Nine Happy Things From October

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m really excited about, because it was so lovely re-living the good things from this month and enjoying them all over again. I’ve talked a few times recently about the fact my anxiety has been pretty bad, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be getting any better right now. Instead of dwelling on it and making myself feel even worse, I’ve been trying extra hard to focus on the good, and boy has there been a lot of good things in the past month!

Spontaneous Getaway With Matthew
Matt and I had THE most fun trip to York and Harrogate in October; it was just a little (less than) 48 hour getaway that was so needed for both of us. We’ve been working so hard and had very full schedules the past few months, which to be honest will carry on for the rest of the year. We make the most of all our time together every single day, but it’s extra special to go on a trip with your loved one, right? Also, Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and I love even the super simple things like the changing colours of the leaves and wearing jumpers/coats, it’s my favourite time to travel!

Practicing Yoga
Yoga and I have a very on/off relationship, it’s literally a love/hate kinda thing. I love how it makes me feel, but I hate having to specifically make time for it when I have other things to do too. Over the past month I’ve been more intentional with my time in all areas of my life, and this means yoga has nicely slotted into my day-to-day life as I’ve made it a priority. I’ve always appreciated the feeling I have when I step off the mat, but recently I’m enjoying my sessions more and more! It really helps to clear my mind and make me happy.

Bonfire Spice Hot Chocolates
Costa hit it out of the park with their seasonal drinks year after year, and after becoming slightly obsessed addicted to bonfire spice hot chocolates in 2018, I was so freaking happy they were back this year. I’ve definitely not had as many as I’d have liked to because y’know… they’re pricey, but they’re so bloody worth it. There’s a Costa drive thru not too far from home and I just think it’s the best invention ever. I also can’t stop treating myself to their millionaire’s shortbread whenever I pop in, they are SO GOOD.

Visiting A Pumpkin Patch
I was super lucky to grow up holidaying to Florida pretty much every year, and let’s just say the bar was set HIGH… Pumpkin patches in the US are a dream; they look like Pinterest in real life, and involve all sorts of fun things that ours just don’t have. I was still so excited to visit a pumpkin patch here in the UK, and the one Matt and I went to was extra special because we got a little private tour! You can read all about that in my photo diary from our trip, I still feel so bad for just turning up, hahaha.

Strictly Come Dancing Saturday’s (and Sunday’s)
It’s my favourite time of year for one hundred and one reasons, but I have to say the TV schedule is pretty high up there. Strictly is something I look forward to all year, and I can’t tell you how much I love this season! Matt and I have been enjoying all of the Saturday nights in snuggled up watching (he loves it too… secretly) and it just makes for the perfect cosy weekend. I have so many favourites, I just get so excited for Saturday nights every single week!

Leaves Changing Colour
It seriously makes me so. dang. happy. I love love love the leaves turning from yellow to orange to red, and standing on crunchy leaves is one of life’s biggest joys! I’m a child at heart, what can I say? This Fall has felt super cold already, and I’m loving wrapping up and just enjoying the outdoors. Matt and I are going on a hike next week and I’m so excited; we love being outdoors so much! Also, it’s even better when we can go for a Sunday roast afterwards… right?

Lazy Sunday’s
Breakfast dates are hands down Matt and I’s favourite way to spend a Sunday morning, and this month we’ve squeezed in two which has made my heart so happy. Our favourite local breakfast spot is Post Box in Ponteland, we try to go once per month and literally every meal is better than the last! I love getting up early, seeing the beginning of the day and getting to chat with Matt about our upcoming week. We enjoy getting out for a wander after our breakfast too; it’s just such a nice feeling to be out and about when people are still just getting up and starting their day.

Snuggly Afternoons Reading
One of my favourite things about this time of year is that a lot of time is spent at home. I’m a homebody, and I love nothing more than a cosy evening taking a nice hot bubble bath, cooking with Matt and snuggling in under forty blankets for the rest of the night. Although Matt and I watch a ton of TV, I’ve always made time to read, and often during weekends when he’s watching the football I get so excited to curl up with my book! I shared my reading list with you a few weeks back, go check it out if you’re looking for some reading inspiration.

Wearing Cosy Sweaters
When I have actually gotten dressed and not been wearing my most amazing dressing gown I have loved wearing sweaters again! There’s a few areas in which I’m lacking in my wardrobe, and I’m super excited to pick up just a few more to wear throughout the next few months. My favourite places to shop for sweaters and oversized jumpers are Zara, & Other Stories and Topshop. I’m also thinking I might treat myself with Christmas money to an M&S cashmere jumper, because Emma Hill RAVES about how good they are!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and felt like it was fun and inspiring! What were your highlights from the month of October? Did you have a good month? If this is something you’d like to see each month I’d love to share again in November. I hope your month is filled with all of the love, fun and fireworks!

-G x

A Spontaneous Fall Trip: Photo Diary

Hi, loves! I am SO excited to share today’s post with you; a little recap in a photo diary style from Matt and I’s trip last week. Any regular readers may remember I’ve spoken a few times about the fact we were trying to plan a night away for our anniversary (which was back in September) and due to both of our work schedules we just couldn’t make it work in that month. Then, we hoped to book a weekend getaway in October but Matt’s work schedule was even more busy and it seemed it would be impossible to make it work. We decided we’d just go away around December time, but then Matt managed to get TWO week days off work, and I was so grateful to get the same days… hence our spontaneous trip!

Snapple fact: I’m literally the least spontaneous person EVER. I need structure and routine and planning, but we booked our hotel late on Friday night, then travelled early Tuesday morning. I know it’s only a one night trip and this is probably so normal to most people, but this was such a big deal for me! We decided to split our two days between York and Harrogate because we love both of those places and it’s been a hot minute since we last visited. York is a super special place to us as it’s where we went on our first date. Yep, we drove two and a half hours away from home on our very first date… thank God it went well, hahaha. Matt was obviously feeling confident because it was his suggestion! We also really love Harrogate; we stayed there for my birthday last year and it is just such a beautiful town. We unfortunately didn’t get to see very much of Harrogate at all as it was SO rainy and cold!

We set off bright dark and early so we could spend most of our day exploring and enjoying York, not stuck in the car. The roads were pretty clear which we were thankful for, and we had our favourite car snacks too! We sang along to our favourite songs and talked the whole way there, which is one of my very favourite things about road trips with Matt. It was a very grey day which is pretty common here from October through to March (!) but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all, we were so excited to get to our first stop; the pumpkin patch!

…so very excited that I didn’t even check it was open mid-week. And guess what? IT WAS CLOSED. Hahaha. We pulled up to what was clearly a working farm with not another car in sight (just tractors and farm equipment) and the sweet farmer headed over right away to see us. We pretty quickly knew it wasn’t open, so explained we hadn’t checked before coming and before we could say any more he told us to park the car out of the mud and he’d meet us up at the top of the courtyard. Guys, he was SO NICE and let us explore anyway! He gave us a little private tour, showing us the barn and the Halloween activities that had been set up for the next few weeks. He then showed us around his land a little, and left us to explore his pumpkin patch and land for as long as we wanted to! There were chickens everywhere which was so fun to see. We were so grateful to get to visit because we had been so excited to see the pumpkin patch (okay, I was way more excited than Matt!) and I can’t believe I didn’t think to check if it was open. The farm was called Cundall Lodge Farm, and it’s also a B&B which looks so beautiful! Matt and I want to go back and stay here soon, the farmer was seriously so nice and the grounds are amazing.

Side note: I was SO FREAKING GLAD we had taken wellies with us, it was very very muddy! My wellies look like chelsea boots and are from J Crew, but I can’t find a link. Sorry! My colourblock sweater is linked here, I got a size Small and it’s pretty oversized but I love it.

He is just the most handsome man I ever did see! I LOVED this look on him!
A Barbour jacket + wellies = 😍😍😍

I actually really like that shot of me opening the car door, it’s a genuine candid Matt took that we didn’t plan ha! Thanks babe. We left the pumpkin patch covered in mud (seriously, our jeans somehow had mud EVERYWHERE) and headed into York city centre. We come to York pretty often but we very rarely go into the centre so I was super excited to wander around. We did a little shopping – I picked up this Disney tee in Zara and I’m obsessed with it! Matt so badly wants one of those coats pictured below but he can never quite decide on which. We also went to Expressions Clothing which is a vintage store selling lots of American brands and sportswear. I treated Matt to a rugby shirt for SUCH a good price, and I picked up an oversized Broncos tee that still had the tags on. I’m super excited to wear it with mom jeans and Vans!

After looking round a few more shops we headed for lunch at Lucky Days cafe – we first went here in December 2017 and ordered soup because we were so freezing. We remembered how amazing the food was so specifically went back for their soup, and it was just as good! Matt got thai green chicken and I went for broccoli and cheddar, and we split a red velvet cake. A perk of being an adult? You can eat dessert before your main course. Which we did… oops!

We spent another hour or so exploring York; venturing around the shambles and just enjoying being in a new city before making a quick visit to York Designer Outlet. We love the outlets, and I swear Matt snaps up every great deal there is! He got a new Ted Baker shirt, a Paul Smith shirt (sadly not the one I found below which was perfect for #spookyszn) and a Fred Perry polo shirt. I got a cute slogan t-shirt from Tommy Hilfiger which I love – it will be perfect with jeans/leggings and an oversized cardigan – and we of course made a visit to the Cadbury store and the Haribo store!

The outlets were SO EMPTY – we’d definitely recommend going mid-week instead of during the weekend if you can. Sometimes when we’ve been it’s been so busy you can barely look around the stores! We finished up our shopping and made our way to Harrogate to get cosy in our hotel. We stayed at the new Doubletree by Hilton, which we didn’t know had only become a Hilton three weeks before! The hotel was undergoing renovations but when it’s finished it is going to be SO BEAUTIFUL. We had a huge room that had just been done out (I really didn’t take many photos, sorry guys!) and had no complaints. As we booked pretty last minute we didn’t check TripAdvisor, but when I looked a day or two before I was slightly worried, the reviews were AWFUL. We had no need to be worried though, we had a great stay and the staff were really friendly. One thing I really love about Hilton hotels is that you get a warm chocolate chip cookie on arrival, that’s great service!

We took a few blog photos for this post (I swear Matt is the best boyfriend ever!!) and then got ready for our evening enjoying a few glasses of wine. We ate at one of our favourite restaurants, Gino’s, and the food as always was AMAZING. I love that they have a photo booth up on the top level of the restaurant, and a heated outside bar. We of course took photo booth photos as that’s another little tradition of ours, we’ve got tons! As it was a Tuesday night there wasn’t too much going on in the centre, so we headed back to our hotel for drinks in the beautiful lobby. We then took a few drinks upstairs and snuggled in bed to watch Chaos In The Cockpit… we always watch shows like this. No wonder I’m so scared of flying!! Also yes, date night and we prefer to spend it in bed. We’re 25 going on 85 HAH.

Oh hey there, you can see me in the mirror!

Okay so I took this photo because I need your guys’ advice/help!! After a full day of wearing makeup (which is almost every day because y’know… I love my makeup) my skin is SO RED. It is almost rash-like and so so hot to touch, and covers my cheeks, chin and nose. Has anyone else ever experienced this? My skin is looking and feeling SO good right now (except for acne scars and the odd spot), but this random redness – it almost looks like a rash? – is kinda freaking me out. Please help me!

Date night with you is my favourite. I love you, Matthew!

Any restaurant/bar that provides blankets is my kind of place!

The next morning we slept in a little, and enjoyed not having to rush around getting ready. We literally snuggled in bed for like, half an hour! It was perfect. I read a little whilst Matt caught up on a few e-mails, and we slowly got ready for our day! I am borderline obsessed with my Zara x Disney t-shirt, it is just soooo cute. I’m really going to miss wearing slogan/cute t-shirts as the weather gets colder and I have to wear a sweater every day! In the photo below Matt was totally stuffing his face with our Haribo pick n mix. Hahaha.

We were planning on going for breakfast in Harrogate but it was pouring rain and we really weren’t dressed for the weather so we decided to just head back up North early. We went into Newcastle city centre for a wander, browse of the shops and lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants; The Botanist. The food is always amazing and their cocktails are out of this world, although sadly we didn’t get any as it was 2pm on a Tuesday. #sigh #life (although, if you go… get a blueberry martini! I don’t even like a regular martini but wow, these are AMAZING and my ‘treat’ every time we go. Thank me later!)

We had the best afternoon wandering around our hometown, but we were so freaking tired. We headed home, unpacked the car and… took a nap. At 4pm on a week day. It was FANTASTIC! We highly recommend, guys. Toddlers are so lucky! I can’t even tell you how much we needed that nap; we woke up around 5.30pm, I took a shower and we headed over to Matt’s parents, where we just managed to stay awake past 10pm, hahaha. We had a lovely night visiting with them, watching football and eating dinner. I feel like all we did those two days was eat, but hey you have to enjoy yourself right?! We sadly had to be back at work the next day, but this was such a special trip for us and we had so much fun! Thank you for being my favourite travel partner, I love you Matthew 🙂

And thank YOU so much for reading and following along on our little Fall getaway! I hope you enjoyed this post, how beautiful is that pumpkin patch?! I feel so grateful and lucky we got to have a mini anniversary celebration after all, and I’m so thankful to be able to share it with you guys. Thank you for your continued support; you have no idea how much it means to me that you read my blog and I am so excited for all of the fun, festive content planned for the next few months 🙂 have you visited York or Harrogate before? Where’s your favourite road trip place?!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday to you all 🙂 I am so freaking happy it’s the weekend and I’m determined to enjoy every. single. second. Does anyone else feel like they blink and the weekend just disappears? I’m not to let that happen this time. During this week I’ve kinda been running on empty; literally every morning when Matt and I’s alarm goes off we both have felt as though we’ve just closed our eyes to fall asleep. I think it’s probably just a combination of late nights watching The Office and busy weeks at work, bring on the weekend! Also I just have to say… I’ll probably definitely be talking about this in lots more detail next week but BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATES ARE BACK AT COSTA. Me and the girls at work have made a Costa run a priority during our lunch break today and I’ve already got my re-usable mug waiting by the door 🙂 I’m SO EXCITED!!!

What I’m loving:
I’ve been having lots more baths over the past few weeks, and I’m really really enjoying them! Matt’s had more late shifts at work than usual which means he’s not home until around 9.30pm, so I’ve been spending at least an hour in the bath most nights before he gets home, reading my book and treating myself to various pamper treatments. As it starts to get colder my arthritis gets worse (it’s unfortunately just a fact of life) so I will be pretty much living in hot baths for the foreseeable. Bliss. There’s just a few of the products I’m loving right now in the photo above, but I’d love to share my favourite pamper products with you if that’s something you’d like to see? Spoiler: this shampoo and conditioner is brand new to me and I’m already LOVING them both so much!

What I’m slightly jealous about:
My brother is in Canada right now! Matt and I were feeling a little bitter saying goodbye to him because we want to visit Canada so bad. I mean that in a jokey way because of course we want him to have a great time, we just also wanted to hop in his suitcase. He’s spending the week in Toronto and also visited Niagara Falls, which is super high on Matt and I’s travel bucket list! He was sending me photos whilst he was there (which you may have seen on my Instagram stories) and I so badly wish we were there too!

What I’m buying:
I have started officially shopping for Fall! (I know. I’m English, but Fall sounds SO MUCH BETTER than Autumn, right? My friend Jessy agrees which is enough for me… we’re going to make Fall happen this year. Fall.) Topshop had 25% off last Sunday (!!) so I ordered this mustard sweater, the most perfect black polka dot satin blouse and a gorgeous grey, cream and blush colourblock sweater, I’m so excited for them to arrive (hopefully today)! I also ordered this beautiful checked blazer from H&M on my lunch break during the week and although the shipping has been delayed I am SO excited for it to arrive. Prepare to see it featured lots on the blog, I really can’t wait to create more fashion related content this season. I’ve been looking for a pair of riding boots and had very little luck so far, but I LOVE how they look so I really hope I can find some soon. I’m trying to shop intentionally, so I’m buying staple pieces that will not only last me through this A/W season, but many years to come.

What I’m cooking:
Again, I didn’t take photos of our meals throughout the week because we’ve been making our old faithfuls due to Matt’s shifts! Tuna pasta bakes, bolognese and chicken fajitas… nothing groundbreaking, therefore I didn’t want to bore you with it all. But I really need to share this CrockPot dinner with you because it’s one of our FAVOURITES and a dish we’ll be making pretty much every week this Autumn/Winter. Side note: we are already big fans of a strawberry and lime cider, but oh my gosh we tried this peach and apricot cider this weekend and it is so good. You need to try it ASAP! We totally made up the recipe way back in February when I bought the CrockPot for Matt (#adulting) so we have tweaked it a little here and there since, but now it is perfect for us. You really need to try it, CrockPot meals are THE BEST for long days when you’re at work as you literally throw it all in and when you come home dinner is ready for you!

Ingredient list:
500g x diced chicken
3 x peppers
20 x cherry tomatoes (approx)

1 x large onion 
5 x celery stalks (approx)
1 x jar of Chicken Tonight Spanish Chicken sauce
salt, pepper and seasoning to taste

Method:
Dice all your veggies as large or small as you like them; add to CrockPot. Cut chicken into small pieces; add to CrockPot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, any seasoning of your choice (we like this fajita seasoning) then pour sauce over the top. Stir well, then cook on low for 8+ hours, or medium for 4-6 hours. If one of us is at home when this is cooking we stir every 1-2 hours, but it’s not required. We eat with rice or pasta depending on what we want that day. This is enough for four large servings, and it also refrigerates or freezes if required.

What I’m excited about:
Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend, and I CAN’T WAIT!!! I love love love Strictly, and much to Matt’s disappointment we watch every weekend, usually with his mum because she also loves it. I feel like it’s the beginning of the build up to Christmas (yep, I said the C word!) and it just makes me look forward to cosy nights in the house when it’s super dark and cold out. I already can’t wait for snuggly nights in the house with the Christmas lights twinkling in the background, how perfect! Also, Chris Ramsey is a contestant this year and I have everything crossed for him to do really well, and also Saffron Barker!

What app I’m loving right now:
So I’m pretty sure I’m WAY behind everybody else, but I just found out about the Tezza app and I am obsessed with it. I edited all of the photos for this post (and probably every post for the foreseeable) with the app, and I’m so happy with how they look! I also edited two photos from our Stamford trip to put up on my Instagram grid this morning (plug plug, check it out) and I am FINALLY going to have an Instagram theme. It’s my time. #blogger #notreallybutI’mtrying

What I’m burning:
I’ve officially broken out the pumpkin candles and I DON’T CARE. I mean, it’s September. So it’s justified. Right?! Matt is actually on board too, they just smell like ~cosiness~ and make us very happy. We’ve been loving the one pictured from Homesense (sorry I can’t find it online but there were TONS in store)! Side note: I wish we had Bath & Body Works here, it’s literally so expensive to get them in the UK. Homesense thankfully have the best pumpkin scented stock around, and I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more over the coming weeks.

What I’m binge watching:
So Matt and I are still watching The Office (we’re onto season three and are pretty much obsessed with it) – I’m still so confused how it took us this long to watch it! We genuinely look forward to snuggling in to watch an episode or two in bed each night. We’ve also been catching up on Peaky Blinders – the new season is already SO GOOD, watching all of the Stacey Dooley documentaries and until Mattgets home, most nights I’ve been binge watching an old favourite show, Chesapeake Shores. I watched seasons one and two a while back, and totally forgot about it. But, I seen on Netflix they’d released new episodes and now I am obsessed with it again! I want to pack up everything Matt and I own and book one way flights for us to Chesapeake Qualicum Beach/Parksville in British Columbia. Hah, Chesapeake is a fictional town but the locations it’s filmed in are real and they’re seriously the most picture perfect places. I love love love the characters too, it’s super cheesy and kinda Hallmark-movie-esque, but it’s great binge-watching TV.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We have such a fun weekend planned, and I’m really looking forward to it! Tonight Matt and I are going to watch the rugby; England are playing Italy and we are SO excited. They’re playing at St James’ Park so it will be super weird to be there for something that’s not football! Matt’s cousins and their partners are visiting this weekend from down South, so we’re spending tomorrow with them and his parents, and we’re all heading for dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants in the evening. On Sunday, Matt’s cousin Adam is running in the Great North Run so we’re going to cheer him on; GNR day is one of Matt and I’s favourite days of the year because the atmosphere is amazing! I’m so excited 🙂 I’m also recording a Weekend In My Life post which I’ve had lots of requests about, so you’ll get to see everything from our weekend!

ICYMI: this week’s posts:
Sunday – My Morning Routine
Wednesday – Travel Diaries: Stamford

I’m so happy I was able to get this post up for you this morning, like I said in last week’s post September is SUPER busy for us! (So busy I actually wrote most of this last night when Matt was out at a work party! By the time he got home I was ready to snuggle in and watch The Office – obviously – and I just needed to finish up and edit this morning). I am really trying hard to be consistent with my schedule and I am officially all set for the next week with pre-written posts, YAY. Right now Matt is happily snoozing next to me as he’s off today, but I really need to jump up and get ready for work. I’ll see you on Sunday for a post about CHRISTMAS! Yes, really! Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

-G x

Decluttering 101: The Wardrobe Edit

Hi, loves! A few weeks ago Matt was working all weekend and I took a whole day to clear the heck out of the wardrobes. When he left for work I immediately pulled out a whole rail of clothing so I couldn’t decide not to do it, and the second he got home from work I rushed him upstairs to see all my hard work, ha! I owned so many clothes, but not many brought me joy, and I was feeling a little deflated every time I looked in my wardrobes to try put an outfit together. Matt is so good at buying high quality items he loves that last him for years, and up until the past year that wasn’t something I did. I bought any old junk just because I thought it would come in handy and I also had some weird emotional attachment to my old clothing. Realistically I had a wall of wardrobes full to the brim, yet I constantly felt like I had nothing to wear. I shop smarter now but I really needed a clear canvas to work with; I just wanted to love everything I owned and so decided a major purge was on the cards!

I feel SO GOOD now about getting ready in the mornings or evenings, and I’m so happy I decided to bite the bullet and spend six hours – yes, really – working on this. Putting outfits together is way more fun (and easier), and I know what gaps I have in my wardrobe for things to purchase moving into Autumn, so my shopping list has pretty much wrote itself. I may have already began purchasing my Autumn clothing… I’m just so excited! My wardrobes look so much better and are properly organised, and Matt has a little more room now too which makes me so happy. Hopefully in the next year or so we’ll have our own house but for now we’re so happy and grateful with our set up; for anyone that doesn’t know we live between our family houses whilst we save for our own home. Matt and I know how lucky we are to be able to do this; we get to be together every night – which is just the best thing, I love him so much! – and our family’s love having us there with them, (or so they tell us, haha). We tend to spend more evenings at my family’s house due to Matt’s shifts, so I really wanted to make more space for Matt in our wardrobes. In this post I’m sharing my recommended tips and tricks for a major declutter, but where to start? First of all, turn on Netflix to watch all of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Then read this blog post on why I love her so much. Then, you’re about ready to go:

Clear out one section at a time
This is the only thing I disagree with in Marie Kondo’s teachings. She advises to dump out everything in one go, but I feel like that’s a little too overwhelming for me personally, and I’d rather be able to take a break if/when needed; I don’t think a clear out has to be done in one sitting if you don’t want to. I think it’s better to look at your clothing in one category at a time, maybe even sub-categories depending how much you own, as I find it easier to focus on one thing at a time. (I don’t know why because in regular everyday life I’m doing thirty things at once!) I also like this method because I prefer to re-organise where things are kept as I go; this time I put all of my t-shirts, short sleeves, camis etc high up in my wardrobe, and moved long sleeved t-shirts, blouses, thin knit sweaters etc to the bottom. It’s easier to place things in your wardrobe in a way that makes sense to you as you’re getting dressed or picking outfits out to pack, and once you start the process it becomes much easier.

Clean out all shelving, drawers and rails as you go
Do not leave ANYTHING in your wardrobe as you clear out. Nothing at all. You might know you love that plaid shirt you always wear or the grey jumper you just bought, but you still need to see each piece to make sure you’re keeping only things you love. If you have similar clothing pieces – how many white blouses does one gal need? – this is also a good time to cull the ones you don’t reach for very often. I also take the time whilst everything is off the shelf, out of the drawer or off the rail to fully clean and wipe down. Method’s all purpose cleaner is brilliant for this, I’m still obsessed with the Wild Rhubarb scent!

Make three piles per category: donate, keep and sell
The one basic of a wardobe clear out is always to make these three piles, right? This is also great when you’re working by category (or, sub category if you’re super type A *raises hand*) as you can put away your keep piles as you go, and organise your donating/selling piles easier.

Identify any items you feel like your wardrobe is missing
Maybe you are changing your style up, maybe you’ve thrown out or donated all of your jeans because you realised you didn’t like any, or maybe you just realised a few basics that were missing from your wardrobe, but take this as the opportunitory to take inventory. As I mentioned in this post, I found a few obvious gaps where I was lacking in my wardrobe and made a list (of course, I LOVE a list) of things to pick up over the next few months. This makes it much easier when shopping, as you begin to shop intentionally and to choose things that go with what you already own.

Be ruthless: if it doesn’t bring you joy you don’t need it
I used to be very sentimental with my clothes but I’m really not anymore, I feel like if it doesn’t benefit me and I don’t feel good wearing it there’s no need to keep it anymore. Goodbye, size 6 jeans. I think a really good rule of thumb for this is asking yourself “if you were shopping in a store right now, would you buy X?” If the answer is no, you don’t need it in your wardrobe because it obviously doesn’t bring you joy. Also, do not keep hold of items that once fit you but now don’t! It will make you miserable seeing them every day, life’s just too short.

Give every item a home
One of the biggest problems I found with my wardobes being messy is that not everything had it’s own home, therefore when things were ‘out of place’ there was nowhere for them to go. Storage bins are great for miscellaneous items that are otherwise hard to store, like scarves! I rolled all of my scarves and stores them in a storage bin which means I can see them all at a glance and pick one out so much easier.

Remove seasonal pieces that won’t be worn in the next six months
If you don’t have a lot of space in your wardrobe(s), then you need to make sure you utilise it wisely. If you still struggle for space after your clear out, I’d recommend storing your Spring/Summer specific clothing during the Autumn/Winter months, and vice versa, to limit your wardrobe looking like a clothing explosion. If you have underbed storage or a loft, that will probaly work best. Buy large sealable bins to make sure your clothes don’t get damp in a loft space, just make sure you don’t forget they’re there. I actually no longer need to do this as I have enough space to store everything at once since my clear out which makes me very happy!

Maintain your organisation
Consistency is key, after all. As tempting as it can sometimes be to say you’ll put your clean clothes away at a later date/time, just do it there and then. You worked hard to clear everything out, and you owe it to yourself to maintain your efforts. It also takes literally five minutes, so you have no excuse! Having a ‘one in, one out’ system when buying new items is a great way to ensure you don’t need to have a clear out of the same scale again, but I’d definitley recommend reviewing your wardrobe every 3-6 months to make tweaks here and there.

Now… relax. Grab a cup of tea. Admire your hard work!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and are able to completely clean out your wardrobes too. I feel like that ~fresh~ feeling everyone gets in January is something I feel in Autumn, and this year I’m so ready for it. We’re making a start on Matt’s wardrobes and drawers in the next week or two and I’m so excited, it’s way more fun to be brutal with the ‘donate’ and ‘sell’ piles of someone else’s clothes 🙂 for real though, it feels so good to be organised and to love everything in my wardrobe again. I literally found so many pieces of clothing I forgot I owned, how is that even possible?! Do you need a wardrobe declutter too? Is there any extra tips you have to share with me and my readers? Please leave them below!

-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

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

My May Goals

Happy first day of May, loves!

I am so excited to share my first monthly goals post on my blog, and I hope (if you enjoy it) it can become a semi-regular feature. I love to set goals for myself and it’s something that encourages me and motivates me like nothing else. I generally keep my goals private, and only would share my current goals with Matt, but I think it’s good to hold myself accountable by writing them for the world to see. I wrote this post towards the end of 2018, to set myself some goals before the new year rolled around. I’m still working on some of those right now, and I also wrote a post about the goals I want to achieve in 2019.

May is going to be a good month, I can feel it! Matt and I had so much fun in April, but it wasn’t the best month for me as I struggled a lot with my anxiety and felt a bit rubbish. April did however see a huge increase in traffic for my blog which was unexpected, and I can’t tell you how excited and grateful I am for that. I’m enjoying blogging more and more as the months roll on, and seeing the rise in people reading posts, liking and commenting makes it feel that little bit extra special. It’s also my birthday month – I turn 25 on May 17th – to celebrate Matt and I are heading for a little spa break and we’re so excited! There’s two bank holidays this month, hopefully the warm weather from April bank holiday weekend will return, and we’re going to have so many fun date days/nights. So, what are my goals for this month, and what steps am I taking to achieve them?

Worry less
I’m pretty sure from now until the day I die, my daily goal will be to worry less. I’m a perfectionist, I care too much what other people think, and I’m always striving to please everyone around me, even those that don’t really matter. I really want to work on this, although I find it’s much harder than it sounds when I attempt to put it into practice. I’m starting with giving myself that extra little bit of self love, believing in all of the wonderful things Matt says to/about me, and trying to live in the moment more. I know life is so short, and we should focus on ourselves way more than we do, it’s just hard to find that perspective when I need it. It goes without saying that my anxiety does not help with this and, as mentioned above, I’ve been feeling very anxious recently, although I’ve been unable to pin down exactly why. I’m hoping my head will feel a little clearer this month, and I can enjoy each day without feeling that little cloud hovering over me.

Make better food choices
Throughout April, Matt and I were trying so hard to eat better. We’ve always generally ate well for breakfast and dinner, but it was the bit in the middle of the day (and sometimes the evening) that was the struggle. We’re self-confessed snackers, and we’re prone to snuggling up to watch our TV shows in the evening with a bag of popcorn or a pack of Haribo. We’re not cutting out everything bad for us and we’re definitely still eating the things we love in moderation, we’re just trying to be a little more aware of what we put into our bodies. I’d love to lose a little weight before our holiday next month, too! Our four main goals are; more vegetables, more fruit, less sugar and less red meat. I talked about this in lots of detail in a previous post last month, but we really love to experiment and cook different dishes for dinner, and we’re trying to make at least two new recipes a week throughout May so we can expand our ‘go-to dinner options’ even more. I’m excited for the challenge of another month of making healthier choices, and I’m hoping that after another four weeks it may become second nature. Let’s just forget about the fact there’s two bank holidays and my birthday weekend where we’ll 100% be consuming alcohol. And cake.

Read at least four books
Throughout 2019, I’ve been reading like a machine, and this one is probably going to be the easiest goal for me. I love nothing more than getting lost in a fictional world; it’s a great way for me to de-stress from everyday life, and it makes me feel so relaxed, especially when I’m feeling a little bit lost with myself. I feel like I have to actively make time for reading, as my default *thing to do* when I’ve got a little downtime is to work on my blog. I’m trying to be a little more selfish, and allow myself time to read as a self-care activity, instead of thinking I constantly need to be doing something. I am forever buying new books, and when I love one I tend to fly through it at lightening speed. I’ve read 12 books so far this year, which works out at three per month, but I’m setting myself the goal of reading (at least) one more. My favourite place to read books is in a Lush bath, as I feel like I’m completely in my own little bubble and it’s glorious!

Create new in-front-of-the-camera blog content
I find having my photo taken the cringiest thing in the world, and I just don’t know how to re-train my thinking on this. I think the fact I feel uncomfortable with my body is the driving force behind this, but that’s a slow process to change. I began the process to change up my hair last month and I do feel so much better already, so maybe this will be more achievable as the months roll on! The only photos I feel comfortable taking are ugly Snapchat selfies (my boyfriend is so lucky) or the occasional couple photo when we’re dressed up for a night out, and even those I rarely like when the morning rolls around. I really want to branch out more with my blog, especially by showing Spring/Summer fashion ideas and taking the kind of photos I’d love to feature on my blog, but it’s hard when I don’t feel too comfortable in front of the camera. Matt is fortunately a great (and very patient) photographer, so hopefully we can work together to get some good shots! He took the photos of me in this post during a day out at Alnwick Garden during the April bank holiday Monday – we had the best day enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms – and he made me feel so much more comfortable in front of the camera.

Use cash as much as possible throughout the month
As I mentioned in this post, I was getting much better at taking money out at the ATM for the week, and then using that money for groceries, shopping days or heading out for an impromptu dinner date with Matt. Throughout April I didn’t do so well with this, and went back to tapping my contactless card or using Face ID to activate my Apple Pay like it was my job. As a result, I spent over my budget in a few too many categories, and I want to save a little more money this month than I did in April. Matt and I are starting our Spring/Summer clothes shopping too – I love shopping date days, we pretty much always go for a Wagamama too! – and I want to make sure I’m not overspending. You can see some of the things I’m planning on picking up in my Spring style wishlist post, and there’s a few other bits and pieces I need to start picking up for our holiday next month!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed a little peek into what my goals are for the month. Do you set monthly goals? How well do you do at achieving them? If you have any tips or tricks to help me achieve mine I’d be eternally grateful!

-G x

Pack With Me: Overnight Trip

Happy, happy Sunday loves!

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

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

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

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

The Beauty Bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clothing & Accessories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x