Tuesday 29 September 2015

Budapest: Three "Top Threes" | Travel

I can't sing Budapest's praises highly enough. What. A. Place.
It really is an absolute gem of a city and is so up and coming at the moment. Food and drink are cheap, there is so much to see and do and it is so vibrant and fun with a rich history.
If you want to make the most of a quick weekend visit or don't know where to start in the vast expanse of things to do; check out my little lists of the best places to visit, top things to do and great places to eat in Budapest.


Sunday 27 September 2015

5 Amazing Insta Accounts to Follow ASAP

Instagram is one of those apps, much like pinterest, where I can spend hours just scrolling and drooling over all the pretty pictures.

I love following fellow wanderlusts, bakers, photographers and lifestyle bloggers as it's such an amazing place to get inspiration.

I've compiled a list of my top five Instagram accounts of the moment, some old some new, for any of you who wants to add a dash giant dollop of prettiness and "wow" to their feed.

1. @Sweetapolita

I have been a big fan of her blog for a while and now she has an etsy shop full of fanciful and whimsical sprinkles. She posts pictures of her cakes and bakes, not to mention aaaall the sprinkles to her Instagram and I always sigh over the loveliness whenever I come across a picture. SO MUCH PRETTY.

2. @Worldwanderlust

Travel is one of my favourite things in the whole wide world and Brooke's pictures are absolutely something to behold. She has an amazing eye for the world and I could get lost in her Instagram pictures, not to mention her blog!

 3. @Franklyflawless

Any lifestyle bloggers looking for some inspiration or even just want to look at pictures different from the standard, expected white flatlays you must follow this account. Her pictures are stunning, and really motivate me to up my photography game. 

4. @Saltandsail

Another lifestyle blog whose Instagram account is just full of pin-worthy pictures. They are so clean and bright, and really just so pretty  Highly recommend following to inject a burst of freshness into your feed.

5. @Thebosnianaussie

I only discovered this account this week but I can't get enough of her photos. The aesthetic running through her whole account is very impressive, and I love the colours in her pictures. They all look so dreamy. At the moment she is in Croatia which is number one on my bucketlist at the moment.

T. xxx

Do you follow any of these accounts?
Who are your favourites at the moment?  

Friday 25 September 2015

Why I Love Autumn

The clocks have gone forward, it's the end of Summer and Autumn is officially upon us.
 *puts wooly hat and scarf on and does happy dance in crunchy leaves*
Can you tell I love Autumn, guys?
These are some of the things I love about this wonderful season.

1. The beautiful colours
2. Piles of crispy, crunchy leaves
3. Wearing hats, scarves and gloves
4. Having an excuse to buy hats, scarves and gloves!
5. Evening walks (with a hot choclate in hand)
6. Fireworks, sparklers and candles
7. Giant, thick, cozy socks
8. Darker lips, nails and eyes
9. Squirrels, robins and other cold-weather creatures

10. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream
11. Cwtchy nights in
12. Pinecones
13. Frosty mornings
14. That "Autumn Smell"
15. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and pumpkin spice.



Wednesday 23 September 2015

Cruelty Free Dupes | MAC Lipsticks

Who wants MAC dupes?!
Everyone in the whole world...

Image: www.perksofbeingami.co.uk

Not only are these lipsticks that I have been searching for PAINSTAKINGLY a billion times cheaper than MAC lipsticks they are also cruelty free. How amazing is that?
I've literally had a discoloured arm for the last week from so much swatching but I (and the lovely staff at all the shops) finally found the matching shades that I was happy with. So without further ado, please enjoy these gorgeous shades with no animal testing! Woohoo

One colour that everyone has been losing their shit over for the last couple of months is Velvet Teddy, and the hype is clearly here to stay. (Everyone be wanting that Kylie Jenner pout *sassy girl emoji*). If I used MAC products this would definitely be the shade I would go for. The swatches don't even do these lipsticks justice. The only difference is that Velvet Teddy is a matte shade and these are not, I know that's part of the appeal of VT but I personally don't think it makes that much of a difference, especially with the GOSH shade as it's so pigmented and rich. Despite the B. lipstick not being the same finish it is the exact same shade - the girls in the shop were absolutely blown away by how similar they were, and it's vegan!

B. Cupcake - £7.99
MAC Velvet Teddy - £15.50
GOSH 122 Velvet Touch - £6.99

Another favourite at the moment is Brave and it's easy to see why. It is gorgeous! I know it's not the most "Autumnal" of shades but I think it's a classic that could easily be enjoyed all year round. This shade from GOSH (002 from the Matt collection) is pretty much an exact match and the formulas are equally as lovely. GOSH's formula isn't drying like so many matte lipsticks are and I think it's a great little purchase. The also have a very similar finish so I would say this is a real dupe, and a job well done from GOSH!

MAC Brave - £15.50
GOSH 002 Matt - £6.99

Diva just seems to be the shade of the minute. Anything deep and berry-like just screams Autumn to me! This was definitely the most tricky one actually, it is a very unique and rich shade which I have to give MAC props for. This shade from Sleek (Vamp) isn't an exact dupe but it's pretty close. They both have matte finishes but Diva is slightly more purple than Vamp and it's a bit darker. The Sleek shade is more burgundy than wine but I actually think I like it  more, especially for a third of a price and the knowledge that no animals have been harmed for it!

MAC Diva - £15.50
Sleek Vamp - £4.99

Another thing I loved about all of these products are the packaging. None of them felt "cheap". As much as I love MUA and Makeup Revolution, the packaging doesn't even slightly resemble the quality or style of the higher end brands. The Sleek and GOSH lipsticks come in very... well, sleek packages, while B.'s packaging is so innovative. It has a click-and-twist type packaging which means there's no chance of the lid coming off in your bag and covering everything you own in lipstick smears, as happened to me yesterday. Sob sob.

I hope this shows are there so many alternative to the likes of MAC and other brands that test on animals and I will continue to work to find brands to rival these favourites. If there are any products that you particularly would like me to find a dupe for please let me know. I'm always up for a challenge!

T. xxx

Monday 21 September 2015

6 Things to do in Oxford | Travel

I feel like I live in a neverending state of wanderlust, but as a student on a budget traveling abroad isn't always a feasible option. That's why Martin and I have decided to try and visit every county in the UK to satisfy the travel bug while saving the pennies (read about it here).

One of our most recent ventures was the phenomenal city of Oxford. Just wow. The architecture, the history and the prestige of this city really is something to behold. We only spent one night here so wanted to get as good a feel for the city as possible and we think we managed. If you are planning a quick (or even long!) visit to Oxford, here are the must-dos and must-sees you must make time for.

One | A Walking Tour
When we went inter railing this summer I had such strong intentions to do walking tours everywhere but we just never got round to it, but after this trip I wish so much that we had. In just two hours we saw pretty much everything you could wish to see in the city and got to hear some brilliant stories, I can't imagine where else you would hear anecdotes about Oxford students dressed up as turtles and competing in tortoise (turtle?? I  never know the difference!) races... Best thing is the tour is free, unless you wish to give a voluntary donation at the end which we did.  'Cause I'm just a nice person. Obvs. For all you bookworms, the tour talked a lot about Alice in Wonderland (the garden below is where the real Alice, whom the character was based on, played as a child!) and we saw one of C. S. Lewis' favourite haunts, and supposedly the doorway that inspired the Narnia Chronicals.

Two | Punting
Oxford's favourite pass-time. I was absoutely buzzing to get my punt on in Oxford but it was hammering down and I didn't fancy drowning in the thames. We walked along the river, though and watched the others braver than us attempting (hilariously) to punt down the river. Rumour has it that is is a lot more fun after a few glasses of bubbly. I think I could be persuaded to give that a go... ;)

Three | The Undercover Market
This is one of Oxford's most well known and popular attractions and it's easy to see why. I am a market fanatic. It's pretty uncool but I don't care, I just bloody love everything about markets. Probably because I'm a pretentious snob who doesn't like chain restaurants or supermarkets (#sorrynotsorry) but I love that often in markets people put their heart and soul into their stall and they're just so cute. Make sure you visit and pick up some goodies!

Four | Thirsty Meeples 
I doubt there is anywhere that is simultaneously as cute and cool as this place. It is a cafe completely full of evey possible board game you could imagine. You hire a table, have some food or tea and cake and just play board games. I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon! 

Image: www.theguardian.com
Five | The Bear Inn
This is (if I have remembered correctly, which I almost never do) the oldest pub in Oxford and one of the oldest in Britain. We passed by it on the walking tour and were told a couple of stories and knew we had to pop back for a drink later. The walls are covered in glass cases filled with ties which makes for a lot of interesting stuff to look at. The story goes that an old landlord would exchange a pint of beer for the end of your tie if he liked the look of it. So he would cut it off and write the name and hometown of the owner before displaying it. We liked looking for people who would have been local to us and admiring the questionable taste in ties!

Six | Blackwell's Bookshop
This bookshop is ginormous. It doesn't look like much from the outside but inside it is insane. Four floors full of books including new, secondhand, rare and antique. What makes this shop even better is knowing that is used to be only 12sqft!! If you need even more convincing of it's coolness, it is also home to the Norrington Room which is the largest room selling books in the world. Surely that's worth a look?

BONUS NUMBER SEVEN | The Fudge Kitchen
(OKAY. I know the title is 6 but everyone loves a freebie, right?)
I was completely mesmerized by this little shop. Our walking tour gave us 10% discount so we went to have a look. I have never seen so many flavours of fudge. It was literally outrageous. They let you have a good old taste of anything you fancy so we tried peanut butter (omg), lemon drizzle (you heard correctly), salted caramel (omg again) and eton mess (you guessed it, omg). We bought salted caramel hot fudge, which is like hot chocolate but fudge. The shop is mind-blowing if you have a sweet tooth like me so it had to make the list!!

 T. xxx

Have you been to Oxford?
Do you think I've missed anything?


Friday 18 September 2015

Nutella & Sea Salt Cookies

I am a cookie fiend. I could quite happily eat nothing but cookies forever and these are the cream of the crop. Everyone who has eaten these has dubbed them their favourite cookie, can you get higher praise?! Especially coming from a girl that bakes like there's no tomorrow.

These cookes are the perfect combination of sweet and salty, if you like salted caramel you will loooove these. This combination makes them dangerously addictive. Thank god bikini season is over. I'm making a batch of these and getting my fat pants on. Some people don't like the idea of sprinkling salt on an already beautiful cookie but trust me om this, it is to die for. To be honest, they're still absolute A* cookies even if you choose to omit the sea salt (which I obviously don't think you should). It uses all of my favourite methods to make ridiclously soft and chewy cookies. The best kind of cookie. If there was a cookie kingdom, this would be the supreme leader. Yeah. It's that good.

Makes approximately 20-24 cookies)

115g salted butter, softened
150g brown sugar (preferably light)
100g granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
150g nutella (or other chocolate spread) divided in half
300g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cornstarch
200g (apprx) chocolate chips, plus a few extra to decorate
sea salt

This method is easier with a mixer but it can definitely be made my hand, will just need a bit of elbow grease! Preheat the oven to 180c.

Cream both sugars with the butter until light and fluffy before beating in the egg and yolk and the vanilla extract. Then add 75g (half) of the Nutella and the chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cornstarch) in a large bowl and gradually add to the dough mixture while mixing on a low speed. Next add the rest of the Nutella and streak it through the mixture - don't over mix! You should see pretty swirls of Nutella throughout.

Scoop balls of the mixture and roll into balls. About 1 tbsp per cookie is ideal but I have made them both bigger and smaller. This is my preferred size. Place them on a baking mat and bake in the middle shelf of an oven for 10 - 12minutes, turning the tray half way through if your oven has hot spots like mine. (Damn hot spots).

Take them out of the oven when the edges look cooked after approximately 10 minutes. They may still look uncooked but that's okay! Did you know cookies continue to cook after they come out of the oven? While they are still soft, press a few more chocolate chips into the tops of each one. It just looks so much prettier, and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the top of each. DELICIOUS.

I really hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do!

T. xxx


Thursday 17 September 2015

8 Photos of Happiness Tag

I was tagged by the oh-so-lovely Megan from Lazy Thoughts to do the 8 Photos of Hapinesss tag, and it's actually taken me a stupidly long time to post this because I got a bit obsessed with looking through all my old photos. But these are the photos that always make me smile, be it the memory or the people. These are some of my all time faves :-)

This is my family on holiday in Majorca when I was four. Obviously I can't remember this holiday but I just love that me and my little sister Josie are wearing matching skirts that look like tablecloths and my dad is looking at me in such a sweet way, bless him. I think it's such a cute picture!

This is a picture of my and my best friend's gorgeous little girl, Grace, on her second birthday. (She doesn't look like she likes me very much BUT SHE DOES. Honest). She's four now and a right little madam, I'm her aunty Teri and I absolutely adore her. I've been there since the day she was born and this picture just makes me so happy thinking of what a good job Hollie has done and what a lovely little girl Grace has turned out to be.

I remember being so happy when we took this picture. I went to stay with Martin's family in Scotland for last new years eve, so Martin and I went up a big hill with a wind-up torch radio thing and a picnic blanket to watch the Edinburgh Fireworks and see in the new year together in the freezing cold. It was a perfect new year and this picture always makes me think of it :-)

I just think this picture is hilarious. We both look horrendous and I bloody hate Big Pit where this picture was taken. If you are from South Wales you have definitely been forced to go a billion times, hence the toothless grimace at the camera!! It always makes me giggle!

I love this picture of Me and Martin in Budapest on one of the last days of our interrailing trip earlier this year. It was the best month of my life and I think about it every day. Budapest was definitely my favourite city and the perfect place to round off our trip. 

This is my and my best friend Aisha (left) on a night out in Uni. I literally can't ever look at this picture and not smile. SO MUCH LOVE. We don't go out much anymore, we're both in our fourth year of a psychology degree but this was such a happy time! If you're reading this Aisha (which you better be!!) sorry about everything this last few days and I love you millions!

This is my little furry baby Rosie. I bloody love her. SO SO MUCH. She is just unbelievably cute and lovely and just the best dog in the world. Oh my god I love her. This picture makes me want to get on the train and go home and visit her. HOW LUSH IS SHE???

I saved this for last because it's one of my most special ones. My parents went backpacking all over Asia before they got married and one day while they were at Base Camp Mount Everest my dad decided they should get married. "Karen, brush your teeth we're getting married." Isn't that the proposal every girl wants to hear? My mam is so pretty and my dad is so slim!! I love thinking about their life before work, money and kids became important, and this picture just sums it all up to me :-)

This ended up being a lot longer that I had planned but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless!
I TAG: Nadia, Ali, Angi, Emma, Hayley 
Sorry if you've already been tagged. You just obv will have to do it again... ;)

Tuesday 15 September 2015

What You Should Know About Cruelty Free Beauty

Today I want to talk about an issue that is important to me: animal testing and cruelty free makeup.
I’ve seen cruelty free discussions on twitter receiving overwhelmingly positive reactions but the general consensus seems to me to be that a lot of fellow FBL bloggers just don’t seem to know much about it. 

And that's where I come in. (Don't worry, I have zero intention of scaring you into this lifestyle with horror pictures of animals. That's not my style- I would rather educate than traumatise you)

I was a vegetarian for nine years up until the Summer when I was encouraged to start eating small amounts of meat by my doctor for my health. I was absolutely gutted and I’m working on getting my consumption back down to nil at the moment. Since then my commitment to cruelty free life has increased. It’s really not as difficult or scary as people think so I’m mostly aiming to help people know the facts and arguments of various debates and to help them build their own opinion. I am also planning a mini series of CF make up dupes so keep an eye out for those. There are some good ones!! There is really no need for your make up and beauty to suffer just because you ditch the likes of MAC and Rimmel!


Sunday 13 September 2015

My Not-So-Failed Life

Hi, I'm Teri, and I am a failure.
There. I said it.

This year has felt, at times, like an endless succession of failures. And understandably so.
My first blog didn't work so I had to let it go, so to speak.
My placement for my degree was an absolute disaster. (No exaggeration, trust me). 
I am skint, living in a flat I hate, and am about to go into my fourth and final year of a degree that now feels completely pointless.

Okay, self-pitying rant = over.  But you get the picture, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I imagine this feeling may be somewhat familiar to some of you...

Well stop right there!
The more I think about my failures, the more I realise I am actually kind of awesome and am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life right now.

My blog didn't work. Who cares? I'm trying again and am enjoying it a billion times more.
My flat is shit. So what? At least I'm living with my BFF and my boyfriend.
(It really is so so shit though...)

More seriously, my placement imploding was probably the best thing that could have happened. As devastating as it was at the time, I now know before too much commitment and investment (five more years of post grad studying? Uh, no thanks) that that career wasn't for me.

I have now discovered potential careers that I had never even heard of before a few months ago! I've learned so much about myself from this disastrous year (which has actually been ridiculously fun for the most part) than I could have dreamt of, and I feel so positive about the future.

Please rethink your "failures" or things that maybe just haven't gone as you had planned, and look for the silver lining. I think you will find that everything really does happen for a reason!

Teri-May xx

Friday 11 September 2015

Freshers Advice | Lifestyle

So it's that time of year again.
A new influx of bright eyed freshers, flush with excitment, start hauling their boxes and bags into their new home in student halls.  I'm so jealous, I miss being a fresher so much! Of course this is an exciting time but it can also be so nerve-wracking. Hopefully these little tips will go some way in settling those nerves so you can feel super positive about your upcoming adventure. :-)

a cup of t blog freshers advice

1. Use social media. I felt far more at ease after finding a couple of lovely girls in my flat and nearby flats on twitter. In Cardiff Uni, for example, we had facebook pages/groups for different halls where you could find people in your flat. We had the chance to talk before moving in, coordinate what kitchen stuff we'd bring (who needs five toasters?) and made actually meeting less awkward.

2. Don't judge a book by it's cover. This is a biggy. When I first got chatting to one of my housemates I thought she was nice enough but didn't see us becoming great friends. Three years down the line we still live together and she is my best friend in the whole wide world! This also leads me onto my next post.

3. How "popular" or "cool" you were in school doesn't matter. Seriously. Like, at all. Your new best friend may have been one of the loners and you may have been the queen bee, but you didn't know eachother then. You weren't there. Everything before get's left behind and you can be who you want. I see some of the less popular people from my school having the time of their lives in Uni with a huge bunch of friends and living the dream. Noone cares!!

4. Join a society or sports team. This is actually one of my biggest regrets. I didn't think there was anything for me; I'm not sporty or musical or anything like that so where does that leave me? I didn't realise the huge number of societies there are for literally anything and everything! I am actually planning on braving up and joining the trampolining society this year. You know in school there were lunch time clubs or after school clubs that no one would dream of joining? THIS IS NOT LIKE THAT!

5. Invest a little time and money in making your room cozy. This is home for the next year so make sure you give it a bit of love. They are so gloomy and dull when you first move in but they have so much potential. Let your personality shine through. Follow my pinterest board for inspiration. (Shameless plug but #soznotsoz).

6. Threats of fines for damage are real. Sure, ripping the numbers off the room doors or trying to use the blinds as a hammock may seen fun when you've had a few, but when they say they will fine you they mean it! Student loans are a precious thing, don't waste it on paying stupid fines.

7. Work out a simple budget. Blah blah blah I know you've had this off your parents, teachers and everyone else under the sun but don't be that person who blows their loan in the first two weeks and has to eat value cereal or noodles for every meal until the next loan comes in. Work out how much you have to pay for rent/transport/bills/books/food and then enjoy what you have left. (Sorry, boring but important).

8. Don't feel pressured to be like the rest. In freshers I went out every night and followed a similar pattern for the rest of first year and it was great fun. But I'm not that much of a party girl. Don't get me wrong, I like having a drink and I love having a dance and getting glammed up but don't feel like you have to do it every night if you don't want to. There's such a stereotype of wild, party mad students and if you don't conform you can be made to feel "boring", but just be you. Enjoy Uni your way.

9. Enjoy every moment. However you choose to do it. Uni can be the best (and somtimes worst) time of your life. Yes, it's stressful and hard and tiring, but it's also the time you'll meet the people who will become your family, colleagues, carers and everything in between. You'll try new things, become independent for the first time and learn so much about yourself.

T. xxx

Are you starting Uni this year? 
Do you think there are any important tips that I've missed? 


Saturday 5 September 2015

Sunday Funday

What to do on Sundays...
Is it possible for a Sunday to be... As fun as Saturday? *gasp*
For most people it is reserved for sleeping off a hangover, watching Netflix all day and not even getting dressed. The general consensus is that Sundays are boring.

What is this about?!
There are two days in the weekend, people!
Such a tiny number as it is, but people only seem to use the one and just waste the other. I've never understood this - Sunday has always been my favourite day of the week. 

I've put together a little itinerary (I'm not as much of a loser as I sound, honestly) for a relaxed and fun Sunday to inspire you to use the full weekend. No longer does Sunday have to be the boring day of the week, it is not merely Saturday's comedown; let's beat the Sunday blues and turn Sunday into Funday! (See what I did there?).

Friday 4 September 2015

The Power of Comedy

Comedy is a very powerful thing with an extraordinary ability to tear down barriers and make all topics open to discussion and ridicule. I think in our excessively politically correct world where everyone is reluctant to speak for fear of offending someone, this is a very important thing. So with the end of August also seeing the end of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I wanted to discuss this 
aspect of comedy that really made a few shows stand out to me this Summer.

I was lucky enough to see a lot of excellent shows this year addressing a multitude of important, relevant issues in society. When these issues, that are usually somewhat uncomfortable or even taboo to talk about, are approached so openly, frankly and veiled in humour, it appears that anything goes. There is nothing off limits, which I love! Comedy can a very engaging medium of communication and these shows quite clearly show that is possible to educate the masses if you can just make them laugh!

Possibly the best example of this that I experienced in the Fringe was a very funny man indeed, Dave Chawner, who was suffering with mental health issues; a subject that I feel extremely strongly about. Everyone knows about mental health level on a superficial level at the very least but not everyone understands just what it is actually like to live with a mental health illness because  people don't talk about it. Let's be honest, it's just awkward sometimes. But this man gave a very honest account of his experiences with anorexia and depression in his show "Normally Abnormal" and it was hilarious. (Not a sentence you normally hear, and that's entirely my point!). The audience didn't stop laughing and, as he himself said: "if they're laughing, they're listening". I couldn't help but feel that he was single handedly teaching people about an important topic in a way that they are surely going to remember. Noone likes being lecured. (I'm a Uni student so I know a lot about being lectured!). The man sitting next to me had tears streaming down his face through the whole set and it was moving and quite refreshing to see how much Chawner's words were effecting him.

A different comedian with a similar effect was Aatif Nawaz in his show "Muslims Do it Five Times a Day" which is now one of my all time favourite shows. You're bound to have noticed the islamophobia in today's media - some more than others but I'm not naming any names... - and a lot of people are hateful, confused or even scared but this is mostly the result of ignorance. Nawaz made the whole audience, one of whom admitted to having no "brown friends", realise that "Muslims are just like you". He wanted people to laugh at Islam and feel comfortable doing so, not tiptoeing around this subject that scares you. He made a list of the stupidest Islamic Fatwas, like women are forbidden from eating bananas (whaaaat??), that had the audience absolutely rocking with laughter,  I definitely feel like I learned more about what it's like living as a British Muslim and I truly hope that more Muslim comedians can do the same and be as funny as Nawaz!

There were so many other shows that I didn't get to see, some touching on sexual taboos and gender inequality amongst other things. There clearly doesn't seem to be a shortage of artists using comedy as their weapon of mass-education and I hope this continues. Who doesn't love to laugh and learn at the same time?! 

T. xxx

Q. Have you seen any shows that address serious issues?
Q. What subject would you like to see addressed in this way? 
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