Life's Cup of Tea

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Life Lately

Less than 3 weeks to the big day! I 100% promised myself that with 3 weeks to go I would be sorted present wise. PAH! Emergency shopping next weekend I think!

This week has (suprise suprise!) been a lot about Christmas beginning with my towns light switch on and culminating in works Christmas party, which I remember 80% of!
The Christmas light switch on was amazing! It may not be big, busy and have very few shops but they shut off the whole high street and filled it with little stalls, food, mulled wine and a tiny fun fair. And reindeer... There were reindeer! Oh and a stilt walking Elvis in angel wings just for good measure. 

We were going to wait until this weekend to decorate, but we caved and left work early on the 1st, got in some mince pies, put on a Santa hat, turned up the Xmas songs and went crazy with the tinsel. Our house is like a grotto now and we LOVE it! This is why living in a female house rocks, not sure a male could cope with all the glitter. Our calender is also filled up with Christmas meals galore :)
 Friday was the day of our work party, a 1920's theme. They did such an amazing job decorating the room and a free bar meant that I woke up on Saturday morning in my onesie, full face of makeup and headband still on with a cut on my nose a bruise above my eye, and half the office sleeping on our living room floor.  As a house we are still collectively trying to piece together our movements from that night, though maybe some things are better left unknown?!

Oh and FYI #bbloggers, if you are looking for a lipstick with the staying power of a king, I suggest investing in Rimmell's Kate. I still somehow had a perfect pout on Saturday morning!

How have your weeks gone and what's your festive position? I am going to spend this next week shopping, wrapping and baking some mince pies!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas Tag

I found this Christmas Tag over on Milk Bubble Tea and thought seeing as we only have one month till the big day, I would give it a go.

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
Most Christmas films get the thumbs up from me though Elf has to be my top top. 

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas Day all the way!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
We went to Lapland for a day one Christmas which was awesome! Admittedly I was being sick for most of the day (little Rosie didn't really travel very well) but it was still a magical day.

4. Favourite festive food?
We don't have a regular Christmas pudding but make a chocolatey, pudding shaped fridge cake from my Gran's recipe which I LOVE. We make it together on Christmas eve and all have a go making a wish while stirring.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
I get a bit confused between Christmas and Birthdays sometimes! I got a Walkman for Christmas once, that was a great day. I also got a CD/Cassette player which is bright yellow from back when CD's were a new deal. I still have it now and it works a dream.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
The food. Oh the food. 

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
We make our Christmas Pudding during the day then have a big lunch. We usually watch a Christmas film or The Snowman or Father Christmas before carving our Christmas ham and having good ham sandwiches before bed. In the last few years, we've opened our cards on Christmas Eve too.Then we get the presents out and under the tree (due to naughty cats, we have to cupboard them until the big day!) and head to bed!

8. What tops your tree?
A very old angel! As my brother and I don't live at home anymore and therefore don't put the decorations up, it falls down to us to jointly put the angel on the tree when we both get home. Then Christmas really begins!

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
I asked for a Pink Mini on several occassions when I turned 17. Mum gave me a miniture Pink Mini Keyring instead. How hilarious...

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
I love everything, I think it's just such a magical time. The family, the food, the decorations, the presents. 

Let me know if you give it a go, and take a look at Milk Bubble Tea, because it is a pretty awesome place.

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Life Lately: Photo Edition

Oh hello readers!
Here's a little update on the last 3 weeks of my life with the help of a plethora of photos!

Photos L-R: The town hall and giant Santa at nightmmmmm mulled wine |The town hall and Santa by day | Chocolate coated marshmallows on a stick, words can't describe!
I've been to Manchester 3 times in the last week, 3 times! Admittedly once was a work trip but that did not stop me having a cheeky peak round the markets in the dark. Both weekend visits were crazy busy and as a Westcountry Bumpkin, I am not used to the hustle and bustle of the big city but I'm getting there! 
Photos L-R: The world's cutest gloves in the world, thanks Primark!| An Elf T-shirt I just HAD to have. My favourite Christmas film ever! | My Lush glitterbomb of goodness | Aren't these the cutest, they're from the markets and I think I am going to use them to wrap presents with.

Photos L-R: I live 1 minute from a gorgeous canal so have been having a little explore | M&S £10 Dinner for Two is the most amazing thing since sliced bread, especially on a Thursday night! | I got sent this picture of my kitty at home. I think it's adorable, everyone else says scary :( | I love cider, this one has my name in. There was no option, I had to drink it. 

I hope life has been treating you all wonderfully, and please tell me, is my cat picture adorable of scary?!

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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Life: What's up November?

Man it's November already, sure it was June yesterday! I love November because it is much nicer sounding that Ocotber, is sooo near to Christmas and fireworks. I love them :)
This month is going to be crazy for me! Today I moved 200 miles away from home and my parents to Cheshire and on the 3rd I start a brand new job! Scary times! I have lot's I want to do this month, here's a few...

- Geocache : I think this is a great way to explore my new town, there is a whole trail of them along the canal path behind my new house! 

- Join the gym : 4 years of putting this off is coming to an end. There is a really nice looking gym right outside my office. This is as easy as it's ever going to get!

- Learn a new recipe : Preferably potatoey or butternut squashy. Any suggestions, please let me know!

- Start learning to drive again : This is it. There are no hills in Cheshire, hills were my demon in Devon.  

- Start my Christmas shopping : Be prepared. That is all!

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Thursday, 30 October 2014

My Collections - Thimbles

As I was packing up my belongings I realised that I am a bit of a ccollector I have 3 mains collections, which I am going to split over three posts. This week...  Thimbles!!

This is my main collection and I have been collecting for almost as long as I can remember! I bought my first one at an otter sanctuary, and ever since pick one up when I go to somewhere new. They are mostly in chronological order, so they are also a good reminder of holidays past. 
I love them because they are usually cheap, can be bought anywhere, are small and are a great way to remember holidays, events and day trips. I have painted three myself and the Grandma figure in my life has given me a few of her old ones, so they are very sentimental! I have amassed a fair few over the years and my collection now stands at 109.

As you can see, I have a fair few (apologies for the plastic backing on the windows of my display, we are struggling to get it off!) of all different materials: wood, clay, china, glass and metal. And all different sizes, I even have a cat shaped one!

Check back in the next few weeks for 2 more posts on my collections!

Do you collect anything?
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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Life: The week that was #3

It's been one of those busy / non-busy weeks, I don't seem to have done much but have no idea where the time went!

1// I've been obsessively reading Harry Potter and watching the films. Am on the last book now and it is so much better than I ever remember it being! I think maybe I was too early to really understand when I last read them! The added cuddles with Kevin always helps too.

2// I've been spending time in the attic and garage getting all my stuff down ready for my big mood next weekend. I forgot how much kitchen/ bathroom stuff I acquired! 

3// I sent off my signed contract! So it's 100% official :)

4// I couldn't stop myself buying this cheeky cactus plant in Tesco! I am not great with plants, but I can't accidentally kill a cactus wearing a mustache and sombrero right?! 

5// Having watched the bake off and scoured pinterest for hours, I felt I needed to jump on the macaroon bandwagon. The bake off makes it look so easy right? I figured if I could master this skill, I could be onto some very cheap christmas present ideas. Hah ha ha.. I followed the recipe to the T but mine don't look appealing at all! They all kind of cracked and looked like little splodges of sick which you have to actually lick off the backing paper because they are stuck fast. So... if there are any baking geniuses that might be able to suggest my error(s) please let me know!

How have your weeks been? 
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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Movin' on up North! Movin' on out!

A week ago I went up north for an interview for a job in an area I am super keen to work in. It took 5 hours 14 minutes on the train, and seeing as I was so sure that I wouldn't get it I didn't really think too much of the distance. Fast forward to today and I got the phone call to tell me they are delighted to offer me the job! At first I admit I may have done a bit of manic dancing and crazy squeeling. By the time I grilled my toastie and sat down to enjoy my lunch I was in a totally different mood.

I applied for this job knowing full well it was ooop North, but when I submitted my application I didn't really think I would get it. It's a great job in an area I am really interested in, my dream job? Maybe not, but even I am not clear on that yet! Post interview I tried desperately not to get too excited - I've been burned by rejection before and did not want a repeat! So I busied myself in my TEFL course (to teach English abroad) and instead begun investing my excitement into those prospects and travelling the world.

When I left to go to university, I knew that I would be coming back at the end of my degree. University was never a permanent move. I spent 3 months at home over the Summer and a month each at Easter and Christmas. So while I was away for most of the year, it was only 10 weeks at a time then I would be right back to my family and home like nothing had really changed. With a job, I won't be able to spend time at home all the time. Sure I get a little holiday off but between chillaxing, seeing family and my travel dream, when is it all going to fit?! Even the weekends will be hard - repeat 5 hour train journey....

I did long distance relationships with a boy. It didn't work particularly well. I know long distance with a family is 98% different, but the principal is the same. Every time we met up we made an event of it. For that one weekend we made ourselves do stuff to make it feel as though we'd spent our brief time wisely. We never just 100% chilled out, spent a day lounging in bed, spent the day in PJs watching crappy films. We never got to just phone each other on whim like 'Want to go watch a movie?'. I am worried this is what it will be like. No more random trips to M&S cafe, no more defrosted home made soup because no one remembered to cook dinner instead carefully constructed whole family activities.

I am excited to finally start earning my own way, to have my own place and have my 'purpose' in life. 

I am sad that I won't get to snuggle my cats everyday.

I am scared that my dreams to travel are really at risk here. I keep saying to myself that in a couple of years I can take a year to travel, but is there time?

I am scared that this is the road for me now, no more adventures or crazy things to do.

Most of all, I am scared that I will love my job there, find (possibly hehe) my soulmate there, settle down there, buy a house there, have kids there and never see my mum and dad.

So there we go. That's long. I am sorry just had to get it out that's why blogging is so amazing. Plus I need to hear all your tales of flying the nest good and proper to help me!
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Monday, 13 October 2014

Sweet Potato Fries

This week has been the first week in a long while where I just really didn't want to get our of bed. It's been dark, it's been freezing and it's rained. Hard. Yup, this week Autumn arrived.
So I feel a bit of seasonal food is needed. Pumpkins, butternut Squash, carrots, hot chocolates (tee hee hee). Have a look at the beautiful Sweet Potato Fries I lovingly made yesterday. They are super easy, apparently better for you than regular chips and yummy. 
FACT OF THE DAY: Sweet potatoes are those things Americans call Yams. Mind blown. 

 3/4 sweet potatoes
 a dashing of oil
 table saly
 ground pepper

Wash and peel those 'tatas. I usually make a horrific mess here, Jamie Oliver would curse if he saw my peeling methods. Now you are goin to need to find a sharp cutting implemement and very carefully chop into chip shapes. Place on a baking tray and toss them in some oil, sprinkle with salt and a little pepper.
Pop them in the oven at a medium heat for about 20 minutes, tossing them from time to time. Or bake until golden, or as crispy as you want! 

Do you have any good autumnal recipes? Please share!
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Friday, 3 October 2014

Travel: Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is one of these places you have to go when you are in Iceland, this became very clear from the start of our trip planning. On asking one of my trusty (note male) pals on what his advise for Iceland was, of the Blue Lagoon he said "we were underwhelmed... but I'd still recommend going just for the experience." So there we are, underwhelmed but still recommended. 

I would love to tell you all the sights I saw from the coach on the 50 minute drive to the lagoon, but sadly I was the beauty snoring, mouth wide open and head lolling into the aisle (we had been up since the crack of dawn whale watching to be fair!). A quick nudge from the brother and I awoke to what essentially looked like giant cooked minced beef strewn over the landscape capped with mushy peas. Iceland for you.

The lagoon itself is partly man-made, partly natural. The water itself is an output from a nearby geothermal power plant although initially this water is drawn up from the centre of the world. This also means the pool is heated to a balmy 37°C It's high mineral content (from the underlying rocks) gives it a beautiful milky, bluish colour which is stunning in comparison to the surrounding lava. It definitely takes Fraser Island on in the beautiful water competition. 

Upon entering the lagoon (we chose the most basic package) you are given a high tech wristband to gain high tech access your locker. You have heard me mention Icelandic loo brilliance, it seems they have changing room brilliance too. After a quick shower we headed out into the crisp arctic air and straight into the depths of the lagoon. 

The water is so milky you can't even see your hand just under the surface. Despite the faint eggy smell that is just everywhere in Iceland it was like stepping into a giant hug. Oh so warm, oh so milky, oh so silky. We quickly found the pots of silica mud on the sides and ladled it onto our faces. It dries to be clay like, which you then wash off to reveal silky smooth skin. It worked a treat. And was incredibly fun.

Sadly the time came to pull ourselves from the warm water and go back and change. It is highly advised you condition your hair like crazy - lagoon water works wonders for the skin, but not the hair! Feeling severely dehydrated we had a quick cuppa tea in the cafe overlooking the water then hopped back onto our bus back to Reykjavik. 

I would thoroughly recommend going along to the lagoon, we were there for just over 3 hours which was plenty of time. For this amount of time the basic package was fine, we found plenty to amuse ourselves. If you are planning on making this a whole day trip, then maybe look into a more expensive package for some added treats. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Style: September product favourites

Slightly different post today, dipping my toes in another pool and all that. I've developed some favourite, firm favourite products over the last week so thought I would share them with you all at the end of this beautiful September.

Clinique Chubby Stick - £17
This was a freebie at the time with a magazine (which I think every blogger took advantage of!) which I generally got for the magazine. This was a nice added bonus. I use my chubby stick daily, it doesn't add too much colour to my lips but does add enough to make a nice difference. 

Soap and Glory Hocus Pocus - £11
This is the first S&G make up I have used and I am a impressed. I have been wearing this a lot as a highlighter (as suggested) on my cheekbones and it really does add a glow. It come's out of the tube pearly, and applies smoothly and lightly. I really like it as a day to day boost and it also makes me look slightly more lively in night time party photos. Bingo. 

Mavala Mavadry - £9.40
This came as part of my You Beauty box this month and I am in love. I love to do my nails but get so impatient with the drying and usually end up smudging it or with hairlines in my mani the next day. You simply paint this over still wet polish and within half a minute it is dry solid and with a lovely shine. I have done my nails heaps more this month as a result!
Lee Stafford Blow Dry Wonder Spray - £6.99
After visiting the hairdressers, I decided that to accomplish that 'just been to a professional' look everyday I needed a bit more help especially with the old blow dry. This spray really does cut down the time taken for me to blow dry my locks and keeps it in place for a lot longer than it normally would look ok. It also has the added benefit of heat protection which I should probably use more of anyway!

Clinique Anti-Blemish Clarifying Solution - £18
I have awful skin. Big pores, uneven colour and acne that just decided to flare up in my times of need. Theoretically this summer my skin should have been one giant red, spotty mess; long crazy hours, little sleep, crazy stress, awful eating habits. I put the fact that I actually stayed mainly acne free down to this gem. It tingles as you take your make up off and actually leaves my skin feeling clean in a way I have never felt before. Sadly I ran out a week ago and my skin has turned bad again literally overnight. Coincidence I think not...

Have you used any of these to any degree's of success?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Life: The week that was #2

This week has just trundled on by until Saturday when PIXIE LAND, CREAM TEA and CUDDLING BABY PIGS all happened in one day. Accompanied by screaming along to radio 1 on country roads and eating our weight in Devon fudge. Ahhhhh...

Jessica posted an outfit with these ΓΌber cute cat tights, which I have decided I need in my life. I just need to find an English shop that sells them... help?!

Having stumbled across this shop once in Lisbon and then again last week in Reykjavik, I am in love. I can't stop browsing the website!

This recipe has just become my new favourite. It's mac and cheese, but healthy. And with hidden veg. Dare I say, this version is better that the usually heaps of cheese/pasta combo!?

23 reasons why you must visit Australia had me all desperate to go back. What a country, who can believe it has all of those beauties!

Hope you have all had scrumptious weeks too :)

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Travel: 5 things about Iceland

1. Fab Loos
From the moment I went to the loo at the airport arrivals to the moment I went to the loo at the airport departures, I not once came across a bad toilet. Which is rare, I have relatively high standards! Hands free, nice hand creams, super clean, sleek decorated, awesome light effects, cubicles the size of my own bathroom. Love it. 

2. Stinky Water
I initially thought my brother wasn't feeling too well when I went into the bathroom after him. It stank. Like eggs. Luckily this wasn't the case, instead it is the hot shower water causing this unfortunate smell. Within seconds of turning on the shower (which does heat up very fast fyi) the room smells of eggy fart. You sort of get used to it, I just made sure I used extra florally shampoo, I was paranoid! It's all actually quite exciting really, the egg is the result of all that volcanic action not far below the feet of Icelanders. 
3. McDonalds
I haven't been to many places around the world, but I have never been somewhere where I haven't seen a McDonalds. How refreshing was Iceland!? Ok there were loads of subways, a KFC and Cola everywhere but not a single MccyDs. The big daddy of fast food pulled out of the country in 2009 due to the financial crisis. So there we go, McDonalds does not rule the world. 

4. Concrete / Tin
Most of the buildings in Reykjavik seem to made of either concrete or tin. And by concrete I mean just plain, grey, smooth concrete. I am not saying this is a bad thing at all, the Icelandic people have made what I consider to be a VERY ugly building material into works of art. 

5. No such thing as a tacky souvenir
As a sucker for cheap tacky souvenirs for myself and to bestow on my buddies I was extremely disappointed when what I was hoping was a couple of pounds turned out to be almost a tenner. No kidding. The only thing I bought were 3 thimbles for my collection, and that cam to almost £15! My dreams of an Icelandic wool jumper flew out of that concrete-rimmed window when I saw the price tag and my father almost died on several occasions when he saw the price his pint of beer was going to cost. Thank goodness they have amazing scenery to go on FREE walks. 

And one for luck...

6. It not actually too icy!
Strange that. It was actually relatively mild given that it is rubbing noses with the Arctic Circle. I reckon someone got confused with Greenland and Iceland at one point. Iceland was rather green, I get the impression Greenland is rather icy. 

Have you ever been to Iceland?
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Monday, 22 September 2014

Life: Lists & Growing Up

At the moment I am really at a horrible crossroads. I have finished my gap year and was cruising along really quite nicely: Easy job, travel for a few months, tough rewarding job, travel. Nothing.
Here I am sat at the kitchen table of my parents house on a Monday morning in front of my laptop with no idea what on earth is going on in my life. The next date I have written in my diary is Christmas day. While this is happening I am seeing all my friends doing stuff on my facebook feed. I literally feel as though everything in my life is a bit of a mess at the moment... my lack of employment, my finances, my email account and even the ability to blog! Which is silly really, I have been very lucky this year :)

It is exactly this situation I just have to make shed loads of lists and somehow plough through them without eating too much food! My snazzy new organizer from paperchase sure helps out with that one :)

Are you a list maker? 

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Travel: Fraser Island - Australia

During our time in Australia, we went on a day tour to Fraser Island with Fraser Explorer Tours, the largest sand island in the world located just off the Queensland coast. Due to our time limits we could only squash in a day visit meaning we didn't get to see everything the island has to offer but this didn't stop this being an amazing trip.

We were picked up bright and early from the bus stop at Rainbow Beach which just across the road from our hostel. The bustank was literally a cross between the two, as there are no roads on fraser island this machine had to be sturdy! We made our way to the crossing point and got on the ferry to take us across to the island. 
Our first main stop after navigating old logging sand tracks (the term rollercoaster comes to mind!) and a quick stoop for some elevensies was Lake McKenzie. I kid you not readers, this was possibly the most beautiful, amazing place I have ever laid my eyes on. The lake contains only rain water and has no inflows or outflows. The azure water is so pure that not much lives in it. The sand is white silica, so fine and white and the whole lot is surrounded by lush green forest. Despite being an obvious tourist hotspot, we found a secluded bank where we were able to wallow in the warm water and 'ex-foliate' ourselves using the sand. If heaven could be an hour, that hour was it. 

One of the draws to Fraser Island is the wildlife. There are sadly no koalas but plenty else! Keep your eyes peeled on the rainforest walk, we were luck to see a giant lizard (I mean giant, it was bigger than my head!) as well as several Dingos - an icon of fraser! If you go on a longer trip  you have chances to see Whales, Sharks and Dugong at the north of the island. Jealous much!
As we drove further up the island in the Surf we were offered a trip in a small aeroplane over the Island for just $70. We had been going on about doing a scenic flight for weeks now but hadn't done one so this seemed like the perfect chance! The runway IS the beach, Fraser is one of only 2 places in the world with a beach runway. 

We soared above the blue sea keeping our eyes peeled for any wildlife, over lush green rainforests,numerous lakes, huge sandblows and KMs of beach. It was worth every cent of the price we paid!
Passing this stunning ship wreck we made it to the furthest point of our trip, The Pinnacles Coloured Sand. These rock formations contain scores of different colours of sand (in a similar fashion to those at Rainbow Beach, hence the name!) caused by oxidation.
I much prefer the aboriginal tale though: a young girl Wuru, promised to an older man called Wayner, fell in love with a Rainbow Serpent. She visited the beach daily to meet her lover, but the Wayner grew jealous and known for his killing ability sought revenge on Wuru. With his boomerang in hand he chased her, but upon hearing the young girls screams, the Rainbow Serpent lept in front to protect her. The Rainbow was shattered into small pieces by the deadly boomerang, and the pieces fell to form the coloured sands. Wuru escaped unharmed, and this area is now seen as a sacred site for women. 

Our final port of call before speeding back down the beach highway was Eli Creek. We walked along a long boardwalk further in land along the creek before climbing in. The crystal clear water gently pulling us back towards the beach. The perfect end to a perfect day :)

Shattered, we returned to our hostel and did what any good Aussie does... fired up the Barbie! Would I go back? Absolutely. Fraser Island is a MUST to anyone thinking of going to Queensland.