Thursday 31 December 2015

WTF Happened in 2015?

With the end of the year comes a lot of reminiscing - things that we loved, things we wish we'd have done different, things we laughed at, things we cried at, and everything in between. 2015 saw the birth of another baby royal, a general election, so much of Europe opening it's arms and homes to immigrants and a fantastic Rugby World Cup held in our own country. What a year!
But also, one shouldn't forget all the downright STUPID stuff that had us talking, speculating and obsessing . And there are a lot of them...


Tuesday 29 December 2015

Flaunt Your Haunt - Why I Love Cardiff*

It's no secret that I am a pretty passionate, patriotic Welsh gal. I love Wales and everything about it - the language, the culture, the towns and cities (and never shut up about it) so obviously, when Travelodge asked me to "flaunt my haunt" for their new campaign, I couldn't wait to write about my city of Cardiff. Again. Any excuse, y'know...

Welsh Croeso Pub Sign

Cardiff Gorsedd Gardens flowers

Sunday 27 December 2015

My DecemBeard #Bubblebeard*

We've all heard of "Stoptober" and "Movember" and this is the month of DecemBeard, which is a campaign with special significance to me. DecemBeard encourages men to ditch their shaving routine throughout the month of December and a grow a beard with the aim of raising both money and awareness for bowel cancer.

Now, for those of us who can't grow a beard (thank goodness, is all I have to say about that), Bathstore is challenging us to create a bubble beard. In my mind, anything that can help those suffering from such an awful disease while having a bit of fun playing with bubbles is a no brainer!


Tuesday 22 December 2015

How to get in the Christmas Spirit

The lead up to Christmas can be a stressful period. For a lot of people, work at this time is super busy, Christmas shopping can lead to panic and bank accounts take a bit of a dent, and for lots of us lowly students we have a lot of exams to revise for in January! So this December, more than any I can ever remember, has been very stressful and I’ve been pretty miserable if I’m honest.
I had my first panic attack since I was 16 last week and it was such a low point and I just feel so overwhelmed and stressed about everything. Which is not what Christmas is meant to be. (Thank you very much university and retail job – WHY DO YOU HATE HAPPINESS?)

From what I’ve seen on twitter, I’m not the only one lacking in Christmas cheer and festive excitement this year. So, in light of all this anxiety and stress stunting my usual crazy super Christmas excitement – I thought I’d share some ways to get us all feeling a bit more cheery!


Friday 18 December 2015

Top 10 Under £10 | Cruelty Free Beauty

We all love a high end treat but drugstore make up is where my heart lies. When you pay £35 for a foundation or blusher you expect it to be close to perfection (I certainly do - hence my reluctance to splash out too often).

I find searching the shelves in Superdrug and finding an amazing product for a couple of quid just so addictive. Throw in being limited to a handful of cruelty free brands accessible on the UK highstreet and you have a real challenge!

There are so many gems cruelty free gems that you can snap up for next to nothing, so I thought I'd share my top ten with you. (In no particular order).

Soap & Glory Brow Archery // £9
Just wow. I have tried so many drugstore brow products, some great and some... Let's not even talk about those guys, but this is my number one. 4EVA BBZ. The twist up pencil means no snapping (yay) and it's super fine with a great formula and a fabulous spooly. If you're looking for a new brow product, put this on your list.

Soap & Glory Brow Archery and Supercat Liner

Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner Pen // £6
A more recent discovery of mine. Bitches got to have dem wings ya know. This felt pen type eyeliner gives a super black, precise line and is still as black as "inky" as the day I bought it. I can't see myself ever buying another eyeliner pen. This is the one.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Bakerdays Letterbox Cake* & GIVEAWAY

So when BakerDays got in touch and asked if I would like to review a Letterbox cake* from their Christmas selection, let's just say I was more than a little keen...

Letterbox cake tin from Bakerdays

For those of you who don't know, a Letterbox cake is a little cake that fits perfectly through a letterbox meaning that they can be delivered as a surprise little treat. Any friend who would order a cake to be delivered to your house is a good friend. There are so many designs available and loads of them can be personalised with your own words and pictures - perfect for a really personal touch, especially at Christmas.

There were so many pretty, festive options but as soon as I saw it, I knew... A Star Wars cake! The reference was a teeny bit lost on me but Martin obviously appreciated the wit as he was excitedly (read: annoyingly) quoting it for the next few hours. Thanks, BakerDays! See below for the face of a man very happy with his new cake.

Martin opening his Star Wars cake

When the cake arrived, very quickly, I might add, I wasn't sure what had come through the letterbox. The little parcel certainly didn't look like it could house a delicious cake, but I need not have doubted as that is exactly what it was! The cake was enclosed in an adorable little tin, about the size of a small plate which itself was in a box with a card and a Christmas cracker! I wondered how I was going to get the cake out of the shallow tin without stabbing my clumsy fingers into the cake but these guys are kind of geniuses - there is a little tab to lift the cake out sans finger holes.

Now, on to the exciting bit. The cake really was beautiful, not just to look at. Of course being a "letterbox" cake you shouldn't expect a layer of jam and cream in the middle, but it wasn't dry or boring like I was worried about. I chose vanilla sponge cake obv, but for the more chocolatey souls among us, you can choose a chocolate chip sponge cake. Amazingly, for a small extra charge you can even make your cake gluten or dairy free!

Star Wars Christmas Letterbox Cake

The giveaway (UK/Ireland Only) -
I know you'll all be desperate to get your hands on one now, so I've got you covered. BakerDays have super kindly offered to send a cake to one of my readers so if you want a chance at winning one yourself all you have to do is follow me on twitter and retweet my pinned tweet (you'll know it when you see it). Easy peasy - so get to it, the giveaway will close Boxing day (26th Decemmber) 2015.


You can also check out BakerDays at their Facebook or Twitter pages!

Do you love this idea as much as I do?
Will you be purchasing one this Christmas?


Friday 11 December 2015

Beauty Advice for my Teenage Self

While I was in work the other day a bunch of girls came into the shop and started swatching the lipsticks and the palettes and seemed to know exactly what they were doing. They all had on eyeliner flicks on fleek, perfect contours and some Kylie Jenner-esque liplining going on (MAC Diva was a definite favourite). 

When I got chatting to them I found out that they were thirteen. THIRTEEN!!! And had only just been their birthday. 

I nearly died. I suddenly felt ancient, like the fucking crypt keeper. And just a little bit ugly... I was most definitely not looking like that at 13 (or now, just saying).

Then I got thinking about how none of the girls in this generation seem to go through that ugly, awkward phase. You know, with the pictures they’ll look back on in 20 years and cringe SO MUCH. Mine are currently lost in the Bebo abyss and can bloody well stay there thank you very much.

Beauty advice is so accessible these days in a way that it wasn’t when I was a wee tween, so if I could go back and give myself a couple of snippets of beauty advice I definitely would. Here are some of the things I wish I had someone to tell me...


Saturday 5 December 2015

Festive Top Fives | Blogmas #5

 It's day five of blogmas so doesn't it seem fitting to share some festive fives with you all, especially as Christmas is getting closer and closer (scarily so!).
Martin has been giving me little "challenges" as part of my advent calendar - I do the challenge (name my top christmas films/songs etc) and I get a ferrero rocher.  Win win.
What a cutie patootie he is!

SO. I thought it would be nice to share what I've been getting up to :-)


Friday 4 December 2015

An Autumn Walk | Blogmas #4

This is the last mention of autumn for me. It was over in a blink! HAVE YOU NOT FELT HOW COLD IT IS? I am literally wrapped in a thousand layers right now and I am still freezing my arse off.

Before this biting winter set in, we were having a fairly mild (but very wet) November, and Martin and I were rather partial to an autumn stroll. Cardiff is, in my opinion, possibly the single most underrated city in Britain. And just outside such a wonderful city is a fairy tale castle nestled in the hillside. I bloody love a castle.

Martin and I trekked (and that is an understatement, it was HELL of a walk) through the lovely villages of Taffs Well and Tongwynlais up to the castle. Walking through quaint, pretty villages is one of my number one favourite things. The little independent shops and cafes you sometimes stumble across are just TOO MUCH. Everything was just so damn pretty on this particular day, and of course, we stopped for afternoon tea and scones on our way back in this little cutie which was just divine.

I got very snap-happy during the walk and thought I'd share some of my favourite shots with you, let me know what you think!

Colourful, rustic flower cans

Autumn leaves on a bench

Autumn tree sky shot

Leafy autumn path

Castell Coch in Autumn

Between the trees

Welcome to Castle Coch

Castle Coch at Autumn

Forest Walks

I'm going to miss this weather and all these colours,  I really do love autumn. But I'm ready to move on to the winter, snowy walks with hot chocolates and ice skating. Bliss.



Tuesday 24 November 2015

My Favourite Autumn Face | Beauty

Are you bored of talking about autumn (And all things "autumnal") yet? 
I hope not. 'Cause I got a whole heap of autumn comin' at ya. 

I know I'm not alone in saying that one of the wonderful things that autumn brings is the fashion and beauty. Nude lips, berry nails and golden eyes are just some of the classic autumn looks that I love to wear this time of year and I thought I'd share my everyday make up look at the moment, with some of the star products that I love. 
Every product that I talk about here is under £10 (most are under £5). I really like saving my more high end products for when I'm not sitting vacantly in uni. I don't think my lecturers will fully apprecite a £30 foundation or £25 blusher so I'd rather not waste it on them. Sorry, Bob, mate.

Drugstore, cruelty free products for an autumnal look | ACupofT

Friday 20 November 2015

The Art of Productive Procrastination

Productive Procrastination | AcupofT

~ setting the scene ~
Okay. So, you're sitting at your desk. Piles of books and paper strewn around the room. Words don't look like words anymore.
You've pretty much lost the will to live. (And no, I'm not being dramatic).
So you check your phone... Have a little browse on twitter. Maybe even Facebook, even though you don't even like Facebook.  Next thing you know an hour has passed and you've done sweet F all. 

Sound familiar? That is pretty much my daily routine, so I speak with authority on this matter. 
If you're going to procrastinate (which you are, don't even lie to yourself) at least do it right. If you procrastinate productively you don't even have to feel bad! 
Try these suggestions to get a little bit more out of your time.


Some of you may groan at this but having a little tidy up, putting your floor-drobe away (I know I'm not the only one) or cleaning your make up brushes is a great break. These are all things that need to be done at some point, so as long as you don't decide to go on a giant cleaning mission, spending twenty minutes having a little tidy-up is very productive!  A clean workspace should get you more motivated, too.

Switch it up

You're bound to have a to-do list of other MUST DO SUPER IMPORTANT LIFE CHANGING work to do. Pick something else to do for a while! Instead of that horrendously boring reading, why not write a plan for that essay coming up? It'll either be even more boring and make you appreciate how wonderful that other work was, or it'll be fantastically exciting and you'll manage to be productive for a while. Win, win!


Honestly, all the cool kids are doing it. Including me, obvs. Colouring has actually been suggested to de-stress and relax you so it's an ideal way to take a little break from work. You can buy adult colouring books (not, like *naughty* ones) or you can even download an app. I've got Colourfy and I looove it. There's just something so therapeutic about it, not to mention creative!


Give yourself half an hour and brainstorm some new post ideas, write or edit a blog post, take some photos, or schedule tweets (you KNOW you're bored when you'd rather schedule tweets). These are all really important things for an important part of your life so it's okay to give it a bit of love while you procrastinate. Just make sure it doesn't turn into a blog reading/tweeting marathon. You should come back to your work energised, inspired and a little bit happier.

Basically, just do anything other than aimless social media browsing, I beg you! (If all else fails, watch an episode of Friends or Bob's Burgers. JUST ONE) then back to work you go!

Do any of you struggle to stay focused? 
Are you as guilty of endless procrastination as I am?

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Cotton Traders Kindness Box #CTWorldKindnessDay

Some of you may not know that Friday 13th November was World Kindness Day. Well you do now!
I actually didn't know myself until Cotton Traders got in touch with me asked if I would like to be part of their campaign, which of course I was more than happy to!


Sunday 15 November 2015

Sunday Smiles #5

I'm gutted I missed my Sunday Smiles post last week, especially because it was such a great week!
That's actually why I missed it, I didn't stop for breath all week. In the best possible way. I thought I'd be able to be a potato and chill this week. But, obv not. It's been just as busy.

I actually debated whether it was appropriate to post Sunday Smiles this week in the wake of the of the atrocity that's shaken the world. I decided that it would actually be more inappropriate to not post. People have lost their loved ones, people are scared and a whole city, if not the whole western world, has been turned upside down. Surely it's more important now more than ever to appreciate every little thing that makes you smile and be grateful and happy.

I feel so grateful and humbled.
We don't know how lucky we are to wake up surrounded by our loved ones.


Friday 13 November 2015

Lush Blogger Event #LushWinter2015

All bloggers and girls alike love Lush, and I am no exception.
I am very partial to a bath bomb or bubble bar which they are obviously most well known for, but I am a big fan of their other bath and beauty products.

So, naturally, I was more than a little excited to be able to attend their blogger event this week where they gave us an after-hour tour of the shop with demonstrations and tasters of some of their gorgeous new Christmas goodies. (Which we all know are the best things about the Christmas period).


Wednesday 11 November 2015

Mini Haul of Loveliness | Drugstore & Cruelty Free

So much for my spending ban... I know you girls feel me.
I feel like I have two states of being at the moment - in pyjamas, drinking tea and "doing uni work" (AKA stalking twitter and instagram) or spending money (AKA filling my room with stuff I don't need and haemorrhaging money). Life, man. LIFE. 

At least I get to share some of the lovely things I bought with you. Totes worth it. Also my face & nails are hella on fleek with all my new purchases. I was actually lucky enough to get nearly everything I bought on a 3 for 2 offer apart form the brushes and the lipstick. 

Mini Drugstore, Cruelty Free Make Up Haul | ACupofT
It's like they know how to taunt and tempt me. And it works.


Friday 6 November 2015

Only Ever Yours | Book Review

Only Ever Yours is one of the most disturbingly real and relevant books that I have read, and I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on this bizarre book with you.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Lou Lou's Vintage Fair, Cardiff

 A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Lou Lou’sVintage Fair in Cardiff, and what a lovely afternoon it was! I attended as press for Cardiff Uni’s Quench magazine but now that I’ve written that article, I’m excited to tell you gorgeous people all about it. *kissy face emoji*

Trying on jewellery at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofTCostume jewellery at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

The fair is so much more than teacups and trinkets (although there are plenty of those); there are clothes, accessories and memorabilia from pretty much every era you could imagine, a vintage tea room, music and a vintage hair and beauty salon. Whether you love the fifties pin-up look, are a seventies lovechild at heart or are all about the nineties grunge you are spoilt for choice. Honestly, pre-sixties fashion isn’t for me. It doesn’t suit me and generally it’s just not my taste so I won’t talk about that. (All I can say is that there is a lot of stuff and you won’t be disappointed!). You know when you go to a charity shop or a “vintage” shop and you have to sift through piles of utter shite to find an amazing piece that’s actually wearable for the average person? That is not the story of Lou Lou’s at all. Which is great for absolute lazy buggers like me! 

Pretty vintage teacups at  lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

vintage typewriter at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

I was tasked with a “blogger challenge” of creating an outfit for £30 which was pretty exciting. I generally pride myself on being able to find little gems and dress myself well at a reasonable price, so this was right up my street. I went in with a completely open mind and wanted to base my outfits purely on what I came across rather than find stuff to fit an outfit I had in mind. I could have made a gazillion outfits on the day, (Seriously there is SO MUCH STUFF) but I settled on my two favourites.
I chose these absolutely adorable dungarees to wear with this tie-dye t-shirt for outfit one, coming to a grand total of £25. So obviously I selected a pair of incredibly cool sunglasses for a fiver to top of the look. Seriously though, I’ve never seen so many sunglasses and I would probably have worn every single pair. (Not at the same time obv. Lolz).

Table of vintage sunglasses at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

cheap, vintage dungarees at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

retro Tie Dye t shirt at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

Any vintage fair worth it’s salt will have to to-die-for collection of Levi, whether it be jackets or shorts. Lou Lou’s certainly didn’t let me down in this respect. I was practically salivating over all the denim. I loves me some denim, and that’s where I started for my second outfit. Some damn cool legit Levi shorts for £15 and a plaid shirt, with some amazing costume-type jewellery to complete the look. Clearly £30 isn’t enough to get a complete outfit with shoes, but to get a top, bottom and accessories I’m not complaining!

Real, vintage levi shorts at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

Real, vintage plaid shirts at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

Don’t forget to stop and enjoy a piece of cake and a cup of tea. Which, if you’re anything like me is not going to happen – tea and cake are permanently at the forefront of my mind... There’s something just so lovely and quaint about drinking tea and nibbling cake from delicate china. I normally drink it out of a giant sports direct mug, so the fancy things in life clearly are a luxury to sad little me. Not to mention the retro tunes from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” as a more than fitting soundtrack to the morning.

gingerbread cake in vintage tea room at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofTretro music act gentlemen prefer blondes at lou lou's vintage fair, Cardiff | ACupofT

I left the fair with my belly full, finger bearing a gorgeous ring, a wish list as long as my arm and looking forward to going back when it returns to Cardiff on the 29th November. I hope if you’re local I’ll see you there!



Sunday 1 November 2015

Sunday Smiles #4

Happy November, everyone!
Another month gone. AAAHH. 

This week has felt weird and non stop, hence why I fell behind with my blog posts and only managed two this week rather than three. My bad! I'm all organised for next week now, I hate feeling unorganised so much. If anyone wants to come and work as an unpaid, overworked PA for my life the next couple of weeks you are more than welcome... I'll make you tea and let you cuddle my new unicorns.

Halloween and fancy dress prep was a contributing factor to my stressy busy-ness this week, I think. (More than uni work which I did practically none of... Woops!). How was everyone's halloween? What did you go as?! I'd love to see some pictures - link me to any halloween blog posts, guys!

If you follow me on twitter, this won't be news to you, but... I got a job! That's obviously been the biggest "smile" this week and I really can't wait to start. A job where I get paid to talk about and play with make up all day sounds good to me! (There is obviously more to it than that, but let's just not think about that yet!).

I've been initiated. Oh boy. Most people getting "initiated" into a society or sports team tend to be freshers, so being initiated in my fourth year is pretty grim! Serves me right for waiting this long to join in with anything, I suppose! It was Noah's Ark themed and I was assigned a parrot to dress up as and my night consisted of taking part in ridiculous challenges and games that saw me covered in flour and carrying my best friend home covered in sick (her, not me) at ten o'clock. What a boody night.

Noah's Ark Initiation, Sunday Smiles 4 | ACupofT
My unicorn army is growing. Anyone been to Asda recently? GO NOW. They have giant unicorn cuddly toys on offer at the moment, so obviously Martin bought me two. Seeing a minuture "grown up" with a big, pink, fluffy unicorn under each arm prompted a few giggles from some kids. Bitches be jel.

A good new book. I feel like I never have time to read these days (thank you, Martin), so any book that I find that makes me make time to read is a winner. I'm half way through and I think it's phenomenal so far - so relevant, intriguing and scarily real. Keep your eyes peeled for a review, you're all going to want to read this!

Sister's reunion. It's no secret how much I miss my sister and today we are both going home for the day. I'm going to do my round of visits, spend some time with some adorable little toddlers that I haven't seen in a while, and most excitingly have a good old catch up with Josie.

What's made you lovely lot smile this wek? :-)


Wednesday 28 October 2015

European Castles Bucketlist

I love old, ornate, wonderful looking buildings: cathedrals, parliament buildings, old theatres, you name it. But I have a real soft spot for castles. If there is a castle around, you can bet your ass I'm going to be exploring it with my camera.

Perhaps that love stems from living in Britain, specifically Wales, which you may not know has been dubbed the castle capital of the world. Cute. We had over 400 castles, and over 100 are still standing today!

As if Britain wasn't amazing and jammed with enough castles, if we venture slightly further afield we come to the magical land of Europe (Yay!). All I can say is oh my god. The collection of castles across Europe is absolutely mindblowing, with so many different types of architecture, history and surroundings.

I thought I'd share a few of my favourites for you to drool over and get that wanderlust feeling that we know so well!


Sunday 25 October 2015

Sunday Smiles #3

I am officially half way through my lectures for first semester. OH MY GOD. That means exams are a-coming. Nope. No thank you. But this point in time also means that I am only two weeks away from my first trampolining competition which is so exciting!! As long as I don't injure myself anymore... which is probably unlikely. Shit happens to me.

Clearly I am a bundle of mixed emotions! On to the happy things -


Friday 23 October 2015

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Guys, have you heard? It's Autumn
In case you missed all the tweets. Bloggers love autumn...

Its all about berry lips and pumpkin spice err'thing aaaaall day. 
So go put on your roll neck, slap on some MAC Diva and gold eyes and sip your PSL, this is hashtag basic bitch territory and I love it.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Can We Be Modern Day Suffragettes?

I am a feminist. And a proud one at that.
So naturally I'd been eagerly awaiting the release of Suffragette. (Especially 'cause I've got mad love for Carey Mulligan). I'm so glad to say it met, even exceeded my expectations in every way.

I'll start by promising no spoilers in this post. I will NEVER be that person!!

However, if you know the basic trajectory and milestones of the suffragette movement and fight for votes for women, many of the plot points (including the climax) won't be a surprise to you. It does not lessen the impact in any way at all, though. It still hit me like a tonne of bricks and I have to give credit for the amazing sound and camera work.

The film the captures the real essence and "grit" of the suffragettes; not just the big-names like Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison, but the impact that it had every day on the lives of these working class women.

The amount that they sacrificed and endured to fight for our right to vote literally gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. They faced torture, brutality, ostracism and slander which, of course, paid off in the long run, but their lives were hell. And really, when you think about it, how far have we come?


Sunday 18 October 2015

Sunday Smiles #2

Is it just me or is time just flying by? I don't think I have the mental strength to deal with how quickly this year is getting on. Another week has passed and with that a whole bunch of things to smile about. (Even though I've done more than my fair share of frowning this week like the miserable old goat that I am).

The Apprentice Drama. IT'S BACK! And I could not be more giddy with excitement. Another big bunch of dickheads for us to enjoy for the next couple of weeks. Especially with a double whammy of fish and shampoo to whet my appetite!

Hobbit Envy and Aragorn Love. I watched Lord of the Rings for the first time since developing an intense phobia of gollum when I was 7. Safe to say I am now a convert and wish I lived in Middle Earth. Sigh.

"Date Night". (I thoroughly hate that phrase, btw). Despite us living together, Martin and I haven't spent any real "quality time" together since I've gone back to uni, after spending every waking moment together all summer! He took me for dinner in a local Caribbean restaurant and then we went bowling and played in the arcade and it was just what we needed :-)

My trampolining social. I started trampolining in uni this year (the first society/team I've ever joined!) and we went on our first social. I got to know my fellow trampoliners better and had a great night!

University isnt't making me want to jump into a pool of sharks. Yawn yawn yawn but my proposal for my dissertation has been submitted. I now know what I will be doing this year and I feel so positive about it!

Hometown glory. I've ventured back home to Bridgend and had some lovely cuddles with my best friend and her gorgeous little girl, a catch up with my mam and dad, and some puppy kisses from my dog, Rosie.

What has made you smile this week? :-)


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