The Happiness Project: New Year Edition

Happy New Year, wonderful readers!

In my experience, those words are never more heartfelt than when they come from the lips of a Scot. Maybe it’s my own bias talking but I don’t think anyone does New Years like the Scots do it. For me, New Years isn’t about clubbing somewhere glamorous or going to the gym five times a week the second the bells have rung or promising to swap out all your bread for lettuce (although fair play to you if that is what it’s about for you, different strokes, different folks). New Years is about being with the people that I love, about reflecting on how quickly time passes, on how much has changed. That bitter pang when you notice a face is missing from last year’s celebrations. The sweetness when the clock strikes midnight, heralding a moment of glorious, infinite possibility. It’s about becoming, rather than changing. About grabbing your loved ones close during the madness of Auld Lang Syne, drunk on happiness and strawberry daquiris from your mum’s blender. About getting the first kiss of the New Year from your grandpa, rather than from a handsome stranger. This is about as spiritual as the Scots get so of course, it comes with whisky and dancing.

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For me, it also holds a special significance: New Year’s Eve is my birthday. I was due in February, but even before I was born, I guess the lure of those bells was too much to resist. This means that every year, on January first, I start a brand new year, a brand new age, a brand new blank page to be written.

It might be for this reason that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I know a lot of people don’t make resolutions because they don’t see New Year as being a very big deal, they can make changes any day of the year. For me, it’s sort of the opposite. I feel like this new start, this fresh chapter is too important to waste with promises of joining a spin class or eating more greens (again, I don’t mean to suggest that these things aren’t both great ideas). I make goals instead. I’m not saying that my goals are particularly noble or life changing, but for me, they represent some of the things that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the excuse. Or never had the time. Or never been brave enough to attempt.

Last year, around this time, I published a little sample of some of these goals. I’m not going to pretend I did all of them, but I’m not going to beat myself up about that either. Here’s some cool stuff I did in 2015:

Go somewhere I’ve never been.

Nailed it. Totally smashed this one. Not only did I go to lots of new places, I had the chance to experience some genuine bucket list level stuff.

From seeing the Northern Lights and drinking wine in a geothermal pool in Iceland…

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…to sipping vanilla hot chocolate and watching the golden leaves fall in Krakow…

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…to stumbling into a dog festival in Guernsey. Yes, a dog festival is entirely worthy of being on your bucket list.

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I’ll be crossing this one of this year’s list next week, when I’m jetting off for an adventure in Oslo! I’ll keep you posted.

Do something terrifying.

Man, oh man, past Fiona. If you could see us now. This year, I did probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Having protested against the heinous SludgeDrinks adverts, I suddenly found myself going viral. I was quite unprepared for this to happen, but decided to just go with it and see where it took me. I ended up being on breakfast TV twice (this was so terrifying that I was genuinely concerned I might hurl on Eamonn Holmes), having my arse photographed by the Daily Mail (not on purpose) and organising a big assed body positive party with the help of my utterly divine partner in crime, Tara.

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Once the craziness had died down, the terrifyingness kept right on going. I started writing for one of my absolute favourite websites and was invited to speak at a bunch of different events. Tara and I were even named in Stylist magazine’s fearless feminists of the year list! Well let me tell you, I wasn’t fearless. I promised to do something terrifying and I really, really did. It’s amazing what can come of taking a deep breath, squaring your shoulders and saying “why the hell not?”.

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Eat baked alaska.

This is obviously very important. I’d never eaten baked alaska. Always wanted to. So on the list it went. This one, I ticked off while cruising from Southampton to Guernsey in a fabulous fashion with my mum.

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Most excellent. Tick.

So what does this year have in store?

More of the same. Big things, little things, but all important things to me.

Get an agent for my book.

This is probably my biggest, scariest, most pie in the sky one. As I’m sure you guys noticed (because I wouldn’t shut up about it), I wrote a book as part of National Novel Writing Month in November.

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This in itself was a lifelong dream. I can’t describe how it felt to print that out and have something that I’m so proud of just sitting on my table like it aint no thing. But I’m hoping that it’s just the first step in a journey. So on the list an agent goes.

Make one new cocktail a month

I have so many fabulous cocktail books lying around the flat and I never make any cocktails because I don’t have ingredients. This year, I’m saying no to that and I’ll be trialling one new cocktail a week. These will undoubtedly be catalogued on Instagram, so go hang out with me there. Life is short, buy the Chambord. That’s my motto.

Make chocolate eclairs

This is one in a similar vein to eating baked alaska. I love chocolate eclairs. I haven’t the foggiest idea how to make them. I like to bake. So I’m gonna make chocolate eclairs. If you have a failsafe recipe, do tweet it to me or leave it in the comments!

Go to a museum late

I have wanted to do this FOREVER. The National Museum of Scotland used to do these when I lived in Edinburgh and I always meant to go. But I didn’t. And now I’m in London and I have no doubt that these swanky museum parties are going on all the time all over the city. But I still haven’t been. So I’ve written it down. I’m not totally sure why but writing things down seems to really work for me. I’m much less likely to avoid doing something if I’ve written it on a to do list.

2015 was a hell of a year. I’m hoping that 2016 is going to be even better. My lovely, gorgeous readers, I wish you a very, very happy New Year.

Now here’s a haun’ my trusty friend, and gies a haun’ o’ thine. 

Visiting Krakow: Krakow’s Old Town and Its Horrible History

This week, the boy and I ran away to Krakow. Because if we must accept that winter is coming, we should probably do it in a city where the chills down your neck are as likely to be from a ghost as from the weather and where you can warm up of an evening in a cafe that sells vodka instead of tea.

Krakow is a big, gorgeous mess of a city with old and new elements vying for position in its streets, Italian Renaissance facades sitting side by side with stark Communist architecture, neon signs plastered on the front of grand, crumbling mansions, all framed by the most beautiful Autumn I’ve ever seen. Seriously, visit Krakow in Autumn. I’ve never seen colours like it.

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I could have spent my entire holiday sat here watching the leaves fall like snow.

Things To See In Krakow

We decided to sink our teeth into the city straight away and joined a walking tour of the Old Town with Free Walking Tour. I’m going to rave a lot about these guys, I promise they’re not paying me. Their tours were just really awesome. We were shown around the city by Damian, who was quirky, entertaining and ridiculously knowledgeable about Krakow’s turbulent history.

We started in the main Market Square, which is dominated by an enormous indoor market building and the beautiful St Mary’s Basilica.

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Every hour, on the hour, a trumpet player appears at the top of the tower and plays an unfinished melody. No one knows why the melody is unfinished, although there is a flagrantly untrue legend that the trumpet player was shot by a Mongolian archer while warning the city of an oncoming invasion. I really don’t know how Poland got a reputation for being stern and serious, they’re the most whimsical bunch I’ve ever encountered and I love it.

The tour continued through the streets of the Old Town, with a quick stop at Jagiellonian University to see the twisted chimney where the devil escaped from Dr Faust.

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We wound down at the beautiful Wawel Castle where we marvelled at the beautiful, chaotic cathedral and heard tales of a dragon slaying shepherd boy and a runaway king. One of these stories is a legend. The other actually happened, because Poland is the greatest.

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Wawel Castle was also the site of one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen, although it didn’t happen on the first night. It happened on our last night and I literally ran across the city to see it when I saw the colour of the sky starting to change.

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During the tour, Damian stuck in a little plug for a tour that his colleague Jacek was giving that night: the macabre tour. The macabre tour took place after the sun had set, giving the streets we’d wandered during the day an undeniably sinister turn, and covered the more gruesome elements of the city’s history. We learned of the sickness that swept Krakow, creating real life vampires who subsisted on bloodied meat and couldn’t go out in sunlight for fear of their delicate skin. The skeletons of these vampires were found bound in their graves, often beheaded, sometimes with the fateful stake driven through their chests. We learned about mysterious serial killers who stalked the dark streets. We learned about the ghosts of tragic women who haunt the city squares. We learned about the life of the hangman and the cruel and unusual punishments meted out by a deeply religious society. I was put in an iron collar outside the church for being a woman of sin.

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I’m a bit of a creepy chick. I like true crime. I like ghost stories. I once tried to take Niall on a date to a pathology museum. This tour was right up my street. Jacek was funny and frightening by turn and yeah, okay, he might have been a little bit handsome. Shut up, that has nothing to do with my positive review.

Having thoroughly explored the Old Town, we spent our next free day wandering the Jewish Quarter. The quarter is lovely, full of winding streets and cafes bursting with cushions and candles. Every house looks like it could potentially be the set of the Disney Haunted Manor ride.

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It’s quirky and kitschy and a photographer’s absolute dream.

Where to Eat and Drink In Krakow

When I’m on holiday, I generally commit to eating and drinking myself into an early grave and Krakow was no exception. We found some brilliant little places to escape the cold and warm up with a plate of dumplings, a hot chocolate or a cheeky little shot of vodka.

Cafe Botanica

This little place is directly off the main market square and it’s brilliant. We ended up there for lunch by accident, having gotten lost in the lanes surrounding the square and liked it so much that we went back for dinner the next night. It’s a funny little nook, covered in leaves and wood panelling, with a stunning mezzanine level in the back that gives the feeling of sitting outside, without the wintry temperatures.

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They also served me the best hot chocolate I’ve ever drunk, not a word of a lie. Hot chocolate in Europe seems to be quite a different creature to our hot, milky cocoa. It’s thick and creamy and almost unbearably rich. I had mine with French vanilla but there were about 10 different options, at varying levels of booziness.

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And speaking of drunk, this is the size of their wine glasses, presented without comment.

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Cafe Mlynek

This was a little B&B that we stumbled upon in the Jewish Quarter and I absolutely loved it. Seriously, I’m so booking out a room for like six months and writing my novel here.

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We only stopped in for tea on our last day but a German couple across from us ordered two massive breakfasts and made us both insanely jealous. The food was traditional Polish fare, with a bit of a healthy twist. Or semi-healthy. Everything appeared to be covered in cheese. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

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Sweet Jesus, don’t ask me to pronounce this. I like to think that the Polish people in these restaurants were charmed by our hapless mangling of their language. This was another cafe in the Jewish Quarter that we went to for lunch. It was adorably chintzy and delivered on my touristy expectations of an authentic Polish cafe: little fringed lamps, embroidered tablecloths, gigantic portions of hearty food.

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Niall thinks I’m an eejit.

Studio Qulinarne

Another Jewish Quarter find, we booked this place after reading about it in the Guardian because apparently we’re middle class now. Niall was horrified at how fancy it was, but that really just means anywhere with candles and tablecloths. They let us in with me in a band tshirt and Niall in his Converse so make of that what you will. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was beautiful, with draping fabric chandeliers casting soft light and a pianist providing gentle background music. I was ludicrously happy here. It was the priciest place that we had dinner but the entire meal still only came to about £50, so I’m certainly not complaining.

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Wodka Cafe Bar

This place was so awesome, I’m gutted that we didn’t get to spend a whole evening here.

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Located just a hop (or a stumble) away from the Market Square, this bar boasts over 100 different types of vodka. And coffee, if you’re into that sort of thing. We were not. When I asked to see the menu, the bartender laughed and gestured at the vast shelves behind him. As our tourguides on the first day had suggested, I requested that the bartender choose for me. Apparently, he’s an expert on matching people to vodkas. My kind of expert. I’m a raspberry.

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The vodka is served straight from the freezer in iced glasses. The bartender’s horror when I asked whether you shot the drink or sip it came as a great relief – the standard measure in Poland is 50ml. Once we’d polished off our raspberry vodkas, we decided to order a couple of pineapples. It was the special of the day, after all. The vodkas were dangerously delicious, smooth and sweet enough to be sipped straight. I felt like I should be conspiring something. The bar also offers a tasting board from six to twenty three different kinds of vodka and liqueur and if I didn’t have a flight to catch that day, you can bet that I’d have been sipping my way through one of those all evening.

Krakow is a truly wonderful place, filled with beauty and chaos and magic. I’m already missing those golden leaves and crooked alleyways and daydreaming about returning to its crumbling beauty to live as a starving artist, subsiding solely on inspiration and vodka.

Up next: our Krakow day trips!

Cruisin’

2015 has been a great year of travel for me: starting the year in Australia, paddling off the palm of Dubai, watching the Northern Lights dance in Iceland, and now, my very first cruise!

My mum had been threatening to take me on a cruise for ages so, with me having never been on one before and the Caribbean just a little out of our price range, we decided to hop on board the luxurious P&O Britannia for a two night taster cruise to Guernsey.

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Britannia, casually ruling the waves.

We had roughly a two hour wait in Southampton, following probably the most incomprehensible queueing system I’ve ever experienced, so that wasn’t the best start ever to our holiday. P&O, if you’re reading it, you guys might want to work on this one. Two hours is a pretty long time when you’re only on the ship for 48. By the time we finally made it through to the ship, I was feeling pretty grumpy.

Naturally, this evaporated within about three seconds of actually getting onto the ship and I immediately started squealing, photographing everything in sight and drinking.

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The Britannia is beautiful. Obviously, I’ve never been on a cruise ship before, so I don’t know if this is par for the course on a cruise but everything was absolutely stunning. Everywhere I turned, I was faced with opulent silks and chrome so polished I could retouch my lipstick in it. The central staircase spirals through the heart of the ship, following the patterns of a dazzling chandelier. I made a mental note to run down it pretending to be Kate Winslet at every available opportunity.

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We grabbed some lunch and the obligatory glasses of prosecco when we boarded, before heading to the cocktail bar at the back of the ship for sail away.

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Those of you who know me well will know that I’m a total water baby. I might be a Capricorn but that’s only because I jumped the gun and arrived two months early…I suspect I’ve got a good chunk of Pisces in there. There is nothing that doesn’t seem better to me after a few hours of staring at the sea or wandering along a canal. So watching the sun set over the churning water, cocktail in hand, while Southampton melted into the distance was pretty near bliss for me.

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We were feeling pretty sleepy after the early journey to Southampton to decided to retire to our BALCONY ROOM and get ready for dinner at a leisurely pace. With more cocktails. Obviously. We were tired, not dead.

We got dressed for dinner, I nearly peed my pants when I remembered that all the food was already paid for so I could have steak with absolutely no qualms and we headed off in search of some entertainment.

After a brief stint at the casino, which saw me win exactly nothing on the roulette wheel (must have used up all my luck in Australia), we found ourselves in the Crystal Room – the ship’s sumptuous onboard ballroom. The band were incredible, working their way through a gorgeous range of covers, including a soulful Material Girl, which was probably my favourite thing ever. But what I loved about this room were the dancers. Every so often, a young couple would get up and strut their stuff and I love watching people who can dance. It makes me so very jealous. More often, though, an older couple would take to the floor and put us all to shame. I was bawling my heart out.

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I am very proud of this photo, so if you recognise these folks, shout!

At this point, we were both flagging a little, so we decided to hit the hay, rocked to sleep by the motion of the ship.

By the time we woke up, we had dropped anchor at Guernsey. I woke up before my mum, so dragged my duvet out onto the balcony and watched the shuttle ships taking people to and from the island. To be honest, I think I could spend two days doing that and be happy. Once mum woke up, we enjoyed a leisurely room service breakfast on the balcony, because we so fancy.

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After breakfast, it was time to go see Guernsey! Again, the queue to get onto the shuttle boats was a bit of a nightmare. P&O, my darlings, you are bad at organising and queueing. You are very, very good at everything else, but the actual logistics were a bit of a nightmare. Fortunately, Guernsey was worth the wait.

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Having grown up on the rocks at Troon, I’m a sucker for a gorgeous harbour and Guernsey certainly didn’t disappoint. The stunning seaside disappears into beautiful, chintzy lanes, a lot like Brighton.

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We started at the sea front where, I’m not even kidding, there was a DOG FESTIVAL on. There were dogs everywhere. I nearly signed a lease then and there. Then, to avoid me being arrested for foisting myself on innocent dog owners, we wandered up to the stunning Candie Gardens.

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The gardens were an absolute eruption of colour – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many beautiful flowers in such a small space – and if you climb to the top, you can look all the way down to the sea. Seriously, I’m so moving here.

All too soon, it was time to head back to the Britannia. We bid Guernsey a fond farewell and promised to come back again soon. At this point, we realised that it had been at least 10 minutes since our last cocktail, so we found some ridiculously comfortable bucket chairs and had another.

p&o britannia deckI’d just like to point out the perils of taking someone like me on a food-inclusive holiday. I literally couldn’t stop eating. I was so overcome by all the options and so excited that I wasn’t being charged for any of it that I had a slice of pizza, a burger and a box of chips for my lunch. And I’d do it again.

The second night was formal night, and I jumped at the chance to get all dressed up in my Cinderella dress from the White Party.

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Ladies who lounge.

Dressed in our finest finery, we headed back to the restaurant for an utterly magnificent dinner. Between courses, we were treated to a champagne sorbet palette cleanser which literally made me giggle in delight and I even managed to tick off an item from this year’s bucket list – eating my first ever baked alaska!

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After winning yet more nothing at the casino, we wandered up to the Crow’s Nest to listen to the ship’s pianist play a variety of film and musical tunes. Sitting there, watching the sea go by, with a glass of champagne in my hand and genuinely fantastic music…I don’t think I could have wanted for anything.

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The rare spotted Fiona in her natural habitat.

I genuinely don’t know why cruises are an old people thing. They are awesome. I plan to drag Niall on one as soon as I have the available funds. The Britannia was absolutely brilliant and P&O looked after us like royalty. If you get the chance, get on this ship.

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.

travel perth western australia

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.

travel perth western australia

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.

Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

Today, I decided to sack off the whole city living thing and go hang out with my grandad in Troon.

I carefully chose an “I-am-a-fine-upstanding-citizen” outfit and hopped a train to the seaside.

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This is me pretending to be a responsible young lady, who has her shit together and wears blouses like it aint no thang. I say “thang” now. Deal with it.

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I wore my awesome froggy earrings in honour of mine and my grandad’s mutual amphibian obsession.

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Blustery train ride.

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Blustery beach.

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Outside is overrated.

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