8 'Adulting' Things That I Still Haven't Figured Out

Sunday, 23 February 2020

I remember being 18 or 19, and being adamant that at 26, I would be a proper grown up, and really have my life together. I'd have a proper grip on adulthood, fiercely independent, with a strong career well underway, with an active social life but still with the ability to be a domestic goddess when required.

Oh, 18 year old Sian, how naive you were.

The reality of being an adult is much more difficult than you think, especially when you're living in that little uni bubble and think living in the big, bad world is a doddle. And don't get me wrong, while I'm not doing a terrible job of it, there are certainly elements of being a grown-up which are very much elusive to me. Do you recognise any of this list?

1. Saving money
To the people who have little saving pots squirrelled away, HOWWWW do you do it, please tell me your secrets?! I swear I get paid, pay my bills, put petrol in my car, get a food shop in and then BAM! money gone... (okay I sometimes buy make up too but STILL!)

2. Ironing
The most tedious job in the world. And I'm convinced that the clothes look more creased after I've ironed them. Now I just flat out refuse to do it, and will rock the crumpled look forevermore.

3. Sewing a button
The most basic of adulting skills and I do not possess it. I just take the item of clothing and button to my mum to deal with. (she tuts and rolls her eyes at me but she loves it really)

4. Making the bed without pretty much getting inside the duvet cover
It's the only way I know how and I'm sticking with it.

5. Getting out of the house on time
Yep, I'm one of those people. I can get up extra early to make sure I'm ready and out of the door on time, and I somehow still end up rushing around 20 minutes after I should have been in my car. Often with only one shoe on, unable to find my keys, checking 74367 times that I remembered to turn my straighteners off and with mascara on only one eye.

6. Not letting my house get a mess
I swear it must look like a messy teenager lives here 99% of the time. I think I need to just accept that I will always be a messy person. It's a personality flaw.

7. Ringing/going to the doctor's when I need to
It took my mum texting me twice a day, every day for about a week for me to book my smear test. Not because I was deliberately putting it off, but because I just kept getting busy and forgetting. (no excuse I know, but rest assured I did go!)
I'm the same when there's something else that I need to see someone about. I do the very 'British' thing of 'Oh I'll be fine for another week and if it's still the same I'll go then'. It's a habit that I really need to stop!

8. Remembering to top up the oil/water/screenwash in my car
As long as it starts when I turn the key in the ignition, it's all good, right?

Sian xo

Stop Asking Me When I'll Get Married & Have Kids

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Ah, the question everyone in a long-term relationship gets all the time and dreads. 

Since my relationship has passed the two year mark, I seem to get asked when I'm planning on getting married and having children all the time. I get asked by friends (often the ones who are already basking in marital bliss), family members (the ones we're close to, and the ones we only see a couple of times a year), work colleagues, people we only met in the half an hour previously...

It's like once you get past the first couple of years of being together, and you've figured out that you can (probably) put up with each other long-term, you just have to not only be looking towards these milestones, but have the actual timescales planned out.

And all of this is assuming you want the marriage and babies thing in the first place.

They don't even always ask the question outright. Often it's a little more subtle...

'How long have you been together now? Oh, long time then. Will I be hearing wedding bells soon?'
'Do you think you'll have kids one day? Are you thinking soon, or...?'
'You are getting to that age now where you need to be thinking about it...'
'You know Christmas is so much more fun and magical with kids around, have you thought of that?'

Well. I'm here to tell anyone who thinks that any of the above statements are acceptable, to stop.

It should go without saying that these lines of conversation can be incredibly damaging for people. For those who are maybe desperate for children but can't conceive, or have suffered a miscarriage, or who can't go through the 'usual' milestones for other reasons. And while it's never something I have personally experienced, I can tell you that for other reasons, being asked is bloody annoying.

Yes, Dan and I have been together for well over two years now. And while we have had conversations around what we would like a future together to look like, in my mind we have other priorities, both individually and as a couple. I've always been very much of the opinion that my career comes first, and although my career plan has changed quite dramatically in the last few years, I'm only just now getting settled into something which could be long term, and I feel like that needs to be my focus right now. There's no way of knowing when our priorities will shift, and until then, piling on the pressure by asking these questions really doesn't help.

And I'll be honest, I know that your whole life changes once you start going through these milestones, especially when you start a family. I'm not ready for that yet. I like spending days just the two of us, and sleeping in on a Sunday morning. I like spending our disposable income rather than having to put it into a pot to save for a wedding. And frankly, I still feel like I'm too young to be called a 'Mrs.'

The most infuriating thing about being asked about when I'm going to get hitched or get pregnant though, is the fact that nine times out of ten, the person asking will already know in their mind what the answer should be. They almost always have a magic number in their head which is the 'perfect age' to get married or have a baby, often based on their own experiences, and forget that these things aren't 'one size fits all'. This is inevitably going to disappoint them when I answer, after nervously laughing for a few seconds, by dropping the bombshell that neither of those things are in the immediate future, perhaps even into my 30s. I tend to be met with a blank look, almost as if I must be joking. Then come the comments...

'Do you really want to leave it as late as that?'
'Nooooo, he wants to be putting a ring on it before then!'
'You don't want to be old parents, do you? You'll be in your 50s when your kids turn 18!'
'You can always go back to work when they're older!'

Sometimes I wonder what kind of response I'd get if I told them that we're already trying for a baby. Probably that I'm still young, and shouldn't I really think about buying a house before I worry about that?

What I've realised recently is that when it comes to the 'life' stuff, we'll never please everyone. There will always be a family member, or a friend, or someone we barely know who will think we're rushing, or leaving it too late, or being too selfish by waiting. Or they'll tell us that we should tick something else off the list first, or that I should think of my mum and how she'll be wanting grandchildren soon (yep, I've genuinely been told that). And because it's impossible to please everyone, we may as well just do us.

So, please, stop asking me. You probably won't like the answer anyway, and might well get something sarcastic in response.

Long-term couples, I want to hear your stories! Have you had much experience with this? Let me know in the comments, or over on my social media! (@siankathrine on Instagram & Twitter!)

Sian xo

Beauty Empties #1

Sunday, 9 February 2020

The people asked, and I have listened...

For anyone who may have missed it, I popped a poll on my Instagram Stories a week or two ago, asking if 'Empties' posts are something that you would all be interested in. The response was overwhelmingly in favour! I'm very conscious of the fact that these kinds of posts are floating around the blogosphere a lot from various other bloggers, many of which probably do a much better job of them than I do! But we'll give it a go, please let me know what you think in the comments!

Love Beauty & Planet Shea Butter Shampoo
One of my little goals for 2020 is to incorporate more vegan/cruelty free products into my routine, including haircare. I've been using the Love Beauty & Planet range for a good month or so now, and I love it. The shea butter shampoo smells absolutely divine, it thoroughly cleanses my super-thick hair and leaves it feeling soft. I see a lot of recommendations for Maui haircare, which I have used before but I find it weighs my hair down a little and Love Beauty & Planet's offering is slightly cheaper (and it almost always on offer in one of the supermarkets if you look!)

Dr. Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil
I'm obsessed with this stuff. When I first opened it up, I was marginally disappointed that it was only a tiny little bottle, but it has lasted me well over a year. I love using it when I feel like my skin needs something really nourishing, its fairly light but still feels so soothing. I'm already on to my second bottle!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
I can say with 100% certainty that Hyaluronic Acid is one of my favourite beauty finds of 2019. I've suffered with dry skin for so long, but this has been an absolute game-changer for me. While I still have phases where my skin is dry in places, day-to-day it's so much better now that I've been using this. You can get different products and serums containing Hyaluronic acid but I love the Ordinary's offering, partly because you know exactly what's in it, and partly because it's just so affordable! I will never not have this on my bathroom shelf!

Pixi Glow Tonic 
After finishing the mini version of the Glow Tonic, I'm about to purchase the full size because I love it so much! It definitely lives up to the hype. It tones, gently exfoliates and brightens, as well as working a treat at helping to dry up spots. I will be honest though, if you have sensitive skin, be careful with this one. Mine has phases of being quite sensitive, and there are days or periods of time where this is just a bit too much, so I keep a more calming alternative in reserves.

Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm
This was my first Beauty Pie purchase, and I've just ordered a top up. I tend to use this as my second cleanse, once all of my make up is off. It's a balm texture, and the apricot extract makes it feel so luxurious when you apply. It always leaves my skin feeling soft and nourished.

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask
I adore this mask. While I find it's a little bit too strong for the recommended 2-3 times a week, I find it's absolutely perfect for when I'm in the middle of a breakout, when I'm feeling run down or after a heavy night on the vino. It literally drags all of the crap out of your pores, refines the skin and leaves you glowing. Word of warning though, it smells bloody strong! I think my eyes were watering like crazy the first time I used it! So worth it though.

I hope you enjoyed reading my first beauty empties post! Please let me know what you think and if you'd like me to continue with them in the comments!

Sian xo

Shop the products in this post:
Love Beauty & Planet Shampoo
Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
Pixi Glow Tonic
Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm
The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask

All The Things I Want To Do Before I'm 30

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Just in case you missed it on my social media (because I have whinged about it a lot), I turned 26 this week. And I'll level with you, I ain't thrilled about it. 30 is now officially close than 20, and all of a sudden the next milestone, the big three-oh seems awfully close.

I'm trying to turn this feeling of mild panic into a positive, by keeping in my mind that I have four whole years before a new decade of my life, where I can tick off as much of the bucket list as I can. Here's what I want to get done before my twenties are over, from the big goals to the silly little dreams and everything in between...

1. Buy a house
This is definitely a big one for me. Whilst I love the flexibility that renting offers and knowing that if the boiler goes on the blink, my bank account won't be the one that takes the hit, I definitely want to be looking at buying in the next few years. My absolute dream would be to buy somewhere that's a bit run down and do some work on it, but maybe that's being a little over ambitious! (Probably should start saving for a deposit first and foremost...)

2. Tick three travel destinations off the bucket list
I think with everything else that I want to get done in the next few years, three destinations is pretty reasonable. Included in my bucket list is San Francisco (which is already in the pipeline!) Italy, Prague, Australia, Portugal... the list goes on!

3. Secure at least one of my dream brand collaborations
I'd love for my online platforms to keep going from strength to strength, and I have a little list of brands that would be a total dream come true to work with, and if I can do just one of those I'd be happy!

4. See four West End shows
My sister & I have started a little tradition of going to London every year to see a show - so ticking four off my list is pretty reasonable! Some of the ones I want to see next include Mary Poppins, Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child and the Book of Mormon!

5. Get a promotion at work (whatever route that may be!)
One of the things that I love about my job is that the progression route isn't linear. There are loads of roles I can move on to within my company, and while that often takes a lot of patience and loyalty, I think by my 30th I'll be ready to take the next step, which is an exciting thought!

6. Get back into creative writing
Creative writing was one of my first passions right from being a child, and while I love writing for my blog, I do want to go back to my roots and getting a little more imaginative with my writing. Even if my efforts just go in a notebook that is stored away in a drawer until inspiration hits and never sees the light of day!

7. Go on a girls' trip!
Can you believe I've hit the ripe old age of 26 and I've never been on a girls' holiday?! I KNOW. So that's something I definitely want to tick off the bucket list in the next few years - even if it's just a long weekend away somewhere!

8. Be able to drink more than one glass of red wine
Yep, I'm the girl who thinks she's all fancy with her glass of red wine, so sophisticated, such a grown up... until someone offers me a top up, I politely refuse and go straight back to my pink gin and lemonade. Don't judge me. I'll work on it.

9. Own a proper camera
This will definitely be a purchase that I'm going to have to save for for a year or two, but I think it's going to help me so much with my blog and instagram content, so it'll be well worth the investment!

10. Own a doggo!
I'd love a dog. Lots of people I know are getting puppies and it's making me so doggo-broody. The timing isn't right for me at the moment, but I think in the next five years I would definitely like to have a little fluffball running around the house! For now though, I'll just sign up to Borrow My Doggy and hope that will do...

11. Make steps towards dealing with my social anxiety
My social anxiety is something that I've especially struggled with over the last couple of years, and while I've generally got a grip on to the point where I can (mostly) function in social situations, I want to take steps to deal with it and property squash it out of my life as much as possible. Whether that's through counselling, or another route I'm not sure, but it's definitely something for me to look into.

12. Get better at knowing what to do when a light comes on on my car dashboard
Another one where I'm trying to be more of an adult. I think there's only so many times I can call out my stepdad when something seems to be wrong with it...

What's on your list before your next milestone?! Let me know!

Sian xo

The Skincare Routine For People Who Don't Have Time For Skincare

Sunday, 19 January 2020

I hear it time and again from my friends.

'I don't have time for a full skincare routine!'

Honestly, it makes me shudder.

But, I do get it. When you're busy, or rushing around in the morning, the last thing you can be bothered to do is stand there and put a million and one lotions and potions onto your face.

Because I'm passionate about skincare (and also scared of wrinkles), I make the time. SO, for those of you who are too busy for skincare, I have put together a little list of the best products that are quick, fuss-free and will give you a full (ish) routine without spending forever in front of you bathroom mirror.

Garnier Micellar Water
There are loads of brands that offer a micellar water option now, but Garnier is far and away my favourite. Perfect for removing make up fully and quickly after a long day at work or a few too many gins (because please don't ever go to bed without taking your make up off, and please for the love of all things sacred throw your face wipes in the bin!) Swipe, swipe, done. No excuse.

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Cleanser
This has been a fairly recent beauty find for me, but I'm obsessed. This cleanser has such a lovely lightweight texture, suitable for all skin types. It removes make up, cleanses and refreshes skin, and doesn't involve faffing about with a face cloth. All you need to do is apply, mix with water, rinse off. So simple. (Side note: Beauty Pie is a brand which tends to involve a subscription. If that isn't your bag, Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser is very similar!)

Pixi Glow Tonic Toner
Toner is a step which I think a lot of people miss out, but it's so easy to include in your routine because it literally takes a second to swipe over your face. And Glow Tonic is my HOLY GRAIL. This is the only toner I use these days, and I wouldn't ever be without it. It tones, brightens, and gently exfoliates, and leaves you with alllllllll glow. 

Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask
I know what you're thinking on face masks. Too messy, takes too long. Right?
I used to think the same. But sheet masks in general have been an absolute game changer for me. The Garnier ones are my favourite because they provide so much moisture for my poor, dry skin. They take a mere 15 minutes, they're no mess, no fuss and are almost always on offer in Boots or Superdrug. Win-win.

[GIFTED] Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
This is my favourite moisturiser ever, especially for when I'm in a rush, for the simple fact that it sinks straight into the skin and doesn't feel sticky or like there's residue sitting on my skin afterwards. Which means I can get more or less straight on with putting on my make up, without having to wait for ages for my moisturiser to absorb properly.

Dr. Botanicals Superfood Pomegranate Sleeping Mask
If you're not a fan of sitting for 15 minutes with a face mask on, this product is 100% for you. You just pop it on before bed, and allow it to absorb while you sleep. You don't even need to rinse it off in the morning, you just wake up with nourished, super-soft skin. And because it's basically like a slightly thicker moisturiser, you don't need to worry about waking up with gross residue all over your pillow. An absolute must-have.

Have you ever tried any of these products? If you go ahead and try them after reading this, let me know over on my social media how you get on! It's @siankathrine on Twitter on Instagram!

Sian xo

An Ode to the Insta Husband/Wife

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Oh, the Insta Husband/Wife,

The unsung heroes of every blog and the associated social media platforms. Behind every cute outfit photo and carefully curated 'candid' shot, is an Insta Husband or Wife who has undergone weeks, months, or even years of training. They've learned the angles we love and the ones that will make us cringe when we look back at the photos. They've mastered the kinds of shots that we love and have learned to simply mutter to themselves when we're still not satisfied.

You're a special bunch, Insta Spouses. You have learned and accepted that a wintery walk or a trip out for coffee is not simply just that, it's a 'Gram opportunity. You show patience time and again; when we tell you even after 3748638 shots that none of them are quite right and could you just snap a few more, or when we stop you from tucking into your food, or delay your first sip of a hot chocolate so that we can bag the perfect aerial shot. You roll you eyes, tut and tell us how basic we are, but we don't care, and we know you don't mind really (except maybe where food is concerned).

Some of you are so well-versed that you don't even need prompting. You simply hold out your hand, take our phones and get that shot as soon as the stack of pancakes is put in front of us,, or when we stumble across a location that is 'Gram-worthy. You truly are good eggs.

So, Instagram Wives and Husbands, I guess what we're trying to say is thank you.

Thank you for knowing our best angles.
Thank you for not starting to eat until we get the perfect shot.
Thank you for never just taking one photo.
Thank you for not losing your rag when the living room is in chaos after a session of taking flatlays.
Thank you for partaking in the silly selfies.
Thank you for making us laugh while shooting so we look cuter and less awkward.
Thank you for putting up with us whinging when we can't get the edit right.

Honestly, though. You're awesome.

Bloggers & Instagrammers Everywhere xo

The Fear Of Being 'Boring'

Sunday, 5 January 2020

I've said it so many times, but I'll say it once more... Your mid-late twenties is such an awkward stage of life. Half of my Facebook friends are getting married, having kids, getting mortgages. And the other half are out getting trollied every weekend, 'living their best lives' and spending most of their Sundays with a hangover.

And then there's me. The thing is, because I have no desire to get hitched or get pregnant any time soon, I feel like I should be in the latter category, making the most of my lack of responsibilities and making sure every spare moment is packed with having fun.

But I'm so far from it. While I spent the ages of 18-22 out on the razz, with plenty of hilarious drunken stories, or going on various adventures on my days off, it's a pretty different story now. I'm more of a pjs-on-and-bra-off-as-soon-as-I-get-home kinda gal. Two glasses of wine is plenty and my new idea of an exciting Saturday night is ordering a pizza instead of getting it from the Asda counter, putting a face mask on and staying awake through an entire film. It's genuinely at the point where it's a bit of an office joke, when my colleagues will inevitably ask at around 5:20pm on a Friday 'Are you doing anything exciting with your weekend, Sian?' and I'll shake my head and say 'Just a quiet one' and they'll all chuckle because that's always my response and I should definitely be doing more with my free time.

But it's something I've grown more self-conscious of. That I've become 'boring'. That 18 year-old me would look at 25 year-old me and say 'What the bloody hell happened to you?' I'm at the perfect age to do lots of fun and exciting things but I just don't. And I really worry that I'm 'wasting my youth' and I'll get to my 40s, look back and wish I'd made the most of this time making memories.

It's still very much a process, but I'm trying very hard to realise that all of this doesn't make me 'boring'. And a huge part of that is trying to train my mind to not compare myself to others my age.

The truth is, I was partied out by 23. One night out every six months is totally fine for me, and having a few drinks with friends in a pub where people aren't spilling vodka and Red Bull down your dress and where flat shoes and a jumper are socially acceptable, is much more appealing. And quite frankly, I don't want to waste my Sundays nursing a hangover.

I still love an adventure, and while I'll probably never be one to run away halfway around the world with only a backpack, the small adventures still count all the same.

I'm trying to remember that it's totally okay to spend a full weekend in the house, in my pjs, binge-watching TV. In fact, sometimes it's what I need, when the busyness of the world and work and everything else just gets a little bit too much. Having something in the diary every weekend that's notable isn't a necessity to be enjoying your life.

What I am pretty good at doing, is taking joy in the small and ordinary things. Things like the first cup of tea on a slow Sunday morning, or breathing in crisp, fresh air when you first step out of the house. Things like laughing hysterically with your best friend over a glass of wine, or singing at the top of your lungs whilst driving. Things like a hug from my mum, or the look on my little niece's face when she sees me, and comes running up to me for a cuddle. Because to her, I'm certainly not boring. (although she's only 4, so perhaps she doesn't know any better!)

Yes, maybe sometimes I wish my life was a bit more exciting and varied, full of days out and with less of the mundane stuff. But let's be honest, life gets in the way. The stuff you see on social media is often a highlights reel, people don't often show you when they're spending the day cleaning the house, doing the food shopping or the other boring adult stuff that everyone needs to do!

Again, it's still very much a process for me. I'm trying to keep in mind, when I feel like I'm not 'living' enough, that it's totally fine for my preferences to change, for the way that I like to spend my time to differ to five years ago. That doesn't make me boring. It just makes me, me.

What do you think? Is this something you've struggled with? Let me know in the comments!

Sian xo