Friday, 28 February 2014

The Northern Lights

It is safe to say that I am more than p***ed at myself for missing the Northern Lights that everyone in the UK seemed to see last night, while I was sat in the pub.  Or to be more precise in a metal pub, with blacked out windows.  This isn't somewhere that I would normally chose to spend my Thursday nights, and I have in fact never even listened to a 'metal' song before now, let alone sat all night in a pub that played them.

As you will know, if you have been reading my blog for a while, I have had a slight obsession with learning to photograph stars for a while now, you can read about this dream here.  

Because I missed them, I have spen my lunch break looking at everyone elses and it is safe to say that they are amazing!

Here are some of my favourites:

image source: http://bbc.in/NCfGHE

image source: http://bbc.in/NCfGHE

image source: http://bbc.in/NCfGHE

image source: http://bbc.in/NCfGHE
Did you see the lights last night? Post your link below if you have some pictures, I would love to see them.

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Favourite moment of The Oscars ever?

Well, that's easy.  It has to be Jennifer Lawrence accepting her award for Best Actress in a Leading Roll.

image source: http://bit.ly/1evQ9Ww
 The dress was stunning and the award was well deserved, but the thing that I loved the most was the answer to the question everyone wanted to know "What went through my mind? A bad word. That starts with F."

Jennifer Lawrence, although now an award winning Actress is still as normal as you would like her to stay.

Here are some more of her amazingly normal reactions, all caught on film, normally during award ceremonies...

   

I can't wait to see what she has in store for us at this years Oscars.

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Canada, America and South America

Yesterday, I got an idea in my head.  I decided I wanted to travel, or drive my way from Canada all the way through America down to South America.  So this evening I started my research.

My first step when planning is always to google the places or general route that I am looking to take and this evenings results brought up something I now at least want to see.

DariƩn Gap

Most people would read the following:

"Well, as it turns out, there is absolutely NO ROAD connecting them, and all travel advisories clearly say "Don't Go", even if you feel somewhat suicidal. I am talking about the wild and wildly dangerous Darien Gap..." read more

and realise this is probably a place that you should avoid like the plague, especially when you hear the jungle is mostly used for drug runs.  However, I really want to see this forest now, even if it is only from the sky.

image source: www.darkroastedblend.com
Here are just some of the few impending dangers that you could expect to encounter in this crossing:
- tough nasty jungle with lots of disagreeable wildlife
- impenetrable swamps
- drugs traffickers
- pissed off guerrillas
- kidnappers
- paranoid government police
- no marked trails

Has anyone driven across America from Canada before? I get the feeling I am going to need all the help I can get...

Well, as it turns out, there is absolutely NO ROAD connecting them, and all travel advisories clearly say "Don't Go", even if you feel somewhat suicidal. I am talking about the wild and wildly dangerous Darien Gap.
Read more at http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/darien-gap-most-dangerous-absence-of.html#G8AjbOoEOWFYCXro.99
Well, as it turns out, there is absolutely NO ROAD connecting them, and all travel advisories clearly say "Don't Go", even if you feel somewhat suicidal. I am talking about the wild and wildly dangerous Darien Gap.
Read more at http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/darien-gap-most-dangerous-absence-of.html#G8AjbOoEOWFYCXro.99
Well, as it turns out, there is absolutely NO ROAD connecting them, and all travel advisories clearly say "Don't Go", even if you feel somewhat suicidal. I am talking about the wild and wildly dangerous Darien Gap.
Read more at http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/darien-gap-most-dangerous-absence-of.html#G8AjbOoEOWFYCXro.99
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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Someday...

and I hope, someday comes soon -  I will be able to go and visit Canada, America and South America all in one trip.  After seeing this picture, I kind of want to do it this way... In an empty old American yellow school bus.

image source: awelltraveledwoman.tumblr.com

I have always had that all American dream to travel America in an old fashioned convertable 'shift stick', however, I know that's not always the most practical of ways to get around a vast country or vast countries (I should say) like Canada, America and South America.

How would you travel three countries all in one go?

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Is it ethical?

I have been to my fair share of places now and each time I go somewhere new, there is normally some form of 'attraction' that involves animals.

Never having been one that likes to go to the zoo, as animals in cages isn't really my thing, I was happily surprised when I found Singapore Zoo.  There are no wire bars (or there wasn't when I visited) and all the animals seem more than happy to be there.  The elephants especially, who had a little play in the rain.

This is my favourite photograph taken in Singapore Zoo
I have also visited Australia Zoo, not long after Steve Erwin died, where I fed elephants and cuddled koala bears.


As someone who grew up learning to ride horses, I also couldn't pass up the chance to go horse trekking across parts of New Zealand too.


But when visiting India, I couldn't bring myself to jump on the back of an elephant for a ride up a mountain or Palace.  They had traditional Indian paintings all over their faces, etc... and they really didn't look very happy.

Siobhan and me making a fuss of an elephant that took a liking to us in Udaipur
I know that there are places in Thailand called Elephant sanctuaries, where you are able to spend time with the elephants and ride them bare back on treks - yet I am not sure how I feel about this?

People have also recommended places, where you can go and have your photograph taken with Lions and Tigers.  Yet I know that they animals are tranquilized for tourists to be able to do this and I can't help but feel like morally I would be compromising something that I don't agree with at all.

Recently though, someone said something to me, which has made me think.  Here is what they said

"if you didn't go and pay to see these things as a tourist, then these animals would be killed for their tusks or their meat - you are probably keeping them alive by going to see them..." 

Now there are a lot of 'what ifs' that come with this, but it has made me think and while I don't have the power to stop bad things happening in this world, I do have the choice as to whether or not I pay to take part in this and make a difference in one way or another.  I am just not sure, which way I would be making a difference for the best.

Has anyone else had this kind of dilemma when they have been to places like this?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  In the mean-time I am going to do some research online and while I am in Thailand to see for myself what happens.

This is how I would like to experience seeing animals in the wild...


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Monday, 24 February 2014

Top ten things to do in Sydney

 
Sydney is my favourite place in the whole word, it's like going home when I arrive there and I have a lot more than ten things to do there, but here are my top ten:

1. Sydney Harbor bridge and Opera House
The first time I visited Sydney I made my way straight down to the harbor and the view was breathtaking.  I mean how many times have you seen this view on the TV? Yet seeing the real deal is, just WOW.

On my second trip, I wanted to do something different.  So I booked to watch the Sydney to Hobart boat race from the water and it was the best thing I did while I was there.  There are other events that happen on the water throughout the year too though, for example New Year and Australia Day.


2. Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb
There are a few different views that I would recommend of the Harbor, but this isn't just about the view.  This is a right of passage...


3. Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
This has to be one of the most beautiful views of Sydney, this picture doesn't do it justice.  I would highly recommend starting the walk in Coogee early in the morning with the biggest bottle of water you can find, as this walk although nothing like the Tarrawonga Crossing in New Zealand will take some time and effort.  We then spent the afternoon sunbathing in Bondi Beach and made our way back with another bottle of water when it was cooler.  If you don't fancy the walk back though, there is always the bus!


4. Catch the boat to Manley
There are many different beaches in and around Sydney - around 100 in total.  I would love to say that I have been to them all, however, it gives me more to explore when I go back again.  I can't describe what it is about Manley that makes me love it so much, but I do and you should definitely go there and experience it for yourself.


5. Drink Goon
Now, this isn't one of the most glam things that you can do in Sydney, but it is another right of passage.  You cannot arrive in Sydney without drinking goon from the bag, getting blind drunk and going to at least one or both of the following bars.  Side Bar and Scruffy Murphy's, they are a back packers right of passage.  [TIP: Goon is boxed wine and doesn't come labelled as 'goon']


Check back soon for the following five, and if you have any others to add let me know...

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Travel and Fashion, what more could a girl ask for?

I don't know about you guys, but I am a Pinterest addict.  I literally can't stop pinning all the time and if you want to, you can follow me here.

While Pinterest is full of beautiful clothes, I am so jealous of the people wearing them in photos when I can't actually find a link or the shop to purchase the product from.  I have hopefully found a small way of making up for this though.

Everyone talks about going to Thailand and having clothes made for themselves.  I am hoping that on my trip out there, I will at least be able to have a few pieces made for me and my main want/need is an outfit for my friends winter wedding in October.

Here are a few of the things I am going to be requesting when I land in Bangkok....

As much as I love fashion, give me a pair of denim shorts and a bikini and I will be happy, but there is something about boho style that I love to wear.  I am looking forward to picking things like this up while I am away and taking full advantage of wearing them the whole time.  If I can't pick them up though, I will definitely be getting some of these made too.  I think I should have been a fashion buyer - finding perfect little treasures like this and being influenced by such beautiful cultures would have made my day, every day!  Fashion and Travel, what more could a girl ask for?

I'm not normally a skirt kind of girl.  They are normally always too big, too small or not the right length.   I am really looking forward to being somewhere, were I will be able to get a skirt made to my measurements!

The last two things on my list will be some silk/chiffon shirts, similar to the below - in an array of colours.  I am thinking a powder blue, a pastel yellow, a pink and a white - depending on the cost.


Finally, my dress for Michael and Tim's wedding.  Which will be something like this...


What do you think?

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12 countries in 12 months

Recently I was inspired by a video that was posted on the world wide web. 


If you have just watched that video, you will see where I am going with this and if you haven't watched the video yet, you need to!  It is amazing.

I now have the dream of reaching 12 countries in 12 months, and I think I am doing pretty well already.  It is only February and I have already seen 3 different places - with Thailand next month being my fourth.

So here is a calender of my journey so far and where I plan to go in the next 12 months...


1. Australia √
2. China √
3. England √
4. Thailand (booked)
5. Edinburgh
6. Milan
7. Madrid
8. Morocco
9. Bali
10. Wales
11. France
12. Ireland

These may not happen in this order and I may change around a few places - but for now, this is what I am thinking.

Are you doing this challenge too? Or something similar? Where would you like to go, if you could pick to see anywhere in the world?

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Winter Wedding

Yesterday I got to share the most beautiful wedding day with my friends, the now, Mr and Mrs McCluskey.


It was a beautiful wedding, Kate's dress was stunning and everybody had a fantastic time.  I felt so proud to see one of the boys get married and spend the evening with my best friends celebrating.


Ash is the first of ten boys that I met when I was travelling to get married and all those years ago, I wondered even then would we all grow up and see each other get married?  So yesterday I felt very emotional watching everyone at the happy couples wedding - especially at the end of the night when Kate and Ash took to the middle of the dance floor, where all of their friends danced around them singing along to the words of New York, New York.

Congratulations Kate and Ashely, I wish you many years of happiness! Enjoy your honeymoon xxx 

Here are a few of my favourites from the evening...






Looking for something to wear to a Winter wedding? It's hard, believe me I know.  I must have found, tried on and sent back a million dresses - but here are some of my top picks:


Red crepe dress is from TopShop, Kate Middleton diamante necklace from zara, ankle strp heels ASOS.  

Burgandy lace dress is from Dorothy Perkins, necklace and strappy shoes both ASOS.

Blue lace skater dress is from ASOS.

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