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

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

'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

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

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

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 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 

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