It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Of My Favourite Places ...

One of my favourite places in the world is by the pool at the Sheraton Grande
on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, Thailand.
How could you not love this?

And whilst you're reclining on the fabulously comfy lounges,
ask one of the brilliant staff to bring you a plate of Phad Si-Ew
and one of their delicious home-made Ginger Beers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

You're Paying For The Real Estate

The view down the Spanish Steps from our table on the balcony.

When we were in Rome in February this year, we had the most gorgeous weather for winter.  It was a glorious sunny day when we arrived, and we wandered from our hotel in search of some late lunch in the sun.  As we were mooching down the Spanish Steps, my hubby pointed out a bar/restaurant right on the edge of the Steps, about half way down, so we headed over there.

I can't remember the name of the place (yes, I am a BAD BLOGGER!), but we sat in the sun and had a pizza each and a glass (or two) of wine whilst we waited for our friends to arrive, and it was magnificent.  We were outside in the sunny warmth after flying out of the cold German rain, and the whole world was passing us by in an incredibly beautiful city.

Yes, we paid more than we would have if we'd found a little trattoria in a back street a few blocks away, but that's not what we wanted.  We were in Rome for about 48 hours and we wanted to enjoy it, and if paying a few more Euro to sit in a fab spot having a lovely time was the price of that enjoyment, then we were happy to pay it.

It's the same the world over.  You can find amazing little places well off the beaten track and have a fantastic time, or you can save your pennies and head to McDonalds - both of which I've certainly done whilst travelling -  but if you're only in a place for a day or two, I think it's worth paying a little extra for the real estate and enjoying yourself.

A pizza and a glass of white wine was about €16, and worth every cent.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My New Heroes!

Heaven only knows that I've been there, usually on Ryanair.  Yes, I pretty much always pack too much in my carry-on, but I've learnt over the years to carry or wear a coat with big pockets in it to take up the slack should I be required to repack (and I certainly have been asked to lighten the load more than once).

Overweight carry-on?  SOLVED!

These American guys are my new "lighten the load" heroes!  They were told that their carry-on luggage was too heavy and they'd have to sort something out when they checked in to their flight from Singapore to Sydney, or they'd have to pay $130 in additional fees.  Well, they thought on their feet and just started layering up!  Apparently the check-in agent was not at all happy with their solution, but couldn't do anything about it, and they were checked in and allowed to go through.

My cousin, Moose, had to do the same thing once at Friedrichshafen in Germany once, whilst checking in for a Ryanair flight (Ryanair are incredibly tight on their weight limits).  He layered up before he got to the airport, knowing that he was over weight limits.  All good, you might think.  But not for the security in the airport who were worried what he had on under his baggy jeans and made him strip whilst being watched by armed guards.  So, sometimes it works, sometimes it makes for a great story!

Click HERE to see one of my old blog posts on packing for Ryanair flights.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Long Haul Economy Travel Tips

Seriously, this is NOT what it's like flying in economy class.

My gorgeous, and much travelled friend, Felicity, pinned this great blog post from Hilary Fischer-Groban on The Hairpin blog about how to travel long haul economy "like a lady".  As someone who travels long haul fairly regularly, I have to agree with most of the things she said, especially about being hungry on planes when you're bored - I'm so on board with that!

I could eat from the moment my butt touches the seat until the moment we have wheels down at the destination.  Something about being on a plane makes me ravenous, and I think it is to do with the boredom.  When I fly out of Australia I'm very lucky that my lovely friend Sarah packs me a brilliant snack bag with all of my fave foods to last me some of the way home - except the Cheetos, the Cheetos usually get eaten at the airport before I've even boarded!

Ah yes, the glamour of long-haul travel.

Hilary recommends packing some or all of the following:-

Here’s what I bring*: at least eight whole wheat (or spelt, gluten-free, whatever) cracker sandwiches with chunky peanut butter wrapped up in tin foil. Baggy of almonds. Baggy of Honeynut Cheerios, or equivalent. Dried apricots wrapped up in tinfoil. Baggy of baby carrots, cucumber sticks. At least one apple and not-too-ripe banana (I recommend tin foil inside a baggy for this one). Couple squares of dark chocolate in tin foil. Ha ha, just kidding, bring the whole bar. Put all those foods into one lunch bag the night before and then don’t forget it on your way out. Bring a giant empty water bottle. My new favorite trick is handing it to the flight attendant before I take my seat. They will actually fill it for you and deliver it to your seat before take off – delivery! Press the button with the glass of water on it to get them to refill it at least once during the flight.
I'm not too sure about handing the FA your empty water bottle as you take your seat so that they can fill it for you.  How many times have you seen a helpful or friendly FA just bursting to help fill water bottles when they're trying to seat 200 plus people and jam everyones overloaded carry-on bags into the overhead lockers?  Me, I've not seen very many of those kind of FAs at all!  I'd wait until the seatbelt sign went off after levelling out and go up and ask if they could please do it for me.

Another great tip is about what to wear when travelling long haul.  I have the undying dream that one day I'll get an upgrade because I look nice when I check-in.  This isn't ever going to happen, I know it deep in the back of my mind, but I always try to look decent - at least at the start of the long haul trip.  I know you've got to dress for comfort too, no-one wants to sit for 12 hours being wedged into restrictive clothing, but I do think you have to make a bit of an effort.  Take your comfy clothes in your carry-on and change once you've levelled out - by then you know you're not going to be up the pointy end of the plane and you can relax a bit more.

Here's Hilary's tips for long haul dressing:-

I like to wear “nice clothes” (jeans, long sleeve t-shirt) to the airport. On the off-chance you run into a judgmental former classmate, or are travelling with coworkers, it can be best to look somewhat put together. I also bring black yoga pants, an attractive shawl, and a sweater-type thing. If you're hot you won’t need to wear either, but you will have extra pillows! But seriously, who has ever been hot on a flight? (If you are flying to Asia and will have time to shop, maybe skip the shawl since you will probably want to buy a pretty one here?) Some things to consider: Are you likely to break into a flop sweat? Are you probably going to spill on yourself? Do you really need to wear a bra? I like to wear a cotton “bralette” under a tank, with a loose fitting cotton t-shirt (have you seen this?!), and my “sweat jeans” (jeans that are so comfortable they might as well be sweat pants). Simple stud earrings that won’t come off – or nothing.
Wear cotton underwear and bring a spare pair in some sort of opaque bag, or inside your toiletries bag. Don’t just let them wander around in your carry-on bag! They will fall out when it is least appropriate…
Wear TOMS or other easy-on easy-off flats, but definitely bring a pair of socks in your bag. If you’ve ever gotten a pair of socks on a fancy flight (or hospital…) that have the rubber grippers on the bottom – bring those. They will make you feel slightly less groady when you wear them in the airplane bathroom. Sometimes flights provide them but you cannot depend on that.
And, seriously, if you insist on wearing shorts and flip-flops to travel, at least pack some long pants and socks for the flight.  Planes are very often COLD, and when you're cold you can't sleep, and all you really want to do on long haul flights is sleep so that the time goes past faster.  I've seen so many people wearing shorts about 6 hours into a flight who are so cold that their legs are nearly blue.  The airline blankets are usually very thin and not very big, they don't add much in the way of warmth.

Oh, look at you looking all cute in your shorts before you board your plane!
Hope you've got some long pants in that designer handbag.

There are loads more of her tips too, you can check them out by clicking HERE.

What's your best long-haul travel tip?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blue & White China Love ...

Okay, I'll come right out with it, I absolutely LOVE blue and white china.  New, old, traditional, modern, vintage or folk, I just love it all.  I know I'm not alone in my swooning over blue and white plates, cups and ginger jars - I've got nearly 700 followers on my "Blue & White China" page on Pinterest - I've found my tribe!

Here's some of my favourite pins from my Pinterest Blue & White China board:-

Much to my lovely husbands growing alarm, I keep sneaking more of it into the house - sorry, honey!  That's the thing with blue and white china, you don't have to be a millionaire, you can certainly start collecting it at any price point.  An easy, and very affordable, place to start your collection is your local Chinese/Asian grocery store - there's usually a shelf of gorgeous Asian blue and white bowls and plates lurking around somewhere down the back, and they're only a few dollars a piece.

If you're one of my blue and white china tribe, come over to Pinterest (click the button to the right of the blog) and see what I'm pinning.