Battling the winter blues : Finding sunshine

January. The month that seems to last foreverrrrr and a miserable one at best. Back into the swing of work and no festivities to really look forward to. Where did Christmas go?
All the whilst, summer seems so far away!
That’s why, it’s the perfect time to get away and find some long lost sunshine!

Not sure where to head for good weather? Don’t panic, I have it all figured out.

Ps. I also have some perfect weekend getaways way down the bottom, just encase your budget can’t get you some sunshine.

The Caribbean

This is the perfect time to go and visit some gorgeous Caribbean islands. The weather is glorious and there won’t be a cloud in the sky. Book now, and you can get some stonking deals for Barbados & St Lucia.

Read : Things to know before heading to Barbados

Thailand

I love Thailand and I didn’t even visit peak season. With so much to offer, Thailand really is the perfect place to grab some winter sun and some culture. With islands like Koh Samui and Krabi, as well as Bangkok, it could be the perfect destination for both sands and city.

Read : Koh Samui Review

Australia / New Zeland

If you are happy to travel, than consider Australia! Considering it’s their hottest time of the year, our winter is the perfect time to take a vaccay and enjoy the vast country. With some many bustling cities, and of course gorgeous beaches, you could spend majority of our winter soaking up their summer sunshine!

Budget can’t take you that far?

Have no fear, there are still plenty of places to head this winter. Whilst it may not give you some much needed sunshine, it will give you a break from home for just a little while. Here’s some ideas to get your mind wandering.

Paris

I adore Paris, and whilst it may be a city, it’s one you can take it easy in and enjoy. With lots to see, you won’t get bored and will make the perfect winter break following Christmas. I will warn you, it’s not an all relaxing kinda trip though!

Anthong National Marine Park – Koh Samui

If you have been keeping tabs on my Instagram and my recent honeymoon posts, you will know full well we were recently sunning it up on the gorgeous island of Koh Samui. When I say recent, I literally mean this time last month – sad face!

When researching Koh Samui, the first thing I knew was that we had to head to Anthong National Marine Park. It looked absolutely stunning! Set 2 hours from the cost of Koh Samui, a cluster of 42 islands featuring gorgeous sands and pool formations offering gorgeous views left, right and centre. It just had to be done, especially on our honeymoon!

And we did it! As soon as we could! So sit tight, I will be taking you to Anthong from the comfort of your own home!

Read : Koh Samui – Thailand’s perfect Island / Jungle Jeep Safari – Koh Samui

Thankfully, we booked our tour with the best on the Island. Koh Samui  Tour Shop picked us up from our very own hotel and onto the ferry port to board our boat. We then made our way to Anthong. One thing I will note here, is there are two kinds of boats that can be taken. Either Ferry or speedboat. The ferry was much more relaxing, however, on the way home especially, it was really rather slow.

Anywho, we were offered coffee, tea and a spot of breakfast. We were also informed on how the day would work out and who needed to be where.

For our package, we chose to do the kayaking around some of the island. I certainly had never kayaked and I really wanted to do something new and different, especially on our honeymoon. It was here that I started to panic just a little as to what I had let myself in for! I had never done it before and I had real visions of us being the ones that tipped within ten minutes. This could be the reason me and my new husband bicker on honeymoon – oh crap!

The De-brief.

Once we were de-briefed and closer to the islands, the first wave of kayakers were advised to assemble to start their journey. The rest of us stayed on the boat, where we would be taken to shore shortly after the kayakers had got on their way. Much to the disgust, I can imagine , of the first kayakers, the rest of the boat had assembled on the roof to see them off, and ultimately catch sight of any tippers. Within a couple of minutes there was one!

The Viewpoint!

We soon were ashore the first island and directed up some rather step steps to the view point. I will note here, I didn’t pay too much notice on how I would get down these rather steep steps at this point, just soley fixated on not losing my footing and either injuring or killing myself.

If you are bad with steep steps or even heights, do not even attempt! I am usually neither but even this made my tummy turn and give me a slight panic attack on the way down.

Despite the steep stairs, the view was totally worth it! B r e a t h t a k i n g!

Kayaking – The Fear!

After a short stint of taking in the stunning views, we headed back down to the beach for our turn on the kayaks! I was terrified that we would over turn, and that my beloved phone in a 99% waterproof bag would die. I would have been brave a taken a couple of snaps whilst we were kayaking, but I was petrified stopping and ultimately moving would result in a phone over board.

Alas, it was nice to breath and take in the surroundings without a phone screen! It was a little tough, and there were some disagreements and I was mainly stressed that we would overturn, I found it pretty hard to relax.

Albeit, the views were simply stunning. I am sooo glad we took the plunge and gave it a go!

Once we had kayaked around the island we were taken back to the boat where we served Thai lunch. Shortly after, we were taken to another island where you could head off to another view point, snorkel or just enjoy the scenery.

We did the latter. We were both exhausted by this point and wanted to cool down on the picturesque sands of Wua-Ta island. After a good three hours of paddling in the sand and taking in the scenery, we headed back to the boat to make our way back to Koh Samui. It took a good couple of hours to get back to the mainland, of which seemed to drag to no end!

Anthong National Marine park was everything I expected and more. The tour was superb and I’m so glad we chose to kayak around the island. In the spirit of a review, the only negative was the boat. I wish we had chosen the speedboat, especially for the way home, when you just want to head back to the hotel and jump in the pool!

For anyone going to Koh Samui, this is a tour not to be missed, whatever the time of year.

We were told all too often July was the monsoon season and nothing will be ‘good’ and yet we both agree we couldn’t do it in the height of their summer. It could be overcast as can be seen with some of my images and yes there were some downpours ( instagram stories if you’re interested ) but im so glad we didn’t listen! It was still ruddy hot!

If you want to go on any Koh Samui Tour, best book with Koh Samui Tour Shop. We booked them for both this and the just jungle jeep safari and had the best time on both!

Now someone, pleaseeee take us back!

Charlotte x

** This is a collaborative post with Koh Samui Tour Shop. All opinions are my own.

 

Jungle Jeep Safari – Koh Samui

When looking into Koh Samui, we knew we wanted to explore and experience as much of the island as possible. After extensive research, I found the PERFECT way to explore by a full day jungle jeep safari. We knew we HAD to do it.

After booking literally the day before, we were both anxious and excited to see what the island really had to offer. We were picked up from our hotel in a rather rickety jeep and we both wondered what we had let ourselves into.

Along the pit stops were infamous sights and gorgeous views across Koh Samui. To say we were eager was an understatement.

Before we go any further with this review, I would like to highlight we literally had the best time and couldn’t has asked for better drivers and weather!

Once we had gathered all our companions ( I think we had the best jeep of tourists ), we got underway as a convoy of jungle jeeps. It was really well organised and we never felt rushed where we were. If anything, they had the timings perfect at where we were stationed.

So here we go, our itinerary from the Jeep Jungle 4 x 4 Excursion.

Read : Koh Samui – Thailands island paradise / Baywater Resort Samui Hotel review

Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks

This is a bit of a weird one, and something that feels really rather odd to examine and take pictures of when visiting. The Grandfather and Grandmother rocks are basically formations of rocks that look like the nether regions of a male and female. Of course there is a theory behind the formation of them, but I wasn’t completely comfortable taking ample pictures.

I would like to note too, that I nearly dived head first into the Grandmother rock after slipping down the rock. We didn’t spend too long here, but we did manage to nab Ali some sunglasses as he left his back in the UK!

Mummified Monk

Once again, this is another one of those sights I had heard ample about, and again I wasn’t sure how I felt wandering around taking pictures. To my surprise, I was really taken aback and really rather fascinated by the mummified monk and how he became to how he is, 45 years after his death.

Of course, his surrounding temple was utterly beautiful and unsurprisingly lavished in bold colours. It’s really good to note here, women have to cover their shoulder and shoes do have to be left at the door. Thankfully, I wore a t-shirt for the day and didn’t need to further cover up.

Namuang Waterfalls 1 & 2

Koh Samui has some pretty beautiful natural sights, including the beautiful Namuang waterfalls. Again, this was another stop I was really excited to visit. We could’ve gone on the winding slides to the bottom of the falls, but decided to climb and paddle. This was the only stop on the entire tour that felt crowded. But we managed to cool in the falls and enjoy the scenery, so cannot complain!

Lunch on a Roof terrace overlooking Chaweng

We were really lacking in a good cold drink and some food at this point, so to arrive at a hidden local eatery, perched on top of a hill we were bloody glad. As someone who is a little fussy with food, I was a little anxious as to what traditional Thai food we would be served.

But, the food was delicious. I could describe what we had but I couldn’t name them. As always,  it tasted delicious and was just perfect to fill us up for our second leg of the day.

What made it even better was the perfect view over Koh Samui. Couldn’t have had a better lunch!

Secret Garden

The secret garden had been one of those places I had seen some images of and not known much about it. However, learning the true story of the secret garden really made the plus feel much more serine and magical.

A single man had built the garden to show his peers what heaven will be like and why they should continue to do good. There were beautiful statues and a waterful running throughout. Truly beautiful and a highlight on the tour.

Big Buddha

There are numerous large Buddha’s on the island ( much to my surprise ) and this wasn’t one I knew about. However, it offered us once again stunning views across the island. This was the last stop on the tour before heading down back through the jungle and onto our hotel.

Overall, the entire tour was superb and exceeded our expectations. Our group made the tour and our guide brought fun to the whole day. I really didn’t expect to have the day we did, especially considering it was only £21 each!

Charlotte x

Baywater Resort Review – Koh Samui

Where better to start with the Koh Samui reviews than the hub of our stay, our hotel! As previously mentioned, we stayed in a gorgeous resort that we happened to stumble across from an Instagram recommendation. When booking our honeymoon, I scoured the web for the perfect resort that could offer a good location and comfort.

We swapped and changed our booking various times, even as late as one month before flying. It was when I asked someone staying at one of the hotels we had reserved when he advised us on Baywater Resort. Upon further research, we decided it would probably be best to swap and made the final booking just 4 weeks before the honeymoon.

Advice number 1 – Check Instagram and ask others of their experiences. It paid off massively for us!

Read : A little life update / Thailand’s real paradise

Due to ‘adverse weather conditions’ (and I say that in adverted commas because honestly, what weather), we were delayed upon departure and in turn, missed our connecting flight to Koh Samui. Although real disappointing to be delayed, when we did eventually get to Koh Samui, it was well worth the wait!

The hotel stunned and offered us everything we wanted from our honeymoon. We had our own private plunge pool and a suite equipped with space and waterfall showers. The resort had an onsite gym, shop and poolside restaurant which served the most delicious Thai and Western food. They also offered room service and private buses to the local city and other sites.

After 2 days of sleeping in ( 11am we arose, very pissed we had missed breakfast ) and really unwinding, we started to explore the island a little more. Walking the very short walk to the beach, venturing to the nearest ‘city’ and sampling culture on Koh Samui.

I am a little picky on my food, yet wanted to sample some true Thai cusine, and on our first afternoon we headed to the pool restaurant out of ease. I was truly surprised on the variety they offered, and the standard of food we were given. It was literally so scrummy! There after we pretty much ate in the hotel every night, sampling Thai Curries, Rice dishes and the odd Western dish too. It was so reasonably priced, onsite and with fantastic service – we felt silly to go anywhere else!

Whilst in Koh Samui, we experienced two fantastic excursions, and had various days at the beach and venturing to the city via the hotel shuttle. We also managed to experience the Fisherman’s market on the only Friday we had on the island, which offered us arguably the best meal, and view, of the whole honeymoon! Plus, we picked up some Thai style prezzies for family members too!

Overall, we were sooo impressed with the hotel and the choice we made for our Honeymoon. The hotel staff couldn’t do enough for you, and the food was impeccable. We literally only ate out 3 times during our whole stay! If there ever was a problem, they would be more than happy to help and sort immediately.

The hardest part of our whole Honeymoon was adjusting back to mundane cities compared to the serenity and calm that Koh Samui offered us. Whilst we were happy to be in Singapore after, we both felt more than sad that we had to leave Koh Samui altogether!

If you are looking for a hotel which offers superb location, transport when needed and a comfortable and truly relaxing stay, I couldn’t think of anywhere better than Baywater Resort Samui!

Have you ever been to Koh Samui before?

Does it look like somewhere you would want to stay?

As always start some natter in the comment section below.

Charlotte x

 

Twenty Eighteen Travel Bucket List

Did you know, I get married in a little over 5 months?? I am kidding, because of course you know, I talk about it every second breath! Since we are actually getting married this year, and towards the latter part of the year, will be no longer saving for it, we have decided we will take full advantage of getting away as much as possible. With that in mind, and our honeymoon ruddy booked, here’s our Travel Bucket list, 2018 edition.

London

Whilst it’s not travelling to anywhere exotic, one of my first stops in my travel bucket list is London. And this time is a complete mystery as to what will be happening as it is fact for my hen do!! I will be exploring and enjoying the capital with my nearest and dearest gal pals and honestly I cannot wait! 16 Hens in London in May. Watch out if you’re around!!!

Aside from the Hen Do, me and Ali do plan to head to London to watch a Basketball game or two . The London Lions are the closest league team to us, and we just fancy seeing some home sport.

Picture 1 | Picture 2 | Picture 3

Koh Samui

I am sooo excited that we are off to Koh Samui on our first leg of our honeymoon!! I am sooo stoked and have been wanting to head off to Thailand for years. The fact we get to do it for our honeymoon makes it even better!! We have the most gorgeous hotel booked for our stay, but as always have plenty in mind to get out and explore!

Here’s a couple of things we have ear marked for our honeymoon!

Na Mueang-1 Waterfall  | Wat Plai Laem  | Ko Taen | Wat Phra Yai | Secret Buddha Garden

Singapore

On our second leg of our honeymoon we are heading to Singapore for 5 days. Once again, this is somewhere me and my fiancée have been wanting to head to in forever, and the fact we could pencil it in for the honeymoon was even better! Just like Koh Samui, we have a gorgeous room booked, but we have soo much we want to enjoy and take a look at.

Here’s what we are pencilling in.

Universal Studios | Night Safari, Singapore | Gardens by the Bay | Singapore Zoo

Read : What to expect when visiting the UK.

Picture 1 | Picture 2

Disneyland Paris

I will admit, I have been a fair few times and can never get enough! However my fiancée has never been and it’s my sole mission to get him there. He refused to entertain the idea for some time, since he believed it’s best to go with kids. But since I am a adrenaline junkie, and he is too, I have managed to convince him and see the true potential of us going alone together.

I am sooo excited to get him into the world of Disney and for us to act like real kids!! Hopefully we will head out Halloween time, which is a time I have never enjoyed Disney before!

New York

This has been something me and fiancée have been discussing for what seems forever. And in turn been on our 2018 travel bucket list since last year!!

We are rather big basketball fans, well him more than me, and so we really want to see some NBA games. We planned to go to Boston to see the Celtics play (his team). But unfortunately the wedding sapped all the money and no budget allowed us the trip. Sooo we thought we’d go one better. Spending our first Christmas as Mr & Mrs in the magical city of New York, and hopefully catching one or two basket ball games whilst we are there.

I am sooo excited to spend Christmas away from home for the first time ever. Whilst it will be a little strange, it will be lovely to spend it somewhere totally different, and magical in it’s own right. We plan to stroll through Central Park in the snow (hopefully), obviously climb the Empire State. Ice skate under the Rockafella tree, and visit Ellis Island. There will of course be some Christmas shopping in between. And Christmas Day will include as much time in the City as possible!

Excited doesn’t quiet catch it!

Read : 10 Things I want to do in America. 

2018 is hopefully going to be a jammed packed one. With sooo much booked, planned and scheduled throughout the year, I have never been soo eager to get started on a whole year.

Have you been to any of these places?

Do you have places you think we should explore? 

As always, share your thoughts on the comment section below! 

Charlotte x