Where to travel based on your star sign ☆

Unsure where to book your next holiday?  Let the stars guide you on your travels…

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 18)

The Volunteering Holiday

Aquarians are great problem solvers, who like coming up with progressive new ideas. They love helping others, and are said to be shy with deep thoughts.  Because of this, a humanitarian group holiday, where you can focus your energy to help make a difference could be the trip for you! From ocean conservation to building schools (and everything in-between) there’s something for everyone!
Check out these inspiring websites for your next trip:
⍟ Volunteering HQ
⍟ Gap 360
⍟ The Orangutang Project

PISCES
(February 19 – March 20)

The Relaxing Beach Holiday

Flip flops at the ready…True to their water sign, those born under the sign of Pisces are natural born swimmers who love the ocean and everything it has to offer. As a Pisces you’re also likely to be a day dreamer, so why not escape reality with a relaxing beach holiday! A great chance to unwind with your own thoughts. If you prefer white sand beaches think Mexico, Bali or Australia; and for the clearest blue oceans look towards Greece, Italy and Cyprus.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)

The Fitness Escape

This fire sign is determined, courageous and impulsive, so a holiday where you can challenge yourself physically should tick your boxes. Lucky for you, activity and wellness holidays are on the rise, with people looking to kickstart a healthier, more active lifestyle in some of the most beautiful places in the world!
Here’s just a handful of possibilities:

Muay Thai Boxing
Xtreme Fitness Bootcamps, Thailand
Yoga and surfing at the Pineapple House, Bali
Canoeing and abseiling, Corsica, France

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 20)

The Tasty Break

Those born under the sign of Taurus feel the need to be surrounded by love and beauty. With a true appreciation for the finer things in life, Taureans enjoy the sensory experiences of touch and taste. With this in mind, a luxury foodie holiday may be the right choice for you.
Here’s some beautiful locations with flavours to satisfy the foodies:

Cooking classes in Lisbon
Asian food and culinary tours
Breakfast at Mudra café in Bali 

GEMINI
(May 21 – June 20)

The Cultural City Break

Super sociable and always ready for adventure. Geminis are naturally curious and love discovering new things. You’re also likely to enjoy reading, so grab your Lonely Planet travel guide and set off on a cultural city break to Europe! Look to Easyjet, British Airways and lastminute.com for some of the best affordable deals on the market.
I personally love the BA holiday finder tool: britishairways.com

CANCER
(June 21 – July 22)

The Family Getaway

Family orientated and sentimental, if born under the sign of Cancer you often form decisions based on emotions. Holidays are the perfect time to create memories with loved ones, so why not treat yourself to a family holiday, where you can relax and experience new things together. Alternatively, take a trip down memory lane to a favourite childhood holiday destination!
Cameras at the ready! it’s time to make memories with…
The PANASONIC Lumix TZ200/ZS200, a compact DSLR for high quality imagery on the go.
The GoPro HERO 6, for underwater and adventure shots.
(or of course your trusty phone with a waterproof case!)

LEO
(July 23 – August 22)

The Insta-worthy holiday

Leos are creative, passionate souls who have a zest for life. They love living lavish, and the attention that comes with this, so a holiday that shows them living their best life to their Instagram followers is perfect. Look to Dubai for beautiful temples and perfect man-made beaches, or Ibiza for a guaranteed good time surrounded by friends.

VIRGO
(August 23 – September 22)

The Yoga and Wellness Escape

Often shy, hardworking and practical, Virgos love animals and plants. With this in mind, somewhere where they can enjoy nature would suit them down to the ground. A wellness or yoga retreat where they can be closer to nature and enjoy healthy organic foods would satisfy their inner hippie!
Look to Bali for beautiful architecture that brings the outside in:
Como Shambhala Estate, Ubud
The Yoga Barn, Ubud
Pelan Pelan, Canggu

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)

The Walking or Cycling Trip

The Zodiac sign of balance. They love being outdoors, and appreciate beautiful surroundings. They also hate to do things alone, so as a Libra you might like a couple’s cycling or walking holiday. Here you can take in the scenery alongside a friend or partner.
Check out these European cycling holidays for inspiration:
Headwater
Wheel 2 Wheel
Freedom Treks

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)

The Spontaneous Adventure

Brave, passionate and assertive, the Scorpio personality goes hand in hand with a spontaneous escape! Look to cheap and cheerful voucher sites like Wowcher, who often offer pot-luck style short breaks, as well as Apps such as Lucky Trip for one click holiday inspiration. Just don’t forget to book the time off work first!

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)

The trekking Holiday

The natural explorer, those under the sign of Sagittarius love the idea of freedom and new experiences. They also love being outdoors, so a trekking holiday that takes them off the beat and track could be the ideal holiday.
Look to Patagonia, Borneo or Nepal for a trekking holiday of a lifetime.

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)

The Ultimate Camping Trail

Those born under the sign of Capricorn love making plans, but unlike their spontaneous Scorpio counterparts, they also have a significant amount of self-control.  This is an advantage, because it means they are fantastic at saving up enough money for a long, well planned out adventure. Capricorns would suit a self-guided camping trip across Canada or California.
For campervan hire see:
Canadian Affair
Karma Campervans
Wicked Campers

My 2018 Travels In Retrospect

2018 was all about the 3 Cs for me: Cyprus Corfu Croatia

As I look back at 2018 I feel lucky. Lucky that I am blessed not only with a great friend who I can make big travel plans with, but also now a boyfriend who loves exploring (almost) as much as me. Thanks to you both, and a handful of other special people (you know who you are), for putting up with all my Instagram tags, constant screen shots and midnight messages with links to cheap flights in random places!

2017 was a big travel year for me: Vietnam, Sweden, Corfu, Lefkada, Bali, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Thailand (North & islands), Laos and Cambodia.

When I arrived back in the UK after 3 months of travelling around South East Asia I had no job and no money, which meant 2018 needed to be more toned down! Plus we were expecting the arrival of my baby niece Freya!

Here’s a quick summary of travel in 2018:
(I’ll be sure to write more detailed posts on these 3 stunning locations another day.)

Cyprus
A short 4 day trip in off-peak season.
I still had holiday days left to take at the end of the year, and I wasn’t prepared to waste them on days sat around the house, but equally craved the sunshine on my skin, so the 4 hour flight was every bit worth the short stay!
Off peak also meant beautiful flowers, deserted beaches and coastal spring walks!

50023921_1969091513385137_7370986181489590272_nFamagusta, Cyprus

Corfu
This year I took my annual pilgrimage to Corfu in July with my friend Gemma. We didn’t hire a car, so set about exploring beaches by bus and boat. We also met up with Christiana, her boyfriend Cian and her cousin Nadine. My favourite day was hiring a boat along the North-east coastline and paddle boarding on my favourite Corfiot beach Kerasia.

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Somewhere in the sea, Corfu

Croatia
Such an adventure!
Medulin>Pula>Brijuni Island>Zadar>Brac>Starigrad>Split
Luc planned a route which took us down from Pula to Split in 2 weeks, and even included 4 days on a yacht sailing around the islands!
One of my favourite days was our boat trip to the island of Brijuni, which was both beautiful and weird in equal measure: Zebras, beaches, a golf course and a mini train all on a small island of 33.9 km². That evening we also went to the opening concert for Outlook Festival in the Pula arena.. what a day!

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Starigrad, Croatia

Here’s to a 2019 filled with new adventures!

Happy new year everyone!

MY Top Beaches of All Time!

Throughout life there are just a handful of times where you stop, look around and think “Wow this is amazing I’m so lucky.”

Most of my special moments have been on beaches, so I’d like to share my top 4 of all time! (In no particular order)…

1 – Coral Beach, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

A long stretch of white sand covered in pieces of pretty coral.. hence the name. Genuinely one of the best days of my life – this place is magic!

Come the afternoon and the tide moves out revealing a huge array of sea creatures and plants left behind in the little pools of water, including different kinds of star fish and sea cucumbers!

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2 – Kerasia Beach, Corfu, Greece

One of my old favourites, it may not be covered in white sand but this is a Mediterranean beach at it’s finest with large white stones and beautifully clear, calm waters: perfect for paddle boarding and long summer swims.

Eucalyptus trees line the beach (beware of the wasps) where I used to sit and draw as a child.

I also can’t recommend Taverna Kerasia more, serving unwavering delicious Greek meals, including fresh fish. I love their stuffed Kalamari with Greek salad, or the Kerasia salad – full of fresh, tasty seafood.

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3 – Playa Paraiso, Tulum, Mexico

An Instagram shot just waiting to happen – Tulum was so beautiful! not the calmest waters but the sand was white and clean. Don’t leave without a coconut water or mango smoothie in hand!

To read more about our adventures in Mexico click here

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4 – Papaya Playa, Tulum, Mexico

I wanted to choose a top 3, but couldn’t choose between my two favourite beaches in Tulum!

This beach is quieter than Playa Paraiso, and home to the dreamy Papaya Playa Beach Club, where we had lunch overlooking the blue ocean.

If you walk a bit further away from the beach club you can find cheaper sunbeds.

To read more about our adventures in Mexico click here

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Share your own special beach moments below…
& follow me on @shore_to_surface

Kampong Phluk Floating Village

My second visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia was at the end of October, which meant rainy season!

My Asia trip was booked mainly on impulse and a strong curiosity at the time to see more of the world that simply couldn’t wait, but maybe if I’d known it was going to be rainy season I wouldn’t have chosen to visit at this time. However now I’m glad I did… It’s less busy off peak, and the rain wasn’t so bad that it ruined my experience, but the main reason I’m glad I went around this time was I got the chance to visit the floating village of Kampong Phluk just outside of Siem Reap!

This was an incredible experience, which I would highly recommend to anyone travelling to the area around the rainy season!

I booked on a day trip with a lovely girl I met in my hostel (Lubd) room. Because only 2 of us wanted to go on that day we paid quiet a lot, but the price was for the boat, and could of been split across as many as around 8 people I believe.

After a tuk tuk ride, we boarded a larger boat to the village, then moved on to little rowing boats to look around the village.

The rowing boats were peaceful, and the colours on the houses and in the trees beautiful.

Rowing through the trees reminded me of that scene from Pocahontas when they’re travelling through Grandmother Willow’s branches!

I think the photos say it all:

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Five Reasons Why You Must Stay at Lubd Siem Reap Hostel

Hostels in general don’t have a good rep. This is understandable having come across a few of the nastier ones on my travels, but overall I’d say that I’ve been lucky and hostels are almost always nice (and sometimes even nicer than a hotel for half the price!)

The Lubd in Siem Reap is one of these hidden gems. I called this home for 14 days and here is why you must stay if you’re passing through:

1 – The amazing staff
Travelling on my own might of felt daunting, but I felt safe and welcome throughout my stay. Everyone’s happy at work and seem to enjoy their jobs. អរគុណ 🙂 xx

2- The Superb swimming pool

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This image is taken from their website (because apparently I forgot to take any!)

Not the usual grotty hostel watering hole that leaves you feeling like you need to shower off the weird coloured water… this pool is beautifully clean and inviting, surrounded by sunbeds for sunny days and even has a poolside bar!

3- The clean, innovative dorm rooms

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Here was my little bunk, decorated with cards from the school children

I chose a girls only 10 bed dorm for my stay.
-The bedding and towels are changed almost every day, and the whole place is super clean! – extremely important in shared rooms.
-You each get your own large locker with a small rail to hang your clothes above, so no more ‘crease effect’ clothing.
-There are steps instead of ladders up to the top bunk, and because the beds are so spacious up there it felt like a little room.

4 – The lovely clean bathrooms

– The showers were so much better than my one at home! With large waterfall heads and plenty of room in the cubicles to dry and dress without getting all your things soaking wet in the process.
– There’s also large lit mirrors over each sink in the island in the middle, so you can do your make-up and get ready if people are sleeping in your dorm and you don’t want to disturb them.
– The toilets are very clean – always good to know when booking a hostel on a whim.
– There’s washing machines and dryers so you can do your own washing.
TOP TIP: If you’re a little cheeky like me and need to be careful with your budget, save the tokens meant for drying and instead use the hangers from above your locker and hang your clothes in the warm bathroom overnight to dry. You can then save the drying tokens for an extra wash later on! (Obviously be mindful not to go overboard with too much clothing!)

5 – The delicious food


Not the cheapest food, but it’s convenient and very tasty. My favourite was the stuffed aubergine, and because I was always in such a rush in the morning before going to teach I’d order the cereal, which comes with fruit and a drink.

Here’s an extract from my diary on the day I arrived at the hostel:
Got a tuk tuk to the hostel called Lubd Siem Reap. It’s probably the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in! (Kosta in Bali is a close second) It’s super new and spotlessly clean! Other benefits include:
-They change the bedding and towels every day
-Free drinking water
-Free games
-Great pool with pool bar
-Washing machine
-Nicest showers ever!!
The workers are all really super friendly too. My bed is at the top, but instead of a ladder they have steps up to your bed and I love it because it feels like my own little room! Ironically it’s opposite the other hostel I went to last time I was in Siem Reap, so it’s a shame I didn’t move here then!

Check out their website and Instagram @lubdsiemreap for more photos and reviews!

 

My Art Gallery Trail in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap is steeped in ancient history, famous for its beautiful temples.

Angkor Wat is covered in incredibly intricate detail, and inspires hundreds of people each day. The locals love this temple and even after visiting many times, they still see the beauty in the structure and decoration. Khmer people seem to really appreciate the power and beauty of all visual arts, which is something I loved about their country.

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I come from an artistic background (although sadly life and work has slowly squashed the hours I used to spend drawing and painting) so when I found myself with a day off teaching I decided to use Google maps and create my own art gallery tour.

Here’s a list (taken from my diary of the day) of where I ended up:

1 – Khmer Kids Art Gallery – This is where they teach children art and then sell their work. I met one of the artists, who has this really distinct style of using multiple blending of colours to show form and depth through natural forms.

2 – One Eleven Gallery – This was quite a small international gallery with work from this artist called Christian Develter who takes inspiration from the face tattoos of Myanmar tribes women. The curator working in that gallery was an Australian called Danny.

3 – McDermott Gallery – Lastly after hitting a few wrong turns, and a few gallery duds I ended up here. This was purely photography work from the artist John McDermott, who’s work focuses heavily on Angkor Watt, a lot of which was depicted in black and white.

At the end of my stay in Siem Reap I found the most amazing art shop and school called Colours of Cambodia. Here I bought a beautiful watercolour painting, and was lucky enough to meet the young artist.

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Art is a therapy for the heart and mind, and it seemed like a stronger possibility you could make a living purely as an artist in Asia than in England, where most artists have another job to support their income. Everywhere you turn in Cambodia there’s colour and life and hope. Even the mud on the ground is so rich it looks like it could be used to paint with.

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I’d love to find somewhere to do an art holiday (maybe in Asia) some time soon! So if anyone has any ideas of places to visit, or any organised trips or retreats that include art and/or yoga let me know, as I haven’t found any that inspire me yet!

Also don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for updates on new blog posts and photos from trips! x

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)

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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!