24 hour Layover in Brunei


We flew to the Philippines with Royal Brunei Airlines, and somewhere along the lines they messed up our flights meaning we had the option of a long layover in Brunei, or cutting our holiday short by 2 days!! We chose the layover, and it was a great way of seeing a new country!

We weren’t there long, but thought I’d let you know how we chose to spend those 24 hours…

The airline had offered to pay for a hotel stay, dinner and breakfast for all the passengers affected by the changes, so upon arrival we took a mini bus to our hotel. Mulia hotel was pretty bang average, perhaps a bit dated with barely any guests, but our room was huge with a lovely big bed each – which is exactly what we both needed!

We landed pretty late, so by the time we were ready to go out again it was around 5:30pm, which sadly meant we couldn’t go to any of the beautiful rainforest (which from the photos I’ve seen looks like it would be worth a visit!)

Our hotel helped us arrange a driver to give us a 2 hour tour of the city, which we decided was the best way to see as much a possible in the short time we had. This cost around £15 each, which might seem steep but I thought it was worth it.

One thing that struck me about Brunei was how peaceful and clean it was! I honestly didn’t know what to expect before we arrived. It has a population of around 40,000 people in the whole country, and the taxi driver told me it would take around 1.5 hrs to drive from one side of the country to the other, so it’s pretty small.

He took us to a few mosques (including Omar Ali Saifuddin) which were really pretty. We didn’t go inside.  We also saw the river and the water village from a distance. The mosques were all so beautiful, topped with gold and covered in intricate tile designs.



We then had a quick look around the food market, but didn’t buy anything despite how incredible it all looked and smelt, as we just got out exactly the right amount of money from the ATM to cover the taxi ride.

This is what 10 Brunei Dollars look like:IMG_4400

I did feel a bit sorry for the taxi driver, as we were so exhausted from our journey from England that we probably weren’t his most enthusiastic passengers, and didn’t spend as long at some of the stop off points as I think he expected! (the good news is we just about managed to stay awake!)

I was very excited when the traffic was stopped to let the Soltan of Brunei’s son drive past!! (what’s the chances of us seeing him?!)

Here he is in his car:IMG_4371Back at the hotel we were having mad regrets from not eating at the night market when the hotel food arrived… I got the crispy noodles, and Christiana chose the Won Ton soup, then we both got a piece of chocolate mud cake, and I ordered an ice tea to use up the budget some more. It was all a bit disappointing.

Maybe one day I’ll go back and explore this intriguing country some more…


Do you have any great layover stories? Where did you end up and how did you spend your time? – Comment below!

& don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @shore_to_surface

Discover Gothenburg, Sweden

When you can’t decide where to go… sometimes it’s best to leave it to the Skyscanner Gods. Filtering by date and price order, the decision was made for us to go to Gothenburg in Sweden for my twin sister’s hen do!


From our short 4 day trip, here’s my top 5 things to do when visiting the city:


A boat tour is always a good idea to see any city from a different perspective. Our tour guide was called Max – a stocky ginger Swedish man with a pot belly and beard. As we cruised along he pointed out key buildings and bridges and made more than a few jokes. Our boat was long with no cover (so remember to dress for the elements) and he said that when the tides are high people have to lie down on the floor to avoid hitting their heads on the low bridges!

This cost around 190 SEK (£15) per person, and lasted just under an hour.




Our visit was in April, and although it was bright sunshine the temperature still felt icy outside! This made the warm Palm house at Trädgårdsföreningen all the more appealing! Inspired by the Crystal Palace in London, it opened its doors to visitors in 1878. Separated in to 5 sections, the further you walked in to the middle, the warmer and tropical the atmosphere becomes. All it’s missing now is some butterflies!





If you’re visiting Gothenburg, then the area of Haga is an absolute MUST. A short walk from the city centre, it’s pedestrian streets are lined with cute independent shops and cafes. Don’t forget to pop in to Café Husaren for one of their famous cinnamon buns, or feast on one of these delicious marshmallow-topped cupcakes! (if you know the name of these please comment below!)

IMG_4822<Rosie’s Hand For Scale




Unfortunately, we only had time to visit Brännö – an island in the Southern Göteborg Archipelago, but this was my favourite place on our visit.  We took a 45 minute journey on the number 11 tram from the Central tram station down to Saltholmen to catch the ferry across. Completely unspoilt and incredibly clean, we took a sunny walk across the island to explore. It was super cute, with lovely little houses, and you can easily walk from one side of the island to the other!


As someone who tends to gravitate towards warmer climates, Sweden was a pleasant surprise and I would definitely recommend Gothenburg! The streets are clean, the people friendly and the seafood unreal.


Follow me on @shore_to_surface for more adventures! Next stop Malta.

Lucky Trip Review


My First Lucky Trip:

As soon as I heard about the Lucky Trip App I was straight on my phone downloading it… and what a great idea it turned out to be… I have just returned from my first Lucky Trip to Lisbon!

Booking confirmation came through straight away, and they will even check you in to your flight for you! (although I beat them to this and used the booking reference to do this ahead of time). Although we chose the cheapest accommodation option on the app, we found the room to be clean, spacious and great value for money, in the heart of Lisbon – a perfect combination which would have normally taken hours to find scrolling through various accommodation websites.

In a nutshell this beautifully simple, user-friendly app will search Booking.com and Easyjet to combine the best flights and accommodation (along with optional added activity ideas) to create your next holiday, all at the touch of a button!

Our trip came about from a gift voucher. I was a bit dubious to buy a voucher from an app I had never used, but it was quick, easy and they even sent me a physical plastic card voucher in the post a few days later.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can choose from a selection of different filters to help build a personalised trip to best suit your budget, dates and other preferences (including your closest airport) although if you’re lucky enough to have no commitments, the only compulsory filters are budget and number of travellers. Choosing less filters also means you often get to see the cheapest deals around!

Once you have set your filters and clicked on the BIG pink button, your screen will look something like this example:


From here you can swipe on the individual images to choose between around 2-3 options for accommodation in the middle panel and activities on the bottom panel. Depending on how extravagant you’d like your stay to be this then pushes the price of the holiday up or down.

One great thing about the app is it can be as spontaneous or not as you like. For example you can actually select exact dates, and even change the flight times, although again this will sometimes push the price up or down.

You also have the option to save the trips you like the look of, as a way to compare using the heart in the bottom left-hand corner. This is a great feature, especially if you’re as indecisive as me!

I also noticed that if you keep clicking on the pink button to show new trips, eventually the options will come around full circle so you’ll start to see the same ones more than once.

In conclusion Lucky Trip is like Tinder for travellers, except instead of swiping past 300 mediocre options before landing on your (still questionable) dream man, you get to enjoy a great selection of interesting and beautiful travel options, with lots of potential! Now that’s something we can all commit to!



Top things to do in Budapest

I’ll be honest, Gemma and I booked Budapest completely on a whim – this wasn’t on my top 10 next places to go, nor did I have a clue what I wanted to do when we arrived. The cost of flights and hotel (including baggage) came to £160 each for 4 days, so a lovely excuse to have a break from England and explore new lands whilst not breaking the bank.
From our short trip, here are my top things to go see and do if time is of the essence:

bastion photobastion words

spa photospa writing

river photoriver writing

food photofood writing

Got any questions? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or find me on Instagram: @shore_to_surface

30 BEFORE 30

If you know me chances are I’ve made you do THE LIST

One of my friends introduced me to the 30 before 30 idea a few of years ago. That’s 30 countries before you turn 30 years old. I sat there in the pool in Corfu recalling all the countries I’d been to in my lifetime, and came to the grand total of 15.

15 may sound like a lot, but her list was MUCH more impressive and I was keen to boost my numbers!

My biggest problem was that I’d repeated the same countries several times.

I’ve been to Greece every year of my life! That’s 8 years of living in Corfu, and 20 holidays to follow this. I’ve also been to Spain 4 times (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Catalonia and Barcelona) so that could also only count as ONE country.

Forward wind to October 2018 and my tally has jumped to 25/30 countries! That’s 5 more countries to go, and just 1 year and 7 months to reach the target! (my friend is now on 42)

Here’s my list to date – the pencil italics are where I’ve been to a country more than once.

(One country which I’m still questioning is the Vatican. I’ve been but it just didn’t feel anything like another country!)

Want to do your own list? Here’s the rules:

  • You can’t repeat countries!
  • England & Wales count!
  • Stop overs do NOT count (so that cheeky 2 hour layover in Dubai can’t be added to your total sorry)
  • Islands don’t count as a new country (sounds silly but I’ve heard more than one person ask, for example if Spain and Tenerife can count as 2 countries)

Once you’re done send me over your lists! I’m genuinely curious to see them and find out all the exciting places you’ve been!


Every Journey Begins With The First Step

Not to be underestimated. Travel gives you the courage to try new things, make new friends, gain the wisdom of others around the world, and put your own life in to perspective. It’ll send you home with an open ♥️ and an open mind, and will change you in ways you never thought possible

Snorkelling in Koh Tao, Thailand

This travel blog has been a long time coming!! I wanted to start one around 3 years ago, but didn’t think I travelled enough to warrant my own page.. ironic considering I’ve travelled more in those past 3 years than I have my entire life!
& because of this I will admit that some of my posts will be brought out from the archives, dusted off and shared, in the hope you’ll find inspiration for your own adventures, or at the very least enjoy scrolling through some travel photos!

If you have any questions about the places I’ve been or want to tell me about your own travels just click on the contact button to get in touch 🙂 I love hearing about unusual destinations and exciting activities!

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