Taking Things for Granted

After being away for so long, when you come home there are so many home comforts that you realise you take for granted. Its the smallest things that often you miss the most like being able to light a candle or taking a hot shower. The biggest thing for me was the ability to cook my own food, I was dying to cook when I came home! Today I thought I would write a list for everything that I am grateful for.

  • Different groups of friends who I can share different aspects of my life with
  • Central heating
  • Employment because without that I would be super skint
  • Having spent this year grasping opportunities with both hands
  • Motivation and determination to achieve
  • BOOKS
  • A clear head, full of positivity and happiness
  • Efficient transport links because life is 50000x easier with efficiency
  • Family
  • Minimal rain
  • Sleeping in my own bed with a hot water bottle
  • Independence for me to do as I please

There are hundreds of things I could write on this list because I think I’ve got everything I need in life and more. Take a moment to think about all the things which we don’t even consider on a daily basis and let me know what you are grateful for today.

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What I’ve been reading

I’ve read a whole hoard of books recently mainly on my kindle so I thought I would share the best of the bunch.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie. 

This is a classic murder mystery book by Agatha Christie. It follows the story of guests on a lavish journey on the Orient Express train. One guest is murdered in the night and Dr Poirot is trying to solve the murder mystery. It is a really easy book to follow as there are a small number of characters. Definitely a great read if you want something light yet interesting.

Harmless like you – Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

An absolutely brilliant read following the story of Yuki, a Japanese girl who stays in NYC with her friend when her family move back. It tells of her life growing up in an isolated and vulnerable position and how her life is shaped due to the characters that she meets. One of the best books I’ve read this year.

Autumn – Ali Smith 

This was a book that I heard a lot about recently and wanted to find out more. The book contains lots of past memories of Elizabeth who is looking out for her old neighbour Daniel who is on the brink of death. These flashbacks tell a lot about the past friendship that these two had and consequently the effect these have had on Elizabeths life.

The lessons – Naomi Alderman 

Another one of my favourites books I’ve read this year. This tells the story of James who moves to Oxford university. It describes the struggles of adapting to change, making new friendships and having new experiences. If there is one book you read this year make sure it is this one.


If you have any good book recommendations please comment below, I am always eager to know about any books that are worth a read!!

Philippines

The Philippines was definitely one of the less developed and less touristy places that I visited, but this just meant it was a much more authentic experience.

The plan was to visit two places in Palawan and then head up to Coron which is a separate island. However once we arrived in the Philippines the terrible weather made us rethink our plans as it seemed a bit risky to try to change islands. There was severe flooding in the north and boats had been cancelled so we decided to just spend the whole time in Palawan.

El Nido 

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El Nido is one of the most common tourist destinations in the Philippines. It is easy to see why. It is a coast town at the very north of the island surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches and clear blue water. The town itself is very small so there isn’t loads to do other than island hopping tours. We were undecided whether to pay for an island hopping tour due to the weather but we just thought it going to rain anyway so we might aswell.

The island hopping tour was really cool however the weather was very wet so you ended up just being absolutely freezing the entire time. But the stops on the tour were really picturesque. We visited two lagoons, beaches and snorkelled.

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There were so many stray dogs on the beaches who were so friendly, one day me and Caroline ended up with a big posse of dogs coming on our walk which was so nice.

Randomly in this little place off the beaten track we found a tiny shack which sold exclusively vegan and veggie burgers and oh my were they good.

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Port Barton

This stop was probably my favourite. There was no wifi anywhere in the town so it was very back to basics. The town was very rural and it was rare to see another tourist. The only issue was that due to it being off-season not many restaurants were open so finding food was difficult the first night. But the second night we came across a restaurant which we then went to for every meal the reminder of our time there. It was amazing food for ridiculously cheap prices and was always packed full of people.

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We did an island hopping tour here aswell as the weather was better and it was the most wonderful day. It was sunny the whole day and the stops were out of this world. We swam with turtles, visited two beautiful private islands, went to an island with starfish on it, had an absolute feast of a lunch and the sun was shining the entire time.

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Puerto Princessa

We were really only here for a very short period of time to wait for our flight. So apart from wandering around we didn’t actually see much. Our guesthouse was a little out of town so it was really nice to walk around seeing all the children playing outside on the street in the evenings and families sitting outside on plastic stools talking to each other whilst preparing the dinner. It really reminded me of the strong close knit community that I experience when in Africa.


The Philippines was amazing. I’ve never been in a place where the water is so clear. It was literally like being in paradise. It is definitely one of the places I want to revisit and there are so many islands in the Philippines still on my bucket list. The highlight was definitely swimming with turtles in their natural environment and having the chance to observe their behaviour without disturbing them. A moment I will cherish forever.

Tips for travellers

I’ve been on the road for almost three and a half months now so I thought it would be a good time to share some of my top travelling tips.

1. Make sure you have music or podcasts downloaded on your phone to make those long journeys more manageable.

2. When packing have separate plastic bags for each genre of clothing I.e. tops in one small bag, underwear in another etc. It means that you know where everything is.

3. Nick the blanket off the plane on your way to your first destination because it is a lifesaver on buses and even in some hostels which don’t provide blankets.

4. Budget more than what you are going to spend because inevitably plans change and sometimes this involves cost.

5. Always barter. You can always get the prices of pretty much anything down whether it’s taxis, tours or street markets. Never settle for the price you are told.

6. Sometimes you just need time to chill. Travelling can get really tiring because you move from place to place a lot. Make sure you give yourself time to relax and do nothing.

7. Bring a home comfort with you whether that’s a face mask, crossword puzzle or anything which makes you feel more like you. I lived for those little home comforts if I was having a down day.

8. It won’t always be sunny and hot. Bring a waterproof and a jumper. You’ll need it.

9. Unless you can sleep through anything, an eye mask and ear plugs are essential. Dorms can get really noisy at any time of the day or night.

10. Eat street food. Some people worry that street food is unhygienic but it is tastes amazing and is super cheap. I never got ill once after eating street food.

All in all I never had any real issues whilst travelling, there was a few slight mishaps but that was to be expected. I hope if any of you are thinking of going travelling my advice will be useful to you!

Best of Bali food

If you ever come to Bali be prepared for an overwhelming choice of food in the most aesthetically pleasing venues. You will eat like a queen.

Canggu

Eco Garden

This was literally the first place we came across after arriving because we were just so hungry. It looked nice and the menu was dirt cheap.

I got a big bowl of veg with a sort of cheese sauce and it was just perfect. I have been feeling a bit fatigued recently, probably because of the lack of vegetables and this sorted me out.

We liked this place so much that we decided to come back for dinner on another night. There was a range of Italian and Mexican food and so I opted for Tacos. It didn’t disappoint.

Good for: if you are wanting something substantial on a cheaper budget.

Two trees

The design in this place was so minimalist but so pleasing to the eye – white painted brickwork with yellow pops of colour in the decor.

The food was so good. I got the vegan pancakes which looked quite small but were particularly filling. The pancakes were topped with sweet potato ice cream, which was surprisingly delicious. It is on the pricey side though.

Good for: a really chilled out Sunday morning breakfast whilst watching the world go by.

Ruko

It was here that I had my first smoothie bowl of Bali. It was HUGE and I was struggling to finish it. The granola especially was delicious.

I felt so healthy after eating this although it didn’t keep me full for that long. That could have been due to having done an exhausting surfing lesson the day before and needing those calories.

Good for: a health kick.

Ubud

Black Beach Italian Restaurant

After all the healthy food all I wanted was a pizza. So the day I arrived in Ubud I went searching and found a very reasonably priced Italian restaurant. Ordering pizza always gives me the fear in case it is tiny but this one was massive.

I actually forgot to take a photo because I was that hungry but mark my words it was delicious. I got the mozzarella and chilli oil one and it was so yummy. Wish I could eat it all over again.

Both me and Caroline ended up getting really sick for a couple of days in Ubud so unfortunately we didn’t experience any other restaurants.

Good for: cheap, delicious food.

Seminyak

Rumours

Post illness we came here for something comforting that wasn’t too much food and wasn’t too out there with flavours. They don’t have much veggie food but they did have nachos which is what I needed at that exact moment in time.

They had really good drinks offers on but that was taking it a step too far so I stuck to the nachos. They were really good and just the perfect thing for my stomach.

Good for: meat and fish eaters.

KYND community

We went here for my birthday breakfast and it was so good. It was the first proper meal I’d been able to eat since being ill. I ordered the beetroot latte and the waffles. I would recommend going early as it fills up very early and the wait for a table can be long.

It’s not too expensive but definitely on the pricer side but it is worth it. They even wrote happy birthday on my plate.

Good for: something special.

La plancha

This is beach bar/restaurant and it’s so good. We went here four times. Inside the restaurant is really cute and has treehouse vibes whereas at 4pm they open the outdoor seating which is basically loads of beanbags on the sand with umbrellas. The outside area is so good to watch the sunset, listen to the good music and eat and drink the night away.

The drinks were so delicious and not badly priced at all, same with the food. They have the most delicious veggie burger I’ve had since coming away and I’ve had it three days in a row.

Good for: watching the sunset and listening to good tunes.

Gelato factory

For the best ice cream in Seminyak look no further. I went everyday I was in Seminyak. The ice cream is so nice and the flavours change daily.

Good for: a delicious treat.

Motel Mexicola

If you choose one place to splash out in Bali it has to be here. The food is unreal, like hands down best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. It turns into a bar in the evening and it’s such a good night. The music is amazing, people dance on the tables, tequila gets free poured and it’s all round brilliant. The cocktails are so delicious aswell.

Good for: a fantastic all round eating and drinking experience.

Uma Kopi

I went for a small snack here but ended up finding such a bargain deal. A coffee and either a bagel or pancakes for 50,000 which is insanely cheap. The bagel was so good, so nice to eat fresh veg. Pretty sure I almost had an entire avocado in that bagel.

Good for: a cheap snack.

Cafe Bali

This is such a good breakfast place. I went numerous times for the ‘Super Bowl’ which was granola with chia seeds and açai berries, milk, yogurt, fruit and honey.

The decor in the place is really cute with loads of fresh flowers around the restaurant. It’s really cheap and the breakfast kept me going all night.

Good for: a healthy, filling breakfast.


There are hundreds of eating places which look amazing in Bali. You spend all day every day eating on instagram worthy places. However this will cost you an arm and a leg. But it is nice to treat yourself, particularly when you’ve been living on rice and veg for the last couple of months.