HELLO WORLD
I’m back! It feels like I’ve been away for an absolute age. The harsh reality is quite the contrast - if anything my passport has probably been demolished by a family of moths by now. I’ve been in the UK since May ‘14. SAY WHA?!
I’ve let myself down over the past few months. 1) I’ve not stepped one foot outside stinkin’ England in forever and 2) I’ve let my anxiety creep its way back into my life (HEY BUDDY!) and wasn’t able to give it ‘the what for’ like usual. Last year I waltzed my way around nine countries. This year, I’ve checked in to three. How is that even legal?!


Number one: Budapest, February 2014
When it comes to anxiety, you just don’t know when that ballsy b*tch is going to trip you up from behind. One thing I suffer from is agoraphobia - I have a panic attack when I feel caught up in places or situations that I can’t escape from. I’ve been lucky and up until last month, I’ve had three over the course of three years. August/Sept - ahh. Not so great?!
Believe it or not the one place I should feel like my world’s about to end, in a capsule flying at thousands of miles per hour in the sky, I don’t. I’m actually pretty content up there. Sure I *need* an aisle seat, to stretch my legs every other hour and can actually hold my tongue for more than a minute on end (which is basically against my religion) but low and behold, I actually quite enjoy it. It’s time to vomit world: but travelling changes me.


Number two: Hong Kong, April 2014
Here back on planet earth, 2014 isn’t half giving me a run for my money. I think it was under the impression that I needed some sort of challenge?! I’m still completely unaware who spread that rumour (pssst – it’s not true) but you know what? I’m here, and I’ve got so much to be thankful for. When times are sh*t, I just tell myself that you need to experience the bad to ‘really’ feel the good**. But over the last week I’ve started to feel like me again; I’m nearly baccccck!
Let’s not lie, for somebody who thrives off seeing new places, ‘smashing’ three countries is really sh*t. Australia is pretty massive, granted – but still?! Really? So, to rectify this complete monstrosity I’ve put together a travel list. I refuse to turn 25 next year unless my efforts perk up - ‘lackluster’ just won’t do!


And last but not least, number three: Australia, April/May 2014
But over the last few months, I have: ‘gone blonde (?!), seen my little brother graduate, had the flu AND tonsillitis (ergh), been to two festivals and spent far too much money on food and clothes. WAHAY.
Good news: I’m going to Iceland in November, and Florida in February. RES-ULT.
Bad news: **Oh god. That’s traumatic. CHEESE.
Over and out x

HELLO WORLD

I’m back! It feels like I’ve been away for an absolute age. The harsh reality is quite the contrast - if anything my passport has probably been demolished by a family of moths by now. I’ve been in the UK since May ‘14. SAY WHA?!

I’ve let myself down over the past few months. 1) I’ve not stepped one foot outside stinkin’ England in forever and 2) I’ve let my anxiety creep its way back into my life (HEY BUDDY!) and wasn’t able to give it ‘the what for’ like usual. Last year I waltzed my way around nine countries. This year, I’ve checked in to three. How is that even legal?!

Number one: Budapest, February 2014

When it comes to anxiety, you just don’t know when that ballsy b*tch is going to trip you up from behind. One thing I suffer from is agoraphobia - I have a panic attack when I feel caught up in places or situations that I can’t escape from. I’ve been lucky and up until last month, I’ve had three over the course of three years. August/Sept - ahh. Not so great?!

Believe it or not the one place I should feel like my world’s about to end, in a capsule flying at thousands of miles per hour in the sky, I don’t. I’m actually pretty content up there. Sure I *need* an aisle seat, to stretch my legs every other hour and can actually hold my tongue for more than a minute on end (which is basically against my religion) but low and behold, I actually quite enjoy it. It’s time to vomit world: but travelling changes me.

Number two: Hong Kong, April 2014

Here back on planet earth, 2014 isn’t half giving me a run for my money. I think it was under the impression that I needed some sort of challenge?! I’m still completely unaware who spread that rumour (pssst – it’s not true) but you know what? I’m here, and I’ve got so much to be thankful for. When times are sh*t, I just tell myself that you need to experience the bad to ‘really’ feel the good**. But over the last week I’ve started to feel like me again; I’m nearly baccccck!

Let’s not lie, for somebody who thrives off seeing new places, ‘smashing’ three countries is really sh*t. Australia is pretty massive, granted – but still?! Really? So, to rectify this complete monstrosity I’ve put together a travel list. I refuse to turn 25 next year unless my efforts perk up - ‘lackluster’ just won’t do!

And last but not least, number three: Australia, April/May 2014

But over the last few months, I have: ‘gone blonde (?!), seen my little brother graduate, had the flu AND tonsillitis (ergh), been to two festivals and spent far too much money on food and clothes. WAHAY.

Good news: I’m going to Iceland in November, and Florida in February. RES-ULT.

Bad news: **Oh god. That’s traumatic. CHEESE.

Over and out x

Up, Upper and Away!
Sampling Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class: Tips and Tricks for the Ultimate Slick
Fussy: (Definition) - Paying great or excessive attention to personal tastes and appearance; fastidious.
Now imagine ‘this’ in human form. Brown hair, 5 ‘7, bit of a travel addict? Got it in one. When it comes to flying I’m fussy with a capital ‘F’ – partly due a grand old concoction of anxiety, a bad experience and then some really great experience to boot. To ensure that I have one of those ‘really bloody good’ in-air jaunts I do everything I can to make damn sure the odds swing in my favour - I warned you, I’m a stubborn mare!
So, how can you do this? Get your sniffer dog on and source the best seat on your flight in the genius Seat Guru, of course! Secondly suss out your budget - which cabin are you likely to be flying in? And most importantly, fly with the best airline within your means. Now I’ve flown with British Airways more times than I’ve had hot dinners – mainly as we’ve got a Gold card within the family and after flying with Emirates, Air Asia X and easyJet within the last year, I knew it was about time I smacked on the red lippy and turned crimson.

The Seats
Virgin’s Upper Class sits on par with other airlines Business Class services, offering a fully flat bed and great personal service to match. On the nifty Airbus A340, which took us to Hong Kong and then on to Sydney, there were 45 Upper Class seats decked in dark brown, sultry leather. 
Tip? Looking for a little more privacy? Within the Upper cabin the seats lie in a 1-1-1 ratio. Two of the seats face each other, the other – flying solo, is sectioned off by a barrier. These seats are perfect for those who are choosing to fly alone, or prefer to have a quieter flight. However if you’re flying as a couple or family, switch over to the opposing side to sit within conversational distance. Perfecto! 

Red zone = where I’d class as the most private seats in the cabin (makeshift Photoshop style!)

The other side of the cabin - perfect suites for couples and families
Sitting within the ‘solo’ row on three occasions, I actually had the best experience for me, ie- the quietest, sitting in the middle of the cabin in seat 9A. Not only does this distance your suite from all three of the toilets (one at the front, two at the back) but it also gives you a little bit of breathing space from the bar – which was actually packed out on one of our flights. In short it means you get the best of both worlds when you’re looking for a cheeky beverage, or some much needed shut eye - (result).
The seats were by far the most comfortable I’ve experienced on a flight, feeling more like the sofas you’d have in your lounge at home rather than where you’d usually park your backside on a flight. The pouf at the end of the seat was absolutely perfect for those of my height (mid/tall female) but not so sure how it’d fair for those taller than 6 foot.
Check out my Vine below to get a birds eye view of an Upper Class suite… click on the image below to get it fired up!


The bed – Snooze, and you won’t lose
Unlike other business class services, the Virgin Atlantic bed actually flips back onto itself to reveal it’s 180 degree alter ego, rather than just sliding down to the footrest…
The great: Remember those nights where you’d sit there for hours failing to sleep and as a ‘get of our jail’/last ditch attempt you’d flip the pillow? Fresh, cold and not so stale- you feel like a new woman! Imagine this on a 13 hour flight, and it’s practically a god send.
The ‘not quite so’ great: The leather arm chair Virgin Atlantic have dreamt up is perfect for a flight. Flip the seats on to each other and you reveal a not-quite-so plush back. The flight attendants are on hand to make your bed up for you, providing a nifty portable mattress and a duvet but compared to the seat itself, it’s not quite as homely.
I actually slept for a record seven hours on the flight home from Hong Kong, which by far trumps my previous all time high of five hours that I managed to swag on the way back from Cape Town, in BA’s First cabin. Proof is in the pudding, y’all!

My bed for the night, complete with Cosmo (and chocolate!)
The food
My appetite shrinks to that of a three year old child when at altitude, so usually I keep grazing to a minimum. I did try the roast chicken with green pea mash on the way out (not for me I’m afraid, but it was of a good quality for a plane meal) and I had my new all time favourite flight breakfast on two different routes - the maple syrup waffle. I’m obsessed, I’ll never look at a flight breakfast in the same way again! (Past rating: Big chore. New rating: Waffle whore!)

Roast chicken, green pea mash, and vegetables (al dente!)
 
The best breakfast in the air - a strong coffee and sticky waffles
Feeling peckish throughout the flight? I ended up nibbling on a bar of Green and Blacks/bag of Tyrrell’s crisps on one flight, and a bag of pick n’ mix on another. The Virgin staff were more than happy to help you out - and most of them completely empathised with my sweet tooth!
The end result?
Itchy feet: Inevitable. Personally one of the only things I genuinely don’t enjoy about a holiday is the journey itself, but the Upper experience has become a complete game changer for me (not so great for my boss/bank balance, great for the upcoming holidays I want to plan!). As a notoriously bad sleeper on night flights I was ridiculously impressed with how much shut eye I managed to wangle, and the bar’s a great area to socialise with other passengers on your flight too.
Sustenance over style doesn’t exist in the land of V - they’re all about providing the best experience for their passengers, within the snazziest of environments. Cheers for a fantastic flight, Virgin!










Disclaimer: I paid for a full price economy ticket to Sydney, where I was then upgraded on three occasions as press. As stated above, I’m an opinionated swine so all of the above is of my honest opinion. If I’m not keen on something you can’t sway me for anything!

Up, Upper and Away!

Sampling Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class: Tips and Tricks for the Ultimate Slick

Fussy: (Definition) - Paying great or excessive attention to personal tastes and appearance; fastidious.

Now imagine ‘this’ in human form. Brown hair, 5 ‘7, bit of a travel addict? Got it in one. When it comes to flying I’m fussy with a capital ‘F’ – partly due a grand old concoction of anxiety, a bad experience and then some really great experience to boot. To ensure that I have one of those ‘really bloody good’ in-air jaunts I do everything I can to make damn sure the odds swing in my favour - I warned you, I’m a stubborn mare!

So, how can you do this? Get your sniffer dog on and source the best seat on your flight in the genius Seat Guru, of course! Secondly suss out your budget - which cabin are you likely to be flying in? And most importantly, fly with the best airline within your means. Now I’ve flown with British Airways more times than I’ve had hot dinners – mainly as we’ve got a Gold card within the family and after flying with Emirates, Air Asia X and easyJet within the last year, I knew it was about time I smacked on the red lippy and turned crimson.

The Seats

Virgin’s Upper Class sits on par with other airlines Business Class services, offering a fully flat bed and great personal service to match. On the nifty Airbus A340, which took us to Hong Kong and then on to Sydney, there were 45 Upper Class seats decked in dark brown, sultry leather.

Tip? Looking for a little more privacy? Within the Upper cabin the seats lie in a 1-1-1 ratio. Two of the seats face each other, the other – flying solo, is sectioned off by a barrier. These seats are perfect for those who are choosing to fly alone, or prefer to have a quieter flight. However if you’re flying as a couple or family, switch over to the opposing side to sit within conversational distance. Perfecto!

Red zone = where I’d class as the most private seats in the cabin (makeshift Photoshop style!)

The other side of the cabin - perfect suites for couples and families

Sitting within the ‘solo’ row on three occasions, I actually had the best experience for me, ie- the quietest, sitting in the middle of the cabin in seat 9A. Not only does this distance your suite from all three of the toilets (one at the front, two at the back) but it also gives you a little bit of breathing space from the bar – which was actually packed out on one of our flights. In short it means you get the best of both worlds when you’re looking for a cheeky beverage, or some much needed shut eye - (result).

The seats were by far the most comfortable I’ve experienced on a flight, feeling more like the sofas you’d have in your lounge at home rather than where you’d usually park your backside on a flight. The pouf at the end of the seat was absolutely perfect for those of my height (mid/tall female) but not so sure how it’d fair for those taller than 6 foot.

Check out my Vine below to get a birds eye view of an Upper Class suite… click on the image below to get it fired up!

The bed – Snooze, and you won’t lose

Unlike other business class services, the Virgin Atlantic bed actually flips back onto itself to reveal it’s 180 degree alter ego, rather than just sliding down to the footrest…

The great: Remember those nights where you’d sit there for hours failing to sleep and as a ‘get of our jail’/last ditch attempt you’d flip the pillow? Fresh, cold and not so stale- you feel like a new woman! Imagine this on a 13 hour flight, and it’s practically a god send.

The ‘not quite so’ great: The leather arm chair Virgin Atlantic have dreamt up is perfect for a flight. Flip the seats on to each other and you reveal a not-quite-so plush back. The flight attendants are on hand to make your bed up for you, providing a nifty portable mattress and a duvet but compared to the seat itself, it’s not quite as homely.

I actually slept for a record seven hours on the flight home from Hong Kong, which by far trumps my previous all time high of five hours that I managed to swag on the way back from Cape Town, in BA’s First cabin. Proof is in the pudding, y’all!

My bed for the night, complete with Cosmo (and chocolate!)

The food

My appetite shrinks to that of a three year old child when at altitude, so usually I keep grazing to a minimum. I did try the roast chicken with green pea mash on the way out (not for me I’m afraid, but it was of a good quality for a plane meal) and I had my new all time favourite flight breakfast on two different routes - the maple syrup waffle. I’m obsessed, I’ll never look at a flight breakfast in the same way again! (Past rating: Big chore. New rating: Waffle whore!)

Roast chicken, green pea mash, and vegetables (al dente!)

 

The best breakfast in the air - a strong coffee and sticky waffles

Feeling peckish throughout the flight? I ended up nibbling on a bar of Green and Blacks/bag of Tyrrell’s crisps on one flight, and a bag of pick n’ mix on another. The Virgin staff were more than happy to help you out - and most of them completely empathised with my sweet tooth!

The end result?

Itchy feet: Inevitable. Personally one of the only things I genuinely don’t enjoy about a holiday is the journey itself, but the Upper experience has become a complete game changer for me (not so great for my boss/bank balance, great for the upcoming holidays I want to plan!). As a notoriously bad sleeper on night flights I was ridiculously impressed with how much shut eye I managed to wangle, and the bar’s a great area to socialise with other passengers on your flight too.

Sustenance over style doesn’t exist in the land of V - they’re all about providing the best experience for their passengers, within the snazziest of environments. Cheers for a fantastic flight, Virgin!

Disclaimer: I paid for a full price economy ticket to Sydney, where I was then upgraded on three occasions as press. As stated above, I’m an opinionated swine so all of the above is of my honest opinion. If I’m not keen on something you can’t sway me for anything!

Discovering the Whitsundays - Hamilton Island
In ten days we’d raked up over 24 hours of airtime. Eaten two dinners, two breakfasts and a lunch at altitude, with minimal seasoning. Slept in one airbed (cheers Virgin!) and sat upright whilst attempting to grab 40 winks (groan). Short winded it ain’t (can you fly any further than Sydney from the UK? TBC) - but after plucking our dream itinerary out of thin air, we always knew it was going to be worth it. 
We’re halfway through our killer trip now, and we’re having the BEST time. Hamilton Island served as our longest stop off of the trip, at 5 days/4 nights (we’re not really ‘settlers’…) and as our go-between to the ever so ‘Great’ Barrier Reef, we’d always been extra excited about *this bit*. The main thing which spurred us on to embark on this mad mission was the reef, so we always wanted to go ‘all out’. Boy oh boy, did we do that…
Hamilton Island
We settled on Hamilton Island due to it’s flexibility. Both Virgin Australia and Jetstar fly there directly from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with flight times which hover between the 1-3 hour mark - which is a snip in Aussie travel times. Want to head to Cairns? ‘Oh, it’s just 5 or so hours there and then back from Sydney, madam’ - which in relation to UK flight mathematics accounts to flying to the Middle East, and then back again. MISSION. You don’t really get a sense of the size of Australia ’til you’re actually here - and frankly choosing to ditch off the standard Cairns for Hamilton was a good call. Travel brainiac, 1 - the standard stereotype, nil. 
The airport’s tiny - and by tiny I mean, one room. Two desks. A small little cafe, which sells packaged bakery goods and a vending machines worth of Coke and Gatorade. The hotels are all within a five minute transfer from the airport, so from runway to hotel room we’re talking half hour, tops. Unheard of.

The hotel
We stayed in the Reef View Hotel, which is one of three major hotels on the island. Claiming to be a four star joint (try three, at best) - the Reef is the only eyesore on the island, standing at 18 stories tall over the pretty Catseye Beach. The Beach Resort is the islands middle ground (an ‘actual’ four star) whilst qualia serves as the islands piece of luxury, and is by a run away mile rated as one of the top hotels in Australia - swish with a capital S!
Like prize donuts, we’d decided to fly to Hamilton Island over Easter Weekend (oops). By the time we’d started looking at hotels, the Beach Resort was fully booked - half of the place was cornered off due to refurbishment, and qualia retails at over $990 a night, without board (erm, think we’ll pass on that one, thanks).
To be fair to the Reef, it did what it said on the tin. It was on the island. We got a free buffet breakfast, and we were a five minute bed-to-sunbed flop away from the beach. Can’t really complain.
We had a Garden View room, with two mega comfy queen beds and enough space to swing multiple cats. We were plonked on level 3 so the view didn’t live up to much, but once we’d left the hotel we saw what all the fuss was about…

The activities
We’d both budgeted to spend a large portion of our spending money on activities galore in the Barrier Reef, so we booked up a load - and sensibly decided to tally up the costs later. After all, we came all this way for *this* - so why skimp? (Cue: scare at check in at *THAT* cost. Sheesh)
Over the five days, we…
Parasailed - We spent ten minutes getting all high and mighty over our new favourite place. SO, MUCH, FUN.
Sunset Cruise - Bit of a given - we drank red wine and soared through the islands on a Catarmaran as the sun went down. Cheers!
Turtle Deep Sea Snorkel - We swam next to turtles. Can’t complain!!
Whitehaven/Chalkies Beach Cruise - We spent five hours visiting an array of islands, hopping between different parts of the Barrier Reef. Whitehaven has been rated as one of the top beaches in the world - so couldn’t miss out on that one!
Zoo’ed it up - David cuddled a koala. I avoided my Hep B jabs last year, and have been riddled with fear ever since - cuddling anything with claws? Thanks, but I’ll pass (sob).
Trekked - We decided that trekking 6km+ up and down hills, in 30c heat was a good idea. Luckily we both have a strong sense of preservation (or David does, I just moaned and wanted to turn around) - but once we hit Passage Peak, we saw what all the fuss was about. Will never forget those 360 degree views of this incredible space.
Sunbathed - Caught some rays on Catseye Beach. Standard. (And burnt. Little kids - put on your sunscreen like your mummy always tells you to, yeah? You’ll only end up go crispy, and ageing before your time)
Hired a Golf Buggy - There are three ways to get around the island. One involves using your legs (boring), getting a shuttle (even more boring) and thirdly - grabbing a Golf Buggy and whizzing around the island. ERM, yes please! We grabbed our buggy on Day 1 and paid for 24 hours with our new best friend. It was AWESOME. We got to see parts of the island we’d have never accomplished on foot, like a random swamp (?) and houses that’d make Angelina and Brad blush.
Watched sunrise, and sunset - We got up early and went to bed early - what can we say? Our first morning, we set our alarms for 5:50am, grabbed buggy and whooshed up to One Tree Hill, the ultimate view point. Definitely one of those ‘Mastercard’ moments! 

Did we enjoy it?
You’d have to be a cave dwelling hermit not to enjoy a hefty slice of Hamilton. Weirdly, the Marina area of the island feels a little American - think the Bahamas in the Caribbean, but the rest of the island is pretty peaceful with gorgeous little hideaways. If you’re all ‘bout the beach - I’d forget it, camp on Whitehaven. However, if you’re about the boat trips and the water sports (and flying to a place which won’t account for a trillion layovers) then hit up Hamilton. 

I’m not going to lie and say going to Hamilton isn’t expensive. My activities cost $320 alone, and with flights (after mess ups, $550 in and out - oucchhhhh) and accommodation (£85 a night, each) you’re talking about a lot of money. But was it worth it? YES. The likelihood of me visiting Australia again anytime before I secure my free London Travel Card at the age of 6-0 is slim to none, and so the chances of me seeing the Reef in good condition? Even slimer. This wasn’t something I was prepared to miss out on. I got my stubborn mule on, and made it my mission. And as we flew out of Hamilton onto our next adventure- Melbourne, I already have the fondest memories of a place incredibly dear to me. Cheers for the laughs, Hammy.

Discovering the Whitsundays - Hamilton Island

In ten days we’d raked up over 24 hours of airtime. Eaten two dinners, two breakfasts and a lunch at altitude, with minimal seasoning. Slept in one airbed (cheers Virgin!) and sat upright whilst attempting to grab 40 winks (groan). Short winded it ain’t (can you fly any further than Sydney from the UK? TBC) - but after plucking our dream itinerary out of thin air, we always knew it was going to be worth it. 

We’re halfway through our killer trip now, and we’re having the BEST time. Hamilton Island served as our longest stop off of the trip, at 5 days/4 nights (we’re not really ‘settlers’…) and as our go-between to the ever so ‘Great’ Barrier Reef, we’d always been extra excited about *this bit*. The main thing which spurred us on to embark on this mad mission was the reef, so we always wanted to go ‘all out’. Boy oh boy, did we do that…

Hamilton Island

We settled on Hamilton Island due to it’s flexibility. Both Virgin Australia and Jetstar fly there directly from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with flight times which hover between the 1-3 hour mark - which is a snip in Aussie travel times. Want to head to Cairns? ‘Oh, it’s just 5 or so hours there and then back from Sydney, madam’ - which in relation to UK flight mathematics accounts to flying to the Middle East, and then back again. MISSION. You don’t really get a sense of the size of Australia ’til you’re actually here - and frankly choosing to ditch off the standard Cairns for Hamilton was a good call. Travel brainiac, 1 - the standard stereotype, nil. 

The airport’s tiny - and by tiny I mean, one room. Two desks. A small little cafe, which sells packaged bakery goods and a vending machines worth of Coke and Gatorade. The hotels are all within a five minute transfer from the airport, so from runway to hotel room we’re talking half hour, tops. Unheard of.

The hotel

We stayed in the Reef View Hotel, which is one of three major hotels on the island. Claiming to be a four star joint (try three, at best) - the Reef is the only eyesore on the island, standing at 18 stories tall over the pretty Catseye Beach. The Beach Resort is the islands middle ground (an ‘actual’ four star) whilst qualia serves as the islands piece of luxury, and is by a run away mile rated as one of the top hotels in Australia - swish with a capital S!

Like prize donuts, we’d decided to fly to Hamilton Island over Easter Weekend (oops). By the time we’d started looking at hotels, the Beach Resort was fully booked - half of the place was cornered off due to refurbishment, and qualia retails at over $990 a night, without board (erm, think we’ll pass on that one, thanks).

To be fair to the Reef, it did what it said on the tin. It was on the island. We got a free buffet breakfast, and we were a five minute bed-to-sunbed flop away from the beach. Can’t really complain.

We had a Garden View room, with two mega comfy queen beds and enough space to swing multiple cats. We were plonked on level 3 so the view didn’t live up to much, but once we’d left the hotel we saw what all the fuss was about…

The activities

We’d both budgeted to spend a large portion of our spending money on activities galore in the Barrier Reef, so we booked up a load - and sensibly decided to tally up the costs later. After all, we came all this way for *this* - so why skimp? (Cue: scare at check in at *THAT* cost. Sheesh)

Over the five days, we…

Parasailed - We spent ten minutes getting all high and mighty over our new favourite place. SO, MUCH, FUN.

Sunset Cruise - Bit of a given - we drank red wine and soared through the islands on a Catarmaran as the sun went down. Cheers!

Turtle Deep Sea Snorkel - We swam next to turtles. Can’t complain!!

Whitehaven/Chalkies Beach Cruise - We spent five hours visiting an array of islands, hopping between different parts of the Barrier Reef. Whitehaven has been rated as one of the top beaches in the world - so couldn’t miss out on that one!

Zoo’ed it up - David cuddled a koala. I avoided my Hep B jabs last year, and have been riddled with fear ever since - cuddling anything with claws? Thanks, but I’ll pass (sob).

Trekked - We decided that trekking 6km+ up and down hills, in 30c heat was a good idea. Luckily we both have a strong sense of preservation (or David does, I just moaned and wanted to turn around) - but once we hit Passage Peak, we saw what all the fuss was about. Will never forget those 360 degree views of this incredible space.

Sunbathed - Caught some rays on Catseye Beach. Standard. (And burnt. Little kids - put on your sunscreen like your mummy always tells you to, yeah? You’ll only end up go crispy, and ageing before your time)

Hired a Golf Buggy - There are three ways to get around the island. One involves using your legs (boring), getting a shuttle (even more boring) and thirdly - grabbing a Golf Buggy and whizzing around the island. ERM, yes please! We grabbed our buggy on Day 1 and paid for 24 hours with our new best friend. It was AWESOME. We got to see parts of the island we’d have never accomplished on foot, like a random swamp (?) and houses that’d make Angelina and Brad blush.

Watched sunrise, and sunset - We got up early and went to bed early - what can we say? Our first morning, we set our alarms for 5:50am, grabbed buggy and whooshed up to One Tree Hill, the ultimate view point. Definitely one of those ‘Mastercard’ moments! 

Did we enjoy it?

You’d have to be a cave dwelling hermit not to enjoy a hefty slice of Hamilton. Weirdly, the Marina area of the island feels a little American - think the Bahamas in the Caribbean, but the rest of the island is pretty peaceful with gorgeous little hideaways. If you’re all ‘bout the beach - I’d forget it, camp on Whitehaven. However, if you’re about the boat trips and the water sports (and flying to a place which won’t account for a trillion layovers) then hit up Hamilton. 

I’m not going to lie and say going to Hamilton isn’t expensive. My activities cost $320 alone, and with flights (after mess ups, $550 in and out - oucchhhhh) and accommodation (£85 a night, each) you’re talking about a lot of money. But was it worth it? YES. The likelihood of me visiting Australia again anytime before I secure my free London Travel Card at the age of 6-0 is slim to none, and so the chances of me seeing the Reef in good condition? Even slimer. This wasn’t something I was prepared to miss out on. I got my stubborn mule on, and made it my mission. And as we flew out of Hamilton onto our next adventure- Melbourne, I already have the fondest memories of a place incredibly dear to me. Cheers for the laughs, Hammy.

It’s coming!

24 hours of travel, stop offs in Asia and aeroplane meals aplenty – a trip from the UK to Australia is a bit of a marathon to say the least. Nobody in their right mind actually enjoys being cramped on a plane, eating cardboard and feeling stale after a case of dry ‘plane breath’, but like every other traveller I thrive off new adventures and love going as far away from home as possible. That’s where this trip comes in to play.

Australia has always felt a little bit out of my league; with over 10,500 miles to cover the thought that I could just ‘nip around the corner’ whilst working full time seemed ridiculous. Needless to say three weeks of leave was signed off from work and with the two Easter and a May bank holiday to play with, this dream started to seem a bit more real.

The itinerary:

Hong Kong: 12th-14th, Shangri La Kowloon
Sydney: 15th-18th, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel
Hamilton Island: 18th-22nd, Reef View Hotel
Melbourne: 22nd-24th, Sofitel Melbourne
Great Ocean Road: 3 days of cruising down the highway!
Adelaide 27th:, Majestic Roof Garden Hotel
Sydney 28th: Airport stay!
Hong Kong 29th-2nd May: Hotel Icon and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel

Think Google Maps has made perfectly clear that our internal flights within Oz were dominated by flight availability and price. Ha.
I’m a stickler for detail when it comes to big trips, and each and every hotel has been analysed to death. We’ve picked out some fantastic activities we’re going to try out in Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, and I’ve found a few fantastic restaurants that my taste buds are ridiculously eager to try (told you!). The hot shopping joints have been recorded and I’m almost considering packing more than a single day in advance. It’s actually happening, y’all!

From Friday, I’m going to be out the office for 25 days - which actually scares me half to death. It’s weird to think I won’t have any attachments or responsibilities for that long! Australia, here I come!
As I’m 100% social media obsessed, you’ll be able to follow my journey by instagram and Twitter at @exploredujour.

It’s coming!

24 hours of travel, stop offs in Asia and aeroplane meals aplenty – a trip from the UK to Australia is a bit of a marathon to say the least. Nobody in their right mind actually enjoys being cramped on a plane, eating cardboard and feeling stale after a case of dry ‘plane breath’, but like every other traveller I thrive off new adventures and love going as far away from home as possible. That’s where this trip comes in to play.

Australia has always felt a little bit out of my league; with over 10,500 miles to cover the thought that I could just ‘nip around the corner’ whilst working full time seemed ridiculous. Needless to say three weeks of leave was signed off from work and with the two Easter and a May bank holiday to play with, this dream started to seem a bit more real.

The itinerary:

Hong Kong: 12th-14th, Shangri La Kowloon

Sydney: 15th-18th, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

Hamilton Island: 18th-22nd, Reef View Hotel

Melbourne: 22nd-24th, Sofitel Melbourne

Great Ocean Road: 3 days of cruising down the highway!

Adelaide 27th:, Majestic Roof Garden Hotel

Sydney 28th: Airport stay!

Hong Kong 29th-2nd May: Hotel Icon and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel

Think Google Maps has made perfectly clear that our internal flights within Oz were dominated by flight availability and price. Ha.

I’m a stickler for detail when it comes to big trips, and each and every hotel has been analysed to death. We’ve picked out some fantastic activities we’re going to try out in Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, and I’ve found a few fantastic restaurants that my taste buds are ridiculously eager to try (told you!). The hot shopping joints have been recorded and I’m almost considering packing more than a single day in advance. It’s actually happening, y’all!

From Friday, I’m going to be out the office for 25 days - which actually scares me half to death. It’s weird to think I won’t have any attachments or responsibilities for that long! Australia, here I come!

As I’m 100% social media obsessed, you’ll be able to follow my journey by instagram and Twitter at @exploredujour.

Snoozing in Style- Flying First with British Airways
One of the best moments in life, ever? Getting out of one of those plastic, bendy tunnels from the airport, and stepping onto a plane - ready to take your next adventure. Being a travel obsessive has its advantages, one of them being that you get satisfaction out of the simplest of things - the other being the actual journey itself. I love flying and thrive off the thought of getting to my end destination - but one thing I do hate is a night flight. Boo, hiss, boo.
I’ve become a bit of a terror on the airways, and over the last few years have morphed into one of those dreaded ‘non-sleepers’. You’re a member of our club if you: leave the TV on for hours after it turns dark. You try and make as little noise as possible, but snacking is frankly the only way you can distract yourself from feeling bloody exhausted. You’ll toss and turn constantly, trying to get comfortable in ‘your bed’…. (and yep, I’m one of those. Hands up, I’m guilty!)
Over the last twelve months I’ve taken at least five night flights, all in economy – and have been rattled with post-flying-brain for hours after landing (you know: that horrible taste in your mouth, lack of food, dreariness? Me all over.). In First though? Not a problem!

Aisle to yourself? Yes please…
Over the years I’ve flown in each and every cabin on the BA fleet – from Euro/World Traveller through to First, back in summer 2012 on a family holiday to St Lucia. We decided to revisit the high life and fly in style on the way back from our Christmas break in Cape Town, and low and behold I’d managed to blag seat 1A (to non-aviation geeks: the best seat on the plane! Eeek!). Check out my dream digs on the Vine below!

Currently (as of Feb ’14), approximately half of the British Airways LDN-CPT routes are being flown in the old First fleet, whereas half are flying snazzed up in the new. The Vine you can see above is that of an old First class fleet. Was it an issue? Heck, no. The old British Airways First cabin feels like your best mates living room – inviting, yet warm and snug. Seat 1A was going to be my throne for 12 hours, and it felt GREAT.
Tip: Flying ‘old’ First too? Ask the cabin crew for an AVIOS points redemption card. Fill out your details, and you’ll be rewarded with 50,000 points per seat, per journey (dependent on length of flight). We blagged 200,000 points between us for ‘the inconvenience’, which is enough for two of us to fly in Club World to Las Vegas. Result!

Seated in 1A, I’d felt like the cat who had got the cream. Coming from somebody who suffers from claustrophobia, it can feel reasonably scary when you first sit down on a flight, and it can take me a while to feel comfortable within my surroundings. The great thing about the BA seats is that they feel private, and the standard ‘will anybody see my sleeping face’ scenario can get struck off the worry list. The seat next to me, 1K was broken, so I had the nose of the plane to myself.
Downside of this?: As a family of four, we like to be seated close together – if anything just so we all have a bit of company on a flight (Cape Town- London, 12 hours! It can get pretty lonely!) and on this flight, upon check in, only 1 of our chosen ‘checked in’ seats was honoured – mine. The rest of my family were moved; two in front of the galley (a little noisy) and one – behind me. Completely understand that this particular flight was hosted on an older plane, but when there are only 16 seats in a cabin, surely they should all be up and running, or at least be unavailable to pre-book beforehand? Sounds like a small issue – but for the price, we expected more.
Food: I’ve had some absolutely fantastic meals in Business and First with British Airways (their steak - amazing!), and some not so good. Unfortunately this was one of the latter, the leek and potato soup we had as a starter wasn’t comparable to say a standard ‘Covent Garden’ packet soup, and my duck breast was delicious- but the sauce, a little overwhelming.



Not fancying any of the deserts, I did cheekily ask the air hostess for a snack from the ‘Club Kitchen’ (ie- a snack cupboard for those flying in Club, stacked with crisps, chocolates and everything a girl could ever want on a flight) and surprisingly, I was actually given a box of chocolates to snack on instead. These little touches made the flight great, even if the food in this instance was not as good as we’ve had on previous occasions.
 
My box of chocolates and the pyjamas I changed into afterwards…
The ‘First’ Experience: Although we’d come across a few little hiccups with the seats and the food, there’s no denying that the First experience is bloody good. Within five minutes of sitting down in your luxury pad you’re presented with a glass of champagne, a pair of First pyjamas (amazing!) and an Aromatherapy wash bag – which set you up for the entire flight. I hate having make up on my face when I’m asleep, and I was able to take it all off with the gear inside the bag. Loved the face cream!
Want to snooze? Call the air host, and within no time at all they’ve made up your bed, and are offering you a late night snack. Want to watch a film? The TV screen bends around for a perfect midnight watch…
And the bed? A life saver. I slept for 5 of 12 hours on this night flight, which is by a long shot my new all time record. I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied with a half an hour’s kip ever again! Cheers BA for a good flight (and most importantly, some precious snoozing time!)

Snoozing in Style- Flying First with British Airways

One of the best moments in life, ever? Getting out of one of those plastic, bendy tunnels from the airport, and stepping onto a plane - ready to take your next adventure. Being a travel obsessive has its advantages, one of them being that you get satisfaction out of the simplest of things - the other being the actual journey itself. I love flying and thrive off the thought of getting to my end destination - but one thing I do hate is a night flight. Boo, hiss, boo.

I’ve become a bit of a terror on the airways, and over the last few years have morphed into one of those dreaded ‘non-sleepers’. You’re a member of our club if you: leave the TV on for hours after it turns dark. You try and make as little noise as possible, but snacking is frankly the only way you can distract yourself from feeling bloody exhausted. You’ll toss and turn constantly, trying to get comfortable in ‘your bed’…. (and yep, I’m one of those. Hands up, I’m guilty!)

Over the last twelve months I’ve taken at least five night flights, all in economy – and have been rattled with post-flying-brain for hours after landing (you know: that horrible taste in your mouth, lack of food, dreariness? Me all over.). In First though? Not a problem!

Aisle to yourself? Yes please…

Over the years I’ve flown in each and every cabin on the BA fleet – from Euro/World Traveller through to First, back in summer 2012 on a family holiday to St Lucia. We decided to revisit the high life and fly in style on the way back from our Christmas break in Cape Town, and low and behold I’d managed to blag seat 1A (to non-aviation geeks: the best seat on the plane! Eeek!). Check out my dream digs on the Vine below!

Currently (as of Feb ’14), approximately half of the British Airways LDN-CPT routes are being flown in the old First fleet, whereas half are flying snazzed up in the new. The Vine you can see above is that of an old First class fleet. Was it an issue? Heck, no. The old British Airways First cabin feels like your best mates living room – inviting, yet warm and snug. Seat 1A was going to be my throne for 12 hours, and it felt GREAT.

Tip: Flying ‘old’ First too? Ask the cabin crew for an AVIOS points redemption card. Fill out your details, and you’ll be rewarded with 50,000 points per seat, per journey (dependent on length of flight). We blagged 200,000 points between us for ‘the inconvenience’, which is enough for two of us to fly in Club World to Las Vegas. Result!

Seated in 1A, I’d felt like the cat who had got the cream. Coming from somebody who suffers from claustrophobia, it can feel reasonably scary when you first sit down on a flight, and it can take me a while to feel comfortable within my surroundings. The great thing about the BA seats is that they feel private, and the standard ‘will anybody see my sleeping face’ scenario can get struck off the worry list. The seat next to me, 1K was broken, so I had the nose of the plane to myself.

Downside of this?: As a family of four, we like to be seated close together – if anything just so we all have a bit of company on a flight (Cape Town- London, 12 hours! It can get pretty lonely!) and on this flight, upon check in, only 1 of our chosen ‘checked in’ seats was honoured – mine. The rest of my family were moved; two in front of the galley (a little noisy) and one – behind me. Completely understand that this particular flight was hosted on an older plane, but when there are only 16 seats in a cabin, surely they should all be up and running, or at least be unavailable to pre-book beforehand? Sounds like a small issue – but for the price, we expected more.

Food: I’ve had some absolutely fantastic meals in Business and First with British Airways (their steak - amazing!), and some not so good. Unfortunately this was one of the latter, the leek and potato soup we had as a starter wasn’t comparable to say a standard ‘Covent Garden’ packet soup, and my duck breast was delicious- but the sauce, a little overwhelming.

Not fancying any of the deserts, I did cheekily ask the air hostess for a snack from the ‘Club Kitchen’ (ie- a snack cupboard for those flying in Club, stacked with crisps, chocolates and everything a girl could ever want on a flight) and surprisingly, I was actually given a box of chocolates to snack on instead. These little touches made the flight great, even if the food in this instance was not as good as we’ve had on previous occasions.

 

My box of chocolates and the pyjamas I changed into afterwards…

The ‘First’ Experience: Although we’d come across a few little hiccups with the seats and the food, there’s no denying that the First experience is bloody good. Within five minutes of sitting down in your luxury pad you’re presented with a glass of champagne, a pair of First pyjamas (amazing!) and an Aromatherapy wash bag – which set you up for the entire flight. I hate having make up on my face when I’m asleep, and I was able to take it all off with the gear inside the bag. Loved the face cream!

Want to snooze? Call the air host, and within no time at all they’ve made up your bed, and are offering you a late night snack. Want to watch a film? The TV screen bends around for a perfect midnight watch…

And the bed? A life saver. I slept for 5 of 12 hours on this night flight, which is by a long shot my new all time record. I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied with a half an hour’s kip ever again! Cheers BA for a good flight (and most importantly, some precious snoozing time!)