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!
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 😉
Howdy friends! So, I’ve just recently gotten home from a two-week stint in Asia competing, practicing and teaching and once again I’m trying to recalibrate my ‘home groove’. I don’t know about you guys but I definitely find that it takes me a few days to truly settle in to wherever I am and whatever I’m doing and let me tell you, living as an ever-travelling, competing ballroom dancer, that can make life pretty tough at times! Luckily though, no matter where in the world I am, I can always rely on certain things to help a sister out and today I thought I’d share those things with you 🙂
This is only a relatively new thing in my life and was really brought to my attention while I was aboard the NCL Epic Cruise ship. The constant reminder of “washy, washy – happy, happy” songs and hand sanitising stations made me become a total germaphobe! I had never really thought about germs so much up until that point and then all of a sudden I was questioning EVERYTHING! Especially the poor old breakfast buffet. In my defence though I was also hearing some pretty horrific buffet stories from friends aboard the ship too which obviously didn’t help either! Nevertheless, it changed me and after washy, washy-ing 200 times a day (I kid, I kid… or do I?) for a whole week, hand sanitiser is now a part of my life. Thinking about it now though it kind of makes sense considering my constant state of travel and the fact that my job entails me holding people’s hands! What’s even better about this new obsession is that you can buy the sanitisers in such cutie patootie packaging!! I’m such a child when it comes to things like this; give me something pink and cute and I’m bloody sold so for me it’s a double win! I found these Gudetama hand sanitisers in Hong Kong and they are so dang cute with their little detachable loop bands making it easy for you to bang it on your bag and they smell like peachy goodness. The little pink guy on my backpack was a gift from a student so I’m not sure where it’s from 🙁 but still.. BEST STUDENT EVER AWARD!
Travel sickness tablets:
Yep, I’m one of those people. One of the one’s quietly winding down the window in the back of a car on a -2 degree day, one of the one’s getting all woozy when the plane is doing a million circles before landing into Heathrow, one of the one’s who should have travel sickness tablets on them at all times. You never know when that sickness is going to strike so I have learnt that it’s better to be prepared than to suffer in sick silence. I’m talking the proper stuff by the way, none of this ginger tablet crap that does absolutely nothing. A brand I often buy is Kwells and honestly I’ve been taking them for so long that the mere thought of them makes me want to gag, but boy do they work! One trip I was feeling confident and I decided to see if all my travel hours had paid off and given me some sort of immunity to travel sickness so I bought some of these pressure band things. Big mistake that was.. half way through the flight turbulence struck and the old pressure bands weren’t doing much other than putting large indentations in between my wrist bones. So, never again! I always travel with them and they come in so handy, especially considering they are quite small so if you have to (wouldn’t recommend it though) you can swallow them (don’t do it) without water (just don’t!).
Travel sized perfume:
As I’ve mentioned before here, I’m slightly obsessed with perfume. So it’s kind of no brainer that this would be on my list but when I’m travelling I find it much easier to opt for something more suited to my handbag size so I have access to it whenever I need a refresh. Smelling good is always appreciated and in my field of dance where it’s literally body on body, I think its super important (*cough, cough* men take note!) that you have the respect to not smell like an old wash cloth 🙂 I have a few different options I love to keep in my bag at different times. One being this small Elizabeth and James roll on that I bought at Sephora, it wasn’t too expensive, smells beautiful and is small enough that you can pop a bit of fragrance on in a hurry and chuck it back in your bag without it weighing your bag down or taking up too much space. Another option I like is to use the little tester perfumes you sometimes receive when buying or trying a new perfume. I always make sure to put them in a small pocket in my bag though so they can’t roll around and leak perfume everywhere! Finally, something I’m using at the moment which I also received as a welcome home gift from a student (I know, my students rock!) is this travel sized Chanel No.5 bottle which came with two refills! I think its perfect for the hand bag because it is small and sleek and the wind up, wind down feature means you don’t have to worry about lids falling off and leakage. Also, the two refills give me a little confidence to wear No5 everyday.. yes please!!
My face and skin undergoes constant change depending on my surroundings. I know how I’m feeling or how my body’s doing just from looking at my face. Dark circles, puffy eyes, dry lips, pimples – I get the works and sometimes if I really don’t take care of myself I get them all at once. HOT. I still haven’t found the cure for puffiness under the eyes (if anyone out there knows of any product they can recommend I’m all for it!) but I do know that there is something about Asia that makes it really bad. I don’t think its the food as I tried for a few days to eat super clean; veg, fruit, green juice, nuts and rice and I still woke up with severely puffy eyes and soreness. I think it may have something to do with the aircon in the hotel rooms but I’m not sure. All I know is that its the bane of my existence while Im there. Anyway I digress! Luckily, I can throw my skin a bone via the help of different face masks. I’ve tried all sorts of face masks in the past but one that I’m loving at the moment and that I found really helps to ‘wake’ my face up is the GlamGlow YouthMud mask. I bought this on my cruise as I’d heard so much about Glam Glow and decided to give it a go #poet. Now bearing in mind I have sensitive skin, the first time I tried this bad boy, I had to wash it off within 20 seconds. It was burning like hell! But after doing a bit of research online I read that it may cause a tingling feeling so I drank some cement and gave it another go. Burny Burn Town once again! But this time I persisted and it did pass and it was even followed with a pleasant cooling sensation which was highly appreciated in my case. it goes on as a thick ‘mud’ and after about 5 minutes dries to being rock hard giving you what I can only describe as all over botox face. You can leave it on for up to 15 minutes and when you rinse it off your skin will feel baby bum smooth. I feel like it really de-puffs my face as well and leaving my skin in the perfect pre-makeup state. I simply follow with my usual moisturiser and then I can apply my makeup straight away with out the fear of it slipping and sliding all over the joint. Definitely recommend it to anyone who, like me, wakes up looking like they were involved in a mild car accident overnight.
So there are some of my secrets, what are yours!? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
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 🙂
Howdy from Hong Kong! Gosh I love Honkers. It’s such a bustling, crazy little place where the streets are always filled with people, everything is open til later than late and there are TOO MANY beauty shops. Imagine 5 different versions of Priceline (Australia) or Boots (UK) and then put a dozen of them within a 5 km radius of one another and that’s Hong Kong. Then rather than imagining those shops to be all set out in a spacious and clear manner, change that to everything being piled ontop of one another and filled with brands and products you’ve never heard of. It’s a girls paradise! Whenever I come to HK I always make sure to stock up on all the different beauty buys that I know I cant get elsewhere. It’s also a place where I find myself trying so many different and new things and being a fair-skinned lass, the products seem to be made for me! So, because I only really had yesterday free in the whole week that I’m here I tried to cram the bulk of my beauty hunting into one day and I still managed to come away with some bargains! Let’s have a little looksie shall we?
First up, face masks. I haven’t really gone into too much detail on my blog as to how obsessed I am with sheet masks. But I guess cat’s out of the bag now!! After travelling to different parts of Asia for the past 7 years, I quickly noticed how beautiful and young Asian skin looks. This can’t all be because of great genes can it!? One thing I have learnt is that Asian women put a lot of time, effort and care into maintaining the youthfulness of their skin and a big part of their regime is face masks. This is pretty obvious from the minute you step into any beauty store as the places are usually decked out with massive skin care sections featuring hundreds of different sheet masks all claiming to do various things. Snail goo masks, bird’s nest masks, bee pollen masks, horse oil masks.. there are definitely some strange ones but there are also a fair few that are much less daunting. I’ve tried so many different ones and I am honestly yet to find one that I feel hasn’t left my skin feeling better than before I put it on. I guess you just have to be clear in what you feel your skin needs and then try to either ask one of the staff to help you or try to find parts on the box that are actually written in english and then find something that offers what you need. I always tend to sway toward the same things which include brightening, tightening, moisturising and collagen masks. This time the shop I was in was offering a bit of a deal on some boxes and so I got the 24K Gold Hydra Ampoule Mask by Fresh Nation. There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding ‘gold’ masks and this one contains an extra separate section containing ‘ampoule’ which is basically a concentrated, stronger version of the product that you apply first before the sheet mask. This mask is good for moisturising and hydrating the skin whilst improving elasticity and vitality. Sounds good to me, cant wait to try it!
There is the cutest shop ever located right in Causeway Bay called Etude House which is Korean based and stocks oh so many cutesy beauty bits. I don’t often buy many things from here because the first time I found it, I went totally overboard due to the cute-ness and was left slightly underwhelmed on the quality of the tester samples they gave me, but it is always fun to see what new things they have on offer. They also have billions of face masks so I picked up a collagen one (always a winner!) and a Cherry Jelly lips patch because YOLO. The lips patch contains collagen, sodium hyaluronate and cherry extract which will help the lips feel moisturised, revitalised and plump which sounded great for my post flying, dehydrated non-plump lips. I also got a little charcoal chin patch because I’ve had a bit of a chin breakout 🙁
Over at Sasa (the joint that seems to be the major player in beauty here) I found a replica of the Silisponge. If you haven’t heard of the Silisponge don’t be too alarmed as it’s a relatively new product which was produced in Korea to rival the good old beauty blender. Its made out of silicone and is meant to be a lot more hygienic than a normal sponge and it doesn’t soak up all of your precious product. I first saw it online and didn’t even bother trying to order one because it was completely sold out. It hasn’t taken long for other companies to steal the idea and make their own! I gave it a go this morning and whilst I did feel like I was slapping my face with a silicone chicken fillet (for your bra), it did give a nice finish and I barely used any product. Plus the sponge washed off clean as a whistle afterwards so no more nasty germs! What I found most hilarious about this buy though was compared to the usual AUD$30 Sephora like to charge for the Beauty Blender (I don’t get it?) I paid AUD$5 for this little guy. I’m pretty sure I won’t have to be replacing it every 3 months either!!
I got a few random bits from a shop called Mannings Plus which reminded me of a pharmacy or chemist in Australia but still contained sooooo many exciting things! I bought a charcoal toothbrush because mine had unfortunately been ruined by my red shampoo some 36,000 feet up in the air. There is always something that has to leak/explode isn’t there! Also, Id never seen charcoal toothbrushes before? Apparently the charcoal is meant to remove stains from teeth, be naturally antibacterial and balance the pH level of the mouth which reduces cavity forming bacteria. I’d heard of charcoal toothpaste but these bad boys are next level! I also got some Revlon airbrush effect foundation, pretty boring I know as it’s not in cushion form and isn’t some new age asian bb cream but this stuff is great for competitions and I have completely run out of comp makeup 🙂 Also it was AUD$7 cheaper than what I pay in Australia.. BARGAIN!
Speaking of bargains, there’s one last thing Id like to mention. About a month ago I did a little online shopping and purchased some Crest 3D Whitening Strips from America. This product isn’t sold in Australia but I had heard from a couple of friends who had been to America and bought it say that the strips are AMAZING and their teeth spoke the truth! All up it cost me AUD$90 for the Professional Effects pack (not the bargain I’m speaking about btw) and it took roughly 2 weeks for the delivery. It contains 20 treatments and I’ve been sharing it with my boyfriend and we have had some pretty positive results! Anyway, I found the same product in Mannings for the price of AUD $30. 1/3 of the price. I know. CRAZY. So I guess I know where I’ll be purchasing this stuff from in the future huh! But seriously I would still buy these things even if I had to pay the $90 because my teeth have literally lightened a few shades already. I have taken progress pics but I feel like they would seriously ruin the prettiness of my blog, so use your imagination guys 😉
Well that’s it! Has anyone else been to Asia and are there any items/products that you would recommend getting? I know the mascara here is off the chain and they have amazing falsies too 🙂 Let me know in the comments below.
Most people who I speak to think that it must be super hard to be a vegan, especially in my case with travelling so much. Surprisingly though, it really isn’t that bad. You just have to know what foods you can and can’t eat and trust that others will respect your choices. The past month and a half I’ve been travelling around the world and have only spent a total of 3 nights in my own bed so that means dealing with tricking eating situations. I’ve been to Germany, England, New Zealand and Western Australia and have only gone hungry once (partially my own fault as I couldn’t be bothered complaining). So if you’re intrigued by the Vegan lifestyle but feel it may be too difficult or just want a few healthy travelling hacks, I’m here to share a few tips that have helped me.
Let’s start with the first problem you can encounter when travelling; airplane food. This is probably the most quick and easy one to fix.. simply go online and order the vegan meal! These days they have so many meal options online to cater for all of us with food preferences so it really isn’t an issue anymore. I’ve eaten the vegan meals of Qantas and British airways flights so far and they have all been fine! The greatest thing is that your foodsies will come out first and if you’re flying with Qantas you will also receive a piece of fruit! I know this sounds so ridiculous to celebrate (woooo! FRUIT!!) but there is something about flying that just really makes me crave fresh fruit and veg. I think it must be those microwave dinners.. in fairness though they are getting better 😉 After eating the vegan meals I’ve never felt stodgy, stomach crampy or bloated like I used to when eating the normal meals. For this reason I would even recommend ordering the vegan option even if you aren’t vegan! The food seems so much fresher and you will feel so much better when you get off the plane! So, flying is an easy one, but if you are worried about getting hungry between meals on the plane or simply don’t want to eat that food then pack some nuts or dried fruit to take on board with you. Just remember those quarantine laws though, you don’t want Sally the sniffer dog leaving you with a hefty fine before you even enter the country!
Of course once you arrive to your new destination you can always scope out your local Vegan eateries on tripadvisor.com but sometimes its not always that easy. Most places these days offer a Vegetarian option which can easily be edited to make the meal Vegan. When eating out I try to look for the (V) options and then speak to the waiter to see if anything can be done to get rid of the dairy or other animal products present. If the waiter has no idea what you’re talking about and is totally un-helpful (had a few of those!) then it’s up to you to try to sort something out for yo’self. If I’m really in a pickle and I’ve exhausted all options then I tend to hit up the sweet potato chips, regular fries or wedges (most places have this option) and I maybe pair it with a simple garden salad. Man have I eaten a lot of sweet potato fries lately haha! No but seriously, it’s not been because I’ve HAD to eat them it’s because I’m addicted to them!!
If you are reeeeally lucky, at some restaurants the chef may make a specific vegan meal for you. This was the case for Steve and I when we recently went to a winery (Millbrook Winery) which only offered a set menu on the weekends. We just mentioned we were Vegan when booking the table over the phone and we were told the chef would look after us. BOY DID HE EVER!! I think this was hands down the best Vegan food I have ever eaten. Maybe the best food I’ve ever eaten period. The dark chocolate sorbet had all my family wishing they were Vegan too (haha only for the dessert of course!). The chef made us all 3 courses so that we didn’t feel like we were missing out and the best thing about this is that it made everyone else at the table feel at ease too. Sometimes it’s not so much me that gets stressed about the food I can eat, it’s whoever I’m with! But, that’s love for ya.
For all those other times when you are on the road and just can’t find any other options there is always good old Macca’s. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would be recommending McDonald’s on my blog but the other day when Steve and I were in New Zealand we ran into Hunger Town. Both of us were starving, stuck on a freeway and in a bit of a rush. So I thought what better time to try to DIY our own Vegan burger at Micky D’s! It was actually ridiculously good.. all I did was get a bun, no protein, no cheese and added in every dang vegetable on the menu pretty much haha 😀 Beetroot, pineapple, mushrooms, onion, pickles and lettuce were in mine with tomato sauce as the topping (Steve had the same but ordered a hash brown and whacked that inside his burger too #fattyboombah). I was so satisfied and it didn’t leave me with the usual McRegrets I get after eating their food. The only downside being that I don’t think McDonald’s staff are quite used to actually “creating” burgers so we had to wait about 15-20 minutes while they wrapped their heads around it.
One final thing I will stress to anyone interested in this lifestyle is that when you get hungry it comes on FAST so it is always best to be prepared. When I know I have a busy day ahead I make lunch in the morning and try to pack fresh or dried fruit with me so that I have things to snack on during the day. Sometimes it is hard to find Vegan food out there guys, but alas if you set your mind to something there is always a way 😉 One place I would always recommend if you are out and about and totally stuck on what to eat is your local grocery store! In Germany, Steve and I went for a walk in a small country town near Frankfurt looking for somewhere to eat for lunch. We came across several cafes that were showing off their meat sambo’s and creamy cakes and we could have just easily been like ahh well, we are hungry, don’t speak the language and that = too hard basket but we decided to try the local grocery shop instead. There was heaps of fresh, local fruit in there and a bakery too! So we bought some fruit (fresh and dried), fruit juice, a few bread rolls and some tomatoes, olives and dolmades (those rice things wrapped in vine leaves) and made some wicked sandwiches which we ate in a park.
I hope this was helpful to those of you out there interested in the plant-based lifestyle! I’ve been rocking it for 7 months now!! I just love how it makes me feel 🙂 If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave below!
This Sunday Funday post is a travel-ly based one as I’m currently in the UK! It’s Autumn here so I am uber jealous of all the warm weather I’m starting to see back in Oz, but alas I guess it gives me something to look forward to when I go home in a couple of weeks. It’s not often that Steve and I get a Sunday (or any day for that matter) off while we are in London so we thought rather than bimbling around the city like idiots we would make the most of the opportunity and go do something touristy. Stonehenge it was!
Whilst the thought of going to see one of the 7 wonders of the world did sound interesting to me, it wasn’t something I thought I would reeeeeally enjoy. But, I was wrong! I had a ripper of a day and I would highly recommend the trip to anyone to go and see it. I did envision a completely different set-up before getting there though and was surprised to see a huge car park and visitor centre and.. no stones. I literally thought we would drive right up to it, check out the rocks, say hey! that’s cool and then drive off for some lunch. This is not how it goes down people. There are ALOT of other folk that plan on seeing it too (they get over 1 million people a year) so expect queues and hustle and bustle. If you are planning on doing it, clear the day… or at least clear half the day!
For us, it was only a 1 and a half hour drive out of the city before we were there soaking up the vast, green landscape and fresh country air. We have a little hire car so we were lucky enough to drive but I did notice a bunch of buses there so if you don’t have a car, google the bus tour option! Tickets cost £16.50 which includes entry to a small exhibition located right next to the ticket desk. Here you can learn a little bit about who, what and why the stones are there and look at some old bones and relics of that era before you go off to see the stones and their surroundings.
With shitty English coffee in hand (they try, they really do, bless ’em) we ventured into the exhibition. This turned out to be a great decision as for the first time ever I learnt a little bit about Stonehenge! I learnt who made it, why they think it was created and yadda, yadda which gave me a better appreciation for the thing when I did actually get to see it in the flesh (or stone). If I hadn’t of gone into the exhibition I would have had no clue WTF I was looking at (Don’t judge me, judge my school! They never taught me anything about it!!). We then went and looked outside at some little huts they had recreated to mimic the ones the people who created Stonehenge, used to live in. Boy they must have been little fella’s because I fit in there perfectly and I’m only 160cm! Super spacious inside and the bed made out of sticks looked enviably comfortable.. But really, all jokes aside it was very interesting to see how the rich really lived in the 1900’s. Ha Ha ok, you got me again. It was interesting.
Something old mate at the ticket desk forgot to mention was that it’s a rather epic trek to get to the henge. The henge? The stones? The stones. The options are; waiting in a massively long queue to catch a bus or walking. So, because the weather was so dang good Steve and I decided to go head first into the unknown and walk there. Turns out its only about a 20-30 minute walk and the bonus of walking is that along the way you can check out some cool mounds/man-made hills that they created because………. aaaah I can’t remember. It was all speculation anyway whatever it was! Once we finally made it to Stonehenge I was bloody excited, the walk really ramps up the anticipation and crikey does she deliver! It was so ominous but beautiful and the way they have set up a little path to walk around it really allows you to soak it in from every angle. You aren’t allowed to go right up to the structure because… again, I can’t remember. I think it has something to do with the ground being unstable but don’t quote me on that. We took too many selfies (The Stonehenge really knows how to work a camera!), laid in the grass for a bit and then decided to head home. Perfect Sunday Funday 🙂
Here are a few piccies that I took with the help of my trusty selfie stick. Yes, I used to be a person who would take the piss out of people with selfie sticks and now I am a proud owner of one. They really are a genius creation, both me and Stonehenge were definitely grateful for it 🙂
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!
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.
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..
Ahhh Packing. Not my favourite verb. For most people I assume it brings feelings of excitement and “yay, holidays!” For me, procrastination and “do I have to?!” Leaving it to the last-minute is my forte, hello 10:45pm the night before flying.. which has its pros and cons but mainly means I have to be quick and efficient. No time for farting around picturing myself swanning about London in particular outfits.
Although it takes me a while to get my ass into gear, once I start I am pretty good at finding my rhythm. I have a relaxed type of order when I pack.. Starting in the bedroom and working my way to the bathroom. This way I can stay on top of whats done rather than running around like a headless chook.
Clothing: I usually get out all the clothes I ‘think’ I need and chuck them on the bed. Then before they hit my suitcase I do a recheck whilst wearing my BE SENSIBLE hat and cull anything that I really don’t need ( I’m looking at you second pair of ripped high-waisted denim jeans). I also grab out my outfit for the plane which always consists of loose clothing and a jacket (I’m cold-blooded) and a scarf. I always take a scarf onboard as it can double as a light blanket for around your shoulders because damn that aircon can be strong! My biggest tip for when packing your clothing is to Roll, Roll and Roll! You will save so much space through rolling your clothes and better still your garments wont be too horribly crinkled when you arrive. BO-NUS! 🙂
Shoes: Depending on where you are headed shoes are a bit of an obvious one. I try to take a small variety mixing it up between comfort and style and ALWAYS pack a pair of heels just in case! My general shoe pack consists of some sneakers for when I’m feeling a bit sporty, high tops because I’m a midget interested in style and some height, a pair of heels and some ballet flats. If you have some extra space and are headed to colder times I suggest also packing a pair of slippers.. your frozen feet will thank you!
I have my bathroom essentials split into 3 major bags; make-up, skin care/bits and bobs and hair care. Because I travel so often this is usually how my things stay stored year round. Lazy or thoughtful? You be the judge.
Clear Bag: In my bits and bobs bag I have a range of things; all my girly needs, nail file and clippers, a spare face mask, medicines and skin care products.
Hair Bag: I like to ‘borrow’ the small travel sized bottles they give you in hotels and refill them with my own shampoo, conditioner and hair masks to save space. A good hair mask and some hair oil is a must for me as it usually takes a bit of TLC and time for your hair to adjust to the new climate.
Makeup: My make-up bag is BIG, HEAVY and super UNCONVENTIONAL. I’ve had the same bag for years but just can’t seem to bring myself to ditch it for a newbie.It literally contains everything I need… ever. Competition makeup, false lashes and daily essentials are some of the things bagged up in this bad boy but if I’m only going somewhere for a quick trip and am not competing (HA! NOT OFTEN) I pack my daily make-up essentials in a much smaller bag.
Once everything is out and ready its time for a game of packing tetris so that it all fits nice and snug. A few quick tricks; put smaller items inside shoes, wrap perfume and hair tools in jumpers/clothing and most importantly don’t forget to ROLL! Did I mention to roll? Hehe. Enjoy your trip!