Pack With Me: A Weekend Break

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

Blogging Whilst Having A Full Time Job: How I Make It Work

Hi, loves!

Blogging is without a doubt my favourite hobby assuming that napping with my boyfriend is not considered a hobby but it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with my schedule when I work a full time job in the real world, that comes with it’s own problems and stresses. As lots of you will already know, I have a 9am to 5pm job in Accounts and Purchasing in the real world. I work Monday to Friday, so thankfully I have all of my evenings and weekends free which gives me lots of spare time. I always make sure to prioritise time with Matt, and our friends and family first, as well as allowing myself as much ‘me time’ as I need to keep my mental health feeling good. My blogging then slots in behind that, and I always try so hard to create good quality content that I’m proud of.

I started writing my blog in June 2017, after being a dedicated reader of so many blogs for years. I always thought it was something I wouldn’t be good at doing; I lacked the confidence to create one, and I had no idea where to start with the technical side of things either. I’ve talked about my feelings on this subject a little in this post, but I am SO glad I finally took the leap and created my little corner of the internet, after lots of encouragement from Matt. He’s an absolute gem and I’m forever grateful for all of his support, I love him so much! I’ve learned such a huge array of things already about the blogging world, and I’m still learning every day. My blog is my pride and joy, it’s literally like a little baby I want to look after and feed with all of the good stuff, and it feels so good to do something that’s just for me, but also benefits other people. To be honest, even if nobody read my blog I’d still write, it brings me so much joy and a sense of calm that I didn’t know I needed.

I’ve spoken many times on my blog, in various posts, about the fact that Matt and I’s schedules vary so much – there’s a little more background in this post – due to his varying shifts at work. Matt’s hours fluctuate each week, as do his days off, so we always make sure to make the most of time together, and make that our first priority. As a result, my blogging time to brainstorm ideas, write, edit, take photographs etc varies day by day, week by week. At least twice per week Matt starts work early, which means he’s getting up at 6am. I like to get up for the day with him and make his breakfast then when he leaves for work I will work on my blog, and try to squeeze in a yoga practice, before getting ready for the day. He works until late a few times per week, so again my main focus on those evenings is to work on my blog for X amount of time before he gets home, if I don’t have other plans or errands to run. Weekends also vary a lot, although recently we’ve been super lucky and he’s had lots of days off with me! Where possible, I take at least four hours during his work day when I’m at home to work on my blog, and get things pre-planned for the coming week(s). These big chunks of time come in so handy because I can get so much done! I generally tend to just take any spare time I have to create content, and although I don’t have the same daily schedule it seems to work well, and I’m able to run my blog around my life, rather than run my life around my blog.

If we have a few busy weeks in a row it makes it so much harder to ‘fit’ blogging in around the rest of my life, and that’s when I feel stressed out with keeping my hobby going to the high standards I’ve set myself. It sometimes can get a little overwhelming and there have been times I’ve put up a post because it was scheduled for that specific day, even though I haven’t been 100% happy with it. That is something I really don’t want to do again as I feel that’s an unfair reflection of my blog, and it makes me feel a bit rubbish. I appreciate that I’m able to write and edit on my phone, so sometimes I take a little time out of my work day, during my lunch break, to do so. I generally prefer to write on my laptop (or Matt’s) at home though, so I only use my phone to write/edit when I’m feeling a little behind. From my very first post I set myself a blogging schedule – which has since slightly changed due to realising the ‘peak’ times people read posts – but I always stick to it, and post twice per week. I like having continuity in my posts as that’s something I appreciate from my favourite bloggers.

I always write my posts in advance, and I usually have at least five to six posts pre-written, that are then edited a few days before going live. I plan ahead by months sometimes, which sounds a little crazy but I generally have lots of ideas at one time, so I like to plan them in as and when I think of them. I’m so Type A, LOL. I used to include a paragraph at the start of each post about what I’d been up to that week or weekend; any restaurants Matt and I had been to, what we’re watching on TV etc, but that’s something I’ve since stopped doing as I felt it was getting repetitive and took away from the topic(s) in my posts unnecessarily. Sometimes I see that a similar post to what I’ve written has been posted by someone else a little earlier than mine is planned, and I always worry that it looks as though I’m stealing their ideas, although I promise my ideas are all my own! I’m influenced by lots other bloggers – both big and small – in many ways, but I would never copy somebody else’s work or thoughts.

The biggest ‘struggle’ I have when it comes to my blogging schedule is taking photos to go with my pre-written posts. During the Winter months when it was dark before I went to work, and dark when I came home, I would try to take as many photographs as possible during the three hour window it was light every two weeks, and then end up stressed if I had other plans or it wasn’t bright enough outside anyway. I try to take lots of photographs at one time now, so I can edit and upload them together, and this alleviates a little of the stress of always having to take new photos. As I mentioned above, I feel like a lot of the struggles I feel regarding my blog are because I have set myself such high standards, but realistically if a post went up a day later, or didn’t have ‘enough’ photos, nobody would notice (or care) anyways.

I am very happy with, and proud of, my blog (I love my re-design that I did in March – I even had to write code, guys!) but I can’t help sometimes feeling discouraged when I inevitably compare myself to other bloggers. Blogging is not something that brings home the bacon for me, and although I have no idea what will happen in the future, it’s something that right now I love to do regardless, and I enjoy every aspect even with the stress I sometimes feel. That being said, now and then I feel like my blog isn’t good enough, and I can be really hard on myself about that. Sometimes when I read other bloggers’ paid or sponsored posts, seeing how much they are given by brands (those new CMA and ASA rules made this abundantly clear) and how much engagement they get on other platforms, can sometimes really get to me. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard blogging can be first hand, and I know that most bloggers work so hard and are extremely deserving of their success, it just sometimes worries me that I won’t ever get *there*, wherever there is. These worries are thankfully few and far between, and it’s normal to sometimes doubt yourself, right? It’s a little bit hard to admit that I can feel that way from time to time, and I know some people wouldn’t share that.

I think blogging often seems like sunshine and rainbows to the outside world, but it’s important to be realistic and remember that there are deadlines (albeit, set by myself), a sense of stability and continuity in my posts, and a constant need to be creative. I’m not the most creative person in the world – you should see my art projects as a child, wow! – but when it comes to writing, that’s my thing. I love sharing parts of my life, whether it’s what Matt and I have been up to, products I enjoy using or just my general thoughts and feelings on a subject, and again that’s something I really appreciate in other bloggers’ posts. I also feel the same about YouTube; it’s the boring, at-home-and-running-errands vlogs that interest me the most, not the wow-look-at-this-super-amazing-trip vlogs, although they can be a guilty pleasure from time to time. (Especially Disney World vlogs!) I’ve heard from several people, some of which I know personally and some I do not, that they love seeing a little sneak peek into my everyday life, and I recognise that I’m so blessed to have a platform to share that. I think I just need to stay in my own lane, remember that I’m being true to myself no matter what, and above all continue to put so much time, love and energy into my blog.

If you’re reading this post and hoping to start a blog, or maybe you already have a blog and struggle with finding time to create the content you so badly want to, don’t worry. Look at your schedule, carve time out where it’s possible and never give up. It’s going to be difficult now and then, but you’ll never get anywhere without lots of hard work and perseverance, and that’s true for all things in life. There may be various stressful situations occasionally, but you must put yourself and your mental health first! Make sure to take time out when you need it, and if it means skipping an upload day or pushing it back, I promise your readers will understand. That’s advice I need to take for myself, too.

Thank you so much for reading! I say it in every post but it truly means the world to me; I appreciate every view, comment and like more than you know. Do you feel any of the struggles or stress I’ve mentioned in this post, as you juggle writing your blog with working full time? Do you have any advice or tips that may help me or other bloggers? Please leave them in the comments below!

-G x