Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Vlog: recipe for Reece's Peanut Butter Cup cupcakes. :


For my sister's 16th birthday, I decided to prove myself to be the amazing sister I am, and bake her Reece's cupcakes. Surprisingly, I found these cupcakes to be really easy to bake and amazingly delicious! Whilst I was baking these yummy treats I decided to kill two birds with one stone and film my second vlog... So here it is! 

If you like this, please remember to subscribe to my Channel Forever Faye :) thanks for watching! 






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Thursday, 25 June 2015

My favourite 'must watch' YouTube videos.

1. The cat thug life video - Judging by the number of times I have watched this video and laughed, I can safely say that this is one of my all time favourite YouTubes. I think it's probably the combination of my love for cats and their chaotic mishappenings, coupled with the amazing choice of Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg for the backing music; that makes this clip so funny. I can't really explain... just watch it.



2. Beyonce and Jay-Z sing Young Forever/Halo on their On The Run tour - This is probably one of my most watched music videos on YouTube. The power couple of Beyonce and Jay-Z is taken to a whole new level in this video with the amazing backdrop of their personal family photos and home videos, including the birth of their daughter Blue Ivy. You can literally see their love for one another reflecting through their faces; I genuinely nearly cry with happiness for them every time I watch. Definitely watch if you haven't done already.

  

3. Justin Bieber and James Cordon carpool karaoke - I think mainly due to my absolute love for James Cordon, I personally found that this video clip also brought me a new found love for / restored my faith in Justin Bieber. Minus the douchey underwear comment, with the help of Cordon's loveable humour, I like how this video actually portrays Bieber as just an average guy as opposed to the douchey popstar that he is often labelled as.


 4. Man and lion reunion video - Being a HUGE cat lover, this video is one of my all time favourites. There's nothing much to say other than I just can't help but smile every single time. So so so amazing and cute.


*Remember to check out my personal YouTube Channel Forever Faye on my blog sidebar or at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxuGmc2kmcPLW_UD2134vDg :)


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Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Diet Plate: first impressions.

I have recently been a bit slack with my blog posts due to general busyness / tiredness and so thought that I would make a six-month-late new year's resolution and blog a monthly challenge each month... here's my first :)

In another (yes, ANOTHER) bid to try and lead a healthier and fitter lifestyle, for my June monthly challenge I have decided to try using The Diet Plate for all of my meals where possible.

For some reason I just happened to find The Diet Plate gathering dust in the bottom of a kitchen drawer at home; but should you also want to try and lead a healthier lifestyle, I know that you can buy them on Amazon for around £15.00 - just make sure you buy the right one (e.g. male or female - male accounts for a necessary higher calorie intake).

The plate's aim is to teach you the correct portion sizes of meals and the food groups within the meals that you should be having, by dividing the plate into sections that reflect the correct portion size for salad/veg/fruit/carbohydrates/protein/fats/dairy.

Despite the key word in the plate's name being 'diet', I like to think that this plate is more for teaching a healthier way of life through restricting your portion sizes rather than food choices.

Unfortunately as I don't own the Calorie Counting Bowl that can also be bought for measuring cereal portions etc, I probably won't use this plate for my breakfast, but am going to try and stick to it for my lunch time and dinner time meals. I'm also going to try and set myself the challenge of only drinking either water or green tea.

Since I am going to an all-you-can-eat Chinese on Monday for a birthday, I have decided that I will commence my challenge next Tuesday.

Stay tuned for next month's update as to how I got on!



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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

#Ziggyfest 2015.

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Despite being just an ordinary day for many, for those that knew Ziggy, the 30th May 2015 was a very special day as it celebrated Zak's life and what would have been his 22nd birthday.
Zak sadly passed away in September, leaving a ziggy-sized hole for those who were lucky enough to have known him. Ziggyfest was a fundraising event created in Zak's honour, raising money for Oxfordshire Mind - helping those with mental health problems to overcome their issues by offering advice and support for those affected.

I first met Zak when I was in year seven - we shared the same school bus. Despite being quite a few years older than me, Zak was always so lovely and chatty, I remember thinking that he made the daunting bus full of new people, seem just that little bit less scary and more bearable. Being the lovely person that he was, I was always aware of how much he was loved by his friends and family - even if he wasn't. However it was only when I arrived at Ziggyfest that I truly grasped the full extent of people's love and admiration for Zak - Leafield village hall was absolutely crammed; and quite rightly so.

Ziggyfest was a great evening, consisting of a live band, a bar, and an auction and raffle containing tonnes of amazing gifts, most of which were generously donated. Currently, the grand total (including giftaid) raised is over £19,000!

Ziggyfest had an incredible turn out, celebrating the life of a incredible person; and I'm sure that wherever he may have been, Zak was right there beside us, celebrating too.
mind

* I would like to dedicate this blog post to all of Zak's family, but especially Jackie - you should be very proud of your son xxx

http://www.oxfordshiremind.org.uk/


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Every grey cloud has a silver lining: my recent blog makeover.

Last week I was pretty distraught as I received an email informing me that another girl also had a blog called Just Your Average Girl; and that she legally owned the rights to use it as her personal blog name and domain - basically, I was given no choice but to try and come up with a new name for my blog.

As some of you probably saw from my pleading and desperate Facebook posts, I was completely void of ideas; this email had completely taken me by surprise! Obviously I realised that Just Your Average Girl wasn't that original and was probably in use elsewhere than my own little blog; but (and no, I am not just saying this out of spite or jealousy) I literally had never heard of / seen another blog etc with the same name.

ANYWAY, after thinking long and hard about my first world problem (and sighing over suggestions such as 'happy, clappy, and wacky') , I decided on one of mum's better suggestions - 'Forever Faye'. For those who don't know already, I have always been a fan of my middle name 'Faye', also meaning 'fairy'. I realise that Forever Faye doesn't particularly mean anything other than relating to my middle name, but I decided that I liked that as it gives me scope to write about anything and everything as I choose to do so.

When looking at (stalking) this other phantom Just Your Average Girl blog; I noticed that just like me, they had created their blog using wordpress and had also opted for the same 'Adelle'  wordpress blog theme as me. Already disgruntled in the knowledge that my JYAG blog name wasn't completely original, I decided to go full out and pay for someone to custom design my blog (they only did custom designs for blogger not wordpress, hence my switching of websites to Blogger).

I know some of you may think that all of this is completely OTT, but if something bad happens, why not turn it into something good instead? Journalism (ideally writing for a women's magazine), is my dream job goal and if my blog can help me achieve my dream job, then why not give it 100%?

I hope you like my new blog makeover as much as I do :)

*Please note that my old blog at laurafayehooper.wordpress.com is no longer available as everything has been copied across to this new site*

My blog was designed as part of the Deluxe package at www.aleelilydesigns.com

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Monday, 8 June 2015

More than just rabbit food: recipe for yummy granola slices.




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Given that myself and my boyfriend are avid lovers of baking (and eating), I thought that baking something yummy would be a nice way to spend today’s bank holiday. In an attempt to try and bake something vaguely healthy, we decided to make granola slices :) These are great for satisfying sweet tooth cravings or to grab when in need of a quick and filling snack. All of the ingredients needed are also fairly cheap – making for a great bake that will last ages in the snack cupboard.
You will need: 
  • 2 cups of plain oats,
  • ♥1/2 cup of clear honey,
  • ♥2/3 cup of brown sugar,
  • ♥225g of mixed dried fruits (we used cranberries and mango),
  • ♥3/4 cup of mixed seeds (we used sunflower and pumpkin),
  • ♥100g of chocolate chips,
  • ♥4 tbsp of butter,
  • ♥1/2 tsp of salt,
  • ♥3 tsp of vanilla extract.
1. The first step is to preheat your oven on fan to 200º. Then mix your seeds and oats together in a sided baking tray and place in the oven to toast for around 13-15 minutes. Make sure to stir your oat/seed mix every few minutes in order to stop them burning.

2. Secondly, whilst your oats and seeds are toasting in the oven, place your butter, salt, vanilla extract and sugar into a saucepan and stir until lightly simmering.

       


3. Once your sugary mixture has reached a light simmer, take your now toasted oat/seed mixture from the oven (the oven can now be turned off) and mix with your dried fruits and chocolate chips. Once the fruit and chocolate has been completely mixed in with your oats and seeds, stir your sugar mixture into the oat/seed/fruit/chocolate mix. Make sure you thoroughly stir in your liquid sugar mixture into your dry mixture as the sugar mixture will be what holds your granola bar together!


4. Once both mixtures are thoroughly stirred together, line a rectangular baking tray with greaseproof paper and spoon your granola mixture on top. Once all of your mixture is on your baking tray, spread the granola out evenly, making the thickness to your liking.

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5. After you have spread your granola evenly across your tray, fold over any remaining baking paper of add a sheet on top, and firmly press all over the granola so that it is compressed. Press really hard on this part so that your slices won’t fall apart when you cut them later on!  Once you are happy with your bake, leave your granola to set for around 3 hours.


6. After 3 hours, place your granola onto a chopping board and carefully peel back your baking paper.


7. Finally, press firmly with a sharp knife and cut your granola into your desired slice size.





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Home workout vs. gym workout: 'Charlotte's 3 Minute Belly Blitz' workout review.


 In the approach to leaving university for summer, I have been dreading the temptation of mum’s snack cupboard – full to the brim with yummy chocolate, crisps, biscuits and cakes. Because I (somehow) resisted the urge to buy these treats whilst at uni, I knew that the temptation of the snack cupboard would be waiting to entice my deprived taste buds as soon as I came home – consequently resulting in majorly over-indulging and putting on weight. Therefore in an attempt to stay fit and healthy without the help of my university gym, I have bought Charlotte Crosby’s ‘3 Minute Belly Blitz’ DVD as an alternate home workout to my previous workout which I did at my university’s gym. 

Although I am looking more for a workout to help tone muscle and keeping my current weight at bay as opposed to losing weight, I have to admit that the claim that you could ‘lose up to 5 pounds a week’ did make me curious as to what was so great about this DVD. I follow Charlotte on Instagram, and I personally think that the photos of her body transformation are amazing – she just looks so gorgeous and healthy! Therefore coupled with my love for Charlotte on Geordie Shore and my burning desire to try out new products, I have decided to give this home workout a go. 

Bought for £12 in comparison to my gym membership of £99, I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised with the intensity of this DVD. When I read that the DVD consisted of twelve rounds of cardio / abs, each three minutes long, I was slightly apprehensive – how could three minutes of exercise result in losing 5 pounds?! However having now done the DVD and only managed seven rounds out of twelve, I can safely say that this workout is far harder than you’d expect. When working out at the gym I would normally go for an hour session around three to four times a week, using machines such as the bike, the cross trainer, and the treadmill; therefore to give up just over halfway through this exercise DVD, I can clearly see why ‘3 Minutes Belly Blitz’ claims to burn up to 5 pounds a week.

Surprisingly, this blog post has actually been more difficult to write and make a decision than I’d have originally thought. To be honest, even though I try and workout and eat healthily in order to stay fit, as much as I’d like to be, I am not one of those girls who enjoys working out; and although I do enjoy salad, I would nine times out of ten enjoy a McDonald’s even more. Although an exercise DVD is far cheaper and a lot less effort in terms of not having to leave the comfort of your own home; whilst home comforts are lovely, I personally feel that the mix of potential peer judgment coupled with the different types of machines that the gym offers, means I put more effort into my workout when at the gym. I don’t know if it’s the knowledge that no one other than myself is going to appreciate my new Nike running gear when I’m stuck at home, or the fact that actually leaving the house to go to the gym somehow makes my workout seem more worthy; but despite ‘3 Minute Belly Blitz’ being great, throughout the time it has taken me to write this blog, I have come to the conclusion that I still prefer going to the gym. By all means, for those who prefer a home workout, You won’t go wrong with Charlotte’s DVD; but personally, the home workout life is not for me. 

Have you tried any home workout DVD’s? Which method of workout do you prefer?

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Ten reasons to suggest that you're comfortable in your relationship.


Okay so obviously I cannot speak for society as a whole as everybody’s relationships are different, but I have been (officially) going out with my boyfriend, Adam, for just over a year now and would like to think that judging by the points listed below, we have a pretty comfortable relationship with one another. I’m not suggesting that you aren’t in a comfortable relationship if the points below don’t match your reality, but going by the countless number of Cosmo mags I have stashed in my bedroom, along with my own relationship experiences, I like to think that the points listed below are a pretty safe bet :)

1. You leave ‘spares’ at eachother’s houses. You spend so much time together that it’s just easier if you have your own set of pyjamas / toothbrush / makeup / clothes etc at their house as well as your own.

2. You help yourself to their food. Not in a rude way, you’re just comfortable enough to not feel guilty or shy about helping yourself to food when at their house.

3. You’ve overcome the embarrassment surrounding toilet matters. Ok so I won’t go into depth with this one! All I will say is that I think this probably applies more to guys than girls! 

4. You finish eachother’s sentences. This one may sound a bit soppy but I have personally found that if you know someone really well / spend a lot of time together, knowing what the other person is going to say before they’ve even said it, happens quite often! 

5. You wear more makeup on a trip to the village shop than you do on a date. For me, this is a crucial indicator that you are comfortable around your other half – the moment that a girl switches from a full face of make up to a plain face free of make up, is a big step.

6. You have no problem expressing your inner weird side around them. You don’t feel embarrassed or worried about what they might think when showing weird sides of your personality – if anything, they join in!

7. You don’t freak out if you have an argument. You don’t panic about  being un-compatible etc when arguing about something. Whether arguing about TV programmes, what to have for dinner, or a more serious matter; despite intiailly disagreeing, you are confident that you can sort it out together.  

8. They’re your bestfriend as well as your boyfriend / girlfriend. Despite having a serious relationship, you’re careful not to take things too seriously, making sure that you always have fun together!

9. You’re not afraid to show your emotional side. Whether it be crying your eyes out whilst watching The Notebook or confiding in one another about an upsetting or serious matter, feeling able to convey your true emotions is vital for a comfortable and healthy relationship. 

10. You aren’t constantly trying to impress them. You’re comfortable in the knowledge that you don’t need to change anything or put up a front in order to impress them. They love you just the way you are and vice versa. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post! What reasons apply to your relationship? 

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Garnier Ultimate Blends: 'The Strength Restorer' serum review.

The downfall of living in Plymouth, is that pretty much everywhere is in walking distance, and by this I mean Drake Circus shopping center. I don’t know what it is, but I feel almost cheated if I somehow manage to miraculously walk through a shopping center without at least buying something – yes, I am guilty of buying Krispy Cremes despite not feeling hungry in the slightest (I literally can’t put into words how good the Caramel Crunch flavour is?!) 

Anyway, last week when I was browsing Boots (for no particular reason other than I was passing through and why wouldn’t I buy something?); I came across Garnier’s new ‘Strength Restorer Serum’ from their Ultimate Blends collection. Reduced from around £5 to just over £3 (I think the exact price was £3.29 reduced from £4.99 but can’t remember for sure); I was instantly drawn in as I have used Garnier Ultimate Blends shampoo and conditioner in the past, and have always found both products to leave my hair smelling amazing as well as looking extra glossy! Because my hair is quite thick, it often goes out of condition very quickly, resulting in it needing a cut about every six weeks, therefore I felt that this serum which claims to be perfect for ‘fragile hair’ which is ‘prone to breakage’, would be perfect. 

The Strength Restorer Serum is enriched with protective honey bee Propolis extract which is believed to act as a great protective barrier for hair, whilst also giving the serum a lovely subtle honey fragrance. Garnier advise that you can either use 1-2 drops of serum applied to the lengths and ends of fragile hair in order to smooth the look of split ends and straighten hair; or you can use the serum as a pre-styling ritual by using 2-3 drops of serum on towel-dried hair for an intense treatment for added softness and protection against breakage. 

The serum claims to make your hair stronger in just one week when used in conjunction with Garnier’s Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer shampoo and conditioner. Although I haven’t been using the shampoo and conditioner recommended, I would still say that my hair is feeling thoroughly nourished and cared for. Unlike some serums, I have found this product to be light weight and non greasy, making application really easy for a quick fix! For anyone looking for a hair product to help keep their hair nourished and in good condition, I would definitely recommend this serum – especially at the bargain price of £3.29! What’s to lose? 



 
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Nepalese earthquake: over four thousand miles away and yet so close to home.

A few of the children we met back when travelling in 2010.
A few of the children we met back when travelling in 2010.

As I realise the whole world is, I am literally stunned at the amount of devastation and deaths (bordering on 10,000) that Nepal’s recent earthquake has caused. As you can see from my blog post’s title, despite being thousands of miles away, Nepal’s earthquake feels a little too close to home as five years ago I was travelling in Nepal with my family for a month, across both Kathmandu and Pokhara – both of the places to have been hit hardest in the recent earthquake.
To see such a serene, beautiful country demolished in a matter of days, is truly devastating – even more so when I think back to the countless number of lovely Nepalese people who we met throughout our travels. Natural disasters such as Nepal’s recent earthquake shouldn’t be inflicted upon anyone – however as this power is unfortunately out of our control, the best we can do is help with the aftermath.
Please donate whatever you can to help Nepal and its people get back on track – even the smallest donation will make a difference.

Nepalese children after the earthquake.
Nepalese children after the earthquake.

I've donated, have you?


        




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Eat your way a healthier life: recipe for Italian baby leaf salad.


Like many others I’m sure, I am constantly in the bid to try and live a healthier lifestyle. Despite regularly going to the gym, it occurred to me that although exercising regularly will somewhat counteract the unhealthy parts of my life; it only counteracts these parts to an extent – to lead an overall healthier life I need to focus on what I eat, just as much as the amount of exercise I undertake. Therefore as you have probably already guessed, I have started to focus more on what I eat as well as what I do; such as eating more fresh food than processed etc. As an avid lover of chips, pizza and all things fast food; I have actually been pleasantly surprised with my latest dinner recipes – my favourite being the Italian baby leaf salad recipe that I have shared with you below:

You Will Need:
  • Large vine tomatoes,
  • Half of a large avocado,
  • One reduced fat mozzarella,
  • Italian salad leaves (spinach, rocket, red chard, ruby red chard).
  • Olive Oil,
  • Salt,
  • Pepper,
  • Black olives,
  • Salmon fillet (optional).
Start by spreading your salad leaves across your plate – nothing fancy, but make sure you use a decent amount and cover your whole plate! Next, chop up your tomatoes into thin slices and place onto your salad (I usually use around 3, but you may want 4 if yours are relatively small). Having chopped your tomatoes, cut your avocado in half – wrapping half in cling film for the fridge, whilst thinly slicing your other half in order to add to your salad leaves and tomatoes. Once your avocado has been added, drain the excess water from your mozzarella and either slice or tear into thin strips; once done, add to your salad. The salad with just mozzarella alone is very filling in my opinion, but for those who think that it won’t be enough; I suggest baking a salmon fillet in the oven with mixed herbs, pepper and salt, and then adding this to your salad once cooked. Finally, add a couple of black olives to your salad, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil… Perfect!

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do! 


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World Malaria Day #MakePovertyHistory.


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For those of you who are unaware, today – the 25th April, is World Malaria Day.

Malaria is a deadly disease, thought to have killed half the number of people that have ever lived, including 90% of those who live in Africa, with half of the world’s population still currently at risk – making it one of the largest causes of poverty in the world. Malaria is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes – deadly, yet preventable. Across Africa Malaria kills approximately one child every minute – and yet it costs less than £1 or your morning coffee, to save an infected child’s life.
‘Malaria No More’ works to protect those vulnerable to malaria by using money raised and donated to provide people in countries such as Africa with mosquito nets, malaria tests, and malaria treatment. Since 2009, programmes run by Malaria No More have helped over 10 million people; whilst overall child deaths since 2000 have halved.

Just take a minute to reflect upon the amount of protection that you are privileged enough to have when travelling abroad to mosquito infested areas: nets, tablets, spray, repellants… the list goes on. Now take a minute to reflect upon what the people in places such as Africa don’t have – yet are subject to each day, and ask yourself this: why wouldn’t you help?
Whether it be putting £1 in a donation pot, buying a cute little ‘Malaria No More’ bracelet from Jack Wills, holding your own fundraiser, or even simply making others aware; do your bit for those who can’t fight Malaria themselves, and help make Malaria No More, and #MakePovertyHistory.

http://www.malarianomore.org.uk/



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Book review: S J Watson's 'Second Life'.

Having read ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ from start to finish in a matter of days, I knew I had to buy S J Watson’s newest release, ‘Second Life’.
Admittedly, I did originally plan to try and wait before buying, in the hope that the price may go down (classic student thinking). However when my flight was delayed on the way home from Barcelona, it seemed fate was urging me to read it as surprisingly, the shop in Barcelona airport was piled high with English copies.
1_2235349aThe book’s blurb reads:   
‘She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.    
She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.
She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.
She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.
She’s living two lives. She might lose both.’
Obviously I don’t want to give anything away, but basically, the novel’s storyline follows the life of Julia who lives a normal, respectable life with her normal, respectable husband; until news breaks of her sister’s death, and her life changes for ever. Obsessed with the idea that the police aren’t investigating the death as well as they should be, Julia takes matters into her own hands…
When I say that this psychological thriller is a ‘must read’, I am in no way exaggerating. From beginning to end, S J Watson will have you hooked on the followings of Julia and her family – this novel is a definite ‘page turner'; great for blissfully reading away the day! 5 Star *****.
Click the link in pink (or black if using a mobile device), to order from Amazon now! :) Buy S J Watson’s ‘Second Life’ here!


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My experience of #PlymouthBlogMeet.

Drawing by@BbeccaHeppolette.
Drawing by +beccaheppolette 

So today was my first ever experience attending a ‘meet up’ with fellow bloggers. The meeting was held in Rumpus Cosy which is a quirky little restaurant/cafe near the Theatre Royal in Plymouth. Upon arrival, our designated tables were dressed beautifully with pretty china cups and saucers, along with wine glasses for water (which had cucumber in – an immediate sign that this was somewhere I was going to enjoy and would be revisiting).

IMG_6223Prior to our meeting, we had each paid £6 to Ellie who was our event organiser, which meant that upon arrival we could order anything from the menu up to the value of £6. Since I am currently trying to be healthy, I opted for a ‘super fruit’ tea which claimed to be full of beneficial antioxidants. My tea was served in a cute little Japanese style teapot – perfect for keeping my tea warm whilst having a good old chat! However despite trying to eat healthily, I have to confess that when Rumpus Cosy’s staff brought out free slices of carrot cake, it was hard to say no – I mean, just look at the photos! Nearing our departure we were also surprised with lovely paper gift bags filled with lovely samples from a few kind brands – my favourite being Sweet Cecily’s rose body butter which came in a beautifully packed box.

Admittedly I was slightly nervous at the prospect of meeting a whole bunch of new people, but I can honestly say that I needn’t have worried. The best thing was that I wasn’t the only one taking 15 different photos of my cake before eating it! I think the best way to describe #PlymouthBlogMeet was kind of like when you’re drunk in a club or bar and somehow become best friends with other girls queuing for the loo; you don’t know them at all, but you just natter away like you’ve known each-other for years – meeting the other girls today was sort of like that, except sober, obviously.
I really enjoyed my first blog meet up experience, and would definitely attend another in future!

I hope anyone reading this has had an equally great day :)

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Eight things that my first year at university has taught me.

With my first year at Plymouth University coming to an end in 3 weeks time, I felt it would be a nice idea / helpful to any upcoming Freshers if I reviewed my year, compiling my top eight tips for starting university. 

1. If you’re unhappy, don’t stay quiet, do something about it. I cannot stress this point enough. Despite it being my first choice, when I arrived at Roehampton University in London, I knew it wasn’t right for me. If you’re feeling unhappy at uni, try and stick it out for a couple of weeks to see if it improves; but if you’re like me and are still finding it hard, then do something about it. I was lucky enough to be able to transfer to my insurance choice in Plymouth within the space of a weekend, and I am so much happier because of it. 

2. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make new friends. One of the best experiences that university offers, is the chance to meet new people and make new friends. This may sound unintentionally patronising, but everyone is in the same boat and are just as scared as you are. Someone just needs to make the first step that’s all – why not let it be you? 

3. New friends are all good fun, but don’t forget your old ones either. This is another point that I cannot stress enough. Before university, your ‘old’ friends were the people you’d do everything with and tell everything to. Whilst it’s fine to be just as close with your uni friends, make sure that you don’t neglect your old friends either. Some of my best friends are from school and we still make sure that we’re up to date with all of the gossip via group chat / see eachother whenever we’re home – a catch up I always look forward to. 

4. Don’t get lazy. As a fresher (who’s first year often doesn’t count), many can fall all too easily into the trap of ‘ordering in, pjs, lying in bed all day’ kind of mood. If possible, I urge you to try and stay away from this. Obviously if you’re hungover or ill it’s only right that you should lie in bed with a Papa John’s feeling sorry for yourself; but in any other situation, resist. Go out, grab lunch, go to the gym, do some uni work (I know, I can’t believe I’m saying that either), just whatever you do, get.out.of.bed. 

5. Ask for help if you’re stuck. Whether it’s money problems, uni work or your first time washing your own clothes; if you’re in a tricky situation and don’t know what to do, ask. Along with asking Flatmates for cooking advice, followed by googling the answer when they don’t know either, I often email my uni tutors for help with coursework. This really can help to put your mind at ease if you’re struggling – I would really recommend to anyone that needs that little bit of extra help. 

6. Spend time getting your room right. Before leaving for uni, I went on a ginormous Ikea haul – buying an array of things from a full length mirror, cute tortoise pins and a hot pink ambience light, to frying pans and knives and forks. Although buying trivial things such as tortoise pins may seem silly, I would 100% argue that buying such items and making your room feel comfy and homey is a must. You will feel far more settled if you’ve got a lovely room to be in, and I would definitely recommend Ikea being your first port of call. Other great things you could put in your room could be cushions, photos, posters, and bed throws (I am guilty of all of the above). 
Ps. Even if your halls contain single beds, buy a double duvet for extra cosyness / most houses in 2nd and 3rd year contain double beds! 

7. You will not survive without Netflix. Sure uni is great and all, but like anywhere, it does have its’ boring moments. For those who don’t have a tv in their room or even for those who do; all I can say is, get a Netflix account. Trust me, it will be your lifesaver. 

8. There will always be someone to have a drink with. It’s pretty self explatory really, but as you can imagine, university students LOVE drinking. So whether you’re homesick, upset about coursework or hungover even; don’t frown – go grab a drink. 

I hope you like my top tips for starting university, and that anyone starting in September has a great experience :) 

Please feel free to comment or suggest your own tips below! 



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In need of a holiday? Jet off for a sunny city break in Barcelona.


As a surprise for my boyfriend’s 20th, I decided to be spontaneous and book two flights to Barcelona at the end of March. Since Adam’s birthday was in December and I booked the flights in October, I have to admit that this was a pretty big secret that I really did struggle to keep (I resulted in telling everyone other than him, just to contain my excitement – yes, I am mentally 5 years old). However despite the huge struggle to keep my mouth shut, booking the flights that far in advance really did pay off as I managed to bag a bargain and got two returns (4 nights, 5 days) on easyjet for about £120. Booking our flights was about as far as I had planned, until I booked our hotel in December which was called Century Park Hotel. I can’t remember the exact price of the hotel, but I know that it was good value for money and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Barcelona. The location of the hotel was great – about 20 minutes drive from the airport and a 10 minute walk from the city center. Our room was really nice and modern, with its own ensuite and suuuuch a good shower, like seriously. I also paid for us to have breakfast every morning in the hotel which was really lovely, and consisted of a continental buffet which included the most amazing doughnuts (yes, I did eat one every morning). The only negative I would say, is that the hotel wasn’t a massive complex or anything so it didn’t have any lounge or bar areas where you could be when you weren’t in your room. However as we were to find out, city breaks are pretty tiring as you are out and about all day, so all you really want the hotel for is a bed to collapse into anyway!

Our flight arrived late at night, so on our first full day we decided it would be a good idea to get our bearings, and go on a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour of the city. We booked our tickets online through the company ‘Barcelona bus turisitc’ as this was the company recommended in our Lonely Planet travel guide. The tour was really great – the bus went on three routes: green, red or blue, and you could choose and switch between which route to travel on, depending on which sites you wanted to see. The tour company also provided us with free earphones so that we could listen to the audio guide should we want to. I think this was actually probably one of my favourite days, it was a really great way of traveling around the city and getting to see places that we may not have otherwise.

On our second day, we visited the Camp Nou stadium and museum which was also a present for Adam’s birthday. I’m personally not a massive football fan, so the museum and tour wasn’t one of my favourite sights. However the stadium is apparently the biggest in Europe and is undeniably impressive, so that was pretty cool. Even though it wasn’t my favourite, Adam certainly enjoyed this experience and I would say that for any football lovers, this is a must see.

On our third day, we travelled by metro which is A LOT cheaper than London’s underground; and visited La Sagrada Familia (a large Roman Catholic church, for those who don’t know) which is obviously one of Barcelona’s main tourist attractions. Although incomplete, the Gaudi designed church is a world heritage site and so is an obvious must see. The church’s interior is absolutely stunning, filled with huge stained glass windows and spiraling towers – an architect’s paradise. Once again, we previously booked our tickets for this online – and I would seriously recommend doing the same should you visit, as the queues to get tickets were ginormous, and you also save money online too – bonus!

The bus tour, Camp Nou, and La Sagrada Familia were the three main activities that we planned for our city break – which probably doesn’t sound like much, but in reality was actually really action packed and pretty tiring! Barcelona has some great shops, so we obviously did a lot of shopping inbetween as well! As our hotel didn’t have its own restaurant, we ate out every day for lunch and every evening for dinner – which was expensive, but really nice. One of the best places we found for dinner was ‘Buenos Aires Grill Restaurant’ which does the most delicious steaks – definitely worth a visit!

Barcelona was both mine and Adam’s first city break experience, and I can happily say that we both thoroughly enjoyed it! If you’re bored of Britain and are looking for a quick getaway in the sun, I would definitely recommend you considering Barcelona as your choice of destination :) For those of you that are considering it, here is a list of the top 5 things I think you should take with you:

1. The Lonely Planet pocket guide to Barcelona – a great resource of information to keep on you should you need it!
2. Sunnies!
3. A cabin bag rather than a suitcase! This can save you money as it counts as hand luggage – and is plenty big enough to fit all of your clothes, and any new ones that you may bring back!
4. A good book for the flight and when you have a spare minute to chill.
5. 100ml toiletries kit for shampoo and body wash etc as you can’t have any liquids above 100ml when using a cabin bag. Don’t worry though, most makeup is usually below this anyway!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my trip to Barcelona, and that perhaps I have inspired you to go on a trip of your own!

 
 
 
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First vlog: alternate ways to eat your easter eggs.

Hi guys, I’m really excited/nervous to introduce… my first vlog for Forever Faye! As it’s Easter, I thought this to be the perfect time to do an Easter post – and what better way than to incorporate it into my first vlog?! I am usually lucky enough to often be left with too many eggs to eat at Easter, and so in this video I show you alternate ways to eat your Easter eggs – perfect for those who have any left over, or want something that little bit eggstra (excuse the rubbish pun) special this Easter… I hope you like my first vlog, please feel free to comment or like <3 Enjoy!


ps. If you like the humour behind my apron, you can find it on amazon – just click the link in pink. Also for future reference, my ‘Just Your Average Girl’ YouTube Channel is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxuGmc2kmcPLW_UD2134vDg :)






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StripTeas teatox review.

In my constant bid to become more healthy, I decided to buy the 14 day ‘StripTeas’ teatox, which claims to help burn fat, decrease bloating, and increase energy.

I have tried other teatox products in the past such as ‘Bootea’, but didn’t particularly like the flavour (despite liking green tea), or laxative after-effect. Therefore one of the main things that drew me towards trying StripTeas’ teatox, was their promise that the teas were anti-laxative and that you could choose the flavour of daytime tea from a choice of either vanilla or berry burst.

The teatox arrived very efficiently within 1-3 working days, and came in three different packets: morning, daytime, and night. Whilst StripTeas do sell each stage individually, it is recommended that for best results, you use all three in conjunction with one another.

The morning packet was called ‘Morning Wake Up’ and had the motto: ‘to make your dreams come true, first you must wake up’, written on the back – which I thought added a really nice, personal touch. The colour scheme of the packet was a mix of warm orange and purple shades, which I think complimented the time of day and the tea’s flavour perfectly. The ‘Morning Wake Up’ tea included ingredients such as: yerba maté, chinese white tea, ginseng and eucalyptus; which are all really great in stimulating morning alertness and energy levels, and when combined, tasted pretty similar to a normal green tea. Stripteas recommend that you drink this tea straight after waking – infusing the biodegradable pyramid teabag in near-boiling water for 3 minutes, or 5 if you like a stronger taste. I personally found the ‘Morning Wake Up’ tea really pleasant to drink, and found that it did give me a little bit of an energy boost in the morning – which was much needed for 9am lectures!

The daytime packet was simply called ‘Daytime Teatox’ and had the motto: ‘it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be’, written on the back. The colour scheme of the packet was a mix of citrus and zesty greens, yellows and blues – which once again, I think was perfect for complimenting the time of day. StripTeas recommend that you try and drink this tea around the same time each day, so I usually tried to drink mine at around 12-1pm, but this did sometimes vary, depending on when I had lectures. I chose to opt for the vanilla flavour tea, as it appeared to be the most popular on other reviews. The tea contained ingredients such as fennel seeds, cinnamon, sunflower petals, orange blossom, and black peppercorns; it was really lovely to drink and I looked forward to having it each day. The vanilla flavouring was noticeable yet not overpowering, and made for a really nice mid-day drink. This tea was designed to boost your metabolism and stop snack cravings, and I personally think that whilst I can’t be sure on my metabolism due to not owning a pair of bathroom scales, I would agree that this tea did help to banish any snack cravings and helped me to stay full until dinner.

The nighttime packet was called ‘Sleep Tight’, and had the motto: ‘dream big so that tomorrow you can make it happen’, written on the back. The packet’s colour scheme was a combination of calming purple, pink, and orange tones – which once again, I felt was a really nice choice considering the time of day. This was personally my favourite tea, rich in antioxidants and containing ingredients such as: rooibos, ginger, chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, and vanilla flavour. The flavour of this tea is hard to describe as I have never tasted anything like it, but what I can say, is that I found it to be very relaxing and calming to drink – perfect before bed. This tea was designed to relieve stress and support healthier digestion whilst you sleep, and I would definitely agree with this claim. The only negative I would say about the nighttime teatox, was that I did tend to miss the occasional night where I was out, and therefore despite finishing my morning and daytime teatox after 14 days, I still had a couple of nighttime teabags left to drink. However this was entirely my own fault, and I am not suggesting in any way that other customers will have this problem.

One of my favourite things about StripTeas’ product is that all their ingredients are entirely natural, meaning you can be 100% sure that what you’re drinking is good for your body. Another great thing was the ‘biodegradable pyramid bags’ (also natural), which allowed for the loose leaf tea inside to move – making for better infusion, and a greater taste.

StripTeas’ tagline is ‘the happy and healthy detox’, and I would definitely agree with this. For any avid tea drinkers who are looking to detox and cleanse their body, this is the product for you :) 

http://stripteas.com



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Spring clean your life.

Given that it is now officially spring and summer is just around the corner (yay!), I felt that now would be a great time to carry out a major spring clean on my life. Here are my top tips…

1. De clutter your wardrobe. For anyone who loves summer clothes shopping as much as I do, De-cluttering is a must – well you want to have enough room for all your new buys, don’t you? An essential tip when sorting through your wardrobe, is to try EVERYTHING on – yes, I really do mean everything. Each time you try on an outfit, take a full length photo of yourself in the mirror – this way, you’ll be able to look back through your camera roll at the end, and truly decide what’s for the bin and what isn’t. Sort your clothes into three piles: ‘keep’ , ‘bin’, and ‘charity’ – the ‘keep’ pile containing your favourite must haves, the ‘bin’ pile containing any clothes that are too raggedy or worn out to pass on, and the ‘charity’ pile containing any clothes that you don’t personally want, but others might. I suggest making sure you keep the essentials e.g. a good pair of jeans, a favourite wooly jumper, a pretty top, a little black dress, a ‘go-to’ skirt, a pair of denim shorts, a white top and a black top. However one section that people often forget to sort through, is their underwear. When sorting your wardrobe, make sure you remember to throw out any tatty underwear or bras etc that no longer fit!

After you have sorted through all of your clothes into three piles, arrange your ‘keep’ pile into neat sections in your wardrobe. For example, you could categorise your clothes by type e.g. all of your dresses in one area and all of your jeans in another. A different way to categorise could be by colour e.g. all of your black clothes together. Also make sure you do actually bin any ‘bin’ items and don’t just put them back into your wardrobe! In terms of your ‘charity’ pile, most places such as Oxfam will be happy for donations, alternatively, most big supermarkets have clothing banks that you can drop any unwanted clothes at.




2. Clear out your purse. Empty your purse of all its’ old receipts, bus tickets, and expired vouchers /gift cards, and sort them into piles – whether they’re just meaningless scraps of paper, or whether you may need to keep them for future reference e.g. a gift receipt. I personally keep all of my useful receipts in my ‘Tin Of Denial‘, which is a tin that is embarrassingly full to the brim. However by doing this, I know exactly where any important receipts are, and my purse stays clutter free; and can actually close for once.


3. Update your magazine collection. Sort through your magazine racks and recycle any old issues that you no longer read. Magazines are renowned for growing dust in an old corner, so why not sort through them and put them into good use? My favourite way to reuse and recycle old magazines, is to cut out any pictures / headlines / articles that catch my eye, and turn them into a collage for my room. For example, if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you could center your collage around that theme and make an inspirational poster. Alternatively, you could make a collage with words and images that best describe you, or make one for a friend and give it as a thoughtful present.


4. Makeover your makeup bag. It is well known that women don’t usually just have the one mascara or the one lipstick in their makeup bag. Like many others I’m sure, I am prone to hoarding tonnes of old makeup products, just in case I one day might use them again. Despite this, many experts actually say that using old makeup can have a bad effect, for instance it is advised that you toss mascaras after having them a year. Therefore in light of this, and the fact that I am spring cleaning, I thought it was time for a much needed makeup bag makeover.

I suggest throwing away any old makeup products that you have had for absolute years e.g. old mascaras. I would also suggest throwing away any makeup that has gone gungy and gross like lip glosses, lipstick or nail varnish. I have also thrown out any products that have pretty much run out, but have been kept up until now ‘just to get the last drop out’. Another thing that’s useful, is gently washing any makeup brushes e.g blusher brushes, foundation brushes, lip brushes or eye shadow brushes; in warm water and then leaving to dry. Washing your brushes regularly is as essential as washing off any makeup before bed; as it rids the brush of old makeup, dirt, oil and bacteria – which you are otherwise re-applying to your face. Washing your makeup bag with a sponge / putting it in the washing machine is also a great way to get rid of any old dirt and bacteria.



5. Update your contacts. As I’m sure many of you will agree, I constantly regret adding half of my ‘friends’ on Facebook. When I was 12, I apparently thought it was a great idea to add anyone and everyone – many of whom I don’t actually really know that well. Therefore whilst I’m on a spring cleaning roll, I felt now would be a good time to update my Facebook friends (I know it is a massive drag, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run!) I have also recently updated my phone contacts, deleting any old numbers or people that I am no longer in contact with. I realise this all may sound a bit brutal, but what’s the point in hanging onto the past?


6. Buy new bedding. Having De-cluttered most of your bedroom, what’s better than to collapse into a freshly made bed? Having thoroughly tidied your room, e.g. cleaning, dusting, hoovering; I suggest taking a short trip to the shops and treating yourself to a lovely new bed set. I realise that changing your bedding is one of the simplest yet most difficult tasks in the world; but I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it when you jump into bed.


7. Accessorise with finishing touches. Last but not least, accessorise your newly spring cleaned room with freshly scented candles, incense or diffusers to make your room feel just that bit more special. The Yankee Candle ‘Summer Scoop’ scent pictured below, smells of fresh berries and ice cream and is lovely for putting you in the spring/summer mood – perfect for accentuating your new room.


I hope you have enjoyed reading my tips on how to spring clean, and have fun trying them out! Any product links are highlighted in pink (black if you’re on a mobile site), making it easy for you, should you want to buy anything featured :)

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How to deal with hangover hell.

Lying in bed feeling sorry for myself following a night out in Oxford, it occurred to me that despite being easy to prevent, hangovers occur far too often – usually resulting in vowing to never drink again (until the next time, obviously).
 
In the hope of never having to feel the affects of a hangover again, I have stalked google for the best hangover cures – my favourites being the ones listed below: 

1. Avoid dark coloured drinks. Darker coloured drinks such as red wine or whiskey contain more congeners which are produced when the drink is fermented. As a rule, the more congeners in the drink, the worse the hangover. 

2. Avoid fizzy mixers. Drinking fizzy drinks can speed up the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your system – something like squash is a far better choice when trying to avoid a hangover the following morning. 

3. Have a fry up. If you can manage to drag yourself out of bed the next morning, cook yourself a fry up. Fry ups are great for replacing the fatty acids in your body and breaking down any remaining alcohol in your liver. 

4. Drink a chocolate milkshake. Apparently chocolate milkshakes are great for hangovers due to the milk being settling for nausea and the sugar/salt content being the perfect balance for a carb/salt fix.

5. Eat a banana. Bananas are great at neutralising stomach acid and also contain a high magnesium content which will help relax your blood vessels (the things that are causing your pounding headache). 

6. Drink lots and lots of water. Throughout the night, it is recommended that you alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water so as to avoid dehydration. Another great tip is to drink a glass of water before you go to bed. 

I hope these cures make your hangover that little bit more bareable! 



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Make-up bag 'must haves'.

Following on from my how to survive ‘travel trauma’ post, I thought it might be useful to blog about my favourite beauty essentials. These products are all relatively small, and will easily fit into a small toiletries bag – a ‘must have’ when on holiday. All products mentioned are linked in pink below :)

#1 – St. IvesNaturally Clear, Blemish Fighting Apricot Scrub‘.  This is my absolute favourite beauty product. Made with salicylic acid and 100% natural exfoliants, this apricot scrub effectively lifts away surface oils and dirt which can lead to blackheads and blemishes. I have used this product twice a day for years (morning and night); and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is skin/blemish conscious. At just £5.50, this is an absolute bargain – a definite ‘must have’.

#2 – Miss SportySo Clear, Anti-Spot Foundation‘. Despite quite a few people being reluctant to use Miss Sporty products; under the impression that because they’re so cheap (£3.99), they won’t be that good; I would have to say that I completely disagree. I personally opt for the 002 medium tone, and have found that it is a perfect match for my skin. With antibacterial, shine control, and spot and blackhead reduction properties, this foundation is great for giving your skin sufficient coverage, without being too thick so that it blocks your pores. The foundation is fragrance free, oil free, and has a matte finish, making you look completely natural when worn; perfect for those who want a natural clear look.

#3 – Maybelline New YorkBaby Lips, Dr. Rescue‘ repair balm. This is one of my newer beauty purchases, and I absolutely love it. At £3.45, I have to admit that I was quite hesitant when buying this product, however having bought, I have to confirm that it is totally worth the money. Scented with a subtle menthol fragrance, this lip balm is great at re-hydrating your lips. Containing SPF30, this balm provides your lips with 12 hour moisture – great for keeping cracked and chapped lips at bay.

#4 – Freederm Gel. Apart from the St. Ives apricot scrub, this is my other absolute favourite product. Despite the small tube only containing 10g worth of gel, this product will last you ages. Great for zapping away unwanted breakouts and reducing inflammation, this gel is the best blemish solution that I have found on the market.

#5 –  Maybelline New York Dream Touch Blush‘ cream blusher. For those who like to give their cheekbones a little bit of definition, this cream blusher will be perfect. I personally own the 02 ‘peach’ tone, and find that it is great for adding colour to my cheekbones after having applied foundation. Given that it is cream based, this blusher glides really easily over your skin, and is very easy to build up in colour if wanted. A must have for those who want to create a natural, rosy glow.

#6 – Rimmel LondonScandalEyes Xxtreme Extreme‘ mascara. Containing a two-sided brush, this mascara is great for giving your lashes both volume and length. One side of the brush is arched, helping to create volume, whilst the other is flat, helping you achieve length. I personally like to use the arched side first to create volume, finishing with the flat side to lengthen my newly voluminous lashes. At only £6.40, this is a great mascara for those who want both volume and length for their lashes, yet are on a tight budget.

#7 – RevlonColorBurst Matte Balm‘ stain. In the search for a new lipstick, I stumbled upon this product, and personally, I think it’s great. Shaped like a pencil, this matte balm stain is great for easy and quick application. I personally opted for the 225 ‘sultry’ shade, and am pleased to report that the colour when applied to lips, is true to what it appears like when testing on your hand. Great for giving your lips a bit of colour; you won’t regret trying this new found fave.

#8 – Billy in the TreePure Argan Oil‘ for face, body and hair. Containing Jasmine Absolute, Frankincense, and Lemon Essential Oils, this 100% Argan Oil product is great for nourishing your whole body. I personally like to use the oil on my face just before bed, as it gives my skin a lovely, healthy glow when I wake. Lemon Essential Oils are great for fading any marks on your skin, therefore this is a great product for those who may have this problem. In addition it is also a well known fact that Argan Oil is great for giving you shiny, healthy hair – therefore this Oil is great as it’s multifunctional. Only a small drop of oil is needed each time, therefore this product will last you ages – I have had mine for nearly 2 years now, and am not even halfway through. At £14.95, what’s to lose?

I hope you have enjoyed reading my make-up bag ‘must haves’ – do you agree? What are your favourite beauty products?

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Travel trauma - a girl's guide to overcoming the difficulties of packing light.

It is a well known fact that most guys don’t understand a girl’s need to pack anything and everything when travelling. When packing to go on holiday, women seem to have the urge to try and pack their entire life into one suitcase – full to the brim with different outfits because, y’know, ‘just in case’. Despite D of E making me relatively more concise with my choice of clothes, I, like many other women in the world, still feel the need to pack about 10 pairs of shorts, 7 dresses, 20 t-shirts, 4 skirts and the whole of my jewellery box – just for a week’s holiday. Like many others I’m sure, it is always rather traumatic when I then realise that in reality, I actually only have the room for about 2 pairs of shorts, 7 t-shirts, 1 skirt, 1 dress, and whatever jewellery I’m currently wearing.
With the holiday season looming ahead, I thought it might be useful if I blogged my top 3 tips on how to survive your ‘travel trauma’, so here they are:

#1 – Choose clothes that are neutral and can be layered. By packing neutral clothes that can easily be layered, you have already maximised your potential outfit choice, without adding more clothes. Neutral colours are great because you can easily mix and match with other clothes, creating an entire new outfit e.g. a white vest top will easily go with a bright skirt, as well as a pair of denim shorts.

#2 – Think ‘minimalist’ when packing make-up and toiletries. Literally pack the bare minimum when it comes to make-up and toiletries. Pack one good foundation, concealer, mascara and blusher – there is absolutely no need to pack the 5 other foundations and mascaras that you own. If you like wearing lipstick, I suggest packing a neutral colour that can be worn with most outfits .e.g. a light pink. In terms of toiletries, most hotels supply shampoo and body wash, so if you are really struggling for room – I suggest taking the ‘buy it if you need it’ approach. Toiletries are often very bulky and are a main contributor to over weight bags at check-in; so this approach is essential if on a tight limit.

#3 – Be accessory astute. Accessories are an easy way to jazz up any boring outfit – perfect for making your clothes’ neutral colours look different from day to day. Pick bold statement necklaces and bracelets to make your outfits stand out from the crowd, keeping them in a small purse or make-up bag when not being used. In terms of earrings, these can often be a nuisance when travelling, often resulting in the loss of half a pair – very annoying. Therefore the best advice I can offer, is to invest in the ‘Little Book of Earrings‘ storage holder (photos below), which can hold up to 48 pairs. Made from a leather outer ‘cover’ and four soft pads as ‘pages’, this ‘book’ is perfect for keeping all of your earrings in one place.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my top tips for surviving travel trauma,

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Sweet potato fries: a healthy alternative to chips.

Like millions of other people in the world, I am a huge sucker for chips/fries. If there is ever a side dish option of salad or chips, without a doubt I will opt for chips every.single.time. However like many others I’m sure; I realise that constantly eating chips isn’t the greatest thing for your body and can actually be pretty detrimental for your health. Therefore as a healthy alternative, I have recently discovered the beauty of eating ‘sweet potato fries’ instead. These make a great snack when feeling peckish, and are incredibly cheap and easy to make. Here’s how I do it…

You will need:
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato,
  • Olive oil,
  • Sea salt,
  • Cracked black pepper,
  • Rosemary.
Wash your sweet potato and then simply cut it up into chunky ‘chip’ sized shapes, making sure that they’re big enough to avoid burning. Once you have finished cutting your sweet potato, place your fries onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Next, place your chips into the oven at about 180-200° and leave to bake for approximately 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, take your baking tray out of the oven, and turn each chip over so that the other side can bake. Once you have turned each chip over, place your tray back into the oven for another 12 minutes or so. After 12 minutes, simply serve your fries in a nice bowl, season with sea salt and black pepper, and garnish with rosemary. 

I hope you like my recipe and find these fries just as yummy as I do! Have fun cooking!

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Five 'must have' free apps for your smartphone.

With a large percentage of the population owning a smartphone, whether it be android or apple; I thought it might be a good idea to conduct a list of what I believe to be great apps, that not everyone will necessarily have.

#1 – IMDb. This is one of my favourite apps. Containing a database of hundreds of films and their cast members, this app allows you to quickly and easily check an actor or actress against a film – meaning that you won’t have that constant ‘omg where have I seen them before?’ feeling when watching a movie. A must have app for film fanatics / anyone who always gets that annoying mental block when trying to remember films and their cast members. 

#2 – RefME. For University students, this app will be your lifesaver. No longer will you have to cry at the thought of referencing your essays – ‘RefME’ will do it for you! Simply choose the type of referencing system that your Uni follows, scan your book’s bar-code or enter in the relevant details when prompted; and have a fully constructed reference in seconds!

#3 – Banking app. Downloading your bank’s app (all major branches should have one available), will also be another lifesaver in terms of potential embarrassing moments. As a student, I personally find myself worrying if I have enough money on my debit card when shopping in stores. Through using my bank’s app (HSBC), I am able to quickly check my available balance and transfer money across my accounts in seconds – thus making sure that I never have to shamefully walk away without my shopping!

#4 – Lifesum. For those who are looking to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle, this app is great for getting you on the right track. The app lets you tailor your targets according to whether you want to ‘be healthier’, ‘lose weight’, or gain weight’, in order to reach your goal. Simply create a free account using facebook or your email, and then start by entering in your exercise and any meals that you have eaten. The app will then advise you as to whether you are on track for your goal or if you need to do more or less exercise / eat more or less in order to reach your target. This is an incredibly simple app and really easy to use.

#5 – been. If you love to travel, this app is perfect for you. been allows you to keep track of each country you have visited by highlighting it’s position on the map in orange. It also provides you with the overall percentage of Europe you have covered, and also the world as a whole – just keep updating it when you travel! For those who like the idea of a ‘scratch map’, this app is great as it’s effectively the same, but on-the-go!

 I hope you have enjoyed reading my 5 ‘must have’ apps, and have fun using them!

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