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!

IMG_4212
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!
IMG_4498

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.

14883449_10154162152528915_3587992739466433919_o
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!

14720601_10157700438535160_4576871598584801580_n

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!

img_3361
img_3197img_3359img_3481img_3740

img_3458

Paul Mitchell Super Strong

Paul Mitchell has for years been one of my favourite hair brands which such a variety of ranges to suit all hair types, with their products being highly concentrated they last for ages and they all do exactly what they say on the bottle.
IMG_3547
Any girl who has gone to the hairdressers after using heat on their hair for a while will know that heart breaking saying ‘I think you will need more than that cut off’ when you ask for a trim of about 2 mm and they want to cut off 2 inches. I am no stranger to this and so I am now OBSESSED with having healthy hair.

IMG_3544The Paul Mitchell super strong range is the one for me. This is the liquid treatment. This to me, is like gold. I will spray this all over my hair every time I wash it regardless of if I am going to leave it to dry naturally or with heat. This product works to replace lost minerals in the hair to make it stronger from the inside out helping smooth split ends leaving the hair strong and healthy. This is one product I can honestly see myself using when I am 75 years old and recommending to generations to come.

IMG_3546I find the Paul Mitchell products quite pricey, with this Super strong liquid treatment retailing at about £19.25 a bottle but it is SO worth it. The Paul Mitchell products all last a hell of a lot longer than your average product from the supermarket and they really do have such a better outcome. This is one product that it really is worth splashing the cash on and I would recommend it to anyone!

IMG_3548

Failing can be a good thing

Not everything in life goes to plan we should all know this and sometimes this can really get us down but everyone needs to remember that it is not always a bad thing to fail or for things to not be exact.

I am someone who has a life plan and really focus and strive for what I want, people that know me will hopefully be nodding their heads in agreement at this statement (possibly laughing). I am so hard on myself and when things don’t go to plan I get SO frustrated and am always having that thought of ‘I give up’ or ‘there is no point anymore in trying’ but recently I have started to realise actually, things happen for a reason. Maybe things havnt gone exactly as I had planned because thats not meant to be my plan!

I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and sometimes if things fail on me then I find it really helpful to stop and think, this is just a hiccup in the road and we live in an amazing world with so many opportunities for each and every one of us and actually, we are all capable of what we wish for if we put our mind to it.

So if you are going through something at the moment, that could be anything from a change to the norm to something more drastic just remember that everything will always work its self out in the end and actually I think everything will work out better because the fall back in the first place will make you reivaluate and work even harder the next time!

P.S these photos have nothing to do with this but I love them and they are from my recent trip to the Ideal home show in London for christmas.

IMG_3221.JPG
IMG_8999

Why we all need to take a break

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching now is the perfect time of year to take a break and reflect on life and I don’t mean these new years resolutions that everyone makes with the best intentions of sticking to but they last all of five minutes, I mean real things that take time to make happen.

I find that if I don’t have a life plan then I feel completely lost, I really need something to set my mind on and work towards, wether that being doing that extra hours overtime at work so that I can get a take away at the end of the month or saving to go on holiday or buy a house (although the house on is a lot longer thought out than the take away I can assure you now). My point being, that it is vital to have a plan and taking a break from your daily routine can really help you reflect on what you find important.

Taking a break from work and just relaxing will make you feel so much more productive when you go back and it can give you time to realise 1. how happy you are and where you want your next career step to be within your role or 2. how much you hate your job and where you want to move forward to in the future! These things can both be brilliant and challenging but that little time to yourself can really help you make decisions that you wouldn’t necessarily do when your in the daily rush of things!

Time to yourself, this can be anything from sitting down reading the latest book out by your favourite author, to watching 17 hours of gossip girl straight and when Netflix asks that question ‘are you still watching?’ is the only reason you realise its dark outside. I find just taking some ‘Me time’ a necessity in my week just to make myself feel calmer really, with no one for me to ask questions and me not asking anyone else questions (mainly the latter as I can talk for England) but this helps de stress and gives you time to do what makes you happy!

Let me know what you do in your spare time when your taking a break and maybe I could give it a try?!

IMG_3129 IMG_3130 IMG_3132

Why we should all step outside our comfort zone

For the past few years I have been suffering from a slight form of anxiety and I have found that this has really held me back from doing so many this for a while so at the beginning of this year I decided that I was just going to agree to more things than I usually would and I would just give more things a go basically and I can honestly say I am so happy I made this decision.

How many times have you looked back at things and not necessarily regretted something but just wished you had done more or just tweaked the slightest bit. My thing is that I make myself feel sick if I go places new or further away from my house. I am not ill at all I just convince myself I feel ill so that I can go home, which is my safe place, where I know everything is okay and I can’t be hurt. Well yes that is my being crazy, or am I crazy, I don’t know. This year I have actually been working on telling myself that actually I am being so silly and that I don’t feel ill and that I can actually continue and I will be fine.

Have you also ever been in that situation when once you have actually gone ahead with something that your not so sure about at the beginning then once you have done it you ask yourself ‘why was I so worried about that?’ Yep well thats my daily conversation with myself. This year I got invited to a festival. This to me was the scariest thing ever as there would be SO many people and so many things I wasn’t used to but I went through with it and was 100% loving life. I cannot wait for next year and to go again and again and again!

Moral of the story is, relax and give it a chance. If anything was to go wrong it can more than likely be sorted and you will 95% of the time be fine. You might surprise yourself and actually find something that you really enjoy that you didn’t know you would.

IMG_2294

Sunday Picnics

Ok so I know its not Sunday when your reading this but I love a picnic especially on a Sunday summer afternoon!

I just put together a quick lunch for my picnic and thought I would share my simple ideas with you (plus it’s a good excuse to use my picnic basket!)

IMG_1494

I took some fruit with me as Im trying to make healthier choices (ignore the maltesers) and I took some carrot sticks and salsa to dip the carrot into. You can get salsa from a brand or you can easily make your own with tomatoes, peppers, onions and herbs which is also great and really easy to make. Ive then taken some juice and some small yogurts as on a hot day you don’t want anything too filling, and then a cheese sandwich (simple but delicious). Then of corse maltesers as a small treat to finish off!

IMG_1491

Of corse my dogs came as well and they were able to sit in the shade! I hope you like my post and leave your comments.
IMG_1495

Street art

I LOVE STREET ART.

I love how its all over the world and how it’s a secret as to whom has created it and how it just seems to appear over night. Some of the people who create it are so talented and I think it is a shame they don’t get more credit for their work (although it obviously has to be in the right places and not being an eye sore)

If you have read my ‘about me’ you will know I live in Hastings which is in on the south east coast of England, it is such a beautiful little town but it is up and coming with lots of quirky people who are bringing and great vibe to the town. This also means lots more little vintage shops and shabby chic places and cafes to visit which are also bringing lots more street art for us to enjoy! I hope you like my photos some from Hastings and some from New York!

IMG_1430 IMG_1431

IMG_0150IMG_0452IMG_0786

IMG_0448

My Beauty Bags

Okay, so they aren’t necessarily bags but what else do you call them?

I was thinking that I will soon show you all inside my make up bags and talk about my favorite products but before I do that this is a sneak peak of what is to come.

My make up bag is a really cute Ted Baker bag in red. This also came in black and pink when I got it. Its got a really sweet picture of a french bulldog on the front and the back of the dog on the back. You can fit so much in this and its a really good size as it easily fits the basic brushes in which I use on a daily basis. It is a shiny plastic which is good as well as I’ve had it a while and its stayed really clean.

9D85DF76-116B-4777-900A-D2D0157A48AB 25A90A28-4BB9-4DAC-8709-473C01EDEA8AAEB89890-6924-4A93-BBD9-EFE102BAFD26

Then I have my nail varnish bag. This is exploding at the rim! I have so many different colour nail varnish (one day I’ll show you my favorites). This bag is actually from Primark and was really cheap. This bag is a really nice black and white stripey which gold wording on the front saying ‘Shine’ which I love. Its also got a pink lining and zip which makes it that extra bit special!

2F3013D5-933E-4D73-8F9E-DAD5AF973D3B95FA3182-226F-4D49-B37A-DC29B5A46E34

Dungaree Days

One of my favourite looks of this year is the dungaree! They are so comfortable and look great. Yesterday I went for a stroll down Hastings Old Town (where I live) because it was such a lovely day! I am so lucky to live beside the side, it’s impossible to say that sentence without singing the song I think. Anyway, I thought I would share some photos of how beautiful the town looks especially when it’s lovely and sunny and also of my outfit.

IMG_8372sundayIMG_8371IMG_8373

So I’ve got shorts dungarees today which are a modern twist of the original long leg dungarees, these are great for hot days and for chilling out really. These are from topshop recently so you should be able to still get them if you wanted.

sunday2sunday5

Ive worn them with a burgundy tee, although I think that any colour tee would go I just love this colour. I got my top from H&M a while a go but its a really great soft fabric and it hangs really great as its not a tight top.

sunday4

I’ve also worn this with my backpack. I got given this backpack for my birthday and to be honest I’ve not had a backpack since I was about 5 years old so I was a bit nervous about wearing it, but I love it! Its great for everything really! Im quite small so its the perfect size and it doesn’t look too bulky and you can actually fit quite a lot in it (kind of like Hermionies bag in the last 2 Harry Potter films, its quite surprising) and I love the colour. I feel this is a great summer steal! This sound silly but also what is brilliant about a backpack is having 2 arms available to look at things! After years of carrying hand bags I had forgotten how great it is to have full use of 2 arms! Ive also paired my outfit with a simple pair of tan sandals. These are actually really cheap and comfy, I bought them at the beginning of summer and have worn them basically every day!

sunday3

Leave comments if you like my outfit and I’ll try and leave links below where you can get it all from!

Backpack – Asos £35
Dungarees – Topshop £38