I've set myself a challenge to read 50 books in 2019. I think I might have been a little ambitious on that target, but I've been really enjoying getting stuck into books again! It's been so good to be able to take a little bit of time out before bed, put my phone away and bury my nose in a book.

I'm pretty fussy with books usually, and if a book hasn't grabbed me within the first chapter or two, I just get fed up and ditch it. But I've been reading some really good books recently, so I thought I would share with you what I've been loving!

Billy & Me - Giovanna Fletcher
I'll be honest, I first started reading Giovanna's books because I follow her on Instagram and just think her and Tom are total family goals... but actually, I love her writing style, her relatable characters and heartwarming storylines.

'Billy & Me' follows the story of Sophie, an ordinary girl from a tiny Kent village who just so happens to fall in love with one of the biggest Hollywood actors ever. She finds herself thrown into Billy's heady, glitzy world, out of her comfort zone and with some pretty tough decisions to make...

I had this book basically glued to my hand right the way to the final page. The story was totally charming, it was so so easy to read and I fell in love with the characters from the get-go. (Despite finding myself simultaneously loving Sophie and wanting to punch her in the face, even if the latter was mostly because I know I'd behave in exactly the same way, not for the right reasons).

Always With Love - Giovanna Fletcher
As soon as I'd closed 'Billy & Me', I was straight on Amazon to order the sequel, 'Always With Love'. I was desperate to know how Billy & Sophie's story continued! If I'm being totally honest, I definitely preferred the first book out of the two but I still loved getting stuck into the second one, which is largely set in sunny LA!

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson
Lily and Ted meet in an airport bar. After one too many drinks, Ted confesses his secret desire to kill his wife after discovering her infidelity. Lily offers to help. It's about to get very dark...

My favourite book genre is definitely a thriller, and after reading the synopsis of 'The Kind Worth Killing', I knew I had to delve deeper. I was hooked. The story has so many twists that I just didn't see coming, it was one of those that I'd lose track of time whilst reading. Which is a sign of a very good book to me. If you loved 'Gone Girl' and 'Girl on the Train', this is definitely something you need to read.

Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson
Christine has a rare form of amnesia which means she loses twenty years of her life as soon as she falls asleep. The only person she can trust is her husband. Or can she?

I'd heard of this film before, but never the book. And I'm one of those people who has to read the book before watching the film adaptation. Whilst reading, I thought I would be able to predict the ending, but I was totally wrong. The story is really clever, the ending leaves you with so many questions and trust me, it'll stay with you. I can definitely recommend this one!

What books have you been loving recently?

Sian xo

Dan and I have been 'officially' living together for a couple of months now. I didn't think being in a place of our own would change our relationship, but it has. Not a negative impact, but there are certain elements that are different.

So in celebration of the fact that we're stuck with each other for the foreseeable future (or at least until December when our tenancy is due for renewal), here is a (not exhaustive) list of the realities of living with your boyfriend. The good, the bad, and the gross.

1. Only having to do half of the cooking and the cleaning (which is great for me seeing as my mashed potato is rubbish and his is amazing).

2. Always having him there. On the other hand, he's. Always. There.

3. Mornings where you're brought a cup of tea in bed are just the best.

4. Being a real, grown-up couple and having our other couple friends over for dinner. So fancy.

5. Being able to slam the bedroom door shut when he's being a total shit is pretty satisfying.

6. Telling me that I can decorate however I want, then wrinkling his nose when I bring home tealight holders that he doesn't like.

7. Genuinely fearing for my life when I use the bathroom immediately after him.

He's alright, though. I won't trade him in just yet.

Sian xo

I don't know about you, but I hate how much the Winter months play havoc with my skin. I'm prone to dry skin as it is, but the harsh winds and freezing temperatures at this time of year just seems to make it a hundred times worse, and it's hard bloody work trying to keep my skin hydrated and refreshed.

Saying that though, my skin is currently looking pretty good despite the harsh conditions, and seeing as there's no sign of Spring yet, I thought I'd share some tips for anyone who is struggling at this time of year!

1. Find a good moisturiser
Sounds obvious, but it's probably amazing how many people miss out this step! Finding the right moisturiser for your skin is essential, and I always find that switching up your moisturiser for the seasons is really important. I tend to use a thicker, more robust moisturiser during the Winter because I know my skin is much more prone to dryness during this time of year, and then switch back to something more lightweight during the summer months. I was kindly gifted the Intensive Moisture Balance from Dermalogica recently, and I absolutely swear by it at this time of year!

2. Double-cleanse
Double-cleansing is probably the single most important skincare lesson I have heard in the last six months. Since putting in a bit of extra time to double-cleanse, my skin has improved dramatically, after all, no good putting loads of lotions and potions on if you're not cleansing properly first!

3. Invest in a facial oil
Nope, didn't make much sense to me either at first. I steered clear of facial oils for such a long time because adding oil to skin that was already dry just seemed like adding to my problems. But I couldn't have been more wrong. Facial oils actually give the skin a little boost of extra nourishment and lock in the moisture, no added oiliness! I swear by the Dr. Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Oil - it has quite a hefty price tag but so worth it!

4. Face masks twice a week
Not only have using face masks on a regular basis made a huge difference to my skin, I've been able to use them as an excuse to have 15 minutes of me-time a couple of times a week. There's nothing like being able to pop on a mask and taking yourself off with a book. There are so many good masks out there that keep skin healthy and sort out any dryness caused by the winter conditions, but my personal favourites are the Garnier Tissue Sheet Masks (which are perfect for a no-mess, no-hassle solution) and L'Oreal Clay Masks. My advice though would be to do your research and find the products that will work the best with your skin.

What are your favourite Winter skincare products?

Sian xo

*This post contains gifted items, but all opinions are my own!

Look at that angelic little face...

The first time my little niece came to my new house was her first sleepover. She dropped her bags, ran a lap around the place and then came running up to me shouting 'Bop Bop, this is amaaaaazing!' What a little sweetheart.

Moving into somewhere that wasn't shared housing for the first time since she was a year old has meant that babysitting duties soon kicked in. Not that I was complaining though, I love spending quality time with my Little Star, and it was the first time I'd had her overnight solo.

I'll tell you what, being responsible for a tiny human, even just overnight is a bit of an eye-opener. And, even though I already knew it, I realised I am in no way ready to be a parent yet.

Don't get me wrong, she was good as gold. She went to bed when we asked her to, she went straight to sleep and slept all the way through the night. There were no strops, no temper tantrums and I came out of the whole experience with my sanity still in tact. Winner, right?

But oh my goodness, was it chaotic.

Eloise might have slept the through the night, but Aunty Bop Bop certainly didn't. After being told she sometimes gets up once or twice in the night, I couldn't sleep because I was so worried she'd wake up and I wouldn't hear her. I was then running through every possible scenario in my head. What if she gets up, forgets where she is and walks into the bedroom door? Or falls down the stairs? What if she finds her way to the bathroom for a wee but falls down the toilet? (All unlikely, but stressful nonetheless!) Is this just a parent's life, constantly worrying about the child injuring themselves?!

The next morning, we had to be up and out of the door to get the little one to her Nativity play on time. She was Mary, so obviously integral to the plot of the production and not being late was essential. 

Ha. Ha ha ha.

Bath time was interesting. The first part was fun. We splashed, we sang songs, I eventually got round to washing her. I then realised the time and told her it was time to get out. Now, Eloise is only three, but she can already negotiate. 'No Bop Bop, two more minutes. I'm being a mermaid!' All whilst proceeding to slide up and down the bath on her tummy, being a mermaid. Five minutes later, and I'm still trying to negotiate getting her out of the bath while she continues, 'pllleeeeeeaaaaaassssseeee, two more minutes, pppplllllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeeee?' I don't get how her mum and dad ever say no to those big blue eyes and that cheeky grin, to be honest.

I made the fatal mistake of putting Paw Patrol on for her to eat her breakfast in front of, thinking it would give me chance to get sorted. Rookie error. A spoonful of Weetabix went in per half an episode, I reckon. And trying to explain to a three year old the reasons why you need them to eat faster... Well, you work out how that one went down.

Meanwhile, I'm running around getting her costume for the play together, having a three second long shower, shouting at Dan, putting on as much concealer on my under-eye bags as possible, and trying to throw a coffee down my throat... How do parents do this every day?!

We did eventually get out of the door. And she got to her Nativity on time. And I grinned like an idiot as she clung onto baby Jesus as if her life depended on it. But I got an insight into the chaos of having children, and I am not ready. Nope. Nada.

I like taking a good couple of hours to get ready in a morning, doing my hair and carefully applying a full face of make up. I like taking my time with my morning cup of tea. I like getting a full night's sleep.

I love spending time with Eloise though, so I suppose I'll babysit again.

Sian xo