Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Tandem Sky Dive in Byron Bay, Australia

In 2012 I embarked of a journey of a life-time and spent 6 months traveling, studying and working in Australia. As part of a student exchange program during my undergraduate degree (more on this later!). Just before freshers week, international students were invited to an Extreme Adventure weekend in Byron Bay to get to know each other.

My parents paid for the $299 trip as part of my 21st birthday present that’d I’d be spending away from home, which was sweet. This covered All transportation, 2 Nights dorm accommodation, 2 Breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, a traditional Aussie BBQ, sea kayaking, learn to surf lesson, a day at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and plenty of time to enjoy the beach! We had the option to do a sky dive and a hang glide as well, at an extra fee.

After meeting some friends for life from the United States, I somehow managed to get dragged into a sky dive. Believe me, I’ve been scared of heights since I can remember. I had no interest in having my feet off the ground. Once everyone was signing up I felt like if I was ever going to do it, now was the time. I would kick myself if I wanted to do it in the future and passed up the opportunity to do it in one of the best countries in the world.

Tandem Sky Dive in Byron Bay, Australia | UK Lifestyle Blog

Our sky dive was the following day and we had to meet at 6am to get ready and have a lesson, but alas! We woke up cloudy skies and it was drizzling. We were told that if sky diving was still on, we would be given a phone call and would be able to go. The skies never cleared and we didn’t get to jump; I figured it was fate. Now I had the buzz for it though, and I couldn’t wait to get up there, and was actually disappointed we couldn’t go anymore(I’d also especially gone and bought some lace-up vans especially for the sky dive because apparently flip flops aren’t okay 😉 !).

We headed back to the Gold Coast after an exhausting weekend of sea kayaking, surfing and lots of drinking and carried on with our insane international exchange adventure. The guys decided they still wanted to go, so I rung up and booked us in – again! Another 6am start, we headed in a mini bus shuttle down to Byron Bay. I don’t think the reality of what was about to happen had kicked in and I just listened to music and had a nap. My friend Don looked terrified but I was just more concerned about getting a sandwich.

Tandem Sky Dive in Byron Bay, Australia | UK Lifestyle Blog

Once we arrived and signed up, we realised there were tonnes of people in front of us in the queue and only two planes, so we knew it would be a wait. That’s when the nerves started kicking-in. It was so exciting watching everyone else having a ‘lesson’ on what to do once you jump out the plane etc;. Finally, our names were called and it was our turn to go through the motions of the ‘banana’ pose and landing safely. We were told to take off our watches, given a harness and some sky diving trousers to wear over our shorts.

Don’s harness was so tight around his shoulders, yet mine was just falling off my shoulder. I asked the instructor if he would tighten it and he said that it was as tight as he could make it and just to hold on when I jumped, and gravity would pull it tight during the fall. This was NOT reassuring! At this point, Don has a huge smile on his face and his nerves are gone, and I’m absolutely terrified thinking that it’s a ludicrous idea and ready to jump on the mini bus back home. Next thing I know, I’m being shuffled into a plane!

Tandem Sky Dive in Byron Bay, Australia | UK Lifestyle Blog

My instructor was so lovely! He asked how old I was and I accidentally said 19 (I was 21!), and then he asked what university I went to and I said “One in Australia!” I was so nervous that I just couldn’t concentrate – it was such a bizarre feeling trying so hard to focus whilst completely sober and not being able to control myself. I asked him how many jumps he’d done and I can’t remember the number he said now… but it was at least a 5-digital number. This put a little bit more confidence into me, and then everyone started jumping!

Don was soon a dot within less than a second, and I was the last one out of the plane to jump. I shuffled across the bench in the plane along to the door with my instructor stuck to my back. Ready to hold on for my life, I suddenly felt his tighten the straps so hard I was wrenched backwards. The relief I felt, I could have jumped out of the plane that second! He could have told me that they tighten the straps before you jump!! Head back, deep breath and we rolled out the door on the count of three.

Tandem Sky Dive in Byron Bay, Australia | UK Lifestyle Blog

The rolling and upside down part was a bit of a blur. The 60 second free-fall was nothing like I expected. I didn’t feel like I was falling, but I felt like I was suspended in peaceful, mid-air in sheer silence. People asked me afterwards if you can breathe – Yes, easily actually. It doesn’t make a difference, however we were told to close our mouths if we did have trouble and then breathe through your nose. I screamed most the way, and my jaw was dropped open with pure astonishment the rest of the time (I wasn’t even thinking about my breathing!). Another question was, does it make your stomach feel funny? Nope! You fall with gravity pulling you, unlike a roller coaster that unnaturally pulls you down.

Tandem Sky Dive in Byron Bay, Australia | UK Lifestyle Blog

After the free-fall was over and the parachute had been deloying my instructor loosened my straps to make me more comfortable. He didn’t tell me this though, so I thought he was having a bad day and decided to kill us both (me going first, without the parachute!). I screamed and grabbed the harness, I bet he thought I was completely mental haha! The parachuting went on for quite a while afterwards and it was nice to just feel the buzz and enjoy the scenery as we glided over Byron beach <3.

I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out and did my jump in Byron Bay with some super special people. The feeling I had when I hit the floor, then saw my friend and gave him a hug was indescribable. It’s something I’ll never forget xo

PS: The video is about triple the length that the above clip is. My free-fall was 60 seconds but I cut the video down because it’s just me mouthing words can shouldn’t be repeated, screaming, and my nose being pulled up like a piggy by the pressure 🙂

2018-06-04T00:59:28+00:00 June 13, 2013|Travel|

Our trip to Tapas Alley in Old Town, Benidorm

Benidorm holidays would not be complete without a visit to the famous “Tapas Alley” which runs from the Plaza de la Constitutio to Santa Domingo. A favourite with tourists and locals alike, this is where to head if you want to sample some delicious Catalan cuisine.

Tapas is a great way to try Spanish food and it can come in a variety of ways. For example in some bars you’ll automatically be given a tapa for each drink you order. You could be sitting in a bar and a waiter will walk from table to table offering tapas, you choose whatever you like from the tray and it will be added to your bill. You can also order off a menu just like in any other restaurant, or you’ll see it displayed on the counter and you just pick what you like the look of when you order your drink at the bar.

Our trip to Tapas Alley in Old Town, Benidorm | UK Lifestyle Blog

Tapas comes in many shapes and forms. It can be something cold like a few olives, manchego cheese or jamon (Spanish cured ham). It could equally be something hot like patatas bravas, meatballs or squid. Here are a few must try dishes when on holidays in Spain:

Patatas Bravas

This literally means brave potatoes and are fried potatoes covered in a fiery sauce. Hugely popular and found on many a tapas bar menu.

Albondigas

These are delicious fried meatballs. Served alone, or often with a tomato sauce or an almond based one.

Calamares

Squid rings, sometimes fried in batter, or without. Great with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Boquerones

White anchovies served in vinegar or deep fried.

Pinchos

Kebabs of pork, chicken or lamb, often with a spicy seasoning and grilled. A nod to Spain’s Arabic past.

Chorizo al Vino

Chrorizo sausage cooked in red wine. A tapas bar menu staple.

Croquetas

Delicious deep fried sausages of potato mixed with bechemel sauce and ham, fish or chiciken and rolled in breadcrumbs

Tortilla

Triangles of Spanish omelette filled with potato and onion. Another hugely popular and filling dish.

There are lots of dishes to choose from in a tapas bar, all as delicious as the next. If you find you particularly like something or would like a larger portion, ask for a racion (portion) or medio racion (half portion), both of which are larger than the small tapas style serving.

Why not head off to Benidorm with Direct Holidays and sample some delicious tapas from Tapas Alley for yourself? Read about things to do whilst in the Old Town, Benidorm here from our holiday in the summer.

2018-06-04T00:48:05+00:00 June 7, 2013|Travel|

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award | UK Lifestyle Blog

Thank you  so much to  walkingwiththealligators for nominating me for this lovely and kind Liebster Award.

About the Award:

1. This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
3. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
5. Choose 5 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
7. No tag backs.

11 Random Facts:

1. I’ve four tattoos, and one is a black and white half Asian sleeve on my right arm
2. I’m super flexible and I can lie on my belly and put my feet on top of my head from behind!
3. When I was in Jupiters casino at Broadbeach, Gold Coast, I won $200 on the BlackJack table
4. I’ve studied at four universities, one of them being in Queensland, Australia on an exchange
5. My biggest fear is horses, since I tackled my second biggest fear, heights with a sky dive
6. When I went to France with my family as a child, I was chased by an evil monkey!!
7. My home-made Cornish pastys won a bottle of bubbly in a competition in Aus
8. I have a small 2mm gap inbetween my two front teeth, which I absolutely HATE!!
9. When I was in school I obtained my grade 2 in clarinet and piano
10. I’m dedicated to fancy dress parties, my most recent outfit being a giant hot dog
11. My feet are super tiny – they are size 2 in the kids range (cheap shoes!)

My nominations are:

http://carminareyes.com/
http://from2to3kids.wordpress.com/
http://beautifulkayekie.com/
http://theplumtreebakery.com/
http://louisandmelcomics.wordpress.com/

My Questions from walkingwiththealligators are:

1. If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be?

Small brown bear — or a puppy, puppies are cute

2. What is your worst cooking disaster?

I cooked my friend a chicken burger (or so I thought..) soon to find out that the oven wasn’t on, but being in our drunk states we decided we were too hungry and busy watching American History X — we ate them raw! I was fine, he ended up in hospital a couple days later. Oops!

3. What is your favourite song?

That’s too difficult — Currently: Bon Iver: Towers

4. What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?

Probably moving from England to Queensland, Australia for 6 months to study as part of an international student exchange. It was a really great experience and I also got to do more exciting things like sky diving, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and going to Asia to ride an elephant!

5. Who is your favourite athlete?

I’m guilty to say I don’t watch a lot of sport!

6. Describe yourself in 5 words:

Ambitious, sleepy, small and excitable

7. If you had a time machine where would you go?

Back to the start and see what it’s like to be a baby — they’ve got it good!

8. What’s your favourite sport to watch?

I don’t watch much but LOVED NRL

9. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

Australia to catch up with some buddies, and kick back in the sunshine.

10. What’s your favourite colour?

Brown

11. What’s your favourite quote?

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

2018-01-08T03:34:55+00:00 June 2, 2013|Uncategorized|
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