Life's Cup of Tea

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Things I've Pinned Lately

How totally amazing does this places look, all those camels!

I love the super cuteness of these little chocolate fingers and sprinkles. Sprinkles make the world a better place :)

Too true. Bed is where all the blog ideas and thoughts are born!

I'm redoing my room at the moment so have been looking at decor a lot. I adore this whole fairy light thing, how magical is it?! Never going to happen in the foreseeable future in my room though :( 

Are you a pinterest fan?

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Book Review: Poppy Shakespeare

The one thing about backpacking is the amount of reading you get through. I picked this one up in a book exchange at Rainbow Beach, the gateway to the gorgeous Fraser Island. In my defense, it was this or a random selection of Dutch horror-looking books. There was little choice, so Poppy Shakespeare joined me on my East Coast Australia journey.
Poppy Shakespeare is Clare Allan's debut offering in the literary world. It is a novel about mental health, told from the point of view of N, (who's name rather annoyingly we never learn) a patient at the Dorothy Fish day hospital. Along with the other members of the day hospital N is desperate to keep failing her psychiatric tests in order to remain at the daycare facility, seeing it as a nice easy life. So when the glamourous Poppy Shakespeare rocks up and is desperate to get out of there ASAP, everyone is a tad surprised. The book charts N's journey in trying to help out the seemingly perfectly sane Poppy, but is all as it seems?
As the novel is written from N's point of view, we are treated to a book filled with all the grammar and other errors that presumably N would use were she really writing this book. Chavvy is the first word that springs to mind when describing the language. Just as an example the chapter title of the very first chapter is "How it all begun". Now I am by no means a Grammar Nazi (my blog is probably littered with errors) but this style of writing really pissed me off - excuse the language. I really found it ruined the flow of the book... "Oh there's another grating error" "Ooh look another one" "How many mistakes can there be in this darned sentence?!"
I also felt that the topic of mental health was not handled in the best way. Those with mental health issues were all painted as chain smoking, lazy and with no motive to accept help. And the hospital seen as uncaring, cold and not really helping anyone. 
If I were at home I would have put this book down within the first few chapters and never picked it up again. As it was, I was stuck on a 15 hour bus journey with nothing but a bag full of fatty snacky foods. I had to read on. I would say Poppy Shakespeare is a slight grower, once you get used to the language used it is an OK read. The ending was not predictable, but then I didn't really know what to expect in the first place. I would maybe go as far to say the last few chapters were the best part of the book. 

Final Remarks
 Would I rave about this book? Probably not. If you are more of a hardcore reader, this style would probably be very interesting. If you find grammar mistakes annoying, don't touch this book with a barge pole. My travel buddy and I would swap books when finished, needless to say she didn't read this one!

What are you reading at the moment? Have you ever read Poppy Shakespeare?
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Friday, 23 May 2014

How to do Bangkok on the Cheap

Travelling can be a very expensive past time if you are not clued up. Food, accommodations and transport can all add up if you are not careful and the addition of a giant backpack often leads you open to price hikes. Here are my tops tips for doing Bangkok on the cheap:

Once you have eaten in Bangkok you will never be able to eat out in the UK again. 

  • There are plenty of street food areas in the markets and along the streets which sell meals for often no more than £1 a go.
  • Head to China Town for a huge choice of foods. There are plenty of sit down fish restaurants here too. 
  • Make the most of the fresh fruit on sale. Never have I tasted such good Mango, Pineapple and Watermelon for such a cheap price.

  • Try and avoid cabs and Tuk Tuks for long journeys. Don't use Tuk Tuks as day to day travel, but to get the experience chose a journey you know is short. Be prepared for the ride of your life!
  • If you need a cab ensure you chose one with a meter and ask the driver to use it. If a driver offers you a flat rate at the beginning of the journey, decline and ask for a meter. 
  • Use public transport! It costs 7 baht (14p) to use the bus. Ask your accommodation host for help on where to get on / off. You will also find the Thai people very helpful if you get confused! The BTS is a great cheap way to get round aswell. 
  • Use your feet. Every corner in Bangkok is different, whether it a spectacular temple, some scrummy fresh fruit being hawked or a monitor lizard swimming up the Khlongs. Grab a map and experience Bangkok on foot!

You don't need much money to be entertained in Bangkok.
  • Entry into the Grand Palace is 500baht (about £10) which includes entry to a museum and entry to another attraction including the Throne Room. It is easy to spend half a day in the Grand Palace alone. 
  • Visit the Golden Mount for a spectacular view over Bangkok. For 10 baht (20p) you can climb up to the top of the temple and soak up the views. 
  • Visit AsiaTique, a new development filled with shops and trendy placed to eat as well as the famous Calypso show. Despite it's upmarket appearance, browse the stalls for a bargain. I picked up a few cute tops for 100baht each and a few other cheap souvenirs. To get to AsiaTique, take a free ferry from near Saphan Taksin BTS station. The ferry in itself is a great experience, we did it at night which is a stunning way to see the gorgeous Bangkok skyline lit up. 
  • Don't buy the first funky elephant print silk scarf you see. Keep it in mind and have a look around, chances are you'll find it cheaper just round the corner. 
Do you have any budget traveling tips?
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Sunday, 18 May 2014

21 Was The Age


Tonight is my very last night of being the glorious age of 21. Sad really, but it must mean that tomorrow is Birthday O Clock! I say sad, because I have always associated 21 with being the fin age. The age that things happen, and you are super cool. After that... 22... 23... 30 before you know it. 40. 50. 60. etc etc. It's already going downhill having spent the last weekend of my 21ness at a Senior Management Training session for my new job! I'll be maturing faster than a really wet cheese. And I can't wait to start :)

21 has had to be one of the best years of my life. It's been crazy, so much has changed, not a lot has stayed the same. It has been the year that has changed me the most of all. Here are some of the most stand out moments:

Leaving university and moving home: I cried. I sobbed. It was horrific. They prepare you for leaving home to go to uni ("It's ok to be sad and confused" "Take pieces of home with you" "Here are some tips to settle in") What they don't do is prepare you for the much scarier and upsetting experience leaving uni to go home.

Graduating: One of those moments you can only dream about as a child. Will it really happen to me? How on earth will I do a degree? It was a special day filled with laughter and tears. A bittersweet day to end a fantastic 3 years of my little life.

First heartbreak: I guess I did quite well to last to 21 to have this one. Still it didn't make anything easier. I am sure I will still carry this one into my 22nd year, but when one door closes windows open :) Every cloud has a silver lining and I'm just starting to see the sparkle :)

Achieving my life dream: Auussstrrraaalliiiaaa! You only have to ask my nearest and dearest about this and they will certify that visiting Australia has been my life aim since the day I popped into this world 22 years ago. And it did not let me down!

Travel: I escaped Europe for the first time in my life to both Asia AND Australasia. To be honest, I was hoping it would calm my need to travel so I could settle down for my 22nd year. Fat chance! Already planning many more adventures for the upcoming year!

Job: Got me a real persons job :) Admittedly it's only a temporary contract but it involves a desk and managing people. Soooo super excited for this :)

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Patterns of Bangkok's Temples

Bangkok is such an amazingly colourful place. The temples  which are dotted around the city everywhere are all incredible and are designed down to the tiniest detail. 

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Thursday, 8 May 2014

#BEDM: The Man They Couldn't Hang

When asked to do a post on local history by #BlogEveryDayMay I was initially stumped. Luckily for me my parents are very into local history and I have often been lulled into a semi-conscious state by their findings. So you luck lucky readers will now be educated about... 

The Man They Couldn't Hang

Twas a dark, dank evening in Torbaydos (Torbay for non-locals) in 1884. A local woman, Ms Emma Keyse had just been brutally murdered in her house very very near to this stunner of a location. 

Who dunnit?! Well no one was really sure but seeing as Mr John Lee was the only male in the house at the time it must have been him right? "You will hang!" said the judge, even though John was adamant he was innocent. "The reason I am so calm is that I trust in the Lord and he knows I am innocent" said he to the judge.

John was carted off to Exeter prison for his execution in 1885. The executioner tested the hanging equipment. All A-OK there so they got John ready for his death. The executioner would pull a bolt from the trap door which would free the door to swing down. So there he was stood, with the noose around his neck. The executioner pulled the bolt from the door.... nothing. There was John stood on the trapdoor and it wouldn't budge. 3 times, the trap door didn't open and John was saved.

John was sent back to his cell amidst a huge bewilderment. His execution was postponed and eventually reduced to a life sentence, after 22 years John was released. What happened to him after this is a mystery, some say he moved abroad (there are claims his grave is in the USA), some say he moved to London where he survived the War, others say he died in Tavistock not too far from the hallowed land of Torbaydos. Whatever the outcome, he sure was one lucky guy. 
 So there we have it, a tale from down south. Leave me your local history #BEDM links!

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Eurovision: How to throw the perfect party.

Hello all, and welcome to my new mini-series based on the most wonderful time of the year. Yes. it's Eurovivion o'clock! Watching the first semi-final yesterday made me all super excited so I though, why not blog about it!

I hate to brag, but I am a bit of an expert at the old Eurovision Party. The fact that it usually coincides so nicely with my birthday means I have had a fair few Eurovison Birthday parties. Including my 21st. Screw the clubbing, we sat in our decorated student lounge with a cider (or two)eating Eurovision treats and singing along. 

Grab yourself this years poster from the BBC here. #teammolly! To be a bit more diplomatic make or buy some European flag bunting. I usually get a disco ball on the go as well just to add to the atmosphere. 

You obviously need to get some Eurovision classics blasting out your stereo. Google is you friend but here is a good one .

Get a sweepstake on the go once again the good old BBC have produced this beauty for us. Just make sure you cross off those eliminated in the Semi Finals! Rather embarrassingly I won the sweepstake once at my own party. Awkward...
Ask your guests to come in fancy dress for the country they want to win. 
And you can always break out the beers to keep those who are less interested amused!

Provide a host of snacky nibbles to keep you going through the lengthy show. If you are feeling crafty, try making some flag shaped food. Pizzas, sandwiches, biscuits. Cupcakes are easy to decorate in flag colours, or be lazy like me and my housemate were and just stick little Eurovision cocktail sticks in pre-made cupcakes (you would NOT have wanted to eat anything cooked in our student kitchen) as seen in the top photo. We made our flags from this picture here and some cocktail sticks.  We also broke up some of that cool popping chocolate into cupcake cases because we were addicted to it. 
Alternatively, ask your guests to bring along a type of food from a European country. Pop into shops like Lidls or your local Polish shop who often stock European foods.

Will you be watching on Saturday?

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

#BEDM: Passion Project

Today's topic is about what you would like to make money from. In an ideal world, I would love to make money from travelling! I can think of nothing better than being paid to travel the world and soak up the cultures. Even better if I was paid to travel 1st class!

In a realistic world, travelling is going to be something I have to pay for. Oh well! I had a massive wobbly this year over what I WOULD like to get paid to do. I genuinely don't care about the money, as long as I can live and get by. I would much rather be doing something I enjoy! 

So my plan now, what I do want to get paid for is Planning. It means another year at university to get qualified but I have been fascinated by this since school and did lots of work experience and extra curricular stuff about planning and architecturlike stuff.  SO that's what I realistically want to get paid for so fingers crossed in 18 months I will be earning my money that very way :)

Leave me any #BEDM links please! I love reading them all :)
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Monday, 5 May 2014

Travel Wishlist

Since my global adventure last month, I really got thinking about other places I wished to visit as well as striking off 2 of my top countries. So here is my new ultimate list with the help of Pinterest.

1. New Zealand


So many people we spoke to in our hostels in Australia had been / were going to New Zealand. And the ones who had been had nothing bad to say about it at all. I rather like a bit of adventure (beach lying is lovely but gets a tad boring!) and stunning scenery. This definitely looks the place for me!

2. Ireland

It is so close, yet untouched by my feet! Giants Causeway is an obvious for a geography geek like me but I hear rumours the countryside is meant to be pretty nice ... and they do good beer! Shame I am a cider gal!

3. Iceland

Again the geography geek within is speaking here. Every picture of Iceland on Pinterest is stunningly gorgeous and there are the Northern Lights! Would tick off another of my lifes dreams. 

4. UAE

I had never even considered visiting here until we visited Dubai airport (so on a technicality I have already visited). We flew in over the desert and I was like practically licking the glass of the airplane window. I think Dubai looks amazing, with some fantastic looking buildings and the whole island things they have going on. Best get saving!

5. Italy

Pizza. Carbonara. Ice Creamo. The accent. The men. The sunshine. The beaches. I think I would love Italy :)

    Where would you most like to go in the world? And have you been                      to any of these places?

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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Bank Holiday Sunday.

Happy Bank Holiday Sunday everyone! Sadly last night my parents decided to abandon me (yes, I have only just arrived back in the country from the other side of the world) to go and visit my no-so-baby brother in Oxford. Not one to want to waste a day, I hopped out of bed this morning, got licked by the cat and got on with my day.Here's what I have been up to...

Bussed. I forgot how stinky our local buses are. Rode past my old workplace. Pointed and laughed and felt happy to keep going.
Shopped. I have greatly missed Primani and Poundland in my absence. Picked up a few pieces and got some DIY stuff too. Yes, DIY. 
Walked. The sun was shining so I walked right down to the bottom of my town and popped out at the harbour. Proper lush, smelt the good old British seaside and felt very happy. 
Drank Tea. I popped into a very cute little harbourside tea shop and had a huuuge chunk of carrot cake and tea. And sat all by myself reading my book. 
Threaded. I have just started having my eyebrows shaped - the last time my beautician nearly died when I told her I'd never touched them and was 21. Random bits had started growing again and I am way to scared to do anything myself. So on a whim I popped into a shop to have them threaded today. Oh My God, the pain. I was crying and everything. Thank goodness I had bought some big aviator sunglasses in Primark earlier as I had to hide behind them all the way home on the bus. It still hurts to blink. I think I'll keep my bushes next time!
Applied. Have decided that I want / need to do a masters next year as part of the life plan. The form is humungous! 
 DIYed. Got into my scrubs and started sanding down an old chest of drawers for my new design room seeing as I am to remain with the parents for another year at least :(
Saved a life. Heard a scuffle in the hall and there was my small cat with an even smaller rabbit hanging from his gob. Expertly grabbed a basket and some cat treats in one swoop, flew out the door after the duo, sprinkled treats, basketed the rabbit, grabbed the cat, locked cat indoors and freed the rabbit who hopped away unscathed. Shame I have had to become an expert in this...

Busy day. Busy busy day! How has your bank holiday Sunday been? What have you been up to?

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Saturday, 3 May 2014

Caution! These Pigs May Bite (and other random Australian warning signs)

One of my favourite pastimes while I was in Australia was to search for all of the really rather morbid safety sings they had round. The Aussies are definitely not scared to alert you to the fact that people have died in this beauty spot and in case you don't get the message, provide lovely morbid little diagrams just to prove their point. Here is a selection of my fave crazy warnings!
Loving the little bloke being sucked into the rocks. Needless to say I got a bit freaked and did't enter the water here at all. Message received!
The poor little dude being sucked in between two huge rocks makes a reappearance. Poor guy...

And that is what happens when you look left...
Death by pine cone. No thank you!
The dangers of the beach. And this doesn't even include the wildlife! 
Massive guy, tiny cliff and even tinier trees. Still deadly in Aus. 
I like that this one just gets straight to the point. 
In case you feel like walking your cat through the Australian Bush. 
So there we are, morbid health and safety signs and just plain weird signs from Australia. On a final note, I leave you with this equally strange health and safety video from that very country...

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend :) And stay safe ;)

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Friday, 2 May 2014

BEDM: My Favourite Posts

As part of BEDM here are my favourite 5 posts on my blog so far. I have probably missed one as I didn't realise quite how many posts I have written over time!
This post took me forever and gave me reassurance that surviving in Australia without Marmite would be possible. And it was, I carried a little jar of Vegemite all the way down the east coast with me among my clothes. Yum.. yeast extract.

Just looking at the picture makes me hungry, bring on Christmas 2014 so I can make this baby again

Spending quality time with the Kitties is never a bad thing. Taking adorable pictures of them then blogging about our antics is even better. This house is still miraculously standing...

Still impressed I ever managed to make this. 

Not long to go with this challenge now and still so much to do! It has definitely given me a direction in my year out of life!

Link me your BEDM posts and / or your favourite blog posts :) 

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