Tag Archives: Travel

Happy 2017 Everyone

8th January 2017

Happy 2017 lovely people. So this website has been very quiet for a while. We have been busy bees.
img_7401
2016 saw us FINALLY get our Australian visas so we are going to be putting ‘another shrimp on the barbie’ for a while longer.
img_7013
Now we are allowed to travel outside of Australia we are hoping to bounce around a bit more.

Some travel is already booked. Lucky Lee is heading to the UK for two weeks to see his family. I’m unable to escape because I’m busy making cartoons at work (yes, I get paid to be a nerd). So he has been given a long list of things I want him to do and see for me. I’m going to live vicariously through the tall man.

Other than that we are moving house in Feb. An actual house that we can decorate. I’m so excited.

My bro & my favourite sister-in-law are coming to visit Australia (sqweeeeeee so excited) so we will be forced to explore with them…woe is us. Hugging koalas and looking at gorgeous beaches. How ever will we cope.

We have an Easter trip booked to the place voted ‘best beach in the world’ countless times. Whitsundays. We have lots of airmiles to use up so it’s the perfect opportunity to roll in some white sandy beaches and gawp at the best azure blues that Queensland has to offer.

We still have some airmiles left so The South Pacific is calling. It would be rude to live in Australia and not see Vanuatu or Fiji, wouldn’t it?
img_7945
Lastley, we want to go home for next Christmas. This Christmas was surprisingly incredible. I was terrified of being so far away from home without or families and friends but we loved it. That being said… Next Christmas I WILL be home. I’ve started saving already. I am hoping to squeeze a Europian adventure in there too. It’s sacrilegious to be a Brit and to have not been to Amsterdam or seen a lot of Europe. I need to right this wrong.
img_7080
So that’s the hopes and wishes of 2017. Now I just need to save as many pennies as possible to make them a reality.

Happy new year lovely people x
Sent from my iPhone

airport

How to Plan a Girls Holiday – Indonesia edition

8th September 2016

There is only one thing better than planning a holiday, and that is planning a girls holiday. (Sorry boys but it’s true).
If this was a film script this story would start with three teenage girls watching romantic comedies during a sleepover. Mouths filled with jelly babies. All snuggled under one duvet on the floor. These three girls would be (delusionally) talking about their lives as 30 year old millionaires and how magical it will be. They would make a pact to go on a big holiday together when they are finally grown up.
But this isn’t a film, otherwise at this point of the film i’d go and slap young Tania for thinking 30 is old and tell her I am definitely not a grown up . The story is true though. My two oldest friends and I have always planned to go somewhere together when we got to our dirty 30’s . We all have busy lives, crazy jobs and live in 3 different countries so the real question wasn’t if it was going to happen, but how the hell were we going to organise something like this.
To start off with our process involved lots of whatsapp-ing and numerous links to pretty pictures on Instagram. After a few months we were still no closer to a location or time so I came up with a list of what we needed, the kind of holiday-ers we were and what we want to gain from this trip. Here is my criteria to help all you lovely ladies out there find the perfect trip abroad:
rsz_img_0451
*What type of traveller are you?
To me this is the most important question. The kind of traveller you are will determined whether you want a beach, to go skiing or spend your time in a city. We are three very different types of travellers. One of my friends is a very busy director in a company. She works mental hours and long weekends. So when she goes on holiday she wants to relax, let her hair down and have as much indulgence as possible. She also wants to see magical things she couldn’t see at home. Our other friend is an incredibly talented accountant who has recently taken up the country life. She didn’t want to go anywhere on her husbands bucket list (understandably) , but wanted to have an adventure and go somewhere far and distant. Then there was me, the friend that lives thousands of miles away and who (after dealing with months of horrible visas) couldn’t spend too much money and wanted to see and do everything with her girlies. So our criteria was an exciting, active, relaxed holiday. Somewhere far off and exotic where we can indulge in luxury , but that doesn’t cost the earth. It was a tall order. The answer to me was Asia. Exotic yet cheap. Lots of activities, temples and scenery . Lots of nightlife as well as massages galore. It was a good starting point.

beach3
* Weather –
Sunny but not scorching. We are all originally Welsh girls so our bodies don’t even know what vitamin D is. Nice weather was a must. The other thing to worry about is that I burn faster than a marshmallow on a campfire (I shared my beach pain here) so if we could avoid the height of summer it would be good. In Asia, summer can vary a lot by country so it was more important to find out when we could go on holiday and find out what countries suited my transparent skin and our need for heat.

Kyoto - Japan

Kyoto – Japan

* Price –
As mentioned earlier I am the weak link in the chain. A few years of travel, visits to the UK from Australia, imposed house moves, family issues and Visa issues have meant that my bank account has forgotten what money looks like. Lee (the super budget wizard) has helped us get back on track , but I knew that to make this holiday happen it would have to be on a smaller budget. The main worry for me was that I didn’t want my friends to suffer because of my budget so I aimed to find a place were we could all live the high life, but for less. This meant that unfortunately places like America and Europe were out for me , but South East Asia was calling our names . The other plus point was that none of us have kids yet so we could go on holiday out of season when the kids are in school and reap the benefits of not being quite grown ups yet.

11
* Girl friendly –

When three girls are travelling alone it is unfortunate that you have to consider things such as safety. At one point we were considering India or the Middle East , but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to relax if we went for a drink. I’d spend the whole time scared we were being scammed . This isn’t to say you can’t go to India on a girls holiday. In fact I have some really close friends who have done that very thing and loved every second. But it isn’t the place to go for a fun care free catch up. More of a location for a beautiful adventure. I have heard of quite a few scams that have happened to friends who visited, and as weird as it sounds we wanted to not be on our guard ‘twenty-four-seven’. Obviously everywhere you go has an element of danger and you should always be aware of that ,but I knew I’d go into ‘mum mode’ in India. It is still very high on the bucket list , but this time around I think we were searching for the lazy ‘Bounty chocolate’ advert experience.

10
* Location –

I gave the girls a few options. We narrowed it to:
*Vietnam
*Cambodia
*Indonesia
*Hawaii  
I’d been to the first three so I thought back to previous trips . Lee reminded me of our time in Indonesia and how I spent the entire time telling him that Jess and Steph would love it. This is something I do for most places I visit , but he was especially right in this case. I did fall in love with this country. I made some rough itineraries for each country to try and squeeze in all that we loved doing and Indo won.

gilimeno_05
From there it has been relatively easy. We used booking.com to make bookings that can be changed and cancelled if we decide to do different things last minute. We could see volcanoes and jungles, beaches and rice paddies, have massages every day and still party like we were ten years younger so it seems like the right choice.

We are  doing:
5 nights in Ubud – for the yoga, temples and tranquil part of our stay
3 nights in Gili air – For the stunning beaches , sunset cocktails and snorkeling
2 nights in Seminyak – for a bit of a city vibe and a party before we head home

We have made the roughest of rough plans to accommodate the endless chatter  and catching up that is needed and I cannot wait. I’ve been here before but I didn’t get to experience hardly any of it so I’m super excited to do almost everything for the first time.

Let the #dirty30 holiday begin.

 

Have you been somewhere that you’d recommend for a girlie holiday? Where would you recommend? Is there something we should definitely do in Indonesia?

signature

Untitled-1

Turning 30

12th June 2016

Untitled-1 Yesterday I turned 30. The big 3-0. People always get excited when you tell them you are turning 30. People know it’s this big age. The age that symbolises the transition from your ‘lets get crazy and drink tequila’ phase to the ‘let’s get crazy and drink champagne’ phase. In fact when I talk about being 30, I call it the ‘Champagne years’. This is because there are so many events in your 30’s that require bubbles. Weddings, babies being born….Tuesdays. It all requires a celebration.

I wasn’t really sure how I felt about leaving my twenties. I knew I should be stressed, but I was just excited to have an excuse to go dancing and eat cake. Then I fell asleep the eve before my birthday and my dreams told me I was actually a panicked mess. I had horrible nightmares all night. Anxiety filled dreams where I couldn’t find all the people I loved. The dream felt like it went on forever and I couldn’t wake myself up. When I finally escaped my nightmares I woke up a little shocked at myself. Was I secretly terrified of becoming 30 ? Still in my morning daze I started to wonder a million thoughts. Panic started to consume me. Was I getting so old? Where had life run to? And then I walked out of the bedroom to find my Mr .

IMG_6223

The Mr did good with this amazing gift

IMG_6216 IMG_6217 Just seeing his happy face would have been enough, but the sun was also shining and my mum and best friend had sent me beautiful messages to wake up to. All of a sudden the worries felt silly. I had gotten worked up all night for nothing. Time is terrifying to dwell on. There is a fantastic quote from Richard Dawkins who talks about how there are a million eggs in the world that never turned into people, actually billions. Incredible scientists that never got born, artists that never existed and yet I get to be here. Being normal. Do you know how lucky that is? To just have the chance to be here?

From then on rest of the day was a blur of shenanigans. I went to a friend’s house and chatted with lots of lovely ladies while making terrarium (something I didn’t even know existed a few months ago) .Everyone chatted about the birthday night out we’d had on Friday that involved hours of Karaoke and dancing. I came home to find our home transformed. Lee had painted our old tatty cupboard to look brand new, cleaned everything and covered the place in balloons. He had also, with his brother made the biggest cake I’ve ever seen.  We ended the day with a boat ride to the city and a lovely meal. I finally had a chance to sit and look at my phone after the long day and there was messages from all my friends around the world. I lay in bed and I couldn’t believe that I’d been worried or upset the night before. People are incredible creatures. Their capacity for love will always astound me. I’m so lucky to know so many kind and thoughtful faces. A lot of which I’ve only met in the last 3 years. So can you imagine how many more incredible people there are to meet?

DSC_0397 I heard a quote this week:

Life isn’t short, it’s as long as you make it.

(Unfortunately I’m not sure who said this but it’s beautiful).

I was overwhelmed that day by the love and support I found from all my friends and family. Especially the new ones who helped make the day so special here in Oz. These people didn’t know Lee and I a few months ago, but they have invited us into their lives and it has made living here easy.

Worried about being old? Dye your hair purple!

Worried about being old? Dye your hair purple!

I may be getting older, but I’m also getting luckier. I hope the next ten years of my thirties are as full of laughter and fun as my 20’s.

Old friends have still stuck around....and it's their turn to join the 30 club soon x

Old friends have still stuck around….and it’s their turn to join the 30 club soon x

Thank you to everyone who made it special xxxx

12556040_1550301348625606_2025864301_n

Things To Do In Brisbane

27th February 2016

12556040_1550301348625606_2025864301_n

 

 

When we arrived in Australia we had no idea what was going on. We had no jobs, no home and no bloody clue about anything that was going on….at least they speak English here though.

Almost 9 months later and we are happy to say that Australia was definitely the right choice for us. So much so that when we got offended the opportunity of staying in Australia for a while longer, we jumped at the chance.

So it seems long over due that we would make a Brisbane bucket list. Here are a few things we are excited to get around to while we are in the sunshine capital of Australia.

 

. Hold a Koala at Lone Pine Zoo – We did this..her name was Tinkerbell and I wanted to steal her. 12122577_10153152951543388_6627074604296737826_n

. See a Kangaroo – We did this at Lone Pine Zoo too and it was fantastic. ROO’s and KANGA’s as far as the eye could see.

.Go to Fraser Island – The reason I was excited to move to Australia was when I saw some friends pictures of Fraser Island. I can’t wait to go.

.Go Whale Watching – We did this and loved it. The Whales jumped around like crazy. I felt like we were meeting a celebrity. 12747617_846100285512104_1553819085_n

.Go to Moreton Island – This beautiful island has shipwrecks off the beach, perfect for scuba diving (if I wasn’t terrified of sharks).

. Eat Korean food in Fortitude Valley – I do this most weeks since I work in the Valley. I’d recommend the singing rooms too. NOREABANG!! 887544_10153184146053388_4507646595431289051_o

.Go on the XXXX beer tour – People from Brisbane mock me for wanting to do this traditional tourist thing. This only makes me want to do it more.

.Take a boat trip down the Brisbane river – We get to do this quite a lot because our house is near the river. It’s insane to take a boat home and it be a normal thing. whalewatching_12

. Go to Eat Street Markets We have just moved into a new flat that is a stones throw away from these beautiful markets. I’m not going to say that we moved there just for the incredible food but ….that would be a lie. 12039127_10153132344788388_5032742197605760957_o

.Watch some cricket at the Gabba – Lee is a massive cricket fan so we have arrived in the right country. I have loved learning about it over the years. Having an excuse to sit in the sunshine and drink beer is also good.

.Visit Kangaroo point – Kangaroo point is a really pretty park area looking out to the Story Bridge. A perfect picnic spot.

.Go inside the town hall – The town hall is a beautiful building in the center of the city . I’d like the excuse to see more of it.

.Visit the top of Mount Coot-tra – This big mountain is said to have some of the best views of the city. I’m excited to see if it’s true.

.Watch Brisbane RiverFire (a fireworks display) – We saw the River Fire display from over the tops of skyscrapers on our first few days in Brisbane and had no idea what was going on. This time i’ll force Lee to have front row seats. 12407654_1542039636106290_1013615708_n

.Climb the Story Bridge – The Story Bridge was a little disappointing if I’m honest. After seeing the huge Harbour bridge in Sydney I thought that the Story Bridge would be similar but its very small in comparison. BUT Lee hates heights to scaling this bridge first will be a good first step. …Also , just so no Brisbanites hunt me down and bitch slap me…the Story Bridge has become a favourite of mine now. The big fairy lights are perfect.

.Go to a ‘Drive in’ cinema – We did this recently and although it was really busy and we couldn’t see much…I LOVED IT!!! I’ve definitely grown up with too many American films.

.Visit Woolloongabba Antiques Centre. – This is probably because I’m moving into a new house but I want so many pretty things for the new flat (or to just stare at them and dream about them).

.Visit Westend – I get told off for calling it ‘The’ Westend. Here it is just ‘Westend’. It’s full of lots of shops and lovely restaurants. I need to eat all the foods.

.Visit Paddington – This is meant to be a cool area.

.Visit Merthyr – Just to see how it compares to the Welsh town.

.Visit Simpsons Falls – Massive waterfalls and jungle only 20mins away? Yes please!

. See the Gold Coast. Massive skyscrapers on the beach? This needs to be viewed. whalewatching_10

. Visit the Sunshine coast. White sanded empty beaches as far as the eye can see. We did do this already but I don’t think there is a limit on visiting this place.

. Go for dinner at ‘La Dolce Vita’ – Only because there is a Eiffel tower above a restaurant with an Italian name…and that’s too weird to miss.

.Spend a weekend on Straddie island – It’s only an hour away and looks like paradise.

 

Just writing that list has me excited for doing things. We are in full on ‘moving in’ panic mode so this list is making me feel human again. Bring on the pretty views, awful unhealthy food , and sunshine.

signature

 

whalewatching_05

Whale Watching at Hervey Bay

21st February 2016

 

One of my first memories as a child was walking into the National History Museum in London, looking up and seeing the giant statue of the blue whale that use to hang from the roof. When I looked up with my tiny eyes it was all that occupied my vision and I was enthralled. In fact, remember when Pinocchio  gets eaten by the whale? Most people were terrified of this as kids. I on the other hand thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I use to sit cross legged in front of the TV thinking ‘lucky puppet’.

disney ocean whale pinocchio monstro

As i’ve got older and become enamored with all animals , whales have always been on the list of ‘things to see’. But as is the case with all animal experiences…there had to be strict rules:

. They have to be in the wild

. The company must be safe and environmentally friendly

Luckily in Australia it’s quite easy to find a whale watching company that fits the bill. We arrived in Brisbane with only three weeks left of the whale season (the whale season in Queensland is August to October) so we set off as soon as we could, crossed our fingers and hoped we’d spot the incredible creature that is the humpback whale.

The humpback whales stop off here for a few months before heading to colder climates, normally with lots of mini humpbacks in tow. In fact it’s thought up to 7,000 whales can be here at any one time during the season.

We decided on Hervey Bay since it is always listed as ‘the number one spot in Queensland to spot whales’ on every blog we searched. Hervey Bay is about 3 hours outside of Brisbane so we hired a car for the day and took the beautiful drive to the bay. whalewatching_13

whalewatching_12  Hervery Bay is beautiful ! The drive from Brisbane takes you past mountains, the bush and signs hinting that Koala’s are near. The bay itself has the bluest seas, a lovely harbor and as you are sailing you go past white sandy beach islands that look like every postcard you’ve ever been sent by boasting friends. All of this is before you even see a whale.

whalewatching_09 We used the Quick Cat 2 boat , which you can book here. The company was one of the first to set out on the high seas to see these animals and they were great. We left on time, there was plenty of room, they gave us facts about the animals and area and even provided lots of snacks and drinks.

whalewatching_11 If I’m honest I held no hope that we would even see a whale . There was 2 days left of the season when we stepped on the boat and our hopes had been lowered by the staff. If we hadn’t seen one on the trip we’d have been given a free trip by the company so I wasn’t too worried, but I was sending well wishes to all the Nordic gods that we’d see the fins of some creatures of the deep.

An hour into the journey we’d still not glimpsed a fin when suddenly as if from no where a large mother and her calf appeared along side the boat. We could just see the sheen of her back as she arched back into the ocean , but it was thrilling. We saw her little calf beside her and it was so strange to be that close to a creature that had chosen to come and see what this boat in the ocean was.  Lee and I lost our minds!

whalewatching_01 We only had a few minutes to stare in wonder before we noticed in the distance a huge cloud of water. We raced across the water and got lucky enough to see a male whale displaying his powerful skills. He jumped out doing barrel rolls and dives for about 15 minutes. Even our guide was in shock . Unfortunately I was so enthralled by the show that I didn’t have my camera out. I was a little too obsessed with seeing it with my own eyeballs.

whalewatching_04 whalewatching_05 whalewatching_03 We got to see another handful of whales showing off as the day went on, which meant I got to capture a few token shots (phew) and even got a surprise visit from an angry lethal sea snake that wanted us dead. Luckily the boat was very high so we didn’t have to actually meet the most deadliest snake on the planet (the olive sea snake – in-case you were wondering) . whalewatching_07

The day went so quickly and our faces hurt from smiling. I would recommend it to anyone. I think we will definitely be doing it again. Lee’s mission is to see a Blue Whale and I’d love to see Orca’s in the wild so once again ‘whale watching’ has not been knocked off the bucket list…it’s just been crossed off and added back to the bottom of the list. whalewatching_06 whalewatching_02 whalewatching_08

signature

 

uk

The 28th of December

23rd January 2016

*Note to readers…this is a very late post that I wrote while on the 28th of December. It still felt relevant because January has the special gift of feeling a bit dreary at times. I hope you enjoy.

 

uk

 

According to experts*, the 28th of December is apparently the most depressing day of the year. I couldn’t disagree with that statement more. Yes, the turkeys been eaten, the presents have been given out and work is looming but we all know everyone is secretly still wearing Christmas socks.
Then again I am technically still on holiday and excited to see all the UK has to offer so maybe I’m not the best judge.

uk3

 

I am currently heading to Bournemouth from Wales on the train. It’s a trip I’ve made countless time in the past to visit one of my best friends. But today it feels different.
Ever since arriving back on British soil I have been the world’s biggest tourist. I’ve taken photos of quaint looking stone buildings, giggled at people’s beautiful accents and fallen in love with this country all over again. I’ve even loved the weather, which is saying something.
There is a beauty to the UK that you don’t find anywhere else. People are friendlier and inquisitive. The country is in a constant rally to get through the drizzle and a cup of tea is never far away.  I may have been away too long but coming home this holiday has been an eye opener. I never thought I’d want to settle back home but staring out of the train window at the rolling green fields and the cream brick terrace houses makes me yern to come home for good.
It does help you love a country when every day you see people from your past and laugh until you cry.I live in a small town and it feels like every street has a story from my childhood. Every road I pass has a forgotten game played on it, certain corners are first kisses and every road feels like home.
I love Australia and I can’t wait for future adventures , perhaps in Canada or New Zealand , but boy do I love my green green grass of home.

uk2

 

* In this scenario the experts is referring to the radio telling me this is a fact.

australia14

Australia – A Re-Cap

16th January 2016

header Well you might have already guessed from our instagram feed, but we are no longer on our grand tour of Asia.

It took us 3 months and 17 days but a few months ago (quite a few months ago now) we arrived in the merry old land of Oz. We were ready to see some Kangaroo’s, put another shrimp on the barbie and many other stereotypical things that i’ve learnt from watching too much Neighbours and having a affinity with The Simpsons episode  where they go to Australia.

Here is a little glimpse of our last few months trekking on a new continent.

Perth & Fremantle

australia11 australia10 Our first stop was Western Australia. Partly because it is the closest part of Australia to Asia and partly because we really wanted to see one of Lee’s best friends. Mo moved to Perth a few years ago and he, his beautiful girlfriend and their adorable dog , made the crazy mistake of letting us use their spare room for a while. Jobs were harder to find than expected but it didn’t take the shine away from our beautiful surroundings.

We were actually living in a small town connected to Perth called Fremantle – or in the traditional Australian way of adding an ‘O’ to the end of all words – Freo. We learnt (and Lee fell in love with ) AFL or the Aussie Rules Football League. I found a job in a craft beer bar and had a wail of a time serving pints and throwing together cocktails with a great bunch of people. They introduced me to a ‘Boilermaker’ and my liver will never be the same again*.  We saw fantastic sunsets and ate so much good food. Our last few days in WA (Western Australia) were spent in Margaret River, which is lovingly known as Wine Country to the locals. I managed to take a trip to wine country while I was suffering the mother of all hangovers . Not the way i’d recommend seeing the place but if it’s pretty when you are carrying a carrier bag ‘just in case’ around with you, then you know it’s got to be good.

australia9 australia13 There is a lot of things we didn’t get to do while we were in WA – mainly due to lack of funds so we will need to go back.   As if seeing Mo, Paula, Diego (the not so tea cup chiuaua) weren’t reason enough to go back , we didn’t get to make it to Rottnest island and see a Quokka (look at their lovely faces here) . But we aren’t too sad. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

*I will explain what a ‘Boilermaker’ is in other posts but right now the memory is still too clear…urrrr my poor liver.

 

Melbourne

australia6 We didn’t think we would be able to see more of Australia so soon but  I luckily got a job offer at an animation company in Brisbane that was too good to pass up. We decided that instead of flying directly to Brisbane we would take the long route. Our next stop on our whistle stop tour of Australia became Melbourne.

How can you describe Melbourne? I read countless times that it was ‘liveable’ and had no idea what this meant…until we arrived there that was. It is a bustling, fun , delicious and just beautiful.

australia5 We scaled the Eureka building, ate till our bellies were bursting in China town and Lee got to fulfill a life long ambition and go to Melbourne Cricket Ground where we had a fantastic tour and learnt a lot. I’d recommend it to everyone, even if like me you are clueless about cricket.  For me the most important part of the trip was getting to see my favourite band ‘Post Modern Jukebox’ perform. You can see them here…I recommend watching allllll their videos. Seeing them perform was the only reason that our elaborate journey to Brisbane had such a long stop over in Melbourne. Boy are we glad we had the excuse. We can’t wait to go back.

It’s cheesy but i’d recommend the free tourist tram that travels around the centre of the city. Nice views, good information and you can rest your tootsies. australia4 australia8 australia7

Sydney and Manley Bay

australia18 Sydney is of course AMAZING! I felt like I was walking into every story I’d ever heard my mum tell of her childhood. My mum and her three sisters and two brothers moved to Australia when see was just five. It has been one of the reasons i’ve always wanted to see this country. It hasn’t disappointed yet.

We saw bustling Bondi,  the iconic Harbour Bridge , the even more iconic Sydney Opera House and enjoyed every moment of it. We stumbled upon a German beer house and had our fill of German beer. It wasn’t very Australian but we’ve managed to find a German spot in most cities so it felt almost rude not to. There is nothing quite as fun as watching Lee in a German beer bar. He’s like a kid in a candy store – but more drunk.

australia17 australia16 Our favourite part of our trip to Sydney was a day trip to Manly, We assumed that people had suggested this trip for the boat ride that takes you past all the major sights of Sydney so we were both a little taken aback when we arrived on Manly to discover a paradise hidden among the city. Beaches, harbors, blue seas and even a wild cockatoo. We spent the day fantasizing about living on this little piece of heaven. I finally, after years of Lee up-selling this country to me,  understood the pull of Australia and the hold it has on people. I never really thought that I’d be someone who would fall for this country but i’ve fallen hard.

australia2 australia1 australia3

 

Brisbane

australia15 Last but definitely not least is our little corner of the continent. We have made Queensland our home for the last few months and boy are we glad that we made the move over here. We have loved each part of Australia, but Brisbane feels like home to us now. We fluked a great little house that has a SPARE bedroom . For two ex-Londoners who couldn’t stretch their arms without touching both sides of the wall , it is bliss. We also have a garage that the optimists in us have turned into a mini gym….or as it should aptly be named ‘the dust farm’.

I am a massive nerd and love animation so I keep pinching myself that the company took a chance on a backpacking weirdo. I’m working my tukas off but it’s the first time in years that I’m excited for my job and at the same time I can’t wait to come home. It’s a weird feeling. Lee is working in a dungeon at a hospital converting horrible case files but I think he secretly likes the organisation of it all (this is the man who’s hobby is Excel after all :D) australia14

Brisbane is much more laid back than Sydney and Melbourne , as pretty as Perth and sunny 362 days a year. We have explored the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay where we saw humpback whales froliking in the surf but there is still so much more to see.  We did get treated to a visit from the incredible Kaleena , you may know here as the writer of this incredible blog. I know her as my ice cream partner in crime and America’s top sand castle builder.  It’s been a fun few months and although the idea of moving to a continent with no job and not a lot of money was a terrifying prospect. It has been worth every second. Everything’s coming up Millhouse! Fingers crossed 2016 holds a lot more in store.

australia19 signature

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

30th December 2015

Travel is an incredible thing. It’s the ability to expand your horizon & see things that your grand parents only read about in books. image
When I woke up this morning I was in Tokyo and when I go to sleep tonight I will be the other side of the globe and in the home I grew up in. From one of the busiest cities on the planet to my small little home town hidden away on a hilly valley.
Travel is exciting because it brings with it so many new experience but it can be a curse.
The curse of being away and living life means missing the people you love. Missing people vs. missing out can some times feel like an impossible struggle.
I do know how lucky we are though. I know that if we had wanted to move to Australia forty years ago we may have been on a boat for a month , we would have had to write long letters on blue travel paper that would maybe never reach it’s destination. Trying to communicate with people would have been as painful as pulling teeth (mainly for them because I can barely speak English- as you’ve seen from my writing here). All of this is before we start worrying about mastering a foreign language. image
With skype and sky scanner and Facebook and email, it’s as if you never really miss out completely. I don’t know how people use to do it. We are both in awe of those crazy ‘Magellan-esq’ loons.
Today’s adventure wasn’t our usual type of trip. The plane wasn’t taking me somewhere exotic or new. I wasn’t excited to lay on a pearly white sandy beach or giddy to stare at rainforests. I was ‘cheek hurtingly’ happy because I was going home.

It’s easy to forget sometimes how much you love where you came from. Travelers may moan about the weather or the locals but home is definitely where the heart is…and where the crumpets are. Oh and the Sunday dinners…oh and don’t forget all the delicious Cadburys.
Bridgend is a tiny town that most Welsh people don’t even know about but we love it there.It has made us adventurous, romantic and the curious wanderers that spend two hours queueing in customs and spending days locked in the toilet because you just had to have one of those *insert any crappy street food that you bought down an alley*.

image This Christmas I will be listening to my family play games while The Muppets Christmas Carol plays on TV for maybe the 50th time. We won’t have any presents to give because we are stupidly poor from the tear-jerking cost of our tickets but luckily I think I’m going home to a house full of people that won’t mind too much.
Travel can be incredible , it can be
tiring, thrilling and wonderous but traveling home will always be one of my favourite trips. It does help that I take my partner in crime and my little piece of home in human form along for the ride.

This Christmas I am happy to say that Lee and I are in rainy Wales, watching crappy TV and moaning to our families and you know what… I would change that for anything in all the world.

 

nusacennigan12

Nusa Ceningan – Wrinkly Fingers and Scooters.

11th October 2015

banner After relaxing in the tiny town of Ubud we did what any smart person would do and instantly went somewhere to relax even more…oh it’s a hard life.

We settled on the tiny island of Nusa Ceningan. While still officially Bali , this tiny island that is attached to Nusa Lembongan is a little off the coast of the main tourist area of Kuta. It is a forgotten island by most tourists so it is extremely untouched. No atms*, no real roads and beautiful untouched scenery are what you’ll find on this tiny island. There are some roads but they look like a blind giant got drunk and laid them.

nusacennigan17 The only problem with wanting to go to a tiny remote area is that getting there is a pain in the arse. There were quite a few boats but they basically wanted you to donate your kidneys to buy a seat. We decided to take the risk and take the local boat. After 3 months of travel we liked the word ‘local’. It normally translated to ‘cheap’. This local boat was A LOT cheaper, which should have been a sign. We soon discovered that we should have just paid through the nose for the other boat. At least there was a chance our nose would still be attached to our face after that trip…on this rickety, packed to the rafters boat…we would be lucky to be alive.

In the 5 foot waves we waded out with our bags to the floating shack. At one point a wave hit me that was so strong it took my feet from under me. We finally boarded the boat, soaking wet and ready to hit the (very) high seas. This is when we were told in broken English that some more cargo needed to arrive. We were already sitting on and among an array of boxes of all shapes and sizes so I dreaded to think what was on its way. What came aboard was two hundred ,ten foot planks of wood, a fridge freezer and of course, a motorcycle. Watching 4 men try to move a heavy bike onto a tiny boat while getting battered by waves was extremely entertaining and improved the trip immensely.

nusacennigan03 We were finally on our way and woozy from the petrol fumes. We pulled up to a beach covered in men screaming ‘TAXI’ at us. We knew we had a pick up from our hotel waiting so started looking for our people. They were nowhere to be found until finally one of the taxi men got excited and everyone started pointing at some people walking away from the beach. We ran up to these two and had to convince them that we were in fact the people staying at their hotel. They were having none of it. A recurring problem we’ve discovered while traveling on this trip is:

  1. Lee is an Asian name
  2. We booked our flights and hotels from Korea.

 

Everyone thought that Lee and I we would be Korean on arrival, most didn’t seem to mind but I could tell that some people had been brushing up on their ‘hangul’ for our arrival and were slightly disappointed in the pastie faced Westerners arriving on their doorstep .

 

nusacennigan02 nusacennigan01 We jumped on board their tiny scooters, covered in bags and started the ride to Nusa Ceningan and our hotel. About half way on our journey along the bumpiest roads I’ve ever experienced, I turned around slightly and couldn’t see Lee and his driver anywhere. I started to worry so shouted in the ear of the young girl driving that we’d lost them. I now knew her extremely well since I was clinging on to her for dear life. She paused for a while and waited but there was still no sign of them. She made the executive decision to carry on and hope they were just taking in the sights. What had actually happened was Lee’s guides bike couldn’t handle the weight of two grown men and three suitcases, so had given out. Lee had to get off and walk up any hill that lay ahead of their path. This is probably a good time to note that even mountain goats would come to Nusa Ceningan and think it was too ‘hilly.’

Finally Lee and his guide arrived at the hotel and we were given our beautiful room. It over looked our ‘private’ pool. It wasn’t meant to be private, but the two other villas were empty so for all intensive purposes we decided that it was our pool for the week.

nusacennigan05 nusacennigan06 nusacennigan11 We stayed at the ‘Da Fish’ Hotel and I’d recommend it to anyone. Great views, fantastic food brought straight to your balcony, lovely people and great location for seeing the blue lagoon.

We did nothing for the week apart from ride our scooter around the island and **prune our fingers. Hiring a scooter is something we never thought we’d do. Scooters are always part of peoples horrible travel stories. But without a scooter it’s impossible to get around Nusa Ceningan or Nusa Lembongan. We drove around, saw the island, ate at tiny restaurants and watched the sun set, but most 50% of the time was spent in the ‘private’ pool. We were definitely those smug annoying tourists for a few days.

nusacennigan07

best part of travel? All the puppies and kittens

nusacennigan12 nusacennigan09 nusacennigan08 Nusa Ceningan is a tiny place but perfect for a couple. If you are travelling on your own or with your friends then I’d say Nusa Lembongan is better. More restaurants, music bars and even a local outdoor cinema. A bit more life to it and more places to drink, but for us Nusa Ceningan was where we belonged. Everyone needs to find a place they can pretend to be fancy tourists in once and a while. nusacennigan16

Lee throwing all the moves

Lee throwing all the moves

This is definitely the forgotten island and I’d recommend it.

*there is one atm but it is rarely filled. I think that it probably empties before the money delivery guy is even back on his boat. You can get money out from the money exchanges for a fee in an emergency, such as a ‘we need more pina colada’s’ emergency like we had.

** Pruning fingers is when your fingers have been wet for a long time and they get wrinkly. Lee laughed a lot when I used this term and I discovered it wasn’t a universal or even a local phrase.

Ubud – Chilling out, Maxing, Relaxing All Cool

19th September 2015

header Oh Ubud. I thought I was in love with you before we even arrived. I had lived vicariously through blog posts, books and the eloquent ‘word of mouth’ that you have inspired. I always knew that our trip would include Ubud. I just hoped it would live up to the sky high expectations I’d already put on it.

We arrived for our 5 day adventure at Bali airport and were both amazed. Airports aren’t exactly known for being stylish or very different from one another. Bali airport is very different, they have redone the airport and have made sure that your first impression is a good one. A huge entrance gate full of statues and fresh flowers greets you from the plane. It really sets the holiday off to a good start. ubud006 ubud002 ubud001 ubud005

Then came our long taxi ride to our hotel. Ubud is about 45 minutes away from the airport and it was so dark that Ubud kept itself hidden. We arrived at our hotel and we experienced the magic that is an Ubud hotel. Many of the hotels have been built into temples so when you walk in you are faced with the detailed stone mosaiques, the smell of sandalwood and the beautiful flowers strewn all over the temple floor.

Just a casual street in UBUD

Just a casual street in UBUD

We woke up to the sounds of the jungle and we couldn’t wait to explore.

Ubud is bizarre, it’s a vibrant, funky little space. Hipster-ish but in the best kind of way. Walking around Ubud makes me want to do nothing but eat healthy, do yoga and drink smoothies. Everywhere you look there are temples, small markets and beautiful flowers.

The Balinese culture is so unique and probably one of my favourite cultures to discover. Each store and home has a small bamboo bowl filled with candles and flowers which is their daily tribute to the gods. They believe in family and don’t really believe in leaving Bali or in some cases even Ubud. This was especially strange to discover while talking to a local. He asked me and Lee a million questions about our exploits, but when it came time for him to decide if he’d love to see these places for himself he seemed completely content where he was. He said ‘Balienese people love stories but we love home more’. Bali is unique because it has somehow kept its traditional charm while still being very modern. Each restaurant still stares out onto endless rice paddies, Balinese traditions are everywhere you look and yet you can still use atm’s and buy anything you could possibly imagine. Other places around the world could definitely learn something from Ubud on how to retain their charm as tourism starts to take over.

ubud007 ubud013 We were lucky that a day after we arrived we were joined in Ubud by our friends Carly and Conner. Carly is my Ubud guru. Not only did she introduce me to the place but she also introduced me to the wonder that is Yoga. After just one class I was hooked. It only made sense that since we were in Ubud we would have to go to the one and only Yoga Barn. The Yoga Barn was made famous in Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and has become THE place for yogi’s from around the world to relax and display their skills. Having a class here guarantees not only a beautiful setting but the knowledge that you are being taught by the best of the best.

Even though I’d read a lot about the place it was nothing like I thought it would be. I have only been to two different yoga studios I suppose so I am not an expert, but I thought it would be a building with a large room for yoga…nope! It’s huge! There are cafes, restaurants, and a garden area with a stream. This is all leading to a huge open air atrium that goes down to a great (if not very expensive) yoga shop and of course the large yoga room. You could easily spend a week here. I wish we’d had time to do more than one class but we just did the one and I loved every moment of it. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a while is so I can get back into a good fitness routine. It’s not impossible on the road and there are countless bloggers that look amazingly fit and healthy while they travel, but Lee and I love being lazy and eating our way around the world when we travel which doesn’t leave much room for gyming it.

indo3 ubud008 We honestly just spent 5 days being pampered, eating and driving bikes around this beautiful town. We got to see one of Lee’s favourite animals, monkeys in the monkey forest. I’ve never seen him as happy as when he had a monkey on his shoulder. We ate incredible food. Hummus, fresh fruit, olives and delicious treats are abundant in Ubud. The massages are super cheap so we had quite a few of them and were instantly annoyed that we hadn’t had more during our Asia experience.

ubud012 ubud011 ubud010 ubud009 It is a beautiful place and I’m sad that we couldn’t spend more time there. I think it’s definitely a place that we both felt we could easily live in for months and months. Who knows maybe one day we will.

Happy Ubud Faces

Happy Ubud Faces

signature