Life Lately

Happy Wednesday my little love bugs!

I’m so happy to be back. I missed Sunday’s post and as you all know I HATE missing a post! It doesn’t happen very often but I had a pretty crazy week and I just couldn’t do everything I had to do in real life, rest/unwind and schedule in blogging time. It happens, right? I had two HUGE life changes (to me) happen last week, and I’m so excited to tell you all about them!

Last Friday night after I finished work I went to pick up my new car! Isn’t it so cute?! I guess getting a new car to most people isn’t that big of a deal, and if it is it’s just because it’s so exciting. For me though, I was devastated to be saying goodbye to my old car. I had my little red Viva for almost four years, and it was my first car! I loved it SO MUCH. I realise it’s definitely not a ‘special’ car but to me it was my pride and joy!

When I first passed my driving test four years ago I was such a nervous driver. I’d never had that ‘I want to drive right now!’ feeling and honestly couldn’t understand how anyone could enjoy driving or how I’d get to that point. I struggled so much with my driving lessons and although I passed with no minors, I thought I was a terrible driver. Getting my first car was not a fun experience for me. My mum and dad came with me to view lots of cars and hand on heart, the only things I cared about was that it had cup holders, USB ports and bluetooth. Adulting, right?!  

I used to cry before I got in my car to drive to work, and cry when I pulled in the driveway after work. I just found it so stressful and my anxiety related to driving was at 100% for literally months. I can laugh about it now but I don’t think anyone except my mum realises how big of a deal driving was for me. For around six months I drove to work and home, and not really anywhere else. If I needed to go to somewhere like Tesco I’d wait until after 7pm because I knew the roads would be less busy and the car park would be clear. I don’t think I’ve ever spoke about this on my blog before but I would be happy to write a post on getting over driving fears/anxiety if that’s something you’d be interested in!

Okay guys. I realise this is the weirdest thing but I am SO HAPPY to have a boot big enough to have a little storage basket in there! Hahaha. My old boot was teeny tiny and just about fitted one or two grocery bags, so in comparison this boot feels huge. I hate when grocery bags roll around in the back and this little basket makes me feel so organised!

Fast forward four years; my confidence has grown so much and I love driving. BUT, I felt very attached to my little Viva because that’s the car that taught me how to drive on my own. Obviously it wasn’t actually the car teaching me, I just finally felt comfortable driving. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m super sentimental haha. When I had to hand over my keys at the garage last Friday night you can bet I cried. So silly, I know! I was so scared driving away in my new car for the first time but honestly after just a few days I’m really loving it. It also has fun features like heated seats and a heated steering wheel that my old car didn’t have, and everything is just a little newer and interesting to me! It feels huge compared to my old car but I know I’ll get used to it in time. 

So, that was a really big life change for me. But in the same week I thought hmmm… maybe that’s not enough change. Let’s get a new job too! GUYS!!! I got a new job! I just accepted the position last week and I don’t start for four more weeks, but I’m so excited about making a leap, putting myself first and trying something completely new. I have been at my current job for six years and I’m so ready to experience new things! It’s funny because I actually really don’t like change – I’m such a creature of habit – but I’m a whole mix of excited and nervous at the thought of going somewhere new, meeting new people, learning new things etc. I know it’s going to be so good for me and I’m pushing myself to embrace ‘all things new’. Having said that I don’t think I want any more change for a LONG time, ha!

In general I’m not the most confident person (read: I’m not AT ALL confident!) but I’m really trying to push myself out of my comfort zone this year. I want to do things that make me happy, and if that means being a little bit selfish and putting myself first I’m going to do just that without worrying what others think. I can’t wait to share more ~working life~ things with you all too, like my experience starting a new job, what I wear to work, my morning routine, how I stay motivated etc. It’s going to be fun to have a whole new topic to talk about! I’m going to have more time during the week to write because the hours at my new job are different. I actually don’t start work until 12pm on a Friday… what the heck!? I’m so excited for a new chapter in my life. 

This weekend Matt and I spent so much time out in my new car! I really just wanted to get used to driving it and we drove SO MUCH. We went to Tynemouth (one of our all time favourite spots), did a little grocery shopping, ate lunch out, went into town and went out for drinks with Matt’s sweet family. We did have dinner and drinks planned at one of our favourite restaurants but Storm Dennis ruined our plans 😦 hopefully we’ll get to go soon and continue the celebrations later in the month! (Also… Storm Dennis? Literally the most British thing I’ve ever heard).

Lastly I just wanted to give a little shout out to this handsome guy. Matthew started an Instagram account, NUFC Vintage, showcasing his love of both Newcastle United and football shirts a few months back and it’s growing so quickly. He works a very busy job and still makes so much time for his side hustle, his friends, his family and me! I’m just so proud of him and I love to see how many people are invested in his account too. Matt has been working so hard on growing his account, collecting more shirts and sharing them with his followers. If you or anyone you know is into football and/or vintage pieces please go support him! We’re going to work really hard in the next few weeks to get some new photos to post too, if anyone has any fun ideas (especially that incorporate our home city) please let me know!  

Wow… this is a B I G post! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed sitting down to write (it’s currently Monday evening) but it’s been so long since I just sat and wrote about everyday life! Almost all of my posts are pre-written and about a specific product/topic, planned out with photos. I’d be so happy to share random weekends in my life with you again if that’s something you’d find interesting? Thanks so much for all of your support as always, I appreciate it more than you know! What’s been going on in your life lately? Have you had any fun big life events happen?! 

-G x

#NEwhereToGo: A Sunday Afternoon In Tynemouth

Hi, loves! I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you because it’s the very first in my new series, #NEwhereToGo! Every few weeks I’ll be sharing one of my very favourite places in the North East (#NEwhere… anywhere… get it :)?) from things to do, places to eat or just beautiful places to see. I’ve never took for granted where I live – Matt and I are the biggest advocates of the North East not getting the credit it deserves – but seriously, it is so beautiful here. Right on our doorstep we have the countryside, world famous (yes, really!) beaches, and our favourite city, Newcastle Upon Tyne. From where we live it’s literally a ten to twenty minute drive in different directions to get to all of these places, how lucky are we?! The North is known for being a bloody cold place, but it’s also known for how friendly the people are, the local businesses, the amazing coastlines, the countryside and a whole host of incredible food places. I’ll be sharing all of my favourites and I’m so excited!

All of the below photos are from a Sunday spent in Tynemouth, one of Matt and I’s very favourite places. The town is right on the coast and the view in every direction is just so pretty, even on an incredibly grey day like this one. There’s several little coves along the front, and our first stop is usually right by Tynemouth Sailing Club. This area of the coast is much more quiet, and the views are still so pretty. The walks through town are great but walking along the coastline is our favourite; we love to go out on the pier and walk all the way along to the lighthouse. The views back into the mainland are incredible, and you can see for miles out to sea. Unfortunately on the day we went the winds were too high and the waves were crazy -splashing right over the walls – so the pier was closed to the public. This didn’t stop us from walking onto the viewing platform to the left of the pier; it’s such a cosy spot to take in the view and a little bit of a hidden gem as you’d never know it was there unless you walked right up to the pier.

It’s a pretty steep uphill walk from that part of the coastline to the main town, but it’s so worth it! The views are breathtaking all the way up, and you’re right next to (what’s left of) Tynemouth Priory. This area has it all; the views over King Edward’s Bay are the very best. It’s often a lot busier in this part as this is the ‘pretty part’ that tourists want to see too, and everywhere around you I can guarantee people are eating fish. The place to go in town for fish and chips to takeaway is absolutely Longsands Fish Kitchen! It’s the place everyone knows and flocks to, especially in the warmer months of the year. Also, just in the bay below is Riley’s Fish Shack; another local favourite that has so many unique fish options!

After a walk around the Priory (you can pay to go in and tour inside, but we chose not to on this particular day) we went right into the town centre. The centre is always the busiest; it’s lined with quirky local stores like To The Moon & Back – we found these gin glasses with the Newcastle Upon Tyne skyline along the top in there, how sweet?! – and Razzberry Bazaar are so worth a look. You can find incredible one-off items here, that I guarantee you’d never find anywhere else! We love to wander in and out of the cute independent stores, and it’s so nice to #shoplocal when possible.

Tynemouth is known for being a little bit quirky and one of the sweetest things, in my opinion, is an old church-turned-shopping-centre. It has all the original structure outside and the stained glass windows are so beautiful! Named Green Ginger Shopping Arcade the former church hosts a bunch of independent stores, including Longsands clothing which you will absolutely see people wearing anywhere in the town! There’s some incredible cake and chocolate sold in here, and there is a teeny tiny cafe upstairs that literally is like something from a movie. Downstairs you’ll find a Peaky Blinders themed bar – aptly named Blinders – that is SO small yet packed with personality and all the fun of one of Matt and I’s favourite TV shows.

We love Tynemouth on a weekend especially because they have an incredible market held at Tynemouth Station; it has different stalls on a Saturday (including a football memorabilia one that Matt just LOVES!) to a Sunday, but both days are packed with bric-a-brac, old books, homemade treats and amazing food! The station is still fully functioning, so whilst you’re shopping trains are coming in and out. Some of the homemade goods are incredibly cool and equally as wacky, we stumbled across these fire-extinguishers-turned-loo-roll-holders this time around… it’s never dull, I promise! The vendors are all incredibly friendly and there really are some gems to be found, especially if you have a love for anything vintage. Our go-to food place at the market is Acropolis Street Food; their chicken gyros are pretty much famous here I swear! The guys who run it are always so sweet to us, and the taste takes us straight back to Kos.

The cute, quaint streets surrounding the centre are also worth a wander; the houses are so big and beautiful, and it’s just such a nice place to walk around. I have loved Tynemouth since I was a little girl, and Matt and I often find ourselves there on a weekend just to look around and enjoy the views. It can be a little bit of a tourist trap in the summer, but we honestly love to visit in all seasons. I’d love to share Tynemouth again with you as the seasons change, but you can’t deny it still looks so beautiful on a grey January day!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post – are you now desperate to explore in Tynemouth?! ME TOO! We also love the nightlife side of Tynemouth, I’d love to talk about that in another post if that’s something you’d be interested in? There are so many great independent restaurants (and chains, too) and bars that we love here, it’s a great way to spend a Friday night. Have you visited Tynemouth before? Where is your favourite place along the coast to visit?

-G x

Weekend In My Life

Happy Sunday, loves! Today is… by popular demand… another Weekend In My Life! My last WIML post was uploaded just a few weeks ago, but I seriously get the cutest comments on these posts and you guys really seem to enjoy reading them! I might make this a regular thing, where every month I share just one weekend with you all? Maybe in place of a Feelin’ It Friday as I’ve just recently cut way back on them? Please let me know your thoughts on this as I really just want to make content you guys want to read, too!

This was a rare weekend Matt and I had a full 48 hours off work together to do whatever the heck we wanted, and we we were SO happy about it. We had lots of ideas for things to do but we were also very kind to ourselves as we’d had a super busy week and were feeling kinda exhausted. We still got so much done, had a ton of fun and enjoyed spending our time together so much! For the first time maybe ever we didn’t really plan our weekend out, and just went with the flow. I’m so thankful for a fun and relaxing weekend 🙂 Matthew, I love you so much!

Friday 20th September

I was awake from 5am on Friday as I had horrendous period cramps that were making me feel physically sick! I stayed in bed and just cuddled into Matt (who was flat out, jammy bugger!) for what seemed like hours, then I was just drifting off to sleep before our alarm went off… does this ever happen to anyone else? It’s the worst feeling! I really struggled getting ready for work, especially as Matt got to stay curled up in bed. I kissed him goodbye and headed to work for a busy Friday, although my co-worker Keli and I did get to share Domino’s for lunch which was the best surprise treat 🙂

I definitely should have taken a photo before we dived in. HAHA

The day was over in a flash, and after a crazy busy week I was so happy to see 5pm! I drove home listening to Small Town Murder – I was obsessed with this podcast for the longest time then stopped listening as much, now I can’t get enough! I really recommend if you like comedy and/or true crime podcasts – then caught up on some of my YouTube subscriptions whilst I cleaned our bedroom and put fresh sheets on. Fresh bedding is one of Matt and I’s favourite ever things; we just love the feeling of getting into a nice comfy bed after a long day! I re-organised my underwear drawer and had another mini clearout which was much needed, and I got to put in my pretty new underwear that had just arrived. Keli and I made an order on Boux Avenue from their sale and seriously, the deals were SO good. I love the two new sets I bought, they’re just so pretty (and comfy)!

I still had cramps and all I could think about was relaxing in a nice hot bath. Matt was working late so I took the time for a little pamper night; exfoliating, shaving (pretty much) every inch of my body and doing a hair mask! I lay in the bath for so long reading my magazines and it was bliss, I really enjoy when I have the time to relax in the bath for a long time. I took my time doing my skincare routine (spoiler: a post is coming on my routine next month!), putting oil in my hair and covering myself in my favourite body cream, then as I still had over an hour until Matt was home I began to re-organise our wardrobes. Again. I’m kinda obsessed with doing it, I can never decide how I want things to be!

The jury is still out on this hair towel wrap… they’re supposed to make your hair super soft and help it to dry before you have to blow dry it, but I’ve been using it for around two months now and haven’t seen much of a difference. I got a two pack and I kinda think one makes a difference but one doesn’t. Do you use these? Do you love them?! Maybe I’m using them wrong!

Matt got home work around 9.30pm and we snuggled in to eat chicken tenders and watch The Office, then we remembered we had Halo Top in the freezer. Guys. The salted caramel Halo Top is THE BEST ice cream in the entire world. Seriously!! We had a super early night (I was exhausted from being awake from 5am) so we played thunderstorm sounds on Alexa and snuggled in for the night. Do you use Sleep Sounds? What’s your favourite? I am obsessed with the thunderstorm sounds and Matt loves the ocean sounds, so we alternate pretty much every night!

Saturday 21st September

We woke up pretty early on Saturday and it was so nice to feel rested! I had a much better sleep and was so excited to get up and moving for the day. After taking our time to wake up a little we got ready and popped in to Matt’s parents house. His mum was at work so we saw his dad for a little while then headed straight to the Metro Centre. I really appreciate shopping days where we just eat, wander around, browse the shops and pick up a few goodies, and this was exactly what we did. We got there right at 12pm so went for lunch at Wagamama, it was delish! Matt and I shared duck pancakes to start, and he finally caved to order what I always get – a number 45; teriyaki soba noodles with sirloin steak (I get with no onion/coriander) – and we were so happy with our choice. The service at the Gateshead branch is always fantastic and we really love going there for lunch, it’s just so relaxed and not super busy.

We did a lot of browsing but not a lot of shopping which was a little disappointing to be honest! I bought a few new makeup items at MAC which will literally last me a whole year (an on-the-go powder, my old favourite Fall/Winter blush in Desert Rose and a pretty new lipstick in the shade Jubilee). I was so disappointed to be told that MAC are discontinuing the Next To Nothing powder, it is my favourite for touch ups! If they had more than one in my shade (Light Plus) I would have bought them all as back ups. This one will last so long, but please let me know what your favourite compact powder is! My skin is oily and acne prone so makeup slides off my face throughout the day. It’s wonderful 🙂 Matt really wanted to pick up a Ted Baker sweater he’d seen online but it wasn’t available in store. Luckily he managed to snag it for a really good discounted price online. It arrived in the mail this week and it’s so nice! We bought some of my dad’s birthday presents and I also used my Boots points to purchase Clinique’s Bare Pop lipstick, it’s the perfect Fall shade and I already love it so much.

After shopping Matt had to pop into work for twenty minutes so I got cosy in the car and watched my YouTube subscriptions while he was gone. I’m still obsessed with Jade Billington’s videos, obviously. We then headed to Costco which is quite honestly one of our favourite places! We seem to end up visiting every time we have a weekend with no specific plans. The samples were SO GOOD this time! We ate spicy sausages, Chinese noodles, avocado on sourdough, and our ultimate favourite… red velvet cake. Basically we had a second lunch. We also found our dream Christmas Tree for our Dream Mansion. We can always hope for a lottery win!

We headed back to Matt’s parents house to relax and watch the beginning of the NUFC game, then got showered and freshened up for the evening. We went for dinner at Fratelli’s in Ponteland with Matt’s parents and his grandma (we really love this place!) and had the most amazing meals. I’m so obsessed with their Pinot Grigio blush, it’s delicious!! Tip: wine tastes better with ice cubes. Always. Matt thinks his mum and I are so weird for liking it like that, hahaha. We had the most perfect night, I love love love nights with Matt’s family, they’re so good to us! We left kinda early and snuggled in at home with more wine. We slept like freaking babies this night, hahaha.

The BEST seafood linguine (I ordered without mussels because I’m weird)

I love you! 🙂

My second family 🙂 I just love them.

Sunday 22nd September

Sunday we slept in a little (like I said, we slept like BABIES). Snuggly mornings at home are some of our favourites, and we really don’t get chance to have them very often! We drank cups of tea and watched the news with Matt’s parents – I wish we hadn’t, the news is literally ALL doom and gloom! – before getting ready for the day. I watched a little more of my YouTube subscriptions whilst doing my makeup, I swear I’m forever playing catch up because there’s just not enough hours in the day to watch my favourite vlogs!

My favourite ever mug… I love Winnie The Pooh (and all things Disney)!

How freaking CUTE is he?! I just seriously love him so much. We jumped in the car and headed to one of our favourite Sunday morning locations… Tynemouth market. We hadn’t been for a while but it was nice to just wander round, look at all the cool things for sale (some of it is complete tat, I can’t lie!) and grab some food. It was almost lunch time so we went for Greek food; we got chips, chicken and a whole load of sauces/spices, it was so yummy. Afterwards, Matt suggested we go for a little wander around Tynemouth’s town and we took some blog photos which you may have seen in this post from Wednesday. I’m so grateful my sweet boyfriend is always so happy to take photos and take the time to get some I actually like. He’s so so good to me and I appreciate him so much!

This is one of the photos we took! I really am trying to be more confident infront of the camera, it’s really hard for me.

We jumped back in the car and drove the coastal route home. All the way along the drive we could see St. Mary’s Lighthouse ahead of us, and decided to just pop in for a little look around. We haven’t been since we were kids and it was just nice to go somewhere a little bit different! It was pretty chilly and I was so thankful I had threw my cosy cardigan in the car, haha. We wandered a little on the rocks, went all the way up to the lighthouse then walked back to the car. I was a little nervous because the thought of the tide coming in and stranding us there is not my idea of fun!

It was so. freaking. windy.

It was forecast for really bad rainstorms for the afternoon and (although these photos don’t really show it) it was starting to get super hazy and dark out to sea, so we decided it was best to leave before the rain came. We visited with my grandma which was so nice, we haven’t seen her for a few weeks and she was really happy to see us. We headed home to catch some of the Man U game with my parents, then Matt got fixed up to head out for a few drinks with the boys. They mainly went to watch the football so he was only gone a couple of hours, and I took the time to write a little for the blog and get ahead for the week, and of course to have a Lush bath which was SO needed. I was half way through catching up on Strictly Come Dancing and editing blog posts when he came home so we snuggled in to watch the rest of the show whilst dinner cooked. We ate burritos, watched a few episodes of The Office and then watched Mamma Mia (definitely not Matt’s choice. LOL) before getting an early night in ready for the work week to roll back around.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and coming along with us during our weekend. Matt and I are really trying to amke the most of our time together because he is working every single weekend during October, both Saturday and Sunday! We do have a day off mid-week together during the month which I’m super excited about, and we’ll for sure make the most of our mornings and evenings. What have your weekends looked like recently? What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?!

-G x

How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x

Valentine’s Date Ideas

Happy, happy Sunday, loves!

It’s officially the month of loooove and I am so excited about it! I feel like so often the real meaning of Valentine’s Day (which is, in my opinion, to show your love and appreciation for the special someone in your life) is taken away by an obsession to buy the biggest and best gifts. I know that when the 14th rolls around my social media pages will be flooded with photos of flowers, chocolates and probably a few extravagant gifts. If that’s what you and your partner like to do for each other, that’s great and you can bet I’ll be liking all of those photos! Matt and I do give gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we opt for smaller, thoughtful ones that mean something (and of course lots of chocolate). Instead of spending lots of money on material gifts, we prefer to spend a little extra on a fun date night!

This year, we’re celebrating the weekend before Valentine’s Day. I made reservations at our favourite steakhouse for this Friday, and I’m so excited! On Valentine’s Day we’re going to spend the evening cooking our favourite meal and enjoying a special dessert (you’ll see what that is in this post). Today I’m sharing with you some of Matt and I’s favourite dates, at all different price points, to give you a little inspiration if you’re stuck for something to do with your loved one this year. Remember; date days/nights don’t have to cost the earth AT ALL, it’s all about spending time with the person you love more than anything! I’ve added our local recommendations where applicable and linked websites for all the places that have them 🙂

Brunch date
Early morning dates are my favourite! Matt and I go for breakfast or brunch together as much as we can and we try to squeeze in these dates at least twice per month when he has weekend days off work. We’re always trying new places but we generally order the same thing – Matt’s favourite is a full English, and mine is a full veggie breakfast! (The veggie sausage at Post Box are THE BEST!)
Local recommendations: Post Box, Ponteland; The View, Tynemouth; The Butterfly Cabinet, Heaton

Mini golf
This was one of my favourite spontaneous dates we’ve had! Matt plays golf for real so he totally kicked my butt, which is fine because we had SO much fun. He definitely gave me more goes that allowed, and it was fun to get a little competitive against each other. There’s something to be said for getting to be kids together for a little while and forget all of the #adulting we have to do in real life!
Local recommendations: Mr Mulligan’s Space Golf; Dinosaur Encounter, Heighly Gate Garden Centre

At home movie night
This is perfect if you and/or your partner have hectic schedule(s) or children and can’t commit to a few hours outside of the home, but want to take a little time out together. Grab all your favourite snacks, pick a few Netflix faves (or newbies!) and snuggle up together for a night of cuddles and chilling. We try to to do this at least once per week, and it’s always one of my favourite evenings!

Book a staycation
Staying at a luxury hotel not too far from where you live is the best of both worlds; you get to experience a little luxury but you don’t have to travel for miles to find it. For us, it’s a welcome change to get out of our little home bubble for a night, enjoy a nice bath, wear comfy hotel robes (the best!) and go for dinner a stone’s throw away from our bed. Tip: take champagne for an extra special night!
Local recommendations: Hotel du Vin, Newcastle; Ramside Hall, Durham; Vermont Hotel, Newcastle

Dinner and drinks
It’s a classic for a reason, and you just can’t beat it. It’s our ultimate favourite date night and we try to fit this in as much as we can. It’s so fun to get dressed up and have fun with your partner, and to enjoy a nice meal out! We love to go for a few post-dinner cocktails when we can too, Matt loves a mojito and I love anything with gin! (All lemonade, no tonic!)
Local recommendations: (dinner) Tomahawk Steakhouse, Newcastle; Branches, Ponteland; Ora, Tynemouth; (drinks) Tiger Hornsby, Newcastle; Pleased To Meet You, Newcastle; YOLO, Ponteland

Play tourist in your hometown
Matt and I will be doing this until the day we die, I’m pretty sure! We love to spend a chilled day exploring new places and re-visiting old favourites, and it’s such a nice way to spend time together. You can also pop in to small bakeries or cafes for a bite to eat, and watch the world go by infront of you! If you’re in Newcastle, you have to make the trip just outside of the centre to Hoult’s Yard for Proven Goods Co. donuts; you won’t regret it!
Local recommendations: Quayside Market, Newcastle; Tynemouth Market, Tynemouth; Beamish Museum, Durham

Valentine’s Day 2017 🙂

Fondue for two
Due to Matt’s work schedule, this was how we spent our Valentine’s Day evening last year, and we’re doing it all over again this year (but with a mini version of this)! I melted our favourite kinds of chocolates, and added marshmallows, strawberries, Biscoff biscuits and bananas to dip in. We had a mini bottle of champange (the ones where you get literally one glass each, he had to be up at 5am!) and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. We had a cute, cosy night in that was so special to us.

Head on a road trip
Okay we’re a little biased here, we LOVE road trips! Whether it’s along the coast, down to the middle of the country or into the nearby countryside, we’re always up for spending a day exploring together. Stumbling across places we’ve never even heard of is the best, there’s always cute cosy pubs to find. We actually did this on our very first date on the way home from York! Make sure to take some yummy snacks for the car, and comfy clothes for the long journey home! (I always bring a blanket too, like the 4 year old I am at heart, HAHA).

Take a walk at the beach/in the country
Date days don’t have to cost the earth, but they can be about seeing what the earth has to offer. Corny enough for you?! I’ve said so many times that we’re super lucky with where we live because 10 minutes one way is the beach and 10 minutes the other is sprawling countryside. February in the North is freezing cold, so throw on all the layers and get your heart pumping on a long walk!
Local recommendations: Tynemouth beach; Cragside; Bamburgh Castle

If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, don’t let that get you down! Instead, have a party for one, or invite all of your girls round on the 13th to celebrate #GalentinesDay. Pick a few of your favourite movies, all your favourite snacks and snuggle up in your pj’s for a movie marathon. There’s some amazing gin cocktails you can make from the comfort of your own home linked here, I think it would be so much fun to make some cute drinks. Maybe throw on a face mask and order your favourite takeaway too, why not?! Valentine’s Day is for loving yourself too!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you a little inspiration if you’re feeling stuck for plans in the next few weeks. How are you planning to celebrate this year? Also, bookmark this page and you can easily find your way back to this post for any future date inspiration. Whether it’s for an anniversary or just a regular date without an ocassion, there’s something for everyone! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

-G x