Realising The Importance Of Unwinding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Travel Diaries: Stamford

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a photo diary instead of a typical WIML post, as we spent so much time with Matt’s family and just totally relaxed all weekend! I am so excited to be sharing our photos from Stamford with you, because I literally took so. dang. many. We spent August bank holiday weekend there; visiting Matt’s family, exploring the area and just enjoying a break from our usual day-to-day life. We love going for weekends away, and we try to visit somewhere every few months for a mini break. Our weekend was filled with love and laughter; we had the best time exploring and I’m so grateful to my favourite person for always making our travels so fun. Matthew; I love you, and I love doing life with you! Did you see what I packed for this trip? I’m linking that post here in case you missed it!

We headed off super early on Saturday morning, and what should have been a maximum three and a half hour drive took us five and a half… which is literally just our luck! The A1 was closed due to a lorry fire (thankfully nobody was hurt) but we took a huge detour and got stuck in SO MUCH traffic. Luckily we had snacks, our favourite podcast and each other so we were still pretty happy 🙂

I love you so much Matthew 🙂

…yes I am tucked in with my car blanket for the journey. I am a child. When we finally made it to Stamford, we headed straight for Matt’s aunts house! His parents, nana and cousins little boy were already there so we were so happy to see everyone. The garden was a total sun trap and it was SO HOT. Especially for us Northerners, ha! We caught up, ate and played in the sun – it was so nice to be with the family (and out of the car)! Later we headed to find our cute little apartment in the centre of town and walk around Stamford for a little while; it is the most beautiful place! Everywhere is just so picturesque, the photos really don’t do it justice. We walked around for an hour or so before popping to The London Inn for a few drinks, then we headed back to freshen up for the evening. I can’t believe we didn’t take any nice photos but Matt and I went out for dinner with his parents; we ate at Cosy Club which was amazing, we all had great meals! Debbie and I tried a delicious new rhubarb gin and we had such a fun night all together. Afterwards we met up with Matt’s cousin and his lovely girlfriend for drinks before snuggling back up in our cosy apartment; we had the perfect first day!

This was our view from the apartment, it was so pretty in the late afternoon sun 🙂

The most English picture I think I’ve ever taken, lol!

So funny story… I jumped to the side of the road to take this picture of the tractor coming down the road and I think he thought I was a tourist (I mean, technically I was) because I must have looked so excited. He stopped to wave at me, hahahaha. Matt thought it was so funny!

Our Sunday was very chilled; we went for a breakfast date in the morning at the garden centre, it was so good! We love love love breakfast dates and we know good breakfast food, but this ticked every box. We’ve made a mental note to try breakfast at garden centres in our town to see if we love that too! After breakfast we visited with Matt’s nana; her village is so so tiny I can’t even explain it, they have like three shops! I I loved the area so much, it was super pretty and so remote. We spent the rest of our day visiting a little more with family and exploring the town; there was a classic car show in the centre which we looked around, but really I was only there for the ice cream van at the other side. #truth We got ready pretty early for the evening (it was BEYOND HOT – 34 degrees is just insane to us) and headed back to Matt’s aunt’s house to spend a little more time with the family before going out for the evening. We went to The Crown for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, before spending the evening in the courtyard with them; it was so quirky and literally nothing like we have at home. The fairy lights made it beyond cute! We had such a fun night with everyone, and we’re already excited for our next trip down!

Eggs and avocado on toasted sourdough is HEAVEN to me!

Matt and I LOVE exploring garden centres. Like, seriously love them. I swear we’re 25 going on 75, hahaha.

I loved this little street! The light coming through the church on the next photo was surreal to us, so I had to snap a quick picture 🙂

It was HOT. Hahahaha.

Is this not the most quintessentially British pub you’ve ever seen?! Flowers are my favourite, and these were so pretty and vibrant!

On Monday morning we left pretty early and headed home via York; we went to the Designer Outlet and Matt did so well with his bargains, as always. I picked up a cute Levi’s tee that I’m sure you’ll see on the blog sooner rather than later! Thank you so much for reading, I hope you liked seeing a little snippet of Stamford! We really loved the quaint, cute town SO much because it’s just so different than where we live. It was REAL middle-of-nowhere countryside, I loved it! As you can probably tell from the photos in this post it was very pretty; literally every corner we turned there was something so sweet to look at. We’re hoping to go back in December and I really hope we can make that work; I’d love to see how the town looks decorated for Christmas! Have you ever been to Stamford? Where is your favourite places to travel in the UK?

-G x

Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

Happy Wednesday, loves! I’m so excited for this weekend for several reasons… especially because it’s bank holiday! Who doesn’t love three day weekends? I just wish they were every week. Secondly, Matt and I are going away for the weekend, which is our favourite thing to do. Thirdly, we’re visiting with Matt’s family! We’re so excited to spend time with them, admire the beautiful countryside and explore the cute little town we’re staying in. It’s so much hotter down South, and we are very excited to spend our last Summer weekend in the sun. I know Autumn technically doesn’t start until almost the end of September, but for me as soon as August is out, I’m all about Autumn. Who am I kidding, I’ve been ready for Autumn since JULY, lol! We’re also getting to squeeze in one more road trip, and boy do we love road trips! (Also, I’m so sorry about these photos. I know they’re not great I just didn’t have time to take better ones, please forgive me!!)

As any regular readers will know, I love packing whether it’s for a short trip or a holiday – just search ‘packing’ in the side bar and a ton of posts will come up – so I wanted to share with you all what I’m packing for our last weekend of Summer! In just a few weeks we’ll be living in coats, boots, scarves and hats (I’m SO excited, I can’t pretend I don’t love Autumn!) but it’s probably one of the last times we’ll be able to wear minimal clothing here in the UK. I’m extra excited to pack this time because, I finally get to make good use of our packing cubes that I purchased during Prime Day(s)!

When packing skincare products and toiletries for a short trip, I try to pack pretty minimal. I don’t need options and I don’t need products I’ve only just started trying out; if I’m going to get breakouts or irritated skin you can just guarantee it’s when we’re away from home! For that reason I like to take tried and tested products that my skin loves, and keep it super simple and easy with my skincare. As you’ll see in an upcoming post, I’m currently obsessed with Pixi’s new Vitamin C Tonic, it’s working miracles for my skin! I love to take sheet masks with me when we’re travelling as they make for great pick-me-up’s if you’re skin is feeling a little naff, and they’re super easy with no mess if you only have ten minutes whilst you’re getting ready for the day or evening.

For my toiletries, I like to take small travel-sized products because this isn’t where I want to take up a lot of space. I decant my favourite shampoo and conditioner as I really don’t like to mix up my hair products; when I find something that works I run with it. I can save space to be without my trusty banana hair mask from The Body Shop (just for a few days!) and I really try not to overpack. Matt shares whichever shampoo and shower gel I take, but he’s not at all fussed what I choose. We’re staying in an apartment that provides a hairdryer – something you should always check before you travel – and I’ll probably only wash my hair once anyway.

I find makeup is the hardest thing to be minimal with as I like to switch up my products, and I don’t know how my skin will react whilst we’re away. We all have good skin days and bad skin days, so I just have to hope for the best that my makeup will cover any imperfections (and last all day/night). Lip products are the hardest for me to cull (hence taking five) but I’d definitely rather have ‘too many’ options than not enough, and they’re so little they take up hardly any space anyway! I really really love my new Pillowtalk eyeshadow palette, it’s by far the prettiest palette I’ve ever owned and it creates the most beautiful looks.

Skincare:
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter | Muslin Cloths | Bioderma Micellar Water | Re-Usable Cotton Pads | The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Exfoliator *gifted | Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream | The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Gel Cream *gifted | Pixi Vitamin C Tonic | Pixi Glow Tonic | The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil | The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution *gifted | The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Sheet Mask | Carmex Watermelon Lip Balm

Toiletries:
The Body Shop Tahitian Tiare Shower Gel | Gillette Satin Care Shaving Gel | Gillette Venus Swirl Razor | Bedhead Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner (decanted) | Travel Bottles | Morrocanoil Treatment Light | Johnson’s Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses | The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Body Lotion | MAC Turquatic Rollerball Perfume | Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Perfume | IGK First Class Dry Shampoo | Straighteners (similar) | The Wet Brush Detangler

Makeup:
Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier | Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in 1N1 | Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer in C6 | Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer in 1N | Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder | The Body Shop Honey Bronze in Shade 3 | Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush in First Love | NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Brunette | NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel | Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Pillowtalk | Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black | Colorpop Highlight in Flexitarian | Brushes mostly Zoeva | Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Cali Rose | Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk | Physician’s Formula Velvet Liquid Lipstick in All Natural Nude | Mac Fix + (Travel Size)

I always like to travel in something comfy, and normally I’d stay away from jeans at all costs. However, when I was clearing out my wardrobe – my post is finally coming on that next week – I re-discovered a pair of Tori mom jeans I forgot I owned. I’ve since bought another pair (which I can’t find online, sorry!) and I love them so much. They’re comfortable, forgiving and don’t make me feel like my waist is being cut off, and they’re super cute! I’m pairing with a cute slogan t-shirt – how perfect is this ‘long weekend’ tee from J Crew?! – a cosy cardigan and my comfiest Adidas Coast star trainers, as our travel day is also our first day in Stamford and we’re going to be doing a lot of visiting with family and exploring.

We’re not too sure on our our plans for Saturday night but we do know we’re going out for dinner, so I’ve packed a midi skirt with a black cami and option of a black t-shirt just depending of how I feel. Paired with my super comfortable black heeled sandals, this is such an easy outfit and one that I know I’ll feel good in! On Sunday we’re up early for a breakfast date and another day of exploring/visiting family, so I’m going with a slogan t-shirt and a midi skirt, again paired with my Adidas trainers. On Sunday night we’re going out for dinner with Matt’s cousins and their partners, and I’m not sure where we’re going so packed two options, just incase. The first being (you guessed it) my favourite Zara leopard print midi skirt with cami, and the second a blouse and jeans. Both of the outfits work with my black heeled sandals so I don’t need to take any other shoes! I find making sure your shoes, bag and jewellery work with any outfit option is key, and really helps you to not overpack.

On Monday we’re unfortunately heading back up North, so again I’m opting for those same jeans I wore on the way down (with the option of leggings, depending how much I eat over the weekend LOL) and a slouchy Levi’s tee. I find that I’m always wearing a t-shirt these days, they’re my favourite because they’re cute, comfy and go with anything. I’ve packed an extra comfy cardigan to keep me warm if I get a little chilly; I’m always cold and I know Matt will have the air con on during the drive down! The only other clothing items I’m taking are underwear and my cutest silky pajamas (they’re on sale right now and perfect for the upcoming Autumn months!) so I can get ready comfortably at the apartment – I never sleep in pj’s but I have an obsession with buying them!! I also always overpack my underwear; for a three day trip I literally will take ten pairs. I don’t know why but I’ve done this ever since I can remember, it’s such a bad habit!

The jewellery I’m taking is just my regular everyday stuff that I always wear; my Pandora rings, Pandora bracelet, Missoma initial necklace (I added the moon charm) and my Fitbit. I don’t like to have to continuously swap out jewellery so keep it pretty simple, although I do wish I was able to accessorize my outfits the way others do. I also am only taking one bag, my trusty little Whistles Verity backpack – I’ve owned this for at least three years and it still looks good as new – it’s super roomy which is perfect for during the day and it can work for the night times too. Also, does anyone else’s boyfriend/husband always give them tons of things to carry when you’re out?! I swear I have three things of my own in my bag then Matt’s sunglasses, wallet, car key etc take up so much space, hah!

My favourite category to pack is always the miscellaneous stuff because I feel like that’s one category you can’t really cut down and the over-packer in me relishes in it! Matt and I very rarely travel with our laptops because we just don’t really need them, but taking my iPad is SO easy and it means we can use it to watch a little Netflix or Amazon Prime, and I can read on it. I also like to record any blogging info on the go and sometimes I prefer to do this on my phone, sometimes on my iPad, it just depends on the day! I think pretty much all hotels/air bnb’s have wifi these days, and it’s never been an issue for us before. Of course we make sure to take our chargers, I always take the book I’m currently reading and Matt loves his Four Four Two magazines. I can’t go on a road trip without my car blanket, and we both love to take snacks, they’re the best part of a road trip! We’ve stocked up on Sweet & Smokin’ Hippeas, Tony’s Chocomolonely and all of the Haribos… *makes mental note to pack bananas and trail mix*

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek into what I packed! I know people love posts like this – me too! – and I’m pretty sure it’s just because we’re all super nosy, LOL. Do you have any fun plans for the bank holiday weekend? Are you going away for the weekend too? I’m going to be recording a Weekend In My Life/Travel Diary post, so that will be up soon. I’m making it my goal to get a cute full length picture of Matt and I, we barely ever get good photos together and it’s something we always get mad about!

-G x