AD | What’s In My Bag?

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Happy, happy Sunday loves! I am so very excited to share today’s post with you because these kind of posts are some of my favourite to write, and I also love to read them from others. I’ve watched What’s In My Bag videos on YouTube since I can remember, and it’s something I genuinely feel SO INVESTED in. I last shared what’s in my bag back in January, and although it’s not changed up too much I thought it was about time I shared my current must-haves with you. I love to see what other people carry with them on a day-to-day basis, maybe I’m just super nosy?! Whatever it is, it scratches an itch I can’t explain and I just find it so fascinating to see what people class as their must-have items.

I’ve spoken about my love of backpacks, particularly when travelling, before on my blog, and they’re so handy in everyday life too. First of all, they are super practical; you have both hands free! This means holding hands with your partner, carrying your drink (the new Starbucks’ toasted marshmallow hot chocolate for the holidays is a game changer!) or browsing rails whilst shopping is so easy. Secondly they are so spacious and adaptable to any outfit or ocassion. Thirdly… my backpack is so. dang. pretty.

I was able to choose the beautiful Parlän backpack in black *gifted from the lovely guys over at Gaston Luga and I can’t tell you how much I love it! Gaston Luga are a Swedish brand, based in Stockholm, manufacturing backpacks for both men and women. I truly love their designs; they are very chic yet classic and timeless, which makes them the perfect accessory that never goes out of style. I am so happy and grateful Gaston Luga wanted to collaborate with me! I know by now you’ve swooned over the photos, clicked on the link and are dying to purchase your own… just wait, because I have the PERFECT discount code for you to get money off your order!

I really want to share my thoughts on my favourite features of the Parlän backpack. First of all; the two outside pockets are super handy for items you need to grab easily like lip balm or car keys. There’s a slip pocket on the back of the bag that fits a passport or card holder which is so practical, especially for travelling. How often do you worry about losing things like that in busy airports?! I am obsessed with the red fabric interior of the bag; it has the Gaston Luga logo printed all over which is a gorgeous touch. Inside, the backpack is SO roomy! You can easily fit more than I have inside right now, which makes it perfect for travel or long days out of the house, but also a brilliant option for work or running errands. There’s even a pocket at the back with a magnetic closure that fits my iPad mini just perfectly. One more thing… the buckle closure on the top of the bag is for show! It does actually open like a regular buckle, but there’s a secret little press stud underneath which makes it very convenient to open.

…So, what’s inside?!

I of course always have my purse in my bag, which is a must! Right now I’m using this Kate Spade purse (that I actually stole from my mum about a year ago and still haven’t gave back… sorry mum!) which is the perfect size. It fits all my cards, cash and coins with ease. I also always keep my pill in there so I know where it is and it’s easily accessible as I take it every day. I loved my old YSL card holder so much but after four years it’s really looking worn and kinda gross. I’m planning on treating myself to a new card holder in the Black Friday sale as I generally prefer using a card holder instead of a purse. I’m not sure if I’m going to go for this one from Aspinal or this one from Mulberry… please help me!

I generally keep my car & house keys on the top of my bag or in the front pockets as I’m always in and out of my car. The only time I don’t take my keys with me is the rare weekend day Matt is off work and we’re out for the whole day, because he’s always the driver! I love to keep my keys on a lanyard for two reasons; it makes my keys super easy to find, and it also makes them easier to carry around. I really love this leopard print one, it’s the cutest!

One of my favourite things in my bag is my iPad Mini; I keep this with me because it makes blogging on the go really convienent, and I love to watch my YouTube subscriptions whilst I’m cooking dinner. Whether we’re at home or Matt’s parents in the evening, it just means I always have it with me! I also currently read books on my iPad Mini so I always want to make sure it’s accessible to read on my lunch break or during the evenings. Matt is gifting me an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite this Christmas and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it, I can’t WAIT!

I of course keep super boring things in my bag each day too; including an iPhone wall charger and a portable charger – you know, just so I’m really covered, my pink Stojo collapsible cup (it’s literally the best invention EVER), an emergency Cadbury’s bar because your girl gets hangry and my Tangle Teezer. I’ve had this one for so long it’s seriously time to replace it! One of my favourite things in my bag is my worry stone, Matt has one too and it just brings me a lot of comfort when I’m feeling anxious. I also sometimes keep my umbrella in my bag but it generally lives in the side of my car door for easy access. Which always seems like a great idea until I’m going to the car in the rain!

I like to keep things organised inside pouches so things don’t roll loosely around my bag and this beautiful Oliver Bonas makeup bag is my newest purchase that I’m so happy with. It’s just the cutest dang colour, and the small bee design makes my heart so happy! I’m scared of bees in real life (just because I’ve never been stung before and I don’t want to be) but I think they’re so cute in design. Weird, I know! This pouch easily fits in my beauty essentials – and some non-essentials) that I like to have on hand whilst out and about during the day or at work.

I am obsessed with anything from Bath & Body Works, and as we don’t have one here in the UK I buy via a Facebook selling page. The prices are generally quite reasonable, albeit more expensive than in the US, but the products are just so. dang. good. I’m finishing up the last of my Fall hand cream in the scent Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, and my hand sanitizer in -. I can’t wait to purchase some festive scents in the next few weeks!

I love fragrances, so I like to carry two with me just in case. My most used rollerball perfume is without a doubt MAC Turquatic, I replace this every couple of months because I go through it so fast! It’s perfect for any occasion and I always get compliments on it, I’ve worn it since I was a teenager! I also really love Dior’s Blooming Bouquet roller pearl which is ideal for evenings or weekends; it’s another of my favourite scents. I don’t carry many makeup bits with me these days but I do always have my MAC Next To Nothing compact (sadly discontinued) with me, along with my eyebrow pencil and concealer.

Lip balm is a must for me at all times of the year, but right now it’s even more important to carry! My go-to is Nuxe Reve de Miel, although it’s not unusual for me to carry at least three with me at any time. To be fair, Matt is always borrowing my lip balm, too! My current favourite lipsticks are always on hand; MAC Jubilee, Clinique Bare Pop and Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. I always carry Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillowtalk lip liner too as it goes with pretty much all of my lipsticks – it’s seriously such a good buy.

Then I have all of the random ‘bits and bobs’ in my pouch. I carry my MoonCup (because I know some people will be wondering… it’s very new to me. The jury is still out on what I think – although I’m genuinely considering writing a blog post about my experience with it so far. Is that TMI? Or is that helpful?!), tampons – just in case as like I said the MoonCup is very new to me, bobby pins, a few pairs of contact lenses, extra invisibobbles, ibuprofen and my favourite scrunchie from Topshop. Sometimes, especially at the end of a long work day, all I want to do is get my hair out of my face and I love scrunchies because you literally can’t feel them in your hair! I tend to wear my glasses most work days, and make the most of my contact lenses at the weekends. If I’m not wearing my glasses they need to be in my bag, just incase! My glasses are from Ted Baker and I just love so much, they’re so cute. Matt totally copied and got the mens version of my style, hah!

Are you in love with this backpack too?! Or are you wanting to buy it as a Christmas gift for your favourite lady this year? I’ve got you covered! You can use my discount code GF15 for 15% off across the whole website. Also, if you order between now and November 13th (that’s this Wednesday, guys!) they are having a sale for Singles Day. This means you get 25% discount automatically applied at checkout, then you can use my code GF15 for a further 15% off. What a bargain!

Thank you for reading, loves! I hope you enjoyed this post, isn’t it so fun having a nosy inside other people’s bags?! I know I carry an awful lot but… I like to be prepared. For dry lips and phones losing power. HA! What are your must-haves in your bag every day? Also, have you ever seen a cuter backpack?! Thank you so much to Gaston Luga… and happy shopping!

-G x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G x

My Handbag Essentials This Winter

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I don’t know about all of you but it’s my first full week at work this year and I’m so over the week already. BUT, I’m hanging in and I can’t wait for date day on Saturday! It’s been a long week, including renovations (literally got our windows replaced and when I got home from work yesterday it looked like a tornado had passed through!) and I’m generally just exhausted. I picked Matt up late last night from a football game and felt so lucky we got a little lie in this morning. I’m feeling super grateful for all of the cosy evenings we get to spend together every night, and I’m excited for us to cook up a storm the next few nights! Matt’s had lots of late shifts so we’ve been living off pizzas and pasta bakes when he gets home (around 9pm) and we miss cooking together SO MUCH. We’re having chicken fajitas tonight, so I’m sure I’ll be feeling approximately 10,000 times happier HAHA. We’re also hoping to book our Summer 2019 holiday this week which is sure to put a smile on my face, I can’t wait for a week in the sun with my love!

Today I’m talking through my must-have handbag essentials, specifically during the Winter months. This is based on what I carry in my day-to-day work bag which is a large tote, as generally on the weekends I take my small Kate Spade crossbody out with me with just the (real) essentials. I wrote a What’s In My Bag post back in July (I can’t quite believe that was six months ago) which you can check out here if you missed it! I’m not going to go through everything I carry – it’s safe to say I will always have my purse/card holder, car keys and medication with me!

Mini Perfumes
I’m obsessed with perfumes! I take pride in my little collection and I’m forever wanting to add more. One of my favourites, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet comes in the cutest travel-sized rollerball and I always have it with me, it’s perfect for date nights! Recently I’ve been really into Glossier You, which comes in the cutest millennial pink packaging. This is a solid perfume, which was a little bit of a weird concept to me, but now I’m fully converted. It’s so flipping handy! I couldn’t resist picking it up during Glossier’s Black Friday sale – when it’s 20% off at Glossier you just have to, right? Also, both of these perfumes layer so well with anything I’ve already put on earlier in the day.

Re-Usable Metal Straws
I love my re-usable straws, and I always have at least three in my bag. I have some at work, my house and Matt’s, then anywhere else I have a drink I can use these! My teeth are super sensitive to cold drinks (and I love my drinks with tons of ice!) but I’ve sworn off using plastic straws forever. Did you know they take FIVE HUNDRED years to decompose?! My mind was blown, but I’m just not a fan of the paper straws given out in restaurants. I found these on Amazon and I love them so much, I bought three sets and I’m probably never going to have to buy a straw again!

An Umbrella
So, it’s England in January… the chances of me needing my umbrella at any given moment are incredibly high. I love this one so much, Matt bought it for me because I used to always buy cheap ones, and wonder why they’d break after two uses. The yellow handle makes me feel happy, and it’s nice to not have a boring black umbrella!

My 2019 Planner
I couldn’t live my life without my planner! I am so forgetful, I like to plan out my weeks, in writing, and then I can always refer back/add things in as and when required. Matt and I meal plan in here, I write any grocery shopping lists and I also plan out my blog posts week by week – from idea, to fully published post. The one I use is from BoxClever Press, you can pick it up here, and it’s perfect for my needs. A post about how I plan my week will be up in the next few weeks!

Emergency Chocolate Bar
Yep… emergency. I get very hangry, very quickly, so it’s better for all involved if I have a chocolate bar (and usually a granola bar too LOL) for those emergency times. I also have another chocolate bar in my car that is always replaced once eaten, although this Oreo one is not my first pick, Cadbury’s is forever my favourite! Matt and I crack open my emergency chocolate bars open in the car all of the time, every time we’re going somewhere further than a few minutes drive HAHA. So, yeah you could say healthy eating in the new year isn’t going too well..

A Bobble Hat & Gloves
If I’m not wearing my hat and/or gloves during the Winter, they for sure are in my bag! I am always cold, even in the Summer, so you can bet I try to do everything I can to stay warm and cosy. I picked up these gloves from Topshop a few years back, and the hat was a Christmas gift from Matt from The North Face (he’s the cutest ever). I live for bobble hats during the Autumn/Winter months; they add so much to an outfit, they look super cute and they’re great for hiding hair that may need washed HAHA.

Kate Spade Travel Mug
Since it began to get chilly at the beginning of October, I’ve been more obsessed than ever with cups of tea, chai tea lattes and hot chocolates! Most mornings Matt and I enjoy a cup of tea together before heading off to work, and I’m trying to get in the habit of taking one to work with me on the super cold mornings. I got this travel mug last Spring, and I just think it’s so cute! You really can’t go wrong with anything from Kate Spade, every piece they make is so beautiful. I keep a few Swiss Miss hot chocolate sachets and tea sachets in my bag too, so I can make my favourite drinks wherever I am.

Beauty essentials
I always carry a few more beauty products than are actually necessary, but my essentials include spare invisibobbles and bobby pins, MAC Next To Nothing powder, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lip cheat and lipstick, and of course a few lip balms. I always carry hand sanitizer and hand cream with me, which is essential during the cold months! I’m one of those weird people that uses hand sanitizer like my life depends on it, which Matt always makes fun of me for (BUT, he always asks to use it too)! These are the main things I often reach for throughout the day, and are transferred into any bag I use. Glossier pouches are my favourite for separating bits and bobs in my bag, I also use them when travelling and can’t recommend enough!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your handbag essentials during the Winter months? I’d love to know!

-G x