So I haven’t ever posted anything like this before and I figured I’ve been blogging for a good six years now and recently its really taken off, so why not tell you all more about myself? That way I hope we can be a little more familiar!
I have blue eyes! (A nice easy one to start off with).
I’m a huge memory hoarder. I take far too many pictures, I have 3 scrapbooks, 5 photo albums (and then some), a notepad, bullet journal and adventure book. Including all my writing covered T-shirts from uni, school badges, primary school dresses and uniform. I love looking back at things it just makes me so happy.
I graduated in September 2019 from the University Of Lincoln (UK) with a 2:1 in International’s Tourism Management! Ive always been huge into my travel ever since I was little, massively influenced by my parents and being so luck to be well travelled, I’m very grateful.
My dream job is to work in Crisis and Disaster Management across the southern hemisphere regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes, landslides etc.
I am 23 and will be 24 on March 12th.
I have 5 Tattoo’s, 4 on my legs and 1 on my ribs. My first tattoo is my largest, I sat for 3 and a half hours to get a sea-witch. I also have a lotus flower, a Jigglypuff (I’ve always loved Pokemon) and an elephant on my legs and the Mental Health Semi-Colon on my ribs.
I have 1 pet, wigglebum, official name Digby. He is a beautiful and bouncy 5 year old Sprocker Spaniel, you can follow his instagram here! @theadventuresofdigbydog.
Lockdown really helped me to get back into reading, I have already read 36 books this year, thats a whole 35 more than last year if you don’t count university study books! I used to read quite intensely when I was younger, its been really nice to get back into it.
I have a very intense fascination with Dark Tourism. I wrote my dissertation on the topic and am looking forward to visiting some Dark Tourism sites in the future once Covid restrictions aren’t so heavy.
My all time favourite alcoholic drink is definitely Vodka or Malibu and Fanta Fruit Twist.
I have 1 younger sister by 3 years who is absolutely 100% taller than me by a good foot.
I LOVE the beach. I live for it, I was brought up only 5 minutes away from the beach and I adore the ocean, the sand, beach curls the salt on my skin. I miss the beach a lot now I’ve moved away from it, it will always be my goal and dreams to live next to or close-by to a beach or seaside town.
I was a beach lifeguard for 4 years and that was easily the best job I have ever had so far. So much fun and I was super duper fit as its hardcore fitness, and also fully first aid trained. It was a blessing of a job and great experience helping others in need!
I’ve been driving for 5 years now and in that time I have only crashed once, I had a good chat with a lorry and wrote off my beautiful Kirsten the KA. It was totally my fault and everyone walked away fine, I was just sad my car had to go. Definitely taught me a lesson, don’t think that a lorry can see you over their cab. Chances are if you’re in a small car, they can’t.
My favourite holiday destination I have ever visited is Sri Lanka, it was such an eye opening and informative trip. I absolutely loved it and got to experience the Lagoons, the disaster management centre, Colombo, climbing Adams Peak and SO MUCH MORE with some of my closest girlfriends.
So there you have it! 15 facts about myself!
I hope you feel like you know me a little bit better and know the person behind the blog. Any questions or queries drop me a comment!
Myself and another one of my best gals Mel went to Sri Lanka in February 2019 with our University and it was an amazing trip that you can read all about here!
So I decided what better way to reminisce, especially during lockdown and everything going on in the world, than our top 10 pictures each from our trip! I pinged Mel a text and she was all down for emailing me those beautiful pictures!
So without further ado, here are my top 10 pictures and below mine are Mels top 10!
So our final meal was back in Colombo at the Coconut Lodge
It was a buffet of more beautiful Sri Lankan foods, curries and rice’s. I believe at this point we were all tired and ready for the trip to come to an end, especially knowing we had a long flight ahead of us that same evening.
We did speech and thanked Martin and his Wife who we had the privilege of leading us through our trip in Kandy and Colombo, Sri Lanka. It definably opened up my love for the subject and job area, and is now firmly what I want to go into as a future career.
With all this said, eaten, and done we headed back to the Lodge in Colombo once more. Some lucky people in our group had one more day before their flight so they stayed the night, whereas our bus leaving for the airport was at 12am that night.
We relaxed and chilled out at the Lodge on our friend El’s patio reminiscing about the amazing trip we had had and that going home would definitely be a sore subject.
12am rolls around and the same 8 girls we were all together with on the way out we were all on the same flight home. We played uno and cards in the airport before boarding our flight to Doha.
Once we were at Doha all the girls minus myself and Zana left in the airport to do a whistle-stop tour of Doha city. We had a 7 hour layover and I needed to sleep as once we were back in the UK I as driving myself and Mel back to Lincoln from Hertfordshire, so I slept in the airport laydown area, which was quite relaxing!
Thank you so much for following through this HUGE journey through Sri Lanka, Asia. Its only taken me over an entire year to write but the love and memories are strong with this one.
When we were ready to leave Kandy and head back to Colombo we were getting the train!
This was something we had all been really looking forward too as for starters it wasn’t the coach! And it was a long old coach ride back, so to get the train was a nice refresher.
The journey was about 3/4 hours long and was one long journey straight into Colombo, although we got off at a station before and got on the coach from there which made sense as that train was BUSY.
It was definitely an awesome experience.
Being 20+ students we did our best to not be seated together, although 12 of us girls decided to sit together in once space. As we were getting on at Kandy we all managed to get a seat, it was bliss, books out, eating our food.
Mel and myself even brought chocolate milk of one of the vendors walking down the isles of the train pushing through the masses of people that eventually got on the train.
Being comfortable and spacious went from being crowded, hot and cramped very, very quickly. I practically had a woman’s child sat on my knees at one point. Although it was a great experience, people hanging out of the doors whilst the train was moving. The seats were comfy and I wasn’t in any discomfort minus the heat the entire trip! Definitely worth it!
Just to get off the train I had to push myself through the masses and masses of people, clinging on to my stuff for dear life. El lost her shoe down the side of the train at the station so we had to wait for the train to leave and someone retrieved her shoe for her!
It was a really fun experience and you can see all the footage here!
This day was a free day and we very much enjoyed relaxing and it was also SAREE DAY!
I had been so excited for this day the moment I got my Saree at the start of the trip. My Saree was light and dark blue and made of the most beautiful silk. I had a nice blue crop top to put underneath my top half and a mesh skirt to wear underneath by skirt!
The ladies arrived and it was fitting time!
We were brought into one of the rooms in the hotel and with our saree’s in hand it was hair pin and safety pin time! They used so many safety and hair pins to keep my saree secured and in place and I felt so elegant and beautiful once I was all dressed!
Once everyone was in their saree’s it was time for our final dinner of the trip!
We headed down to Mahaweli Reach for dinner!
This hotel is a beautiful 4 star hotel who hosted us all. A buffet dinner with Sri Lankan cuisine as well as english cuisine on offer for the buffet. There was also a singer for some live music, we are served wine and juice and it was all laughs and bliss.
There was many photo opportunities between us girls and It really made me excited and realise that I had been the whole trip surrounded by some of the most beautiful people I have been so lucky to learn and grow with since starting university. I couldn’t be more grateful for a beautiful bunch of girls.
Enjoy some saree pictures from our last night!
Once the dinner was finished it was TO THE BAR.
Licence to Grill where we had visited beforehand had said the would host us for a party with alcohol even though it wasn’t allowed to stay open past a certain time nor serve alcohol! Every time the police came past the lights were turned off and the music was turned down it was great fun.
As we trekked to the top floor bar and restaurant we were ready to go and enjoyed some drinks and music on the rooftop on our last night. The right way to spend the last night.
Train Journeys Back to Colombo and unfortunate final goodbyes in the next blog post!
With over 5000 steps, it one was hell of a walk up there!
We got on the bus about 10pm at night from Kandy and drove for a good 3 hours towards Adams Peak. It was already late, we knew we weren’t sleeping as some of the mountain roads we were driving down in a massive coach were enough to make you think this it, we are going over the edge!
Once we arrived at the Ratnapura district, Sri Pada it was 1:30am and we were ready to go, almost. It was a 1-2km walk just from the bus station to the start of the hike! So we got there at about 2am and had a little warm up. There were endless shops on the way to the entrance to stock up on snacks and water!
Once we made it to the start it was a beautiful big archway with the Buddha laying down. Sri Pada stands for the ‘Footprint of the Buddha’ as it is believed that the stone at the top of the mountain has what looks like a footprint from the Buddha himself making the site an incredibly popular pilgrimage walk.
You must have your shoulders covered and your legs covered for the walk, I did have to change into my hareem trousers as I started in my walking shorts! Can’t get to the top in those! Plus everyone around me was laughing at me so I think that was a significant sign. We walked in groups to keep the bravado up and it worked a treat, we all made it so much farther up than we thought we would.
After a good 4 hours of climbing we had made it as close to the top as we could possible get. It was absolutely rammed and a traffic jam on a staircase was enough to give anyone vertigo. So we managed to stop on a ledge where we had the most perfect view of the valley and the reserve below with two Buddha statues seated politely behind us.
It really was like nothing I had ever experienced before and I am so over the moon we conquered it. We sat at 6am and watched the sunrise come up over the valley and man, it was emotional (mainly because we had smashed it and we had had like no sleep to get here). I really have never experienced anything like it, it made me ready to go and conquer another mountain.
Walking down wasn’t any easier! Because it was a constant uphill it means it’s a constant downhill. My legs every time we stopped were shaking and like jelly! I did wonder if I was going to collapse and roll down the mountain at one point. The girls were all linking arms and trying to skip down the stairs together at the same time to keep the memento going.
Getting back to the bus once we got to the bottom, taking off my shoes for starters and just sitting down was amazing. I had brought a pillow and managed to sleep the entire way home luckily! After a climb like that, who wouldn’t?
Once we got back and had freshened up we had a SHOW to attend!
We had been invited to the Kandayan Show of Culuture!
At their local theatre we all piled in for an hour long show of traditional dances, outfits and performances! It was amazing to watch and their music and dancing is so extravagant and like nothing I had ever seen before. My favourite parts were the woman’s outfits and the men breathing fire!
We listened to their ceremonial drums, saw peacock dancers, traditional folk dancers, harvest dances and finally,
Although we didn’t get the option to do it ourselves, thank god!
Afterwards was another home comfort dinner at Sky Lounge after a busy old day and an early night ahead! Tune in for our final night in my next post!
We headed in our busloads to a small tea plantation based about 40 minutes outside of Kandy.
It was certainly an experience I don’t think a lot of us were ready for. As we arrived we were lead down a set of stairs over to a populated area where we were then brought up another set of stairs where houses started to emerge between the trees. Once we had arrived we walked through rows of small houses with washing hung up outside, baby goats roaming around everywhere, the surfaces were all uneven and it was muddy. There was one water tap we came across as we arrived in the area that we saw, and the toilets were a hole in the ground and a bucket of water to wash it down.
This was first hand modern day slavery and living quarters for those who worked at the tea plantation we were visiting.
To be allowed access to these small housing buildings that sleep up to 8 people, have minimal kitchen facilities and lounge area, and a single toilet between 60-80 people living on the plantation, you must have a minimal amount of 2 family members working on the tea plantation to access these luxuries.
Minimum wage for working their 12 hour days picking tea leaves is £2.50 per person, for the day. This is only just enough to feed the families that live on the plantation. Just about enough for those with children to buy rice and the bare minimal.
The housing is also owned by the managers at the plantation. This means that those living in these houses can be removed at any moment with no explanation by the managers at the plantation. It was a really difficult situation to be in and see how they lived under such poor conditions. We brought them sweets and chocolate and a few of us, including myself, got very upset about the situation.
It’s definitely some food for thought when you’re drinking your next cup of tea, I am not saying don’t drink your tea because it potentially funds their lives. But it’s still a little passing thought for you.
They were the most humble people, a few had TV’s in their homes or a laptop so they still had access to things, but majority slept on the floor, there is one bed in each home and to sleep 8 is quite a push. They couldn’t understand why a few of us were upset and crying, they wished us well upon us leaving. Although, I found a few of us removed ourselves from the area before we were due to leave as it left us very heavy hearted. I also refused to take my go-pro out whilst there, I filmed the entirety of my trip, but not this part.
Just prior I bought 2 large containers full of loose tea leaves to bring back to the UK with me. They’re delicious. But I will always think about those families whenever I pull it out of my beautifully white painted cupboard in my perfectly good home, where they have none of this, and cherish how lucky we really are.
Licence To Grill Bar & Restauarant
Once our visit to the plantation was over we visited Licence to Grill, a burger and grill restaurant on the 5th floor of a building! The journey up the stairs was colourful as there was beautiful wall art all the way up the walls and the ceilings.
The FOOD was amazing, grilled chicken to burgers and much more all on an open rooftop terrace. They also agreed to host our leaving party even though they can’t serve alcohol past a certain time, but that was no bother for them.
Yet even whilst we were eating, the thought of the plantation workers was still quite prominent in a lot of our minds.
We also came back here for lunch one day whilst it was raining, we sat under the terrace and had some food watching the rain come and go, it was really peaceful and lovely especially as we were tired this day. After lunch Myself, Mel and El headed off to get some Henna!
More beautiful artwork, but on ourselves this time!
So today is a free half day, with some scheduled excursions first followed by a free afternoon! And wow did we do some exploring, I urge you to watch the YouTube footage because it was all so beautiful and amazing.
We woke up and headed over to our usual breakfast spot located directly across the road from the mission called Kandayan King!
Just getting across the road was a mission itself. Although there is a zebra crossing you are lucky if they stop for you! You have to wait for solid lul in the traffic to get across. Then once you’re halfway they’ll stop for you! But only if!
Here we had our typical breakfast of Toast, spreads, fresh fruits and omelettes. Ready for a day full of tea, spices, gem factories, amazing street markets and Buddha views!
Gurunanda Tea Factory!
We arrive at the tea factory in our busload and were taken around the factory itself to see how tea bags and loose leaf tea is made! It was amazing to see.
We saw where the tea leaves are dried and then where they are placed in machines to be sieved and it is incredible how fast it can go from harvesting tea to drinking the tea itself! It was a very nice and fast insight into how the tea is made in the factory.
Once we had seen all the machines and learnt how everyone was processed we were brought upstairs to a nice dining area where we were able to try some fresh tea, it was so lovely and I LOVE a brew so I was over the moon.
Afterwards I brought an entire tub of loose leaf Jasmine Tea and Vanilla Tea to bring home with me. They are without a doubt the nicest flavoured teas I have ever purchased or had and taste amazing.
The Spice Gardens
Once we were done with drinking tea we headed over to a Spice Garden!
Once we arrived we were ushered down a pathway where we were given fresh coconut water straight from a coconut! We watched him hack the top off and pop in a straw! It was so lovely and fresh. There was also the most beautiful puppy, so naturally we were all crowding around the fussing the little furball.
Once the puppy and coconut excitement had passed we were given a full tour of the area where they grew pineapples (which I learnt in my 21 years of life are grown from the ground? I was absolutely astonished). We also saw where all the other herbs and spices are grown, cinnamon, garlic, aloe etc. It was really interesting especially when they grind and blend these herbs into herbal remedies.
We were then seated and had a lesson on how these remedies were made and what they could assist with medical wise and then were given the best shoulder and neck massage with their homemade Aloe Vera. Man it was amazing I could’ve quite honestly gone to sleep afterwards I felt so relaxed.
Then we were shown to their store full of herbal remedies, where everything was massively overpriced so I bought nothing. I enjoyed the massage though and cuddled the puppy instead of browsing their shop, a great alternative.
Our next stop was the gem factory.
Here we learnt about the mining of diamonds and the process in which is taken to get these diamonds into our jewellery and just as they are! We arrived and were taken down a fake underground mining area where it showed how the miner would dig these stones out from these shafts and bring them up with them.
The gem industry is huge, we then watched a 15 minute video on how these gems were brought to manufacturers and how they are made. We were shown how these gentleman within the building were cleaning these precious stones and shaping them ready to be placed in jewellery or sold as they are. We were taken into a small viewing room where there were all different types of diamonds and gemstones dotted around with explanation of their origins and where they were found.
It was really fascinating to see the process and afterwards were lead downstairs to their gem shop. My favourite gems being the Topaz gem stones, a beautiful pure blue gem which was only £17! It makes you wonder how much of the gem trade is a real hoax.
LUNCH? DOMINOS M8
We were dropped off back at the mission with a mission to find FOOD. And we had seen on the bus through our journey in Kandy that there was a Dominos not far from the mission. You best believe we found that Dominos and ATE our body weight in pizza. It was SO tasty and everything we needed ready for our free afternoon!
TEMPLE OF TOOTH
So the first place us group of girls headed was Kandy’s sacred Temple of Tooth. A beautiful temple where you could visit at a price. We headed into the ground and enjoyed the building for what it was but we did not pay to go inside as it was very busy and you can only go inside at certain parts of the day.
I personally enjoyed putting on our sarongs, we all had such beautiful and colourful clothing options as you cannot bare skin so shoulders and legs must be covered due to be it being a place of worship. It was also located next to the Kandy lake, or Bogambara lake, and was just such a beautiful setting for a beautiful building.
The Temple of Tooth is named this due to housing the sacred relic of the canine tooth of the Buddha and was erected in 1595. The building itself is all white on the outside and is known to be very calming even though it does get very busy, it is recommended to take flowers as offerings for the Buddha! There are stalls located outside of the temple where they are lined with the most beautiful of flowers to offer to the Buddha!
MARKETS (& UNDERGROUND MARKET) OF KANDY
Next up was the markets!
We walked over to the markets that were inside a large white building with rows and rows of tuk tuts outside! It was SO Busy, these stalls included fresh meat and fish, little trinkets and souvenirs, endless hareem pants, sarongs and general items of clothing! It was really interesting to see how this is where the people of Kandy would do a lot of their shopping. We even saw red bananas!?
The market itself was two stories high, we headed into a small shop that offered lots of incense sticks that smelt heavenly and we all collectively brought half the shop. I love burning incense.
There was also an underground market which was centred in a roundabout! There was amazing street art and it was so cool knowing that this hustle and bustle of the market was going on underneath a busy road and roundabout!
we split off into two groups and then re-conveined afterwards by the entrance where all the Tuk Tuks were for the next and BEST part of the day!
BAHIRAWAKANDA VIHARA BUDDHA STATUE
We jumped in 2 separate tuk tuks and it was amazing! We were heading straight for the Bihirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue at the top of the mountain in central Kandy!
They tuk tuk drivers agreed a price for all of us and also agreed to wait for us whilst we explored and also drive us back down the mountain! it certainly was a rickety journey and terrifyingly tight at some points with the cars and trucks zooming past as as we made our way up! We were even holding hands between tuk tuks!
The views were stunning and the Buddha itself was beautiful. We covered ourselves up and headed up the stairs where we were given a piece of paper of instructions and rules and then said a small price as donation. We had a photoshoot on the stairs up to the buddha because it was an absolute must, and then headed upwards to explore!
The top of the Buddha was closed but that didn’t stop Shaista and I from climbing as high up on the Buddha as we could! It was late afternoon and the sunset was just phenomenal. It was so beautiful and serene, Me, Mel, Shannon and some of the other girls bought flowers as inside the Buddha itself you could give the buddha offerings!
It was a really beautiful experience and I was so happy to share it with the most amazing girls!
We got the tuk tuk down the mountain once more and headed back to the mission. All in all a very successful day!
Stay tuned for the final few excursions and days of the trip!