Thursday, 27 February 2014

What's In My Hand Luggage?...

I originally wanted to keep my hand luggage to a minimum and just take a small handbag to avoid having to lug a big bag around, but after deciding to take my DSLR camera with me I realised I would need room in my hand luggage for that...

So, I've chosen to take with me a zip up carry bag which can also double up as a beach bag/ day bag to use while I'm there.

The only problem with having a bigger bag (as every girl will know) is that you will always fill it, no matter what size it's like an unwritten rule that it must be filled, so there goes my plan of having a nice small handbag that's easy to carry...

Now let's see what's inside...

Travel wallet/ organiser (to keep all my important travel documents in, passport, tickets, cards etc)

Panasonic Lumix TZ8 camera
Canon 550D camera (not pictured as I used it to take the photos)
Small handbag (the one I was originally planning to use as my hand luggage, I think that was wishful thinking!)
Books (various easy reads, I don't like my brain to work too hard when it's relaxing...)
Mini camera stand/ tripod
Thailand pocket guide
2 pairs of sunglasses (just cheap ones that I'm not to fussed about ruining)
Mobile power pack (my new gadget, basically just an external battery pack to use to charge your phone when out and about or somewhere that you don't have access to a plug)
2 travel adaptors (USA 2 flat pin)
Notepad and pen
Travel eye mask
Cosy socks (I always get super cold feet when I'm on a plane)
Clear cosmetic bag - Hand sanitizer, moisturiser, lip balm etc
Hair clip

All I really have left to put in now is my chargers and my phone, but they will be my last job as I'm still using them!

Fingers crossed I will be able to stand up and actually walk whilst carrying my backpack and hand luggage, we will see...

So, that's it I'm all packed and ready to go! Just one more week and I'm off!!

See you on the flip side....

A x

Monday, 24 February 2014

What's In My Backpack?...

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to Thailand for just over a month. We will be moving around a lot so I am taking a backpack as it will be easier to carry from place to place... 

As a general rule backpacks are smaller than the average suitcase that you might take on a 'normal' holiday, so I had to be clever/ brutal with my packing!

I have read up on other blogs about the 'necessities' for travelling/ backpacking but most of the ones I found were written by men which probably need half as much stuff as women! Especially women like myself who consider a large proportion of their beauty items to be necessities!! So for me this was a bit of a challenge, 

BUT I was victorious and I even have space in the top to fill with the things that I will inevitably buy while I am over there! I can't tell you how proud I am... 


4 loose fit/ drop arm hole vests (I've heard it can be very humid so loose fitting clothes are a must!)

1 long sleeve top (Incase I need to cover up for any reason)
1 little black dress 
2 pairs of denim shorts
1 Kaftan
1 Coverup/ day dress
4 Bikinis (probably a bit over kill but they don't take up much room)
1 pair of pumps
2 pairs of flip flops


Herbal Essences Shampoo & Conditioner

Garnier body moisturiser (I will also use this as aftersun)
Nivea body wash
Asda sun protection spray SPF 15 & 30
Numark insect repellant 50% DEET
Sure deodorant 
Miscellaneous wash bag of other mini toiletries (face wash/ moisturiser/ exfoliator, toothpaste, toothbrush, mini perfume, cotton pads etc, etc)
Simple face wipes
Baby wipes 
Travel tissues

I've yet to pack my makeup but hopefully I can keep this to a minimum too!

Other bits and bobs...

Travel wash (So that I can easily wash my clothes in a shower/ sink as needed)

Mini first aid kit (I put together myself, waterproof plasters, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream, anti histamines, ibuprofen, dressing pads, microporous tape, mini scissors, tweezers, Immodium)
1 beach towel
1 small towel
Sleeping bag liner (I probably won't always be sleeping in nice hotels so this just protects from dirty beds/ bed bugs etc I also chose a silky material one to keep me cool)
1 money belt (To keep my most important documents/ valuables close to me at all times)
1 torch
2 combination locks 

So for now that is what I am taking, I'm sure I will have another re jig before I go, but hopefully this represents pretty much what I will be taking. 

I plan to travel in a pair of loose fit tapered leg trousers, a tshirt, hoodie and a pair of sandals, so I will also have these with me incase I need to cover up.

For those that are interested my backpack is the Berghaus Verden 60L (but is expandable to 70L)
It is also tailored towards women and can be adjusted to your height requirements which is a bonus... 

I read a lot of reviews before buying it and it does feel very secure and comfy when I've tried it on, so no bad back for me (hopefully)!! They also do a mens version which is a fraction bigger. And just to be super organised I've attached a ribbon so I can easily see which backpack is mine.

Hopefully some of you guys found this useful/ interesting, I think I have managed to keep everything to a minimum as much as I can, and I will probably buy some clothes/ trinkets there so I wanted to have room in my backpack for that too!

Ta Ra for now!

A x

Monday, 10 February 2014

I'm going to THAILAND!!

In less than 4 weeks I will be jetting off to Thailand for a whole month...

Since booking the trip last summer quite a few people have been asking me questions about it, mainly relating to costs and what I am taking etc, obviously I will know a whole lot more AFTER I've actually been, but at the moment I am pretty much a complete novice on the whole backpacking way of travel!

So, I thought I would put together a series of posts about my thoughts/knowledge before and after travel, In the hope that I can gain more information/ tips from you guys before I go (big thanks to the people who have already given me advice) and then share with you some of my experiences/ knowledge when I return!

I've always like the idea of travel blogging as I think it is a great way to look back at all your thoughts and feelings before and after travelling, as over time I guess there are things that you forget. It will be like a little diary for me and hopefully it can also help others who are thinking about planning similar trips... 

I've been addicted to travel blogs these past few weeks, as being a knowledge junkie I love to know as much as possible about places before I go, some people may think that it spoils the surprise, but for me it just helps me feel more at ease having a rough idea of what I can expect!

Now, I'm really not a spur of the moment kind of girl, I really wish that I was, but the reality is that I like to plan most things... So, I must admit this will be a bit of a first for me arriving in a country with a good portion of my accommodation and travel still uncertain. However, I do have a good idea of where I will be going...

For the most part of the trip I will be travelling with friends, on arrival in Bangkok we plan to travel down to Koh Samui and spend around 11 days in the south, island hopping, we will then fly back up to Bangkok to spend a few days there before two of my friends return home. Following this I plan to make my way up to Chiang Mai to explore what northern Thailand has to offer, then I am hoping to fly to Vietnam (Hanoi) to spend my last week there before returning home. 

I hope some people will find this useful, as I know not everyone, including myself, will be daring enough to leave everything and travel the world for a year or more (as much as I would love to), so I am hoping this will be a nice compromise... for now!

A x

Friday, 7 February 2014

Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils...

'Aromatherapy Associates have been the leading experts within aromatherapy for over 30 years. Our experience has shown that essential oils are extremely effective at enhancing the state of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.'

I once studied aromatherapy at college, and while I do believe that they can improve your state of mind, I'm not entirely convinced that the have many physical benefits. For me It is more that the smell of the essential oils make me feel relaxed, calm, happy etc...

I am one of those people that only really likes to have baths to relax (don't worry I do shower aswell...I promise) so when I saw the AA 'Festive Collection' on sale after christmas I thought I would give it a try as so many people rave about these oils!

Originally the set retailed at £35 but I managed to get it at half price! Forever the bargin hunter!
It comes with 10 different 3ml vials of essential oil blends, so it is a perfect way to try out all the different blends!

Relax Deep Bath and Shower Oil contains Vetivert, Camomile and Sandalwood.

Relax Light Bath and Shower Oil contains Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Petitgrain.

De-Stress Mind Bath and Shower Oil contains Frankincense, Petitgrain, Wild Camomile and Rosemary.

De-Stress Muscle Bath and Shower Oil contains Rosemary, Black Pepper, Lavender and Ginger.

Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil contains Grapefruit, Rosemary and Juniper.

Revive Evening Bath and Shower Oil contains Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Sandalwood.

Support Breathe Bath and Shower Oil contains Eucalyptus, Pine, Tea Tree and Peppermint.

Support Lavender & Peppermint Bath and Shower Oil contains Lavender and Peppermint.

Support Equilibrium Bath and Shower Oil contains Geranium, Rose and Frankincense.

Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil contains Clary Sage, Frankincense and Cardamom.

So far I have only used a few of the oils so I won't give an individual review of each, but I have liked all the ones I have used. 
AA say that you should use one 3ml vial per bath, but I've found that half of the bottle is enough if you just want a subtle scent rather than the full 'wack', also some of the blends have stronger scents than others, such as Relax Deep, which I think would be quite overpowering if you were to use too much. The vials may look small but they certainly pack a punch!

For me, no matter what the combination of oils, they all generally have the same calming/ relaxing effect. I can't say that this will be the same for everybody but I would definitely recommend them to people who are under a lot of stress or suffer from anxiety etc... or anyone that just wants a carefree 30 minutes to clear their mind. 

I know some of you are thinking it all sounds a bit far fetched but sometimes when you are feeling sad or negative it's nice to treat yourself to something a little bit luxury, that is just for you, a little bit of 'me time', everyone deserves that at least once in a while! And these oils definitely make for a relaxing bath time!

The box also says that you can use them before you shower, just massage onto your skin and rinse off, but I personally think that, for the price, I would want to get more of a use out of them by having a nice long relaxing bath, rather than it just washing down the drain after a few minutes. But each to their own I guess!

Anyway, I believe you can still buy the 'Festive Collection' online from Bath and Unwind but they also do other taster sets that I presume will be equally lovely! And they are great for gifts too!

A x 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia Cologne...

Jo Malone fragrances have been on my wish list for a while now, but with the hefty price tag of £78 for 100ml I've always shrugged off the temptation by asking myself if I really NEED one?!

So when I received a generous £50 voucher for Harvey Nics, I knew exactly what I wanted to spend it on...
After meticulously sampling every single fragrance Jo Malone had to offer there was a clear front runner for me, English Pear and Freesia!

It is described as...
'The essence of autumn. The sensuous freshness of just-ripe pears is wrapped in a bouquet of white freesias, and mellowed by amber, patchouli and woods. A luscious and golden scent'

It's what I would say is the perfect combination of fruity and floral, initially you get a burst of the deliciously sweet pear, which dies down into a sophisticated light floral, but slightly musky, scent.

At this moment in time I would go as far as saying it's one of my all time favourite scents!
I don't quite know what it is about Jo Malone fragrances but they just make me feel so 'grown up' (for want of a better word) and every time I spritz it I feel... empowered?!
Ok so maybe that's a tad OTT, it is only a perfume after all, but it definitely makes for a positive start to the day!

Another thing I loved was the service at Jo Malone, It is definitely a premium experience, my chosen fragrance was carefully wrapped in tissue paper an put into a pretty bag and sealed with a ribbon. On top of this the counter assistant gave me a few samples of the Earl Grey and Cucumber Cologne, to layer with the one that I chose..... You definitely don't get that treatment at any old perfume shop!

I can see how for some people Jo Malone becomes an obsession, it seems that once you get a taste there is no going back! The runners up, and possible future purchases for me, were Nectarine Blossom and Honey (is it obvious that I like fruity/floral scents?!) and Earl Grey and Cucumber which is a very unusual scent but very beautiful all the same!

Now, I know £78 seems steep but 100ml is a generous size and I do believe the fragrances are very unique, so I would definitely consider buying another in the future! They do also do a smaller 30ml size which is a more affordable price at £39.

I apologise in advance for encouraging addiction,

Until the next time....

A x