I've Been SkinKissed!*

Sunday, 23 September 2018

You know when you find a product that fits perfectly into your routine instantly? I love it when that happens.

I've been using serums as part of my skincare routine for a long time now. I love the extra boost they give, especially at night when my skin's feeling a little tired.

I was very kindly sent the SkinKissed Vitamin C serum recently, and I've been putting it to the test over the last few months. I can honestly say it's now a firm feature in my skincare routine!

The serum is packed full of Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid & collagen - the perfect combination of ingredients for healthy, glowing skin. The formula is quite thick, which I personally love in a serum but it doesn't take long for the skin to absorb it, which means it is suitable to use either morning or evening. You only need a drop or two for the whole face and neck, a little bit goes a long way with this one!

But the glow. I love a product which gives instant results, and I could see a difference in my skin right from the first use. The Vitamin C gives my skin so much nourishment and an amazing boost, especially when I'm stressed and run-down, it always shows in my skin first! I get such a glow from using the serum, which is perfect for underneath make up, especially when I'm not fancying using too much foundation.

I can definitely recommend the SkinKissed serum for anyone who has tired, dehydrated skin and wants a healthy glow.

What's your favourite skincare serum?

Sian xo

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

48 Hours in London

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The look on my sister's face on her 18th birthday when she unwrapped her 'tickets' (handmade as I hadn't had them arrive yet) was absolutely priceless, I genuinely wish I'd recorded it. The tickets were for Wicked, the West-End show that she'd wanted to see ever since being a child.

I'd planned a weekend trip to London for us, staying in Clapham and we wanted to pack as much into our trip as possible. And I thought I'd share it with you!

We arrived at our little hotel in Clapham on Friday evening, which seemed a bit far out at the time but it was a two-minute walk from the tube station, so pretty convenient really! We ditched our plans to go for a meal and drinks in favour of stocking up on snacks from the Sainsbury's Local and watching 8 Out Of 10 Cats in the room. And we had such a giggle. I was exhausted from working all week anyway, and we wanted to be fully charged for a full-on day on the Saturday.

Our first full day was a packed one. We decided to spend the day shopping, it had been so long since we'd had a good shopping trip! Oxford Street (including the Harry Potter section in Primark, of course), Regent's Street (if only for Hamley's), Caranby Street, coffee, pasta and a lot of overspending... totally worth it. We wandered the busy streets, died over the Disney Spectrum collections and somehow managed not to buy the entire Sweet Peach range in Too Faced.

Back to the hotel for a quick change and out for dinner and Wicked. We were so excited. 

After spending a small chunk of time crying at the price of prosecco in the theatre (I should have known better, it was too much for my poor Northern soul), the music started and we settled in for the show. It was my third time seeing Wicked but I still love it each and every time. I kept stealing glances at Isabelle and seeing her fall in love too, which was so lovely to see. (We might have both cried a bit. Just a bit though.)

We decided to take Sunday at a slightly slower pace, and use it to see all the usual tourist sights. We headed to Covent Garden first for the most amazing brunch (an omelette with chorizo and potato?! Yes please!) before taking a little wander around Whittard's, which is one of my favourite shops!

There's sometimes a massive assumption that when you take a trip to London everything is rushed because you have to pack everything in. But I'll be honest, we weren't really feeling that. 48 hours isn't a very long time for such a massive city, so we decided to walk towards the river, and see what we stumbled across along the way. No rush, no stress. We took it steady, explored little side streets that looked interesting, passed Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square and eventually found the River. We wandered the Embankment, stumbled across a huge second hand book sale, found cute prints for sale, had an ice cream and just took the city in. We had the best day, saw plenty, chatted and had a giggle. And did a lot of people watching!

We're already planning another trip to London, hopefully next year because we just loved spending quality time together! The next show has already been decided - we both want to see Hamilton so badly that we just need to bite the bullet and sell a kidney each to afford the tickets! It'll be worth it though.

Have you been to London? What are your favourite spots?

Sian xo

Brushes and More From Crownbrush*

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

I'm one of those people who is really bad at hoarding make up brushes. I have absolutely tonnes of them, and most of them are very much worse for wear. I've known for a long time that I need to look into replacing them, but I never actually got around to it.

Cue Crownbrush. I was approached by their PR team about collaborating and testing a few of their products. A new brand to me, AND replacing my gross old brushes? Yes please!

I was asked to choose a few products that I fancied trying out, and when I looked at the website, I was totally spoiled for choice. Little did I know that they don't only do brushes, there were palettes, foundations, the whole thing. All promising professional standard and amazing results.

I had to go for a couple of their signature brushes, of course. I selected a couple of staples, the Deluxe Large Foundation brush and the C456 Pointed Blender.

Is there anything more exciting than brand new, immaculate make-up brushes?! Both brushes were beautifully soft, sleek, and easy to use. I love the flat foundation brush for applying and blending liquid foundation, it works so well with my make up to give a flawless finish. I've been using the Pointed Blender brush for concealer, and it's so perfect for getting a precise coverage on blemishes and under-eye bags, and it works really well for blending concealer out too. I normally use a flat brush for concealer but I won't be looking back now as I find the Pointed Blender is just so much more effective!

As well as the brushes, I received the Studio Glam Eyeliner in Solid Gold. I've been wanting to pick up a gold eyeliner for absolutely ages, so I grabbed the chance! I've been using this liner to compliment my usual black winged look, either underneath my eyes or on top of the black, and I absolutely love using something a bit different! The liner is liquid, but it's so pigmented, with a beautiful finish and it lasts all day! The applicator is the perfect size to do thin lines but it's also super buildable for when you fancy something a little more extra.

Finally, I received the 35 Colour Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette. Now I'm an absolute sucker for eyeshadow palettes anyway, but I think I unwrapped this one and instantly fell in love. It was absolutely made for me. From subtle nudes to shimmery golds to flattering browns, this palette is 35 shades of pure beauty! The colours are pretty pigmented, blend together like an absolute dream and the sheer amount means the combination possibilities are absolutely endless. I've absolutely loved playing around with this palette over the last couple of months and experimenting with different looks!

Overall, I couldn't be more impressed with Crownbrush. The brushes are absolutely stunning, and the other products are an absolute dream. And all for such reasonable prices. I'll definitely be back to purchase some more goodies soon!

Have you ever used Crownbrush?

Sian xo

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

Life Lately

Sunday, 26 August 2018

It feels like forever since I last sat down to write. To the point where now that I'm doing it, I don't really know where to begin. I suppose just having a chat about what has been going on recently is a good place to start.

You might have noticed it's been really quiet on my blog and across all of my social media platforms. I had absolutely no intention of taking a break, and even then I only wanted to step away from the blog for a week or two at the most. Instead it's been about six weeks and I feel like I'm completely out of touch with the community and just blogging as a whole.

So, what's been going on? Well, I'm not really ready to go into too much detail just yet but let's just say that back in April, our family received some news. The earth-shattering, devastating kind of news. The kind that causes your world to shift.

I tried really hard for a long time to pretend that it didn't affect me. Or that it affected me just enough to not overwhelm. I went to work and I smiled and I chatted and I got on with my job, I came home and did my admin work and I blogged and I cried when I felt the need to but I also wiped my eyes after a few minutes, put on my big brave girl face and carried on.

The problem with that tactic though, is that it only works for so long.

And the thing is with blogging, even though I love it and it was the only thing that kept me sane for a long time, when even existing, when doing the mundane things like getting up and brushing your teeth and getting yourself out of the house for work on time is exhausting, it pretty much quashes any creativity you have.

And let's face it, we all know there's a lot more to what we do than just write posts. There's the taking photos, editing, scheduling tweets, brainstorming ideas, being active on social media. And I just didn't have the mental energy anymore.

I won't blog if it feels like a chore. Yes I have a schedule and a to-do list, but if I don't fancy it, or I need to take a day for me, I'll do exactly that. I guess that's the beauty of your blog being just a hobby.

I've missed everything about blogging so much over the last few weeks. I've missed writing, taking photos, chatting away to people online, being active on InstaStories. All of it.

So, what now? Things aren't perfect. Some days I still feel like we're in complete turmoil. But they're definitely on the up and I feel more like myself. And I am so ready to come back into blogging and working away on new content. Let's go!

Sian xo

June Happiness Journal

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Honestly, these months are going by so fast!

June's been a little stressful for me for several reasons, but a combination of little things have been getting me through.

1. Having Love Island back on my screen!
Yep, I'm one of those people who is currently glued to my screen at 9pm every night. I'm not even sorry! Love Island coming back on my screen has made me so happy (even though this season isn't a patch on the previous, if you ask me) and it's been a really good excuse to make sure I have all of my work done by 9pm so I can watch it!

2. A BBQ with the 'Family You Choose'
I've probably mentioned this kind of thing in a tonne of previous Happiness Journal posts, but time with my non-blood family is something I cherish so much. At the beginning of the month, we took advantage of the sunshine and had a little BBQ and it was so lovely to just all chill out together and eat until we napped.

3. Getting back into a blogging routine.
I've had so much going on for the last month or two that I felt like I'd fallen out of my blogging groove. I wasn't anywhere near as organised, I was missing posts left right and centre... and I was kicking myself for it, in all honesty. I had a serious case of bloggers guilt, and I really missed being active on social media and creating. In the last few weeks though, I've got myself together and I'm finally back into a routine which I'm comfortable with.

What's made you happy recently?

Sian xo

My Summer Beauty Must-Haves*

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Summer has finally arrived and I couldn't be happier about it. I love switching up my beauty routine ready for the warmer months, putting away my heavy foundations and thick eye make up in favour of lightweight formulas and anything with a glow.

I've teamed up with Clive Christian and their range of summer perfumes to share with you my summer beauty must-haves, all of which will be at the top of my stash for the foreseeable future!

I've recently learned the importance of a great self-tan, especially when I've been a staycation-er for the last few years and my chance of getting a proper tan is pretty limited! I raved about the St Tropez One-Minute Mousse when I was kindly gifted it earlier this year and I'm still just as obsessed. It's so easy to use; pop it on, wait a minute, hop in the shower and done. It fits in perfectly with your daily routine and gives a natural sun-kissed glow, with no streaks!

To finish off the sun-kissed look, I've been loving the Utan Bronze and Tone night creme. This is designed for your face and you simply pop it on overnight and it builds a gradual tan. The cream is really lightweight and the glow it gives is gorgeous!

For me, there's nothing worse than it being the height of summer, and having to wear a full-coverage foundation. You know when you feel like you can't touch your face without half of your foundation melting off? Yep, that. Whilst the sun has been out, I've absolutely sworn by the Olay & MaxFactor BB Cream, I've been using it for years and it gives me just enough coverage to cover any blemishes and even out skin tone without feeling too heavy on my face.

I haven't really been a big fan of Benefit's Hoola Bronzer until recently - I always thought that the colour was much too strong for me and it just didn't really suit. It wasn't until I mentioned it to one of the Benefit girls when I went to have my eyebrows done that she showed me a couple of little tricks to create a more natural look, including blurring out the edges with a normal powder. Since then, I've been loving it. It hasn't left my make-up bag, it's perfect for giving your face a sun-kissed look for the summer.

During the winter, I'm all about greys, deep purples and red nails. But as soon as the sun starts to come out, I love changing it up to brighter colours. Barry M and Ciate are two of my favourite nail polish brands because they're hard-wearing and chip resistant, and these are two of my perfect summer shades, pink and corals, yes please!

In the warmer weather, my already thick and flyaway hair can go a bit nuts. It's the humidity! A good hair oil is essential for me to tame my locks. I discovered the Hallelujah Hair Oil from Forest & Shore a few months ago and I have never looked back. It's been working a treat at repairing my damaged hair, with the added bonus of smoothing and taming it during the humid weather.

What are your summer essentials?

Sian xo

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

Five Base Products I Swear By

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Every beauty fan knows that an amazing face of make-up starts with an amazing base. And I don't know about you, but nothing makes me feel more confident than when I've put my make up on and my skin looks flawless. (Whether or not it's flawless underneath is an entirely different matter!)

I have certain products that I swear by for a flawless finish, these never leave my make up bag, and I repurchase them time and again because I couldn't live without them!

1. EE Green Tea Primer
The key to a fabulous base is a good primer. I received this one in a Glossybox a few months back and I've been loving it ever since. It's infused with green tea (who knew it could do so many things?!) and it's as lightweight as a moisturiser but it leaves you with the perfect canvas for your make up, leaving it really smooth and refreshed.

2. The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
I talked all about this foundation in a previous post - but I'm still as obsessed. As someone with really dry skin, I was so worried that my skin would hate a full coverage foundation, but I couldn't have been more wrong. It gives a gorgeous finish, covering every little blemish and evening out skin tone without feeling like you've got too much on your face.

3. Benefit Boiing Highlighting Concealer
This has been one of my favourite concealers forever. Industrial-strength, covers dark circles like an absolute dream and is so glowy. It's the perfect concealer for if you want a dewy finish, but still need a decent amount of coverage. A little of it goes a really long way, which makes the £20 price tag a little more bearable too!

4. Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder
I've been using this powder without straying for literal years and I'll probably never really use anything else. It does exactly what it says on the tin really, it mattifies, sets, and rarely needs reapplying (which is ace because who has time for that?!)

5. Revolution Conceal & Define 
The concealer everyone has been talking about recently! I couldn't resist picking up and seeing if it was worth the hype. And it totally is. I tend to use this when I fancy something a little more matte, but it still gives amazing coverage without sticking to my dry patches.

What are your go-to base products?

Sian xo

Real Neat Blog Award

Sunday, 17 June 2018

I love being nominated for these blog awards - the posts are really fun to write, plus they give you all a little insight into the person behind the blog!

I was nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by the lovely Holly, I've actually not heard of it before now but I was still thrilled to be nominated!

Here are the rules of the award:
1. Put the award label on your blog.
2. Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. Thank the people who nominated you and link to their blogs.
4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, include links to their blogs.
5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog or twitter etc)

Here are my questions!

1. What made you start blogging?
I started blogging while I was at uni - I was studying Journalism and I'd been toying with the idea of starting a blog for ages. I went to my friend Fii's house for our usual cup of green tea and catch up, and I knew she blogged and asked for her help because I just didn't know where to start. She helped me to get everything set up that I needed, choose my inital blog theme and even took some first photos for me. And I fell in love with it almost instantly!

2. What's the most difficult thing you've ever had to do/overcome?
This is a difficult one... I think it's something which I don't wish to talk about on my blog, at least for the time being. It was only recent and the pain is still pretty raw on that one. A close second though, was sitting in front of my dad after four years. It didn't have the outcome I'd hoped for, and it took a hell of a lot of guts for me to even get there, but I was so glad I did it.

3. What's your favourite blog post you've done and why?
My favourite post is called Heartbreak, which I wrote just after my last relationship ended. I found it so therapeutic to write, and when I read it back just before posting, I couldn't believe those words had come out of me. It sounded so raw and real but also one of the most well-written posts I've ever done. I'm really proud of that one.

4. When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably? What happened?
Friday afternoon. Everyone in my office had got a little bit of the Fri-YAY hysteria and all of a sudden one of the lads turns round and says 'can you guys floss?' I thought he meant flossing my teeth at first, then I remembered it's that dance that all the cool kids are doing these days. He stood up and attempted it, but it looked more like a thrusting dad dance. In the end, we all had to get up and have a go at it, but we were all rubbish, and all in absolute stitches with tears rolling down our faces at the end.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?
I have guilty pleasures that aren't all that guilty, to be honest! Made in Chelsea, Love Island, Michael Buble, Little Mix, the list goes on!

6. What is your favourite memory from 2018 so far?
Sitting in Sheffield's Peace Gardens in the sunshine last month. It was beautiful weather, I had an iced tea in hand, and I was home. 

7. Do your friends and family read your blog?
Some do, I think. My best friend is my biggest fan, my sister reads it when she remembers, whether anyone else does I'm not really sure!

I'd like to nominate anyone who would like to do it! 

Sian xo

Family You Choose

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

To the Family You Choose,

You lot know me. I've always hated Father's Day. I stay off social media to avoid the #daddyslittlegirl posts and old photos. I scrunch my nose up at the adverts on TV and the meal offers outside restaurants. And more often than not, I spend Father's Day with you, just to distract me.

It's not that people shouldn't post on Father's Day and show their dads appreciation. It's always been a jealousy thing. I guess I feel cheated out of it.

This year though, I'm turning that on its head. And in honour of Father's Day, I'm celebrating you, some of my favourite people in the whole world. The Family I Chose.

You're a special bunch, because you didn't have to love me. There's no genetic connection that means we're forever linked. Instead, you took me on, got to know me, flaws and all, and love me anyway. And I'll always be grateful for that.

To Sarah, probably the most selfless person I've ever met. My godmother, big sister and best friend. I can genuinely say I wouldn't be the person I am without you. From teaching me silly songs and group games as a little girl, to taking me out for ice-cream to help mend a broken heart, to coming and beating down my front door when I try to go into hiding. And everything else in between. I couldn't be more grateful.

To Joe, the father figure I always needed. The man who would take on anyone who dared to try to do me wrong, makes me laugh and gives the best hugs. The man who knows exactly when he needs to bring cake, just because I've had a rubbish day. The man who will wrap me up in a big, Joe-like hug, kiss my forehead and remind me that the boy wasn't good enough for me anyway. Eloise is a lucky girl to have a dad like you.

To Eloise and Madison, my extra little sisters. How you two make me giggle! Madi, it's been so amazing to watch you grow from this little tot with brown curls and big eyes to the funny, sassy and clever girl you are now. Eloise, you have so much growing still to do but I already know I'm going to be so proud of the person you're about to become.

To Helen, one of the funniest, strongest people I know. Thank you for making me laugh until I cry, feeding me wine and for all the times we've been the ones giggling at the back of church.

To Grandma, the lady who taught me to remember my manners as a little girl, who always looks happy to see me and was always up at 2am when I was still working away on my uni essays and checked in to make sure I was okay. You're a special lady and I'm so grateful to have you.

Family isn't always necessarily about blood connections. Family are the people who stick by you through every triumph, every rough patch, every heartbreak. They're the ones who cheer you on and pick you up when you hit rock bottom. And when they do all that, because they chose you, hold on to those people. Mine are ace.

Sian xo

I'm Okay With Being 'Basic'

Sunday, 3 June 2018

I get the word 'basic' thrown at me pretty much every other day. My brother says I'm the most basic person he's ever met. Dan rolls his eyes when I get excited over rose gold items. My friends laugh and tut and shake their heads and mutter 'such a basic girl.'

But hey, why do they say I'm basic like it's a bad thing?

We live in a world which is all about fitting in, but there's also a negative connotation with not being different enough, or not being a bit edgy? 

Up until recently, I've found myself trying to justify to people why I am this way, or downplay characteristics, interests or behaviour that will make them think I'm 'basic'. But you know what? I've decided to embrace it. Yep, I'm basic.

Autumn is my favourite season. I love watching the leaves on the trees change colour. There's a slight chill in the air but it isn't too cold. It's perfect scarf weather (and I love scarves.) And there are few things that are as joyful as crunching through leaves.

I do get a bit excited when Starbucks bring back the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They taste delicious, okay?

I love rose gold things. Especially homeware. Copper is also very pretty.

I happen to love my dragonfly tattoo on my wrist. I'll never be the kind of person who has large tattoos and I'll never even consider a sleeve, but that doesn't make it okay for heavily tattooed people to roll their eyes at me.

I love a good musical. My all time favourite is Wicked, which I could sing to you backwards.

You'll almost always find me with a cup of coffee in hand. Not because I think I look cool with a takeaway cup, but because I'm just really tired and need the caffeine.

I own a lot of Pandora jewellery, and I'm a firm believer that I'll never own too much of it.

I am the kind of person who will take a photo of their food before they tuck in if it looks especially delicious. Always thinking of the 'gram.

But, all of these things combined which apparently make me basic, doesn't make me any less intelligent, or kind, or any less myself. And if that means I'm 'typical', then so be it. Let me take joy in these little things.

Yep, I'm a basic girl. On the plus side, that makes it very easy to buy me Christmas and birthday presents!

Sian xo

May Happiness Journal

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

In all honesty, I didn't really want to sit down and write this post. The thought of writing a Happiness Journal when you've had so much happen, stuff that makes you feel devastated and exhausted and just low... I was pretty reluctant to even attempt it.

It wasn't until I sat down and thought about it that actually, there's been some really good stuff going on this month, in between all of the rubbish. And I think those things have kept me sane this month.

1. Time with my extended family.

My mum comes from a pretty big family, and we're pretty spread out all over the place. Time together is rare (weddings and christenings tend to be the main events) so it was really lovely to go out for lunch last weekend and spend some much-needed quality time together. They're a pretty funny bunch, especially my uncles, who I could sit and listen to all day when they tell stories about how mischievous they were as boys. We ended up spending the entire afternoon in a pub just chatting and laughing, which is a pretty perfect way to spend a Saturday if you ask me.

2. Snaps of Little Star at Disneyland.

My little niece went to Disneyland with her parents at the start of the month for her third birthday. At this point, I was feeling like absolute rubbish, but seeing photos come through over Whatsapp of her meeting all of the characters, running around giggling and just generally being an absolute cutie cheered me up no end. 

3. Passing my driving test.

Finally! This was my third attempt at my driving test, and I couldn't quite believe I'd passed when he handed me the certificate! I even picked up a car on Friday and the freedom I've got already is just awesome (but let's ignore the bills that go along with it...)

4. A trip to Sheffield.

A couple of weeks ago, Dan and I went on a little adventure to Sheffield so that I could go to the Liz Earle event at John Lewis. You know me by now, any excuse to go 'home' and I am there! I had a really lovely morning at the event, we had a late breakfast at one of my favourite spots and generally had a wander and some (rare) time together. (I want to move back even more now, mind you!)

5. Securing my first sponsored blog collaboration.

Earning money through your blog seems to be something of a taboo subject in the community, even though we all know that it happens. Personally though, I am more than happy to share the fact that I secured my first sponsored post this month! If I'm being honest, I never thought I'd ever get to this point, where someone would actually be willing to pay me real money to write for them. Whenever opportunities like this just give me that little bit of confidence that maybe I'm doing okay at this blogging thing!

What's made you happy this month?

Sian xo

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