The Quarter Life Crisis

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Okay, before you start chuckling, hear me out. This is very serious business.

This year, I hit the ripe old age of 25. I am officially in my mid-twenties. Which is a little bit of a scary prospect when I cast my mind back to the eve of my 20th birthday when I was full on freaking out at the thought of not being a teenager any more. The fact that I am now mid-way through a decade which I was dreading, and 30 is equidistant to 20... yikes.

I'm now at that funny time of life where an engagement ring is gracing my Facebook feed pretty much once every couple of weeks, and if it isn't engagement rings, it's baby photos or pregnancy announcements. If it isn't that, it's someone who is going off on their travels or someone who has just had an offer accepted on their first house. That age where everyone seems to be hitting milestones of one form or another, sometimes going in wildly varying directions and here I am in the middle somewhere, in the midst of the 'I SAID YES TO THE DRESS' posts & time-lapses of far off countries and hearing my mother comment 'you know that girl you went to school with...?', slogging away at my 9-5, getting excited about my Saturday night takeaway and living a thoroughly unextraordinary life, wondering if I'm getting it all wrong.

Welcome, my friends, to the quarter-life crisis.

Don't get me wrong, in a lot of ways I'm very lucky. I'm just the right side of having my shit sort-of together. I have a good job, I'm living independently, I'm in a long-term relationship, I earn enough money to pay my bills and have my nails done and go on days out. I'm not quite a hot mess (although there is still time.) But, all of a sudden, I seem to have realised that life is in fact short, and my biggest fear is looking back and regretting choices I've made or at what time of life I hit these milestones. And while in reality, I know it's probably a result of comparing myself to what I see on social media but bloody hell it's knocked me for six.

Let's take a classic example. I know that I am in no way ready for children. Not a chance. The thought of getting no sleep, having to change nappies and bodily fluids become a normal part of my day-to-day routine, it just does not appeal to me right now. And don't even get me started on pregnancy. I know I want to be a mum one day, but one day is very far into the future, potentially even past 30. Plus the fact that I'm a little bit old fashioned and want to get married before I have kids, and am I ready to get engaged? No sir.

But the issue of having a lot of friends and colleagues who are 5-10 years older than you, is that they all start weighing in on the issue. That's without factoring in family members who are just dying to know your entire life plan...

'No, you're young, you have plenty of time for marriage and babies. 25 is no age'

'Why bother getting married first? It doesn't change anything. Wasted money to be honest'

'Well, having kids younger is better. Then you aren't old when they're 18 and you get your life back. Really, you need to be thinking about having them now'

'You're 25 now Sian, your biological clock will be starting to tick'

Yep, I have genuinely been told every single one of these. Biological clock is ticking! The problem is, when you hear this stuff, you internalise it and it makes you question yourself. Everyone loves to tell you the 'perfect age' to do x,y and z, and it just makes you want to ask for the link to this rulebook on Amazon because maybe you missed it?!

I've made it no secret on my blog that my career pathway hasn't exactly gone to plan over recent years. And while I try not to let that bother me, especially now that I'm almost a year into a job which I love (for the most part) and could really see myself carving a career out of, but there's always this little niggling voice in the back of my brain saying Yeah but it isn't journalism though is it, hun? And sometimes, it's a voice that's actually being spoken out loud by a no-holds-barred family member. And no, it isn't journalism and whilst I do sometimes feel guilty that those I went to uni or school with are already being promoted with salaries that would make my eyes water, I'm doing okay right? Right?

The best way I can describe it is thinking back to my 19 year old self. The girl with big dreams, full of confidence. If that girl saw me now, what would she think?

I'll be honest, I think her first thought would be What the f**k happened? 19 year old me wanted me to have gone on adventures, moved to London and be working on a magazine by now. Hah.

Instead, I'm living just a stone's throw away from my home town, working as an estate agent, in my pyjamas by 8pm, living away from most of my friends and nights out tend to be the last thing on my mind.

I wonder if I've let my 19 year old self down by the life that I'm living now. And then I remember how naive 19 year old me was. She didn't understand the responsibilities of having to pay bills. She didn't know how difficult it would be to save money for a big city move. She didn't count on one of the worst periods of her life making it almost unbearable to be too far away from her family. The thing is, life gets in the way. And I'd hope that 19 year old me will understand that 25 year old me is just trying to muddle through as best she can.

And muddling through is exactly how I'm planning on getting through this quarter-life crisis, and hope it all falls into place. And it will. Right?

I can't promise I won't keep feeling half-jealous and mildly irritated with the engagement posts though. I'm only human!

Sian xo

My Holy Grail Products for Summer

Sunday, 21 July 2019

It feels like such a long time since I posted on the ol' blog! But I'm BACK, and I'm so ready to get stuck into blogging again!

So, for my first post I'm going to share with you my holy grail products for the summer. I love being able to adapt my beauty routine for the season and for me, the summer is all about dewy skin, a fresh-faced look, fluttery lashes & rosy cheeks. The products I'm featuring in this post are the ones that I'm finding myself reaching for every day and my summer beauty routine just wouldn't be complete without them!

Love Beauty & Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Cleansing Gel
For me, a perfect beauty routine will always start with the skincare. I've started using this cleaner from Love Beauty & Planet quite recently, because I've been trying to make an effort to incorporate more natural products into my routines. Not only does this cleanser smell AMAZING, it's so gentle on the skin and is perfect for hydrating my often-dry skin.

Freshly Cosmetics Facial Toner with Lime
I won this toner as part of a set in a giveaway from Lady Writes Blog, but I am obsessed with it, especially at this time of year. The lime makes it smell fabulous and feels so refreshing on my skin, giving it that extra little bit of a hydration boost.

Dermalogica Prisma Perfect [GIFTED]
Using SPF is important all year round, but especially in the summer. I'll confess that it's a set that I am guilty of missing out but Prisma Perfect has been a total game-changer for me. It protects, hydrates and makes me glowwwwww. I'll 100% be repurchasing when this tube runs out because I don't think I could be without it now!

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
I don't know about you, but during the warm summer days, I can't imagine anything worse than putting on a heavy foundation, only for it to be sliding off my face within an hour of stepping outside. All I want over the summer is something lightweight with just a little bit of coverage, and the Hollywood Flawless Filter is everything I need and more. The glow it gives is incredible, and it feels like I'm not wearing any foundation at all. Perfect for summer days!

The Body Shop Rose Dewy Glow Face Mist
I love a face mist during the summer, and this Body Shop mist is a firm favourite. It's so versatile, I mostly use it either as a primer or on no-foundation days to refresh my face, even out my skin tone and give a dewy finish. It's only £6 so amazing value for money, and the perfect size to pop in your handbag to spritz throughout the day!

Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff
Glossier is fast becoming one of my favourite brands. I love how the products are high quality, fuss free, and versatile enough to use in a way which fits in around you. I didn't think I'd fall in love with Cloud Paint blush as much as I did! The formula can only be described as dreamy, the colour is buildable and gives a gorgeous flush of colour in a second, perfect for when I'm late getting out of the door (so most days!) Puff is the perfect summer shade for rosy cheeks too!

L'oreal Paradise Mascara
If I could only use one product for the rest of my life, it would have to be mascara. I swear that I still feel half-asleep if I don't have it on! The Paradise mascara is one of my all-time faves (although nothing will beat Too Faced's Better Than Sex), for long, fluttery lashes, the perfect flourish for a summer look.

Vaseline Lip Balm in Rose Tint
An oldie, but a goodie. The Vaseline lip balms have been a handbag staple for me for about 10 years, and I can't see that changing any time soon. And I love the rose tint in the summer for the perfect pop of colour when I don't feel like fussy make up.

What are your summer beauty staples?

Sian xo

A Little Life Update

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Hey gang!

It's been a while, hasn't it?!

I wish I had a really valid, solid reason for being away from the blogosphere for so long. I wish I could tell you that I've been doing something really fun and interesting with my life which explains my absence.

Truth is, I just got a bit lazy.

In all honesty, I can't even put my finger on what's kept me away for the last few months. I suppose I just temporarily fell out of love with blogging. It was starting to become such a chore to schedule tweets, write posts and take photos. I felt like my time could be better spent doing other things, and if I'm being completely truthful, I just needed a rest. I have a habit of living my life at a million miles an hour and feeling the need to spend every minute of every day productively, and in the end, instead of slowing down a little bit, I just ground to a halt.

Good news is though, I'll always come back to blogging, because I love writing so much. I love being creative and interacting with other bloggers. I'll never be away for too long.

So, what's been happening in my little world recently? To be honest, not a lot. I've been stuck in that 'adulting' cycle of work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Dan has started working shifts recently, and works ridiculously long hours. Which has been bloody tough, but it's also been a bit of a blessing in disguise. With us both working so much, it's forced us to actually prioritise each other when we're both free and spend some quality time together, even if it's just taking a walk to the pub.

I'd say probably the most exciting news I have at the moment is the fact that my mum's getting married! She met her partner at the end of last year and it's been a bit of a whirlwind romance, but she's so happy! Which is lovely to see after everything she's been through in the last year or so (more on that in a future post). The wedding is next year, and she's given my sister and I an awful lot of creative control, so you better believe I got my Pinterest board set up almost immediately!

Blog-wise, I'm going to start slowly getting back into writing posts, engaging across social media again and just generally being more present. I've bloody missed it.

Sian xo

10 Things I Wish I Knew As A Newbie Blogger

Sunday, 3 March 2019

I can't believe my little blog turns four years old this year. FOUR. Four whole years of creating my own little corner of the internet.

I kind of feel like my blog has grown with me, and when I look back at everything I've done, it is almost literally a diary of my life between the ages of 21-25.

Despite me being a weathered blogger by now, there are a lot of things that I wish I'd known back then when I started out all that time ago. So if you're someone who's thinking about starting a blog and looking for a little advice, or an experienced blogger who fancies reading a post which will make you involuntarily nod all the way through, read on...

1. Blogging is in no way just about getting to write, which in my case, was the whole reason for starting. There's so much more, taking photos, editing photos, scheduling promo tweets, being active on every social media platform going, engaging with other bloggers... it goes on and on...

2. Instagram will be the bane of your life. Follower count goes up but engagement goes down, photos you put loads of effort into will do poorly... such a headache.
It'll always be my favourite social media platform though. It's a vicious cycle.

3. Comparing yourself to other bloggers is so damaging. Just don't do it.

4. Your expenditure will skyrocket and your blog will be the main reason to justify it.

5. The blogging community can be clique-y, empowering, bitchy, supportive, uplifting, drama-filled and wonderful all at the same time. Confused? Me too.

6. Don't be afraid to have an opinion, even if it is a little controversial. That may well be what makes you stand out. (But also make sure you can respect other opinions and have intelligent conversations)

7. You HAVE to take breaks when you feel the need to. Don't worry, your blog will still be there when you're ready to come back to it.

8. But when you do take breaks, you'll miss it more than you realise.

9. Make sure you hold onto the bloggers who show you endless support. They're invaluable.

10. Your blog will go from something you rarely talk about and try to keep on the down-low, to one of your proudest achievements.

Sian xo

What I've Been Reading Recently

Sunday, 24 February 2019

I've set myself a challenge to read 50 books in 2019. I think I might have been a little ambitious on that target, but I've been really enjoying getting stuck into books again! It's been so good to be able to take a little bit of time out before bed, put my phone away and bury my nose in a book.

I'm pretty fussy with books usually, and if a book hasn't grabbed me within the first chapter or two, I just get fed up and ditch it. But I've been reading some really good books recently, so I thought I would share with you what I've been loving!

Billy & Me - Giovanna Fletcher
I'll be honest, I first started reading Giovanna's books because I follow her on Instagram and just think her and Tom are total family goals... but actually, I love her writing style, her relatable characters and heartwarming storylines.

'Billy & Me' follows the story of Sophie, an ordinary girl from a tiny Kent village who just so happens to fall in love with one of the biggest Hollywood actors ever. She finds herself thrown into Billy's heady, glitzy world, out of her comfort zone and with some pretty tough decisions to make...

I had this book basically glued to my hand right the way to the final page. The story was totally charming, it was so so easy to read and I fell in love with the characters from the get-go. (Despite finding myself simultaneously loving Sophie and wanting to punch her in the face, even if the latter was mostly because I know I'd behave in exactly the same way, not for the right reasons).

Always With Love - Giovanna Fletcher
As soon as I'd closed 'Billy & Me', I was straight on Amazon to order the sequel, 'Always With Love'. I was desperate to know how Billy & Sophie's story continued! If I'm being totally honest, I definitely preferred the first book out of the two but I still loved getting stuck into the second one, which is largely set in sunny LA!

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson
Lily and Ted meet in an airport bar. After one too many drinks, Ted confesses his secret desire to kill his wife after discovering her infidelity. Lily offers to help. It's about to get very dark...

My favourite book genre is definitely a thriller, and after reading the synopsis of 'The Kind Worth Killing', I knew I had to delve deeper. I was hooked. The story has so many twists that I just didn't see coming, it was one of those that I'd lose track of time whilst reading. Which is a sign of a very good book to me. If you loved 'Gone Girl' and 'Girl on the Train', this is definitely something you need to read.

Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson
Christine has a rare form of amnesia which means she loses twenty years of her life as soon as she falls asleep. The only person she can trust is her husband. Or can she?

I'd heard of this film before, but never the book. And I'm one of those people who has to read the book before watching the film adaptation. Whilst reading, I thought I would be able to predict the ending, but I was totally wrong. The story is really clever, the ending leaves you with so many questions and trust me, it'll stay with you. I can definitely recommend this one!

What books have you been loving recently?

Sian xo

Living With Your Boyfriend: The Good, The Bad & The Gross

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Dan and I have been 'officially' living together for a couple of months now. I didn't think being in a place of our own would change our relationship, but it has. Not a negative impact, but there are certain elements that are different.

So in celebration of the fact that we're stuck with each other for the foreseeable future (or at least until December when our tenancy is due for renewal), here is a (not exhaustive) list of the realities of living with your boyfriend. The good, the bad, and the gross.

1. Only having to do half of the cooking and the cleaning (which is great for me seeing as my mashed potato is rubbish and his is amazing).

2. Always having him there. On the other hand, he's. Always. There.

3. Mornings where you're brought a cup of tea in bed are just the best.

4. Being a real, grown-up couple and having our other couple friends over for dinner. So fancy.

5. Being able to slam the bedroom door shut when he's being a total shit is pretty satisfying.

6. Telling me that I can decorate however I want, then wrinkling his nose when I bring home tealight holders that he doesn't like.

7. Genuinely fearing for my life when I use the bathroom immediately after him.

He's alright, though. I won't trade him in just yet.

Sian xo

Winter Skincare Tips*

Sunday, 10 February 2019

I don't know about you, but I hate how much the Winter months play havoc with my skin. I'm prone to dry skin as it is, but the harsh winds and freezing temperatures at this time of year just seems to make it a hundred times worse, and it's hard bloody work trying to keep my skin hydrated and refreshed.

Saying that though, my skin is currently looking pretty good despite the harsh conditions, and seeing as there's no sign of Spring yet, I thought I'd share some tips for anyone who is struggling at this time of year!

1. Find a good moisturiser
Sounds obvious, but it's probably amazing how many people miss out this step! Finding the right moisturiser for your skin is essential, and I always find that switching up your moisturiser for the seasons is really important. I tend to use a thicker, more robust moisturiser during the Winter because I know my skin is much more prone to dryness during this time of year, and then switch back to something more lightweight during the summer months. I was kindly gifted the Intensive Moisture Balance from Dermalogica recently, and I absolutely swear by it at this time of year!

2. Double-cleanse
Double-cleansing is probably the single most important skincare lesson I have heard in the last six months. Since putting in a bit of extra time to double-cleanse, my skin has improved dramatically, after all, no good putting loads of lotions and potions on if you're not cleansing properly first!

3. Invest in a facial oil
Nope, didn't make much sense to me either at first. I steered clear of facial oils for such a long time because adding oil to skin that was already dry just seemed like adding to my problems. But I couldn't have been more wrong. Facial oils actually give the skin a little boost of extra nourishment and lock in the moisture, no added oiliness! I swear by the Dr. Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Oil - it has quite a hefty price tag but so worth it!

4. Face masks twice a week
Not only have using face masks on a regular basis made a huge difference to my skin, I've been able to use them as an excuse to have 15 minutes of me-time a couple of times a week. There's nothing like being able to pop on a mask and taking yourself off with a book. There are so many good masks out there that keep skin healthy and sort out any dryness caused by the winter conditions, but my personal favourites are the Garnier Tissue Sheet Masks (which are perfect for a no-mess, no-hassle solution) and L'Oreal Clay Masks. My advice though would be to do your research and find the products that will work the best with your skin.

What are your favourite Winter skincare products?

Sian xo

*This post contains gifted items, but all opinions are my own!