Capturing the Little Moments With Panasonic*

Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Don't you just love capturing little moments on camera? The unposed, sans-filter, real moments. They're my favourite kind of photos. They always take me straight back to a memory, and never ever fail to make me smile.

I've teamed up with Panasonic to celebrate the launch of their Mirrorless 12-60mm Lens Camera to bring you some of my favourite photos of the 'little moments', and share the stories of why I love them so much!

I still don't know what we were giggling at. I remember this photo being taken as if it was last week. My first year of university, Christmas night out. We'd spent forever that evening getting ready, wrapping tinsel around ourselves and making sure we were just the right side of festive. We'd asked another flatmate to take photos before we headed out, already a little tipsy on cheap vodka and cranberry juice. One of us must have done something to make the others giggle, whether that was flicking her hair in an over-the-top way or joking about how utterly tacky we must look. I laughed until my stomach hurt and I had tears rolling down my face. By far one of my favourite uni memories.

My Little Star. This was taken about a week before my little niece's first birthday. She was so teeny then. We'd been out for tea, and her eyes lit up as soon as she saw the swing set. And I still find it impossible to say no to that little face. As we were swinging, her little giggle was absolutely infectious! I can't help but smile every time I see this photo, just because it pretty much sums up how much I adore the little tot.

I'd love to know what kind of camera this was taken on. I found this whilst digging through some old photos at my mum's house. This is my Nana & Grandad. Mum told me this was taken at one of their New Year's Eve parties, which they threw every year. Nana was tipsy at this point in the evening, apparently. Do you know what though? I still couldn't help but tear up a little when I found this. Decades together and seven children later, and look how in love they are! A fleeting moment, perfectly captured.

Sian xo

*This is a sponsored post, but all work is my own.

May Glossybox

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The dreamiest Glossybox ever.

Oh I do love a special edition box. When May's landed on my doorstep, I almost squealed at the pastel deliciousness of it. I'll definitely be keeping hold of this one!

Inside the box though, was five equally dreamy products which were carefully put together to help us Glossies treat ourselves to a little pamper.

First up is the Kueshi double-effect make up remover. This came in travel-size, so has been perfect for me recently as I've been backwards and forwards so much! It basically works like a micellar water, feels really light on the skin and works a treat at taking all my make up off.

I've also received a luxury jelly foot soak from gelspa - and in all honesty I haven't tried it yet just because I've been so busy and haven't had time at all! It looks lovely though, and I'll definitely report back once I've given it a whirl!

Having already tried Maria Nila products from previous Glossyboxes, I was really excited to unwrap the True Soft Shampoo & Conditioner. I have to be so picky with haircare, but I love these little duo. It does exactly what it says on the tin (or bottle), and left my hair ridiculously soft and didn't weigh it down at all. It smelled really nice and light too. I'll definitely be repurchasing this one!

I think by far my favourite product this month is the super-cute TRIFLE Cosmetics Praline Palette. It contains six shimmery shades (and I LOVE shimmers), from khaki to deep purple to beautiful neutrals. They're all very workable, easy to blend and the colour is really easily buildable. I've been absolutely loving using it for day and night looks, and it's perfect to pop in your bag and take with you when you're out and about. Plus the design is adorable.

Sian xo

Getting My Glow On With Rimmel London & Influenster*

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

I don't know about you lot but I am thrilled that the sun has finally decided to make an appearance! It's finally time to get my pretty dresses out and dust the cobwebs off my summer wardrobe.

You might remember me mentioning previously how new I am to the self-tanning world. I've always been pretty self-conscious of the fact that I am ridiculously pale, so I've started dabbling with tanning ready for the summer months in the hope that I'll look slightly less ghost-like.

Influenster & Rimmel London recently gave me the chance to get a bit more practice in achieving the perfect summer glow, and very kindly sent me my first ever Voxbox! This particular box was packed with three different products from the Sun Shimmer range, designed to make self-tanning easy (perfect for a newbie like me!) Ready to take a look?

The first product was the Sun Shimmer Instant Mousse, which appealed to me straight away as I have only ever used mousse tanning products before, so I was excited to see how this one compared. What I love is that a little bit of mousse goes a long way, so I could see this bottle lasting me quite a while. Once applied, the tan develops within an hour, which is brilliant for on-the-go. The mousse applies really easily and dries quickly, so I can just pop it on, get dressed and done. No fuss, no transfer onto clothes, no streaks! Winner!

I've also been testing the Sun Shimmer lotion infused with Chia Oil. I'll be honest, I was a bit worried about using a lotion just because I wasn't used it, and I did naively think I could get away with applying it without using a mitt (I cannot stress this enough: always use a mitt!) so the first time I used it, it did come out pretty streaky. But with a little perseverance, it's actually become my favourite product out of the three! It smells beautiful (never thought I'd be saying that about a tan product), the lotion itself is really rich and creamy and it gives such an even, buildable tan. The below picture is proof of the results I got with the lotion - unedited!

Finally, for those occasions where you just need to tan for a night, the Instant Tan lotion is perfect. This little bottle gives the most beautiful subtle summer glow, streak-free and washes off easily with soap and water. Beautiful tan, no commitment! I've been using this inbetween the other products to top up my tan when needed, especially if the weather has decided I need to get my legs out!

The Sun Shimmer range comes in three shades from Light to Dark - I've been using the Light Matte shades as I'm fair-skinned and wanted a subtle bronzed look. But again it is really buildable if you were feeling a little more daring!

Thank you so much to Influenster and Rimmel - I've had so much fun testing out these tanning products, and for about £7.99 each, I will definitely be repurchasing!

Have you ever used Rimmel's Sun Shimmer range? What's your favourite tanning product?

Sian xo

*These items were kindly gifted to me in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own!

On Being a People Pleaser

Sunday, 13 May 2018

I've always been a people pleaser. As a rule, I tend to put everyone else's wants and needs first, even if that means putting my own on standby. And I've been completely fine with that. Yes, it's rubbish at times when I've had to make sacrifices but it's more important to me that everyone else is okay. Just a trait of a kind person, right?

As it turns out, this part of my personality has become a point of criticism.
'You're too nice'
'You try to please everyone, that's why people walk all over you'
'You just can't say no to people, it's kind of spineless really'.

A girl can't win!

I'd never even associated what I thought was being kind and selfless with being a pushover or spineless. I never thought you could be criticised for trying to make people happy.

Do you know what's funny though? People are happy to bring you down for being a people pleaser, until they are the ones who want pleasing.

Once people work out that you'll put the happiness of others first, whatever the cost, they'll start to expect that of you. Even when they are the people who have made negative comments about how you are a people pleaser in the first place.

Can you tell I've been struggling with this recently?

There comes a point where you have to take back some control. For me, it's a case of remembering that sometimes, it's okay for my own happiness to come first. It's okay to say no to people, especially when they are expecting you to go out of your way for them. It's okay to feel frustrated that you can't win.

What do you think?

Sian xo

Pamper Yourself with Liz Earle & John Lewis*

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Who doesn't love treating themselves to a good pamper session every once in a while?!

When I was invited to John Lewis in Sheffield for a demonstration of the Liz Earle facial treatment, I jumped at the chance and couldn't have been more excited! Not only was it my first blogger event in ages, it was with a brand that I've heard amazing reviews about but never actually tried for myself. In all honesty, I didn't even know that they offered treatments, and I was so ready to try something new!

On arrival, we were greeted by the lovely Jayne & Dawn, who took us into the beauty room at the side of the store and were welcomed with a glass of prosecco (so we were already onto a winner in my book!) The room itself had a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and I knew right away that I would come away feeling very chilled out!

The treatment that Jayne showed us was all about achieving naturally radiant skin and working with your own beauty - as well as teaching us a little bit about Liz Earle and their products. Billie was our model for the morning - and by the time Jayne had finished, she was absolutely glowing!

The demonstration included a wide range of Liz Earle products and how you can combine them to create a natural glow, but with particular emphasis on the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. This is Liz Earle's signature product, which is hugely popular for its suitability to all skin types and its promise to clear and soften skin by gently cleansing and exfoliating the skin and bringing out its natural beauty. We were all lucky enough to be given our own Cleanse & Polish to take home and try - and I'm already obsessed! In the couple of days that I have been using it, I have already seen a huge difference in my skin; it is smoother, more radiant and my horrific breakout that I have recently had is starting to clear. (Not to mention the fact that it smells divine.)

Another of my favourite products from the demonstration was the Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer, which comes in a spray bottle and can be used under or on top of make up to refresh, brighten and tone. The tonic smelt like a spa and felt so refreshing - especially as it was a warm day! I'll definitely be back to pick that up as a little treat to myself soon.

I think, especially as a blogger, it's easy for me to get caught up in using all the make up under the sun, but the treatment as Liz Earle has reminded me that sometimes, less is more and you can look gorgeous with minimal make up. It all starts with your skin!

Thank you so much for having me ladies - I absolutely loved it and can't wait to come back for my facial in June!

Have you ever used Liz Earle products? Let me know in the comments!

Sian xo

*A product in this post was gifted to me in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own! 

Why I DO Want To Be A Full Time Blogger

Sunday, 6 May 2018

I've seen an awful lot of posts going around recently where bloggers have been expressing exactly why they would like their hobby to stay as a hobby and not become a full-time career. Some have been incredibly well-written and raise some good points, but I have seen one or two which go along the lines of 'ugh, EVERYONE wants to be a blogger full-time, no one is original these days by just keeping it a hobby, why does it always have to be about that end goal...' and those kinds of comments, the kind that set off a little pang of guilt in anyone that does want to turn their blog into a career, and a sense of insecurity about the validity of their ambition, that have frankly, got on my nerves recently.

So, here's my two-pence about the whole topic. I definitely, unapologetically, do want to be a full-time blogger.

Don't get me wrong, I am under no illusions about how hard it will be, and I'm very aware of how far I am from even being able to think about giving up my day job. It takes so much hard work, determination, meticulous planning and probably a good few bucketfuls of blood, sweat and tears.

And yep, I'd definitely miss having a stable income every month. I may have to give up the odd gel manicure or two. Maybe even think about cut back on the amount I spend on make-up (sob). Working for yourself doesn't always come with a steady paycheck, and girl still gotta eat.

Sick pay just isn't a thing when you're self-employed, everyone knows that. No Christmas party. And although I love the idea of being able to work from home in my pjs, would I get lonely being at home all day by myself? What would I do without the bleary-eyed Monday morning chatter with my colleagues about our weekend over that first cup of tea, or sniggering across the office at the latest meme we've tagged each other in. That, I think, is what I'd miss the most.

And I completely understand that all of this would be enough to put bloggers off ever taking the leap from hobby to career. There's also always the fear that you'll stop enjoying it once blogging becomes actual work.

But in all honesty, that isn't the case with me. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to spend my life writing and creating. I'm so passionate about my blog and what I do, I can feel myself getting more animated and excited when I talk about it. I'm ridiculously proud of how far I've come in the last three years, I've built this little corner of the internet myself, it is mine and I've poured so many hours, so much inspiration and passion and love into it.

I've always promised myself that I would do what I love as a career, whatever that might be. For me, blogging is an absolute no-brainer. Why wouldn't I want to spend all day every day creating?

What do you guys think? Would you like to blog full-time one day?

Sian xo

Hallelujah for Forest & Shore Hair Oil!*

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

As someone who openly admits to putting her hair through endless torture; highlights, blow drying, curling, and anything else you can think of... I know how paramount it is to have a good haircare routine in place. Especially after a long winter, when the wind and the rain and the cold have just battered my hair, I couldn't be more ready to have it restored to its healthy glory!

Forest & Shore reached out to me recently and offered me the chance to test out their Hallelujah Hair Oil, and I was thrilled! I love having a go with new hair products and anything which will help my poor damaged hair and I am here for it.

First things first, can we talk about the packaging for a second? I honestly think it is some of the prettiest packaging I have ever seen. The bottle itself is simple and clean, which I love, but the box it came in has such a lovely floral print to it, I fell in love instantly!

The oil itself is made of completely natural, organic ingredients and is packed with olive, sesame, coconut, lavender and rosemary essential oils (all of which make the product smell amazing). The Hallelujah Hair Oil promises to restore dry and damaged hair and make it smooth and shiny. I tend to use it on wet, freshly washed hair, by popping four or five drops into my palm (bearing in mind that I have long and very thick hair), and running it through my hair on my fingers before blow-drying. I was really worried about the product feeling heavy or weighing my hair down but I needn't have, as it feels very lightweight and not at all sticky.

And oh my goodness, the difference. 

Even from the very first use, my hair felt softer and the ends felt far less dry. I've been using it now for just over a month and I've found that with repeated use, my hair is much more shiny and I'm not getting anywhere near as many split ends as I used to!

I really couldn't be more impressed with the Hallelujah Hair Oil. It's become my holy grail hair product and I genuinely don't know how I would live without it now! If your hair is dry and damaged and needs a bit of love, I couldn't recommend this product enough, and I will definitely be repurchasing when my current bottle runs out!

What's your go-to hair product?

Sian xo

*This product was kindly gifted to me in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. 

Birchbox vs. Glossybox: The Ultimate Beauty Box Battle

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Anyone who has been following me for a while will know that I am a very loyal Glossybox subscriber. I've been receiving Glossyboxes every month for the last two and a half years and I still get giddy every time they land on my doorstep.

But I have to admit, as loyal as I am to Glossybox, when Birchbox released their Cath Kidston special edition box for April, my head was turned. I love Cath Kidston, they're one of my favourite brands and for the same price as a Glossybox with all the same promise, I couldn't resist giving it a try. I've had quite a few people asking me which box I prefer and which I'll stick with - so I thought I'd write a little post putting the two ultimate beauty boxes to the test. But which one has won me over?

The packaging.

While Glossybox do send out special edition boxes from time to time, their pink boxes are instantly recognisable. classic, sleek and very very pretty. But, in this instance, the Birchbox stole my heart away. I adore Cath Kidston branding anyway, and the floral box just looks absolutely gorgeous!

The products.

In my April Glossybox post, I gave a run down of all the products I received - so I won't bore you to tears by going through them all again! The theme for the box this month was nostalgia and while the products were fab, I'd love to see a little more variety box-to-box between skincare and make up, as they always seem to be dominated by either one or the other.

I unwrapped my Birchbox to find SEVEN products (two were for referring a friend, mind you), almost all of which I've tried and loved. The diddy travel-sized Cath Kidston hand cream has been perfect for me to keep in my desk drawer and smells absolutely beautiful! I've also been loving the Fill + Tame brow gel, which has been a perfect dupe for Benefit's Gimme Brow (and slightly easier on the purse strings!) The only little complaint I have is with the Model Co Baked Highlighter I received - beautiful colour, but I can't open it without a pair of tweezers as the catch just won't work! 

I just have to mention the referral reward with Birchbox, just because I was so impressed! One of the girls in my office was also looking to purchase, so I sent her my referral code. As a result, she received her first box for half price, and I got a £5 voucher for the Birchbox shop and this beautiful little Cargo blusher and Spectrum brush! I love Spectrum brushes so I couldn't have been more chuffed, and the blusher is the perfect combination of colours to give you a subtle summer glow. All of that, just for referring a friend! Amazing!

The Verdict?

Honestly? I'm still not 100% swayed either way! I think this month, Birchbox just has the edge, based on the beautiful packaging and a wider variety of products than Glossybox. But I genuinely think both boxes are very good value for money, full of lovely products. Will I be making the switch to Birchbox? Well... Maybe I'll have to get both for another month or two before I can decide!

Have you ever tried either of these boxes? Which is your favourite?

Sian xo

April Happiness Journal

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

My my, where are the months going?

Sometimes you have those months where you just plod along and nothing all that exciting happens. But when this happens I still think it's important to take stock of the little things that have made you happy - because you don't always get to do amazing and wonderful stuff!

So without further ado - here's April's Happiness Journal!


I couldn't believe it when the sun finally graced us with its presence after a winter which seemed to just go on forever! It was so lovely to finally bring out some summer outfits (although it reminded me how few summer clothes I have as I ran out after two days!) and walk to work in the sunshine. It did so much to lift my mood!

2. A work night out.

I'm incredibly fortunate to work for a company which looks after its staff really well and organises nights out and events pretty regularly. Last weekend we had a pub quiz, followed by food and a free bar! The quiz was a lot of fun, as we were put into teams with people who you wouldn't necessarily speak to normally and the free wine was a definite plus! (I felt a little delicate the next day, mind you.)

3. Finding the perfect birthday present for my bestie.

Isn't it just so satisfying when you find the perfect present for someone?! My best friend is one of those people who, when you ask what she would like for her birthday goes, "oh... a coffee will do me just fine." Sweet, but infuriating. So this year I knew better and ordered her present to her house without actually mentioning anything to her! I got her a Little Mermaid t-shirt, knowing it is her and her daughter's favourite Disney film and also knowing that they'll be heading off to Disneyland Paris in a few weeks! She was thrilled and I was very smug that I got away with getting her a present for once!

4. Re-watching Sherlock.

This is the series Dan and I are currently loving to binge-watch. It's just so clever, and I am still obsessed with the Cumberbatch/Freeman partnership! I keep falling asleep halfway through episodes though, oops...

5. Taking outfit photos and actually enjoying it.

Outfit shoots haven't been something I've really done on my blog, but I've decided to start branching out a little and giving it a go. So when the sun made an appearance, I dragged Dan out, with my trusty iPhone to do a little shoot while the weather was nice. And actually, I enjoyed it! Don't get me wrong, I'm stupidly awkward in front of a camera still. But it's been fab to have the extra bit of content for the 'gram which isn't the usual flatlays.

What's made you happy this month?

Sian xo

17 Things I Learned From Watching Friends

Sunday, 22 April 2018

'Friends' is, without a shadow of a doubt my all-time favourite TV series. It's been getting a lot of negativity since it's been put on Netflix, but I personally still love it, and probably always will. I remember squealing with delight when my mum bought me the entire collection on DVD when I was a teen, it was my background watching during the entirety of my degree, I put it on at 2am when I can't sleep... And whenever I'm feeling just a bit rubbish I know I can pop on any episode and I'll still laugh at the jokes I've heard a thousand times before. It just never gets old.

I probably started watching Friends when I was in my early teens, and looking back now, there's a LOT of things we can learn from the show. So, in celebration of all things Friends, here are 17 I learned from my favourite characters!

1.  You don't need to be settled down and married by your mid-20s. In the pilot episode, we see Rachel appear, in her wedding dress, running away from a marriage she knew wasn't right. Despite the fact that getting married to a well-off guy and settling down was the be-all-and-end-all in her world, Rachel proved that you don't need to have a ring on it to have your life together.

2. You'll probably always care what your parents think. Aahh, Jack and Judy Gellar. The parents we all love to hate. It seemed like no matter what Monica did, her parents always had something to say about it, to the point where she hid her relationship with Chandler and lied about getting fired from her job. No matter how old you get and no matter how well you're doing, most of us will probably always care about what our parents think, and that's okay.

3. That there's an extra option during 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'. 'Fire, beats everything!' (I may have used that one once or twice).

4. The difference between 'your' and 'you're'. I still sometimes hear Ross shouting at Rachel in my head when I'm not 100% sure which one I should be using...

5. Families come in all shapes and sizes. I think Friends was the first TV show I properly watched which made me feel like coming from a single-parent family was okay, because actually, there weren't many 'nuclear' families in the show at all! Phoebe lost her mum, Chandler's dad was transgender, Ben had two mums and one dad... the list goes on!

6. You never have to completely grow up. 'Now are you gonna be a grown up and come watch TV in the fort?!' and obviously, Fireball needs a mention. Joey and Chandler are just the best because they remind us that there's nothing wrong to hanging on to your inner child.

7. Your real friends will always love your quirks. Whether it was Monica's cleaning, or Phoebe's mad ideas or Ross's obsession with dinosaurs - the group embraced each other's quirks, however wonderful and at points, downright weird. Which is reassuring for someone who was a pretty insecure teenager (and insecure even in her 20s!)

8. It's okay to be scared. When Ross finds out Carole is pregnant, when Monica gets fired, when Chandler realises he is falling for Monica, when Joey realises he is falling for Rachel, and when Rachel finds out she's having a baby. Sometimes life hands you something you weren't expecting, or something that makes you vulnerable, and in those situations, the Friends remind us that being scared, even when you're an adult, is okay.

9. Count to ten properly when getting a spray tan. I still don't really know where the Mississippi thing came from?!

10. When you do decide to settle down, do so with your best friend. I think the reason why Monica and Chandler were the perfect couple is because they're best friends. They weren't afraid of being silly and they knew each other inside and out from being friends for years. If that isn't couple goals, I don't know what is?!

11. You're not a failure for not being in your dream job. Chandler was in a job that he hated for years. It took him until his early-mid 30s to get up the courage to quit and figure out what he actually wanted. Sometimes we need to remember that this situation is so much more common then we think, and there's nothing wrong with not having your career path figured out!

12. 90s fashion is amazing. We definitely need to bring some of that back.

13. Boys can play with Barbies. I put this one into practice when babysitting a couple of one-years olds. The little boy wanted to play with a doll, and the girl wanted to play with a truck. Toys are toys, in my book.

14. Run, dance and laugh like there's no one else watching. Phoebe running and Joey's dancing is basically what we all wish we could do without feeling embarrassed, right? Maybe we should just be a little more like those two and not care so much what other people thing!

15. Forgive. None of the gang were perfect. They all wronged each other at points over the years - Chandler kissed Joey's girlfriend (and his sister, for that matter!), Ross slept with another woman (break or no break, he moved on pretty bloody quickly), Ross gave Rachel a teeny-weenie in high school, and one year they were ALL late for Thanksgiving. I think in the real world, friendships would have definitely ended over some of the stuff that went on, but maybe we should take a leaf out of their book and be a little more forgiving?

16. Honesty is the way forward. Teeny white lies and bigger lies always get found out in the show, whether that's Rachel lying to Phoebe about where she bought her apothecary table (which is basically a coffee table, isn't it?), or Monica lying to Rachel about where she was when she was secretly dating Chandler. The truth always comes out in the end!

17. Good friends are SO important. 

What have you learned from Friends?

Sian xo

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Thank you to the gorgeous Jade at Life at Number Four for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!

The Rules.

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive this award, and write them 11 questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions from Jade.

    1. What is one of your favourite quotes? 'Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.' This is actually a quote from the Bible (Matthew 6), and it was one my godmother picked out for me when I was baptised as it pretty much sums me up perfectly! 
    2. If you could stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? 21. I can't even really put my finger on why, I just loved being 21. I was on the cusp of finishing uni, I felt almost like a proper grown up for the first time but still had my whole future ahead. And I could still go out and get drunk fairly regularly. 21 was great.
    3. What is your favourite quality in yourself? My resilience, I think. I've been through my fair share of rubbish but I still haven't lost my faith in people or the world, which is quite nice. I'd be gutted if I became a cynic because of it.
    4. If you could be invisible for the day, what would you do? Sneak on a train/plane somewhere and go on an adventure!
    5. What song would you include on a soundtrack of your life? Oooh, what a question! I think whatever I choose would sound super cliche, but Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway' has sprung to mind - because I was always a little girl wanting to get out of my little hometown and go on an adventure!
    6. What do you miss most about being a child? I was a fairly confident child, I miss not feeling insecure about myself and not worrying about what others thought of me! (I also miss the amazing 90s toys and TV shows, ofc.
    7. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you'd do? I've always promised my mum that I'd buy her a new house and a car - so that would be what I'd do first! Swiftly followed by a holiday...
    8. Who is your favourite musical artist? I always find questions like this SO hard because my music taste is so mixed! I don't think I can pick out a favourite - I spend most of my time listening to either soundtracks or 90s/00s music!
    9. What experience in life has made you a stronger person? SO many. Moving away from home, my incredibly rocky relationship with my dad, the breakdown of two serious relationships... that's just to name a few. 
    10. If you could watch only one programme for the rest of your life, what would it be? It'd have to be Friends, no question.
    11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I have absolutely no idea. Not a clue. Happy, I hope?

My Nominations.

    1. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
    2. What makes you smile when you've had a bad day?
    3. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    4. What made you decide to start blogging?
    5. If you could work with any brand, who would it be?
    6. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    7. What are you currently watching?
    8. What's at the top of your bucket list?
    9. Tell me three things you love about yourself.
    10. What's your favourite thing about blogging?
    11. What's your favourite social media platform?
Sian xo

April Glossybox

Sunday, 15 April 2018

April's Glossybox was all about nostalgia. Taking us back to beauty trends from previous decades and bringing them back into 2018. I must admit, I was pretty flippin' excited about this one when I unwrapped it! Ready to take a peek?

First up is the Affect Translucent Loose Rice Powder. I know, right, what on earth is rice powder?! Apparently it is the new banana powder (which I never really bought into), and is the hot new powder for mattifying and setting your make-up. In all honesty, I normally hate loose powders. They're too messy, get all over my clothes, basically I'm far too clumsy with them. But I've actually really enjoyed using this, you only need a tiny bit but it sets my foundation perfectly!

I also received a special edition angled Glossybox brush, with their signature pink handle. I love angled brushes for doing my eyebrows, and you can never have too many in your collection so this will definitely come in handy!

It's rare that you find shower products in a Glossybox, so I was pretty surprised to unwrap this Imperial Leather Foamburst body wash! But I'm in LOVE. It's in a limited edition Unicorn Marshmallow scent, and smells like strawberry Angel Delight - winner! It comes out as a foam (obviously) and so lathers up so well, and leaves your skin super soft! I've definitely found a new favourite here.

Anyone else remember the striking eyes and huge liner flicks of years gone by? Me neither. BUT Glossybox is bringing them back with the Eyeko London Fat Liquid Liner. I'm usually more of a gel liner kinda gal, but I REALLY love this liner. It's as easy as using a felt-tip pen, blacker than black and makes winged liner an absolute doddle. I think I'll definitely be looking into repurchasing this one!

Last but not least is this beautiful little blusher from Model + Co. This is the Karl Lagerfield special edition, and comes in the shade Light Beige, which is a beautiful rose-gold colour - flattering on all skin types and just swoon-worthy to be honest. It isn't the most pigmented blush I've ever used, but it gives just enough of a subtle pop of colour for a natural, dewy look which is perfect for me!

Aaah Glossybox, you've done it again! I'm currently obsessed with all of the products from this month's box, and I already can't to see what next month brings!

Sian xo

First Impressions: The Ordinary

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Up until recently, I've been stuck in a little bit of a skincare rut. I hadn't been in a proper routine for a very long time, my skin was SO dry and breaking out to the point where I was just feeling pretty miserable about my complexion. I needed a shake-up, and sharpish.

My lovely friend Amie has never let me down when it comes to beauty recommendations, and so I went to her for a bit of advice on how to sort my skin out. She told me about the Ordinary, a brand that I'd never heard of before but was promised would be perfect for my poor dehydrated face.

I quickly headed to the Internet to see what I could pick up, and in all honesty, I was put off almost instantly. Why on Earth did all of the products just contain the names of different chemicals? What do they all mean? How am I meant to decipher what each product will do without having a Chemistry degree?! I almost gave it all up and logged on to Boots to have a scour at the offers. I decided to stick with it though and just look in depth at the descriptions to work out which products would work best for me. 

Everyone knows I'm an absolute sucker for pretty packaging, but The Ordinary products are the exact opposite. Simplistic, no-fuss and well, ordinary. But in this case you don't really mind, as the products themselves do all the talking.

The first item I picked up was the Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% serum (no I didn't know what that meant either, bear with me). I'll be honest, my main reason for choosing this particular serum was because it was packed with antioxidants and promised to brighten my skin and help eradicate any signs of ageing (I know I'm only 24 but you can never start too early, right?!)

The formula itself was quite thick, much thicker than most other serums I have used. Based on some reviews I've read, the gloopiness seemed to put people off a little because it takes a long time to absorb, but personally I didn't mind. Popping it on and going off for twenty minutes to dry my hair or eat my breakfast works quite nicely for me. And by the time I could put my moisturiser on, my skin already felt smoother and looked a little brighter.

I also grabbed the Magnesium Phosphate moisturiser, which is full of Vitamin C and designed to refresh and lift your skin. It's such a lovely, light cream moisturiser which instantly made a difference to my poor dry skin and left it looking bright and dewy, and it's also the perfect base for make up.

Speaking of make up, I added a little bonus buy with the Coverage Foundation. It's worth noting that I am SUPER fussy with foundation, normally opting for high-end brands. I'm also not usually a fan of full-coverage foundation, I've never found one yet that suits my skin as they just tend to look way too heavy. But this time, I decided to take a gamble, and if I hated it, I'd only have lost £6, right?

The first thing that I loved about this foundation was the fact that you could choose your shade including the undertone. This was perfect for me because I'm always worried about base products coming up too yellow on my skin. Once I actually got my hands on it, I fell in love. It is a fuller coverage than I would usually go for, but it doesn't look cakey on the skin in the slightest, and it blends like an absolute dream. It's also really easily buildable to suit day-to-day and evening looks. I find myself reaching for it way more often than I thought I would!

I got all three items for under £20, and for the quality of products, I couldn't be more thrilled. Who said you had to spend a fortune to get decent products, eh?!

Have you ever tried the Ordinary?

Sian xo

The Foolproof Self-Tan You Need From St. Tropez

Sunday, 8 April 2018

I am in no way an experienced self-tanner. I decided a long time ago that I found the whole process of tanning way too daunting, too easy to get wrong and so I was much better off accepting the fact that I'm pale and rocking my milk-bottle legs on nights out and holidays.

Just before I received these (very kindly gifted) products from St. Tropez, I asked a work colleague who I knew self-tanned regularly what her process was and any tips she had for a newbie. She went on to describe an elaborate, hour-long routine which included showering and moisturising beforehand, and a whole host of other steps and by the end, my head was in a spin and I had no idea how I was supposed to master such an art. Cue mild panic.

Luckily, being honest with the lovely people at St. Tropez about my barely-existent experience in self-tanning worked in my favour, because when the parcel arrived, they had picked out the two products from their new range which suited me down to the ground.

The first was the Gradual Tan One-Minute Mousse. When I read the instructions, I almost cried with happiness because it was just so simple. All I had to do was apply the mousse with a mitt in sweeping motions, starting from the ankles upwards. Leave for one minute, hop in the shower and rinse. Job done. Perfect for me, partly because all fears of a complicated routine were melted away, and partly because I don't have an hour spare to go through the process, so something I can do as part of a normal morning is spot on for me.

You don't see a difference instantly, but within half an hour or so you can actually see your tan building bit by bit, and it develops over the next 4-8 hours. I personally loved the results, my tan came out subtle, glowing and perfectly even.

The second product I was sent was the Purity Bronzing Water Mousse. The first thing to mention is that the packaging on this product is beautiful, as well as the smell. It was a tropical scent, and while it didn't necessarily stand out as tropical, it still smelt lovely (which is refreshing when my biggest fear was smelling of biscuits). You use this in a similar way to the One-Minute Tan, apply with the mitt, and leave for one minute, making sure it is completely dry. You can then simply get dressed and go - and again the tan develops over a few hours, leaving a natural-looking radiant glow.

This was actually the first product that I tested out of the two, and whilst I loved the results, my biggest tip to first-time tanners would be to make sure you get every bit of skin. I clearly got a little over excited the first time I used it, and somehow managed to miss the back of both arms! So when the tan developed, I had half-glowing, half-pasty arms. Which I had to very quickly rectify before work the next day. Oops!

As a former cynic of self-tan, I have to say I have been converted. St. Tropez have convinced me that self-tanning can be easy, convenient and you don't have to smell of biscuits! These two in particular will be perfect to take on holiday, for nights out, and I've also been using them pretty regularly when I fancy a little extra glow! I'd 100% recommend these products to anyone who is new to self-tanning, or busy people who want a fast, easy routine. Bye-bye milk bottle legs!

Have you ever used these products before? What are your favourite tanning products?

Sian xo

*these products were gifted to me in exchange for a review, but all views are my own.

The (Sometimes Harsh) Realities Of Blogging

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The inspiration for this post came from a conversation that I had with one of my boyfriend's housemates. He found me in the living room (where the lighting is best, of course) taking blog photos of some products. The conversation went something like this...

Him: What the hell are you doing?
Me: Erm. Taking photos?
Him: Of make up? Why?
Me: I write a blog, and these are photos for a post.
Him: A blog like on the internet? So what, you write reviews?
Me: Well, yes, among other things.
Him: So how do you decide what to write about?
Me: Well, this was sent out to me to test and review...
Him: For free?
Me: Well yeah, but in exchange for a review.
Him: So what you're saying is you get sent free stuff and all you have to do is write about it? That's alright isn't it?! Easy freebies!
Me: Well, no it doesn't quite work like that...
Him: You do look a bit daft standing on the sofa to take them photos though.

And before I could explain to him how it does work, he'd lost interest and went back to checking on the pasta bake he had in the microwave.

It's something that we've all come across as bloggers. The assumption that all we do is receive parcels of free shit and just have to tap a few words out saying whether or not we like it. Having people shrug it off as something unimportant when you try to prioritise writing posts or getting other blog-related tasks done. Choosing your opportune moment to head into the living room to take photos when no-one is home because they just don't get it. The assumption that everything a blogger does is easy.

Well. I'm out to challenge the stereotypes and assumptions that come with being a blogger and give a little insight into what it's really like. Because sometimes, what you see from bloggers on social media and what blogging acutally is, couldn't be more different.

Blogging isn't easy. Blogging isn't always exciting, or glamorous or even necessarily enjoyable. It's bloody hard work. It's relentless, high-pressure and oh-so-bitchy at times. 

Blogging isn't calling each other 'lovely' all day long and in return receiving endless messages of love and Follow Fridays, just because you're so gosh-darn nice. Yes, being kind to people will get you further, but in a massively saturated industry, where we're all clamouring and shouting over each other to get your content noticed, being kind just isn't enough. Getting noticed in the blogosphere is tough, and to get noticed, we seem to put constant pressure on ourselves to stand out. 

Blogging isn't receiving exciting parcels through your door every day. Sometimes, blogging is watching as seemingly everyone else in the world receives beautiful PR packages from a brand you adore and blog about all the time, and wondering why your content still isn't good enough to be noticed. And then shunning away that abhorrent thought because no one can know that you can feel even the tiniest pang of jealousy, because that's just rude and not being supportive of others' success. (When actually, it is possible to feel both.)

Blogging is choosing between a beauty review and an opinion piece - beauty is what you usually stick to but you're so passionate about the latter. But you choose the review because you opinion could be seen as controversial seen as controversial and God-forbid you get caught up in any blogger drama and are deemed uneducated. (And I'm obviously not saying blog about views motivated by hate or discrimination, because that is NEVER okay. I'm just saying that often, opinion pieces are taken out of context and mountains are made out of molehills.)

Blogging is pretending that you don't care about the views, but secretly dying inside when a post you worked so hard on isn't being read and contemplating giving it all up and wondering why you're not good enough.  Blogging is sitting up all night with writer's block, or staring at a blank screen because you've had such a long day at your day job and any inspiration has been drained out of you.

When reading this post back, I wonder if maybe I sound too negative, and I don't mean it to come across so. I really love blogging, it's my passion and I'm so much happier in myself for doing it. I just think it's important to address the fact that what we do is, at times, brushed under the carpet as easy and it isn't so, there's a lot of tribulations that come with it that should be discussed rather than ignored.

What do you guys think?

Sian xo 

Everyday Make Up Look

Sunday, 1 April 2018

I did write an Everyday Make Up Look post a couple of years back - but since then my beauty knowledge has come a long way (and I wear a hell of a lot more these days too!) I've seen a few posts floating about recently so I thought I'd update mine a little and share my favourite products for everyday use.

My go-to look at the minute is a pretty, dewy pink look, I've never been a huge fan of contouring and strobing and other things, and I find that pinks suit me a lot more and look a little more natural. Plus my routine is super easy!

I tend to start with Figs & Rough Soft Focus Pore Perfect primer. I've only recently discovered this product in March's Glossybox, but I'm finding myself reaching for it most days ever since. It just glides onto the skin so smoothly and creates the perfect base for my make up time and again.

Next up is Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Foundation. I've never been one for heavy or 'full-coverage' foundation, I don't know what it is about my skin but they never seem to sit right and just make me look like I'm caked. I much prefer a more dewy look and Complexion Rescue does just that - gives lovely coverage and evens out my skin without sitting too heavy on my skin.

I've recently got my hands on the concealer that everyone's been raving about from Make Up Revolution, and I was desperate to see if it lived up to all of the hype. It definitely hasn't disappointed - and I now use this most days... and makes me wonder why I have been spending £20+ on concealer for all this time. The shade C3 matches my skin perfectly, and covers up my dark circles with no trouble whatsoever.

To finish my base, I've continued my long-standing love affair with Rimmel's Stay Perfect pressed powder - and I don't think I'll ever use anything else.

I kinda wanted to slap my silly 22 year old self in the face when I looked back at my previous Everyday Make Up Look post and realised that I didn't do anything with my eyebrows. Ever. At all. You'd think I'd have known better. Luckily though, I've now realised the importance of having tidy brows and how they can frame your face (thank god!). For me, it's all about Benefit for brows, no other brand has ever compared. I start by using a touch of Precisely, My Brow Pencil to give myself a little bit of depth and map out the shape, followed by Ka-Brow creme gel to make them bold and defined. To finish, I pop on a little bit of Ready, Set, Brow, a clear gel which helps the colour last all day.

Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion is my absolute holy grail, I don't know how I ever lived without it! Just a tiny bit of this magic stuff keeps my eye make up on all day, even through a stuffy office, a three mile walk and a gym session! If you've never tried it, I couldn't recommend enough!

I've recently started wearing eyeshadow most days just because I love experimenting with palettes and creating lots of different looks. Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette is my all-time favourite, the colours are just so flattering and the palette can be used to put together so many looks ranging from subtle daytime to night out-worthy. I love that I'm getting a little more brave with my make up!

I still haven't found an eyeliner I love as much as Benefit They're Real! Push Up Gel Liner - I've cracked how to do winged eyes thanks to this lovely little product! For mascara it's either Benefit Rollerlash or Too Faced Better Than Sex for me - they both create pretty, fanned out lashes without clumps or 'spider leg' lashes - perfect!

I recently reviewed the Barry M Liquid Chrome highlighter and I'm still just as in love with it! I use it every day along my cheekbones and blend it really well to give myself a subtle glow. I top that with Make Up Revolution Blush Queen palette - which is currently my go-to. It has eight shades of pretty pink blushes (I've never been a bronzer kind of girl) , ranging from subtle to strong depending on your mood! The powders are so pigmented and last all day (and it's only £8, so a bargain too!)

What are your favourite products for day-to-day wear?

Sian xo

March Happiness Journal

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

I could have sworn I was only writing up my February Happiness Journal last week?!

March seems to have been the month where everyone has been hanging on to the promise of Spring, warmer weather and blossoms. Instead? We've had Beasts from the East, freezing cold winds and absolute downpours. I won't be packing away my winter coat for a little while yet.

It's been a bit of a tricky month for me in all honesty, with ongoing family issues, the death of someone who meant a lot to me and other things I wouldn't want to bore you all to tears with. But I think when you're going through a little bit of a rubbish time it's more important than ever to remember things that have made you smile, so here is what had made my happy recently!

1. Getting back to the gym.

Okay, maybe I was dragged kicking and screaming for the first session. If we're being completely honest, up until recently the thought of being in a gym has filled me with so much anxiety that I avoided it even for the entire year that I worked there. With a bit (a lot) of coaxing though, I went to my first session and the anxiety has slowly but surely been broken down. Since then, Dan and I have been in the gym three times a week, and honestly, I feel so much better for it. My energy levels have increased, my migraines and dizziness are a lot less frequent, and my mental health is SO much better for it. I'm even starting to lose the podge around my tummy. 

2. A weekend with my 'family you choose.'

I have a little group of family, not by blood, but we call each other the 'family you choose', because we are as good as family! I've spent this last weekend with them in Grimsby and sometimes it's so nice to get away from your own world and sit and drink wine, giggle uncontrollably over silly things and play with a two year old in a toy kitchen, because she just says that you have to.

3. Family time on Mother's Day.

My siblings and I always make a point of spoiling my mum on Mother's Day as much as possible - mostly because it's one of the only days of the year that she will let us! All four of us love family time, and this year's choice of lunch and the cinema kept all of us happy! (Black Panther is awesome by the way!)

4. Snow days.

Okay, yes the snow was a bit of a nuisance by the end and I was glad to see the back of it. But having the time off work for a few days couldn't have come at a better time, because I was absolutely exhausted! I spent three days napping, writing blog posts and eating pancakes, not a bad life, eh?

5. Getting my hair done.

There's just something about a fresh cut and colour which makes me feel like a new person (and a sassier person at that, too). Plus, it's always nice to have a couple of hours being pampered in a salon!

What has made you happy this month?

Sian xo

My Top 10 Cheer Up Films

Sunday, 25 March 2018

One of my favourite ways to deal with a bad day is to get snuggled under my duvet with a cuppa and watch a film (or four). It's just a certain way of clearing whatever it is that's been going on in my head that day, escaping to another world and hopefully, making me laugh a little along the way. So, I thought I'd put together a little list of my ultimate 'Cheer Up' films, the films I rely on to make me feel better when I'm not feeling myself.

1. The Lion King

If you know me at all, you'd probably guess that this would be on here as it's my all-time favourite. And yes, I cry when Mufasa dies every time but even when I'm low, sometimes a good cry helps, even if it is over a fictional character!

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I challenge anyone to watch this film and not wiggle just a little bit when Ferris Bueller is dancing to Twist and Shout on top of a carnival float. For anyone who hasn't heard of this absolute classic, it follows the adventures of three teenagers around Chicago when they decide to skip school for the day, and it is guaranteed to make you smile. 

3. Tangled

My second favourite Disney film, there's just something about belting out the soundtrack the whole way through which makes me really happy! Rapunzel is also probably the funniest Disney princess out there, in my opinion.

4. The Full Monty

This film is an absolute classic, and if you've never seen it, please just get it watched! I think a bit part of why I love it so much though is because it is set in Sheffield, and is complete with shots of the city which just remind me of home (as well as the Yorkshire accents!) Plus, if a load of middle-aged men thrusting to Hot Stuff in a queue doesn't make you smile, nothing will!

5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Don't get me wrong, I love the entire Harry Potter series, but there's something about the first film which just cheers me up whenever I feel rubbish. It's probably the innocence of Harry and his friends, when you're just laying eyes on Hogwarts and everything the magical world is capable of which excites me every time!

6. Love Actually

(Yes I am very aware that this is a Christmas film, but I watch it all year round with no regrets.) When you're feeling a bit sad, there's nothing like being reminded that 'love, actually is all around' to warm your heart. Plus Hugh Grant dancing is bloody hilarious.

7. Beauty & the Beast

I'm referring to the 2017 version here. I've always loved the animated classic, but the soundtrack on the new version and the visuals just give the film a little something extra which makes me happy every time. Not to mention the cast is incredible.

8. Four Weddings & A Funeral 

Can you tell I'm a fan of 80s/90s films? I love a good wedding anyway and this film obviously is full of them, plus anything with a young Hugh Grant in with his big geeky glasses and I am here for it!

9. Mean Girls

The most quotable film of all time, even if you're not even watching it, just shouting out the script by heart is guaranteed to make you giggle! 'I WANT MY PINK SHIRT BACK!'

10. The Greatest Showman

Okay, I've only seen this once, but I know that the soundtrack is currently helping to make me smile on a daily basis. And once it's out on DVD I will probably have it on on repeat. 

What are your favourite cheer up films?

Sian xo

Benefit Ka-Brow

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

For me, it's only Benefit when it comes to brow products. I've loved every brow product that I have tried from them, the packaging is swoon-worthy and thanks to the lovely girls at my local Benefit Brow Bar, I've FINALLY learned how to tame my wild eyebrows (took long enough!)

Up until recently though, I've been defaulting to a soft and natural brow look, just because the thought of doing anything more complicated was a bit scary to me, and I was also worried about my brows looking 'too bold' or 'too much'.

After a chat with one of the consultants at my local Benefit, I decided to try something a bit new - I fancied having a go at giving myself more defined, darker brows and she recommended Ka-Brow was the product I needed in my life.

And she was so right. 

The biggest thing for me when it comes to brow products is that they need to be easy to use. I really can't cope with an overly time-consuming brow routine, or anything that takes too much creative flair because in all honesty, I just don't have it in me. But I picked up on the technique of using Ka-Brow pretty much straight away, so if I can manage it, anyone can!

Ka-Brow is a creme-gel product, which comes in six shades ranging from fair to dark. I went for a shade 4, as I would normally have gone for a 3 to get a softer look, but I wanted to try something a bit darker so I went a shade up. The formula itself is very rich and workable, and a little bit does go a long way which means the actual product will last you ages (making the £20+ price tag a little more bearable!) The product glides on so easily and blends like an absolute dream if you do want to soften your look a little. The result? Defined eyebrows which last all day, just what I wanted!

I usually start with Benefit's Goof Proof Brow Pencil in a shade 4 to use as a base, and comb my brows through to get them into shape. I then apply Ka-Brow and set with their Ready, Set, Brow! to ensure that they last all day.

I honestly couldn't recommend Ka-Brow enough to anyone, especially if you want to give a defined look a go but don't like a complicated product. I've now worked it into a daily essential and I will definitely be repurchasing!

What are your favourite brow products?

Sian xo

March Glossybox

Sunday, 18 March 2018

I always love March Glossyboxes. With Spring around the corner (it's snowing as I'm typing this but there you go), it's the perfect time to blow off the winter cobwebs, spring clean your beauty routines and refresh. Glossyboxes around this time of year always seem to fit that idea perfectly, and this month's was no exception. Ready to dive in?

First up are these beautiful Illamasqua lashes. I've never used any of Illamasqua's products before, but I have heard some of my favourite bloggers absolutely rave about it, so I'm so excited to give these lashes a go! I personally don't like false lashes which are too bold, but these look absolutely perfect for a fanned out, pretty look which is right up my street. I'm saving these for a night out or some kind of special occasion but I'll definitely be keeping you posted on what I think of them!

Next is the Mudmasky Sleep Repair Renewal Nourishing Mask, a cruelty-free overnight mask designed to hydrate, smooth and rejuvenate your skin while you sleep. In all honesty, I wasn't sold on the idea of wearing a face mask overnight, mostly because I was worried about getting it all over my bedding and whether or not it would be too heavy and leave a sticky residue on my face in the morning. While the former was true (I would use an old pillowcase if you're trying it out for yourself), the latter certainly wasn't. After rinsing the product off in the morning, my skin certainly felt smoother and more hydrated without weighing it down.

I also received Figs & Rouge Soft Focus Pore Perfect Veil, a light cream which helps to reduce the appearance of pores and imperfections. I love the packaging on this and the formula was just as lovely. It was incredibly lightweight and applied like an absolute dream. I've been using it before I apply my foundation and it is perfect for smoothing out your skin, evening out skin tone and my foundation definitely went on that little bit better after using it.

Everyone knows that I'm a sucker for a nude lipstick, especially once the sun starts to come out! So I was really thrilled to find a lipstick from Oryza Beauty in shade Arwa in my Glossybox. It's a beautiful barely-there pink shade, with a satin finish which I also love during the Spring. Perfect for everyday wear and goes with everything - winner!

Finally, I got a itty-bitty bottle of MorrocanOil Treatment, which I was SO happy to find. I've used this product before and loved it, but with it being a little more on the pricey side, I never got around to repurchasing. But my poor, head-damaged, bleached-and-blow-dried-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life-hair absolutely loves it, and just a little bit of the oil goes a long way, even with super thick hair like mine.

Have you ever tried any of these products?

Sian xo