March Favourites

Happy Sunday, loves!

March was a bit of a rollercoaster month for me, and as always it went by in the blink of an eye. I had lots of high highs and unfortunately a very low low this month (it’s not something I can share on the blog unfortunately, but thanks to Matt and our families everything is okay now). I’ve also been so poorly over the past week, and I feel so grateful I now feel a little better. I’m so looking forward to April; lots of warm days, more sunshine, fun plans with Matthew, and another month closer to my birthday. In March we cooked new recipes, obsessed over watching Jack Ryan, celebrated Matthew’s 25th birthday (and he went to Berlin with the boys!) and we seen my aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Alaska for the first time in five years. I’ve also officially started Spring cleaning and I’m now sitting on our bed, admiring how beautiful everything looks, smells and feels. I went to town with my favourite all purpose cleaner (Method Wild Rhubarb) and the smell has filled the whole house, it’s beautiful!

Matt’s Birthday Weekend
My love celebrated his golden birthday, and turned 25 on March 25th, we had so much fun celebrating! We began the celebrations early on Saturday, spending the evening having dinner and drinks with his parents and godparents in Gosforth. We ate at San Lorenzo and the food was so good, we had such a lovely night! On Sunday afternoon we headed into Newcastle for a staycation at our favourite hotel, Hotel du Vin. We had the best evening; enjoying a bubble bath, drinking champagne and relaxing together, before going for dinner and drinks in the city centre. We ate amazing food, I embarrassed Matt by having the restaurant bring out a birthday dessert (always makes me giggle!) and we fell into bed way too early for a couple in their mid-twenties. Old and we know it. His actual birthday on Monday was so much fun; we woke up early so he could open presents in bed, and had a lovely breakfast at the hotel. We did a little window shopping in town, before spending the afternoon and evening with family, and spending quality time together. It was one of the best weekends we’ve had so far this year!

Glossier Milky Oil
I mentioned in my updated skincare routine that I was currently trying this makeup remover out, and that at the time I liked it but I hadn’t used it enough to recommend it. I’ve used it every evening since I received it, and I LOVE it! It removes all of my makeup, including mascara, over two cotton rounds, and it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. I do always cleanse after (using my beloved Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser) which removes the slight oily residue left behind, and the two have become a dream combo for me. This product never caused me to breakout, which is always a bonus, and it’s just leaves my skin feeling so soft and clean. I love the packaging and the fact that the bottle is so small makes it super travel friendly, also like everything from Glossier it’s very photogenic!

Zoella X Colourpop Brunch Date Palette
This palette is so dang pretty! I love the shades, and find it’s a super wearable and versatile palette, I’ve reached for this every day since it arrived. I even took it on our overnight trip for Matt’s birthday instead of my usual travel palette (Kat Von D Shade & Light Glitter) so you know it’s good. On a daily basis I use Maple Syrup across the lid as a blending shade, Champagne Toast on the lid/inner corner and Skinny Latte in the outer corner to deepen the eye a little, it’s so a quick and easy, and looks so pretty. I love Pancakes Please as a quick all-over-the-lid shade when I’m getting ready in a rush, and I’m experimenting with the other shades now and then. I think the criticism of this palette was unjust and unfair, it’s truly so wearable, and perfect for those of us that aren’t pro make-up artists!

Love Beauty & Planet Coconut & Ylang Ylang Hair Masque
Along with a few other products (more on that in the next few weeks), I really think mask is saving my hair. Not to be dramatic, but boy is it in need of a little help! Years of dying, over straightening and tying in super tight buns have took their toll, and I’m finally giving my hair the love it needs. I mentioned in this post how damaged my hair was feeling/looking at the moment, but it’s already looking ten times better than it was at the start of the month. I use this mask every other time I wash hair in place of a conditioner, so sometimes I leave it on just for the approximate two minutes recommended, and sometimes I use it as a mask from when I first get in the bath; anything up to an hour. This is the first product I’ve purchased from this brand and I’m so excited to try more soon! The brand pride themselves on being cruelty free and vegan friendly, and I think the quality is great.

Lush Hunny Bear Massage Bar
I picked this up on a whim whilst stocking up on some of my must-haves, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve never used a massage bar before, and I was a little skeptical if I’d get on with it well, but I absolutely love it, and I need to re-purchase ASAP as it’s a limited edition product. It smells buttery and comforting, with strong hints of vanilla and almond, which are two of my favourite scents/ingredients for body care products. This product is vegan, and doesn’t contain honey at all, despite the name and branding. It’s creamy and moisturising, and Matt and I both commented on how good my skin felt after I used this for the first time! I’m excited to try out more massage bars from Lush and see which others I enjoy (hopefully ones in the main collection)!

Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp
This is nothing new to any regular readers, I’m obsessed with this lamp! LOL, I know that sounds so strange. Matt bought me this for Christmas and it’s absolutely one of my favourite things in our bedroom. I have it lit any time we’re at home, and I love the pink glow that comes from it, it just makes me happy! There are many benefits to having a Himalayan pink salt lamp in your home; they cleanse and deodorise the air, increase energy levels, improve your mood and help you sleep better, among lots of other things. They also look so dang pretty, and set the ~cosy evening~ mood perfectly. I’ve moved it round a few times and I love having it on the windowsill right now!

Clean Reserve Rain Perfume
I first bought this perfume a few years ago in Florida, and I loved it, used it and forgot about it. Recently I was browsing Space NK (I had a few points to spend) and seen it, remembered how much I loved it and added it straight to my basket. The scent is fresh and light, and it’s perfect day or night; it’s one of those scents that can easily be layered or worn alone. I’ve worn this perfume so much this month and it’s been one of two I’ve reached for, the other being my beloved Spring/Summer fragrance, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I got the small travel size (20ml) to make sure I definitely still liked it, but it’s actually so handy and perfect to take in your bag or when travelling. My taste in perfumes has changed so much over the past year, I’d love to write a post about my favourite perfumes, if that’s something you’d be interested in?

Livia’s Raw Cookie Dough Nugglets
I haven’t got a close up photograph of these, but I love them and had to give them a little mention! I bought these on a whim, mid-shopping trip a few weeks back, and I’ve bought so many packs since! They’re vegan friendly and gluten free, and you can really taste the dates in there. I love cookie dough, and these are a fun way to have a naughty treat that isn’t at all naughty.

Shop my favourites:

Glossier Milky Oil Cleanser / Zoella X Colourpop Brunch Date Palette / Love Beauty & Planet Ylang Ylang Hair Masque / Lush Hunny Bear Massage Bar / Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp / Clean Reserve Rain Perfume / Livia’s Raw Cookie Dough Nugglets

Thank you so much for reading! What were your favourite products from the month? Have you tried anything I mentioned above? Please share your Monthly Favourites blog posts in the comments below, I’d love to have a read!

-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