My Safari Experience

My Safari Experience

I recently had my very first safari experience and it was pretty surreal. I thought I'd do a little write up about it and discuss my expectations and experience, pretty much because I have so many photos I want to post.

Surviving Long-haul

Surviving Long-haul

Even for frequent travellers, long-haul flights can be a bit of an ordeal. I love flying but I'm so used to my quick little 45 minute flights to England and my 90-minute flights to Copenhagen that sometimes I forget that you can actually sit on a plane for 8 hours. 

My first long-haul flight was a 6-hour flight to Boston in 2017 and I was such a novice that I was so lost the whole time but I recently flew to Kigali in Rwanda and I've learned a few things so I thought I'd share my top tips to flying long-haul.

In-Flight Entertainment
One of the best things about long-haul is the in-flight entertainment. I always like to research what films are available on the airline before I go and I come ready with a little list of possibilities. On my Kigali flight, I managed to watch: The Hate U Give, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and Coco (and let me just tell you I SOBBED at Coco and I'm ashamed I hadn't seen it until now). Or you could always binge a Netflix series if none of the provided entertainment appeals to you.

Live for the snacks
I lied. The best part about long-haul is the snacks. I'm so used to flying EasyJet that I forget that all snacks are provided to you included in your ticket price! I missed out on free pretzels on my Boston flight because I thought I had to buy them. Nothing makes your face light up quite as much as the air-hostess walking towards you with the food trolley knowing you're getting treated to some top quality aeroplane grub. On my last flight, I had a creamy vegetable pasta served with a salad, cheese and crackers and some bread with a lemon muffin for dessert which was TOPS and then for mid-flight snack we had mozzarella and tomato sorrentina and an apple crumble muffin (which was also tops). You also get unlimited drinks orders so make the most of them!

Have a lil walkabout
Just because you're up in the air, it doesn't mean that you can't stretch your legs. Even if that's just to the toilet. Just make sure that the seatbelt sign isn't switched on!

Have a chat
Odds are that the person you're sitting beside is also going to be bored on said flight so don't be afraid to have a conversation with them, find out a bit about where they're from and why they're on the plane, the worst they can do is ignore you but at least try to engage a little.

Have a snooze
Nobody is going to judge you for going to sleep, that's the whole reason they provide pillows and blankets. I didn't sleep on my last flight because it was during the day and there was no time difference so I wanted to maintain my sleep schedule but if you're flying overnight I can guarantee that almost everyone else on the plane will be asleep.

Travelling is as stressful as you make it. So just relax and have a good time and the time will fly! (see what I did there). What's the longest flight that you've ever been on and how did you decide to put in the hours.

My Favourite Foreign Language Shows

My Favourite Foreign Language Shows

I have a problem. That problem; is a mild obsession with watching foreign tv shows. I can't tell you how many times I've been planning on watching a different show and then a random foreign show will pop up in my Netflix recommendations and suddenly I'm 3 episodes deep and I really need to go to sleep. So I thought I'd put this large waste of my time to use and give a list of my recommendations of foreign shows to watch.

This is the show that started it all and is still my favourite show that I've ever watched. I've literally watched it start to finish 3 or 4 times. (I actually wrote a whole post on it hereIt's a Norwegian teen drama. It follows the lives of a single student attending a school in Oslo (there's a different main character in each season, so each season is different). You see everything from their perspective and the episodes were released in clip format throughout the week to then be compiled into one episode on Friday, so they all differ in length with som being under 20 minutes and some being almost an hour! It's actually been adapted into different languages but the OG Norwegian version will always be my favourite. This one isn't on any streaming services as it was web-based but if you dig around enough you can usually find it! 

ELITE (Netflix)
Another teen drama but this time it's a lot darker and it's also Spanish. There's been a murder in the most prestigious school in Spain and the police are trying to get the bottom of who was responsible. You get to see the interrogations of the main characters as well as seeing the whole unfolding of the murder and how it came to be.

HIGH SEAS (Netflix)
I've JUST finished this one and it's the absolute best thing I've ever watched. I've been trying to figure out how to sum it up and I think the best way is that it's like The Grand Budapest Hotel except in Spanish and on a cruise liner. It is literally just so good and I'm eagerly anticipating the second season.

Nothing quite says scandi-noir quite like a Swedish teen drama complete with murder. Maya is on trial for murdering her classmates in a school shooting. Yes, it is as dark as it sounds but yes it is also AMAZING. (I may have only watched this one because Felix Sandman was in it but minor details).

It sounds dodgy but all my favourite shows sound dodgy apparently. After his longterm girlfriend dumps him, a German boy and his friend accidentally end up running one of the largest drugs empires in the whole of Germany.

Do you enjoy foreign TV? If you have any other recommendations for me don't hesitate to throw them my way!

Anthems I'm Currently Proclaiming

Anthems I'm Currently Proclaiming

Every so often songs come into your life and they just speak exactly into how you're feeling. Those songs become the anthems for your life. The truths I find are the truths I like to proclaim, whenever I'm having a bit of a low day I just remember how powerful our God is and who He is and therefore who I am! I am chosen, I'm not forsaken, I'm a child of God. So here are three of the anthems that I'm currently proclaiming!

1. Here Again - Elevation Worship (x)
This was my original anthem and will forever be the anthem I choose to sing! I choose to say that not for a minute was I forsaken. I listened to Tauren Wells sing this having heard the song approximately 50 times before but preached on it in the middle and it spoke to me all over again. I even wrote down what he said because I loved it so so much. Honestly, this song will probably be the anthem for the rest of my life because it still continues to wreck me every single time!

2. Goodness of God- Bethel Music (x)
This is another one that came to me at just the right time. I was going through a bit of a rough patch with a whole load of things and I was just really drained but getting to join and proclaim that God's goodness was running after me and chasing me down every step of the way.

3. What A Beautiful Name - Hillsong Worship (x)
I first heard this song at Hillsong Copenhagen while I was there in 2016 so it always carries happy memories for me but how great that NOTHING can stand against the name of Jesus. All we need to do is proclaim his name and the darkness runs and flees.

What anthems are you currently singing over your life?

Adventures in Naples

Adventures in Naples

Travelling is always my absolute favourite thing to do, I love exploring new places and discovering different cultures. This Summer I headed to Italy with my family. So I decided to put a little itinerary together of what we got up to while in Naples, kind of as a diary for me and as some recommendations if you're planning on visiting.

I dyed my hair pink

I dyed my hair pink

... or at least I tried to.

Every summer I always say, 'This is the year that I dye my hair pink', and every year without fail, I don't. Until this year.

Stargazer Cosmetics sent me over some of their Yummy Colour 4 colour hair strips (these ones) to try out so I thought that it was as good an opportunity as any to seize control of my dreams of pink hair for summer. I opted to use the pastel pack as I wanted a lighter shade of pink.

I enlisted the help of my friend who regularly dyes her hair and we sat in my room following all the instructions and everything appeared to be going well. You can even see from this photo that the pink was taking to my hair.

However, that was when the fun stopped. On the box, it says that the dye was supposed to last 5-15 washes depending on colouring. I hadn't pre-lightened my hair and that may have been the issue but as soon as I stepped in the shower after leaving it on my hair for longer than the allotted time. It all washed out IMMEDIATELY! I had to wave goodbye to my dreams of pink summer hair. I still have a couple of brighter colours left so I may have to try again but for right now I'm afraid I have to give this dye a thumbs down :( 

I'm sad because I love the concept and I really wanted to love them but unfortunately they just didn't work for me! 

Have you dyed your hair before? If so what colour and how did you like having funky hair?

Getting Thrifty With It

Getting Thrifty With It

I'm not going to lie to you, this post has been sitting in my drafts for MONTHS so I thought it was definitely time I finished it and got it posted, more for my own sanity than anything else but here goes.

I love a good thrift. I think my love of thrifting stemmed from the fact that I used to be a checkout operator in a local charity shop and when the store was quiet I would always take a look around to see if there were any bargains I could snatch up. I usually ended up with t-shirts, some jackets and mostly books but my most incredible thrift shop purchase to date (and probably ever again if we're being realistic) is this mustard yellow Zara puffer jacket (pictured below), which I managed to pick up for the bargain price of £2.25! I KNOW RIGHT!

Anyway, some people really struggle with thrifting and how to find good things when thrifting but the art lies in knowing where to look and as someone who has previously worked in a thrift store, I feel like I have a unique perspective. So here are my top thrifting tips!

Shop Around
When you're starting out, don't just limit yourself to one shop. Usually, if your community is anything like mine, you'll often find multiple thrift shops or charity shops in pretty close vicinity. So don't give up if you don't find anything you like in the first one you look in. Different shops will cater to different people, so someone else's favourite shop may not be yours and vice versa.

Frequent Visits
If you pop into the same shop often enough, chances are the staff will start to remember you and may be able to point out some stuff that they think you'll like or even keep some stuff back for you. While I worked at a charity shop, they got in a whole load of science textbooks and because they remembered that I studied Biomed, they kept them over for me and they just so happened to be my exact recommended reading for my course that year!

Don't limit yourself to one section
It's quite easy for things to get mixed up in thrift stores so the exact items you're looking for could be hiding among other sections. I can't tell you how many times I incorrectly labelled men's clothing as women's clothing and vice versa.

Give yourself time
Don't expect to just walk in and instantly find things you love. It can take a lot of hoaking about to find something so you may need longer than you expect to have a look at everything, even if the store seems small.

Don't be afraid to try things on
Thrifting is exactly the same as normal clothes shopping. Things can look good on the hanger but once you try it on it's a completely different story. Thrift stores typically have dressing rooms for a reason. Use Them! While it looks like a bargain, if you don't actually like it, it was just a waste of money!

Online Thrifting
While depop and poshmark have been around for ages my new favourite thing is an online thrift store called Thrift+ (check it here). Not only can you find preowned/preloved clothes but it also supports different charities through purchases so you get to be ethical and support charities. It's also super easy to navigate and they have a boutique section so  you can shop either high end or high street brands.

Do you like thrifting? If so what are your top tips and what is your best thrifting find to date? Let me know in the comments below!

My Travel Essentials

My Travel Essentials

I'm so excited for this summer season. If you look out the window it might not look all that much like summer right now but for me, the summer holidays are all about travel. I have lots of exciting trips planned so prepare yourselves for ALL the travel content in these next few months. As a pretty seasoned traveller, I tend to think I have all the basics down for the essentials that you need for your trip.

A backpack

This is my hand luggage bag of choice, so many airlines are now limiting you to only having a small hand luggage bag but I always have my trusty Madlug by my side, these bags are made in Northern Ireland and also operate on a wear one, share one policy where for every bag purchased, a bag will be given to a child, currently in the care system in the UK, who doesn't have a bag. They're my favourite bags (I literally have 9 different ones!) Check them out here!

This is the Rolltop Daypack in Burgundy and was kindly gifted to me for content creation purposes!

Denim Jacket
This may seem like a random one, but you will never find me at an airport, or travelling anywhere to be fair, without my denim jacket on. Why is that you may ask? INTERNAL POCKETS! The Internal Pockets are the stuff of dreams! If you're only travelling with hand luggage you can fit so much stuff in the internal pockets of your denim jacket that it frees up so much space in your hand luggage bag. I one put a 400-page book and my purse in there. It was wild. My jacket in this photo is super old from Zara but you can generally get super cute jackets from any thrift store or vintage store but I've linked a few cute ones below.

Portable Charger/Powerpack
I don't even just bring this travelling, this is in my bag at all times, because you never know when your phone may need a top up but wherever I am, I always get asked about this setup. This power pack is from Ideal of Sweden (gifted and I've worked with them in the past but this post isn't sponsored I just blimmin' love this thing) I have this one in the Flower Meadow pattern but it comes in loads of pretty designs. You can also get 20% off with the code ID20-AL110*. The cable is a Xoopar octopus cable, mine was kindly gifted to me by VOXI but you can get unbranded ones here* or you can use any cable on it, but the octopus is perfect if you want to charge more than one type of device while you're away.

Keep Cups/Reusable Water Bottles
For me, airport travel is incomplete until I'm sitting in Starbucks sipping my Mango Black tea Lemonade waiting for my gate to open. But with a huge shift to sustainability, did you know that you can fly with a keep cup in your hand luggage, provided it's empty going through security that is! A lot of cities also have water stations so you can refill your water bottle if you get thirsty with the summer heat!

A good book!
I read the most when I travel, not even long distances, I used to get through books so quickly when I was travelling up and down to uni on the train. But flights, I find, give the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a good book. I'm planning on doing a book recommendations post in the near future so keep an eye out if that's your thing!

What are your must-have travel essentials?

I'm an introvert but that doesn't mean I hate people

I'm an introvert but that doesn't mean I hate people

Where are you finding your joy? This is a question I was asked and at the time I only gave a one-word answer but in reality, I think it needs more than that because a good question requires a good answer.

Recently, I availed of Instagram's newest feature, Story Quizzes, because who doesn't enjoy having even more ways to pester your friends with your constant Instagram stories/need for attention. and boy oh boy was it an eye-opening experience! Don't get me started on the fact that a third of the people who answered didn't know I'd been to Portugal despite the fact I attended Eurovision there last year being my main topic of conversation for the last 12 months! But the biggest shock for me was how many people thought I was an extravert. More than half said I was an extravert as a major introvert it made me laugh a lot, but then I got to thinking, what is it about me that apparently screams extravert?

When asked where I found my joy, after a lot of deliberation, I responded 'when I'm with other people'. Now, this might scream extravert to you but hear me out. My love language is quality time which for an introvert might seem weird, but it really means that I'm particular with my time. I don't love spending time with just anybody and it takes me a while to feel comfortable around people but once I'm comfortable with someone, with them is my favourite place to be. I also have massive FOMO so I'll hang out even if it tires me. and that's the biggy. I don't get my energy from being with people, I get my energy from spending time in my own company and resetting.

So I'm not riding in here like a saviour on a white horse come to redeem the good name of the introverts but I think we should end the stigma that introverts are always shy and reserved and just don't like people. I love people and I need my people time but more importantly, I need my ME time. Time to myself to reflect on the great times I had with the people I love.

So that's where I find my joy, not necessarily from spending time with people, but not from being alone either. Instead, it's from using my energy to do things I love and knowing when to quit so that I can refuel and enjoy those times even more.

So where are you finding your joy?