FESTIVAL SEASON ESSENTIALS

The warmer weather is fast approaching and now that we are officially into summer territory, it also means it's festival season. I'm gonna put my hands up right now and admit that I have never actually been to a festival (and don't plan to), but I'm still out here advising you guys what to take with you. I suppose you could take this as a first timers festival season essentials post, as opposed to a well-seasoned festival goer's.

First things first - to keep yourself clean. Personal hygiene is a massive thing for me and if I'm even the slightest bit paranoid that I smell, I will be bathing in perfume and deodorant and candles. Wipes, deodorant, tissues and hand sanitizer would all be massive essentials for me. Possibly a bit excessive? Yes. Now you see why I have never been to a festival. Can't handle the mud. Dry shampoo also comes in handy if you're there for the whole weekend!

Along the lines of smelling good, during summer time I tend to prefer body sprays over heavier perfumes, especially when it gets warmer. The body mists by So...? Fragrances* are perfect for the festival season and are so easy to just pop in a handbag. I think I have several of the different scents just dotted about my various bags to spray whenever I feel like I need a little refresh. So...? have released 6 scents for their festival range; my favourites are Vanilla Cupcakes and Musk! You can pick them up in your nearest Boots or Superdrug and you can find their Instagram at @SoFragrance!

I think looking good at festivals is also super important, you gotta slay in those Instagrams. Body glitter will never go out of fashion, but in my makeup bag I would keep things light and simple with just some concealer and powder for touch ups. If it was just a one day thing, I'd already have done my makeup beforehand, and if it was a multi-day thing, I think I'd be sick of makeup by the second day and would probably just want to take it easy. If you take one skincare item, let it be moisturiser. Even just imagining what my face would feel like after a weekend of not moisturising is making my skin crawl.

Is it silly to take extra socks? I feel like I would probably go all out and bring my whole sock drawer because there is literally nothing more uncomfortable than wet socks. Especially if there's also some mud thrown into that cocktail from hell.

I dunno how I would fit all of this into a little festival bag that still looks chic, but maybe someone can try and tell me if it actually works! So although I'm not a massive festival fan, I can still appreciate the amazing atmosphere and the appreciation of good music. I hope all you festival go-ers have fun!

*This post contains PR samples but all images and opinions are my own.

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HOW I GET THE MOST OUT OF MY HIGHLIGHTER

Never have I ever been so impressed with a Glossybox product that I actually give it it's own standalone review post - but here we are. I used to post monthly reviews of each of the boxes but they were proving to be my least popular posts so I scrapped it, and instead just put the bits and pieces that I'd enjoyed into my monthly favourites instead. I do love Glossybox but there's rarely a product that I use enough and enjoy using enough to do this.

I am a self-confessed highlighter addict. I currently own 8 highlighters, which is not including ones in contour kits or palettes, and I also never stop at putting one on my face. Has to always be at least two, maybe even three, no matter where I'm going. Even if I'm going to work and do the bare minimum for the rest of my face, I still put several highlighters on because it's my favourite bit in my makeup routine and nothing looks better than shiny cheekbones.


I was quite impressed with June's box, as I am with all the boxes actually, and included in it was a liquid highlighter by the brand Manna. I don't use liquid highlighters so I initially thought I wouldn't get any use out of this at all, but I like to at least test everything I get in the box so I didn't throw it to the back of my long-forgotten-makeup drawer just yet. I got a liquid highlighter in a box a few months ago and wasn't to impressed with it so I didn't have very high hopes for this one, but I'm so glad I was proved wrong.


So I do all of my makeup, base and eyes, and save highlighter for last to tie my look together. I either put the liquid highlighter onto my finger and kinda smear it onto my face and rub/pat it in, or do little dots along my cheekbones and use a beauty blender to dab it in. I seem to be preferring the beauty blender method for the moment but I pretty much have no idea what I'm doing.

This highlighter has a slightly pink tint to it when you squeeze it out, but I don't feel like it shows up on my cheek - which is not a bad thing! I like a pink glow but I also like not a pink glow so I wasn't fussy.

Here comes the fun part - the second highlighter. This is when shit gets real. I like to use Mary LouManizer to demonstrate just how much of a difference using the liquid highlighter underneath makes. I love a bit of Mary LouManizer but it's never as pigmented as I want it; it gives off more of a subtle glow and I don't believe subtlety has any place in a highlighting environment. The first time I tried this combination together I was actually filming for a little YT video test so I have proof that this is like, a life changing combination. Hopefully the photos demonstrate this well enough.

Mary LouManizer without Manna.

Mary LouManizer with Manna.


I've not tried it with any other highlighters yet, but I think with something like Champagne Pop, I might blind a few people. That's the hope at least.


What's your favourite highlighter?

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TOP 5 THINGS TO SEE IN BUDAPEST

I think one of the hardest things ever is coming back from not writing for a little while and trying to get back into it. I've been staring at a blank page for so long trying to remember my actual writing style and how to start off a blog post - so instead of actually doing it, I'm just gonna talk about the fact that I can't do it.

You may or may not know that I am not long back from Budapest and I had the most amazing time, I'd never been anywhere like it before. I usually just go for like poolside holidays and explore where we stay twice over the course of however long we're there for, so being up and at it all day every day definitely took its toll on me and I will probably be permanently exhausted until I can sleep for a full 24 hours.


GELLERT HILL

I was originally going to a sort of countdown to my favourite thing that I saw whilst in Budapest but I decided I was just too excited to wait to write this one. We did Gellert Hill on about day 6 and I've not been able to stop thinking about it since. Gellert Hill is on the Buda side and you literally can't miss it - it is just a massive hill with a pretty graceful statue on the top. When I first saw it, I thought 'no way could anyone ever climb up that'. Little did I know, several days later I would do just that. In 30 degree heat, it ain't no picnic.

I think you are able to get a bus or something up to near enough the top of the hill, but I think it's so much more rewarding when you climb it yourself and you can die a little bit at the top, but whilst looking at the most incredible view I have ever had in my life. Honestly, it was just breath-taking and I wish I could have that view in my eyesight permanently.

TOP TIP: Do not take one bottle of water/juice to share between you and your boyfriend. He will hog the juice and you won't get any more until you get to the top of the hill. (There is an overpriced little café and lots of tourist market stalls at the top)

CASTLE DISTRICT

Also on the Buda side, the Castle district provides some of the most incredible architecture your eyes will ever see. From the Pest side, the whole area just looks amazing and it's even better when you're over there. We crossed Chain Bridge and from there we got a little castle bus tour to the places we wanted to see - mainly the Fisherman's Bastion. I will admit that originally we thought the Bastion was the massive, spike shaped tower - turns out it wasn't but we didn't care because the view was spectacular.

With the castle bus, we had the option to hop on and off 3 times; we were given a little map of the places it stopped at and decided where to get off and where to walk to, to make the most of our time in Buda. I'd definitely recommend the castle bus to everyone, although you don't get the experience of walking up yourself, it saved my feet and my back from an otherwise horrible fate.


TOP TIP: Do not get off the castle bus because an old German couple are complaining that 4 buses have gone past with no room. Stand yo' ground and do not let those grumpy oldies take your seats without saying thank you.

HISTORICAL MUSEUMS (HOUSE OF TERROR & HOSPITAL IN THE ROCK)

We didn't really know about either of these until we arrived but boy, am I glad we read into them and decided to visit. These were both surreal educational experiences and taught me so much about Hungarian history. The hospital in the rock is exactly what the name says - it is a hospital built into a rock and into the underground cave system. It was used as a hospital during WW2 for both Hungarian and Soviet soldiers and then also as a nuclear bunker throughout the Cold War. There was also a very harrowing exhibit about Hiroshima and Nagasaki which featured some real items from the sites (the most hard-hitting for me was the little girls lunchbox, the girl was never found) and also drawings done by survivors of the bombings actually taking place.


The House of Terror shows the extent of the relationship between Hungary and Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It's also a memorial to all the victims who were killed in Hungary as a result of these regimes - mostly those who were held and tortured during interrogations in the building. As you walk around, you take a piece of paper that has a bit (or a lot) of writing on it relating to what you're seeing in that room. Both of these museums were completely jaw-dropping, knowing what has happened in the buildings and being able to see some of the rooms how they were when they were being used left me with quite a sad, empty feeling; similar to that of the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam.


TOP TIP: it might be warm outside but bring a hoodie or cardigan with you to the Hospital, it gets pretty cold down there! Although they said the temperature is permanently 18 degrees Celsius so you might need to use one of the jackets they have on offer, which just made me and Max laugh because we're from Scotland and 18 degrees is our summer.

SZECHENYI BATH HOUSE

You cannot go to Budapest and not visit at least one bath house, it would be inhumane. We opted for what is, I think, the most famous of all the bath houses - the Szechenyi bath house. We dedicated a whole day to the baths, so we could relax and sunbathe and accidentally get really burnt cos you fall asleep. We didn't spend much time in the actual baths but even just being there and taking in the architecture and the beauty was enough.

There's 3 massive outdoor pools - two thermal baths for just chilling out in, and one for actually swimming with the lane dividers and such. The surrounding slabs are pretty much first come first serve, you grab a sun lounger from a stack and the side and just plonk it wherever you see fit; remember to adjust it with the sun though for optimal tanning opportunities.


TOP TIP: Take flip flops because you don't want to end up like me and have to go into the bathroom bare foot.

MARGARET ISLAND

This island is a little piece of land in the centre of the Danube which you can access by bridge or boat - there's some lovely little towers and a fountain that does water displays to various songs. We walked the whole length of the island trying to find the Japanese Garden - we were kind of disappointed by what we found but we aren't in blossom tree season anymore, so that's to be expected. We then trekked all the way back down to find the rose garden, which I completely loved because roses are my favourite flower. I did not love the gardeners and builders that stared though.

There's also a mini zoo on the island, thermal baths and lots and lots of ruins - it's the perfect place for bloggers and photographers alike to get stuck in and come out with some really beautiful pieces. There's also the massive Budapest sign which, if you don't get a photo with, did you even go to Budapest?

TOP TIP: Don't eat lunch at the first place you come to, it will be crap and make you think you have food poisoning. (For further info, such as the name, please DM me so I actually Google it, otherwise we'll never know)

If you do even just one thing from this list, let it be Gellert Hill. Honestly, it's not comparable to anything else. Just the sheer relief you get at the top knowing you've worked hard to get there and can appreciate the view in all its glory.

I hope some of you found this little guide useful - I'm still trying to squeeze more content ideas out of my holiday so that it might inspire some of you to take a trip to Budapest! If you do go, tag me in your photos! I'd love to see what everyone else gets up to.

Have you ever been to Budapest?

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CITY BREAK ESSENTIALS

By the time this post goes up, my Instagram will hopefully be flooded with photos from my city break away to Budapest. I've never really done a city break holiday, it's always pool holidays, so this is quite a nice change (I hope, I'm writing this post in advance). City breaks seem to be getting increasingly popular and I can already tell that once I've had a taste of the city life, I won't be going back. So here's some of the things I've taken on my holiday that definitely come in handy.

First is a backpack, to keep all the crap in. Pick a good one because you don't want anyone going into it and pinching things off you whilst you're out and about. They're much better than a tote bag or handbag as well, because city holidays usually involve a lot of walking and you do not want to ruin your back AND your feet. If you can, stick your stuff in your boyfriends bag. That's what I do, and I have no back problems at all! (Just kidding - I have nothing but back problems.)

An obvious one - suncream. I'll be taking factor 50 after I fell asleep in the sun at my home in Scotland and got burnt, so now my mother will not let me leave the country without a 50. But hey, if it saves me getting burnt, it's a winner for me! I'll be keeping this in my boyfriends backpack to put on if I feel like I'm burning at any point during the day.

My camera is an absolute essential for me wherever I go, whether it's on holiday or just out for a walk. You never know when there's going to be a potential photo opportunity, especially in a foreign country, so take a camera EVERYWHERE. Of course, as a blogger, I'm going to be documenting every single second of my trip and Instagramming it all so my camera will definitely get a hell of a lot of use.

Hats are also an essential for me, my scalp always gets burnt when it's sunny, no matter what. I have two caps and a nice fancy floppy hat so that I can change it up depending on what mood I'm in. I've been getting really into hats recently, even though I'm not really brave enough to wear them outdoors yet, I keep buying them and just storing them in my cupboard.

My feet seem to always get beaten up when I'm doing a lot of walking - I did not take one pair of comfy shoes with me to London and that was the worst mistake of my life. We were only doing lots of walking for 3 days but my feet felt absolutely destroyed and when we got home, I refused to move from the couch unless it was absolutely essential. How will I cope with 10 days?! I'm prepared this time though, I bought insoles for my Converse which will hopefully make them a little comfier and I am ready to rock and roll.

I don't think I'll wear a lot of makeup when I'm over there (even though my travel makeup kit is a bit extensive) because it'll be so hot that it'll just likely melt off my face completely, so I'm also bringing a facial spray. This doubles up as a setting spray but when I decide not to wear makeup, I can bring this and give my face a little spritz if it feels like it's getting too warm and sweaty. Facial sprays are my saviour when it's hot; those two seconds of sweet, cold relief are better than anything else in this life.

Some cute little travel bottles.

This may seem extensive but I can guarantee I have gotten a hell of a lot of use out of these different objects over the course of my holiday.

What are your city break essentials?

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BLOGGING: EXPECTATION VS REALITY

Like most people I'm sure, I came into blogging with a set of expectations that have pretty much been fully debunked in the year I've been doing it. For outsiders, I hope this gives you a full perspective into what blogging is actually like. When you're watching it from the side-lines, I believe it's completely different than when you're actually partaking in it.



GETTING A POST DONE IS EASY

I will admit I didn't consider how much effort actually goes into getting a post up onto your blog. I thought it was just write, snap a few pics, post, done! Oh how wrong I was. First you have to think up the idea. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to the entirety of your blogging career. Then you write. And if you're anything like me, you don't proof read. Thus ensuing a shedload of typos. Taking photos absolutely sucks; editing photos is slightly more fun. Compositions are hard, photos never look good, I hate photography (not really). Then you post and you have to promote that shit for the rest of your life if you want it to get out there. Post it everywhere, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, the town billboard - getting people to read your stuff is not easy and without promotion you may fall flat very quickly! Definitely not an easy job. Most bloggers have full time or part time jobs, or are students outside of their blog so fitting in time to get all of this done is tedious but so rewarding when you succeed.


The reality: exhausted, no longer able to act candid, still in gym clothes from several hours ago.

WE ALL LIVE IN LONDON AND ATTEND GLAMOROUS EVENTS

It does still feel like the majority of successful bloggers come from London, but I've spoken to people from all corners of the world that are producing content and smashing it. I love the diversity throughout blogging, although it seems like the media and brands don't appreciate this. And for the events, I've been to one. Which I bought a ticket for. And guess where it was? London. It's like, hello, we all exist in the world too! I wish I could plan events everywhere for everyone outside of London to go to because we should all get to meet bloggers close to us and have fun and get too tipsy on free Prosecco.

OUR BLOGGING STATIONS ARE IMMACULATE


When I first started blogging I was like OH YEAH I'm gonna completely tidy up my whole desk and sit there and blog and feel organised. I can't sit at my desk right now; I can't see the chair because it is buried in clothes. I couldn't even tell you what crap is on my desk because I'm honestly not even sure. I do all of my blogging from my bed; I take photos on my bed, I write on my bed, I don't think I ever leave my bed to be honest. I'm never dressed when I'm doing all of this either, it's either pyjamas or underwear or just my dressing gown. I am not a poster girl for 'photogenic blogging'.


A little embarrassed to share this. This is the current state of my desk, behind the wire baskets.

BEING SENT FREE STUFF

A massive misconception about blogging is that you get sent free stuff all the time and people only start a blog to get free stuff. Honey, you are gonna be at it a while before you even start getting spam emails to your blog account, let alone actual emails from brands. I will admit, it is a massive perk that I will never take for granted, but it doesn't happen as often as people think it does. You have to work your little butt off just to get noticed nowadays because of the size of the blogging community (which is not a bad thing, I love having so many blog friends to talk to) and even then there are dodgy PR companies that will just mess you around.



GOING FULL TIME

Full time blogging is, I think, a massive aspiration of so many bloggers nowadays. I don't work towards full time blogging but I definitely wouldn't say to if I was offered the chance to. The older generation and outsiders of blogging probably think you start making money from the second you start up a blog - the reality could not be more different. I've been at it for just over a year and I'm yet to make money from it. Full time blogging is a long way off for me at the minute, and I do really envy those who make this their lifestyle and work with really famous brands and seem to always be on holiday, but that is absolutely not the norm.



What misconceptions did you have about blogging?

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