Top Tip Tuesday – First aid kits

I noticed the other day how long it’s been since I last wrote my blog – wow, how time flies! And sadly I can’t even say that I have been using the time to travel – I have not managed to venture far outside of London so far this year. But that all changes tomorrow, as we leave for a week of sunshine in Montenegro!

Until I can put together some thoughts on my holiday, I thought I would update the blog with another Top Tip Tuesday.

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I was reminded of this tip just the other day when I was reminiscing about travelling with my sister back in 2004. At the end of our year around the world we found ourselves on a small island in Fiji, lazing in hammocks, eating fresh fish and sleeping in man-made huts.

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The size of the spiders was something I had not been prepared for – some were the span of dinner plates and had huge yellow and black stripes. Trying to sleep in a hut with a thatched roof and the sound of scuttling will test even the hardiest of sleepers!

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Finally – this is where the first aid kit tip comes in!

Simply – take one and pack it to the brim with safety pins, miniature sticky tape, plasters, and anything else that will help secure one thing to another. Because you’re highly likely to need it for emergencies that are not of the first-aid kind!

In Fiji, I spent a good 30 minutes sticking, pinning, and tying closed the holes in the mosquito net so that spiders and bugs couldn’t get inside. My sister (someone who can fall asleep instantly) thought I was insane but it was the only way I could close my eyes with confidence!

A standard first aid kit usually contains:

  • plasters – in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • sticky tape
  • gauze bandages – different sizes
  • safety pins
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • alcohol cleansing gel
  • painkillers – like paracetamol
  • antihistamines
  • antiseptic cream
  • fluid replacement powders – for upset stomachs

Just remember, those big spiders and small stomach upsets are well worth it when you get to experience the best sunsets you’ve ever seen in your life!

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Until next time travellers!

 

Photo(graphic) Memory 2

Round 2 of Photo(graphic) Memory and I couldn’t resist this picture – it’s one that makes me chuckle and reminds me of a truly unique experience. 

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This photo was taken during a 5 day trip up onto the salt flats in Bolivia, which involves long Jeep rides up into the mountains; a steady ascent into worsening and worsening altitude sickness!

After several days of travels and staying in small mountain accommodations, we stopped at the side of a lake for some lunch and were watching the flamingoes dotted across the water. Then my sight fell on this sign and I just found its placement in front of the vast landscape and huge mountains extremely ironic and highly amusing! 

It seems that no matter where you are in the world, and no matter how remote, someone always needs to know where the nearest toilet is! 

Barcelona hotel – booked!

You may remember from a previous post that I am hunting out ideas for my 2014 trips abroad – well I have taken a step  forward in my Barcelona planning and have booked the hotel!

We are going to be staying at the Andante Hotel, which is extremely central – only a short walk to Las Ramblas where all the restaurants and bars are. It looks to be very boutique-modern and has a gorgeous infinity pool on the rooftop!

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Rooftop pool

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Terrace

 

For £95 a night for the room, we think we’ve got a good deal, as it also includes breakfast. For high season (July), we are only paying around £10 more than some people who are staying in a shared room in a hostel!

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Bedroom

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Breakfast

Next step is flights – we are scanning the airwaves every day for the best deal – we might have to play the long game with this one….

Andante Hotel – http://www.andantehotel.com/en

Short Stay – North Wales

For those readers who don’t live in the UK, Wales is known far and wide for it’s absolutely beautiful scenery – rolling green hills, old stone walls, and bright white sheep dotted throughout the landscape. It is one of my favourite places to visit and was the location that my boyfriend Martin decided to take me 2 years ago for a surprise weekend away.

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North Wales from the car

A friend of ours owns a small cottage in a tiny village called Rowen, in deepest, darkest North Wales – and this was to be our hideaway for a long weekend. Arriving in the village late on a Friday evening (in the dark) we could not fully appreciate how different our surroundings were to the life we lead in London. By daylight we realised that it was one of the smallest villages we had ever seen, with only one village shop and one pub. I counted no more than 35 houses at a glance and the village was beautifully positioned in the Conwy valley, at the base of the Carneddau mountains.

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The Ty Gwyn Hotel in Rowen

The cottage itself was stunning – built from Welsh stone it was very small but wonderfully decorated – with a large, open-plan downstairs (kitchen, living room) and a bedroom that was placed up a ladder on a mezzanine floor.  There was underfloor heating (which was very useful in November!) and an ornate fireplace. I was in love with it!

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The cottage

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View from the cottage into the valley

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Fireplace

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Mezzanine bedroom

The next morning we went out bright and early to explore the local town of Conwy – a coastal town which still has walls and a castle dating back to the late 1200’s. It was a windy but bright day, so we decided to go straight up to the castle along the old town walls. The views are fantastic from the top and you can see straight into the town and the harbour area. You could really imagine the 1200’s and what it must have been like to be defending the town from the towers and walls.

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Conwy castle

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View from a turret

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Conwy town

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The harbour

After pretending to be soldiers for while we got hungry and thirsty – down in the town we decided to partake in a little local culture and went to watch a Wales rugby game in a harbour-side pub. It was a brilliant atmosphere being amongst the locals who were very passionate about their rugby! Following this we wondered up the main high street and stopped in a little cafe, where we ordered a sandwich and soup combo, which filled us nicely. There are lots of independent shops in Conwy to browse around, which makes a nice change from London!

Back in Rowen we decided to visit the local pub that evening and it was immediately clear that the owners and locals know that you aren’t a regular resident in the village. They weren’t rude at all, but you do get a few curious glances and inquisitive looks! We enjoyed our drinks and wandered back up the hill to the cottage, basking in the lack of street lights and enjoying the clear, starry night sky.

The next day we decided to hike down to the Conwy falls, which is a waterfall on the Conwy River. We stopped at a 1930’s built white building called the Conwy Falls Cafe, which acts as a gateway to 9 acres of native forest and a easy walk down to the falls. The walk was scenic and fun, even in the rain! The cafe serves lovely cakes and treats and we stopped to enjoy a warm drink after the outdoor activity (http://www.conwyfalls.com/).

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Conwy Falls Cafe

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Testing the raincoat

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The falls

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Me and Martin

North Wales is well worth a visit if you’re in the UK – we were disappointed that we didn’t have the opportunity to take our bikes because the hills and valleys would have been perfect for riding. Apparently the area is well known amongst mountain bikers, so if you’re looking for some thrill action, try the area. It is also a perfect place to stay if you are thinking of visiting the Snowdonia National Park.

We shall be visiting the area again later this year when we plan to climb Mount Snowdon with some friends and trying out the longest and fastest zip line in Europe! http://www.zipworld.co.uk/ I am sure there will be blog post following that visit (if I make it down in one piece!)

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Zip line!

2014 Jaunts – Ideas Please!

Happy New Year to all bloggers and readers – I hope you survived the turkey time and didn’t overindulge on New Years Eve!

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So I’ve been thinking about the various trips I want to do this year and trying to work out the best way to save for them (don’t you wish you had all the money in the world?!). But more than anything I need advice and ideas for what to do and see in each of the places – even any good deals anyone has had before.

I thought what better way to get those ideas than from the blogging community! So if you can check out the places I am going and give me some tips – I would consider that a fantastic New Years gift!

1. Barcelona, Spain.

To start, I will be attending a friend’s wedding in Barcelona in July this year. I think this will be a four-day trip, over a weekend. We have checked out various flights and there are some great cheap airline options available, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

But we haven’t booked anything in the way of accommodation yet – we aren’t dependent on hotels or apartments and will consider all options.

My boyfriend has been to Barcelona before and is keen to show me the sights – but if anyone has any specific recommendations for restaurants or locally renowned places, please let us know!

2. Marrakech, Morocco 

A friend of mine is really keen to head to Morocco for a long weekend later in the year (we were thinking around August or September time). The plan is to stay in a hotel, visit some bazaars, eat some lovely food and have a few cocktails!

Again – we have nothing booked here at all yet, no accommodation, flights or knowledge about the local area. It is very much in the ideas stage! If anyone has visited before, please pass on the travellers knowledge!

3. Colombia

Finally, towards the end of the year, my boyfriend and I are debating a trip to South America to visit the highly recommended country of Colombia. A family friend lives in Bogotá, which will probably help when flying in and out of the country, but otherwise we are not tied to any specific route or location.

We are not thinking this trip will include expensive hotels, so we are more likely to stay in hostels and independent guest houses. But we are definitely going to be looking for exciting things to do and see, so if you have been to Colombia and have anything you can recommend, please make your recommendation known!

Thank you! 

That’s it for now – there will be a few other small trips in between and most likely in the UK, but they are my main focus for the year. I thank each of you for taking an interest in the blog and for any thoughts and ideas you are happy to part with for my benefit!

Happy New Year all!

 

Photo(graphic) Memory

As they say, a picture can say a thousand words – and when you’re a traveller you realise how true this is! Photographs become the key to memories of places and experiences that will bring smiles for years to come. I love having photos around to remind me of blue skies and crystal seas during a cold, grey England day!

So here is the first in my new photo segment of the blog:

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Perfect storm!

I love this photo – it taken back in 2004 while I was travelling in Thailand after graduating university. My sister and I were sunbathing on a beach on Koh Phi Phi island and we noticed the clouds starting to gather; literally rolling across the sky. They grew darker and darker and eventually it rained so heavily that it was like being in the shower!

When this happened on the first day we thought the weather had turned for good and vacated the beach, only to have to return an hour later to our sunbathing because the clouds had cleared and rolled away again. We learned that this happened every day, almost on the dot of 4pm. You could time your watch to it!

You can’t beat a good dramatic weather shot!