Once upon a time in Canada

Monday, 16 December 2013

It's three months to the day that I touched down in the UK after an incredible two weeks trekking around in Canada and I'm still yet to make any sort of commitment to reliving it's glory - until now. I had begun to believe that perhaps getting this down on paper would be a bit of a lost cause, that maybe I'd lost a lot of memories in the weeks gone by. But today I threw on my Van City tank top and poured over a few photographs... and there I was, immersed in the beauty of the Rockies once again, breathing the fresh mountain air with a perma-smile on display. It's crazy to think how two weeks can make such a huge difference in your life but this jaunt certainly did and not all for the better, but it's what I've taken away from all of it that counts and it wasn't until very recently that my thoughts went in the direction of being very proud that I had made that journey. I had been led to believe that it was the worst decision I had made in a long time; I am now firm in my belief of how much rubbish that statement bleeds.

But that's a different story altogether. I've got a better one and it starts like this.

From the moment I touched down in Vancouver very late one night at the very end of August, I knew I was about to embark on something life changing. I had yet to experience something quite like this in my whole life and I was completely unprepared for exactly how it would affect me. I think the biggest factor in the enjoyment of my entire trip was the group of people that I spent every single second with. If you weren't quite sure of the backstory, I actually went on my holiday as part of a tour group run by the marvellous Trek America - a trip that I had wanted to book for some time and finally did in a whimsical now-or-never moment at the turn of 2013, at the actual stroke of midnight. Cliché or what?! After months and months of build-up, by the time August rolled around I was totally ready to get on that plane and go-go-go. As I stood in the foyer of an airport hotel at 7am, gingerly kicking at my 33-litre rucksack and looking around for my unknown fellow travel companions, it only then begin to hit me that this was it. I had made it. I was doing the one thing that I had belittled myself over for so long, believing that I was all talk and no trousers. Well I indeed had the trousers on now - or denim shorts and tights, anyway. As members of the group spilled in, we made reserved and polite introductions and small talk until our tour leader made her grand arrival.

Something even beyond the actual group was indeed the tour leader. Personally, while I believe that every Trek America tour leader is of a high standard and completely satisfactory, I feel that we really lucked in with the leader that we got. We had Drea, a you'll-never-believe-it 30something Canadian from Quebec who was so unbelievably passionate about what she did that it made your heart melt. This girl had a brimming brain-bank of knowledge and miscellanea relating to every single yard that we drove, every national park we visited and every activity we undertook. Not only that but she went above and beyond at pretty much all times to ensure that we were getting the most out of our experiences and having the best fun that we could possibly have. We felt blessed because (at the time) we were to be her last ever Trek America tour and she let us know that she was totally stoked with us in return.

Because, you see, it's all a game of luck what you get in your group. Fair play, if you're coming away to do this kind of holiday then you can expect to engage with people that have similar interests to you, but it all boils down to personality. If you click, it's brilliant and if you don't, then it could potentially be a disaster. Very fortunately for us we clicked from the first five minutes and that is no exaggeration. We were 10 in total - a bunch of positive sunnysiders from all over the place (5 Brits, 3 Swiss, a German and an Aussie) who were only too happy to muck in and help at every opportunity. Depending on who you travel with (or probably how much you pay), group trippin' often means that you undertake chores during your travels. "But that's no holiday!" I hear you wail, but realistically this is the only way to keep daily life ticking over. We were divided into small teams of two/three and rotated daily across four duties: cooking, washing, van-cleaning and a night off. But with a group that was so eager to be helpful, in reality none of us really had a night off or stuck vehemently to their assigned chore. What dedication! We also loaded and unloaded the van daily, set up camp (almost) every night at the different stops we made, shopped for groceries whilst sticking to a fairly tight budget and - probably the toughest job of them all - had to make sure the beer chiller (or "Eski" as it affectionately came to be known) was appropriately stocked at all times. Luckily, we were totally up for the job.

Fear not. I am most certainly not finished here; I will be talking more in-depth in posts targeting the group, the activities, the locations and the mischief we all got up to. Stay tuned!

The Road

Sunday, 8 December 2013

You know what I said about making a grand comeback and finally regaling my tales of Canada and just generally carrying on with blogging and life as normal?

My laptop died two days later. Way to go, 2.0.

Of course the hard way is like no other way, therefore I rapidly discovered that that little white shell of circuits and megabytes was completely invaluable to my being. Not just for all that I documented on it in the form of photos and words, but for all it's uses. After all this laptop was more than just a laptop. It was my encyclopedia, my TV and DVD player, my stereo system, my shopping emporium, my gateway into the world of travel and photography and all those other things that I love. And then some.

Luckily in recent years I have become somewhat of a sensible human being; I believe this is what we call an 'adult'. I brush my teeth twice a day, I buy insurance when I go on holiday, I save my pennies for emergencies and above all of those things, I back(ed) up my computer regularly. This has proved to be something of a lifesaver for me as it's possible I would have drowned in a sea of my own tears had I  lost 5+ years worth of completely irreplaceable photos, work and memories. It's something I 110% recommend everybody doing on a routine basis.

After congratulating myself on that one fact, I was left with the task of trying to source myself another computer. I always knew that this would be a difficult hunt. You see, I became completely devoted to Apple after buying my Mac in early 2009, believing it to be the perfect platform on which to turn out my artistry. Apple devices are, of course, known to be virtually unbeatable at their ability to provide creative services namely in the field of photography. There probably wasn't a day gone by that I wasn't fiddling with a photo or two on my Mac, unless I was off on a trip somewhere simply snapping some more! However one thing that I learnt the first time around - MacBook's are costly little things and thus I resigned myself to the conclusion that I probably would have to settle for less.

Then, to cut another long story short, I won an iPad. Yes I actually won something amazing and I'm completely gobsmacked, as this level of luck never happens to little ladies like me! I'm naturally completely delighted and while I know that it doesn't possess even half of the range that my MacBook did, I'm happy to stay loyal to the Apple brand. I haven't had almost half a chance to figure out all it's nuts and bolts yet (so far it's seen a lot of Scrabble duels, oh and Strictly Come Dancing) but I do know that I can upload photos to it from my camera and I definitely know that I can type blog posts on it. I should know, I'm doing the latter right now!

So even though the journey has been a little fractured and may continue to be arduous, the blogging beatdown can continue on to its heart's content. And yes, I will definitely get Canada down on paper very soon - before I have new adventures to override it. Because believe me, there's always a new adventure a-comin'...

New beginnings

Friday, 1 November 2013

I bet you thought that I'd return from Canada with a spring in my step and more than ready to regale the tales of the Rockies. If I'm totally honest, so did I! And in those final few days in BC, I was already plotting the next series of blog posts in my head; the very subjects of which excited me so much, I couldn't wait to board that 12 hour flight and get typing.

However 24 hours later, I wish I'd never bothered coming home at all. For I'd entered a shitstorm that pretty much took me until the past few weeks to get out of. And my usual, imperfect reaction to such a calamity is simply to run away. Bury my head in the sand. I'm very much the 'flight' in the fight or flight response. Usually. This time, I've faced everything a bit differently. I've looked a lot of things and people dead in the eyes and fought. I've stood my ground. It's a given that I've been a bit of a bull in a china shop at times (haven't we all?) but actually, now the storm has subsided, I'm glad I've been through all of that. I'm glad I changed my tact. I do have it in me to be a defiant leader. At 26 years old, I'm finally having faith in my own adulthood.

It's not the time to go into detail yet, I'm still stewing over facts. But I'm now okay; very mostly okay. Especially thanks to some of the most amazing people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, even some people I never would have expected to chip in have come forward and made me feel good. My family, my close friends, my colleagues and beyond - I couldn't have done it without all of you. I hope you understand that this is why I haven't written for a while. However, I think I'm just about ready to take something positive from all of this now. Starting with reliving what a bloody awesome time I had in Canada back in September (seriously - how have 2 months just sped on by?!)

Bear with me a couple of days. But in true tough girl style, I'll be back with a bang. I swear.

Postcard perfect Santorini

Monday, 19 August 2013

I have actually done a fair whack of travelling before I started what I would refer to as proper blogging - that being, blogging that I actually keep up to some extent and more importantly, enjoy. So it goes without being said that I have missed out writing up any adventure that I had pre-blogging. I always promised that I would turn them out into little sparkly blasts from the past but up until now I have never got around to it. However, when I heard that Travel Supermarket were running a Holiday Postcards competition asking you to relive your dream destination, I ran out of excuses. And so here I am about to spill all the deets about Santorini 2009: the trip of my little life so far.

"But where on earth is Santorini?" That's what my 21-year old self wailed one snowy night in February 2009. So snowy in fact, that from where I was staying in Surrey (rather than my usual hometown London residence at the time) I was Actual Snowed In. Capital letter importance. For a London girl this is serious business, and enough to get one a little jittery like a kitten out in the snow for the first time. It's too much! What do I do with it! Argh, I need sun! Sun sun sun sun. And thus began a trawl of Expedia that very evening, flicking though potential holiday destinations. I'd been with my boyfriend for a few months and we were thinking it was high time we were having a sunshine holiday. We wanted somewhere hot (obvs), interesting, with amazing cuisine and also, just to add a twist in the mix, somewhere none of our friends had ever been before. For once, we wanted to be the first ones to go somewhere. That's when we came across Santorini amongst the hoards of options and at the first photo, we were head over heels in love.

Little did I know at the time but after a few evenings researching - after booking naturally, 'cos that's how I roll - I was loaded with information and facts. It was undoubtedly famous for it's sunsets and blue domed rooftops and fava beans. It also turned out that Santorini was pretty much a volcano in itself: the islands as it's known today formed some 3,000 years ago after it literally erupted inside out causing one of the biggest volcanic explosions of all time, and splitting the main isle into three parts. Thira is the crescent-shaped main island basking in all it's rocky beauty. Thirasia is the middle-sized island in the brim of the caldera where it is said that the locals don't own watches or clocks for they run on "Thirasia Time". And finally Nea Kameni, which is the intricate and exciting island that is the volcano itself. It took three months of terribly overexcited waiting to get there. So much so, that I was probably counting down sleeps from about T-minus 40 days. Then finally on May 17th 2009, I boarded an early morning easyJet flight from Gatwick to the island that had danced in my dreams. To say that I had a megawatt smile and knots in my tummy would be a gross understatement.

Not only did it provide the snoozy sunshine setting that we so desired, Santorini actually provided a whole lot more in terms of sights and activities. Firstly it goes without saying that the island requires a whole lot of appreciating on the scenic front, with mountain ranges stretching along your entire eyeline from wherever you are in the island (the main mountains run in a line up and down the centre of the island and there are very few roads that cross through them). And the sea! If you were to close your eyes and imagine the clearest, bluest, most still and tranquil waters that your mind could dare to muster up, postcard-perfect Santorini has it times a thousand. The scenery played into a lot of island activities: some interesting beaches in the south required quadbikes to reach them, and there were breathtaking boat tours between the three islands that soaks up all the sights and the famous Santorini sunset. Needless to say, we did them all.

There are a few interesting beaches on Santorini. A lot of the sands in the east are black due to the natural ashes from the volcanic activity. There are also a few hidden beaches: the White Beach which is only accessible by boat and requires walking through waters to get there as there is no pier, and the Red Beach. We managed to make it to the Red Beach by way of quadbike (50 of your best cc's) and then disembarked to continue our journey on foot. The rocks are rich in iron which is what makes them and the sands so red. Because you have to access it through a small climb and a break in the rocks, it feels totally private and not at all full which makes for a pretty special experience.

I'll never ever forget sailing in those picturesque waters from Thira to Kameni to Thirasia and back, smack bang in the middle of the holiday. The classic part of the holiday that should technically be the most boring, yet this was the most active and exciting day. The itinerary included walking up the volcano itself and them immersing yourself in the nearby natural hot springs, which was at first an interesting (read: a little stinky) but quickly a most relaxing experience. Then a nip across the water to Thirasia, where you got to experience Thirasia Time for real plus seat yourself at the glorious beachside restaurant which jetties out into the sea and serves the most fantastic chicken souvlaki ever. The dreamy tang of grilled chicken still smoulders on my tongue as I imagine it, and the creamy full-flavoured tzatziki cannot be replicated anywhere but here. See it to believe it for sure! It was certainly well deserved after working up a hefty appetite walking up and down the stony-topsy-turvy hills of Nea Kameni, the volcano island. Still, anything was worth it for those incredible views...

...however, the best was yet to come. If you're anybody who's anybody (unless you're me circa February 2009) you will have heard all about the Santorini sunset. People have come from far and wide to witness this wonder and it's known that people will specifically tailor their weddings around the sunset to allow for the most spectacular and memorable of unions. From the northwest of the island in a little hilltop town called Oia, which you can reach by road, or by boat and foot at the bottom of the hill. You can choose to ride a donkey to the top or climb the trillions of steep steps yourself and since I believe in freedom for all donkeys (or something like that; basically let's not sit on donkeys ever and the world can be a happy place) I climbed those steps, baby. At the top of the hill, the best view is on offer for free and apart from Thirasia in the near-distance, the horizon line is near seamless. You can literally watch every dying second of the sun. And dang, Oia is a popular place for the pilgrims. Scores of people line the streets and rooftops to bear witness every single night of the summertime and you may not get half a space all to yourself but the atmosphere is sweltering with a strange crowded intimacy.

On the night we went to Oia, however, the clouds were out in full force and while the sunset was still superb, we still felt like there could be that little bit more oomph. So a couple of nights later while zipping around on the quadbike, we came across a middle-of-nowhere old abandoned entertainment restaurant that faced out into the caldera with the most perfect view of the sunset; even more perfect than Oia. I would never be able to tell anybody where it was, simply because I both don't remember and can never place it on a map, but it truly was the most special moment of the holiday. In the minutes before the sun slipped behind the sea the air took on a fresh and still feeling that got right inside your bones and made your heart swell, your lungs fill fully and your skin feel cosmic. The layers of purple, blue, yellow, orange and grey resembled the most intricate painting - and there it was, right before your eyes. Not to mention that it beat the crowds of Oia; it was just we two.

Seven days in Santorini are seven days that I will never ever forget. I would love with every inch of my being to revisit the island some day but at the same time, I never want to visit again - reasons being that the memories I have of that place are pure, untouchable and should (if not can) never be beaten. And I wouldn't even want to try. However I thoroughly implore that others visit Santorini and I would go as far to say it should without doubt be on all of your bucket lists. I'm so glad that I got to revisit this in great detail so thanks Travel Supermarket for giving me something to write home (ha!) about. Although I'm still waiting to for the arrival of my very own postcard. Thirasia Time determines that I am yet to receive it...

Neon burning up above

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Admittedly, the stuffy heat of the mid-month began to get to me something rotten. I found that I couldn't shake off that sticky (sorry) smelly (not sorry) feeling no matter how many cold shoulders with Lush shower gel I treated myself to. It seemed to hit even harder on the afternoon of my birthday in Brighton and while I should have been delighted as it never ever seems to be sunny on my birthday, instead I felt just like your average British citizen: unsatisfied by the weather. Boo, poor effort on my part I know but when you've drunk three ice-cold Diet Cokes back-to-back and they're doing nothing for your temperature, cranky is often the only way to be. And so I packed off onto a train back to my capital, my home. A delightfully air-conditioned train, complete with a warm skanky canned Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum & Coke. Sometimes, just sometimes, not driving everywhere anymore has it's perks.

So, thank you air-con. I arrived in London a slightly fresher, yet still not aesthetically pleasing mini-mess. A little merry. Dressed as down as down can possibly be: no make-up, summer shorts, a frantically bought £3.99 tee from H&M when I realised a shirt with actual sleeves was a no-no. And a new adventure began.

I guess this is the place to insert that actually, I don't feel very heavy with friends this year. This is not to induce a pity party because it's definitely not a bad thing, but more to point out that I guess I'm getting to that stage in life where either people drift off naturally, or I am seriously evaluating the importance of friendships and letting ties dissolve little bit by bit. However, the friends that are in my life are completely and totally priceless. This birthday has proved that to me a thousand times over, with all the little things that have been done for me and generally just being made to feel a teeny bit special. So it goes without saying that I am thankful to every single one of them.

And so to cut a long story short I found myself on the London Eye at almost 9pm, glass of champagne in hand and a huge grin plastered on my face. For a great, great person had arranged this slice of amazingness as a total surprise for me. I never even clocked that this was it until I was toddling over the Golden Jubilee Bridge, gawping at the skyline - yet there it was in all it's 135-metre high beauty. The London Eye is no stranger to me as I've actually been on it twice: once in 2003 in the daytime to celebrate my Dad's graduation, and once in 2005 in the winter night-time with a less than interested then boyfriend. But to see the sunset from the peak of it's diameter? Breathtaking, heartswelling, jelly-knee inducing. The etchings of the clouds and the hue of the sky will forever be etched in my mind. And just how stoic my hometown looked below me as if it were lit by candles, with a watercolour backdrop behind it. Truly incredible.

Twenty-five minutes later, my twenty-sixth birthday nestled at it's finale. I felt as lucky as a 26-year old as an 11-year old would feel at her bowling birthday party, if not luckier. So many good memories that come from these two days: waking up in Brighton on my birthday, fantastic times with fantastic people, and these here flight on the London Eye. Shall we call it a brilliant beginning and indeed a great omen to what can only be - has to be - a fantastic year? I absolutely think so.

Twenty-Six Candles

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

So. Two or so weeks ago, I had a birthday. It turned out to be alright.

I've been a bit birthday-apprehensive for some time. I guess it all starts with the fact that although I still feel relatively young (and that's an understatement; I would go as far as to say teenage at times) the facts stack right up against me. Although not prehistoric, 26 seems to be that metaphorical crossing of the line. You are now well and truly nestled in the centrum of your mid-twenties, albeit slightly on the wrong side. You feel that you should experience nothing but grown-up "things" but you cannot let go of the zesty fun side that was perhaps understandable two or three years ago. Putting it in one way and one way only: you begin to feel a bit boring, like you're on your way out. I am trying everything in my power to not feel like this, to the point of even trying to forget my own age - and it works! I was asked for my age by a bouncer last week and I ummed and ahhed so much that I actually got refused entry to the bar I was trying to get into before I could even (falsely) claim that I was 25. Damn, I need to carry my ID with me more often. But I'm 26!

Also, I just feel like all the odds were against me this year. Perhaps an inadvertent karma for the haps of the last (non-)birthday. I came back from Majorca in early June and everything was go-go-go. I didn't stop moving, going places, doing things, working, you name it for what felt like a millennia - and it all went against me. I got sick on my birthday night out; although I was still determined to make the most of it, it soon transpired was going absolutely nowhere. Way to feel truly down in the dumps! And so I spent an (unexpected) Sunday off work wrapped up in my bedsheets pining and whining that I deserved to re-write the whole year. However, without a birthday candle to wish on, my wish was not granted.

On the Monday - my so-called "birthday eve" - things began to look up a little bit. After that whole day of nothingness and recharging my batteries, things felt a lot more calm and I began to feel a little bit more ready. For the complete shift in my working life; for my birthday and the silly little number and everything that came with it; for all the other little quirks and mishaps upon my life; for anything. Then I received a text of sorts. If you know me well enough, you'll know that I'm a spontaneous girl at heart. And so to read - "5pm. Brighton. Be there." was music to my ears. I rammed the first clothes I could find into a bag (none of them matched) and when I rolled out of my new store, I rolled straight on a train to Brighton. And so it began: The Best Birthday I've Ever Had. True story.

Brighton, itself.
Indeedly one of my most favourite places in the whole entire universe. If I could be bothered with rating games, I would without a doubt state that it was in my top three. It is in my belief that one day, I must live here. But for now, stolen visits and snatched memories will suffice. I guess my actual time in Brighton was short, but definitely sweet. I had to prioritise the things I wanted to do the most, which included: drinking an ice-cold beer, eating fish & chips from my favourite beachside venue, having some amazing arcade fun, riding the Crazy Mouse for the very first time and generally just having a chilled out kind of evening. I was also lucky enough to glance over my shoulder and catch the most incredible sunset falling behind one of my most favourite eye-candies: the West Pier.

JB's American Diner.
Three words spring to mind: om yom nom. Punctuated by a whole lotta chomping and salivating. If you ever pay a visit to Brighton, then you've got to dedicate a bit of your brunch budget to JB's - infact, it deserves it all. This little haven is situated on the corner of King's Road and Black Lion Street, just by the seafront. Admittedly, it doesn't look like a magnetic attraction from the outside but dare yourself to cross that threshold and behold the wonder that lies within: a classic American-styled 1950's diner with buffet car decor and a killer soundtrack. Think Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash, The Drifters, Buddy Holly et al. And then when you've lined your imagination by that hunk o' beaut, slather on top of it the most delicious brunch food you could ever hoped to munch upon: pancakes and bacon and syrup, doorstopper French toast, New York roast potatoes, huge servings of buttery scrambled eggs and everything really. It is an American diner after all! You definitely get more than bang for your buck(!) here and you leave not only over-satisfied, but deliciously plagued with a 1950's brainwash that makes you want to do the twist for the rest of the day. They also serve non-brunch items here and believe me, it's number one on my list for my next Brighton visit.

Did I mention the milkshakes? Actually don't get me started on the muh-hilk-shuh-hakes. Let's leave it at exquisite peanut buttery ice-creamy goodness with green squirty cream and hundreds & thousands and good enough to make you sing C'mon Everybody until the cows come home. Speshul milkshake.

Come in 25, your time is up

Sunday, 14 July 2013

It's been a few weeks, but I've been a busy bee.

However I turn 26 in two days and I think it's about high time I came to a halt and indulged in equal slithers of both reflection and intention.

It comes at (I guess) a good time for me, in more ways than one. Firstly I've just fallen off of the whirlwind that has been quite possibly the busiest month's of my life. In between seeing everybody under the sun actually under the 30c sun, I've also worked 50-60hr weeks. Add to that probably the busiest period of my company's diary - namely the End Of Year meeting/celebrations and working at a festival that we set up at - plus getting myself prepared for a big big store move, there hasn't been an awful lot of time left for everything that really matters. It's definitely time to get myself back on track in terms of looking after number one and getting all my ducks (or goals) in a line.

Stop working like a madwoman.
I never thought I'd say this about myself, especially when I was 16 and flunking my GCSEs, but I guess I'm sort of a workaholic. I'm an articulate perfectionist and thrive on organisation and seeing tasks through to the end. Basically, I love a tidy store and office and even more love a challenge. I'm met with plenty in my job, be it a challenge with a brilliant end-goal or one where I'm fighting losing battles constantly. And there have been many instances where I've stayed late at work, or taken work home with me, or attended on my day off. Sometimes it has to be done; we've all been there surely. But I need to scale back now. Working 55hrs when I won't be paid for 10 of them doesn't glitter too much and while sometimes it's completely unavoidable, I have been guilty of working beyond what is required of me more than once. I need to train myself to keep within my confine as much as is possible. After all, new store and new team = bigger responsibility. No time to knacker myself out.

Treat myself how I treat others.
I'm a firm believer in the saying treat others how you want to be treated - in fact it's my working mantra, as I deal directly with the public, and therefore very much my life ethic. There's not a lot I wouldn't do to keep a customer or a friend happy. But do I follow the same advice myself? Do I heck. I need to spend more time praising, pampering and celebrating myself. Schedule in regular facemask evenings, crack open that beer and listen to some music and read some blogs, go through a major life purge and bin most of the crap that I possess. No more procrastinating.

Stop neglecting hobbies and passions.
I can pinpoint the exact moment that I stopped caring about hobbies such as running, photographing, blogging and baking. The saddest thing is that it's inevitably when I became a manager over one year ago. However I can't and wouldn't want to change that, so I just need to reignite the flame for these passions. How I go about this business, I'm not yet sure, but I'm imagining something along the lines of weekly challenges. Photo projects? I'm already doing an Instagram 365 but I want more. Baking? Running? I really need to get back into those two and I need to stop using my microwave-sized oven and 74-step flat entrance as excuses. Blogging? Well here I am, trying to keep it up. And I still want more. I still want to learn that language, I still want to edit videos, I still want to scrapbook and get that capsule wardrobe. I just need to spend more time doing.

Live for the moment.
Major sap moment, but obviously I awoke to the news of the death of Cory Monteith this morning. I have never watched Glee but I know him by name and face and I know that he dated his co-star Lea Michele who periodically appears in Glamour magazine (my not-so-guilty pleasure!) every so often. I was completely fine until I read of a news story where she hadn't given a statement, therefore the publication had instead waded through a hoard of dredged-up quotes and republished them. They mostly read along the lines of, "No-one knows me better than Cory" and "He makes me feel like I can do anything." before finishing to state the obvious: that she is currently completely inconsolable. I was in pieces just reading that. It takes a moment to realise that beyond the news stories that you read there is a 26-year old girl out there who has just lost the love of her life, without warning. Horrifying to even contemplate. It just goes to show that we really do only have one life and we cannot waste it. We need to embrace every second; go and tell the person that you love exactly how you feel; embark on that trip of a lifetime; do everything you've ever wanted to do. Because you never know what comes tomorrow.

26 has to be a better year than 25, even though it feels like a scarier number by a complete landslide. 25 was that middling head-nodding 'I can deal with this' sort of age, but 26 feels like a over-exaggerated gigantic step towards the big 3-0. But with 25 came some humongous changes in my life, some that I could never have even predicted, and it's been a task just trying to keep up with and deal with everything I've ploughed into. But I'm having a good feeling about 26. I think this year is the year when stuff happens. Good stuff. And finally too; I'm beginning to feel like I deserve a bit of a win.

All day, all night

Sunday, 16 June 2013

When I came to Spain and I saw people party,
I told to myself: What the f&ck?!'

It's been just under a week since I returned from a rather wild long weekend in Mallorca, therefore I think it's about time I blog it before it goes all grey and stale. In five whole days, we managed to cram in more than your average. Personally I instigated more dance-offs to Fatman Scoop that it's even worth mentioning. I bet you think I'm joking; I'm not. Can I get a whoop-whoop?

So I've been to Magalluf and seemingly done it all. Well apart from a stag/hen weekend, throwing up on myself, sleeping with random strangers, getting a tattoo, taking a trip to A&E abroad... okay, suddenly my wild weekend is sounding more and more gran-daddy. But I insist we did our fair share. We were in the thick of a foam party, saw DJ Sammy live and screamed along to "I'm On A Boat" whilst on a boat. Life highlight, for sure. From said boat, I divebombed into the Mediterranean Sea and swam in semi-circles until they begged me to re-board. I dusted off my once-well-practiced Soulja Boy dance and showed the Balearics just what it's all about. I went wet and wild at a waterpark - how's that for a proper holiday feeling?

We stayed at the Mallorca Rocks Apartments, about a 200m walk down the road from the main Mallorca Rocks Hotel. They're much and much the same, except the apartments come with built-in Quiet Time. We had read some proper horror stories about our accommodation - of course, after we had already booked it - but having experienced it, I can say that it was actually not bad at all and for a cheap stay I would recommend. If you're looking for the parties in Magalluf as well, then Mallorca Rocks offer some outstanding deals for nights out when you pay in advance. A rep will talk you through all the things you could get up to, in their hungover/not-bothered kind of way and strangely enough it will make you yearn to do things. We booked our day at the waterpark, plus the boat party, seeing DJ Sammy at local big-club BCM, another night at BCM for a aptly-named Washing Machine Party for 120€. Not actually bad when you consider that in BCM, once you were inside then all drinks were completely and utterly free. Which = two nights of moneysaving! Also drinks were down to a euro on the boat. And to top it all off, we had the opening party at Mallorca Rocks on the first night thrown in for free. Score.

But really, what can I say about my mini Mallorcan adventure? Not an awful lot. It passed in a breeze, which I guess is the whole point of a whistlestop tour. I do think four nights/five days was enough, however I am dreaming about the constant sunshine now I'm back in the UK which seems to be experiencing autumn AGAIN. All I can advise is that everybody has to have this kind of holiday once in their life. A fast-paced brave rave where you drink 3€ supermarket sangria as a starter, roll home at 5am, eat alioli on toast for breakfast, sleep all day in the sun - smothered in Factor 30 - and dance your arse off to Swedish House Mafia one too many times. Wait, what am I talking about? Keep on dancing! Pack your flattest comfiest dancing shoes (my £4 Primark sandals worked a treat), a few bikinis, sun cream and a cold bottle of after sun, some mini plug-in iPod speakers, sunglasses, worthy reading material and plenty of versatile sundresses. Holiday = sorted. Wear no make-up. Take good friends. I swear, you're never too old.