Friday, 22 August 2014

How to Reach Out to Someone

I have never had any problems talking about feelings, mine or other people's, and like to think I'm good at seeing when someone needs to lean on me, get something off their chest or even have a little rant. My mum has been very ill for the last few months and I have been down in Cornwall with her while she's been in hospital. I'd rather not go into all the details, as it was a very painful and difficult time for me and my family, but the one amazing message from all of this I want to express is the power of reaching out to people.

I don't want this post to sound like a crazy self-help guide, but I was not expecting or prepared for the amazing effect that people had on me when they sent a facebook message, a text, made a phone call or wrote an email saying that they were thinking of me. To say I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who got in touch would be an understatement. But just knowing that people where there and that they cared was just so incredibly powerful and uplifting.

So I've decided to put together a little guide to how you can reach out to someone who's going through a tough time and really make a difference. I promise it will help them!

How to Reach Out to Someone

  1. Don't be afraid. Whether they're your best friend or someone you went to school with 20 years ago and never speak to, if you feel compelled to contact them if you see they're having a tough time, just do it.
  2. No one will think you're a busybody being nosy! Every single message I got made me feel so much better.
  3. Keep it short and sweet if that's easier and just let them know you're there.
  4. If you've been through something similar it may really help to say this so they know there are people out there who really understand and can offer advice.
  5. If you don't hear back, don't panic. They probably don't have the energy or time, but know that you've helped so much. 
  6. Try not to ask to many questions that need a reply or may add something to that persons 'To Do' list.
  7. Keep checking in regularly if you feel that may help.
  8. Try to be as positive as you can while also acknowledging that they're going through a really hard time. 

Remember, don't just assume that "they'll reach out to me if they need something", often they'll be so exhausted and insular that they really won't and it's up to you to reach out to them. And don't assume they know that you care, it's just so much more powerful to show it, even with a text message or an email, and only takes you a moment.

I really don't want this post to sound preachy, judgemental or that I'm angry or disappointed with anyone who didn't contact me recently, I just hope this helps anyone who's um-ing and ah-ing about whether to contact someone else who's going through a hard time. Believe me, it will give them no end of hope and it may make them feel less alone. Small actions mean so much when you're struggling through something.

And I of course want to say a massive thank you to all the people who reached out to me during my tough time, I can't tell you what it meant. I will try and pay it forward and reach out more often.


By Carina Sullivan

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wednesday Wishlist: Reformation

I think everyone is a little in love with the new brand on the block, Reformation. From 90s inspired maxi with a hint of Halston to co-ords good enough for Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, there's not much I'm not coveting to be honest.

What really caught my eye recently is their dreamy collection of wedding dresses. You have to pretty secure in your level of coolness to attempt to wear one of their wedding dresses, even more so if you want to dress your bridesmaids in a smorgasbord of mix-matched reformation maxis to compliment your oh-so-boho bridal look (see above). This is probably best left in the hands of models, such as Miss Rosie H-W. But I am very tempted to look her for bridesmaid dresses and they are seriously romantic.

But I digress, let's get back to talking about the main collection and how darn gorgeous it is. You know I love the 90s and all the fashion it brings, and Reformation brings back the things I love most with more than a splash of 70s cool. I think their muse would be 90s Gwen Steffani and Biana Jagger's love child. Actually, that's most definitely who I want to be when I grow up.

They even have a range for girls with a fuller bust, where they've 'recomboobulated' (their amazing word, not mine!) their must-have styles to fit a people over a D cup - yippie!

So let's all take advantage of their free worldwide shipping and join the party. I know I will!

What do you think of Reformation?


By Carina Sullivan

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Why Cos Is My New Favourite Shop

It's taken me long enough to cotton on to the not-so-secret secret shop of the fashion elite, but I am now hook, line and sinker for Cos.

From classic Breton stripe basic tees to statement circle skirts and killer dresses, Cos is where I've been spending my hard-earned cash recently. I'm a now total Cos-head and keep telling people to shop there.

Cos to me used to be very minimalist, very monochrome and very boxy (and therefore not very me!) but now there's colour, and fitted styles and just so many covetable pieces. All of which have the edge on places like Zara and Topshop Unique as the quality and finish is just spot on while the prices are still affordable.

Dress - Cos (similar)
Bag - Market stall in Venice
Sandals - Birkenstock

This sunshine yellow dress is my current new obsession from Cos and it always makes me feel happy (and amazingly comfy) when I throw it on. It's unbelievably easy to wear AND it has pockets, what's not to love?!

Have you started a love affair with Cos yet? Try it, you might like love it.


By Carina Sullivan

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Tried & Tested: Almased Two Week Detox

Established over 25 years ago Almased is a meal replacement powder from Germnay made from fermented soya, probiotic yogurt and enzyme-rich honey. It is gluten-free, vegetarian, and contains no added sugars, preservatives, artificial, flavours, fillers or stimulants and works by the synergistic effect the ingredients have on each other, boosting metabolism and reducing fat. They contacted me and asked if I'd like to try their two week detox challenge, and I thought why the hell not?

You replace three meals a day for the first 2-3 days with a glass of water, semi skimmed, almond or soya milk mixed with five table spoons of Almased, then add a light lunch for the remainder of the 14 day detox. The system is designed to promote health and wellbeing, boost energy levels and maintain lower weight levels. I kept a diary over the two weeks and you you may be surprised with the results...

Day 1
First taste... Ok, not going to lie, it wasn't the delicious milkshake it first looks like, but it's not half bad. It's very, very malty in taste, but otherwise a pretty neutral flavour. I tried it with 1% milk and then unsweetened almond milk, of which the milk was a clear winner for me. So nothing all day but three shakes sounds terrible, but the weirdest thing about that first day? Not hungry. At all! I was full all day and even had to remind myself to have one for lunch. Although the smell of Mark's bacon sandwich for breakfast was tough.

Day 2
I woke up slightly hungry, but not as bad as I thought I would be. The only problem was late afternoon when I was running on fumes. But, I did manage to sit opposite my loving fiancé as he devoured a Five Guys burger while I sipped a diet coke and then went home to a shake. By this point I was fantasising about Monday's lunch. And chewing! Man, I miss chewing.

Day 3 
I'm now onto a new phase and get to eat one meal a day. Ideally you should eat a healthy, low carb lunch and still no snacks. Weirdly I feel ok until lunch and even avoid the dreaded tuck shop that is my work and all the Monday treats that are flying around. Lunch, glorious lunch, was sushi from Abokado. It has never tasted so good. I ate slowly and savoured every bite. The only problem was 2 hours after eating lunch I started to feel light headed and dizzy, but after having lots of water this passed pretty quickly and I felt good. 

Day 4
By this point I'm feeling bloody good and have lost 5lbs, which really spurs me on. The shakes don't really improve in taste, so I try adding cocoa powder to jazz things up, but I am still very rarely hungry. I'm actually craving healthy food for lunches, and I'm in Abokado so much I think the guy behind the till thinks I have a crush on him.

Day 7
Tonight I have a 30th birthday party to go to, but instead of having a shake for lunch I have a very light chicken salad and then have a mini pizza at the restaurant that evening and one glass of wine. It's surprisingly easy to stay on track and not carb binge. In an Italian restaurant I take this as a huge victory!

Day 10 
I've gone back to the shakes straight up, with no cocoa powder, but lots of ice. This helps me pretend it's a frapppuccino. Light lunches and no snacks are still easy to stick to. The only thing I miss is fruit, that's tough. I also still need my tea with milk and a sweetener. A girl can only give up so many vices!

Day 14
Final day of the detox and I'm feeling great. So great I may actually keep this up! While it is a bit dull having the same thing and not being able to eat dinner with Mark or go out to restaurants in the evening I think this two week detox is worth doing. Another plus is I've lost 8lbs which isn't too shabby either.

If you'd like to try the Almased two week detox for yourself you can buy the powder and find out more on their site -

I'd like to point out that although they sent me the product to try this isn't a sponsored post and all views are my own and only represent my two week trial.


By Carina Sullivan