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A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸

I’m back! After a couple of quiet days and generally slow start to the year, I’m writing again. The last couple of months have been pretty crazy for me, both personally and professionally. Just before Christmas I went away to Jordan with my best friend for a week (blog post being written, stay tune!), and then we had the chaos of the holidays… Returning to work meant I had a million emails to deal with. On top of all of that, we were rolling out a new strategy for the biz. Next thing I know, we’re a couple days away from going on my hen party in Marrakech, and the wedding is literally a matter of weeks away. How on earth did this all happen so quick?! I digress.

One of my favourite things about having the blog is being able to look back on all the awesome things we’ve done and reading about it. I always forget the little details so I try and find the time to write about it as much as I can. It’s something I kind of regret not doing when we went traveling in the van, because there’s already so many little things that I’ve forgotten about. The best time was to write them when we were out there, the second best time is to start writing them now, so here I am… This trip only goes back a couple of weeks ago though so I’ll start here.

A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸 | UK Lifestyle Blog

On Christmas Day my lovely fiancé showered me with gifts. We lovingly bought me my favourite fake tan, some clothes I’d been swooning over at Sea Salt and lots of goodies that he knows I’ve wanted for ages. It was really sweet of him and just showed how well he knows me. Things are great and all (I love being golden bronze and knitwear is always a winner), but I’m all about experiences. Spending the day making memories with my love is far more important to me than anything else. S knows this, which is probably why he also booked us onto a llama walk in North Cornwall! When I opened the envelope on Christmas Day I burst out laughing and was so excited.

We were booked to go the weekend after New Years, so we didn’t have to wait too long before going to visit the llamas. We happened to have a voucher to use from Red Letter Days so we cashed it in to stay at a gorgeous little BnB in Devon to make a weekend of it. It couldn’t have been better timing to use our voucher as it felt like a real impromptu treat when we remembered we had the credit available to enjoy. It was so nice to have something booked after Christmas, too. As much as we adore our friends and family, we found this year to be a little bit exhausting visiting everybody, as we’re usually quite introverted people. It was nice to have some “us” time.

A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸 | UK Lifestyle Blog

We woke up bright and early on Sunday and headed to the llama farm. When we arrived we were greeted by the group we’d be joining and the owners of the farm. We picked out our llamas before having a health and safety introduction, then we set on our way to wander around the farm. They were absolutely adorable and all their personalities were so funny. We learnt tons about the llamas, their wool and the farm which was really interesting. It was clear that the owners of the farm had a true passion for llamas, and they told us about their travels to Peru to see rare breeds of llamas. Who knew there was so much to learn!?

We learnt more about the llamas and fed them, which was pretty funny. We got some shots with the llamas (when they weren’t trying to run away from us1) and then made our way up to a small log cabin in the woods where we stopped for a cuppa tea and a scone. It was lovely to huddle around the fire in the cabin, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to visit at that time of year – the atmosphere was beautiful. After we finished our drinks we made our way back to the barn where the llamas were kept and said our farewells. The entire session probably lasted about 2 hours, which in my opinion was the perfect amount of time to stay on the farm.

A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸 | UK Lifestyle Blog

We browsed the shops and I swooned over some handmade socks made from the wool of the llamas we’d just walked (how cool is that!?). We then made our way up to the bed and breakfast in Devon.

We arrived at a good time, meaning we could unwind and just relax without feeling rushed to go for dinner as soon as we arrived. It’s the cosiest little cottage I’ve ever been to, we actually ended up snuggling up and having a nap when we first arrived. It was so peaceful, with sheep just grazing out the front (such a contrast from our hectic Christmas!). Feeling completely recharged, we woke up and went downstairs to indulge in a three-course dinner, which was included in our stay.

We found out that we were actually the only people staying at the cottage at that time, I guess because January is a quiet time for them. This meant we got the BEST service you can imagine, and we could feel relaxed knowing we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Absolute bliss.

A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸 | UK Lifestyle Blog

I’m not sure if it’s because we live in a new-build house or what… but I’m a real lover of old cottages and country homes. There’s something about a Chesterfield sofa in front of a roaring log burner that makes me feel happy. We filled our bellies with tasty food and just spent the evening enjoying each others company.

The food was so good, and the chef even came out and told us about his family recipe for the curry – you don’t get this type of service anywhere else. It’s one of a kind and not your ‘run of the mill’ bed and breakfast.

A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸 | UK Lifestyle Blog

After a good nights sleep we leisurely checked out of the room. On the way back to Cornwall we decided to stop in IKEA, it would be rude not to! We didn’t have much room in the car but I thought we could pick up a couple of bits.

I ended up buying much more than anticipated including a lampshade with is significantly too big for our house, and it’s now sitting in the corner of the room because we’re not entirely sure what to do with it – Oops! We got some other nice bits though including a full set of pink crockery 😍, then we headed back home.

A romantic stay in Devon + llama walking + IKEA = A happy girl 🤗🌸 | UK Lifestyle Blog

It was such a lovely getaway. When was the last time you had a romantic weekend!?

2019-02-11T01:59:45+00:00 February 11, 2019|Travel|

6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Indonesia 😍🐘

We Brits have a thirst for travel. Whether we’re backpacking through Australia and New Zealand, kayaking in South America, taking in a show in New York City, trying to navigate the beautiful chaos that is Tokyo or simply lounging on a beach in a mediterranean resort town like Cod or Gran Canaria, we do so love to get away.

Sure, we love our country, sure we’ve got some beautiful places on our doorstep, and perhaps we get a little bit edgy when we can’t get a “proper” cup of tea overseas. The struggle is real, as I didn’t have a proper cup of tea in 2 months because I was traveling! It’s doesn’t end there, there’s tons of home comforts we miss but fear not, sometimes brands just have different names (Data Label actually did some research on this! Definitly check it out before you sob about missing your favourite crisps whilst traveling #firstworldproblem). Before I digress…

The great thing is that the world is such a huge place that whatever our tastes, preferences or budget with the explosion in online travel even the most cash strapped of us can find a great place to holiday when we’ve had a little too much of the gloom and drizzle of dear old blighty. Every now and then, however we may fall in love with a holiday destination that is truly unique in its sights, sounds, tastes, scents, culture, politics and national identity.

Infinitely beautiful and exotic, Indonesia can be an intoxicating place for tourists to fall in love with. As a growing economic hub, many westerners travel to Indonesia for work, while its many gorgeous sights continue to draw tourists from all over the world. Whether you’re staying for the long haul or just for a fleeting visit here are just of the wonderful things about staying in Indonesia and why it remains one of my favourite countries in the world…

6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Indonesia 😍🐘 | UK Lifestyle Blog

Gorgeous scenery and wildlife

There’s absolutely no doubt that Indonesia is one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. Even if you’re staying in one of the country’s major conurbations like Jakarta, Surabaya or Tangerang, you won’t have to far to spend some time amongst lush greenery and breathtakingly beautiful views.

If you need to take a holiday in your down time you’ll find that you’re only a couple of hours from somewhere stunning like Kepulauan Seribu, the Thousand Islands where you can chill for a few days in a glorious overwater hut. It’s the perfect antidote to the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital, yet just a short two hour boat ride away. Animal and bird lovers will also find a plethora of gorgeous and fascinating wildlife. There’s literally nowhere else in the world where you can see a komodo dragon in their natural habitat.

Affordable and luxurious accommodation

If you’re used to paying the exorbitant rents of major cities in Britain like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester or even London itself, you’ll likely be astonished at how affordable good quality, even luxurious accommodation is across Indonesia. Just take a look at this link and see for yourself; https://www.rumah.com/rumah-dijual/di-area-pakuwon-city-idji29033.

You’ll see a range of luxury homes at the tiniest fraction of what their equivalents would cost here in blighty. In fact, private rent is an estimated 74% lower than in the UK, while aggregate cost of living is estimated at just under 50% lower. If you’re planning on moving to Indonesia with work, investing in property or starting your own business, you’ll find that your opportunities are bolstered by great living at affordable prices.

6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Indonesia 😍🐘 | UK Lifestyle Blog

We stayed in this place, and it was $15 a night and SERIOUSLY beautiful 👆😱😱😱😱

Amazing street food

If you think you’ve tasted real Indonesian street food because you’ve been to Wagamamas or Tampopo, think again! Indonesia’s street food is legendary and oh-so-cheap. You’ll never have a bad meal while you’re there!

Try the rendang curry which can be made with meat of veggies, gado-gado for guilt free vegetarian deliciousness or nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) if you like your tastes simple and spicy.

Incredible coffee culture

If you have a passion for coffee, you won’t find a better place to indulge your habit. Coffee culture is absolutely massive all over Indonesia and while you may find all the familiar coffee chains in the big cities, the best drinking is to be found in the lesser known areas.

If you’re up for a trek in the Sumatran highlands you’ll find some of the world’s most legendary coffees including the kopi luwak coffee made famous by the film The Bucket List in which Jack Nicholson’s character is mortified to find that his beloved and expensive beverage is made from coffee beans that have been eaten (and defecated) by the local Indonesian mountain goats. While it’s not the most savoury of thoughts, it does lend the beans a unique flavour that all coffee aficionados should try at least once.

6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Indonesia 😍🐘 | UK Lifestyle Blog

Friendly and welcoming locals

The people of Indonesia are uniformly friendly, warm and compassionate, and pride themselves upon treating visitors as if they were their own guests. As such, you’ll find an extremely warm welcome wherever you go.

Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, take the time to read up on local traditions, customs, etiquette and culture and you’ll find yourself a firm favourite among the local populace. Also, don’t forget to take the time to learn a little Bahasa Indonesian, however, and you’ll find that people really appreciate it.

Vibrant art and culture

Culture vultures are often drawn to southeast Asia for its unique art and culture and Indonesia is absolutely no exception. Historically, the country has often been a trading post that bridged the far and middle east. As such, a wide range of cultural influences have shaped the art, culture, religion and politics of Indonesia.

While predominantly Islamic, the culture has also been shaped by Hindu, Buddhist and Confucianist influences to create a style of visual art, literature, music, dance and theatre that are unique and breathtakingly beautiful.

Check out the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta (it’s on my bucket list!) to see a comprehensive overview of the nation’s art, culture and tradition or the Art1: New Museum to get a sample of some of the vibrant modern offerings produced by the nation.

6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Indonesia 😍🐘 | UK Lifestyle Blog

Whatever brings you to Indonesia, and however long you plan to stay for, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this richly diverse country.

2019-02-11T01:13:39+00:00 February 4, 2019|Popular, Travel|

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!)

Hiking can certainly be a lot of fun, especially if you love being outdoors and keeping active. However, it’s no secret that this adventurous hobby also requires a lot of preparation – and not just route planning.

While some trails can be tackled by beginners with little or no experience, others require a higher fitness level. Planning for these trips includes assessing your fitness level to ensure you’re in good shape before you set off.

We did a fair bit of hiking in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia and Italy our recent 2 month road-trip around Europe (and can you blame us?! Below is a photograph from one of our rest days when we were in Austria, just WOW! 😻). Planning on going hiking? Here are some tips on how to physically prepare for a hiking trip.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

1. Plansee, Austria. If you’re looking for untouched natural beauty, you’ll fall in love with Austria.

Plan before you set off!

Are you just starting out, and looking for something to “test the waters”? Maybe you’re a little more experienced, but looking to take things up a notch? Did you find your previous hiking trip a little too much, or perhaps a bit boring? 

Every hike is different, and the physical preparation will differ, too.

If you’re booking through an adventure travel company, you can always ask them what fitness level is required for the routes that interest you. They will often be able to help you assess if the trails of interest are suitable for you.

Know your fitness level ❤️

Assessing your fitness level before setting out on your first hike – or any hike, for that matter – is highly recommended. Not all days trekking will be the same, but that’s what makes it exciting!

If you regularly walk to work and back, play football on the weekends, and go to the gym three times per week, you’d be safe to class yourself as fit. More advanced trails are certainly on your radar, however, shouldn’t be underestimated.

Where a walk to the local chip shop is your primary form of exercise, you’ll need to better prepare your body!

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

2. The Dolomites, Italy were truly epic! The Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is perfect for beginners.

Get some training under your belt 

The obvious way to train for a hike is to get out and walk as much as you can. Anywhere you can reach on foot is an option – so ditch the car in favour of a walk to the local supermarket. In fact, carrying some shopping bags back from the shops will help you, too, as it is likely you’ll need to carry heavy bags with your belongings while hiking.

If hitting the gym, you’ll find that many treadmills feature an incline setting. For most people, these are simply a way of increasing intensity and adding “variety” to otherwise boring cardio workouts. For others, this setting offers a great tool to prepare for real-world hiking adventures.

Most treadmills max out at around 15% incline. This is pretty good, but if you’re looking to hike up demanding hills and mountains, you’ll likely want to try out a dedicated incline trainer.

An incline trainer is the same as a treadmill, however, is designed with a much steeper running deck. With incline percentages up to 40%, these are perfect for increasing the stamina needed for steep treks and mountain climbing. 

Although not cheap, you can easily save yourself some money by comparing gym equipment prices before you buy an incline trainer.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

3. Little further up… Glacier summit shot @ Gornergrat, Switzerland – Feeling on top of the world!

Keep hydrated on your hike

With so many variables to consider, it’s impossible to produce a definitive list of things to do while on your vigorous walk. That said, water and food are things we can accurately estimate.

Before setting off, you’ll no doubt have map of the route you’re taking. You should work out how many miles you’ll walk and calculate how long this will take.

Regarding hydration, a good rule of thumb is to drink a litre of water for every two hours walking. If it’s a hot day, with lots of uphill climbing, this should be the minimum you shoot for.

Remember, the more water you carry, the heavier your bag will be. For this reason, it’s important to accurately estimate how much water to take, to ensure an optimal fitness level.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

4. Views of Matterhorn from Riffelsee, Switzerland (Yes, that’s the Toblerone mountain!!) 🐻

Re-assess your fitness level after the hike

No matter how well you initially assessed your fitness level, or how much you physically prepared your body, you will now know the reality of how fit you are. Did you smash it? Was it a walk in the park (excuse the pun) or maybe it was more physically demanding than you imagined?

Those who found their most recent hiking trip difficult might add weight training to their preparation for next time. If you found it less demanding, you can aim for something a little tougher while having a “feel” for what areas you might need to address to ensure you’re at the right fitness level to tackle it.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

5. One of the most jaw-dropping hikes I’ve ever done, the Pragser Wildsee loop in the Italian Alps

Last but not least…

Physical preparation is an important part of hiking. When booking or planning a hike, ask experienced hikers and tour company advisors about the required fitness level.

Once you’ve shortlisted suitable trails, pick exercises to help you reach the right level: walk to the local shops if you’re a beginner; train on an incline trainer if you’re more experienced; and lift weights if you feel your strength needs improvement.

In addition to preparing you for the hike, these exercises and training methods will also keep your body in great shape for everyday life, too.

2018-12-14T23:57:43+00:00 December 15, 2018|Travel|
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