United Arab Excellent

So, my laptop having the world’s biggest meltdown has meant that I haven’t blogged in a while. Which meant that I never got to tell you about my super awesome post-Australia stopover in Dubai. It has now been over a month since this actually happened, which means that the acceptable bragging time has probably now passed.

BUT I DON’T CARE. The two days we spent in Dubai were probably the most entirely instagrammable days I’ve ever had, so you’ll all just have to deal with it.

We arrived at the luxurious Kempinski hotel, located on the palm of Dubai, in the early hours of the morning, following an eleven hour flight from Perth, so I didn’t really appreciate how beautiful it was, beyond the exquisite comfyness of a bed after an entire night on a plane. So my jaw pretty much dropped when I woke up the next morning to this:

DSCF0446Now, I know there are plenty of travel bloggers out there who probably stay in rooms like this all the time, but you guys, I have never stayed in a hotel room like this in my life. It made my Gleneagles room look like a Travelodge. I totally played it cool by screaming, doing three circuits and then sitting in every single chair to ascertain exactly which one made me look most like Princess Grace of Monaco.

Once we had all shaken off our jetlag a little, we headed down to check out the hotel’s private beach. Obviously.

kempinski dubai beachWe were each given a towel, allowed to choose a sun lounger, and then had a member of hotel staff drag it around until optimal sun exposure/city view/water proximity had been reached. I’ve never been waited on like that before, so I felt consistently awful asking the staff to do things, but they were so lovely about it and made me feel really at ease.

I’d love to say that we went and explored the city, or took advantage of the hotel’s watersport programme, but I just lay on that lounger all day, reading the Time Traveller’s Wife and trying not to get my ginger, freckly self burnt.

We headed back up to our absolute palace of a room and I had a long, hot bath, because when you don’t have a bath in your flat, every opportunity has to be seized. Even if it is 35 degrees outside. Once we were all feeling a bit fresher, we headed down for dinner, which was served in one of the hotel’s private beach cabanas. Again, obviously.

kempinski dubai beach cabana restaurantI don’t think I’ve ever eaten in such a beautiful place. The colourful lights of the city, reflected in the still water made a stunning contrast to the warm, dim lighting of the cabanas. After the food, we headed a little further down the beach to warm up by the flickering light of a fire pit.

kempinski dubaiIf I could have, I’d have sat there all night drinking cocktails and watching the stars come out, but between the beanbags, the crackling of the wood, the heat from the fire, and of course, the unmanageable jetlag, my eyelids soon started to feel pretty heavy. We headed back to the room, stopping to admire how gorgeous the hotel grounds looked by night.

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Can we just talk about how cute this photo is for a sec?

kempinski dubaiBut the jetlag did have its advantages. It meant that come 5:30am, I was awake and ready for one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. I feel like there’s been a lot of “best I’ve ever seen” in this blog post, but that’s just Dubai. It doesn’t do things by halves. Me, mum and Sophie pulled on our clothes and headed down to the beach to watch the sun rise over the city.

I’ll never do this justice, so I’m gonna go ahead and let the photos do the talking here.

DSCF0509 DSCF0538 DSCF0540Once the sun was high in the sky and the temperature started to climb, we went back up to the room for room service breakfast on the balcony. This was also the first time I ever got room service, and it’s totally awesome. The guy brought it on a big silver tray and everything.

DSCF0548Look at that breakfast. I ate so much pineapple that I actually started to worry about burning my tongue. Amazing. Another couple of hours lying by the pool and on the beach and it was time to head back to the airport, all too soon.

The hotel was genuinely incredible. If you’re looking for somewhere to totally relax, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. We were there for a full day and a half, and never felt like we had to leave the hotel. And there were loads of things that we didn’t even try! We didn’t get massages on the beach, or hit the spa, or go swimming in the pool, or smoke shisha pipes in the big squishy armchairs by the fountain…if you’re looking for somewhere to make you feel like a total princess, this is the place.

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oy Oy Oy!

Today is officially my last day in Australia. And I am so very, very in denial. It’s been an absolutely incredible holiday, one of the best I can remember. Despite what my social media updates might suggest, I had no intention of shoving my holiday down everyone’s throats. So, even though I could have blogged about 17 times a day about all the awesome things I’ve done (Is that a humblebrag? I do apologise. I’m becoming one of those people that I hate.), I decided to save them up and give the people who are interested a lovely big highlights post. So if you’ve been throwing darts at my Australia Instagrams, you might want to give this post a skip.

So! Without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the highlights of my amazing trip down under.

Meeting a whole new generation of little cousins.

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I know everyone thinks that their children are the most beautiful, but these ones actually are. I’ve spent about 40% of my holiday cooing at one or more of them.

Turning 23 in the most spectacular setting imaginable.

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I’m used to bundling up warm and hoping for snow on my birthday, so to picnic in the sunshine under an enormous tree, overlooking the whole city was unbelievable.

The dog beach.

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Dog. Beach. Dog beach dog beach dog beach. Oh my god, dog beach.

Picnic tea at the gloriously wonderful outdoor cinema. Twice.

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If you haven’t seen Pride yet, go see it. If you have the chance to go to a Grease singalong, do it. Nothing like a glass of wine, a beanbag, a great movie and a beautiful sunset. One of the absolute highlights.

Getting a massage from an actual waterfall and bathing in the pools beneath.

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Does this one even need explaining? I’m just gonna leave that picture there.

Playing the world’s prettiest crazy golf course.

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Vineyard hopping round Western Australia’s delicious wineries.

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Picking two winners at the Trots.

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I won $37. So damn rich.

…and then winning $90 at the casino the next night.

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Look at my big excited face. I put $2.50 on 17 in roulette. Boom.

High tea on the 33rd floor.

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Holy crap, so much food.

Seeing the world’s most spectacular sunsets.

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I love seeing the sunset, because I know that no matter what happens, how rich or poor I get, a sunset like this will always and forever take my breath away.

How To Survive Long Haul Travel Without Looking Like A Bag of Spanners

The more astute among you will have noticed that I’m in Australia. Apologies for the perpetual online bragging, it’s just so damn pretty. Rest assured that within a fortnight, you will once again be regaled with thrilling pictures of my tiny, freezing London flat.

Unfortunately, to get there, I had to spend no less than 19 hours on a plane. A very nice plane, but a plane nonetheless. And since the general travel advice of flying business class wasn’t reeeaaally available to me, I decided to put together a guide for the monetarily challenged long haul flyer. So I guess that technically makes this a broke girl’s guide! So good at blog seriesing.

I thought long and hard, and packed myself what I think is a pretty excellent survival pack for the hazardous and terrifying environment that is an aeroplane seat.

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I’ll go through these essential survival items in completely arbitrary categories that I have just decided.

Cleanliness

Never, ever underestimate how much better a clean pair of socks will make you feel. I feel like a new woman when I have clean socks on, and that is the truth about my glamorous life in one sentence. I packed a clean pair of socks, clean underwear, a little roll on deodorant and my toothbrush. When you’re travelling for more than a day, this can really help to break it up and keep some semblance of normalcy in your routine.

Entertainment

For the love of god, bring something to do. I brought my Kindle, which, despite me being an old school book lover, is a total massive lifesaver in situations like this, and my laptop, having optimistically promised that I’d do a load of blogging on the flight. Instead, I rinsed a series of Life of Mars on the in flight entertainment. But I had the option, and that’s what matters. Bring a book, some knitting, some crayons…literally anything to distract you from the mind numbing boredom that is your life for the next 10+ hours. Also, it’s a good idea to bring some snacks, in case the aeroplane food is totally inedible. I brought a big assed bag of Thorntons Diplomats because I’m fancy (really because I got them for Christmas).

That I have classed food as entertainment is very telling.

Moisturisation

Where are my dry skinned girls at? For me, one of the worst things about being on a plane is coming off with pieces of your face flinging themselves from your body and fluttering to the ground like the world’s saddest, most disgusting snow. To avoid this charming Doctor-Who-villain look, I brought my tub of Inlight Organic Night Balm and my Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Balm, both of which I have raved about on here before (moisturiser here and lip balm here). I was also lucky enough to be gifted an amazing travel sheet mask set by TT Beauty Masks, which contained a cleansing wipe, an exfoliating wipe and a nourishing sheet mask for gorgeous girls on the move. I busted this out after a horrendous bout of travel sickness during hour 17, and it was exactly what my poor, parched skin needed. The oily cleansing wipe soothed and cooled my face like a big drink of water, the sheet mask perked me right up and besides, who doesn’t love scaring the ever loving christ out of an air hostess by transforming into Hannibal Lecter? Also, I’d hope that this doesn’t need to be said, but please remember to drink some water. Buy a big assed bottle when you get through security and sip at it for the whole flight. Yes, it will make you need to pee – suck it up.

Medicines

Pack some painkillers and some Immodium in your hand luggage – aint nobody got time for travel sickness. I also keep some peppermint tea bags on me. Peppermint tea is an absolute lifesaver if you’re feeling a bit queasy, and settles your stomach right down if it decides to go for some stunning gastrogymnastics. It also has the added bonus of freshening up your mouth if you just can’t be bothered negotiating brushing your teeth in those tiny aeroplane sinks.

Comfort

As well as my nice clean socks, I also packed a pair of fluffy slippers, which kept me lovely and cosy and helped me relax a bit. Since planes are almost invariably too hot or too cold, I dressed light and took my big green scarf with me to wrap around me like a blanket. Comfort levels maximised.

Essentials

Remember to keep your passport and boarding card handy, as well as your purse, phone and any chargers you need. Also, if you have a stopover for a couple of hours, don’t be a rookie like me and forget to bring currency for that country too. The ability to grab a cup of coffee might just save your sanity and stop you hitting actual madness.

Pictured: actual madness

Pictured: actual madness

What to Wear

My priority when choosing my flight outfit was the ability to curl up in literally any position without getting tangled up or exposing my vagina to anyone. So I went for a pair of super soft leggings and a vest top. I picked leggings that were made out of soft pyjama material, because I find normal leggings can be very binding. There, I said it. Makeup: don’t even bother. Seriously, you don’t want it sitting on your face for 19 hours, and it’s never going to stay put anyways. Start with a nice clean face, and then pamper the hell out of yourself with sheet masks and fancy moisturisers. My hair is too heavy to wear up, but if you can, wearing it up is a great way to keep cool and comfortable.

My sexy, sexy flight outfit.

My sexy, sexy flight outfit.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I still had undeniably dark moments during our flight, didn’t quite manage to avoid travel sickness and did come off the plane looking a little bit like a bag of spanners. But taking care of myself during the flight has meant that my body bounced straight back and I haven’t been suffering with dry skin, jetlag or general ickyness during my holiday. And until they invent teleporters, or I win the lottery and can fly business class, that’s good enough for me. T minus one week until the return flight, keep me in your thoughts.