Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Hey loves! Today’s post is a much requested and anticipated post as I share SO many of Matt and I’s meals with you over on my Instagram stories and am always asked what the heck we’re cooking. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to do this, cooking is something I’ve talked about several times on my blog but I don’t often share recipes because photographing food is so difficult. I know it’s a trick of the trade with cookbooks etc that cold food photographs so much better, but obviously we want to eat out food whilst it’s hot. Please bare with me for the photos in this post – I know they’re so bad – and I’ll figure out the photos for future posts, somehow! I really want to share recipes with you on a more regular basis as we rarely make anything difficul and we just love hearty meals that fill us up and help us unwind from our busy work days. Also, at this time of year a hot meal is the best to come home to; it’s something we look forward to from the moment we get out of our warm cosy bed each morning, ha!

On weekends Matt and I experiment a lot more with dinner recipes, and you may have seen I’m planning to make at least one new recipe per week this October. However, on weeknights we generally like to make quick and easy dinners that we know and love! We rotate between around twenty ‘standard’ meals, but the odd time we’ll throw in a curve ball to change things up a little. Every time we try a new recipe we love we just add them into our rotation of weeknight meals, and this has been the best way to learn and enjoy cooking. I shared how we meal plan and where we often get our ideas from in this post a few months ago, so be sure to check that out if you’re unsure where to start.

All three of the recipes are based on dinner for two people so if you want to make more just double or triple accordingly!

Cod With Roasted Veggies & Mash

This is probably the most popular recipe for us of the three, and one we kinda cheat on. Snapple fact: mash potato is my favourite food. Ever. When we first started dating, Matt wasn’t a huge fan of mash potato but now he loves it just as much as I do, and I hate to say it but the store-bought pre-made options are so much better than homemade. I’m sorry! We also serve with baby potatoes (as above) but if you want to make your own mash potato go right ahead. This is perfect for nights Matt is home late and I’m preparing dinner for him coming home, because timings are SO easy to get right on this and it’s minimum effort for maximum reward.

Ingredients:
2 x cod fillets
(approx) 4 x large carrots
(approx) 160g x broccoli
(approx) half a courgette
400g x mash potato / baby potatoes
(approx) two tablespoons of chilli olive oil
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to (approx) 200 degrees.
2. Place cod on tin foil lined baking tray, and cover with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Place a second sheet of tin foil over the fish, tucking in any corners so the juices don’t spill out, and place in oven.
3. Whilst the fish begins to cook, chop the ends off carrots, roughly peel and cut into batons. Cut courgette into small pieces.
4. Cut broccoli stems down and peel off any remaining leaves.
5. Place carrot batons, courgette and broccoli onto another baking tray, separating out vegetables so they’re not overlapping too much. Take a pinch of salt and pepper over vegetables, sprinkle Italian seasoning over then drizzle chilli olive oil, mostly distributing through the centre as it will run during cooking. You could just switch out to regular olive oil if you don’t like heat!
6. Place into the oven approx five to ten minutes after you’ve put in your fish (ideally underneath the fish) and cook for approx 20 – 25 minutes. This really depends on how soft you like your fish/veggies to be.
7. Microwave potato side of choice, or make your own during the time that your fish and veggies cooking!

Seriously, how quick and simple is that?! Roasted veggies are our favourite, they taste great with any meat or as a side dish to a vegetable tagine!

Matt’s pepper in the background looks a little drunk… hahaha!

(Beer) Chilli Stuffed Peppers

This was a take on one of our already favourite meals (just regular chilli – with or without beer) but we loved this variation so much it’s become a staple. We usually pair with homemade salt and pepper chilli chips – super easy, too! – and it’s such a hearty dinner. Stuffed peppers are another of my favourite foods and again Matt has kinda learned to love them. LOL, I promise he really enjoys these meals too! We have an ongoing private joke because I throw peppers into pretty much anything we cook. He’s like “can you please make me porridge for breakfast? Oh wait do you want to put peppers in that too?!” Hahaha. They’re just delicious, okay?! There’s also an option to add a little beer in here if you fancy it. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe for kids as the alcohol burns off! Also, yes I made this festive for #spookyszn. Because why not?!

Ingredients:
250g x lean beef mince
1 x large onion
2 x stalks of celery
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x chilli peppers
1 x large pepper
(to dice)
2 x large peppers (I’d recommend orange for Halloween dinners!)
400g x chopped tomatoes
(approx) 200ml x light beer (optional)
(approx) 100g x tomato puree
(approx) 200g x mixed beans
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Tilda peri peri rice
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Chop all veggies into small diced shapes, except for two peppers. You only want to cut off the tops, take out the core and de-seed. I recommend going over the inner surface with a tablespoon to make sure you’ve got plenty of room for your mixture! If you don’t like a lot of spice make sure to de-seed your chillis.
3. Brown mince in pan with onion and garlic cloves. Drain any excess fat. If you’re adding beer to your recipe, this is where you’d add it! It adds a great depth to your chilli, although we don’t do this too often as Matt generally prefers the recipe without it. Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?!
4. Add in all of your diced vegetables and tomato puree, and brown.
5. If you’re serving with chips, put them in the oven now!
6. After around seven minutes, add in mixed beans and chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer for approx ten minutes. Place large de-seeded peppers on a lined baking tray.
7. Pour chilli mixture into large peppers, add as much grated cheese as you’d like on top and pop in the oven for approx fifteen minutes (just keep checking to see how the cheese is melting/peppers are softening).
8. Just before you take out your peppers, microwave rice. You can use this as a ‘bed’ for your peppers or serve it on the side!

I mean seriously… could this be any more simple? How freaking cute do our Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers look?! They’re perfect for this time of year, and I know if you have littles they’ll appreciate this too. Matt and I always add a little extra cheese once cooked too which makes them a little less healthy, sshhh!

Hunter’s Chicken

This is a recipe we just LOVE to make, and it’s so crazy easy; you literally prepare everything in five minutes or less, throw it in the oven and leave it for half an hour to cook. It’s kind of become a go-to for us because of how quick and easy it is, and it’s a meal we really enjoy each time. You could serve with rice, veggies, chips, mash potato, the possiblities are endless! We switch our side up pretty much every time we have this meal, it’s super versatile which makes it feel like something new each time. I also made BBQ chicken baked tacos for the first time last week which Matt LOVED – I’d be happy to share that recipe soon?!

Ingredients:
2 x chicken breasts

4 x rashers of unsmoked bacon
(approx) 200g x French’s BBQ sauce
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Salt, pepper and peri peri seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Wrap chicken breasts in bacon; add a little salt and pepper (and peri peri seasoning if you like a little heat) and place in the oven for thirty five minutes.
2. After the time is up, take out your dish and add BBQ sauce; we really roughly use around 200g, but basically just make sure all of your bacon and chicken is covered. Add grated cheese and put back in the oven for seven minutes.

…Yep, that’s IT! I really love eating this with mash potato because it’s filling and hearty, but not TOO filling and means we have an excuse for a McFlurry run later 🙂 hahaha we’ve definitely got our priorities right!

I hope this post was somewhat helpful and gave you a little inspiration for what you and your partner or family can cook this week! I would love to share more, maybe every month I’ll share three of our favourite dinner recipes with you? We LOVE our Crockpot and make so many meals in there that are super easy! We also cook vegetarian dinners now and then (we’re trying to partake in #MeatlessMondays much more often than we do) but we have so many options of things to share. Please let me know what kind of meals you’d like to see! Are you planning on making any of these dinners this week? What is your favourite easy (and kinda healthy) dinner recipe?!

-G x

Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

Hey, loves! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’ve really had one of those weeks. I’ve felt a bit crap, and as a result I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways I try to carve out a little self care time each day, and focus on the things that keep me feeling good even on those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Name that movie. As I mentioned in a recent post I’ve made August an unofficial self-care month for me, and I’d love for you to join in too! Let’s get used to taking a little extra time for ourselves, no matter how busy we are. Today I’m sharing with you the things I try to do most days (or at least several times per week) to practice self care.

Practice yoga (or at least stretch)
It’s not realistic to assume we all have a spare hour or even half an hour each day to prioritise yoga, or whichever exercise you prefer. However, ten minutes is something we should all able to achieve – whether it means turning the TV off ten minutes before bed or getting up ten minutes earlier – it feels so good to stretch out your body. My favourite morning stretch routine for when I don’t have much time is this practice from Yoga With Adrienne, it always makes me feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

Eat food that’s good for you
When you’re eating healthy food your body feels refreshed, and so does your mind. Matt and I eat healthy veggie filled dinners most nights, and we try to eat healthy when possible. We definitely don’t restrict ourselves; if we want to eat something we’ll definitely enjoy it, it’s just about creating a balance. Getting our five a day is so important, and although there’s way less emphasis on it in the media now, I think we could all use a reminder!

Enjoy at least ten minutes of peace and quiet each day
Having a little time alone just to be is good for the soul. I’m an introvert, and until Matt and I got together two years ago, I’d have opted to spend time alone than with others any day of the week. Now, of course I’d rather spend every possible second with Matt, but it’s still important to appreciate time alone too. Whether it’s relaxing in a hot bath during the evening or whilst I’m doing my makeup before work, I just enjoy being with only my thoughts for a little while.

Keep the space around you clean, tidy and clutter-free
I am the kind of person that needs the space around me to be clean and tidy anyway, but it truly makes you feel so much more calm and relaxed when everything is in order and put away in it’s place. I like to de-clutter Matt and I’s space pretty often, and it’s freeing to not hold on to rubbish you don’t need! Our bedroom is always smelling fresh and looking tidy, and coming home each night to our own little sanctuary is so calming and refreshing. I’m also the same with my car, I can’t bare it being dirty or cluttered inside, I just very rarely clean the outside.

Treat yourself to regular pamper sessions
Whether it’s getting your gels refreshed or visiting your favourite salon for a fresh colour and cut, set aside time (and money) to enjoy it. I love days where I’m getting my hair or nails done SO much, it just makes me feel happier. Of course you don’t have to go to salons to treat yourself, because at-home spa and pamper evenings can be just as wonderful. Indulge in a bubble bath and throw a face mask on, and never let yourself feel guilty for doing so. It’s important to unwind and relax, and it’s very true that when you look good, you feel good on the inside too. Matt and I love a pamper night!

Make gratitude lists
Feeling grateful is one thing, but writing down what you’re grateful for changes your perspective on everything. It’s so easy to get bogged down with mundane life stuff, but just acknowledging the good things in your life can make you see everything so differently. I’ve wrote three posts this year, logging things I’m grateful for each day – you can catch up here, here and here – and I couldn’t recommend that enough. Whether you’re a blogger looking for a content idea or you just want to list what you’re grateful for privately, it’s amazing to see your blessings right in front of you. I keep a list in the Notes app in my phone, and man does it help me to keep positive.

Live in the moment
I admit that I am SO bad for not enjoying the day/hour/second right there and then, because I’m thinking about what’s coming up. Whether I’m stressing about something happening or I’m super excited for something fun, I find I’m always counting down to the Next Thing. I’m actively trying to enjoy where I’m at in the moment, and it’s making life so much more fun! …but it’s okay to have things to look forward to. Matt and I always have a trip planned, whether it’s a holiday or a weekend getaway, because we love travelling SO much and that’s where we want to put our energy. We just love getting away and exploring somewhere new! Similarly, date nights keep us sane and get us through long work weeks, and we always plan those in advance. Get plans in your diary to catch up with your friends too, they may need it more than you do!

Be active, and enjoy nature while you’re at it
Matt and I are SO LUCKY to live where we do; there’s beautiful beaches, rolling countryside and our favourite city, Newcastle upon Tyne, all just twenty minutes drive from us. We are always trying to get outside more and enjoy whatever is around us, and we’re also very lucky that we experience all four seasons here too! Well, Summer is questionable LOL.

Unwind in a way that makes you happy
Getting cosy under a fluffy blanket with our favourite candles flickering, snuggling up with Matt to watch Netflix is without a doubt my favourite pastime. We do this in some aspect every evening, even if it’s only to watch one quick episode of our favourite show (Brooklyn 99 is life, you guys!) and it feels so good to relax at home. Being curled up with Matt makes me so happy, and it’s something I look forward to from the minute we get out of bed each morning! I also love to blog, binge watch reality shows (The *original* Hills and KUTWK are always my go-to shows), online shop/browse, cook, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, read books, take bubble baths… whatever it is for you; do more of it.

Don’t beat yourself up
The best self care tip of all is to not be too hard on yourself, because everyone is doing the best they can. You don’t need to compare yourself to others, or what you think you should have/want in life. Being happy within yourself is so important, and nurturing your close relationships is super important too. Matt and I are very good at giving each other pep talks and cheering each other up if we ever have a bad day, and that support network is so vital!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, and maybe feel inspired to take a little more time for yourself. How do you take time for self care each day? What’s one thing that always makes you feel good? Except for cuddling with Matt, one other thing specifically comes to mind for me. Blogging. It always makes me feel good and is there for me like a safety net; I love to write SO MUCH, and I had no idea how much joy blogging would bring to my life! Matt encouraged me to start and has (literally) held my hand every step of the way so far; I’m so grateful for him and that he pushed me to do it; it’s a dream come true to run my own blog. Thank you so much to everyone who takes time to read, comment, like, share etc – it means the world to me, and I really feel so lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.

-G x

My August Goals

Hi, loves! Happy (early) August! Can you believe how quick this year is going?! It’s almost Christmas! *rushes to make candy cane hot chocolates and turn Elf on, despite faint protests from Matt* As any regular readers will know, I really love setting goals and having something to work towards, and I also quite enjoy sharing my goals on the blog from time to time. It holds me accountable in a different way, as normally I’d write my goals in the Notes app on my phone and if I didn’t achieve something I wouldn’t be too disappointed, so this puts a little fire in my belly! I try to only set five goals at a time, as I feel like it can be really overwhelming if you set more, as in my experience they then become daunting and unachievable.

Clear out Matt and I’s wardrobes (and all of my beauty drawers)
We are HOARDERS, guys. And it’s kind of a problem. We don’t buy new clothes too often, but we did buy some new bits at the start of the Summer for our holiday to Croatia and we didn’t really clear anything out at the time we made new purchases. My dream closet would be one that looks just like Shay’s (hers is amazing!) but right now I’m super grateful for what I have and I want to make it work better for me. I’ve already started my clear out and to be fair I’m almost done, I’ve just got a few organisational bits left to do to make things look a little more pretty. I know there’s several pieces on my ‘to buy’ list for the upcoming Autumn months (I’m VERY excited for A/W fashion, it’s my favourite!) and Matt will be picking up some new pieces for the colder months too! I’m not looking forward to doing my beauty drawers, they are a MESS. If anyone has any great drawer organiser recommendations please let me know! It always feels very refreshing to have a good clear out, and I’m sure we’ll feel so much better when it’s all complete. I’ve already got tons of stuff to sell on Depop which I’ve never done before, so I need to make sure I take all of those photos and send parcels out quickly too!

Treat myself to self care time
I’m making August an unofficial Self Care Month for me, because I think I just need to be a little kinder to myself. Matt and I have had a busy few months and I’m excited to unwind, enjoy the last of Summer and prepare for all of the upcoming fun that we’re going to have in Autumn! I want to make the most of the warm weather, explore new places and rest instead of being 100 miles per hour all of the time. Matt and I have planned a few fun date days and we’re hoping to check off the rest of our Summer bucket list, I really hope we do! It’s going to be a month of unwinding, running, pampering myself, practicing yoga regularly, reading more often etc and I really can’t wait for it. Matt and I are also heading down South for a few nights to visit his family at the end of the month and we’re so excited! We’re hoping to spend our days there spending time with family, relaxing, eating good food and exploring, that’s the PERFECT way to unwind, right? We also get to go on a big old road trip to get there (and back) and you all know road trips are my jam. I can’t freaking wait!

Cut our grocery spending
This is always a goal, but this month I really want to see how much we can cut back. We always buy fresh fruit and vegetables so that will never be cut out, but I think we’re going to experiment a little more with vegetarian meals (which will be much cheaper because meat and Galaxy chocolate is the largest expense of our food shops!) I’m pretty concious about our meat consumption so we try to eat veggie when we can anyway, but this month it’s going to be more intentional. We also want to make lots of Summer recipes before we move back into the colder months, I’m thinking lots of pasta salads, fish dishes and all the tacos!

Be more present
I feel like this is something I’m always working on in one way or another, and I have to keep myself in check and remind myself to live in the moment a lot. I am so excitable about upcoming plans I kinda wish away the days which is something I don’t realise I’m even doing and then I look back and feel like I missed out on things by not being as present as I could be. I’m trying to be happy with what I have and we’re Matt and I are at right now, because I am SO fortunate and grateful for everything and everyone in my life. Also, we all know quality time with Matt is my favourite thing, and this month is packed full of it so I don’t want to miss a second!

Grow my blog
I know this sounds super vague but I just really want to make my blog the best it can possibly be. I talked about this a lot in this post, but my blog grows slowly and steadily rather than super quickly – which is fine, I’m so grateful it grows at all! – I’d just really like to continue putting so much effort in and see how it can grow further. I’ve really stepped up my game with creating new content and I actively like and comment more on blogs that I love, and I’m very grateful for others who always comment on my posts.

Thank you so much for reading! Do you set goals each week or month? Is there something you’re hoping to achieve this month? I love seeing what goals others are working towards, so if you’ve written any similar posts please leave your links below!

-G x

Meal Planning: The How’s And Why’s

Hi, loves!

Meal planning is a huge part of Matt and I’s week, and it’s something we now do every week without fail. I love routine, I love organisation and I love being able to do things in a quick and effective way. Matt isn’t as fussed, but what we’re having for dinner each night is something I had always made the decisions on, because Matt is super indecisive! Now, through changing our habits and meal planning, this makes it a joint decision for both of us. I’ve mentioned meal planning many times on the blog, and been asked lots of times for recipe ideas and why we do it. I’d love to share a week’s worth of dinner recipe ideas, so that will definitely be up in the blog in the next month or so. Today I’m focusing on the how’s and why’s of meal planning for us, and asking some of the questions I see popping up over and over again. Is it actually beneficial to our lives? Should you be doing it? What does it even mean?

What is meal planning?
It’s pretty self explanatory, but meal planning is literally to plan – usually for the week ahead – the meals you (and your partner/family) will be eating. Some people do this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, however Matt and I only really focus on breakfast for Matt (I generally eat at work), dinner for both of us with leftovers for lunch the following day and healthy snacks/desserts. I’m not really a baker at all, but I made this banana bread last week before I picked Matt up from a night out with the boys and it was so good! Also, no bake desserts are great, and they’re super quick and easy when your evenings are busy.

How do you do it?
On a Sunday, Matt and I sit down for twenty minutes to talk about what we want to make the following week, and plan our shopping list(s). We look at Matt’s shifts as this has an impact on what we make; on the days he works until 9pm I make dinner ready for him coming home, so we tend to go for meals that go in the oven and can be timed perfectly (for example, cod and roasted vegetables or a good ol’ pasta bake). I make a list in the Notes app on my phone of what meal we’ll make each evening, writing underneath all of the ingredients required to make the meal. I don’t include items like sauces or spices which we use in every meal as we already have those, although if I had to re-purchase something during my shop that week then I’d write them down too. Miscellaneous items like almond milk, protein bars and bread are bought every week, so I keep a generic shopping list I buy from too. I love that I can tick off the lists as I go through my shop, and have even started writing in the order that I’d walk around the shop, that’s dedication LOL. I grocery shop twice per week, sometimes a third time if we’ve ran out of anything, and I can get round the store in fifteen minutes or less every time.

Does it save you money and/or time?
YES. As we plan ahead and have a shopping list, I literally buy to the shopping list. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a sneaky bag of Haribo or Cadbury’s buttons will find their way into the trolley – I’ve no idea how – but most of the time I stick to our list. I tend to do almost all of our grocery shopping as it just works easier that way, and I enjoy buying based on a list as it saves so much time. It also cuts out any extra deliberations in store where I ring Matt and say “is X okay for dinner tonight? What do you fancy for tomorrow?” I also have the flexibility to go to more than one supermarket when I can, as I know what I need to get and we prefer certain items from certain places. Aldi and Lidl are great for freshly baked bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, and they also have great deals on pasta, spices and yoghurts. When it comes to chicken and meat, we always buy from Asda as I feel you get more for your money there, and we buy specific branded things like rice, almond milk, frozen goodies, and sauces there too. To be honest, I generally do most of our shopping at Asda as it’s nearby work, but I should get better at buying from various stores. However if we’re ever having a cheat night and eating rubbish, we love the Taste The Difference flatbread pizzas from Sainsbury’s (with a tub of Halo Top or Alpro ice cream thrown in, obviously)!

How do you get your ideas for recipes?
This has built up over a long time of trial and error of trying out new foods, as we now have our own little (mental) portfolio of go-to meals we love. We don’t eat much red meat and it’s something we’re actively trying to cut down on, and we generally favour chicken or fish dishes if we’re not eating vegetarian. When we’re not cooking a tried and tested favourite and want to try something new, I firstly look through our three favourite cookbooks. Our go-to’s are Pinch Of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, A Year Of Beautiful Eating by Madeleine Shaw and Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape by Gino D’Acampo. Whether we follow the exact ingredients and method, or take inspiration to create something else I can almost always find something that looks good. If nothing was to take our fancy from those cookbooks we’d then look online at BBC Good Food, Pinterest, Tesco Real Food and of course, social media.

Do you find it easy?
I really do, and I would advise anyone who is thinking about giving it a go, to just try it. It took us a long time to start cooking with fresh ingredients, and we were regulars at M&S Food Hall for their dine in for two offer (we ate those almost every night!) for our first year of being together, but now that’s definitely a treat and something we do on the nights we really have no time. We didn’t know how to cook at all prior to last Summer, so we’re self taught (well, with the help of Matt’s lovely mum). I hear people say all the time “I don’t know how to cook” but honestly you just have to give it a whirl and practice lots, it gets easier and now we love every aspect of it. After we got the methods down, it took us a little time to tweak how we do things each week, but after a little trial and error it works perfectly for us. We’ve also been eating way healthier since we took meal planning seriously, as it’s developed a new interest in creating new meals, and we’re forever trying new things. I’m very interested in eating more vegetarian meals, and Matt’s on board to try whatever I want to try too, which is great! We’re thinking of eating vegetarian only for a week, pretty much just to see if we can do it, and if we do I’ll definitely share my thoughts on it with you on the blog.

Does it work every week?
Yes, for us it really does. We look at the week ahead, so if we’re heading out for date night on Friday we know we don’t need to buy anything for that night, or if we have plans with friends on the Saturday we’ll more than likely grab something when we’re out. If Matt’s out for the evening with the boys I also take great pleasure in having a kid’s tea before I go pick him up (Quorn crispy nuggets, Strong Roots spinach bites and a whole lot of this amazing BBQ sauce, if you’re interested) and those are the kinds of food we always make sure to have in the freezer, and I replace without fail on an almost weekly basis (especially those spinach bites, we literally eat them with almost every meal HA). The best part of meal planning is that it works around your life and your schedule, and it’s very flexible as a result. You could definitely just do one shop per week but we buy so many fresh vegetables and fruit it means by the end of the week items are out of date or just not as good as they should be, so I’d rather not waste food and just go to the supermarket two or three times per week.

I hope this post was informative and helped in some way! I love seeing what people eat for dinner, and what must-have recipe they recommend to others. I can’t wait to share with you a week’s worth of dinners for Matt and I. If you’re wanting to get a start on meal planning, I’d really recommend the three cookbooks photographed/linked in this post! Do you meal plan? Do you have any extra tips that may help me or my readers?!

-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

My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine

Hi, loves!

I’m so excited to share my updated skincare routine with you because I’ve finally found a routine that works for me. My last skincare routine was posted way back in July, but I have switched things up a lot since then. I’ve been really intrigued to try more natural, organic skincare brands and products, and I’m so happy with everything I’m currently using. My skin type is combination but leans more towards the oily side, I get dry patches under my eyes from time to time, and for the past few years I’ve been prone to breakouts and redness. I have acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw dating back to when I was a teenager, but it has improved SO much over the past six months.

You may have seen from previous blog posts that I’ve committed to only buy from cruelty free brands going forward, and my skincare routine is fully cruelty free. My everyday makeup routine is almost there too, although right now I’m using up products that I had already bought but will not be re-purchasing. I really am so happy with my skincare products, and my skin is really good right now. *prays to the skin Gods that it stays that way after making such a statement* I switched my contraceptive around June 2018, and I think that has also had a huge impact – girls, if you’re on the pill and suffer with acne, change it up! I’d recommend speaking to your doctor to see what will be the best option for you, but I really think this needs to be discussed more openly.

I’ve stripped back my skincare routine a lot, and I no longer feel the need to try out hundreds of products, constantly buying the next must-have item. I used to be such a skincare junkie, and as much as I like to admire dreamy Instagram #shelfies and other bloggers’ or vloggers’ skincare routines from afar, I just don’t have the interest (or room in my budget) to continuously try out new products. There are however a few brands I’d love to explore more – Sukin, Facetheory and Neal’s Yard Remedies I’m looking at you! – over the coming months as and when I finish current products. Also, I probably do a few steps in the ‘wrong’ order, but that’s okay!

MORNING ROUTINE

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – I flipping love this cleanser. Sukin are a 100% natural and organic brand, this is the first product I’ve tried from them and I can’t wait to try more in time. This cleanser is the perfect way to prepare my face for my skincare routine and makeup, and I’m trying to use this every morning and every night. This foams up slightly but it isn’t irritating and never leaves my skin feeling dry or tight. I apply one pump to a wet face (either in the shower or over the sink), and massage in for a few minutes. I use Facetheory exfoliating muslin cloths every other evening and they’re great at exfoliating without being too harsh. The cleanser smells very spa-like, due to the natural ingredients, and it’s a perfect pick-me-up in the mornings or evenings.

Pixi Glow Tonic – I don’t use this every morning, it totally depends on how my skin is that specific day; if my skin is clear and not aggravated I stay. away. However, if I have a breakout, or my skin is a little red (this often happens the day after I’ve used a face mask) then I apply a little across my face with a cotton round. I often use this in the evenings too, again depending on how my skin is on that day. This is the only toner I have re-purchased several times, and I really don’t think any other toner I’ve tried compares to this. It is a cult favourite, but for good reason! In my opinion it’s 100% worth the hype.

Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – I’ve been using this eye cream since just before Christmas as this product was my first foray into the brand, and it’s one of my absolute favourite skincare products. I actually stumbled across this brand as it was featured in an Instagram post, and at the time I’d never heard of it, but I’m so glad I found it! I use the smallest amount for both eyes (a pea-sized amount as the pros would say), I’ve been using this every day for almost three months now and there’s heaps left. This eye cream is lightweight and my makeup applies so nicely on top, which is an added bonus as lots of inexpensive eye creams I’ve tried tended to ball up under makeup.

Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – I’ve only been using this for around four to five weeks, as I purchased it when my moisturiser (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo) ran out. I almost bent my purchasing cruelty-free products only rule to re-purchase Effaclar Duo as I really think it helped my skin SO much. However, as I loved the Facetheory eye cream I decided to try out their moisturiser for oily skin and I love it. My skin generally doesn’t react well to new products so I was prepared for a few crappy skin days/weeks, but that never happened which was pretty impressive. It’s a lightweight formula and sinks into my skin within a few minutes, making the perfect base for foundation. As I mentioned, it hasn’t broke me out at all, and I think my skin has been less oilier throughout the day over the past few weeks. One thing to warn you if you’d like to purchase; as it’s a gel formula it’s such a thin liquid (almost serum-like) it went everywhere the first time I used it!

Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm / Glossier Balm Dot Com – these two are level at the top spot in my never-ending crusade to find the perfect lip balm. (I have a problem, guys!) Both products work so well under lip liner or lipstick to protect and soothe my lips, and any regular readers will know I carry a balm dot com lip balm in every bag!

Shop my AM skincare (all prices RRP)
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Facetheory Exfoliating Muslin Cloths (3 pack) – £4.99
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18
Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – £15.99
Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – £12.99
Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm – £6.95

Glossier Balm Dot Com (Original) – £10.00

EVENING ROUTINE

Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water / Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser / The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – I change this up day to day, and generally use whichever product I fancy on that day. If I’m having a pamper night I will always go for a good wash-at-the-sink makeup remover, but if I’m feeling tired or just super lazy it’s going to be micellar water on cotton rounds (I buy these organic ones). I tend to go through stages with my cleansers, as some weeks I love the Glossier one and other weeks I reach for my cleansing butter from The Body Shop every night. All three of these are so gentle on my skin and never cause me to break out! Very occasionally I reach for makeup wipes (Burt’s Bee’s Micellar Cleansing Towelettes are the ones I buy, made from repurposed cotton) but I know everyone thinks that’s the cardinal skincare sin! I’m currently trying out Glossier’s new micellar water too, and so far I really love it – as with everything from Glossier it’s simple and effective, and it hasn’t made my skin break out which is always a bonus.

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – see above.

Pixi Glow Tonic – see above.

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – so, you may have heard me talk about this before… LOL. I’ve declared my love for this product 101 times on my blog, but it’s really that good. This eye cream is so moisturising, does not irritate my sensitive under-eye area, and it’s damn good for the recurring dry patches that keeps appearing under my right eye. Each morning my under-eye area still feels moisturised, which I’ve never found from an overnight eye cream before. The texture is so different than anything I’ve used before, and it always feels cool when applied to my skin. If you’re looking for a new night eye cream, look no further. You can thank me later!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 / The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Serum-in-Oil – I change my serums up based on my skin that day; if my skin is feeling a little dry or irritated I reach for the Hyaluronic Acid, and if it’s pretty normal I reach for the Vitamin E, although more often than not I use both. I do have various serums from The Ordinary that I used to alternate between, but I really see no benefit in piling them all on my face and I very rarely reach for anything else. When my current Hyaluronic Acid serum runs out I think I’ll repurchase Glossier Super Bounce as I feel that did a little more for my skin, but The Ordinary one is such a great budget friendly option.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – this is the best overnight moisturiser I’ve ever used, and I totally found it by accident. This was the first skincare product I’ve bought from Neal’s Yard Remedies and the bar is set so high for future purchases. It’s made with natural ingredients, so it feels and smells like I’ve been transported to the most beautiful spa every night. When morning rolls around, my skin still feels and looks moisturised, and plump in the best way! Yarrow, one of the main ingredients, is great for helping oily skin as it controls sebum production, and it also helps to reduce acne scarring. As I mentioned above, I had horrendous acne scarring on my cheeks/jaw which has improved so much, I wish I had a before and after picture! This moisturiser isn’t sticky, it never breaks me out, and I’m really seeing the benefits of less oil production. This is truly a holy grail product for me and I know I’ll be repurchasing for years to come, with no need to try out alternatives. Also, Matt keeps telling me every morning and night how good my skin looks, and you know a product is working miracles when your boyfriend notices!

Glossier Balm Dot Com – during the Winter months I tend to need a thicker, heavier lip balm overnight, but as we’ve had such mild weather my favourite Glossier balm is doing the trick. Matt uses this too, and we absolutely love it! I really would like to try out the Evolve Lip Treat at some point, though.

Shop my PM skincare (all prices RRP)
Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water – £6.99
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15.00
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – £10.00
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18.00

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – £18.00
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – £5.90
The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil – £16.00
Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – £22.00
Glossier Balm Dot Com – £10.00

THE EXTRAS

Face masks – I’m the biggest advocate of face masks, I just love them. Throwing a face mask on is self care, okay?! Sheet masks are the no-fuss way to do it, and my favourites were from the Garnier Moisture range but I’m unable to purchase those now as Garnier are not cruelty free. I’m hoping and praying Garnier will change their processes in 2019! However, a few cruelty free sheet masks I love and have re-purchased several times are Burt’s Bees Hydrating, Sanctuary Spa Charcoal Bubble and Starskin Pink Clay Purifying, they all work so well for my skin and help to settle my skin without causing breakouts. My favourite face masks are the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Lush Mask Of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving) and Lush Rosy Cheeks. The one aspect of skincare I can get Matt excited about is face masks, we love to do them together and try to make time to as often as we can – it’s my favourite part of our Sunday evenings!

Jade roller – if you don’t have one of these, get on it! I treated myself to this one from Amazon to cheer myself up when I was having a crappy week, as I’d been debating on buying one for a long time. It works fine but it is clearly cheaply made and I’m hoping to purchase this one from Herbivore in the near future. Face rollers are a firm favourite in many people’s beauty routines, and it’s easy to see why. My face is often a little puffy in the morning, especially around my eyes, and this magic tool fixes that in an instant. I don’t use this every day as it honestly depends on *how much time I have (*basically, I spend too much time snoozing my alarm and snuggling my boyfriend), but I always make sure to use it when I can. I use this in the evening most nights after applying my serum, and I really love to roll my face after using a face mask.

Spot treatment – I always reach for Mario Badescu Drying Lotion if I have any active breakouts, and I swear by this product. I apply using a cotton bud, and dab onto the affected area. (I buy cotton buds from Sainsbury’s, which are the most affordable organic ones I can find, but they come in plastic packaging which drives me crazy!) This product is genuinely a miracle worker, by morning my spots are gone or at least well on their way to healing, and the redness around the area is non-existant. I wish I knew about this product when I suffered with terrible acne! I’ve been meaning to purchase the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches for so long as they’re apparently incredible, so I really need to do that. I hope Glossier’s Zit Stick will be available in the UK soon too – I literally check on the daily – as I’ve heard SO many good things about that product (although reviews are mixed online).

Drinking more water, eating less dairy and eating more veggies. It’s not groundbreaking information that what we put into our bodies has a huge effect on how it looks on the outside. I’ve always found it so difficult to drink lots of water, but recently I’ve upped my game and drink way more than I used to. Matt and I cook dinner together every night and we always pile the vegetables into our recipes, and try to participate in meatless Monday most weeks. I think eating cleaner in general (less meat, little dairy) has had a huge impact on my skin; since I stopped drinking cow’s milk I noticed a huge decrease in the amount of breakouts I was having. Matt and I are never going to give up our late night McFlurry runs, but it’s all about balance right?! Of course, just because this helped me does not necessarily mean it would work for you, but I’d definitely encourage you to switch up things in your diet and see what works best for your skin/body.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite skincare products? Do you have any you go back to over and over again?

-G x

Weekend In My Life: Valentine’s, Exploring Northumberland & The Best Donuts

Hey, loves!

I haven’t wrote a Weekend In My Life post since December, I’m so happy to be back with another! Matt and I had such a great Valentine’s weekend, and I love to be able to 1) share snippets of my life with you, and 2) to look back on these posts! Yep, I sneak back to read my own blog posts from time to time. You may have noticed I’ve stopped rounding up our weeks/weekends at the beginning of each post, which was a decicision I made as I feel like we’re always up to the same things, and how many ways can I possibly phrase ‘cosy night in’ or ‘breakfast date’ LOL!? (Also, I’m sure 99% of people couldn’t care less!) I hope you enjoy this post, I’ll definitely be sharing more weekends in our life over the coming months as we have tons of fun plans for the Summer!

Thursday, 14th February

I usually begin these posts from Friday, but as this was Valentine’s Day I wanted to include it. We woke up slightly earlier than usual to exchange gifts and spend a little longer snuggled up (whilst I was pretending I didn’t have to go to work). As I mentioned in this post, we don’t really exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day, but we both waivered our own rule this year! Matt was SO sweet and bought me cute presents he really didn’t need to. My favourite was a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick (!!) in the shade The Duchess, which is a shade I’ve had my eye on for so long. It was, as the name would suggest, made for Kate Middleton and it’s the most beautiful rosy nude, I’ve wore it non-stop since I opened it LOL! I bought Matt a scratch map (just for fun as he’s been to so many amazing places; and it’s something he can put in his man cave when we buy our house in the next year!) and a CrockPot, which was something we’d been thinking about buying. Of course I filled a gift bag with sweets and chocolates, which is just part of the fun of Valentine’s Day! We had such a cute morning and it was the perfect way to start the day.

Seriously… fit for a princess!

After we exchanged gifts I unfortunately had to get ready and head to work, and I swear I was wishing the hours away before I even got there. Thankfully my day went by pretty quickly, although I thought it was Friday all day! One of the managers bought us girls in the office donuts which was so sweet of him. I think Valentine’s is so special because it’s about sharing and spreading love, and Heaven knows the world needs a little more love!

When 5pm rolled around I headed home, listening to Ariana Grande’s new album of course. (I love it! I think NASA is my fave song, although I can’t relate as I never want to be apart from Matt hahaha). Matt got home just after me, by then I had showered, cosied up in my dressing gown and carried out my skincare routine. We lit candles, turned on all of our cosy lamps and started to prepare dinner. We made one of our favourite dinners; steak, potatoes, tenderstem brocolli and green beans (super simple but SO good) and then set up a mini fondue/ice cream bar for dessert later in the night. We spent the evening watching our new favourite show, Ambulance: Australia – nothing says romance like paramedics attending poorly patients – and had the best cosy, chilled night in. We snuggled in for a pretty early night, and we fell asleep feeling so happy and grateful for our little life. I love him so much and I literally feel so thankful as we cuddle in to sleep every night!

Friday, 15th February

As it always seems to happen during the week, the morning rolled round way too quickly and it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Friday’s are so bittersweet; it’s almost the weekend, we usually have a fun lunch at work BUT there’s still a whole eight hours between me and the weekend. Matt was off work again (he’s so lucky!) so he got to spend the whole day relaxing and playing on the PlayStation. My day was super long for a Friday but I did go grocery shopping for the weekend over my lunch break which made me feel a little productive.

At 5pm I headed home for a cosy night in with Matt before a busy weekend together. He had ran a bubble bath for me coming home – the below picture is exactly what I walked into, he’s so cute – so after a relaxing soak I got into my pj’s and we spent our evening relaxing. Matt’s parents were away for the weekend so it was just us at home. We had some of our favourite flatbread pizzas for a super easy dinner and snuggled in to watch Life Of The Party (it was so funny, we LOVE Melissa McCarthy). It was the perfect way to start our weekend! These kind of nights are my favourite because we get to totally switch off from everything, and have so much fun in our little bubble.

the sky was so beautiful when I got home from work! I LOVE that it’s light in the evenings for a little longer now

Saturday, 16th February

We had gone to bed pretty early the night before, so were feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day when our alarm went off. I did a super quick yoga practice for twenty minutes (this was the video I followed, Adrienne is the best!) and felt so good for fitting it into my day. We already had plans to head to one of our favourite breakfast places called Post Box in Ponteland. Matt had a bath which meant I could spend a little longer on my makeup, and sneak in catching up on some of my YouTube subs! I quickly prepped our dinner for later in the evening, and threw everything in the CrockPot. We were super excited to be making use of Matt’s gift (maybe it was for me too) HAHA.

before we added the chicken, seasoning and sauce!

By the time we left home it was around 11.30am so our breakfast was more like brunch, but as always it was delicious. It’s such a small cafe and it’s usually quite difficult to get a table but we lucked out and got one right away. Matt had a full English, and I got a veggie breakfast (but swapped out the mushrooms for avocado). I wish all Saturday’s consisted of breakfast dates! Matt works lots of Saturday’s so when we have the opportunity to go for one, we take it! After, we jumped back in the car to head to Bolam Lake, which is a beautiful country park that we’ve been meaning to go to for so long. There’s a gorgeous lake (obviously) in the middle, and the walk was beautiful. It was pretty cold as we were further North but typically of me, I didn’t wear the right clothing and was FREEZING. We spent a little time walking around, working off our breakfasts, then we decided to go on a little inpromptu tour of Northumberland! We went up towards Jedburgh and had so much fun playing tourists in our own area, it’s literally one of our favourite things to do. We’re planning to go up to the Scottish borders a few times in the next few months, hopefully starting when it’s a little warmer!

After our little road trip around the countryside, we headed back to the other side of town and popped into the Metro Centre (to buy bath bombs LOL) and then to Costco. We LOVE Costco, there is just so much to look at (and buy) so we spent about an hour there. There were tons of good free samples which is obviously the best part about it, and I got the cutest pink blanket for our bed! I already have two different colours, but we sleep with these blankets most nights because sleeping under a quilt just gets so dang hot. I’m pretty sure it’s because Matt is like a human radiator but every night we have to open the window, even in the Winter! Please tell me it’s not just us?!

bae

On the way home from Costco we popped in to see Matt’s lovely grandma and drop in some bottled water for her. I love going to see her, she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and we always have such a giggle when we’re there. We stayed for around an hour, then headed home to see if 1) the house was still standing (spoiler: it was!) and 2) if our food was edible. Turns out this CrockPot malarkey is so easy, our food was so good we literally didn’t want to stop eating. I can’t wait to try out more recipes! We left it in for around six and a half hours, then served it with spicy rice and salad and it was SO good, and sorry I didn’t get a photograph we were so hungry! I totally made up the recipe, but here’s a quick list of the ingredients if you’d like to try it:

-6 x stalks of celery
-(approx) 10 x cherry tomatoes
-2 x peppers
-1 x onion

-(approx) 500g chicken strips (browned before adding)
-Spanish chicken sauce

-salt, pepper, paprika & Shwarz Season All for flavour!
-Tilda Firecracker rice and salad to serve

After dinner I had a quick shower and washed/dried my hair whilst Matt cleaned up (he’s the best) and we got settled for the evening to watch TV. We had a few glasses of prosecco and I caught up on the episodes of Coronation Street I missed from Friday, HAHA I’m so old. After, Matt got to choose what we watched so he picked a Bear Grylls show we hadn’t seen with Gareth Southgate. I randomly had a really bad headache and felt so unwell so we didn’t finish the show and headed to bed. I never feel poorly out of the blue like that but since having the flu a few weeks ago I seem to have never got properly better!

Sunday 17th February

We woke up on Sunday morning early as we wanted to be out of the house and into Newcastle city centre as early as possible. We got ready quickly, and below is a little snippet of the makeup I used for you! This is my go-to daily makeup, I’m really loving Charlotte Tilbury products right now, and I’m getting tons of use out of my favourites. I really don’t feel the need to buy new makeup just for the fun of it anymore, but these past few weeks I’ve had to re-purchase a few items that ran out! I’ve put myself on a ‘no spend’ for beauty products (unless anything runs out) until my birthday, so let’s see how that goes HAHA.

we were so excited to try this new Fanta but we really weren’t big fans HAHA

We headed to one of our favourite weekend spots, the Quayside market. We love it because there are so many small businesses there, and everyone is so lovely and friendly. There’s also always lots of cute doggos, hehe. It was a beautiful day, although the wind was super cold I just really want it to be Spring! We had a very unhealthy breakfast; Matt got a sausage sandwich from Geordie Bangers (his favourite stall LOL) and I grabbed a grilled cheese from Meltdown. I’m sorry but we were so hungry I didn’t even get photos! We also shared a Maltesers brownie that was amazing, and I did get a photo of that before we ate it.

I also picked up a beautiful candle that had been upcycled from an old champagne bottle, it was quite pricey at £20 but I think supporting small local businesses is so important, and it looks/smells so good! Matt and I love this champagne, and the bright label is so fun to spruce up our bedroom too. I bought it from the Upcycle Jewellery Company, if you’d like to take a look at their products. We spent around an hour wandering and taking in the view – the Quayside is one of our favourite places in the North East – then stopped by Hoult’s Yard to visit Proven Goods Co. Sundays are cheat days. I’ve talked about this company so much on my blog, but we really do love them and they deserve recognition! Their customer service is fantastic and their donuts are even better, what’s not to love?! Matt got a Biscoff (which is also vegan-friendly) and I got a vanilla custard, although I was a little sad there were no Homer’s left, they’re my faves.

When we got home from town, Matt quickly got sorted to go and watch a local football team play with his dad. He was gone around two hours, and I spent the time relaxing at home with his lovely mam. We caught up on our weekends as they had just got back from their trip down South, and we talked literally the whole time they were gone HAHA.

The boys got home and we spent the rest of the afternoon with Matt’s parents, watching the football and chatting. Oh, and of course eating our donuts! Matt and I were super tired so we literally lay on the sofa snuggled up for about an hour, I so could have done with a nap! After I showered and got into my pj’s (the best time of day, right?!) we made dinner which was a super easy meatball pasta with salad. I’m all about easy, cosy recipes on a Sunday evening! We snuggled in after dinner to watch a few more episodes of Ambulance: Australia, we literally NEED to go to Australia at some point in our lives! I love all of the staff featured in this show, they’re so sweet. We went to bed around 10.30pm which is actually pretty late for us HAHA, but we were both at work the next day and needed our beauty sleep!

Thank you so much for reading! This was one of my favourite weekends in a long time, we had SO much fun and I’m forever grateful for all of the time we get to spend together. What did you get up to this past weekend?

-G x

Do Any Of Us Really Have Our Sh*t Together?

Hi, loves!

Today I’m talking about something I think we all need to talk about more: anxiety and how it can affect those that struggle with it on a daily basis. I wrote a post similarly to this back in August, which you can read here. This may have all come out like #wordvomit (if you know, you know) but if this post can help even one person that makes me so pleased, please know you’re not alone and we’re all fighting our own battles!

I’d just like to preface this whole post by saying I know I have a bloody good life. I have a boyfriend I adore more than life itself, we have the most amazing families, I have a job, I have my own car, I have holidays and trips to look forward to, I have the luxury of snuggling up next to the person I love every night and I have a blog I enjoy writing, amongst many other amazing things.

I try so hard to focus on the positives in my life, and I know there are SO MANY to look at. Yet, every so often, I feel so down in the dumps and I don’t know how to get out of it. I talked about all of the things I’ve been doing to beat the January blues in this post which has been a huge help throughout the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety I generally feel is not an all-consuming, every minute of every day kind of feeling, but it’s there, niggling at the back of my mind. And it feels like it’s never going to go away. Usually, I begin to feel this way because I get a random bout of anxiety about something mundane. This time, it was the snow. Yep. To set the scene; Matt and I were having a lovely night, snuggled up watching Inside The World’s Toughest Prison’s on Netflix (highly recommend if you haven’t seen it, we’ve binge watched three seasons in just over a week!) after eating dinner, and I started uncontrollably crying. These are the kind of things you wouldn’t find featured on my Instagram story, but more about that later.

I feel anxious and apprehensive about the cold weather every year, and the thought of driving in it terrifies me to my core. I know that this specific topic is what was making me feel worried and sad; to the point I’d be wide awake at 3am, cuddling into Matt whilst he slept like a baby, but not being able to fall back to sleep myself. I’d spend way longer than necessary refreshing the Met Office pages each day, checking for updates on the likelihood of snow or ice, to the point it became a running joke with my co-workers (except for me, it wasn’t that funny). I’d be reading my book in the bath and suddenly feel a wave of worry wash over me, thinking about how I’d possibly make it to work tomorrow if it snowed overnight. This is all absolutely ridiculous, but hopefully it gives you a little back story into my pattern of thinking.

The stupidest thing is, I can drive in the snow and ice, and when I do it’s never as bad as I think it might be. If I really didn’t want to drive in the bad weather Matt would happily take me to work and pick me up, therefore eliminating the problem all together. I, now thinking rationally, can see that’s fine, and this issue doesn’t warrant worrying over any further. BUT, during the time of feeling generally panicked and anxious, that seems even worse – he’s putting himself in danger to take me somewhere, he’s taking time out of his day for me etc. It’s almost like my brain doesn’t want to provide a solution, and instead thinks of all the other things that could go wrong off the back of it.

Anyone who does or has suffer(ed) with anxiety will recognise what I’m saying above as being pretty standard. One little seed grows into a whole damn tree and the branches of worry get heavier as time goes on. Whether you suffer with anxiety or not, lots of us feel overwhelmed and uneasy from time to time. It’s silly really, most of us have feelings like this yet we don’t talk about it, and we don’t let people know how we feel. Then again, how could I really explain that I’m terrified about the prospect of snow, when the day before was 9 degrees and sunny.

The worry of bad weather in the past few weeks was just the start, and a familiar cycle began; I then started to worry about everything. Is my job safe? Will Matt and I save enough and find our future home by the end of the year? What if the restaurant we’ve made reservations for is too loud and I feel uncomfortable? These are, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant worries, yet in the moment they feel crushing and I’m stuck thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, is there is a huge difference between worries we can control and worries we cannot. Suddenly not having a job? No control, I’d have to just find another. (Also, it’s thankfully very unlikely that would happen!) Not finding a house to make our home this year? No control, but I know that it will happen when it happens and we’ve always got each other. Feeling uncomfortable on date night? We can always leave and go somewhere else. If I’m able to take a minute and think logically – especially if I can vocalise my thoughts – I can separate worries I can and can’t control. The things I can control generally have obvious solutions, and the things I can’t control just shouldn’t be taking up space in my brain. I’m so lucky that Matt is always so understanding and reassuring, and makes me feel so much better.

Something that now, in hindsight, makes me laugh is the things that probably *should cause me to feel anxious generally don’t. Whether that’s waiting in line for a long time when grocery shopping, being stuck in traffic, the hustle and bustle of a football game, those kinds of things are just ‘normal’ to me, and don’t leave me in a tizzy.
*NOT give me anxiety, just the normal human emotion of feeling anxious

One thing that does heighten my anxiety is social media. In a world where we’re so connected all the time, I see what my friend’s boyfriend’s auntie’s dog is up to, and quite honestly, I don’t care. I feel strongly about social media in that it’s a great place to document our lives. It’s a great place to connect and share our thoughts with others, and to potentially make new friends. It’s a great place to support small businesses. It’s a great place to raise awareness of topics or campaigns. However, it’s also a place where we compare ourselves to other people, whether it’s intentional or not.

I love to keep up with other people’s lives, in the same way I love to watch hours of mindless reality TV. (Four hour KUTWK sesh? Count me in!) I scroll through Instagram several times per day and when I’m in a good state of mind, it either doesn’t alter my mood or it makes me feel happy. I really enjoy scrolling to find inspiration on outfits, where to go for our next date night or what our future home will look like, and it’s all in one place! I’m happy for the people sharing their engagement news, promotions, new houses, gym progress and pregnancy announcements that I see on a regular basis. I love seeing people’s children achieve milestones and relating to them in a whole other way. I love when people share, and sometimes overshare, on social media, but when I’m having a *moment* as Matt & I like to call them, then everything seems to be taken out of context and I feel bad about myself in comparison to the success of others, which is something I’m so embarrassed to admit.

The thing is, I know so many of us have this feeling, whether it’s related to anxiety or just a bad day. I’m a big believer in unfollowing people who make you feel rubbish regularly, but I think at some point we have to take the responsibility for this back, and look at why we feel bad. Is someone looking super hot in a fancy pants outfit you’d never wear anyway, and you’re slobbing about in sweat pants with no make up on? Is someone sharing gleaming photos of how they’ve hinched their kitchen and you’re wishing it was yours? Is someone travelling around the most incredible island you’ve ever seen and you know it’s not on you radar any time soon? Whatever it is, other people’s actions are not a direct reflection of you or your life. No matter how many green smoothies, cute date night pictures, or amazing shopping sprees someone shares, that doesn’t mean they’re any happier than you. By the same token, it also doesn’t mean they’re miserable and trying to look happy for social media. There’s a weird notion that people who look like they’re happy obviously aren’t and it’s all pretend, but that’s not necessarily true either. I know I share lots of my life on social media, but I can admit that I share way more when I’m feeling good, which I’m sure is the same for most of us. Happiness isn’t measured by being more or less happy than somebody else and we don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives unless they personally tell us. The reality is everyone has their own struggles, and we should focus more on ourselves than on other people.

Anxiety is a weird thing, but it’s also kinda wonderful. I’m going to end this post by sharing with you a few points on why I’m grateful to be working my way through anxiety, one step at a time;

I set time aside to do what truly makes me happy. I feel like I need little nuggets of good in the day (and not just the Quorn kind) to make me feel revitalised and refreshed, and as a result I make those things a priority.
The little things mean the most to me and always have done. Taking even just 10 minutes out of my day to read a book, spending my evenings cooking and relaxing with Matt, catch up on my YouTube subscriptions, fitting in yoga sessions, singing loudly in the car and other little things make me feel so much better. On the other side of this, I know when things make me feel nervous or uncomfortable and I’m able to remove myself from those situations.

I know how to plan. It may seem silly to some, but I generally have plans A, B and C for most situations, and this allows me to know my options, and to feel more comfortable in general. I talked a little bit about this in terms of social situations in this post if that’s something you’d like to know more about. A few more benefits of being a planner is that Matt and I will never miss a birthday or anniversary, can do our weekly shop pretty damn quickly, and we always have things to look forward to together.

I am more empathetic towards others. I think if I hadn’t struggled with anxiety on and off for years, I’d not be as empathetic as I am today. I genuinely feel others’ pain and struggles, and I’ll always go out of my way to help in any way I can. I am happy to talk through people’s problems and offer advice (when asked), hopefully helping people to feel a little better.

I hope by sharing this with you, you may have a little insight into my life you’d otherwise not know. I also hope that it may resonate with you, whether you feel similarly to me or whether it may help you see how someone in your life is feeling. Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts on this below! Also, in answer to the title, my opinion is no. None of us have our sh*t together, and that’s okay.

-G x

What’s The Deal With Fast Fashion?

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! This week Matt and I been cooking new recipes and spending our evening’s watching our new Netflix love, Inside The World’s Toughest Prisons. It’s such an interesting show, we’re genuinely shocked at 99% of each episode! I’m so excited for this weekend; Matt and I are spending it attending an NUFC game (our win yesterday made us very happy campers!), having dinner and drinks at our favourite restaurant in the city centre, and hopefully squeezing in a nice long walk down by the beach on Sunday! We’re hoping to KonMari our lives a little more too, it’s a never-ending task! Matt is at a work event on Sunday evening so I’m going to spend a few hours having a serious pamper night before I pick him up, I can’t wait! (Let’s hope the snow forecast is wrong… anyone else terrified at the thought of driving in it or getting stuck? Just me?!) What are you looking forward to this weekend?

*Vanilla chai lattes and vegan Biscoff donuts highly encouraged as the perfect snacks to get you through this post*

Please know I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, and I’m still learning every single day. This post is written based on opinion yet includes facts, all with good intentions, to inform and encourage people to research for themselves.

I have to begin this post by saying a huge thank you to Niomi Smart, Venetia Falconer, Stacey Dooley and Emma Hill for inspiring me to learn about fast fashion, and for setting an amazing example in their everyday lives. One of my favourite Instagram hashtags to search through is #OOOTD (Old Outfit Of The Day) which is something Venetia started to encourage people to shop their wardrobes, and to advocate slow fashion. I’ve shared an OOOTD in this post – Matt took this photo last weekend when we were on our way to brunch!

If you’re a regular reader here on my blog, you’ve definitely seen the words ‘fast fashion’ mentioned a fair few times in recent posts. Fast fashion is quite literal; it’s a term that means clothing pieces created – usually from Designer catwalk inspiration – to be made in large quantities, generally for very little money. On NYE I posted on my Instagram story that I was shopping my wardrobe not the high street for my outfit this year, and that’s a mindset I’m so happy to now have.

Fast fashion is all around us, and us millennials buy in our droves on a daily basis. We’re of course not the only ones to blame for the incredible rise in fast fashion brands’ popularity over the past few years, but we’re certainly not helping the situation. There has been a lot of controversy regarding fast fashion over the past year, which was only heightened by Stacey Dooley’s Fashion’s Dirty Secrets documentary that aired on BBC2 in September 2018. It’s currently unavailable on BBC iPlayer but if you can find it, it’s so worth a watch. As any regular readers will already know, I adore Stacey! She is brilliant at investigating varying topics around the world, and shedding light onto just how serious these topics are. I learned many things from the FDS documentary, and aside from the people directly affected by pollution one of the biggest shocks was that a whole sea in Kazakhstan has almost completely dried up due to the amount of waste produced by surrounding cotton mills. The documentary is eye opening and jaw dropping for us as consumers to watch, and I guarantee it will leave you shocked at your hand in this epidemic too.

So, what is the deal with fast fashion? Is epidemic too strong of a word? Why are we all boycotting it? Basically, it’s killing our planet. It has a detrimental affect on so many factors of life; human rights due to low wages and long hours, water systems due to dye being dumped into rivers and lakes, and the waste and pollution caused by it is getting larger by the day, among many other things. Not only is the process to make the clothes causing pollution on another scale, but the clothes are generally very cheaply made, and they don’t last very long, even if you take care of them. This means often once we are ‘finished’ with these clothing items, they are not able to be passed on – to friends, family or charity – and end up in landfill.

Many brands are now branching into sustainable materials and ethical trading, which includes being able to trace the origins of clothing items right back to where they first started. These companies ensure staff are paid fair wages, have better working conditions and are taking as many procedures as possible to reduce their pollution. Sounds like a great thing, right? Well it is, but those costs have to be passed onto the consumer, and the reality is for most of us we cannot afford to pay X amount of money for everyday items, such as a t-shirt. There’s a weird lull at the moment, in my opinion, as shops seem to be either steered towards fast fashion and the current trend(s) of the season with little to no care for the environment or it’s people, or they’re doing everything they can to be a more ethical brand, and therefore becoming slightly less accessible to customers with higher prices, and less stock available. 

I am a lover of retail therapy, an advocate even, so what am I supposed to do now shopping is considered ‘bad’ for the environment? Well, I can change the way I shop. I covered a lot of the reasons behind why I’m changing the way I shop in this post, but now I’m more determined than ever to be the change I want to see in the world. That’s how all of this starts, right? Some of these tips and ideas will possibly be repeated from previous posts, but they are so important, and if I can bring awareness to just one more person that makes me extremely happy. So, here’s a few things I’m doing, and you can do them too! This applies to all different budgets, and hey if you have the budget to shop only sustainable fashion brands, then more power to you! (And, are there any jobs going at your place?! HAHA).

#OOOTD (LOL posing for photos makes my toes curl, the only one I could include was one of me looking away from the camera, mid hair tuck!)

Donate and shop second hand. I’m very good at the donating part, but I’m yet to shop second hand. Buying from the likes of charity shops, eBay and Depop are a great start as you’re getting new (to you) clothing items at cheaper prices, and it prevents one more ‘new’ garment out finding it’s way out into the world. I sell mine and Matt’s unwanted/unused clothes on eBay fairly often, and since The Great Wardrobe Declutter of 2018 I’ve decluttered several more times. (Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show has encouraged Matt and I to re-assess not just our wardrobes but our whole lives LOL!) Another great alternative would be to gather a few friends and encourage them to go through their clothing, seeing what items they can pass on. Then, you could all get together and exchange a few pieces, giving them a new home and a whole new way to be worn. I’d love to do this!

Shop less, and always with a purpose. I’m embarrassed to admit I used to be that girl that bought a new outfit, or at least a new top, for every social occasion. I mean, I don’t go out that often, but I still purchased way more items than required for my lifestyle. I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed to for myself, but I did think other people would notice. The reality is nobody cares if you take photos wearing the same pieces, and my boyfriend certainly doesn’t take into account what top I’m wearing for date night! (Nine times out of ten he didn’t even know I was wearing a new top until I told him – “oh, but the black shirt you wore last time looks the same?”) Buying new clothes for each event you go to, whether it’s a wedding or a night down your local pub is unnecessary, and it can also be pretty hard on your bank account. Instead, I highly encourage you to buy (sometimes higher priced) sustainable clothing pieces that you can wear over and over again. The main aim of stopping fast fashion in it’s tracks is to simply buy less clothing, and love/wear what you have.

Buy items with minimal (or no) man-made fabric content. Have you ever been shopping and seen a fairly suspicious girl snooping through the rail of jumpers, reading the labels tucked inside? No? Well you haven’t seen me shopping! It may seem a little strange at first, but looking at clothing tags to see what an item is made of is so eye-opening, and I can guarantee you’ll be shocked at how many items are made out of 100% polyester. *More than 70 billion barrels of oil are used worldwide each year to manufacture polyester, which is then processed into low quality clothing items. Polyester clothing items are then not bio-degradable, and even washing these pieces causes huge pollution. It’s thought that items made with man-made fabrics, such as polyester and acrylic, are the biggest cause of microplastic pollution in our oceans today. That means it’s bigger than pollution caused by plastic bags, plastic packaging and plastic straws!
*Information from EcoCult – this article is a great read.

Aim to buy items of clothing that already go with items you own, and can be re-worn for years to come. I read (possibly in a magazine article, or another blog?) that we should be aiming to buy items we can wear at least thirty times, but I think we can do even better than that. Generally speaking we all have favourite items in our wardrobes – whether it’s a pair of jeans, a snuggly jumper or a silk slip dress – so we should be buying with intentions of working with what we already have. If you’re already shopping with a purpose like I mentioned above, this will begin to come naturally, and you start to keep yourself in check whilst you’re browsing the rails. Next time you feel the need to shop, I’d encourage you to analyse your wardrobe, and see what (if anything) you require to get more wear out of your favourite pieces. Everyone’s basics and essentials are different, so tailor this towards your own wardrobe and needs. Make time every now and then to try on different pieces together and create new outfits, I guarantee there are so many outfit options in your current wardrobe you’ve never even thought to put together before.

Take care of your clothing. Washing your clothes less frequently (especially anything made with man-made fabrics) reduces wastage going into oceans. I’m not saying you have to put the same stinky gym leggings on four days in a row, but hear me out. Lots of clothes do not require washing after just one wear; for example, jeans can be worn at least half a dozen times! This is something I have to admit was new to me last year, I would wear a t-shirt for an hour or so whilst doing our grocery shop, then put it straight into the laundry basket when I took it off. Being more eco-friendly does not compromise cleanliness! It’s also much more beneficial for the environment to hang your clothes (or lay flat) to dry, instead of using a tumble drier. I’d recommend investing in a cashmere comb – it may be the most boring yet best thing I’ve ever bought – as you can de-bobble your old jumpers in an instant. Fixing clothes that are damaged, eg sewing buttons back on or mending holes, is something I think we all need to be held more accountable for.

Research, research and research. Are you feeling intrigued and want to know more? To begin, I’d recommend reading articles, scouring Instagram, watching documentaries and looking at your own current habits. I unsubscribed from all fast fashion websites that were sending me daily emails, and I downloaded an app called Good On You, which has changed how I see brands! (It rates clothing and accessories companies on three areas – Labour, Environment and Animal. Matt and I check their information on brands whenever we’re shopping!) One thing that surprised me a little is that the more I’ve read, and the more people I’ve found who think similarly to me, my need for change has filtered through to beauty products and food. I’ve vowed to buy only makeup and skincare from cruelty-free brands moving forward, I’m beginning to explore natural and organic beauty products, and I’m enjoying experimenting with vegetarian/vegan food options more and more. I’m so excited to see where I can go on my journey to sustainability!

Thank you so much for reading, I’m so excited to hear your thoughts on this topic. Are you on your own journey to living more sustainably? Did you find this post helpful, or do you feel inspired to change? Who inspires you? I can’t wait to share some of my tips and opinions on being sustainable in all aspects of our lives over the next few weeks!

 -G x

How To Have A Better Night’s Sleep

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Yesterday Matt and I had such a fun date day. We went for brunch at the cutest cafe called Post Box in Ponteland, I had the best veggie breakfast I’ve ever had! We spent the rest of the day doing a little grocery shopping, football watching and cleaning out Matt’s wardrobe Marie Kondo style. (I’m OBSESSED with her new Netflix show! Have you watched it?!) Today Matt’s unfortunately back at work, so although we got a mini lie-in this morning, I’m home alone until 5pm! I am however hoping to declutter ALL of my skincare/makeup and maybe a few more clothes, and have dinner ready for Matt coming home… productive Sunday’s are my thing! What are you up to this weekend?

I think during the Winter months more than ever, I appreciate every single second I get to spend snuggled in bed! Matt and I have been lucky enough to squeeze in lots of early nights recently, and we have our evening routine perfected to suit us. Today I’m sharing with you a few things that have been helping Matt and I to have the best night’s sleep.

Unwind during the evening. From the minute Matt and I arrive home from work, we spend the evening relaxing and unwinding. Even if sometimes we have to take a few minutes to send that last email or complain to one another about a bad day at work, we then switch off from the work day and allow ourselves time to relax and enjoy being together. We don’t spend much time on our phones during the evening other than to reply to a few texts or post the odd photo to our Instagram story (guilty), but we really try to be fully present with each other. I am obsessed with scented candles, and Matt has finally agreed they make everything feel ten times more cosy! I love nothing more than lighting a few candles, turning on my Himalayan pink salt lamp and snuggling up with him under our huge Costco blankets (they’re hands down the best thing you can buy this Winter and they’re so inexpensive!) watching a movie.

Eat good food. One of the best feelings in the world is snuggling up in bed next to your loved one when you both have a full belly. It’s something I’ve often took for granted but I realise just how lucky I am for this to be my every day reality! Matt and I love to cook and although we have a few favourite go-to recipes, we’re currently trying new ones out and often making things up as we go along. Coming in from the cold to make a warming, filling meal after a long day is, in my opinion, the perfect way to begin the evening. One of our favourite things to make recently is a vegetable chilli, I can’t wait to share some recipes with you over the next few weeks. I’m also very into drinking hot chocolate at the moment and I love to make one before bed!

Read or listen to a podcast. I find that whenever I do either of these things I feel so calm and relaxed. Reading blogs is my favourite pastime day or night, and I’m forever playing catch up on my favourites. I love losing myself in a good book (this year I’ve challenged myself to read 20 books). I might be a little too confident. I love to read in the bath especially, and then curled up in my dressing gown post-bath. When Matt’s on a late finish (meaning he’s not home until after 9pm) I read for at least an hour, and wonder where the time has gone! I’ve also really got into podcasts over the past six months – Small Town Murder is forever my favourite – and I find they help me unwind too. It’s different to watching YouTube or Netflix, as I don’t have to concentrate as much, and I can also listen whilst doing other things, such as planning my week, changing our sheets or cleaning.

Invest in good quality pillows, duvet and bedding. I’m a sucker for a good smushy pillow and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I picked up some new ones just before Christmas, they are SO. COMFY. Matt and I are such cuddly sleepers (anyone else remembering that Friends episode where Rachel is a cuddly sleeper and Ross isn’t, well I promise we both are HAHA) that we generally snuggle in to go to sleep and after a few minutes we’re flat out! Soft, hotel-like pillows are my jam, and Matt thankfully loves them too. If you’re in the market for new ones, Dunelm have some great options for really affordable prices that you can feel in store, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

Take time for my skincare routine. Is it just me that feels SO incredibly good after spending a tad longer than usual carrying out my skincare routine? From cleansing to toning to moisturising, it just makes me feel relaxed and refreshed, and TBH, ready to snuggle up in bed! I love to use super moisturising products and oils at night time, as my skin always thanks me for it when morning rolls around. I can’t wait to share my current skincare favourites with you, my routine will be up on the blog next month!

Use pillow mist. I love the smell of essential oils, and I got a sample size of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray in a Look Fantastic monthly subscription box at the end of 2018. I’ve used this product in the past and honestly forgot all about it, but now I quite enjoy spraying it on our pillows before we go to sleep. Matt thought it would make no difference, but we’re sleeping better than ever, and waking up so much easier after a good night’s sleep, so it must be doing something right. The smell of essential oils is so calming and relaxing, and although it’s quite an extravagant product it’s such a fun one to use – maybe you could pick it up if you have a little Christmas money left over? I’m definitely going to invest in the full size once this is gone.

Have a relaxing bath. I could happily spend half my life in the bath! Tbh, I probably do. I love nothing more than settling in with a glass filled with Diet Coke and lots of ice and letting the minutes (cough hours cough) tick by. I shared my favourite bath products back in December which you can check out here, but any products that make you feel relaxed and pampered will do just the trick. I find that if I’ve had a bad day I tend to stress my whole drive home, then the second I’m preparing my bath I can literally feel any stresses or worries easing off. This also means by the time Matt gets home from work (most days I’m home first) I’m relaxed and feeling much happier, and we’re able to enjoy our night together. Using all my favourite pamper products will almost definitely make for a better sleep too, all products from Jo Malone or Sanctuary Spa are heaven to me!

Take ten minutes for a yoga sesh. Yoga? Again? SORRY I can’t stop! I’m more into it then ever, it makes me happy, relaxed and sometimes, quite sleepy. You can spend just a few minutes or an hour winding down, it’s totally up to you. Evenings where I can’t really be bothered to take time for yoga usually end up being my favourite sessions, I always feel like a weight’s been lifted when I’m finished. There are so many yoga practices you can find on YouTube or on apps if you don’t have your own 10 minute unwinding routine. This is my favourite routine for nights I just need a little more relaxation.

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? What do you do to ensure you have a good nights sleep? I can’t wait for Matt to come home tonight so we can fall asle-zzzzzzz

-G x