back! 

I hope you’re all doing well despite everything happening in the world right now. I received the sweetest message from a reader thanking me for writing my blog and that she found it was a great distraction and a happy, positive space that she enjoyed reading. I literally cried! I am so grateful to have my blog to be creative with, and I love that someone can find a little positivity here. Just know I’m sending you all virtual, socially distant hugs on this sunny Friday morning! 

So, here’s a little what’s what right now 🙂 also, grab a cuppa and get comfy, it’s a LONG one…

What I’m buying:
Okay so I have to preface this by saying this was a h u g e treat to myself. It was a happy-new-job, happy-it’s-almost-your-birthday, happy-you’re-living-through-a-pandemic treat. That’s justified right!? So… the MOST EXCITING order I’ve ever placed arrived this week and I can’t stop staring at all the products, LOL! I’d had a kinda crappy day and I was so thankful for the joy this brought. Caroline Hirons released her two Spring Kits two weeks ago, I was so determined to get one and I’m still giddy that I did. These products were an incredible deal, it worked out approximately 55% off! And other than anything I run out of and need to replace I won’t need to purchase skincare again for a long time. Until Caroline’s Summer kit is released, I guess!

I’m posting all about the kit for you this Sunday so you can see everything there properly, and hear my first impressions 🙂 I love love love skincare; it’s truly the most important form of self care to me; and I’m so happy that during lockdown my skin is really the best it’s ever been. Except I’ve been having the most horrendous allergic reactions on my chest, neck and shoulders. I’m so excited to share my skincare routine with you in the next month, but I really think the main thing about skincare is finding products that work for you and being consistent with your routine

Also, I mentioned on Instagram that I was desperately in need of a good t-shirt bra and the majority of suggestions were Victoria’s Secret, Boux Avenue and M&S. My size was out of stock on VS and I’m not really a huge fan of Boux Avenue (I like their ‘sexy’ bras but they’re just not comfortable to me) so I opted to purchase this bra from M&S and I just have to mention it, it’s amazing! It’s super comfy, doesn’t show lines through the fabric of your top and I love how it fits. Honestly I really don’t like bras full stop and I go braless a lot, but for when that’s not an option this is the next best thing. I ordered two bras, in nude and black, and if there’s any good deals on them in the coming weeks I’ll probably buy another of each colour as they’re all I need day-to-day. 

What I’m reading:
I am still madly in love with my Kindle. It’s the best present I’ve ever been given and I’ve truly got no idea how I survived without it. #dramatic Whilst I’ve not been one of those super-humans picking up hobbies of making sourdough bread or suddenly getting in the best shape of my life with daily workouts (and that’s okay!) I definitely have been reading a little more since lockdown began. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend down time and it keeps my mental health in check. I just finished Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins-Reid and I absolutely loved it. I thought I’d read all of Taylor’s books but I came across this in my Kindle library and realised I’d missed it. The story follows a girl named Hannah and her best friend Gabby as they’re reunited in their hometown of Los Angeles. They go out for the evening, and then the rest of the story is split between two universes; based on a yes or no decision made during their night out. It’s wonderful and I’m still not sure which reality I liked best. I just started American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins two days ago and I’m almost half way through, I can barely wait to read the next chapter. It’s a hard read but it’s SO GOOD. It’s raw, emotional and if you liked shows like Narcos: Mexico you’ll love this. My Kindle is packed full of books I’m excited to read and that makes me so happy! 

What made me happy this week:
How sweet (literally, hehe) is this surprise parcel I received this week from my lovely team at work? I was so grateful to receive a little thank you, and you know Matt and I had so much fun trying all of the treats! They were from Kell’s Cupcakery, if you’re looking to send anybody a little pick-me-up in the mail during this time I can’t recommend them enough. I’m so lucky to work with such thoughtful, caring people!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I really haven’t been watching much TV together in the evenings and I really want to change that. I’ve been watching Modern Family on my lunch breaks and sometimes had it playing in the background whilst I’m working – I just love the Dunphy/Pritchett/Tucker clan and I’ve seen it so many times I don’t need to actually watch it, y’know?! I’ll probably start watching Friends again once I finish Modern Family again… for the hundredth time. Is that lame? Probably 🙂 Matt and I have been really enjoying The Imagineering Story on Disney+ though, it’s one of the shows we’ve stayed consistent with. We really need to work our way through our list of shows soon, I feel like we have an overwhelmingly long list so we’ve kinda put off watching anything? So silly! Oh it also hurts my heart that we haven’t watched the Harry Potter movies despite saying nearly two years ago we’d watch them ‘soon’. We need to get on that…

What I’m wearing:
When I haven’t been living the #wfh life to the fullest wearing sweats, leggings or pj pants, I’ve loved getting dressed and experimenting with outfits! I decided this year that my own issues with body confidence were not going to stop me wearing clothes I love and want to wear. Last year I became obsessed with mom jeans (I still am, they are SO comfy!) and I just decided I didn’t care if they weren’t the most flattering on me. I stepped it up an extra notch and I’ve purchased a few pretty shirts, skirts and dresses and I’m so happy with all of them! I don’t really buy clothes too often, but I try to always ensure anything I do buy is a piece I’ll love and wear for years to come. It’s been so fun to spruce my wardrobe up a little. This blue dress fits so nicely; I have a smaller waist and bigger hips – which I do not like – but this somehow makes my figure look good? It’s going to be perfect for the hot Summer days and I think I could also wear it for work – if we get back into the office whilst it’s still warm – with a pair of tan sandals, and maybe a little cardigan over the top. I just love it! I also picked up this white midi dress and I feel like it’s such a great addition to my wardrobe. I love it with a belt around my waist to add a little more shape, and I could even wear this during Autumn/Winter with boots and a leather jacket! New Look have really been killing it with their Spring/Summer items recently, and I always find their clothes to be good quality for the price. 

What I’m thinking about:
Is anyone else in a constant loop of: the world is a scary place > what is going to happen in the future > everything will be fine > I’ve had a great day today! > two great days! > oh my god what is happening in the world? And repeat. Please tell me it’s not just me!? I feel like my feelings on everything happening right now are up and down every day. Sometimes every hour of every day. 

Although everyone is worried in their own way; we’re apart from our family and friends, life is not normal, we’re worried to leave our houses, we don’t know if our jobs are safe, the worry of catching the virus is very real and we can’t really imagine life returning to normal… I truly believe it will all be okay. I don’t know about you but how much do the little things mean right now?! I’m so content with myself. With Matthew. With my family. With life. Things are never going to be ‘perfect’ but I’ve come to realise that’s okay. People are so friendly in the grocery stores, there’s random acts of kindness everyday, we’re more appreciative of each other and what we have, we don’t feel the need to constantly keep up with the Jones’. I just think there’s lots of good that’s come from this, and lots of learning to just live with what you have. I think I’m going to write a post all about being content and quitting the comparison game for good!

What I’m drinking:
So instead of mourning our trip to Disney World that will definitely not be happening in October, we brought a little Disney to us. And boy did it make us happy! I saw a recipe on Instagram that had been shared by Disney World to make their original Dole Whip at home. We made ours a little different but they were so yummy! I froze a can of pineapple chunks (not Dole… Tesco’s finest), and blended them up with vanilla ice cream, a splash of almond milk and a big scoop of coconut yoghurt. It was more pina-colada-in-a-Greek-all-inclusive than Dole-Whip-on-Main-Street but friends… they were DELICIOUS! I can’t recommend making these enough. Our own version of Dole Whips are going to be our go-to Summer treat this year, I just know it! We’re making them again this weekend and adding a dash (or two) of white rum, but that’s totally okay because…

What I’m looking forward to:
Today is the start of my birthday weekend! I turn 26 on Sunday May 17th and it’s going to be one for the books… lockdown birthdays are strange aren’t they?! Have you already celebrated in lockdown? Or will you be in the coming weeks/months? I’m so grateful I get to spend the day with Matt and my family, it will just be so very strange to only see other family members very quickly and from six feet away. We’re going to make the most of it regardless; we are going to take a little trip to the beach, have a movie night and grab a takeaway with my family. It’ll probably be quite a chilled weekend, but I’m going to be recording all of it and sharing a Weekend In My Life with you all next Wednesday – and I’m starting right now! 

It’s currently 8.20am as I’m just publishing this post. Matt left for work a little while ago so I’m about to sign off and start my birthday weekend! Unfortunately I have to adult this morning so I’m about to get ready, run to the post office and grab our groceries for the week. I don’t start work until 11am (yay for late starts and early finishes on a Friday) so I’ve got plenty of time to run a few errands. Oh and a new episode of Shagged, Married, Annoyed came out this morning so you can bet that will be playing the second I hop in my car!

Have a great weekend friends, I’ll see you on Sunday with my Caroline Hirons Spring Kit haul. Also this is your friendly reminder if you’re going out grocery shopping this weekend, make sure you grab a bunch of peonies! They’re only around for a few weeks of the year, and they’re hands down the most beautiful flower around. Right? I’m going to replace my current bunch and I’m not going to lie, it’s my motivation to go get the groceries… 🙂

-G x

Fall Reading List

Hi, loves! A few months ago I shared with you my tips for finding time to read, and in that post I asked if you’d like me to talk more about books in the future. I received so many responses saying that YES, you loved books too! Reading is one of my favourite hobbies, and it’s something I specifically (try to) make time for each day, no matter how busy Matt and I may be. I love snuggling up with a cup of tea, a book – or more recently, my iPad – and getting lost in another world. In my opinion the cold, rainy Fall days are literally made for cosying up with a book, so today I’m sharing with you all of the books on my reading list this season.

I’m always looking for new books, and I feel it’s sometimes a little overwhelming to choose because there’s so much choice. I’m currently reading one of these books and the others are on my to read list; I have a few paperback copies and the rest are downloaded and ready on my Kindle app. I really can’t tell you how much I love reading on my iPad mini now, I just find it SO easy and convenient. I get to read so much more because Kindle books are (generally) way cheaper and I don’t need to carry around bulky books in my bag, although I can’t lie I still do love the feeling of a ‘real’ book sometimes!

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
This book has been so highly talked about recently, possibly because it’s part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club which I have seen SO much hype over. I have heard only great things so I’m very excited to read this. It’s a little different than my usual read; this focuses on a law firm where the women stick together against a new male boss who has been surrounded by whispers regarding how he treats women. It’s dubbed to be a ‘thriller’ so I’m very excited to see what I think of this, I just hope there’s not tons of legal jargon that would make it harder to read!

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay
Any long time readers of my blog may remember how much I LOVED Adam’s first book, The Secret Diaries of A Junior Doctor, and I was so excited when I found out he was releasing a second! I can’t recommend Adam’s first book enough; he talks through his time as a Junior Doctor and it’s raw, it’s honest, it’s heart warming and heartbreaking all at the same time. I’m confident this book will be just as good! I LOVE Adam’s story-telling style because it’s just like chatting with a friend and feels so personal. I know Matt’s mum Debbie will love this book too as she was also a huge fan of the first one. I’ve heard rumours his first book is being made into a TV series, so you know it’s good!

The Witch Of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
Okay, so just this past week I was reading Caitlin’s blog (she’s one of my favourite ever bloggers!) and was so excited to see there was a book review post to catch up on. Her review on this book was SO good I opened up my Amazon app right away and purchased it; I actually bought the paper copy instead of the Kindle version because it was on offer! The Amazon reviews of this book were just as glowing as Caitlin’s, so I’ve no idea how I’ve never heard about this book before. It’s equal parts spooky and romantic which sounds like the perfect October read to me! I enjoy scary/spooky books but I have to admit I do get a little bit scared sometimes and don’t like reading them before bed too much. Matt has to cuddle me extra tight HA, I’m such a baby! This is super high on my to-read list and I’m going to start as soon as I’ve finished The Wives (see below!) because I want to read it whilst we’re still in #spookyszn.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Taylor Jenkins-Reid is one of my very favourite authors, and I’ve never read a book of hers I didn’t love with all of me! Her books are generally sad but happy, raw and emotional, dark yet moving, and I’m sure this will be no exception. This was the book that essentially gave Taylor her household name, yet I read all of her previous books first. This one has seriously been on my reading list for so long so I MUST read it soon! I know Fearne Cotton raved about this one, as did Anna Newton, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it. The story centres around the rise and fall of a 70’s rock band and their own individual stories in an interview-style format. I also seen it has been snapped up by Amazon Prime Video to make into a series, so you know it’s got to be good! I (almost) always prefer the book to the movie/TV show, so I need to read the book before Matt and I watch the show.

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This book has been dubbed ‘the new Me Before You’ (part of a series by Jojo Moyes which I loved so much!) so you know I had to pick it up. It’s your typical chick-lit style; a man and woman share a flat, and a bed, yet due to their hectic work schedules they never are in the flat (or the bed) together. The book follows their separate lives and how they will eventually intertwine with each others; I’m assuming they’ll end up falling madly in love and get together in the end, but hey… I just LOVE a rom-com. Matt and I were purchasing a few books in Waterstones a couple of weeks ago and the guy serving us asked if I’d read this yet; when I said no he looked genuinely offended (hahaha!) and said I needed to buy it immediately. I literally downloaded it to my Kindle app that evening, but I’ve still not got round to reading it.

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger
This is my current read, I’ve only got around a quarter of the book left and I am LOVING it. This book is by the author of Devil Wears Prada, so I had a pretty strong feeling it would be good. It’s actually marketed as part three of the DWP series but I really don’t think it needs that background, it’s a really great book on it’s own. You could definitely read it without reading the first two books, although they’re really great too. The background to this book is that it’s based on perfect people, living their perfect lives in a perfect town, but obviously that’s not really the case. There’s lies and secrets that are being revealed, and I am SO ENTHRALLED in the story, I don’t want to put it down! I love the three main characters in this book so much, even without the DWP connection. Something to note, this book was released in the US as When Life Gives You LuluLemons, so I’m not sure if the whole story is the same and they just changed the name?

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle
Okay so my friend read this book and said I needed to read it ASAP, but to be prepared because I would definitely cry throughout it! For those of you who don’t know I’m super emotional – I seriously cry about everything; happy, sad, tired, nostalgic, you name it and I’m crying LOL – so I have no doubt she’s right. This story follows two adults who live very different lives but have one thing in common; they were both adopted as children. Their paths then cross in adulthood but that’s pretty much all I know; I don’t want to read the reviews on this because I have my assumptions from the description. I think this will be the next book I reach for after The Witch Of Willow Hall!

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell
Another chick-lit book that definitely is my typical go-to genre, this sounds just like my ideal bath tub read! I love Jill Mansell books; they’re easy to read, generally pretty light-hearted and always leave you feeling happy in the end. This looks like a twist on your typical boy meets girl story; they both have their own lives, and it weaves through different periods of time where they’re unable to figure it out. Again I don’t know too much about this story but I have my assumptions and I’m so excited to dive in, I’ve never met a Jill Mansell book I didn’t like!

Have you read any of the books in this post? Or have you added them to your reading list for this season too? I am so excited for cosy afternoons at home, snuggled under a blanket reading whilst Matt watches the football! That’s how we spend so many of our afternoons at home on the weekends during this time of year, it’s truly the best of both worlds for us. Have you read any great books recently? Do you have any recommendations for me or my readers? Let me know in the comments!

-G x

*Special thank you to my lovely boyfriend Matt, who is always happy to be my photographer, even when we’re away for a special date night. I love you honey!*

How I Find Time To Read & My Current Picks

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’ve teased on the blog for a little while, and I’m so happy to be writing about BOOKS. *Warning: it’s a long one, and perfect if you want to carve out a little self care time this bank holiday weekend. I’d recommend you grab a cuppa and settle in!* I love love love reading and it’s something I really wish more people were passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I know lots of people love to read, but I really don’t know that many people who do! I have loved reading since I was a child; my parents and grandparents always read to me whenever they had time to, and I learned to read so quickly myself. I read my beloved Jacqueline Wilson books so many times I swear I knew the stories off by heart! When I was around 10 or 11, I was helping my granddad clear out a bunch of stuff, and discovered all of my mum and auntie’s old books by Enid Blyton. He kindly gave them to me, and I spent the rest of my summer engrossed in those books! The Secret Seven and Famous Five series ignited a serious love of reading (and dogs – I wanted my own Timmy SO BAD) and I’m forever grateful. I literally spent so many nights in my lilac groovy chick themed bedroom, curled up with a blanket and a book thinking I was so grown up. Ha!

In the years since then, I’ve never lost the joy in browsing book stores, talking about books and of course, reading them. I literally can’t walk past a bookstore without dragging Matt in ‘for a look’ – although, if you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) have a perusal in store and check the prices on Amazon whilst you’re there; I can pretty much guarantee you’ll always get a better deal on Amazon! No, this post isn’t sponsored by Amazon, I just really love it.

Whenever I talk about my love of reading I am often met with “I wish I had time to read”. News flash: everyone has time to read. Let’s be honest; if Michelle Obama can find time to read, so can you. I have time to read so often because I literally set time aside to do so; making reading a priority is really important to me and it makes the world of difference to my mental health. It’s the perfect self care treat for me (along with a pamper evening and a cuddle from Matt, of course) and it truly opens your mind to SO much you may otherwise not know. Books can cover all different topics, issues and situations, and it’s crazy how much you can learn from a book. My mum and Matt’s mum share my love of reading, and we’re always swapping our current reads, like an unofficial book club! So, how do I find time to read? What are my top tips to help you make reading a priority?

Keep your book on your bedside table
Possibly the most obvious tip, but it makes sense guys. I always keep my current book on our bedside table, and take a little time to read most evenings/mornings. Matt often has to send a few work emails just before we settle in for the night so I take those twenty or so minutes to read a few chapters and get my reading fix. Similarly, he starts work early several times per week (which means a 6am alarm for us both) and I also take a little time once he’s left for work, before I blog or get ready for my work day, to read too. It’s a lovely way to begin or end your day, and if you’re struggling to fit reading time in, this will make a huge difference.

Set goals
Like with anything else, setting goals to read X amount each day/week, will make you hold yourself accountable, and make reading a priority. I love to set goals and have things to work towards, so of course this is no exception! I really think being able to tick a goal off a list helps to visualise it; of course this is a very niche goal but if you want to read more you need to treat it seriously. Maybe you could set out a week Monday to Sunday in the Notes app on your phone, using the bullet point system you can tick off, and then you can see how many days out of seven you read each week. Doing this week by week until it becomes a habit (which it should within two months, as scientists say on average it takes 66 days to create a habit) means that within a really short space of time reading would just become part of your everyday life!

Incorporate reading into your day-to-day life
Similarly to reading before bed or first thing in the morning, it’s amazing where you can fit time in to read. If you spend hours scrolling mindlessly on social media (your phone literally tells you how much time you spend now so you can’t avoid it) you could easily spend at least some of that with a book in your hand instead. I love to read in the bath, I seriously take super long baths just to be able to read for longer, and it’s the ultimate self care time for me. Matt sometimes spends a little time in the evenings working or playing on the playstation, which gives me a good chunk of time to read and not feel guilty about it! I also will spend a little time reading whilst sitting in the garden when it’s warm, or on a cold day I love to curl up with a cuppa and a book. I really should take my lunch break at work away from my desk, as that would be the perfect time to rack up some reading time.

Read digitally on your iPad/Kindle/phone
If you find reading a struggle or would just like to switch things up, I’d really recommend downloading a book onto your tablet or phone. I have been really enjoying reading on the Kindle app on my iPad recently; it’s so convenient as I always have my iPad with me anyway, and it’s very accessible no matter where I am. Downloading books onto a tablet is so handy when travelling too; it limits the weight/bulkiness of books (although I do think you can’t beat a ‘real’ book!) and it allows you to take several options, not to mention ebooks are way less money than a physical book. I am still so mad at myself for not picking up a Kindle Paperwhite during the Prime Day(s) sale, and it’s very high on my wishlist right now.

Carry a book with you day-to-day
If reading on a tablet is not for you I totally get that, but you need to carry your book with you if you want to make the most of reading time as and when you can. If you take public transport to work I’d really recommend making the most of your journey time and lose yourself in a book (just make sure not to miss your stop). Side note: I drive to work each day, and spend lots of time during the week in my car; I’m tempted to try Audible but it’s just not something that’s crossed my mind before. Please let me know if you would recommend! If you’re going somewhere where you may be waiting around, hospital appointments spring to mind right away, pack a book and the wait definitely won’t seem so bad.

Find authors and genres you find interesting
Another thing people tell me, is that they have the time to read, but they can never find a book they actually want to read. This is a little trial and error, but if you put the effort in to finding what makes your heart sing, you’ll see the benefit of it. Personally, I love fiction stories that feel like you’re right in with the characters but as you’ll see from my current picks below, I do like varied content. I really want to read more mystery books as I’ve borrowed a few from my mum that I’ve enjoyed, so that’s something I need to explore more in the coming months. It’s the best feeling finding an author you love, as you are drawn to their writing style and therefore can find so many books. Amazon’s ‘Recommended for you’ section pretty much always brings up amazing options, and I’ve found so many books I love that way!

My current favourite author is hands down Taylor Jenkins Reid. Two books I’ve read (and loved) recently are Forever, Interrupted and After I Do; both books are filled with love, heartbreak, sadness and happiness, and you truly feel like you’re experiencing the emotions of the lead characters. Zoe Folbigg is an amazing author and I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve read! I just finished The Postcard, which was the sequel to The Note, and it left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Two books that changed my life (in different ways) are Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan. I’ve read both several times; they’re incredible and would make for brilliant presents for the gals in your life!

Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a must read for everyone, everywhere; she is, in my opinion, the most inspirational woman of our generation and I’m so happy she shared her story. The best non-fiction book I’ve ever read was This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay; I don’t know anyone who disliked this book, it’s filled with so much emotion – I’d literally be laughing one page and sobbing the next – it’s a must read. If you like books that let you escape from every day life, I’d suggest anything by Elin Hilderband. She writes about Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) in so much depth I feel like I’ve been there myself; it’s a book that takes you on holiday from real life, and her stories are always so enticing. My favourite book of hers is hands down The Identicals. I’ve just downloaded a new Elin Hilderbrand book called The Perfect Couple (and One Minute Later by Susan Lewis) onto my Kindle app for literally 99p each! Order while you can! Shoutout to the lovely Savannah for originally recommending Elin Hilderbrand books to me!

Some of my current ‘to read’ list include the last in a wonderful series by Louise Pentland; Wilde Women. Louise is someone I’ve loved and admired for years, from way back to her Sprinkle of Glitter days, and I’m so happy that she’s began to write. She writes from the heart, her characters are lovable and I’m so excited to see what is happening with Robin, Lyla and Kath in the final installment! Queenie is a book I saw in Anna‘s reading pile and immediately purchased (the girl just knows her books, and also wrote a cracking book herself, An Edited Life) and I’m so excited to read; the book talks all about love, life and race issues and has rave reviews. Another author I’m very interested in is Jane Fallon, I often see her books featured on Instagram and I need to order one soon!

Thank you so so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips and tricks helpful in some way. Can you believe my boyfriend (who is perfect in every other way, if I do say so myself) doesn’t like to read?! He’s literally been ‘reading’ the same book since Christmas 2017… maybe you take a few pointers from this post, Matthew?! Ha. So, are you a bookworm like me? Where’s your favourite way to make time to read? I’d love to share my favourite books every few months if that’s something you’d be interested in? Please leave me all your book recommendations below, I love to hear what other people are reading!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! I’m back with another #feelinitfriday and it feels so good to just sit down and write about my week. I didn’t post last week because Matt’s parents came home from their holiday last Thursday and we spent our whole evening catching up with them, we missed them so much and are so happy they’re back! After missing out on a week’s worth of chatting with you all, I have SO MUCH to say hahaha. I’m so thankful it’s Friday and I’m very excited for this weekend, Matt is finally off work (YAY!) and we have a great weekend planned. Today’s post is a long one, so grab your morning cuppa and settle in…

What I’m happy about:
Well we’ve had a great week so I’m generally happy, but I’m so very happy to have pretty gels again! I treated myself to a little trip to the salon after work last night and I’m so happy to have my gels back. I know it probably sounds a little crazy to some but it just makes me feel good about myself, it’s such a fun self care treat now and then. I chose lilac with silver glitter, because isn’t that just the prettiest combo for Summer?

What I’m proud of:
I’m so freaking proud of my boyfriend! I know I talk about him A LOT on the blog – he’s my better half, sorry not sorry – but I just really need to sing his praises right now. Last week he was given the opportunity to manage two stores (he already managed one) and he is so deserving of success! He works so dang hard every single day and doesn’t even realise how amazing he is. I’m so excited to treat him and celebrate in a few weeks; we’re trying to get a date in the diary to go up to Edinburgh for the day and I can’t wait! He deserves the world, I just love him so much 🙂

What I’m watching:
Matt and I are now on season five of Brooklyn 99 (which we’re SO sad about, we never want it to end!) so we’re trying to watch it a little more sparingly at the moment. We watched Katherine Ryan’s new Netflix show this week and we about died laughing, she is just so hilarious! We enjoyed her original Netflix stand up so much and thought it would be hard to beat but she did it. Last night we snuggled in to watch Stacey Dooley’s new documentary (any regular readers will know how much I love her) which was amazing, I’m so excited she’s back with new episodes!

What I’m excited about:
Speaking of watching TV… we now have a TV to watch our shows again! Our old TV stopped working so we’ve been watching Netflix, Sky etc on my MacBook for the longest time, which worked fine and we had honestly got used to it. Then yesterday my mum and dad bought us a TV! We’re so grateful to them, they’re seriously so good to us. Doesn’t it look so cute with the little Diptyque candle? I never burn my fancy candles because they are the prettiest decor pieces! It’s only a small TV because it has to fit in the teeny space in the built-in wardrobes (that I designed when I was 14 and didn’t really know what I would want in the future haha) but it’s such good quality and it was SO nice to snuggle up in bed watching TV, instead of the laptop last night. We also will be able to take this TV when buy our house to use in our kitchen/spare room or something, so it’s super exciting to think about that for next year.

What I’m buying:
Autumn candles!!! I placed an order for my FAVOURITE Autumn candle (Leaves by Bath & Body Works) on Wednesday and I literally can’t wait for it to get here, I hope it arrives today! I probably buy at least five every year because Matt and I love the scent so much, it’s literally Autumn in a jar and it just makes me happy. I’ll be burning it the second it arrives in the post, and probably ordering a ton more. I’m really waiting for TK Maxx and Yankee Candle to launch their Autumn ranges for this year to pick up some more because the rainy, cold weather has truly got me in the Autumn spirit.

What I’m celebrating:
My (not so) little brother turned 21 this week! He may now legally be able to drink in the US but he’s always going to seem 12 to me, hahaha. We celebrated on his birthday, and we’re all going for a family meal this weekend in Morpeth; we had to fix a date that worked with Matt’s shifts and because he’s off all weekend it worked out perfectly. I can’t wait to eat Italian food and drink lots of gin with my favourite people!

What I’m eating:
This is super random but I’m kinda obsessed with these hummus chips, they’re so yummy!! They’re filling and tasty, and I’ve eaten SO many packets in the past few weeks without getting bored. I’ve only seen the smaller bags in the Co-Op (my favourite shop) but you can also buy huge bags at any supermarket. Of course Matt and I have been making delicious dinners each evening as always. We always sit down to eat dinner together no matter what time it is; Matt works until 9pm at least twice per week and I make dinner for him coming through the door. We really loved the steak stir fry I made on Sunday, it’s so freaking easy and I whipped it up in less than ten minutes whilst Matt was finishing up a little work. I picked up this stir fry pack and it was so good, we’ll definitely buy it again! Also, a little trick to make your stir fry taste better; use sesame oil. We get this one but I’m sure they all taste the same!

What I’ve been up to this week:
Matt and I have both been working every day as per usual, and we’ve been super busy during our evenings too. On Tuesday we celebrated Robert’s birthday so we relaxed and enjoyed being with family, but we’ve just been 100 miles per hour every other day, as always. I’ve also been spending a lot of time doing things for my blog, decluttering the heck out of the wardrobes (a LONG post will be coming on that soon!) and running errands, it’s just felt so busy. Matt and I have savoured every second of quiet time together, and we can’t wait to relax a little this weekend.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Speaking of which… we have such a fun weekend planned I can barely stand it! Tonight we’re finally going to watch The Lion King (and, you know, get popcorn and Tango ice blasts because that’s what date nights at the movies are all about. It’s tradition guys!) Tomorrow we’re sleeping in then going fruit picking at a local farm and exploring the nearby town, then we’ll be heading back to freshen up because we’re going out for my brother’s birthday meal. Sunday is a little up in the air right now but we know we’re going for breakfast at the beach – our favourite Sunday morning tradition – and then Matt may be playing golf in the afternoon. If he is I’ll work on my blog, we’re going for a run, then we so badly want a cosy evening in the house eating Indian food and watching Netflix! I’m thinking about recording another Weekend In My Life for this weekend because it’s been a while since my last one, please let me know what you think?!

What I’m reading:
Okay I just started a new book, but this week I finished reading After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid and oh my gosh I was a MESS through the whole thing! I literally cried through the first thirty pages, then throughout the book I kept tearing up (and sometimes full on sobbing) because the story was written so amazingly well. I said back in May that Forever, Interrupted was the best book I’ve ever read, and this one is up there too! I highly recommend picking this up – it was so raw and honest and heartbreaking, but also filled with hope and love and joy. I said the same after reading Forever, Interrupted but it totally made me appreciate what Matt and I have even more, we’re so lucky to have found each other and I never want to take that for granted, even for a second!

What I’m listening to:
Of course I’m listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed because I’m forever obsessed with Rosie and Chris Ramsey. No joke. I have also been listening to another podcast that I’ve just discovered (I feel like I’m cheating on SMA…) called Outspoken Beauty. If you’re into beauty blogs and vlogs this is the podcast for you; it’s like having a conversation with a friend and I’ve already laughed and learned so much! I’m just waiting for the day Shay makes a podcast because I just aspire to be her… pretty please?

What else is new:
I very briefly mentioned this in Wednesday’s post and a little bit in this one, but I’ve started doing the Couch To 5k! I was NOT planning to start, and it was so random – Matt thought I’d had an out of body experience I’m sure, hahaha. I was super inspired after watching Jade’s vlog, downloaded the app and just went out running! I’ve done two runs now, so I’ve almost completed my first week and I’m actually excited about starting the new week. I really found my first two runs challenging because I am not a runner, but I’m so excited to see how I get on with it. I don’t talk about this often on my blog but I have arthritis which affects my knees and hips the most, so I’m not sure how this will work out. I’m not putting any pressure on myself, I just want to enjoy it for as long as I can and see what happens!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you all have the most wonderful weekends and please let me know if you’d like me to record a Weekend In My Life? Now Matt’s still snoozing in bed (he’s off work today) and I’m heading to work, but there’s eight little hours between me and the weekend… let’s do this! Also, I decided to end today’s post with three of my favourite posts of the week, please go check them out and leave the girls lovely comments 🙂
What Up Wednesday-ish – Savannah is back!! She took a few days off for holiday (and was unfortunately poorly) but she is BACK. She’s my all time favourite blogger and I genuinely feel like I know her, her posts are always my go-to… please go send her all of the love and good wishes to be better!
July’s Feelings & Favourites – Chloe writes so beautifully, all of her posts are from the heart and I’m so excited she’s writing more about her personal life, those kind of posts always grab my attention more!
Summer Glow Getters – Gemma takes THE most beautiful photos in every post and this is no exception, all of these products are dreamy and I’ve added a few to my shopping list, she’s so informative about the products in this post.

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy Friday loves! Okay so I said in my last #feelinitfriday I probably wouldn’t be writing to you this morning… but here we are! This is the last post I’m actually writing before Matt and I go on holiday (three days and counting guys, we can barely wait!) and I just really wanted to post, I’m going to miss writing so much! Today’s post is kinda short and sweet, but it’s the thought that counts… right?

What I’m thinking about:
How good the new Aladdin movie was! I know we’re super late to the party but Matt and I went for date night at the movies last weekend and it was so. dang. good. I already had pretty high expectations because I’m a Disney movie fanatic (who isn’t?), but it was literally so funny and beautifully made. We laughed so much, and Will Smith was definitely the best addition to an already great cast, it was like the Genie role was made for him! If you haven’t seen it yet I’d highly recommend, Matt even enjoyed it and he wasn’t excited haha. Of course we ate all the popcorn and drank Tango ice blasts, that’s just the best part of going to the movies, right?! We’re also obsessed with Prince Ali by Will Smith and keep randomly breaking out into song, lol!

What I’ve been up to this week:
A whole lot of prepping for our holiday, spending quality time with Matt and running errands! It’s been a busy week at work, and I’ve also had the added stress of trying to make sure as many things as possible are done before I go on holiday. I used to get super stressed out about work stuff when I was away but now I really try to switch off best I can. Last night Matt was out with the boys for a few hours (I wrote some of this post before I went to pick him up, little insider knowledge for you there!) and I spent just over an hour catching up on Jade Billington‘s Disney vlogs, she’s a little ray of sunshine and I absolutely love her! Jade and her husband Matt are the sweetest, if you like Disney vlogs and real LOL’s check her channel out!

What I’m missing:
My mum and dad! They’re away on holiday right now, and come back after Matt and I leave for our holiday, so we’re not seeing them for almost three weeks. It’s such a long time, and although they’re literally never off the phone to us (LOL) we have missed them so much. We’ll have SO much to catch up on when Matt and I get home, though!

What I’m loving:
These beautiful highlighting drops from L’Oreal! I’m talking about them lots more in an upcoming post so I’m not going to say too much right now, but just know they are incredible. I’m so excited to take them on holiday, they give the most perfect lit-from-within glow, and will definitely be a staple for me each night in Croatia! I have the shade Champagne, which you can grab here, and they’re under £10.00, that’s a steal.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Erm… A LOT. We’re having a super chilled evening just cooking at home and watching Brooklyn 99 tonight, then Matt is unfortunately at work tomorrow. We get a relaxing morning together, then I really need to finish up on my pre-holiday blog post writing, editing and photo taking so that’s my number one priority. I also need to pack my suitcase – Matt’s is all done! – get caught up on pre-holiday laundry (#adulting) and run a few last minute errands. When Matt comes home on Saturday evening we’re treating ourselves to a Chinese takeaway (and maybe a few glasses of wine) then we’re driving to Manchester on Sunday morning! We’re flying from MCR and decided to travel down a day early to alleviate a little of the stress, although I’m kinda freaking out about the thunderstorm warning across the UK. Ignore me, I stress about everything! We just travelled down a few weeks ago, but this time it’s super exciting because of our holiday! We’re having a date night out in MCR too, so it feels like our holiday actually starts on Sunday 🙂

What I’m buying:
Books! I’ve purchased a few for our holiday, and I’m hoping to buy at least one more in the airport because that’s just an airport tradition, I love dashing into WH Smith to grab a new holiday read. There’s so many books that look amazing right now I’m a little spoilt for choice, Summer reading is my absolute favourite! If you’re wondering, I’m taking How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne, One True Loves and After I Do by Taylor Jenkins-Reid. If you’ve read a good book lately please let me know so I can pick it up in the airport! (Side note: I seen on Anna‘s stories she was thinking of creating an online book club… I HOPE this happens. I feel like such a little grandma because I really love reading so much, and I’d love to be part of a book club! LOL!)

What else is new:
I’ve been looking back at all of our Kos photos and videos from last year over the past week, I’m just SO excited to be in holiday mode. I posted the one above on my Instagram last night and it just makes me feel all the feels, y’know? 🙂 I love that we get up super early, then spend our day eating, drinking cocktails, laying around the pool, reading our books, walking along the beach, enjoying the scenery. We just literally live in our own little bubble and soak up all of the quality time together (and the sun). It’s the best feeling not having to worry about ‘real life’ stuff for a whole week! I’m linking our photo diary from Kos here if you missed it, it’s packed with fun memories for us! Also, we know we’re so lucky to go on holiday and enjoy time off from work, we truly never take it for granted and really appreciate every day so much. I can’t wait to share our Croatia trip with you all in a few weeks!

Okay, so that wraps up my last blog post for over a week… 😦 I’m kinda sad! I am so used to writing, editing, taking photos etc throughout the week it’s just become part of my day-to-day life that I actually really look forward to, for the most part. Everything will still look the same on the blog as like I mentioned I have pre-planned posts for the next two weeks, so you don’t need to worry! If you’re wanting to keep up with what we’re up to *spoiler: it will be lots of pretty cocktails, boomerangs of the sea and cute snaps of my love…* follow me over on Instagram.

-G x

May Favourites

Hi, loves! Another month has been and (almost) gone, and it’s nearly JUNE! How are we nearly half way through 2019?! May has been such a busy month for Matt and I, but wow has it been a good one. We enjoyed two bank holidays, I turned twenty five, we went for a spa break at Ramside Hall to celebrate, we saw our friends, I got my hair dyed lighter, we went on a road trip to Manchester for a family re-union and we spent so much quality time together.

We’ve also been working super hard and it feels like we barely stopped all month, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I loved every second and my heart is so full! I’m not looking forward to the start of June as Matt is going to be away for the first week and I’m going to miss him like crazy, I feel so lost when he’s gone! I’m really dreading trying to get to sleep without him there, I realise I sound so ridiculous LOL. But I know he’s going to have so much fun, and I get to pick him up from the airport a week later! I already can’t wait, and our Summer officially starts when he’s back. We’ll get to settle back into our lovely little routine, and two weeks later we go on holiday to Croatia, we’re so excited! Anyway, what have I been loving a little extra this month?!

*Also, apologies in advance that these photos aren’t the greatest. I did everything I said I was going to stop doing in this post, and took these in a rush yesterday morning after Matt had left for work, to make sure I got this edited and scheduled on time!*

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
I flipping love this face mask, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve re-purchased so many times since I first bought it a few years ago and I’ve encouraged so many of my friends buy it. I just read an article last week that said one of these masks sells worldwide every fifteen seconds, which is so crazy! I totally understand the hype though, it’s truly a miracle worker. I’ve wrote a full review in an upcoming post (it’ll be live on the blog next week!) and I raved about it so much in that post, I’m trying to keep this short and sweet. I tend to use this in rotation with Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty, but I think it works a little better than MoM for me! I have sensitive skin but this mask doesn’t irritate it at all; it leaves my skin fresh, glowy and clears up any blemishes or blackheads. Matt loves this too, it’s his favourite of all the charcoal masks I make him use!

No 7 Hydraluminous Moisturising Foundation in Cool Vanilla
Okay, I’ve been using this foundation since it was released in February (or March?) and I really really love it. I originally bought it as it was on an introductory offer in Boots, and I like trying new foundations. I thought it could be a great alternative product to wear during the days I’m at work, and keep my It Cosmetics CC Cream for weekends/evenings out, but I actually have reached for this pretty much every day since I first tried it. I re-purchased this month, and I also am going to buy another tube one shade darker ready for our holiday in June. I only wear makeup in the evenings on holiday and this will be perfect! It lasts all day, doesn’t settle into any dry patches or give me spots, I really love it. This is hands down the best drugstore foundation I’ve ever tried, and it’s a steal when it’s on promotion!

Evolve Beauty Nourishing Hair Elixir
This is the only hair oil I’ve used that has made a noticeable difference to the look, texture and quality of my hair. Evolve Beauty are a fairly small brand based in London, who create vegan friendly and cruelty free products. I’ve been using this oil since March and I only just had to purchase another bottle this month, a little goes a long way. I’m so impressed by this product and it’s so inexpensive, especially considering how much you get out of one tiny bottle! I take two to three drops between my palms every day (well, almost every day) and run through the ends of my hair. I lightly smooth any excess product over the top of my head to get rid of flyaways, and it helps keep my hair nourished and soft. It also smells so beautiful!

Nest Candle Co. Mason du Plage Candle
This is one of the most beautiful scents I’ve ever smelled, I wish I could bottle it up into a perfume! It’s the perfect Summer-evening-at-the-beach scent, burns evenly and looks gorgeous in our bedroom, whether it’s lit or not. I purchased this candle when it was first released (there was a little hype in the blogosphere) and I’m going to order another in the scent Soleil. These candles are created by the lovely Becky at Sail Away, I’m so excited for her new adventure! I’m so pleased for her that they already seem to be selling so well, and I see photos all over Instagram pretty much every day. I love supporting small Etsy shops, and I’ll always support fellow bloggers. If you’re looking for a beautiful handmade candle for yourself or as a gift, look no further! They are constantly selling out but stock is replenished often, you just need to keep checking back.

Please ignore the marks from my Invisibobble, lol!

Fitbit Inspire HR
I purchased my Fitbit as an early birthday gift to myself, and I’m head over heels obsessed with it. I used to have a Fitbit Alta around two years ago, but it broke and I never replaced it. I’d been thinking about getting a new Fitbit for a few months, then when I seen this model launch in March I knew it was exactly what I wanted. This is such a huge improvement on my old Alta! I mainly use my Fitbit to track my steps, how I’ve slept each night, and my workouts. It tracks yoga which is a huge bonus as that’s my favourite workout, and it’s so interesting to see my stats each day. Matt is equally as obsessed as I am since I never stop talking about it, and he’s just bought a Fitbit Versa yesterday! That’s definitely going to be motivation to go on a beautiful hike I really want to do over the Adriatic on our holiday, yay! If you’re thinking about getting one I’d definitely recommend making the splurge, you won’t regret it.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I swear this is my favourite book I’ve EVER read! I read this in less than a week (which is super quick – I don’t know how people say they read a book in a day?! Unless I’m on holiday that’s just not physically possible with my life!) I cried three pages in and then spent the rest of the book smiling, laughing and crying a little more. The book centres around Elsie, who got caught up in a whirlwind romance with Ben and got married to him in less than six months. Ben is tragically killed nine days after their wedding (no spoilers, you can see all this on the back of the book/on Amazon!) and the story of how they met is told at the same time as she deals with the horrific grief she feels. I love love love the main characters Elsie and Susan, I truly felt their heartbreak! From when I started reading, each night when Matt and I snuggled up in bed I squeezed him a little tighter and kissed him a little more. It’s a very sad story which makes you think of all of the amazing things you have this very second, and a reminder that you never know what could happen tomorrow. It scares me to think that way, but it’s true. I finished this book in the bath last Friday night and ordered One True Loves and After I Do immediately, I’m torn whether to save them for our holiday or start reading when I’ve finished my current book!

Chilly’s Water Bottle in Pastel Green
It’s a bold claim, but this water bottle might just be the best thing I’ve ever bought! I’ve spoken several times on my blog about the fact I really need to drink more water, and it’s something Matt and I talk about all the time. I drink Diet Coke like my life depends on it, and although I love Diet Coke and will absolutely not be stopping my obsession, I’m really happy to be drinking more water. Some days I really didn’t drink any at all, and that just can’t be good for me! I’ve used my Chilly’s bottle every day since I got it – I’m always trying to do my bit to help the planet and live more sustainably, and I really hate purchasing bottles of water (or more realistically, bottles of Diet Coke) when we’re out and about. Now I don’t need to! Also, it really does keep your drinks cold – I’ve not tried putting hot drinks in yet – for so long, up to twelve hours. Through the night, even when it’s been super hot (where did the warm weather go?!) if Matt or I take a drink it’s like it’s fresh from the fridge. I love that the technology of this bottle means you don’t get any condensation on the outside, and it’s leak proof so you don’t need to worry about throwing it in your bag!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you had the most amazing month, what have you been up to? What items have you been loving this month? I’m so excited for all of my Summer and holiday-related content which will begin this month on the blog. I have pre-written lots of posts already and I have so many other posts planned – I hope you enjoy it too!

-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

Photo Diary: My 25th Birthday Weekend

Happy, happy Wednesday loves! I’m so happy to be back! I know I only missed one upload (more on that in this post) but wow it’s felt SO long, I missed blogging and I missed you guys! I love love love writing photo diaries and Weekend In My Life posts, and I appreciate that they always get such a great response from my readers! You can read my latest WIML post from way back in February here, and if you type ‘weekend’, ‘week’ or ‘photo diary’ in the search bar at the side, a ton more posts will come up!

Thursday May 16th

Thursday was my last day at work for the week, which meant early birthday celebrations! The girls in my office are so sweet and thoughtful, and as always they totally spoiled me with so many lovely gifts, including a Lush gift card that I’m super excited to use!

I finished work a little earlier than usual, and headed straight to the salon for an update to my balayage! I was there a good three hours, and I’m so so happy with how it turned out, my hair is WAY lighter and feeling ready for Summer. Erin at Rein & Co is the best; she’s so sweet and knowledgable, and there’s something about having your hair done that just makes you feel so dang good. I’d really recommend visiting the salon if you’re in the Newcastle area! I drove home via the beach (literally the sunset was SO pretty – I pulled over in the worst spot to take a photo but trust me it was beautiful. I love the beach so much!) While I was on my way home, Matt headed out to pick up Indian food for dinner for us and my parents, we always go to the same place and their food is delicious. After the quickest shower ever, Matt and I snuggled in to watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and got an early(ish) night in. It was the perfect ending to my last day as a 24 year old!

Not the greatest photo. I snapped this super quickly before I headed home

Friday May 17th

I turned 25!! I woke up to Matt being the cutest ever (I mean, he is every morning, but he was extra cute on this day). We woke up around 7ish – no lay in for us! – as he was so excited for me to open my presents LOL. I love our little tradition on birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary of opening gifts in bed, it’s so cute. I also usually feel super awkward opening gifts from people, but when it’s just us two I don’t feel like that at all. Matt was SO generous and spoiled me like crazy, I love him so much and am beyond grateful! We spent a little time with my parents opening gifts from them and other family members, then my mum had to go to work. We ate birthday cake for breakfast (a must, right?), got ready for the day and packed up for our weekend getaway.

Literally the luckiest girl in the world, he’s so good to me!
My favourite EVER cake is the Red Velvet from Costco, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!
I kinda love this photo, even though I’m squinting so bad in the sun and I’ve no idea why my hair looks super dark!

We visited with my grandma for a little while which was lovely. She absolutely adores Matt, it’s so sweet to see! We said our goodbyes and set off for Ramside Hall. We got there around 1.45pm and, as our room wasn’t ready, took a little time to relax in the bar area and grab lunch. Matt got a Heineken (of course) and I opted for a strawberries and cream gin with lemonade, and we both ate club sandwiches. We got cosy in the bar until our room was ready, then went up to have a look around. We’d stayed in this hotel before – I booked a surprise trip for Matt after he’d had such a busy time at work a year past April – so we had an idea of what to expect, but our room was way bigger this time! There was a HUGE bath – it doesn’t look as big in the photos at all, we were super excited to jump in haha.

I just love the decor!
Matt had told the hotel it was my birthday and they left chocolates for us – how sweet! Also Cadbury’s is my FAVOURITE
Our bath of dreams… serious house inspo for next year!

After we’d unpacked (well, Matt unpacked. He’s the cutest and the first thing he does when we get to a hotel is unpack everything and hang his clothes up. I just love him!) we quickly threw on our bikini and swim shorts, and headed down to the spa. It was so warm and relaxing, we lay by the pool for a little then Matt went for a swim whilst I spent five minutes catching up on birthday messages (I was so overwhelmed with the sweet messages I recieved – thank you so much!) I joined him in the pool, and we spent a while just messing around, it felt like we were back in Kos for a split second! We stayed around the pool area for around an hour, but that huge bath was just calling our name. We caved and headed up to our room to take a long hot bubble bath and chilled the F out. It was bliss!

These robes were HUGE and so snuggly – I wanted to take them home! Also, don’t mind the no makeup. Wowzers
I just love him so much!
My handsome guy

Afterwards, we got ready for the evening (I’m SO mad we didn’t get a good photo together) and headed for dinner at Fat Buddha. It’s one of my favourite places to eat – their honey chilli chicken is incredible! We spent the rest of our evening out at a place nearby called Missoula that had the prettiest decor, and really good music. We had a few drinks and were beat, so headed back to the room to snuggle up in bed with a drink from the bar. #25goingon85. We watched an episode of The Force: Essex and fell asleep, we’re so cool. Honestly, we aren’t always like that but I kinda love when we are, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I had the BEST day and I am so thankful for Matt making every day feel so special, not just my birthday. I love you so much, babe!

Saturday May 18th

Since we’d gone to bed pretty early the night before, we were up early and ready to take on the day. It was POURING rain out, so our plans to go for breakfast in Durham were unfortunately squashed as everything is outdoors, and we didn’t bring coats or appropriate footwear. #packingfail. Instead, we checked out, packed up the car and headed to the Metro Centre for a few hours of shopping. What else are you supposed to do when it’s pouring rain and freezing?! We ran a few errands, shopped in our favourite stores and ate lunch at our favourite place, Wagamama’s. I always get the same thing (either teriyaki chicken donburi or chilli steak ramen) and Matt ALWAYS gets chilli steak ramen, however this time I branched out! I got teriyaki steak soba noodles (without onions) and it was incredible, I think I’ve found a new favourite dish! We spent so long browsing Waterstone’s – book shops are one of my favourite places – and I picked up a few new books, I can’t wait to get stuck in! (I also made an Amazon order for even MORE when we got home as they were way cheaper on Amazon, I think I’m good for a while… LOL)

I love you!
My forever date!

We left the Metro Centre, and headed home via Tesco, our second favourite shop. Costco is obviously number one, we literally LOVE walking around buying crap we absolutely don’t need, haha. We were in and out pretty quick, just picking up groceries to make dinner that evening (and my favourite chips and dip… I couldn’t resist). Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so we were staying there the whole time and when we got home Matt went out for a run whilst I snuggled up with a cup of tea and my new book. Although I was in tears by page three – it’s so sad, but also heartwarming, moving and kinda funny – I’m completely hooked. I also kissed and snuggled Matt extra hard for the rest of the weekend, if you read it you’ll know why! And if you haven’t, I’m linking it here and saying you need to buy it immediately, you won’t regret it. (Well, I hope not. I’m 145 pages in when I’m typing this up on Monday evening, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read up to now).

A little beauty haul… all repurchases of products I use and LOVE every single day!
Buying new books makes me so happy. Also, how cute is our bedding at Matt’s parents?! I love it so much!

Matt got home from his run and we watched the opening ceremony to the Man City match, I really love how exciting the atmosphere feels at big football games! We watched for a little while, then Matt got a post-run bath and I went straight back into reading my book. I really struggled to put it down! Matt ran me a bath (and he put a Lush bath bomb in, what a cutie!) and I soaked with a face mask on… yep, whilst reading my book. I used The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask which is one of my absolute favourites, it always makes my skin feel SO good afterwards. Matt usually joins in on face mask night but he was not feeling it this weekend… party pooper! After I’d had a lovely bath, exfoliated, shaved and washed my hair, I jumped out and got ready for the evening. We made dinner – roasted veggies with ham and mashed potato – and got cosy on the couch to watch a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, we’re seriously obsessed! We went to bed pretty late, and snuggled in for a loooong sleep.

My favourite kind of beer! It’s SO GOOD
Do you put butter on your mashed potatoes? If you don’t you really should!

Sunday May 19th

Okay, so Sunday is where I FAILED with the photo taking. I’m sorry, I was on a roll for the first part of the weekend but then I was a #badblogger. To be honest, I felt a little bit off all day – I was really anxious and a little teary randomly. I’m not sure why as there was no specific reason but Matt was so good to me. He loved me a little harder all day and I thankfully felt so much better by Sunday night. We still had a lovely day, I just felt super anxious. So, what did we get up to? We lay in pretty late, and after a little too long snuggling I finally got out of bed to make Matt breakfast. We slowly started moving to get ready, and booked a hotel for a pretty spontaneous trip to Manchester this coming weekend! We’re road tripping down for a family reunion, and I’m so excited for Sunday’s post… can you guess what it’s about?!

I bought this mug for Matt over a year ago and it still makes me laugh!
My new Adidas sneaks from bae! I am so in love with them 😍

When we finally got ready, we headed to Aldi to grab a few groceries we needed for the beginning of the week until I do a big shop mid-week. I typically grocery shop by myself when Matt’s at work or when I’m on the way home from work, so I always appreciate when we get to run errands together. We went to see my parents and open a few extra birthday presents that had been dropped off (my family are so generous!) and caught up on what we’d all been doing over the weekend. After, we went up to see my godparents – we love being at their house, it’s so beautiful and they’re so lovely! We stayed for a while, and got some puppy cuddles in with Phoebe. Isn’t she just so cute?! We went home via a pit stop at the Co-Op (I’m literally OBSESSED with going into any Co-Op we pass, whether I need something or not. It’s become a running joke between Matt and I, then my godmother said she totally gets it and loves going in too! HA we’re so weird. They just have everything you could ever need) and Matt got on with some work whilst I read some more of my book and started editing photos for this post. We showered, cooked the most amazing steaks for dinner and snuggled in for a night of TV on the couch with some yummy snacks. We of course watched a few more episodes of Brooklyn 99, then A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, featuring several football players and Prince William. It was so insightful, and if you haven’t seen it I’d definitely advise watching it – and recommending it to any men in your life!

Photo credit to my favourite lil cousin Ellie, I totally forgot to take a photo whilst we were there! #badblogger
These rainbow pencils are AMAZING! The pink ones are rhubarb and custard flavour… what more could you want?!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a look into my life from this past weekend! We had so much fun, and I’m always so grateful for all the quality time Matthew and I get together. Our schedules have been jam packed lately so we’ve had to make the most of our mornings and evenings, and he’s going away the first week of June – I miss him and am counting down to picking him up from the airport already! LOL. We’re enjoying every little moment together more than ever right now, and we’re SO ready for our holiday together at the end of June! How was your weekend, what did you get up to? I’m counting down to this weekend already, I can’t wait for another weekend with my love, and to spend time with family!

-G x