27 June 2016

Travel | The Bali Diaries - Ubud

Pondok Prapen, Ubud
Pondok Prapen, Ubud
Rice fields, Ubud
Soma, Ubud
Soma, Ubud
Jungle Fish, Ubud
Jungle Fish, Ubud
Jungle Fish, Ubud
Jungle Fish, Ubud
Jungle Fish, Ubud
The Monkey Forest, Ubud
The Monkey Forest, Ubud
The Monkey Forest, Ubud
Pondok Prapen, Ubud
Elephant Park, Taro
Elephant Park, Taro
Markets, Ubud
Temple, Ubud
Next up on The Bali Diaries is the place where we stayed for the longest, Ubud, the home of spiritual, beautiful, and wonderful people.

As soon as we arrived at our homestay in Ubud, I knew this was going to be a place that I would love. A 40-minute drive from Sanur, we found ourselves surrounded by jungle, temples and rice fields. We had booked a little homestay called Pondok Prapen, which was a 10-minute walk from the main Ubud road. It was the sweetest little place run by a gorgeous family – they seriously couldn’t do enough for you, constantly asking if we were okay and what we had planned for the day. They brought us breakfast on the terrace every morning and the grounds were just stunning – so authentically Balinese.

Our first day was spent wandering and exploring the streets of Central Ubud. It is the home to so many cool places and clearly draws in many free spirit folk, as Vegan and Vegetarian places are extremely plentiful. Everywhere is super relaxed and chilled, there was plenty of times we just sat and watched the world go by with a Bintang beer in hand. Everybody we passed had a friendly place and greeted you a polite hello, and just, argh, it was incredible. 

One of the places I knew we had to visit whilst in Ubud was Jungle Fish. When I first had seen photographs I just knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. Just a 15-minute taxi ride from Central Ubud, it is the most amazing no-beach-beach-club. It’s a little pricier for drinks and food, but for the experience, it’s so worth it and when put into GBP, it was only £30 for four drinks and some food. As you walk down the steps you are greeted by an infinity pool with the most wonderful view of the jungle, it really is breathtaking. Whilst there we simply chilled, swam, drank and celebrated our engagement with cocktails – it was perfect.

Another place to definitely visit whilst in Ubud is the Monkey Forest. For a small £3 entry, you can explore the beautiful Forest whilst hundreds of monkeys free roam around you. They are super friendly (unless provoked obviously) and just jump around and play with each other, it was amazing to see them up close. It’s not an enclosed compound, the monkeys can go where they like and outside of it, but it seems as if they get bloody well fed so I can see why there were so many!

We had booked a day excursion on Expedia before going out to Bali. We had booked a super fun day doing White Water Rafting and the Elephant Park. After getting picked up, we headed off up to the Ayung River to meet our team of brave adventurers. We had an amazing two-hour rafting trip. It wasn’t as crazy as rafting in Ecuador, but the views were amazing and we saw some great sights along the way – definitely worth doing if you haven’t rafted before! After a buffet lunch, we made our way to the Elephant Park, which is a sanctuary for Indian Elephants. It was amazing to see them so up close, they were super friendly and fun, I could have spent hours playing with them. We did go on an Elephant Ride and to be honest, I regret it, which may be weird to hear. Elephants aren’t meant to be rode and I would never do it again. 

The markets are also a great place to check out in Ubud, you can grab some great bargains there, I got the cutest playsuit for about £2.50 – buzzing! You can also attend some great traditional Balinese dances that are on every night in various places around 7:30pm. There are also food places galore! Have a look on Trip Advisor for the best spots to visit. 

I absolutely loved my time in Ubud and would recommend everybody visiting Bali to definitely spend a few days there! I could go back there in a heartbeat.

Megan. xo
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25 June 2016

Lifestyle | Not Being Defined By A Number

Numbers are everywhere, on the scales, on our bank slips, on our social media. This generation has a habit of letting numbers take over, and I don’t know how I feel about it…

‘To be happy, I need to lose at least 2 stone’

‘Aaah, I only need 60 followers to reach 5000, then I’ll have really made it’

‘I need at least another £1000 to fuel my spending habits’

It is everywhere. They are everywhere. Numbers. 

As of recently, heck, as of ever, I have seen people use numbers to set goals. ‘I must reach XY’, and what have you. I mean, it is great to have something to strive for; I was like this once too. But I have started to come to the realisation that it can develop into something that is somewhat unhealthy, and in some respect damaging to a person’s mentality, much like it was to mine. People are becoming infatuated by a little scribble on a screen or a piece of paper that, to them, ultimately decides their mood and how they are going to feel for the rest of the day/week/month.

‘I feel shit because I only lost 1 pound this week’

‘My Instagram followers have been on 500 for ages, I feel like I’m getting nowhere with this’

Why, as a society, have we begun to let numbers define us? To define our success? To define our joy? I think we need an intervention here, ladies and gentlemen. Let us all sit-down and take part in a sort of number detox, if you will, flushing out and away all those hundreds and thousands and replacing them with something a little bit easier, a lighter idea that calms the mind and brings a sense of peace.

Happiness. 

We should strive for happiness. We shouldn’t give ourselves all this ‘I need to lose 3 stone to be happier’, we should work our arses off, not step on the scale and when we reach that moment of looking in the mirror and feeling better about yourself, that is when you have reached that goal. It shouldn’t have to be numbered, labelled, ticked off on a little ticky box list. Your blog/social media isn’t going to be successful when it’s reached 100,000 across all platforms. It’s successful when you have created an amazing community of a-like people who bring great conversation, laughter and friendship – that is happiness without numbers. It’s about being inspired and feeling content with those involved in those channels. It is not about the milestones that we reach; it is about the bonds that we make.

Now I’m not sitting here to say STOP DOING THIS and STOP DOING THAT because, bloody hell we’re only human – and most of the time, we can’t even take our own advice. Heck, I will probably still sit and think to myself ‘Oh, but when I reach 20k on Instagram…’. But it’s just something to think about, to take a step back and look at the reality of things. I don’t want people to remember me by ‘eee, she had loads of followers on Twitter!’, I want people to say ‘hey, she had a bloody wonderful heart’.

And that’s it really. See you later?

Megan. xo
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23 June 2016

Travel | The Bali Diaries - Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Indah Bungalows, Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Indah Bungalows, Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
Now in Bali, the next stop was paradise. Set only a boat ride away, we ventured off to the beautiful Nusa Lembongan…

When I had seen photographs of this little island just off Bali, I knew that I had to spend a few days on there. We managed to find a local speedboat company, named ‘Scoot’, which had won multiple awards to take us over there. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest (around £30 each for a return), but we valued safety first being on the water! The team there was great as they picked us up from our hotel, dropped us off at our one on the island and also took us up to our next destination when back on Bali!

Once on Lembongan, we knew that we were in heaven. The sands were golden and the water a crystal clear blue, it was like something I’d only seen on Pinterest. We were taken by a little truck to the back of our hotel. All the roads on the island are so small that there are no cars; the community simply uses scooters and trucks to get around. We walked down a small pathway to come out again to the beach, of which Nusa Indah Bungalows is situated, the most beautiful views! 

The bungalows were really cute, however, we were more in a room, which I didn’t expect. It was a great and cheap place to stay, however, the shower water was super salty, which was a bit minging. But the pool made up for everything, you could literally sit and chill whilst watching the sea, and it was purely magical. 

Obviously, I’m a little bit biassed as I got engaged there, but the sunsets are absolutely sensational – everybody was simply staring. This led to great places to eat where you could watch just that. We went next door to Lembongan Beach Club for a fantastic meal one night, but my favourite was Lemongrass. I found it on Trip Advisor as it had high ratings and it was brilliant, great food, great cocktails but the entertainment made it. There was an acoustic group who sang classic songs but they were incredible – super impressed!

Activities wise, we didn’t do much as this was our ‘chill time’. One morning we went for a stroll and inquired in a place about snorkelling, ten minutes later we were on scoots travelling further down the island. At around £7.50 each, we had an hour and a half snorkelling trip with our own guide, seeing three different types of water and it was incredible. Although it took me a while to get used to the mask, I loved swimming amongst all the beautiful fish – I was in awe! Afterwards, we decided to treat ourselves to an hour full body massage (we had just got engaged!). They cost around £6 each and were brilliant, so relaxing and calming. However, I did put the underpants on my head as they looked like a hairnet, LOL, the woman almost wet herself. 

I wish we had the chance to go over to the Gili islands too, but if you are needing a few relaxing days away whilst in Bali, get your butt over to Lembongan. It was something I’ll never see again, but so happy that I did!

Megan. xo
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21 June 2016

Fashion | Accessorising with Olivia Burton

Olivia Burton Rose Gold and Dusty Pink watch from the Timeless Collection
Olivia Burton Rose Gold and Dusty Pink watch from the Timeless Collection
Olivia Burton Rose Gold and Dusty Pink watch from the Timeless Collection
Olivia Burton Rose Gold and Dusty Pink watch from the Timeless Collection
An outfit is just as good as the accessories you pair it with and when they are as pretty as this, you  simply can’t go wrong…

I have never been a huge accessorise-er, but now with a constant ring on my hand, I’m warming to the idea of sprucing up an outfit with alternative features. With starting my first graduate job, I need to keep my organisational skills on top, including my time keeping. I’m a creature of habit for checking the time on my phone and finding myself still there fifteen minutes later scrolling through Twitter…

To change this, I’ve got a watch and a rather beautiful one at that. No more distractions in the office, step back, I’m a professional now! This is the Dusty Pink and Rose Gold Watch (£85) from the Olivia Burton Timeless Collection, a piece that is subtle, but stunning. There is something about the rose gold and pink combination of which seems so effortless and feminine yet the large white dial adds an element of sophistication. Expect me to do a lot of exaggerated arms swings whilst ‘checking the time’ to flaunt this beauty of a piece.

Olivia Burton watches are so gorgeous, and Mococo has such a large range of them. If I’m keen to expand my watch collection (I can totally wear about four, right?), I have got my eyes on this mint one, because give me allllll the pastel colours please, and also this butterflies themed one as it really is the cutest! Make sure you check out the full range here.

Are you a watch advocate, or do you stick to your mobile for the time? Let me know in the comments below, I’m wondering if it’s a trend passed!

Megan. xo
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