Sunday, 28 January 2018

A week in photos // Brisbane Edit

After 3 months of life on the road in Australia we dropped off our camper van and checked in to our Airbnb in Wooloowin for a week, before flying back home to the UK. 
It's going to consist of rejuvenation and good food!


^Airbnb Rainforest garden @ Wooloowin

^The Wheel of Brisbane

^The Wheel of Brisbane 

^South Bank

^Coco Bliss acai bowl

^Brisbane Airport

...until next time Brisbane. 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Quick & Easy Guide To Choosing An Airbnb.

Airbnb is a fairly new revelation. The idea behind it is you can stay in a house/apartment, room or shared room that somebody else owns. This is supposed to be cheaper than a hotel. The beauty of Airbnb is that you can actually have the opportunity to stay in a lot of undiscovered places that aren't built up so therefore don't have hotels in the area. 
The Airbnb website is great, and they also have an app which is really easy to use - but I've noticed it doesn't have all the features and options the web page offers...

How to choose the right Airbnb for me

1. Once I know where I'm going, I will input the destination and the dates. This will display all of the Airbnbs that I could chose from - as they are available for he dates I've selected. 

2. Next i filter the available airbnbs down by changing the amount of guests and the price. The price indicator allows you to see the average Airbnb price per night. But you can move the control bar up and down to suit what you want to pay. I now also select which type of Airbnb I want to stay in. Eg, Entire place. 

3. A variety of Airbnbs will now be displayed. This is where you can be picky and filter down the options even more by tailoring the place to your needs. This could be; wifi, parking space, a bath, en suite, washing machine etc. 

4. At this point you may of found a few you like the look at. My top tips at this stage would be to read reviews on the host to see what other guests have said about their Airbnb, look on the map to see where it is - is one closer to the train station you need to be near?, look into the price breakdown - are there any extra payments such as a cleaning fee?

5. Have a last comparison. Look closely at the photos as pictures can lie! You can always contact the host to ask any questions you may have and show your interest in their Airbnb. But also look at their response - do they respond quickly? Are they polite and professional? Their response will also say a lot about the place you will stay in. 

I use Airbnb a lot, especially in different countries. It can make travelling and visiting different places so much more unique. You can really tailor the place you stay in to your exact needs. Airbnb is only growing, which means there's more and more apartments and rooms being added to the website and app. It's a really good hack for staying somewhere on a budget as you can select exactly how much you want to spend and see what options are available. 

Friday, 19 January 2018

Day 74 - 80 Returning the Campervan after 3 months!

Day 74 - 13th January 
Today we moved sites again, to a place called Beachmere. We booked in for 5 nights as we are close to Brisbane now for the drop off of our camper. 
We were a little disappointed when we got to our powered site though as we looked on the map of the camp site to see no swimming pool. There was one advertised on this site which is the main reason we chose to come here. 
It has been swealtering hot today, the tide was so far out and the beach was full of crabs so we couldn't go there. 
We went to Bribie Island which is a 30 minute drive from here. One site of the beach was completely still and murky water. And the other side was SO chopping and dangerous with sand flying everywhere! There were 10 life guards on duty at the sea that side so I think that proves how unsafe it was!
There's no shade here either so we are hoping tomorrow is a little cooler. 

Day 75 - 14th January
We drove to Redcliffe with the idea in mind to spend the day there. As we arrived we instantly knew we wouldn't be too impressed with the beach! Instead of the gorgeous white, soft sand we had been experiencing at places like Byron Bay and Jervis Bay the sand was really grainy and looked quite dirty with washed up seaweed, sticks and leaves everywhere. Nethertheless we had a dip in the (still and murky) sea as it was so hot and sticky so we needed to cook off! We had a good chat on the beach about things we want to do and achieve when we are back home. My partner will be looking for a job with one potentially lined up, and I'm getting the feeling I'm in need of a change as well. We will see what happens when we are home but my ideas usually get a bit carried away, then I end up disappointed!
There's really high winds this evening so the camper is swaying a lot. I'm hoping no trees fall near us!


Day 76 - 15th January
Another day at Beachmere. 
We did our usual shop at IGA for the ingredients we need for tonight's meal. (That sounds much better than reality!) we've run out of ideas of what we can cook and every meal just seems so boring to us now! There's a max of about 5 or 6 meals we cook in the camper as we are limited. And I think we've over done it on every meal option now! There's only so much pasta one person can eat!!
It's been much cooler today which is so nice, it's still sunny but not muggy at all and nice and breezy!!
We got a quiche (for me) and a pie (for ben) at the bakery near IGA so that was breakfast/lunch. Nice to have something different and it feels like such a treat! It's the small things! 
I did a massive clean of the camper today in preparation to hand it back in just a few days time. Sad times. 

Day 77 - 16th January 
Another day relaxing in Beachmere. Such a strange little town everyone seems to know everyone! Even the people at the caravan site seem so strange around us. Makes us feel a little uneasy at times!
Had another sort out and clean up of the camper in preparation to return it soon. We need to find out where we can hoover it and wash the outside though. 
Feeling very apprehensive about going back to normality after such a long and lovely time and break away from it all. It will be so strange - this is our reality now and I don't want it to end!


Day 78 - 17th January 
We were relaxing on the camp chairs outside the campervan when a man walked over. He gave us a business card and said we could go to his house and use his pool, it's just him there....
We of course thanked him. Then looked at each other because we both thought it was weird. It could of been just a nice gesture but in this day and age you can never be too careful. 
He even returned a second time in a different car to ask if we were coming or not. As much as we wanted a dip in the pool right now we are not idiots and would not be going to a strangers house - however pleasant they may seem. 
We cleaned the inside and outside of the camper today at an actual car wash! It's looking sparkly clean. Just one more day left after today! 
A really nice couple have parked next to us for the night in Beachmere. We've sat outside all evening chatting and drinking beer. I can't believe it's our second from last night and we are finally having a. It if interaction and conversation with another human in the same situation! 

^Cleaning the wagon ready for returning! 

Day 79 - 18th January
We left Beachmere and headed to Samford Showgrounds via Margate beach for a last beach sunbathe of the trip. 
I can't believe tonight is our last night in the camper. It has gone SO quickly and it all seems like a blur now which is really sad. I think as soon as you get used to anything, it becomes second nature and the beauty of it goes a little bit. We settled into the campervan very quickly and now it seems gone in a flash!
It's so sad to be packing up all of our items and emptying the cupboards and fridge. I will miss this van a lot!

^Margate Beach

Day 80 - 19th January GOODBYE CAMPER!
We got up early to have a final clean of the camper and to pack all of the last minute bits up. 
We spent around 3 hours in a park near our Airbnb before it was time to check in. 
It felt so strange to get into an apartment. Even sat in the park we both said how we felt almost free. Even though we loved the camper adventures so much. 
I'd taken full advantage of having a bath! And I'm so excited to sleep in a huge comfy bed tonight. 
We ordered pizza which was amazing and felt like such a treat. Happy days! 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Day 67 - 73. Fireworks, Noosa Heads & Bribie Island

Day 67 - 6th January
We are still in Hervey Bay for one last night and loving it. Due to the huge thunderstorm on NYE the fireworks were cancelled so we saw the display this evening. It was so magical. 
Today we spent most of the time at the beach soaking up the sun and taking regular dips in the sea because it's been SO hot !

Day 68 - 7th January
We left the camp site at Hervey Bay which was actually quite upsetting! The owner was so friendly and nice to us, he made us feel really welcome. As well as some of the permanent residents at the site. 
The site is called Shelley Beach Caravan Park and j highly recommend staying there if you're in the Hervey Bay Area. 
We made our way back to Tiaro Memorial Park where we will be staying tonight, it's set back from the road and has a free 3 minute shower which is great and very rare to find in a free site. 

^Point Vernon, Hervey Bay

Day 69 - 8th January
We headed for Noosa and arrived a couple of hours later. 
We wanted to stay at the sea scouts site as it was really cheap. However, we arrived there to be met by a big sign saying no camping and closed!
So we headed for the next closest one which is Noosa Caravan Park. We booked in for 2 nights at £74 all together. There's a lovely pool here and sun beds where I spent a fair while today! It's a top holiday park and our campervan keys have a top holiday park key ring on allowing a discount for us which is great. 

Day 70 - 9th January
We went to Noosa and did a similar walk as before around the National Park. It was so hot that half way through we had a swim in the sea, even though we had no towels with us and had to air dry it was so worth it! 
I got an iced coffee from the cafe there before headed back to the camp site. 
We had an afternoon swim and sunbathe. Both of us are so knackered today, I'm not sure whether we had bad nights sleep or whether it's the heat or the walk this morning. But I think an early night is in order!
I filmed a little bit of footage today that I will edit and post on YouTube once I'm home. 
When I was in Sydney at the start of 2017 I filmed clips everyday and posted 3 separate videos of the footage on YouTube then. 

^Noosa Heads walk

Day 71 - 10th January 
We moved camp sites to one near the Sunshine Coast. It's in land slightly so not here a beach, and a lot more expensive than we wanted. But it's hard to know where to go for a good price until you actually get the a caravan park to enquire. 
It's been extremely hot today so a lot of the day has been spent in the pool. 
We did a shop at IGA to get some supplies for the next few days. 

Day 72 - 11th January 
Still in the Sunshine Coast and not much has changed, so here's a list of things I miss from home, things I will miss here and things I won't! 

Things I'm missing from home
•family & dogs 
•hot baths
•comfortable bed
•drinking tap water
•kitchen space to cook 
•variety of home cooked food
•my coffee machine
•clean clothes

Things I'm going to miss here
•hot weather
•every day with Ben
•freedom of going wherever
•living minimalist 
•not waking up at 3am for work
•wearing no makeup 
•sitting outside on camp chairs until late
•wearing a bikini every day
•having no itinerary for the day
•deciding whether to swim in the pool or sea first
•not knowing anyone
•doing food shops with ben

Things I'm not going to miss
•thinking of things to cook
•sleeping in sleeping bags
•sand getting everywhere in the camper
•(sometimes) not knowing where we will be sleeping that night

Day 73 - 12th January
Just a week left in the camper! Can't believe how quickly it has gone, I will definitely miss this but both of us feeling ready to sleep in actual beds and feel a bit normal again!
I've felt quite crappy today, I think I'm getting a cold. I feel so drained and not 100%. 
We've had another day taking it easy and swimming in the pool. Onto the next place tomorrow as we drove closer to Brisbane to return the camper soon. 

^sunset from the camper 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Top 5 Affordable, Essential Beauty Products For Travelling.

Whilst packing my suitcase prior to my travels in Australia, I realised that I was going to have to think about what products I really needed. My 5 step skin care routine was going to have to be cut down. Living in a campervan means there's not much storage space at all, this meant cutting down my beauty products significantly. 
I brought a small makeup bag with me, and honestly, haven't used it once! It's so nice to be able to wake up and get ready in virtually no time at all. 

There are a few steps and products I use that are my top 5 essentials for being in the sun, travelling or for going on holiday. I have a few other bits with me that I haven't included such as a face moisturiser, but that's because I chop and change those all the time (I'm currently using a clean&clear face moisturiser but I've been buying small tubes of different brands). The products I'm mentioning are ones that have become an absolute stable throughout my travels. 

Being out in the sun all day long as taken it's toll on my skin. I've looked after my skin and used a lot of sun cream, but spending a lot of time in direct sun light, sea water, and pool water has dried out my skin a lot. We found this huge value bottle of Cocoa Butter in k-mart - a shop we don't have in the UK. It's a brand I've been familiar with but haven't used religiously in the past. I bought the bottle for $14 which is really good value (that's just over £8). I've used it every evening after a shower and taken the time to massage it into my skin to ensure it soaks in well. My skin is still so soft and hydrated in the morning. I have some stretch marks on my inner thighs, so I've applied more to that area and I can see a slight different in the appearance of them already. They have faded slightly and aren't so obvious which is a great bonus. I will continue to use this cream once back in the UK to try and prevent my tan from fading quickly. 

I brought 3 packets of cotton wool pads with me to use with my Garnier Micellar Water. I wanted a cleanser to use morning and night for a really quick fix of clean and refreshed skin. I use this micellar water at home to take off makeup if I don't have the time to use a hot cloth cleanser and I really love it. 
I've had bioderma in the past, but it's hard to get hold of in the UK (I bought my first and only bottle of it around 5 years ago in France and haven't repurchased since). Garnier Micellar Water is the closest cleanser I've found to bioderma, it's a really good dupe and a lot cheaper aswell. 
The Garnier cleanser is so gentle, I have no irritation using it on both my face and eyes and it removes makeup quick and easily. It takes no time to use, it's really affordable and does a great job. Perfect for on the go or travelling. 

I took a considerable amount of beauty products on my travels but I ran out of hair conditioner fairly rapidly. I didn't purchase it for a while *big mistake*. My hair became SO matted and notty all the time from the sea water and the sun drying out my hair. We were in Aldi one day and in the random section in the middle of the shop I saw Protane Hair Oil for just over $6. This is amazing price for an hair oil, so even if the product wasn't too great it didn't bother me massively for the great price. 
I can safely say it doesn't compare to my beloved Moroccan Oil that I use at home and stupidly didn't bring with me ! But its really good for the price. I apply the oil to the lengths and tips just after washing my hair, it makes it SO much easier to brush through and my hair doesn't even feel like it's been in sea water all day! 

Being in Australia has certainly been a significant climate change for my body to get used to. It's currently summer in Australia so it's the hottest time of year, I'm loving it, but my body has needed some adjustment!! I've been relying on Sure Deodorant throughout my travels. It's affordable and always on offer in Boots in the UK. I've seen the same style bottle of deodorant called a different name, I'm not sure whether it's the same brand with a different name here, or a cheaper version. But it's an absolute staple here in the hot heat, or wherever you are. 

Last but definitely not least is suncream - possibly the most important item on this list. It's so important to protect your skin from the UV rays, but also from burning. The one shown in the photo isn't a brand I'm familar with but it's the one I'm currently using up. We bought this one in Cape Verde whilst on holiday there in October, everything is imported to Cape Verde so I believe this bottle is in German. It's the only one we could get our hands on in the resort but I chose it as I could understand Factor 50 and UVA on the packaging. I have another back up with me thats also factor 50. You can never be prepared enough with sun cream. 

Other items I've been using but not relying heavily on are:
•SPF lip balm,
•Face exfoliator, and
•Red nail polish for my toes

Monday, 8 January 2018

Summer Go-To Shirt Dress

I've been living in this striped beach dress throughout my travels in Australia. In the evenings it's the perfect dress to throw on as it still light and airy but just enough as the sunsets and it gets cooler. 

It's currently summer in Australia so during the day it would be too hot to wear, but it's ideal for an evening stroll on the beach, out to dinner or a late night trip to the ice creamery! 

I bought the dress from New Look last summer. If it's not available I'm sure they do the same dress in a different print, or there will be loads out there from different shops. It was inexpensive (under £20) but really well made and the quality feels amazing. 

I tend to roll the sleeves up a couple of times for a casual look, but they are full length so either would look good. I wear the dress with the top few buttons open. There's a draw string in the middle that looks great done up slightly, or loose. 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Day 59 - 66. Hervey Bay & LOTS of frozen yogurt

Day 59 - 29th December
Yesterday the search for another campsite in this area began. We want to stay here for a little while as it's a lovely area and would be nice again to stay somewhere for a few days and feel a little at home somewhere rather than be on the move all the time. I called a free camp sites and enquired online for loads in the area and everywhere was fully booked. I presume people are having a post-Christmas break. We continued the search this morning and we were so lucky to find a place to stay at just the 3rd place we asked. 
We are staying at Shelly Beach Caravan Park. I think it was fate as someone cancelled 5 minutes before we came here to ask apparently! 
We've had a really nice day swimming in the pool, grabbing iced lattes and going to  subway lunch for a salad bowl. 
Although both of our eyes are so sore and dry from the pool even a couple of hours after getting out now. 

^Iced Latte from Cody's Coffee Shack

Day 60 - 30th December
Our gas canister in the campervan ran out last night half way through cooking our curry and rice which wasn't ideal! We ended up having just the curry as that was cooked (luckily) but the rice was still raw. So this morning as soon as we woken up we started mission gas canister! We've pre-paid for a refill at travellers autobarn as you either had to replace the gas you've used, or pay them to refill it. If we knew we would have been replacing it so soon to the end we wouldn't of paid for the re-fill at $35 as we've had to buy a whole new one this morning at just $17. It's really frustrating and I think the company are definitely onto a money making scheme there, but we didn't know that at the time so the idea behind being the pre-paid refill with the company was so we had one less thing to worry about when returning the camper. But these things happen and I'm just glad we have gas again so we can cook and boil the kettle! 
We had a little swim in the sea before treating ourselves to a huge dominoes each! I've been craving pizza so much as it's one of my favourite things to eat and I haven't had it in so long! 
We also had a little dip in the pool, making sure we both kept our eyes shut today so that they didn't irritate like yesterday. It took over 5 hours for my eyes to feel normal again yesterday. I was quite worried that they were damaged in some way as they were so dry and both our visions were foggy & cloudy - I couldn't look at bright lights without it being blurred and having a rainbow around the whole light. Thankfully both our eyes are ok now but I didn't want to take the risk in the pool again. 
We had an evening stroll on the beach just before the sunset which was lovely. 

^HUGE 16" dominoes pizza!

^Shelly Beach

Day 61 -31st December
The start of the day today was very humid, even in the shade we couldn't escape the heat. 
There should be a fireworks display tonight for New Years although a thunderstorm is forcasted and it has rained today.
There's a street market in Hervey Bay today so we've watched that get set up, also aninflatable waterslide park which looked sooo good!
It's a shame to see it deflated as the rain got heavier tonight. I really hope the fireworks go ahead and they aren't called off. 

Day 62 - 1st January
Happy new year! Last night came to an abrupt end as there was a huge thunderstorm so the fireworks were called off. So disappointing as we were looking forward to going out and doing something normal!! But nethertheless it was night to be in the camper playing candy crush and drinking lemonade! (Wild night!!) and it was also nice that it wasn't so hot as the rain took away some of the heat. 
Today has been very relaxed. We got some fish and chips for lunch - definitely not as good as back home and England obviously has the best fish and chips, but it was still yummy and a nice treat. 
It's rained again this evening, but we are cooped up in the camper cooking curry - we even went to an Indian restaurant to get some naans! 

^Cod and chips, I miss English chip shop chips!!

Day 63 - 2nd January
The sun has been in and out today. It's a weird kind of heat and very muggy. The sea was so rough and washing up loads of sand so we didn't swim as sand would of gotten all over us! 
We went to the shopping centre near Hervey Bay and got frozen yogurt. This has become a regular thing and we both love it so much! I will miss it a lot back home!
The rest of the day has been very chilled, we've had a dip in the pool and we are now cooking pasta sauce for our evening meal. 

Day 64 - 3rd January
Another beautiful day in Hervey Bay. 
We spent a while at the beach topping up the tan. We also accidentally made another trip to the frozen yogurt shop. This is becoming too much of a regular thing!! But it's too damn good !
The afternoon was spent (as usual) in the pool which was just what we needed as it's been so hot and humid. 
It's not raining a little - this is becoming too much of a regular thing in the evenings for my liking. 
The rain stopped and we had such a nice evening; we went to the beach for sunset and got ice creams. 

Day 65 - 4th January 
I can't believe we have 2 weeks left in the campervan. I honestly don't know where the time has gone!
Today was really hot and I felt so sluggish and couldn't do much because of this. We drove around a little and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. 
This evening we went from beach to beach to watch the sunset and take some photos, it's nice to do things in the evening when it's not hot and isn't raining! 

Day 66 - 5th January 
Today was very similar to yesterday so here are some photos !