I'm A Little Bit Lost

Sunday, 20 March 2016

I'm one of those people who likes to plan. Always have been, probably always will be. My diary sticks by my side at all times because otherwise I have no idea what I'm doing or when I'm doing it. I plan dates with friends, I plan when I'm doing uni work down to the hour, I plan outfits a week in advance.

And I've always had a plan for my future. Ever since I was five, I've known that I wanted to write, and although the plan has varied slightly, it's always been there. I will go to university, I will move to a big city, I will write. And so far, it's worked out pretty well for me.

Recently though, as the end of university draws ever-closer, I've found myself in a panic. If anyone read my When I Grow Up post, you might know that journalism has been thrown into question for me. But since then, I've not really had any of idea what I want to do with my life. And with the dreaded "So what's your plan for after uni?" being thrown at me left right and centre, my stress levels around the subject have only increased. Especially since the only constant, decisive factor I had has gone.

It seems that as I've got older, my future has become increasingly uncertain. When I was 18, I knew that I was going to be married at 22, babies at 24 or 25, get a comfortable job at a local newspaper, and that would be that. I now know that would have been completely the wrong path for me, but I'm now 22 and at a completely loose end, and that's something that I've never ever experienced before.

In a way, it's exciting. I can go anywhere or be anything. I have nothing tying me to a person, place or job. But after a lifetime of having your future mapped out, when you all of a sudden find yourself without a plan, it's pretty daunting.

I never would have thought five years ago that I'd be in the position I'm in now, about to graduate, moving back in with my mum in the next few months, and having absolutely no idea what's going to happen next. I thought I had planned so meticulously that it would all just fall into place. But it would seem that it just doesn't work that way.

Life happens. Things change, your interests change, people come into your life that seem to change everything, and they can leave again. Sometimes you just have to scrap your plan and go back to the drawing board. And that's okay.

One thing has remained constant for me, though. Writing. I love to write. It's the only thing that I don't have to plan, I can just take a concept out of thin air and then let the words flow. It's the only thing that I've remained passionate about. What form that will take, who knows.

Yep, I'm a little bit lost right now. I have absolutely no idea what the hell I'm doing, I'm just going to muddle through as best I can and maybe somewhere along the way, I'll work it out. Maybe, for now, being a little bit lost is all right.

Sian Kathrine xo

Favourite Childhood Books

Friday, 18 March 2016

As a little 'un, I was rarely seen without a book in my hand. I vividly remember being told off at age eight by my dad for not coming to the dinner table when asked because I was so stuck into the book that I was reading. My parents spent a small fortune on a PlayStation for me (one of the retro PS1's where you played Rayman), but my brother used it way more than I did, just because I'd rather spend my time reading.

The older I've become, the less time I've had to read, between lectures and assessments and shifts at work... And sleep. I now genuinely can't wait to let go of all university-related responsibilities just because I might find the time to get into a good book or several again.

It only dawned on me how little time I've been able to spend reading when I passed a shelf in Waterstone's which basically summed up my entire childhood. That one shelf had on it pretty much every book that I adored as a child and just seeing that really uplifted me. I was transported back to being a child and spending evenings with a book and my mum, and reminded me why I fell in love with books.

So I was inspired to write a slightly different post, summing up all of my favourite childhood books and why I loved them so much.

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Kind of obvious, but definitely needs to be mentioned. I remember going with my mum and dad to buy my first Harry Potter book, aged eight, from WH Smith's whilst on holiday in Devon. Mum read it to me at bedtime every night and I was soon gripped by the magical world that the pages took me to (and of course Hermione became my idol!) I pretty much grew up with the series, making my way through every book and I even found myself queuing outside Waterstone's at midnight to be one of the first to get my hands on a copy of the Deathly Hallows. Those books will always be special to me and I know that if I ever have kids I'll be forcing them to read the whole series, whether they like it or not!

2. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
This was one of my mum's favourite series as a child, and when she started reading it to me when I was little, it soon became one of my favourites too. The books follow the adventures of five children and their dog Timmy, usually exploring somewhere new or uncovering treasure. I absolutely loved them and it was so nice to spend a bit of quality time with my mum reading stories that we both adored.

3. The Twits by Roald Dahl
Remember in primary school when you'd all sit on the carpet and listen to your teacher read to you? Well, I was in Year 2 (so around six or seven years old) when I first heard The Twits. I re-read it countless times after that. It was just so cleverly written, incredibly funny and just so easy to read over and over again. I think it always makes for a good story when you're reading about two utterly despicable characters doing utterly despicable things to each other!

4. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
I don't have many memories of time with my dad in comparison to my mum as a child, but my clearest and my fondest memory would be having him read Guess How Much I Love You to me. And it's probably the simplest story in the world, a parent telling their child how much they love them, but I used to love hearing it for the millionth time, and the end line was something that stuck with our family, "love you to the moon and back", which we still actually say to each other now. We still have the tatty old copy of it sitting on the shelf at home, and if my sister ever tried to get rid of it I think I'd genuinely throw a fit!

5. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
I loved reading stories from WW2 when I was nearing the end of primary school, and Goodnight Mister Tom was pretty much my favourite book at the time. It's such a heart lifting story and carries with it one of the biggest lessons that I've ever learned, that family aren't necessarily the people that nature chooses for you.

6. The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson
Or pretty much ANYTHING by Jacqueline Wilson. Ask any girl around my age who their favourite authors were as a child/pre-teen, I guarantee you that Jacqueline Wilson will be in their top five. She's so brilliant in the way that she creates relatable, funny characters, and tackles difficult stories in such a way that it's brought down to a child's level but is still incredibly sensitive. I don't think you can find many writers who do that. I struggle to pick out one all-time favourite book of hers, but I chose the Lottie Project because I think it's the one that I re-read the most over the years. I think it's one of the less-talked about ones too, but it's absolutely brilliant. The main character, Charlie, is so funny and down-to-earth, and the altar-ego of Lottie is the complete opposite, yet it's so easy to relate to both characters.

7. The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
One Christmas, my grandparents gave me a big box set of Beatrix Potter books, and they still sit on my bookshelf at my mum's now. Each one has a beautiful white and blue cover, and I was so careful with them when I was little that they still look pristine. I absolutely loved to read them all, from Peter Rabbit to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle to Jemima Puddleduck. They're simply but beautifully written, and I used to love reading them to my sister when she was a baby. These stories just take me right back to being a child which is why I love them!

What were your favourite childhood books?

Sian Kathrine xo

Bare Minerals Haul

Friday, 11 March 2016

There comes a time in every girl's life where she realises that she needs to change up her make-up routine. When the love affair with your current products starts to fizzle out and you just know that you need to go on the hunt for new make-up to fall for.

Well, my dear readers, for me, that time came last week.

I still love my MAC foundation, I really do. But after using it for almost two years, I decided it was time to try something different. And as I searched for a new brand, I found myself at the Bare Minerals counter in Boots.

I've heard a lot of good things about Bare Minerals, but never really thought to try it. But it really is the perfect fit for me because I've never been a fan of heavy foundations. The sales advisor I spoke to at the counter was absolutely lovely, I was having a particularly rubbish day and she did all my make-up for me to cheer me up, listened to what I wanted and didn't push me into buying at all.

The BareSkin foundation is absolutely perfect. It goes onto my skin like a dream and gives fab coverage without sitting heavily on the skin. It's become my go-to foundation for day to day wear but you can also easily build up the coverage for the evening too.

I also picked up the foundation brush to go with it, which came in a pretty gold colour (insert excited face here). It's a beautiful brush which is designed to buff your foundation onto your skin so that you have a healthy, even coverage. I ADORE this brush, my skin actually glows after using the foundation alongside the brush which is just amazing.

As a little bonus, I picked up the Marvelous Moxie lipliner in Thriller. I've never used lipliner before, but I now consider myself a convert. This is a beautiful, natural pink colour which goes on really smoothly and lasts a good few hours. I've worn it on its own and under lipstick or lipgloss and I love how it can create a few different looks. I'll definitely be adding more lipliners to the collection soon!

Bare Minerals has quickly become one of my new favourite brands. The quality of the products are just incredible and perfect for people who want a more natural finish from their make-up.

Have you ever tried Bare Minerals? Which brands are you loving lately?

Sian Kathrine xo

Lush Spring Event, Sheffield

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Lush events are hailed among bloggers as the best events ever. I've honestly never ever heard a blogger say that they were disappointed by a Lush event. Ever. So when I got the chance to go to the Lush Spring event in Sheffield, there was no way I was going to let it pass me by!

Not only was this my first Lush event, it was my first ever blogger's event. And my first one going by myself. So I was ridiculously nervous for the whole day, but it all melted away like a bath bomb as soon as I got in there!

The lovely staff had set up four little stations for us; where we could make our own bath bombs and bubble bars, play around with the new Spring range, create our own shower gels and get personalised skin consultations. I was gutted that I couldn't get around them all! But I couldn't have made my way to the bath bomb making station fast enough, and I loved making my own Butterball, which I can't wait to use.

We then spent a good half an hour chatting to the lovely Samm about the Mother's Day and Easter ranges, and taking a look at some of the products.

Samm showed us some amazing bath bombs and bubble bars, my personal favourites had to be Golden Egg (because ALL THE GLITTER), which I couldn't resist treating myself to, and the Ladybird bubble bar which was just so cute and smells of pick and mix! We had such a giggle and it was so lovely to get to know some of my fellow Sheffield bloggers.

I was giddy when I was told that there were going to be goodie bags for us at the end of the night, I think I might even have done a little happy squeal! I was expecting maybe a bath bomb and a couple of samples, but the lovely people at Lush really spoilt us! I got the Ladybird bubble bar (insert another happy squeal here), the Honey I Washed the Kids soap, the Over the Rainbow soap, the Humpty Dumpty bath bomb and the BB Seaweed face mask. They're all sitting in my basket in my bathroom and I can't wait to start working my way through them.

Thank you so much Lush Sheffield for having me, I had an amazing time! Hopefully I'll be attending more Lush events in the future!

Sian Kathrine xo

Model's Own HyperGel Polishes

Monday, 7 March 2016

I LOVE a gel manicure. Going to a salon and having someone else do my nails for me, no waiting for them to dry, and then once they're done I don't have to worry about it for another two or three weeks. I just find the whole thing really therapeutic.

However, grown up responsibilities are kicking in. I've had to tighten my belt over the last couple of months and so little luxuries like getting gel manicures every other week have had to go. Tragic, I know.

So I went on the hunt for decent quality nail polishes that would give me the same effect as gel, be hard-wearing and obviously, in beautiful shades. I popped to the Model's Own stand in Meadowhall to see what they had to offer, and was practically giddy when I saw that they had an Any 6 for £20 offer on! (Which in the long run works out an awful lot cheaper than £20 every two weeks for a gel manicure!) I was spoiled for choice when it came to shades, and in the end settled on five of the HyperGel polishes, plus a topcoat. 
Left to right: Midsummer Mauve, Cornflower Blue, Brunette Red, Grey Storm,  Cashmere Rose

The HyperGel polishes go on really smoothly and easily, and I absolutely love the shiny finish that it gives. I picked up a range of shades from nudes to bright colours, I adore the Cornflower Blue, which tends to be my go-to spring shade. But my favourite has to be Midsummer Mauve, it's the perfect nude!

Midsummer Mauve

 My only complaint about these polishes would be that they don't last quite as long as I would like. They can sometimes peel and tend to start chipping within a few days, so you have to either touch them up or re-do them completely fairly often. I was under the impression that the gel would make it last longer, but maybe I'm just too lazy to do my nails every week or so! 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the HyperGel polishes, I think they give a really nice finish and if you want a huge array of colour choices, Model's Own should definitely be your first port of call!

Have you ever tried Model's Own polishes? Or is there another gel-effect polish that you love?

Sian Kathrine xo

Final Year Struggles

Friday, 4 March 2016

The countdown is on. 138 days. When you say it like that, you realise that it's no time at all.

138 days until I graduate, and university will officially be over. And out into the real world I go. The last four years, and the most important experience of my life, have whizzed by in such a blur.

In the meantime though, I have 138 days of being a final year student. Which I can only describe as an experience. And not one that I'd ever necessarily wish to repeat.

How I long for those carefree days of first year, where I could spend a whole day in bed, nursing a hangover and binge-watching my Friends box set. Nowadays, it's impossible to take a break without experiencing The Guilt.

The Guilt is hands-down the worst aspect of final year life. It's the constant nagging feeling that you should be doing work. The Guilt can and will strike at any time. When you're at your job, when you're meeting a friend for coffee, even when you decide to have an early night to recharge your batteries, BAM, the Guilt.

And once the Guilt has got you, the only solution is to drop everything and start doing work. Even if you're not actually being all that productive.

That being said, procrastination becomes a skill worthy of your CV. You're forever finding new and creative ways to put off getting stuff done. I've even been known to start cleaning just so that I don't have to look at seminar reading, or write up some interview notes.


As well as all of this, your caffeine consumption skyrockets, nights out are few and far between and your sleeping pattern becomes a thing of the past.

On the plus side though, only 138 days to go!

Do any of these sound familiar to you too?!

Sian Kathrine xo

Miss Independent

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

I haven't ever been very good at the whole being by myself thing. Up until very recently, I've almost always had someone to completely lean on, someone on hand to call or hug whenever I've had a panic attack or a bad day. And if I'm being completely honest, I've probably relied on those people too much, and I'm pretty sure that reliance is what has caused those relationships to break down.

Well, no more. The walls are well and truly up. For the first time since I was 17, I'm on my own for the foreseeable future and that's something that I'm really not used to. I've always thought of myself as an independent person, but the situation that I've found myself in has shown me that actually, I'm quite the opposite.

I've found it's the little things that are the most difficult. Like finding yourself with no plans for a Sunday afternoon and wondering how you're going to cope with spending a day on your own.

Or being ill, or having a panic attack, and it suddenly dawning on you that there's no one around to look after you or calm you down, except you. Even silly things get to me, like the other day when I slipped in the shower. I whacked my head and twisted my ankle as I went down, and had a little cry just because I realised that there was no one to come running up the stairs when they heard me scream, hold an ice pack to my head or even just give me a hug. Which sounds ridiculous, I know. But it reminded me of how lonely I was.

I'm working on it though. Slowly. I'm heading into what will probably be the busiest four months ever, with a hell of a lot of uni work to do, as well as holding down a part time job and keeping up with blogging. When I've found that I had a day to myself, I've just thrown myself into planning blog posts, or getting the ball rolling on my final project. And it makes me feel so good knowing that I've spent my day being productive, rather than feeling sorry for myself. Although believe it or not, I'm starting to enjoy my own company, spending my free evenings watching TV or reading with a hot chocolate. It can be quite nice to have the time to myself, doing what I fancy doing and not having to take someone else into consideration.

Slowly, I'm becoming more and more independent. When my depression is being a bitch and I'm feeling low, I find a way to cheer myself up, by doing my nails or watching funny YouTube videos, rather than waiting for someone to do it for me. Instead of seeing a day by myself as something awful, I look at it as a chance to either get a tonne of work done, or to have a little bit of me-time.

More than anything, I think I needed to prove to myself that I can and will look after myself. That I don't need to be reliant on anyone else, and I'm taking steps to becoming stronger and happier.

I even cook for myself on a daily basis now. If that isn't independence, I don't know what is.

Sian Kathrine xo