Counselling & Why It Worked For Me

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

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

The Realities of Being a Journo

Saturday, 26 September 2015

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

Pandora Wishlist

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hello lovelies!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I absolutely love Pandora jewellery. It's so easy to wear, high quality and I love the fact that no two pieces of jewellery are the same, we all choose different ways to dress the bracelets or stack the rings. So I thought I'd share with you all which pieces I'm lusting after at the minute.

One of my other obsessions is dragonflies, and I've been wanting a dragonfly charm for my Pandora bracelet for a long time. I've just come across this one (bottom right) and it's absolutely perfect! I love how dainty it is and it would be a gorgeous addition to my bracelet.

I've been looking at new rings for a while and I absolutely adore this ditsy daisy ring. It would look stunning stacked against the ones that I already have and I don't think you can ever have too much sparkle!

In July, my boyfriend bought me a charm from the rose gold collection (my subtle hints actually worked for once!) to go on my bangle, and now I'd love another one to tie it all together. This openwork charm is so delicate and would look beautiful on a simple bangle. I'm going for a more understated look on my bangle to contrast against the bold blues of my first bracelet so the soft pink stone charm would be perfect for that!

Do any of you love Pandora too? What do you currently have your eye on?

Sian Kathrine xo

Salsa Sunday

Sunday, 20 September 2015
Hello lovelies!

I usually spend my Sundays watching films, eating a tonne of food and generally avoiding leaving the house as much as possible. But in the last couple of months I've discovered a new hobby which has quickly become the highlight of my week.

Every Sunday morning, without fail, my friend Mollie and I text each other saying "HAPPY SALSA SUNDAY!" It was her who got me into salsa lessons in the first place, dragging me along to  her Sunday evening class with the promise of "It'll be fun, you'll love it!"

I was pretty sceptical. I'm not a natural dancer, and the thought of dancing with a guy I'd never met before, without falling flat on my face... It set my anxiety going a little bit to be honest.

At Cubana's, there are three classes you can have a go at; beginners, improvers and advanced. You're all paired up and as the class goes on, you rotate around the room, changing partners every few minutes. It seems scary, but it basically forces you to chat to new people and get to know them, which is basically how I've made friends! The beginners' class really breaks down every step, and the teacher is fantastic and doesn't move on until everyone has got it, which is really helpful when you're new to salsa.

After the classes, there's social dancing, there's social dancing, where we ask each other to dance (cute, right?) and we practice and chat. This part of Salsa Sunday is really fun and I love picking up tips from more advanced dancers. You seem to learn something from everyone you dance with, which then makes you a better dancer.

Salsa Sundays have built my confidence and helped me make so many new friends, I love having this extra social circle. And despite my previous doubts, I am actually getting better at the dancing bit! I tried the improvers' class for the first time last week, and although it was much more fast-paced and the steps were more complicated, I just about managed to keep up!

I still have a lot to work on though, at the minute my issue is turns. I can't turn, at all. I either spin the wrong way and confuse my partner, or spin way too enthusiastically and completely lose control of the turn and nearly fall over. Sometimes, it's a combination of both.

Have any of you ever tried salsa?

Sian Kathrine xo

My Autumn Wishlist 2015

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Dress: Dorothy Perkins
Jeans: Dorothy Perkins
Bag: New Look
Hair Treatment: Lush
Shoes: Next
Moisturiser: Benefit
Jumper: Next

Hello lovelies!

I know I'm a little bit behind on the whole Autumn wishlist thing but I've had to push this post back by a couple of weeks because I gave myself too much to do! Better late than never though!

The first beauty product on my wishlist is Lush's Marilyn hair treatment. I'm getting more blonde put in my hair in the next couple of weeks and Marilyn promises to stop blonde hair from going to that nasty yellowy colour and keep it vibrant. I'm really excited to give it a try!

Next up is Benefit's Total Moisture. I'm already a massive fan of Benefit skincare and I use the Triple Performing Moisturiser daily (Find my post reviewing it here). I love how lightweight Triple Performing is but as the weather gets colder and my skin starts to dry out more, I need something a little bit thicker and stronger to tackle the dry patches, which is what Total Moisture is perfect for.

Every time I walk into work I can't help but drool over this cosy cable knit jumper from Next. It looks SO comfy and I can just envisage it over a shirt with a cute skirt or skinny jeans. I'm also genuinely avoiding the shoe department on my way to the staff room until I get paid otherwise these shoes would be mine! 

The bag from New Look combines my two favourite things, the colour blue and satchels! I adore pastel colours as it is and it's the perfect way to add a pop of colour to a winter outfit. 

Pinafore dresses are everywhere at the minute and they're so effortless and easy to dress up or down. I love anything that's in the fit-and-flare shape, it's perfect for me to bring me in at the waist but at the same time hide my tummy!

I don't know about you lot but I really struggle to find jeans that fit me properly... Or maybe I'm just a weird shape! But Dorothy Perkins jeans tend to fit me perfectly. I love the midwash colour on this pair and I've been wanting to try a pair of ripped jeans for ages- maybe this season I'll make an investment!

What's on your wishlist this Autumn?

Sian Kathrine xo

How to Survive Fresher's Week

Sunday, 13 September 2015
Hello lovelies!

Fresher's Week is getting closer by the minute and pretty soon the carnage will ensue. If you're getting ready to start your first year at uni and can't wait for the big week, here are my top tips for making the most of it.

1. Plan- but not too much

From the second you opened your results, you'll have received oodles of Facebook invites to the various Fresher's events at your chosen uni, encouraging you to buy tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment. While it might be worth having a look into some of them, don't plan your week down to the last minute. You don't necessarily know what your new flatmates or course-mates will want to do, and there will be so much for you to choose from on any night and if push comes to shove, there's always reps on the streets with wristbands and tickets to clubs on the night anyway. Allow yourself a little bit of flexibility!

2. Fresher's Fairs are the best

Even if you're incredibly hungover and don't feel like you can function, drag your sorry bum to the fresher's fair even if it's just for the freebies! (They gave out slices of Domino's pizza at mine, if that helps persuade you.) But beyond that, you get to know what going on in and around campus, grab offers and sign up for sports and societies. I cannot stress enough how important societies are. They add so much more to your university experience, by either trying something new or keeping up with a passion you already have, you make new friends and can use it to escape from the stress of studying!

3. It isn't all about the booze!

I know that everyone thinks that you don't spend more than ten minutes sober during fresher's week, but there's actually no shame in taking a night or two off from drinking! Getting wasted isn't for everyone and there will be loads of socials and activities that don't involve alcohol.

Nights out are fun but a week of constant drinking isn't healthy. During my own fresher's week, I spent a night in with my flatmates, eating cheesy chips and watching Mean Girls (I say watching, I mean quoting the lines along with the characters in our most impressive American accents!) But this is now one of our fondest memories, no alcohol featured!

4. Explore

You're in a new town or city, starting a new chapter of your life. Get off campus and explore! Jump on a bus, any bus and see what you can find. Have a walk down little side streets (safe ones, obviously). Try coffee shops that aren't Starbucks. Spend some time in the park. Embrace your new surroundings and make them your home.

5. Throw yourself in!

When I started uni, I saw it as a chance to re-invent myself and Fresher's Week is the perfect time to start that process. Don't worry about fitting in or looking cool, all of that pretty much goes out the window at uni anyway. Be yourself, grab every opportunity you can and you'll be fine!

Are you starting uni this September? How are you feeling about Fresher's Week?
Or maybe you're a Fresher's old-timer (like me, sob) and you have a tip to share? Comment below, or tweet me @SianKathrine

Sian Kathrine xo

Uniform Haul: Autumn 2015

Friday, 11 September 2015

Blouse: Next
Skirt: Next
Belt: New Look
Boots: H&M
Jewellery: Pandora

Hello lovelies!

Happy Friday! I hope you've all had a lovely week and are ready for the weekend!

This is one of my favourite times of year because I get to pick out my work uniform for the new season! I think people don't tend to think of Next as a brand for people in their 20s, but they do have some gorgeous clothes in this season, so shopping for my uniform this time round was pretty easy.

This look is my absolute favourite at the minute. The utility skirt has been really popular with all the staff, because it's so flattering and easy to wear. It comes in khaki and black as well as navy so there's a colour to suit everyone. Everyone who's got it for uniform styles it differently, but I love pairing it with this soft white blouse for an effortless look.

I call these boots my bargain boots. I found them in the H&M sale for £15, which is an incredible price considering they're real suede. They're so simple but make this outfit that little bit more sophisticated. (Yes, I know I've cheated a tiny bit as they're not Next, but I only get so much uniform allowance!) As much as I love them, I wish I could say I was able to cope with standing in them for 8 hour shifts, and on more than one occasion I've found myself changing into ballet pumps halfway through my shift! I obviously need more practice!

Hope you all approve of the outfit! I'm just starting to get to grips with this whole blogging thing so check out my other posts and let me know what you think!

Sian Kathrine xo

Paperchase Haul

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Hello lovelies!

Who's getting ready or has already gone back to school/college/uni? I start my final year at uni in just under three weeks and I'm so ready to get started. I've got some really interesting modules starting this year (which include minimal exams woo!) so I'm really excited!

Before I go back to uni, I always make a little trip to Paperchase for some new supplies. I always feel so much more motivated to get my work done and stay organised when I have cute notebooks and pens.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm really bad for double-booking myself and forgetting what I'm supposed to be doing every day. I absolutely swear by my diary to keep me from melting into a little puddle of stress because I've taken so much on, and this one is just so pretty! I'm currently trying to keep it colour co-ordinated but I don't know how long that'll last!

When it gets to the super busy part of term where I'm rushing between lectures, work and other extras, the last thing I want to be doing is carrying around folders or five different books for each module. So I was really happy when I found this little 5 Subject Notebook in Paperchase. It's perfect for taking notes in lectures and seminars and the little divided sections means I only need to carry round one for all my modules!

Are you looking forward to the new term? Where are your favourite places to go for new stationary?

Sian Kathrine xo

My MAC Lipstick Collection... So Far

Monday, 7 September 2015
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

Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Thursday, 3 September 2015
Hello lovelies!

Those of you who caught my post about my holiday in Devon might remember that despite the mostly glorious weather, we did have a day where the heavens opened and it was just torrential downpours all day. Desperate not to spend the day stuck in the lodge feeling miserable, we took a trip into Barnstaple to the cinema.

I was adamant that I wanted to watch Inside Out, but my boyfriend and 18 year old brother were obviously too cool for that. So I backed down and agreed to see The Man From U.N.C.L.E- and I was pretty sceptical about it.

The latest offering from Guy Ritchie is set in the early 1960s, with the Cold War in play. CIA agent Napoleon Solo (played by Henry Cavill) finds himself unexpectedly working with someone who would usually be an enemy, Russian agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Along with Gabby Teller (Alicia Vikander), the beautiful daughter of a prominent nuclear scientist, the unlikely trio must stop a mysterious criminal organisation from developing their own nuclear bomb.

Despite my initial scepticism about this film, I absolutely loved it. Incredibly stylish and beautifully shot, The Man From U.N.C.L.E grabbed my attention from the very first scene and kept it right up until the credits had finished rolling.

The chemistry between the three main characters was fantastic, and the suspicion between Solo and Kuryakin based on a precarious relationship between the US and Soviet Russia at the time was played up to brilliantly. This made for some really witty dialogue between the two and laugh out loud moments.

As far as villains go, Elizabeth Debiki was the perfect criminal mastermind, Victoria. Classy and intelligent, Debiki's slick and effortless performance was a real highlight for me, she was a villain that the whole audience loves to hate.

If you like films set in the 60s, with an exquisite style and a fantastic story, you should definitely check out The Man From U.N.C.L.E!

What's been your favourite film this summer?

Sian Kathrine xo