2020: My Goals For The New Year

Happy new year, my loves! I hope you had a great evening ringing in 2020, however you spent it. Matt and I watched the fireworks over Newcastle’s Quayside with our friends, and I’m feeling happy and hopeful at the thought of a whole new year right at our feet. I can’t lie, I’m pretty happy to see the back of 2019. For me, it was a building year. I didn’t have a fantastic year, but I did have some fantastic times and I’m so truly grateful for those.

Instead of focusing on the things I didn’t love, I wanted to share a few things about 2019 that were just amazing. Matt and I travelled! We got to spend time in Croatia, we enjoyed several staycations and weekend trips in the UK. I completely fell in love with my blog and my mind is brimming with new content ideas for the new year. Matt and I have learned so much about cooking in 2019, and we love to experiment with new foods and flavours. I finally became a (mostly) confident driver, after years of driving anxiety this was huge for me. We spent so much time with our friends and family, and truly tried to enjoy each day as it came. From every date night to celebration to beach walk to binge-watching Netflix session to road trip, I’m so thankful for another year with my best friend! Matthew, I love you and I’m so happy to do life with you.

I’m going to level with you, I’m really not a huge fan of ‘New Year’ and all of the extremely high expectations it brings; we’re still the same people living the same lives with the same blessings and the same problems… right? The clock does not magically strike midnight and we find ourselves in a Cinderella-like moment, our whole world about to change forever. I do however like to set myself goals – not resolutions – which are like mini challenges and intentions for the year. Truth be told, if nothing much changed between today, January 1st 2020 and December 31st 2020, I’d still be very bloody lucky and happy. I am so grateful for my life as it is right now; my boyfriend, our families, jobs, my blog etc are huge blessings and I think it’s important to keep that at the front of our minds. I really want to express gratitude more this year, I recognise how lucky I am to have the life I do and I’m truly so thankful.

Since I can remember I’ve wanted to stop worrying and overthinking things I can’t change. I am a very anxious person by nature and I get myself so stressed out over so many things I have no control over. Talking things through helps me a lot, and I kind of want to start journaling this year because I know that can be so beneficial to how you view your problems (and things that aren’t really problems). If anyone journals daily to help with this please let me know your thoughts! Yoga is a love of mine that I’ve hugely neglected over the past few months, but I want to practice yoga at least four times per week; it makes me feel good, it helps me to feel strong and boy oh boy does it help with my anxiety.

I want to intentionally eat better food. For the most part, my breakfasts and dinners are healthy, but my lunches and any snacks I eat during the day are not. I love fruit and I love veggies, and I really want to incorporate even more into my diet! Matt and I – along with pretty much everyone else, I think – have eaten so much rubbish over the Christmas break that I am so ready to feed my body with all good things. We fell in love with cooking over the past few years and this year we really want to step up our game with new ingredients and flavours. It would also be great if I could lose a stone or three this year, let’s be real. Small things like taking lunch to work every day will make such a huge difference with this; it literally takes a few minutes the night before to prepare lunches so Matt and I will really be making the most of forward planning a little more with our food in 2020!

I put everyone else’s needs in front of my own, and contrary to what some may think, this is not a good trait. I want to *sometimes* put myself first, and be a little more selfish with my time. Of course Matt and our families are different – they’ll always come first! – but I am generally so concerned about other people’s opinions and thoughts that I often work around what works best for them. Maybe 2020 is the year I’ll stop being the World’s Biggest People Pleaser? I am so excited to travel more in 2020, Matt and I really want to do one or two fun city breaks and we’re headed to Florida with my family to celebrate my dad’s 60th later in the year! I also desperately want to pack up the car, head to the Scottish borders (literally an hour or so from where we live) and just find a random B&B. Maybe being spontaneous is a whole goal in itself this year?

Alongside putting other people’s needs and wants ahead of mine, I’m also very quick to dismiss my own abilities, and this year I want to push myself to achieve new things and allow myself to try. This links into one of my personal goals I’m not sharing on the blog (or with anyone else except Matt and our families, to be honest) but I know that I’m capable of so many more things than I actually believe I am. I am always scared to do ‘more’ with my blog, but this year is going to be about grabbing every opportunity that comes my way – if it’s right for my blog and my readers – and I cannot wait to see what will happen!

A goal for every day/week/month since Matt and I got together has been to spend more quality time with each other. We’re pretty good at getting date nights in the calendar and we love to treat each other to fun activities, but I want to enjoy the little things more too. The every day things; breakfast dates, beach walks, turning the TV off a little earlier each night, long car rides, shopping together etc mean SO much to me and Matthew, and I want to create all of the free time we possibly can to just enjoy being in each other’s company. In the next year or so we’re hoping to buy our first house, and that is going to be so amazing. We just have a little time right now to live our lives and check things off, and that is something I’m so very grateful for! Right now, our lives are busy and hectic, but our little piece of quality time with our favourite people is so important and it’s something I think we can all be a little more mindful of. This also goes for time with our friends/families, I just want to be more present and enjoy every minute we get to spend together.

I love reading, and I want to grab little snippets of time throughout the day to read more. As you all know, Matt bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and it’s truly the best present EVER! Whether the extra time comes from Matt being due home lots later than me, or Matt leaving earlier than me for work, or when I’m in the bath, or before I get ready for work, or on my lunch break, I want to read more. Basically, I know I can squeeze in more reading time and I’m determined to do it. I also never take a lunch break away from my desk, and I must start doing that, too!

I really want to be more intentional with my spending in the new year, and only buy things that truly make my heart happy. I stopped buying fast fashion pieces that I didn’t need in 2019, and I want to make this even more clear and concise this year. As a beauty lover/beauty blogger I love to buy and try new products more than anything. I love it so much that I find myself opening things before I’ve finished what I was using and it’s not good for my bank balance or the environment! I also want to do more to help the environment, because surely drinking milk alternatives and taking a re-usable cup to Costa isn’t going to save the world?

Thank you so much for reading, my loves! Thank you also for all of the love and support over the past year, I appreciate all of you and my blog wouldn’t be what it is without you lovely people reading it. If you feel the same as I do about the hype of New Years and the high level of expectations, don’t worry! Today is, quite literally, a fresh start. A blank canvas and an opportunity to create yourself goals you want to achieve over the next twelve months. It doesn’t hold the same pressure it used to for me, and I’m on the right path to figuring out what I want my life to be! What are your goals for the new year?

-G x

Travelling 101: Tips & Tricks To Get Your Holiday Off To The Best Start

Hi loves! Holiday season is fast approaching, and I know lots of people that are going on holiday soon! Matt and I leave TOMORROW, and we’ve been talking a lot over the past few weeks about the preparation and planning to make sure we’re feeling organised. This is definitely more my input than Matt’s – I hate not having a plan together, and I try to do anything that will make our lives easier. Planning trips is one of my most favourite things to do from the second we book our flights, and I feel like there’s a ton of things that you should do in the build up/during your travels to make things run a little more smoothly. This post is packed with handy tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years, I hope you find them useful for your next holiday!

So, your travel insurance is all arranged, your countdown is fast approaching 0 and all you can talk about is your upcoming holiday. What should you be doing in the build up to, or during, travelling?!

Use a backpack for your carry on. Seriously, no matter how cute your new beach bag might look, you’re going to wish you took a backpack, especially if you’re an over packer like me. Matt and I both take backpacks, and they’re so easy. Backpacks can fit so many things (Mary Poppins who?!), there’s lots of compartments to organise your things, the weight is distributed evenly on your back so it’s easier to carry and you get to keep it under the seat in front of you, which is way easier than putting it in the overhead bins. Have I sold you on taking a backpack? Yes? Good. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Pack a crossbody bag inside your carry on with all of your essentials. It just makes sense; this is where you can keep all the things you’ll want to have to hand before, during or after your flight. I always keep Matt and I’s passports and my card holder in here! I use my crossbody bag throughout the holiday during the evenings, and it’s just big enough to fit what I actually need. I always need to make sure there’s a little room in there for my boyfriend’s sunglasses, wallet, and whatever else he decides to throw in, lol! There will be a post up all about my carry on essentials this coming Wednesday, but until then, you can check out what I took last year here.

Check in for your flight online. It saves waiting in so many lines at the airport, you can allocate your own seats and you feel a little bit smug just having to drop off your checked luggage! Matt and I checked in two weeks before the date of our flight and it made us even more excited, it actually made it feel real then. When it comes to booking our seats, we always try to allocate them on/around the wing because you don’t feel any turbulence as much here!

Always take cash in all of the currencies of the countries you’re travelling from/through/to, as well as your debit card. In the airport in England we’ll just use our debit cards, but we’ll make sure to have cash just in case too. If you’re planning on purchasing things on the plane you’ll need the currency of the country you’re going from/to, but sometimes you can be caught out on exchange rates making things a little more costly. Also be sure to keep your cash for your destination safely zipped away deep inside your carry on!

Print out all of your information so you have hard copies: boarding passes, hotel information, transfer details, travel insurance documents. I’m a planner, what can I say? Even though we have all of this information on our phones, I’m a little paranoid we might run out of battery (even though I’m obviously taking a battery pack) or our phones may not connect to the new service provider properly. Having hard copies is just good practice, I think!

Download the app for your airline, the airports you’re travelling from/through/to and your holiday provider. You can get flight information, including which terminal/gate you’re flying from sometimes before it’s announced in the airport. We use the countdown on our TUI app from the moment we book our holiday – we’ve been counting down for over 130 days and now we’re literally one day away today. What the heck! You can get all of your transfer and hotel information in your holiday providers app, as well as weather, transport and excursions details.

Take a fully charged external battery pack and the appropriate charging cables. Matt and I will each have our phones, Fitbit’s and toothbrushes to charge, and we’re also taking one of our Echo Dot’s so we can play music when we’re getting ready in the evenings. The likelihood of sitting in an airport next to an outlet is very low, and not all planes are equipped with USB ports, although come on people, it’s 2019! I always carry a battery pack, it charges our phones like five times! I know Matt will use this before me as I always have my low power mode on and the battery on my phone just seems to last longer!

Weigh your bag before you leave to avoid delays or extra charges when you arrive at the airport. During family holidays when I was younger, we’d fly to Florida with three suitcases, and return with eight. Seriously. The deals were just that good! Now, Matt and I take a suitcase each, but there’s wiggle room between the two of us if one of our bags were overweight. It’s pretty easy to stay underweight when you’re travelling to a tropical location as your clothes weigh less, but sometimes toiletries really increase the weight. You can buy luggage scales for super cheap on Amazon, and they’re reliable! Just make sure to pack them so you can check all your new souvenirs aren’t weighing you down before your return flight too.

Carry a re-usable water bottle – just don’t fill it up until you’re through security! My Chilly’s bottle is LIFE. I’ll be using this during our holiday too, and we’re for sure going to be grateful for it during our super long transfer from the airport to our hotel so we don’t need to buy bottles of water. Last year when we got to Kos, we made it to the bus in record time (our suitcases were literally the first two off the conveyor belt) and were so smug waiting for everyone to board. However, we didn’t think about the fact it was still 27 degrees at 11pm(!!) and we had to wait over an hour to get water! NOT smart(water). Get it? I’m here all night.

Wear (or pack in your carry on) a comfy sweater or jacket. And fluffy socks, if you’re like me and are always freezing. Seriously, planes are SO COLD and no matter what lovely warm climate you might be heading to, you’ll wish you had at least a jacket with you for your journey. In Europe, it often feels a little cooler in the evenings (even when it’s technically still 25+ degrees, lol) and there is also air con in most restaurants and bars, so it’ll come in super handy during your trip too!

Take lots of reading material in your carry on bag. Keeping yourself entertained on a flight is SO important. Matt and I talk so much, but we also like to unwind with our book or magazines and just switch off. We’re in vacay mode the second we set foot in the airport, and it’s the best feeling to get lost in a new book!

Allow enough time to browse duty free leisurely. If you take shopping as seriously as me (lol) you don’t want to be rushing when there could be amazing deals to be found! Ever since I was younger I’ve loved browsing duty free, and since I was around 11 my mum and dad made a big deal of me being allowed a fancy perfume each time we travelled. They’re so good to me! My love of buying perfume at the airport never stopped, and I still do almost every time. This year I’m hoping to pick up a bottle of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet! Matt is also hoping to get a new aftershave, I love that we’re now making our own traditions together.

Pack your liquids in a see-through bag. You will seriously regret not following the rules if you have to step to the side and try to squeeze your liquids into a teeny little airport-provided bag. That you have to pay for. You’ll also be super embarrassed, or I would be anyway! You can pick up clear, travel approved bags almost anywhere nowadays for really inexpensive prices, although I have this one from Space NK that I love. I’ll also be sharing what I pack in here in Wednesday’s post!

Take the essentials to keep you feeling (and smelling) clean/fresh in case of a delay, or a super stuffy airport/airplane. Planes might always be cold, but they can be pretty stuffy too! Deodorant, bio-degradable wipes, lip balm, your favourite rollerball perfume, a face spray. These are the things that if you don’t take, you’ll wish you did! It’s better to be safe than sorry, and the travel sized versions of these products are so small you won’t even notice the space they take up!

Buy food in the airport for the plane, and to cover you for your transfer at your destination. I’m not a big fan of airplane food, and to be honest I don’t think many people are! I’d much prefer to grab something I like from before we jump on the plane, and any delays getting to your hotel could leave you hangry. Matt and I always pack sweets and protein bars , and we’ll grab our favourite crisps, maybe a sandwich and plenty of water in the airport. And of course, Diet Coke!

Pack travel adaptors in your carry on. You don’t want to be rummaging around your suitcase for adaptors when you get to your hotel, especially after a long travelling day. Also, we take an extension cord with us (in our checked luggage) which means you can charge up to six items with only one adaptor!

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to take off/put back on at security. It’s just common sense; it makes the lines move quicker, and it gives you more shopping/drinking time in the airport, which is the best part of being there! I’m wearing my Birkenstocks to travel in because they’re just so flipping comfy, and not at all a hassle to slide off through security. My travel outfit is still being decided, but I’m pretty sure I’m going for a Levi’s t-shirt, black leggings and an oversized denim jacket I can throw on if when I get a little chilly!

Take at least one outfit, swimwear and fresh underwear in your carry on bag incase your luggage gets lost or delayed. Okay, this is maybe just for the worriers and anxious travellers like me, but I would much rather have the peace of mind knowing I’d be able to get through a day or two without my suitcase, if it were to get lost. I’m so scared of this happening!

Carry ibuprofen, paracetemol, travel sickness tablets and any other important medication in an easy-to-find spot. These are the kind of things I used to throw into my bag then have to empty the whole contents to find what I’m looking for. Matt and I sometimes suffer with a little travel sickness and I’m prone to aches and pains caused by my arthritis – there’s so much sitting around during travel days! I always keep these in the outside facing pocket of my backpack, so they’re super easy to reach.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was somewhat helpful to you, and maybe gave you a few ideas of things you wouldn’t normally think about. What are your best tried and tested ideas to ensure a smooth journey? Are you a super strict planner like me, or do you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ like Matt?! Get it? Fly?

-G x