Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Outfit: Red Label Monochrome Skater Dress

Jacquard Skater Dress: Red Label* // Belt: Primark // Boots: Rocket Dog

I decided to get my legs out in this post, seeing as for the first time in my life I have a tan! I know it really doesn't look like it, but I am actually quite tanned for me at the moment... it may not be the most conventional type of tan, it's more a large collection of freckles that have merged together to leave my skin slightly less white than it was a couple of months ago... but the sun has made my skin change colour so I'm pretty sure that officially means it's a tan! And breathe.

This Red Label dress is the perfect transitional piece to wear at the moment, when the sun is trying to come out (sometimes) but it's still not very warm. The material is really lovely and thick, so that combined with the sleeves mean it's not too summery an item to wear right now. I braved wearing it with boots and bare legs, plus a jacket, for a girly lunch and shopping day out at the weekend. However it could easily be paired with black tights and a blazer for a warmer and smarter combination.

These are my first outfit photos taken this year I think :| so please excuse the cheesy cheshire cat face, I've forgotten how to pose. My friend Ellie was taking the photos instead of Josh too, so I was being all awkward and shy too! I also believe this is the first time my natural curly hair has featured on my blog, so hi this is my real hair! It hasn't been straightened in over two months now, so I'm quite excited to see how long it's got in that time. Is that really sad? It probably is. 

Now we've returned from Thailand and we're back in the UK for a few months, but I'm going to be moving around the country with Josh and his festival work for the summer, so I'm still being a nomad. But hopefully I'll be able to make outfits a more common occurrence again, along with the odd festival and lifestyle post too :)

What transitional pieces have you been wearing recently? What are you most looking forward to about summer? x

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Travelling Thailand: The Andaman Coast - Ko Lanta & Ko Phi Phi

Andaman Coast Thailand
What to do in Phi Phi
Ko Lanta Thailand

Along the Andaman Coast of Thailand, we visited Krabi Town and also stayed in Ao Nang which were both lovely seaside resorts. Apart from the beautiful sea, you could have been on any beach holiday in the world so we decided to move away from the tourist-y coast and out to the islands.

Ko Lanta
Lanta is a very chilled out Thai island, perfect if you want to escape and lie on the beach with a book for a while! We stayed in a small bamboo bungalow just set back from the beach, with a hammock on the porch (one of Josh's main requirements of our accommodation). On the beach directly in front of our bungalow were small wooden huts with open sides, perfect for relaxing in the shade but still being able to enjoy the beach. To be completely honest we didn't do a lot in Lanta, we mainly sat in the wooden huts, or on the beach, swam or read to pass the time. It was lovely and relaxing after a busy month of sightseeing and visiting temples!

Ko Phi Phi
Phi Phi is one of the more well known Thai islands, maybe for it's lively nightlife, maybe for the fact it's the setting for the film 'The Beach'. It was a lot busier than Lanta, which was empty in comparision really. Phi Phi is an amazing island, there's so much to do there! If you can get past the noise, the parties and the typical type of people that would go to a party island (I don't want to be stereotypical but there's a lot of 'lads'), then you will have an amazing time. We joined in the partying on the beach for a couple of nights, but invested in some earplugs for the others and had a great time! I strongly recommend taking a boat trip out to Phi Phi Lei, the smaller of the two Phi Phi islands which doesn't have any town or accommodation at all, which is where you will see the amazing clear waters, monkeys and scenes from The Beach. We went on a watersports experience day where we took a speedboat out and did cliff jumping (I'm too much of a wuss, so that's my friend Janie in the picture up there!), visited monkey bay where loads of monkeys live, we went to some amazing lagoons and coves, tried paddleboarding, visited the beach from the film, snorkled and saw some amazing fish (plus a shark :|), saw turtles from the boat and finally tubed and wakeboarded off the back of the speed boat! It was such a good day and I definitely recommend it, it was simply called The Watersports Adventure and can be booked from any of the tour agents in the town.

A large part of Phi Phi was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami and it's amazing to see how they've recovered from that over the last 10 years, there's still a lot of reference to the disaster in the town and the locals often speak to you about it too. I loved Phi Phi and there are places to escape from the party lifestyle, so head round to some of the quieter beaches if that's more for you.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Printic Polaroid images & giveaway!

Printic app
Print Instagram photos
Instagram polaroid photos
print polaroids

When Printic dropped me an email about their photo printing services, with the company tagline being 'we print your memories', I thought what better images to get printed than some of our Thailand phone snaps!

I downloaded the free Printic app to Josh's phone (mine had been lost by that point wah!) and got started. The app was so easy to use, first of all you just need to select the product you'd like printed - polaroid style prints, a beautiful bound photo book or a calendar. As you can see above, I chose images to be printed in the polaroid style. It was so easy to choose the images, you didn't need to link the app to an Instagram account or anything like that, you just simply choose the images from your phone's camera roll or memory. Once your images have been selected you're able to edit and crop them so they fit your product perfectly, then preview them to check they're correct.

Once you've created your prints, they're sent out to you for free, wherever you are in the world and a cute little orange envelope lands on your doormat! I was really pleased with the quality of my prints, especially for the price of the service and how easy they were to create - I'm planning on ordering more using some more of our travel images!

The lovely Printic team have offered 10 free prints to one of my readers, just enter via the Rafflecopter form below :)

Terms and Conditions:
Competition starts Monday 28th April and ends midnight Monday 5th May 2014.
Winner will be contacted on Tuesday 6th May 2014.
Winner will be sent a one-use code for 10 free Printic polaroid prints.
Prize cannot be exchanged for monetary value and winner must have access to compatible smart phone to use the Printic app.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Travelling Thailand: Pai

Pai is a small, very hippie, town up in the north of Thailand - it might be small but there's definitely a lot to do! We spent almost a week in Pai and while we were there we met people who we continued travelling around Thailand with and will hopefully remain friends with too!

Pai Bamboo Huts
Pai Country HutsTravelling Thailand

We stayed in the bamboo huts above and it was awesome, this was our first experience of the bamboo bungalows in Thailand but they became more common as we headed south towards the island. To get to the little hut we had to cross this rickety bridge, made solely from bamboo and wood. It wobbled and creaked with every footstep and I honestly thought it wouldn't hold the weight of me and my giant backpack. The locals were laughing at me as I made my way across the first time, shouting 'it's safe, look...' then proceeding to stomp across to prove it wouldn't collapse! I was not so convinced, but eventually got used to it. We had a couple of guests in our hut on the first day, the first being a massive gecko just sitting on our little porch who was actually quite cute and didn't scare us. However during my first trip to the toilet in our little ensuite bathroom at the back of the hut (which was actually much nicer than you'd think for a hut!), I looked down and saw a weird pipe coming out from the plughole on the floor... I was watching it for a while then suddenly realised that the pattern was a bit unusual for a pipe... then finally realised it was a snake! I jumped off the loo and shouted for Josh, who came in and took a photo then went to ask the man who owned the huts what we should do. The man was genuinely excited as he said that this had never happened before, casually poked the snake with a broom handle then picked it up! That was pretty exciting for our first day in Pai!

Pai, Thailand
What to do in Pai
Things to do in Pai
Pai Canyon

While in Pai, we went on an awesome daytrip that I would recommend to anyone! It cost us about £6 each, lasted the majority of the day, we saw about 7 tourist attractions and had our own personal driver who waited outside! We booked this from a tour agent on the main street of Pai, you should be able to see the adverts for it easily. Some of the highlights of the day are above. Our first stop of the day was an early morning visit to the giant white Buddha on the mountain, we were able to get part of the way up the hill by car but had to walk the rest of the way up gravelly steps which soon disappeared into a very steep gravel slope! Once we got to the top it was lovely though, the sun was starting to come out behind the Buddha. In general Pai is quite cloudy and constantly smells like bonfire, this is because they burn the forests and fields around the town to increase the nutrition in the soil - I'm pretty sure this isn't good for people's lungs or the environment but there we go. So that's why most of the pictures of the sky here aren't the clear blue you'd expect from Thailand and why we couldn't see much from the viewpoint on the giant Buddha mountain! 

The second highlight of the trip was Pai Canyon, I loved this! We climbed up to the top of the canyon then followed the hiking trail, I will warn you that this trail is not for the faint hearted! As you can see in the picture above, the trail will suddenly change into a very narrow ridge with sheer drops either side! There's also parts of the trail that basically require rock-climbing. Doing this in flipflops is not a good idea, as we found out, so went barefoot most of the way round... passing experienced hikers with their walking boots on, oops. And my final highlight was the hot springs! At first I wasn't too sure about this, why would I want to sit in a hotter than normal bath (about 36°C)... while it was over 30°C out anyway! But it was lovely and so relaxing, the grounds of the springs were beautiful too.

Pai Hot Springs
While we were out during the daytime, there was a massive powercut across the whole town. The power didn't come back until hours later, about 10pm and even then it was a bit flickery and dodgy. Seeing as we had no light, we went into the town in the evening and all the bars were lit up by candles and lanterns, there was no music in the bars as normal so people were bringing out guitars and ukeleles and everyone was singing along! It was so much fun and created a real campfire feel in the town and made it more hippy than it already was - the fireshow performers were in their element! The electricians couldn't permanently fix the electric, so it was down the following two daytimes while they tried to fix it - 3 whole days with intermittent power! 

A few things to know about Pai:
- We visited in early March and it could get a bit chilly late in the evenings, so take a hoody.
- A lot of people have motorbike accidents here, so be careful if you hire a scooter.
- It's rumoured that there's 762 curves in the road to Pai, it's so bendy and even I got travel sick on the way (I never get travel sick).
- There's a nice public swimming pool a little way out of town called Fluid that is good to visit.

Pai is definitely somewhere I'd recommend visiting, even for a few days, if you can survive the journey there! :)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Travelling Thailand: Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park

Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park
Elephants in Chiang MaiTravelling in Thailand

During our time in Chiang Mai, we took a day trip out to the Elephant Nature Park. Josh and I had decided before we went to Thailand that we didn't want to take part in, or give any money to, trips or tours that used elephants cruelly or just for tourists' benefit. Finding an elephant park that didn't provide rides on the elephants for entertainment was quite hard, but then we finally found the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.

Set 60km out of the city, the park is a rural sanctuary and rescue center for elephants that have been abused or mistreated for work or tourism. Domesticated elephants are rescued from abusive work and situations, then live as free as they can be on 300 acres of land in the park with food and care provided every day. It's as close as they can be to the wild, but as they're already domesticated and have been for many years, they need humans on hand to provide food and medical care which the park provides. 

Volunteers pay around 50GBP to visit the park for the day, all of the money goes towards maintaining and improving the park and care for the elephants. Throughout the day the volunteers learn about the elephants' histories, how they're cared for, but also help the park staff feed the elephants and wash them too. It was such a fun day and I genuinely felt like our money was going towards a good cause and that the money was put to the best possible use too. The staff work so hard every day, there's currently 30 elephants in the park and every single one has been rescued from an abusive situation. Some of them were chained up in the middle of busy cities and forced to take tourists on rides on the busy streets at all times of the day. The park also takes in stray dogs, if you've ever been to Thailand you'll know there's hundreds of them around, so they all need looking after too! 

The elephants had created their own 'families' and herds within the park, even though none of them are related. It was so nice to hear how some of the elephants had adopted others when they were new to the park, one blind elephant arrived and was quickly adopted by another elephant who now acts as her guide! There were also two very young elephants, a one year old and a 6 month old baby (pictured above)! They were so cute! The one year old hadn't quite mastered how to use it's trunk to get food into it's mouth so kept missing, it was so funny!

It was amazing to see the elephants up close, they're such beautiful creatures and I'm so happy I got to experience them when they were well looked after and happy! If you ever go to Thailand you really have to go to Chiang Mai (you should go anyway it's a fun city!) and the Elephant Nature Park!