I was basically born with a notebook and pen in my hand. Ever since I can remember, my favourite thing to do was colour, or read, or write a story. When I was five, I was bought a PlayStation One (retro) for Christmas, but my brother played on it far more than I did. (Unless the game was Harry Potter, then the arguments would start.) I was happier with a pretty notebook and colourful set of pens.

At school, I was giddy when the teacher would tell us that we'd be writing stories in lesson. At Parents' Evening, they told my mum that my writing skills were way above where they should be.

By the time I turned six, after I'd got over the whole "I want to be a princess" thing, I knew I wanted to write when I grew up. And that was it. I'd go to university, and spend my life writing books. That was my plan.

At fourteen, having done a bit more research, I decided that writing books was probably a lonely occupation. I wanted to write, but I also wanted to work around other people, getting out there, talking to the public and making a difference. I looked into journalism and it was the perfect fit. So, new plan. But the hard work had to begin. After my GCSEs, I picked out my dream university, spent hours on my UCAS application and worked so hard to get the grades I needed.

Fast-forward three years, and I'm sitting in on an inquest, part of my module on court reporting. The course was harder than I'd anticipated, but I was determined to get through it. Including finishing this assignment of six stories.

This was story number four. It was a straightforward, open and close inquest. 24 year old man, long history of mental health problems. After an argument with his girlfriend, he went for a walk to clear his head. They didn't find him until the following evening. He had taken his own life.

The whole inquest lasted under an hour. After scribbling down as many notes as I could, I gathered up my things and made my way towards the door. I was worrying about whether such a straightforward case would make a compelling enough story, and considering coming back the next day to try and get something else. I couldn't afford to not do well in this module.

I happened to glance up from my notebook and caught sight of the parents. They were holding each other, the mother was in floods of tears, and the father had a look of anguish on his face that I'll never forget. They'd lost their son, who wasn't much older than I was, and there was nothing that they could have done to save him from himself. And there I was, stressing about whether or not my tutor would deem his death newsworthy. I couldn't have felt more ashamed of myself.

I went home and thought everything over. We'd talked in seminars so many times about the need to be objective and not letting your emotion get in the way of reporting, but it hadn't been put into perspective until that moment.

How could I report on such heartbreaking stories, death, crime, the anguish of a family, and be completely emotionless about it? How could I go into a courtroom or an interview, get what I need and leave without doing anything to help those who have been hurt? I didn't want to end up like that. I'd seen the ugly side of my dream job and I didn't know if I could deal with it.

There is a point I'm getting at. Since the age of five, I'd always had a plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. Then all of a sudden, I was 21, almost a grown up, and my plan had been completely thrown into question. Since then, I've felt so lost and unsure of myself. My whole life has revolved around becoming a journalist and now, I just don't know what I'm aiming for.

But what I'm starting to realise is that not knowing is okay. Maybe I'm not supposed to have my shit completely together by 21 years old. Or even 22, 23, 24 or 25 years old. I don't need to have my life mapped out. Now is the time to enjoy the rest of my degree (despite the stress), go on a million work placements, make mistakes, change my mind or just go back to the drawing board. As long as I work hard and keep an open mind, I'm pretty confident that the rest will fall into place.

For now, my aim is to get through to graduation. After that, who knows. But I'm trying not to worry too much about that yet. And if you're in a similar position to me, you shouldn't worry either. You've got this. You'll be okay.

Sian Kathrine xo

Dress: Apricot
Scarf: York Market
Boots: Next
Jewellery: Pandora

Scarf weather is back and I am ecstatic! I adore scarves, they’re the ultimate Autumn/Winter accessory for me. I have so many that a whole drawer dedicated to them is necessary.

This scarf is one of my all-time favourites, it’s just such a beautiful colour! I’m currently on the hunt for big cosy knitted scarves for winter, so expect plenty of scarf-related posts to be coming your way this season!

I fell in love with this gorgeous little dress as soon as I saw it. The fabric is so soft and I can layer it up and add all kinds of accessories to create cute outfits to see me through the winter.

(Plus, I seem to be wearing grey constantly at the minute. Constantly.)

My obsession for ankle boots has grown year on year to the point where I hardly wear any other shoe! This super-cute pair is REALLY comfortable and perfect for day-to-day wear. (And they’re comfy enough for work, yay!)

Let me know what you think of the outfit! What are your key pieces for Autumn/Winter?


Sian Kathrine xo

Photos taken by my lovely friend Fii <3
When the lovely Robyn started her #LetsTalkAnxiety campaign, I was over the moon. Mental health is such an important topic to me and I don't think it can be talked about too much. In the world that we live in now, it seems so bizarre that the stigma surrounding mental health issues is only just starting to be broken down, and too many people are still ignorant to illnesses that affect so many.

I've been desperate to do my own post for #LetsTalkAnxiety, but I've put it off until now because I wasn't sure if I was ready to talk so personally. But I've decided to just bite the bullet and go for it. Here it goes...

Anxiety, coupled with depression, came knocking at my door in October 2013, when I was in my second year at university. It took hold of me quickly, and very nearly destroyed my life. Then family problems and the breakdown of my relationship acted as a catalyst, and anxiety's grip grew tighter.

Every single day became a struggle. The mundane things were the hardest. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, going out to uni or work. On good days, the panic attacks wouldn't start until I got to my front door. On my worst days, I couldn't even get out of bed.

For anyone who's never had a panic attack before, it's a horrible feeling, and often different for each person. I'd often feel like my front door was bricked up, I was trapped. My whole body would start to shake, my breathing would accelerate and my heartbeat would skyrocket. My legs would go so weak that I couldn't stand, and I would cry uncontrollably. My thoughts would race around my brain so quickly that I would go dizzy, and couldn't decipher anything that I was feeling or how I could make it stop. The only thing that stood out was "I can't. I can't, I can't, I can't, I can't. I can't."

At my lowest, I would spend hours curled up in bed, or in the corner of my room, unable to move or even think rationally. Weeks became months, uni became non-existent and my life disintegrated before my eyes. Anxiety had warped me into a person that I didn't recognise. The girl who was once sociable and outgoing had shrunk into herself, become withdrawn and only felt safe in bed or at her mum's house. Every time I tried to rebuild what I was losing, the anxiety would tear it down again.

For seven months, I suffered in silence. Not telling anyone what I was going through was the absolute worst thing that I could have done for myself. If you take nothing else away from this post, please take away this- do not keep your anxiety to yourself. Tell someone, anyone. You are not mentally strong enough to handle the intensity of anxiety on your own, and that's okay, because no one is.

My hand was forced. The end of the academic year was fast approaching and none of my assessments were done. Everything that I had worked for since I was 11 years old was about to come crashing down around my ears and I didn't know what to do.

I dragged myself to see my personal tutor and told her everything. It was such a relief to finally get everything that I'd bottled up for so long out in the open. She was absolutely fantastic and arranged for me to take a leave of absence and catch up on what I'd missed the next year.

I then had to go home and tell my mum everything. That was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. I was terrified of letting her down. She was heartbroken that I'd gone through this on my own, but she just hugged me, told me she loved me and that we would sort this out. She held my hand at the doctor's while I was prescribed anti-depressants and was referred for counselling. She called every day to see how I was, and talked things through with me when I was struggling. She's been my absolute rock.

Fast-forward 18 months and I'm in a much better place. I went through 10 months of counselling (which I've done a separate post on here), and that helped me come to terms with my past and taught me how to move forward. I got through last year at uni (I even got a first in one of my modules!) and I'm now in my final year. My boyfriend is so supportive, he's helped me through my worst and is still brilliant at calming me down when anxiety hits.

I still have panic attacks and find social situations scary. Busy clubs and bars are my worst enemy at the minute and there are still days where I have to force myself out of the door. But recovery is a long process and I'm so grateful for how far I've come in the last year. I'm finally recognising myself in the mirror again, and now I'm that little bit stronger.

This post wasn't easy for me to write, but if it helps just one person to know that they're not alone, or inspires someone to seek help, it'll be completely worth it.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need to talk. Don't suffer alone. Your feelings are valid and you will get through it, no matter how hopeless it seems. I promise.

Sian Kathrine xo

For Robyn's post on the #LetsTalkAnxiety campaign, have a look here.

Hello lovelies!

Today's post is kind of a big deal because it's something I've wanted to talk about for a long time on my blog. But up until now, I've been too nervous to write about something which is so sensitive to so many, myself included. I want to write quite a few posts on mental health and I hope that as my confidence grows these posts might help and inspire at least one person.

For almost two years now, I have battled with depression and anxiety. A lot of factors contributed to it and it very nearly ruined my life. There are a million and one ways to fight mental health issues but I'm just going to tell you a little bit about something that's helped me.

After a really bad year, I referred myself to counselling through my university. I wasn't really sure about how talking to a stranger about my feelings would help me, but after hitting rock bottom, I decided that anything was worth trying.

Within a few days of applying online, I had a triage appointment, where I was asked about what I'd been through and what I felt I needed help with the most. I was then "matched" with a counsellor who the service thought would suit me best and would be able to help me, and it was so reassuring that I wasn't just being randomly assigned to someone.

Helen, the lady that I was assigned to, was absolutely wonderful. She made me feel at ease straight away, took things at my pace and reassured me that it was okay to cry. Tiny things which make a massive difference. The first session was pretty intense, but I went home feeling so much better about getting emotions off my chest that I'd been bottling up for months.

Over the course of nine months, Helen and I began to work through every little thing that was causing problems and contributing to my depression and anxiety. I had trouble sleeping, she gave me tips to help. I had panic attacks, she taught me breathing exercises to keep them under control. I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, she told me to set myself tiny goals for every 15 minutes, even if it was just getting in the shower, so that I could get myself to uni. Again, tiny things, but it was practical help that I could use.

All the while we were figuring out why I felt the way I did. I talked everything out with Helen, even things which I thought I had forgotten about or seemed really insignificant. She helped me think about things differently, so that I could come to terms with certain things that had happened to me.

I slowly began to feel like my old self again. And I know that I wouldn't be at this point without counselling. Even now, if I'm having a bad day or I'm in a busy club and can feel the panic starting to rise, I still use the advice that Helen gave me to keep it under control.

I'm certainly not saying that counselling is for everyone, but it can be an absolutely brilliant way or accepting your past and start to move forward. Just having someone to confide in helps immeasurably. I cannot thank Helen and UCS Sheffield enough, they've been absolutely invaluable to my recovery.

I'm sorry that this post is uber-long and a bit of a ramble! I'm pretty nervous about posting this, so please let me know what you think, or if you need to have a chat about what I've talked about, or anything else, you can tweet me (publicly or privately, it's up to you) @SianKathrine

Sian Kathrine xo

Hello lovelies!

I'm a very lucky girl. I'm at my dream university, studying my dream degree. It's something I've wanted to do since I was 11 years old and I've worked really hard to get to this point.

When I tell people that I'm studying Journalism, it's usually met with one of three responses; "Oooh, will I be seeing you on the telly soon, then?!" (GUYS, newspapers and the radio are still a thing, okay?!)

Or it's "well, that sounds interesting, I bet you get to do all sorts of amazing things!"

Or my personal favourite, "Is that really a proper degree?" (Yes, people do actually say this to me. And yes, it IS a proper degree!)

On Monday, I start my final year and I thought now would be a good time to do a post on what it's really like to be a Journalism student and the work we have to put in.

1. Shorthand
Most journalism courses will put emphasis on shorthand and encourage you to get a shorthand qualification. Shorthand is soul-destroying. It's literally like trying to learn another language- you have to practice a little bit every day. When you don't practice, you feel guilty for not practicing, it's like a little niggle in the back of your head all the time! Three years in, I still need to master it and with every new term I promise myself that I'll nail it this time and pass. Maybe this year- we'll see.

2. It isn't glitz and glam
No, I don't get to report on really exciting stories. I mean, every so often you get a little gem of a story, but 90% of the time, you're sat in an incredibly boring council meeting, or spending your day in the lobby of a court waiting for a delayed case to start, wondering how you're going to hit your word count. Or you're begging a local councillor to give you an interview for news-day but they're either not responding or reluctant to waste their time with a student because they have a million and one other things to do. Journalism is so heavily reliant on other people that there is no winging it, no inventing stories at the last minute.

3. We have to do a little bit of everything
This may have been a little naive, but I never would have thought that I'd have to study a bit of politics, a bit of public affairs and a bit of law. I've had to buy some ridiculously thick textbooks and wade through some long and incredibly boring topics, which I did not expect from such a vocational course!

And between all of this, there's long nights in the library, battling with editing, white-balancing and slow news days.

Despite all of that, I do love my degree. It's hard work, but still the best decision I ever made. So the next person who tries to tell me it isn't a real degree can read this post and eat their words!

Are there any harsh realities you have to go through at school/uni/work?

Sian Kathrine xo
Hello lovelies!

Like pretty much everyone else in the world, I've got a real obsession with MAC lipsticks. The pigments are amazing, they last all day, and there are so. Many. Colours.

Every few months, my payday treat to myself is a new MAC lipstick (the idea is that I allow myself a little treat so that I don't go crazy on the spending... It doesn't always work that way for me.) While I'm counting down until my next payday and I'll soon be choosing my next shade, I thought I'd share with you the little collection that I've built so far.

Left to Right: Fanfare, LadyBug, Brave, Capricious, Costa Chic

Fanfare is a beautiful pink shade, which I tend to wear when I want a little pop of colour. The formula is really creamy with a gorgeous sheen, but not at all sticky and really wearable. It's such a lovely girly shade which you can all the time.

For anyone who's only just started wearing lipstick, trying to rock a red can be a little bit daunting. LadyBug is the perfect beginner's red lipstick. Its rich texture lets you build the colour up layer by layer, which means it is subtle enough to wear during the day but you can also use it for a bold night-time red.

Brave is my go-to shade. Subtle and flattering, Brave is a lipstick that every girl needs in her arsenal. I love it as a day-to-day lipstick to give a pretty, natural-looking finish.

Capricious is my all-time favourite Autumn lipstick. The pigment is perfect, just the right amount of purple without looking over-dramatic. I'm so excited to start wearing this colour more over the Autumn!

I was bought Costa Chic as a present, and I was pretty worried about where or not I'd pull off such a bright colour. But it's a fabulous shade, especially for summer and makes such a nice change from my usual soft pinks. 

Swatches left to right: Brave, Fanfare, Costa Chic, LadyBug, Capricious

What's your favourite lipstick? Do you have any recommendations for my next purchase?

Sian Kathrine xo

 Hello lovelies!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (psst, if you don't, you can find me @SianKathrine) may have seen that I've spent the last week in Devon with my family and other half. I'm currently up to my eyeballs in washing and I'm already back to work but I just had to share with you about the lovely week that I've had and why staycation's are actually pretty great.

Devon is easily one of my favourite places in the world. When I was growing up, our family holidays were down in Devon every year, and to some people, the thought of spending their summer holiday in England is pretty unsavoury. But dragging three kiddies on a plane and have them cry and whinge and want food every five minutes was my mum's worst nightmare. We absolutely loved our holidays, and Devon is just SO beautiful. The picture above is actually the view from the patio doors of the lodge that we stayed in. It was in such a beautiful and peaceful location, and sitting on the decking with a cup of tea and a book first thing in the morning was just bliss.

Our first day was spent at Exmoor Zoo, which was a really lovely day. It wasn't the biggest zoo I've ever been to, but still plenty to see, with loads of talks throughout the day for you to go to.

Ilfracombe is a little harbour town on the coast of North Devon, and that's where we used to stay every year when we were little. So it was pretty much obligatory that we spent a day there! The weather was absolutely glorious and we spent the day just wandering around, sat in a rooftop beer garden and played a (really competitive) game of crazy golf! This is a picture of the view from the harbour, and it's one of my absolute favourite spots!

Ilfracombe Harbour

 The weather the next day was equally gorgeous (who said England was all rain and gloom!) so we went to Clovelly, which is a beautiful little village steeped in history, walking down the high street towards the quay is like taking a step back in time. The whole village is privately owned and has been in the same family for three generations, so there's no council in control of it and it is run by locals. It's full of little cottages and shops, and the whole village sits along a hill with cobbled streets. I could have sat and looked at the views for days, it was absolutely stunning.

The view at Clovelly

We had a couple of rainy days after that but overall we had a week of gorgeous weather, chilled out days and beautiful surroundings. At times it even felt like being abroad! Travelling to far-off places is amazing but I don't think enough people appreciate and take the time to explore the beauty we have here in England!

If you've had a staycation this summer, let me know! I want to hear your stories!

Sian Kathrine xo