I remember the days leading up to lockdown, muttering to my colleagues over our 11am cup of tea and biscuits. Muttering over the anxiety that came with still trying to work when everything felt so uncertain, and how we would find it difficult to cope if we had to stay totally at home for any prolonged period of time. My heart was going out to those who had to self-isolate, because I just couldn't see myself doing well with it.

And then, I sat in front of the TV whilst Boris told us all we were to Stay At Home. It wasn't totally unexpected, but I still felt as if there had been a lot of speculation and little actual warning, and our day-to-day lives as we knew them were turned upside down.

After an incredibly anxious morning, I was put onto the furlough scheme, and the next goodness-knows-how-long stretched out in front of me. A vast expanse of time with no clear end date.

When you put someone in that situation who, on one hand, is a workaholic, checks her work emails constantly and lives at 100mph and in the same breath has crippling anxiety when it comes to the unknown and not having control of a situation, you'd assume it'd be a disaster.

After laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling and fretting for an hour, texting my mum in a panic and speculating with the rest of the group chat, I tried to gain a bit of perspective.

Before lockdown, I was having panic attacks every morning about going into work and dealing with the general public. I was obsessively wiping down my desk, washing my hands and picking things up with tissues. I was now to stay at home, safe. Not everyone else had that privilege. I could now try to make this experience as positive as possible, despite all of the awful things that were going on.

I sat down, and as I often do when I'm trying to calm my anxious mind and take control of a situation, I wrote lists. Lists of everything that I could fill my time with over the coming weeks. Walks. Online exercise classes. Declutter. Write. Read. Practice make-up. And everything else in between. I instantly felt calmer. I can get through this.

And got through it I have, so far. Some days have been better than others. Some days I've woken up with a sunny outlook, bouncing out of bed knowing I can spend the whole day working on my blog, the kind of time I've been longing for for months (under better circumstances!) Other days I've felt nothing short of naff, exhausted and wanting to spend the day under my duvet eating Doritos.

One of the biggest things I've learned has been that in such a turbulent situation, you have to let yourself feel how you feel, whilst keeping perspective. Even though I'm very privileged to be able to stay at home, myself and my family are all healthy and my furlough pay is still enough to pay my bills, it's okay to admit that the situation is still pretty shit. I've been worried for my job security, for my loved ones. So, when I feel the need to spend the day in my pyjamas, eating my feelings and watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the millionth time, that's exactly what I've been doing.

I'm missing a lot of things about 'normal' life. Seemingly odd things. Like reading a book in a coffee shop, or having my mum text me to see if I'm home for a cuppa, as she almost always does on a Sunday afternoon. I miss walking around central London, listening to the sounds of the city and being surrounded by people. I miss saying 'screw it, I can't be bothered to cook, pub for tea?'

I miss seeing my friend's little ones grin at me when I walk through the front door, the eldest dragging me off to play princesses or handing me an imaginary cup of tea. I miss squeezing my uni friends after not seeing them for a few months and laughing over cocktails.

I'm trying to find comfort in the little things. Little things like how I feel so much lighter after a FaceTime chat with my friends. But also knowing that it's okay to leave my phone in another room for a while if needed.

Little things like getting totally lost in a book and coming round to reality hours later.

Not having a garden or any form of outside space in lockdown has been one of the things I've found the most tough, but instead I've been finding little sun-spots around the house where I can lie on the floor and feel the sun on my face. Yep, like a cat.

I've been relishing having the time to work on my content. Making to-do lists knowing that I can sack it off halfway through the day if I fancy it in favour of watching Disney in my duvet with a share-bag of chocolate buttons to myself. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

Nine weeks in (I think?) and I'm now facing the possibility that I'm going to be back at work in the next week or so. And that comes with its own anxieties and worries, but perhaps that's a conversation for another day.

But for the most part, my worries about coping with staying at home and not being able to live my life as usual weren't necessary. I guess it just goes to show the resilience of people and how quickly we can adapt to a new normal.

Whether we're in lockdown for another week, three weeks or nine weeks, we'll be okay. On the not-so-positive days, I'll just keep in mind how good it's going to be when I can squeeze my little sister again knowing that it's safe to do so. How much I'm going to savour my first pub tea, or taking an extra second or two to breathe in the sea air on my first post-lockdown trip to the coast.

However you're coping with lockdown, whether you find each day a battle or are adapting, I'm proud of you. Whatever your coping mechanisms, keep going with them. We've all just got to do what we have to in order to get through.

Love,
Sian xo






For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I worked with Crownbrush on some content way back in 2018. Earlier on this year, the PR got back in touch and asked if I would like to try some more products, and I jumped at the chance, because I still use the brushes they sent me two years ago all the time! (If you want to check out my original post, you can have a read here.)

Before I started using Crownbrush, I was the kind of person who grabbed the cheapest brushes she could find in Primark and thought 'that'll do.' But this brand has taught me the important of a good quality brush and not only how much easier it is to apply make up with something of a better quality, but also how much easier they are to clean and how much longer they last.

But Crownbrush also proves that you don't have to spend a total fortune on decent brushes. All of their products are really affordable too! I'm so thrilled to be working with them again, so let me talk you through the products that I've been testing out recently.

Brushes

This time around, I picked up three brushes. The C451 Small Round Buffer BrushC405 Angle Contour Brush and C429 Duo Fibre Crease Brush. Crownbrush prides itself on the fact that their brushes are favoured by a lot of professional make up artists and to be honest, I can see why. The brushes themselves are beautiful, they look sleek and professional which I love. 

I've used all of the brushes now for a couple of months, and I've used the buffer brush every time I've worn make up. I've tried it with both liquid and powder foundation and it works really well with both, and although it's denser than a lot of brushes I'm used to, I think it does such a good job of blending out make up flawlessly. 

These brushes really stand the test of time, they wash really well and look as good as new once they've dried, and I already know from the last set of brushes I received from Crownbrush that even after a couple of years they'll be in great condition. (even if you're like me and aren't 100% on top of cleaning your brushes every week!)


Glamsticks

As much as I would love to tell you that I adored every single product I was sent, I have to be honest and say that the Glamstick eyeshadow sticks left much to be desired. I'm such a huge fan of eyeshadow sticks in general because they're just so easy and fuss-free to use for days where I'm either in a rush or just can't be bothered to do something elaborate. I picked up the shades Pearly White and Gold Dust, and I was really intrigued to see what they were like because they seemed a real bargain at £1.99 each (on sale from £3.99).

Unfortunately, they just didn't do it for me. It took a lot of work to get any colour pay off at all, and when you did get it, it was a little underwhelming. While I feel like you can't really complain too much for a couple of quid each, I'd sooner spend a little more on others that I know you get much more bang for your buck.

HD Under Eye Primer

I've always had a big problem with dark circles under my eyes, due to a combination of working long hours and relying on caffeine rather than making sure I get enough sleep! I've quickly become obsessed with the HD Under Eye Primer after using it for the last couple of months. It comes out of the tube looking almost iridescent which seems a bit odd at first, but when you apply it sinks into the skin really quickly. It does such a good job of brightening the eye area, and reducing the appearance of dark circles. The eye primer has become a daily staple for me - both for no make up days and for under my concealer to help it go on more smoothly. And I think for £5.99 you can't really go wrong!

Have you ever tried Crownbrush before? 

Love,
Sian


I loved writing my last Beauty Empties post so much, that I'm back with another!

This one is a little bit skincare-heavy, but that isn't surprising as I've only been wearing make up once a week to go to the supermarket recently! But there's plenty of skincare and haircare bits that I've been loving over the last few months, so let's dive in!


Garnier Ultimate Blends Haircare

Okay so I'll admit, I might have only bought these for the banana scent. But I'm so glad I did! I've just finished the shampoo & hair mask (the conditioner is still hanging in there, why do they never run out at the same time?!) and I'm definitely putting in an order for some more. They smell divine, like foamy banana sweets, and the shampoo does a really good job of thoroughly cleansing even my thick-af hair. I tend to use the mask once or twice a week, and it leaves my hair feeling so nourished (and again, smelling incredible. Not that I'm obsessed or anything!) But as a combination, the products do a really good job of keeping my hair in good nick, despite how much I punish it with a lot of heat.
Shop the shampoo here
Shop the mask here

L'Oreal Professionnel CC Cream - Blonde

A couple of months ago, I decided to switch up my blonde slightly and go for more of an ashy shade. My hairdresser recommended that I use this colour correcting cream once a week, and it's been an absolute game changer in keeping my blonde ashy and looking fresh. I pop it on towel-dried hair, wait 5-10 minutes (usually by having a sing-along session in my bathroom), rinse. Brassy tones are banished, and my blonde looks brighter. It also smells like the salon, so by the time I'm done I feel like I've just stepped out of the hairdresser's, and I really dig that to be honest.
(Word of warning though, it's bright blue. And messy. But it's worth it, promise.)
Shop here

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Cleanser

I've just finished my second bottle of this cleanser, and I loved it as much as the first. I generally use it as my morning cleanse, which I think it's absolutely perfect for because of the light texture and refreshing feel on the skin. I pop it onto dry skin and I feel like it literally melts away any grime that my face might have picked up through the night, and provides the perfect base for the rest of my skincare routine. I'll be honest, if you're wanting a super deep cleanse, this cleanser probably isn't it, but because this is so lightweight, it's perfect for even sensitive skin like mine.
Shop here


Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant 

(In the interest of transparency, this item has been gifted to me by the brand previously, however I paid for this particular bottle out of my own money.)
I will never, ever be without this exfoliator again. It's gentle enough to use every day but leaves your skin feeling like new every single time. As a skincare fan, a daily exfoliator is almost unheard of, but the particles are so tiny, almost like a powder, so it doesn't feel abrasive on the skin at all, and has never irritated it at all.
I've been continuously using it for almost two years now, and it's been an absolute revelation as someone who's suffered from dry skin for years. Don't get me wrong, at £51 for a full-sized bottle, the Microfoliant isn't cheap, but in my mind, it is worth it and the full-sized bottle lasts me well over a year with daily use.
Shop here

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter

If I had to describe this cleanser in one word, it would be dreamy. I've been a die-hard fan of micellar water for removing make up for years but I must say, it's been fully replaced with this cleansing butter. It feels super luxurious on the skin, and takes off every scrap of make up (it's even okay to use to take eye make up off) and leaves my skin feeling really soft. The camomile feels really soothing for when my skin is having a bit of a sensitive episode, which I love. I'm now onto my second tub and I think it's going to be a staple on my bathroom shelf for a long time!
Shop here

Benefit Gimme Brow 

This is possibly one of my most repurchased products ever. And since we've been on lockdown, it's become even more of a staple, because when I do fancy putting on just a touch of make up, I'm all about a bit of Gimme Brow, BB cream, mascara and done. Minimal effort!
I've never found a brow gel that compares to Gimme Brow, it instantly grooms and adds volume to brows, with just a touch of colour which is locked in all day. 
Shop here

Tell me which beauty products you've been loving lately in the comments!

I hope you're all staying safe and well!

Love,
Sian xo

Friendship has been something that I've struggled with for a few years now, mostly since leaving uni. In my late teens and very early twenties, I was someone who always had a good group of friends around her, and my friendships came second only to my family. I was so sociable and always had someone to call upon when I needed a night out, a cry or someone to sit in silence and watch trash telly with.

After I moved away and started working, I found my friendships difficult to maintain, and making new friends was even more tricky. Suddenly I was an adult, working full-time, trying to get enough sleep, remembering to clean my house every so often and getting pushed and pulled in so many directions that something had to give. And rightly or wrongly (although in my opinion, wrongly), my friendships were what fell by the wayside.

It's something that I've been working on for a good year or so now. But since coronavirus started wreaking its havoc all over the world, I've noticed a real shift in the dynamic of the friendships I have. And unbeknownst to me, the new way of life we've all had to adapt as a result of a global pandemic has actually helped to strengthen my friendships and put into perspective the behaviours that I want to take with me into the new, post-Corona normality.

Friendships have become easier to focus your time on since lockdown. I'll be honest, in normal life I'm a pretty inconsistent friend. I'm always thinking of the next thing that I need to tick off my to-do list, fretting about how I'm cram everything into my day. I live my life at a hundred miles an hour and this can result in some serious tunnel-vision.

So sometimes, I forget to call my friends, or text to check in. Or I'll ignore my phone ringing, thinking 'I really don't have the time to be sitting on the phone with you for an hour, I've got too much going on.' And it sounds so selfish when I type it out, and I do feel guilty for it. It isn't deliberate selfishness, it's just that when you spend so much time in a rush and trying to spend every minute productively, you can promise yourself that you'll call them back later, and you get caught up in the next thing. But you never do.

But the thing about lockdown is that it forced me to slow down. My to-do list had been slashed, time no longer exists and all of a sudden, a spontaneous hour on FaceTime with a pal doesn't induce guilt that I should have been getting other stuff done during that time. And when I hang up on that call, whether we've talked about how long we had to queue outside the supermarket the other day or making plans for what we're going to do once 'all this is over', I realise how good that catch up has been for me. How I feel lighter, and I've promised myself each and every time that I'm not going to go back to being the inconsistent friend once I'm back to working non-stop and trying to juggle everything.

But at the same time, the pressure has been taken off. While I value my friendships so highly, when the whole world has been turned topsy-turvy, there are days where I just can't cope with being sociable. For me, my feelings around the current situation have come in massive waves, and there are days where I don't feel like talking to anyone, and I'd sooner just keep to myself for a bit. Sometimes people take that as a sign that I'm not coping, but it's actually the opposite. It's recognising what I need to do to cope with what's going on around me on that particular day. Sometimes it's talking it out, sometimes it's spending my day in a blanket and eating crisps and not speaking to anyone all day. Neither is wrong.

Or there's the occasional day where I've already spoken to my family, done a Zoom quiz, had a catch up with colleagues and seemingly spent my entire day on the phone or FaceTime. And then, another call comes in, or a friend messages asking if I'm free for a catch up. But I already feel so exhausted by it all. Like social burn-out. It sounds like such a first-world problem, doesn't it? But one of the biggest lessons I've learned in this pandemic, is that you've sometimes just got to let yourself feel how you feel when you find yourself in such an extraordinary situation. So I will message back, guilt-free, and suggest that maybe we speak tomorrow instead. After spending a bit of a time reading a book, or binge-watching something, or whatever I feel like I need to do for myself, I can then speak to my friend in a much better headspace than if I spoke to them there and then.

The lovely thing is, that rather than worrying about whether or not my pals will think that I'm neglecting them, I know they'll understand. Because we're all going through something which is totally unprecedented and nothing like we've experienced before, and we're all just trying to do what we can to get through. There's less expectation, and I feel like that's made my friendships feel so much stronger.

I think for me, it's been the little things that have meant the most in lockdown. Little things like hand-written postcards, with a few words of love and encouragement that break up the bills and flyers from Farmfoods that are coming through the door. Something wholesome and tangible that I can put on the mantelpiece and smile at when lockdown life threatens to wear me down.

Other little things like sending the odd text to each other, simply saying 'you okay?' or 'how are you coping?' Not sent out of obligation or remembering that you haven't spoken for a while. Not even a real obligation to follow it up with a long chat. But in those few words, you're letting that other person know that you're thinking of them and you're there for them if they need you. And that's enough.

When there's so much sadness, uncertainty and grief in the world, I think it's important to try to find the positives, no matter how small they might be. For me, the biggest thing I'm going to take away from this pandemic and something that I am grateful for every single day is how much I've learned about friendship. I'm so fortunate to have such wonderful friends, who have kept me sane through all of this.

Once we're into our post-Coronavirus normal, whatever that future might look like, I know exactly which behaviours I'd like to leave firmly in the previous version of normal. Putting more time and energy into my friendships is number one on the list.

Love,
Sian xo








While I bloody love beauty, I'm no beauty guru. I'm just your average gal, who got into make up and skincare by chance in her early 20s, taught herself the basics. The rest was history. However, because I am no beauty guru, I still come across trends that BAFFLE me.

If you're the same, don't worry. I've got you. I'm taking beauty trends, breaking them down for you, telling you how I do it and recommending products. No jargon, no technical terms, no specialist equipment. Just simple advice, from someone who has watched a lot of YouTube and practiced.

Starting with... *drum roll, please* multi-masking. Ready?

I first came across multi-masking a couple of years ago, when a brand sent me out a multi-masking kit to have a play around with. I remember unwrapping it and thinking 'what the bloody hell am I supposed to do with it, how do I do it right and why are there no instructions?!' Multi-masking was everywhere at the time, and I just didn't get it. At all.

But, it's very simple. You're simply targeting more than one skin concern, simultaneously.

First thing's first though - to start multi-masking (or using face masks effectively at all), you need to understand your skin type and what your 'skin concerns' are. You might have one factor you need to consider, you might have loads. Take some time to really get to know your skin, it might take a few days or even weeks, but it'll be worth it.

Try to notice changes through the day, and focus on particular areas. If you would say you have oily skin, are there particular areas that are affected? Are you oily all day or do your oil levels change as the day goes on? Is it made worse by wearing make up?

If you're blemish-prone, are there particular areas that you notice your breakouts are worse? Is it affected by where you are in your cycle?

Obviously these factors might change! Your skin might vary and feel totally different depending on hormones, your cycle, stress levels... and that's the beauty of multi-masking! It's totally adaptable once you have the right products.

So now you've started to figure out what your skin type is, you need to find the right masks that will help to address your skin concerns.

As an example, I know that my skin is mostly dry, but I tend to get break outs on my chin and forehead. My T-Zone tends to get a little oily and my skin in general can get a bit dull. Oh, and it can be pretty sensitive when it feels like it too. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? But although multi-masking can help to tackle a few things at once, you don't need to address everything in one go. I tend to use masks 3-4 times a week, and just keep an eye on how my skin is feeling on the day. This will then help me to decide which masks I'm going to use.



Here are some masks that I love for my own skin concerns:

  • The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask - perfect for dealing with breakouts, it dries up spots and gets really into the pores, minimising them and helping to prevent future breakouts. I use this on my T-Zone where I am spot-prone. (I do occasionally use it on my entire face, usually around my period when my breakouts are a little more widespread). 
  • The Body Shop Rose Plumping Mask - smells gorgeous, gel-texture, leaves my skin super soft, and adds a little glow for when my skin is looking dull. (The Body Shop masks also come in mini-versions for you to try out before committing to the large pot!)
  • Revolution x Jake Jamie Cocoa & Oat Face Mask - sometimes you find a mask that smells so good, you just want to eat it. This is one of them. It's also very moisturising and leaves your face feeling super nourished.
  • Lush Oatifix Mask - very similar to the Revolution mask, but I find that Lush's offering is a little more soothing, which I prefer when my skin feels a little bit more sensitive. 
  • Pixi Glow Mud Mask - now this is just glow in a tube. I'm obsessed with it. I love to use it in areas where my skin is looking dull, or feeling a bit congested and breakout prone. It's a lovely texture and works quickly for instant glow as soon as you rinse it off.
  • Beauty Pie Japanfusion Moisture Mask - this is my go-to for when my skin is feeling a bit sensitive. It's full of anti-oxidants, really nourishing and feels so soothing when your skin is a little bit angry.
Okay, now all you need to do is take your masks, and pop them on, matching what each mask does to the affected areas. Remember, you're tailoring your masks to specific skin concerns, so use as many as you feel you need to. 

One of my usual combinations is the Himalayan Charcoal mask on my forehead and chin, and the Rose Plumping Mask everywhere else. This then tackles any breakouts, gets rid of any oiliness that has built up through the day, as well as smoothing my skin, adding moisture and making my face look fresh as a daisy, all in one fell swoop.



Other tips for effective masking:
  1. Use a brush - this has been an absolute game-changer for me. Masking brushes are really inexpensive (I use this one from Revolution), and it's so much less messy when you apply, and helps you to get an even layer of product on your skin and it lasts so much longer.
  2. Use lukewarm water to rinse off - I can't tell you how many years I spent assuming I had to use hot water to wash my face but nope. Using hot water dries your skin out and heightens sensitivity, which sucks if you've spent the last 15 minutes trying to deal with dryness! Lukewarm water is best!
  3. Pat skin dry - It's almost a natural reaction to rub at your skin with your towel once your skincare is done, but don't. Patting your skin dry avoids irritation, so try to get in the habit!
And that's it! You're now fully-versed in multi-masking! It's a lot more simple than you thought, right?

I really hope you found this post helpful. I'm hoping to do more of these beauty trend posts, let me know in the comments which topics you'd like to see next! I'm thinking contouring, or eyeshadow looks? What do you think?

Love,
Sian xo 






I'd been dreading this day for ages. Probably years. The day I got my first wrinkle. I'd read somewhere that you officially start to age at 26, and I was very conscious of it. Once my 26th birthday had been and gone in January, I found myself keeping an eye on my skin a lot more and perhaps getting a little over-zealous on the eye cream (because your eyes are the first place to show it, so I hear).

The day that I found my first wrinkle was just an ordinary day. I was due to leave the house to pick my boyfriend up from work, and had popped into the bedroom to find a hoodie for the drive. I took a quick look in the mirror - I don't know why, with not a scrap of make up on and unbrushed hair, I knew I looked a bit of a mess but seeing as I was staying in the car it wasn't really relevant.

I don't know how long it had been there. Maybe days, maybe weeks and I had no idea. But I caught sight of it, clear as anything. A singular line across my forehead. Well, shit. My first wrinkle.

I think I must have stood there for a minute, just staring at it. You know how once you see something, like when you notice a friend has lipstick on their teeth or someone wearing socks and sandals, and you just can't unsee it? Same thing. Every time I looked away from the mirror and looked back again, it was the first thing I saw. That bloody line across my forehead.

When I thought previously about what I might feel like when this day came, I assumed I'd be in floods of tears. But do you know what I did? After muttering out various expletives while I stretched the skin on my forehead this way and that in the hope that the line would disappear, I laughed. Really laughed. And I couldn't stop laughing! Even when I jumped straight on Instagram Stories to ask for recommendations for skincare to help prevent any more of the little buggers appearing, I was chuckling away. Perhaps that was to keep myself from crying though, I'm not sure.

You might be reading this post and rolling your eyes at me, thinking 'get a grip girl, it's only a wrinkle!' And do you know what, the rational side of my brain agrees with you. The rational, grown up, cool calm and collected part of me knows that it's only one wrinkle, which is actually only noticeable to me. That it's an inevitable part of life and no amount of lotions and potions will halt the process entirely. Yep, I know all of that.

But if I'm being entirely honest, I am shit-scared of getting older. It's something I've been wrestling with in my head for a year or so now. I hit 25 and all of a sudden I realised that I could never get my time back, I was hurtling towards 30 at an alarming speed and desperately wanted to slam the brakes on. It's dawned on me that this whole life thing is pretty fragile and you don't get any do-overs. 

My biggest fear, is getting it all wrong, and not having any control to do it differently. And that little wrinkle, the one I had to point out to my boyfriend and get all up in his face for him to notice (he laughed, a lot), was the physical proof that nope, I'm not going to be young forever.

I know it all sounds a little bit morbid, and to be honest that wasn't my intention for this post, I was actually hoping for it to be a bit of a giggle. But perhaps it's be a bit cathartic to get some of the things that have been keeping me up at night off my chest. 

So - what happened? I spoke to a friend with excellent skincare knowledge, immediately went online and ordered some anti-ageing products. All while cursing under my breath that I'd been using eye cream since I was 22/23, not even thinking that my forehead might be the first place! I laughed about it a little more, about how it's such a first-world problem. Stifled tears, and then just felt a bit gloomy.

Then I thought of all of the people I know who are a little older than me, but I never think of as 'older' or 'with wrinkles.' I thought of all of the people I knew on Instagram who are absolutely bossing it over 30, or over 40. Are their fine lines the first thing I notice when they post a selfie? Absolutely not. 

I thought of all of the women in my life. Mum, my godmother, friends who might be just nudging 30 or over, a milestone that I am currently terrified of. When I think of those women, do I think of whether or not they've 'aged well' or how many lines they might have? Nope. I think of their sense of humour, their hugs, their personalities. Cheesy, I know. But a very important reminder that in a sense, all of my worrying is superficial. Having a wrinkle or two won't change my character, my passions or make those close to me love me any less.

Okay, I'm still very torn over the whole wrinkle thing. I'm not someone who will be able to immediately 'embrace' the ageing process, and I think it's something I will struggle with for a long time. I will probably buy every anti-ageing product under the sun and always use spf and I'll always worry about whether or not I'm getting 'life' right. But that's okay. I know I'm probably not the only one. 

Do you remember when you discovered your first wrinkle? I want to hear some stories! Funny or otherwise, did anyone else react as badly as I did?!

Love,
Sian xo


My friends know that they can come to me for two things: make up and skincare advice, and book recommendations. Don't ask me what to watch on Netflix, because I probably will just tell you to re-watch Friends over and over, but if you need a new read, I'm here for you!

I'm seeing so many people at the moment looking for recommendations on what to read, because they're finding that now we're in lockdown, they've got all this time on their hands to read when they wouldn't usually! I know that I've been flying through books over the last two weeks, because I feel like I can finally sit and read without feeling guilty that I should be doing other things!

I thought I would put together a little list for people who don't usually get the time to read in their 'normal' day-to-day lives, who might be feeling a little bit lost at which books to try. So, here is my must-read list, books you can fly through, books you can really get your teeth into, books I've absolutely loved myself and hope you will too!

Before we get too stuck in, I discovered several of these books through Beth's Book Club, which I joined in the summer. It's wonderful. Beth picks out some incredible books each month and there's a lovely little community of fellow book worms - I can't recommend joining enough!

1. The Flat Share - Beth O'Leary

This is a Beth's Book Club pick, and I only read this myself a couple of weeks ago. I loved it. It's the perfect rom-com. The Flat Share tells the story of Tiffy & Leon, both in dire straits who come up with a very unique living situation where they share a flat, and a bed, but haven't met. Utterly loveable characters, well-written, easy to read and a storyline which will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. This is one that I will always keep a copy of on my bookshelf, because I just KNOW I will read it over and over again.

2. Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson

I'm pretty certain that I've mentioned this on my blog before, but I'll never stop raving about it. After a tragic accident, Christine wakes up every morning having forgotten who she is, her memories and everyone she loves. She doesn't know who she can trust - including her husband. Intriguing, no? I was gripped from page 1, I love a thriller and this didn't disappoint because I just thought it was so clever. There's always a danger with these kinds of books having a really predictable ending but I definitely didn't feel that way about this book!

3. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

If you're going to read a classic book, make it this one. Trust me, it's wonderful. Reading a novel which deals with huge issues such as racism, from the perspective of a little girl, is something totally unique and Scout (said little girl) is such a brilliant character. My copy looks battered because it's so well loved!

4. The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah

Set in the Second World War, the Nightingale tells the story of two sisters who fight for survival in war-torn Europe in very different ways. I'll be honest, it took me until about a third of the way into the book to properly get into the story, but once I was in, I was in. Having two such strong lead female characters was amazing to read. The story was heartbreaking and empowering all at the same time, and I finished it bawling my eyes out, so be warned! 

5. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train is one of my all-time favourite thrillers. Rachel is the 'girl on the train', who gets the same commuter train every day, passes the same row of houses, and in her mind, thinks she knows all about those living there. One day, she notices something different on her commute and it changes everything. It's fast-paced, it's dark and full of twists. I think I must have read it in a matter of days because it kept me so gripped. If you've ever read 'Gone Girl', you need to read this too!

6. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

As well as a thriller, I love a dystopian novel. And the Handmaid's Tale is probably my favourite. I'm a huge fan of Margaret Atwood and her writing style, clever but still easy to read. Set in a future America, where the Gilead Regime has overthrown the Government and turned the social structure upside down, particularly the role of women. I'll be honest, it's pretty startling to read as a woman but it's brilliant. (P.S. if you read this, follow it up with the Testaments which is the sequel. Equally amazing.)

7. Eve of Man - Tom & Giovanna Fletcher

Yes, I might have only read this based off the fact that I am a Tom & Gi super-fan. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this! It's aimed at young adults but I wouldn't say it's 'too young' for someone to read in their 20s/30s. It's just a really enjoyable read, exploring a world where a baby girl isn't born for 50 years. So, when Eve is born, it's up to her to ensure the survival of the human race. 


Let me know on social media if you read any of these books and what you thought! Also send me some recommendations too, because I will be flying through books for the duration of quarantine!

Love,
Sian xo