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

Learning To Shop Consciously

Hi, loves! I’ve wrote several posts about wanting to reduce my carbon footprint, learning to be more sustainable and all of the reasons why we shouldn’t shop fast fashion trends, but is it wrong to still enjoy shopping for new items and even having the ocassional splurge? In October 2018 I wrote about why I was changing the way I shopped, and it caused me to re-evaluate what I’m buying; from food to fashion and everything else. In this post I focused more on the fashion aspect of sustainability; talking about all of the ways to minimize buying, give your old clothes a new lease of life, and to encourage donating things that didn’t serve you a purpose anymore, but how do we go about shopping for new pieces?

I personally think that sustainability within fashion is a complete grey area; many people have said they’ll never ever buy new pieces of clothing again and will only up-cycle current clothes, borrow/rent or shop second hand. Others, like me, do our bit where we can with donating, buying second hand and trying to shop more consciously when buying new. For me personally, I think the key is balance; just like recycling and cutting down on single use plastic, everyone doing their bit makes such a huge difference. In the months since I wrote the above post on fast fashion, I’ve seen SO much more attention brought to it, and I feel like lots of us are a little overwhelmed. I love a bit of retail therapy, and in recent months I’ve began to find my personal style and learn to love my body (I’m working on it, anyway) so I’m all for buying new pieces here and there. I also really want to share more fashion related content on my blog; it’s something I’ve always shied away from because there is so much hype around it, but I hope the Autumn months are going to see an influx of fashion related content around here. Here’s how I’m shopping more consciously, and I hope it helps you too!

Do not purchase on a whim. I’d say that at least 90% of items I’ve purchased on a whim because I ‘needed’ to buy something, bought a whacky print that isn’t me or liked how it looked on the model without giving consideration to how it would fit me are items I regret buying. I try to buy seasonally now; items that will see me through a whole season (or multiple seasons) and can be worn in many different ways are ones that stay in my wardrobe for years, and I truly get the value from. Buying with the purpose of that clothing item lasting you through all different seasons and occasions is something that has changed the way I shop in such a huge way; I’m way less likely to be drawn to things I won’t wear over and over again. I really try not to impulse buy, and generally prefer to shop in store rather than online because it’s best to feel fabrics and try things on.

Buy quality over quantity. I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of pounds on an outfit or piece of clothing to justify it being ‘good’ quality, but it really can pay to shop arounds sometimes. For example, buying cheap t-shirts from Primark might seem like fun in the heat of the moment, but realistically you’re not going to get much wear out of it and it’ll end up in a charity bag within a matter of weeks. Factor in that someone had to make that t-shirt; if they’re marking up their price to be still be £5 or less, it cost pennies to make, and in reflection the person who made that was likely not being paid a fair wage. The fabrics and dyes used in ‘cheap’ clothing are terrible for the environment, and you just don’t get value for money. Aim to shop in stores that offer more premium priced items that are made with better materials, as they will last you way longer and you’ll get your value for money. I’ve said this a few times, but Matt is so good for shopping with the quality over quantity in mind, and I’m slowly but surely learning from him!

Know your price point and stick to your budget. Hand in hand with looking at quality over quantity, it’s so important to know what you can afford, and where you can compromise on spending a little more for a better piece, or go for a less expensive option that suits your needs but still fits with your ethical opinion. It’s hard to judge this as everyone is so different, and our allocated money to spend on clothing each month can vary so much. I personally will never feel guilty for buying at *a certain store* because the reality is I can’t afford to shop exclusively at ethical, sustainable stores or brands. The prices are much higher – although I agree with the reasoning for this, for paying fair wages and using harder to source fabrics – but I’m unable to consistently purchase that way at this time in my life.

Buy with intention. Does the item of clothing go with at least X amount of things you own? Can you wear it through multiple seasons/years? Or is it a ‘trendy’ piece that you’ll not reach for in a month? Or are you only buying it because everyone else is wearing it? Yes, I’m talking about *that* Zara dress. If the answers to these questions err on the side of ~I am not shopping for the right reason~ then chances are, it’s a purchase you’ll regret making. As I said in this post, I read somewhere that you should get at least thirty wears out of each piece of clothing you own, although I think personally that number should be even higher. Buying items of clothing that are not made to fit a certain trend makes this much more likely; stick to shapes and fits that flatter your body, buy solid coloured basics, opt for pieces that can be dressed up or down and only buy patterns when it’s one you know you’ll wear long term (like leopard print, always buy leopard print).

Get over the fear of outfit repeating. I’m sure most of us are immediately re-playing that scene from Lizzie McGuire in our heads right now, which taught us that re-wearing clothes you love was so not cool. Well, you know what really isn’t cool? Killing our planet by throwing away billions of clothing each year. This article shocked me so much, I can’t believe there is still such a stigma against wearing clothes you love, and it bugs me that we’re taught to think this way. I regularly see Daily Mail articles with headlines like “Princess Kate recycles dress for another event” …what? She is not ‘recycling’ anything. She’s literally wearing her clothes. Why don’t we all take a leaf out of Kate’s book and wear what we bloody own?! I also sometimes justify higher priced products by looking at the cost per wear; for example if a jumper was £60.00 but you wore it thirty times, you’re down to £2 per wear; making the investment worth it, and the jumper is better quality therefore will last longer with the correct care.

Read the labels. I really am that person who reads the labels on pretty much every clothing item I purchase. I’m not an angel and I definitely could be better with this, but I try to stay away from purchasing man-made fabrics, such as polyester, and opt for more natural fabrics that are sustainable to our planet. There is a term called greenwashing that is being thrown around a lot recently, and it basically means brands are being accused of advertising products/fabrics are ‘better for the environment’ without being able to back it up. So many cotton clothing items say they are made with ‘recycled’ cotton, but many retailers are not being truthful with this statement; if it doesn’t say “certified recycled/sustainable cotton” it’s more than likely NOT. Do your research, check the labels thoroughly and be prepared to shop around.

Buy with comfort in mind. This one is maybe something that lots of you won’t agree with, but I am tired of buying clothing items that LOOK good, but don’t feel good. Super tight skinny jeans, I’m looking at you. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of skinnies as much as the next person, but if Matt and I are heading out for dinner and drinks (hello, bloating!) I’m no longer forcing myself to wear them when it’s just not necessary. Over the past few months I’ve totally fallen in love with Mom jeans, and I couldn’t care less if they make me look ‘big’ which was what I always thought when I tried a pair on. Matt compliments me every single time I wear them, and they’re so much comfier. If you’re still not on the Mom jean hype, please go try them out! I am equally as obsessed with midi skirts, comfy trousers and if I’m having a chilled day you can bet I’m wearing leggings for that athleisure vibe. Comfort is key, and honestly when you’re comfortable in your clothing (and your own skin, but that’s for another post) you look so much better anyway!

I’m so excited to shop for my Autumn wardrobe, and I’m hoping to implement a better one in/one out system when the time comes. I began decluttering my wardrobe last weekend, and over the next few weeks of culling more and more, I’m determined to only own things I love, feel good in and will get wear out of. I can’t wait to begin buying a few Autumn pieces, I’m really so excited to create a wardrobe I love for years to come! My shopping list for Autumn includes chunky cable knit sweaters, a new midi skirt or two in darker tones, black (vegan) leather ankle boots, a good pair of dark wash mom jeans and some comfy long sleeved tees. I’ll definitely be sharing a little Autumn haul on my blog in September or October, and I’d love to share more outfit related posts with you next season if you wouldn’t be fussed that most of my clothes aren’t able to be linked? I adore Autumn fashion, and I’m excited to focus on fashion a little more on my blog.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe a little interesting; I love to talk about this topic and I’d love to know your thoughts below. How are you shopping more consciously? Have you seen brands greenwashing potential customers for their own gain? What’s your favourite tip to shop more consciously?

-G x

My August Goals

Hi, loves! Happy (early) August! Can you believe how quick this year is going?! It’s almost Christmas! *rushes to make candy cane hot chocolates and turn Elf on, despite faint protests from Matt* As any regular readers will know, I really love setting goals and having something to work towards, and I also quite enjoy sharing my goals on the blog from time to time. It holds me accountable in a different way, as normally I’d write my goals in the Notes app on my phone and if I didn’t achieve something I wouldn’t be too disappointed, so this puts a little fire in my belly! I try to only set five goals at a time, as I feel like it can be really overwhelming if you set more, as in my experience they then become daunting and unachievable.

Clear out Matt and I’s wardrobes (and all of my beauty drawers)
We are HOARDERS, guys. And it’s kind of a problem. We don’t buy new clothes too often, but we did buy some new bits at the start of the Summer for our holiday to Croatia and we didn’t really clear anything out at the time we made new purchases. My dream closet would be one that looks just like Shay’s (hers is amazing!) but right now I’m super grateful for what I have and I want to make it work better for me. I’ve already started my clear out and to be fair I’m almost done, I’ve just got a few organisational bits left to do to make things look a little more pretty. I know there’s several pieces on my ‘to buy’ list for the upcoming Autumn months (I’m VERY excited for A/W fashion, it’s my favourite!) and Matt will be picking up some new pieces for the colder months too! I’m not looking forward to doing my beauty drawers, they are a MESS. If anyone has any great drawer organiser recommendations please let me know! It always feels very refreshing to have a good clear out, and I’m sure we’ll feel so much better when it’s all complete. I’ve already got tons of stuff to sell on Depop which I’ve never done before, so I need to make sure I take all of those photos and send parcels out quickly too!

Treat myself to self care time
I’m making August an unofficial Self Care Month for me, because I think I just need to be a little kinder to myself. Matt and I have had a busy few months and I’m excited to unwind, enjoy the last of Summer and prepare for all of the upcoming fun that we’re going to have in Autumn! I want to make the most of the warm weather, explore new places and rest instead of being 100 miles per hour all of the time. Matt and I have planned a few fun date days and we’re hoping to check off the rest of our Summer bucket list, I really hope we do! It’s going to be a month of unwinding, running, pampering myself, practicing yoga regularly, reading more often etc and I really can’t wait for it. Matt and I are also heading down South for a few nights to visit his family at the end of the month and we’re so excited! We’re hoping to spend our days there spending time with family, relaxing, eating good food and exploring, that’s the PERFECT way to unwind, right? We also get to go on a big old road trip to get there (and back) and you all know road trips are my jam. I can’t freaking wait!

Cut our grocery spending
This is always a goal, but this month I really want to see how much we can cut back. We always buy fresh fruit and vegetables so that will never be cut out, but I think we’re going to experiment a little more with vegetarian meals (which will be much cheaper because meat and Galaxy chocolate is the largest expense of our food shops!) I’m pretty concious about our meat consumption so we try to eat veggie when we can anyway, but this month it’s going to be more intentional. We also want to make lots of Summer recipes before we move back into the colder months, I’m thinking lots of pasta salads, fish dishes and all the tacos!

Be more present
I feel like this is something I’m always working on in one way or another, and I have to keep myself in check and remind myself to live in the moment a lot. I am so excitable about upcoming plans I kinda wish away the days which is something I don’t realise I’m even doing and then I look back and feel like I missed out on things by not being as present as I could be. I’m trying to be happy with what I have and we’re Matt and I are at right now, because I am SO fortunate and grateful for everything and everyone in my life. Also, we all know quality time with Matt is my favourite thing, and this month is packed full of it so I don’t want to miss a second!

Grow my blog
I know this sounds super vague but I just really want to make my blog the best it can possibly be. I talked about this a lot in this post, but my blog grows slowly and steadily rather than super quickly – which is fine, I’m so grateful it grows at all! – I’d just really like to continue putting so much effort in and see how it can grow further. I’ve really stepped up my game with creating new content and I actively like and comment more on blogs that I love, and I’m very grateful for others who always comment on my posts.

Thank you so much for reading! Do you set goals each week or month? Is there something you’re hoping to achieve this month? I love seeing what goals others are working towards, so if you’ve written any similar posts please leave your links below!

-G x