Tuesday, 28 January 2014

SUNDAY BRUNCH - MALMAISON BIRMINGHAM.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to be invited alongside other local bloggers to the gorgeous Malmaison Hotel in Birmingham to try out their Sunday Brunch menu.


Once walking through the entrance of the hotel you instantly know you are somewhere spectacular - well with guests such as Beyonce it's hard not to feel like you've swapped lives with a superstar. 
Our first stop was the wine cellar, a small little room just off from the bar where walls are stacked with all sorts of wines and champagnes. For those who wished we got to try a Bloody Mary. Now I'd never tried it before and I can't say I was much of a fun, but the Bloody Mary is the drink that goes alongside their Sunday Brunch Menu.


After catching up with each other and meeting a few new faces we were told the "chef's table" was now ready. I knew I wanted to save my tummy for some tasty food so I only had a small egg on toast at 8 in the morning. By the time we sat down to eat it was around 1-1.30pm so I was so ready for this!!


A HUGE table full of delicious treats!! With this "buffet" start to your Sunday Brunch there are plenty to choose from as you can see. It was hard to resist filling your plate up high with all this gorgeous looking food in front of you but knowing I had a big brunch coming I thought best to keep small. I was really impressed by the wide selection of meats, breads and small nibbles available. There was also a station for you to have warm pancakes with some sweet or savory options and a frying pan to have omelette's made for you. There is plenty for everyone.

All so tasty!
After filling our faces with the unlimited foods from the chefs table out came our mains. I went for the Mal Big Brunch Breakfast, obviously!



It was all so delicious, Everything cooked for perfection! I was so full up afterwards I didn't know how on earth I was going to fit in dessert. But you know, why not eh? It was a Sunday! After seeing what the Hot Chocolate looked like I HAD to get my own, it was TO DIE FOR!!!



I can't even begin to try and explain how delicious all this food was. I had an absolutely fantastic afternoon and everyone was so lovely.
It was the first time I've ever been to the hotel before and I was so impressed, I can't even imagine what the rooms are like. I would love to stay there soon! They also have a spa that I'm really interested in trying out. Maybe a future post?

For the "biggest brunch in town" you don't have to be a guest of the hotel to dine, if you're shopping in Birmingham, or dealing with a hangover from a night out you can walk in and enjoy this AMAZING brunch all for just £19.95! They recommend that you book in advance as sometimes it does get a little busy.


So if you're ever around Birmingham and looking for an outstanding lunch/brunch I strongly recommend you check out Malmaison.
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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF.

I believe it is so imporant for us to take time for ourselves atleast once a week - time to reflect on things and gather our thoughts, time to relax and unwind, time to recharge our bodies and let go of all the tension built up inside us. I know it can be a little tough to get even 5 minutes for ourselves, take mums and dads out there for an example, a little babba to look after is a 24 hour job but there is always someone willing to help. An hours soak in the bath whilst your friend/relative watched the nipper. It doesn't even have to be a soak in the bath, you could get into your pj's or comfys and get snuggled up in bed or on the sofa and read your favourite magazine or book, or even just sit in a quite place with a cup of tea and collect your thoughts. Just time in a quite place on your own unwinding can do you the world of good. I know it's a little obvious and cliche but trust me on this one, we all NEED it!

I spoke in a previous post about not feeling happy with myself and how I want to work on getting my self confidence back and feeling good about myself, having a pamper evening once a week is a small step towards this, and so far it's working well.



I used to have Sunday evenings as my evening of pampering but I find it much more effective having it mid week. A few years ago you would never find me in a bath, I hated them. Too hot and boring, but recently I can't get enough of them. Obviously being the stereotypical women I like to light a few candles around the bath, run the hot water and pop in a beautifully scented bubble bath. I really like these Radox bath soaks, we've got quite a few in our house all specifically for certain things. I've had the flu pretty bad for the past month and I've been coughing an awful lot lately so I went for a muscle therapy one this time but I usually go for the relaxing one.




Once I've had a good soak for a few minutes I then start pamper my skin. I remove my make up with this Lush UltraBland Cleanser which I've written a review on here. I then like to exfoliate my skin, I actually use the dermalogica gentle cream exfoliant as I have really sensitive skin and I find this one can be a little too harsh on my skin. Then to finish off I pop on this 3 minute mask from boots, I'm on the look out for another clay or mud mask at the moment as I'm not too keen on this one. I don't feel like it really does that much to my skin.




After all that is done with I will usually lye about for a bit, maybe read a magazine or my kindle and then finish up with washing my hair and body and all that boring stuff.




Once I'm out the bath the next best bit about a pamper night is hair masks. I can't seem to get enough of them either at the moment, I've recently had my hair cut so I'm determined to use a lot more hair care products to try and keep it healthy like it is at the moment. I brought these nose strips from Savers the other day on whim and so far I'm impressed. They only cost me a couple of quid (literally I think less than £2) and I can really see a visible difference in my pores along my nose. So glad I brought them.

Then the obvious one, moisturize my skin to make me feel all super soft and smooth.

I like to then carry on my pamper evening with whatever I feel like doing, I sometimes clean my make up brushes, do my nails or just jump straight into bed. Since making the time once a week to do this dead simple and maybe cliche thing I have been feeling a lot better, I don't feel as built up inside and it's nice to take care of your skin and relax. Simple things like painting my nails afterwards makes me feel prettier as well, simple and easy things.


What's your favourite thing about a pamper evening?


With Love,

Sian x
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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

SQUEAKY AND CLEAN!


Cleaning your make up brushes, oh what a chore that is eh? We should be doing it at least once a week and a little clean after every use. Now I know I'm not the only person that sticks to that right?

I've spoken a few times on here how my skin has been a real problem recently. For the past year I've been trying to find out what products I was using to make my skin breakout, before even considering the problem could of been down to my make up brushes. I was noticing that I would have one spot and then suddenly the area around that spot had also broken out, they were spreading across my face at one point. Last year I had a lot of issues with my skin, my face broke out in rashes due to stress and my nose was swelling (I still don't know why that was). But it recently sprung to mind that my brushes could be *are* spreading bacteria around my face, yuk! 




Since cleaning my brushes more regularly I have noticed a huge difference in my skin. I don't quite manage to clean them every week but I do clean them more frequently than I used to. There are a tonne of videos on youtube all about cleaning make up brushes, I really liked this one and this one.


For a quick clean I simply just hold the brushes head down under warm water, try not to get water into the actual stem of the brush as this will ruin the adhesive/glue holding the hair together and you'll have brushes shedding left, right and centre. I then take a tiny drop of hand soap or shampoo on my hands and swirl the brush in a circular motion on my hand and then rinse off the soap. To dry them off I get a piece of kitchen role and swirl the brushes around on the tissue to get rid of any access water and then I will either place the brushes upside down up against a wall or upright surface to make sure the water runs downwards and not through the stem to avoid damage, or I'll leave them lying down over the bath, with the head over the edge of the bath. 




For a deep clean I will do the same with the hand soap or shampoo and then I will go in again with baby oil to give them a thorough clean. I think the baby oil helps budge stubborn oils and grease left over, I'm not too sure. But it also leaves the brushes smelling amazing and feeling super soft! There are products out there specifically for cleaning make up brushes but I find these household items work perfectly, so I don't see a need to go out and buy extra products.




With Love,

Sian x
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Friday, 10 January 2014

MY JOURNEY TO FEELING BETTER: REFLECTING AND SEEING IT START.

I have previously mentioned here that 2014 is the year I am going to start looking at myself a lot differently and stop being so hard on myself. If you've been a reader for a long time you'll know that I've been very honest and open about having bulimia and being depressed. I spoke out about these things quite a few times on my blog but recently I deleted all my old posts. I am very proud to say that Bulimia is no longer something that exists in my life everyday! It crops up occasionally but it's a little monster that pops his head around the corner, says boo and I kick it back to Timbuktu. wow that rhymed!!

I know I look at myself very negatively, not always my appearance but me. Things out of my control, that other people do, I blame myself for, which is so silly! And I've reached a point where I'm sick of feeling so negative. I want to be able to stand in the mirror and say "yeah, you're beautiful and you're an amazing person" big headed? NO! Not in the slightest. We are only one person. That body that you're in right now is you. This body that's sitting here typing is me. The noise that comes out of my mouth is my voice. Why would you not be proud of that? You're not someone who goes around torturing other people, you're not a murderer (I hope) and you're certainly not voldemort so why on earth would you not be proud of the person you are? I make people smile, Everyone in my life I give unconditional love to, I know I'm nice to people, So why do I still look at myself so negatively. It needs to stop and I want to do certain activities throughout the year to nudge myself into feeling good and seeing things a lot more positively. The only way I'm going to start to that is to look back at the past few years...

2011
When the Bulimia started, I was very unwell, No one knew about it in this year, it was something I kept to myself and thought I could handle. But clearly I was wrong. It all started by not feeling like I was good enough in the relationship I was in at the time. A personal demon I still really struggle with today. The bulimia started in the August, I'm not sure of what I weighed before then but in the space of 4 months managed to get myself down to 6st. I became very obsessed with numbers when it came to the scales. My moods were all over the place and by the end of the year was not a nice person to be around at all. 

2012 was the year I started to take control of it (real control) don't get me wrong I still very much struggled with it but it was something I wanted to stop and slowly but surely I did. In January I told my family what was happening and I went to the doctors, which is where I was diagnosed with depression and bulimia. My relationship then broke in the February and I was heartbroken. This is where things got a lot worse. It was really tough, I was going through a big heartbreak which made it 10 times harder to get through. I took the blame for everything that had happened and looking back now I was so horrible to myself. My best friend Siobhan really helped me out with that, she would get so frustrated with me and some of the things she said to me really did help. I owe her a lot for how she made me feel. For a very long time afterwards I still blamed myself for a lot of things but slowly I began to get better. I had amazing friends and family around me who supported me and really pulled me through it. A lot of them were friends I sadly no longer see but I will always be thankful to them and love them unconditionally for what they did for me. 
Even though I spent the majority of 2012 brokenhearted and dealing with big demons it's still a year I look back on as being one of the best. I look back on it and see a strong person, see someone who was surrounded with love and felt loved. When I look back on facebook at the pictures I'm tagged in it's a year I went out with friends a hell of a lot! I was constantly surrounded by amazing people! By the end of 2012 it felt like all of the depression and being so ill had completely gone. I was better and I felt amazing! I was really happy with myself and the people I had around me.

Pictures from the best year ever!
2013 however has not (on paper) been the worst year I've had but it's been the hardest. It's a year I'm glad to see the back of to be honest. A lot of mistakes were made this year and a lot of lessons were learnt. In January I moved out. I had wanted to move out for so long and I felt on top of the world. I felt like everything that had happened in the past 2 years took me to that moment, to a moment where my life was looking up and I had something to be proud of. My life was finally starting. Then in a month a lot happened, my flatmate and I brought a business together, we were overjoyed, so proud, we celebrated with many nights out and I had met a new chap [who still to this day makes me the happiest little lady in the land] The next few months though took a turn for the worst. Soon we realised the business we had brought was in fact a total fail. We had been told it was making xyz when infact it was making a loss. We tried really hard to turn it around and make it work, working 7 days a week between the shop and our jobs at Forever 21 and it just didn't work out. We got to a point where the money we was earning from Forever 21 was paying our rent for the flat and then we was left with nothing for the rest of the month for food and bills. It got me into a fuck load of debt. We decided to call the business a day and Ina circle was no more. All in the space of 4 months. That not a lot of time to go through so many emotions. It was hard on the both of us, but Ina circle brought us nothing but bad luck so we was happy to see the back of it.
The business had got me into so much debt I couldn't get out of it so I had to move back home to my moms house and still to this day the debt that occurred from the business is still ongoing and it's a real battle to concur. With all this going on everything got a little bit too much again and bulimia seemed to be creeping it's way back into my life but I refused to let it back in and I went to the doctors before it got anywhere and again tried to deal with things in different/healthier ways. I decided enough was enough of being depressed and took a big look at what/why I was feeling so low. I left my job which was a big reason to me being so unhappy. I got a lot of stick for it off people, people that were supposed to be my friends and should of seen the bigger picture.

I have honestly feel like going through all of this has been harder than facing my bulimia. I look at myself and I see a failure, I see someone who struggles to deal with things and has lost the feeling of being strong. Someone who's forgotten what it's like to be strong. I've gotten to a point where I am sick of looking at myself this way. I know I am none of those things, so why do I tell myself I am? Why am I so hard on myself? I tried something I have always wanted to do, and yeah it's failed and it's gotten me into huge trouble but how many people can say they gave their dreams a go? How many people have given up and ended things when feeling incredibly low? I'm still here and I'm still trying to make things better. I should be proud of that fact. There are so many things in my life that I am unhappy with and I've reached a point where enough is enough, these things have to stop and go away! And this year is when I'm going to do it! Starting with myself!

I'm very honest and open on this blog (as you've just read) and I'm going to be taking my journey with my blog. In 2015 I want to be writing about how 2014 was the best year I've had, How amazing I'm feeling and how I spent time with some beautiful people! I've got a few things planned and ready for how to start feeling more positively about yourself and I want to make this a series on my blog. If you're interested in writing a post to go alongside this series then please please feel free to email me I would love to share this experience with other people. Or even if you've gone through something similar and have any ideas/tips to share then please do. I would love to hear how people have managed to get themselves back into the light again?

With Love,
Sian x
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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I’M FINALLY JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON | LUSH ULTRABLAND CLEANSER & POPCORN LIP SCRUB.

This may shock some of you, but I have never brought anything from Lush before. I know I know I’m so ashamed. But why I hear you ask? Well I don’t really know. When the Solihull branch opened many many years ago (I was still in school so literally many many years ago!) someone brought me one of their massage bars and that bar was the ONLY Lush product I have ever used! Every time I walk past a Lush shop I fall into a heavenly smell coma, so it’s not that that’s been putting me off. I guess I just always thought there wouldn't be anything in there that I would want to spend my money on. Oh how stupid I was! 

2013 I decided it was about time I started looking after my skin a little bit more, I never used to bother moisturising my body and I used to always remove my make up with just a face wipe *slap past Sian on the wrist*. Clearly last year my skin had enough of this ridiculous torture and decided enough was enough; I had rashes, my skin broke out, it was sore, it was very very angry. So 2013 I realised I NEEDED to take better care of my skin. I’ve been reading reviews and watching skincare videos and one of the products I kept seeing was the Lush Ultrabland facial cleanser. I popped in store before Christmas and wrote down a few things that caught my eye, and when I was Christmas shopping with my boyfriend being the total babe that he is, he brought me the stuff I wanted as some of my Christmas presents.



ULTRABLANDFACIAL CLEANSER (45g) - £6.95
I recently wrote about my current skincare routine and how in love I was with the Clinique Take the Day off Cleansing Balm, I didn't expect myself to fall in love with the Ultrabland cleanser as much as I have. Take the off cleansing balm leaves your skin feeling really clean and kind of tight afterwards, when I have worn a lot of make up in the day I like to feel like it’s all gone off and I’m left completely clean but I do feel like I have to moisturize straight afterwards. With the Ultrabland cleanser it leaves your skin feeling beautifully soft and moisturized afterwards it’s such a gorgeous product. It looks very creamy in the pot put when you put it on your face it’s a waxy texture and feels very thick, you do only need a small amount. It feels like you've got a face mask on, it’s a very similar consistency. It works absolute wonders at removing make up, even the stubborn waterproof mascara; you don’t need to spend ages rubbing away at your eyelashes to remove it which makes this product a winner in my opinion. Since using this product I have noticed my skin seems a lot better. It isn't as rough as before, I had a lot of bumps and dry patches and they seem to be clearing up wonderfully.

 

One thing that I love about the Take the day off is in the mornings when I want a quick cleanse I pop it on and then take it off with rinse it off in the shower with warm water, with the Ultrabland you really can’t do that. It takes ages to wash off this way and even afterwards you still feel like there is a tonne of the product sitting on your skin, You do need to use a face cloth to wash it off with – which yes using a face cloth is no bother but when I stay at my boyfriends I don’t have a face cloth with me (I hear you now saying “well duh just take one with you” but 9 times out of 10 I always forget.)


One of the biggest problems I have with my skin is that it’s so dry. It gets very dehydrated very easily and this product leaves my skin looking and feeling amazing! Since using this it’s now apart of my everyday skincare routine, I use this at night to take my make up off with and then I use my Clinique take the day off cleansing balm in the morning.


POPCORN LIP SCRUB (25g) - £5.25
Every winter I complain about the same thing over and over again - Dry Lips! Argh they’re such a pain in the bum, I love wearing dark lipstick in the winter but no one wants to be walking around with lipstick clumped to the dry bits of your lips, and cracked lips are not a pretty sight. Since using this I've noticed a big difference in my lips, they still get very dry and of course a lip scrub is not going to solve that issue but removing the clumpy dry/dead bits of skin (yukk so gross) it does leave them looking a lot smoother. 

 
 

The best thing about this product has got to be the taste! Yes I just want to dip my tongue into the pot and eat it all, it’s sooooo good! Literally tastes like popcorn! It’s made out of natural ingredients so you do literally eat it after you've used it. You pop a little bit on your finger, rub it across your lips and then lick it off your lips. Wallaaah hello beautiful lips. But make sure you carry a lip balm round with you as well, as you do need to apply that straight afterwards. It doesn't moisturize the lips at all, it literally does just take the nasty bits off. I would highly recommend purchasing yourself a lip scrub, especially this one as it tastes uh-mazing!

What's your favourite Lush product? I now want to try more!

With Love,
Sian x

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

DAILY MAKE UP LOOK.


I'm really getting into my beauty products at the moment, I've always loved wearing make up but I would say my "skills" were very basics. I would consider myself a late bloomer on the whole YouTube hype but now I'm addicted! I've spent the last few months watching nothing but beauty guru's and I've learnt so much from these talented ladies. Shaaanxo is probably my absolutely fave! I've became a lot more confident with experimenting with my make up and a lot more comfortable with how I wear it. I'd say it's become a bit of an obsession to be honest; So naturally I want to share this little obsession on my blog.

On Friday I went to lunch with one of my friends to Nandos. Yup, I'm one of those who is OBSESSED with the chicken! This is how I did my make up and I absolutely loved it.




I wanted something quite neutral but not too subtle. So I went for subtle eyes with a winged liner and bold lips. Although these pictures don't really do the lipstick justice. It was more of a deeper purple than what they look here. 
From working with Avon in the summer I received a few samples of their products, and in this look I used one of their eye shadow pallets. I feel like Avon are really upping their game at the moment and I'm so impressed with this Eyeshadow pallet. The colours are absolutely beautiful and very true to colour. The only thing I will say is that there is only 1 matte shade, the other three, which are the three you would use the most are all shimmer. I would of liked the crease colour to be a matte but that's my only negative about this pallet. I would highly recommend checking some of the Avon products out.




Please ignore my eyebrows, I haven't had them done in a while and they're in desperate need of a reshape. I love winged eyeliner but I'm still learning how to master the art of doing it perfectly. I just don't think there is such a thing as a perfect winged liner. This is what I had on my face...




L'Oreal Superliner Eyeliner
 L'Oreal True Match Foundation, 
Bourjois Délice de Poudre Bronzing Powder, 
Benefit They're Real Mascara, 
ColourWorks Lip Gloss, 
Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Stone Taupes, 
Collection 2000 Illuminating Touch Concealer, 
Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer 
Avon Ultra Colour Lipstick in Proper Pink.


I really like this look and it was really easy to do, apart from the eyeliner, I definitely need more practice! But it's became my day to day make up, the only thing I've switched around is my lipstick.

With Love,

Sian x
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