holiday

So I know that I’ve been beyond slack in terms of blogging lately (uhhm.. 3 months!) but sometimes life just gets that little bit too hectic and the fun stuff (this bad boy) has to get pushed to the wayside. But! I’m back! Back from a month-long stint in the UK where I ventured to Italy, China and Bali, and back to my beloved keyboard 🙂 As its been a fair whack of time, I decided to bridge the gap with picking out my favourite 5 moments over the festive season (excluding Christmas and New Years obviously!). You probably wouldn’t call this a particularly informative blog post but what it lacks in information and opinion it makes up for in sunny, happy pictures 🙂 Enjoy!

Watching Misty Copeland live in The Sleeping Beauty

This night was a definite favourite, I’m a bit of a Misty Copeland fan and to be lucky enough to watch her live was a dreeaaaam! Her poise, strength and finesse was amazing. If any of you ever get the opportunity to go watch this girl then make. it. happen! It’s not very often that you get to watch a Prima Ballerina. She stole the show and my heart <3

My Cousin got married!

My youngest cousin Shannon from Launceston, Tasmania got married to the beautiful Loretta on December 2nd, 2017. So happy for them and so glad I was there to witness it! Unfortunately I don’t have many piccies from this night so these will just have to do..

Became Australian Professional Ballroom Champions for the 2nd Year!

Woo!

Steve and I celebrated 12 years together in Bali

It’s not very often that Steve and I get to fly somewhere and have it not be for a competition so on the way home from the UK we stopped over in Bali for a few nights to relax and celebrate our anniversary. We stayed in Seminyak at the Villa Seminyak Estate and Spa and got a villa with our own private pool. It was such a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life and one I think we both needed! The service at our hotel was beyond amazing but my favourite part would have to be the Spa. That Spa was just the cherry on an already delicious Bali cake. Anyone in the Seminyak area, be sure to hit up the Seminyak Estate Spa (it’s Asia’s number 1 Luxury Boutique Spa) because you will not regret it!

 I lobbed my hair off!

Yeah.. I always seem to do this. I make a pact with myself that I am going to grow my hair SUPER long. Like Rapunzel long. Then when it actually gets there I am that jack of it that I resent it and want to cut it all off. This has probably happened roughly 3 times in my lifetime and every time I do it, I’m bloody glad. Having long hair may seem like all that and a bag of potato chips but trust me doing it for comps, washing it everyday after swimming in Bali, or just dealing with the intense heat it creates is not fun. So if you’re considering the lob, bob or pixie and are feeling a little cautious, remember this.. It’s hair, it grows back! New Year, new hair I say 😉

A week ago today I got back from my first ever REAL holiday. I know, I know, I travel the world for a living I hear you say but this trip was an actual full-blown week of doing nothing, on a ship with absolutely no dancing involved – A PROPER HOLIDAY! As you may have noticed I’ve been MIA for about a month or so and what can I say other than I’m sorry!? May is always the busiest time of the year for me as it’s the build up to the biggest comp on the Dancesport calendar held in Blackpool so I always spend that month in the UK training and getting my head in the zone which = not much space for my blog. But, with time away brings much excitement for newer, shinier blog posts full of inspiration and enthusiasm! Today I wanted to revel in some of the highlights of my trip cruising around the Mediterranean sea. Not only to give you a little look into some pretty places around Europe (just incase you’re planning a trip in the near or distant future!) but also because it’s cold and wintery back here in Oz and looking at these photos takes me back to the warm, early Summer sun. Aaaah, dreamy 🙂 Quick warning, this post is going to be very picture orientated so if that doesn’t float your boat (haha, cheeky boat puns and all now!) look away now..

This was my first cruise so to be honest I was a total noob at pretty much everything. I was lucky enough to have my best friend working on board though so he quickly helped met get accustomed to the boat lingo. “Washy washy, happy happy” = “wash your hands with this sanitiser”, “Gangways” = the ramps you use to get on and off the ship, “tenders” = the boats that take you ashore when it’s to shallow to port and “All aboard” = “get your ass on the ship by this time at the latest!” were some of my faves. Also, having the first day as a ‘Sea Day’ (“you’re gonna spend the whole day on that ship!”), really helped me get my bearings (yep, more boats puns) and locate the most important parts of the ship, by which of course I mean the Mandara Spa. On Sea Day I had a relaxing Hot Stone Massage complete with slight rockings from the ship to reeeeally put you to sleep, spent too much time in the sauna, ate boat food and enjoyed the night’s entertainment. The entertainment was made even better due to the fact that aforementioned Mr, Bestfriend was in the two main shows; Burn the Floor and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The next week was sure to be a banger!

The first stop, Naples, is where Pizza was invented so naturally Steve and I only had one thing on the agenda for that port. You guessed it… Ride a llama! Ha! Eat pizza obviously. I thought being a Vegan and asking for a pizza with no mozzarella on it in the home of where pizza originated would go down like the following, *insert Italian accent* “What!? No mozzarella on your pizza? Are you crazy? This will not be pizza without the cheese! Get out of my shop!” but actually I was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t even get a reaction out of the waiter and he happily took my order 🙂 The pizza definitely lived up to it expectations and it WAS the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. Quick tip if you’re ever going to Italy, go to Naples and eat the pizza. Eat ALL the pizza because it’s bloody amazing. Wandering the streets I was drawn to how beautiful the city was in an old and historical way. There are lots of cute little shops and if you feel like being really tourist-y you can head to Pompeii and see the ruins and Mt. Vesuvius. I was feeling lazy that day after my extremely “busy” Sea Day so I chose to look at Ol’ Vesuvius from the window of the ship’s buffet restaurant ‘The Garden” instead. #YOLO.

Heading into Civitavecchia I wondered what the hell is so special about this place? But then I realised (or was told by Tourguide Bestfriend) that this joint is our gateway to Rome. Feeling more adventurous that day we decided to take a day trip without the overpriced help of Ship Excursions into Rome to see the sights and take selfies with them. Now, I knew that Rome had some amazing ruins to see but I did not realise that the whole place is basically scattered with them! You just casually get off the train and then BAM! Beautiful picturesque ruins to your left, dilapidated Castle to your right! My mind was well and truly blown, everywhere you looked there was something interesting to see! It was so different to home and I just couldn’t believe that some people were lucky enough to grow up with that much history surrounding them. So. Dang. Cool. We saw the Colosseum,  the Trevi fountain and the Pantheon, ate some delicious sorbet, drank italian espresso’s and generally did as much as we could in a 5 hour window. It really was apparent that you need a good couple of days or more to explore Rome but I felt very lucky to be able to get any time there at all, it was gorgeous!

Another breathtakingingly beautiful place we ported at was Cannes in the French Riviera. Golly gosh this place looked like it was out of a postcard it was so pretty. It was the perfect photo taking destination hence why the majority of my photos from that week were taken on that day! There was so much to see here ranging from the expensive brand shops on the waterfront to the cute little market stalls a couple of streets back all the way to the mountain-esque views. I fell in love with the winding little streets piled high with town houses and cafes and I’m pretty sure I said to Steve about 732 times, “Can we live here now?”. On the day that we were there the temperature was a perfect 25 degrees which just added to the relaxed, romantic vibe the whole place had. Speaking of romantic, on our wanderings we came across a guy playing a violin by a castle on the top of a mountain.. I mean C’MON! It doesn’t get much better than that does it. It was definitely my favourite of all the ports we visited as I’m sure it was for many of the other cruisers and I’m looking forward to the day that I Cannes go back again! Yes, I went crazy with the can/Cannes puns on my Instagram.. apologies to my followers 🙂

Those were my main standouts from the week! But what about you? Ever been to Europe? Any places you would recommend? Hit me up in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

Looking at planning a holiday? You lucky thing, you! Not planning on spending a small fortune? I hear ya!

My partner and I have been travelling to the UK three times a year for close to 10 years now. We go there so often because the 3 major championships for the calendar year are held there so it’s an absolute must for a serious ballroom dancer. Throw in another dozen flights around Asia and Australia and not only are we racking up the points but it also racks up the $$$. This is why I have a few go-to things that really help alleviate some of the stress that can come with all this travel. I thought I’d share some of these tips with as maybe they will help you too!

The first thing I rely on pretty much every time I’m travelling abroad is airbnb.com. This website has been a game-changer for me when it comes to booking accommodation. Gone are the days where I have to message every Tom, Dick and Harry that I know, seeing if they know a friend with enough space to put up 2 people for a few weeks. Now its as simple as heading over to the website a couple of months before I travel and I have an abundance of options at my fingertips! Even better is that not only do I have a bed to sleep in, but I also gain a kitchen to cook in! Double win 🙂 This saves soooo much cash that is usually spent buying food out. If you haven’t had a look at the website before then click here and it will take you there. It’s really simple to book and the filter is also helpful as it takes into consideration what type of dwelling you are after (share house, whole house, granny flat, Buckingham Palace etc). We have stayed at many people’s homes through our travels and the experiences have always been welcoming and easy. Oh and did I mention the options are usually much cheaper than staying at a hotel? Using a mobile device? They have an app for that too!

farmers market
I love fresh produce!

This leads me onto my next tip, which is to try to shop at local farmer’s markets! If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen whilst you are away and want to save some coin then cook some of your own meals man! I’m not a massive ‘eating out’ fan anyway unless it’s for a special occasion or to meet up with friends, otherwise I much prefer to whip up my own food. It can sometimes be tricky with food requirements (see vegan) and eating out for every meal can easily suck the life out of your holiday savings account. Sometimes, if the conversion rate is a bit dodgy it can be just as expensive shopping for food at local stores. This is why I always try to seek out a local market, they offer so much fresh produce and it is usually at a fraction of the price. I once bought 10 avocados for the equivalent of $2AUD! No joke the guy at the stall said to me “Fill the bag love”, so I did! Generally I try to buy all my fruit and veg at the markets and anything else I need eg. bread, rice, pasta etc, from the local store.

Another thing that I find really helps when travelling is to buy a local sim card. We all rely so heavily on our little devices these days and no one wants to go without their phone cold turkey! So rather than setting up some sort of plan with your carrier at home, I would recommend buying a sim card when you arrive. They are super cheap and you simply plonk it in your (unlocked, hopefully) phone and away you go! This way you can have easy access to your social media, messaging, emails etc. and you will also have GPS for those times you get mega lost. I did go through years of sneaking into any Starbucks I could find and taking full advantage of the free wi-fi, but now Steve and I tend to book a hire car while we are away so GPS is a must! It can get pretty heated in the car if you are travelling blind!! As a quick side note, try to book your car through an independently owned car hire service as it is usually a lot cheaper. If you’re going to the UK, Kendall Car Hire is awesome. I tend to keep my Australian sim card safe and sound in between my phone and phone case and switch it out whilst on the plane.

sightseeing
Out and About

And lastly, one idea I just recently had and am going to put to the test on my next trip in September/October is to take a blender. This may sound absolutely ludicrous but sometimes when there is absolutely no food about I can simply buy a buttload of fruit and make a filling smoothie! I’m also thinking it will be great for those nights when you have been out all day and come home late and want something quick. Also, my blender is pretty small so packing it shouldn’t be too much of a pain and besides I just can’t bear the thought of not having my brekkie smoothie every morning 🙂 So, I will definitely let you know if that turns out to be a fail.. but I have a feeling its going to be the best idea ever!

What are some of your tips for travelling on a budget? Comment below..