Guide to female solo backpacking

What a daunting thought? Even writing it now I have to ask myself ‘was I mad?’ but of course we all know that I wasn’t mad at all, in fact I was mad to have not done it sooner!

Being a female solo backpacker has its many perks as well as raising a lot of issues you would never have thought about otherwise!

IMG_3183Firstly, you have to think about yourself! Sounds obvious right? I find that when you are alone for an extended period of time you get used to meeting new people and you just kind of go along with whatever they want to do for the company. Make sure you do what you want as well! I can’t stress enough how much stronger and confident you will become whilst backpacking solo, so instead of being that person that just goes with the flow, make the flow follow you!

Don’t forget you might have better ideas than everyone else and then the people you meet will want to come along with you because most the time, no one actually knows what they’re doing!

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Hostels. A massive hurdle for any first time backpacker to overcome (unless you have heaps of money that is, but then are you really backpacking in 5* resorts, I think not). Now the question your faced with, do you spend that extra few pounds, dollar, baht or rupee to get that female dorm? Most of the time it’s not needed although it is a bit strange if the hostel is like the above photo and you wake up facing some big hairy Fijian man! Before I left I was freaking about staying in a dorm with strange smelly men that I’ve never met before but in all  honestly, you get used to it! Don’t forget if it is that bad then you can just change rooms or leave the next day? Not a problem at all! Oh and lets not forget, girls can be weird and smelly too!

IMG_5107Further on hostels, you are more than likely going to stay in a few places that are not what you call, how do I say this? Fit for human life to live in? Okay that’s a joke, but they are going to be pretty dire. Just laugh about it! What more can you do? It is all part of the experience! This bathroom, WOW. That bucket you see, yeah that is how you flush the toilet and worms would come out the tiles on the floor when you showered. It was a delight!

Going back to that a previous paragraph and the part about freaking out, that happens. Just keep your whits about you, try and keep a level head and your be fine! Just be aware of your surroundings, if something seems odd, chances are it is! Your a smart, independent woman at this stage you will be able to get yourself out of that situation, just be confident!

IMG_5034Last but not least, have fun! Don’t spend your time worrying about what other people are doing or thinking, don’t worry if your hair is turning to dreadlocks (although the whole world does have coconut oil pretty much and that will sort it out) Hey, don’t even worry if something gets lost or stolen, I mean it’s a pain but there is not one thing that can’t be solved! You will learn to overcome any problems that arise and by the end of it you will look back and those things won’t matter as long as you have had the best time possible!

So if your at that place where your thinking about going, your thinking about travel and worried about doing it yourself, just do it. Worst comes to worst and you really hate it, you can just go home! Your never know if you like it unless you try!
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Fabulous Fiji

Oh Fiji, how you changed my life in so many ways.

A three week trip to Fiji suddenly turned into 5 weeks and my god where they full of adventure, thrill, fear, and hangovers!

img_3934When you think of Fiji, you think of the luxury, the white sandy beaches and the utterly gorgeous surroundings, but there is so much more to this place than anyone can ever imagine. For any of you that don’t know, Fiji is a group of 332 islands that are based in the South Pacific and yes, backpackers, there is a place here for you too!

Turning up at Fiji, being greeted at the airport by a guy from the hostel, the second destination on my trip, I had no idea what to expect other than what I imagined as per the last paragraph, oh no was I wrong. Rocking up to the hostel the beach was  covered in grey/black sand, you know that sand that burns your feet if you walk on it? Yes that. The water wasn’t clear and there was a TON of mosquitos (which FYI just hang out around me using my legs as a feeding ground, NOT COOL) as well as a crying English girl telling me how awful the place was within the first 5 minutes of my arrival, don’t judge a book by its cover! As soon as you get to the islands it all changes, in fact even getting 5 minutes from the main land by boat it changes!

 

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In instant panic mode, the only thing you can do is book as many things as possible in order to make sure you have the most amazing time. First of all diving, my uncle is an avid diver therefor my dad suggested I complete my open water diving qualification. This was the first time I have ever dived and to be honest, I am not sure how I feel about it! I completed it, but I did have a little slight hiccup as part of the qualification you have to take your mask off underwater then back on and clear it. This sounds simple, but when your 5+ metres under the water this is a tiny bit unnerving to say the least!! The good 100% out weighs the bad in diving though, we got to see the most incredible sea life ranging from Leopard Sharks to Lobsters! Unimaginable amounts of fish swimming within touching distance and coral of all colours your eyes wouldn’t even believe, it is just when you look up, to a sheer face of coral wall when you realise how deep you really are!
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img_8934The next thing on my list of things to do was island hopping, this is a must for any backpacker that’s heading over to Fiji, this is something you will never experience (well you might but still do this anyway!) I booked this through a company called Awesome Fiji, although you can book it yourself all separately, 6 days and 5 nights hopping from island to island, I did it as cheap as possible because you want to experience the real deal right? Oh, and it’s quite expensive but SO worth it. Each island had no hot water (fine if you go in the summer and it’s boiling hot, not so fine if the weather is cooling down and you have to wash your hair in the evening and OH EMMMM GEEEEEE putting your head under the water and yeah, wow, you get my gist). Electric? What electric? Okay, that is an exaggeration, you get about 1-2 hours electric a day but lets not forget your in paradise, who needs electric and wifi when there is so much more to experience! I made friends with an awesome girl named Jen and we did the island hopping trip together BUT you can 100% do it on your own as well!

img_3990So what I am trying to get at is that Fiji has plenty to see and do, don’t be put off thinking it’s all honeymoons and couples because it’s not, it’s music festivals, zip lining, diving, swimming, partying and just experiencing the local life. Visit a village, get on a bus to anywhere, buy food from the markets and soak up the life these people lead because it really is incredible! Who wants to stay on the tourist path anyway?!

Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for further in Fiji, you really thought I could fit 5 weeks in 1 post?

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What I learnt whilst backpacking

If you throw out the idea that your thinking about going backpacking, people will instantly start taking the piss and asking questions such as ‘What? Are you going to find yourself or something?’ and ‘How are YOU going to manage that?!’but what these people didn’t realise is that their negativity spurred me along in reality.

I am one of those people that if you say I can’t do something, majority of the time I won’t stop until I prove them wrong so although it was hard at times, I actually did learn a lot about my self!

For starters, I’m weak as hell. My backpack for my last 3 and a half month trip was 12kg at most, no matter how much I went to the gym, I struggled to carry this. Has any backpack designers ever thought of making a backpack for someone petite and not a normal size adult because we backpack too?! The backpack was huge pretty much… but its just something you have to deal with!
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You have to have faith! Give people the benefit of the doubt! If you live your life scared of every person you see you would never get anywhere, obviously be cautious, I’m not saying being stupid, I’m saying if your lost, ask a local, get on that local bus, get in that taxi and just have a teeny bit of faith they’re not going to murder you because they probably aren’t!

You don’t need many clothes! I’m about to embark on my next trip and the amount of clothes I have thrown out whilst moving from my place in the UK is ridiculous! When backpacking you probably end up wearing the same 4/5 outfits on repeat and your fine with that! Until you end up sitting waiting for your clothes to be cleaned and dried whilst in a blanket naked…

img_4673Micro fibre towels are the one. I owe the person who told me to get these big time!! They’re horrible, don’t get me wrong but anyone that has used them knows that 1. when you finally  get to use a real towel its like wrapping yourself if a sheet of perfect softness which really drys you! Its amazing. 2. They dry quickly, they fold up small, they’re easy to carry. If I was to have tried to take a real towel I would have spent half my time with a smelly heavy towel on my back making the backpack harder to carry!

Last but by far means least, the people! I don’t think I can go on enough about the people I met whilst away. I would say the number 1 thing I have learnt is to be patient! I met some of the most weird and wonderful people whilst I was away. You might be with someone that you think is the oddest person ever but thats fine! The world needs odd people! The same thing goes, chances are you will meet some of the best people who you really think you want to be friends with for life!


So yes, this is just a few of my 6am thoughts whilst I STILL cannot sleep properly although I’ve been home for a month now! Too many things going on in my mind to rest, like my next trip! Keep your eyes peeled!

Top 7 tips on surviving Trek America

Venturing out into the big wide world for the first time is daunting. I’m not going to say it might be, because there is no ‘might be’ about it, it is. Anyone that says otherwise is a liar, without meaning to sound too harsh. When I went on my first Trek America trip I had all the what I’m assuming is normal thoughts of going it alone in such a vast, yet incredible country. This is my top tips on how to survive Trek America and make it the best trip OF.YOUR.LIFE.

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1. Be open minded 
Yep, sounds like an obvious one right? Your going to be meeting up with a group of people you have never met and going to be spending a lot of time with them and I mean, A LOT of time with them and sometimes (most of the time) in a very small space. These people aren’t going to be who you ‘usually’ socialise with and they’re not going to look like/act or even talk how your used to. Is this a bad thing? No, infact this is the best thing about Trek America, the people. These people are all in the same boat as you because lets not forget, your strange to them too! Accept everyone for who they are because if you can do that, you can concur the world and it’s going to be brilliant! Food for thought – Good time to learn some foreign phrases and words?

2. Your going to be tired
The trip I went on, Western 2, is involving a lot of camping. This is therefore not going to provide the best night sleep ever but you do get used to it! You will survive! Being tired sucks, but it is all part of the experience! There is also going to be a lot of early morning where you have to pack away the campsite super early and get on the road again. Alarms are going to be going off left right and centre. It is worth it, trust me. Those early morning are going to take you to the next destination of your trip and there is no doubt in my mind, that 5:30am alarm is going to sound like a good thing by the end of the trip!

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14642292_10154337385693891_3244172900531588161_n3. Tents
Yep, like my last point, your going to be sleeping in tents. Now you might be an expert camper and you might know your stuff, which is great, but the majority of us don’t. LISTEN TO YOUR LEADER regarding how to put up your tent. Your going to be doing it a lot. You think your listening the first time but really, chances are, your not. Your thinking ‘I can’t believe I’m going to be sleeping in a tent with someone who I have only just met’ or ‘OMG I’m putting up a tent’. Yep simple things, but really, it will benefit you to listen because when it comes to the next 27 gazillion times of putting it up and down it will help to know your stuff!

4. Food
I personally, am the fussiest person ever and also a vegetarian so one of my worries when going was what was I going to eat? You do not need to worry! I was in a group of amazing people who really thought about what I was going to eat as well as themselves and the chances are, you will be too! Don’t be afraid to say if you don’t like something and also don’t be afraid to try new things (this is rich coming from me but honestly, it really will be fine). Maybe even make a suggestion of a meal you like and volunteer to make it for the group!

img_35015. The cold
This is obviously weather dependent and also trip dependent. My trip started on the 2nd October and was 15 days around California. California and cold in the same paragraph I hear you say? Yes, that is correct. Camping in the Grand Canyon was possibly the coldest night I have experience ever,ever,ever! Be prepared for all weather. Take that extra fluffy pair of socks, take that extra jumper, even chuck in a hat! If the Trek America team recommend to take it, TAKE IT. Or if you don’t there is always going to be a stop at a K-Mart and you can purchase that extra blanket there!

6. The Van
Your going to be spending a lot of time in the van travelling from one place to the next and when a 10 hour drive doesn’t sound that long when you read it, it really is. Prepare a playlist! The Leader will most probably have an aux lead in the van so you can be the DJ for the day! Just make sure it’s music you think the whole group will like not just yourself.

7. Experience 
Be ready to experience thing you have never experienced before! I sound like a new block buster movie right there, but seriously. The Trek America trips are arranged so that you can see the most amazing parts of America and you really are going to so I’m warning you, life is never going to be the same again. Your going to see the most beautiful landmarks, your going to have the hardest, stomach hurting laughs and your going to meet the most incredible people! Would I recommend a Trek America trip? YES! Even if your slightly thinking about it, just do it. I can promise you if your trip is anything like mine, you are not going to regret it and hey, you never know, you might get the chance to get married in Vegas!

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Why travelling has saved my life 

Okay, saved my life is a teeny bit dramatic I admit, in reality it has made my life.

Society cements into our minds about what life is meant to be like and how the correct path should go which, for years, I’ve been right on track to success, should I have continued to follow this. But I took the plunge and by far this is the best thing I’ve ever done. 

Small, blonde and pathetic I decided that I was going to step into the world of solo travelling. Some people may say brave, others say stupid but I don’t care either way. Adventure is something I’ve always been into, wether that be exploring or getting into trouble, count me in and as the saying goes, the world is your oyster. 

From hiking the Grand Canyon and watching the sunset to watching new friends making fools of themselves learning how to climb coconut trees, this is what I live for now. I have no place I can call home, although I will still refer to the place my parents live as home, I’m not sure I fit in there any more. Of corse, there have been hard days, days I’ve felt heartbroken and days I’ve missed ‘the norm’ but it’s also hard to imagine living like that on a daily basis again at home when I can live in paradise. I like the having to find somewhere to go next and the meeting new people, my god have I met so many people along the way, people who I would never have spoken to before and that have opened my eyes to a whole different perspective which I now completely cherish. People I have known for 3 days and cried about leaving (yes, that’s true) as well as people I couldn’t wait to leave!

I don’t know what I want to do with my life now, but I know I want to make a difference and I want to see and experience as much as I physically can.  I want to go and live, not just exist. This may not be for everyone which is fine, but this is for me. You cannot be happy in life unless your happy in yourself and I can say, hand on heart, I am the happiest I’ve ever been and I cannot wait for my next adventure to start! 

Finale di Roma

This is the final instalment of my long weekend in Rome which is actually rather upsetting, not only is it the holiday over and I am officially back to work and back to day to day life but I am also finishing writing about my time too!

IMG_2230On our final day in Rome we did quite a few things! Back when it was my birthday Danny, my boyfriend had arranged for us to go Segway. In England it isn’t that common to be able to do and there isn’t many places to be able to try this so it was really exciting, so while in Rome we spotted an opportunity and jumped at the chance!
We went Segway around the main park in Rome called Villa Borghese. This was brilliant, it was such a beautiful park full of tall trees and ancient statues, as just like every part of Rome.

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We then went on to the Vatican to experience the rumours for ourselves. The building is extreme. It is humongous! It has statues along the whole outside of the walls and fountains in the middle. Once inside the painted ceilings are incredible and they’re so high it is breath taking.
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IMG_2199After spending hours walking around and admiring everything there was to offer we went off and found a small restaurant down a side street and had the most delicious food to end our trip, although half way through the meal the heavens decided to open and it started to rain which was not planned but it didn’t put a damper on our weekend away.

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I hope you have enjoyed my Rome trip posts and I hope I will be able to take you with me for lots more of my future trips!

Spa day in the city

I am definitely a city gal I jump at the opportunity to got into the city, that being any city. I love the fast moving pace and the whole atmosphere so for my boyfriends birthday I got him a VIP spa day as I feel like it is so nice to get away from every day life and just relax.

IMG_2332I found the most amazing spa day in the centre of London and it was so lovely to just spend the day together and leave all the stress of real life behind. The spa day was in a hotel called The Atheneum which overlooks St James Park. The hotel was stunning from the outside as the whole side corner of the building was covered in flowers and greenery which was amazing and  really made the hotel blend in with the park. We got the train to London Victoria so it was a short but sweet walk past Buckingham Palace and through the park to the hotel.
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Once inside we went straight into the restaurant for a 2 course lunch which we managed to turn into four courses!

IMG_2315We were straight away served a bottle of champagne and we accompanied that with some delicious bread and oil, which didn’t really go but that doesn’t matter does it! Danny then went on to have a steak and I have spinach and ricotta ravioli. For desert I don’t even know what these where, I had a berry mousse and Danny had a pineapple and ice cream pudding, although the pineapple was cooked some how!
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e then went down into the spa and it was amazing. We were treated to an hour massage in a joint room which was so romantic, although I did think Danny was snoring at one point! I actually had a half hour massage and then a half hour facial and they used all Ren products which I love and was a real treat to be able to get to use these as they are real luxury products. The spa was so beautiful and smelt amazing. It has a sauna, steam room and hot tubs. The day was perfect and I cannot wait to be able to get away again.
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IMG_2331I hope you liked my post and leave your comments below.

Pretty little liars inspired make up

If any of you do now know what pretty little liars is, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? It is the best programme of the moment! They have reasently had their mid season summer finale where the girls where at prom and they all looked so beautiful! They all had amazing dresses and gorgeous hair and make up so I thought I would give it a go and try and do my own version of Alison’s make up. 

Alison’s make up really stood out to me. It was so pretty and feminine yet it was just that tiny bit more special than the other girls with the drastic eyes and lips. 

  
To start my make up I used the Benefit ‘that gal’ primer. This has a glittery pink tint to it which is really pretty and as we are going for a girly look I think this is perfect. I then applied a mac foundation. I’m using the stupid fix fluid in NW20. This foundation contains an SPF 15 which is great as it is really important to look after your skin at all times. 

   
 
Once the foundation is applied I then apply my Mac concelers as a contouring method. I do this by using a lighter colour under my eyes, around the edge of my nose and in the centre of my nose onto the t zone. I use a darker colour under my cheek bones and into the edges of my forehead. I also use the darker colour on the edge of my nose going up to my eyebrows. Doing this will make my nose appear thinner. 

  
I use a contour sponge to blend the colours in so they look natural although you have to make sure you don’t do it too much as the contouring affect will disappear. 

I then move on to the eyeshadow. In pretty little liars Alison has a lighter eyeshadow covering the whole eyelid with a darker colour in the putter edge going over the top of the eye in the crease. I am using my naked palette 2 from urban decay which I love. I used the colours ‘bootycall’ ‘pistol’ and ‘verve’. 

  
I then move on to the eyeliner. For this I have used the rimmel liquid eyeliner in black. The eyeliner in the pretty little liars that Alison is wearing goes the whole way along the eye starting with a small point in the centre of the eye and a flick on the outer side of the eye. This look also has eyeliner on the bottom lid of the eye. 

I then apply mascara once the eyeliner is complete. Today I have used the Benefit ‘they’re real’ mascara in black. 

Once the eyes are complete I used the Bourjois blusher in number 48 cendre de rose brune. I apply this to the balls of the cheeks. 

  
I then apply the Benefit ‘benetint’ highlighter under my eyes, under the eyebrow curve, on top of the eyebrows towards the centre and a small bit on the centre of the top lip. The latest trend with make up is strobing and I love it. It really makes your face look like its glowing and it really works with every skin tone and face shape. 

  
In pretty little liars Alison has a dark red lipstick on. For my look I have chosen not to go with a red but instead I’ve gone with a purple colour. This is a Mac lipstick in the colour ‘captive’ I love this colour, it’s quite different but it looks lovely and it’s a great colour for the winter as it’s quite warm. 

  
And this is my make up complete! I hope you like it as I love it and will defiantly be giving it a go again very soon! Leave your comments and thoughts! 

  

Tan suede skirt 

One of this seasons must have items of clothes is a mini skirt. They can pretty much be found in every shop from Primark to Prada. I’ve recently purchased an amazing tan suede skirt and I love it!


I though I would just share with you my ideas on how to swap this type of skirt up from day to night.


This skirt is so beautiful. It is so soft and a really great fit as it’s not too tight so it looks really feminine. It has a zip to do it up at the back so it stays this shape the whole day as sometimes if you wear a stretch skirt, by the end of the day it will have lost its elasticity and will not fit as well in the evening as it did in the morning which is never good!


For the day time I’ve paired my skirt with a plain white vest top and some tan sandles. This is a really simple look and it makes the skirt stand out being a statement item. The sandles and bag are the same colour as the skirt so that the outfit goes together.



For the evening I have swapped the white for a black off the shoulder top and added my barely there public desire heels and a black bag. I really love this look as the top is quite a vintage feel due to the style but it also looks elegant.


I really love this look and hope you do too! Leave your comments letting me know your thoughts.

Where can I buy this?

Skirt-New Look £14.99

Heels -Public desire £24.99

Black top-New Look £9.99

White vest-Topshop £8

Sandals-Tesco £12

Chocolate waffles

Last time I blogged about my waffle machine it went down really well so I thought I would share another recipe with you so I hope you enjoy it!

You will need:

250g pain flour

35g cocoa powder

2 eggs

20g caster sugar

270ml milk

2 tea spoons of vanilla essence.

First you will need to turn the waffle machine on so its warm for when you are ready to put the mixture in. This is my waffle machine which I got last Christmas as a present. This is from gourmet gadgets.

Then you need to put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together getting rid of all the lumps.

In a seperate bowl mix together the wet ingredients and mix together so that it is a smooth liquid. There will still be bits of egg but this is okay as it doesn’t need to be fully mixed at this stage.

Once the two bowls are ready mix together so that it is a smooth brown mixture. This needs to be in a medium thickness and consistent the whole way through.

Add a large tablespoon of the mixture into the waffle machine it won’t look like it it’s enough but when the lid is closed it will spread out.

Leave the mixture to cook for about 5 minutes untill it is golden brown. It is harder to tell if it is cooked when they are chocolate flavour as they will already be a brownie colour but if you touch them they should feel harder and they will be able to get removed form the machine easily.

Once removed from the waffle machine you are then able to add whatever topping your fancy! I have sprinkled some cocoa powder and added ice cream as I love mixing hot and cold together in a desert!

I hope you have liked my post and leave your comments 🙂