My last post on our Thailand holiday ended after our visit to the hot springs. That night, we stayed in a house in a nearby village. I was a little nervous about this but we actually ended up having a fantastic time. Local women cooked us some amazing food and the children played music while we ate. After we had finished eating, we had a go at playing the instruments with them and later on, we were shown some Thai dancing. The highlight of the evening was setting off a lantern which we all wrote our names and wishes on!The next morning we went to the temple in the village to offer food to the monks. Then we visited a local school where we helped some 4 year olds with their English. We played games and sang with them and it was loads of fun! After that we went to a mushroom farm and a rice farm to see how they worked which was really interesting. We got to pick some mushrooms which were then deep fried for our lunch and served with a delicious sweet chilli dip! Since we’d arrived in Thailand we’d been to quite a few temples but here we were shown around one properly and it was fascinating to hear about how people use the temples and why they are built the way they are.We left the homestay after lunch to go to Chiang-Mai where we stayed for 2 nights. My favourite thing about Chiang-Mai was the night market which is held from 6pm until midnight and was literally just around the corner from our hotel. There were so many things I could have bought but didn’t have room in my suitcase for! I did manage to pick up quite a few pieces of jewellery, gifts for my family and a lovely mango wood dish for our new kitchen. While in Chiang-Mai we also did a Thai cooking course which was great fun. We ate way too much food but it was all so good so totally worth it and I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes we learnt!We left Chiang-Mai on an overnight train back to Bangkok but I think I’ll leave it here for today as I seem to have written way more than I intended!
I’ve ended up with hundreds of photos from my holiday to Thailand. Don’t worry, I’m not going to put all of them up, but even after I’ve narrowed them down there are still too many to put in one post!
We flew to Bangkok where we spent a few days visiting temples, Buddha images and eating the amazing street food, before meeting up with our travel group. We went with a company called Intrepid who arrange tours in lots of different countries where you travel around with a local guide. We decided to do two tours – one more cultural tour and one relaxing tour of the islands.
The first tour was the cultural one. We ended up in a group with eleven girls and Nick – luckily the group leader was a guy so Nick wasn’t completely outnumbered! The first morning of our tour was taken up with a 6 hour train journey North out of Bangkok – we saw some stunning scenery – and a ride on a songthaew to reach Sukhothai, the ancient capital of Thailand. We spent the next morning cycling around the ruins of the old temples which were spectacular. Our guide had a arranged for a local woman to cook us lunch and I’m not exaggerating here – it was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my whole entire life!
That afternoon we had a four hour bus journey to Lampang. I was super excited as we were on our way to visit the elephants! First thing next morning we went to the elephant hospital. It was heartbreaking to see the poor elephants who had had to have legs amputated because of land mines on the Burmese border. It was good to see that the elephants are now being well looked after and they even came over to say hello to us! Next door to the elephant hospital is an Elephant Conservation Center where we saw an elephant show. We were amazed by strong and clever they are and how much they seem to love their trainers. The elephants can play tunes on chimes, paint pictures and lift very heavy tree trunks. After the show we went on a half hour elephant ride which was so exciting!! The elephants are massive but they are surprisingly agile – they can walk up narrow, muddy tracks with seemingly no effort!
That night we were going to stay in a village with a local family. On the way we stopped off at the Sankhampang Hot Springs where we saw a butterfly bigger than I knew could exist (look at the size of its legs!) and had a quick swim.
I think I’ll tell you about our evening in the homestay another time as we managed to fit loads in that night and I don’t want to overload on the photos!
Hi everyone, I’m home from Thailand! We had a fantastic time and I will get around to posting photos in the next few weeks. In the meantime I thought I’d do my first Instagram post using some of the photos I posted while I was away….
1. Excited for our holiday!
2. Sparkling wine at Heathrow.
3. From the train North out of Bangkok.
4 & 5. Old temples at Sukhothai.
6. Rice paddy.
7. My new bracelet.
8. From inside our mosquito net at the homestay.
9. Beautiful temple in Chiang Mai.
10. Chiang Mai night market – amazing!
11. Another stunning temple.
12. Hot pink leather interior of a Bangkok taxi!
13. Feet of the massive Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkkok.
14. 5am breakfast after a night train.
15. Arriving at Koh Phangan.
16 & 18. View from the hotel restaurant!
17. Than Sadet Beach on Koh Phangan.
19. Huge rainstorm in Koh Tao – hard to capture!
20. Pool in our Koh Samui hotel.
21. Palm trees at the pool side.
Here are some photos from our trip to Kos. I went with my sister (Maddie), mum, stepdad and two step brothers (Tom and Matt) and stayed at the Aegean Village in Kardamena. The weather was stunning all week and we didn’t see a cloud the entire time we were there. We spent most of our time relaxing by the pool or at the beach opposite the hotel but we also took the local bus into the main town of Kos one evening and Maddie, Tom and I went on a guided coach tour organised by Thompson one day. The coach took us around a couple of villages as well as to a family run honey factory, the Asklepion and a traditional Greek house turned museum which was really interesting. Anyway, here are the photos… I hope they don’t take too long to load!
A couple of weekends ago I went to Bluestone with my mum, stepdad and Nick for my birthday. Bluestone is sort of like a mini Center Parcs and is near Tenby in West Wales.
We stayed in a gorgeous lodge and spent the weekend just generally relaxing. Instead of hiring bikes to get around the site we took the lazy option and hired a golf buggy instead! The weather was lovely so we drove round the site a couple of times looking at the fantastic views of the National Park. Look how cheeky Nick looks here as he drives off without me! We weren’t completely lazy and did spend an hour or so in the swimming pool!
The weekend we stayed was bonfire night so there was a short firework display in the main village. We also had an amazing meal in the very fancy on site restaurant!
The highlight for me was a visit to the spa with my mum. We spent an hour in the various saunas and steam rooms before going off separately for facials. I had the Bluestone customised facial which used products from Decleor. It was so relaxing and my skin felt really soft and clean at the end. Harriet, my therapist, was brilliant and showed me some products which were great for my skin – my favourite was the Phytopeel Exfoliator. I just wish I wasn’t a student and could afford some of the products now!
My little sister’s 18th birthday is coming up this week (which makes me feel so old!) so we spent the weekend at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs to celebrate and had a brilliant time. The pool is lots of fun, although it was majorly busy when we were there! We had a tasty and very filling meal at Huck’s, ending with the biggest ice cream you’ve ever seen – even between 5 of us we couldn’t manage to finish it. Spent a few relaxing hours in the Aqua Sana Spa as well which was amazing. There are so many steam rooms, saunas and relaxation rooms that you don’t want to leave. We also managed to fit in a game of bowling which I haven’t done in ages and I can’t believe how bad I was (there were no side barriers up though in my defence and it is a lot harder than it looks to throw a ball in a straight line!). Our villa was really nice; it even had a sauna and the beds were sooooo comfy. The only downside to our stay was when I stupidly lost the key to my bike lock and had to sit for half an hour on a fence waiting for someone to come and cut my bike free!
Pulling up at the Allt Yr Ynys Country Hotel we were impressed with how beautiful the building was. The Allt Yr Ynys is a converted 16th century manor house set in the countryside near Abergavenney and has some stunning views of the Welsh mountains.
After checking in, we were shown to our room and even had our bags carried for us which was a bit of a luxury. Our room (a standard room) was in one of the converted outbuildings. The decoration of the room really didn’t appeal to either me or my boyfriend; it was very frilly and old fashioned and even had a porcelain jug and plates on the wall.
This was a complete contrast to the reception area with the restaurant and lounge area, which has been recently refurbished in a cosy but modern style with real log fires, slate floors and expensive looking furniture. Decoration aside, our room was spacious, spotless and cosy and we had a lovely view of the river.
The bathroom looked like it had been newly fitted and was sparklingly clean with the only downside bring that the shower was really not very powerful at all.
We decided to go for a swim and relax in the sauna and Jacuzzi. The pool area looks great, but to be honest it was far too cold to relax in! The pool itself could only be called freezing (one couple got changed and left after just dipping in their toes) so we opted to get straight in the Jacuzzi. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a button to switch on the bubbles but at least it was slightly warmer. The sauna really warmed us up, however I was a bit disappointed we didn’t manage to sit reading our books on the loungers at the edge of the pool as the air was just so cold!
Dinner in the evening completely made up for the fact that the pool wasn’t what we’d hoped. Our menus were brought to the sofa in front of a log fire, where we sat with a glass of wine until our starters were ready. The food was amazing, very well presented, and we didn’t feel at all rushed. The restaurant, although small, was busy so there was a good atmosphere. We just about managed our three courses as the portions weren’t the tiny portions you sometimes get but it was definitely worth squeezing in pudding. I had a chocolate and coffee mouse with homemade pistachio shortbread which was absolutely gorgeous. I think I would say that this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
We had a brilliant stay at the Allt Yr Ynys but if we had to make one suggestion it would be to try and heat the pool area, as well as the pool itself, a bit better!
I spent last weekend at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs with my family and boyfriend to celebrate my 21st birthday!
We arrived at lunch time on Friday and after dropping the bags at our amazing villa, we headed straight to the Aqua Sana. We were booked in for a few hours relaxation at the spa which I’d been looked forward to for weeks and it didn’t disappoint! The spa is really peaceful with lots of different types of saunas, steam rooms and general relaxation areas with bean bags, water beds and calming music. My mum, sisters and I even had a half hour session trying out different luxurious skin care products. We all, (even the boys!) had a brilliant afternoon and I’d recommend anyone visiting Centre Parcs to splash out for a couple of hours in the spa – it is definitely worth it!
We spent Saturday morning lounging round the villa. We were staying in a New Style Executive Lodge which has 4 bedrooms to fit everyone, in as well as a games room with a pool table which kept the boys entertained! All of the bedrooms have en suites with brilliant power showers so there was no fighting over whose turn it was. On the Saturday we also visited the pool which was great fun – there are both indoor and outdoor pools as well as loads of slides.
On Saturday evening we all went to Forester’s Inn for my birthday meal. The food was gorgeous but the portions were so massive that I couldn’t actually finish my main course which is almost unheard of! The atmosphere and the staff were very friendly – our waiter found out that it was my 21st and brought me a birthday cocktail!
Sunday was our activity day. The boys went off to try ‘Dirt Buggies’ which, from what I can gather, is off road go-karting. At the same time, the girls went for spa treatments. My sisters both had ‘File and Paints’ but one of them managed to smudge her nails within 5 minutes of leaving the Aqua Sana. Me and my mum both had facials. This was my first facial so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ve got to say that I was quite surprised when the therapist started to wash my feet after I lay down on the table! After that it was more like I had imagined – my face was cleansed, toned, moisturised and I was left to ‘relax’ for 15 minutes with a face mask on. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at this point! I felt so sleepy after my facial but I loved it and my skin was left feeling very clean and soft so I’d love to have one again.
Monday was my actual birthday but we had to be out of the villa by 10am. I had an amazing weekend and really didn’t want to leave – it was the perfect place to spend my birthday weekend.
A few days ago I got back from 2 weeks at a campsite called Sérignan Plage near Béziers in the South of France. We had two Eurocamp vans for 8 people which was a bit crowded but didn’t really matter as we only really used the vans to sleep in due to the amazingly hot and sunny weather.
The campsite is brilliant. It has direct access onto a long sandy beach as well as a pool with slides and a spa for over 16s. We spent lots of time on the beach but the spa was really enjoyable as well. It has a pool for swimming and a pool with lots of massage jets and also has very comfy sunbeds! Only two people from each tent/ caravan can go into the spa at once meaning it doesn’t get overcrowded and you can always find a sunbed.
The campsite has a cute little shopping area with a mini-supermarket, pâtisserie, boucherie, poissonnerie, hairdressers and gift shops. The buildings look like original farm buildings but could just be built to look that way, I’m not really sure. Every day there are also a number of stalls where people sell jewellery clothes etc.
We had two hire cars so were able to go off site and look around some of the nearby towns and villages. The closest town to the campsite is Béziers which is around a 15 minute drive. We happened to be there during their festival so it was very busy with lots of food stalls everywhere although all of the normal shops were closed. The old part of the town is nice and there is a massive cathedral with a fantastic view over the countryside.
Sète is a small town about an hour from the campsite. There was also a festival on here so we went along to watch water jousting which none of us had ever heard of before. We arrived a few hours before the jousting started but all of the seats were already taken and you couldn’t move for people! The actual jousting ended up being a bit boring but the atmosphere before with all the stalls and music was fun.
We drove up into the mountains one day to have a wander round a few villages. One tiny village called Roquebrun was especially lovely. It is on a hill above the river and there’s a little beach where you can swim and look up at the whole village.
When we left France it was 36°C and we arrived back in Bristol to cloudy grey sky, pouring rain and 14° which was quite disappointing! Never mind, at least the weather is better here today!
After an exceptionally long drive from Cardiff to Wassenaar, Holland, we arrived at Duinrell Campsite. The staff at the Canvas check-in were welcoming and took us straight to our caravan which was very nice inside and much more spacious than any other one I’ve stayed in on similar sites in Europe. There were 6 of us in the van with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The kitchen was fully stocked with cutlery and crockery and had a massive American style fridge and dishwasher.
Our van was less than a 5 minute walk from the main plaza with the shop, restaurant and pub. The Irish Pub was a bit disappointing as it was in a basement so was quite dingy and they didn’t actually sell any Irish drinks – well, none that we could see anyway. The World Cup matches were shown there but when there was no football on, the pub was deserted. Free WIFI is available in the plaza for those with laptops but you can also pay to use the campsite computers to access the internet for €2 per 10 minutes.
The best part of the campsite was the Tiki Waterpark which is Europe’s biggest indoor slide complex and is in the theme park right in the middle of the campsite. The theme park and Waterpark are open to the public but Canvas guests get to go on the theme park rides for free at any time and have 2 hours free use of the Waterpark every day. The theme park has mainly fairground type rides with just one roller coaster. It was good fun but the park was much more popular with younger families. The Waterpark on the other hand is brilliant fun for everyone (except those with a bad back!). I have never been on slides that fast or steep in my life! There is a small area for babies and toddlers as well as a wave pool, lazy river and Jacuzzis for those who don’t want to brave the slides. Another options is to use the steam room and sauna for an extra cost of €3.
The village of Wassenaar is a two minute walk from the campsite. It is not very big but has a nice high street with cafes, restaurants, a very tasty ice cream parlour and some shops as well as an Aldi supermarket which is much cheaper than the campsite shop. Also nearby is Leiden which is a slightly livelier town with lots of windmills, canals and a market making it a lovely place to go for a wander. We did find it very hard to park in Leiden though as the signs for the car parks were terrible and pointed all over the place! The most well know place nearby would have to be Amsterdam which has lots to see and do from Anne Frank’s House to diamond factories. The Canvas reception at the campsite gave us information on where to park in Amsterdam and recommended that we use the park and ride service which was a good idea as it was so cheap and easy.
One afternoon we went to the beach nearest to the campsite – 4.5km away. The beach is a massive 8km long and has been awarded the Blue Flag due to the clean sea. Unfortunately, there was an awful lot of litter left lying on the sand itself even though there were more bins on the beach than on any other beach I’ve been to. If it wasn’t for the rubbish, it would have been a beautiful beach.
Duinrell is a fantastic campsite with so much to do that there is no need to leave the site if you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like as there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. All in all we had an excellent holiday and would love to go back.